Monday, July 31, 2006

Do you have the urge?

So, if you are reading this you are obviously a reader of the CMA blog - even if this is your first visit.

If you want to have your ideas and comments heard and join the conversation, your opportunity is now. Be you a member or non-member, let us know if you have a urge to post. We'd be happy to hear from you.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Refreshing Ads

Most ad campaigns for sports equipment or apparal usually create the impression that if consumers purchase this athletic shoe or that tennis racket, they will become a superstar overnight. Just buy the product.

That is why the current Nike/Bauer 'Earn Your Ice Time' ads are a nice change. The ad campaign is obviously geared to promote their hockey merchandise (nothing wrong with that)but also reinforces an important message as the tag line implies.

Their slick website actually shows videos identifying what training activities will help hockey players improve specific skills. More importantly, it shows NHL stars training themselves.

As these ads are probably geared to a younger consumer demographic, there is nothing wrong with generating sales while putting out a positive message at the same time. Very refreshing.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Time (and Technology) Flies

The other day, we had a scheduling conflict. My wife wanted to watch a documentary on television. My soon to be 3 year old wanted to watch some cartoons. You get the picture.

Then like a bolt of lightning it hit me - Google Video - and my daughter watched to her heart's content. During which, it got me thinking, what product and marketing developments will she see over the course of her life? I look back and reflect over the past 20 odd years:
  • Television (Color, Cable, Satellite, Digital Cable)
  • Recording Devices (VCR's, DVD's, TiVo)
  • Computers (Desktops, Laptops)
  • The Internet (Websites, Email, Search Engines, Blogs, RSS)
  • Mobile Technology (Palm Pilots, Cell phones, Crack Berries)
  • Portable Devices (Digital Cameras, iPods, MP3 players)

I'm sure I've missed stuff and the convergence of things but man, she is in store for one wild ride as technology and the online space are not slowing down.

I always tell her to fasten her seatbelt but didn't realize it would apply outside of the car as well.

More on B2B Blogs

Earlier in the month, we posted a link to Canadian research on B2B blogs from Sirius Decisions. Out of the U.S. – more research to consider:

As reported on BtoB Online:

“Three-quarters of corporate blog owners (76%) said company Web traffic and "media attention" increased as a result of the blogs, according to a study sponsored by Cymfony, a self-described "market influence" analytics company, and public relations agency Porter Novelli.” The study was conducted in the spring in conjunction with Russell Research. The study revealed that 42% said at least one specific post on their blog has affected the company or brand, and in most cases has had a positive effect.”

Big but:

“More than half (57%) said they do not have blogging guidelines in place.”

And not surprising,

“63% reported starting the company's blog because they felt a need to participate in the medium rather than to satisfy a specific objective.”

I think many of us start a blog to participate in the medium - it's how you learn to use it that counts. We are certainly trying.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Talking-up 'Online'on Report on Business TV

Reporters frequently seek out CMA members to get a handle on why marketing is moving in general directions, who benefits, and what it all means.

Anthony Boright, President of VAULT Solutions and a CMA Digital Marketing Council member was spotted on Report on Business TV recently, talking up the value of online. Anthony cites the benefits financial organizations are reaping from online marketing. You can watch the interview, going first to VAULT’s website (blogger.com does not allow for JavaScript) and on the left side of the page, click on ‘The Trading Desk Interview on ROB TV.”

Anthony’s bang-on in his assessment that financial organizations have taken the lead in transacting with consumers, be it an actual financial transaction or targeted communications. Too many businesses pretend to have online capabilities - they allow for ‘email me with you questions or comments’ (which goes nowhere, so it seems) or their websites are not really designed for two way conversations. It’s a pity.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Video Business Cards

It’s still pretty novel and serves a useful purpose. So much in fact that CMA’s Contact Centre Council decided to try out the video business card format to personalize an issue (related to variable compensation at contact centres). It’s just seven minutes. Even if the topic doesn’t catch your interest, the technology is worth a look.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Marketers meet the "grups"

This week’s CMA Weekly Watching Brief reports on a new demographic group being targeted by marketers: The grups.

