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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Exploring Neo-Marketing in the New Era of On-line Communications

Exploring new marketing options for an era that features the burgeoning potential of social media and Internet realities.

Albert Einstein: “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new”.

In the “good old days”, much of marketing consisted of the Small Business boss saying “Just design and print 500,000 one page flyers, along with colourful brochures and some doorknob hangers. Then, get the stuff out to where customers seem to be”. In rare cases, the boss would arrange a press conference followed by a printed press releases which were also widely distributed.

Printed paper was the key component. The stuff had to be legible, multi-coloured and slick. On reflection, it didn’t much matter that more than 90% of this material went directly into trash cans. As to results, a 2% return was considered acceptable, and the paper flow continued. Somewhere in the 2% were actual sales. That was all that mattered...... the sales.
Changing the Game
But now, with the advent of social media, the Internet, and changed methods of communication and distribution, there is an implicit and compelling need for small business to change it’s marketing philosophy. The bland and the impersonal, must be replaced by more focused, more efficient, and more respectful marketing.  
The Neo-Marketing Model features radical change. It’s very essence is the two-way Internet-based communication with clients and customers builds relationships. It is direct and it is personal. It includes more focused and more economical downward “telling” for known customers/clients. It generates an informed counter-flow of “listening” and an upward stream of information from a knowledgeable client/customer base. The resultant dialogue is rich in shared information from two perspectives: the seller and the buyer. There is a more meaningfully connection. Shared and caring contact, about new and modified products and services or whatever builds your relationship.
Thus, the upward/downward capacity encourages this rich flow, and it can stimulate and reinforce rich dialogue both inside and the outside of the organization.... Now that’s marketing.
But wait! There’s more!
Just as marketing is crucial to business success, so is community engagement.  Meaningful community engagement techniques are available now so that Small Business can monitor the likes, the dislikes, the opinions, the trends and the demographics of its customer and contact base. The big data.
This is the kind of monitoring that was impossible when using the “scatter-gun” approaches in the “Good Old Days”. New kinds of information flows can feature “Opt-in” options.  This allows and encourages opinion-based participation back and forth, up and down. And, this information can be readily analyzed to show results from a range of perspectives. 
As noted earlier, 2% returns were the historical yield rates. In comparison, Opt-In rates using current technology can push these numbers “off the chart”. 
In addition, Opt-In allows customers and contacts to become more engaged, more loyal, and more involved. This kind of relationship marketing can mean the difference between educated decisions and blind ones for any organization.
Albert Einstein:
“We cannot solve problems by using 
the same kind of  thinking we used to create them”.
Clearly there is a need for new approaches to marketing.  Enlightened managers must move away from outdated, Email based "blast" contact communication and marketing methods. These approaches include:
  • Dynamic up-to-date access to customer base;
  • Visual analytics that show at a glance the current profiles of customers both individually and collectively;
  • Capacity for Polling on current community issues
  • Public forums that share views and experience
  • Appropriate use of social media that is based on valid awareness of its strengths and weakness
  • Bottom up designed community engagement with the resultant two-way communication producing a wealth of beneficial information.

    Neo-Marketing. It’s time has come.
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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Benefits to Slowing Down the Internet

“It's Sort of Like Drinking From a Fire Hose”. 
Too much information, too many locations, too fast to manage.
Many business owners, managers and other organization leaders have expressed their frustration with the transitory nature of the internet.  They have tremendous new ways of communicating with their audience of contacts and customers, but the resulting communication becomes scattered within emails, social media pages, blog postings, text messages, etc.  And none of this communication sticks around on the surface for very long.

Facebook, Twitter, blog postings and other social media sites have an ongoing media stream. Some media streams flow fast and some flow slow. For example, a Twitter posting containing a link to an article published in a blog, will likely only have a lifespan of a few hours before the posting is bumped down to make room for other postings in the users Twitter feed.

A blog on an organization’s site has a slower flow, but in time, postings invariably disappear off the user’s screen as new blog postings are added by the organization. Commenting on, and social sharing of the article effectively stop when not on the front page.

