How Toothpaste Proves the Consumer Disconnect

Toothpaste and the consumer disconnect

Do you know what the first reason is why marketers fail to connect with consumers? The fact they call them consumers and treat them as such. They even address them as consumers. It’s one of the many signs proving the continuing monologue mentality, self-centered marketing speak and consumer disconnect. Yesterday, I saw two different TV commercials in which the beautiful looking actors that were supposed to represent the rest of us were called consumers IN the commercial. And it just struck me how this happens so often. One ad was for a toothpaste brand, Colgate, and showed the usual pseudo-scientist, explaining what terrible mouth hygiene threats the toothpaste could treat, to some people seated around a table. These were the 'consumers'. When the commercial started, it actually showed 'Colgate invited consumers'. … [Read more...]

Do Consumers Trust Retailers More Than Social Networks?

Trust and private data

Consumers are said to rely more on the advice of their peers and even social connections than on businesses themselves. However, this doesn't mean they trust the social networks themselves when it comes down to sharing their data. Recently, the e-tailing group and MyBuys released some findings from a survey stating that the surveyed consumers feel more comfortable sharing data with retailers than with social networks. They do so even more when sharing data improves their shopping experience. I bet the same goes for other experiences as well. Most social networks suck at dealing with consumer data and don't take into account what their users want in that regard. They dictate on how they will use these data, and it does take some time to find where to change settings or stay up-to-date with latest changes. Even as someone who follows the industry carefully, I often lose track. … [Read more...]

How to Write Blog Headlines People (and your Goals) Deserve

This blog post in InboundWriter

You can write the most interesting and best content in the world but if your blog headline doesn’t attract attention, appeal and convince people to read on, why even bother? You wouldn’t be doing yourself, your content and your readers a favor, right? Brian Clark says that “on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest." Discover how to write blog headlines - with a twist. Your blog headlines serve different goals and there are various elements to take into account before you start: your ‘targeted readers’, your goals, relevance and how people look for content. … [Read more...]

Content Marketing: Content and Blog Frequency

Content Marketing Evangelist Joe Pulizzi

Content marketing is marketing. So it should serve your business goals, take into account the needs and the behavior of your different ‘audience’ segments and finally be relevant for the audience and optimized from the perspective of the costs, benefits,  and resources (for instance, by having a good mix of external partners and an in-house content marketing expert team). These elements have an impact on the frequency of putting out content via the different channels you use. Frequency is important, but it doesn’t mean you should create content on all platforms every day. Let’s take blogging as an example. When you blog you create expectations among your readers, also regarding frequency. If you blog a lot for a while, and then you stop, it’s impossible to create a valuable and lasting dialogue. Setting these expectations at the beginning is important. Find the right mix and certainly do the math on the cost and return on your blog efforts, compared to the needs of your readers and … [Read more...]

Customer-Centricity: Four Guaranteed Ways to Estrange your Customers


“Reconnect your brand.” That’s the slogan one of my former customers, who is active in the marketing automation space, started using recently as part of a rebranding strategy. However, it’s more than a slogan. Customer-centricity, hower, often remains a hollow motto. Brands and businesses are really disconnected from their customerse. Marketing is broken as I recently wrote. It has to do with personality, processes, trust and living up to promises. Furthermore, the changes in how people inform themselves, interact and decide, alienate brands even more. So, if brands are alienated, the question is how they can “reconnect” as in my former customer’s slogan? Time for some ‘tips’. It was once believed that a brand was primarily a matter of positioning. However, the role of perception and reputation plays a more significant role in defining what a brand and business really is. Customer-centricity is no longer optional and enhancing the customer experience is your key goal. … [Read more...]

Social Media Evolutions to Watch


We always have a tendency to estimate the value of something as it exists. Future potential is often ignored because we don’t follow or understand the trends enough, while the market place is constantly changing. The same goes for social media evolutions. We sometimes think that the landscape is mature and that the game is over: Facebook is the king of social networks; Twitter reigns in micro-blogging, etc. However, things change fast, very fast. Combined with a growing dissatisfaction with the policies and poor user experiences of some social platforms, new evolutions will shape the social media space. A few examples of how social platforms are evolving and what these social media evolutions imply: … [Read more...]

