Crocs and the Power of Their Gen-Z Advocates!

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An interesting post on the Glossy blog tells the story of how Crocs has leveraged user generated content from their Gen-Z fans. They have zoomed up the list of teens’ favorite brands, from 27th in 2018 to 13th last year. With well defined user segments, Crocs knew they had a young set of fans, and they were becoming an increasingly important consumer segment. Crocs wanted to increase their digital activity and relevancy and looked to user generated content from this younger segment. If you’ve thought of Crocs as footwear for gardeners, they are now seen everywhere from London Fashion Week, the pages of Vogue, to the feet of Dame Helen Mirren. Customer advocates are partially responsible for Crocs huge increase in popularity. A story worth a read, really highlights the power of customers telling a brand’s story.

The SCARF Model: Product Insights, Customer Motivation

This article from Justin Owings discusses a fairly simple model for motivation and how it can apply to your products and your customers. What makes your customers, your advocates, act?  What makes them pull away or ignore requests? The SCARF model was created by Dr David Rock. It is about understanding motivation. You can read Dr Rock’s publication SCARF: A Brain-Based Model for Collaborating With and Influencing Others. At the basis is the thought that we are motivated to approach good stimuli or rewards, and we disengage or avoid stimuli we see as bad or a thread. 

The acronym "SCARF" stands for status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness. Very briefly, if you use the model to gain insight to your products you might think through the following questions:  

Status: how does your product elevate the status of your customers?

Certainty: How does the product assure users it does what it's says it does?

Autonomy: How does my product empower my users to act?

Relatedness: How does my product help me connect to others?

Fairness: Is my product fair?

Dr Rock originally created the SCARF model to help us understand our motivations and the motivations of others. As we see above the model can help you gain insights to your products. The model has also been used as a framework for thinking through personas and then crafting collateral and messaging which then resonates with target markets.

What are your thoughts on the SCARF model and how it might apply to your products, processes, or customers?

 

Learn from 777 Million Facebook posts!

If your company uses Facebook as part of their marketing portfolio you should look at this post  by Susan Moeller of BuzzSumo. To help us all understand how we can drive more engagement via Facebook BuzzSumo analyzed 777 MILLION posts. 

As with previous years, video is the most engaging type of Facebook post. 59% more engagement than other types of posts, with 3-4 minutes being the sweet spot in terms of length.

There is information about best time of day, best day of the week, optimal length of text posts, and so much more. Some of the information may not hold true for your specific audience but will give you helpful information nonetheless.

Also of interest is the data about the Facebook pages with the most engagement for 2018. They may give you ideas to improve your page’s engagement, even if you don’t feature vides of babies, animals, or food! The author does a good job of highlighting what each page does well and how it might apply to others.

Read the post to the end for helpful tips on how you can improve your reach.  Look at your own data, analyze your most successful posts and see what you can apply elsewhere.  Adjust, analyze, and repeat.

While some of the information in this post is specific to BuzzSumo the majority will be helpful to anyone who uses Facebook as part of their marketing.

Customer Expectations - Research from Salesforce

Salesforce recently surveyed nearly 7000 consumers and business buyers to understand how customer expectations are changing, which technologies are impacting the consumer experience, and why trust is increasingly important.  The full report can be downloaded here. There is a summary blog post here. The blog post has much more detail, but here are the highlights of 5 of the report’s key findings:

· Eighty percent of customers say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services · Eighty-two percent of business buyers want the same experience as when they’re buying for themselves · Seventy percent say connected processes are very important to win their business · Fifty-nine percent say they’re open to companies using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their experiences · Sixty-two percent of customers say they’re more afraid of their data being compromised now than they were two years ago

Consumers want personalized experiences and connections with the companies they frequent. At the same time, they don’t fully trust companies to adequately protect personal information. This is an issue gaining in importance daily. How does your company build trust with your customers? What trends do you see in customer expectations and do they align with the Salesforce research? This is an important area, the report is worth reading.

Ensure the voice of your customer is strong throughout the buying cycle

With buyers looking for input from their peers more and more often, be it in consumer or B2B situations, it’s increasingly important to ensure that you have the voice of your customers prominent in all stages of the buying cycle. Hubspot research shows that sales and marketing people are not viewed as particularly trustworthy.  In fact only 3% of survey respondents trust salespeople. To put that in context politicians are at 1% and lawyers at 12%. Though 49% of us trust doctors.

