When disruption becomes tangible – stories from a train station. Europe September 2015.

Because these stories must be told. Again and again.

Making Sense of Technology

This blog is about digital disruption.  A disruption  is a major disturbance, something that changes your plans or interrupts some event or process.

Right now, our comfortable reality is being disrupted – brutally, dramatically. This blog entry is not what I normally write about, but it is important. Here are some destinies from Stockholm Central Station.

My respect for the personal integrity of these refugees arriving to train stations across Europe, struggling to find a way to continue their journey, stopped me from bringing out the camera despite those countless moments that would have been powerful images.

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They say, a picture can say more than a thousand words.

I have no pictures for this story, so I will paint them with my words.

Picture No. 1

Remarkably, hundreds of refugees pass us during our day at the station, but nearly the only littering/garbage left behind are some cigarette stubs, probably…

View original post 1,200 more words

Your website is your business

Remember the early days? When companies were proud to announce that they, too, were “on the internet”? When all they did was digitalise their corporate brochure and added an info@ email address. Which sometimes even wasn’t clickable.

Unfortunately, despite all the technology, all the amazing professional designers and developers, there are still far too many websites who do not engage and add value. (At this point, I could add a “wall of shame” to this blog entry, but that is not a nice thing to do. I am sure, if you are one of them, you know it by now.)

Speed is the new currency of business

Your ignition key is your website if you want to keep up – and speed up – your act. Modern marketers develop content and interactions based on websites and landing pages where all customer interactions, and thus all the useful data you need in the sales follow up, is tracked, monitored and converted into actionable insights and next steps.

If you do not understand how to act and react fast and to the point, chances are you and your business will be disrupted by someone who does.

waze

Stay on target. Keep the content valuable, up to date, and avoid click baiting your audience to capture their information – and then leave them dissatisfied with the quality of the information they committed their personal details to get access to.

And whenever you create a website, think about what you – yourself – would look for and where you would look. Or better, if you have the time and the budget, engage with an agency that specialises in user interfaces and website navigation.

Be honest and transparent

Recently, I crossed the Oresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö for a quick Christmas family visit. The lovely young agent in the toll booth offered me 50% off my total fee for two crossings, if I saved the discount code on the receipts and logged into their website within 28 days to claim my discount. Pretty straightforward.

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But I never found out how to do it! Because after navigating around the website, checking all the tabs, using the search function, using the FAQ section – there was no mention of this possibility. I gave up twice. Then, finally, on the last day of the offer I gave it a last try. And I realised that the offer was directly connected to purchasing a BroBizz – loyalty program where frequent travelers across the bridge get 50% off their normal fee. But I live very far away, and would normally not go via this route.

Not only did the website make it impossible for me to find what I was looking for, because search functions and FAQs did not include this offer = not up to date. They also were not completely transparent about the main objective of this special offer campaign: to get more BroBizzers.

Be up to date

So, whenever you create a campaign that is driven through your website – make sure the content, layout, call to actions and data management is up to date and synchronized. And that your employees are properly briefed about the campaign objectives and how it works.

You lose consumer respect much faster than you can ever regain it. For someone like the company operating the Oresunds Bridge, the website IS their business. It’s the only channel they have to interact with and add value for their customers and potential customers. With more than 20,000 vehicles passing over the bridge daily according to www.orestat.se there is a lot of potential.

Be social

And your business is social. For inspiration, take a look at www.waze.com – also in the business of facilitating traffic. With this little app, GPS navigation has been seriously disrupted. Users want more than just maps, they want to know where the traffic buildup is right now, where the speed traps, the accidents, the roadkills are at the very moment they are heading in that direction – and what their route options are if they want to avoid them. And while they are at it, they can be social, collect points, rise levels (I am a Waze Warrior and striving to become a Ninja). Google Maps is losing ground as we all outsmart traffic together.

Wikepedia explains, and has more details:

Waze (pronounced ways), formerly “Freemap”, is a GPS-based geographical navigation application program for smartphones with GPS support and display screens which provides turn-by-turn information and user-submitted travel times and route details, downloading location-dependent information over mobile networks.

waze

And in the past month, Waze even had a special Star Wars theme, where C3PO was giving me the directions, and I could collect points by driving on roads where no-one had gone before and thus add to the quality of the maps available to all. Collecting little Tie Fighters. Sadly, this little game is over now.

Happy New Year!

A big thanks to @holman – read his article on what developers were facing when creating websites in the 90s. Those who tried to go beyond digitalising the corporate brochures.

