“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it” – Lord Kelvin
The British mathematical physicist and engineer who figured out the value for Absolute Zero (and has had Absolute temperatures named in his honor ever since) gave us a rule to live by as marketers and business people: If you want something improved, you have to be able to measure it... benchmark it, set goals round it, and figure out how to "move the needle".
We throw that "needle" phrase around a lot these days, especially when helping clients relaunch a stagnant website or begin using social media effectively. But what does it really mean to measure a business? What are the critical KPIs (key performance indicators)?
I was really impressed when a prospective client turned us onto the For Entrepreneurs blog by David Skok, a five-time serial entrepreneur turned VC, at Matrix Partners. He goes above and beyond and shares some serious know-how and business value in a post entitled, "SaaS Metrics 2.0 – A Guide to Measuring and Improving what Matters".
David uses HubSpot, of which we are a platinum agency partner, as one of his two primary examples, which makes the article even more compelling and timely.
If you have a Software as a Service or Subscription revenue model business, this post is a must read. If you're merely a fan of measurement and analysis, you'll get a ton of value out of reading it as well. Here's the premise of David's post:
SaaS/subscription businesses are more complex than traditional businesses. Traditional business metrics totally fail to capture the key factors that drive SaaS performance. In the SaaS world, there are a few key variables that make a big difference to future results. This post is aimed at helping SaaS executives understand which variables really matter, and how to measure them and act on the results.
The goal of the article is to help you answer the following questions:
- Is my business financially viable?
- What is working well, and what needs to be improved?
- What levers should management focus on to drive the business?
- Should the CEO hit the accelerator, or the brakes?
- What is the impact on cash and profit/loss of hitting the accelerator?
Read the entire blog post, "A Guide to Measuring and Improving what Matters".
What KPIs do you use to measure your business?
Tell us in the comments and we'll publish the more thoughtful responses.
Have you ever noticed that great sports teams are made up of players who perform their roles really well and understand their strengths & weaknesses? In basketball, it wouldn't make sense for a coach to ask their 7 foot Center to dribble the ball up the court every time, right? No, you'd prefer your quick and agile Point Guard to do the task of dribbling so they could get the ball into the hands of the Center under the basket. Turn and shoot - score! It's a well oiled machine when all roles work together playing to their strengths.
Your marketing team is no different. As your organization continues to build and develop Digital Marketing Equity™ with Connection Model, consider identifying what your team's strengths and passions are (and where you might need to make adjustments). HubSpot shows in their awesome Infographic, "Discover YOUR Marketing Super Powers", a decision tree to help identify what your interests are and where your strengths lie so your marketing team can perform to it's fullest potential. Each of the roles are critical to success.
Do your skills and passion relate to writing, publishing, analyzing or optimizing? Find out by following the Infographic below!
What Is Your Marketing Super Power
Have we missed a role that's critical to your organization? Let us know.
Here's an excerpt and Infographic from a fascinating study that was done to test the response -- by 14 major brands -- to individual customer service messages via Twitter. I found it intriguing, and thought we'd share it here on our blog. -DC
The Great Social Customer Service Race – 14 Top Brands Tested on Social Support Savvy
Guest post on Marketing Zen by Ashley Furness. Ashley is a market analyst with Software Advice, a lead generation and research advisory firm that offers software reviews and comparisons.
Today, consumers tend to base their purchase decisions on reviews, social media and referrals from friends. They are interested in marketing, but only if it matches their expectations about the brand.
If anyone had a handle on social customer service, I assumed 14 of the nation’s top brands – such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi – would be among them. But recently I completed a research project that tested this theory, and I came up with some surprising results.
The five-week project, dubbed “The Great Social Customer Service Race,” assessed the how quickly and often the companies responded on Twitter. Four Software Advice employees used their personal Twitter accounts to send messages to the brands, sometimes with the @ symbol and sometimes without the @. When the @ symbol is used, the account holder is notified that they’ve been mentioned in a tweet.
It’s not feasible to expect these brands – some receiving thousands of messages per day – to reply to everything. But we designed questions that should have received some kind of response based on social customer service best practices. Overall, the participants responded a mere 14 percent of the time.
