Friday, April 17, 2009

Why do companies need a Chief Marketing Officer?


As the business landscape evolves, marketing also evolves into an organization wide strategic discipline. Given marketer's knowledge of the customers, it is imperative that the CEO and the corporate board have a representative of the customer to continually educate them. Additionally, companies need a strategic CMO to benefit from:


• Aligning marketing with the corporate business strategy: Newer technology, powerful channel partners, and empowered customers have made the competition highly intense and marketing a very involved and strategic discipline. Marketing can no longer be confined to the 4P framework. Marketers, with their in-depth knowledge about markets and customers, should act as a major resource for strategy formulation. In all issues of corporate strategy—what markets to compete in, what segments to target, what entry mode and strategy to adopt, which partners to strategically ally with—marketing offers substantial information. In order to convey these holistic perspectives, it is imperative that in the corporate boardroom, marketing is represented by the CMO, who can speak to the directors and the CEO in their language. A classic example is of the iPhone from Apple. Given the tremendously successful iPod and iMac, Apple could have become complacent. But the marketing acumen of the executives recognized the need to constantly excite the customers. Further, they built their growth strategies on satisfying the unmet needs of the customers. Marketing played a crucial role in guiding Apple's corporate strategy.



• Connecting the corporate boardroom with the customer: As Peter Drucker said, the only two functions of any organization are innovation and marketing. Irrespective of how innovative a company is, how committed the employees are, and competent the top management is, unless the company connects with the customer, success will be elusive. The top management should constantly evaluate their strategic decisions in the context of customer feedback—what do the customers value and how can the customers help the company in co-creating value. CMO plays a crucial role in constantly updating the boardroom and the CEO about latest customer preference as well as how well the corporate resources are aligned to meet those evolving customer needs. Companies such as Levis Strauss, Sony, Toyota, Nike and Singapore Airlines are some of the pioneering companies that manage to constantly feel the pulse of their customers. As such, the marketing takes a central role in guiding the corporate strategy by having the top management team and the CEO regularly updated about customers and markets.



• Creating a customer-centric organization: Given the innumerable choices that customers have, ensuring long-term customer loyalty and sustainable competitive advantage becomes highly challenging. The difference between the successful companies that achieve those objectives and those who fail is the corporate orientation. Customer oriented companies design and operate every aspect of the company with the customer in mind. To build a customer-centric organization requires a highly concerted effort of all functions within a company along with every employee becoming a customer champion. These issues deal with organizational culture, organizational structure and corporate policies. The CMO can influence the boardroom and the CEO to implement measures that would facilitate building a customer- centric organization. Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts is a classic example that showcases such a customer-centric philosophy. The founder has managed to instil a culture that allows constant interaction between marketing and other functions within the company. Such an emphasis has resulted in world-class resorts that always manage to delight the customers.From this discussion, it is evident that CMOs are strategic requirements of any corporate boardroom. But in spite of such a signifi cant role played by the CMO, companies have not completely embraced the concept of a CMO. The next section discusses some of the main challenges faced by CMOs, which make them vulnerable to boardroom dislike.


The challenges faced by the CMO are the problems increasingly faced by marketing as a discipline off late. It has been long argued that one of the fundamental challenges of marketing that has undermined its credibility, threatened its standing within a company, and even threatened the existence of the very discipline as a distinct entity is marketing's failure to quantify its outcomes and justify investments into marketing activities. The three main impediments in this regard are:

(1) Relating marketing activities to long-term effects;

(2) Separation of individual marketing activities from other actions, and

(3) Use of purely financial methods for justifying and benchmarking marketing investments. As such, CMOs are not given the opportunity to participate in the strategic decision making of the company. Two such daunting challenges are:


• Measuring marketing outcomes: Marketing fundamentally differs from other functions within a company—such as finance or operations— in a couple of aspects. As marketing deals with people, their attitudes and eventual behaviours, they are not as predictable as a machine process. As such, there can be considerable time lag between marketing actions and the intended outcomes. Further, measuring these outcomes will have to involve both financial and non-financial metrics. Given these underlying factors, it is often challenging for the CMO to convince the top management of marketing's ability to competently allocate resources and significantly contribute to the company's growth.


