Archivo de la categoría: Publicidad

Guía para establecer precio o fee de servicios a un cliente

En varias oportunidades se charló y debatió en Australinos acerca de los criterios a tener en cuenta a la hora de cobrarle por servicios prestados a un cliente. ¿Cuánto cobrar? ¿Qué tener en cuenta a la hora de establecer un fee o de ponerse un precio? ¿Cómo estimar cuánto valen nuestros servicios?

A continuación una interesante nota (lamento que sea sólo en inglés) con criterios para tener en cuenta. Básicamente una guía que plantea los beneficios de comenzar con productos/servicios for free, apelando al “experience good”: un producto que necesita de un período de uso antes de que el cliente pueda determinar su valor. Otra de las opciones planteadas es comenzar con un precio de entrada bajo, confiando en que el producto/servicio de uno creará valor en la empresa cliente.

El artículo habla también de la ley del costo marginal y del precio de largo plazo en el mercado. Hace más hincapié en internet e incluso en el modelo free que plantea, pero sirve como guía para levantar buenos criterios a la hora de ponernos un precio. A continuación:

The Complete guide to fremium business models

Fuente: techcrunch.com

Editor’s note: This guest post was written by Uzi Shmilovici, CEO and founder of Future Simple, which creates online software for small businesses. The post is based on a study done with Professor Eric Budish, an economics professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. It also includes ideas and comments from Peter Levine, a Venture Partner at Andreessen-Horowitz and a professor at Stanford GSB

The idea of offering your product or a version of it for free has been a source of much debate.

Pricing is always tricky. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs don’t give it enough thought. They will often copy the pricing strategy of similar products, base their decisions on pompous statements made by “experts” or rely on broken rationale (we worked hard so we should charge $X).

Free is even trickier and with so many opinions about it, we thought it would be refreshing to take a critical approach and dive deep into why some companies are very successful at employing the model while other companies fail. We’ve looked into economics academic papers, behavioral psychology books and strategies that worked for companies to come up with the key concepts below.

The Law of Marginal Cost

Pricing plays a huge part in competing for customers. Here’s an economic law that holds almost as much truth as the law of gravity: in a perfectly competitive market, the long-term product price (aka “market clearing price”) will be the marginal cost of production.

Guess what? Because of declining hosting and bandwidth costs, for most Internet products the marginal cost today is practically … zero.

In other words, if the cost to serve a customer (support aside) is zero, the long-term price of the product in the market will be zero (because of competitive pressure).

An Experience Good

At the core of the “Free” models are the products or services being offered to the customer. Most Internet products or services fall into the definition of an Experience Good: a product that needs a period of use before the customer can determine the value they can derive from it.

A good example is Dropbox. Consider Drew Houston’s words: “The fact was that Dropbox was offering a product that people didn’t know they needed until they tried.”

There are plenty of academics who looked into the pricing of Experience Goods. In 1983, the Economist Carl Shapiro wrote a fascinating paper about this subject. His conclusion was that since customers tend to underestimate the value of a product, the optimal pricing for an experience good is a low introductory price which is then increased when the customer realizes the value of the product.

In some cases, a customer might overestimate the value of the product. In that case, the optimal pricing strategy is to charge as much in the beginning or to lock in customers with long-term contracts.

This is why customers are reluctant to buy when someone asks them to prepay for a service or product or sign a long-term contract.

Hence, the introductory price is a signaling mechanism. The conclusion?  A low entrance price signals that you are confident that your product will create value for the customer.

The Psychology of Free

Much has been written about the Psychology of Free. Two books that looked specifically into the subject are “Free” by Chris Anderson and “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely. Putting it simply, Free is an emotional hot button that immediately reduces the mental barriers for the customer. Free makes people think that they have “nothing to lose” since many ignore time as an investment.

From this perspective, free is a huge accelerator of adoption. The flip side of this is that after using the product for free, it is very hard to get the customer to start paying for it. This phenomenon was broad enough to get its own name: “The penny gap”—the hardest part is to get your customer to pay you the first penny. This is why it is so critical to choose your premium features wisely.

Decision Factors

If all that is true, it seems like Free (or Freemium) is the answer. Well…. not so fast. The decision is definitely not easy. Here’s a basic framework to help you make a more informed decision. A word of caution though: for every complex problem there’s a simple solution … and it’s wrong. The framework is helpful as a thinking tool but there’s no magic formula.

