Tag Archive for "Industry" - IQ Agency - page 2 Industry Archives | Page 2 of 8 |

Posts Tagged "Industry"

avatar

A Level Playing Field: How Small Brands Can Win with Digital

david and goliath malcolm gladwell

The marketing playing field is a lot more level than it ever used to be thanks to how digital has changed things. As a result, small brands now have the chance to fight and sometimes even beat big brands.

The David & Goliath legend would have us believe that beating powerful opponents is about luck or divine providence.

The true story of David and Goliath, as told by Malcolm Gladwell in his new book, tells us that Goliath, despite his size and apparent power, was actually slow, and suffered from double vision as a result of the medical condition that had turned him into a giant. David, on the other hand, also contrary to appearances, was not just some shepherd boy.

He was actually a highly trained slinger, the marksman of his age, who could let fly a projectile traveling as fast as a .45 caliber bullet, with sufficient accuracy to bring down a bird in flight.

So what appeared on the surface to be one situation was in fact something else entirely. David used intelligence, insight, strategy and speed to beat the unbeatable giant. He used his advantages while turning his opponents disadvantages against him.

Digital channels offer similar opportunities for smaller brands.

In the pre-digital days, brands had little choice but a head to head battle. Usually the brand that could put up more media money, usually in broadcast and print, won. While the originality of creative could have a multiplier effect, as it always does, the key was always the weight of paid media a brand could bring to bear.

Jump to today and a marketing environment in which paid media has become much less influential as owned and earned media have gained power. Now brands have the opportunity to use intelligence, insight, strategy and speed, just like David, to run rings around the giants. Of course many of the giants have figured out their weaknesses and are not quite as lumbering as they used to be. But at the very least the battle is now one of wits, not just about size.

This presents smaller brands with the opportunity to punch way above their weight if they take advantage of the digital opportunities in front of them. These mostly revolve around smart search optimization, content creation, social media, brand websites and mobile experiences.

If a brand’s digital ecosystem is imagined and managed with insight and creativity, David can hold his own against Goliath – and sometimes even beat him.

You may also like:

Delayed Gratification and the Fear of the Future

How to Calculate ROI for Customer Experience

7 Questions for your 2014 Marketing Plan

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

avatar

Delayed Gratification and the Fear of the Future

Delayed Gratification and the Fear of the Future

We’ve all heard of the experiment that was done in the 60’s where kids were promised big treats, but only if they didn’t eat the yummy marshmallow sitting in front of them. The researchers were testing the degree to which kids could delay gratification in order to receive a greater reward in the future.

The kids didn’t do very well, and since then our increasingly instant gratification world has left many with the impression that perhaps our culture suffers from a lack of self-control.

An article in the New York Times last Sunday outlined recent studies that seem to point to a different reason why people opt for short-term rewards vs. the promise in the future. The research points to our uncertainty of the future as a key influence in decision-making.

The basic idea is a bird in the hand is real, but who knows what could happen if you go for the two in the bush. This reflects our universal experience of the unpredictability and uncertainty of the future.

For example, if you arrive at a train platform and it is packed with people, do you assume that the train is likely to arrive soon or that it has been delayed? Without more data, many would be influenced by the unpredictability of life and some might opt for a cab rather than an undefined wait. On the other hand, a simple clock showing when the next train was due would take all the uncertainty out of the situation.

In another version of the marshmallow experiment, two groups of kids were promised a reward from a researcher for not eating the marshmallow. In one group, before the experiment started the researcher demonstrated behavior that showed he was unreliable, in the other group the researcher showed himself to be completely reliable. The kids with the unreliable researcher waited 3 minutes before eating the marshmallow, the kids with the reliable researcher waited 12 minutes.

All of this got me thinking about behaviors brands ask of consumers such as filling out forms, watching videos and so on. In so many instances we require a consumer to do something based on the promise of something that will (or more likely may) happen in the future.

All too often, consumers do not know when it will happen, how long they will have to wait, or what will happen while they are waiting.  I can easily see this feeding that fundamental sense of future uncertainty that the researchers talk about.