• Explaining marketing's centrality in a company: Many companies continue to equate marketing with advertising and sales. But marketing has long evolved from being a tactical departmental function to an organization wide strategic discipline. Given marketers' knowledge about customers and other stakeholders, marketing plays a central role in leveraging the internal capabilities. But to assert such a central role within any company, marketers should be able to understand the different aspects of the company, its strategies, its resources and its limitations. Marketers are usually involved in their own jobs and consequently fail to leverage their centrality in a company. CMOs face an immense uphill task in educating and convincing the C-suite of their capabilities and their rightful status. THE CMO AND THE CORPORATE BOARDROOM Given the rather strong antipathy towards marketing within any company and especially within the top management team, CMOs should keep up with time and optimally utilize every resource at their disposal to address some of the fundamental complaints against marketing.


• Leveraging the new media: Even as the Internet and other new media channels continue to challenge many of the fundamental ways of doing business, it also offers some tremendous advantages hitherto not within the reach of companies. As a majority of the companies compete to create a presence online, they also should establish structures in their websites that would help measure many a marketing variable. Softwares allow companies to track their customers' footprints, the stickiness (the amount of time a customer stays on a site), the click through rate of online advertisements, effective optimization of layout design and feel etc. to measure changes in attitudes, behaviours and so on. These tools can be effectively leveraged by the CMOs to begin the process of quantifying marketing outcomes. These early experiments also allow companies to gradually design their own set of useful metrics. Such an essential fi rst step not only brings credibility to marketing, but also allows marketers to make a strong impression with the top management teams and the CEO.


• Internal training: In order for marketing to rise up to the boardroom level, marketers should be thoroughly able to understand the strategic imperatives of the company across functions and be able to speak the boardroom language. Such a state can be attained through formalized internal cross disciplinary training. Such a training system would allow marketers to understand the dynamics of corporate strategy and also enable marketers to effectively leverage the collective internal resources towards ensuring profitability and optimal results. CONCLUSION this article has raised some very fundamental questions about the way companies should be run in the future. The role of marketing within a company is only going to become even more central as managing customer interactions and co-creating value become the building blocks of any corporate strategy. In the future, the CMO will emerge as the strategic connection between the corporate boardroom, the top management team, the CEO and the customer. Companies should offer the CMO the requisite status and power within the company. Furthermore, companies must create an organizational structure where CMOs can guide the company's vision and mission by integrating the myriad functions within the company. The time is not too far when the success of the company depends on the strength of its marketing and the CMO. Asia has an unprecedented opportunity to elevate marketing to the boardroom level, so that the CMO can take centre-stage in shaping and executing the corporate strategy leading to better shareholder returns.

What Is the Difference between a Chief Marketing Officer and a Chief Customer Officer?

What Is the Difference between a Chief Marketing Officer and a Chief Customer Officer?

I'm often asked about the differences between a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) and whether the Chief Customer Officer encroaches upon the role of the Chief Marketing Officer. A simple, flippant way to answer this is "only if the CMO allows it." In some companies I've worked with, the CMO is so myopically focused on outward — bound marketing and "pushing" information on the customers that it takes a CCO to bridge the gap between what marketing hopes customers want and the customer reality.


Jim Novo writes about the lack of analytic rigor so often found in marketing departments and fears the expulsion of marketing from the boardroom and their replacement by IT and Chief Customer Officers. I sincerely hope the Chief Customer Officer doesn't replace the CMO or VP of Marketing in the board room.


In truth, the really good Chief Customer Officers I have worked with and written extensively about serve a very different but complementary function. They need to know what the customer needs, wants, and is willing to pay for better than anyone else. Marketing needs to apply their strategic and tactical prowess to figuring out how to profit by delivering customized products and services that exactly meet these needs and wants.


Marissa Peterson, former CCO of Sun Microsystems, owned much of the analytics as part of the Sun Sigma process. Jeff Lewis, former CCO of, created a very small team to analyze customer data. These two CCOs recognized that their every success depended upon knowing their customers more solidly and completely than anyone else in the company.


The Chief Customer Officer role should be viewed as an "enabling" role, one that enables & facilitates the deep understanding of customers and prospects and assists all organizations in doing what they do best. At the highest level the Chief Customer Officer should bring accountability to the boardroom. The CCO should enable Marketing to raise awareness and drive sales and profits; R&D to develop products that exactly meet customer needs; Customer Service to quickly and efficiently resolve customer issues; and Finance to appropriately capture customer value in terms of payments received.


