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Businesses need to adapt to new marketing challenges, say experts | Gulf Today, 13 apr 2019
Why Are We So Attracted To Minimalist Branding? | LONNY, 13 apr 2019
WHY YOUR TECH STARTUP NEEDS PR | Tech Voice Africa, 13 apr 2019
Marketing Has Evolved From Changing Perception To Changing Behavior: Ravi Desai, Director Mass And Brand Marketing, Amazon | Businessworld, 12 apr 2019
Opinion: Building a marketing organisation that drives growth today | MarketingTech, 12 apr 2019
8 consumer-friendly digital tools to support behavioral health | MobiHealth News, 12 apr 2019
The Customer Is Incompetent! | Customer Think, 12 apr 2019
6 Peer-Driven Tips for Improving Marketing & Sales Performance with TechTarget Priority Engine | TechTarget, 12 apr 2019
The Secret Behind Landing Better Content Marketing Clients | Small Business Trends, 11 apr 2019
How You Influence Customer Decisions | Contracting Business, 11 apr 2019
Digital & Technology
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 apr 2019
According to the recent report 'India Digital Ad-fraud Market 2018' by techARC, the total size of digital ad-fraud in India stood at staggering US$ 1.63 Billion, which is 8.7% of the global size. The report projects 23% increase in digital ad-fraud in 2019. Digital Commerce contributed more than half 51% of the total ad-fraud in India. While, Leisure & Travel (26%), Entertainment & Gaming (13%), Banking & Finance (8%), Healthcare & Pharma (1%) and Others (1%). Although, App Fraud contributes to over 85% of the total digital ad-fraud, the organizations should not ignore the web platforms. Web platforms are more susceptible to frauds as in several organizations the digital teams are primarily focusing on the app, leaving the web space vulnerable. As video is increasingly becoming the preferred medium of content, it is also attracting fraudsters to exploit this advertising channel. The report finds that businesses who have an ad-fraud solution in place are better equipped to have higher levels of customer engagements. Faisal Kawoosa, Founder & Chief Analyst at techARC, says, 'Digital ad-fraud is getting increased attention from the C-level leadership of evolved organisations, where it is no longer an agenda of a CDO or CMO. The impact of digital ad-fraud now goes beyond diminishing the returns on marketing spends and can jeopardize the entire digital transformation journey hampering Brand Equity, Relevance and Positioning among other ramifications.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 mar 2019
Scot Henney (GVP of sales at SAP) and Marcus Venth (GVP of market development at SAP) discussed the importance of customer experience in the digital age with John Furrier and Dave Vellante, co-hosts of theCUBE at IBM Think event in San Francisco, US. Mr. Henney says, 'A new customer-experience domain is open up called the "experience economy". It brings the front office and back office together and adds in "experiential data" on end-users.' As more companies shift from products to subscription-based services, customer-experience becomes crucial. Digital provides more power to consumers and ease of switching brands. Customer feedback becomes valuable. According to Mr. Henney, '80% of customers have switched brands because of poor CX (customer experience) and companies that deliver better customer experience have more than 200% more shareholder value.' Mr. Venth adds, 'The 360 customer view that leads to stellar CX is not achieved with applications, data and professionals in silos. One of the biggest challenges we see [is]...where we have a highly customized environment with lots of disparate applications that really are poorly integrated.' Read on...
Analytics mine consumer brains in new 'experience economy'
Author: R. Danes
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 jan 2019
Autonomous shopping concept intends to bring brick-and-mortar and internet shopping into a unified and integrated retail experience. The grab-and-go smart shopping carts promote cashier-free automatic check-out eliminating wait in lines. TechSpot's contributing writer, Cohen Coberly, says, 'While it seemed like brick-and-mortar retail would be all but killed off following the explosive rise of online shopping, what we're instead seeing throughout the US is not death, but evolution.' According to a 2018 survey by RIS News, 'The leading new shopping option wanted by consumers was "grab-and-go" technology (in which customers can self-checkout using their smartphones). 59% said they'd like to use this, and 9% had used it.' In a global survey of 2250 internet users conducted by iVend Retail and AYTM Market Research, 'Roughly 1/3rd of respondents said they would like to make automatic payments using digital shopping carts.' Caper is a smart shopping cart startup. Josh Constine, technology journalist and editor-at-large for TechCrunch, reports, 'The startup makes a shopping cart with a built-in barcode scanner and credit card swiper, but it's finalizing the technology to automatically scan items you drop in thanks to three image recognition cameras and a weight sensor. The company claims people already buy 18% more per visit after stores are equipped with its carts.' Linden Gao, co-founder and CEO of Caper, says, 'It doesn't make sense that you can order a cab with your phone or go book a hotel with your phone, but you can't use your phone to make a payment and leave the store. You still have to stand in line.' The current Caper cart involves scanning an item's barcode and then throwing it into the cart. Brittany Roston, senior editor and contributor at SlashGear, reports, 'The smarter version will eliminate the barcode part, making it possible to simply put the items in the cart while the built-in tech recognizes what they are.' Chris Albrecht, managing editor at The Spoon, also reports, 'The future iterations, already in the works, will remove the barcode and will use a combination of computer vision and built-in weight scales to determine purchases. The customer completes shopping, and pays on the built-in screen.' The concept of scanless carts involves deep learning and machine vision. Cameras are mounted in the cart. The screen on the cart gives the shopper different kinds of information - store map, item locator, promotions, deals etc. It recommends items based on contents already in the basket. Read on...
Next-level autonomous shopping carts are even smarter
Author: Nancy Cohen
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 nov 2018
For the success of businesses a solid foundation or strong core is necessary and then only innovative strategies, tactics, programs and technology that are applied will be impactful and bear fruits. Scott Vaughan, CMO of Integrate, suggests the focus on achieving the revenue marketing goals and provides five essentials that high-performing B2B marketing teams consistently focus on to drive high performance - (1) PRECISION - Accurately defining ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and identifying best account opportunities: Engage the right audiences; Avoid random marketing to general people; Identify smaller group of core audience; Use advanced tech such as predictive marketing and intent data modeling to identify more of the best accounts and buyers. (2) TRUST - Committing to permission-based marketing in an increasingly regulated world: Treat information with care; Ensure the understanding and fulfillment of data-privacy laws; Permission mindset builds trust. (3) HYGIENE - Generating quality, actionable data to drive performance and create experiences: Recent survey by DemandGen Report finds, on average, more than 35% of the data in existing databases is unmarketable. Use effecient data hygiene; Bad data wastes marketing and sales efforts; Audit data-capture processes and sources, and use data governance filters before data enters database. (4) SPEED - Increasing velocity makes everything perform better: Current processes and tech investments need to have a speed evaluation; Identify areas where data can be routed faster and action can be taken within an appropriate time; Watch closely 'pipleline velocity' (Time from when an opportunity identified and finally converted into a deal) (5) INSIGHTS - Measuring to understand the good, the bad and the ugly: High-performing marketing teams use insights with key ingredients like agreed-upon key performance indicators (KPIs), tools that can measure performance, easy-to-use shared dashboards for all stakeholders (marketing, sales, management etc). Read on...
5 essential strategies B2B marketers must master in 2019
Author: Scott Vaughan
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 nov 2018
In today's businesses, digital is one of the critical component that defines their growth and success. With digital and related analytics, organizations can easily track and create insights to better understand consumer behavior for their benefits. Gabriel Shaoolian, founder of DesignRush, provides valuable statistics in marketing, website design and branding for efficient online strategy and subsequent online success - (1) By 2021, mobile e-commerce will account for 54% of all online sales. (2) 38% of users will stop interacting with a website if the layout is unattractive. (3) Long landing pages generate up to 220% more leads than above-the-fold calls to action. (4) Color improves brand recognition by up to 80%. (5) Consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23%. (6) 64% of consumers say that shared values help them create a trusted relationship with a brand. (7) Content marketing efforts receive three times the leads per dollar spent than paid search receives. (8) 64% of consumers make a purchase after viewing a branded social video. (9) Facebook Ad revenue in the US will surpass total print ad spending by 2019. (10) Email has a median return on investment of 122%. Moreover, he suggests the following key points to be noted for digital strategy - Create an easy-to-use website that works on all platforms and devices; Design a memorable brand identity that communicates well with consumers; Maintain an honest and transparent relationship with customers; Invest in content marketing and social media advertisements; Test video marketing campaigns to engage users; Don't forget about the power of email marketing. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 oct 2018
When one thinks of marketing, Northwestern University Professor Philip Kotler's name comes right at the top. He is author of the most used marketing texbook in business schools, 'Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, Implementation and Control', alongwith another 57 books on the subject. Speaking with Paul Talbot, President of a marketing strategy firm Southport Harbour, Prof. Kotler shares his views on the role of CMOs (Chief Marketing Officer) in today's business organizations. Regarding their skills and talents, he says, 'In the 1960s, marketers were hired for their flair for advertising and creativity...Today, we need CMOs with a different skill set. CMOs must be expert at digital marketing...Information and mathematics are crucial. Companies need in-depth information about their customers’ individual beliefs, values, media consumption and channel choices. Marketers today use multiple regression analysis, cluster analysis, discriminant analysis, and predictive analytics to yield customer insight. Marketers increasingly make investments in...social media. CMO has to have good creative marketers on the staff to bring up bright new ideas. The tech approach to marketing is more about efficiency. Marketing creativity and imagination is about winning big.' Regarding collaboration between between marketing teams and others in the organization, he says, 'Back in the 1960s, companies didn’t have a CMO. They had a powerful vice-president of sales who was the driving force. They had added a vice-president of marketing whose job was primarily managing marketing research and preparing advertising and sales promotions...The chief marketing officer concept emerged as markets grew more complex and competitive...who would participate in finding and shaping what the company should produce, in identifying the target markets, and evaluating the overall company strategy...CMOs need to be effective in the following relationships: ...The CMO had to 'carefully' educate the CEO to understand marketing's potential and limitations; ...the CMO and CFO would work together to find and agree on the best way to measure the return on marketing spend; ...I view R&D people to be the masters of what is possible. I view marketers to be the masters of what is valuable; ...If those two executives (CMO and VP of sales) don't get along, the company’s financial performance is doomed.' Read on...
Northwestern Professor Philip Kotler On Today's CMO
Author: Paul Talbot
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 oct 2018
Voters have to apply different standards to political advertising and take them with a pinch of salt. According to Prof. Jonathan Rose, Dept. of Political Studies at Queen's University (Canada), says, 'Political ads aren't subject to the same rules as other kinds of advertising. The Advertising Standards Council is a the professional regulatory body that regulates truth in advertising so I cannot say a nonfactual claim in an ad...But that truth-in-advertising doesn't apply at all to political advertising, so, literally, there's no method of enforcing truth-in-advertising.' Even though there can be limits on spending by political parties and by third parties, but it is hard to enforce the limit on online campaigns as the message can be spread for little to no expense and with virtually no oversight. Prof. Rose says, 'A lot of advertising is priming...priming is putting an item high on the public agenda by way of reinforcing a message...Priming is putting the ballot question in the minds of voters.' There are other tricks that third parties can utilize, for example portraying them as amateurish and create a perception of being a grassroots movement but in reality has been backed by big money. He advises people to be aware of political advertising in any form and be critical and do research about the accuracy of the content. He also suggests, 'At least use the ads to have a conversation with family and friends about the claims they're hearing. If you use an advertisement as a sort of a talking point to thinking about these issues then that’s at least better than accepting them without question.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 aug 2018
It's critical for the marketers to understand the collective habits of the customers of a particular segment they want to sell. Engineers are one such segment that B2B marketers have to deal with while pursuing their campaigns. Patrick D. Mahoney, President and CEO of IEEE GlobalSpec, explains the IEEE GlobalSpec's '2018 Pulse of Engineering Survey - The Changing Work Environment for Engineers Today' and how industrial marketers can utilize the insights to formulate their marketing strategy. The survey of 2236 engineers and professionals was designed to gather measurable and actionable insight on what they think about their industries and work environments. The survey also includes exclusive analysis on two key segments of the engineering workforce: millennials and technical professionals in the electronics industry. Highlights from the research - PRESSURES: 55% of engineers say the pace of engineering is increasing; 53% are required to do more with less; 40% say that pressure to meet deadlines is putting product quality/rework at risk; Majority also say that designs are becoming more sophisticated and that design cycles are shrinking, while time-to-market pressures are increasing; 44% of companies have increased design involvement from external partners and vendors. MILLENNIALS: Marked differences between mindset of younger engineers vs veterans regarding information. Millennials are information hungry. Concerning information access, 24% of surveyed millennials say they are more likely to use video for educational purposes compared to a much smaller 14% of veteran engineers; While the majority (53%) of all engineers are willing to register on a website for access to specific documents, only 44% of millennials indicated such willingness; Younger engineers tend to believe all content should be free and openly accessible (52%). Read on...
