I have spent many years as a strategy consultant to different clients and for very different reasons; cutting their HR workforce in half, implementing a new enterprise asset management system, redefining their budget process, cutting their grants program timeline in half, or increasing student enrollment by fifty percent. So I am sure you are asking, what do all of these clients have in common with me? Can I really provide value to all of these different industries and clients?
My response is simple – of course I am not an expert in any of these fields but what I provide clients is simple, a mirror for them to question themselves. A facilitator to the age-old question that all people avoid “why?”.
One of the most important aspects to begin any project is Strategy. At Q, we begin all of our projects with a client strategy session to really dive down and understand the root of their problem. Most of the time, a client hires you for a specific need they have, whether it is redesigning their dated website, implementing a marketing system to better reach their audience or launching a new social media campaign; but what they don’t take the time to think about is WHY?
Why are you taking this action? What are you actually trying to achieve? What defines success for your organization? The “5 Whys” is a proven tool that any trained facilitator should keep in their back pocket. I always joke with a client to think of me as their 5-year-old child in their “curious phase” asking a series of very obvious questions that almost sound silly but in reality, no one has probably asked that question before. So taking the time to roll up your sleeves and work with a client helps shape the project in many ways.
To begin, I like discussing their business goals and objectives.
Business Goals are not specific enough for you to act upon, but should give you a future target or list of things you want to work on as an organization. Your goals can also be broken down into a timeline listing out your 3, 6, and 9 month goals. Once the client determines their prioritized goals, they must define their objectives.
Business Objectives should align directly to goals but unlike goals, they need to be SMART—specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and timely—to accomplish the goals set for your organization.
Your goals and objectives also then outline your measurement planning - what you should measure in the next 3, 6, or 9 months to determine project success. When do you see your return on investment?
In one strategy session you can define the shape and bounds of a project that drive all of the subsequent phases. A client’s business goals, objectives and timelines can then drive your solution mapping – from functional requirements to the wireframes and personalization planning. A successful project team should be able to tie all project decisions and actions back to the client goal or objective they are aiming to achieve.
Jumping into mobile but don’t know where to start? You’re not alone, and articles like this are written for them any marketers out there who are interested in adopting this channel but searching for best practices.
Takeaways: Promotion and messaging – which are among the strategies in the article – are age old marketing principles. But the importance of exclusivity is an important differentiator for mobile and social media marketing efforts. Tailoring promotions, offering “VIP” access and helping members of your audience feel like they are “in on” something unique is an important strategy for successful efforts in this space.
Content marketing is absolutely critical, but where do influencers fit? Do you even know what influencer marketing is? Amanda Maksymiw breaks it down on the Content Marketing Institute blog.
Takeaways: Influencer marketing isn’t new and you may actually already be doing it – marketers have been engaging with the people and groups that their target audience looks to for information for a very long time. But did you know that content marketing and influencer marketing need to work together? The article is full of takeaways, but this line sums it up: “By engaging in ongoing conversations with key bloggers, reporters and other influencers, they will be more apt to share your content and refer to you as a thought leader in the space.” Their insight, behavior and feedback can also inform your approach to content going forward, so don’t ignore this critical audience as you define your marketing plans for 2010!
While conventional wisdom dictates that content is king, Bob Knorpp of The BeanCast Marketing Podcast argues that content alone is a dead end for marketers, particularly for digital channels.
Takeaway: Knorpp sums it up well by saying, “The value of Facebook to your customers is not the content you put there. The true value is derived from the experience of connecting with friends.” This is essentially true for any digital channel. Content certainly has its place, but the real value lies in the relationships and engagement patterns formed with your audience over time. Too often marketers focus on click-through rates or impressions, but miss the opportunity to create valuable experiences for their customers. Engagement doesn’t end with “a click, a comment or a share.” Those interactions are only the beginning.
By Angela Brown, Senior Digital Strategist
Just days after launching Google+, the search giant upped the ante with the launch of a social engagement measurement tool in Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools. In Google Analytics, this new feature is available in the Visitor section between Technology and Mobile.
This one isn’t so much full of takeaways as it is general news. As Foursquare reached and exceeded the 10 million user mark, ClickZ summarized the top brands leveraging the platform for marketing purposes. During the past 18 months, use of the platform as a marketing channel has exploded among brands ranging from small local businesses to big names like Ikea and Victoria’s Secret. Tactics range from rewarding “mayors” of store locations (a title which is becoming harder and harder to come by) to offering discounts and free merchandise for check-ins. And the best news for businesses is that it doesn’t cost a dime to use Foursquare as a marketing platform.