Marketing during the Pandemic: 5 Key Priorities

Learning to adapt to disruptive, unexpected changes, has been the defining challenge of 2020 for small businesses and enterprises alike. While the world has certainly not stopped moving, it has changed quite suddenly and somewhat slowed down from its usual pace.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is a unique and unprecedented situation in human history, drastic and unforeseen changes are not. Adapting to change and surviving in the face of adversity is what we human beings do best. With a plan in mind and the will to push forward, you can keep your business running, and even manage to grow during disruptive times like these. Here are 5 key marketing priorities you need to keep straight during the pandemic:

1) Keep Marketing

When it became obvious that lockdowns and social distancing would be the new normal for 2020, many companies had the immediate reaction to pull back on marketing efforts and budgets to focus on other business areas. While this may make sense to some businesses, it's important to note that marketing is what keeps customers both interested in your brand and aware that you are able to keep your head above water during trying times. In a landscape where other businesses may be defunding marketing efforts, your business may very well have more time and more space to expose your brand to a broader audience. Don't stop marketing during the pandemic; rather, find new ways to adapt your marketing to the current environment and stay relevant in your audiences' minds.

2) Study the niche

Data is a more important business resource than ever before, giving you deep and useful insights into your target audience. Use your data to perform niche market analysis and learn more about buyer behavior, trends, and preferences, so you can take advantage of marketing tactics such as demand generation and social media marketing to reach out to them. Knowing were to reach them, and what message may appeal to them will make it easier for you to draw out an effective and pandemic-ready marketing strategy.

3) Deliver experience

It seems like ages ago that we were insisting on how the experience economy was taking over. This year has been a shakeup, but it doesn't mean that we've stopped living the experience economy. If anything, the fact that we are all spending more time at home, online and on our devices, and having less face-to-face experiences, means that we are more open to the digital experience. What experiences should you be delivering during the pandemic? Saftey, empathy, awareness, and social responsibility are all experiences you should deliver to your audiences to make them feel understood and supported.

4) Use direct marketing

Use niche market analysis to find the audiences you should be targeting and use direct marketing tactics to deliver the experiences they are looking for. PPC, social media advertising and email marketing are all direct marketing tactics that can be effective if correctly targeted. As mentioned above, people are spending more time at home, online, on their devices, meaning they are in a position to be marketed to directly.

5) Track, analyze, and adjust

Data never lies, and data can show you the future. Track everything you do and keep dashboards on important indicators of how your marketing efforts are performing. This will show what you are doing right and what you may need to adjust. For example, when running a PPC campaign, we constantly adjust our budgets for keywords depending on performance; its a game of learning and adaptation. With enough historical data, you'll be able to make projections and study possible future trends, giving you the ability to stay five steps ahead. Track your efforts, track audience behavior, and track your competition; the truth lies in the middle of all those things.

There's no easy answer to what we're going through; we're all having to adapt in real-time against an unprecedented and rapidly-escalating situation. The most important thing we need to do is stay patient and focus on the long-term. Marketing is, in essence, a long-term process, so anything you do right now to adjust to the times should also be viewed within long-term goals and expectations. There are certainly many business opportunities arising despite (and in some instances, because) of the pandemic. Still, it's also important to keep in mind that this will eventually be over, and another period of readaptation will come. Think about an exit strategy for the post-pandemic era where there will likely be an aggressive economic boom; be ready to ride that wave too.

Need help with a pandemic marketing strategy? We're helping all our clients adapt to these unprecedented times. Let's talk!

Content Marketing is the Only Marketing Right Now

Our latest global challenges have changed social interaction and how people work, live, and consume goods and services.

Back in 2008, online business guru and entrepreneur Seth Godin said, "content marketing is the only marketing left." Ever since, this quote has been repeated by online marketers ad nauseum, and it has been over a decade. It was a cool thing to say as marketing models were changing when "online" became the new "mainstream," and technology took over our lives, but our present-day landscape seems to be bringing more truth to the quote than ever.

