ROI

The Power of Transformation

Shifting Focus to the Customer, Not the Product
Many organizations have struggled with moving from product-centric to customer-centric over the years. Some have achieved this transformation, others have not. Of course, this transformation is just the beginning, as improving the customer experience will always be a journey and not a destination. However, for those well along the path toward being customer-centric, the results have been clearly positive.
Five Key Elements in Transforming the Customer Experience
Transformation is not easy. According to an article published by McKinsey, the most important criteria for getting a transformation effort off to a fast start is to find the parts of the organization where a leader and at least some employees want to change. These prospective change agents can be high performers who want to get better or stragglers who need to improve quickly. Either way, picking those who are the most willing can ensure you get off the starting-block quickly. The article goes on to provide five essential elements to achieving a customer experience transformation, as illustrated in the following info-graphic:

This is a great guideline. It starts with identifying your change agents within the organization and defining your vision. Governance and ownership around the implementation and execution of your vision is critical and will be key to the success of your transformation.
From there you embark on your initiatives and measure performance and progress. Continuous change management is also increasingly important, as the more you improve, the higher the expectations become.
Look to Industry Leaders as Examples
A commitment to following this guideline is imperative as the journey will not be an easy one. However, for those that chose the path to transforming to a customer-centric organization focused on continuous improvement of the customer experience, the ROI has been there in both the bottom-line and brand recognition.
Here is a list from a Forbes article of five organizations with great customer service, as published by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), along with some commentary. These organizations have made the transformation and you should hopefully recognize these names.
1. Chick-fil-A
Category: Limited-Service Restaurant
Score: 86.0
ACSI commentary: “Chick-fil-A seems to have the recipe for great customer experiences with its more focused menu and great service.”
Customers say: “The professionalism and courtesy of the Chick-fil-A staff are far superior to any other chain restaurant I’ve frequented.”
Claim to fame: Its employees were rated the most polite in their industry category. When it comes to companies that have the best customer service, Chick-fil-a can’t fly any higher.
2. Trader Joe’s
Category: Supermarkets
ACSI Score: 85.4
ACSI commentary: “From its private label staples to its organic produce, Trader Joe’s has carved out a niche that has propelled its rapid growth.”
Customers say: “From the selection of products that you can only get there to the quality of service you can get nowhere else they’re always my first choice. Trader Joe’s products are the standard by which I measure other stores.”
Claim to fame: It’s one of America’s top employers, according to, ahem, us.
3. Aldi
Category: Supermarkets
ACSI Score: 85.0
ACSI commentary: “Like its subsidiary Trader Joe’s, Aldi’s no-frills approach seems to connect with consumers and has fueled rapid growth over the past decade.”
Customers say: “Aldi has everything I need at the lowest prices in a small area that feels like a Mom and Pop store. I love the personal feel of the store combined with the high quality and low prices every day.”
Claim to fame: ALDI is big here, but their customer service reputation is even bigger in the UK, where it nabbed the top spot in a recent survey.
4. Amazon
Category: Internet Retail
ACSI Score: 84.8
ACSI commentary: “The world’s largest internet retailer has mastered a combination of value, satisfaction, and delivery efficiency that consumers love.”
Customers say: “Infinite variety on one site without having to search multiple brands and companies online.”
Claim to fame: A few years ago, ForeSee ranked Amazon highest in overall customer satisfaction in its survey with a score of 90, the highest ever recorded by the firm.
5. Lexus
Category: Automobiles
ACSI Score: 84.6
ACSI commentary: “Toyota’s Lexus brand has been a perennial leader among not just automakers, but luxury brands around the world.”
Customers say: “It makes me feel pampered because it’s so comfortable and well designed and I love driving it.”
Claim to fame: J.D. Power has repeatedly recognized Lexus for its outstanding customer service.
Commit to Change
They go on to list an additional fifteen companies in the list, but you get the picture. The results are clear.

Success begins with a commitment to change, enabled by empowered people that are committed to change.
Is your organization ready to join this list?

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Customer-Centric Culture

Culture is defined by actions. It is a tangible presence customers can see and feel in the way you engage them, respond to them, and present the product. Creating the right culture within your enterprise is, therefore, a matter of giving employees the right customer success tools and establishing best practices for using them.
In today’s digitized, subscription-based environment, these best practices are based on finding out all you can about your customers and then using that data to create a customer-centric experience. This way, every customer interaction is informed by as much personal information as possible. Creating a customer-centric culture means encouraging customer success teams to shape their everyday workflow around delivering customer lifetime value.
Why a Customer-Centric Culture Matters
Zoom CEO, Eric Yuan, is so committed to creating a customer-centric culture that he spends up to 70% of his time personally engaging with the video conferencing vendor’s customers. Mr. Yuan says he prioritizes nurturing existing customers above searching for new ones and that this commitment is integral to Zoom’s success. In practical terms, Mr. Yuan has built a culture that values customer engagement above sales quotas and long-term customer growth above securing new business.
Such a dramatic shift in business priorities requires a change in company behavior that can seem daunting. To make it easier to understand how to go about creating a customer-centric culture, we’ve put together a list of strategies that will help your enterprise focus on its customers:

Share knowledge and responsibility across the enterprise
Use the right customer success metrics
Proactively engage customers
Prioritize lifetime value

Succeeding in a recurring revenue environment depends on ensuring your customer is continually satisfied, and these best practices will help you do just that.
Share Knowledge and Responsibility Across the Enterprise
In order to create a customer-centric culture, you need every team member to contribute to and take responsibility for customer satisfaction. That means giving everyone access to the customer success platform and ensuring they log all relevant customer data. This strategy encourages cross-functional engagement and lets the customer know that their experience is important to every member of the team.
The voice of the customer is heard in every piece of information you collect. From usage rates to escalations, from feature adoption to survey responses, the customer is always telling you about their pain points and expectations. All you have to do is monitor the flow of data and proactively work to keep the customer happy.
Use the Right Customer Success Metrics
A customer-centric culture means putting greater emphasis on long-term metrics and practical business ROI. The customer success metrics you should monitor include:

How engagement affects revenue
The customer’s use of the product
The customer’s product ROI

As a recurring revenue enterprise, your growth is tied to the growth of the customer. It’s important to measure your success against metrics that have a direct impact on how the customer uses the product.
Proactively Engage Customers
Don’t get trapped in a reactionary cycle of customer engagement that leaves you one step behind the customer’s expectations. Waiting until problems arise or generic milestones are achieved to take action means falling out of touch with the customer.
Instead, you should be tracking where your customers are having issues and identify where there is room for growth. You can map the customer journey to visualize the success cycle and improve the customer experience.
Similarly, you can use your experience with previous customers to anticipate potential bottlenecks and common obstacles. This allows you to offer solutions before the customer even realizes they have a problem.
Prioritize Lifetime Value
The customer-centric model requires you to think of customers in terms of lifetime value rather than short-term transactions. Customer expectations are higher than ever due to the rise of highly responsive companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon. As such, it’s critical that your enterprise provides customers with continued satisfaction and growth. Companies have to reshape themselves in the customer’s image in order to respond to and predict their needs.
Some ways you can more effectively engage customers in order to maximize lifetime value include:

Comprehensive, continual monitoring of customer behavior.
Rapid response to customer behavior or escalations.
Proactive communication about product updates.
Personalized customer engagement.
Optimized customer onboarding.

Don’t think of your customers as quarry to be won in a single sales event. Rather, think of it as a valuable relationship that needs constant, lifelong attention.
Create a Company-Wide Customer-Centric Culture
It’s important that your entire enterprise embraces a customer-centric approach. At its core, this means trying to change the dominant mindset within your organization to place the customer at the center of everything you do.
After all, your business’ success and your customer’s success are inextricably linked. In order to achieve your business objectives, you need to understand your customers, meet their needs, and keep them happy long-term. Team members need to view customers as unique individuals and deliver a personalized experience that will make customers feel valued.
Every person in your organization, from sales to HR, plays a role in creating and maintaining this customer-centric culture. Each department needs to acknowledge their role in putting the customer first, listening to their feedback, and responding to questions. Your enterprise cannot succeed unless your customers do, and it’s critical that every member of your company understands this reality.
Successfully Creating a Customer-Centric Culture
As Eric Yuan and his Zoom team proved, a customer-centric culture is the best way to achieve ongoing recurring revenue success. By prioritizing the customer experience over customer acquisition and by using a customer success platform to learn everything possible about the customer, you can establish the right conditions for ongoing growth.
A customer-centric culture is made up of practical actions team members undertake every day. If you employ the tactics described above, you can make your customers feel valued and important every day —which they most certainly are.

