Create a Great Marketing plan with The Power of 6
As a small business owner, having a marketing plan, which outlines your company’s course for success is important. A marketing plan describes who your customers are, where they get information and how you expect to reach them. Having an in-depth layout of your marketing strategy can reveal opportunities from a new audience or potential product line, pitfalls in pricing, competition reaction, and potential reach. Here are 5 tips to creating a great marketing plan.
Know your target market.
Before you can write a marketing plan, you need to find and understand the specific demographic you’re targeting. Research your target market by asking those within it.
Why should a customer use your business?
Figure out the core need that your product or service will meet; is it to help your customers do their job more efficiently? Be respected and admired by friends? Your product/service should be designed to solve client problems or meet customer needs better than the competition can.
Identify your competitors
Small businesses seldom take the time to study their competitors in depth, or determine competition that may be outside their industry but just as capable of luring the customer away. Knowing who they are, what their core competitive advantages are and how they will respond to your offering will help you figure out strategies to combat such losses.
Let your customers know what your brand symbolises.
You should be able to write down a simple declarative sentence of how you will meet customer needs and beat the competition. The best positioning statements are those that are single-minded and focus on solving a problem for the customer in a way that promotes the best value.
Do an audit
Auditing your business, which you can do with the help of a third-party contractor, can help you recover if your initial marketing strategy doesn’t give you the results you wanted. Understand what products or services you are offering, then identify who you help and how you help them. Next, check all your marketing platforms to ensure they reflect that message. This will help you avoid a disconnect with the audience.
How do you plan to reach that target customer? Here are two marketing channels to use asides broadcast and print media:
- Social media. Every type of customer is on some type of social media platform, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. Focus on the ones that can benefit your business the most. Figure out where your customers are spending their time, and set up shop on those platforms. Develop a content strategy that can be executed internally, and then execute your strategy by posting branded content on your selected platforms.
- Email marketing may not be as new a concept as social media marketing but it is an effective and popular choice for small business owners. Companies can implement email marketing techniques in a number of ways, including newsletters, promotional campaigns and transactional emails.
In conclusion, creating a well-defined list of budgets, goals and action items, with appropriate personnel assigned to each, can help make your marketing plan a reality.
This article was adapted from Business News Daily
AI IN DIGITAL MARKETING: A RISK?
AI short for Artificial intelligence, a well-known term without a solid definition and a popular expression in innovation that has everybody sitting up to focus. Nils J Nilsson, an establishing scientist in the field, defines it as “that movement dedicated to making machines keen, and insight is that quality that empowers an element to work suitably and with prescience in its environment”.
In Digital Marketing, promoting is a center part of advanced showcasing. With a rise in AI popularity, anyone in the field of substance or computerized showcasing can be a tad worried by the likelihood of machines gobbling up the occupations of human writers. Is the risk genuine?
Picture this. You wake up one day and find that the production of content has suddenly turned into the duty of a machine and not a human. It is imperative to discover a response to this question particularly when advertisers and journalists are such a great amount of stressed over their employments, spending plans, and methodologies in the wake of expanding mechanisation.
Gartner, an American research and admonitory firm, anticipated that 20% of all the business will be created by machines by the year 2018. Notwithstanding, they likewise added that it is material to formal archives, reports, white papers, public statements, and other formal business. It unmistakably implied that it didn’t have any significant bearing to experimental writing, where human feelings, basic considering, examination and imagination are required.
Content creation is relevant to the tedious, manual and exhausting occupations. It is very normal as people can’t satisfy the request of delivering high volumes of such information, where an abnormal state of precision, reiteration, and information section is required.
Creation that requires unique thoughts and innovative believing is more averse to be in danger because of composing robots. Would you be able to envision a machine producing with incredible thoughts and that can be devoured by the cognizant customer?
It is better to infer that digital marketing is in a condition of transition. The truth will surface eventually whether it will be overwhelmed by artificial intelligence or not.
