Category Archives: Social Media

The Basic Data Capture Mistake Almost Every Marketer Makes

As marketers, we know a large part of our job is to collect as much data about customers and prospects as possible. Feeding the database gives us leads to qualify and valuable data to mine.

So it makes perfect sense when we have something of value to these people—like some great content or special offers—that we should make them jump through a few data hoops before we let them at it. The least they could do is share their name, email, and maybe some lifestyle interests so we can contact them again in future. Isn’t it?

No! It turns out this is actually one of the worst things most marketers do online.

Next time you have something that other people would like to access, try this for a change:

Give it to them. Just let them have it. No forms to fill, no data to share. Just instant, free access to the content they desire.

But here’s the kicker. If they like what you gave them, now is the perfect time to ask them to do you a favour in return. Perhaps they could give you just a few pieces of contact information so you can stay in touch and share more great content like this in future.

You see, people who have just been given something are much more likely to give something in return. It’s called reciprocity, that sense of indebtedness that is hard-wired into human behaviour.

I-doubled-my-data-badgeAnd in tests, flipping the online data collection to take place after the gift is received allows marketers to capture twice as much data as before. Yes, that’s double the data for no extra effort.

Not only that, but it’s often better quality data too. The tyre kickers and time wasters have got what they wanted and are unlikely to want to stay in touch. But the people who really appreciate your content, who know that it can bring value into to their lives, have everything to gain by sharing their contact details.

But don’t just take my word for it. Put it to the test. Flip that data collection page in your website, or trial the alternatives alongside each other in an A/B test. If your website visitors are anything like every test sample I’ve ever encountered, you’ll soon see you data counts and quality climbing.

I know it feels counter-intuitive but, honestly, this really works.

Now, stop thinking about it. Go put it to the test!

Three Charms But Four Alarms

Three is the magic numberWork, Rest and Play (Mars)

Power, Beauty and Soul (Aston Martin)

Soft, Strong and Long (Andrex)

 

We humans love seeing choices or lists presented in groups of three. Three gives a natural balance to things, as does five or seven.

But three really is the magic number for marketers and copywriters.

A recent study for the Make-A-Wish Foundation sought to find the messaging sweet spot for securing charitable donations. They randomly assigned a different set of reasons to research participants, each of which was designed to persuade them to part with their hard earned money.

TMIOne group received two egoistic reasons to give, another received two altruistic reasons to donate, and a third received all four reasons combined. Those in the last group, who were presented with four reasons to give, were less likely to donate than the other groups who received just two. It seems that at a count of four, the attempt to persuade had been too obvious, resulting in the participants actually being dissuaded to donate.

In another test, subjects were shown ads for a brand of shampoo that carried between one and six benefit claims. Those who were given an ad carrying just three claims rated the shampoo more highly than those receiving more or fewer claims. Again, it would appear that one or two benefits are not quite enough to persuade us, yet four or more start to feel like desperation, resulting in scepticism that throws into doubt the veracity of all of the claims.

So, next time you’re trying to persuade someone, keep your list of reasons why they should believe you to three. Simple. As. That.

Source and further reading: Influence at Work blog

Mind The Gap – Consumers 1 v Marketers 0

Mind The Gap London Tube

We live in a fast-changing world. Which means the longer you’ve held an opinion, the greater the chances your views may have fallen behind the times.

The latest fast.MAP Marketing Gap study (the 9th annual edition) shows once again how disconnected some marketers’ views are from those of their customers. Let’s take a look at some of the findings:

MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS

Overall, marketers expect around twice as many people to be “happy to receive” marketing communications than consumers claim. Across the 29 industries examined, the most welcomed sector for email marketing amongst consumers is ‘competitions’, appreciated by 32% of consumers. The least welcome are mortgages (6%) and loans/credit cards (7%), the appeal of which was over-estimated by marketers by more than a factor of two (at 15% and 18% respectively).

In fact, 58% of consumers now state they would prefer not to be contacted at all, through any channel, by companies they have no relationship with. Marketers again underestimate the extent of consumer rejection by almost 25%, believing that only 44% of consumers would feel this way.

Preferred Communication Methods Chart

TELEPHONY

No surprise that all forms of telephony marketing (landline/mobiles calls and SMS) are uniformly disliked, being welcomed by no more than 4% of consumers in any category. Yet marketers still over-estimate consumer willingness for telephony by between 100% and 400%. Two people in three would opt-out of text messaging marketing completely if there were a “Text Preference Service” that operates like the existing Telephone Preference Service,

Almost half (45%) of consumers now claim to hang up straight away when they receive a marketing or sales call, that’s up from 36% in 2011. Almost 1 in 10 (the mischievous 9%) will leave the phone off the hook to tie up the call centre line!

