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Event report: Fusion Marketing Experience 2012 Antwerp – Day 1

Here we are at the third edition of Fusion Marketing Experience, for the second time in Antwerp. This time it’s a two-day event with many keynotes, master classes and workshops. The venue for the event is the Crowne Plaza Hotel just outside Antwerp.

The reports of previous events can be found here (2011 – Antwerp) and here (2011 – Brussels).

Don’t forget to check the program here, and read up on the speakers here. Speakers that presented at previous editions include Olivier Blanchard, Bryan Eisenberg, Kath Pay and Tamara Gielen.

You can follow hashtag #fusionmex on Twitter to keep up with all the tweets about the event.

New to the #fusionmex speakers club are Lee Odden, Jim Lenskold, Kristin Zhivago, Jamie Notter, AJ Huisman, Stefaan Claes, Polle de Maagt and Laurens Spigt.

This post is part 1 of 2, involving a live report of the event on day 1. Part 2 will be posted tomorrow, naturally.

The event will start at 1PM CET, with the first speaker (Kristin Zhivago) kicking off with “What Customers Want: the Changing Buying Journey & How to Prepare for it.

12:23 

We’ve arrived at the Crowne Plaza Hotel venue. First presentations are being set up, great to meet everyone. The first keynote presentation will start in less then an hour.

Last preparations before the event: lots of marketing books to choose from!

13:08

First up is Kristin Zhivago with her presentation: ‘What customers want: the changing buying journey and how to prepare for it’.

Kristin Zhivago

13:33 

Kristin starts her presentation. Begins with overview of where we are now. Setting goals and how to become customer-centric and convince C’s. Realization of revenue from social media is involved as well.

Online evolution: 1) us sending info 2) them finding info 3) finding each other. Customers see search engines and social media as their buying tools.

Best way to interview customers is by phone, with open questions. An open-ended conversation works best to get insights, to get info from people who have already bought from you. Your own customers can teach you how to sell.

13:45

If you know your products and who your customers are, do you really need salespeople? Customers don’t want to be sold, to be pushed into a sale. They have specific questions that need to be answered. Salespeople that miss that knowledge will fail at giving the customer the answers.

Kristin suggest companies employ buyer support rep to assist sales: the people who will be able to handle all the customers questions and situations.

What do buyers want from sellers? Honest, informed answers. Who are you? What can you do that no one else can do? What have others thought of you? What’s going to happen to me after I buy?

Technical buyers don’t look at marketing stuff or sales talk. They check out the user manual so they know what will happen to them after they’ve become a customer.

Your About page should include pictures of all the C-level people: buyers want to know who the leaders are behind a company. Branding is the promise you make, your brand is the promise you keep.

If a CEO is not a jerk, the policies and processes are clear and well implemented. Kristin notes Jeff Bezos from Amazon as an example. Amazon has great customer processes in place, which helps them keep their promises all the time.

Tony Hsieh of Zappos is another example of a great CEO. They have built customer delight into everything they do. They don’t penalize customer reps for being on the phone for a long time: it’s the customer that counts.

After a data-breach, Tony sent out an email describing the whole situation. The whole company was on lock-down, including phones, for two days. Handling it this way, he prevented a PR-disaster.

Why are honest answers so important? Customers don’t want to make decisions they will regret. Making too many mistakes as an employee will make colleagues not pay attention anymore, not take you seriously. It works the same for clients. Clients will put in black marks on your company’s whiteboard, and they can never be erased.

Honesty and clarity upfront will help in the whole customer lifecycle down the road.

14:03

What’s important to a company, can be unimportant to customers. Things that matter to customers can for instance be convenience, flexibility, ease of use. Not a certain type of feature or integration.

Example: US telco Verizon. Website is faulty because it is departmentally organized. Customers want to get tasks done on a website. Get information, pay invoices, order stuff.

Distracting websites are like mime players trying to keep you from buying stuff. Companies are still too company-centric. Only showing and providing what they want to, not what the (potential) customers need.

Why is it difficult for companies to become customer-centric? Because no-one wants to talk to customers. A marketer needs to know the customer best, even better than sales people or customer support people.

Sources like surveys, social media and sales people are misleading. The best source are your own customers via direct communication.

Happy ending: you can reverse-engineer your current sales, to create new sales in quantity. It’s sufficient to talk to 5 to 10 customers to know enough.

The buying process needs to be guided and thought out well. It’s a complete spectrum which includes seeing a product, involving others, involve sales, test drive.

Customer-centric leadership: bring customer into the organization, know what they want from your company and products, specifically, start making it easier to find you, like what they see and buy from you, bring in more revenue using what you learn in the process.

14:16

Kristin concludes her presentation. Her brother Michael has taught Kristin that everything is about love: love the customer, they will know when that happens. Transform situations with love and enthusiasm.

Next up is Jim Lenskold with ‘ Measure Campaign Profitability & Customer Value: Implementing Marketing ROI’.