Here’s a set of questions that you’ll need to ask yourself:

  1. How big do I want my company to be? If you are looking to build a lifestyle business that’ll make you $8,000 a month and you have a good product, you can probably do without Freemium. If you want to build a dominant company that has a substantial market share, Freemium can help you accelerate adoption.
  2. What is the value of the free users? Across all successful Freemium companies, there is a way of making money or saving money from the free users. Either by saving on marketing costs (Dropbox) or by making money from ads or data (Pandora, Evernote, Mint) or both. If you cannot turn your free users into savings in marketing costs or revenues from third parties—figure out how!
  3. What is the cost to serve free users?  This is a critical aspect of the model. If you spend a lot of money and/or time servicing free users, you are going to lose a lot of money. The cost of servicing free users must be lower than the dollar value they provide.
  4. How big is my market? “The easiest way to get 1 million people paying is to get 1 billion people using,” says Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote. Free adds another conversion step on your way to revenues. You need a big market to have enough people who will be paying you at the end of the day.
  5. Is there value to one customer from other customers using the product? This will determine how many new users the free users will refer. There are three levels of value:
  1. Inherent value – You can use Skype only if the person you talk with also uses Skype. You can share a Dropbox folder only with other Dropbox users. In this case, Freemium can be a powerful strategy.
  2. Added value – You wouldn’t want to be the only user of LinkedIn. You derive value from other people using it. In this case, Freemium can help you gain traction if you use an effective invitation mechanism.
  3. No value – You don’t care if someone is using Evernote or not. The only reason for one person to tell another about the product or service is if they think it is awesome.

The Types of “Free”

One of the key factors in making Freemium work is the structure of the offering. What is it that you offer for free vs. charge? There are different types of free strategies. Let’s take a look at the popular ones:

  1. True Freemium – Give a version of the product for free and charge a fee for the other versions. There are two ways to go about this:
  1. Value based – The most successful type of Freemium strategy. The more a customer uses the product, the more value she derives, the higher the switching costs are, and at some point she’ll hit a usage limit and convert to a paying customer. Evernote and Dropbox are beautiful examples of this.
  2. Characteristic based – For example offering the product for free for one user (so it is based on company size for instance). Let’s think about a B2B application. If I’m a freelancer, I will use the application forever and I will never have to upgrade. If I’m a 3-person company, I can’t add more users and try the application for real and hence might not get to the point where I see the value in using it.
  3. Free Product for a Cross Subsidy  – Give one product for free and charge for complementary products.
  4. Time Based Free Trial – Give a free trial for X days and start charging once the trial ends. The issue here is figuring out what X is. On one hand you want to create a sense of urgency, on the other hand you need the customer to see the value in the system.

Open Source as a Free model

Lately I’ve seen many entrepreneurs confuse Open Source with Free so I thought it would be helpful to make the distinction. An open source model can definitely accelerate the distribution of your product and is a viable free model. It has two main advantages. You might get developers to contribute to your product (see WordPress). By doing that you can accelerate the development of your product. The other advantage is that you give customers peace of mind as they have control over the source code. You can then make money from selling pro features or value added services. There’s a critical distinction here and that is that your code is out there and anyone can start a company to commercialize this code. Bear in mind that it is very hard (often impossible) to reverse a decision to open-source.
The Last Bit And The Secret To Success

There are many factors to consider when you are evaluating whether to use the Freemium model or not. However, there’s one last secret that I didn’t share with you. During the study, while looking at the successful Freemium companies, a pattern emerged. They all had phenomenal products. All of these decision factors are useless if the product or service you are offering is nothing short of amazing. If your product is not creating great value for its users, no tactic in the world will make Freemium work for you.

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Archivado bajo Branding, Comunicación, PR, Publicidad

Improving Market Research in a Recession

Harvard Business Shool | Working Knowledge

Published: May 26, 2009 Author: John Quelch

Recession-challenged consumers are buying less, looking for deals, or switching to different brands, product categories, or stores. Some are even changing long-held attitudes toward consumption. To many folks, filling the home with more stuff or keeping up with the Joneses is no longer appealing.

As a result, the degree of uncertainty in business and consumer markets has soared. Yet, to conserve cash, most firms are reducing spending on the market research that would help manage that uncertainty. In the United States, spending on market research has dipped for four consecutive quarters, and chief marketing officers don’t expect the situation to turn around soon. Most big consumer marketers are seeking to shave 10 to 20 percent off of research budgets.

In flush times, a rising tide of consumption can compensate for less than optimal branding, positioning, pricing, or segmentation. That is certainly not the case now. At the same time that marketers must pare down research expenditures, they face added pressure to secure high-quality data and insights.

I recommend that CMOs take the following seven steps to minimize the impact of reduced spending.

Stay focused. Savvy marketers focus their research on the products, brands, and markets that are key to their marketing strategy. In a recession, it’s essential to get a clear read on existing core customers, including those who are most loyal to the brand and those who are most profitable, rather than fritter away research resources on potential or peripheral consumers. When times are good, there is budget available for increased research on secondary products or customers. Now, nice-to-knows that are not essential will have to wait.

Enlist trusted partners. Marketers and research suppliers who trust each other and have established long-term relationships can jointly plan how to extract more insights and make better decisions based on fewer expenditures. For example, combining data sets may reveal new leading indicators of changes in consumer behavior. Tracking studies may have an edge over one-off projects. CMOs who trim costs by consolidating their budgets with an integrated research supplier should insist that the supplier aggressively explore synergies across its various component agencies as well as eliminate research redundancies.