DIRECT MAIL

Around a third (32%) of consumers will open direct mail from any company (down from 38% in 2011), but marketers under-estimate this at 24%. It seems the general public is still more likely to open direct mail than the industry believes. It’s not all good news though; almost one in four consumers (23%) say they now don’t open any direct mail, up from 13% in 2011.

Interestingly, marketers also routinely overestimate the value of creativity in some channels. For direct mail materials, a third of marketers (33%) think interesting packaging will ensure it gets opened, but only 18% of consumers agree. Similarly one in four marketers (25%)  think design can increase open rates, but only 9% of consumers share this sentiment. An attractive envelope can motivate 10% of consumers to open a direct mail pack, but that is well short of the 18% estimated by marketers.

REVIEWS

Many businesspeople are terrified of negative consumer reviews, with marketers estimating that 23% of people share negative experiences through review sites. But the reality is that only a tiny minority (4%) of consumers behave this way.

Why We Write Reviews

With this in mind, surely marketers must have a clear grasp on the channels consumers most want to use when dealing with a customers services team? Again, the opinions of marketers seem well wide of the mark, with 21% thinking people would most prefer to use the phone, while in fact 32% of consumers would now most prefer to use email. Twitter, Facebook and LiveChats are also less likely to be used by consumers seeking customer service assistance than marketers believe:

Customer Service Preferences

SHARING

But, thankfully, everyone’s sharing content online these days. Except they’re not. More than half of all consumer (54%) say they don’t share any content online, but marketers estimate this amount at just 24%. And amongst those who do share content, most do so to entertain or make others aware, quite different and more altruistic motivations than those cited by marketers:

Content Sharing

DEVICES

At least we know which devices consumers use these days. Most people have a tablet and smartphone, right? Nope! The laptop and desktop computer remain by far the most popular tools for internet access, underestimated by marketers by 45% and 30% respectively . Now we know why those fancy tablet and smartphone apps alone were not enough to hit last quarter;’s sales target.

Internet Access

COUPONS

How much must the face value of a coupon be before it will be redeemed. Marketers, it seems, have more expensive tastes than the average consumer. 81% of consumers will happily redeem a 50p (UK pence) coupon, up from 74% last year. But only 23% of marketers feel that a 50p coupon is sufficient to encourage redemption. Sometimes, it doesn’t take a huge reward to incentivise buying behaviour:

Coupons

And while we’re on the topic of coupon discounts, only 20% of consumers claim to have used Groupon in the last year, well short of the 50% estimated by marketers. Similarly, newspaper collectible offers like The Sun Holidays and Daily Mirror LEGO are only used by 7% of consumers, against a 21% prediction by marketers. Most consumers, it would seem, simply cannot be bothered with collecting tokens any more.

PRICE PROMOTIONS

Consumers love price offers, far more than most marketers realise or are prepared to admit. A staggering 85% of consumers would be happy to switch brand if an alternative brand offered  a ‘Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF) deal, but only 42% of marketers believe this could happen. Even a 10% price advantage would be enough to switch brands for 68% of shoppers, far more than the 24% claimed by marketing professionals.

Price Offers

CSR

A quarter of marketers believe that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is unimportant, but only 7% of consumer agree, with the majority (60%) saying they feel it is very or quite important. Proof, if it were needed, that consumers expect companies to do the right thing and be held to account if their actions don’t benefit society as a whole.

 

SUMMARY

I’ve shared a lot of data in this blog post. The headline findings though are consistent: many consumer attitudes are changing very rapidly and marketers are often out of tune with real world consumers.

Ostrich Man Head in the SandThe only way to find out if your long-held opinions may have passed their expiry date is to stay closely connected to your customers.

  • Don’t stick your head in the sand and fall into the trap of believing accepted wisdom

  • Don’t lose sight of the realities of the modern world; some things change quickly, others take a little longer to become mainstream

Get out and speak with your customers, live in their shoes, see how they live their lives.

The opinion gap between consumers and marketers is as big as ever. What will you do, right now, to close the gap in your organisation?

This Is Not An Insight at Social Media Week

It’s Social Media Week (#SMW) in London and other cities around the world.  And, like any social media conference, the microphone seems to attract more than its fair share of nonsense and misguided opinions masquerading as facts.