Real-Time Response is not a Holy Grail


They were dubbed the first social media Olympics ever. And they are. When London 2012 is over, gazillions opinion pieces will be posted with titles such as “Ten Crucial Social Media Lessons from the Olympics 2012.” In fact, it’s already happening now. I wanted to stay far away from them (whic doesn’t mean some will be probably good) but couldn’t resist after today… Social media has a few important characteristics. Two of them are the speed of real-time and the human dimension. Yep, social is indeed a people’s thing. We often herald the virtues of what we call a real-time economy. So do I, in a sense. The real-time nature of social is a gift for those who are ready to listen. … [Read more...]

comScore: the Shopping and Customer Experiences Across Buying Stages


Excellent customer experiences and relevant touchpoints, across all channels, are rapidly becoming the focal point for smart marketers. Customer satisfaction is not a goal anymore. It is – or should be – a basic component of your business DNA. All customer experiences must be optimized to move beyond the level of satisfaction. Obviously, perfection is a goal and seldom a reality in business (or in life, for that matter). In the end, it’s about people. However, increasing customer satisfaction and raising it to the next level by striving towards perfect experiences is an ongoing task, whatever role you have in sales, marketing, management, support or any other function. Shopping-related customer experiences are obviously crucial, before, during and – let’s not forget it – after the purchase. … [Read more...]

Ten Blogging Lessons from Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan

2012 is the year of oversaturation. On social media too. So says Chris Brogan. He has a point. You know the phenomenon. There is too much 'noise'. And we need filters. "Content curation" is hot. That’s why Twitter acquired Summify. We will scale down. We live in a consumption society, says Brogan. "People can barely read a tweet." We must keep everything brief. Ten blogging lessons. … [Read more...]

Online Communities Are Like Coral: Give Them Space To Grow

community coral

“I told a friend and she told two friends and so on and so on…” Those words come from a famous seventies commercial campaign for a shampoo. It was ingenious in that it not only recognized the power of word-of-mouth advertising, but capitalized on it by promoting the brand had that very power. All the clever advertising in the world doesn’t carry the weight that a friend or trusted personal source has regarding product recommendations. Getting the thumbs up from someone you trust whose opinion comes from experience makes all the difference for most of us. In a report on word-of-mouth advertising, Lithium Technologies looks at its power and how the web and social media has affected it. The report looks at online communities and SNA or Social Network Analysis. For this post, I’ll focus on online communities and address SNA in a follow up post. … [Read more...]

Mobile Internet: Does Your Content Travel Well?

mobile internet

Power users crave power and when they have power they crave more power. When they don’t get more power, they get angry, turn green, grow gigantic and break buildings. Well, OK, they don’t actually go “Hulk” and tear down cities, but they do get plenty frustrated. The power user has smartphones and discovers, consults, consumes and shares content over the mobile internet... One of the most attractive things about smartphones is their ability to provide connectivity on the road – in fact, that’s the most attractive thing about them in my opinion. However, that use is still heaviest among the early adopters or “power users” and it’s not always smooth surfing and latte all around for them. According to the “2011 Mobile Internet Attitudes Report” by Antenna Software, 20% of US mobile phone users access the web at least daily and usage is most frequent among those under 45. Men were 7% more likely to use the web on the go each day than women. I wouldn’t think that is a lead which is … [Read more...]

Thoughts On Social Capital And Currency

social capital and graphic concept

I like what Jay Deragon and Dan Robles write on their blog The Relationship Economy. OK, the economy, life itself and even our self-perception is relational but one can’t deny that economical, cultural and corporate changes are happening in what is called the ‘social media age’. And, although social media are not the key drivers in these changes, the ‘social’ dimension definitely is part of them. But let’s not get too philosophical. The thoughts Jay and Dan post look a bit like the posts of Brian Solis and Olivier Blanchard now and then. I guess it’s not a coincidence I mentioned Jay, Brian and Olivier, as people I follow on social media topics in an interview. Although all of them are very different, what they sometimes do have in common is the global view on what, well, one could call the ‘social economy’. We don’t always agree obviously, I guess it has to do with socio-economical differences (I’m from Europe after all) and I guess always agreeing with someone is an utopia. But … [Read more...]

