Archive for the ‘Redesigning Marketing’ Category

Can we all agree to stop using the marketing buzz words such optimize, industry
leader, integrated, enhanced, visibility, and my all time favorite best-of-breed?
We’ve used these buzz words so many times that they don’t have any meaning.
Every company claims to be an industry leader. You can go to almost any
software web site and take out the product name and insert your product name
and you wouldn’t even know the difference. It’s boring and it doesn’t explain what
you do to your customers. Treat your customers like you friends. Stop the buzz
word madness.

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If I was a call center manager I would do the following…

I would place my direct phone number at the beginning of the call center
answering system message. This would be similar to the “how am I driving”
number on the back of many business vehicles. The purpose, to improve the
treatment of our customers. I would want every bad experience reported directly
to me by the customer. This would build trust and respect with our customers and
potentially turn a bad experience into a positive one that would keep this person
as customer in the future. It would also ensure that I hire the best call center
people, provide the highest level of training possible, and trust them to do what is
best for the customer.

On a positive note: I had a problem with a Panasonic phone I purchased a few
weeks ago. I relunctantly called the support line expecting to be onhold forever.
Surprisingly, the system transferred me to someone who could help with my
problem right away. Nice job Panasonic!

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What is it about corporate web sites that make them lag behind all other types of
sites? I’m talking about company sites such Oracle, Honeywell, and GE where
little has changed over the last several years other than the design. I see very
little effort to turn these sites into interactive environments for customers. Most
company sites are bland information sites filled with marketing hype that few
people will ever take the time to read. When will these companies understand
this and start investing in the best marketing tool available right now?

To get started on making your site more interesting, consider the following:

  • Start a blog – even better, throw out your marketing hyped product pages and turn them into blogs that are part of your corporate site. Have your product managers contribute to them at least once a week.

    Also turn on the comments, the information you receive with be

  • Tag your web pages – corporate site search engines are some of the worst available…it wouldn’t hurt to fix this problem but tagging your web pages can improve customer’s search and provide a new way to find information.
  • Use RSS – Provide RSS feeds for your content. Data sheets and white paper feeds are a great way to update customers with the latest product information. You should use customized RSS feeds to generate sales leads. Supplement your email campaigns with RSS. It won’t be long
    before RSS surpasses email usage.
  • Simplify your home page – Stop putting all of your marketing promotions on the home page. People will not read a cluttered home page and it makes your company look like it doesn’t have its act
  • Graphics – Can we all agree to stop using generic pictures of people in an office environment? It’s safe and it’s boring. Try to stretch your ideas and come up with some interesting photography which
    goes along with your promotions.
  • Landing pages – create custom landing pages for your paid advertising. It’s a huge waste of money to send people to your home page. Your home page has the highest dropout rate. Why send people there?

I’m sure I’ll think of several more suggestions later but this should get you started. As marketers, we need to look for new ideas. We’ve gotten away from innovation and have relied upon our old ways to get things done. If you want to stand out in the market you have to lead the way. Stop following the old business rules and find the edge of your business.

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Alex Barnett blogs about the continuing decline in email open rates.


The worst part about this for email marketers is that this is based on the open
rate. Open rates are a biased number to begin with. You have no idea if the
person read your email or if it popped up in the Outlook preview panel before the
person deleted it.

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delivers the bad news to those folks still relying on email as their
primary eMarketing channel. If this doesn’t have you thinking about RSS then I’m
not sure what will.

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It’s amazing how much publicity blogging has received over the past year. It’s
climbed from obscurity to the main stream. Now there are several articles a week
suggesting that blogging is over hyped. Well, truthfully it isn’t hyped enough. I’m
not saying this because I think blogging as it stands now is going to change the
world. It’s the future potential that makes it so news worthy.

Currently, blogging has remained isolated from corporate web sites. They’re
either located at a blogging network such as blogs.companyname.com or its part
of a more isolated site such as developer.companya.com. The real value of blogs
will be found once companies integrate them into their corporate sites. For
example, would you like go to a product page that’s a blog about the product or
would prefer the typical static content with the typical marketing speak?
Personally, I’d prefer to go to a product page and receive first hand knowledge
from the product marketing manager or the design team. The features and
benefits, and technical details may all be included as links off of this page. This
would add a great deal of value to the site and it gives people a reason to come
back. Repeat visitors are more interested in your products and they are more
likely to buy.

This is one of several examples of how blogging can support or replace content
on your corporate site. Taking advantage of this integration will improve your
customer relationships and add value to your site.

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Rok Hrastnik over at Lockergnome posted an interesting article on RSS
metrics. These are early results but they look very promising for eMarketers.

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Pheedo has posted its “Best Practices for RSS
. This is based on their experiences and metrics so it’s definitly
worth reading.

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The New York Post had an article last Tuesday regarding the decline in mass media.

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MarketingSherpa released an article
on Friday discussing RSS and how it is not an email replacement.

I agree that right now RSS should not replace your email campaigns. However,
RSS over the next few years will surpass email by providing higher conversion
rates and open rates. Marketers should supplement their current email
campaigns with measurable RSS campaigns. Once RSS is integrated into
Internet Explorer, the amount of people using RSS will vastly increase. You want
to be ahead of this curve and be prepared to take advantage of this before it

Marketing is about building relationships with your customers. The best way to do
this is through RSS, not email. Email, like cold calling will not go away, however it
will not be the primary online marketing distribution channel once RSS usage

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