Value experience and judgment. CMOs should tap the knowledge and intuitions of managers and researchers who’ve lived through previous recessions. In setting prices, for example, such insight can help calibrate the optimal level of price promotion offers. Experience also reveals proxies: in tough times, some marketers use research results from Sweden as a proxy for Scandinavia, rather than conducting the same research in all Scandinavian countries.

Seize opportunities overseas. Some large multinational marketers, such as Unilever, are shifting research expenditures away from Western Europe and toward emerging markets in Asia and Latin America. Relative to the developed economies, the costs of research in emerging economies are less and the payoff from incremental insight can often be greater. Brand preferences and consumption levels in emerging markets such as China, India, and Brazil tend to be more fluid. Consumer research is therefore critical to aid marketers trying to cement brand preferences early on as these economies develop.

Go online with a dash of skepticism. Online research is cheap, fast, and the wave of the future. Tools like SurveyMonkey allow non-expert users to create custom surveys in minutes. As an alternative to offline focus groups, custom online panels of consumers can be formed for qualitative research on new product ideas or new ads. Taking the do-it-yourself approach rather than outsourcing to a market research firm is attractive in a cost-cutting era, but you risk getting no more than what you pay for. The opinions of convenience sample of an enthusiastic online brand community may not represent all users.

Don’t cut across the board. Just as important as knowing where to cut research is knowing where not to cut. When marketers are creating fewer new ads and introducing fewer new products, it is doubly important to use rigorous pretesting to select the strongest alternatives. In categories where the bases for consumers’ value judgments are changing, modest expenditures on copy research can prevent blowing much more money on ineffective messaging. Adding a few questions to standard tracking studies is a low-cost way to shed light on changes in customer attitudes and purchase behavior. For key products, running conjoint studies to check on shifts in price elasticities of demand and price-attribute tradeoffs can usefully improve the profitability of pricing decisions at a time when cash is king.

Keep an eye on the new consumer. No one has a perfect record of predicting the future, and the recession is making it harder for consumers to envision or articulate their needs. Even so, and despite budget pressures, smart marketers devote a portion of their market research to getting a handle on future changes in consumer behavior. Are consumers of your brand going to revert to previous consumption patterns when the recession ends? Or are they developing coping mechanisms that will endure, especially if the recession is lengthy? What new products and services will consumers be open to embracing? If, as in the financial services category, consumer confidence and trust in brands have been seriously eroded, how long and what steps will it take to regain them? Eventually, the recession will end, and future success depends on being well-positioned, based on sound research, when it does.

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Plan para una campaña de Social Media

No es el plan de comunicacion…. pero bien puede un Social Media Plan cotizar en la bolsa australina tambien! Les copio nota y video (sugiero verlo) que levanté de Interactividad.org.

Para esta semana, el album Sound of Silver, de LCD Soundsystem. Bienvenido junio!

miércoles 20 de mayo de 2009

¿Cómo desarrollar un Social Media Plan? (Iniciador Barcelona)

Ayer tuve la suerte de ser el ponente invitado en Iniciador Barcelona (honor doble ya que ayer se celebraba el primer aniversario de este evento). El tema, “Social Media para emprendedores“. Mi objetivo era tratar de transmitir mi experiencia personal en la red, así como la de Cava&Twitts durante los últimos meses, tratando de explicar lo que me ha funcionado y lo que no con el uso de los Social Media. No era doctrina, no era una tesis doctoral… era mi experiencia.

Y nada mejor que empezar preguntando… ¿Cuantos de vosotros tenéis blog? ¿Cuantos de vosotros tenéis Twitter? ¿cuantos de vosotros estáis en una red social?…. la inmensa mayoría contestaron que SI. La siguiente pregunta es ¿Cuantos tenéis un plan?… la gran mayoría no lo tenía.

El objetivo era constatar la importancia de seguir unos pasos, sencillos, pero necesarios para tratar de garantizar un resultado. Construir un Social Media Plan no garantiza el éxito, pero si evita cometer muchos errores. ¿que pasos seguir?

1. Definir objetivos : que quiero conseguir
2. Posicionamiento: ¿que dicen de mi? ¿como funciona mi sector en Internet?
3. Escuhar y hablar: definir que herramientas utilizar
4. Medir, medir, medir, medir (lo que no se puede medir no existe)

 
Os dejo la presentación de ayer (supongo que en breve colgarán el vídeo con toda la charla):

 
http://www.slideshare.net/marccortes/social-media-plan-iniciador?type=presentation 

 

De todo lo que hablamos si me gustaría repescar algunas cosas que se comentaron:

 

  • Para encontrar diamantes hay que picar mucho carbón“. Sólo con tener un blog, un twitter y estar en facebook no te garantiza nada, hay que entender tu entorno, tener claros los objetivos… Sobre este tema se cuestionó cuanto tiempo dedicar a cada cosa: la respuesta se irá modulando, al principio seguirás a muchos blogs o participarás mucho en las redes sociales y poco a poco se irá encontrando el punto de equilibrio. Cada uno tiene su propio equilibrio.
  • Internet y los Social Media son muy potentes, pero no hay que olvidar que una parte importante de la población no está todavía en la red o, si lo están, no participan de forma activa.
  • En los Social Media hay el mismo SPAM que por correo electrónico. Discutimos si es o no legitimo usar los social media para generar notoriedad y atraer tráfico (como cuando un “amigo” de facebook te invita 10 veces a que te hagas fan de un determinado grupo)… opiniones encontradas como siempre. Para el que envía un millón de correos vendiendo Viagra para que 2 lo compren, seguro que les es rentable pero ¿que imagen dejas a los otros 999.998?
  • Para todos hay un ecosistema en Internet, lo importante es encontrarlo. El que venda ropa para perros… tiene su espacio para encontrar a su público objetivo, la comunidad Unitteddogs tiene más de 44.000 perros dados de alta.