Improving Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is the measurement of how happy your customers are. Improving customer satisfaction will help you increase revenue, reduce churn, boost customer lifespan and create more advocates. According to new report from CFI Group, customer satisfaction levels have experienced a slight decline over the past year. Data compiled from consumers across various sectors reflects a customer satisfaction score of 68 (out of 100), a four-point decline from the previous year.
This year’s reading is the lowest score since the report was first issued and it represents the uphill climb many companies face in satisfying increasingly demanding consumers. As it is Customer Service week here in Nigeria, I will be bringing you some tips to improve your customers’ satisfaction with your brand
- Our golden rule: never say no to a customer. If a customer service rep can’t deliver a solution for the customer, they escalate this to their team lead, so strategically we can resolve the root cause.
- Be positive… Let them see your smile even through the phone. A positive experience and a customer care representative that leaves a positive experience will go a long way. Customers can hear in your voice that you are smiling – it’s hard for a lot of people to be angry when the person on the other end of the phone is happy.
- Listen to those that are dissatisfied and act on their advice when it rings true. Find out as much detail as possible. Maybe the problem started on Twitter and has now taken an email and 2 phone calls. How can you improve overall, not just the end problem?
- Put the customer at the heart of your decisions and take a balanced approach. Be focused on problem solving, not on the process.
- Be precise and clear in your Terms & Conditions and customer communication, so you control the expectations you create. Keep your promises.
- If management is mostly about the processes, schedules and targets, leadership is mostly about behaviour. So, train team leaders, not team managers. Facilitate leadership sessions to train your team leaders to understand leadership styles, behaviours, decisions and reputation. This is key to them becoming successful and respected leaders. Good team leaders support their teams to perform and develop and thus get the best results possible from their team members.
Treat your customers like they are your boss. With no customers, there’s nobody to pay you! By taking this approach to every customer interaction you can naturally flip the angle on customer service.
- Did you know that 91% of your unhappy customers will never purchase services from you again? Measuring customer satisfaction can help you reduce the number of unhappy customers.
- No business is immune to unhappy customers. In fact, even companies with the best customer service in the world will still lose up to 9% of their customers to competitors. The good news is you can do something to stop customers defecting. Here are three common customer retention mistakes that are killing your customer satisfaction:
- You are ignoring customer feedback
- You are taking customer feedback to personally
- You are using long, boring customer feedback surveys
- Make Employee Satisfaction a Priority. Simply put, when your employees are happy, they can provide better customer service. Studies have proven that employees often perform better at the jobs when they feel appreciated.
While there’s no one solution for improving customer satisfaction levels, the key is to develop a customer-centric mindset that will help inform decisions and company direction.
What Artificial Intelligence (AI) could mean for your business
Originally the term Artificial Intelligence was created in the 1950s based on the possibility that machines could act like humans to perform general tasks without the need of a human. Simply put though, AI is a subfield of computer science. It is an aspect of technological progress, aimed at benefitting us in terms of making our tech more efficient. All of the tech giants are investing heavily in AI with Facebook revealing their plan to go all in into AI, AR, and VR at the annual F8 conference.
Forrester predicts that there will be more than a 300% increase towards investments in AI amongst all businesses in 2017. In 2016 there was almost $1.5 billion invested in just the first half of the year. AI will offer capabilities like predictive analytics, thereby reshaping your decision-making process and ultimately improving the way you and your brand work. As a business owner, you need to start thinking now how your organization can benefit from using it.
Artificial Intelligence brings technologies and processes together to make machines work smarter and to have the ability to discover insights, suggest predictions, and strategize recommendations.
AI is also not just about making your business run easier, but better. AI reflects the process of human self-improvement and operates based on acquiring knowledge over time. This means that AI is always learning from the data received to produce more refined outcomes. This means AI increases efficiency and productivity when delivering the products and/or services of your business and in the end finding ways in which to completely discard basic tasks.
