Data Analysts are a Marketer’s Best Friend

Marketers today need to be comfortable with data. They need to be able to understand what the data is telling them and how to make decisions based on that. The best hunches or instincts in the world cannot compete with data-driven strategies. Not in 2019.

But you and I are not the experts. We didn’t go to school to learn how to work with data (though perhaps more marketing coursework in the future will involve data analytics and statistics).

That’s why we need to befriend the people who are experts.

Data analysts and data scientists are the folks who know how to make sure your company is collecting the right data, how to review and sort through that data to get answers to critical business questions, and how to present their findings in a way that makes it easy to make business decisions.

For marketers, this skill set is a godsend. Here are just a few of the key ways marketers can work with data analysts to achieve better business results:

  1. Build real-time reporting by advertising channel that lets you view return on investment at the high level across channels and dive deeper within each channel to improve optimization decisions

  2. Gain a deeper understanding of how customers are progressing through the buyer journey and identify opportunities within the sales funnel to improve the likelihood of conversion

  3. Build more robust buyer personas with first-party data collected by your company that will help your sales team prospect more effectively and influence future branding and messaging decisions

  4. Isolate the impact of key pricing and promotional campaigns in order to determine the ideal pricing strategy that drives maximum profitability and sales

  5. Connect your data with key advertising platforms to derive greater value from AI and machine learning going forward, letting algorithms take the lead of spending decisions in order to maximize efficiency

Every marketing organization today needs people who are fully engaged with the data their company and their customers are generating. This data is a treasure trove of information that can be used to guide decisions at every level of the company.

As a marketer, you would be smart to spend more time with your company’s data analysts and data scientists, leveraging their incredible skill set to help you do more.

Keys to a Successful Product Launch

There are some products that take a long time to gain traction in the marketplace. Those are the exceptions for two reasons:

1)      There are few companies that can afford to sustain a new product that does not gain immediate traction

2)      Newer products will often improve upon prior iterations by the same company or competitors and so will crowd out older products with little market share

And so we can determine that most successful products are successful early in the post-launch phase of their life.

Product Lifecycle

A typical product lifecycle has four distinct stages:

1)      Launch

2)      Growth

3)      Maturity

4)      Renewal or Decline

These are the same, more or less, as the lifecycle for a business. And each phase involves a number of key decisions that a company must make to succeed.

In order to effectively get to the growth stage, first you have to have a successful product launch. If you are responsible for getting your product out the door and into the marketplace most effectively, here is a checklist you can use to improve the likelihood of a successful launch.

Product Launch Checklist

  • Has the product been fully tested and come through without any bugs?

  • Have you tested your product with customers to ensure it solves a real need in the market?

  • Do you have buy-in from senior leadership throughout the company?

  • Do you have sales and revenue targets for the first 30, 60, 90 days after launch? Do you know what to do if you fall short of those targets?

  • Has the advertising budget been approved that you need to meet your sales expectations?

  • Have you communicated with all departments so that they know everything they need to know to better serve the launch? Marketing, sales, customer support, finance, analysts?

  • Have you given the marketing team enough lead time to have all of their campaigns built and ready to deploy on day one?

  • Have you done press outreach to gain publicity around the launch?

  • Is the messaging on your website ready to go live?

  • Do you have a plan? Is there a document that people across your organization can refer to if they have questions?

So much of the success of any product is in the launch. The more planning you do in advance, the more you can ensure that both the product and the marketing are ready to go, the better your odds of a successful launch.

Best of luck!

Who is the Voice of the Customer?

The voice of the customer is a very important person in any company. This is the person that sees things the way your customers see them. This is the person that raises their hand in a meeting and tells you that the customer is not going to like a new policy or feature. This is the person who is going to evaluate all internal decisions based on the impact on existing customers.

Without the voice of the customer, your company will be out of touch. You will be making decisions that executives see as best for the business without anyone to say whether or not customers are going to be happy.

What Qualifies Someone to Be the Voice of the Customer?

There are numerous positions in each company that could conceivably take on this role. Whoever it is has to have an intimate knowledge of who the customer is and why they do business with your company. They don’t have to speak directly to customers on a regular basis, but it certainly helps.