Seré un romántico, pero sigo pensando que hacer las cosas paso a paso garantiza un éxito a medio y largo plazo, aunque a corto no sepas ver los resultados.

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Archivado bajo Branding, Comunicación, Innovación y Tecnología, PR, Publicidad

Cómo convertir una blind date en un cliente

(enero de 2009)

Blind Date to White Wedding: Best Practices in Lead Nurturing
(6/29/2007) CRM Project Volume 7
By Marketo, Inc., Marketo

No one enjoys blind dates. Whether you’re introduced by friends, the Internet, or your neighborhood matchmaker, it’s nerve-wracking to meet for the first time.

Conversely, everyone loves weddings. The flowers, the tradition, the drunken dancing at the reception, you can find something you like.
Everything that comes in between is the interesting part. When you’re dating, you’re learning about each other: what you like to do, the things he doesn’t eat, the stuff she does on Saturdays. And you’re discovering the things that you do well together.
It’s no different when it comes to B2B marketing. You need to deepen your relationship with prospects over time, interacting in a variety of settings, learning more about each other’s needs and capabilities while progressing seamlessly from one interaction to the next. And you need to know when to commit more resources to the relationship as well as when to pull back and give the prospect some space.
In the B2B marketing world, this dating process is called lead nurturing, defined as the process of building a relationship with qualified prospects who are not yet sales-ready, regardless of budget, authority, or timing and of ensuring a clean hand-off to sales at the right time.
Just as in dating, lead nurturing can be described with defined stages, including:

  1. The Introduction
  2. The First Date
  3. Dating
  4. The Proposal
  5. The Wedding

 
The Introduction
The introduction is the first time your future betrothed hears of you. It is up to your friend, online profile, or matchmaker to make you seem interesting and attractive. You don’t have direct control over the introduction, but the more you can do to influence it, the better.
 
Discover your ideal prospect
The first step in the introduction should be to determine your ideal prospect. Just as you know you like tall, dark and handsome, you should also know that the best prospects for your products and solutions are companies in the United States with 100 or more employees, in the pharmaceutical and healthcare verticals. It’s not usually this simple, but having an idea of what your ideal prospect looks like will help you focus your marketing to certain locales and mediums. If you know that tall, dark and handsome is often at your alma mater’s tailgate parties, you’ll probably want to be there, early and often.
 
Build your brand
If you’re wondering whether branding matters in B2B marketing, RainToday has issued a report that says the answer is yes, concluding, “If you are well known, whatever lead generation tactics you employ are likely to work better.” In fact, 65% of companies that claim they are well known report being good or excellent at lead generation, while only 44% of the not well known companies report being good or excellent.
Brand matters because B2B buyers are still people and emotions impact economic decision-making. B2B buyers are overwhelmed with choices and information more than any buyer could evaluate rationally. This means that no matter how disciplined a buying process is, emotional brand impressions do influence vendor selection.
Web 2.0 is also changing the way marketers build their brand. With the growing popularity of blogs, podcasts, social media and the like, buyers would rather talk to each other, instead of listening to a marketing message. So take advantage of this by creating thought leadership, using Web 2.0 techniques.
 
Create thought leadership
One way B2B companies can build their brand is by helping buyers research early in the sales cycle, demonstrating that they are trusted advisers who understand the prospect’s problems. By using thought leadership to engage prospects early, you build awareness and increase your chances that the prospect will respond to future demand generation efforts.
Creating thought leadership helps your prospects learn more about you, your background and how you think. It helps build the foundations of a relationship: familiarity and trust. At this stage, don’t hide your thought leadership content behind registration forms. Set this content free to allow it to spread virally.
 
Write white papers
White papers are used at almost any stage of the pipeline, from lead generation to customer retention. They typically range from four to eight pages, and shouldn’t be more than 12 pages long. According to Michael Stelzner of Writing White Papers, white paper is a persuasive document that usually describes approach of an article and weaves in persuasive corporate messages typically found in brochures.
And studies have shown that white papers are highly viral; that is, they are passed around by 60% of technology professionals. According to a study by MarketingSherpa and KnowledgeStorm, this is because white papers are considered to be credible resources for thought leadership and subject matter expertise.
 