Plus, not only does AI increase efficiency but it reduces the chances of critical mistakes to be made. By detecting unusual patterns like payment fraud or spam filtering, AI can notify businesses about suspicious activities.
As a marketer, it can be time-consuming to plan blog post topics, discover keywords, personalize and automate content, schedule social shares, test landing pages, and review analytics. If a machine was able to accurately create those tasks it would free up the marketer to enhance the recommendations. It would help us marketers, to optimize the content to ensure what we’re creating is actually relevant based on their behaviour.
More so, while advanced machines may replace low- skill jobs, AI technology lacks a key component which is intuition. This is where AI technology and humans work off of each other’s strengths to be able to work harmoniously to solve problems. Because of AI, there’s an increase in workplace productivity and efficiency.
AI will continue to be a hot topic for everyone. Staying ahead of its development is highly recommended for anyone wanting to benefit their business.
6 IT Companies to Watch
Next-generation technologies are promising to revolutionize business processes. In many ways, it is a boon time for enterprise technology. for finance chiefs trying to pick their way through whitepapers, conferences, product pitches, and webinars, the array of products and vendors can be dizzying. And new IT companies pop up continually, making it difficult to keep up with the latest and greatest.
The 6 IT companies that make this list offer compelling products that address definable pain points in many businesses, and while many of these vendors are privately held, they look to be formidable players in their categories.
- Automation Anywhere.
Automation Anywhere is the clear market leader in the burgeoning field of robotic process automation (RPA), and 2017 is shaping up as a year when demand for RPA could explode. Like other RPA vendors, it sells robotics software designed to automatically replicate keystrokes that humans make to complete back-office processes. In the case of Automation Anywhere, such processes include procure-to-pay, quote-to-cash, human resources administration, and claims processing.
Automation Anywhere counts 27 channel partnerships that generate about 50% of its revenue. Forrester Research ranks it first, among many strong competitors, in both the strength of its product and the strength of its overall strategy.
Sprinklr manages more than 4 billion social connections in 150 countries and mines some two dozen social media channels for information about clients’ individual customers. Sprinklr incorporates that data directly into a client’s existing CRM system. The company co-exists with industry Goliaths, like Salesforce and products from Adobe and Oracle, and provides extra value for businesses that are looking to include social media in their advertising and marketing campaigns.
With more than 1,300 employees in 14 offices worldwide, the six-year-old company now lists 9 of the world’s 10 most valuable global brands as clients, including the likes of Nike, McDonald’s, and Microsoft.
Most vendors of IT management services focus mainly on “things” that by now are considered at least a generation or more old: desktop computers, laptops, cell phones, and servers.
Oomnitza, which raised a modest $2.3 million of funding in 2014 and since then has grown quickly, has a software-as-a-service subscription offering flexible enough to manage a lot more than laptops and cell phones: its product manages the sensors and other new-age capital equipment that make up the Internet of Things. Oomnitza’s software tracks the lifecycle of devices and objects—from the time they’re budgeted pre-purchase, all the way to archiving the data generated by obsolete assets earmarked for destruction.
The company’s Wdesk cloud-based platform features proprietary word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications built on top of a data management engine. But don’t mistake Wdesk for a desktop application suite, because it’s in a whole other league. The platform offers synchronized data, controlled collaboration, granular permissions, and a full audit trail. Companies trust it for reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission, managing audits, and complying with Sarbanes-Oxley.
Founded in 2013 by Yampolskiy and Sam Kassoumeh, the former head of security and compliance at Gilt Groupe, the software-as-a-service provider collects “thousands of signals every second” regarding the cybersecurity of companies.
After gathering that data via a proprietary search engine and subscription services, the firm then assigns a company a letter grade from A to F. In language that’s a bit thick with tech jargon, the firm’s website gives an overview of the sources its search engine scans: “malware analysis pipelines, monitored hacker chatter crawlers, honeypot/sinkhole infrastructures, vulnerability cadence checkers, and deep social engineering sensors.”