 

What is datadriven marketing? Well, it depends…

Datadriven marketing means capturing and analyzing data from the abundance of available transactions and interactions between you, your company and your market – and turning them into meaningful conversations that engage your audience.

It’s all about analyzing the data available to you with the purpose of charting patterns, volumes, trends so that marketing can make business intelligent decisions based on insights around actual customer behaviour.

If you google “what is datadriven marketing” you will find several different perspectives:

  • Using data analytics to drive marketing decisions – says IT
  • Create marketing insights based on the analysis of data about or from consumers/customers – says Marketing

There is no way around it. We have to combine forces.

The 2013/2014 CMO-CIO Alignment Survey (Accenture) revealed that digitalisation is bringing IT and Marketing together, albeit slightly hesitant. 45% of CMOs believe “more collaboration is needed” with the CIO – while 43% of CIOs believe marketing requirements and priorities change too often.

So let’s turn the discussion around – why are we really here? Both Marketing and IT must contribute to the success of the business. They are literally in the same boat. How does datadriven marketing change all that?

Profiling, marketing personas, multi-touch communications using marketing automation tools; we all use these techniques to create a strategic engagement/nurturing cycle. But we must base it on insights – on the actual available data including your social customer engagements.

The enemy of any marketing campaign is complexity. None of this works if your IT department is unable to extract the information = data you need when you need it. And put it into context.

Make your data speak!

The overall objective of datadriven marketing must be to turn data into actionable insights. Because if you look at data in isolation, it is dead. Data is merely a reflection of something that has already happened. Any transaction in your ERP is history as soon as it is captured, including any customer interaction you may have recorded in your CRM. It’s what you do next, that’s important. According to Gartner,

Data-driven marketing refers to acquiring, analyzing and applying information about customer and consumer wants, needs, context, behavior and motivations.

You should take a moment to watch the excellent video from Gartner for Marketing Leaders.

To make your data speak, you have to apply filters that create patterns of behaviour which you then use to create a communication strategy for a continuous cycle of engagement.

Tom Kaneshige on CIO.com explains how:

Data comes from many sources but not all contribute equally. Marketers also have the unenviable task of separating the good data from the bad data. It’s a work in progress, and CIOs can help CMOs learn about the many internal and external data sources and their value to marketers. Tech vendors can assist in this difficult process, too.

… By the way, not everybody is a fan, especially when you define datadriven as metrics-driven.  Robert Glazer  maintains that if marketers only focus on satisfying particular metrics, they may fail to capture the greater good for the company:

Clicks, time spent, and conversion rates only describe what people do, not why they do it. If marketers rely on data to tell them what works, creativity no longer drives the message. Instead, an obsession with data leads to metrics tunnel vision, and as brands shift from their creative offensive, they neglect to consider consumer engagement.”


FT.com/Lexicon

“Data-driven marketing refers to the marketing insights and decisions that arise from the analysis of data about or from consumers.”

Author Lisa Arthur from Forbes Magazine :

“At its core, data-driven marketing centers on one thing and one thing only: propelling value by engaging customers more effectively.”

Her book on Big Data marketing contains many examples of companies that are already well on their way to becoming data-driven organizations.

When disruption becomes tangible – stories from a train station. Europe September 2015.

This blog is about digital disruption.  A disruption  is a major disturbance, something that changes your plans or interrupts some event or process.

Right now, our comfortable reality is being disrupted – brutally, dramatically. This blog entry is not what I normally write about, but it is important. Here are some destinies from Stockholm Central Station.

My respect for the personal integrity of these refugees arriving to train stations across Europe, struggling to find a way to continue their journey, stopped me from bringing out the camera despite those countless moments that would have been powerful images.

IMG_0318

They say, a picture can say more than a thousand words.

I have no pictures for this story, so I will paint them with my words.

Picture No. 1

Remarkably, hundreds of refugees pass us during our day at the station, but nearly the only littering/garbage left behind are some cigarette stubs, probably from the local people as they light up leaving the station rushing towards their lives.

The transport coordinators (and I, one of the drivers) are standing with our fluorescent vests next to a lamp pole outside Stockholm Central Station. There is a box behind us with some notes and pens. A little girl – 5-6 years old – points at the box. We smile. She walks up to it and looks to us for confirmation, then drops the peel of the pineapple slice she had received in the food tent into the box. She has been brought up to understand that she is our guest, and she does not want to litter.

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Picture No. 2

A determined red haired volunteer muscles her way through the crowds to our lamp post. She wants help for her group, the people she had welcomed on the platform as she could speak their native tongue. There is a boy, with one eye blinded, protruding slightly. A father, 2 more children, a mother, an uncle. The boy’s eye hurts terribly, the redhead wants to find a doctor. We ask her to go to the Red Cross station.