Fortunately there’s a deliciously barbed anonymous Tumblr page to bring our attention to some of the most mindless tweets emanating from any of SMW’s events across the capital. Not every victim deserves the pillaring they get, but others have no-one to blame but themselves.

Stunning revelation

2006 called

The irony of the social media industry’s biggest enemy being social media itself isn’t lost here.

We’re all guilty of a lazy tweet here and there, and not everyone was early to the party. But let’s hope that this very not-so-gentle kick up the backside may encourage our industry’s spokespeople and observers to start thinking more deeply about the issues and the profound importance they have for our society. I know our industry can do better than this.

Why You Should Schedule Your Updates With Buffer

Buffer has been a staple ingredient in my social media management workflow for a couple of years now. If you’ve not tried it yet, now’s the time!

One million Buffer users It’s a simple, free tool that allows users to schedule tweets and posts to other social networks including Facebook (pages and profiles), LinkedIn (profiles, groups and company pages), Google+ (pages only) and App.net. And with yesterday’s announcement that Buffer now has one million users, the future looks bright for the business that Joel started in Birmingham UK in October 2010.

Why would you want to schedule posts?

If you’re anything like me, you don’t spend all day monitoring social media channels. Every once in a while you get a few minutes to read some interesting articles and blogs. And if you see something you’d like to share you know how easy it is to post it to one of your social networks. But if you only send out posts there and then, there’s a risk you could be seen to be spamming your followers with lots of content in one go. And anyone who’s not online at that moment may miss the great content you’d love them to see. By scheduling your posts to drip feed out over the coming hours, you enable your followers to hear from you regularly and you increase the likelihood that they’ll engage with your content.

So, what does Buffer do and how does it work?

In a nutshell, Buffer acts as a holding bay for your social media posts. Rather than sending them out immediately, it puts them to one side and sends them at a later scheduled time. There are two ways to tell Buffer when to publish your posts: there’s an auto-schedule that you configure so posts go out at the times/days when your audience is most likely to be online and there’s a custom schedule which allows you to specify when each individual post should go live.

Unlike some tools like Hootsuite, which only schedules in five minute increments, you can specify the exact time (to the nearest minute) your posts should go out. Buffer also integrates with tools like SocialBro, allowing them to configure your auto-schedule based on audience data collected from the social web. It’s this sort of functionality that gives me confidence that Buffer will send my posts out at the right times of day.

Buffer also provides detailed analytics for each post it sends (with optional link shortening through buff.ly, bit.ly or j.mp) and allows you to reorder or edit scheduled posts if required. I also use the app extension for Buffer in the Chrome browser giving me one click access to schedule posts to any of my social networks.

It’s a freemium model, of course, so there’s also a paid for version of the tool. At $10 per month (or $8.50 on a yearly contract) the Awesome Plan adds extended support for unlimited posts, up to 12 social profiles and allows two team members to manage one Buffer profile.

Of course, there are many other tools that can help you schedule posts in the future, but the superb performance of Buffer and its great customer service means it remains a firm favourite here at Wild Orange Media Towers.

To get started with buffer, click over to http://www.bufferapp.com. I think you’ll like it.

How To Fly A Plane With A Hashtag

Race the Plane microsite

It may be a barely veiled attempt to drive Twitter mentions, but you have to admire BA’s Race The Plane competition that’s running in the UK today.

The campaign idea is simplicity itself. Twitter users can race (virtually) a BA jet flying from London to Toronto by tweeting with the hashtag #racetheplace. Presumably—although it’s not explained on the microsite—every tweet increases the distance travelled by the “tweetliner.” Meanwhile, back in the real world, a BA Dreamliner plane is making the actual journey with the distance it has travelled shown on the site.

It’s unclear what the point of the game is, other than giving Twitter users the chance to win flight tickets by taking part. Whether the Dreamliner or Tweetliner arrives first at its destination seems largely academic, but that hasn’t stopped some feverish tweeting from people willing the Tweetliner to win!

We shouldn’t analyse this too deeply, but I can’t help wondering if any of this is actually happening in real time? The two planes seem remarkably close today, just as the marketing team would want to stoke up continued tweeting.

But, that stuff doesn’t really matter. BA has taken a simple idea, presented it tastefully and simply in a dynamic, responsive site, incorporated a succinct promotional video and social proof in a Twitter stream, and seems to be driving lots of mentions across the Twittersphere. Plus they’ve made it easy for players to share the competition to Facebook, and Google+ too, what’s not to like?

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