When should you design a questionnaire with brand colours, fonts, and formats? #MRX 

You’ve seen the commercials on TV where the host or actor discussing the fantastic properties of the amazing product is wearing clothes and accessories that match the product perfectly. Sometimes it makes for creepy over-branding whereas other times it makes the commercial more calm and focused. In either case, the intent is to teach you the brand colours so that when you are in the store, the familiar colours will draw you in, consciously or unconsciously.

However, the world of research is different. Using brand colours as part of questionnaire design can significantly affect the outcome of research and whether that results in increased or decreased scores, the impact is negative. Results from surveys should reflect in-market experiences, not unconscious associations of colours, fonts, formats, and brands. If you plan to measure brand recall, awareness, purchase, attitudes, or perceptions within the the general population or within category users, particularly if you want to compare the results with those of other brands, never brand your questionnaires with colours, text styles, or formats.

So when is it appropriate for questionnaires to use brand features in the design? When can you use your brand’s colours and fonts and styles to pretty up what are often generic, boring pages?

When you’re contacting existing clients or customers to ask about a specific purchase experience or brand experience. That’s about it.

In such cases, the bulk of the questionnaire will focus on the specific experience with the specific brand. There may be a couple of generic introductory questions, but 90% of the questionnaire will focus heavily on your brand, the employees, the shelves, the website, the selection, etc. There is no point in creating a sense of blind review or uncontaminated response because the brand must be revealed early and significantly.

If you’re wondering which way to go, think about it like this. Never brand your questionnaires unless there is no way around it. Better safe than sorry.

Want more questionnaire tips? Have a peak at #PeopleArentRobots, available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1539730646/

When is free disrespectful?

I LOVE FREE.

Free white papers, free webinars, free registration, free food. Mmmmm. What’s so bad about free?

Well, students and interns can’t live on free. Just as you live in a heated/air conditioned 3000 square foot home, eat freshly cooked food, and choose a beautiful outfit from your full closet everyday, students and interns also have to pay rent, fill stomachs, and clothe bodies. And their bank accounts aren’t happy like yours. Their bank accounts begin with a delightful character those of us in the numbers business like to call the negative sign. Promises of great work experience and a chance of future employment don’t feed and clothe and house them. Pay your interns a living wage. Every intern. Every time.

If the work you need performed is so important that it MUST be done and you MUST find someone to do it and that person can’t be your adorable six year nephew, then the work has value. Value is not expressed through free tweets of thanks, $10 Best Buy gift cards, $4 coffees, or $8 lunches. If you need work done, it has value which needs to be exchanged for actual, real money.

It doesn’t matter whether the value exchange is money for product or money for service. Knowledge does not appear out of nowhere. As the quote goes (can you tell me who said this please?), a piece of art may have taken 1 hour to create, but it grew out of 30 years of dedicated life experiences, training, education, successes, and failures. That piece of artwork took 30 years to create. The expertise of professionals is no different. The unique skills and knowledge they developed took years of dedicated effort, not simply the 30 minutes you chatted over a $4 coffee. If this seems a little odd, then have a look at the video below. I chuckle every time I watch it even though it’s the reality that many people live in.

I have been asked to work for companies for free, more frequently now that I am a free agent in hunting mode (Got a lead on a crazy cool research position? Hit me up!). And, even though my fridge is full, my home is heated, and my closet is full of mismatched clothes that I thought were perfect in the store (Oh, how I hate shopping for clothes!), I generally say no. Why? Because I don’t work for companies that have earnings, budgets, and finance departments for free. A company’s desire for a great deal, the best price, a real bargain does not match up with my priorities.

However, if you are an unemployed market researcher and can’t afford to have someone review and edit your resume. cover letter, or LinkedIn profile page, I am totally there for you. Need advice and guidance to submit your first ever speaking proposal to a conference? I’m there for you. Fighting with your Imposter Syndrome? I’m there for you again. This is where I prefer to spend my ‘free’ time. Ask me for help.