Jim Lenskold presenting at Fusion Marketing Experience

14:25

Marketing is more and more about accountability these days. The CMO and CFO are becoming more involved with the specific ROI of marketing campaigns.

Smarter marketing: answering the questions that matter, not all questions. Structure to work from:

Marketing Plan > Path to Purchase > Incremental Sales.

Expense >>> ROI >>> Profits.

Focus = on decision support in the Marketing plan.

Key principles involve understanding the path to purchase. The funnel concept still works if applied well: it’s not about a company’s process in sales, but the buyer’s journey. Customer value comes from transaction size, lifetime value and discounts. Incremental sales, profit per sale (or customer) and cost per purchase conversion.

Two sides to the funnel: efficiency and effectiveness. Being more efficient allows for more effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Smarter behaviour-based insights: customer behaviour focus, measure of outcomes and conversion flow, buyer stage gaps and projections to sales and value. Lastly key leakage points and a long-term view on value.

ROI = Net profits / marketing investment. Key marketing decisions involve target, tactics & mix (budget), funnel impact, offers and objectives.

14:40

Next point of Jim’s presentation is to quantify strategies and financial contribution. Dig deep into money spent and sales generated, and the profit at the end.

Smarter profit-driven planning: checkpoint to identify positive scenarios, trade-off against strategic alternatives, profit potential maximized, clarity on outcomes and dependencies. Insight into sales flow can be done with just a few questions and a few key measurement points.

Measurement techniques involve baseline vs campaign comparisons. The incremental contribution is important but diagnostics and projected impact are involved too.

Marketing mix modeling involves all channels used for marketing, and comparing them over a longer period (about 2 years). Campaign results will be visible in the model in comparison to the baseline.

The strategic market test isolates the impact of one or a few specific marketing variables.

Smarter action-oriented measurement involves what, how and when to measure, but also how to assess and improve. A marketing plan should involve a long-term measurement plan to have a marketing department be accountable.

The last part is to maximize effectiveness and efficiency, mentioned earlier about the buyer’s funnel. Five primary sources to increase marketing ROI: 1) target high-value / high-potential 2) improve conversion later in the funnel 3) reduce leakage with better integration 4) accelerate leakage of low potential prospects. 5) Gain efficiency.

Decision support for marketing: Best assumptions > ROI scenarios: objectives, strategy, tactical plan, impact & contribution. This all comes together in the measurement plan.

Experiment to accelerate improvements. Introduce new tactics, channels, tactics with offers and more and compare those to the baseline / control points. If the change had effect, will it have effect for the long term?

15:01

Jim finishes up his presentation, coffee break now.

15:36

Lee Odden is up with ‘ Digital Marketing Integration: the Mix of Social, Search and Content’.

Lee Odden about to start his presentation

Lee starts his presentation about search vs discovery. A dad-son trip he did to New York City a while ago, involving him asking what’s kid-friendly. Lots of response, and using Google to validate tips.

Describes how much data is being created these days compared to the old days. Google sites handle 88 billion searches per month worldwide.

Is all of your content findable and shareable? Describing SEO basics described: Crawling, keywords and links. However SEO basics have evolved: topical focus is important. Are the keywords you want your company to be known for, actually on your website?

If your site is missing specific content, it can’t be found and shared: have a content plan and make it as shareable as possible. Don’t forget to optimize for customers: it transcends Google, social or content.

Customer lifecycle content allows for handling each state of a customer: from awareness to consideration, from purchase to loyalty. Social cannot run on its own as a marketing channel: it needs to be supported by many other channels to be succesful, to have people really engage with your brand.

The content marketing trilogy: Discover, consume, share. Reacting on the web as a brand to clients sharing about products will help engagement.

16:01

Understanding audience will help you handle the crossroads of search vs social. What are they looking for, how do they want to consume certain types of content?

Optimized & socialized framework: research customer segments, keywords/topics/message, content & promotion plan, optimize/socialize/promote.

A central hub of content is important to sit at the center of all channels: the channels are interconnected but all lead to (and from) the central hub. Copywrites are not just responsible for creating but also for promoting that content. That is being measured specifically to continually measure success of all content.

Example: Azteca brand. Not integrated, so just few keywords (less than 100) leading to their website. Good example: J&O Fabrics: 4,419 phrases leading to their website.

Just say no to silos. To scale, companies need to look beyond just one channel and look at evolving a social business. Everything needs to be integrated to see the big picture, or important knowledge is lost.

16:15

Use, evaluate and recommend for social SEO best practices. Best practices can improve the process towards better efficiency and effectiveness.

Key takeaways: 1) customer centric keywords 2) incorporate SEO, SMO in processes and 3) ABO: always be optimizing.

Q from audience: why is Twitter so succesful with just 140 chars? Lee: use the text for the promise, and the landingpage behind a link to deliver on that promise. Twitter is convenient and direct. To publish the content, those 140 chars are sufficient for that.

16:32

Bryan Eisenberg has started his presentation – Think Differently: 10 lessons learned from Steve Jobs and his marketing, retail and customer experience teams.