With low trust for sales and marketing, buyers are turning to people they know and trust, their peers and your customers. It’s increasingly important to have the voice of your customer prominent at each stage of the buying cycle. Where to start?  This infographic  from ROInnovation is one example of how you can map customer content to the stages of the buying cycle. While it may not be the perfect fit for your company it’s a good place to start.  What customer content do you have?  Is it easy to find and being used appropriately? What are you missing? Anything you would add to the infographic? Give us your thoughts below. 

The Piece is Done - Now What?

You have worked with your advocate and created a fantastic video or case study.  It’s on your web site, but now what!  How do you get additional visibility for this great piece that sings the praises of your products as well as showcases your customer as innovative and a thought leader? Social media is one approach. These stats from April show that Facebook has 2B, yes billion, active users each month. Instagram, number 6 on the list,  has over 800 million active users. .

Here is an article from Influitive, with ideas on how to best use a range of channels to get higher visibility for your content. You need to give thought to language, time of day for posts, audience and much more. For example, with LinkedIn Influitive encourages you to consider targeted updates on your company page, rather than aiming at your entire audience.

In addition to social media consider email. An article from eMarketer shows that email ROI is more than 4X that of other marketing formats! What about your company blog? Many of our clients do blog posts about new customer content.

Do post pieces on your website but don't stop there.  Get your company, and your advocate, additional visibility.  What approach has been most successful for you? Share your tips!

Marketing blogs - reviews of the best

This blog post is one of about 2.5 million that will be published today. A number that is growing.  So how do you find quality content?  Specific to content marketing blogs this article  from SnapApp offers a good starting point. They scoured the web, reviewing blogs based on quality, frequency, and reader engagement and came up with a list of 109.

Now 109 is still a lot but they have divided them into 14 categories – social media, account based marketing, and marketing technology , to name just a few. In addition, there is a short description of each and a link to a recommended post.  With this list you are bound to find helpful sources of information. 

How many will you start to follow? Which are already on your favorites list?

The Power of B2B Referrals

Nearly all B2B decision makers start their journey with a referral.  By nearly all, the Edelman Trust Barometer says 84%.  That is significant.  This, and other important stats, are shared in an infographic on the Influitive blog titled, "17 B2B Referral Statistics You Should Know (But Probably Don’t)".

Influitive teamed with Heinz marketing to survey North America B2B professionals from sales pros to executives. The results tell us a lot about the impact of B2B referrals on both sales pipeline and revenue growth.

It’s clear that referrals have a higher conversion rate and close faster than deals from other sources. You can see the stats in the infographic plus access the complete report. Even though referral sales are so very valuable it’s surprising a larger percentage of companies don’t have a formal referral program. This study notes only 30% have such a program.

Does your company have a referral program? Do you leverage your advocacy program through to referrals? Share your insights below.

Document your communication processes - the many benefits

The Forbes Communication Council recently shared their ideas  for documenting communication processes. Those processes are often fundamental to business success and once in place will allow you to act quickly and even scale smoothly.  They share an eye-opening stat that communication breakdowns can cost businesses as much as $37 billion a year!  The 14 council members each share a tip. Whether it’s ‘Start with the Basics’, ‘Create a Handbook’, or ‘Know Who to Ask and When’ the ideas are sound and with information on how it’s helped council members or how they implemented the idea internally.  Council members span universities to high tech companies like Cisco and Microsoft. Obviously successful organizations we can all learn from!  It’s a quick article that is sure to give you ideas to improve your documentation as well as your communication processes.

Millennials Want Your Brand to be Authentic

This article, originally published at HuffPost isn’t brand new but the points are ones heard from many arenas. Matthew Tyson’s article is titled “Millennials Want Brands To Be More Authentic. Here’s Why That Matters.” He talks about how millennials are not influenced by traditional advertising and they will soon be the group with the largest market impact. That matters.

Firms will need to evolve and work with this changing reality. Tyson says millennials want to be engaged and they want brands to be authentic. Tyson goes on to give his view of what companies can  do to be more authentic. His recommendations are for companies to communicate more, be transparent, be relevant, and to care. It’s a quick read but within each category he raises some interesting points.