Create eBooks
As an alternative to white papers, consider eBooks, defined by David Meerman Scott as the “hip and stylish younger sibling to the nerdy whitepaper.” An eBook delivers the content in a form that’s designed for quick scanning and reading online. The content tends to come in more bite-sized chunks (as in a presentation). With newer versions of Microsoft PowerPoint, audio can be added to each page/slide.
 
Use social media
Social media continues to grow in popularity, and has become another conduit to your prospects. Sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace allow people to build online relationships by joining groups, chatting and commenting about products and services. On LinkedIn, for instance, you frequently see questions from your network asking for recommendations for products and consultants.
Blogging is a great way to build thought leadership and, therefore, your brand. Your blog should fill the information needs of your prospects and invites comments from readers. Podcasts essentially audio clips of you speaking instead of writing, or of an interview with another thought leader are a great attachment to your blog. RSS feeds and content formatted for mobile devices such as Blackberry, Treo and iPhone extend your blog reach. The YouTube phenomenon cannot be forgotten. A funny or clever short video that goes viral can quickly build your brand.
In B2B marketing, social media has a big role to play in driving traffic, building thought leadership, and facilitating word of mouth referrals. It’s one more tactic in a portfolio of techniques that best practice companies use to generate awareness, drive leads, and nurture relationships.
Social networking for B2B relationships is similar to your personal relationships. You meet someone through friends, whether at a party or on Facebook, share your thoughts and dreams, and if all goes well, you decide to have your first date.
 
The First Date
The first date is all about making a good first impression. Don’t come on too strong or you’ll scare your prospect away. And don’t talk only about yourself. Use the first date as an opportunity to learn more about your prospect’s wants and needs, as well as to share some relevant information about yourself.
In B2B marketing, this means you should deliver some form of premium content that is worth registering for. While thought leadership content should influence and guide people before they’re in a buying cycle, the content here should be targeted to those who are just beginning to look for solutions, such as self-running video demos and customer case studies. Either way, they should be short and to the point. You’re trying to make a good first impression.
 
Create short videos or demos
A few tips from the Foneshow blog: Make it short. Snack-sized content needs to have a single idea, should be easy to share, and should require little or no commitment. If it can be viewed on a mobile device during an elevator ride, you are on the right track. Create short, two- to three-minute videos that showcase your value proposition, or use Adobe Captivate or TechSmith’s Camtasia to demo your product at work.
 
Develop case studies
Also known as success stories, case studies are short, one or two page documents that evangelize a customer’s success and ROI from use of your solution. Sections typically include an intro, challenge and solution. And don’t forget to include a customer quote or two and a short section at the end that tells about your product and company.
 
Dating
This is where the lead nurturing comes in. Your prospect has shown at least some interest in you. You don’t want to ruin a good first impression by calling too often or asking for too much commitment too soon. Instead, develop the relationship by sharing additional information at the right time. If tall, dark and handsome responds to your overtures, you want to talk to him and try to gather more information: Is he single? Is he interesting? In B2B relationships, it’s much the same: make offers of more information at respectable intervals and determine the level of interest at each stage. The goal, of course, is to date exclusively.
 
Schedule webinars
While some webinars are designed to generate leads, others can have content that moves prospects farther along in your pipeline. These latter kinds of webinars should assume a certain level of familiarity with your product, since you are making this offer only after positive responses to other nurturing activities.
Webinars that feature an industry analyst or expert not associated with your company are particularly proficient at moving prospects along in the nurturing process. One thing to keep in mind is that, according to MarketingSherpa, decision-makers are more likely to attend webinars than contributors, so webinar attendance might weigh heavier later in your nurturing process.
 
Share relevant third party information
You don’t need to create all the lead nurturing content yourself. You can demonstrate how well you understand each prospect’s wants and needs by sharing relevant third party content with then. This can be as simple as emailing a news article and saying “Based on our conversation last week, I thought you’d find this interesting.”
 
Make it personal
Remember, the goal of “dating” is to build a relationship with a real person. B2B buyers are people, so the human touch matters. Lead nurturing is a conversation, not a series of disjointed campaigns. Personalize email responders and landing pages. Make sure each step connects with the prior one. And except for webinar invitations, don’t make the same offer twice in one email flow.
 
The Proposal
When creating your ideal customer, marketing and sales must work together to determine the best indicators of success, in terms of what the customer looks like (demographics, etc.). During this discussion, you should also determine the activities that result in a sales-ready lead. For instance, if a prospect fit your demographic target, clicked on one of your pay per click ads and watched a short demo, then downloaded an eBook from your email follow-up, you might consider him to be moderately qualified (a 7 out of 10, for instance). But if he then attended a webinar from an invitation you sent and went to the “pricing” section of your website, you might consider him a 9 out of 10, which tells you that he’s ready for a contact by your sales team. Your sales team would then go to work (with your help, of course).
 
Make outbound calls
Your sales team takes the action to follow-up on your qualified leads with a phone call. Their job is to further qualify the lead and deepen the relationship. Marketing can help by providing call scripts (including qualifying questions) that make it easy for the inside sales team follow-up from the campaign. They also indicate which product the customer is most likely to be interested in based on the campaign.
 