Social-distancing and remote work are going to become more of a norm rather than an exception for the near future. Businesses everywhere have to try to quickly adapt if they haven't already, and those who've already undergone a process of marketing transformation will have to focus more time, resources, and effort marketing online.

Younger generations rarely consume TV programming, and social-distancing is keeping people from being lured by large billboards or ads on bus shelters. But nearly everyone with internet access is consuming online content. This content can be anything: videos, ads, articles, or even memes. Attention spans may be shorter than ever, but well crafted-content is key to grasp your audiences' interest and keep them engaged with your brand. Content marketing isn't only the best marketing you can do; it very well may be the only one you can do right now.

Check your strategy

It's unlikely that your organization anticipated the events of 2020, so it's entirely possible that you might have to make some adjustments to your overall content strategy. You may have to ramp up how often you post new content as well as make sure you understand what content will be most effective on which platform. You may also need some outside help to bring your content marketing maturity level up to where it should be. You can start by asking yourself a few questions about your content marketing strategy:

Putting out anywhere from 4-10 blogs a month can yield great results and improve engagement with your brand. Having more than just blogs (i.e., videos, animations, webinars, downloadable sheets) also improves your content's chances of being consumed. Remember, not everyone has the time or the attention span to read a 600-word article, but a lot of people can easily watch a one-minute video. Revisit and adjust your content strategy to make sure it's aligned with your present needs and goals.

Creating, Curating, and Reusing

New content is the best content you can put out, but if your strategy has you pumping out ten articles a month, chances are you might run out of topics or inspiration at some point, and videos aren't easy to produce frequently. It's important to make sure you take maximum advantage of a given topic and create as much new content from it as possible, but it's equally important to have an archive of old topics and content that you can update and reuse. Curate your content by mapping out topic ideas and revisiting your archives to know what old blogs or videos are relevant to the topic your covering during any given period. This also gives you the flexibility to reuse content if you need to make changes to your strategy because a different topic than the one planned for that week suddenly became relevant.

Targeting, Marketing, and Remarketing

So you have a sound strategy in place and enough trending topics to go with. How do we make sure this content is seen by those most likely to consume and enjoy it? Topics are great hooks, but SEO and social media are how you'll get your audience to find your content. Written content should not only meet SEO minimum requirements, it should be built around keywords that improve your possibilities to reel-in organic traffic and are backed by data that show this. Using keywords lets you target specific audiences as well as show you where you should be investing your ad-campaign funds if you're running a PPC campaign; this will also help you re-market to audiences who have shown interest in your content before.

With a solid keyword strategy to support your content, you'll have better insight on how to market your content and who to target. Keyword research might also reveal what your competitors are targeting both organically and with paid traffic, providing insight into how to better approach content that competes with yours. What are they missing that you might be able to provide? What topics are overlapping, and how can you find a different angle to approach the same topic? This can range from simple tips & tricks articles on how to use software to a highly-specific technical paper on the specifications of a specific integration. Research will reveal what your audience is interested in reading through their searches on Google and other search engines.

Are you interested in revamping your content marketing approach? At CXGS, our content experts can help with that. Learn more.

Marketing Transformation: Now more than ever

Recent global events have made one thing clear: digital transformation means survival. Businesses that can run remotely, in the cloud, online, and 100% digital can endure when a major global event forces businesses to close shop and keeps buyers at home. The means to market, sell, and service customers without needing a physical location exist across many industries, but this is especially true for the B2B world. Most of our business relationships and transactions can be conducted without the need to physically interact. Beyond enabling us to continue to operate in the face of disaster, digital transformation turns our companies into cost-effective, agile, and highly-efficient organizations. Expanding our capabilities to become more digital, more mobile, and driven by user-experience yields high levels of efficiency and satisfaction from clients, partners, and employees.

As a cloud-run business ourselves, we believe in digital transformation as a philosophy and lifestyle. As a marketing agency, our area is marketing transformation, which we'll be talking a lot about in the next few weeks.

What is this marketing transformation your speak of?

