This guest blog is provided by Carol Maguire – an HND student at Ayrshire College studying Web Development and Interactive Media. Carol is one of a number of student volunteers, helping us with Working Digital as part of their personal development and to gain valuable work experience.
Working Digital – brought to you by East Ayrshire Council Economic Development
Day 3 – Thursday 25th September 2014
The Connected Customer
Today’s conference was focused on the importance on making and keeping those relationships between businesses and customers. We were shown a presentation by Gary Ennis detailing many statistic on mobile phone usage – far too many to list here! However, did you know that 80% of 18-44 year olds check their smartphones the minute they wake up?
Dependant on who we follow in our social media lives, can determine our sales in business and the contacts we make for prospective business in the future. When we were shown the stats for the ratings for Twitter, Glasgow 2014 came in at No.1, however a person named ‘Richard McKay’ came in at No.9 and is officially the top tweeter in Scotland (and Gary joked that he’s only just 1 place behind!).
We were reminded that the new domain name .scot has now been released and that apparently 3 million domain names with .scot extension have been sold over 2 nights. Broadband Cloud Solutions were on hand during the event to help with any sales and/or advice.
There was laughter in the room when a tale was retold about the ‘olden days’ when an unhappy shopper would feel justified in arguing with a store assistant and that the ‘discussion’ could go on for some time, with everyone else in the queue listening. More often than not, the disgruntled shopper would give up. Now, if the shopper is not happy, all they have to do is take a photo with their phone – post on YouTube or similar, and the power of social media comes to life. Wonder who will win that argument nowadays?
We were then shown a video link from Dave Carroll. For those who don’t know him, check out the video he posted on You Tube after United Airlines damaged his guitar, which went viral. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo
“We have more in common with each other, than don’t.”
Customer service is core for customers, suppliers, increased loyalty and profitability.
“Teach Me Sessions”
Ryan Ball is the Head of Corporate Sales for Hubspot, inbound marketing software platform. He was quick to point out that the success of Hubspot is “The Art of Not Sucking”. He explained that it is important that Sales and Marketing work together and agree a SLA (service level agreement) which will ensure both parties know the plans/objectives of the other.
Advertising has dramatically changed over the past 10 years, how often do we see a huge billboard? How much notice do we take of them? Direct mail – 44% of junk mail is binned without being opened, tv adverts – 86% of people now skip though the ads using skyplus or similar, emails – 91% of the population now unsubscribe from junk emails, telephone – so many things I could say about a sales call, but won’t! Marketers are not loved.
The power lies with the consumer. The customers are connected, to each other, with the help of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Google is their best friend. Want to check out the review on a hotel – google. Feedback on a washing machine – google.
Tomorrows approach needs to be “get found” where your customers/consumers are looking. It is anticipated that by 2020, most interruptive marketing will be a thing of the past. Inbound marketing methodology’s aim is to attract consumers to sites, get sales and ultimately get those consumers to rave about the product to their friends/family and get even more sales. Inbound Marketing = put the customer first. Take advantage of your staff, encourage your staff to use social media, to spread the company’s information/products, etc.
1. Understand Your Audience
Know your market, use personas and sub-personas to help profile customers.
“23% of European marketers are focused on reaching the right audience and converting them into leads.”
2. Aim For Remarkable
Should contain great content that adds value, solves a point or just entertains. Example – Hubspot gave away free templates, 123,370 visitors and nearly 6,000 completed the registration form, of which 4,000 were new visitors to Hubspot.
“Being remarkable I something we strive for, a mindset, not just marketing fluff.”
3. Promote Value
It’s not just about how to do more content, but about how to distribute it. Important to know number of facebook followers, twitters, etc., and to therefore anticipate your number of customers.
“If you spend 10 hours developing a piece of content, you should spend at least 10 hours promoting it.”
One single tweet can spead like wildfire with the thanks to Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook/Googleplus. “It’s all about getting eyeballs on the site.”
Ryan spoke about the book Inbound Marketing and the acronym DARC (digital, analytical, reach, content). “Content is King.” Context allows you to marry the buyer to the right content, ie different people are shown different items on the likes of Amazon, etc.
Report worth having a read – www.stateofinbound.com
Dan Spicer is Community Lead at the world’s most widely used social relationship platform. Dan reminded us of the power of social media, ie. Overthrown governments and social media was shut down for 72 hours, helped in the election of President Obama, etc.