The only manageable takeaway an organization gains from all this communication effort, is a contact list of some individuals that have crossed its path. But how useful is that today?
For some time, contact lists have been beneficial for organizations. But with anti-spam legislation being implemented and the public’s general scorn for spam, the contact list has little to offer.
What organizations need today is a way to not only capture these contacts, but also give them an environment to develop and manage relationships that span greater lengths of time. This “slowing down” of the Internet can benefit organizations as they learn tremendous insights about their community’s interests and demographics as they have the time to engage with their community.
This environment must be inviting to the community, and it must be manageable by the business.
To be inviting to users, this new environment will give the user choice as to which vertical market subjects they subscribe to, and how they wish to be communicated with (ie. via email, text messaging, or social media sign up). The user will be able to engage with the organization and other users, sharing knowledge, images, videos and more in a two way communication environment that observes respectable dialogue.   In turn the organization will be able to “chair” discussions, provide information in multi-media form, ask questions and gauge responses to ultimately generate informative metrics on their community’s likes, dislikes and interests.
Managing all of this will be within a single secure cloud location that acts as a time capsule for the organization’s engagement with contacts, whether that engagement results from blog postings, social media sites, emails or other published content. The organizations community engagement will all be centralized where the organization can analyze and extract beneficial knowledge to better the organization.
Slowing down the Internet gives an organization countless opportunities to learn what works and what doesn’t work when engaging their on-line community.
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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

CASL is Launched and Only a Small Number of Businesses are Prepared

The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation has many small business wondering what to do next. According to the Globe and Mail only 21% of Canadian businesses surveyed claimed they were CASL prepared. Those preparations largely amount to new ways to encourage contacts sign up for the businesses mailing list in a CASL compliant manner.
The results however are less than encouraging. Many businesses have reported less than a 5% return signup rate. A new approach to contact growth needs to be adopted.
The advice provided by many marketing advisors is to create and publish compelling content that will attract new contacts. This is an excellent suggestion, and something all businesses should be doing, but it doesn't necessarily replace the many contacts a business once had.
A new approach we call Neo-Marketing, incorporates the suggestion of publishing compelling content, but also utilizes a bottom-up designed community engagement application that invites participation and sharing by the business' community.

The above model demonstrates the Neo-Marketing approach needed to produce business contact numbers similar to those in a pre-CASL on-line environment.
Begin by publishing "Share Friendly" content within your web presence. Ensure to incorporate an Open D engagement page into your published content inviting your audience to participate in a poll, survey, or discussion.
Post to your managed social media sites, being sure to apply appropriate tags to your postings to ensure your published content will be found by those looking for your particular product or service.
Lastly, post your content to social media site groups that are locations where your audience frequent. This will direct traffic to your site where you have the opportunity to add the visitor to your community. This is where using a bottom up designed community engagement application like Open D separates your organization from other contact management solutions.  
The Open D application allows your site visitors to choose what subjects of interest they like, and how they wish to be contacted. The application acts like a net capturing, up to and over, 20% opt-in rates from your website traffic.
By following this Neo-Marketing formula & driving traffic to your site, where Open D captures them, small business's can see real contact numbers grow.
This new approach to on-line marketing creates more contact, more loyalty, and longer retention times.
Read More »

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

SaaS (Software as a Service): Keeping Contacts Safely on the Cloud

Your business has taken the time to capture hundreds if not thousands of contacts, and the storage spot for all this valuable data is in Excel or Outlook. All is going fine until the inevitable system crash happens and you're in a desperate position trying recover lost data.

Surprisingly this is not so unusual as many small businesses make the mistake of overlooking on-line communication as part of an ongoing backup solution.

We've seen this with many of the businesses we've worked with over the years, and it is a tell-tale sign that the business owner is not embracing the new realities of online communication practices. Not only are these businesses failing to recognise best practices for backing up data, they are also failing to recognise the value this community data has to offer. 
Some of these businesses we have worked with have chosen to explore the social media arena which has resulted in a two tier contact database. One stored locally in the aforementioned method, the other in their social media world of Facebook and Twitter. In these cases the online data may not be at risk of being lost but is of little use to the business owner looking to know about their community's demographic information and interests.
SaaS applications have come of age and offer the business owner the advantage of not only storing contact data but using the data as part of an ongoing communication strategy. Open D is one of those SaaS applications that assists businesses and organizations transition from simply capturing contact data, to one that captures and utilizes the contact data as part of an effort to extend their reach into the online environment. By incorporating the SaaS application with their social media content, the organization can bring all contacts into a single location where they can be managed effectively to the betterment of the organization.
Getting up to speed with SaaS technology is the job of any organization leader who understands that in the modern era of doing business, every marketing, promotion, and business relations avenue must be utilized to give their business a fighting chance of success.  
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Monday, 7 April 2014