Read more of this article: http://www.marketingzen.com/the-great-social-customer-service-race-14-top-brands-tested-on-social-support-savvy/#ixzz2Hb15r99L
The Results of the Study (via Infographic, of course!)
What do you think of this study? Did the results surprise you? Do you think there is opportunity in the emerging feield of Social Customer Service?
Google has compiled some valuable research on the wants and wishes of mobile website visitors, and HubSpot has made a list of 20 of the top stats available on their Inbound Marketing blog.
Still trying to make the case for mobile optimization of your company's website?
Or worse -- have you gotten the green light, but are so overwhelmed by the project that you don't know where to begin?
Makes sense. Starting from square one is hard. Google probably figured as much, and they graciously conducted a study to help make mobile marketers' lives a little bit easier: "What Users Want Most From Mobile Sites Today."
The study, which we found via Marketing Land, reports on two helpful perspectives. First, it helps you make the case for mobile site optimization by reporting on how smartphone users feel about mobile browsing experiences with businesses now. Then, it dives into the actual things smartphone users want from a company's mobile site.
With this data, you can build a case and actually make a user's dream scenario happen! Take a look at some of the highlights we've pulled from the study that we think will help you with your mobile marketing.
How Smartphone Users Feel About the Mobile Browsing Experience
1) 96% of smartphone users have encountered sites that weren't designed for mobile devices. Tweet This Stat!
2) 67% of users are more likely to purchase a product or service from a mobile-friendly site. Tweet This Stat!
3) 74% of users say they're also more likely to return to a site in the future if it's mobile-friendly. Tweet This Stat!
4) On the other hand, 79% of users who don't like what they find on a mobile site will go look for the information they need on another site. Tweet This Stat!
5) Additionally, 52% of users said a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company. Tweet This Stat!
6) And even if users really like a business, 50% of users will use that business less if their site isn't mobile-friendly. Tweet This Stat!
7) 48% of users say they feel frustrated and annoyed when on sites that are poorly optimized for mobile. 36% say they feel like they've wasted their time when they visit those sites. Tweet This Stat!
8) 48% of users that report a business' site didn't work well on their smartphones took it as an indication the company didn't care about their business. Tweet This Stat!
Read the entire post including 11 more stats on HubSpot's Inbound Marketing Blog.
For companies looking to drive business online, lots of time and money is invested in lead generation. But what happens when the leads start flowing in?
Unfortunately, it's easy to perform reverse alchemy on leads, taking a golden lead and turning it into lead. What's worse: oftentimes, this happens almost immediately.
The good news: it doesn't have to be this way. Successfully following up on a lead and starting the process that will take it to a sale doesn't have to be a trying and disappointing process.
Here are seven tips for following up on leads effectively.
1. Strike while the iron is hot
In many cases, a lead is an asset that depreciates in value very, very rapidly. As such, it's worth trying to respond to qualified leads as soon as humanly possible because your response time will often determine whether you close a sale or lose a sale you could have easily closed.
2. Read the lead
Common sense: it's important to read a lead so that you know who you're dealing with and what your opportunity may be. Fact: this doesn't always happen. To avoid looking unprepared or lazy, it can help to create a checklist that your inbound marketers use as part of the lead follow-up process.
3. Have the right person respond
To make the most of a lead, ensure that the person best capable of following up on it is the person who responds. While new prospects may necessarily have to deal with several people throughout the sales cycle, it is often desirable to ensure that their first point of contact is someone they can start to build a rapport, if not a relationship, with.
4. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone
Thanks to technology, phone calls are more and more infrequent for many individuals, particularly younger members of the workforce. But the phone is still a powerful sales tool and if your lead contains a phone number, make a habit of picking up the phone and dialing it.
5. Get on the same page
When speaking with a prospect, walk before you run. Even if your lead came with a lot of detail, it's important to confirm that you have a good understanding of what the prospect needs and haven't made any assumptions that could unnecessarily limit your opportunity, or ruin it altogether.