In summary, the role of the CCO should not be to replace any other function but to assist and strengthen every other function as the organization strives to deliver goods and services that customers need, want, and are willing to pay for

Americans Think Companies Should Use Social Media, New Study Reveals


Almost sixty percent of Americans interact with companies on social media sites; 25 percent do this frequently, (defined as more than once per week) according to the 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study.


93 percent of those surveyed believed that companies should use social media, and 56 percent say they feel more connected with a company via social media.


Interestingly, while studies show that more women than men use social media sites, Cone's survey indicates that men are twice as likely to interact with companies via social media more than one time per week. "The ease and efficiency of online conversation is likely a draw for men who historically do not seek out the same level of interaction with companies as women," says Mike Hollywood, director of new media for Cone.


Other findings from the survey are: 43% believe that companies should use social media for problem solving; 41% for product feedback; 37% for brand activity; and 25% for marketing.


"The news here is that Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships through social media. It isn't an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion," says Hollywood

Social Media Changes Online Retail Marketing Strategy


Online retailers are following under-30s shoppers to social sites like Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. "Generation Y online buyers" participate in Internet activities more than any younger generation, and this influences their online spending habits.


The Society for New Communications Research study entitled, "Exploring the Link Between Customer Care and Brand Reputation in the Age of Social Media," confirms the importance that this demographic holds for online rating systems, discussion forums and blogs. These sources of information seem to be divorced from traditional marketing strategies, and therefore have more credibility.


Online buying is developing in such a way that conventional PR and marketing strategies are quickly becoming irrelevant. Shoppers are influenced by social and communications sites when they are looking to buy something. As eMarketer says in "Social Media and Shopping Behavior,"To reach this demographic segment, Web retailers are marketing to them on their own turf." Change in the patterns of influence means more speaking directly to customers, defining new methods of influencing them and their buying habits. The SNCR released another study which offers new recommendations to the PR profession.


Strategies include partnerships with larger sites to create their own networks, such as and combining forces. Many online retailers in the United States create profiles on existing social networking sites: Internet Retailer's "Emerging Technology" study shows that of those merchants that are maintaining these pages, 32 percent are on Facebook, 27 percent on MySpace, and 26 percent are on YouTube. Wet Seal, a clothing store for teenage girls, hosted a contest involving Web site visitors posting YouTube videos to win a gift card.


Other merchants have hired marketing consulting that specialize in contemporary methods. L'Occitane USA, a natural beauty and personal care product line, hired Mercent, a Seattle-based company founded by former Amazon members, to strengthen the company's online presence. Mercent Retail networks with marketplaces such as Amazon, and others to foster promotion and customer feedback.

Technology is Changing the Advertising Business

It is sometimes difficult to grasp the vastness of the Internet as it links country with country, culture with culture, buzzing metropolis with distant one-horse town. Even more amazing is the fact that something so seemingly endless could become the vehicle through which an entire industry is transformed to become more personalized.


Such is the case with the advertising industry. With access to consumer information that is, in some ways, easier to collect over the Internet, and more sophisticated technology, companies are customizing their ads toward specific audiences, and even zapping ads to cell phones and Palm pilots. Web surfers can interact with ads in greater depth, and they can benefit directly from an ad's personalized message.


For example, Excite@Home's Enliven business unit, which provides interactive online advertising, has launched an updated version of its popular rich-media technology in the past two years. The technology ties multimedia banners to a database to create constantly fresh banner ads on the Web. The updated product can customize ads to match a user's PC setting. So on one level, for example, Procter & Gamble can use Folgers Coffee banners tailored to the time of day, while on a more intimate level, customers who are known to frequently buy Rich French Roast might be sent e-mails or see ads promoting that particular product.


These technological changes, which only promise to become more advanced as bandwidth increases and provides more richly-textured opportunities for advertisers to tell their stories, are fundamentally changing the way advertisers relate to their customers. Customization has serious implications for the marketing business and the greater objective of brand development.


"The Internet has become more and more a part of the communications community in the past seven to eight years, more dramatically in the last three or four," remarks Richard Gillespie, president of Gillespie Advertising in Princeton, N.J. "The delivery of the message has been made easier. Rather than sending out junk mail and trying to gain a 1% to 2% response rate, the more I know about the person I'm communicating with, the more valuable I can make that information. Rather than my invading your space with generic messages, I can send you communications that have value to you. The power has moved from the deliverer of the message to its recipient."