Social Media Video Marketing Trends in 2019

Of all the huge changes the internet has brought over the past two decades, social media is one of the most profound.
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have fundamentally changed the way we interact with information, and their effects can be felt everywhere. From the way we interact with one another, to the way significant events circulate through the collective awareness.
It is why, regardless of niche or scope, most areas of business have seen themselves transformed by social media, and marketing is no exception!
As technology improves and these platforms evolve to accommodate user preferences, we’ve seen a clear effort to address the rising demand for video content. With many businesses already capitalizing on it!
In a recent survey on video marketing trends conducted by Yum Yum Videos, an entire section was dedicated to exploring this interaction.
The survey queried 167 business owners across the U.S. and amounted to more than 20 different findings. In this piece, you’ll find a few of the most relevant results on the subject of social media.

Most Businesses Are Using Social Media for Video Marketing
Almost everyone in the game is probably very aware of how big of a deal social media is when it comes to marketing. And yet, the numbers that speak to its level of acceptance in regards to video content remain impressive:
83% of businesses use social media platforms to distribute video marketing content.
A number that’s only made more impressive if you account for other studies revealing that about 91% of businesses in the United States actively use social media for marketing.
Users today have grown to expect video content from the brands they interact with, and companies have been quick to abide. When the alternative is to risk being overshadowed by competitors who do address this demand, it’s easy to understand why.
When It Comes to Video Distribution, YouTube’s The Way to Go
When asked about the most effective medium to distribute video content on, the majority of queried business owners agreed loud and clear: YouTube.
57% of queried business owners chose YouTube as the most effective social media platform to distribute video content.
Again, not entirely surprising but very significant nonetheless. Especially when you factor in some of the other stats we’ll go over later in this piece.
In spite of the two other runner-up’s making great efforts to boost their platforms video content potential, it’s clear they still have a long way to go. At least in widespread perception and awareness. Facebook came out with 26% of the votes, and Instagram rounded up the top three with 15%.

As Far as Generating Interaction, Facebook’s in the Lead
So YouTube seems generally regarded as the go-to platform for video distribution. But how about when you go a bit more specific?
When asked about the best social media site to generate more interactions with video marketing content, the tables shifted.
39% of surveyed business owners agreed that Facebook led the pack in this regard. Instagram came second, with 32% of the answers, and YouTube got relegated to the third place with only 26% of the votes.
Meaning that even though YouTube is the undisputed platform for video content in general, video marketing campaigns whose goal is to get users participation might perform better on Zuckerberg’s playground.
In Terms of Investment, Instagram Seems the Way to Go
Some of you might be asking yourself, how about Instagram? Did it distinguish itself in any category? As a matter of fact, yes! And in a big one!
34% of queried business owners chose Instagram as the social media platform with better ROI. Facebook came in second place with 33% of the votes, and YouTube came in third, with 28%.
When it’s all said and done, and a business has to invest in promoting their video content, Instagram seems to provide an edge.
Granted, things seem pretty even with Facebook. So much so that depending on your circumstances, you might as well choose to remain in that ecosystem. However, when business performance is on the line, sometimes that small edge can be worth a lot.

Investing in Social Media Promotion: Yay or Nay?
Lastly, and probably two of the most actionable stats to come out of Yum Yum’s survey related precisely to investing in those platforms’ promotional services.
Deciding whether or not to invest in promoting your video content can be tricky. Especially if your company has never done it before and lacks a frame of reference. It might come as a surprise to some, but promoting your videos in social media seems to have become a fairly common practice. In fact, 84% of the business owners we surveyed had invested in a social media platform to do so – Which is really only half of the equation.
When asked how satisfied they were with their decision, 85% stated to be satisfied with the return of investment of their video marketing efforts in social media. Numbers that speak not only to the confidence placed but also the results obtained through the marriage of social media and video marketing.
Summing Up
With developments like Facebook stating its commitment to double down on video content, and Instagram supporting video content with platforms like IGTV, the growth of video marketing in social media is to be expected.
And yet, these statistics indicate a ratio of acceptance and effectiveness from this synergy that surpasses conservative expectations.
Moving forward, businesses should remain attentive to these developments, and explore the enormous potential that combining video content and social media is already having for many companies out there.

10 Eye-Opening Statistics on Lead Nurturing in 2019

For a successful campaign, lead generation isn’t entirely enough. It is equally important to convert those leads into revenue-generating customers. The process of transforming a lead into a paying customer goes through the phenomenon of lead nurturing.
More specifically, lead nurturing is a relationship-building tactic with prospects who are interested in a product or service but aren’t convinced enough to buy something. They might avail services or buy the products at a future stage. Lead nurturing aims at educating the prospects about a product or service, making them aware of your product/company with an intention to influence their buying decisions in your favour.
With the dynamic consumption cycles and increasingly complex purchase decisions, brands and businesses are trying to invest more and more towards lead generation and lead nurturing. They aren’t just focusing on creating the best lead forms but are more concerned about a holistic CRO strategy that can guide prospects further into the sales funnel. If you are interested in how businesses are taking on the lead generation and nurturing challenge, here are some facts and statistics to help you with your research.
1. 65% of businesses consider traffic and lead generation as their biggest marketing challenge.
According to HubSpot, generating quality traffic and leads is one of the biggest challenges for business marketers around the globe. It has been haunting marketers for years and still gives them jitters. Just the nature of the challenge has evolved. With the introduction of social media and several other digital platforms, the number of touch points between marketers and customers has increased. This gives businesses the power to command the type of lead they want to generate and nurture.

2. 93% of B2B businesses believe content marketing to be more effective at generating more leads than traditional marketing tactics.
Independent researches by Marketo & Forbes, reveal that the majority of B2B businesses have started believing in the power of content marketing. If a business is able to produce quality content on a consistent basis, it is able to generate more leads and effectively nurture them to convert into paying customers.
3. 74% of global companies prioritise lead nurturing and conversion
HubSpot reveals that 74% of companies consider lead nurturing to be their top priority. Companies understand that every lead doesn’t convert, and lead generation can be a cost-intensive exercise. This has influenced them to focus more on lead nurturing for greater benefits.

4. 93% buying decisions start with an online search when it comes to B2B domain.
As per Pinpoint Market Research, 93% purchase decisions begin with an online search. While you might be wondering why such a statistic found a place here, it is important to note that the process of lead nurturing begins with persuading visitors to convert into customers. So, this insight gives us a broad perspective on how to use content marketing efforts for ranking well in organic search for discovery.
5. 96% of website visitors don’t come to a website with an intention to buy
Almost everyone who comes to your website is just there for research instead of making a purchase, as revealed by a market study. This reinstates the significance of lead nurturing. You need to invest diligently towards influencing your visitors through a focused lead nurturing strategy. Lead generation alone would mean nothing if your marketing team is clueless about conversion rate optimisation.
6. 68% B2B businesses will use landing pages for lead nurturing and conversions in the future
In a world of low attention spans, consumers need a crisp and to-the-point message. The statistic doing rounds online was revealed by Marketing Sherpa and rings a death knell for the future of homepages and websites as we know them. Consumers are looking for specific message catered to their needs which a landing page with personalised lead form can effectively provide.
7. Just 29% of the businesses invest in nurturing their existing customer base
According to Demand Gen, majority of businesses (as high as 81%) have strategies to attract and nurture early-stage leads but only 29% of businesses make it an effort to target existing customers after they make a purchase. Every customer is a potential gold mine and has more chances of buying from you again. So, instead of spending more time on attracting, focusing on up-selling, cross-selling and retention can enhance the ROI.
8. 53% of businesses confess that most of their leads take a long time to convert.
A study by Ascend2 reveals that most businesses believe that their leads require long cycles of nurturing involving several influencers. People with low buying intent have to be convinced again and again in order to make them buy something. Without adequate effort, prospects can slip away to rivals and competitors.