A Look Into the Mind of the Engineer: For B2B Marketers
Author: Patrick D. Mahoney
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 aug 2018
According to experts, effective use of data is key to B2B marketing success as it offers precision targeting, better customer experience and personalization at scale. Bernard Tan, APAC Regional Marketing Director at Red Hat, doesn't consider marketing as just B2B or B2C, but prefers it to be 'business-to-all'. He says, '(Data) is transforming the way that we talk to whole markets...it's transforming the way that we can actually have one-to-one conversations in volume markets, and be much more efficient about the way we go to that market...All of us are consumers...We are now at this position where we are now able to start to drive engagement at an individual level and really focus on the customer.' According to IBM's 2017 Customer Experience Index study, APAC (31) scored lower than other regions when it comes to data-driven customer experience in the B2B space [North America (35), Europe (33) and Latin America (33)]. Jodie Sangster, CMO liaison lead of IBM Watson, says, 'Unfortunately in APAC, we are lagging behind in terms of meeting consumer expectations of how we are using their data and delivering great customer experience.' Read on...
Data is key for B2B marketers, but APAC lags behind
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2018
Nonprofits have to take the cue from their for-profit counterparts for successful implementation of marketing and technology oriented strategy implementations. Content marketing is now a mature field both in B2B and B2C aspects of business. Best practices are available. Gloria Horsley, founder of Open to Hope Foundation, explains the value of effective content for nonprofit organizations to educate, inform and engage with donors, volunteers and those the nonprofits intend to support and help. She shares her mistakes in content marketing in nonprofit realm and the learning from these experiences - (1) Transferring Existing Print Content Online: Offline content is outward-facing and telling rather than sharing or interactive; Written for entire audience and not personalized for specific segments; Online content need to be written in a way to engage audience; Interactive for audience to share their opinions; Utilizes story telling and visual content. (2) Delivering Content That Lacks Educational Value: Merely information and facts are not always valuable content; Specific content that educate different audiences is more valuable; Produce content that answers specific questions; Educational content attracts more supporters, donors and volunteers. (3) Letting Volunteers Run With It: Giving too much control to volunteers for content development risks consistency and integrity; They may create content that is not fully compliant with regulations; Specific rules and guidelines for content must be laid out; Templates and formats must be shared with temporary workers and volunteers; Provide volunteers access to content management system where content is checked and approved before being published. (4) Failing To Focus On High-Quality Writing: Emotion-based writing may not always be the best quality writing; Long sentences, grammatical mistakes, passive voice use etc leads to content exhaustion where audience lose interest; Use online tools like WordPress and Grammarly for appropriate writing; Professional writing techniques need to be adopted. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jul 2018
According to the latest research by Stanford University business academics, Prof. Navdeep Sahni and Prof. Harikesh Nair, people are very good at distinguishing native advertisements from digital content, but the ads still exert significant influence on shopping behavior. Native advertisements blend with the digital content and closely match style and layout of the surrounding media. Regulators are often concerned regarding their deceptive sponsorship disclosure and the resulting misguided purchases by consumers. Prof. Sahni says, 'Native advertising is a relatively new form of advertising. Advertisers and publishers have embraced this because of the rise in mobile browsing behavior, and because banner ads are hard to implement on mobile screens, and are known to be not very effective.' Professors developed a field experiment in which they manipulated how native advertising for specific restaurants appeared on a restaurant search mobile app, creating two 'extreme' ad presentation conditions (no-disclure and prominent-disclosure) to compare to a more typical native ad. The study examined differences in how over 200000 users responded to the varied presentations and found that responses to typical native ads were similar to those in the full-disclosure condition. Prof. Sahni adds, 'We found that people who respond to the ad can spot this kind of advertising in its typical format...The effect of advertising seems to happen through direct exposure and can result in conversion even if people don't click on the ad itself.' The study suggests that because consumers who are more likely to be affected by ads can identify typical native ads easily, making the ads more prominent is unlikely to change people's behavior. For consumers, implications of the study are that even in a time of advanced analytics, ad exposure continues to have a deeply subtle, and thus harder-to-quantify, effect. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2018
Implementing an effective content marketing strategy with original content that stands out from competitors is a challenging task. Online content needs to be continuously updated, should be valuable to the audience and fulfil the required marketing goals. For this hiring a professional writer, full-time or freelance, is a good option. Professional writers can ensure that the content is more engaging, informative, credible, and persuasive. Following are ways in which he/she can contribute to the content marketing strategy - (1) Improve Search Engine Rankings: Professional writers understand search engine optimization (SEO) and create keyword rich copy. They have knowledge of the latest SEO trends and ensure that content meets the standards of search engine robots. (2) Save Money: Outsourcing content can be more cost effective. Companies using inbound marketing generally experience a 61% lower cost per lead than those using traditional methods (HubSpot). The average cost of hiring an in-house writer is US$ 7221 per month (Society for Human Resource Management). (3) Save Time: Creating quality content is time consuming. Outsourcing content as per requirement assists to focus in other essential areas of business. Moreover, multiple expert writers can be hired at the same time. (4) Meet Deadlines: Professional writers can work as needed and maintain schedule. (5) Boost Your Social Media Presence: Continuous stream of content can make businesses focus on their social media strategy, share content timely and create brand awareness. (6) Increase Conversions: The average web user leaves a web page after less than 20 seconds (Nielson Norman Group). Skillful writers can write persuasively to hold audience on website and increase conversions. (7) Communicate More Effectively: Professional writers can write in conversational tone and keep audience engaged. They communicate effectively about products and services keeping in mind the audience's perspective. (8) Deliver a Wide Range of Content Types: Different experts can be hired for providing different type of content. Read on...
Business 2 Community:
How Hiring a Professional Writer Improves Your Content Marketing
Author: Chris Reid
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 may 2018
Utilizing customer data to understand consumer behavior through analytics tools is key to improve products and services, and finally gain and retain customers. Restaurant and fast food industry is customer intensive with direct interactions with them. Restaurant sales were approximately US$ 800 billion last year and continue to grow. With hightened competition and increasing customer expectations it becomes challenging to serve what customer wants and keeps coming back for more. Advanced analytics can come to the rescue in this regard. Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry has low average ticket value, customer visit frequency is higher and cyclical, size of the meal matters and customer tastes don't vary that much. The restaurant industry's main goals remain - increase meal size, increase guest frequency and decrease customer lapsation. In today's environment, customers are digital-savvy and restaurants have their data. The value is in gaining actionable insights from this data that positively impact the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Here is what some restaurant chains are doing in this regard - (1) Identified taste affinity clusters: Created various segements of customers and looked at their past purchase behavior to identify taste preferences. (2) Buying behavior analysis: Looked at purchase behavior across different channels to identify which menu items can be added to the combo for someone that orders (mobile vs visit). Used advanced analytics to get a single view of the customer by integrating their POS, mobile, web and social data to identify the customer and hence provide consistent messaging. (3) NPS and Feedback Analysis: Integrated feedback received across all channels and layered it up with sentiment analysis. Customers were given lapsation score and offers were targeted accordingly. (4) Store location analysis: Used predictive models to identify the probability of a new store succeeding in a specific location vis-à-vis another store in the same area. They identified pockets of demand and the model prescribed a set of potential locations in a given geographic area. This data was used to score and rank comparable locations. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 apr 2018
According to Big Commerce, 51% of Americans prefer to shop online, and almost everyone (96%) has made an online purchase in their life. But, with so many competing e-commerce websites and a large number of brick-and-mortar retail stores, the challenge for retailers is to differentiate themselves and, attract, acquire and retain the customers. Retailers can do the following to increase retail sales - (1) Run Beautifully Executed Google Shopping Campaigns: Organize shopping campaigns by best-selling items; Ensure your ad images are high-quality and crawlable; Include merchant promotions and product reviews. (2) Give Shoppers a Reason to Visit Your Store: Provide special in-store discounts to shoppers; Use the power of social media to communicate special in-store deals. (3) Use Social Media Targeting Capabilities to Your Advantage: Configure your social media campaign with detailed targeting to audience who will be most willing to buy the products. Targeting to right demographics is the key. (4) Don't Forget to Be Locally Relevant: Geotargeting; Ad copy and imagery with local appeal; Use local lingo. (5) Invest in Some Guerilla Marketing Campaigns: Use public places innovatively to attract attention and spread the word around. (6) Try Podcast Advertising: According to Edison Research, 67 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly, which is a 14% year-to-year increase. Discover your audience's choice of podcasts and invest in running some advertisements to sponsor the commercial breaks. (7) Get Creative with Video: Use entertainment as a strategic tool in video to attract audience. Getting it viral is a challenge that every creative should take. (8) Celebrate All the Little Holidays: Embrace holidays and link your campaigns to them; Release special limited-edition products around them, run special events, or offer deals in festive holidays colors, it gets people excited. (9) Instill a Sense of Urgency: Urgency in messaging can pressure audience to shop; Run short-term limited-time offers and discounts. (10) Understand Your Seasonal Peaks and Plan Accordingly: Do advance planning for seasonal peaks. This includes adjusting ad spend, working with design for new creative, and executing seasonally relevant campaigns that will boost sales during these peak times. (11) Create Returning Buyers through Smart Remarketing: Remarketing allows you to remind shoppers, re-engage them and assist them in buying again; Think about the lifespan of the product that a customer have bought. Run a remarketing campaign and encourage to buy before the product is finished; Another remarketing tactic is to upsell based on the products customers have previously purchased. Read on...
