Dawn Promotes Dish Washing “Revolution”

Everyone loves holiday meals, but nobody likes cleaning up afterward. For those of us who dread after-dinner dishes, Procter & Gamble has a timely consumer PR message: You’re not imagining things. Your “old” detergent isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Both the timing and the content of the message offer an interesting window into effective, cleverly passive, consumer PR. Speaking about its Dawn brand dishwashing liquid, which debuted back in 1972, P&G says modern cooks aren’t washing dishes like people used to, and that means their dish soap isn’t working as it’s meant to.

Here’s their reasoning: Most of today’s consumers wash dishes during lulls in cooking, one or two at a time, rather than piling them all in the sink for one final wash when the cooking (and eating) are done. It’s the latter, not the former, that P&G says Dawn was designed to handle. Speaking to the media, Morgan Brashear, a senior scientist at P&G, said: “People are more time-starved, and they see clean as you go as a life hack. The product they’re using isn’t keeping up.”

Brashear says this scenario led to several years of research by P&G scientists, resulting in a new and improved product, Dawn Powerwash Dish Spray. According to marketing literature, the new spray product doesn’t require water to activate cleaning suds. While the new product has a higher cost than traditional dish soap, P&G is hoping effective consumer PR and targeted marketing will help convince people it’s worth the price.

A P&G rep called the product launch a “revolution in the category.” They follow this assertion with advertising messaging that hits right to the core of what people hate about washing dishes – all the time-wasting soaking followed by scrubbing to get caked on food off.

The timing of this messaging is a passive, but effective, key to the PR campaign. Coming between two of the biggest family feast days of the year – Thanksgiving and Christmas – when people are thinking about the frustrations of cleaning all those dirty dishes. Connecting with that emotional trigger allows P&G to sink their message in deeper with consumers, bypassing some of the natural objection to paying more for the product.

While the numbers are not out, it’s likely P&G sold a good many new Dawn Powerwash spray bottles to people out and about doing their regular holiday meal prep shopping. The psychology is as simple as it is effective: you’re already splurging on food you would not normally buy, as well as other things you need for the best ever holiday meal. A couple extra bucks on a spray bottle is no big deal, especially if it means getting the dishes done faster when all your family and friends are over.

Thinking about this product launch from that perspective is a reminder about the power of timing and targeted messaging in conjunction with new product PR.

WHAT PRICE B2B?

“Anyone can sell products by dropping their prices, but it doesn’t breed loyalty” is a message British-American author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek has been driving home for the past decade.

Studies show companies which foster customer engagement do much better than those without such traits. Similarly, companies that raise customer retention by just 5% have seen a profit rise of up to 95% according to a Bain & Company analysis. 

Anyone who has experienced, and paid for, a divorce will understand. Research from Harvard Business Review shows the cost of securing a new client can be up to 25 times more than retaining a current one, and usually when a client leaves, it is also not an amicable divorce.

THE KEYS TO SUCCESS?

As in any healthy and happy marriage, clear and good communication is important. Marketers must keep this in mind while regularly delivering messages that connect the value their company brings to its customers. For when an environment of trust exists, companies can also feel confident in asking for candid advice from customers. 

Companies that offer services would also do well to identify and state the economic gains clients can expect. This can be particularly vital with rumors and fear of another recession around the corner.

Some companies feel automated reporting helps keep them in touch with customers on a regular basis. Marketers need to determine if this works best for their client base and, if so, they need to identify and speak to important customer interests.

Equally, and probably even more important, is a company’s personal engagement with customers because nothing beats face-to-face connections in building customer loyalty, which can increase spending by as much as 95%, according to Kaseya Software.

MAXIMIZING THE POTENTIAL

Companies get the best results by ensuring that its staff are informed, trained and aligned with the company’s goals in retaining customers. This is particularly necessary with customer service staff where goals should also be agreed upon regarding such things as response and resolution time deadlines.

To encourage and acknowledge exemplary service, employee communications must shine a light on staff who receive glowing feedback from customers. Highlighting outstanding staff work on customer loyalty helps to increase loyalty internally as well. 

KEEP SCORE

To know that they’re hitting the mark, marketers need to regularly ask customers for their feedback as the initial results establish a baseline on which to build. Employees should be empowered to be ambassadors as well. The subsequent results should then be analyzed so that changes, deletions and/or additions can be made to further improve customer loyalty and the important end game, retention. 

Another important starting point is determining the current customer retention rate as part of the baseline. After that, efforts to increase retention can be measured and adjusted as necessary, and companies should also share the results and any changes with their employees.