Neo-Marketing: How New media and Consumer Habits have Changed the Game

A focussed critique of appropriate marketing in an era of the burgeoning potential of social media and Internet realities.
Shakespeare:  "Julius Caesar" Act IV
'There is a tide in the affairs of men
which, taken at the flood leads on to fortune.
...On such a full sea we are now afloat...'
Traditional marketing tools, notions, assumptions and concepts are experiencing significant challenges as newer, faster more focused delivery capacities have entered the fray, and are establishing themselves in today`s rapidly changing environments.
The Internet as Impact 
  • The enormous and ever-widening base of the Internet is Shakespeare's present day 'tide'. Social media is the 'flood'. Social media, as an evolving means of communication within organizations, is a compelling reality. It is inherently capable of intra-organizational communication both 'upwards' and 'downwards', as well as 'outwards' to clients, customers and other key elements of the organizational environment. It can, and it will  move from its  'play-thing' beginnings to become a mainstream diversified and manageable flood for marketing initiatives.
  • This mind-numbing potential for effective communication both internally and externally has stirred, within organizations big and small, a growing impatience with traditional  approaches to marketing. The call is  for more meaningful, more productive engagement with customers, clients, employees and other key contacts. Tolerance is fading for many traditional 'old school', worn-out, and unproductive marketing  methods. There is a growing fascination with venturing into promotional areas and techniques that have lain untouched for too long,
  • The breakaway speed and incredible depth of the Internet is under-used by many 'Old school' practitioners. They continue their dependence upon such things as: direct mailing, print-ads, circulars, and TV and radio ads. Clearly these  represent fundamentally inaccurate assumption about the nature of the customer and employee bases. They reflect a 'top down' philosophy that emphasizes 'telling', and ignores opportunities for 'listening', 'engagement' and 'sharing'. 
Out with the 'Old', In with the 'New'
  • A new school will replace the old one. It is inevitable. It will feature a marketing stance that is more respectful of the sense, and potential of 'two-way communication' where the 'telling' (downward ) is augmented , enhanced, and made richer by 'listening' and 'sharing' (upward).
  • Social media is no longer the gimmicky thing it was. It is now a mainstream reality that continues to evoke surprise and wonder. But that phase is passing too. The pop-up toaster was once a novelty...
  • Social media as an essential and integrated component of marketing will allow for sharing of views and information, it will be better informed, thoughtful and incisive. It will capture more informed opinions from customers and clients about the products and services that they are buying and using. Internal information flows between and amongst management and staff will be enriched.
  • For all intents and purposes, social media is inexpensive. It's potential, properly harnessed, is rich and abundant. If properly developed and nurtured as a mainstream vehicle for the organization, it can become a long-term embedded presence for continual discovery.
The Enduring Challenge
...On such a full sea we are now afloat.
And we must take the current when it serves.
Or lose our ventures.
Read More »

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Canada Anti Spam Legislation is Changing the Game for Business

The business world is about to be changed. For some it's for the better and for some it's a serious concern. The ones that recognise this is for the better are those in business that realize that times are changing and the world of junk mail and spam have come to an end, and now is the time to modernize the way we should be engaging our business communities.

Passed by the Canadian Federal Government in 2010, CASL will take effect on July 1, 2014. The largest impact for business will be no longer being able to send unsolicited emails to their contact lists.
Frequently businesses engage in the practice of harvesting email addresses and adding them to contact lists. Although proven effective early on in our short Internet history, people have become wary of unsolicited email, reporting spam and demanding some intervention by government.
So now what? Now the businesses have to adapt to the new reality that "spam-time" is over, and a new methods for marketing their product or service are in order. The good news is there are alternatives, but for some businesses it will be difficult to make the mental adjustment.
Bottom up thinking, and community engagement is the new reality. With unprecedented functionality, the Internet provides the business and the consumer the opportunity to engage in a mutually beneficial two way conversation. Businesses have to recognize the value of an engaged consumer and respect the ongoing relationship established by this engagement.
It closely resembles an ongoing cocktail party, where businesses act as the host continually circulate and having one-on-one discussions with guests in a never ending social setting. You would not start handing out flyers part way through your party as you would at best confuse your guests as to the nature of their relationship with you, or at worst offend the guest by trying to impose on them something they didn't ask for.
Instead businesses need to start letting their guests choose their own course within your online engagement, and the job of the business "hosting the party" is to ensure the guests have a healthy variety of subjects of interest to select from. 
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