There are plenty of opinions to go around regarding what creates the best culture, company, and customer experience. Put the employee first and they take care of the customers. Focus on the customers and make sure to empower employees so all is well. Focus on positive culture and everything will be fine.
Your USP has been long-held as the way you differentiate your brand – your unique selling proposition. It’s what alleviates the pain of your target audience that only your organization can deliver. Or at least that is the idea.
When you think about what it takes to get back to basics, the most logical and appropriate place to start is internally. Whether it’s working on yourself, your company or your brand image, the first thing to exam and understand is this – what goes on internally? Are we living in a positive manner? Does our company stand for something? Do our customers believe in us? In a company, this is the culture.
Marketing is a journey, and yet, many of us have a tendency to jump on the bandwagon of any tool, tactic bell or whistle that promises amazing results. The truth is that amazing results come from having a strong process and then taking that process to the next level through tools, tactics and even some bells and whistles. It made me wonder why we are often so focused on changing tactics rather than digging in and resolving the core issue. Often what we really need is to get back to basics. So I asked the question – what does the term Back to Basics mean to you…in one word. I got some interesting answers. The most popular answers were: Foundation Direction Peace Simplicity Purpose Discipline I personally agree with foundation, along with another single word that I think describes back to basics pretty well – focus. You know you get what you focus on, and that means understanding what the most important thing is. For any type of marketing, that most important thing is your customers. But should you start there? There are so many questions to answer when it comes to getting back to basics and getting to the most important foundational aspects for a strategic marketing plan for your company. Once that work is done, everything else becomes much easier. And frankly now is a great time to really focus on getting back to basics – mid-year when you have an opportunity to make positive changes that impact the rest of your 2014. For the next eight weeks are are going to do just that – focus on Back 2 Basics with a twist. You see, our belief is that the core of everything you do as a company, and therefore as part of your marketing, comes from the culture of your organization. If your culture is positive, employees are happy then customers are better served. And here’s the real secret – your organization has a culture, it just may not be the one you want or hoped to have. The topics we will cover over the next eight weeks include: Starting from the Inside Out – the impact of your corporate culture on your marketing, messaging, and everything else. Strategy – It’s What’s For Breakfast – start your day with a focus on the strategy. What does that look like? Customers – Start Here – customer acquisition is one of the top costs for most companies. Are you maximizing what you have learned from your existing customers? Is Your Content in Context? – aligning content with customers, using the right type of content and understanding how to mix it up will put some jet fuel in your marketing. Where’s Waldo? The Real Question is Where are You? – distribution strategies are an important and foundational element of every content marketing strategy. These tips will get your content in the right place – in front of your target audience. Tracking, Measuring & Maximizing – Get Your KPIs in Line – what to track is just as important as where you distribute your content. Understanding the goals and then aligning key performance indicators gives you a clear picture of whether or not your content market efforts are working. Are you tracking the right things? Make Sure Your Marketing Technology is a Workhorse, not Bells & Whistles - marketing technology is one of the fastest growing components of the technology industry, with no signs of slowing down. It’s become so prevalent that now CMOs and CIOs are practically becoming one. Do you know what technology you need now versus later? It will matter! Fail Fast and Move Forward – pulling it all together means having a plan. The foundation of your content marketing relies on your understanding of all the basic we’ve discussed and how to pull them together for a cohesive snapshot. Do you know when to make changes, and what changes to make? Our series will ensure we are focused on the right things at the right time. After building this foundation, we will take it to the next level discussing other important aspects of your content marketing, including more on technology, culture, thought leadership, lead generation and brand awareness. Until then, let’s get focused and Back to Basics!
Google makes hundreds of changes to its algorithm every year, tweaking and adjusting so that when you search, you get what you want – or at least what they think you want. For years SEO firms have tried to work with, and even around, Google to get rankings for search terms. Whether it’s white hat, proven tactics or black hat tricks that get you slapped, the challenge has been and continues to be how to predict what the heck Google is going to do next. Fortunately, those smart folks over at HubSpot, with the help of Moz, have put together this infographic that gives us a way to see just how many times Google has made significant algorithm changes. It’s been said that the best predictor of future behavior is history. Based on the history, it looks like content is going to become increasingly important – and not just any content. Why? Google has continually stated, and frankly we agree, that content should be written for readers, not search engines. Based on the trend Google has taken with adjusting their algorithm, they are ensuring that those who make content a priority are rewarded. And those who do not and try to game the system will find it more difficult to do so, ultimately losing rankings. Why Content? The conversation between you and your readers is the crux of building a relationship. Whether it’s graphics, video, words or podcasts, ensuring that the content you provide is informative while throwing in a bit of fun is the best way to build your brand – and make Google happy. The most recent major updates made last August show just how serious Google is regarding good content. Hummingbird is the beginning of what will be a new way of getting search results, as well as rewarding high-quality content. In addition, evergreen in-depth articles will also be rewarded. Why? The better the content, the more engaged the reader, and the more they are willing to share. That is how Google envisions content working – not a constant push of trashy content that pollutes the internet. Rather a whole host of interesting pieces of content that are shareable and informative. The Changes Obviously as a proponent of good content, we are quite happy with these changes, but not for reasons you might think. Yes, it helps to be in the content marketing space right now. But truthfully having a strong focus on developing good content rewards those who take the time to search for topics. It provides a repository teaming with excellent data that can be used to learn, to engage, to share and to entertain. And most importantly, strong content builds a legacy of information for future generations so they can have easy access to information in order to learn and grow. It’s not just about marketing and advertising, but about truly sharing the voice of generations. So here’s to Google – and all their changes…
Content marketing is one of the more effective means of consistently reaching out and creating relationships. It’s a way to ensure that your brand is frequently kept top of mind not just because you have a great brand, but because you truly care about how your prospects wish to engage. What if, instead of constantly reaching out, you reached in? Content marketing is for customers too. With content marketing and customer engagement two of the more prevalent focuses for businesses today, we have to wonder – why aren’t we merging them to create powerful messages for everyone? So much work goes into generating content that sometimes we forget that our customers wish to hear from us as well. And not just a monthly newsletter either. Engaging with customers takes a slightly different approach, but not one that is completely outside what you are already doing with content. The next time you really want to engage with customers, consider this: Customers got a lot more attention from you before they were customers – not everyone has this challenge, but the majority of companies I see have a tendency to shower attention on the future customers and less on existing ones. Give customers attention after the sale that is focused and fun – when was the last time you created a social media campaign with customers in mind. One that reaches their needs and creates a dialog just for them (without asking for a referral). Ask for their opinion – obviously getting their opinion on future products and services is key, but when was the last time you asked about communication? Do they want newsletters? Emails? Tweets? How about a combination? Finding how how your customers want to be reached ongoing will improve engagement. Simply put, content created with the idea of reaching customers to learn more about them goes a long way to improving engagement and ensuring that your company brand stays top of mind in a natural, conversational way. After all, that’s what content marketing is really about – conversations with potential and existing customers!
Have you noticed that the real conversation occurs after the person speaking gets to the point? Once the “ah-ha” happens and the audience is engaged. This occurs after the story, beyond the personal point of view, when the point makes a difference to the audience. That is the importance of getting to the point, or as we call it getting Beyond the Point. Where the magic happens, audiences lean in and you’re really heard. Beyond the Point – past the blah-blah-blah and into the C.O.R.E of it all. We’ve spent a lot of time figuring out the best way to create this type of content for your clients – content that is Contextual, Optimized, Relevant and Experiential. There’s more to figure out, so join us here as we continue the journey to go Beyond the Point!