Report: content and customer experience dominate digital marketing

I’ve just been having a look through the Adobe report on marketing and digital trends. 

What’s really useful about this one is it gives you the right language and definitions to talk about digital in your company. It’s quite easy to blur between ‘content marketing’ and leap to channels and social, video content, jump across to analytics and the next thing you know, you have a massive 36-month Big Data project. 

Mobile-first and location technologies can occupy a lot of discussion but also distract from the core engine of the marketing program in content and customer experience

Have a look through and if you’re in Sydney, you can come along to the Content Marketing meetup “Creating scalable content systems’ at the Adobe offices this Wednesday morning. 

Full report: Digital Trends 2015

Mo people, mo problems-five ways to keep trolls out

five double 0, that's my phone number

Blowing away your community because all your members are idiots who say dumb stuff is very tempting but there a few reasons why you shouldn’t. Mainly because it could be a sign that you are doing a great job:

“for human groups, a few hundred seems to be an upper limit for a group size compatible with everyone’s knowing everybody. In our state society for instance, school principals are likely to know all their students by name if the school contains a few hundred children, but not if it contains a few thousand children. One reason why the organisation of human government tends to change from that of a tribe to that of a chiefdom in societies with more than a few hundred members is that the difficult issue of conflict resolution between strangers becomes increasingly acute in larger groups” Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Jared Diamond 1997

It’s the same thing that happens in fast growing workplaces and popular cities- mo people, mo problems. 

1. Law and order. Smaller tribes self regulate more easily due to social pressure and you don’t need to do much to calm down a little blog spat or tacky image post. As groups become larger and more anonymous (think big city versus small town), you may need more law and order and I hate to say it, rules in the form of community guidelines. A secondary login might help to keep anon posters down and put some real faces in the mix to humanise the community. 

2. In the words of the great Tony Robbins, if there are weeds in your garden, pull them out. Don’t pretend there are no weeds and let the trolls take over but also, don’t freak out after a bad hit and blow away the branded Facebook page you spent three years cultivating.  It might just be time to reassess your strategy, gear up some more people to help and think about how you can run your page for a larger audience. Identify and pull out the weeds, you may not need to nuke the whole rainforest. 

Run from the thread

3. Party in the comments. Jonah Peretti from Buzzfeed/ HuffPo discovered that people loved the crazy-sauce comments that appeared at the bottom of their stories. Depending on your community, you may want to leave some weird stuff in their for seasoning. 

4. Talk to some other community managers at other workplaces and find out what they do. Sometimes, lobbing some feel-good content like iPad giveaways and free t-shirts can reset an angry mob. Just sharing your ideas and venting frustrations can make a big difference and you won't feel like you're doing a bad job all the time. I took a beaten down team to another company for a morning and they just sat and watched another online community team working. It made a huge difference to their confidence and showed them some new ways of managing prickly customers. 

5. Reward the good behaviour. Welcome new members so the same people don’t get attention for stirring. Much like the small town/ big city thing, sometimes the founding members of a community can be demanding and expect special treatment. Look after them but don’t let them drag the community down by bringing up old stuff and family feuds from 1967 all the time. It’s important to keep growing and pruning is a part of that. 

Altimeter report: Digital Transformation and the New Customer Experience

As you probably already know, I really like the work that Altimeter does and there latest offering is up to their usual standard. Digital transformation can come across as a little marketing campaign or a ‘hey look what this company did with an Instagram selfie and a well planned spontaneous flashmob’ but you get none of that lightweight nonsense from Brian Solis, Jaimy Szymanski, Charlene Li and the team. 

It’s the real issues that people butt their heads up against everyday like silos, lack of top-level understanding and buy-in, slow investment and urgency to prioritise projects. In some ways you could take the old classics like The Goal and In Search of Excellence and update it with mobile and more intarwebby terms and you’d be talking about the same issues because it all points to one thing: change. 

Take a look at this quote from Marc Pritchard at P&G:

Instead of “digital-first,” P&G is currently embracing a culture of “Digital Back.” Speaking at Dmexco, P&G’s Global Brand Building Officer, Marc Pritchard, stated that “digital marketing” as a focus on channels and technologies is “dead.” While controversial, his vision reflects a grander perspective of the evolving customer ecosystem. He believes that companies can’t embrace a strategy toward digital transformation based on the tools and trends. “Try to resist thinking about digital in terms of the tools, the platforms, the QR codes, and all of the technology coming next. Instead, start in the digital world and build your way back to the rest of the marketing mix. It’s an approach that is building our brand equities, our sales, and our profits.”

So start with the customer and map the processes back based on their behaviour and the best way to serve them? Yes.
The customers have changed and we haven’t? Yes.
The technologies and media available to serve customers and communicate ideas have changed and we haven’t? Yes. 

I’m increasingly convinced that no amount of jumping up and down by humans is really going to drive the change. I think that ultimately, software will kick down the walls as it is pervasive and no respecter of silos, departments, or internal empires.  Either that or something really big breaks and you have the change forced upon you like what happened to retailer Myer a few months back when a fantastic free shipping marketing campaign took out the online store for a week at Christmas. Oops. And as long as customer service, IT and marketing are not working hand in hand to serve the customer, no amount of big data or QR code enabled mobile omni-channel dashboard interactive solutions are going to mean much to customer experience, sales and profits as it just means that the piles of data get bigger and richer in the silos. 

Altimeter really gets this and the report is an interesting read. Other people obviously thought this too as the download link broke when I went to get it so thank you to Leslie for emailing me the report.  Very good marketing and customer care integration :)

Why you should always share good news from customers straight away

I got some really great in-person feedback from a customer this morning. One of those things that you work on for a long time and are pretty sure that nobody is going to notice but this woman did and yay for her- we like those people. She noticed little details that we debated the importance of and noticed that we had gone for a more expensive, quality option. 

So I thought I would email everyone else on the team and tell them the good news. 

Then I thought ‘well, I was the one pushing for the more expensive option and I don’t want people to think I’m being all ‘I told you so’ about the whole thing’ so maybe I’ll leave out that detail.
Then I thought ‘maybe I shouldn’t put she was a long-time customer because it makes it sound like a criticism of why it wasn’t upgraded before’.
Then I thought ‘maybe I should just take the positive feedback myself and not share it because I don’t want it to be taken the wrong way. Nobody likes to high five a cactus’ 

In the time that I was thinking all these things, an email came through with bad news from a different customer. Real bad news you can feel drop through your ankles and bounce back into your chest.  That one reverberated through the company email system and now everyone is feeling a bit 'meh'.

I should have sent my good news email. I shouldn’t have worried about the one or two cynical voices. We don’t hesitate to spread around bad feedback but it’s weird that we hold back the good stuff. I should have pointed people to a happy customer who enjoyed the outcome of a task that we worked hard on because that’s the voice that matters the most. Now the unhappy customer voice is going to drown out the progress we made and demotivate everyone. Ugh. 

Always share good news because there are plenty of clangers around the corner and we all need the encouragement that our work matters and succeeds-I know I do.  I’m going to send my good news email now and correct the 'meh'.