So, how as marketers can we bring a sense of certainty to these interactions?

One answer is to tell people how long things are going to take. We can also tell them exactly what is going to happen while they are waiting.

It’s clear that before consumers invest time in an action or an activity they go through a risk or reward calculation. If the uncertainty of the future is a part of their calculation, it’s up to us to come up with ways to minimize its effect.

What do you think? Tell us in the comment section below!

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

avatar

How to Calculate ROI for Customer Experience

How to Calculate ROI for Customer Experience

If you’re a marketer, you hear the term customer experience a lot. It’s a convenient catch phrase for all the experiences that a consumer has with a brand from awareness to advocacy and it’s the product of user experience design (UX) work, which focuses on creating superior customer experiences.

While many people intuitively understand that customer experience is pretty important, however, they don’t always see the value of user experience design. Value is the keyword here because at some point you are probably going to have to justify an investment in UX.

For example, the ROI (return on investment) of the user experience for a website has been a comparatively easy to figure out in the digital world. You can value and compare the conversion rate before you redesign a website using UX and also afterwards. Improvements in simplicity and relevance invariably deliver better results, which can be easily measured. The calculation gets harder, however, when a brand has to consider investing in a unified customer experience strategy and execution.

Since people hop from channel to channel so quickly and frequently today, a brand can’t have a good experience in one place and a lousy experience in another, especially when all it takes is one difficult, inconsistent experience to damage all your good work.

A friend recently went into Home Depot looking for a sawhorse. After looking in vain and not finding anyone to help him, he went to Lowe’s and used a prominently displayed Product Finder to quickly find it. He then posted to Facebook that he was done with Home Depot and Lowes was now his vendor of choice. He has over 200 friends, so what’s the cost of that customer experience faux pas?

As Forrester says:

“A good user experience builds brand equity with every interaction, but a bad one can completely erode that equity on all levels. Worse, it can cause a customer to leave you for a competitor, never to return again.”

What brands clearly need is a unified experience that reflects an in-depth understanding of what the consumer is trying to accomplish, while at the same time differentiating the brand. The good news is that consumers still want relationships with brands; the bad news is that consumer standards are so much higher than ever before, and they no longer have patience for brands that don’t do their homework.

The work of user experience results in the design of all the interactions that a brand has with consumers. That includes interactions on websites, mobile apps, social channels, the telephone or in the store. Its purpose is to ensure that interactions not only succeed in their purpose, but reinforce the brand promise and identity. UX design must therefore be based on a comprehensive understanding of the consumer, the context and the category. That means starting with research, journey mapping, competitive analysis, content strategy and all the other foundational work that informs UX design.

It’s not cheap and it’s tempting to skip it, but according to numerous studies it costs 50-100 times the original investment to fix an experience that’s not working, to say nothing of the cost of repairing a broken brand perception.

Many would argue that the field of battle between brands now is not technology or even creative, but customer experience. However for many seeing the connection between a better customer experience and the UX work required to get there isn’t always clear.

A few of the numerous benefits great UX delivers includes more consumer engagement through increased conversion rates, ease of use, higher satisfaction and higher comprehension, better ROI from larger transactions, more lead identification, improved brand equity, higher customer retention, reduced costs from fewer redesigns, fewer errors, less maintenance, and less support.

Of course it would be terrific to have an easy ROI calculation that makes the business case for investments in UX. Some organizations claim that every dollar invested in UX delivers a return of 2-100 times, but in the end it is a very difficult calculation.

It’s akin to asking the value of a great advertising campaign versus one that’s just OK. We all know intuitively it can be huge, but how do you measure the value of originality in advance? Some might also point to the cultural orientation of a company as an indicator as to whether UX will be recognized as a value or not. Companies that have internalized a marketing culture, which are few, are more likely to see value vs. manufacturing and distribution oriented companies that often have a deep mistrust of marketing.

The bottom line is that in a world where consumers rule, great customer experience is table stakes for any serious player. That means taking a serious, systematic, scientific approach to getting there, which requires great UX.

What do you think? Tell us in the comment section below!