Business 2 Community:
11 Killer Retail Marketing Tips to Drive Sales Year Round
Author: Margot da Cunha
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 mar 2018
Basic principles of business success remains the same, but with time new ideas, concepts and rules become game changers and critical to its success. Inspired by David Politis's book '66 Rules for Publicity Success', Sheryl Conner, entrepreneur, author of 'Beyond PR: Communicate Like A Champ In The Digital Age' and co-creator of Content University, explains how public relations has transformed and brought in new dynamics while some of its concepts remain the same. THE NEW - (1) New publishing platforms give more freedom to publish and provide metrics and analytics about how much interest and engagement the content has created. (2) Know the rules of publishing on varied platforms and understand the difference between owned (company blog), earned (national journals and publications), leased and rented (social media platforms) publishing space. (3) Search results are the greatest ally (and one of the most significant risk). (4) Visual content is becoming increasingly important. Text content with video/audio and compelling images provides effective multimedia experience to the audience. (5) Customer feedback is equal (or more) important to purchases than traditional analyst views. THE USUAL - (1) Press releases are still important. (2) Value add educative information for your audience is more valuable than promotion and hype. According to Conductor.com, a consumer is 131% more likely to purchase from a vendor who publishes an educational article they have read. (3) Meaningful and consistent messaging is vital. (4) Authenticity is more important than ever before. (5) Earned media is important. Remember what others say about your company is more valuable and add to reputation, than what you say yourself. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 feb 2018
Measurement and analysis of marketing data is becoming critical for understanding the effectiveness of marketing initiatives. The insights help in focusing efforts and money in the right direction. Marketing analytics tools and technologies continue to advance. David Sanderson, CEO of Nugit, explains what will be driving marketing analytics in 2018 and how marketers can keep pace with them - (1) Marketing analysts will need to use many new data sources: Combining data from internal data repositories with other sources like Google Analytics, SEO platform, CRM, Email, Social Media, Chat applications etc will provide better insights that will help to drive consumer interest, optimize pricing, and deliver an improved customer experience. Now analysts must also identify where important data resides, determine what needs to be extracted and devise a strategy for using new data sources to drive business decisions. (2) Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be essential for analytics: Speed of incoming data in large volumes make it difficult for human data analysts to process it effectively. In such a scenario, machine learning and AI tools come to the rescue and help analysts find patterns in customer data, elicit recommendations for optimizing performance, and allow non-professionals to access complicated analytics using simple language. (3) Analysts will become storytellers: Usual data analyst skill like SQL, Excel, business analysis etc, crunching data and making reports will not suffice now. Analysts have to do more - Obtain data from non-traditional sources; Clean data with programming languages such as Python; 'Polish' the data using data visualization tools and create attractive charts and graphs; Transform data into easy-to-understand stories which help non-analysts understand emerging trends and opportunities. Read on...
The three trends driving marketing analytics in 2018
Author: Jeff Rajeck
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 feb 2018
As streaming video services on internet get popularity, advertising on television is seeing a decline. Now advertisers are shifting their dollars towards digital. In 2016, US revenues from digital advertising exceeded revenues from TV for the first time - US$ 72.5 billion (+22%) compared to US$ 71.3 billion from TV. This trend is also reflected in global markets. Some corporates are even focusing solely on digital advertising. The young (13 to 24 years age) are showing less affinity towards traditional advertising as they spend more time on Internet in comparison to TV. Only 36% of consumers noted that they cannot do without a TV screen. Meanwhile, 67% cannot imagine their lives without YouTube and 51% seem to lose meaning in life without Netflix. The same audience is watching 2.5 times more internet videos than traditional TV. Video-bloggers are the new influencers for the young population as they advocate brands and products while sharing their experiences with them in the form of effective video presentions. Video bloggers are becoming a guaranteed way for advertisers of reaching target audiences and getting predictable results. Influencer marketing is becoming more relevant. Return on investment from online videos is 77% more than from TV promos. The main trend nowadays is native advertising through opinion leaders. Traditional advertising is slowly getting outdated and a personalized Internet, along with personalized advertising, is becoming the real future. Read on...
The Next Web:
Advertising in the digital age - Why online-first is the future
Author: David Geer
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 dec 2017
Marketing continuously evolves, and there is always something new for marketers to test, experiment and validate, and bring it to mainstream, whether it be ideas or technologies. Here are expert predictions for 2018 - (1) Zoe Burns-Shore (Head of Brand & Marketing, First Direct): 'Hopefully, more companies will start to realise digital marketing and marketing are one in the same, and the joy of all of that is seeing how everything works together, not in channel-led silos.' (2) Rachel Bristow (Director of Client Partnerships & Collaboration, Sky Media): 'It's no longer enough for brands to be passive about their brand identity as consumers are expecting more from the brands they engage with. Often this means taking a political viewpoint in order to be relevant and engaging...Although having a political voice can elevate a brand's purpose, it comes with a host of reputation risks which brands need to carefully consider. CSR also helps align a brand with a purpose while mitigating some of those reputation risks of being politically vocal.' (3) Harry Lang (Marketing Director at Online Sportsbook Pinnacle.com): '...I'm going with eSports...Now it's getting organised and brands are paying over the odds to jump on the bandwagon - the trend lines suggest it's only going to get bigger.' (4) Aedamar Howlett (Marketing Director, Coca-Cola Great Britain): 'We will add more choice and breadth to our portfolio...tap into macro consumer trends like healthy living, exotic flavours and on-the-go snacking...we will evolve the ways we communicate and engage our consumers. The trend for instant, real-time conversations and connections with brands will continue...also trialling chat bots and AI, as well as investing in editorial-style content-led media partnerships that tap into the mass appeal of social influencers to consumers...(there) is an evolution in the way marketers use and present data insights...(insights) will allow a more personalised, targeted approach for 2018.' (5) Craig Greenberg (Head of Strategic Planning & Insight, William Grant & Sons UK): 'As consumers are constantly bombarded with information across various channels, we will see more brands attempting to cut through the clutter to become memorable...it is brands that have a differentiator aligned with their brand heritage in a credible way that will win in the long term...consumers will seek brands that build on their identity, meaning a bigger push towards 'local' specificity in luxury brands...in a period of uncertainty, big brands may feel detached from a sense of place and strive to get closer to communities.' (6) Ben Rhodes (Group Marketing Director, Royal Mail): '...continued growth in retail ecommerce - and the associated need for more convenience and choice in delivery and return options...consumer trust in messaging received via physical mail to continue to grow, compared with digital channels.' Read on...
What's in store for 2018? Marketers share their predictions
Author: Lucy Tesseras
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 nov 2017
Customer data is key for effective decision-making in marketing and advertising. Even though technology has provided tools to collect and analyze data, and obtain valuable insights, both brand marketers and agency buyers are unsure of the transparency and effectiveness of the data their partners are providing. According to the recent study, 'More Data, More Problems: Trust, transparency, and Targeting in 2017' by Bazaarvoice and Ad Age, more than 75% of survey respondents admitted they are not fully confident that the data they're utilizing is hitting consumers who are in-market to buy. Additionally, 65% of respondents claimed they do not fully understand the origin of their data sources. Here are 10 important questions that one should ask the advertising data provider before embarking on a marketing campaign and get the best value from it - (1) What are the sources of your data? (2) How far does your data reach? (3) What percentage of your data is created from a look-alike model? (4) Which intent signals or behaviors place a user into an audience segment? (5) How do you maintain your audience segments? (6) Can you explain the process behind how you define your audience segments - and the data that feeds into them? (7) In which categories does your data best perform, and why? (8) For which metric(s) does your data best perform, and why? (9) Can you reach the same user across their multiple devices? (10) Does your data drive brand consideration and/or sales, and can you accurately attribute the performance lift directly to your campaign? If so, how? Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 oct 2017
Over the years the dynamics of relationship between patients and healthcare providers have evolved into customers and healthcare businesses type. Rising cost of healthcare, multiple providers, privatization and technology are some important reasons for this transformation. Brad Dodge, President of Dodge Communications, and Andrew Pelosi, President of Partners & Simons, provide in detail what the patients as consumers of healthcare services expect from providers and how healthcare businesses can develop robust customer oriented strategies and fulfil the role of trusted partner in providing care services. They explain, 'Healthcare consumers have come to the realization that they have options. They don't have to settle for poor service, long wait times, limited hours, or confusing bills. Customer loyalty has to be earned - as in any other business. And consumers make it perfectly clear that if a provider can't deliver a better and more personalized experience, then they will switch to one that can. Moreover, the shift in mentality demands that providers be transparent and personal as much as possible. And from generation to generation, consumers are demanding clear communication and a trusted connection with their providers.' According to the Solutionreach Patient-Provider Relationship Study, 'The Ripple Effect Starts with Boomers', 43% of millennials are likely to switch practices in the next few years, 44% of Generation X are likely to switch primary care physicians in the three years and 20% of Baby Boomers are likely to switch in the next three years. Also, 70% of patients desire the ability to text the doctor's office, and 70% would like to receive text messages from their doctor, especially about appointments. Healthcare providers have to keep in mind expectations of these consumers and provide them personalized experience if they want long-term continuous relationships. Authors suggest - (1) Communication Drives Experience: 'The essence of creating a positive experience is making customers feel that they are heard and important — before, during, and after a transaction. Consistent, relevant communication between your company and customers is the answer to optimize that experience and engender trust. Honest communication with an emphasis on personalization builds the trust that all companies need to grow in this new information-driven, engagement economy.' (2) Entering the Engagement Economy: 'Consumers are demanding a more personalized relationship that requires a depth of knowledge of their wants, needs, and buying behaviors - and, ultimately, the best ways to engage them. Brands that succeed are the ones that manage engagement across the entire customer lifecycle. In most instances, the lifecycle and trust-building process starts very early in the customer's buying decision, even before they are considering a purchase.' (3) Who Are You Talking To: 'Creating a positive customer experience requires knowing your audience, engaging interpersonally, and meeting their needs. Answering those questions helps you develop an understanding that will be reflected in how you communicate with them across all channels, as well as what content you deliver. Also, organizations must be clear and concise; they must also offer up a valuable story; and they must be prepared to tweak that story as the marketplace changes.' (4) Focus on Delighting Customers: 'Focusing on ways to delight customers will go a long way in nurturing engagement and trust in your brand. Again, communicating and delivering valuable information to potential and existing customers can please them, especially when that information demonstrates an understanding of their pain points and goals.' (5) Harnessing Engagement: In an environment where trust is in short supply and customer engagement is spread across a broad digital ecosystem, companies must focus on their customers and on nurturing relationships through effective, relevant communication. Focusing on customer experience, needs, and preferences will not only enable brands to differentiate their products and services in a competitive market but also build the trust that results in loyalty.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 sep 2017
Team of researchers - Anatoli Colicev of Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan), Ashwin Malshe of University of Texas at San Antonio (USA), Koen Pauwels of Northeastern University (USA) and Peter O'Connor of ESSEC Business School (France) - in their paper 'Improving Consumer Mind-Set Metrics and Shareholder Value through Social Media: The Different Roles of Owned and Earned' published in Journal of Marketing, describe the impact of social media on stock market performance via three consumer mindset metrics: brand awareness, purchase intent, and consumer satisfaction. According to the research all the social media posts are not created equal. Owned social media (OSM), i.e. company's own posts, is likely to increase brand awareness and customer satisfaction but not purchase intent. While earned social media (ESM), i.e. what consumers say about brands on social platforms, is even more valuable, potentially increasing all three consumer mindset metrics. Prof. Koen Pauwels says, 'Consumers look to their peers before making purchasing decisions, which is why earned social media is so valuable. Both investors and consumers distrust companies who boast about themselves, because it's hard to know what weaknesses they're trying to hide.' The researchers also found that consumer satisfaction and purchase intent are primary contributors to firm value. While higher consumer satisfaction was found to increase stock market returns, greater purchase intent was shown to both increase stock market returns and lower idiosyncratic risk - risk that is endemic to a particular stock and not a whole investment portfolio. The researchers used time series analysis to decipher the link between social media posts on various platforms consumer mindset metrics, and shareholder value. Prof. Pauwels suggests that research findings could assist marketers to develop more effective social media strategies. He says, '...marketers and social media managers should craft their OSM messages to target customers to improve brand awareness and customer satisfaction. Due to the value-relevance of customer satisfaction, OSM that is targeted toward helping customers post-purchase, addressing their concerns, and reinforcing their purchase decisions is much more valuable than OSM crafted to persuade customers to buy the firm's products.' The research also found that brands with high credibility (reputation) are far more likely than brands with low credibility to increase purchase intent with their own posts. Read on...