Read this far? Like what you read? Hire me! I’m looking for a permanent family where I can practice as a research methodologist and educator specializing in survey design and analysis, data quality, and innovative methods. I am an invited speaker at research conferences around the world and have published numerous refereed and industry articles. My awards include a 2015 Ginny Valentine Award, 2014 MRIA Award of Outstanding Merit, and 2013 ESOMAR Best Methodological Paper. I wrote People Aren’t Robots, a questionnaire design book. Plus I’m fun, cool, and still play the ukulele pretty poorly after 2 years of instruction. 

How the best research panel in the world accurately predicts every election result #polling #MRX 

Forget for a moment the debate about whether the MBTI is a valid and reliable personality measurement tool. (I did my Bachelors thesis on it, and I studied psychometric theory as part of my PhD in experimental psychology so I can debate forever too.) Let’s focus instead on the MBTI because tests similar to it can be answered online and you can find out your result in a few minutes. It kind of makes sense and people understand the idea of using it to understand themselves and how their reactions to our world. If you’re not so familiar with it, the MBTI divides people into groups based on four continuous personality characteristics: introversion/extroversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, judging/perception . (I’m an ISTJ for what it’s worth.)

Now, in the market and social research world, we also like to divide people into groups. We focus mainly on easy and quick to measure demographic characters like gender, age, and region though sometimes we also include household size, age of children, education, income, religion, and language. We do our best to collect samples of people who look like a census based on these demographic targets and oftentimes, our measurements are quite good.  Sometimes, we try to improve our measurements by incorporating a different set of variables like political affiliation, type of house, pets, charitable behaviours, and so forth. 

All of these variables get us closer to building samples that look like census but never all the way there. We’re so close and yet still missing the one thing that properly describes each human being. That, of course, is personality. And if you think about it, in many cases, we’re only using demographic characteristics because we don’t have personality data. It’s really hard to measure and target. We use age and gender and religion and the rest to help inform about personality characteristics. Hence why I bring up the MBTI. The perfect set of research sample targets. 

The MBTI may not be the right test, but there are many thoroughly tested and normed personality measurement scales that are easily available to registered, certified psychologists. They include tests like the 16PF, the Big 5, or the NEO, all of which measure constructs such as social desirability, authoritarianism, extraversion, reasoning, stability, dominance, or perfectionism. These tests take decades to create and are held in veritable locked boxes so as to maintain their integrity. They can take an hour or more for someone to complete and they cost a bundle to use. (Make it YOUR entire life’s work to build one test and see if you give it away for free.) Which means these tests will not and can not ever be used for the purpose I describe here. 

However, it is absolutely possible for a Psychologist or psychological researcher to build a new, proprietary personality scale which mirrors standardized tests in a shorter format, and performs the same function. The process is simple. Every person who joins the panel answers ten or twenty personality questions. When they return to answer a questionnaire, they get ten more personality questions, and so on, and so on, until every person on the panel has taken the entire test and been assigned to a personality group. We all know how profiling and reprofiling works and this is no different. And now we know which people are more or less susceptible to social desirability. And which people like authoritarianism. And which people are rule bound. Sound interesting given the US federal election? I thought so. 

So, which company does this? Which company targets people based on personality characteristics? Which company fills quotas based on personality? Actually, I don’t know. I’ve never heard of one that does. But the first panel company to successfully implement this method will be vastly ahead of every other sample provider. I could help you do it. It would be really fun. 🙂

My wish for 2017

Last year I wrote two completely different books. The first, called People Aren’t Robots, is a practical guide to questionnaire design. The second book details strategies and tactics for becoming a thought leader. As I said, two completely unrelated books. But as I pondered about those books in general terms, I realized they actually have a lot in common. Both books devote much content towards treating others as real people – flawed, subjective, emotional human beings. 