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

avatar

5 Reasons to Rebalance Your 2014 Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan

Just like your stock portfolio needs to be rebalanced when market conditions change, you need to take a hard look at your media and channel mix in your 2014 marketing plan.

Discussions of mix have usually been about how to distribute media dollars among channels, but you need to look at channels holistically and include all costs, not just purchased media. With the continuous behavioral and attitudinal shifts of consumers, seeing your go to market plan as an integrated ecosystem is more important than ever.

1. If your channel mix does not reflect target audience behavior

Hopefully you know how your target audience uses media channels and when and where they are most receptive to brand interactions. You would be surprised how many marketers start by picking a channel without that knowledge.

Suffice it to say that the way consumers of all ages and types discover, explore, and evaluate products and services today is completely different to the way it used to be. You must therefore use a data driven, evidence based approach to determining your channel mix.

2. Because channels need to be weighted to reflect the dynamics of the Consumer Decision Journey

The difficult, but essential, challenge for a brand is to insert itself into the Consumer Decision Journey*. Your channel mix should reflect a comprehensive understanding of when and where people can and should be influenced. These are the inflection points where you should concentrate your resources. (*McKinsey & Co.)

3. The budget in a particular channel is insufficient to rise above competitive noise

A common mistake is not having an appropriate budget to achieve the mission. TV is a typical example of where budgets are often insufficient to accomplish minimum reach and frequency goals.

To use a war analogy, don’t split your army unless it is larger than your opponent, and concentrate your force on a narrow front for maximum impact.

4. You’re trying to win everything

You probably have short-term goals, but building a brand is a marathon not a sprint. So look at all the channels where your target audience is congregating and start with the areas that are uncontested by your competition. Then only select those that you can afford to do effectively (see previous point).

5. Because too much of your budget only has short-term equity

So much of marketing spend is ephemeral. So look for marketing investments that have long term value for the brand. For example, instead of buying banner ads, invest in evergreen content that can be used for search and syndication.

Over time these marketing investments will become the fabric of your brand’s marketing ecosystem.

Click here to read part 1 of this series

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

avatar

The SoDA Report Volume 2, 2013

As the chairman of the board of SoDA (The Society of Digital Agencies), I am delighted to share with everyone the latest SoDA Report, the second Digital Marketing Outlook for 2013. This is our 8th DMO and has become one of the most influential trend and research reports produced about digital marketing today, with each issue viewed by more than 150,000 marketers around the world.

This new report is without doubt our most thoughtful and provocative yet, a must-read for every digital marketer. Please share with your networks and spread the knowledge.

avatar

Omnicom/Publicis Merger – Will Data Rule?

Omnicom Publicis Merger

The big merger announcement of Omnicom and Publicis focuses squarely on the data side of the marketing business, specifically the use of data to target advertising and messaging. While this promises huge opportunities for brands to spend their media money more effectively, it doesn’t speak to the other big shift in the marketing world. That shift is the evolution of the consumer decision journey, a concept originated by McKinsey.

The consumer’s path to making a purchase and what happens after has been inexorably changed by technology. Consumers still consume advertising, but only as a part of many influences that determine who gets the sale. This is now a game of content, user experience and customer service, as well as advertising.

So while spending client media dollars more effectively is an attractive prospect for brands, they will need even better soft skills, such as strategy and creative, to succeed. This will be even more important with medium and smaller sized brands which cannot just throw media money at consumers like the big brands, but are forced to produce smarter more creative marketing in order to win.

avatar

Why YouTube Should Matter to Brands in 2013

YouTube Marketing Tips

Remember when Facebook hit 500 million active users and we all placed bets on whether or not a single website could ever reach 1 billion? And then last September when Facebook did it everyone in marketing called the game?

Facebook won. There are no more milestones to reach (except for maybe ALL the people, but that won’t happen – will it?).

Meanwhile, YouTube quietly (and I say quietly because for some reason marketers and Internet trend spotters alike failed to even classify it as a social networking site) reached the same unreachable milestone. And still marketers are allocating their social budgets mostly to Facebook and Twitter while ignoring YouTube.