Send personal follow-up emails
Since marketing typically stops nurturing when the prospect is sent to sales, the inside sales team should also have a set of emails to send depending upon the level of interest shown by the prospect (and whether calls are completed). Marketing can assist by providing detailed email templates that continue the lead nurturing process.
 
Use customer references
Customer references are always excellent ways of closing new customers. Marketing should cultivate and nurture existing customers and gain permission to use them as references. Care should be taken with references to ensure any single reference isn’t over-used. Remember that they’re doing you a favor.
 
Conduct ROI analyses
An essential sales tool for many companies is an ROI analysis tool. Plugging in numbers of employees, current costs, and the like, then comparing to your solution is an outstanding method of showing costs and comparing benefits. Don’t forget to train the sales team and to provide written explanations for each section of the ROI tool. A results document that sales can send as a follow-up further cements the activity.
 
The Wedding
The Deal. The Close. The Win. Ultimately, making the sales is up to your sales team, but by implementing a sound nurturing and scoring process, you have helped them by establishing a relationship and positioning your company as a leader with the prospect.
 
The Tools
Just as a nice haircut and a manicure prepare you for that first date, every marketer should prepare for that introduction. You’ll need easy to use tools to help you nurture leads, including email, landing pages, forms, and lead scoring: essentially, a lead management solution.
 
Send triggered emails
Send a series of emails as part of a drip marketing campaign, or triggered based on specific prospect activities. Each email offers a document (or webinar, or trial software, etc.) that helps move your target along in their decision-making process.
 
Use custom landing pages
Don’t forget that custom landing pages can increase conversion rates by up to 48% during your lead nurturing as well as your lead generation activities. You only have eight seconds to get their attention, so use bullets, short forms, and no external navigation. And have only one call to action!
 
Use smart forms
You will get better response rates by using a form as the call to action on your landing pages, but why use the same form with the same fields over and over? Just like you wouldn’t ask your date for his or her name every time you see them, you shouldn’t ask for contact information again and again. Smart forms recognize known visitors and can fill in the fields you already know. Since you don’t have to ask for this, ask for other info, such as company size, time until decision, etc. Building the profile over time will help you in scoring the lead.
 
Use web analysis and lead scoring
Knowing which pages your prospects visit on your site can be very beneficial to determining their interest as well as their level of engagement. Being able to connect anonymous visits to actual prospects? Priceless.
 
Automate and measure
Salesforce.com and other customer relationship management (CRM) products are great, but they typically fall flat in their marketing capabilities. As marketers we need to automate the everyday tasks of building and managing lead generation and lead nurturing campaigns. We also need to more objectively score leads according to their company demographics as well as their activities on our websites, landing pages, emails and other campaigns. And a single lead source doesn’t cut it when lead nurturing. It’s great to know where we first encountered the prospect, but knowing what happens between that first meeting and closing the sale is imperative in these days of marketing accountability.
 
Evaluate
As you move through the nurturing process, you’ll probably discover that some of the assumptions you made are incorrect; for instance, that downloading a particular white paper means that they are close to buying or that sending a particular email would elicit a good response. Don’t forget that lead nurturing and marketing in general is constantly changing. You’ll want to stay flexible and be ready to change your lead nurturing process as you experiment with new tactics and learn what works.

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Vuelta de tuerca – apelar a qué teme el cliente

(enero de 2009)

Acabo de leer un artículo cortito e interesante. No dice nada nuevo pero tiene relación con lo que sería una posible estrategia a seguir en estos tiempos de incertidumbre: dejar atrás las preferencias y los gustos de las personas para centrarse en sus miedos e inquietudes, y entonces comunicar/marketear/posicionar acorde a eso. Qué quiere el cliente vs qué teme como para dejar de comprar o contratar un servicio.
Muy buen 2009 a todos; como dice Cortázar, las crisis y los años nuevos siempre generan oportunidades.

Changing Your Tune for a Changing Economy
Hyundai, Wendy’s Evolve Brand Messages to Stay Relevant in Tough Times

