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Standing Out from the Crowd with Digital Marketing


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Presentation given at the Digital Workplace Conference in Auckland, New Zealand on May 2nd, 2018 outlining the "secret sauce" in a successful marketing strategy, whether that of an organizational or an individual, and focusing on building a brand.

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Standing Out from the Crowd with Digital Marketing

  1. 1. Standing Out from the Crowd with Digital Marketing Christian Buckley CollabTalk LLC
  2. 2. Christian Buckley Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC Microsoft Regional Director & MVP @buckleyplanet
  3. 3. Whether building your company brand, launching a new product or service, or extending your personal brand as an expert and thought-leader, modern digital marketing can be complex and confusing. People need an actionable game plan for their content and social strategies. “ “
  4. 4. Marketing has become increasingly complex, and models in use 10 years are no longer effective. In the digital age, effective marketing must be social, authentic, and consistent, engage with key influencers, build customer good-will, and help develop brand advocacy.
  5. 5. Buying ad space in magazines is out. Paying for banner ads on leading websites, or even paid search results, are showing decreasing returns. Email marketing suffers from "trust issues" with end users. Whether its due to consumer fatigue (we've worn people down), or audience maturity (they've gotten smarter), traditional marketing just doesn't work the way it used to. Which is not to say that there is not value in these old marketing methods -- just that you need to reset your expectations about what you can achieve, and develop some new strategies to generate leads and build trust with your prospective customers.
  6. 6. When author and marketing guru Seth Godin published his book ‘Permission Marketing‘ back in 2001, the traditional methods of marketing were being fundamentally transformed by the maturity of the internet and advanced email marketing techniques.
  7. 7. “Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.” — Seth Godin
  8. 8. “Because the purpose of business is to create and keep a customer, the business enterprise has two—and only two—basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” Peter Drucker
  9. 9. The number one failure of organizations with marketing has nothing to do with technology.
  10. 10. Mistake #1: Focusing too much on brand
  11. 11. A common mistake is thinking that your corporate branding – your logo, tagline, and chosen color palette – constitutes your brand. More than any design elements, it is you, your company culture, and the reputation of your front-line employees that define your brand and level of influence. Your Logo
  12. 12. 28905/brand-called-you
  13. 13. “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. It’s that simple — and that hard. And that inescapable.” Tom Peters
  14. 14. Mistake #2: Relying too much on metrics
  15. 15. “We have a deep-seated desire to quantify the world around us so that we can understand it and control it. But the world isn’t behaving. We must consider the possibility that if we can’t measure something, it might be the very most important aspect of the problem.” It is compellingly seductive to try to predict the future as though it were a quantifiable extrapolation of the past. Doing otherwise lays us open to critique and ridicule. People are far more likely to subscribe to our view of the future (next quarter’s sales) if we can quantify what we are saying. Hence the need for more data and information. But this can be an addictive toxin: More information merely creates the demand for more information.” “The notion that ‘if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t count’ is flatly false. You can manage through fear and intimidation, role modeling, love, random eccentricities, or mantras. None of those require measurement. We’re so in love with quantitative ideology that we’ve quite forgotten what it was supposed to measure in the first place.”
  16. 16. “Many executives have a love affair with spreadsheets. I am not one of them. In fact, I encourage my team to approach spreadsheets with a healthy dose of skepticism, and I caution everyone else to do the same. Spreadsheets are no doubt very useful tools, but too many executives view them as the be-all and end-all for their planning. They manage from the spreadsheet, viewing it as an oracle, rather than as the map that it actually is. Ron Shaich, Panera Bread
  17. 17. Mistake #3: Standing still when you should be moving
  18. 18. ▪ Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to gather validated learning about the product and its continued development. ▪ Modern organizations are (or try to be) agile, opting for iterative development and “scrums”, with increasing emphasis put on change management and governance best practices
  19. 19. “Management’s job is to optimize the whole system.” W. Edwards Deming
  20. 20. One of the biggest mistakes in any product or software development effort is spending too much time on the details of the first iteration, often referred to as analysis paralysis. The key to rapid prototype development is to not try to do too much at the beginning of your project – instead, follow an iterative model and move forward. There is always time later in the process to add detail to your requirements.