The voice of the customer should have a certain level of authority and decision-making power within the company. They have to have a seat at the table, so that the voice of the customer is heard when it matters most.

There is a case to be made that the person in charge is the voice of the customer. And at many start-ups and small businesses, the leader is the person that can fill that role. But the many responsibilities of the business leader or CEO will lead, sooner or later, to the voice of the customer role taking a back seat to the job of running the business.

A case can also be made for sales or customer service to represent the voice of the customer. Those teams are on the front lines, the ones who are dealing with customers day in and day out. But questions arise over whether these teams have enough internal power to ensure that the voice of the customer is included in all major decisions.

In many businesses, it is the product management team that must act as the voice of the customer. This team is responsible for the product, and a product is only as good as its ability to meet the needs of its customers. Product leads must work to incorporate customer’s wants and needs into the product, and can represent the very same to the overall business.

What Does the Voice of the Customer Do?

The voice of the customer has a number of responsibilities, most of them informal.

  1. Push for policies that are favorable to the customer and against policies that inhibit the customer experience.

  2. Push for new product features that would improve the overall satisfaction of the customer.

  3. Remind others within the organization to keep the customer in mind in everything that they do.

  4. Remind executives who the customer is and how their decisions will impact them.

  5. Make the case for pricing terms that are favorable to the customer.

In a sense, the voice of the customer is just what it sounds like. This person represents the customer interest in all things. It is as if you are giving your customers a seat at the table.

Who Should Be the Voice of the Customer?

No matter what their title, the person in your company who should be the voice of the customer has to be dedicated and fearless.

The person who will be successful in this role will do whatever it takes to understand customers better. They will get on the phone, send out emails, and hit the road to talk to customers. They will know what they like and don’t like about the product, why they chose your company over the competition, how they use your product, and more.

And they will not be afraid to share this information and speak up when it matters most. Whether it’s a meeting with their team, or a bunch of executives sitting around the conference room table getting ready to make a critical business decision. This person will have no problem speaking up.

When to Look for Incremental Growth

There are boom times for business, and there are slow times. This goes for entire industries as well as individual companies.

The typical business lifecycle looks like this:

  1. Startup

  2. Growth

  3. Maturity

  4. Renewal or Decline

This same lifecycle can also apply to individual product lines.

In the startup phase, everything is new and the company is still trying to match a solution to a problem in the marketplace. When a company is able to offer a solution at a price that consumers are willing to pay for, they move into the next phase.

In the growth phase, the company or product captures increasing market share. Sales and revenue are accelerating as the market expands and new customers are brought in.

Growth only sustains for so long, and when it slows a company will enter the maturity stage. In the maturity stage, growth is no longer so easy to come by. The market is fully saturated. Sales are somewhat more constant, and still sustainable.

During the maturity stage, the decisions that a company makes will set up the next stage. Either the company will find a way to start the cycle all over again – with a new product, new features, new markets, or a new revenue steam – or they will start to experience decline as competitors disrupt their industry and start to claw back market share.

What is Incremental Growth?

Incremental growth refers to those small gains that a business can make through pricing and payment terms, improvements in conversion rate or acquisition costs, add-ons or upselling, etc.

These are not the massive growth schemes that define a company to investors or to the marketplace at large. They are the small levers that people inside the company pull to help improve the bottom line and sustain competitive advantage.

When to Look for Incremental Growth?

There are people in every company who are there to make incremental growth happen. They are the marketers and sales people who are constantly experimenting and looking for ways to improve the conversion rate. They are the advertisers looking to increase brand awareness in the marketplace. They are the operations and financial professionals looking to save money and improve the internal processes that drive the company.

But incremental growth is never more important than during the maturity stage of a business’s lifecycle. At this stage, the real dynamic growth has slowed or stalled. There is danger of complacency, because this company and its leaders have gotten used to year over year growth and might not immediately know where to turn to in order to renew that growth into the future.

And that’s what makes incremental growth so appealing. In the short term, while a new long term strategy is in the works, it becomes critical to maximize value within the existing business.