News @ Northeastern:
When it comes to social media, consumers trust each other, not big brands
Author: Jason Kornwitz
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 sep 2017
E-commerce has disrupted traditional retail but at the same time pure-play e-commerce companies find it challenging to be profitable. Steve Dennis, strategic advisor, keynote speaker and founder of SageBerry Consulting, provides economic dynamics of e-commerce companies and analyzes the challenges to their road to profitability. He cites the case of e-commerce behemoth, Amazon, that accounts for 45% of US e-commerce and being in business for more than 20 years, still operates at below average industry margins. Some e-commerce companies are even investing to have physical retail presence. Regarding e-commerce among traditional retailers, Mr. Dennis says, '...it's clear that the e-commerce divisions of many major omni-channel retailers run at a loss - or at margins far below their brick & mortar operations.' According to him, increasingly high cost of acquiring (and retaining) customers online is one of the main dynamics that is an impediment to profitability. He explains, 'As it turns out, many online brands attract their first tranche of customers relatively inexpensively, through word of mouth or other low cost strategies. Where things start to get ugly is when these brands have to get more aggressive about finding new and somewhat different customers.' He provides three factors that lead to this - (1) Marketing costs start to escalate: To seek growth, advertising spend increases; Online platforms like Facebook, Google etc are utilized to gain broader audience. (2) More promotion, less attraction: Customers in the growth phase need more incentives, so gross margin on these incremental sales comes at a lower rate; Customers now expect discounts for future purchases, making them inherently less profitable than the initial core customers. (3) Questionable (or lousy) lifetime value: Customers that are acquired as the brand scales have lower incremental lifetime value, both because on average they spend less and because they are inherently more difficult to retain. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 aug 2017
A research study by Strategy Analytics' AppOptix practice (AO) brings good news for B2B players as it finds that 50.4% of consumers use their personal smartphone for business purposes. Employees are using their personal smartphones to conduct business and installing public domain and company-sponsored apps for file sharing, data security, time sheets, expense reporting, and collaboration. B2B companies can identify these business users disguised as consumers to target their offerings. The study also found - 20.5% of business users utilize their personal smartphone over 50% of the time to conduct business; 20.8% of business users are compensated by their employer for their network/wireless operator charges. Author of the study, Prabhat Agarwal (Director, AppOptix), says, 'This research showcases and substantiates there are entry points for B2B players that are looking to offer business services to consumers...By analyzing combinations of apps, we can create probability profiles that identify likely users of business services.' Barry Gilbert (VP, Strategy Analytics), says, 'The business and enterprise user is a critical and lucrative market for mobile operators, device OEMs, and many enterprise software firms...' Read on...
50.4% of Consumers Use Their Personal Smartphones to Conduct Business, Finds Strategy Analytics
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jul 2017
2017 'Consumer Email Habits Report: What Do Your Customers Really Want', a study of 1003 online respondents commissioned by Campaign Monitor and conducted by Market Cube, finds that nonprofit email marketers are lagging behind peers, and the preferences of constituencies, in their ability to provide personalized, relevant messaging. 81% of consumers in the report want touches of personalization in emails they receive from nonprofits. In terms of relevancy of emails to supporters and potential supporters, nonprofits lag behind substantially with only 42% respondents stating that they regularly receive relevant emails. Andrea Wildt, chief marketing officer for Campaign Monitor, says, 'Email personalization can be based on either personal demographics or behavior - how an individual is interacting with an organization...personally relevant emails resonate better with recipients - building a trust that is sometimes hard to foster when recipients are bombarded with so many contacts from so many senders.' According to Ms. Wildt, 'Nonprofits struggle to provide personally relevant emails due to overall lack of ability to capture data and use that data to segment. Resources available to nonprofits are often far more modest than those of retailers.' Further complicating matters for nonprofits is the disparate ways various age groups interact with emailed material. Ms. Wildt suggests, 'Nonprofits must take a multi-pronged approach to marketing (using different tactics/strategies/technologies to target specific age groups)...They are just not quite as mature at leveraging some of the technology. There is so much noise that nonprofits really need help cutting through. The competition for donors' wallets is still fierce.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jul 2017
According to 'Instructional Design Report 2016' funded by the Gates Foundation, there are 13000 instructional designers in US. The field is increasing in popularity as online education proliferates and the need to translate content into digital forms rises. Designing online learning experiences is becoming essential training employees, mobilizing customers, serving students, building marketing channels, and sustaining business models. Instructional design has deep roots in distance education, human computer interaction, and visual design. ontemporary instructional design sits at the intersection of three core disciplines: learning science, human-centered design, and digital marketing. Following are some lessons and resources for those starting out in the field of instructionl designs - (1) Start with a deep understanding of your learners: Start by developing an Empathy Guide similar to one put together by Stanford d.School or reviewing the free book 'Talking to Humans' by Giff Constable; Conduct observations and interviews with target learners; Synthesize finds into learner archetypes; Test instructional concepts and product ideas by building rough prototypes; d.School 'Protyping Dashboard', Design Thinking process courses by IDEO.org or free resources offered by IDEO's Teacher's Guild. (2) Ground yourself in the fundamentals of learning science: Research on learning and teaching; 'The ABCS of How We Learn', a 2016 book by Daniel Schwartz; 'How People Learn', the 1999 foundational text edited by John Bransford, Ann Brown, and Rodney Cocking; Online Stanford lectures on Education's Digital Future. (3) Determine the 'powerful ideas' you want to teach and build your curriculum using backwards design: For education technology read Seymour Papert's 'Mindstorms: Children, Computer and Powerful Ideas'; Then use 'Understanding By Design Framework' (ascd.org) to structure your curriculum. (4) Go study other great teachers and other great learning experiences: altMBA program by Seth Godin that runs using Slack; Angela Duckworth's delivery of messages on camera; Animations produced by Amnesty International; Interactive lessonas produced on Oppia; Screen-based technologies produced by groups like Paulo Blikstein's Transformative Learning Technologies Lab; Explore multiple approaches from diverse instructional materials available online. (5) Get a lay of the technological landscape, but don't let your LMS hold you hostage: Get familiar with various platform options, particularly with most popular ones - Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, and EdX; Check out the list of global MOOC platforms curated by Class Central; Read some critical perspectives from the likes of Digital Pedagogy Lab or the MIT Media Lab; Check out the blogs of online learning pioneers like Connie Malmud. (6) Don't try to migrate an in-person experience into an online format: Read 'Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology' by Allan Collins and Richard Halverson; Explore perspectives and research of Mitch Resnick and the late Edith Ackermann of the MIT Media Lab. (7) If you build it, they won't come. Understand the fundamentals of digital marketing: Check out blog post of Alex Turnbull (Founder of Groove) that explains 6-step marketing strategy for selling online course; Udemy has also created a great toolkit to help online course instructors market their learning experience. (8) Collect student feedback. Iterate. Share what you learned. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jun 2017
Social media is a great digital marketing tool for businesses to connect and engage with customers, and for internal communication. Integration of social media within customer relationship management (CRM) modules can help to draw, close and create repeated engagements with customers. Inputs from different social media platforms can assist in lead generation and also set up post-sale engagement with customers. Following are some advantages of social media to businesses - (1) Business professionals can find and engage with peers and customers. (2) Responding to customer complaints, obtain feedback and engage with other customer communication has become much common on social media platforms. (3) Sales people seeking prospects and leads can utilize professional networks on platforms like Linkedin. (4) Companies with robust social media strategy can counter and overcome issues before they transform into crisis due to viral nature of social media. (5) Social media can be utilized as an effective recruitment tool. Somesh Misra, VP at Deskera, a global cloud-based ERP and CRM provider, says, 'In fact, CRM providers are developing functionalities in order to deliver the benefits of Enterprise 2.0 and built-in Web 2.0 technology. Embedding innovative features such as activity feeds, conversation threads, chatbots, etc. into CRM applications could open doors to new and immense possibilities in the field of software development as well as integrated digital marketing.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 may 2017
Personalization and customization are key for better customer relationships. According to a new research commissioned by RICOH, more than 2/3 of European consumers say the best brands are those who treat them as individuals. The survey of 3600 consumers across Europe was conducted by Censuswide. Consumers were asked to rank brands in terms of the quality of the relationships with them before (reach), during (respond) and after (retain) purchase. Chas Mahoney, director at RICOH Ireland & UK, says, 'The research we commissioned shows 57% of consumers would also spend more with brands that make them feel like valued customers. This heightens the fact that driving business growth must be intimately linked to making interactions easy and ensuring consumers feel appreciated. ...The right technology along with streamlined digital processes are the most powerful tools in the battle to satisfy and retain today's consumers.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 may 2017
The way technology is applied and the transformations it brings, can be analyzed by viewing technology as a complement or a replacement to humans. Every industry is impacted by technological advancements. Gartner predicted in 2011 that 85% of all customer interactions with the enterprise won't involve another human. Artificial intelligence (AI) software is now capable of helping employees from both a people standpoint and a hard data standpoint, a combination of culture with productivity. Mario Martinez Jr., CEO of M3Jr Growth Strategies, interacts with Rob Käll, creator of Cien, an app that helps sales teams use AI to fix productivity, improve motivation, and increase sales effectiveness, and explores how AI can successfully help sales teams. Mr. Käll believes that AI can also solve one of the greatest challenges to sales - Motivation. He says, 'Productivity goes down as you grow your sales team. As you grow, it's hard to keep the passion.' Following are three factors that AI can assist to create successful sales team - (1) LEADS: According to Gleanster Research, only 25% of all leads are legitimate and deserve further attention. AI can help sort leads quickly and look out for good leads. Loren Baker, member of Forbes Agency Council, 'AI bots and other AI solutions will better prequalify inbound leads and assist with customer retention. Chatbots and messenger bots can lead the lead or concerned user down a path that lets the sales team know exactly what they need from a lead (qualification) perspective.' (2) PEOPLE: AI doesn't remove people from the process, it assists them to do better. AI helps select good leads and opportunities, offer personal advice, provide daily reminders, lead prioritization performance measurement comparison etc. AI can help to monitor and evaluate team members. (3) MACRO: In sales, macro factors are to be kept in mind - economic growth, competition, seasonality etc. AI can gauge macro factors and help plan accordingly. It can assist in predicting and calculating things. Mr. Käll says, 'How do you incorporate human behavior into a quantitative model? There are plenty of learning algorithms out there, but very few take human behavior into account...We give them the ability to see and understand how and why they achieve their goals.' Read on...
Business 2 Community:
3 Ways Sales Managers Can Use AI to Increase Sales Effectiveness
Author: Mario Martinez Jr.
