Marketing Strategy of loyalty Vs Digital

During last semester’s marketing strategy paper I read several articles regarding loyalty programs and strategies behind them. The parallels between loyalty marketing and social media marketing were profound.
Without getting heavily bogged down in to the history and differing execution styles, essentially loyalty programs are a form of vertical communication . The business uses this forum to communicate its value / brand proposition. The customer who is the recipient of this communicate, displays a behavioral decision making process to participate in program.
The correlation between the communication and brand positioning becomes a common thread between loyalty marketing and social media marketing, but it does not end there.
Surprisingly C.K. Pralhalad suggest the underlying motivation factor for customers who participate in loyalty programs is based on a desire to have a more intimate relationship. Now before you shake your head disapprovingly, think about the concept of shrinking the world down to scale. Nobody wants to deal with a nameless faceless organization. In fact the concept of customer engagement predates social media when dealing with loyalty programs.
Many of the current loyalty plans have however become nonsensical, with customers often engaging in polygamous loyalty relationships.

Social media marketing does offer one significant difference from its predecessor, loyalty marketing, and that is the two way communication forum. This means there is a two way stream of interaction and information flow, so not only is the customer forth coming with their needs, but also develop an emotional bond with the brand and its value proposition.

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About the Author:Reza Derhamy is currently studying towards the Graduate Diploma of Sales Management at Unitec. While enjoying the course work involved in the undergraduate study he is also enjoying the application of knowledge to the real world situations as a marketing consultant at Mt.Albert Accountants.

It’s what’s on the inside that counts!!?

SEO, Keyword, Inbound, Copywriter….etc. There is a lot of fancy jargon out there with long-winded explanations, but as a business wanting to get involved in SM (social media) what do you really need to know. From my limited experience in the past year I have been amazed at how some people struggle with content creation. Although I covered this topic in one of my first blog I felt a do over was well due, so here we go:

5 must does to help you create great content for your social media:

1-      Have a target audience: Make sure you know who you want to talk to.  It is essential that you are engaging your potential & current clients. Your target audience  may change through time, or you may shift your focus, but unless you are aware of who you want to get a response from all you are doing is shouting into the wind. Although getting likes and shares is a good KPI for engagement it is pointless unless it is eventually contributing to your bottom line.

2-      Have something to say: SM is no different from any other endeavor in life. You need a plan, a strategy a vision and a mission statement. This will help you establish your values, your goals and some KPI’s to keep you on track. In his article Robert Caruso covers some basic mistakes made in this area.

3-      It’s about getting noticed, be relevant( SEO): This is where having some basic sales skills is essential. Know what you want from your audience( market); ask for it and close the deal. This may seem basic but so many people just  get caught up in complicated algorithms and lose themselves in hyperboles .As my first sales manager used to say” keep it simple and ABC(always be closing)”. Just make sure you have a goal and a way to measure that achievement.

4-      A picture is worth a thousand words:  Tweets with a picture get a 200% higher engagement. My experience over the last year of involvement in SM kicked up a surprise or two. Of all the wise and insightful posts I poured my guts into the post that went off the chart was a selfie I did at my desk. You will never know what it is that gets people going, and that leads us to step 5.

5-      Develop a sense of humor and have fun. Don’t be all about the sale nobody likes a pushy salesman. Loosen your collar have an ice cream and try to see the silly side of life from time to time in your content strategy. This will give you SM content personality and at the end of day that is what will sell you and your product.

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About the Author:Reza Derhamy is practical and hands-on with a solid understanding of business and stakeholder management. Reza has Strong sales and marketing experience in New Zealand working as a sole trader as well as for established companies. Currently studying towards the Graduate Diploma of Sales Management he aspires to work more strategically in the sales leadership and management area.

Small Brands & Social Media

Branding and Brand related activity have traditionally been tools available only to large business and have been out of reach of the smaller businesses. In the past when such issues were applied to small business, often the first two issues have been the reality of budgetary constraints and the second the lack of understanding of how brand related activity can help the bottom line.

The phenomenon of social media has created a unique and sometimes complicated proposition for small business. This is to say that small business can create, develop and maintain brand equity in a much more flexible manner, while avoiding budget blowouts.