6. Set expectations and timeframes
In just about every aspect of sales and business, expectations are everything and it's never too early to set them. If an initial conversation with a lead confirms that there's an opportunity, take control. Once you're on the same page with the customer and understand her needs, you should at a minimum lay out what you think the sales cycle will look like. This includes proposing dates for key milestones.
7. Always respond
Not all leads are created equal. Some, unfortunately, are less-than-desirable for a variety of reasons. But provided that the individual who submitted the lead is a real person, a response should always be provided. Not only can this help maintain your reputation in the marketplace, it could ensure that you're kept in mind for future opportunities that may be a better fit.
View the original article on the Econsultancy blog, published September 12, 2012.
Most companies now look at social media as a key part of their marketing and overall business strategies, according to new research by Econsultancy and Adobe.
75% of digital marketers surveyed working for companies with annual revenue of less than $150MM agreed that ‘social media strategy is integral to business strategy’.
73% of small and mid-size company marketers said that social media activity was ‘integral to their marketing mix’.
Marketers in Larger Companies Agree: Social Media is integral to business strategy
Among larger companies the percentages were still overwhelming; 66% of digital marketers agreed that ‘social media strategy is integral to business strategy’, while 67% said that social media activity was ‘integral to their marketing mix’.
What is the Role of Social Media in your business?
Marketers in small-to-mid-size companies provided these as their top seven responses in the same survey:
- Brand / Awareness Channel (59% cited)
- Marketing Campaign Channel (44%)
- Content Marketing Channel (37%)
- Customer Service Channel (24%)
- Lead Generation Channel (19%)
- Sales Channel (6%)
- Retention Channel (5%)
What other business areas are impacted by social media activities?
Client-side marketers gave the following as their top seven responses:
- PR & Communications
- Web Analytics
- Email Marketing
- Customer Service
- Search Engine Marketing
- Personalization and Targeting
- Content Management Systems
Measuring the Impact of Social Media
Marketers were asked a series of questions related to the importance of measuring social media, the relative ease of doing so, and how they self assessed they were doing at this task.
Companies with less than $150MM in revenue responded that they agree with the importance, they find it very difficult, and the majority only aspire to have clear objectives for social media and measure against them:
Please read on for more on the Social Media study conducted by Adobe and Econsultancy
So where does this leave us?
It seems that businesses -- large and small -- overwhelmingly "get it":
- Social Media Strategy is vital to Business Strategy.
- They "get" that it can play an important role in several important channels of their business
- They overwhelmingly agree that MEASURING the impact of social media is very important
- But not many have even created clear objectives, let alone implemented the tools to effectively measure against those objectives.
What are your thoughts? What have you found is the greatest stumbling block in effectively goal setting or measuring performance of your social media?
Microsoft's Bing Search Engine (ahem, Decision Engine) has an interesting test going on this month to persuade search engine users to give their Bing search engine more serious consideration.
If the results reported by the independent study are right and users really do have a preference for Bing's results the majority of the time (and are persuaded to give Bing more of their searches) this would be really healthy for the Marketing Industry, in my opinion. Try the Bing It On challenge for yourself.
Why is Bing's Success Important?
- At 66%-68% share, Google has a dominant market position and has recently shown brazen moves to alter organic search results (all in the name of quality and relevancy, of course)
- A recent study by WordStream, "The War on Free Clicks", shows that Google is decreasing the amount of "real estate" on page devoted to organic search results in favor of paid results (for which Google increases its own revenue stream)
- A growing, viable competitor will keep innovation at the forefront and keep Google's monopolistic moves in check, benefiting Consumers (Searchers)
Are Bing's Results really better?
In my tests of the Bing it on challenge I saw mixed results, alternatively choosing Google or Bing by 3-2 margins. As a result, I can't say conclusively that Bing is better (100% of the time), but certainly it seems Bing has reached parity with Google, and has the advantage in many cases -- something they couldn't legitimately say 12 or 24 months ago. I personally will be using Bing more then I have to this point, as I love the amazing photographs they update daily on the Bing.com screen.