Zig Ziglar, American author and motivational speaker summed it all up with: “The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.”

books

Scholastic Hoping to Recapture Imagination with Rebooted Clifford

For more than a decade, Clifford the Big Red Dog has been a delight for young readers and a mainstay in elementary school classrooms and libraries. But, as more choices become available, and smaller screens begin to take up more time for younger and younger children, Clifford and his crew fell off a bit.

Recognizing this trend, Scholastic Entertainment, a branch of the literature company that publishes the Clifford books, has partnered with Amazon and PBS to produce and broadcast a reboot of the classic cartoon show.

In pre-press and other releases for the program, there are several key cultural points that are made clear, in an effort to connect with a very specific target market: parents and media specialists who are generally responsible for introducing kids to Clifford in the first place. The messaging is subtle, but it’s clear in its connection points and target audience. For example, here’s one media quote pulled from news about the reboot: “The new show offers more diversity among the human characters…”

This has become a hallmark of more modern educational cartoon programs. While, in the previous iteration of Clifford, there was some diversity among the canine characters, the human characters tended to be more of a “type” than a representation of a more diverse society. Addressing this directly, and speaking to consumers who are likely to be concerned about this is a smart move, given the intended target market.

From there, the releases get into more of the nuts and bolts of what viewers – and the parents who will serve as gatekeepers for the kids – can expect: “Emily Elizabeth, the 7-year-old owner (of Clifford) will be the POV character… Each episode will include an original song…”

This tells parents and educators a few things. First, the lead character’s gender and age, which helps to focus the ultimate target market. Second, that the show will be about the lives of these children, and that it will include both story and songs. This further delineates the sort of kids who might be most interested in watching this show.

Using this information, parents can explain the show to kids who might not be familiar by saying there will be “adventures, songs, and a friendly big red dog…” Meanwhile, these same parents and educators will also walk away from the PR about this reboot comfortable that the program will focus on “positive life lessons” specifically “character and empathy,” courtesy of Emily, Clifford, and their respective friends, both human and canine.

The PR related to this release wins, because it not only directly addresses the all-important gatekeepers, but also because it gives these people simple, specific, connective messages they can pass on to the actual target market.

Future Competitive Advantage

As digital technology continues to pick up more speed, companies will also have to accelerate their pace to keep up with new and evolving customer demands.  Products may not have changed much, but customer expectations have.

Today’s technology has created an on-demand world.  In the same way in which people are able to view many of their favorite TV shows on demand, customers, too, are judging brands on how they provide enhanced capabilities that offer easy access and value when they want it.

Evolving Customer Demands

Today’s customer expects to interact whenever they wish, wherever they are.  They really want to do new things as different types of information from a variety of apps are delivered in ways that produce more value for them.

Customers also expect to receive personalized information based on past purchases and surveys.  And finally, they want the experience to be easy. In today’s fast-paced society, they don’t have the patience and willingness to wait a day or two for clarity.

What Companies Must Do

Companies wishing to keep pace with these changes will need to outrival their competitors in the following areas.  They will first need to interact with customers in assorted ways by crafting communications based on custom circumstances.

They’ll also have to analyze customer behavior differently in gathering data and assessing information based on where and how customers interact with their brand.  And other key departments within companies will also need to collaborate, as marketing alone will not be able to carry the ball by itself.

Consider a sophisticated version of JibJab, the digital entertainment program into which one can paste his or her photo.  Some online stores currently employ programs that show shoppers how they would look wearing a piece of apparel they’re thinking of purchasing.  Demand for even greater personalization will only increase over time.

The key for companies that wish to gain on-demand customers is in 1. Getting to know them, really know them, 2. Discovering what their expectations are, 3. Uncovering what works for them, and 4. Arriving at a strategy and plan to connect with them with the perfect interaction.

Data gathered through three well-defined lenses is required.  The first is a clear perspective on market trends for a company’s market and brand(s).  Gathering data on what people are seeking, saying, and doing is important. What are they searching for?  What are they discussing on social media? And what are they tracking in-store, mobile and online?

When correctly performed, the second lens delivers information to companies on where online customers frequent and purchase and what the results are.  Companies that are able to gather together every customer contact with their brands will get a clearer picture of the path customers took in reaching their decision to buy.

Finally, trust always has been and will continue to be a major expectation of customers.  Assuring customers of this via improved personalization will help ensure customer loyalty.

Achieving and delivering these heightened expectations will require the teamwork and collaborative efforts of several departments.  Well-defined responsibilities from all affected departments will help ensure a better digital experience and the ability to meet future challenges.

The Organ Of The Soul

Famed 19th century American poet and educator, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was once quoted as saying, “The human voice is the organ of the soul.”  As true as it was then, Longfellow’s message is even more powerful today.

Why Is That True Today?