These empowered recipients, the consumers, are reportedly responding well to the targeted approach. "People give you a lot of credit for advertising that goes out and finds them in their lives," says Evy Nabers, director of fusion marketing at Brand Buzz, a division of advertising agency Young & Rubicam that started a year ago. Brand Buzz's objective is to combine a number of disciplines including database marketing and Web marketing, in order to find the best way to get a message to a consumer, whether on line or in person. "The more targeted you can get, the better," says Nabers.


All media have seen a greater ability to send disparate messages to disparate people, says David Schmittlein, deputy dean of the Wharton School and a professor of marketing. The second part of this equation, he says, is knowing the appropriate messages to send. That is derived from the collection and retention of information about a consumer, which Schmittlein says the Internet world has learned to do successfully from the field of direct marketing. "Customized direct marketing and direct mail led the way in demonstrating the value that exists in retaining customer information," he says. "The most valuable pieces of information with respect to purchase propensities and what matters to customers turn out to be – did they buy something before, when did they buy it, how much did they spend on it and what were the particular product attributes that characterize what they bought. If you know those things, you've got a great basis for customizing ads."


Schmittlein says a great experimentation is going on with respect to a customer's willingness to be contacted, the results of which have yet to be seen. Good marketers, says Gillespie, will know "when not to cross a line."


While firms like Gillespie and other large advertising agencies are waving their interactive banners furiously, Leonard Lodish, a Wharton professor of marketing, says that customization is "an uphill battle" in the advertising business. "The advertising fraternity has not been very rational," Lodish says. "Advertisers still believe old wives' tales like you need to advertise during the Super Bowl to be successful. Advertising agencies are not taking the necessary risks. They need to be more entrepreneurial and experiment more. The Web is the perfect application to do that." Lodish also points to traditional direct-response marketers, like L.L. Bean, as being the most savvy when it comes to reaching out to Web-based customers.


Advertisers will have to nurture their entrepreneurial spirit and put it to good use over the Internet, especially with the arrival of technologies like personal video recorders, which could drop TV ad viewership by as much as 50% by the end of the next decade, according to Forrester Research. As customization software and similar technologies become even more sophisticated and advertisers tap into the vastness of the Internet, they will learn to capitalize on the vastness of its possibilities for directly reaching consumers.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Keeping Your Business Profitable In A Unforgiving Economy

Do you use a business to business prospecting company? Do you currently employ lead generation companies to allow your sales team to focus on selling? If you are curious as to whether your business can survive and even profit during a recession, this article is for you. This article will present Six Rules for keeping your business profitable In A unforgiving economy.

The following tips are ways your company can not only survive, but thrive during tough economic times. Increasing your marketing budget, using the power of leverage, focusing your efforts where they will be most effective, properly training your employees, providing excellent customer service and keeping a positive attitude are all ways to keep your business profitable in difficult economic times.

The first way for increasing profits during a recession may sound backwards, but increasing the amount of money you spend on marketing your business instead of reducing it is one thing that can help your business make a profit during a recession. Countless businesses make the mistake of considering their marketing an expense instead of an investment and wind up destroying their businesses by cutting back in this area.

The second way to increase profits during a recession is to leverage your time by employing a business to business prospecting company to perform outbound telemarketing for your company. This enables your employees to make better use of their time and resources.

The next tip is to change your focus from looking for new business to closing new and repeat business sales. If your telemarketing programs work the way they should, your employees can redirect their energies into closing more sales and making more money for the company and themselves.

The fourth way is to make sure your team receives the right training to work with the leads they get. The right training makes all the difference and will help your profits to skyrocket, even during a recession.

The fifth tip to increase profits during a recession is to treat your clients to outstanding service. Repeat business is a great deal more cost effective than continually finding new clients, so keeping your current clients satisfied should be your top priority.

The sixth and final tip for business success in tough economic times is keeping a positive attitude. People have a tendency to create the exact amount of success they believe they will and your positive attitude will be reflected in your employees' attitudes and achievements as well as your own.