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 apr 2017
The rise of the mobile phones and mobile internet users worldwide is expected to result in growth of mobile advertising. But according to Celtra and On Device Research, mobile ads are unpopular with users - 60% of clicks on mobile banner ads being an accident, 71% saying half the ads disrupt the mobile experience and 69% saying that mobile ads obscure content. The research also finds that top-performing mobile ads (top 20%) follow some common principles, when followed (6 or more) by brands will lead to better ad performance - Logo presence on every frame; Human presence; Product shots; Placing branding at the top; Caution with dual branding; Single clear message; Video; Humour; Interactivity; Strong call to action. Alex Saric, CMO of Celtra, says, 'To effectively tell their stories, brands must ensure quality creative in their ads...By combining the guidelines from this study with a compelling story, and enabling such quality ads at scale, only then will advertisers realize the full potential of their advertising efforts.' Alistair Hill, CEO of On Device Research, says, 'These recommendations are rooted in robust quantitative analysis and as such provide a useful check list for mobile marketers to reference before embarking on a mobile brand campaign.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 mar 2017
As crowdfunding becomes a mainstream strategy for individual fundraisers and nonprofit organizations, it becomes imperative to understand the industry trends that provide best fundraising results, and have potential to continue into the future. Christopher Moore, Marketing Mixologist at Floship, shares important trends shaping the industry and shows how to incorporate these ideas in crowdfunding campaigns - (1) Diverse Crowdfunding Platforms: Assess crowdfunding needs. Select the right platform to get specific target audience. Niche platforms are now available. (2) Nonprofit Crowdfunding Campaigns: Many crowdfunding websites are specific to nonprofits. It's easier for nonprofits and charitable organizations to meet their fundraising goals through crowdfunding. The benefits include - Expanded social reach; High speed fundraising; Low-risk giving. (3) Fully Customizable Fundraising Experiences: Fundraising process is becoming more customizable. Campaigns could be specifically designed and promoted. Ways it is happening is - Brandable campaign pages; Fundraising model flexiblitiy; Variety of sharign options. (4) Crowdfunding Campaigns Paired with Events: Events add a real-world component to the online campaign. It boosts the fundraising potential. Following ideas can be used - Pick the perfect theme; Include a variety of fundraising activities; Simlify event registration. (5) Highly Visual Campaigns: To make an impact on online donors include videos, photos, graphics and to-the-point campaign story. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 mar 2017
Seeking customer loyalty is a challenge that every business faces. But to achieve success at it consistently, requires precise understanding of what customers want and provide it to them. Hotels are utilizing big data analytics to gain insights into which amenities help them attract and retain customers. According to Anil Kaul, CEO of Absolutdata, which provides marketing and customer analytics to hotels, 'We want to help hotels determine which free amenities give them the best chance to boost their hotel's appeal, increase sales, and improve customer satisfaction.' He explains two scenarios that hotels deal with while attracting customers - (1) 'When the customer first begins to seek a hotel. You want to offer a free amenity package that will convince him or her to choose your hotel over many other possibilities.' (2) 'Providing a great customer experience to your guest during his or her stay. Part of this customer satisfaction is achieved by offering the right free amenities. If you do this well, the guest is likely to return.' Based on Mr. Kaul's research and analytics on different types of hotels, Wi-Fi is at the top of guest's expectations, followed by free bottled water. To gather the data and compute a hotel's amenity analytics, the software uses a methodology that taps into the hotel's reservation system and then combines this data with survey data from customers on amenities and other elements of their stays. Read on...
How big data analytics help hotels gain customers' loyalty
Author: Mary Shacklett
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 jan 2017
According to eMarketer's Sept'2016 ad spending forecast, digital will overtake TV ad spending this year for the first time (Digital - US$ 72.09 billion; TV - US$ 71.29 billion), and will represent 36.8% of US total media ad spending. Scott Symonds, MD of media at AKQA, 'In 2017, digital will become the single largest media investment channel, passing television for the first time...digital is no longer just a test or an innovation budget. It needs to be expected to work as hard or harder vs. every other investment channel.' Experts from across the industry suggest ways digital marketing will evolve in 2017 - (1) Artificial intelligence gets smarter: Tom Edwards, Chief Digital Officer at the agency within Epsilon, says, 'From leveraging machine learning to accelerate sentiment analysis and domain-specific insights to cognitive computing solutions that automate experiences without human intervention to the rise of voice-based user experiences that will continue to expand in 2017 to deep learning that will fundamentally change how brands approach SEO to predictive API's that will expose access to predictive models to further create seamless experiences for consumers, cognitive and intelligent systems will play a key role in how we approach marketing in 2017.' (2) Measurement takes priority: Brigitte Majewski, an analyst at Forrester Research, says, 'The fundamentals have to take priority. Measurement and data are the only way for marketers to get control of a situation they have completely lost control of. They have to understand what part of the mix is truly working and that takes measurement...Once marketers get control of their measurement and connect the dots with the data, they can really start to do orchestrated branded experiences told in a sequence that makes sense.' (3) Turning up the volume: Audio-driven experiences will become mainstream in 2017. Trevor Guthrie, Co-founder of Giant Spoon, says, 'Giant Spoon believes the rise of voice-based AI - Google Home, Amazon Echo, etc. - will have a profound impact on computing and how consumers interact with technology. The next wave of computing will be driven by voice, and clients need to begin to build a voice strategy for their brands.' (4) Reestablishing trust: Forrester's Majewski says, 'The biggest difference in 2017 is going to be a focus on transparency. But now marketers have gotten much smarter and they can legitimately ask hard questions that they might have let pass before. They will really dig into the numbers from agencies and platforms - they are not going to let things slide.' (5) A clearer picture for digital video: AKQA's Symonds says, 'As video becomes untethered from television in terms of its primary investment opportunity or most likely viewing occasion, we believe it will continue to have exciting emerging opportunities in and around the space including augmented and virtual reality, 360 video, live video, programmatic innovations, etc.' (6) Social pivots back to sharing: David Song, MD at Barker, says, 'It will no longer be about paid, earned, and owned social but rather, how a consumer engages with a brand through its social channels. Social channels are and will continue to become more important than client websites.' Epsilon's Edwards says, 'Marketers will need to shift their strategy from one of personification of the brand to a seamless experience that is about simplifying and predicting needs while also empowering consumers to create their own stories.' (7) Cleaning up the landscape: Anna Bager, SVP and GM of mobile and video at Interactive Advertising Bureau, says, 'The days of static display banners are numbered. Consumer expectations for rich, relevant ad and content experiences are growing.' Gabe Weiss, digital experience and transformation leader at SapientNitro, says, 'I feel like there's been a significant maturation of understanding within leadership that the old-normal approaches no longer work. They have bought into designing approaches that work for their brand and for their customers. They will be more committed to delivering their messaging in all forms of content and fragmented channels to make an impact. They will offer engaging and unique experiences and not just yell at their audiences.' (8) Getting the message: IAB's Bager says, 'In the U.S., the rapidly evolving messaging space represents a tremendous opportunity beyond social media platforms to engage with consumers in a native way.' (9) Mobile evolves into people-based marketing: Kurt Hawks, SVP of cross-device and video, at Conversant, says, 'Additionally, as the digital and physical worlds continue to converge, a focus will be placed on the intelligent and responsible use of location data to better understand and anticipate consumer needs and track in-store visits. Mobile will finally evolve from a device to a set of behaviors that inform people-based marketing.' Giant Spoon's Guthrie says, 'We're finally starting to see UIs truly built for mobile instead of just converting what we're used to on desktop. I don't simply mean 'make it vertical' or 'make it short and snackable.' A few companies are completely reworking the structure - not just the details of the content pieces.' (10) Looking towards a post-broadcast, post-digital future: Giant Spoon's Guthrie says, ' The digital media bubble will pop this year. Media will bifurcate into massive networks that roll up many properties for scale and synergy or niche publications charging premium prices based on the strength of their brand. Media's middle class of independent venture-backed digital publishers will either get acquired or fold.' Jeff Liang, Chief Digital Officer at Assembly, says, 'Digital marketers can no longer think inside the box to reach and engage with digital consumers effectively. They must quickly adapt to how audiences are using new forms of digital media to avoid getting lost in the sea of change.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 nov 2016
Research by Prof. Ali Besharat of University of Denver, 'The Effect of Review Valence and Variance on Product Evaluations: An Examination of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Cues' (Other authors - Ryan Langan of University of San Francisco; Sajeev Varki of University of South Florida), explores how the rating and variance in reviews affect the decision process. Researchers find that the nature of products, a product's brand, reviewers' credibility, and the structure of online customer reviews all significantly impact consumer decision-making and, subsequently, a company's bottom line in terms of sales. According to Prof. Besharat, 'In the case of high online review variance, we find that when brand equity is high - Nike for example - then reviewer credibility does not influence consumers' purchase intentions. But when a consensus among reviews exists (low variance), reviewer credibility emerges as a significant diagnostic cue.' Another research by Prof. Ana Babić Rosario of University of Denver, 'The Effect of Electronic Word of Mouth on Sales: A Meta-Analytic Review of Platform, Product and Metric Factors' (Other authors - Francesca Sotgiu of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; Kristine De Valck of HEC Paris; Tammo H.A. Bijmolt of University of Groningen), confirms Prof. Besharat's findings and demonstrates that a wide variance in consumer opinions has a detrimental effect on product sales. According to Prof. Rosario, 'The reason why variability of reviews can harm sales more than negativity is that electronic world of mouth, in theory, is a way for consumers to reduce risk and uncertainty, which does not happen when other consumers' feedback is highly inconsistent.' Prof. Rosario's findings should be of interest to product and platform managers, internet and social media monitoring agencies. Read on...
University of Denver News:
What Brand and Marketing Managers Need to Know About Online Customer Reviews; How They Influence Purchase Decisions
Author: Amy Jacobson
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 oct 2016
According to Mapp Digital's whitepaper, 'Consumer Views of Email Marketing', more than 98% of consumers, aged 18-64, check emails at least one to three times a day. The survey for whitepaper included a national panel of 1765 consumers between the ages of 18-64, 70% had a household income of over US$ 35000 and participants were evenly distributed by gender and geographic region. The findings point out the importance of age in receptiveness of email marketing. Nearly 2/3rd (64%) of respondents aged 55-64 said that they will delete email, as opposed to 38% of 18-24 year-olds. 91% aged 18-24, and 83% aged 25-34 said that they use smartphones to view emails. It suggests that for effective email marketing, optimize for smartphones. Mike Biwer, CEO of Mapp Digital, says, 'Email marketing is still very relevant to brands, specifically for the hard-to-reach 18-34 year-old audience. The survey results suggest that this group of consumers are engaging with fewer brands on a more intimate level. Millennials and Gen Y are strong audiences for email marketers, but now more than ever, the email marketing experience needs to cater to what they want and how they want it.' Read on...
Email marketing still vital for targeting young US consumers
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 oct 2016
To avoid customer attrition in the digital age requires multiple service-centric online strategies. Cynthia Johnson, Managing Partner & Director of Marketing for RankLab, provides some of them - (1) Use Your Customers' Information to Benefit Their Experience: Ensure effective customer data collection using browser cookies, account login data in CRM and marketing automation tools; Personalization; Targeted product recommendations, send event triggered messages and auto-fill forms. (2) Make it Easy for People to Reach You: Display contact information prominently; Use multi-channel chat solutions. (3) Have a Mobile-Friendly Website Design: Mobile digital media time with 51%, exceeds desktop and other devices combined; Use responsive web design; (4) Pay Attention to Reviews and Rants on Social Media: Ensure monitoring of social chatter about your business; Use tools that can provide you with alerts when there are comments, reviews and inquiries on social media. (5) Above All Else, Listen and Respond. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 sep 2016
Journalism industry faces numerous challenges and is going through a difficult phase, as comedian John Oliver recently expained in his show on HBO. But there is also a ray of hope as the demand for good content is high and there is need of editorial skills. Journalism aspirants, who aspire to be Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein, may not feel happy about it though. Kayvan Salmanpour, chief content officer at digital marketing agency iCrossing, says, '99% of brands struggle with content because they publish without an editorial mindset. So I think (editorial is) hugely important - now more than ever.' He explains what brands can learn from media companies when it comes to content and suggests the following - (1) Hire an editor in chief who can have ultimate control of the content produced and can assure it's quality. Content represents the brand. (2) Create an editorial mission statement before anything else. There is need for clarity of objectives and everyone in the organization should be aligned to it. (3) Put the audience first as compared to brand/product first. Create content that is audience focused. Find the intersection between what the audience wants to read and what the brand stands for. (4) Don't try to be everything to everyone. Good content fits seamlessly between the brand and its target audience. It may even require conducting psychographic studies of the target audience and thinking about their habits in excruciating detail. Read on...