  21. 21. Mistake #4: Failing to have a plan
  22. 22. ▪ Message ▪ Delivery ▪ Volume = Strategy = Influence = Amplification
  23. 23. What is your target market? ▪ What is your Total Applicable (or Available) Market? ▪ What is your Served Available Market? ▪ What is your geographic reach? ▪ What are your primary channels of distribution within that reach? ▪ Who are your key partners for sales and marketing within those channels? ▪ What will it cost for you to capture 10 to 20 percent of that market?
  24. 24. Building Social Capital
  25. 25. Patterns of influence can shift and change due to organizational structures, available tools, and roles.
  26. 26. ▪ Most companies do not understand who the influencers are within their customer communities, and how to tailor their messages to those influencers. ▪ Even more elusive than a strategy for external influencers is a plan for internal influencers, and yet these people are often the eyes and the hands for an organization. ▪ Just because something is difficult to measure does not mean that it does not have value. ▪ Whether you have someone dedicated to building out your corporate brand, like an evangelist, or you take the time to ensure each customer interaction provides the right branding message, the secret is to at least try to measure the outcomes of influence.
  27. 27. Influence can gain early attention, but long-term success can also be gained through consistency of message and activity
  28. 28. Build a Champion Program (Office 365 Team)
  29. 29. Build Tip #1: Be authentic
  30. 30. Be authentic
  31. 31. Build Tip #2: Develop trust
  32. 32. Consider & Buy Companies overemphasize this phase, allocating more resources to awareness through traditional advertising and encouraging purchase with “retail” promotions Evaluate & Advocate This phase has increasingly become relevant. Marketing investments that help consumers navigate the evaluation process and then spread positive word of mouth are as important as building awareness and driving purchase Trust If a consumer’s bond with a brand is strong enough, they may repurchase without cycling through the earlier decision-journey stages, and influence others in this same decision The Consumer Decision-Journey
  33. 33. Build Tip #3: Be an evangelist
  34. 34. Build Tip #4: Be a broker between networks
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  38. 38. A key insight from network science is the power of brokering, the act of moving information from one group to another. Burt explains, “What a broker does is make a sticky information market more fluid. Great ideas will never move if we wait for them to be spoken in the same language.” Network brokers (i.e. – connectors) have three advantages: • Breadth. They pull their information from diverse clusters. • Timing. While they may not be the first to hear information, they are first to introduce information to another cluster. • Translation. They develop skills in translating one group’s knowledge into another’s insight. Combined these three advantages give an individual an overall vision advantage to see, create, and take advantage of opportunities. In an article by Forbes contributor Michael Simmons (Why Being the Most Connected is a Vanity Metric), he shares some further insights from Ron Burt:
  39. 39. Build Tip #5: Constantly refresh your network
  40. 40. Finding Value by Providing Value
  41. 41. A Balanced Approach ▪ Personal Value ▪ Business Value ▪ Community Value
  42. 42. Building a Social Capital “Engine” 1. Love what you do 2. Give your time 3. Be honest about what you know and don’t know 4. Create great content 5. Become an advocate for your local community 6. Provide product and platform feedback 7. Keep competition in check 8. Get creative 9. Recognize others 10. Constantly expand your knowledge
  43. 43. Next Steps
  44. 44. Building a brand is hard. You need to be authentic. You need to be consistent. You need to be have a message and be passionate about what you’re doing. And you need to be there, week after week, month after month, year after year. That’s how you build the trust. Showing up is 95% of it.
  45. 45. Creating a Content Marketing strategy Content marketing has replaced traditional marketing. Companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms. (Social Media B2B) What is content marketing, exactly? Providing relevant, timely, and authentic content to consumers, allowing you to build trust and spread good will. Traditional marketing provides limited results, but content marketing can be your key to establishing yourself or your company as “the” subject matter experts in your space, and help you to get your key messaging out to your target customers. In fact, 61% of consumer say they feel better about a company that provides custom content, and are more likely to buy from that company (Custom Content Council).