How is your firm addressing the evolving marketing place?  Share with us how your firm is changing to stay relevant for millennials, we’re interested to learn from your experiences.

Personas - mistakes to avoid

Do you use personas to help shape your content and programs?  This article by Jessica Vionas on the Business2Community site points out some traps to avoid as you are developing buyer personas. Mistake number one is making assumptions.  Many of us have been guilty of that, especially if you do not have funds for research.  Ideally you would be able to interview a subset of your customers rather than rely solely on market research.  Just don't skip research! Use that knowledge to create fact based, not assumption based, personas. Once you begin to develop your personas the article suggests not slicing and dicing too finely.  How many personas do you really need?  What differentiates one persona from another?  Roles are often used but is it really the role the person is in or is it the challenges they face which are the key differentiators of your various personas?

We hope the last mistake covered in the article is not true for you – creating personas and then not using them!  As the articles says, that is “just silly”.  I suspect some might have even stronger language for that situation!

Do you have fact based personas that you use as you develop content and programs?  Share your experiences in how they have helped you be successful. 

Is your business getting the most from micro-moments?

Are you part of a B2C company? If you’re not, you no doubt interact with them as a consumer, so the following is relevant to all of us. A recent Salesforce blog post  titled, “Micro-Moments to Transform the Customer Experience”, starts off with a bang:  "According to the fourth annual "State of Marketing" report, here, brands are increasingly competing on customer experience. In fact, 52% of B2C customers are likely to hop to the competition if you aren’t delivering a personalized experience."

52% is an astounding number. The article focuses on “micro-moments”, a term credited to Google. Micro-moments are all those time consumers turn to their mobile devices to answer an immediate question. They are key opportunities to present a great customer experience and even to increase customer loyalty. Each time we look for a review, check on status of a shipment, pull up tickets on our phone and so forth are key elements of our relationship with any business, including yours. 

The blog post has stories from many different companies about how they are using these micro-moments to improve the customer experience. It’s worth a read, it may spark a great idea for your company!

Vote for 2017 Advocate Marketing Program of the Year – Deadline is Nov 24

BAMMIESThe Best Advocate Marketing Awards (BAMMIES for short) are produced by Influitive and designed to showcase the great strides that are being made by B2B marketing leaders who are working with their advocates to drive brand, demand and revenue.  The BAMMIES are awarded annually.  The 10 categories include “Building Event Buzz with an Advocate Swarm”, “The Advocate Marketing Hall of Fame”, and the big one – “The Advocate Marketing Program of the Year”.  You can vote for the winner of the latter category, which is awarded to the program you think has delivered measurable value through inspiring and flawless execution. Vote here.    

Here are the 2017 Advocate Marketing Program of the Year finalists, congratulations to all!

  • Ceridian HCM
  • Cisco
  • DocuSign
  • GoGuardian
  • InTouch Health
  • Pearson
  • PowerDMS
  • Staples 

Hurry, voting ends Friday, November 24 at 5 pm EST. Winners will be recognized at the Best Advocate Marketing Awards ceremony at Advocamp on December 6th-8th, 2017, in San Francisco.

Longer attention span: your target audience or a goldfish?

Longer attention span: your target audience or a goldfish? Hard to believe but the average person’s attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish! An article in Time Health quotes a Microsoft study which shows a human will pay attention for 8 seconds and a goldfish for 9! Our digital lifestyle may make us better multitaskers but we’re also easily distracted. There is a lot of content out there, coupled with short attention spans, it’s not easy to stand out from the crowd.

This  post from RO Innovation makes the case that video can be the way to go instead of the case study format. Our brains actually process video faster than text.

Think about how video might work for you as you share stories of your customers and your brand. Our clients have a clear need for written content but we’re seeing an increase in the desire for video. Often times our interviews will become both short and compelling video pieces and a complimentary case study with greater detail. We’re about to send a team to Australia for a second time this year to create video and written case studies for our clients. There are a lot of interesting customer stories among Australian businesses! Whether your customer is in Australia or right next door, think about the format which will tell their story best.