Coined in a New York magazine article, the term comes from a "Star Trek" episode featuring a planet run by wild children trapped in perpetual youth. The children call Captain Kirk and his crew grups, short for grown-ups.

Rarely seen in pin-striped suits, grups of either sex can easily be spotted in discreetly branded battered jeans, T-shirts and old-school trainers, while blasting the latest music tracks through permanently attached iPods, notes a Reuters wire story.

They’ve been credited with killing off the generation gap as they redefine age, and as their ranks swell, marketers are zoning in.

An interesting comment on society.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Brand experience versus customer experience

Recently I was having a conversation with a good friend regarding ‘brand experience’ versus ‘customer experience’. What I thought would be a 10 minute conversation turned into an hour long debate!

After our discussion, I tried to think back on what sparked this debate. It may have had something to do with me saying, “brand experience is really part of the total customer experience”. Not to mention my friend is a brand manager at a fortune 500 company and my company, Delvinia, is focused on architecting digital customer experiences.

Anyhow, I won’t get into all the details however the main point of our discussion was that brand experience and customer experience both effect a consumer on an emotional level. The big difference however, is customer experience is broader. Wikipedia defines customer experience as “the quality of the experience as apprehended by a customer resulting from direct or indirect contact with any touch point of a company, including marketing, branding, customer service, support, in-store experience, product design, service or Web site, etc. Customer experience in this broader sense also includes "User Experience", which as the name suggests, is concerned with, and limited to, direct usage of a product.” Whereas the brand experience touches the product, look & feel, communications and service.

Ok fine, so there are differences, and I believe the customer experience very important, but really what is the end goal here? Is it not to make our customers happy so they continue to use our product or service? I mean really, is not that simple? Let the debate continue.

When Less is Really More - $$

We recently administered an employee survey for our department. One of the areas to focus on had to do with pay. A group (albeit a relatively small group compared to the whole department) indicated that they were not paid enough for their role. While I know that our compensation is competitive for the role our staff performs, I wondered how we could explain this.One of the areas I wanted to address was the fact that compensation is not just about pay. Although most of us understand this, I am not sure most of us really understand what this means.I decided to try and explain this through a pie chart. I took all of the areas of compensation that our group has available to them and was surprised at how much there really is. Here are some examples:

  • Payrate (this is obvious, and can be hourly or salary)
  • Benefits (this can be up to 30% over and above the payrate which may surprise most)
  • Paid sick days
  • Paid vacation beyond the two week minimum
  • Your own company discounts on products or services
  • Discounts arranged by the company such as deals on products and services from other companies, e.g., Wonderland and other event ticket discounts, a gym membership, discounts on travel, car rentals etc.
  • Bonuses
  • Incentives (no matter how big or small) and rewards
  • Department lunches or dinners (holiday season is big for these)

You get the idea. The list may be longer or shorter depending on the Company you work for. When I added all of these together, I realized that payrate was less than 75% of the actual compensation a person receives. Those little "extras" added up to almost $10k per year in added compensation for each person!

When it comes to benefits, I explained that the next time you visit the dentist (for example) take a look at the cost. Whatever amount your benefits covered is money that did not leave your bank account. Therefore you earned that money (to spend elsewhere). I noticed this approach helped people realize how benefits are a major part of compensation and very often the one thing we take for granted when we have them.

Every little bit counts toward your total compensation.

Someone making $15 per hour or approximately $30k per year may actually make less at a new job paying $17 per hour or $34k. Those extras can really add up when you take the time to look at them closely.

I visited the dentist last week. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I didn't have to pay out of my own pocket.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Is There a Doctor in the House? CRM Analysts to the Rescue!