By following the six steps of increasing your marketing budget, using the power of leverage, focusing your efforts where they will be most effective, properly training your employees, providing excellent customer service and keeping a positive attitude, your business can achieve success in tough economic times. Business to business prospecting is a great place to focus a generous part of your marketing budget since it will help facilitate most of these tips. After that, the great customer service and positive attitude will be entirely up to you.


Keeping Your Business Profitable In A Drastic Economy

Does your company do business to business prospecting? Have you ever considered using an outbound telemarketing company? If you are wondering if your business will be able to endure the current economic troubles, this article is exactly what you need to read. There are six tips that can help your business find success even in a bad economy.

The following are some ways your business can actually increase profits during a recession. Increasing the amount of money you spend on marketing your business, leveraging your time, changing your focus, giving your employees the right training, treating your clients to outstanding service and maintaining an optimistic outlook are all ways to increase your profits during a recession.

The first way for increasing profits during a recession may sound backwards, but increasing the amount of money you spend on marketing your business instead of reducing it is one thing that can help your business make a profit during a recession. Countless businesses make the mistake of considering their marketing an expense instead of an investment and wind up destroying their businesses by cutting back in this area.

The second way to increase profits during a recession is to leverage your time by employing a business to business prospecting company to perform outbound telemarketing for your company. This enables your employees to make better use of their time and resources.

The next tip is to change your focus from looking for new business to closing new and repeat business sales. If your telemarketing programs work the way they should, your employees can redirect their energies into closing more sales and making more money for the company and themselves.

The fourth rule for staying profitable when the economy is down is to train your staff well so they can make the best use of the highly-targeted leads they will get. Good training is the key to keeping profits up no matter what the financial forecast is.

The fifth tip for business success in tough economic times is to provide excellent customer service. Getting repeat business is much more cost effective and profitable than having to constantly prospect for new business so it is vital to keep your current customers happy.

The sixth and final tip for business success in tough economic times is keeping a positive attitude. People have a tendency to create the exact amount of success they believe they will and your positive attitude will be reflected in your employees' attitudes and achievements as well as your own.

Implementing the six tips listed above can help your business to increase profits during a recession. Business to business prospecting is one area to concentrate your marketing efforts in since this will make four of the six ways happen.


Digital Marketing vs. Online Advertising

The Internet marketing landscape has grown rapidly over the past few years, spreading out over the Internet like warm saltwater in the sea. Initially focused on banner advertising and search engine submissions, the environment has grown considerably in terms of tools and sophistication of the techniques that Internet marketers are employing.

Jupiter Media Metrix has spotted a recent shift in advertising/marketing dollars into online channels that deliver less expensive distribution, greater personalization, and higher response and tracking rates than traditional marketing dollars are able to capture.

What is emerging in the online marketing space is part digital marketing and part online advertising. Online advertising is an online marketing model based largely on traditional metrics and thinking. Online advertising learns its lessons from television, print, and radio. Examples of online advertising are banner ads and website/content sponsorships.

Digital marketing is a model based on the possibilities created by tightly networked markets. For example, in the next 24 hours web surfers will search for "used cars" an estimated 36,507 times. Marketers are able to insert themselves into these online markets in ways they never could before (see Keyword Markets to learn more). Even in a world filled with spam, consumers and businesses are finding each other on the Internet in unobtrusive ways.

Companies employing digital marketing tactics are actively working to ensure their customers are getting the best and most relevant information that they need to make purchases. Digital marketing consists of search engine optimization, permission-based email marketing, and online coupons.

Marketers were led into online advertising first because it most matched the traditional marketing channels they were accustomed to and the tools for effective digital marketing didn't exist yet. Like exploring new coasts with dated maps, it was only a matter of time before those marketing online gained better tools and information to make them more successful.

According to Jupiter, spending in online advertising in the United States grew by only 5 percent in 2001. Once the economy settles down, they expect it to bounce back and grow at a compound rate of 22 percent over the next five years, reaching a total of more than $15 billion by 2006.

During the same time period, Jupiter predicts that spending on digital marketing initiatives such as search engine optimization, e-mail, and coupons will surpass that of advertising and reach more than $19 billion by 2006.

The growth for online marketers will be huge. According to Jupiter's Internet Advertising Model, by 2006 online advertising and digital marketing will account for 7 percent of the total advertising market, up from 3 percent in 2001.