Bryan Eisenberg presenting at Fusion Marketing Experience

Never lose focus of who your customer is.

Customer-centric companies are at the top of companies worldwide. Google, Amazon, Zappos and Apple are doing great. Example by Steve Jobs: People want to know Apple, and Apple at the core is about believing that people with passion can change the world. Apple wants to give customers the means to achieve that.

Apple makes clients the heroes of their purchases. They put the people in the middle of the story. Making devices better was about making them better than competition. Definition of better: figure out how to give the customer a better experience.

16:47

Making stuff easier to use for the customer has always been at center of Apple’s product development. The customer should be delighted about every detail of the product and the company. Touch points always matter: it leaves a lasting impression.

Help your customers help you: Apple has no dedicated social media team. Their fans handle questions.

Ask yourself: are you putting out a clear message telling how you will make people’s life better? How you can improve their work?

Most white papers never get read because they look boring. They don’t engage people. Focus on what people do, not what your product does.

Why is your product great for me? Why should I buy it?

Example of Verizon tablets. Boring commercial, not fun. Can people demonstrate your value. Example of iPad ad: technical ad about Intel chip production. Clean room people handling chips: Intel chips inside Mac computers.

Why did Apple do the ad? To win over all geeks that loved Intel chips. The focus was on just one feature.

Messages must be bite sized: There’s an app for that, think different, desktop publishing.

How did Apple get out of the gutter in 1997? Cut out almost all products except 4 (from 300 originally). Focus helps in clarity. Innovation helps to grow in the future, not cost-cutting.

Story: Bryan’s brother’s fiance got an expensive laptop replaced on which she spilled water: great customer experience.

There are no channels at Apple: there are only customers. Apple ad: when technology goes out of the way, everything becomes magical and delightful.

Instant gratification. Packaging details on Apple products are simple, basic. The packaging looks lovely, and people keep the boxes the products came in. Apple products work out of the box: no setup, no connecting to a computer needed. Instant gratification helps enormously for customer satisfaction.

Everything is common sense, but it’s paying attention to detail that matters, notes Bryan. What can you leave out, to bring back later? What is your ‘One More Thing?’ that Steve Jobs used in presentations? That is word-of-mouth, gets people talking.

10 commandments of Steve Jobs:

1) go for perfect 2) tap the experts 3) be ruthless (learn to say no) 4) shun focus groups 5) never stop studying 6) simplify 7) keep your secrets 8) keep teams small 9) use more carrot than stick 10) prototype to the extreme.

Bryan finishes his presentation.

17:18

Jamie Notter is up next, first a coffee break.

Jamie’s presentation will be ‘The people-centric organization: what it takes to succeed in the social age’.

Jamie Notter presenting at Fusion Marketing Experience event

Jamie opens his presentation saying he’s not a marketing guy – his expertise is conflict resolution.

How is social media transforming organizations and leadership? Company departments are fighting over control over social media, which makes them lose focus. Social media is left in hands of young enthusiasts, but without actual responsibility: they are not trusted with those tasks.

Companies don’t need better social media, they need better management. The way we run organizations is not working well: companies are successful in spite of management. Organizational management hasn’t changed in the past 50 years.

Breakthroughs have come from science, but current day management has not adjusted to current day events and cultures.

17:55

Management failures: losing focus, not being agile, being bad at engagement. Social media can be the saviour: it’s about what drives success on social media channels.

The power of social media: it gives us the power to create, share and learn. From that we can collaborate and solve problems.

What we need is human organizations: social media as well as management will work better. What are the human principles? Jamie asks the audience to talk to each other about them.

Jamie notes: open, generative, trustworthy and courageous. Why? Because that is what we want. Social media understands courage: it takes experimenting, evolving, change.

How to build these principles into an organization? Jamie takes open as an example.

Three things: decentralization. In machine-centric organizations, centralization was normal. But in human-centric organizations that is not preferrable: look for places where people can make decisions and take actions on their own.

Google does that with their employees with the 20% rule: they get to decide what project to work on. Who decides, who speaks, who acts?

18:14

Next to decentralization is systems thinking. Systems thinking is about understanding when you change something in one part of the organization, you’ll have impact on a different part of the organization. Remove all silos, even if it’s only for a short time.

The third piece of open organizations is ownership. People should be taking action and take responsibility. Build knowledge and skills. What is the knowledge people need to take the next step? They need to know your organization.

An employee orientation program should involve people completely into the organization. They should know it inside out, to be able to take ownership and take action later.

Organizations avoid conflict, they hate it. However conflict resolution is easy, the skills to handle them can be learned quickly.

Companies need to change, but they say change is hard. Jamie actually thinks change is not hard, but solving problems is. Change just happens, it’s not planned.

Recap:

Management is failing, because of machine-centric organizations
Social media is succeeding because of human principles.
Human organizations are our future because of change which is needed.

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  1. Pingback: Event report: Fusion Marketing Experience 2012 Antwerp – Day 2 - Emailblog.eu - Email marketing blogEmailblog.eu – Email marketing blog

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