customer experience Tag

Consider this - if you're in business today, the media is your customer. For communications professionals, the media is often their primary customer. However for everyone, really, the traditional and new media has become at a minimum a key influencer in the buying decision. Earned media is still one of the most powerful tools in an integrated marketing toolkit.  With stories at a premium you’ve got to understand not only your customer’s experience, but the unique aspects of the media’s buying cycle as well. the media is your customerAnyone in business today will have to understand and work with the media at some point. Digital marketers may encounter them on social media. New business owners may want media to write about their launch. Brand managers might choose earned media (or native ads) as a way to create or change a perception. For whatever reasons, the media is your customer. We all know that buying cycles are becoming increasingly self-directed and the media is perhaps furthest along in this transformation. For some reason people think that just spewing press releases and pitches at media will work. It doesn’t anymore. Some media folks get as many as 100 to 200 pitches a day, or more. Of all the personas we work with as integrated marketers, the media is the one that doesn’t need our help finding stories anymore. It’s out there for them to find, from viral videos to social media buzz. And since dealing with “marketers” was never the fun part of the job, it means that we could be left out. To reach the media, I would argue that you have to influence them from one step of their buying journey to the next, just like anyone else. Here are a few things to remember when the media is your customer:
  • Create personas for the media you want to reach. Most of the time, there will be primary influencers within the different types of media. These can be local TV reporters, bloggers in your niche, freelancers, etc. Each one probably curates information differently, and has a set of characteristics and behavior that can help you identify their buying cycle for stories.
  • Learn where they get their information. Content acquisition behavior is the most important aspect of behavior when the media is your customer. What’s great is that can ask them directly about it. Most journalists and bloggers will tell you where they like to curate information – they’re proud of it. Or follow them on social media and see what they post. This will give you some great information.
  • Place your content where they will find it. When you’ve discovered the common curation sites, this part is easy. It’s no different from the morning show producers looking to the New York Times for their stories as they did ten years ago. Just find their favorite places and post your stuff there.
  • Figure out the timing of their curation as well. I’m no media powerhouse but some marketing vendors like to get featured on this blog. A couple of them have figured out that I’m usually in social media (mainly Twitter) quite early in the morning. They often tag me at that time when I’m more likely to see it. Watch your media folks as well and do the same thing.
  • Support their ongoing stories, don’t just try to pitch. Find out how you can help. Maybe you’re an expert on a topic they write about frequently. Maybe they like to have content written they can spin into a unique post.  I guarantee if you become a trusted source on a particular topic, at some point they’ll do some nice things for your brand.
  • Measure the steps, not the stories. Find out the things that your media customers do that indicate progress. We sent out a pitch once for a blog that was written by a client’s CEO. Not a single person responded. But the traffic for that blog was the highest of any blog that year. Nothing else had changed. Identify a few simple measurements beyond direct response and track them.

customer experienceGetting your content to resonate with your audience depends to a large extent on the customer experience, in other words their journey to making a purchase. Prospects in the early stages of research have different needs than those that are closer to making a decision. Creating content that gets noticed isn’t just about finding the right keywords. Although some content marketers place a significant amount of emphasis on the search for high-volume keywords, that approach is short-sighted. Top-of-the-funnel generic keywords are bound to have greater search volume than those used for specific situations. For example, there will be more searches for “productivity widgets” than “productivity widget integration ISO 9000.” Yet, there may be a strategic reason for creating more content that addresses the needs of those lower volume searches. More on that in a moment. Despite all the "fancy" customer experience stuff out there, people always have and always will follow five basic steps; problem resolution, information gathering, solution evaluation, purchase, post-purchase behavior. The names may have changed, but the song remains the same. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, people experience problems, look for solutions, figure out their best alternative, buy what they believe is the right choice, and engage in some sort of post-purchase interaction. [Tweet "Stop chasing keywords and align your content with the customer experience. "] Stop chasing keywords and align your content with the customer experience. Google handles trillions of searches per year and a good portion them are unique. If you can’t guess those keywords or their search volume, it’s tough to execute a keyword-oriented content strategy efficiently. However, if you are empathetic to your customer and their experience, creating content that meets their needs is far easier. Let’s borrow a concept from the world of growth hackers and startups.

4332095101_0b429f0a4b_o By Dina Ely I recently had the “pleasure” of having to update approximately 60 business local listings for a client across the Google and Yahoo local business networks, and what I experienced working with both companies on this was an eye-opener. In the end, I think I've figured out why Google will always trump Yahoo, and how out of touch Yahoo is with the needs of small and medium businesses. (Marissa Mayer, take note - there are a few things I think you've forgotten since the Google days.) For this grand adventure I worked in the dashboards of both sites as well as extensively on the phone with support. Let me compare and contrast the overall experience and discuss a few takeaways. Yahoo Both Google and Yahoo play an important role in local search (as do a few other players – but that's another post for another time). Google is used more by customers in local searches, but to ignore Yahoo altogether would be foolhardy. Especially since Yahoo, like Google, offers free business listings. What they also offer, and pretty much give you no choice but to use, is a variety of subscription-based services including Localworks, which starts at $29.99/month per listing. Here's where I hit my first road block. In order to do anything substantial with these 60 some odd listings, I really had no choice but to pay for a Localworks package just to get a fully-featured version of the marketing dashboard. If you try to go the free route, the tools available to you are minimal and it's virtually impossible to do anything on the kind of scale I needed. I claimed and prepared to edit every outdated listing, but everything came to a grinding halt when I hit the log jam of verification postcards. (This will come up with Google too, in just a minute.)