As marketing online matures, we continue to learn a tremendous amount about how people are conducting themselves online. Traditional models didn't grasp how powerful combining hyperlinked information and marketing tactics could be.

Driven quickly through hyperlinks to information, context becomes an important factor for success. Varying levels of trust are created depending on where information is found.

Companies must ensure they are being found in search engines in order to attract a captive and interested audience. A study from the NPD Group released in February 2001 found that search listings are more effective than standard banner or button advertisements when it comes to brand recall, favorable opinion rating and inspiring purchases. The study found:

These studies suggest that people are inclined to trust services like search engines much like they trust a librarian, a trust that people would not be lead wrong by those who would choose to lead them. Search engines work because they are a passive tool, awaiting input from the user to find what they want.

Email works because it takes the concept of direct marketing and turns it into an active communication channel driven by valuable information and transactions. Research released from DoubleClick in November 2001, indicates that over 88 percent of online consumers have made a purchase as a result of receiving permission-based email, up from 61 percent last year. The research also found that 37 percent had clicked through an email and purchased immediately, up from 20 percent last year.

JCPenney is an example of a company that is using email to drive sales. Between 1998 and 2000, JCPenney's online sales rose from $15 million to $294 million. JCPenney hasn't released online sales figures for 2001, but projections were for sales over $400 million. How has the business grown that much? By focusing on targeted email lists from a willing audience of over 4.5 million shoppers. A family with children headed back to school will get promotions that highlight JCPenney's back to school specials.

A blinking rich media banner ad can't begin to work that way. It might have relevant information or appeal, but only about one one-thousandth of the time. Banners, in all shapes and formats, live in the desert of the online world like billboards on a lonely stretch of dry, forgotten highway.

Digital marketing, like search engine optimization and email, fills your belly and growls at you because you're hungry for it. It's what you want...not what someone perceives you to want. When a person searches on a search engine for a specific product or service, they are qualifying themselves as a potential customer.

Online advertising reminds you that a company has not faded away, sticking to a one-sided, high-frequency push of information it believes will draw people to it like a lighthouse. Digital marketing looks to meet you up on scenic deck #2, where mutual conversations drive transactions and relationships. In a shifting sea of choices, marketers' budgets will soon reflect where the real money and conversations live.