CIOPages provides a very clear definition we couldn't write better ourselves:
"Marketing Transformation is a strategic, structural, and systemic change encompassing the re-envisioning of the marketing operating model, restructuring the marketing organization, re-engineering of the core marketing processes, enabling new marketing capabilities, and very often re-platforming of the marketing software systems."

Of course, we'll unpack that a bit for you. It means firstly, that marketing transformation isn't just a few quick changes and upgrades to your CRM, but rather a change in approach, vision, and technology, as well as a cultural adoption of these changes. It also means that marketing in the experience economy requires organizations to focus on delivering positive experiences as much as they focus on the quality of their products and services. Finally, it means that businesses need to acknowledge the critical importance of a marketing organization when it comes to enabling responsiveness to quick and drastic changes in the broader ecosystem. Like we said in the beginning: transformation is survival.

How we tackle marketing transformation

There are many different models for marketing transformation out there, but we firmly believe in ours. Beyond our client testimonials, our personal experience as a business following our own framework and philosophy in marketing transformation, lets us testify and vouch for it as well. We call the RACE Framework. The acronym stands for Reach, Act, Convert and Engage. Each part represents a step in a company's digital journey:

Reach: Digital media channel effectiveness

During this step, we help your company improve core digital marketing techniques to drive visits towards its digital properties. This includes fresh and relevant content, compelling digital properties such as a corporate website, landing pages, and paid/organic demand generation (SEO and P.P.C.).

Act: Customer journey analysis

Here we identify “quick wins” to improve interactions and conversion through a website; based on where visitors are arriving, common footfall, and C.T.A. improvements. We help clients enable a modern mobile-responsive website with fine-tuned navigation for content consumption and lead management.

Convert: Conversion rate optimization

We help identify and implement improvements to increase lead conversion using powerful Business Intelligence tools, sales funnel configurations and CRM procedures.

Engage: Customer Digital Experience

Delivering positive and satisfying customer-experiences is key in a successful marketing transformation. We help organizations review and improve drivers and levers for effective customer engagement and loyalty across all digital marketing properties and throughout the customer's entire purchasing journey.

These four steps serve as the basis for our digital marketing approach and the strategies we build. This framework drives the services we provide and how we deliver them. It helps us understand our customers' challenges in-depth and helps us provide digital marketing strategies tailored to meet their specific needs. We're not trying to sell anything to you (not yet, anyway), we just want to show you the complexity behind marketing transformation and why a structured and methodical approach is necessary to successfully carry out that transformation. This complexity is why many organizations need help from experts in order to get things moving.

Taking steps in the right direction

If your a business leader or marketing manager reading this, the odds are that you've experienced quite a few unexpected challenges in 2020. We can empathize: we're working ardently to keep our business successful in the face of adversity. Drastic and unexpected changes in the playing field drive the need for adaptation. New opportunities arise from any situation and those who learn how to adapt are the ones who not only survive, but thrive when the going gets tough.

If there's ever been a time to consider marketing transformation, it's now more than ever. Stay tuned to our blog and our social media channels for a series of tips, guides, and thought leadership on marketing transformation and how you can turn your business' modern challenges into innovative opportunities to evolve.

7 Critical Actions to Consider for Successful Rebranding

Rebranding should not come as a light exercise or an easy decision. It goes beyond altering your corporate look and feel or updating your logo. Your brand isn't just your image; your brand tells your audience what you stand for and deeply influences their feelings about your organization.

There's a lot of psychology involved in our choices as consumers. You may not premeditate too much on what brand of soft drink to pick from the store cooler, but your choice is influenced by a long series of cerebral synapses that lead you to pick a Coke over a Pepsi. You may rarely think about it, but what would make you choose Pepsi instead? And, does Pepsi really even want you to be their customer?

From planning to execution, rebranding should have a defined purpose, a sound strategy for execution and adoption, and marketing readiness. Organizations often rebrand for the wrong reasons, making large investments that can even ultimately lead to their downfall. Here are 7 critical actions your business should take in its rebranding exercise:

1. Start with research

Research your brand, audience, market, employees, partners, and competitors before even taking a rebrand into consideration. Understanding your position, goals, and the needs of every stakeholder that will be affected are of utmost importance in reaching a decision. Make proper assessments, use analytics, and study market data to know where you stand.

