The Power of People in Relationship Marketing

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There are a lot of things in marketing that we try to automate as much as possible, as well we should. If it doesn’t have to be done manually, and there’s a software solution capable of doing it for you, why wouldn’t you assign your creative resources to more important initiatives?

But there’s one area in particular that will always require a human touch, even if a computer can do it more efficiently. Because in this sphere, connection trumps efficiency every time.

I’m talking about relationship marketing, which should be a core part of every company’s social media strategy.

One Passenger at a Time

In a recent blog post for Workfront, Ted Rubin shared a story of a woman who was travelling home from vacation on JetBlue airlines. From her seat on the plane, she tweeted about how she wished her vacation wasn’t over and how great it would be to be greeted by a parade when she landed.

Her wish came true.

How? Because JetBlue was listening—and its employees were empowered to not only act, but to act immediately.

Wait, you may be thinking, even if we pulled off something like that for one customer every single week of the year, that’s still only 52 individuals reached. Is this really the best use of our time and resources?

Yes, Rubin would argue, it is the best use of some of your time and some of your resources. This kind of direct, spontaneous relationship marketing can help you build and sustain your reputation. Rubin says:

“I like to say that a brand is what a business does; a reputation is what people remember and share. The keyword here is ‘share’. All of these people share. Even if they’re not on social media, they have friends, they have families, they have colleagues, they belong to the PTA. They are going to tell people. Everybody loves to share great experiences.”

Three Tips for Better Relationship Marketing

Rubin’s post goes on to share three ways to harness the power of your people in your relationship marketing efforts. And yes, each of these ideas fundamentally relies on the human touch:

1. Listen
Real listening requires real human ears. “Even with software, it’s gonna be hard to hear everything,” Rubin says, “because most software just picks up hashtags or pick up keywords. They don’t necessarily pick up the conversation.”

2. Empower Your Employees
“There can’t be five levels of approval,” Rubin says. “There can’t be budgetary constraints to such a degree that you can’t just have a few people meet someone at a plane, or send them a note, or leave a note in their hotel room welcoming them there. These are really simple things you can do if you listen.”

3. Build it into Your Processes
You don’t need a vast army to pull this off successfully. At a very large corporation, a tiny but empowered team can be sufficient. At a small company, even having one employee devoting a few hours a week to listening efforts will spark helpful insights and opportunities to connect.

The Human Touch

Decades ago, brands would have done anything to have our current level of direct access to customers and prospects. As marketers, are we squandering the small and simple chances that are right in front of us every day? Take the time to utterly delight some customers, one-on-one, at least some of the time—and you’ll build the kind of reputation that can only be built with human hands.


5 Reasons You Should Focus on Content Marketing

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The line between “marketing” and “content marketing” isn’t always crystal clear. After all, isn’t all marketing comprised of content?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, the difference lies in how valuable the content is to the customer. Consider this definition from a recent CMI blog post:

“Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent.”

Content marketing can take the form of infographics, blog posts, web pages, podcasts, videos, white papers, apps, ebooks, books, and more. As long as it contains information your audience is likely to seek out and find useful, it counts.

So why should you put effort into serving up content that’s indirectly related to sales and revenue? Here are five solid reasons.

1. Content Marketing Can Have a Phenomenal ROI

Writing for Forbes, Josh Steimle said, “At my own company we’ve used content marketing to grow more than 1,000% over the past year. Potential clients find our content, find value in it, and by the time they contact us they’re already convinced they want to work with us.”

Considering that Steimle attributes 95% of that success to just a handful of articles he’s written, which took about 20 hours of work, that’s a phenomenal return on investment.

2. Content Marketing Supports Other Digital Marketing Channels

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest and your other social channels aren’t going to update themselves. Where can you turn for high-quality, original content to post on each of these platforms? Your content marketing pieces.

Having a regular stream of content that resonates with your audience not only gives you something useful to promote through your social channels (“Check out our latest free ebook, full of 25 targeted tips you can try today.”)—you can also mine that content for quotes, excerpts, and other tidbits that will keep your social communications strong and relevant.

3. Content Marketing Contributes to SEO

If you know which keywords you’re targeting and which keywords are bringing visitors to your website, you can create truly valuable content that will reward prospects with more than just a sales page.

Steimle says content marketing “provides additional content for social media marketing and contributes to SEO efforts by generating natural inbound links and building up good content on your website that gets found in search engines.”

For many companies, he recommends focusing the bulk of your SEO efforts on content marketing.

4. Attention Matters More than Impressions

“It baffles me that so much money is still spent on forms of advertising that are not beneficial to the consumer, nor where the current consumer attention is,” writes entrepreneur and author Gary Vaynerchuk. “For a consumer to get excited about something, to be compelled by something, it comes down to attention. Attention, not impressions. They need to really consume it. That is the game.”

If you’re doing your content marketing correctly, it will be about capturing attention in an authentic way. Answer the questions your consumer is asking, solve the problems they want to have solved, and truly educate the consumer, and you’ll earn their attention naturally.

This is also true for traditional advertising efforts. A television ad that makes people laugh, inspires them to watch it again and again and even share it with their friends—that’s the kind of advertising that rises to the level of “content.” It provides true value, unlike the standard interruptive advertising that people try to avoid and ignore.