Slack’s secret is its simplicity. The platform lets users keep track of their messages by organizing them into channels. Instead of sending individual emails that get lost in inboxes, users can communicate directly with colleagues in real time. The conversations are searchable and highly transparent, although they can also be private. The company even rolled out voice and video chatting to users last year. According to Slack, its plug-ins, including popular ones for Trello, Skype, and Dropbox, are downloaded 415,000 times each month, making it one of the fastest-growing enterprise-messaging companies. But Slack’s simplicity doesn’t stop at messaging. The platform also allows users to share files by dragging them from the desktop and dropping them directly into the Slack app. It’s that efficiency and integration that Slack is betting on to boost growth in 2017.
Culled from http://ww2.cfo.com/technology/2017/04/20-tech-companies-watch/
Things Apple Can Teach You as a Brand
While other companies fight for attention, Apple seems to effortlessly dominate the media–not to mention the hearts and minds of customers–with its new product launches. That is because with Apple, every product is a story, not a list of features. With 43 per cent rise in value in 2015 according to leading authority, Apple is famously disciplined (some might say secretive) in every aspect of what it does. Below are some of the things Apple can teach you as a brand.
- Suspense and anticipation
Take a page from Apple. Apple is a master of the teaser marketing campaign, dragging on the suspense for as long as possible. For weeks if not months before the release of every iPhone, the media conversation builds to deafening levels. Start building relationships with the media and bloggers–the influencers who cover your industry. Nurture and expand them over time. Remember, the Internet is word of mouth on steroids. Marketers have always known that the best way to promote your product is to get others to do it for you.
- Less supply, more demand
Scarcity not only increases the value of a product, it propels the procrastinators and all us who want to be part of the trendy crowd to step up and buy. Apple has found its own ways to hype the sense of faux scarcity. Just one hour after the iPhone 5 went on sale for preorders on September 14, 2012, the Apple website reported that heavy demand had necessitated delayed delivery. The tactic worked. Like Apple, consider intentionally restricting production of a product to create scarcity and fuel demand for your product. Other tactics you can explore are making the offer only available for a limited time or until a certain number have been sold. Or you can report on your website or customer sales calls that only a small number of certain items are left in stock–but only if that’s really the case.
- Customer First
Think outside-in as smart branders do. Begin with your customer first (outside), then figure out how you can improve your product or service to meet that customer need (inside). Ask yourself, “What would make your product easier to use for customers?” and “How can you make the customer experience special and different–at every touch point?” Think of the customer experience holistically. Apple products have always been designed to be different, delightful and friendly. Its history of innovative, “friendly” gadgets creates anticipation about what they will do next to advance the consumer experience. Make sure that the customer benefits your product offers are crisp and clear in all your marketing.
- Brand personality
Make sure every touch point where customers come into contact with your company and its products conveys your company’s brand personality with a unified visual identity, a distinct look and feel that sets you apart from others. Not only does Apple have a history of product innovations, they package their products brilliantly. Many customers are so wowed by Apple’s beautiful, “open me first” packaging that they don’t throw it away, which is called “unboxing.”
- Humane website
Add copywriting to the long list of things Apple does well. Click on Apple’s website and you’ll find page after page of great marketing copy. Pick any topic there and you’ll find good writing. It’s easy to read. Sentences are kept as short as possible, and crafted to flow rhythmically. It has genuine, authentic personality. When you read anything from Apple, it sounds like someone is speaking to you in person. It’s humble. Even when promoting a new breakthrough, the copy is never about how great Apple is; it’s about how much you’re going to enjoy using all those new breakthroughs in your daily life. Nor does their copy ever try to impress the reader with how smart it is. Apple’s writers don’t write for themselves; they write for their audience. And they avoid self-indulgent attempts at cleverness.
That’s how your website should be. Warm and conversational. No one wants to be talked at and no one likes patronizing and condescending people (in this case, write ups). Try and implement some of these things in your website and the result will be… people actually reading them.