– “No, they said they don’t have a doctor – they said I should ask you, the people with the vests”. We, the volunteers, can organize a car to the hospital but the redhead throws her arms in the air: “They have no time, they finally got train tickets to the North and the train leaves in 3 hours”.

So I take off my vest and go into action mode: “I will take them, I will explain the urgency and get him back in time. I have had my 1-on-1’s with hospitals before.” She explains, they discuss, the mother cries, and the father and uncle take my hand. Please. Yes. The boy looks at me and smiles with his good eye.

This is Sweden. At the hospital we get speeded through. The receptionist calls a friend who works in administration, he speaks Arabic. Their story unfolds as he explains to the doctor what has happened:

Abu Bakr – 10 years old, from Bagdad. His home was bombed, his eye damaged by splintering glass. In Irak, they had tried to treat him, but the medicine they carried had been contaminated. On the fragile rubber boat – in the Mediterranean – when they tried to start the outboard engine, he got an elbow thrust into the eye, and gasoline as well. That’s when it got really bad. Only in Sweden did they find the courage to ask for help. During their exodus they were afraid they might be detained.

The doctor investigates, prepares the prescriptions to take on their onwards journey and sends us to the local pharmacy. I had not really donated money yet, and I do not mind paying for the medication to last the boy for 2 months. With my credit card ready, the pharmacist says: “He is a refugee with no home and no formal identity papers. Regardless of the real price, all the medication is 50 Kroner.” That’s less than 10 Dollars. This is Sweden – and I will pay my taxes with enthusiasm now and in the future.

Abu Bakr is smiling with his good eye. And he takes 1 Kroner (1.2 cents) out of his pocket and puts it on the desk for the doctor. He wants to pay for himself.

Picture No. 3

The Red Cross teams inside the train station are overwhelmed. A group of people with crying/screaming children crowd the interpreter and a few RC volunteers. They have no onwards ticket, they have no place to stay, their children are hungry. And a little boy runs around with his pacifier in his mouth, and one arm hanging limply in an odd angle from his petite frame. The transport coordinator asks me – You are good with hospitals, can you take the boy to the ER?

Zain is 3 years old. His sister Rawan is 4. Their father is alone, there is no mother and I do not know what happened to her. I also do not ask. Upon boarding the train in Vienna the little boy tripped and fractured his shoulder. He is so small, I would have taken him for 8-10 months, had it not been for his knowing eyes. They asked for help in Vienna, but they said not to worry, no need for X-ray, just board the train.

The local café offers the children food – the father insists on paying. He wants them to eat before we leave, because who knows when they will next get some food. I cannot explain, I am helpless without speaking Arabic. He pulls out a 5 EURO note to give the café, they refuse. He points at the Money Exchange office, wants me to watch the children. He wants to pay. I offer to exchange his money – and he gets a good rate. I give him 500 Swedish Kroner, t’s the only banknote in my purse, and he ceremoniously hands over his 5 EURO note.

At the Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital in Stockholm, we wait. The nurse is certain it is broken, but timing is bad – it’s shift change hour and the doctors are in conference. The father had traveled with a group, but he is now afraid that his little family will be left behind. It will be hard for him with two very small children, and nobody to help him watch them. He already looks like he has not slept in a week. And he is badly malnourished. While we wait, the waiting room fills with other children – a small 2 year old waddles over and starts to play with little Zain. Zain is confused, then smiles and responds. They exchange books, move furniture and show each other the little box of juice they were given. Look what I have – I have one too.

The transport coordinator calls me from the station – the other group will leave on the train at 5 pm without Zain, Rawan and their father. They finally secured tickets and they have to look out for themselves. But I feel safe – this is Sweden. The father will not have to stand guard tonight over his few posessions and his little children with no mother. The volunteers at the Red Cross shelter will make sure he gets a good night’s sleep.

Before I hand them back to the Red Cross, I buy pacifiers for each of the children. They only had one each, and each time they dropped it the father had panicked. The little girl – Rawan – chooses two pretty little pink ones, and proudly shows them to all the Red Cross volunteers. As I leave, Zain has fallen asleep on his father’s shoulder wrapped in my jacket. I leave it. I ask the interpreter to say these words to him for good bye: “Thank you – it was an honour for me to be allowed to help you today.” The father nods, he holds my hand, but his grip is weak. He has no response. His too tired to form any words. And he is alone.