The Death of Email Marketing and a Bowl of Petunias

The Death of Email Marketing and a Bowl of Petunias

“Curiously the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias, as it fell, was, 'Oh no, not again.' Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly *why* the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.” – The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I feel like that bowl of petunias every time we go through yet another round of the “email is dead” discussion. Oh no, not again! How many times do we have to dance this jig before it gets old? The sad fact is that it will happen over and over again. We are in transition and email is evolving. If it was dying there might actually be some hope that at some point we wouldn’t be subjected any longer to what seems like a never ending cycle of faulty pontification and the consequential hand wringing which follows. Remember when the Wall Street Journal declared last year that email was dead? People fell all over themselves either trying to refute that post or … [Read more...]

Parents are Social and Cross Channel Consumers

Parents are Social and Cross-Channel Consumers

It’s pretty easy to start thinking that demographics are just about age and gender, but of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. What channels people frequent are affected by where they happen to be in their lives and what they are focused on. Those stages and the inherent priorities are important flags which marketers should be sensitive to. According to a report from Media Audit (as reported by eMarketer) on social media users, where we happen to be in life means different frequency and usage of different channels. It won’t come as any surprise that younger respondents with no kids are the most active on Facebook, Twitter or Myspace. However, the study also found that adults with children were much more likely to be on social sites. More than 60% of those adults with kids living at home used Facebook, Twitter or Myspace. Parents with young children under six were the most avid users with 67.1% responding they had been on one social site at least in the past month, while … [Read more...]

The Nonlinear Buying Journey of The Cross-Channel Social Customer

content sharing

Allow me to repeat some key trends that describe the modern marketing evolutions. There is an abundance of communication/interaction channels, people have increasing opportunities to gather information in the buying journey, we live in a cross-and multi-channel reality which makes it more difficult to determine exactly how people become customers and what steps they are taking and finally: there is a shift from selling to buying (pull). The buying journey and customer journey have changed and continue to change. The purchasing process is complex for companies and advertisers. How do email messages, online advertisements, offline advertising, peer influence, online and offline word-of-mouth, social interactions, recommendations, sales efforts, visits to trade shows and all the other contact moments interact with one another? Traditionally we have always looked at selling, buying and lead nurturing as a funnel. Furthermore, this image of a funnel was a quite linear one. However, it … [Read more...]

Business As Usual: What I Have Learned In The Year Of Social

time concept

I have to confess something : I don’t like New Year. In fact, I don’t like artificial and commercial festivities at all. Especially if they go hand in hand with traditions such as celebrating them every year with the same people you don’t really like. You can’t always get what you want though, right? This year there hasn’t been that much room to party and celebrate. It was all about building, connecting, working and growing. There are a lot of changes going on in my line of business: marketing. And I love them. Especially the renaissance of content, the fact that companies start to remember there is such a thing as a customer who needs attention again and, my favourite one, that some people start to see that it’s not about media or technology but about what you do with them. All obvious, all forgotten. Privately, you do with media and technology what you want. In business, you use them to create value for your customers and your business. Period. The main thing I have learned … [Read more...]

Survey Looks At ROI Of Web Site, Email, Mobile And Social: Comments And Context

digital channels spending forecast episerver

According to a recent survey by EPiServer conducted at ad:Tech, nearly 60 percent of respondents realized the highest return from email marketing and their company website. Those same channels are top of the priority list for spending among 46 percent of respondents. So, do corporations just not get social and mobile or are these channels simply not effective? “The survey results clearly illustrate what many in the marketing world already suspect, that while marketers are experimenting with social media, they are also struggling with the practicality and ROI of these channels and driving the bulk of investment to the more “traditional” digital channels, “ said Bob Egner, Vice President of Global Marketing at EPiServer. “The reality is that as marketers we’re still early in our understanding of how to best use social channels such as Facebook and Twitter and that clearly more work needs to be done to effectively connect social and mobile marketing to lead generation and revenue … [Read more...]

Twitter: The CB Radio Of The New Millennium

CB radio

CB radio (Citizens’ Band) first came about in the late forties in the U.S. and caught fire in the seventies. You needed a radio set which could be mobile (either car or handheld) and you could interact with all kinds of people with some assurance of anonymity in real time. CB use exploded and eventually an overwhelming volume of license requests and sheer disregard for the rules in any case, meant you didn’t even need one of those eventually. CB had its good points and bad. At times getting any worthwhile information from it was impossible because of the sheer idiot noise level. But having it when you had a flat or were lost could be a lifesaver. CB was relatively short range excepting what they called “skip”, which allowed you to reach far off “CBers” by bouncing signals off clouds when conditions at night were right. Initially it had 24 channels and later expanded to 40 – some of these channels were specialized. For example, channel 9 was considered the emergency channel. The … [Read more...]

