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Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend the #PressForProgress event for International Women’s Day at Manchester’s Castlefield Rooms – the city having rebranded for the day as ‘WoManchester’.
As the World Economic Forum recently stated that ‘gender parity is over 200 years away‘ – the importance of progress and women supporting women is as high as ever.
This event was organised by Page Group and chaired by Claire-Marie Boggiano of Lurig Ltd, a business change and people development specialist, who introduced each guest speaker.
The roster was impressive – and pretty long – so I’ve summed up below what each person covered and my favourite take-away points.
Collette King – Equity Housing Group
Collette talked about fostering ‘cultures of trust and flexibility’ to make jobs more accessible and also about building confidence and conviction in women, to see off workplace issues like ‘imposter syndrome’.
Best quote: ‘People should always feel as though they can bring their whole selves to work.’
Jenny Davies – M24Seven
Understanding that being out of your comfort zone isn’t always a bad thing – especially for women in senior leadership positions – is something Jenny covered.
By becoming more comfortable with the fact that certain people around her know more than she does in specific areas, she has become better able to focus on her responsibilities as an MD.
Best quote: ‘It’s ok to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.’
Stuart Lunn – Manchester Airport Group
The only male speaker, Stuart told an illuminating tale about his wife – who he also works alongside in a similar role.
Despite her being every bit as capable (if not more so) than him – when they lived in Dubai for a period, he got a job that paid 35 percent more than her’s did for similar responsibilities.
Best quote: ‘Those of you with children – would you pay your sons 35 percent more pocket money than your daughters?’
Lara Hornby – BAE Systems
Lara asserted that confidence is a large part of success in business – and often women need support in accessing this.
She highlighted how the Emotion-Truth-Choice (ETC) process has helped her overcome challenges in her professional life.
Best quote: ‘Women are unique in their possession of the crack-on gene.’
Sheri Hughes – PageGroup
A senior member of PageGroup (our hosts), Sheri detailed how their organisational culture has enabled her to progress from grass roots level to director status.
Best quote: ‘The right culture will allow women to progress and succeed.’
What an inspiring afternoon – thanks to everyone who spoke so honestly and eloquently and to the other women (and men) who attended and listened.
But as valuable as I – and others – found this event, the focus on the importance of gender equality shouldn’t only happen on International Women’s Day.
The fact that such events have to exist show how far there is still to go, even in a developed country, let alone around the world.
In our business at the very least, I think the way we support and promote gender parity is crucial in adding our voice to the conversation – 200 years is just not good enough.
Many organisations don’t fully understand the concepts of mission and vision.
When asked to explain the company’s mission and vision, answers such as, “We want to grow turnover by 10% each year and to be the biggest and most successful in our sector,” are often stated.
Compare this with those of IKEA, Amazon, BT, McDonald’s and Intel:
“IKEA’s vision is to create a better everyday life for many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”
“Amazon’s vision is to be the earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
“BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world.”
“McDonald’s vision is to be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.”
“Intel’s mission is to delight our customers, employees, and shareholders by relentlessly delivering the platform and technology advancements that become essential to the way we work and live.”
The first example is simply statement of what the organisation wants for itself with no reference to their ethos or how they will go about achieving their objectives. Those of IKEA, Amazon, BT, McDonald’s and Intel say what each company aims to offer its customers in order to achieve its vision.
The mission is the purpose behind an organisation’s existence. It should set out how the organisation’s products or services meet the needs of the marketplace in an honest and meaningful way. Profitability, growth and success are the by-products of the pursuit of the mission.
Vision is the position the organisation wants to attain. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be the biggest and most successful as long as it is accompanied by a clear mission – ideally, one which inspires its customers, employees and shareholders.
Highly successful businesses are usually identifiable by their points of difference. Establishing clear differentiators is more important than ever in today’s marketplace where barriers to entry in many industries are now almost non-existent. It is also important that everyone in your organisation understands and is inspired by its unique identity and what it does better than others.
What have Richard Branson, Rupert Murdoch, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Alan Sugar and the Queen all got in common. And what have they got in common with both your B2B customers and your B2C customers? They’re all human beings of course.
Yet our marketing communications do not always reflect this very important fact. We’re all guilty of using too much business jargon in our daily working lives – and those of us involved in marketing probably more than most. We’re constantly bombarded by an avalanche of information and deluged by data. In 2010, Google said that there is more content created every two days than in all of human history. More recently, IBM said that 90% of all today’s content has been created in the last two years. We’re swamped with emails, tweets, texts, alerts, photos, Facebook posts and bio-feedback data.
Sadly, the increase in information has gone hand-in-hand with a steady decline in customer trust and a reducing attention span.
So, it’s time to change your marketing to reflect today’s reality. Time to make it more human, more relevant and more meaningful.