9. 50% of marketers say increasing lead-to-customer conversions is their biggest challenge & top priority.
The same study by Ascend2 offers some important insights about lead generation and nurturing. Marketers believe that the most important objective of their strategy is increasing the lead-to-customer conversion ratio. Further, improving lead quality, increasing the number of leads and reducing acquisition costs are some important aspects. But lead nurturing remains their top focus as everyone wants more conversions.

10. Aligning content with a prospect’s stage in the buyer’s journey can boost conversion rates by 72%
If you are serious about conversion rate optimisation (CRO), you need to craft your content according to the needs of the prospects. For your lead nurturing efforts to succeed, you need to focus on relevance. It is important to know your prospect’s position in the buyer’s journey and provide content that suits their requirements. This strategy has a better impact on the overall conversion rate.
Lead nurturing to boost your conversions can help you in the long term. If you are really serious about making your marketing efforts more fruitful, you should invest more time, effort and resources in perfecting your lead nurturing strategy. Define your goals and start creating good landing pages to capture more leads.

Influencer Marketing Best Practices: Harness The Power of Influencer Marketing

When you go on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or any other popular social network, influencer marketing is hard to miss—especially because the number of social media influencers keeps growing. And influencer marketing isn’t just hype. Brands that use this strategy properly reap significant rewards, and will continue to do so in the years to come. But what are the best practices for influencer marketing? Read on to find out.
Table of Contents

Why does influencer marketing work?
Best Practices for Influencer Marketing

1. Emphasize authenticity
2. Plan to work with multiple influencers at once
3. Personalize outreach emails and messages

Choosing And Contacting Influencers

1. Choose influencers who are experts in your brand’s niche
2. Choose influencers who align with your brand, and who can easily reach your brand’s audience
3. Choose influencers who are experts in creating content for the platform(s) your audience frequents
4. Set goals for your influencer marketing campaign, and choose influencers who will help achieve these goals
5. Prioritize engagement
6. Never underestimate micro-influencers
7. Use influencer marketing software to pinpoint the right influencers for your brand
8. Check influencers’ metrics to make sure their followers are genuine

Balancing Creativity and Guidelines

1. Clearly, communicate goals to your influencers
2. Give influencers a sufficient amount of creative control
3. But setting guidelines is crucial
4. Make sure that influencers disclose that their posts are sponsored by your brand
5. Send influencers a brief with information on your brand and campaign
6. Keep the lines of communication open

Measuring ROI

Ways to measure ROI include:

Compensation

1. Always compensate influencers fairly
2. When to compensate influencers? This depends on the influencer
3. Consider compensating influencers with exposure, too
4. Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well

Closing

Why does influencer marketing work?
Influencer marketing is effective because it is rooted in expert recommendations. Influencers are authorities in a certain field or niche, within a certain audience, or both. So, when influencers show products to their audience, on their own social media accounts, their audience trusts their opinion far more than traditional advertising.

Only 33% of customers trust traditional ads, but over half of customers rely on influencer recommendations when making purchasing decisions.

Digital Marketing Institute reports that 60% of consumers would consider purchasing an influencer-promoted product in-store and that 40% have actually purchased a product after seeing an influencer use it on social media.

Brands trust influencer marketing as well.

According to Social Media Today, 94% of brands who use influencer marketing find it an effective practice, and influencer marketing can generate up to 11 times the ROI of traditional advertising.
It’s projected that businesses will spend at least $10 billion on influencer marketing in 2020.

So, creating an influencer marketing campaign that follows best practices is invaluable—it will help generate awareness for your brand, and send new customers your way!
(Need to see more compelling influencer marketing statistics?)
Best Practices for Influencer Marketing
Now that you know how powerful influencer marketing can be, it’s time to examine the best practices for brands to follow when developing and running influencer marketing campaigns. We’ll cover selecting and contacting influencers, setting guidelines, measuring the ROI of your campaign, and compensating influencers.
There are some general best practices.
1. Emphasize authenticity
Consumers see right through “salesy” endorsements, but when an influencer uses their own genuine voice to tell a story, their audience will listen. According to Econsultancy, 61% of consumers prefer influencers who create authentic, engaging content. The best influencers will show the value of a product by demonstrating how they use it in real life.
2. Plan to work with multiple influencers at once
There truly is strength in numbers when it comes to working with influencers. Hiring multiple influencers for the same campaign will increase your reach and engagement—and show multiple audiences multiple unique perspectives of your brand. And choosing several micro-influencers often works better than choosing one higher-profile influencer, since micro-influencers’ communities are so tight-knit.

Micro-influencers @kalynnelizabethsmith, @carlyyhartman, @styling.sunshine, and @simplyclassycassie all promote Fruity Lucky Charms at Kroger.
3. Personalize outreach emails and messages
Once you’ve identified the influencers you want to work with, personalize each email and/or message. This is your opportunity to show how a partnership with your brand will offer value to the individual influencer and to build a relationship with them. Influencers will usually ignore copied-and-pasted emails, but a meaningful email will make them much more likely to reply.
Choosing And Contacting Influencers
If you want your influencer program to work, you have to choose the right people to help you. These people become the voice of your brand. Here are some tips for choosing wisely.
1. Choose influencers who are experts in your brand’s niche
Their authority will make it easier for their audience to trust them when they recommend your product. For example, an Instagramming runner is a great choice to promote athletic shoes, and a kid YouTuber will be right at home showing off a new toy!