How Social Network Marketing Works

Most marketers would ask the wrong question here: “how can social networks make more money?”
The problem with that approach is that you tend to focus on immediate means of monetizing the value of social networks such as MySpace, Orkut, Friendster, LinkedIn,Mixx, Stumbleupon, Reddit,Twiter and Flikr, while ignoring the real reason these networks were setup and how you can use those ideas to help your business.
MySpace, Orkut and Friendster grew as means to stay in touch with friends, meet new people online and to share ideas. LinkedIn has a similar slant - it is great for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to mine their contacts for hiring / outsourcing. And Flickr is just a blindingly simple tool for sharing photos.
The success of social networks marks a dynamic shift in how people are using the Internet. We’ve evolved from just searching for information to creating and participating in social spaces with other individuals through the Internet. This model is based upon the hive mentality where people identify themselves as part of a group with similar likes and interests that draw them together. This is easy to do online because the traditional communication barriers of physical locations no longer exist.
SEO and Social NetworksSocial networks make viral marketing and word-of-mouth marketing much easier than before. The best use out of social networks is not to make money ‘directly’ off them, but to harness their marketing potential and to use them to market your own business.
The difference between traditional search engine marketing and social marketing
The main goal of any search engine marketer is to drive more traffic to their site. The best way to do that is to optimize your website (including the process of link building) for your target keywords.
Online social networks present an efficient platform for you to use in the spread of your marketing message. In addition, it is also a great tool for getting tons of visitors and thousands of page views to your site.
Standard search marketing and website design tactics will tell you that the best way to do this is by creating lots of content targeted at your niche keywords. Then, you’d do doing everything in your power to get links back to your website pages with your niche keywords as text anchor links.
Instead, what it does mean is that you need to devote more of your attention towards how you can leverage the traffic you do receive from these sources. To do that, you should allow your visitors to create their own social network centered around your niche topic.
The power of this cannot be missed since social networks allow for multiple points of connections between almost anyone on Earth, giving them the ability to find, share, enjoy, and track anything and everything that tickles their fancy.
Using social network applications like MySpace these preferences and choices can be saved, stored, shared and used to build a network of glowing endorsements for your business and products.
As these endorsements are established and cross-referenced, the profile of yourself, your company, and your products can grow exponentially as more and more people become exposed to and share your marketing message.
One of the primary focuses of traditional search engine marketing tactics is the establishment of links from other websites that point visitors back towards your site, preferably with your niche keyword anchor text.
Social network marketing works in the exact same fashion, except people choose to provide your link without being asked to do so, and places like del.ici.ous, Digg, Blogpulse, and Technorati give them the ability to do that.
In offline terms, that means turning towards your friends and family to ask for their opinions. Online, it means turning towards a group of trusted people whose opinions and recommendations you value.
In fact, in lots of cases, you’ve probably done some research on your own, using the traditional search engine marketing model and then turned to a social network that you’re a part of to validate your findings and complete your research by getting their experiences and opinions about the topic.
This is social network marketing at work in its purest form.
One person actively soliciting comments from other people within their community to assist them in making a decision and its only one example of the many ways that the power of online social networks can be leveraged.
Online social networks provide the platform needed to speak out (if they are so inclined) or to simply watch the conversations as they happen.
In fact, online social network marketing is expanding into something much more than that as the Internet becomes a living, breathing organism – the Living Web – that allows people to engage themselves in the things that matter to them and participate in a discussion about what they find important.
To understand why the future of social network marketing is important, how it is so powerful, and what you’ll need to do to integrate it into your online business, an understanding of the mechanics behind it is necessary.
Once you understand the mechanisms at work, you’ll gain a greater appreciation for how to profit from the existing social networks like the ones mentioned earlier, as well as how to use them to create your own social networks built around your niche topics.
Connectors, Mavens and SalespeopleAside from the knowledge shared, one of the key drivers behind social networks is a well-known idea – Six Degrees of Separation, which proposes that anyone can be connected with someone else through no more than five intermediary relationships.
Made popular through an Internet game based around the actor Kevin Bacon, the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”, that links his appearances in films with that of other actors, directors, actresses, writers, etc.
The degrees of separation are referenced through the number of films that separate that person from Kevin Bacon, producing a “Bacon Score” for that person.
If you played around with Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon long enough, you’ll notice some trends that mimic real social networks.
There are some people in Hollywood who are more easily connected to Kevin Bacon than others or are better equipped to connect others to him because of the types or number of films they’ve been involved with.
In terms of the real world and the social networks that exist within it, these people are called Connectors.
Connectors are people with a special gift for bringing others together. They are “people specialists” who have an extraordinary knack for making friendships with lots of people across many sub-niches and cultures. These people are the “social glue” that bring others together.
If you think of it in terms of a common cold, it’s relatively simple. In this case, Connectors are those people best positioned to spread the germ throughout the population – bus drivers, bank tellers, waiters, and anyone else who comes into contact with a large number of people everyday.
Connectors are very rare people. Luckily for us, Connectors aren’t the only type of social activists available to spread your marketing message for you.
Another type of messenger that you can relieve upon are Mavens. Mavens are information specialists who have the knowledge and social skills to start word-of-mouth epidemics. These are the people who do all of the research necessary to solve their own problems and once they figure out that they have a good thing, they want to tell you about it too.
Mavens provide the initial spark and message that Connectors filter through their large network of contacts.
A third type of messenger, Salespeople, is vitally important to the transmission of your marketing message due to their ability to persuade others who are unconvinced of what they are hearing. They have an uncanny ability to turn “fence sitters” into marketing mavens who’ll champion your cause through their own interaction with your message.
Although they are a large part of it, epidemics are not simply a function of the people who transmit them. The transmission of your marketing message is also dependent upon the infectious agent itself and the environment in which it is operating

People change products never brands

Why branding your company important?

People change products and they may even forget product name but never brands. But why?

Every brand is a promise to a society. Great brands change the way we live by creating employments, shareholder wealth and philanthropy. Brands exist for good cause.

Every business exists as company only for short later they mature to a community. People like them unconditional. Everybody knows companies like Coca cola, Dell, Microsoft, Oracle, Google etc but not definitely their products. Dell is known for the way they care for their customers. They revolutionized making computer personalized. This shows Dell takes care of every customer equally. The society never forgets good deeds. So Dell can launch any number of products under the brand name. Every buyer knows they are valued. This is same with all companies mentioned above. They live for the way they care for their customers.