2. Justifying a rebrand

Rebrand for the right reason only. Too many businesses decide to rebrand with misguided expectations and set themselves up for a letdown. We've talked about this before; rebranding isn't a cure-all solution, it's part of a larger plan. A rebrand can help you improve or consolidate messaging, differentiate your brand from the competition, and support your marketing and sales teams in their efforts to create brand awareness, among other specific goals. Make sure your rebrand goals are aligned with what is possible and avoid creating false expectations from the exercise.

3. Creating brand awareness

Consider the investment that will be made during a rebrand. It goes beyond designing assets; you'll have to start changing all your promotional material including pens, mugs, shirts, etc., as well as updating your new branding across all your digital channels such as email signatures and social media accounts. Creating brand awareness should not only be an outbound project; the rebrand needs to permeate an organization's people and corporate culture. The idea is to ensure that the effort for brand awareness is an organization-wide effort and that every member of the organization feels motivated by the brand and works to get the message across.

4. Cater to the customer

Rebranding can bring in new audiences for sure, but the last thing you want to do is alienate your existing clientele. When rebranding, consider who your customers are, what their preferences are, and why they chose your company in the first place; don't stray too far from what brought you success. If your organization is in the healthcare industry, you wouldn't want to rebrand to look like you sell fine spirits, for example. Unless you're trying to completely turn around a failed branding experiment or make customers forget about their past experience with your brand, your rebranding efforts should stay within certain limits.

5. Build trust

In our current age of misinformation, spam, and online scamming, its difficult to trust a brand you don't know. Building trust is crucial in earning both brand recognition and new customers. If you have big-name partners such as Microsoft or SAP, you'll want to ensure you flaunt that on your website and other channels. If you have social or community work, charities, or support an NGO, make sure your audience sees this and use it to create a narrative around the positive work your organization is doing beyond capital gains. These are trust-building elements that make your audience feel more comfortable working with your organization.

6. Avoid confusion

Rebranding brings with it changes that can confuse customers and partners if you're organization isn't well-prepared to launch. Marketing strategy, along with marketing collateral, press releases, newsletters, and social media posts, should all be aligned to communicate a clear message that reaches as many people as possible from day one. Be prepared to announce what's going on before any change takes place.

7. Show progress

Rebranding shouldn't be about showing the world you've fixed your problems, nor should it be about hiding who you were as an organization. If anything, rebranding should be about showcasing growth, progress, and positive change. Your rebrand should be about broadening your appeal and audience and show the long way you've come from being a startup in a basement to a booming organization with hundreds of employees. Rebrand from a positive starting point, whenever possible, and show the motive to be about growth and evolution.

Are you considering rebranding? Talk to our experts about your brand and see where you stand and what you can do to improve.

4 Ways to Boost your B2B Social Media Marketing

In 2020, the B2B social media economy will become more relevant than ever. Here are a few ways you can improve your approach to take advantage of this dynamic playing field.

Social media channels are constantly flooded with B2C marketing for everything from fried chicken sandwiches to oddball products from Wish. It seems B2C marketing is all too easy on social media, but B2B social media marketing can often seem less straightforward. Longer sales cycles mean that it might prove difficult to find a clear road towards a successful B2B social media strategy.

B2B organizations commonly find themselves struggling with how to use their social media channels. You've probably seen it from some of your LinkedIn connections: aimless, random posts that serve little to no purpose with flat content that doesn't say much. If you feel that is what your organization is doing, here are a few tricks to get out of bad habits immediately:

1. Use paid social media to flaunt your branding

It doesn't make much sense to pay for social media ads if you're not going to make it eye-catching. Make sure that your organic posts and your paid posts are aligned with your branding style guide. This guarantees branding has exposure and also increases the chances for brand association and your organic posts getting attention from people who have already been exposed to your ads.