Many small business owners I talk to still struggle to grasp how branding can help them with the bottom line, and harder still is how social media involvement is an integral part of the whole process. The best I have been able to muster is as follows: Brand loyalty leads to brand evangelism which is more commonly known as word of mouth and in social media terms that is called a like.

Brand reflects your values, what you stand for. In the same way that one visit to the gym doesn’t qualify you as a body builder, but rather it’s the vocation of daily repetition that leads to it. Brand building is not something you setup and walk away; it’s what you do every day for every customer. Robert Alpha Avant puts it this way,“think of your brand image as a sales person who is never off the job and promotes your company with the most consistent and progressive message that can possibly be delivered.”  In layman’s terms your brand creates your point of difference from the guy standing next to you, and social media helps you develop a closer relationship with your customers. As most small businesses are usually service orientated this means a big part of what they sell is intangible. This makes relationship selling an excellent marketing strategy for these businesses, the hight of which is social Media.

In conclusion the question is not how can social media help my small business. The question is who do I talk to help develop my brand through social media and marketing strategies??!!

other articles that have influenced this blog:

1-Brand value and facebook likes.

2-Brand advocates drive word of mouth.

3-the secret of success: self-branding

4-Building Your Brand with A Social Media Strategy.

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About the Author:Reza Derhamy is practical and hands-on with a solid understanding of business and stakeholder management. Reza has Strong sales and marketing experience in New Zealand working as a sole trader as well as for established companies. Currently studying towards the Graduate Diploma of Sales Management he aspires to work more strategically in the sales leadership and management area.

Are you#Tweeting mad!!!

Following from my previous blog I have been exploring the ups and downs of twitter as a new comer to the platform.

Twitter has a relatively low following in New Zealand. This means many New Zealand business’s don’t bother interacting  with Twitter in their marketing activity.Robin Bloor has taken an insightful look at some of the faults that can make Twitter a no go area for most social media grazers.The most significant of these for the uninitiated must be the overwhelming excess of information stream created as the number of people followed increases. Others range from the strange and bewildering world of #Twitterkit, the adoption of tools such as Unfollowers, List management, etc.

So at this point you may well ask, why carry on? With some perseverance Twitter can prove quite rewarding. Even with the basic free Twitter apps Twitter can suddenly turn into an interesting prospect. The open expanse communication style of Twitter means you are able and will find people of interest you would never normally meet through other social media platforms such as Facebook. The recent ubiquity of smart phone use is where Twitter can jump ahead of the competition with significantly less data use. One can follow friends and family without downloading unnecessary graphics and wasting precious data. This can create a significant emotion of satisfaction when keeping up to date of the daily gossip/news.

Steve Cassady suggest that ones Twitter identity is a major component of their web identity, and thus must not be ignored. However without  proper understanding of how the tools and other platforms all fit in with Twitter as part of a complete digital marketing package solution it will remain an enigma to most.

You can follow me on Twitter @rezaderhamy or on Facebook for more blogs, quotes and interesting anecdotes.

Why Should I Give a Tweet!

As an aspiring sales and marketing undergraduate I am fascinated by the new world of digital marketing. My interest lies primarily in developing an understanding of different aspects of digital/ social marketing and how they can be best harnessed for small to medium business. In this blog the social platform of twitter is in the crosshairs of my investigation.

Twitter has been getting a lot of air time recently and although less popular then Face Book in New Zealand, worldwide it is a massive phenomenon.

According to Chris Silver Smith the minimal benefit of twitter for business is the back linking to main website and its impact on site ranking in organic searches. However as social platforms like Twitter grow (and they will) they can be harnessed in so many more ways. Unlike a webpage that is static and unchanging, social sites such as twitter are fast and up to date, constantly changing.

      Hedi Cohem describes three significant ways Twitter can be used as a business tool:

  1.        Advertising: In its most basic form advertising is getting your message in front of the eyeballs. Of course it goes without saying this requires audience cultivation. If nobody finds your tweets interesting or you have no followers, your message will only be heard by random passersby.
  2.       Distribution network: Once a desirable audience has been established, Twitter offers the perfect vehicle for desalination/ distribution of information. A good message can get repeated re-tweets carrying the message way past the initial followers.
  3.     Customer Communication: Twitter gives a new and direct communication channel for customers to communicate, thus helping maintain the value proposition throughout the sale process (customer service and lead cultivation).