  46. 46. Your content marketing strategy should be ▪ Consistent ▪ Verbose ▪ Strategic
  47. 47. Strategy Tip #1: Identify your core messaging
  48. 48. You must be clear on what you want to achieve: ▪ Improved branding ▪ Thought-leadership ▪ Partnerships and alliances ▪ Product or service feedback ▪ Competitive intelligence ▪ Corporate strategy ▪ Community development ▪ Internal cultural improvements
  49. 49. Take Note: ▪ Creating marketing copy is not the same as developing authentic, valued content. ▪ In the former, you're writing text to fit your marketing message. In the latter, you're developing content with the goal of helping your prospective customers -- without strong (read: obvious) marketing messaging. ▪ It has more to do with providing education, and demonstrating your knowledge and expertise. As your reputation (and social influence) grows, you can then leverage your leadership position to open doors, engage with the community, and talk about your products and services.
  50. 50. Strategy Tip #2: Identify your target personas
  51. 51. Identify your target customer personas Every company has a target customer or customer. Give them names. Define job titles, their unique problem statement, and understand why this ideal customer is in need of your solution. If you understand who you are trying to sell to, you'll have a better idea of the types of content this person needs to 1) understand the problem space (or to help them recognize that there is even a problem), 2) understand what is needed to solve the problem, and 3) understand how your company can solve the problem.
  52. 52. Strategy Tip #3: Map your message to each persona
  53. 53. Map your message to each persona This can be a difficult step, but once you get the ball rolling, it'll get easier. Start by compiling a list of every possible topic you would like your customer to understand: key product use cases, the visible gaps in the out-of-the-box platform, industry best practices. As you think about the products and services you believe this person needs, get granular about how you would define this need, and your solution. If you are a SharePoint ISV delivering analytics tools, you might include topics like: ▪ Building no-code dashboards in SharePoint ▪ Out-of-the-box SharePoint reporting options ▪ Best practices for automating reporting ▪ Leading 3rd party analytics solutions for SharePoint ▪ Real-world examples of building KPIs into SharePoint reporting ▪ Changes in OOTB analytics from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013
  54. 54. Map your message to each persona As you begin to outline the topics that will become the base of your content strategy, continue to break them down into simple topics. Your goal should not be long, complex white papers, but short, insightful blog posts and feature articles. Look to your initial posts for feedback from customers and partners, and use that data to further expand your list. And its also important to watch for trends within your industry -- and from your competitors -- and identify the keywords and themes that seem to be resonating with customers, adding them into your own content strategy.
  55. 55. Strategy Tip #4: Organize by distribution method
  56. 56. Refine your outline, organize by distribution method ▪ Not surprisingly, the refining of your outline is an ongoing effort. ▪ Which topics are appropriate for your company blog, or which ones should be polished and submitted to industry journals? ▪ Keep things organized in One Note by publishing source, shuffling each article idea under the tab which best matches the tone of the story, allowing you to flag new content ideas up front, and tailor each post for the audience of that site or magazine. For example, I might write a strongly-opinionated post about social collaboration that is appropriate for my company blog, but write a similar, expanded article for CMSWire that includes a more neutral standpoint and other industry perspectives. I might then create a much more personal view, sharing specific stories from a recent event and a conversation with a business partner, on my personal blog. Three posts on a similar topic for three different sources, but all demonstrating my thought leadership on the topic.
  57. 57. Strategy Tip #5: Divide your messages by voice
  58. 58. Incorporate corporate, SME, and personal voices It is important to vary your voice in your content marketing strategy: ▪ Sometimes your content should be more formal, coming from a "corporate" perspective. This might be content that talks about a specific position, or that mentions your products and services -- albeit in as neutral fashion as possible. The tone tends to be factual and straight-forward. ▪ Sometimes your content should utilize your 'subject matter expert' or SME voice, focusing on education and a more granular view of your topic. People want perspectives and opinion, and they want personality, but most of all they want to know that you have mastery of your subject. ▪ Some of your content should inject your own personality into your writing, personalizing your stories with actual interactions and humor to let your readers know that you are a real person, and not just a marketing content machine.
  59. 59. Strategy Tip #6: Keep your messaging topical
  60. 60. Keep it topical ▪ Part of my daily routine is to read through the latest industry journals and scan various online news sources for anything relevant to my content marketing strategy, and to quickly amend my day's plans to include whatever story is going to interest my readers. It's a bit like being a journalist, I suppose: you want to both educate and entertain. ▪ The more you can keep your topics relevant to the news of the day, the better you will position yourself and your content in the eyes of your prospective customers.