Posted by Marc Brownstein on 01.12.09 @ 12:56 PM | Advertising Age

Much of the advertising we see and hear today is different than what we saw and heard a year ago. The messages have changed to reflect the economic times we live in. And for good reason. Can you imagine not revisiting your client’s brand message and, rather, putting more media dollars behind ideas that are out of touch with how people are thinking and feeling today? It would be marketing suicide.
Of all the work I’ve seen, two recent campaigns have stood out for their boldness: Hyundai’s Assurance Program and Wendy’s 3Conomics. In the case of Hyundai, I was working on my laptop one night at home, with the TV on in the background. When I heard the voice-over announce that Hyundai will let you return the car if you lose your job, I stopped what I was doing and paid close attention. That statement was the boldest one I’ve heard yet in this pool of recession-based marketing. It struck me as daring, but also as very smart: Most auto showrooms are struggling to attract customers, so these times require another level of connection with customers. With 500,000 Americans a month losing their jobs, this message (unfortunately) resonates to more people than we care to admit. After all, look at me — I’m writing about Hyundai, not some other auto brand. They have taken increased risk with the Assurance Program, but it has cut through, at least in my home.
Then there’s Wendy’s lesson in 3Conomics, “3 waaaaay better sandwiches for just 99 cents each.” At a time when most fast feeders are pushing value eating, Wendy’s has done a nice job in positioning its menu of inexpensive sandwiches under the “3Conomics” banner. And — even more refreshing — it has not resorted to a desperate, hard-hitting tone in the work. Instead, it’s continued with the effective use of humor, while clearly expressing the 3Conomics value idea. Who says you can’t sell with a smile in hard financial times? People still need to laugh, and that still enables consumers to remember your message, and motivates them to consider you.
There are more examples of marketers that have changed their brand’s message to adapt to tough financial times, and I’d like to hear which ones have stood out for you. In the meantime, kudos to Hyundai and Wendy’s for giving careful thought about how to better connect with their audiences, and effectively executing. I look forward to discussing examples of how marketers have changed their messages for the economic rebound that we are enjoying — hopefully in the not too distant future!


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Los pensadores no están liderando – Thought Leadership

(agosto de 2008)

Alguien puso en palabras formales lo que yo digo siempre caseramente, qué bueno. El artículo es un poco aburrido y además podría ser mejor. Pero ojalá los motive a la acción.

Thought Leadership – The New CRM?

By: Roger White, Roger White · Professional Marketing · April 01, 2003

The thinkers aren’t leading…

A few weeks ago the Marketing Director of a major professional services firm said to us that, “thought leadership is the new CRM for professional services firms, everyone is talking about it and hardly anyone is doing it…”

Thought Leadership is currently one of the most overworked phrases in professional services marketing, and in reality might be translated as “we need some press coverage on this topic”. We have reviewed many marketing plans in which a stated objective is to achieve a thought leadership position in a particular market niche. This overview article looks at four key issues:

*                     What does this actually mean in practice?

*                     What are the benefits of thought leadership?

*                     What are the key success factors in achieving thought leadership?

*                     How can one go about becoming a thought leader?

There is clearly a paradox here since in many professional firms there is a latent potential to achieve the position of a thought leader Professionals of all varieties often have great insight, way beyond their narrow technical specialisation, and are good at thinking. So why is more not happening? In a board meeting we only came up with a handful of examples from the professions where we could recall more than one action in building a position in a market niche.

 

What happens in practice… and why?

Everyone wants to be a thought leader but few really are. In reality thought leadership in professional services firms is usually nothing more than a book to be published, a survey to be publicised, maybe an event to speak at and probably a press release to be issued. This is not thought leadership, its pure day-to-day PR, something to hang a story on for a brief flurry of media attention and to boost a partner’s ego. And in our view this still has its place.

So why do professional services firms feel the need to be thought leaders and what should they be doing to achieve that status? Well let’s start by defining the problem.

The fundamental problem is not that professional services firms call one-off marketing initiatives “thought leadership’, but because well targeted issues are often treated as a PR exercise they have no plan in place to properly exploit the thinking that has taken place. Some internal marketing people or traditional PR Companies who are neither expert in the issue or in developing successful sustainable thought leadership campaigns often find it difficult to create campaigns that achieve thought leadership status. In our view most traditional PR companies are not particularly well placed to develop campaigns, though their traditional press contacts may be valuable.

Thirdly, thought leadership requires serious effort, including thinking…that in turn is going to require partner or senior associate time. We have observed, no names or pack drill, that partners who, often single-handedly, achieve serious profile for their firm often do so at the peril of their billing targets, partnership or their domestic life or all three. It is unlikely that you will achieve thought leader status in your spare time or with a 1600 hour target… So if “thought leadership” is a term in your marketing plan, quantify it and get the management on side.

Lastly, there is often good work going on by firms under the umbrella of a trade association or professional bodies. However, marketing thinking may not be bought to bear on this type of activity, as partners may not see it as a marketing issue, rather something that reflects a personal interest or a straight “pro bono” for the profession or the industry. In fact, many trade associations, short of funds, are willing to jointly badge important work in recognition of the effort expended.

Too often the thinking is often shallow and amounts to little more than yet another survey or series of articles. That’s OK, but lets just be honest about it and stop pretending it is more than it is. You might surprise yourself and get better value from it and avoid disappointment internally!

 

Key sources and elements of thought leadership…

But if we want to be real thought leaders and gather the benefits in brand building this can produce, what should you be doing?

For the purposes of this article we have defined genuine Thought Leaders as those who influence board or management decisions. They tend to be the leading management thinkers, like Tom Peters, Michael Porter, Harvey Jones, or leading figures in an industry, like Bill Gates. Most firms are more likely to target a specific issue or an industry that aligns with their business development programmes. Firms of the scale and calibre of McKinsey may try and cover a broad spectrum of activities through its eponymous “Quarterly” but for most firms the scope will be more focused.