    As a resident of west Auckland who has recently joined Twitter I was pleasantly surprised by a new follower using the name Mr Whippy West (a mobile ice cream vender popular with most Kiwi’s). As is standard practice I followed him back and found information on his weekend locations and a tempting description of his chocolate dipped ice cream.

Can E-mail marketing be an effective tactical tool in SMM?

After writing my last blog (Developing Strategies for Social Media Marketing )I was surprised at the reaction to some of the concepts of e-mail as a marketing tool. Being guilty of forever deleting e-mails from my inbox, I decided to dedicate my last TLBP to this topic.

E-mail marketing can be considered the oldest of social media marketing tools, but is it past it’s used by date? The perception may well be that. As a consultant you may raise eyebrows for suggesting an e-mail campaign to a prospective client who wants fancy media solutions. The crux of the matter however is the fact that all the fancy web design and pictures and ‘likes’ mean nothing  unless they are converted into leads. It also goes without saying that e-mail still remains the primary source of 1 to 1 communication, and has been the subject of much abuse by incompetent marketing practices. In his article 11 big myths about social media marketing Jay Baer explains how at a nuts and bolts level email and social media are entwined and at a tactical level they are complementary of each other.

In my quest to find the best remedy for creating a successful e-mail campaign I found the following articles to be the most useful:

Although there are some aspects of these articles that may be contradictory in tone, there is a comment theme which can be summarized in to the following 5 points:

  1. Keep it simple: by striping back all the gaff it gives the recipient a clear and concise message. By all means add links and buttons to other sites that the recipient may be interested in, but keep to the idiom of one e-mail one message.
  2. Relevance and personalization: make sure the content of the e-mail is relevant; even consider such things as weather and season. I am constantly  receiving e-mails from a local pet supplier, where I bought bird seed sometime ago, telling me about specials on dog food.
  3. Maintain a simple layout: This is in contrast to those who suggest having jazzy pictorial emails, with bells and whistles. By having one coulomb and reducing all other material to links it makes it easier for users to read emails from mobile devices.
  4. It is sometimes painful to remind people to include a call to action. The AIDA concept applies at every level of marketing and sales.
  5. Understand that e-mail and social media work hand in hand so use them as complementary strategic tools.

I hope this blog has given you a reason to think more deeply about e-mail marketing and how it can be harnessed to create viable leads. Although this is my last TLBP for BSNS7373 (digital Marketing paper) I will try to maintain some presence in the blogging scene, and would like to thank all the readers for your insights and comments. For more information please follow me on Face Book: http://www.facebook.com/rezaderhamy01.

Developing Strategies for social Media Marketing

The advent of digital marketing has created a whole new world of opportunity for products and services to be presented to buyers. Marketers can now go beyond invading the buyer’s private time and space at home, as they target mobile app users. In his article, Christian Karasiewicz suggests that 78% of Face book users in the US are now using the mobile app, and this number is growing. This means marketers need to align their digital marketing strategies with this new marketplace to maximize audience participation leading to engagement. Google is pushing these boundaries further by joining the dots and allowing consumers to become unwitting product sponsors. Their information and opinions to be used and manipulated to the marketer’s desire, and before you panic just remember Face book has been doing this for quite a while now(Google will soon put your face, name, and content in its ads ).

If social media such as Face book and Google+ are the new shop floor where the customers mingle, chat and look at product, where does the personal connection kick in. Email is a much more personal form of communication with a one on one format. It is easier to control and maintain the desired relationship level, and convey the call to action through the email medium. Email  by far  is the easiest to monitor method of marketing communication, has the highest hit rate , and gives the best ROI . And yet somehow it is still underestimated by many. However for email campaigns to gain any traction they require two vital ingredients, permission and value. Without permission there is no email, it just turns into spam, and without value there can be no call to action.