2. Insert your customers into your narrative

If you aren't using case studies as part of your content marketing strategy, then please start doing so right now. Case studies, success stories, and testimonials add immediate value to your brand and give other potential customers the chance to identify with similar challenges to those highlighted. B2B companies rely on trust, reputation, and recommendations to secure business relationships; inserting your customers into your social marketing narrative strengthens these relationships.

However, you may not want to come off as trying to haggle some kudos from your clients, so give back by sharing their content and success stories on your social media channels as well. Being a "good neighbor" goes a long way in digital B2B marketing. Boast your successes, but highlight your client and showcase them as the hero in your story. This will make it easier to get testimonials from them or permissions to feature their actual brand in a case study instead of having to white label them.

3. Feed your social media strategy with pillar content

It takes quite a bit of effort to create a piece of content such as a blog, an article, a case study, or a calendar of monthly posts. Since you're putting all that effort into it, why not make the most of it?

First, start with creating a valuable piece of content that has plenty of substance. Let's say an article; this one for example. "5 Ways to Boost your B2B Social Media Marketing". This article is posted on the blog on our website, but we're going to use snippets from this article to use in social media. We're also going to derive ideas from this article to post additional tips throughout the month and use those to tie-in to our other services such as content development and PPC. Also, if you created a video, you can use snippets from the video to feed your social media channels over several weeks while also promoting the video itself.

4. Humanize your messaging on social media

Traditional advertising doesn't sound all that human. They use hyperbole and often try to hard to get your attention. We use social media to interact with other humans, so we tend to expect social media to sound more human than a TV or radio ad. Brands nowadays are always looking for that "emotional connection" with their customers; social media gives you a great platform to do that.

There are several ways to humanize your brand's voice on social media. Inserting a certain amount of humor can go a long way, but be careful to not try too hard or you can risk sounding disingenuous. A great way to show how human you are is to show who your humans are; showcase staff and leadership members alike and share their stories. You can also have your CEO personally write out a message to the public each month and post it.

Your organization can also adhere to a cause and make sure that cause gets plenty of attention across social media channels. Aside from the reward that standing up for a good cause already brings in itself, your audience will see that your company does more than just try to make money. Industry research shows that globally, over 60% of consumers prefer to consume products and services from companies they know are doing something good for the world and reflect their own values.

Here at CXGS, we aim to create social media strategies that create value for our clients. It goes beyond keeping your channels busy, there needs to be a purpose and a direction for B2B social media marketing that will lead to a closer connection with your audiences. Learn more about how we can help!

Rebranding: Looking Beyond ROI

Is rebranding worth the investment? The benefits might go much further than just ROI

Rebranding is one of the most significant changes a business can undergo. It represents a major shift in how a company presents itself and how the audience will perceive it from that point forward.

A rebrand can be massively successful, reinvigorating a company and bringing in new generations of customers. However, this can also backfire if it is not carefully planned and executed. Business leaders are often wary of making a large investment if they don't see a rapid turnover, but ROI shouldn't be the only factor to consider when making the decision to rebrand.

The New Coke case

Those old enough to remember Coca-Cola's rebranding to "New Coke" in the '80s know its reputation as a cautionary tale on rebranding. In their rebranding effort, they not only changed their logo, their packaging, and their messaging, they also reformulated the soft drink itself. This led to severe consumer backlash, and ultimately benefited their main competitors, Pepsi.

This story has a reputation as being a warning against rebranding, but the story did not end at New Coke. After their consumer backlash, Coca-Cola rebranded once again to "Coca-Cola Classic", embracing both their vintage image and changing their messaging to reflect their brand as an inseparable part of American culture. We don't need to tell you if that second rebranding was successful; Coca-Cola is the single most recognized brand in the entire world.

So, why rebrand?

Rebranding can have a very large ripple effect that leads to increased brand awareness, increased sales, increased customer loyalty and market share, and even reduced marketing expenses over time. Some business leaders might look at rebranding from a purely ROI perspective, but ROI should not be the leading trigger for a rebranding effort. The New Coke case is an example of why looking to create a rapid ROI lead to a short-sighted rebrand attempt that was ultimately a failure.