Products keep changing. It is a result of time and opportunities

Microsoft first was developing computer operating system and today 250+ brands. So many Microsoft products have retired but brand Microsoft is growing strong every day. A brand is a big tree and products come as fruits and flowers of same tree. We will forget the shape or colour of fruit or flower but never the tree.

What you have for me

What you have for me is next generation campaigning program where you will invite customers to talk about your product and services. The objective of this program is to know what customer expects from brand near future or immediately. What you have for me helps the community development, which leads predictability for long term. Always retaining existing customer is cost efficient than adding a new one

One man company is the future

Why not outsource everything except ownership

The great company is the result of an outstanding team. The resource scarcity is big challenge across industries. The research report shows the companies spend 65% of their time in hunting for resources. The resource hunting is definitely not the main stream business for any company other than recruitment firms. The high attrition is a sure night mare for every entrepreneur.

Virtual Enterprise
Increased opportunities increased competition too. The profit margins are getting thin to keep customers satisfied. To stay in business long you need to scale your business worldwide. Technology takes business to new heights and internet serves your customer services personalized. A well defined online CRM solution will address the customer handling truly one-on-one. This can incredibly reduce the call centre cost and increase customer satisfaction

You can outsource everything except ownership

You can outsource HR, Legal, Marketing, Finance and engineering. When the delegation is with right team you will have more time to focus in business. You will have profits in your operations as you will save up real estate expenses, utility bills and employee retention costs.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Involve customers in your business active

Why involve customers from beginning?

The real world is always different from presumptions and assumptions. Customers know business than consultants and engineers who innovate IT solutions because they are hands on. Every innovation should fit in customer expectations and business challenges. The re-engineering is always expensive and time consuming. Involving customers from beginning make them feel special. The word of mouth and referral marketing is proven extremely successful; staying connected with customers will get a free marketing to other customers.


Beta customers are important for scaling products

Implementing the products with beta customers is advantageous as you can afford to take risks and there are no SLAs. You will have a free of cost product architect and showcase. The product launch will be successful as you might have gone through couple of real time testing of you application.


Customer speaks are important

Customer speaks column should be made mandatory in website. The websites today most powerful medium for marketing and companies should not fail to use this opportunity. The websites and internet technologies have gone advanced that you can created very successful online community of customers.


As humans products too need community to survive

We humans are a part of social world, socialization make us successful professionally and personally. Products too need to be socialised for success. Make product to fit with industry requirements. Product communications are very important as this builds identity for the products.

CMO Outsourcing

Why not outsource your CMO function?

Even you don't have a CMO function you are undoubtedly doing something to dig up more customers and business. it is likely that your marketing is sporadic at best with gaps in strategy and tactics; key messages, choice of initiatives, coordination across marketing activities, timing and execution of marketing efforts and follow up.


May be you have got one or more mid or lower tier marketing type FTEs who are really missing the leadership needed to get any results from your overall marketing approach or may be your head of marketing (CMO title or not) is just not getting the job done. You need someone to lead up your marketing charge. What if your company really need a CMO but you don't have time to recruit one and you are not quite ready to pay the big bucks that it is going to take to find and pay a hot-level executive.


CMO Outsourcing

Sivaram is an experienced pragmatic technology executive who partner with entrepreneurs, venture-backed firms and established companies who require marketing leadership at pivotal times.

Sivaram provides a high quality and cost effective approach to manage your marketing investment and interim marketing leadership.


Marketing Strategies

Tactical Market Planning

  • Positioning
  • Messaging
  • Plan review / development
  • Sales alignment review
  • Communications strategy
  • Pricing analysis
  • Research
  • Communication plan
  • Lead generation plan
  • Sale support plans
  • Product marketing plans


Product Marketing

Electronic Marketing

  • Product roadmap
  • Product definition
  • CRM implementation and optimization ie. Salesforce.
  • Demand generation software ie. Eloqua
  • Email marketing
  • Website review

Market Operations

  • Advertising
  • Analyst relation
  • Articles
  • Business development
  • Collateral development
  • Competitive analysis
  • Case studies
  • Demos
  • Direct mail
  • Events
    • User groups
    • Advisory groups
    • Trade show
  • Media buying
  • Presentation develop, design and creation
  • Reference programs