Blogging about the role of analytics may not be top of mind for many – but maybe its time to take a look at why this role can be like having a doctor in the house.

I’m often asked whether organizations should focus on technology or people in building up their CRM analytics capabilities. My answer is that one should obviously do both. But the priority should always be to have the right people in place. After all, having the right people will determine the right or appropriate level of technology for that particular organization. In fact, I would argue that an environment with sub optimal technology but with outstanding people will still deliver great solutions. Technology is simply an enabler. Organizations still need that superior level of people type thinking that can both use the technology as well as the vast amounts of data to derive meaningful business intelligence. Those organizations with this kind of culture are simply able to make better decisions than their competitors.

I like to think of the role of technology and people within CRM analytics as being somewhat similar to the role of technology and people within the field of medicine. Certainly technology has revolutionized medicine to the point that it has facilitated many tasks and functions of the doctor, yet will never replace the doctor. A body of knowledge exists by the human (doctor) and the ability to use this knowledge for the betterment of health within our society. Albeit CRM analysts are not saving lives but we are generating more profit that in the long run can be invested in other areas thereby creating more jobs and ultimately in a different way contributing to the betterment of society.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Little Things Matter Big (For Little Customers)

Further to a post by fellow CMA member Michael Seaton, little things not only matter but pay off in spades when you take care of your 'little' customers.

My 8 year-old relative was recently visiting from South Africa. On the way home, he had a 14 hour layover in London, U.K. and is a fanatical Chelsea supporter. After much pleading he convinced his mother to take him to the stadium despite coming off an all night flight. (Our children make convincing salespeople, no?)

They show up for a stadium tour but it's closed. They ask an employee for directions to the club merchandise store so they can buy a momento.

The employee goes one better. She takes them on a personalized guided tour at no charge. They inspect every nook and cranny of the stadium. They even go in to the team dressing room and he sat in the stall of his favorite player. The little guy was awestruck.

Now if the emotion does not tug at your heart strings, think about it financially. The team just acquired an 8 year old fan for life at no incremental expense.

After the tour his mom dropped £50 in the stadium store. From a 'customer lifetime value' perspective consider all the future jerseys, game tickets, pay per view games and merchandise he will purchase. Not to mention all the word of mouth marketing he will provide to friends, family and school mates.

It doesn't take a financial genius to figure out ROI here. Such a little gesture for a little customer but man did it pay off big.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Search engine finds people and their affiliations

Maybe I am one of the last persons to know about zoominfo, but it’s a pretty cool site even it's not’s perfect! It locates individuals, connects them to their current and past positions, and other affiliations. It gets some info mixed up, but that is to be expected from the web. Looking to find a long lost colleague or check on a resume detail? Key in your name and see for yourself.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Red Paper Clip - Marketing Success Story

If you are the mayor of a small town in Saskatchewan, how do you market your municipality, and get your province some positive PR? You swap a house in your town for a movie role for one of your citizens with a blogger from Montreal.

In an example of blogging at its finest, Montrealer Kyle MacDonald traded his way from up from one red paperclip to his new home in Kipling, Saskatchewan. And the town of Kipling is reaping some great PR benefits.

"We're going to do our best to use the publicity that we get from this to let people know what a great place Saskatchewan is to live," said Mayor Pat Jackson.

The story has received cross-continent coverage including on countless radio stations, CBC and CTV news, Good Morning America, CNN, and ET Canada.

So creative! There is a red paperclip here on my desk… I wonder what grand PR campaign – or real-estate! - it could lead to…

Monday, July 10, 2006

Lessons for big brands from American Copywriter

Ever had an experience like the one John over at American Copywriter (the blog) just wrote about? I posted a short piece a few days ago here on the CMA - Canadian Marketing blog titled "Little things matter". And they do.

Here is an excerpt from American Copywriter:
"While major brands can't give away the farm and stay in business, there's clearly an opportunity available in the surprise and delight department. Even if it adds some nominal operational cost. Little, inexpensive things carry large, profitable implications. It's sad to say that things that were once taken for granted, now seem like big extra perks."