Productivity growth, conversion rate optimization, more favorable pricing terms, and improved return on investment in marketing are all ways to sustain some level of growth even while the larger growth curve for the business flattens out.

Those who can pull the levers to drive incremental growth at a mature company are the unsung heroes that keep things moving in the right direction.

What Matters Most? SEO Tips to Boost Your Online Rankings – Guest Post

The following guest post was written by Katrina Fernandez. Katrina is a hardworking individual who always gives her best. As a degree holder, she aspires to establish within the media industry. Expert in building online partnership, she's been working in digital marketing services, Local SEO Search Inc. for several years. 

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Search engine optimization (SEO) can often seem like a mysterious black box. After all, Google changes their algorithm hundreds of times a year, and they don’t share exactly what goes into their ranking system.

However, that doesn’t mean you’re helpless when it comes to using SEO to boost your online ranking. Making an effort to improve the areas we do know matter to Google can make a huge difference in your organic traffic, which brings in more leads and more revenue.

Focusing on what matters most is the best way to get the most return on your SEO investment. Here are the things you should do today.

Use Mobile-First Development

It’s no secret that Google loves content that looks great on smaller screens. In fact, after boosting mobile-friendly content in search results for a couple of years, Google moved all the way into mobile-first indexing.

This means that if you want to do well with your SEO, it’s in your best interest to focus on developing all of your webpages for a mobile screen first, and then add extra features for full-screen users. That saves you enormous amounts of time when it comes to troubleshooting your mobile rendering, and helps you avoid any Google penalties for being unfriendly to mobile.

What about webpages that already exist? The first thing to do is get out your cell phone and navigate your site. Make note of any problems – text that’s unreadable, overlapping elements, or pop-ups that obscure everything – and make sure your developers fix the problems right away.

Focus on Page Speed and Security

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Page speed and security matter a great deal to search engines, but they matter even more to your users. As a result, focusing on these two elements will give you a huge double win as you improve the experience of your visitors while also boosting your page rank.

53% of users will leave a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Google will also drop your ranking if your site is slow. To solve speed issues, make sure your hosting is appropriate to your traffic level. Optimize images, video, and other page elements to load more quickly. Finally, take advantage of caching so that repeat visitors have an even faster load time.

What about security? If you don’t have a security protocol for your website (your domain doesn’t start with HTTPS://) then you’re well behind the curve. Way back in 2014 Google warned that HTTPS security was a ranking factor, and today users may be blocked from accessing your website if you don’t have it.

It’s not just search engines that care about security. Showing that you protect visitor and customer information is important to the general public as well. You’ll gain trust from your users if you make your security policy front and center – which will boost your leads and revenue over time.

Maximize On-Page SEO

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A lot of search engine ranking factors seem to be outside your control. However, the structure of your website, the keywords you use, and where you place your key content is all an essential part of your on-page SEO – which you control.

Make sure your website has a logical structure and is easy to navigate. Carefully consider the keywords you want to focus on. Don’t overlook longer keywords and locally-focused terms – often these will have the most impact.

Most of all, make sure you are regularly creating new content that is relevant and helpful to your customers. Answer key questions relating to your product or industry. Provide useful information in the form of text or video. Build trust and help your visitors see you as an authority.

If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. You can work with an experienced SEO consultant who can help you create and execute a high-quality strategy to boost your rankings through on-page SEO.

Manage Your Online Reputation

What’s in a name? Quite a lot, if you Google it! You want to make sure that when people search for your company name or industry, the information they find about you is accurate and mostly complimentary.

How do you do that? Step one is to claim your Google My Business page and make sure your information is fully filled out. From there, encourage your customers to leave reviews after each interaction. Hopefully, you’ll get a lot of positive feedback. This will not only help Google see that you’re a great company, but it will also encourage other potential customers to trust you as well.

With a great online reputation and a consistent presence across all platforms, you’ll make it easy for new customers to find you and realize that you’re the best provider for their needs.

SEO is Essential

SEO may not be your favourite topic, but in today’s digital world you can’t ignore the importance of your online stature. By following these tips you’ll be focusing on the most impactful SEO strategies, which will maximize the return you get for your efforts. Don’t wait – start today!