Voice commerce or vCommerce, an alternative to using a keyboard, is expected to soar in the near future.  A recent study by Juniper Research forecasted that more than $80 billion annually will be generated through voice commerce by 2023.  Juniper, which offers analytical services to global tech companies along with its research, also said it anticipates that most sales will start off being digital and money transfers. 

Juniper indicated that sales will migrate more to products when vCommerce comes up with a way for smooth cross-platform transactions.  Based on its forecast, the company also said it expects sales of multi-platform apps in smartphones and tablets to increase while predicting a decline in standalone apps.

If that’s not enough motivation, consider a study.  Research by Gartner for Marketers predicted that digital sales will increase 30% by 2021 for early adopters who redesign their sites.

Voice Ready

In order to successfully leverage vCommerce, more research relevant to a company’s customers is required.  Companies need to first discover when and how their customers use voice and then determine their own psychographic voice profile. 

Voicebot.ai reports that users of voice are of the alpha generation   They’re 18 to 29 years-old and have iPhones, and of that group 69%, they say, are male.

Drilling further down, it’s extremely helpful for companies to discover what kind of devices their target audience relies on.  Customers that participate in running and outdoor activities would likely favor earbuds and smart watches while home bakers and cooks might lean more toward smart speakers.

The Tricky Parts

Depending upon what findings about the favored devices of their customers, the next step is to pair up one or more voice assistants with the appropriate brand that matches up with their targeted audience.  This is critical for companies who want to be found.

The final step in the process is for companies to alter their SEO methodology.  Unlike an online search which generates a list of possibilities, vCommerce will deliver one finding.  Where companies wrote algorithms to be found on search engines, they now need to entice algorithms that generate the recommendations on voice assistants.

Remember that Google relies on information from websites to produce its search results.  Alexa, on the other hand, generates its results from a list of 70,000 skills.

To produce that good fit, it’s important to discover the questions customers ask about a company and/or its products or services.  One way to determine that is to survey customers. Another is holding focus groups.

Early adopters have an excellent opportunity to not only raise more revenue, but also increase their market share by adapting and incorporating vCommerce in making it easier for this young and growing customer base to find them.

Customer Experience Matters: How Businesses Can Audit Their Process

According to a recent report from Salesforce, customers are placing a heightened sense of importance on their experience with a brand now more than ever before. In previous marketing generations, what mattered most was the product or the service being sold and the value a customer received for their purchase. Now, however, marketing has become a more vital part of a customer’s life cycle with a brand and the user experience can no longer be considered outside of marketing’s hands.

Several factors have influenced this shift towards the favor of quality user experiences. For one, we now live in a world in which instant gratification has become somewhat of a norm and competition can be cutthroat. In order to have a hope of gaining traction in an increasingly crowded consumer market, a brand must offer the quickest responses, the best prices or value, and the best marketing campaign intent on capturing new audience members. This is far from an easy process.

In an effort to combat the competition, more brands are turning to user experience to make themselves stand out from the crowd.

Apple is a pioneer of this concept, helping shape the idea of experiential marketing well before other mainstream brands caught on to the effect. Visiting an Apple store is an experience — the minimalist store design is soothing, even in the most crowded spaces. There’s a lot of tactile feedback, customers are able to see, touch, and use the devices they’re considering. Everything is visually appealing and pleasant, so much so that the concept has become what Apple is known for. Soon, Apple was opening flagship stores with even more amenities and features for discerning shoppers. Shopping for Apple products became a destination event.

For this and other reasons, it’s no surprise that Apple consistently ranks near the top for customer experience. Other businesses can take pages from Apple’s book, learning ways to appeal to customers in a way that leaves them with a memorable experience.

Often, soliciting feedback from those outside of a brand’s organization can help paint a picture of what the user experience is for a customer. In many cases, those within the company are so close to their products that it can be difficult to pragmatically assess the scenario from a consumer’s perspective.

A brand may miss simple opportunities to connect with customers, such as the persona with which the brand’s platforms speak to consumers. Or perhaps the customer service team needs to take a more pleasant tone when they’re corresponding with customers. In other cases, perhaps the customer is simply just not having a memorable enough experience with the brand to rank their user experience favorably.

Consider introducing ways that customers can tailor their experience. User testing options such as quizzes or questionnaires can help a brand identify more customized experiences that may appeal to customers. Even giving customers control over what type of communications they receive from a brand can increase the satisfaction they feel with their user experience.

Salesforce’s report shows that 80 percent of customers say that their experience with a company matters just as much as the product or service for which they’re shopping. This is an important statistic for businesses to take to heart as they design their marketing and customer experience strategies for the months to come.

TAKE THE LEAD

How often have we heard that phrase in a speech, movie or song?  In the digital marketing world, we hear it most often used with CRM, particularly when it comes to lead management.  Why is this important?