5. Quality Content is Not Just the Future of Marketing—it’s the Present

The Content Marketing Institute argues that content marketing is not new. In their History of Content Marketing video, they trace the practice back to 1895, when John Deere launched a customer magazine called The Furrow. The Michelin Guides date back to the year 1900. And Jell-O started distributing a free recipe book in 1904.

The term “content marketing” doesn’t appear until the next century, in 2001, when the digital marketing revolution was in its infancy. And it has changed everything. By the year 2010, 88% of brands were using content marketing to engage with their audiences, using 25% of their total budgets to do so.

If you’re not focusing on content marketing in your organization, you’ve got some catching up to do.


NEW Rich Media eBook: Your Secret Marketing Weapon

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With ever increasing pressure to come up with more and more engaging campaigns, marketers are constantly looking for new ways to differentiate themselves by producing higher quality content.

It’s become critical for in-house marketing and creative teams, as well as external agencies, to produce content that will break through digital marketing noise. And that’s not surprising. We are all potential customers to someone else on the web. For most of us, first impressions of any content online is what matters most, and that’s exactly what gets us to click that specific piece of content. But for this to happen, we have to visually engage with an ad. In other words, it needs to grab our attention.

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Content Marketing Infographic: How to Target B2B vs. B2C Audiences

Content marketing has become one of marketing’s most effective tools. But do you know the different approaches you should be taking for a B2B audience (business to business) compared to a B2C audience (business to consumer)? Read on for a helpful infographic that will answer that question for you. 

With the explosion of marketing opportunities and available delivery methods marketers face today, the fight to be heard is more competitive than ever. Each piece of content you create must appeal to the right buyer personas, be delivered via the proper channels and be better than the hundreds of thousands of pages of marketing content we are competing against. The bar of success is being raised to new heights every single day.

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Interactive Content: The Bridge Between Marketing and Sales

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Wondering how to bridge the gap between marketing and sales teams? How about taking some advice from a sales executive who’s married to a CMO? Introducing Anna Talerico.

In a recent article for Content Marketing Institute, Talerico shares three tips to help improve communication and collaboration between the two camps. All of her suggestions are worth considering, but the one that we at ProofHQ have seen particular success with is the idea of creating interactive content with input from the sales team. Talerico writes:

“A unified approach to data from interactive content creates a feedback loop that can be useful to every aspect of the buyer journey, from lead gen to closing the deal.”

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Content Strategies: 4 Tips & Tricks on Creating Content that Breaks through the Noise

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There is a lot of noise around content marketing noise. According to State of Digital, 41% of people reported feeling overwhelmed by the sea of choices bombarding them on the internet. Instead of searching for products and the content constantly churned out by marketers, many people prefer to rely on social media to learn of friends’ preferences and recommendations.

A quick search on Google will bring you to articles that stress the importance of buyer personas, the optimal time of day to publish, using the right format… and so on and so forth. And, yes, those things are absolutely important. But with almost half of the population preferring to ignore your marketing efforts, you have time to give them something they will love and remember.
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How to Humanize Your Brand

Empathy. Context. Relevance. Meaning.

No, you didn’t just stumble onto a self-help website. These are four things you will need in order to connect with consumers in what many now call the “post-advertising age.”

According to Jessica Ann, author of Humanize Your Brand: How to Create Content that Connects with Your Customers, the future of marketing is all about keeping it real:

“If you’re not proactively taking part in the profits and process of being more human, you’re missing out on the fun, authenticity, and serendipity that happens when you fuse technology with marketing.”

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Where Does Your Brand Live? Be Astute In Selecting Your Social Media Outlets

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Anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows that how you say something is as important as what you say. According to DailyMail.com, researchers from the University of Southern California have developed an algorithm capable of predicting the success of a marriage based on the how, not the what, of communication.

If message delivery can determine the success of a marriage, surely it plays a role in the success of digital marketing, especially when it comes to social media. No matter how great your message, if you fail to deliver it via the proper marketing channels, it may never reach your target audience.

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Six Signs You Need to Rebrand

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As marketers, our world revolves around our brand. We dedicate countless hours, fight through growing pains, and expend every ounce of patience in our beings to perfect our branding. Eventually, our brand becomes an extension of our self – it becomes our metaphorical baby. And, like all babies, our brand eventually takes on a life of its own, grows older and prepares to rebrand  retire.

Now, in life, parents are supposed to worry about preparing the baby. But in marketing? In marketing, we get to be selfish and prepare ourselves for the inevitable.  If the need to rebrand catches us off guard or we wait too long, we have to pay some very costly consequences. Fortunately, there some pretty clear signs that a reinvention is near, enabling us to take a proactive approach to branding.

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The 5 Building Blocks of an Effective Brand Promise

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Let’s kick this off with a famous line from Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

The Bard certainly isn’t talking about branding or advertising in his famous play, but he brings to mind a question all marketers should ask: Would a customer or prospect recognize your brand without the visual aid of a tangible product, logo, or slogan? When was the last time you asked, “what’s in MY brand?”

In order to create a brand that stands for something, you need to go beyond the name. Your organization has a brand, but does it have, and can it deliver on a brand promise?

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