By developing a three-pronged strategy involving social media, data base cultivation, and regular email campaigns, potential for marketing success will be greatly increased.  Just remember ‘It’s better to have the market chase you rather than you chase the market!’

This article was also influenced by the following:

Emails Not Getting Into Your Lists’ Inboxes? Try Focusing on Engagement

Stop Clowning around with your Social Media!!!

The title of two recent articles I read seems to suggest that the end is at hand for Social Media experts. In the articles “Social Media experts are worthless” and “The social Media Manager is dead”, the authors suggest a rethink in accepting the credentials of so-called experts, and suggest the role of social media has spread beyond the grasp of a singular position in the company. So although 99.5% of social media experts may be considered clowns, it is the 0.5% who are of interest.

Essentially the question is ‘does business need social media?’ and if so who should they turn to?Malcom Gladwell suggested that 61% of marketers in the USA are now using social media to generate new business. We can assume that social media is here to stay. The question then becomes a matter of who to turn to for this if not the experts.
How do we identify this elusive expert, the Tiger Woods, of social media? In his article Malcom says the difference between good and great, is the significantly longer time spent practicing. Although there is no absolute fixed rule on how long this practice needs to be, the old adage rings true that practice makes perfect.

In his article Teddy Hunt outlines a 5 step method to achieve a perfect social media strategy. These consist of the following:
1. Have a clear goal (make sure the objects are measurable.)
2. Chose your target audience.
3. Target the appropriate social media platform.
4. Have a unique selling proposition (USP).
5. Have an editorial calendar. Don’t just throw things in willy-nilly. Have a plan for your content and presentation.

In conclusion, yes it is almost impossible to call oneself an expert of social media, however the right guidelines and practice, combined with marketing knowledge, can be useful tools in the arsenal of a young marketing graduate for implementing a Social Media Marketing Campaign.

What’s hot and what’s not? Is SM working for you?!

These days we hear all sorts of proclamations regarding social media and its impact on marketing. Every man & his dog is a guru dishing out remedies to cure your sales and marketing blues. The most common discussion seems to surround three concepts:
1. Which platform gives you the ability to communicate with your customer?
2. How to increase your brand placing amongst all the traffic on the internet?
3. How to accurately measure the impact of the online activity?

The plethora of social media sites is mind numbing and ever increasing. The method of communication is also varied from one site to the next. These include Twitter with its short texts of public announcement service all the way to the other extreme of Instegram and Pinit with their photo themed style of communication. So no sooner have you mastered one web site and how to best use it then you find out it’s out of favor and the audience has a new favorite. This is best articulated in an article I recently read written by a 13 year old girl. A prudent suggestion would be to at least maintain a presence in all the social media platforms, however focus ones efforts based on customer presence.

This brings us to the next question which relates to choosing a strategy to boost the Google ranking. In her article Jo Mac Dermott touches on two undeniable truisms. Firstly in today’s media saturated market place “it’s just as important to create & promote your personal brand as it is your product or service”. Jo suggests three strategies to achieve this.
• Firstly to create interesting video content. The significant advantage here is SEO (search engine optimization), as video content can often rank highly in searches.
• Second is blogging. Although blogging may be considered a cost effective form of communication, one must consider time restraints of both author and reader.
• Thirdly Jo Mac Dermott suggest one significant up and comer platform as a must have. This is said to be the Google+ site. This platform has some performance features which can easily be picked up by business to help with SEO.

Finally the question is, how do we measure impact? In his article Did you make an impact, #Mike Spear refers to 5 charities and how their impact through SMM can be observed. The most important common denominator is the ability to “connect individual’s actions with tangible outcomes” thus creating an emotional involvement. A feeling of belonging to a cause or community of like minded individuals is a significant motivator from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and can be an influence on buyer behavior. Creating this sense of community and transparency of activity is what empowers customers “to become informed evangelists.” So says Mike Spear.

In conclusion:
• Make sure you’re out there and don’t limit yourself.( Get a Google+ account now)
• Keep plenty of useful information and links to other sites. Don’t neglect personal branding.
• Monitor and encourage input from your contacts.

Fourth article that influenced this blog is, Have Social Networks Killed the Web?