CRM lead management, along with analytics and content, are vital to a company identifying and attracting new customers and business.  Whether a marketing department has a system in place or is looking to improve its existing system, here are some key things to consider.

FIRST CHALLENGE

For many companies, the first challenge may be a surprise.  It’s internal. Marketing and sales are often not together on this.  Why? Marketing’s mission is to attract new customers while sales is to close the deal.   Sales, however, is sometimes accused of driving new customers away. When the latter occurs, the reason is not so much that didn’t know how to close the deal, but more because sales didn’t quite understand their potential new customer.

Both teams need to better support one another.  How? The simplest way to achieve greater success is to work better together which is what every management book says.  But working together means more than marketing handing over a list of new customers to sales. It means interpreting the data and arming sales with deeper information and a better understanding of its potential customers.

SECOND CHALLENGE

What’s extremely helpful is having a program that removes all or most of the guesswork.  All programs identify leads but one that can also prioritize them via predictive and/or behavioral scoring is invaluable.  Not only will such a program help the sales department land purchases more quickly, but it can also eliminate wasted time on prospects who aren’t as qualified. 

WHAT ABOUT NEW MARKETS?

Predictive scoring can be particularly valuable here.  A good program will compare the known characteristics of present customers against those a company believes their potential customers have.  That data can help direct a company to where and to whom it should target its resources and marketing efforts.

One of the biggest challenges is new markets is not giving in too early.  In spite of good data and help from predictive scoring, gaining a foothold in a new market can still take a while.   Don’t give up too soon.

The other important aspect to any market, but particularly a new one, is tracking and analyzing data frequently.  This allows companies that see trends or shifts I customer behavior to make adjustments in a timelier manner. Sales can also be helpful here by providing valuable feedback on how customers are responding and what they’re saying. 

Share the results of success, small and large, with both the marketing and sales teams.  Also be sure to include valuable lessons learned that might be applied in the future. 

Last, but certainly not least.  As always, be sure to honor and steward customers so they feel valued.  The new ones gained will appreciate this. This helps greatly in building customer loyalty.  Continue asking for and seeking comments. Great reviews and comments have the best credibility among potential consumers, especially new website visitors.

Are Email Re-engagement Campaigns Worth the Effort?

Email marketing has quickly risen to be one of the most influential areas of digital marketing in today’s environment. With more users gravitating toward their email inboxes for information, brands are using newsletters and marketing emails to engage with customers and build relationships.

However, one of the challenges of email marketing is connecting with subscribers who have lost interest or shown little engagement with the emails they receive. While there are multiple metrics to track for email marketing, engagement is perhaps the most valuable. Keeping a high unique open rate is an objective that any email marketer should be working toward, and often this involves some strategy for re-engagement of idle subscribers.

This presents a challenge, though. The cost of subscriber acquisition can rise quickly, and often going after disengaged subscribers can be a more cost-effective option. However, the effort put forth doesn’t always equal out to be a massive success, especially if a company starts the re-engagement campaign too late.

Research shows that re-engaging with subscribers around the 30 day mark has the most success. This gives brands an opportunity to check in with the subscriber before they forget that they ever subscribed to the list in the first place. Chasing after subscribers who have shown no engagement in months may not be worth the effort involved.

Encouraging subscribers to engage with content will help boost the open and unique open rates of the mailing list — a more valuable metric than just the number of subscribers. After all, if a mailing list has 100,000 people on it, but only 10 percent of those users are opening emails, how valuable is that to the brand’s marketing efforts and/or to any advertorial partners?

Another way to ensure that a brand is engaging with subscribers consistently is to put out high quality content. Consider putting in unique content that users won’t find elsewhere. Tweak the subject line of the email to be more enticing. Track the heat map of clicks in the body of the email to find out what content is converting at a higher rate. Find out what time of day users are opening the email, and what devices they’re using to view it.

All of this information can bolster the email marketing strategy that a company designs, and it provides more insights on audience behaviors so that re-engagement can be more thoughtfully initiated.

The great aspect of email marketing is that many steps can be automated. For example, re-engagement emails can be triggered at a certain point in time, by certain behaviors. A user who signs up for the mailing list but fails to open any emails in a 30 day period could trigger a re-engagement email. A user who starts out strong but then drops off after 30 or 45 days could also trigger an email to check in.

Brands shouldn’t be afraid to remove inactive users from their list. This action accomplishes different things: it increases the quality of the open rate and it ensures that a user won’t be “turned off” by too many emails that they won’t read. Remember, the open rate is a metric that should be carefully nurtured, and going for the high subscriber count won’t always accomplish the right goals.