If you are a business leader looking to rebrand, you should ask yourself some questions about your company to ensure your rebrand campaign is justified. The first question is, why are you considering this change? Some valid triggers for rebranding include a change in leadership, a change in revenue targets, a merger or purchase, or a product/service launch. Decreasing sales, increasing competition, and a need to refresh an outdated image are also valid triggers to consider a rebrand.

What does rebranding solve?

It's important to note that rebranding is not an end-all, cure-all solution to a business' problems. Putting too much faith in an image change can lead to flawed expectations of the results and problems a rebrand can solve. A rebrand can go a long way in supporting a sales team with an aggressive multi-faceted marketing campaign that spans across many channels. But the rebrand itself won't close sales for your team. So, what specific issues can a rebrand solve?

As a business leader, you should then ask yourself what you can expect your business to achieve if you can solve these problems. For example, if rebranding can consolidate your messaging and make it easier for your marketing team to create brand awareness, it will, in turn, be easier for your sales team to pitch your brand to leads. This is how rebranding justifies its ROI, but the largest benefit of rebranding is often an overlooked one.

Rebranding forces reassessment

Beyond the changes that a rebrand brings to corporate image and messaging and the monetary benefit, rebranding forces a process that makes you assess your business from every angle. The rebranding process will force your company to look both at what it does right and what it's doing wrong. Simply bringing a rebrand to the table will trigger some tough discussions that can ultimately bring change to the organization across many different branches.

Leading by example

Here at CXGlobals, we have done branding and re-branding work for many of our customers. We believe in our process, and we believe that change is constant. So we are proud to announce that CXGlobals is becoming CXGS. We are glad to welcome 2020 by refreshing our corporate branding as we continue to grow and evolve. Changes have already started, and we should be fully rebranded by the first weeks of December.

To all of our loyal clients and partners, thank you for your support throughout the years! We will continue to provide our service at the very highest of our standards!

Fake News Filters: Spotting misinformation

How do we filter out fake news and misleading information in the vast ocean of the internet?

The advent of the internet brought with it incredible advancements in technology, communication, and the global economy, but with it also ushered in a long list of challenges that were previously unknown to us as a society. Identity theft, email scams, phishing, and other cybercrimes arose as the internet became larger and more widely used.

One challenge that has taken prevalence in recent years is fake news. With the widespread use of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, instant mass-communication became a permanent feature in our lives, with people spending anywhere from 2 to 3 hours on their social media channels. As the internet quickly became our main source of information and news, the concept of the "official story" was somewhat muddled in the process.

We used to rely on large broadcasting companies and newspapers to get our world and local news. These companies are traditionally bound to strict codes of practice and legal compliance before they can agree on what the truth about any given story was. Because of the costs behind printing newspapers or broadcasting to television, communicating news and content required a broadscale effort and a lot of coordination. Nowadays, the internet and social media have made it possible for every independent citizen to have an outlet where they can publish content with very large potential outreach. While this has amplified our global communication and made our world smaller, this has also been taken advantage of by those who have found it profitable to peddle in deliberate misinformation and fake news. This has become significantly damaging in recent years as misinformation has been weaponized for political purposes.

It can often be difficult to distinguish fake news from real, credible information, especially given how social media algorithms function to show you content. Critical thinking and discerning are vital to surviving in the fake news era. As a digital marketing company, we feel it's important to start honing these skills as surfers in the ocean of information that is the internet. Before getting into a few tips to get better at filtering fake news, let's take a look at the types of misinformation you may run into online:

How do we get better at spotting fake news?

It's all about improving our critical thinking and applying it as an active exercise when consuming information online. Here are are a few tips to improve your fake news filters:

1) Vetting credibility

Vetting the credibility of a publisher is a simpler task than one would imagine. The reader must ask themselves several questions: does this publication meet academic citation standards? Is the domain name of the site suspicious? Is the author known?

A lot of fake news gets passed around by direct sharing. Remember: just because a link came from a friend you trust does not mean it has accurate content. Do your own vetting, even if the article was shared by someone you trust.