In the world of questionnaire design, this means realizing that people want to help by answering questions even when researchers think they don’t ‘qualify.’ That people want to help researchers by finding the best answer even when no answers are correct. That people want to finish questionnaires even when those questionnaires are painfully long, confusing, and boring. It means that researchers need to rethink how they write questionnaires so that the human on the other side is treated with respect rather than as a source of data. 

In the world of thought leadership, it means letting employees talk to clients in their own voice, without formal language and without trademarked terms. It means letting employees share their personalities and interests when they chat with customers online so that they become genuine friends. It means that employers need to trust their employees to relate to others in the online world as people, not logos. 

My wish for 2017 is simple. I wish that people would stop engaging with other people. Stop communicating, stop connecting, stop broadcasting. Instead, let’s chat. Let’s noodle over ideas. Let’s ponder and debate and talk. Let’s prattle on and yak and gab. Let’s drop the formalities of standard social media connections and business conversations and start behaving like genuine human beings with faces and names. People who share silly jokes and terrific research design tips, funny cartoons and cool SQL code bits. 

Not only is it more natural, it’s good for business. Think about some of the customer service experiences that have gone viral. This Netflix agent who pretended to be a Star Trek captain (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/31/netflix-customer-service_n_4178662.html) or this Amazon agent pretending to be Thor ( https://www.joe.ie/movies-tv/great-odins-raven-amazon-customer-service-agent-pretends-hes-thor-and-its-fantastic/459458). 

Of course, this isn’t a call for everyone to start pretending to be superheroes and cartoon characters. It is, however, a call to let the inner geek and nerd out of the box. Let the inner human out. 
Annie Pettit, PhD, FMRIA is a research methodologist who specializes in survey design and analysis, data quality, and innovative methods. She is the author of People Aren’t Robots: A practical guide to the technique and psychology of questionnaire design  as well as 7 Strategies and 10 Tactics to Become a Thought Leader, available on Amazon

Is MyDemocracy.ca a Valid Survey?

Like many other Canadians, I received a card in the mail from the Government of Canada promoting a website named MyDemocracy.ca. Just a day before, I’d also come across a link for it on Twitter so with two hints at hand, I decided to read the documentation and find out what it was all about. Along the way, I noticed a lot of controversy about the survey so I thought I’d share a few of my own comments here. I have no vested interested in either party. I am simply a fan of surveys and have some experience in that regard.

First, let’s recognize that one of the main reasons researchers conduct surveys is to generate results which can be generalized to a specific population, for example the population of Canada. Having heard of numerous important elections around the world recently, we’ve become attuned to polling research which attempts to predict election and electoral winners. The polling industry has taken a lot of heat regarding perceived levels of low accuracy lately and people are paying close attention.

Sometimes, however, the purpose of a survey is not to generalize to a population, but rather to gather information so as to be more informed about a population. Thus, you may not intend to learn whether 10% of people believe A and 30% believe B, but rather that there is a significant proportion of people who believe A or B or C or D. These types of surveys don’t necessarily focus on probability or random sampling, but rather on gathering a broad spectrum of opinions and understanding how they relate to each other.  In other cases, the purpose of a survey to generate discussion and engagement, to allow people to better understand themselves and other people, and to think about important issues using a fair and balanced baseline that everyone can relate to.

The FAQ associated with MyDemocracy.ca explains the purpose of the survey in just this manner – to foster engagement. It explains that the experimental portion of the survey used a census balanced sample of Canadians, and that the current intention of the survey is  to help Canadians understand where they sit in relation to their fellow citizens. I didn’t see any intention for the online results to be used in a predictive way.

I saw some complaints that the questions are biased or unfair. Having completed the survey two and a half times myself, I do see that the questions are pointed and controversial. Some of the choices are extremely difficult to make. To me, however, the questions seem no different than what a constituent might be actually be asked to consider and there are no easy answers in politics. Every decision comes with side-effects, some bad, some horrid. So while I didn’t like the content of some of the questions and I didn’t like the bad outcomes associated with them, I could understand the complexity and the reasoning behind them. In fact, I even noticed a number of question design practices that could be used in analysis for data quality purposes. In my personal opinion, the questions are reasonable.