Vegan food blogger Shannon (@yupitsvegan) is a great fit to promote Silk Almond Milk on her Instagram and blog.
2. Choose influencers who align with your brand, and who can easily reach your brand’s audience
The best influencers will only promote a product if they think it fits in with their own brand and offers value to their own audience. Conversely, an influencer’s audience can easily detect if a sponsored post seems out-of-character for that person. For example, it would be way out-of-place for a 14-year-old YouTube star to promote baby food. However, a mommy blogger with a 6-month-old is the perfect choice to promote this product!
3. Choose influencers who are experts in creating content for the platform(s) your audience frequents
For example, if you’re marketing to audiences who stay on top of the latest and greatest social media trends, choose an influencer who taps into the trends like a natural. If you’re marketing tech products, video games, or any other product where live demonstrations are beneficial, find niche YouTubers who can show off the products like a pro.
4. Set goals for your influencer marketing campaign, and choose influencers who will help achieve these goals
Is your goal to change the way people think about your brand? To drive conversions? To increase sales in a certain market? To generate brand awareness?
Influencers’ audience and niche are crucial to how well they can help you achieve your goals, but so are other factors. For example, if you’re aiming to gain new customers, choosing an influencer who hasn’t already posted about your brand may be helpful. Or, if you’re a US brand who just started shipping internationally, and you have a goal of increasing brand awareness and sales in the UK, choosing a UK influencer in your niche is key.
5. Prioritize engagement
The number of people that an influencer’s post reaches isn’t everything. Engagement or the interaction an influencer’s post receives the post’s relative number of likes, comments, and shares is a better measure of the post’s success. So, pick influencers whose followers are engaged!
6. Never underestimate micro-influencers
Micro-influencers have less than 100,000 followers, so their reach is not as great as that of macro-influencers or celebrities. However, micro-influencers receive the highest relative engagement from their followers, when compared with larger influencers and at a fraction of the price. Micro-influencers also deliver authenticity you can rely on. In fact, their followers trust them like friends. 82% of consumers are highly likely to follow a recommendation from a micro-influencer, and 61% of consumers say that micro-influencers produce the most relatable content.
7. Use influencer marketing software to pinpoint the right influencers for your brand
Influencer marketing software lets you filter influencers by demographics such as age; niche; location; the number of followers; keywords; hashtags; follower demographics; and engagement rates. With the right software, you can even find influencers who are relevant to your brand, but who haven’t yet posted about your brand yet. Plus, once you’ve found the right influencers, the software can help you manage your influencer campaign.
8. Check influencers’ metrics to make sure their followers are genuine
Some influencers buy fake followers (follows from accounts not run by genuine humans) to make their audiences look bigger than they are. Fake followers can damage your brand’s ROI because that means fewer real potential customers are actually seeing an influencer’s post than expected. So, before you contact an influencer, carefully check their follower metrics to ensure the vast majority of their audience is authentic.
Balancing Creativity and Guidelines
Once you’ve found your influencers, you’ll need to make sure to set some guidelines for their posts (including disclosure rules to help you and your influencers stay compliant with FTC regulations, and other basic guidelines to make sure your campaign goals are achieved). But you’ll also need to give your influencers some creative liberties so their posts about your brand will feel genuine.
1. Clearly, communicate goals to your influencers
Discuss your campaign’s main objectives with each influencer, and talk about how an influencer’s involvement is key to achieving these goals. But remember: the influencer has an insider perspective on the messages that will best help you achieve these goals, based on their expertise within their niche and audience.
2. Give influencers a sufficient amount of creative control
Giving influencers this freedom is key to authenticity—and they know what content will resonate best with their audience. So, let influencers choose their own captions, and let them choose how they will photograph a product (or how they will show it in a video), including the setting or scenario. Feel free to offer example captions and inspirations to your influencers, but remind them that they always need to write and personalize their own unique captions.
3. But setting guidelines is crucial
At the very least, require influencers to mention your brand in the caption, tag your brand’s social media account, include required brand and campaign hashtags, and disclose that the post is sponsored by your brand. (See the section directly below for more on disclosure.) You might also require influencers to include certain links to your website, discount codes, or calls-to-action, depending on the campaign. You can set other requirements and guidelines as well, to help both your brand and the influencer achieve campaign goals, but don’t impose so many that you stifle influencers’ creativity.
4. Make sure that influencers disclose that their posts are sponsored by your brand
The FTC requires this disclosure on any post where influencers have received money, free products, or other compensation from a brand.
In a written caption, the disclosure must be visible “above the fold”, before the “read more” cut-off. In a video, the disclosure should (at the very least) be both audible and visible at the beginning of the video. According to Truth in Advertising, using one or more of these markers is sufficient for disclosure:

#ad / AD
Sponsored / Sponsored by [brand]
Promotion /Paid promotion
Paid ad for [brand] / “This is a paid advertisement for [brand].”
A disclosure that the influencer received a free product from a given brand: “Thank you [brand or company name] for the free product” or “Thank you [brand or company name] for the gift of [product name]”

Influencer Angela Jones provides clear disclosure that this post is sponsored by using #sponsored early on in the caption.
5. Send influencers a brief with information on your brand and campaign
Since you’re compensating an influencer for the post(s) they make, it’s best practice to establish your expectations beforehand through a brief. In this brief, outline:

The goals and focus of your campaign
Any key messages that you’d like the influencer to communicate through their visuals and captioning
Background information about your brand that will help them develop their content
The deliverables (content types) you would like them to produce, and dates of release for each piece of content
The ways in which you plan to measure the campaign’s success (such as conversions and engagement)
Required elements including hashtags, links, discount codes, and calls-to-action
Guidelines on logo placement, if applicable
A list of things to avoid, including misspellings, culturally insensitive content, and work with competitors within a certain time period.

6. Keep the lines of communication open
Don’t stop communicating with an influencer after you’ve sent them the brief! You want to make sure their experience with your brand is top-notch. If possible, schedule a call with your influencers to talk them through the campaign. And make sure that influencers can communicate with you through the entire process, especially so you can answer their questions.
Measuring ROI
Determine the metrics you’ll use to track your influencer return on investment (ROI). Previously, it was difficult to measure ROI beyond the reach and engagement a post generated. But now, influencer marketing software makes it easy to track ROI in so many ways, so you have no excuses not to track! The ways in which you’ll track your ROI will depend on the goals you set for the campaign.
Ways to measure ROI include:

Impressions (views)
Reach
Engagement (likes, comments, and shares)
Conversions
Sales generated
Traffic: Total brand website visits, or number of unique page visits, generated through influencer links

Compensation
If you want to keep your influencers happy, you need to also look at how you handle your interactions with them after they have shared content on your behalf. If you slack or ghost them on their compensation, you can create quite a stir, and all the hard work you have done thus far can quickly fade away. Don’t slack on payments, as influencers are working for you based on agreed terms.
1. Always compensate influencers fairly
Unlike brand ambassador marketing and advocate marketing, influencer marketing will never come for free. Your relationship with influencers is a business relationship, so influencers must always be paid for their hard work—and they expect fair compensation. You’ll either compensate your influencers with cash, gift cards, or free products.
You can also use referral marketing on top of compensating your influencer. Understand your influencer’s audience, and work together to come up with a referral incentive that can benefit both you and your influencer.
2. When to compensate influencers? This depends on the influencer
Some influencers expect payment upfront, but some are okay with waiting until they have posted the sponsored content for you. Others work on a 50/50 model: 50% of payment after entering the agreement, and 50% after they have finished the campaign.
3. Consider compensating influencers with exposure, too
Exposure is no substitute for the other payment types listed above, but it can be an additional “payment” that’s valuable to both you and the influencer. Reposting an influencer’s post on your own social media (with the influencer credited and tagged, of course) gives the influencer more exposure, but also adds authenticity to your brand’s own social media feed.
This strategy has worked exceedingly well for watch brand Daniel Wellington, one of the most successful brands when it comes to influencer marketing.
4. Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well
Sometimes, the product is the compensation or part of the compensation. If an influencer fails to post content within the expected timeframe, they may be required to pay the business for the price of the product.
In addition to that, the influencer would not receive any other compensation and may also get blacklisted from working with that brand again. Setting terms like these help protect your business from pouring out money without getting anything in return. Plus, it helps keep the rest of your influencer relationships balanced. If you’ve agreed to terms, stick to them to avoid getting yourself stuck in a hole.
Closing
Sound influencer marketing may be hard work, but the rewards are well worth it. Remember to choose authentic, engaging influencers who align with your goals, niche, and audience; set clear guidelines for influencers, but give them enough creative control; track your campaign’s ROI, and compensate influencers fairly.
Now that you know the best practices for influencer marketing, it’s time to put them to use!

Influencer Marketing Statistics That Prove Why It’s So Popular

Your customers are tuning out traditional ads.
But as their reliance on these ads decreases, they’re turning to recommendations from their network. This includes the social media accounts they follow, even more frequently.
Influencer marketing is rooted in authentic, authoritative recommendations, so it is a powerful way to acquire and retain new customers.
As Influencer Marketing Hub explains, influencers are “people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a particular topic”. So, influencers hold significant referral power, no matter how large their audience is.
Influencers will authentically and seamlessly show how they use your products in everyday life, with their own voice, on their own social media accounts. Given this, your customers will listen and trust them, and won’t treat influencer posts like traditional ads.
Want even more reasons to start an influencer marketing program? Check out these influencer marketing statistics.
How effective is influencer marketing?
You’re probably wondering just how powerful influencer marketing can be. If you need any reassurance that starting influencer marketing is worth it, we have plenty of research-backed proof right here.
Influencers’ authority can easily convince consumers to buy your products, and their position leads consumers to readily trust them. This yields substantial results for the brands that maintain influencer marketing programs.
Let’s take a look at why influencer marketing is effective.
Influencers’ authority actively impacts customer purchasing decisions
Influencers play a strong role in today’s consumer purchases. This is especially evident on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. But, if you’re still on the fence, here are some statistics that prove it.