2) Quality and timeliness

Quality is a very important factor when it comes to spotting fake news. If you notice a lot of spelling errors, overly-dramatic tone, or general sloppiness in redaction, it's likely your dealing with a piece of fake news. Another easy way to vet a story is simply by looking at the date. Stories often get recycled for clicks and can be taken out of context.

3) Sources

This goes beyond stories on social media; you should check sources and citations for nearly all the information that comes your way. How did you arrive at this article? Who was it shared by? Is the information on this article available elsewhere? What is or isn't quoted?

Check cited sources and perform reverse searches for sources and images on the content you see. This will help you confirm the legitimacy of any given piece of information.

4) Fact-checkers

Fact-checking websites exist to make it easier for readers to quickly check the veracity of a news article. They use technology and expertise to provide accurate vetting and filtering. Fake stories can show up on more than one website and spread quickly, giving the impression that it is real information. You can check any of these fact-checking websites to help you vet news and stories:

We hope these tips are useful to our readers and help them become better at filtering fake news. Stick to the facts!

Yes, Email Marketing is Still Relevant

With so much going on with social media and PPC campaigns, is marketing via email still an effective tool?

Email marketing is as old as email itself. This thought can often lead us to think that it's a dated, if not obsolete tactic. But just as TV and newspaper ads are still running today, this approach is still quite relevant and highly-effective if executed properly. Email is still widely used, especially in the workplace and in B2B scenarios, so there's a great potential for targeted marketing that your competitors may be ignoring.

Email Marketing has a high ROI

Even today, email marketing has one of the highest yields of ROI among digital tactics, in the range of $38-$44 returned per $1 invested. While there is much to unpack in those figures, they are still very high even in absolute terms. Small investments in email campaigns can make a single dollar go a long way, so they are an easy and cost-effective way to start taking advantage of digital marketing.

Email marketing can beat social media ads

Believe it or not, email campaigns can beat social media ads when it comes to grabbing audience attention. Humans have built up a tolerance to social media ads much like how we tend to ignore most of the physical advertising around us as we drive through a city. Checking your email is a more focused task than surfing through Facebook or Twitter, so your attention span is much more receptive to important information.

At CXGlobals, we work with many companies in the IT solutions industry. Our clients' customer profiles often include C-level execs and IT managers that usually explore their email inbox for work over leisure. This type of audience is way more open to opening an interesting looking email over clicking on social media ad, making this type of marketing an effective tool to communicate with them. Additionally, newsletter campaigns specifically target subscribers. This means that you will be sending information to people who have already been interested in your brand on a previous occasion, increasing your chances of earning a qualified lead.

Email Marketing lets you create an automated journey

One of the advantages of using newsletters and email marketing campaigns is that you can create an automated journey for your potential leads straight into your sales funnel. Sophisticated email design paired with interesting and informative content can easily get a potential lead to go to your website or a landing page within it. From there, a strong website can do the job it's supposed to do: sell your brand.

Email Marketing metrics can be easily tracked

Tracking metrics for email campaigns is both straightforward and very revealing of audience behavior. Nearly every email marketing tool measures open rate, bounce rate, CTR, clicks, and unsubscribes. These metrics can easily be studied and compared to show you what types of headlines are getting more attention, what topics are being most clicked on and how many users are following the automated journey into your website.

So, are you ready to try it out? Read more on our demand generation tactics here.

Staying Competitive in the Experience Economy

Experience Economy 101

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of competing in the experience economy, let's take a quick history lesson. Since the dawn of man, the economy has existed in one form or another. The first time a caveman exchanged a sharpened rock for a mammoth steak, trade was born. When we discovered food could be grown and harvested the agrarian economy was born and dominated civilization until the mass technological shift of the industrial revolution birthed the industrial economy. Two world wars and a Cold one after that resulted in stark structural changes in global economics. In the late '90s, the internet began its conquest of our personal and business lives and it changed just about everything. The way we interact and respond to our world evolved and ushered in our latest economic era: the Experience Economy.