I’m positive you noticed that I answered the survey more than twice. Most surveys do not allow this but if the survey was launched purely for engagement and discussion rather than prediction purposes, then response duplication is not an issue. From what I see, the survey (assuming it was developed with psychometric precision as the FAQ and methodology describe) is a tool similar to any psychological tool whether personality test, intelligence test, reading test, or otherwise. You can respond to the questions as often as you wish and see whether your opinions or skills change over time. Given what is stated in the FAQ, duplication has little bearing on the intent of the survey.

One researcher’s opinion.

 

Since you’re here, let me plug my new book on questionnaire design! It makes a great gift for toddlers and grandmas who want to work with better survey data!
People Aren’t Robots: A practical guide to the psychology and technique of questionnaire design
http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781370693108
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1539730646/
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/676159

How customer experience experts creep out potential customers

You might know I’m a huge fan of Twitter. You get to meet a lot of people, learn lots of new things, and listen to myriad points of view. It’s a great educational and networking tool.

Except.

Except when people forget how to relate to potential customers as human beings rather than sales prospects. Let’s consider these two private messages I received from the same person a few weeks apart.

Always great connecting with another CX professional Annie! We at COMPANY would love your feedback on our new eBook on customer-centric measurement and analytics to help with your customer improvement efforts to reduce churn, increase engagement and fuel growth. 

Message 1: First, it’s nice that the person took note of my human name rather than my Twitter name. Kudos on that. However, I’m curious why they would love my feedback on a CX ebook since I don’t really do any work in CX. Why do they want my feedback? Why do they want my feedback for free? And, wow, what a pretty series of buzzwords – reduce churn! increase engagement! fuel growth! I won Business Bingo with one DM.

Now let’s dissect the followup private message I received a few weeks later.

https://c5.staticflickr.com/4/3490/3724372180_d3306085a7_b.jpgHi Annie. I noticed you didn’t download my prior offer. Well, here’s another one that might be more relevant to you. I’ve summarized my decade long research efforts on the Net Promoter Score in a free white paper, “TITLE OF WHITE PAPER”. One NPS myth is that many customer-centric professionals believe the claim that the NPS is the best predictor of growth. In reality, only 25% of customer-centric professionals believe that claim. Download the free whitepaper to see the other four NPS myths and learn what you can do to improve your customer analytics efforts. Be sure to share it with your colleagues; you’ll be a hero. LINK

Message 2: STALKER ALERT! Apparently they’ve been watching their email list for ME. Checking whether I personally downloaded their ebook. (Ignore the fact that I regularly use an unnamed email account to download these sorts of things because newsletters aren’t my thing.) If I didn’t already download it, but was planning to, those plans just got canceled. Second, their offer? You mean the ebook they wanted me to download so I could give them free feedback? That’s not an offer. That’s free consulting. And lastly, share with my colleagues so I’ll be a hero? My, we think highly of ourselves, don’t we! For a company focused on customer experience, the experience that this potential customer had was less than stellar and less than heroic.

I actually like it when people share links to webinars, ebooks, and white papers. But I don’t like presumptive strangers telling me what I like or what I need or what they think I’m doing. And I definitely don’t like being stalked. So to end on a more positive note, I took a stab at rewriting those marketing messages in a way that is more human, and less stalky.

Tip #1: Get rid of the you and your words that imply you know what I need or want or do.
Tip #2: Never, ever, ever indicate or imply you are stalking. Even though we all do it.

Always great connecting with another CX professional Annie! I just wrote an eBook on customer-centric measurement and analytics to help with customer improvement efforts to reduce churn, increase engagement and fuel growth. If that sounds interesting to you, download it here. Maybe we could chat about it.