It is anticipated that by 2017, a quarter of businesses will lose market prominence due to incompetence, and that a half of executives do not engage in social media at the moment. We were shown an example on Twitter which clearly shows that engagement by executives can help in gaining business.
“Stop worrying about technology, start worrying about who trusts you.”
Dan divulged 3 tips:
1. Respect the Platform
“Better to do 1 platform very well than to do more badly.”
Top platforms are facebook – 280 million, twitter – 65+ million, googleplus – 55+ million, LinkedIn – 45 million. Each platform has its own uses and their own life cycle, eg. Facebook gives user information on what they engage with frequently and life cycle is 2-3 days, Twitter will show everything and therefore life cycle is only 2-3 hours, etc. Need to understand audience, who is accessing the content, why they are accessing the content and how they are accessing the content.
Consumers want to talk to someone and technology is now making this easier.
“Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.”
It’s not only about creating content, but also to help build relationships.
3. Empower Your Team
By empowering your team, could reach potentially millions as each of your team member can then distribute to their contacts, their contacts to their contacts, etc. Very easily to escalate.
“Do more of what works, less of what doesn’t.”
Hootsuite also offer:
• an accredited social media strategy certificate
• Hootsuite Enterprise
• Hootsuite Campaigns
“…. be the show, not the commercial.”
“Inspire Me Sessions”
Guillermo Amodeo is a programmer at IBM and has worked there for many years, he has been working from home for the past 11 years. It seems that IBM has always been at the forefront of technology and innovation as Guillermo has been working at home for the past 10 years, while ‘working from home’ is relatively new to the rest of us. He told us of a story where he was in a bus station with his laptop on, while having a conference call on a mobile phone (brick, no doubt) to a customer in Japan and an acquaintance approached him to speak to him and he had to tell him that he was working. The acquaintance did not believe him, it was unheard of in those days! Now, a good percentage of people work from home, or on the move.
We then listened to and viewed the history of IBM which was very interesting and brought back memories of ‘green screens’, when I first started out in this business. He had yet another fascinating story about a computer ‘Watson’, who managed to beat 2 components (humans) at a quiz whereby one of the contestants was actually a record holder at quizzes.
By the 90’s, everyone was connected by phonelines, now everyone is like IBM, all those years ago, thanks to the help of technology.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” (Alan Key)
IBM predicts products need to change to become more social, to become the future. We must use the presence of social network instead of fighting it, we should encourage staff to use social media to expand our brands.
An old video from IBM was shown where one server was shown to store all the information that used to take multiple computers. Now, all information is being stored on the cloud, no need for any hardware storage equipment.
Michael Williamson gave us a quick run down on the technology that is ‘out there’ and discussed some of the numerous applications that are available. Out of the thousands of applications that are available, the average Joe Bloggs has 175 apps.
We learnt that there are applications out there that can give our information out without us realising we are doing it, such as our geographical location, where we have taken out photos, etc. There are also apps which are spyware and can be installed on our phone without realising it. It would be easy for someone to listen in to our conversations, to follow our every move, to read our texts, to see our emails and to even make phonecalls that would be billed to us on our own bills!
By sharing networks, such as on the train, hotels, etc. we are opening up our security to allow others access. However, the ‘cloud’, is a safer option, as there is no hardware which can be lost, stolen or damaged.
Although new phones now come with trackers, the tracker must be switched on by the user when they purchase the phone.
The very last speaker of this 3 day conference was Paul Boag of Headscape and Boagworld who summed up today with these accurate quotes:
“Digital cannot just be a bolt on for your business.”
“It is a social phenomenon.”
We now live in a changed society. People now shop in a social way, comparison sites online are used constantly. Paul acknowledged that he is not part of a generation that grew up with digital, but that we all need to adapt, need to change the very core of businesses.
He then gave an example of a hair salon where all the stylists had their own iphones which they used effectively to give good customer care, retain customers and acquire new customers by using new technology methods.
“Be digital by default.”
Paul re-iterated what had been said by other speakers earlier in the night, digital is the way forward as it is quicker in obtaining sales/customers. Instead of sending out a press release, post out a blog.
“The world is changing and you need to change with it.”
That’s it from me. Have really enjoyed my time at this event. Hope you all liked my blog. Need to say thanks to Loraine Johnston from Ayrshire College for volunteering me for this job and thanks to Gary and Colin for putting faith in me. Hope to see you both again. Meantime, I will go back to my day job of running around after 3 rugrats and completing my HND. And I get to keep my lovely ‘Working Digital’ orange tshirt. Yahoo!