Journalists, take heart - Content marketing needs you
Author: Lisa Lacy
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 aug 2016
Social media provides ease of connecting and sharing information with ones network and communities. Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising works towards bringing the supporters and their networks together for financial contributions. Social media can be an effective tool to reach donors and networks to fulfil nonprofit's fundraising goals. Following 8 strategies can be utilized to successfully implement social media into P2P fundraising campaign - (1) Optimize online components - Ensure that all fundraising pages are functional, user-friendly and mobile responsive; WHY: Strong online fundraising gives a positive signal to supporters. Social media is an extension of online fundraising. Having a strong online background is needed to support individual fundraisers that may lack technological expertise; WHAT: A clear, straightforward, and simple fundraising page. A platform that allows individual fundraisers to create their own giving pages. Active social media accounts. (2) Tell a cohesive, simple story - Telling a story about the recipients of your aid is the perfect way to engage with social media while reaching your donors; WHY: Compelling stories add value to your nonprofit. They connect people to people, generating an emotional response that can lead to action; WHAT: An individual or a community to focus your story. An interview with your chosen subject. An accompanying photo. A short, postable format. (3) Use a multimedia approach - Pictures, videos and sound, capture our attention. They offer the user a diverse, vivid experience, one that can connect supporters more directly to the cause; WHAT: High-quality content. A posting schedule. (4) Strategize for each platform - Nonprofits often post the same content to each site with little adjustment. For maximum effectiveness the approach should differ for each platform; WHY: Different social media platforms offer different opportunities for engagement, and likewise, different opportunities to reach your donors in meaningful ways; WHAT: Hashtags. Character-limit copy. The right language. Specific calls to action. (5) Post, share, tag, and like - Active social media presence gives positive signals. It also helps in tracking the online conversations regarding the campaign; WHY: Liking and sharing supporters' fundraising milestones and accomplishments shows supporters that you're engaged with their work and appreciate what they've done for your mission. Posting the campaign's success at regular intervals inspires individual fundraisers to keep working toward long-term goals; WHAT: A social media coordinator. Tracking tools. The rules of operation. (6) Set goals for your fundraisers - Set goals in a way inspires your supporters and anyone who stumbles upon your campaign; WHY: Clearly displayed goal will show the supporters the level of progress they have made and how much more is needed. Similarly, an individual goal establishes each individual fundraiser's role in the campaign. Setting clear goals is the only way for your supporters to meet your expectations; WHAT: Fundraising metrics. Fundraising thermometers. Integrate fundraising goals into user-friendly pages for clear communication at different stages. (7) Provide toolkits to supporters - Right materials and tools helps to keep message consistent and clear for supporters and their networks; WHY: Providing toolkits helps supporters create the most effective tasks. Provide templates to easily relay the message; WHAT: Suggested copy. Images. Suggested posting schedule. Background information. (8) Generate friendly competition - Needed to push the campaign reach its goal within time and even go beyond its goal; WHY: Competition inspires to work effectively with vigour. It's easy for family and friends to get caught up in the fun and donate more to see their own reach the goal and get on top; WHAT: Leaderboards. Badges. Recognition. Read on...
8 Social Media Strategies for Nonprofit Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Author: Abby Jarvis
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 aug 2016
According to WordStream.com, 'Marketing analytics is the practice of measuring, managing and analyzing marketing performance to maximize its effectiveness and optimize return on investment (ROI). Understanding marketing analytics allows marketers to be more efficient at their jobs and minimize wasted web marketing dollars. Beyond the obvious sales and lead generation applications, marketing analytics can offer profound insights into customer preferences and trends. Despite these compelling benefits, a majority of organizations fail to ever realize the promises of marketing analytics.' It is imperative for marketers to overcome analytics related challenges and bring customers closer to the brands and serve each one of them in the best possible way. Ensuring better data quality, effective knowledge and skills to analyze data, focus and clarity of goals, collaborative approach and creativity, will provide what marketing analytics promises. In KPMG's 2016 Global CEO Outlook, 84% of CEO's indicated their concern about the quality of the data they use to make decisions. Moreover, Forrester Research noted that 58% of the work in a business intelligence initiative is spent on trying to find the right data and integrate it for analysis. Openprise released a study on marketing data management, noting barriers to data management success included - Poor data use/accessibility (54%); Poor data quality (44%); Poor database integration (37%). Study by Ascend found similar challenges to data-driven marketing, listing integrating data across platforms and enriching data quality and completeness as the top two challenges. Finding the right data and analyzing it properly and gain valuable insights is the key to effective data-driven marketing. This requires specialized knowledge and expertise for marketers. eMarketer points to an IAB study that found that 34.8% noted a lack of internal experience at the functional and operational level as a major obstacle to deploying and deriving value from data-driven marketing. Moreover, collaborative approach and focus are other critical factors required to get maximum results. Amar Doshi, VP of Product at 6sense, says, 'Marketing can't operate in a silo if the enterprise wants to be successful at data-driven marketing. It takes a team that includes resources across the organization to work together.' He adds, 'Marketers are also trying to do too much and, as a result, not doing anything well.' The key is to agree on performance goals and metrics. CMO Solution Guide suggests to always be testing and measuring. But in all these processes and focus, importance of creativity should never be forgotten. Robert Glazer, founder and managing director of Acceleration Partners, says, 'Marketing needs to do both, but too often it's choosing the data over creative. Focusing on creative doesn't mean ignoring data. In fact, data plays an important role in directing creative. Incorporating both data and creativity means maintaining a balance between insight-driven ideas and compelling execution. Smart marketers bring their creative team and data geeks together.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jun 2016
E-Commerce strategy once was a source of competitive advantage and differentiating factor in business. But now it is an essential strategy for businesses to connect and engage with their customers and, market and sell their products and services online. AJ Agrawal, Founder and CEO of Alumnify, suggests 4 affordable marketing strategies to boost e-commerce efforts and stand out from the competition - (1) Start Testing More On Facebook: Utilize split testing or A/B testing to evaluate advertising effectiveness and save cost. Continue the process until best results are achieved. One tactic you can implement in your testing is to prequalify leads. (2) Use The Right Influencers: Word of mouth generates twice the number of sales as paid advertising. Invest in reputation marketing and word of mouth marketing. Use the right and relevant influencers. (3) Invest In Your Email Marketing Campaign: 44% of customers click on promotional emails and then make a purchase. Build email list and invest in email marketing campaign. Finally get a group of brand ambassadors from the list and initiate word of mouth marketing through them. (4) Retargeting In The Right Style: Use retargeting to highlight and establish that unique selling point to convince them to buy and not go to competitors. Use data analytics to understand customer behavior. Segment your adds based on user interactions with site. Keep testing advertising effectiveness until best results are achieved. Continuous testing of marketing strategies and improving upon them will help in differentiating from competitors and attract customers. Read on...
4 Marketing Strategies To Take eCommerce To The Next Level
Author: AJ Agrawal
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 jun 2016
Creativity and innovativeness are some of the most sought after skills and qualities that are required in all types of industries. These abilities keep the wheel of businesses and organizations running, and stay competitive. Fast Company developed a list of 100 most creative and innovative professionals for 2016. The list includes individuals from 13 countries and has 50% representation of women. Here are selected few in MARKETING, BRANDING, ONLINE COMMUNITIES, MEDIA and ENTERTAINMENT (The numbering is retained as in the original list) - (1) Lin-Manuel Miranda (Composer, Lyricist & Performer. Rap Musical 'Hamilton'): For making history in entertainment. (2) Divya Nag (Head of ResearchKit and CareKit, Apple): For moving Apple into the doctor's office. (3) Jill Soloway (Writer, Director, Producer at Topple, Amazon Studios): For televising the revolution. (4) Jean Liu (President, Didi Chuxing): For building China's biggest ride-sharing business at breathtaking speed. (5-6) Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli (Co-Creative Directors, Valentino): For turning a storied fashion house into a US$ 1 billion juggernaut. (7) Cindy Holland (Vice President of Original Content, Netflix): For offering Netflix viewers a lot more to binge on. (10) Amit Agarwal (VP and Country Manager, Amazon India): For extending Amazon's reach, one vendor at a time. (12) Katie Nolan (Host of Sports-Comedy Show Garbage Time): For shaking up sports. (13) Mark Fields (President and CEO, Ford): For steering Ford in a more adventurous direction. (15) Carlos Mario Rodriguez (Director of Global Agronomy, Starbucks): For keeping Starbucks and farmers everywhere, full of beans. (17) Rachel Tipograph (Founder & CEO, MikMak): For making infomercials binge-worthy. (18-19-20-21) Sarah Schaaf (Community Director, Imgur), Alex Chung (Founder and CEO, Giphy), Adam Leibsohn (COO, Giphy), Nick Bell (VP of Content, Snapchat): For creating and curating the most clickable content on the Internet. (25) Kakul Srivastava (VP of Product Management, GitHub): For seeing the people behind the code. (27) Baba Ramdev (Founder, Patanjali Ayurved): For disrupting India's US$ 49 billion consumer packaged goods market. (28) Martin Lotti (VP, Global Category Creative Director, Nike): For stretching Nike in new directions. (29-30-31) Will Ruben (Product Manager, Facebook), Laura Javier (Product Designer, Facebook), Jasmine Probst (Content Strategy Manager, Facebook): For seizing the moments through Facebook Moments photo app. (35) Sara Wallander (Concept Designer, H&M): For putting a new face on H&M through eco-conscious beauty products at low cost. (37) Kathleen Kennedy (President, Lucasfilm): For restoring the Force to "Star Wars". (38) Dylan Field (Co-founder & CEO, Figma): For redrawing digital design. (39) Alex Wolf (Founder & CEO, BOSSBABE Inc): For leading a millennial girl gang. (40) Chance The Rapper (Musician, Chance The Rapper): For generating music that's priceless. (41) Jennifer Bandier (Founder, Bandier): For turning leggings into art. (42) Dani Rylan (Founder & Comissioner, National Women's Hockey League): For giving women a shot at a professional sport. (43) Jill Szuchmacher (Director, Google Fiber Expansion, Alphabet): For shaking up the hidebound business of broadband. (44) Zainab Salbi (Host of The Nida'a Show): For being a voice of change and foster frank communication in the Middle East and North Africa. (45-46) Abby Schneiderman and Adam Seifer (Co-founders and Co-Chief Executives, Everplans): For helping us make arrangements through a mobile-optimized consumer platform to build a digital vault of everything. (47) Chris Young (SVP & GM of Intel Security Group, Intel): For expanding Intel's arsenal through products with focus on bettering customer's security infrastructure. (50) Quincy Delight Jones III (CEO, WeMash): For fostering harmony between mashup artists and copyright holders. (51) Jeff Turnas (President, 365 by Whole Foods Market): For lowering the grocery bill. (52-53) Heben Nigatu (Social Producer, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert), Tracy Clayton (Co-Host, Another Round, BuzzFeed): For mixing comedy with commentary. (55) Adam Grant (Professor of Management and Psychology, The Wharton School, U. of Pennsylvania): For pinpointing the secrets of success. Author of the book 'Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World'. (60) Ryan Coogler (Director, Marvel Studios): For being a knockout filmmaker. (63) Emily Oberman (Brand Designer & Partner, Pentagram): For giving Snoop's product line some California cool. (64) Amy McDonough (VP, FItbit Wellness, Fitbit): For bringing exercise to the enterprise. (65) Neha Narkhede (Co-founder & CTO, Confluent): For teaching businesses to read Kafka. (66) B. J. Novak (Co-founder, Li.st): For putting everything in order. Allowing people to create and share content in the form of list on Internet. (69) Ricardo Vice Santos (Co-founder and CEO, Roger): For being a fresh voice in messaging. Lets users exchange recorded sound snippets. (71) Ivan Askwith (Founder, Askwith & Co.): For knowing how to get fans more of what they want. Specializes in community building and crowdfunding projects that empower fans. (76) Susan Salgado (Managing partner, Hospitality Quotient): For spreading hospitality. (80) Asako Shimazaki (President, Muji USA): For importing the cult of Muji, Japanese housewares brand, to the United States. (81) Cassidy Blackwell (Brand Marketing Lead, Walker & Company Brands): For combining razor-sharp storytelling with product marketing. (82-83) Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson (Co-founders, ATX Television Festival): For getting television fans off the couch. (84) Nicole Van Der Tuin (Co-founder and CEO, First Access): For turning mobile phone payments into credit histories. (91) Kamasi Washington (Jazz Saxophonist, Kamasi Washington): For breathing new energy into jazz. (94) Moj Mahdara (CEO, Beautycon): For seeing beyond the cosmetic. (96) Sally-Ann Dale (Chief Creation Officer, Droga5): For energizing brands. (98) Ahmed Abdeen Hamed (Research Assistant Professor, University of Vermont): For discovering drug links in hashtags through computer program that data mines social media. (100) Lilly Singh (Entertainer, YouTube): For creating a unicorn business. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 may 2016