If you have not heard of American Copywriter -the podcast , don't fret. The thing about digital media, such as blogs and podcasts, is that it is not a broadcast. You have not missed out on anything. It is there waiting for you.

The AC podcast is like a comedy routine between Tug and John. And, it is all there in the archives - ready when you are.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A step closer to a National Do Not Call List

The CRTC’s work toward creating a national Do Not Call List (DNCL) continues. Just out today, they released an RFI for potential vendors.

As well as being used to determine the availability of capable contractors, the RFI is looking for input that may assist them in the “development, deployment and operation” of the list.

Does your organization want to run the national service? If so, you might want to respond to the RFI – time is short. It’s due August 8.

Honk! Honk! What's Good For The Goose....

Online marketers are constantly under the gun to show a return of investment. How many visitors/unique visitors did this online contest generate? How many sales did that search engine marketing campaign create? And the list goes on...

Now these are all valid questions as accountability and evaluation of ROI is critical for any business to operate efficiently. But it appears to me that there is a double standard.

Traditional media (newspaper, billboards, television, etc.) cannot provide the same accurate metrics as online. Nielsen ratings and GRP forms of analysis exist but are not an exact science according to colleagues who deal with them on a regular basis.

Yet companies still continue to pour more money in traditional marketing mediums. Don't get me wrong, they can be viable but how effective are they really from an ROI perspective?

Google Analytics, Omniture and other online metrics programs provide detailed information as to how many people clicked on this banner ad or that email link to your website. A full page newspaper ad? Good luck with that unless you insert a vanity url or 1-888 number. Even then it's not completely accurate of how many people viewed that ad as not everyone will call or click.

Offline marketing should be subject to the same scrutiny as online marketing. Yes I'm biased but what's good for the goose is good for the gander, no?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Little things matter

Sometimes little things make all the difference. All the data and outstanding creative ideas in the world can't take the place of a simple, thoughtful touch. Like a hotel leaving a bottle of water in the car of a guest who is checking out. An investment of just pennies per guest goes a long way.

Data does not need to be involved. Creative brainstorming and analytical analysis are not required. It is as easy as the front desk calling down to the valet and the attendant remembering to place a cold bottle of water in the cup holder along with a pre-printed note wishing the guest safe travels.

Is that marketing? You bet it is.

The Road To Digital Marketing Conference 2006

I recently launched a Podcast, Six Pixels Of Separation, and as I learn all about this new channel for conversation (and marketing), I'm also learning a lot about how to connect with people I have always wanted to have a chat with, but never a platform.

This week, I recorded my seventh episode. Not exactly a milestone just yet, but important for readers of the Canadian Marketing Blog because I began a new segment called The Road To Digital Marketing Conference 2006. The intent is to feature all of the keynote speakers and some key participants as we build up to this amazing two-day conference (which is taking place in Toronto on October 19th and 20th).

My first guest, C.C. Chapman, was a recently announced keynote for Digital Marketing Conference 2006. He is also known as one of the most authoritative speakers on the Podcasting, pod safe music and how marketers can use Podcasting to build business.

C.C. Chapman recently launched his third personal Podcast, Managing The Gray, which deals specifically with new marketing. He is also a huge advocate for Second Life.

You can listen to the full Podcast (it runs about 35 minutes) over here: Six Pixels Of Separation - Episode Seven - Special Guest: C.C. Chapman.

Full disclosure: I sit on the organizing committee for the Digital Marketing Conference 2006 and I will also be a keynote speaker at the event.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Research into B2B Blogs says.....

Sirius Decisions did some research about the prevalence of blogs in business-to-business and how they should impact a marketing mix. The outcome of their research is summed up in five key planning assumptions that might help organizations weigh the pros and cons of 'to blog or not to blog.'