Senior Vice President of Marketing at Cisco, Karen Walker says that a brand is really an emotional connection you have with a product or service and that marketers should be developing personalised relationships with their customers to boost their brands and sales. “It’s no longer about B2B or B2C – it’s about being human-to-human,” she said, “The first thing marketers must do to create that emotional bond with their customers is to realise that individuals, not companies, ultimately make purchase decisions.”
How do we start on this process of re-humanisation? Keeping things simple is a good start. We don’t conduct our face-to-face conversations in complex, jargon-laden language so why not let our natural voice be reflected in our marketing? In my experience, every organisation has its own personality, ethos or unique ideology. Let this come through in your marketing – make emotional connections through storytelling – always an effective way of communicating. Stories can be short, as on Twitter or a blog, or they can be visual, as on Instagram. And be honest, let your customers see that you’re human.
Get to know your customers. Listen to them and try to understand their aims and motivations — people do business with people they like and trust. And do things differently, by turning expectations on their head, you will stand out in an overcrowded marketplace. Forging deeper connections with your customers will improve marketing performance.
As the late and celebrated US poet and author, Maya Angelou, said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.”
There’s nothing mysterious about multi-channel marketing. It’s simply about reaching the right people with the right offer through the right channel at the right time. This means contacting customers using a combination of indirect and direct communication channels such as websites, direct mail, email, mobile devices, social media search engine optimisation (SEO) and SMS. And making sure that they can respond – preferably by buying your product or service.
There’s nothing new about multi-channel marketing either. Marketing campaigns have long used a combination of media to reach the widest possible audience. But what has changed is the way that our customers choose to interact with us. Today there are more ways to reach customers than we could have ever before imagined. And today’s customers have much more choice and much more control over the buying process than ever before.
It goes without saying that your marketing needs to be directed to where your customers are and, as the number of channels rises the need to adopt a multi-channel strategy becomes more and more important. It has also been shown that multi-channel customers spend three to four times more than single-channel customers.
So what elements should your multi-channel marketing campaign contain?
A targeted message. Thanks to the plethora of channels and choices facing customers, delivering the right message to the right audience isn’t enough. Not only must your customers receive your message, but they also must be attentive, engaged and willing to act – regardless of the channel.
Highly choreographed campaigns. Expecting customers to change channel or device preferences is unrealistic. As a result, marketers must constantly develop and coordinate highly orchestrated touch points and micro-campaigns that span multiple channels fluidly, in a way that the customer finds meaningful and trustworthy.
Marketing response attribution. It is increasingly difficult to know which channels, campaigns or sequence of touch points contributed to qualified conversions and sales. Knowing what triggered each response would enable marketers to assess whether or not their marketing efforts were getting the best results.
Three steps to getting it right
So what does it take to do multichannel marketing right?
Here are three keys to success:
- Create and maintain a single view of the customer across all channels.
- Establish a multichannel marketing platform.
- Create consistent customer experiences across all channels.
Having a single view of the customer is critical. That’s because today’s customers often interact with your brand in a variety of ways that involve more than one touch point. It is vital that you understand how your customers behave across all channels, at each and every touch point, and that you also understand each customer’s value to you.
To get that single customer view, it may help to establish a centralised marketing data area that consolidates all customer data in one place regardless of source. When creating and maintaining a single view of the customer, keep these points in mind:
- Having a lot of customer data is not the same as having a single view of the customer. It’s not just the data itself that is important; it’s what you do with it. Your customer view must evolve. Customers change. Businesses change. Your customer view must change along with them. That means bringing in new data, refreshing old data, building new models, updating old ones, etc. Establish a multichannel marketing platform
- Campaign management, including capabilities for segmentation, workflow creation and campaign execution. Advanced analytics, including predictive analytics and campaign optimisation. Advanced execution, including capabilities for content management, event triggering, real-time decision making and next-best-offer management for both inbound and outbound marketing programs. Response attribution, including the ability to perform marketing mix optimisation, scenario planning and marketing attribution analysis.
- Digital marketing, including capabilities that expand marketing beyond traditional channels to newer channels, including the Web, email, mobile, video, etc.
By establishing a multichannel marketing platform, you will be able to integrate traditional and emerging channels. You will also greatly simplify the creation and execution of cross-channel campaigns by enabling marketers to create, in essence, a single campaign that can be replicated across various channels. And all this puts the holy grail of marketing within your grasp – reaching the right person with the right offer through the right channel at the right time, while reducing costs and improving the effectiveness and performance of your marketing efforts.