For specific industries trade associations also carry weight particularly where government policy and regulations are in play. Business schools may add research capability and credibility to research-based projects. The growing array of think tanks tend not be taken seriously by business, as they are not always seen as practical, though there are exceptions.

The things that tend to make real thought leaders successful are also the things that count against professional services firms. What are those things?

Real industry or issue specific knowledge counts for everything. Good ideas, supported with research need to be matched to an understanding of the issues at board level. The topics and issues chosen should be ones of importance to clients and potential clients, or to be issues that are of significance. (Who would have thought corporate governance would have been such a hot boardroom topic during the long bull-market?)

Thought Leaders are expected to bring an independent view on an issue, and not be leading into a sales pitch for their own benefit. That means giving balanced commentary. Professional services firms are frequently blatant in how they present their `thought leadership’ and their sceptical audiences can be turned off. Even worse they usually fail to have the sales plan in place to exploit the potential that still does exist…

Certainly thought leaders should be creative, innovative and provocative but they must do it from a foundation of reasoned argument and preferably empirical research. Audiences expect thought leaders to bring clarity and succinctness to their position, not waffle or legalistic technical jargon, the very things professional services firms’ spokesmen by their nature and training are happiest with. Also they should be capable of covering the angles of all the stakeholders affected by the topic.

And thought leaders are expected to be around for a while, maintaining long-term relationships with their audiences. They are not one hit wonders. Would-be professional services firms thought leaders usually publish, perform and then disappear.

So if those are the factors that thought leaders are expected to deliver how can a professional services firms become one and reap the real and tangible benefits that ensue?

 

Planning to become a thought leader?

Thought Leaders do three things well. They raise the profile and deepen the understanding of an issue. They provide good coverage and opinion of industry events to their industry peers. They introduce new topics to the board on their chosen fields and they do those things over a prolonged timeframe. Because of that, they deliver sustained awareness, publicity, differentiation and added credibility to their organisation. That brings added power in the market place and enhances the environment for new business generation. The acid test used by advertising agencies for advertising campaigns is relevant. Does the idea have legs? Is it “buildable”? (If not it still may be a good one-off initiative.)

General rules of thumb are that organisations are more influential than individuals; commentators who tackle current issues are most valued; and those who maintain regular contact with their audiences are most highly regarded. That means that you have to exploit the full potential of the original and creative thinking that has taken place:

*                     Think and plan beyond the initial PR burst;

*                     Think about the long-term targeting of the message to key audiences;

*                     Plan to take the message to your audiences singly (particularly journalists who are key opinion formers) in groups and to the mass market;

*                     Plan to do it over a sustained period;

*                     Plan to build it into your overall marketing and communications plans and activities;

*                     Keep your thinking up to date.

The truly successful thought leadership organisations are the ones who can sustain a programme over a long period. If you build a position you need to reinforce and defend it, not just open the door for the competitors. To quote an old adage: Tell them what you are going to tell them; tell them; then tell them what you have told them. Then do it all over again, and again. As marketing people you may be bored but most of your audience still won’t have heard your views even after a year!

 

Roger White and Robert Pay are with Jaffe Associates, a business development consultancy focused on the professions. Roger was latterly Corporate Affairs Director of PwC.

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Optimizar el espacio en los avisos publicitarios

Dejaaame que te cuente un cuentito! Era la versión personalizada del “cuento de la buena pipa” que tenía mi papá… y fueron tal vez esos años de cuentos truncos, jamás contados, que me dejaron con esta obsesión que tengo por las historias.

No puedo evitarlo, soy la freak de los cuentos. Me encanta sacar frases a colasión, o imágenes de películas/libros ante situaciones de la vida, y muchas veces me cuento la vida con bandas de sonido. Cualquier circunstancia puede ser exitosa (con Here come success de fondo y Ethan Hawke saliendo triunfante del auto, Great Expectations), o trágica (cual Mel Gibson fumándose mil cigarrillos ante la supuesta muerte de su chica, Eternamente Joven). Y soy la peor cuentista… no hay quien me gane, soy la más aburrida contando anécdotas. Podemos decir que soy el cuento mismo en su peor expresión, o el costado patético del cuento.

No voy a ahondar en el cuento del tío ni en si somos lo que nos contamos que somos, sólo les voy a contar un cuento… que no es mío, así que con suerte no los aburro.

Estábamos reunidos con el ejecutivo y el director de cuentas de la agencia de publicidad, viendo cómo vender mediante un aviso de 2×4 tooodas las promociones que teníamos para un modelo de auto… “y además, service bla bla bla” insistía mi jefe; y no había manera de convencerlo de que una cosa o la otra. Entonces el director de cuentas, un señor de 60 años, nos contó un cuento, el de Isaac.

Isaac era un muerto cuyos familiares recurrieron al diario para informar de su velorio: “… y a las 21.00, en Honduras al 4000, luminoso, excelente esquina, vista al pqe, 2 baños…”.

Abajo, dos páginas de un librito de Ogilvy, creo, levantadas en una de las ediciones de Communication Arts (revista). Hablan, irónicamente, de la manera de optimizar un aviso publicitario. Divertido.

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