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, almost half of consumers “depend on influencer recommendations” to determine which products to purchase.
81% of consumers turn to blogs for advice. Many influencers are bloggers. (Neil Patel)
74% of consumers decide what to buy based on social media posts. (Social Media Week)
Also, 60% of people actively look to blogs, vlogs, and social media posts for opinions on products before they consider purchasing a product. (Digital Marketing Institute)
61% of 18- to 34-year-old consumers “have at some point been swayed in their decision-making by digital influencers.” (Econsultancy)
Potential customers are 71% more likely to “make a purchase based on social media referrals.” (Neil Patel)
60% of consumers would consider purchasing an influencer-promoted product if they see it in a store. (Digital Marketing Institute)
40% have actually purchased a product after seeing an influencer use it on social media. (Digital Marketing Institute)
86% of women consult social media for opinions and advice about what to purchase. (a.list)
68% of marketers who responded to a Referral Rock survey mentioned that they want those who are “well known in [their brand’s] niche” to be their influencers.

Customers trust influencer recommendations as reliable, just like they trust family and friends
Influencers have more of a built-in trust with their followers than you do. They may not always be related, but their recommendation still outweighs most.

According to a Nielsen study, over 90% of consumers from various markets trust people in their network—people they know and follow. Influencers are part of this network.
89% of millennial women trust recommendations from peers more than recommendations directly from a brand. (Changing The Face Of Modern Consumerism – Mom Central)
Nearly 75% of consumers rely on “word-of-mouth” on social media when deciding whether to purchase a product. (Influencer Marketing Association)
87% of millennial women trust products after “doing their own research.” This “research” heavily involves seeking authoritative opinions from those who have used a product —mainly peers. (Changing The Face Of Modern Consumerism – Mom Central)
Nearly half of Twitter users trust the recommendations of influencers, and 40% have bought a product “as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer.” (Twitter)
60% of YouTube subscribers trust product recommendations from their favorite content creators more than those from traditional celebrities. (Think with Google)
70% of teens trust, and relate to, YouTube influencers more than traditional celebrities. (Think with Google)
In the Keller Fay Group and Experticity survey, consumers rated influencers “as more impactful compared to an average person, based on the following characteristics: more credible and believable (94% vs. 83%), more knowledgeable (94% vs. 84%), and better at explaining how [a] product works or could be used (92% vs. 83%).” (Marketing Dive)

Consumers’ trust for traditional ads keeps decreasing
Though their trust for traditional ads is decreasing, their reliance on influencers keeps accelerating.

Only 33% of consumers say they trust traditional ads. (Social Media Today)
In addition, 30% of consumers use ad blockers—this shows that they place little to no trust in traditional ads and don’t want their life invaded by these promotions. (Social Media Today)
Nearly half of consumers think that traditional ads are “annoying or irrelevant.” (Tribe)
However, on Instagram, users interact with sponsored content (marked with #ad) and non-sponsored content at almost equal engagement levels. In other words, even if they know that an influencer’s post is sponsored by a brand, they trust it as a recommendation and don’t disengage like they would with traditional ads. (Socialbakers)

Infographic source: Socialbakers

Internet users trust user-generated content (including posts by influencers) 50% more than traditional media such as ads. (Neil Patel)
67% of consumers stated that they “had no negative reaction to sponsored influencer content whatsoever.” (Tribe)
37% of 18- to 34-year-olds are more likely to trust brands after seeing sponsored posts from influencers. (Fullscreen)

Brands trust influencer marketing as well, because of the results it provides
Consumers aren’t the only ones who trust influencers. Brands trust influencer marketing too and are finding that it is easier to tap into to new channels and groups of people they might not otherwise have been able to.

Influencer marketing is the fastest-growing online customer acquisition method. (Tomoson)
Marketers’ interest in influencer marketing has risen 90x since 2013, according to Google Keywords and Google Trends. (Neil Patel)
Google searches for “influencer marketing” increased by 1500% over the past three years. (Influencer Marketing Hub)
The marketing experts that Referral Rock surveyed named influencer marketing as their 2nd priority, after content marketing.
75% of national advertisers use influencer marketing. (Association of National Advertisers)
51% of marketers believe they “acquire better customers through influencer marketing.” (Tomoson)
63% of marketers plan to increase their spending on influencer marketing within the next year. (Influencer Marketing Hub)
In 2017, 93% of marketers spent more than $10,000 on their influencer campaigns. (Linqia)
In 2018, on Instagram alone, marketers spent $5 billion on influencer marketing globally. (InfluencerDB)
It’s projected that businesses will spend at least $10 billion on influencer marketing in 2020. (Mediakix)

And brands that use influencer marketing reap significant rewards
Brands are finding it to be in their best interest to try influencer marketing because the potential outcome is so great.

94% of marketers who use influencer marketing find it an effective practice. (Social Media Today)
22% of marketers believe that influencer marketing is the most cost-effective customer acquisition method. (Tomoson)
Influencer marketing can generate up to 11 times the ROI of traditional advertising. (Social Media Today)
On average, businesses make $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. (Tomoson)
And for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, businesses gain $5.20 in earned media value—$5.20 worth of publicity. (Influencer Marketing Hub)

What factors are key to successful influencer marketing campaigns?
According to Linqia, brands measure the ROI of their marketing campaign in a variety of ways, including conversions, reach, impressions, engagement, clicks, and product sales. And the majority will use more than one of these metrics to measure success.

Infographic source: Linqia
Regardless of the way you measure ROI, two factors stand out in successful influencer marketing campaigns. To develop an influencer marketing campaign that brings in loads of new and repeats customers, you’ll need authenticity and high engagement. Influencers, marketers, and customers agree that these two factors are key to successful influencer marketing.
Authenticity
Authenticityis one of the most crucial factors in creating a successful influencer program. Customers can see right through “sales-pitch” style sponsorships. But when an influencer uses their own genuine voice to share a product, customers listen.

Nearly 70% of marketers name “authenticity and transparency” as crucial to successful influencer marketing. Econsultancy
89% of marketers value influencers’ ability to “create authentic content for [their] brand” as a top benefit of influencer marketing (Social Media Today)
90% of marketers believe that “brands need to take authenticity and transparency more seriously, for [influencer marketing] to be sustainable over the long term.” Econsultancy
61% of consumers prefer influencers who create authentic, engaging content. (Econsultancy)
37% of consumers said that “if influencer content was authentic and high-quality, it negated the fact that it was sponsored.” (Tribe)
Influencers themselves also prioritize authenticity when they choose the brands they work with. They prefer to pick brands that fit their niche, and ones that they think their audience would enjoy. (Tribe)

Daniel Wellington: Case Study In Authentic Influencer Marketing
Watch brand Daniel Wellington offers a prime example of successful influencer marketing, as Econsultancy demonstrates and you’ll see that the authenticity of influencers is key to Daniel Wellington’s success.

In 2018, Daniel Wellington received the most mentions from influencers out of any brand on Instagram (over 20,000 posts tagged with #ad).
Influencer marketing has been integral to Daniel Wellington’s success since the brand was founded in 2011. Instead of running traditional advertising, the brand’s first campaign involved sending free watches to smaller micro-influencers in exchange for mentions on their social media accounts.
By 2015, Daniel Wellington had generated $220 million in revenue and had sold one million watches in a single year.
Daniel Wellington recruits influencers with a variety of niches, including fashion, travel, and lifestyle, and a variety of follower counts, but all fit well with its mission and have a following that matches the brand’s target audience.
The brand gives influencers a sufficient amount of creative control, and encourages influencers to “stay personal” in their captions, but requires influencers to include certain mentions and hashtags.
Like other successful brands, Daniel Wellington offers example captions and inspirations for influencers but reminds influencers to impart their authentic voice and unique perspective into their own posts.
Daniel Wellington uses this authenticity to its advantage on its own social media accounts. The brand’s entire Instagram feed (@danielwellington) is made up of its own influencers’ highest-quality posts (repurposed from influencers’ own feeds, with new captions and credits to the influencer), as well as other user-generated content.

Influencer guidelines, and examples of influencer-created Instagram photos, on the Daniel Wellington South Africa website.
Engagement
Engagement can be defined as the interactions an influencer receives on a post. This includes the likes and comments a post receives, as well as the number of times people share the post. (Scrunch). And engagement is highly valued as a measure of how well an influencer marketing campaign is performing.