IDC Research: The Role of Marketing in Customer Advocacy

Our partner, Influitive, has a variety of great resources for those in the customer advocacy field.  One is recent research from IDC, The Role of Marketing in Customer Advocacy which you can download here.   The world has changed, how buying decisions are made has changed, and customer advocacy is more crucial than ever for continued business success. The report has interesting commentary and charts about how advocate marketing staff splits their time among their many responsibilities and which advocate marketing tactics are most common.  There is also discussion of common barriers and suggestions for key success metrics.  The research concludes with recommendations for success. 

This is worth a read.  Let us know if the content resonates with you.  Is this is what you are seeing in your industry, with your clients?  Interested in your thoughts!

Facebook: 500 New Users Every 60 Seconds

Whether personally or professionally, it’s likely you use Facebook.  Just last month Facebook hit the milestone of 2 billion, yes billion, users.  Nearly 25% of the world’s population uses Facebook.  These stats and others are in a recent post from Business2Community by Mandy Edwards, 20 Facebook Statistics for 2017, here.   Did you know Shakira has the most Facebook fans of any musician? Or that 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound?

From a business perspective 40% of Facebook users have never liked a business page, yet Facebook is the social platform marketers say is most important.  If you have decided Facebook is a good channel for your business, how do you make your business page stand out? Are you reaching your social, and more specifically, your Facebook goals?  Let us know.

Video in Australia

pexels-photo-68704We have two team members headed to Australia for video shoots.  They should be there now but their flight got cancelled last night so they have a ‘fun’ day working from LA.  Fingers crossed that they jet off tonight.  It would be nice to have a day to adjust rather than having to run from a 17 hour flight straight to the customer site!    We’re seeing more and more use of video with customer advocacy, and for good reason.  This article from Insivia has some very interesting statistics, 27 Stats About Video in 2017.  Bottom line, people are viewing a lot of video, more every day.  Executives are viewing and sharing video, 4X as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, and marketers who use video grow revenue faster than those who don’t. The stats in the article have links to the source so you can learn more.  The article has a lot of information which helps reinforce the importance of video.   

If you are using video great.  If not, give it a serious thought and give us a call so we can show you how effective video can be in your advocacy work and help you join the majority of marketers using video.

Email Trends

An interesting article and infographic from ReachMail  here. "Work Email Trends After Hours”.  They surveyed 1000 people who consider email important to their work, in the US, about their email use and discovered some interesting trends and even regional differences, here are a few:

  • 49% of millennials have never sent a work email after 9pm
  • 75% of us check work email on our days off
  • 71% of us on the West Coast check email on vacation vs. 61% of the total surveyed 

It’s interesting information.  Not only is email important for our work we use email with many of our clients as the fundamental way to interact with their customers.  Looking at this information can give us some insight into responses.   

What fact did you find most surprising?  How about that only 54% feel they receive more email now than they did 3 years ago! I don’t know about you but we get lots more!

You have 37 seconds!

The average reader will spend only 37 seconds on your blog post or article according to recent research from Business 2 Community.  See their infographic here.  It has statistics and trends for content marketing in 2017.    While a successful bull ride is only 8 seconds, 37 seconds is terribly short when you think about your content and your audience. The infographic has a wide range of additional information about content - from percent of emails now opened on mobile devices (53%) to the percent of tweets with images that are retweeted (150%) compared to those without photography or graphics. 

Content does impact the experience your customers have with your brand, it’s worth looking at this information and thinking through your content strategy.  Does this confirm or contradict what you are seeing?  Which stat did you find most surprising? Will there be changes to how you approach content in 2017?  Comment below.

Content Marketing: B2B Research

The Content Marketing Institute recently released a new report “B2B Content Marketing.  2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America” available  here. Just what is content marketing?  To quote them: “Content marketing is the practice of creating relevant and compelling content in a consistent fashion to a targeted buyer, focusing on all stages of the buying process, from brand awareness through to brand evangelism.”

Relevant and compelling content is very important to our organization as I’m sure it is to yours.  This report focuses on B2B engagement and shows in general companies feel they have improved over last year, more success and impact from their content marketing.  Especially interesting is the information on what differentiates the top performers, those that say they are extremely or very successful with their content marketing efforts.  Just two stats from the report – 81% are clear on what success is and 88% of top marketing performers measure the ROI of their content marketing.

Do you have clear goals in this area and how do you track return?  The report is worth a read, give us your thoughts.