Hi Annie. I prepared a free white paper based on my decade long research efforts on the Net Promoter Score, “TITLE OF WHITE PAPER.” One NPS myth is that many customer-centric professionals believe the claim that the NPS is the best predictor of growth. In reality, only 25% of customer-centric professionals believe that claim. Download the free whitepaper to see the other four NPS myths and learn what can be done to improve customer analytics efforts. Feel free to share it with any colleagues who are interested in the NPS. LINK

This lesson in relating to people in a non-stalking way is brought to you by the letter circle and the number orange.

What clients really think of your marketing #IMD16 #IIeX 

Live notetaking at #IMD16 in chicago. Any errors are my own.

Marketing for MR: What we’ve learned from GRIT, Our clients, and our own marketing by Lauren Tilden and Lukas Pospichal

  • GreenBook mission is to connect researchers regardless of the size of the business
  • What does GRIT tell us – GreenBook research industry trends, it’s for researchers, tell us where we are and where we are going, not being used to inform marketing for research company
  • How do clients choose suppliers? [he shows a hurried tiny bar chart and laughs 🙂 ]
  • Stated importance on GRIT says that relationships matter first, price is last
  • Radio landscape map analysis chart – clustered different criteria for selecting suppliers, quality, experience, consultative skills
  • For small budgets, price is important. But as you move to higher budget its more about quality and consultativeness
  • Top 5 sources – seminars or conferences, industry websites, face to face events, webinars
  • Clients don’t want to be sold to the second you meet them, get to know them first
  • Find out what the company does first before you meet them 
  • Clients say – I want my research to change the decisions of my marketing executives
  • Help your clients promote, distribute and present your research internally
  • Develop templates, resources, processes for them, help them jointly deliver the results to other teams
  • Good marketers have a plan, good marketers go easy on the sell, the second you start a. sales pitch on your webinar people drop out, good marketers have leaders who provide resources and staff, good marketers go where their clients are, not necessarily market research conferences, good marketers experiment
  • Provide value and use it as a lead generation tool,
  • Messaging should focus on a specific person, use real words, eliminate needless words, think about what you want people to do
  • Tuesdays and Fridays at 9am work the best for them, figure out what times work best for your clients
  • Use words like you, you’re, your, create a sense of urgency with words like last chance, or hint to a gift or something free
  • Effective webinars are hot buttons or broadly interesting to many people
  • Teach people something don’t sell, unless the webinar is advertised as a product demo or similar
  • Be unique, or uniquely good
  • Market the market research industry , don’t focus on the features of your company but rather on the benefits
  • Yes or No how


Panel: how to talk to me – what clients really think of your marketing by Matt Marcus, Ayesha Powell, Michael Wechselberger, Erin Attere, and Stacey Symonds

  • They get vendor recommendations from colleagues internally, check greenbook or quirks, or see who did a good piece of research, conference talks are a good place to find new ideas, watching webinars because there is not travel, vendors can recommend someone they trust maybe the person they lean on when they cant take a job
  • Partner is someone they go back to again and again, give a five year contract without thinking twice, they will keep a spot open while waiting for a partner; a one time project is a vendor
  • How does a vendor get to partner status, requires trust, lots of responsibility, by the tie vetting is completely done its almost like they are partners by then
  • Like webinars with case studies, with companies they know and recognize, don’t really look for blogs and not fishing for content
  • Emails without a hard sell are more compelling, want to hear about competitors
  • Know what youre really good at, be aware of the clients business problems or ask them outright and describe your options for responding to it
  • Bring a methodologist with you to a capabilities present, take the phone away because the client is more important than your phone

Marketing successfully as a research company #IMD16 #IIeX 

Live note taking at #IMD16 in chicago. Any errors are my own.