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Marketing Tips and Tricks

The three touch engagement strategy for audience acquisitions at business events: Idea – Engagement – Push

Source: Where is everybody – where’s my ROI? Tips and Tricks to attract the right audience at your event

Where is everybody – where’s my ROI? Tips and Tricks to attract the right audience at your event

If you read my previous blog entry, you may still be looking for the best way to find the golden audience that makes you best friends with the sales teams. Here are some suggestions I have collected over the years:

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Plan with the end in mind

  • Don’t just set a date, build a 3-touch-strategy together with your stakeholders (the sales teams in most cases).
  • The theme and message has to promote and strengthen the conversations that your sales teams are having with their target prospects. Don’t push some new message or vision down their throats if this is not what their targets are interested in.
  • Be flexible – if the conversation has moved over the 8-10 weeks of planning before the event, make sure to have alternatives ready to add to the speaker list.

Email marketing – and other channels

  • Don’t publish it all at once, when you start the invite process – build an engagement staircase with at least 3 touches.
  • Expand your email campaign with social media engagement through dedicated, branded Linkedin groups, with a short, recognizable and easy to remember hashtag to use across channels before, during and after the event.
  • Another great tip is to prepare your tweets and posts so that your colleagues across the company can share without sounding like a marketing machine.
  • Make it personal, local, fun – whatever their preference is.

For your email campaign – here are the three touches I would recommend:

Image 1

Launch the idea of an event and pre-announce the date. Get the theme out there to gauge interest from your target audience. If you have a star speaker name, don’t let the cat out of the sack just yet. Have a call-to-action button for “sign me up” or “tell me more” – and make sure there is a response on the second one.

image 2

First real invite – allowing people to sign up based on an agenda with topics and speakers that are “glocal” – have a global vision but either are local or have local recognition. Always have a button “sign me up” and “tell me more” to encourage a dialogue.

image 3

Now let the cat out of the sack. Make a big boom invite only promoting date, theme, agenda and your star.

Less is more – let people click through if they want to deep dive into agenda or speaker profiles etc. That way you can capture who is interested so that your sales teams can follow up with personal emails or telephone calls.

Still not there? Time to call the cavallery

And if all fails – if you have not met your quality registration target – go the extra mile – engage with your sales teams, show them the gap between their expectation on the attending audience and their sales target accounts.

Give them a cheat sheet with talking points about the event.  Remember, you know everything about how great it will be – but they probably don’t event know the speakers or content in detail yet. Get them excited, build a dashboard or some other gamification element to let them compete with each other (and make sure there is a decent prize for the winner, so get that on the budget from the very beginning).

Help them help you succeed.

Where is everybody? Where’s my ROI?

You have a great concept – you have great speakers – you have great sponsors. You have buy-in and strategic advice from worldclass thought and business leaders. So why did nobody turn up for your conference?

By now, you have been discussing internally whether you should charge a fee and how much. You have wrung your brain about how you can guarantee the sponsors that the audience is who they are targeting. And because you can’t share the delegate data, you really need people to be there.

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Maybe you need help?

Marketing and strategic planning are there for a reason. They pave the way for your success, be it a campaign, a product launch, or an event. So make sure to get your marketing teams involved before you even set a date.

keys

Here are my three keys to successful events:

  • Content (hey, you’ve got that covered)
  • Consistency
  • Communication

Naturally, there’s more to it but if you don’t have those three Cs under control, you may just end up with a room that may be full, but not with the people you really wanted to share this experience with.

Over the years, I have seen many examples of fabulous conference who never reached the intended audience, because there was no consistency in how the event was promoted, and there was no strategy in the communication to the intended audience. So in panic mode, just to fill the room, organizers at the last minute started forfeiting fees and/or asking friends and relatives to show up to fill some chairs.

Actually, …

What organizers sometimes forget is that it’s not the size that matters. Bigger is not better, if the addition is irrelevant. On a side note, conference guests actually sit more comfortably and breathe a lot easier if the room is not cramped. If you host a dinner party at home, you make sure your guests are comfortable and are able to move. So half empty is not half bad.

So…

Use your marketing and communication experts to remain consistent, persistent and agile. Select your theme and make it relevant and timely. Partly, it’s something you can buy. Tools such as email marketing automation can help you build an engagement ladder that starts with alerting your audience to what is coming, and continues to add teasers and more content to finally compel them to not just sign up – but to be there on the day.

Oslo

Next time you plan a conference, make sure to plan with the end in mind:

On the day you want a room with an audience that is pleased with what they came for and therefore open to engage with you and your speakers and sponsors.

Because that is the real ROI of  your event.