  61. 61. Strategy Tip #7: Be authentic
  62. 62. Another great image from Kathy Sierra at Creating Passionate Users nate_users/2006/09/why_duh_isnt.html
  63. 63. Be authentic ▪ At the end of the day, the best way to guarantee marketing success is to provide the best products and services, and then be open and honest with the community and prospective customers about what you can and cannot do for them. ▪ My advice: be authentic in your marketing and in your content. Share what you know -- but don't be afraid to use your content development as an opportunity to learn more yourself, exploring new topics and strengthening your own understanding of your subject matter. ▪ Prospective customers (and you better believe your competition) can see right through inauthenticity. Ultimately, content marketing is not about the quick win (although that will occasionally happen) but about the long-game, so be consistent and focus on providing value.
  64. 64. The “Secret Sauce” ▪ The secret sauce is making sure you are truly taking care of your customers. ▪ How are you tracking your progress, and your customer’s happiness quotient? ▪ How are you measuring their feedback, and your improvement? ▪ From a Deming perspective, are you achieving results you expect with your customers? Are you producing results you did not expect? Do you need to reset your goals, continue to measure as-is, or stop? ▪ From a Kathy Sierra perspective, are you asking the obvious "duh" questions, such as: What is not working? What IS working, and can we do more of that? My point here: we need to approach our customers with a goal in mind, and measurements of success defined, but we also can’t lose sight of the common sense things. Having the data is great, but sometimes its as simple as recognizing that its either working or not working, and then acting on it.
  65. 65. Strategy Tip #8: Don’t just sit there – move forward
  66. 66. “One of the biggest mistakes in any product or software development effort is spending too much time on the details of the first iteration, often referred to as analysis paralysis. The key to rapid prototype development is to not try to do too much at the beginning of your project – instead, follow an iterative model and move forward. There is always time later in the process to add detail to your requirements.” W. Edwards Deming
  67. 67. A modern update on ‘The Brand Called You’ ▪ Understand your unique value proposition ▪ Be able to tell your story ▪ Leverage your influence ▪ Defend your brand ▪ Embrace change
  68. 68. Final Thoughts
  69. 69. Baseline Marketing Activities ▪ an email marketing campaign ▪ a website ▪ a blog ▪ regular webinars to highlight your products or services ▪ a brand strategy ▪ a channel strategy ▪ conference sponsorships ▪ a PR agency ▪ a social presence
  70. 70. Above-the-Line Marketing Activities ▪ Thought-leadership ▪ Community building ▪ Advocacy ▪ Innovation ▪ Trust ▪ Passion ▪ Originality ▪ Authenticity
  71. 71. Potentially useful digital marketing tools ▪ Google Analytics / KissMetrics ▪ Maya / Website Grader / DareBoost / SEOptimer ▪ AdWords Performance Grader ▪ Buffer / Hootsuite / Tweetdeck ▪ Mailchimp / Campaign Monitor / Constant Contact ▪ HubSpot / ActiveCampaign / Marketo ▪ Lead Forensics (forecast ROI) ▪ Traackr / Yotpo (influencer and customer tracking) ▪ Exclaimer / WiseStamp ▪ Email marketing ROI calculator ▪ Essential Digital Marketing Tools (infographic)
  72. 72. Resources ▪ Mapping Out your Market Potential ▪ Ignore that Pie in the Sky ▪ The Defendable Swag ▪ Create an Adoption Plan (FastTrack) ▪ Build a Champion Program (Office 365 Team) ▪ The Power of Employee Engagement (buckleyPLANET) ▪ Leveraging Permission Marketing for Internal Comms (LinkedIn) ▪ The Science Behind ‘Working Like a Network’ ▪ Above the Line Marketing (LinkedIn)
  73. 73. For more on this topic, be sure to download the ebook (no form)
  74. 74. Christian Buckley @buckleyplanet Thank you very much!
  75. 75. +1 425-246-2823 Contact Us Strategy. Influence. Amplification.