Panel: Strategies of successful research agencies, Gillian Carter, Ross McLeanr, and Arusha Sthanunsathan moderated by Lukas Pospichal

  • Clients don’t know what they’re buying until they are fully on board
  • Use client’s excitement to book speaking engagements, win win for them to shine among peers and the research company can share their expertise through the lense of a client
  • Overcommunication helps to avoid problems, overshare until you’re told not to
  • Daniel Kahneman – experience is measured by most intense positive, negatives, and the end, and these are averaged for an event, measure these points well
  • Use the advantages available to you, whether you are small or large, stand up for what you believe in, smaller companies can react more quickly
  • Best clients will often let you talk about them in sales meetings even if they don’t want you doing so at conferences
  • Leverage client pride in your projects, find all the spaces where their work deserves to be showcased and help them become more publicly recognized, and hey mind doing a case study for us?
  • Work hard to make your clients look smart to their superiors


The future of social markeing by Priscilla McKinney, Little Bird Marketing

  • She gets big respect for being able to say the alphabet backwards really fast
  • Should my company be a pokestop? Is this for business, what is my strategy? What is the right question to ask?
  • You should be asking how do i do this.
  • 200 million numbers are on the do not call list and 44% of direct mail is never opened [me and me]
  • People aren’t watching commercials either so should we move commercials over to where people are watching now?
  • The vehicle/channel is being discarded, consumer behavior is changing
  • People watching changing behavior will win, if you uncover meaning in your own behavior you will win, create epic content and you will win
  • Companies have changed from big media buys to social media buys but they haven’t changed what they’re offering
  • People won’t tolerate impersonal messages anymore
  • Consumers will no long tolerate companies that inconvenience you, “batteries not included” is no longer acceptable
  • Make sure you can get to your own data,  you need meaning of this data
  • We don’t help our clients understand the outside world enough, we focus too much on inside data
  • Your goal isn’t more facebook engagement, your goal is more clients. Potential clients need to find your facebook page, click on your fb CTA, and proceed down the sales funnel
  • ABC – Always be closing, ABH – Always be helpful, is your service helping to make their day better
  • You need to put your top people on content marketing, it’s not a job for interns [oh my, the worst blog posts come from people who are trying to fill word counts not create opinions]
  • We let social media take us wherever it wants to go but you must have a strategy

Branding you: Sales tips for market researchers by Dan Rangel, Survox

  • Join a few meetup groups, and maybe start your own, then you’re in a leadership role
  • Consider putting your photo on your business cards
  • Althways think about WHY should this person do business with me
  • Show them the money, talk about ROI
  • It’s not about you, always listen. 
  • Weekly project plans are important for the larger projects, let client see where the status is, what they will need to do, what you still need to do
  • Nurture the human bond.  Go to a baseball game, lots of fun, lots of talking time, and builds a good relationship

Putting email to work for you, #IIeX, #IMD16 

Live notetakeing at the #IMD16 conference in chicago. Any errors are my own.

No more eblasts: reimagining email for the modern subscriber by Monica Montesa, Aweber

  • Email is not dead, it’s evolved into bigger and better
  • Email shouldn’t be measured by how many subscribers you have
  • Email is not just about making a sale
  • IT’s time to embrace the human on the other end of the email
  • Personalized email get a higher click though, 40% higher
  • Not allowed to use the word eblast, feels one way and self serving, makes content seem like it’s for no one in particular
  • Email is for more than just company news
  • People prefer email communications over social media, but you must deliver value
  • Broadcast email is a one time notice, maybe time sensitive, maybe promotions or discounts, share blog content, maybe include some user generated content like client stories
  • Emails don’t have to be a sales pitch every time, newsletter can remind that you are a thought leader
  • Consider auto-responders, welcome series that triggers for people who just signed up, include evergreen content with no time deadlines, include introduction to you and company, an ebook, contact information, an educational course
  • A course doesn’t need to be a huge thing, maybe five emails positioned together
  • Aim for quality not quantity for an email list
  • List building tactics – set proper expectations, make sure signup form describes the content they will receive, engaging call to action, avoid boring words, offer an incentive to signup like an ebook or checklist or a free consultation
  • Meet your audience where they are, promote your list on your social channels so you can control who sees it, consider ads to drive traffic to the signups
  • Ebooks give a lot of value, Balance value with promotion
  • Consideration – introduce your product as a solution
  • Conversion – convince audience to sign up, don’t be shy about the sale, share testimonials, discounts and consultations work here