Create consistent customer experiences across all channels. Customer experience is one of the most powerful competitive differentiators. And while the quality of the customer experience is important, consistency is equally important. That’s because your customers experience your brand as a whole, whether their interactions with you are online, in a store, over the phone, or some combination of these. What value is there in a positive online experience if a customer’s in-store experience is negative? If you treat each channel as a distinct entity, you run the risk of turning customers against you if you fail to deliver consistency.
Having a clearly defined buyer persona (or multiple ones) that entails specifics about their ideal buyer is a necessity. This information helps marketers decide on which channels they should focus their efforts.
Marketers also need to be useful and helpful, sharing relevant, customer-first content instead of pushing me-first marketing messages. This useful philosophy — in other words, the inbound approach — must be apparent in every tactic deployed.
All channels marketers decide to use must also work together. It’s not enough to just set up and use Twitter, Facebook, email, a website, a blog, et al, if they don’t work in harmony to attract and convert business. The same customer moves across all of these places quickly, so your strategy and your analytics need to adapt similarly.
Given customers use multiple platforms (from social, to email, to blogs) and devices (from desktops, to tablets, to smartphones) to get their content, marketers implementing multi-channel efforts will need a responsive website so that their audience will have easy, uniform access to all marketers have to offer them.
With multiple channels in play, marketers will need to carefully measure the results of their multi-channel approach. Analytics will inform them as to which channels were effective, which channels influenced other channels, and which channels they can eliminate from their efforts.
In the end, your goal in this customer-first world is to step beyond just being present on multiple channels and start connecting them all together into one, thriving, multi-channel approach to inbound marketing.
We have designed and developed a new responsive web presence for Arthouse, one of the country’s leading suppliers of interior decor solutions.
A Shade Wilder
A Shade Wilder is a daring, British home styling brand showcasing an exclusive interiors range, styled in the UK – from designer wallpaper, murals and wall art to sculpture, glass, mirrors and cushions.
Be daring be different, be A Shade Wilder
We collaborated with A Shade Wilder to develop a comprehensive visual and digital identity for their new aspirational but affordable brand, providing brand messaging and a digital platform for their exciting new products. Our team immersed themselves in the world of A Shade Wilder, conducting workshops with the brand stakeholders to work through our brand process.
We positioned A Shade Wilder as “Be daring be different, be A Shade Wilder”. With this brand mantra in mind we set out to create a responsive website that allowed the content to shine. The brand identity wanted to be timeless, concise and clear, yet sophisticated and iconic.
We’ve recently completed a new brand identity system and digital solution for Claremont, one of the UK’s leading office design and fit out organisations.
We shape spaces.
We first helped the organisation refine its brand strategy with a statement to reflect not only the shaping of the physical environment, but also the impact this has on the shape of an organisation and the people within it.
The new identity visualises this promise with a stylised ‘C’. Made of simple geometry, the mark can project a wide range of expressions, from serious to lively and can appear in linear form or contain one of a series of brand colour patterns. Flexibility and individuality are at the heart of the new brand identity.
“Wilson Cooke really stood out for us, it was their approach and B2B experience in both the brand and digital areas that sealed the appointment. Our own business is going from strength to strength and the work we are doing with Wilson Cooke is to renew impact and reflect growth,” said Ann Clarke, Claremont’s joint managing director.
I’m sure ASDA will have done their homework but my mum just doesn’t get it.
But when I talk to a Gen Y or even the next generation like my 11 year old nephew this has become their navigation tool, a self selecting navigation tool.
I’m talking about Hashtags and ASDA’s approach to favouring them over a domain name. Does this mean that Hashtags will take over the internet and replace domain names and browsers?
Check out your own Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook feed; flip through a magazine or watch a commercial on television. You’ll likely find them filled with hashtags about what we like, what we want, what we think, or even just where we are.
Many think the domain name space is dead in favour of search, user experience, apps, and social networks, mostly driven by Hashtags.
So, will Hashtags take over the Internet?
Following on from services like Periscope and Meerkat it was inevitable that live video streaming would come to Facebook. Just launched to about 5% of the US ( iOS only for now) the new feature has already been put to use by A list celebs like Vin Diesel and Martha Stewart. Facebook have announced on their blog today that us less famous users will have access soon.
The new service will allow you to stream live video from your phone and out to friends and followers so they can watch live and make real-time comments.
I have already seen services like Periscope used successfully by fitness industry professionals and brands. They put it to use by broadcasting daily health and fitness tips or a Q+A session where the audience was able to interact by using the real time comments feature.
I think the potential is great for building brands and uses could include:
- Interactive customer support
- Product demonstrations/launches
- Remote focus groups
- Share customer feedback
- Sharing breaking news
- Sharing promotions and deals
- Run Q&A sessions
- Improve transparency
Yes, live streaming from mobile will eat up data plans and drain batteries but it might not be too long off that we wake up to a world where there’s always a friend or organisation you follow broadcasting live somewhere.