Altimeter Group's April 2016 report, 'The Race Against Digital Darwinism: Six Stages of Digital Transformation', defines 'Digital Transformation' as, 'The realignment of, or new investment in technology, business models, and processes to drive new value for customers and employees to effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy.' According to Brian Solis, an analyst at Altimeter, 'Many conversations around digital transformation are focused on the IT side, and technology does play a big role, but there's a human side of the story and it's driven by the customer experience.' He explains that most digital transformation happens without top leadership, and it actually develops from the middle of the organization, from change agents, who act as lawyers, cheerleaders, and politicians, as they have to gather evidence, rally everyone together, and convince people to work together. The report provides six stages for digital transformation - (1) Business As Usual: Digital is present but not prioritized; Leadership is change resistant; Roadmap focuses on technology, not customer experience; Customer strategies and processes are siloed; Teams are not collaborating. (2) Present and Active: Occurence of early adopters experimenting with new technologies; Teams operating independently; Focus on customer experience starts to develop; Change agents are present and engage with colleagues to share latest digital trends. (3) Formalized: More collaboration happens between change agents and early adopters; Decision making driven by data, analytics and insights starts; Conversations revolve around customer experience, digital vs traditional; Need for formal vision regarding digital transformation and executive sponsorship for it; Education and training for digital begins. (4) Strategic: Most parts of the organization are now aware of digital transformation efforts and mapped processes; They start to get streamlined; Change agents become prominent; Role of CDO (Chief Digital Officer) or CCO (Chief Customer Officer) emerges; Data and analytics become more important; More collaboration is visible; Digital investments become ROI focused. (5) Converged: Digital efforts converge and get streamlined; Customer experience efforts now influence all processes; Change agents become leaders; Top leadership gets actively involved in digital transformation; Governing body is established to oversee changes; More collaboration between IT and customer experience teams. (6) Innovative and Adaptive: Digital transformation and innovation become interwoven into the fabric of the organization; An omni-channel system develops and provides consolidated information on customer data and its effects; New teams and roles evolve that prioritize digital. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 apr 2016
As web technologies continue to evolve along with user expectations, businesses have to keep pace with them for successful digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). User experience optimization (UXO) and user experience design (UXD) are at the core of online marketing and SEO strategies. UXO keeps customers hooked to the website and UXD is the process that is used to create the website with customers in mind. Optimal UXD utilizes best usability principles to provide best user interface by keeping customer interactions at the core of design. Dan Makoski, VP of Design for CapitalOne and most currently Chief Design Officer at Garage Partners, says, 'Experiences are personal moments felt by people, something that can't be owned by designers; however, we can design for it. The experience of the people we design for is what determines the success of the products, services and relationships that we create.' Don Dodds, Managing Partner and Chief Strategist at M16 Marketing, suggests a list of 38 tips for website design, content creation and online marketing strategies for better user experience. Here are some selections from the list - (1) Top of the page is critical for user attention. (2) Make sure content is visible and readable for everyone including colorblind users. (3) Provide symmetry in object placement. (4) Place objects in logical order for better user flow. (5) Keep site navigation panel consistent. (6) Design for ease of use and easy comprehension. (7) For better loading use content before images. (8) Keep pages as short as possible for ease of content utilization by user. (9) For long pages use sticky menu that moves with the scrolling. (10) Make sure your pages load quickly, preferably in couple of seconds. (11) Make it easy for users to undo an action or back out of a navigation option. (12) For mobile content, do not require a double-click to activate an element. (13) Pay attention to contrast when designing your mobile content. (14) Link anchor text should tell the user exactly where the link will take them. (15) Use fonts that are easy to read. (16) Most website visitors scan your content first before reading it. Use elements like bold text, headlines etc to attract attention to the content that is most meaningful to users. (17) Avoid pop-ups, banners and slideshows as much as possible. (18) Always be truthful regarding what you can offer. Avoid false advertising and misleading information. (19) Use icons that are simply designed and easy to understand. (20) Establish a brand image and include it everywhere you've established a presence online. Read on...
38 Design Tips for Creating an Amazing User Experience
Author: Don Dodds
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 apr 2016
Financial services industry has vast amount of consumer data and firms can utilize analytics to gather purposeful insights for better customer relationships and business success. Consumers are now more digitally connected than before. But according to Boston Consulting Group, despite the huge availability of data and better analytics tools, banks are far from realizing big data's full potential. Some of the reasons are - Competing priorities like regulatory changes that happened during financial crisis; IT complexity due to multilayered systems and siloed data; Lack of coordinated vision. Jim Marous, Co-Publisher of The Financial Brand and Publisher of the Digital Banking Report, suggests steps that traditional banking and financial institutions can take to take advantage of consumer data and analytics - (1) The Partnership Between Banking and Fintech: A win-win is created by combining data and technology skills of many of the entrepreneurial financial technology firms with the data from the larger legacy firms. (2) Removing Friction from the Customer Journey: Focus on providing better digital experience at each step of customer interaction by leveraging advance customer insights that go far beyond simple demographics to include channel preferences, lifestage insights and even geolocational information. (3) Making Data Actionable: Beth Merle, VP of Enterprise Solutions at Epsilon, says, 'Banks need to stop talking about gathering big data and starting using big data to make a difference for the consumer. We need to see the integration and synchronization of data sources, enabling real-time determination of relevant data points for analysis, communication, and decision making, the 'trifecta' of big data. (4) Introduction of Optichannel Delivery: Financial organizations have to go beyond multichannel and omnichannel strategy and provide 'optichannel' experience by delivering solutions using the best (optimum) channel based on the customer's need and preferred channel. In the future, the integration of processes from the consumer's perspective is foundational to the optichannel theme. According to Nicole Sturgill, Principal Executive Advisor for CEB TowerGroup, 'Rather than looking at channels independently, banking needs to develop and provide financial tools that are integrated in daily life.' (5) Exploring Advanced Technology: Jim Eckenrode, Executive Director of the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, says, 'By enabling the collection and exchange of information from objects, the IoT (Internet of Things) has the potential to be as broadly transformational to the financial services industry as the Internet itself.' In the process of leveraging customer data legacy firms face multiple challenges that they need to overcome to reap financial benefits and establish data and analytics expertise that would be hard to replicate by competitors. Some of these challenges include - Lack of talent; Lack of resources; Lack of urgency. Despite advanced data analysis being one of the top challenges mentioned in the recently released State of Financial Services Marketing, only the largest regional and national banks (over US$ 10 billion) ranked improving data and analytics capabilities in their top three priorities (47%), compared to community banks and credit unions (only 8%). Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 apr 2016
Businesses apply different set of strategies and tactics when they market and sell to other businesses or directly to consumers. Daniel Scalco, CEO of Digitalux, provides 5 important B2B (Business to Business) marketing strategies that should be considered to increase leads, ROI (Return on Investments) and finally sales - (1) Dig deeper when targeting your demographic: Use 'hyper-targeting' to narrow down audience. (2) Get feedback: Strategy should be data driven; Use survey process into marketing methods. (3) Extend your funnel: B2B marketing strategy cycle to go from a prospect, to lead to consumer is much longer than B2C; Nurture leads by extending funnel through better content, webinars and social media to engage with target audience. (4) Invest in an explainer video: eMarketer study found that B2B buyers consider video as top 3 most useful content for marking purchases; Inform potential customers through a story-based video. (5) Create goals and milestones: Break down the journey to reach marketing goals into smaller steps or milestones for effective execution. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 mar 2016
According to the latest study 'The State of Consumer Healthcare: A Study of Patient Experience from Prophet and GE Healthcare Camden Group', that incorporates responses from 3000 consumers and 300 senior leaders (Vice President or higher) at healthcare provider systems that employ at least 20 physicians, patient experience is one of the main concern as 81% of consumers surveyed indicate that they are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience. Moreover, the study also points towards a large gap between consumer expectations and what providers believe regarding their service offerings. Jeff Gourdji of Prophet says, 'There is a misperception among providers about how well they are truly meeting consumer expectations.' CEO's surveyed in the study also said that patient satisfaction is not currently among their top five priorities. According to Helen Stewart of GE Healthcare, 'The common misperception is that focusing on the patient experience means spending less time on other cost and revenue initiatives...Investments to improve the patient experience can drive both growth and cost reduction.' Paul Schrimpf of Prophet says, 'Providers are struggling to adapt to the rising culture of 'consumerism', which has heightened people's expectations. The power has shifted to the consumer in nearly every industry, and now it's healthcare's turn.' Laura Jacobs, President of GE Healthcare Camden Group, explains, 'Creating better and more holistic experiences doesn't just mean happier patients. It translates to increased capacity, lower operating costs, improved financial performance, and higher employee satisfaction and retention. For healthcare providers, the key to profitability and longevity lies in their ability to deliver a superior consumer experience.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 mar 2016
Organizations invest money, time and efforts in branding to build their credibility and reputation. In the online world with expanded global reach, social media and changing dynamics of customer relationships, there are further challenges that the organizations face to keep and sustain their brand image. Moreover there are also steps that are required before embarking upon creating and developing a brand. John Lincoln, Co-founder and CEO of Ignite Visibility and professor at University of California San Diego, explains 8 branding mistakes that should be avoided for brand value and business success - (1) Not Getting a Trademark. (2) Not Vigorously Searching Google and Doing Proper Research. (3) Not Coming Up With a Good Domain Name. (4) Picking a Name That Competes With a Well-Established Brand. (5) Picking Color Schemes and Visuals That Aren't Relevant to What You Do. (6) Not Checking Cultural References Around the Name. (7) Not Checking the Name's Translations in Other Languages. (8) Check Potential Stigmas Associated With the Name. Read on...