To Learn More on Bing's Challenge
1. Watch the Bing-produced video (below), 2. read Chris Crum's excellent article, "Are Bing’s Results Better Than Google’s?" and 3. take the Bing It On Challenge for yourself.
An excerpt from Chris' article on WebProNews:
According to Bing, people “chose Bing web search results over Google nearly 2 to 1.” Notice they said “Bing Web search results over Google,” rather than just “Bing over Google”. More on that later.
Also notice, they said “chose,” and not “choose.” That’s because this is based on a study Microsoft commissioned, and may not reflect the results from users using BingItOn.com (although I’d be very interested to see how it turns out once they’re done with the campaign. Maybe they’ll show us that later).
A Bing spokesperson told WebProNews in an email, “Although most people identify themselves as Google searchers, an independent study commissioned by Microsoft Corp. shows people chose Bing Web search results over Google nearly 2-to-1 in blind comparison tests. Given those findings, Bing decided it is time to let people see for themselves that there is a better option in search.”
Read the entire "Are Bing’s Results Better Than Google’s? article.
What do you think?
Are you seeing Inbound Marketing budgets take the place of more traditional outbound marketing budgets? Let us know in the comments section below.
Gary Vaynerchuk gives us the long and short of a new blogging platform called Medium in this compelling VIDEO review/editorial — and explains how tech-savvy teens are using Instagram to hide messages from their parents. Check it out here (link from video).
Do we really need another blogging platform? Why Medium? Why now?
(From the company's site)
"The Obvious Corporation decided to take on the project of building a new publishing platform from scratch, not just because it’s in our wheelhouse, but because we believe publishing—and media, more broadly—is important. It’s easy to forget this given how much pointless and destructive media is in the world. But there’s also more great stuff than ever before—and we haven’t even scratched the surface of what our smart devices and our networks that connect most of the planet might enable.
Media is still the “connective tissue of society,” as Clay Shirky eloquently put it. And we think it can be better. Better for creators. Better for consumers. Better for the world.
So, how does it work?
So, we’re re-imagining publishing in an attempt to make an evolutionary leap, based on everything we’ve learned in the last 13 years and the needs of today’s world...”
"Medium is designed to allow people to choose the level of contribution they prefer. We know that most people, most of the time, will simply read and view content, which is fine. If they choose, they can click to indicate whether they think something is good, giving feedback to the creator and increasing the likelihood others will see it.
Posting on Medium (not yet open to everyone) is elegant and easy, and you can do so without the burden of becoming a blogger or worrying about developing an audience. All posts are organized into “collections,” which are defined by a theme and a template.
We believe that good design supports the purpose (not just the appeal) of content, so Medium is diverse in look and feel—ranging from different types of articles to images to, eventually, much more.
Collections are sometimes closed (like this one) but optionally open to contributions. For example, here’s an open collection of crazy stories. Here’s one of nostalgic photos.
Collections give people context and structure to publish their own stories, photos, and ideas. By default, the highest-rated posts show up at the top, helping people get the most out of their time in this world of infinite information.
Together, the contributions of many add up to create compelling and useful experiences. You may be inspired to post one time or several times a day—either way is okay. If you’re more ambitious, you might create a collection of your own."
Sounds good. When can I get an account?
"We haven’t tied everything in Medium together yet, partly because we expect our ideas to evolve rapidly as we experiment and learn from usage.
As of today, everyone (with a Twitter account) can read and give feedback on Medium. Posting is limited to a small invited list of friends and family, which we’ll be expanding rapidly—soon, to those who have registered, so if you are interested please do so."
What do you think? Are you enthused to try out Medium?
I love the idea. I think we can always use additional publishing options in this connected world, but please... let us know what YOU THINK in the comments box below.
Take a minute and watch this "secret footage" video, reportedly taken from within the halls of Connection Model in June of 2012, as Jeff Egberg and David Carpenter "discuss" an overview of measuring two important website attributes: Bounce Rate and Search Visibility.
David & Jeff on Bounce Rate and Search Visibility by David Carpenter and Jeff Egberg.
If you have questions or comments, please leave them in the comments box below.