So, why are marketers wrong about YouTube? There are 5 reasons that for many brands, YouTube is arguably the most strategic channel on the Web:

  1. It has 1 billion active users every month. 1 billion…with a “b.”
  2. The second largest search engine in the world to Google isn’t Bing or Yahoo; it’s YouTube.
  3. In the past year, video has become the content of choice for Internet users.
  4. The communities on YouTube are large and passionate. While on other social sites like Facebook, people’s networks are made up of other users that they know IRL, on YouTube communities of strangers are built that blossom into IRL relationships. And instead of organizing around common connections, they organize around passions like religion, gadgets, entertainers, political affiliation, etc.
  5. While the biggest brands are just starting to get on board, most of your competitors are probably not using YouTube effectively. This is a big one.

Alright, so now that you’re convinced that your brand should start thinking about how to play on YouTube, you want pointers on getting started. Bad news, you’re going to have to wait for my next blog post…or you could check YouTube.

This is part of an on-going series on YouTube advertising.

Check back next week for “Before You Start: YouTube for Brands”

You may also like:

The 4 SEO Trends Every Marketer Needs to Know

Content Overload

You’ve Got a Video Problem

avatar
  • 12.02.10

Cutting The Cord

Cutting the Cord will be a multi-part series of posts discussing the numerous facets that are involved in getting rid of your cable television subscription. We will take a dive into the following topics:

  • Equipment & Cost
  • Interfaces and Controls
  • Content Content Content (delivery models etc.)

Currently, cable is a system that works, and aside from the occasional outages and poor interfaces, it works well. Up to now, we as consumers of televised media know what to expect from our cable providers. When there is a storm, we know we may experience an outage. When the cable isn’t working, we call the cable company to have someone look at that mysterious box that sits under our televisions. However that paradigm is beginning to change.

Continue Reading

avatar
  • 08.02.10

A well-rounded team

Our clients often ask what our work-stream looks like. When we answer, I think they are often surprised at the level of collaboration we have throughout all of our departments.
When a project comes into iQ, it is assigned to a lead representative from all departments. This includes accounts, project management, creative, technology, and customer experience. We make a true effort to only hire people who use their specific discipline to show their creative ideas. Whether it’s technologists thinking about ad campaigns or writers thinking about technology platforms. Matter of fact, on several occasions, a project manager has contributed the winning idea.
It’s about having a truly well-rounded team. We find by using this system we don’t run into the rut that one does when they only look at a problem from one angle. We also find that, as opposed to a waterfall process, the entire team feels ownership over the idea. We get fresh perspectives from creatively intelligent folks that do most of the living and dying in this town. Sorry, It’s a wonderful life reference.
avatar
  • 07.28.10

A Spirit of Good


If you haven’t noticed recently, there has been an encouragingly large amount of good being done in organizations. The Pepsi refresh project is a platform that allows causes to submit their ideas and they are voted on by a community. The winner gets a fairly large donation from Pepsi. American express has also joined the good with their Member’s Project with a similar system.

So what is with all the good? Is it just a PR stunt to make them look… good? There may be some of that there, but I also think there is more. A recent study has shown that 50% of the brands recognized by consumers as inspiring outperformed the S&P 500 by an average of 45%. Earnings per share of companies with high employee trust out performed low trust companies by 186% (WatsonWyatt.com).

So there seems to be a connection with brands that make great products with happy employees and having a system of good embedded within the organization. It is most likely because they are working for more than just a paycheck or glory. They are working for a company that cares about the world and proves it through their actions; which in-turn makes an employee care. This can then have a domino effect that leads to better designed or built products, better customer service and happy customers. Sure it sounds idealistic, but it’s being proven true.

So what can we do as marketers? Look for ways to integrate good into our organizations. Not just giving money to some org that you can get a tax write-off a PR for. But create a tie-in between your employees performance and how you give back. Create internal rewards in the form of giving. Create internal platforms to allow your employees to set goals and compete against other departments. It will become a virus that inspires your company and in the long run will increase the bottom line.