90% of marketers gauge the success of their influencer campaigns based on engagement. (Influencer Marketing Hub)
85% of marketers name engagement data as the largest metric of success for influencer marketing. (Econsultancy)
77% of marketers value influencers’ ability to “drive engagement around [their] brand” as a top benefit of influencer marketing (Social Media Today)

Instagram is a high engager
Brands and influencers are flocking to Instagram because of the large amounts of engagement on the platform.

Infographic source: Influencer Marketing Hub

Users are highly engaged on Instagram as a whole, so “Instagram is becoming the #1 social media platform when it comes to engagement for brands.” As a result, “businesses [are] leveraging Instagram for advertising more than ever before.” (Socialbakers)
As shown in the infographic above made by Influencer Marketing Hub, engagement rates with influencer posts on Instagram outpace engagement rates on Twitter, at all follower counts.
93% of all influencer campaigns use Instagram. (Mobile Marketer)
71% of marketers surveyed by Influencer Marketing Hub “predominantly tap into Instagram for influencer marketing.”
In the third quarter of 2018, influencers’ use of Instagram Stories jumped 60%. (Mobile Marketer)
80% of influencers use Instagram as their primary social network. (Mobile Marketer)
60% of smaller influencers say that brands request posts on Instagram most often. (Influencer Marketing Association)
Meanwhile, the use of Facebook and Twitter for influencer campaigns is declining. The use of Facebook for these campaigns dropped 20%, and the use of Twitter dropped 10%. (Mobile Marketer)

Micro-influencers are great for engagement
Businesses should never underestimate the power of micro-influencers to drive engagement—and to deliver authentic content.

Micro-influencers (influencers with less than 100,000 followers) receive the highest relative engagement from followers. (Social Media Today)
On Instagram, micro-influencers account for nearly one-third of all users and produce the majority of sponsored posts (InfluencerDB)
The majority of influencers are micro-influencers with less than ten thousand followers. (Socialbakers)
In a Keller Fay Group and Experticity survey, 82% of respondents said they were highly likely to follow a micro-influencers recommendation. (Marketing Dive)
Relatability helps generate engagement— 61% of consumers say that micro-influencers produce the most relatable content. Econsultancy
Even though macro-influencers have higher reach (view and follower counts) and higher like and comment counts as a whole, micro-influencers are a more cost-effective option for marketers, because they yield higher rates of engagement at a lower cost to the brand. Scrunch
84% of micro-influencers charge no more than $250 per sponsored Instagram post, and 97% charge $500 or less. (Tribe)
Micro-influencers command high levels of trust. Only 3% of consumers are swayed by celebrity-level endorsements, compared with the 30% who would consider purchasing products from non-celebrity bloggers. (Social Media Today)
According to a Socialpubli study, 84% of micro-influencers recommend products or services at least once every week. (PR Daily)
99% of micro-influencers “believe in what they promote.” (PR Daily)

Takeaways
As shown by all these facts and statistics, influencer marketing is a powerful way to gain customers, because your customers trust the influencers’ genuine, authoritative recommendations far more than traditional ads.
Hopefully, after reading through this article, you have an idea of how influencer marketing can benefit you. If you start an influencer marketing program, make sure to recruit influencers who will use their authentic voices, and who will drive engagement! And remember, bigger isn’t always better, micro-influencers deliver high engagement levels and high authenticity.
Have any compelling influencer marketing statistics that we haven’t included here? Let us know. We’d love to include them in this article.

How to Create an Invincible Enterprise Mobility Strategy in 7 Steps

Enterprise mobility has turned a new leaf for forward-thinking companies that seek to thrive and grow with consistency. It has changed the ways we communicate with humans as well as machines in our day-to-day life and for enterprises, it has transformed the way they conduct business and interact with customers. For the record, enterprise mobility is much more than just managing mobile devices and driving a mobile workforce. It is transforming into a holistic organizational culture that supports and accelerates innovation, integration, opportunities, and efficiencies in a way that doesn’t restrict choices and user access to facilitate organization-wide productivity, workflow efficiency, real-time collaboration and connectivity and business profitability at large.
Crafting and driving a fool-proof enterprise mobility strategy needs a well-organized thought process weighing all the possibilities, technicalities, challenges, and risks factors. So, what exactly should the companies know about a strategy for enterprise mobility? There are more than a couple of factors!

Evaluate the importance of having an enterprise mobility strategy

Even before having an enterprise mobility strategy in place companies should first ensure that they understand what enterprise mobility is and why they would need it. At the same time, they need to evaluate how much expertise they have around mobile technologies and what the company can achieve by incorporating these advancements. It’s imperative to assess the ways enterprise mobility will add value to the employee and customer experience and whether it will make a difference in the business, the core products or the services. Also, companies must evaluate the better business opportunities that can be brought in by enterprise mobility and ways to capitalize on those. The first step is to have a 360-degree view of enterprise mobility, its possibilities, ROI, impact on business, users, customers and product and the long-term benefits.

Your enterprise mobility strategy needs an effective plan

The next step is to create a holistic plan including all the parameters and considerations around enterprise mobility and that includes buy-in time and commitment from the decision makers as well. Once the company figures out how the business goals and objectives can be better driven via mobile solutions, which can further accelerate employee productivity and company revenue, they will next have to launch a plan of initiatives. This enterprise mobility plan will have all the clarifications about the company’s digital maturity level, corporate vision, employee training requirements, IT and security requirements, implementation and integration of mobile technologies, impact on customer experience and employee interactions, risks, constraints and challenges concerning adaptability and costs. A flawless plan will have to be created in the form of documents, presentations, graphs and images, and references.

Assess the industry performance and identify the use cases

Companies need to analyze what and how their competitors in similar industry are doing with enterprise mobility and this requires extracting some data and evaluating some potential possibilities as per the company’s digital maturity level. Competition and industry analysis will give a clear picture of how enterprise mobility can expedite business growth with an all-rounder approach and at the same time, it will unveil the varied innovative and technological opportunities that the company can lever to drive organizational mobility. Post that, it’s time for use-case assessment across the business line and the company’s core functional areas that can be enhanced with mobility. Here, it might help to have discussions with targeted departments and brainstorm some potent ideas around how the employees can improve their daily yield and mitigate performance delays by using enterprise applications, handheld devices, mobile CRM, digital self-help tools and apps, and other mobile and digital platforms.

Understand the scope of application of your enterprise mobility

Mobility is a highly volatile space and companies that are on top of syncing the customer and user expectations with IT effectiveness always have an upper-hand over competitors. There’s no dearth of possibilities when it comes to developing enterprise apps to promptly solve customer problems and to enhance employee productivity at all levels. But companies should also have a plan for their regular updates and better functionality. Companies should ideally asses their business needs that can be met via enterprise mobility and explore the varied options like business apps, self-help software, enterprise communications platforms, enterprise devices, collaboration and automation software and so on. It’s always advisable to follow agile methodologies when it comes to strategizing a mobility roadmap. Taking a DevOps approach to leverage the coordination between developers and the operation team also has its own benefits to drive mobility.

Analyze your IT requirements for creating a mobility framework

The next step should be to create a mobility framework to standardize the IT operations and infrastructure, which will complement the company’s existing IT regulations like BYOD and data security policies, risk management, mobile readiness, IT/business restrictions and so on. This can be achieved by working it out with the right technology solution vendor who can offer the relevant features and potential capabilities to smoothly drive this mobility framework in accordance with the company IT policies, requirements and maturity, customer use cases, digital maturity, and existing skill set. While choosing the right vendor, companies should analyze capabilities like service interpretation, support for 3rd party enterprise integration, knack towards innovation, agility, and scalability, business performance, security and audit compliance, analytics and device management expertise, app and content management, identity management and other contextual aspects.