Putting your email marketing to work: generating and prequalifying leads at scale, by Ana Jacobsen, Drip from Leadpages

  • Are you happy with your op-in rate?
  • List growth is critical to business growth
  • Is the opt-in on your website hidden? Do people have to hunt for it?
  • Do you ONLY collect emails for your newsletter? 
  • It needs be on the homepage along with something valuable
  • Welcome mat is very important, tell people why to opt-in, spotify uses it to generate users growth, uber takes over the first page for it
  • SumoMe is free and recommended
  • Pop-up or widget is also effective, can be irritating but done well can engage folks. Pinterest does this. L’Oreal does it also but they don’t say sign up for our list, they say sign up for free samples
  • Landing page must stand alone and convince them to convert, no nav bars, no footer, no chat box, just design to get conversion – CARFAX, Oprah website – if there is only one button on the page it will get clicked
  • Least obtrusive is the top bar on the website – HelloBar is free, works well on WordPress
  • But an invite on blog posts, you know they have prequalified themselves as most interested, maybe even match the blog message to the invite message – DrIpForm 
  • How many white papers are on your hard drive, Ryan Dice is a great marketer, recommend following him, but how any of these white papers have you actually read, are people actually engaging with them?
  • The case for campaigns – follow up every white paper download and see if people liked it, wanted to commend on it, or questions, follow up for a 4 week time period
  • Subscribers should not get generic followups, interested visitors will fill out lots of data, can push people towards the right email followup
  • Emails can link to your calendar where they can choose a time to speak with you, reminders stop for them but not for other people

Contented: Learn to love the art of creating relevant stuff by Susan Griffin, Brainjuicer

  • Need to consider what you want to say and what clients want to hear
  • Creating and sharing an asset that is helpful and informative, content has to tell your story, what makes your company te best resource
  • Snail mail now email, travel books are now travel websites
  • Need to apply your principles to your clients and yourselves 
  • Fluency – distinct assets used to recognize a brand act as a toolkit to build market share
  • Fame – how readily a brand coe to mind predicts market share
  • Have many touch pains – website, case studies, white papers, get individual items that work together
  • Mark Earls, Herdmeister, a thought leader around social, we dont do anything by ourselves, light little fires and one of them start a big fire
  • You can say you do conjoint and segmentation but you’re basically telling clients you sell wrenches and screwdrivers, you need to say you understand their needs, those tools aren’t distinctive
  • Don’t be narcissistic brand, use product names that people recognize
  • Marketoonist is great at this, cartoons are $35 and they are powerful story tellers
  • If you’re going to do social media, do it seriously, don’t be the person with 8 followers and 3 tweets
  • Figure out how to blog regularly even if it’s just a tiny share
  • Relevant content comes in different sizes – a tweet, a white paper
  • Recycling is good, you can share old articles again, repurpose the content
  • Don’t scare up personalization, get the name right or don’t use the name at all, make sure first and last names aren’t flipped
  • Content needs to grab people, don’t be bait and switch, be bait and catch
  • A How-To gives readers a quick thing to read of just 5 actionable points that is relevant to a problem

7 steps to the perfect marketing plan by Steve Henke, Harpeth Marketing

Live notetaking at the IMD16 conference in Chicago. Any errors are my own.