The term was first described in a 1998 Harvard Business Review article, the author made note of experiences being a distinct economic offering "as different from services as services are from goods". Experiences exist as the most differentiated offering in today's economy; they go beyond price and quality and give the consumer an emotional reason to engage with their brand, product, or service. The modern consumer expects a fair price, excellent quality, and flawless customer service as minimum requirements to even consider a brand and bases their decision to purchase on an emotional response. In the experience economy, you are marketing feelings over the service or product.

Experience and the Purchase Cycle

It's tricky to come up with a formula that gives businesses the key to delivering on experience. We need to consider that this can be a bit abstract at times since experience is always present throughout every stage of the purchase cycle and varies greatly at each point. The experience you may want when searching and actually paying may be completely different from the experience you want interacting with your product.

Let's use an example: the author of this article is an avid video game enthusiast. For the better part of the last decade, most video game purchases are done through direct digital download: you search for your game, enter a payment method, download, and start playing. Gone are the days of enduring a block-long line for several hours in the cold to purchase a physical copy of the new Mortal Kombat, but also gone are the days of the thrilling anticipation that came from waiting to get home to unbox a brand new game and put it in the console for the first time. Direct digital downloads improved the experience of making it easy for everyone to purchase and immediately receive a game from the comfort of their homes, but completely removed the emotional value of unboxing a game.

Video game company's found a way to deliver on both these experiences and also make more money out of it through Day 1 collector's editions. These experience-heavy editions of video games allow the customer to download the game before it's release and activate on launch date so they can start playing immediately, but they also ensure the delivery of additional digital and physical content such as artbooks, action figures, bonus items, and elaborate boxes with a physical copy of the game on the day of the release. This way they are both removing the negative experience of having to leave your house to stand in line to buy a game, but adding the positive nostalgia-filled experience of unboxing something unique, all for a hefty price tag usually 3x or 4x the price of a standard digital-download.

Engagement and Customer Experience

That last example illustrates how experience sells, but video game company's are still selling a tangible product. How do we deliver on experience when it comes to service providers? The "math" is pretty much the same: the opportunity in this economy lies where business can meet or even exceed a customer's initial expectation of their buying experience. To understand what those expectations are, it's crucial to study your customers in detail and collect and use as much data from them as possible. Creating profiles of the different type of buyers that approach your business will help you learn how to appeal to each one on many different levels including the way they consume information and the way they make decisions. A lot of self-assessment is also required from every business to understand what they can be doing better to deliver on CX.

There is a lot of fertile ground in this budding economy in digital marketing even though it may not be easily apparent. What are your potential buyers looking for online? Why are they looking for it? When are they looking for it? What devices are they using?

All these questions give you answers on where you can improve CX. From intuitive design to content marketing and lead-conversion optimization, we are considering customer-experience throughout every level of how we do business and trying to drive the CX philosophy in the work we do for our clients. Our marketing strategies are aimed at driving engagement by improving customer experience elements for digital audiences. Learning and analyzing how your audience asks questions online and building informative original content to generate demand goes much further than providing basic product information. Customers are looking to be understood and cared for, so answering their questions as best as possible without them having to do too much searching is a compelling way to deliver on experience in this industry.

#MSInspire: How Digitally-Enabled is your business?

Marco, our CEO, was at Microsoft Inspire last July and delivered a session on brand awareness and driving online leads.

Microsoft Inspire 2018 was a massive event, bringing together thousands of partners from the whole Microsoft ecosystem to exchange ideas, discover innovation, and build new partnerships for future success. Among the highlights of this event were:

MSInspire Session Digital Marketing Plan

Marco goes into general overview on online brand enhancement, content marketing, lead capturing optimization, and social media marketing with our exclusive Microsoft-sponsored service, DigitalStride. You can find more about the DigitalStride solution here.

Additionally, CXGlobals will be present at Microsoft Inspire 2019 a little over a month from now. We'll be posting updates on our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts throughout the event. This event is Microsoft's biggest gathering of the year and brings together brilliant minds and experience from across the entire globe to build ideas for the future and work together towards beneficial partnerships.