Measure the business impact and the ownership cost of enterprise mobility

It is going to be very crucial to justify the returns from your enterprise mobility strategy and this is where decision makers play a vital role by weighing the outcomes of the two elements – business impact and cost of ownership, alongside. There’s no doubt that mobility in enterprise devices brings in opportunity and enterprise-wide benefits but at the same time companies need to balance the outcomes with the associated costs of developing and integrating the corresponding mobile/digital solutions to figure out the business priority and to answer the question ‘is it really necessary for my business as a whole or is it going to be of value to just a department’? The business impact elements like productivity and improvements, customer experience, improved business growth, and enhanced analytics should be measured alongside the cost factors like app complexity, license costs, maintenance, upgrade, support and training costs.

Create an enterprise mobility roadmap and implementation timeline

Last but the most significant part after defining all the aspects of this enterprise mobility strategy to define a roadmap and to create an execution plan. This includes deciding a timeline incorporating all the organizational priorities, business goals, departmental requirements and employee and IT training needs. Next, finalize the key performance indicators to assess if your roadmap is showing the desired results within the timeline and make iterations accordingly to stay agile, effective and contextual. A governance structure is needed to be prepared that would give a clear direction of project execution and operational alignment. This should be followed by creating a realistic budget, getting approvals and managing resources. Once the company gets started with the implementation of enterprise mobility and device management process, it is necessary to keep in mind that it should be first introduced as a pilot project wherein the results can be measured before expanding the scope of involvement.
Enterprise mobility as a concept is getting more and more ambiguous with the emergence and advancement of so many digital technologies at once, and often companies fall into a quicksand of confusion about which technology to imbibe and to what extent. Selecting and defining a technology stack backed by a flawless enterprise mobility strategy includes companies answering simple questions around the industry sector they are in, what do the customers expect from them, how can they help employees do more in less time, how can they drive accuracy and process efficiency, how can they enhance employee performance, customer experience and overall business growth. Above all, two major things can never ignore in this entire process: data/IT security and user experience. Will talk about that in the next blog!

How to Justify a Marketing Audit to the C-Suite

When you’re ready for a marketing audit, but you’re not sure if the CEO, CMO or even the CFO will approve the budget, you need the tools to make it happen.
What’s the ROI of a marketing audit? What’s it going to tell us other than we need to spend more money? Why do we need to pay for a diagnostic on our marketing?
Any of these questions may come from the C-Suite. They’re all valid. So let’s arm you, the marketing manager, marketing director or VP of marketing with the tools you need to prove how valuable and important this strategic analysis can be for your business.
First thing’s first: You need to know where you are

Any successful journey starts with knowing where you are. You can’t get to point B if you don’t understand point A. For your growth marketing journey, understanding where your brand is right now is critical. One of the most effective ways to truly assess your current situation is from a high level, expert point of view.
Much like a writer needs an editor, your marketing department needs a fresh perspective. You may know every piece of collateral you’ve ever created. You know why the brand colors and logo look the way they do. You understand the intent behind each nuanced part of the brand.
But if all that knowledge blocks your ability to see your marketing from a consumer’s point of view,as happens to so many of when our industry becomes part of our DNA, then you’re likely missing the forest for the trees.
There’s no blame to be had here,most brands have this same blindspot. It’s why the marketing departments of big brands work with outside creative agencies. In fact, The Coca-Cola Company works with several creative agencies to turn their marketing efforts into award-winning campaigns.
Closer to home, Impulse Creative works with several clients who have full marketing departments. For instance, we work with the team at Monterey Mushrooms to bring fresh perspectives, new strategy and creative ideas to their brand.
So the perspective you get on where you are right now as a brand is priceless. Really you’re understanding where you are so that you don’t duplicate efforts, move forward in the wrong direction, or waste money.
Next up: What’s working that you can double-down-on?
Once we know what’s going with your marketing, we’ll look at what’s working. Understanding where your wins are will help you double-down on the successful marketing initiatives. (This is part where doing your homework starts saving money and stops you from reinventing the ad about the wheel.)
When you focus on your strengths, you get stronger.
Maybe you rank well in search results for a powerful keyword that’s sending high-value leads to your sales team. Knowing that information can help your content creators focus on that keyword for more quick wins. A marketing audit can help you find quick wins and drive real revenue – and real value – immediately. What’s not to like about that?
Then: Where are the opportunities for growth?
Of course not everything is perfect. There’s always room for improvement. And a marketing audit will help you to find real, data-based opportunities for growth, so you’re planning your next move using more than a hunch or industry trends.

This could mean consolidating multiple marketing tools into one tool, saving money and increasing efficiency. It may mean you find new marketing strategies to implement that you never thought would work for your company. The possibilities are endless but the point is, you’ll get insight absolutely unique to where your business is right now.
Perhaps your brand is a B2B powerhouse, and you already know that social media like Instagram just isn’t for you. You tried it on the advice of an intern, and your C-Suite wasn’t impressed. We get it.
But have you worked your LinkedIn network from your company page all the way to your administrative staff? Have you utilized YouTube as a social platform?
The right marketing audit will help you see where you can go, where you can improve and understand what’s not working. You’ll even discover new marketing ideas that you may not have realized were an option for you.
More information: What tools can help?
Two heads are better than one. It’s an old school saying you’ve probably heard somewhere. And it’s true.
Do you know the landscape of marketing technology tools has exploded in recent years to include some 7,000 solutions? 7,000! Do you know them all?
Working with an agency on your marketing audit will open your eyes to new tools, help you to reconsider tools you’ve heard of and decide what’s going to work for you. Maybe you’ve compared Pardot versus HubSpot in years past. But how does the comparison pan out today?
We’ve seen companies using multiple solutions for email, marketing automation, analytics, conversational marketing, forms and landing pages. Sure, sometimes you need to go deeper into a specialty when one tool offers a broad brushstroke for something. Other times you can find the right marketing tool for multiple needs. A marketing audit will show you where you can take advantage of the right tools for your business, getting the most for your marketing money.
What’s the damage? How much will this cost?
Why does a marketing audit at Impulse Creative cost $5,000? The fact is, a comprehensive marketing audit takes time. It’s not a free consultation some agencies offer, where they give the same canned ideas they give everyone.
Instead, we put some of the best minds in marketing to work, looking over every aspect of your brand. We dive into your online presence, your analytics, your tools, your social media and more. We spend weeks compiling the data, interpreting what it means then putting it all together and proposing a plan you can share and understand.
We’ll uncover areas where you can save money and areas where you’ll need to invest more of your budget. The end result will be a strategic plan (ready-aim-fire) rather than a best guess proposal (fire-aim-ready) to get your marketing aligned with your business goals.
Investing $5000 in a strategic plan will save you tens of thousands of wasted marketing dollars spent on a best-guess strategy with no data to back it up. That’s not even a question of tactics, it’s simple math.
How about a happy customer?
Is it worth it? Will a marketing audit really work? Here’s what two of our clients say:
Maris Cohen, Director of Content Marketing for The NPD Group says our marketing audit brought so much value to her team. NPD hired Impulse Creative to run a marketing audit. She said, “The audit really helped because it’s not just NPD looking inward. It’s bringing in experts with a fresh perspective and gets us out of our own heads.”

Maris also found great value in ideas and strategic points in the audit that had the opportunity for immediate implementation – like relevant content for their intended audience.
“Finally, maybe our favorite part was the fact that the audit was run by a smart team for a reasonable investment, not just ‘some guy’ or a huge $30,000 price tag with no deliverables.”
We also talked with Shawn O’Brien, Chief Marketing Officer of The Nickel Ride. He says a major value to a marketing audit is uncovering every stone, including common sense stuff many of us tend to let go, like SEO page elements.

“The Impulse Creative team is made up of experts on changing trends to help keep you ‘unstuck in your ways’ with an outsider’s perspective,” Shawn said.
Shawn found extra value in how the marketing audit connected sales and marketing. Having a bird’s eye view of the marketing helps bring teams together over a strategic perspective.
Finally, The Nickel Ride team felt comfortable with the Impulse Creative team because each team member is finely tuned to their aspect of the audit. “You have a group of Subject Matter Experts who take deep dives every time. That builds a true relationship where you go the extra mile and you’re interested in our success.”
The tools you need to justify a marketing audit to your C-Suite – the bottom line
When you’re ready to show your C-Suite the bottom-line, bring this list:

We need to know where we are, what the market looks like
A marketing audit will tell us where we’re strong and can save money and where we can grow and should be investing
A $5,000 investment will point us in the right direction with data-backed strategy so we’re not spending the right money in the wrong place
ROI: With a thought-out, well-planned marketing strategy we can set course for more revenue. The ROI of a marketing audit will include more efficient marketing, higher quality leads, more brand awareness.