Social CRM: Customer-Centricity And The Need For Redefinitions

Buyer versus seller

Customer-centric thinking and working is the main driver in all marketing changes, we are going through, including social media marketing, email marketing, etc. Customer-centricity is not some kind of slogan. It's a necessity for businesses and is achieved through direct and indirect processes of listening, understanding, providing relevance and optimizing the value of content, interactions and relationships from the customer viewpoint. Redefining Customers And Products To be and work customer-centric, businesses have to broaden their definition of a customer. It's not only the person that buys your products or services. It's also your employee (who buys security, an environment to realize his potential and respect), your investors, the media and all people that in one way or another are connected to your ecosystem. … [Read more...]

Social Relationships: Why You Want Old Friends And Not Only Digital Natives

Changes in social networking site use by generation feature

A report from Pew Internet: Generations 2010 is full of fascinating facts and insights regarding web usage demographics. In fact, the analysis is going to fill more than one post to be sure. Let’s start off with some figures which caught my eye right away. The percentage of those Americans who do go online has remained relatively constant since 2006 at 79%. While most generation demos have an adoption rate of at least 70%, the report finds that this drops off after 65. Only 58% of adults between 65 and 73 and 30% of adults 74 and older go online. So, younger generations sill have a disproportionate representation on the web right now. Social Network Adoption Rate Of ‘Older’ Generations Grows Faster It won’t come as any surprise that younger generations are still more likely to use social network sites, but here’s an interesting tidbit for you: the fastest growth in this regard has come from internet users 74 and older (aka G.I Generation).  Their usage of social networking … [Read more...]

PR And Social Media Survey: Mixed Findings For 2011

vocus 2011 strategy

Vocus has released their 2011 Planning Survey and there are some very interesting findings and stats highlighted in the report. This year Vocus teamed up with Deirdre Breakenridge to produce their PR planning report. As Breakenridge points out, corporations are realizing that social conversations about their brand will happen with or without them (and as always, I have to stress that these conversations have been going on forever) so, it’s best to be a part of that conversation: “be where your customers are, remember?”. She also observes that small social victories for organizations which dipped their feet into social this year will lead to more focus next year. Vocus surveyed 508 professionals, with about half being PR and the rest a mix of social media specialists, advertisers and search marketing professionals. 23% of respondents said marketing is leading the social media charge with PR contributing and 22% said PR is leading their efforts with a variety of departments … [Read more...]

Avoid Social Media Marketing Wobble Worry: Select

spinning plates

US-based agency R2i (short for R2 integrated), recently surveyed 296 marketing professionals on social media and came up with yet more evidence that companies are still struggling with social media strategies and tactics. Nearly 42 percent responded that time and resources were the biggest hurdle preventing them from entry into the channel. 20.9 percent quoted skepticism of return, which basically boils down to ignorance and being incapable of having a goal and a plan, just like other barriers including "too many platforms to decide" or "not sure where to begin". 38 percent of respondents responded that their big mistake was not allocating enough time and resources. As the report notes, the problem may well be that companies are trying to be in too many places at once and simply have too many plates spinning ("too many platforms to decide", "not sure where to begin", "lack of time and resources", which partially might mean "we want to be everywhere at the same time doing good … [Read more...]

Businesses Fail Incorporating Social Media Due To Lack Of Plan and Key Players Defining It

Digital Brands Expressions Survey Social Media In Businesses

There are many reasons why businesses fail incorporating social media in their value creation chains, customer relationship programs and marketing mix. From corporate culture to overemphasizing message and medium to ignoring the listening priority to short-term tactics. And more. One of the reasons is obviously also a lack of strategy and planning which clearly came forward in a report by Digital Brand Expressions I blogged about before. And there is more. The survey by the US-based company (published last Summer) shows that a lot of companies integrate social media into their strategy unprepared and without a clear plan. This is not the first time that a lack of goals, planning, cross-divisional cooperation, and even strategy regarding social media marketing shows up in a survey. However, there is no reason to exclude social media marketing from a broader framework, and to approach it as an ‘island’ stripped of any form of strategy. The fact that it does happen so often can … [Read more...]