  • Don’t go home and begin the content, go home and start planning first
  • Some people in this room don’t have a marketing plan for this year
  • Developed a marketing and sales period which is a 7 step process
  • Start by doing your homework, understand business environment, decide on your strategies which set the tone for the rest, build awareness, generate leader, nurture those lead, create first time clients, create repeat clients
  • Homework tips – 3Cs, company, client, competitors – financial analysis and understand where your revenue is coming from, do a SWOT analysis, do post-project surveys for client satisfaction, projects are the reason they keep coming back to you
  • Pareto principle 20/80 rule works, who are your 20% of clients and what is the commonality, size geographic industry, where are the consistencies, do a year end survey, why did they hire you, what is unique compared to competitors, do they use other companies and why
  • Visit competitors website a few times per year, their services and employees, try some secret shopping
  • 2Is – industry.= what trends will impact the business, new technology, new players
  • A – audit, find somebody outside firm to do a marketing and sales audience, have them review plans, reports, proposals, website, get feedback from someone who doesn’t stare at it everyday
  • Strategy tips – most important part of plan, right strategy will have some success even if tactics aren’t great
  • Know who your ideal buyer is, ideal company you want to sell to, define them clearly to create your plan
  • Points of differentialion, how do you want to be perceived, everybody can’t be great and have great employees, that’s the cost of business
  • Are there opportunities, should you pay attention to big data, at least be aware and consider it, are there problems in the industry or my company that need fixing and will get you far ahead, sometimes education can fix a lot
  • Two kinds of clients – new clients and repeat clients, allocate funds to marketing to both types
  • Work on SMART goals, you can’t just set a goal and expect it to happen, you need to outline activities that help you achieve those goals
  • Growth grid – current vs new products and current clients vs new clients. Core business is current clients and current products. 
  • Awareness – website is the core of your marketing, well written, attractive; go social via linkedin twitter facebook google plus
  • Email marketing – get people to know who you are, stay top of mind, email does this, PPC/SEO/advertising
  • Network and exhibiting need to be added too, people to people environment is also necessary
  • Don’t have a LinkedIn page, have a linkedin presence
  • He’s not a believer in cold calls but do what works for you, if you do a good job, you only have to follow up on leads
  • Good content builds awareness and generates sales leads, give some away through blogs, but ebooks and white paper downloads are emailable leads
  • Webchat on your website costs 20$ a month, can have somebody ready to to chart at any time, lets you see when someone is visitin gand you can jump in right away, don’t expect huge return on it
  • Network and exhibiting are the best, his notebook is the best, he writes down everyname of who he spoke to and what they spoke about, he always writes notes down, even what someone’s hobbies are
  • Linkedin is a quality play, he turns down many invitation, only accepts people that there is a chance with, you can export to email list [careful, in canada this could get your in ltrouble]
  • We often do a bad job of working a booth
  • Get contacts to introduce you to people, their boss and colleagues, and stay in touch with those people, if your one contact leaves then you’re not in trouble
  • Nurture people until they are ready to buy
  • Email is to connect people with content, not to sell. Give them something of value, a blog post.
  • Participate in linkedin groups, that’s where your clients and prospects are
  • Lead nurturing – don’t take everything digital or remote, pick up the phone, go to conferences early and meet with clients
  • Share content by email – i say this email and though you’d like it. Cheers. A really short email. Set up google alerts to find this content.
  • First purchase is the hardest purchase. Please ignore the people you’ve worked with forever and take a chance on me. Need to mitigate this fear. 
  • Have a point of differentiation. Have a proof sources and case studies, clients and logos, white papers. LEt them see they aren’t your first client. Let them see your are knowledgeble enough to write about it. DO you have a first client deal?
  • First time clients – capabilities presentations and proposals are way to long and me focused.  They already know what you do and you don’t need to tell them. YOu don’t need to say how awesome you are. You need to tell them what you can do for them. What’s in it for them. Throw a one page summary of your company at the end of the proposal. 
  • Stay in touch with clients by email, share content, be active, participate in their conversations. Stay top of mind.
  • Project followup – be a client advocate who talks to clients separate from the direct client relationship. Be the problem solver
  • Send a handwritten thank you note. Don’t save the gift basket for the holiday season.
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