8 Branding Mistakes That Can Result in Major Setbacks
Author: John Lincoln
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 mar 2016
According to the recent forecast available at IDC.com, the big data technology and services market will grow at 26.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to US$41.5 billion through 2018, or about six times the growth rate of the overall information technology market. While on the other hand, McKinsey estimates 1.5 million more data managers will be required by 2018 in the US alone. The demand for talent with big data and analytics skills may far exceed the supply. A new field of study has emerged in educational institutions to fulfil anticipated talent shortage. Business schools are partnering with companies that are at the cutting edge of big data technologies to structure big data and analytics focused programs. Some are providing MOOCs to impart knowledge and train business professionals for the data-driven world. While others are leveraging the strengths of their computer science departments to bring technology know-how to the business classrooms. Massimo Beduschi, CEO of WPP in Italy, says, 'The big data wave is surging through every sector - and profound digital transformations are making it mandatory to leverage analytics.' MIT Sloan School of Management has launched master's in business analytics and the senior lecturer and associate dean at the school, Jake Cohen, says, 'Recruiters have said they are looking for training in advanced business analytics...people who can take insight to action.' Prof. Soumitra Dutta, dean of Cornell University's Johnson School of Management (US), says, 'Many schools have courses linked to digital technology, one way or another.' Cornell is partnering with Twitter and Linkedln for analytics in their MBA program. Prof. Dutta is concerned at slow pace of transformation towards blended technology and business management education. Radhika Chadwick, a partner at Ernst & Young, comments, 'I applaud that we have universities tackling this, but we need to do it at a higher speed.' Stanford Graduate School of Business have electives like digital competition, business intelligence from big data, and data-driven decision-making. Maeve Richard, director of Career Management Center at Stanford GSB (US), says, 'Most of the curriculum is about looking for opportunities to be transformative.' University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School (US) offers a program track and MOOCs on business analytics. According to Prof. Peter Fader, co-director of Wharton's Customer Analytics Initiative, 'Now we have all this data, how do we actually build strategies? How do we use the data and the models to run businesses better?' Prof. Juergen Branke of UK's Warwick Business School, that was one of the pioneers and had a program since 2008 developed in partnership with IBM and SAS, advocates for new education and skills to managing effectively in the digital economy. Prof. Jeffrey Camm, chair of business analytics at Wake Forest University (US), says, 'Managers need to understand analytics, how it converts data to valuable insights, and also understand issues such as data privacy, and the ethical use of data and analytical models.' Commenting on slow development and adoption of new curriculum, Prof. Jim Hamill, director of futurdigitalleaders.com and teaches digital leadership module at University of Edinburgh Business School (UK), says, 'Most senior deans and professors are not 'digital natives'. They are baby boomers.' According to Prof. G. Anandalingam, dean of Imperial College Business School (UK) that launched a Data Observatory in partnership with KPMG and offers a degree in business analytics, 'Big data is changing the way everyone operates...need to be able to make sense of all the valuable information.' Prof. Juan José Casado Quintero, director of masters in business analytics at IE School of Business (Spain), developed with IBM, says, 'Companies are struggling to fill their data science positions.' Prof. Gregory LaBlanc, faculty director at Haas School of Business at University of California at Berkeley (US), that works with Accenture, says, 'There is huge unmet demand for data science.' Industry-institution collaborations are a win-win for both, as they provide companies access to talent and to universities the expertise and knowledge of latest business practices and market technologies. Read on...
Future Of Big Data - These Business Analytics Degrees Are Bridging The Gaping Skills Gap
Author: Seb Murray
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 feb 2016
As digital get seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of life, it will not remain anything extraordinary. In future, advancements in digital technologies will converge to enhance physical experiences that involve our bodies, feelings, emotions, actions and reactions. Auro Trini Castelli, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer at gyro, explains how the 'Physical Revolution' will be driven by the following five trends - (1) Sensors will be the new devices (Virtual Reality; Motion and Gesture Recognition Technologies; Haptic Technology). (2) Surfaces will be the new screens (Interactive digital screens on walls, floors, ceilings, walkways etc). (3) Smart cities will make us smart citizens (Interactive city systems and digital environments). (4) Only meaningful interactions will survive (Well-integrated interfaces that get activated when required; Focus on human experience). (5) The world will be printed (3D printing for mass customization; Laser cutting; Computer modeling). In this experiential world, architects, designers, engineers, technologists, marketers, advertisers etc have to increasingly think and create with focus on providing solutions that appeal to all five human senses. The success will depend on how invisibly the digital will become part of the physical and improves every aspect of human interactions and experiences. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 feb 2016
Reviews and recommendations related to products and companies are an important part of consumer buying decisions. Nowadays, technology has transformed word of mouth into word of clicks and taps, bringing consumers closer to other consumers and brands. Online communities around interests, products, and brands have mushroomed. Social media has further brought quality, quantity and speed into the recommendation and review process. According to a study by McKinsey, social media recommendations induced an average of 26% of purchases in 2014, that's up from 10% in 2013. Kishore Kumar, serial entrepreneur and CEO of AllThingsMine, explains how social media networks are assisting cosumers in their buying and purchasing decisions and what companies need to do to effectively utilize these channels for their product marketing and competitive strategies. According to him three aspects of social media influence consumers, and companies have to incorporate them to expand their product sales - (1) Social Referrals: Brands have to encourage and invest in social media referrals. Adweek infographic suggests that 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. Recommendations from friends and trusted sources are more valuable than product advertisements. (2) Access to Reviews: Consumers research before buying products and reviews are an important source. Companies should provide product reviews and give incentives to those consumers that leave a review. (3) Social Media Accessibility: Social media is freely available to anyone with an internet connection. Consumers can now purchase products directly from their social media feeds when people in their network recommend them. Companies need to effectively tap this potential and reach out to larger public through influencers. Read on...
How Social Networks Impact Buying Decisions And The Modern Consumer Society
Author: Kishore Kumar
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jan 2016
Social media has provided opportunities for publishing industry and their reporters, editors, journalists and columnists, to promote and market their content. In many cases this has resulted in the elevation of individual personal brands to iconic status with huge following, immensely benefiting the individuals and their employers. In some other cases it has also created challenging situations and adversely affected their careers. There are a number of academic studies that has been done to understand the role of company branding and personal branding. But Prof. Avery E. Holton of the University of Utah and Prof. Logan Molyneux of Temple University, assert that questions about the trend's impact on journalists' personal identities were largely left unanswered. Their study, 'Identity Lost? The Personal Impact of Brand Journalism', explores this issue and is based on interviews of 41 reporters and editors from various US publications. The authors suggest that publishing groups may need to reconsider how social media is used for branding, promotion and identity creation. Journalists find it challenging to balance their jobs and personal online identities and often have to choose one over the other. According to the authors, 'This choice presents a paradox: If journalists choose to present too much of a personal identity, they risk punishment by their employers. If they present only a professional identity, they risk offending their audiences.' Read on...
Journalism branding - Impact on reporters' personal identities
Author: Denise-Marie Ordway
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 dec 2015
The technology-enabled interactions of consumers and businesses have provided opportunities to capture data and utilize analytics to improve business processes and enhance products and services for customers in variety of industries. The analytics industry ecosystem is mushrooming with numerous vendors, from niche providers to one-stop solutions that include capture, storage, access and study of data for valuable insights. Suhale Kapoor, Co-founder of Absolutdata Analytics, captures various aspects of the analytics industry and its evolution in 2015 and explains what are the expected trends in the year ahead. Trends in 2015 - Growth of new startups and digital marketing tools; Increased use of analytics and Business Intelligence (BI); Rise in use of social media and social advertising on mobile; Rapid expansion of Internet of Things (IoT); Video content; Content marketing and predictive analytics; End-user experience and integration of online and offline content to improve service standards. Trends for 2016 - Shift towards cloud; Streaming architectures will hasten data computations; Visuals will come to rule; Data integration tools will assume more importance; Centre of Excellence (COE) will equip a business in understanding the peculiar needs and challenges for a data scientist; The Internet of Things (IoT) is all poised to bring about a data revolution; Non-analysts will start to dabble in data. Read on...
The Analytics Sector - Emerging trends and forecast for 2016
Author: Suhale Kapoor
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 dec 2015
Although Business Intelligence (BI) and Big Data Analytics (BDA) are being successfully utilized for incremental innovation, but they are insufficient to provide breakthrough innovation, which is more challenging and requires uncovering latent needs, or even creating needs and meaning. Soren Petersen, author of the book 'Profit from Design', and Finn Birger Lie (Co-founder and Chairman of Northern Analytics AS), explains how combination of BDA and Small Data (SD) when integrated at the early stages of new product development process can create breakthrough innovation. The conventional design process includes steps that combine analysis and synthesis, prototyping, testing and learning to create unique and valuable insights. While more advanced design processes, like Design Thinking, include an element of design research or Design Science Research, to enable design teams gain better understanding of the current and future market, and technologies, leverage this knowledge, and then create roadmap that includes the concurrent building of new capabilities that assist them to design future offerings. Mr. Petersen says, 'Innovation is often ambiguous. The 'Market-Technology Risk Matrix' provides a useful mapping of new ventures and offerings according to their position in the market (Recognized Needs, Clarifying Needs and Realizing Needs) and their technology level (Current Technology, Applied New Technology and Development of New Technology). Different combinations of Big Data Analytics (BDA) and Small Data Analytics (SDA) may prove more productive, depending on where design identifies insights within the Market-Technology Risk Matrix.' With grounded research and vertical thinking, BDA can support incremental innovation, while through lateral thinking, SDA can utilize a combination of hypothesis and grounded research to support breakthrough innovation. Read on...
Creating Breakthrough Innovations Through Design With Big and Small Data Analysis
Authors: Soren Petersen, Finn Birger Lie
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 dec 2015
Public relations need to continuously evolve with the changing behavior of society, advancement in technologies, and new ways of communication and reaching out to public. The industry is undergoing shifts in business models, traditional firms are finding shrinking revenue streams and there is excessive competition along with the wave of consolidation. To navigate successfully in this environment, PR firms have to move ahead with the latest practices and technologies. John Hall, co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co., explores 7 digital PR trends that firms should keep into consideration in 2016 - (1) The traditional press release is no more: Utilize social media. Develop relationships with industry leaders and influencers. Attract journalists and other outlets through quality visuals in the messages. (2) Thought leadership will become a growing PR budget priority: To position as a leader in a particular space is not an easy task. Need to build original content around the brand. For thought leadership the content has to be valuable, educational and engaging. (3) Content amplification will become (even more) critical: First focus on the quality of content. Then amplification for the targeted audience will be easier. Distribution avenues will also expand. (4) Negative brand advocates will be prevented through content: Train the PR team to handle all types of situations and experiences. Learn from the book 'Hug Your Haters' by Jay Baer where he advocates a proactive approach to handle negative people. Moreover use content to educate and engage the team. Give them knowledge to effectively tackle clients and avoid negative brand advocacy. (5) Online reputation management will be necessary: Create and publish quality content to achieve better online reputation management and getting the message to the right audience. Credible online reputation will attract publishers and journalists to use your content. (6) True influence will win over number of followers: High quality smaller network wins over ineffective large following. Focus on developing a network and building influrnce among a targeted, valuable audience and social following. (7) Use of paid promotion and social ads will continue to rise: Content Marketing Institute's 2016 content benchmark report found that more than 50 percent of B2B marketing professionals use social ads and promoted posts to distribute content. The effectiveness ratings for each of these methods have increased since last year. Read on...
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