The bottom line
You know the value a marketing audit brings. You understand the journey metaphor – you can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t have a map. You get it. With these tools, you can get the executive team fired up.
Show them value. Paint the picture of a more efficient marketing strategy. Show them a future where marketing brings even more revenue for even less money.
Investing in a marketing audit will help your business get there and with some simple facts, you can get the C-Suite to see that journey too.
Boardroom photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash
Growth chart photo by Jason Coudriet on Unsplash

Co-Marketing Is The Best Online Marketing Tool You Never Knew About Until Now

One of the best-kept secrets for gaining valuable new audiences is Co-Marketing. Co-Marketing lets you share and obtain content that will stand out amongst the competition while expanding your businesses reach.
Now that you’re thinking about Co-Marketing it is time to understand how you’ve been part of this complex machine all along.
Co-Marketing has existed for so long that it has silently integrated itself into mainstream marketing without reaching its full potential or gaining the attention it deserves. Co-Marketing is the open door for two brands to collaborate on promotional endeavors with co-branded offerings that include content and experience sharing. In Co-Marketing partnerships, both organizations expand their audience by sharing content and advertising between their respective audiences.
When it comes to Co-Marketing, you should probably know a few things…
It’s Not Too Good To Be True, But It Is Too Good To Ignore.
Your time is valuable, and when you’re stretched thin, all the work you produce echoes that fatigue. Knowing that Co-Marketing can give you access to an expanded audience for your business isn’t enough. You need to go and share your content sooner rather than later.
Educate and advertise for your company to like-minded consumers that are more likely to buy your service or product? Who passes up an opportunity like that?
As you start to integrate Co-Marketing into your marketing arsenal, your mind is awake and rejuvenated, thus allowing you to focus more clearly on your goals. One of the great things about this Co-Marketing team is that as you start to share new content received by your partner, your partner is also sharing your content and exposing their audience to your busines.
Two Audiences Are Better Than One
Through Co-Marketing, you’re ready to receive a fresh new crowd, and one you might not have possessed the capacity to associate and connect with otherwise. Consider every one of the advantages two organizations boasting your content and growing your readership offers.
So, how are those benefits measured and put to use?
With Co-Marketing, the turnaround time for results is simple when starting with the necessary tools. Enter the relationship with:
Concrete and reasonable objectives
Mutually valuable content marketing plans
Sharp eye for discovering the right company alliances
Meeting these criteria will allow you to form the right partnerships, align the right co-strategy, and help predict how each business can use Co-Marketing to scale. The aftereffects of this partnership are often measurable not only in page views but ROI as well.
If You Scale Mine, I’ll Scale Yours
How is a Co-Marketing tool in any way measurable?
For starters, a lot of Co-Marketing facilitation sites offer Google Analytics integration as well as different types of accountability metrics you can use to track your results.
Out of these metrics, you can start to construct a formula that works best for you and your partner. Once you’ve begun to build this algorithm it will be easier to:
More accurately predict the type of outcome a particular campaign might yield for both parties
Immediately identify less desirable trends that may not have been apparent before the campaign
Use the analytics to measure accurately which markets produce the most value and construct campaigns around those metrics
Now that you’re ready to begin Co-Marketing…
Remember, success rears its head in many different ways. Before you start any new marketing endeavor, Co-Marketing or other, make sure you set clear objectives and validate the goals within your campaign. Co-Marketing can present its value in the form of a new lead, a sale, a procured user, or a converted customer.
Now go out and find someone who wants to join forces, conquer objectives, and take over the world with the solution that was hiding in plain sight the whole time. Co-Marketing!

Advertising in 2015: How to Strike the Balance Between VOD and Television

In a modern, sensationalist media driven world, one industry or another always appears to be on the verge of extinction.
Last year it was the traditional SEO industry, which was deemed to be moribund in the face of constantly evolving Google algorithms and the proliferation of content marketing. While the boundaries of SEO may have changed to become more content- focused, however, it is arguably more important than ever as a strategic marketing tool.
Now it conventional television that is under the microscope, with the most recent Nielsen report revealing that viewership figures for this medium fell by 4% during the final financial quarter of 2014. In contrast, the figures for online streaming and video on demand (VOD) increased by 60%, crystallizing a trend that has evolved over the course of the last decade.
When Two Mediums Collide: How to use VOD and TV Advertising as part of an Integrated Campaign
While these headline statistics are used to prove the reported declining appeal of television advertising, they should be placed in their proper context. After all, the average American still watches more than 141 hours of live or traditional television each month, and while the total number of hours spent watching streamed content during the same period has risen it remains comparatively low at just 11. So while VOD and online viewership may eventually supersede television in the next decade, both mediums will be forced to co-exist with one another for the foreseeable future.
This is something that modern businesses cannot ignore, and it is crucial that entrepreneurs are open to using both VOD and television advertising as part of an integrated, online marketing campaign. To achieve this, you will need to understand both mediums while learning how and when to use each effectively: –
VOD: The Platform for Non-premium and experimental Marketing
In basic terms, the rise of VOD and online streaming continues to be exponential, with YouTube alone boasting more than one billion unique users on a monthly basis. When you also consider that there is also a host of additional viewership resources such as Vimeo, VOD is clearly a growing concern with huge potential.
It does not yet have the mainstream presence of television, however, meaning that it has some shortfalls and restrictions when it comes to marketing. It is not necessarily ideal for promoting high-end premium products, for example, as the cost of manufacturing and retailing these often demands a high volume of sales if they are to be profitable. VOD may also be unsuitable for relatively staid products or services, as the heavily populated and competitive nature of this medium means that content must have an engaging hook and the potential to go viral if it is to truly succeed.
In this respect, VOD should be primarily used to market non-premium products or host experimental campaigns, particularly those that can make a striking visual impact during a 20-30 second online slot. Costs are usually determined per one thousand views, so this provides an affordable medium that can minimize the risk of marketing cheaper or unconventional projects. On a final note, you can also consider using VOD in an auxiliary role that supports mainstream campaigns through short and memorable online slots that are shared online.
TV Advertising: A Selective Medium for Premium Campaigns
The appeal of television is enduring, and while it may be on the wane it remains a crucial marketing medium in 2015. Its high cost is beyond the budgets of many small and independent ventures, however, while its supposedly diminishing returns may also deter larger brands from investing in television airtime. Even allowing for this, there is no doubt that television remains a key battleground for premium brands and products while it can highly effective so long as marketers are selective in terms of their content and activity.
To understand this further, it is important to look at the costs associated with procuring airtime. While it can cost as little as $500 to produce and develop a 30-second advertisement for local television spots, for example, this can rise to nearly $350,000 for national exposure. In terms of securing airtime, the cost of a peak or prime-time television slot can range between $400,000 and $500,000, which instantly prices many smaller businesses out of the market. This is why television advertising is such an extreme and challenging medium, as while the cost of peak slots are prohibitive they are considered by many to be the only viable way of executing a successful TV marketing campaign.
If you do have the capital to invest in a sustained assault on the prime-time television airways, you need to ensure that you select the right product and channels to ensure a profitable campaign. Customer profiling plays a huge role in TV advertising, as each channel (and there are many of them) has its own viewing demographics and commands a regular audience. You must therefore be able to align your premium product of choice with a specific target market, choosing the most suitable channels to engage your audience.
This type of detailed approach will help you to calculate the potential profitability of your campaign and estimate your ROI before making a final decision.
As you can see, both mediums have their merit in 2015 and this will remain the case for the foreseeable future. Combining both within a selective and integrated campaign is crucial for well-resourced businesses, in particular, as it optimizes their market reach and enables them to execute targeted and ultimately profitable campaigns.