Sunday, June 28, 2009

Traditional VS Social CRM

Relationships between companies and customers have evolved throughout the times, so must CRM tools. Traditional customer relationship management programs aim to control interactions with customers in term of business process. The idea is to organize these interactions to make it simpler for the company to process. These CRM tools have shown their efficiency but also their limits in term of customer satisfaction.

Hence to create FAQs pages on websites and call centers to deal with customers' inquiries make sens in terms of investment and running cost, but how could you expect customers to be happy whereas human transactions have been left behind?

Social CRM is a vague term, and might not be appropriate. It aims though to use the new social media technologies and ideas to enhance these traditional crm tools to incorporate more its customers.

Indeed, it is difficult to make coexist both traditional and social CRM, because they don't have either the same goal nor usage. The idea is to keep CRM structures in terms of data collection and cross unit management, but also to get more content driven by using what is going on in online communities to bond with customers.

That is the reason why community management is so important. The community manager needs to mak the link between both traditional CRM and social CRM to have something that makes sense to end users.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Social Media Users Tend To Be More Loyal

Social media place customers in the center of the attention. This interesting study social media users are 83% more likely to be loyal customers.

  • 20% of shoppers coming to the e-commerce site from one of the retailer`s social presences, including those on Ravelry and Flickr as well as its own blog, buy merchandise.
  • Social media users are 83% more likely to be very loyal to the brand compared with those shoppers who don`t use social media.
It shows up the link between the use of social media and customer experience, that drives to purchase. Social media proves it is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. Examples and case studies of social media used to enhance both customer service and experience are springing up. The time is now to take action.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Twitter Is Revolutionning PR

What is interesting is with web 2.0, companies are loosing the control of what is published about them. With blogs and forums, people can express themselves about what they think about the products and services.

But I believe Twitter is changing even more the public relationship job. Indeed, public relationship used to be about thinking and taking the time to get the right message at the right time. Twittering is totally the opposite. It must be quick, it must be free of corporate tune, and it must be interracting with people on the web.

Also, PR are not addressing themselves to media anylonger. They must post everything public as the information will be faster to spread via individuals owning blogs, Facebook accounts and other Twitter accounts. Anyone is a media now, and in order to be efficient in spreading the information, traditionnal media are not fast enough.

A crisis could emerge fast in couple of Tweets, as we have seen for example during the riots in Iran. Hence, PR must be as reactive, meaning they must be alerted to what is going on Twitter at anytime, and being able to set up a strong community to react efficiently.

How does old public relationship managers are experiencing this great shift? It seems that these people have been educated and managing their jobs in a way which is not appropriate to nowadays media. They must adapt themselves to a kind of communication they are far to master. Actually, we could expect the community manager position to replace somehow public relationship, or even more precisely, to integrate it.

I'd like to have your feedback on this one.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dell Generating Millions With Twitter

Nobody has been able to make money with Twitter yet? Well, apparently, computer constructor Dell seems to have found out a way to make its Twittering activities profitable.

According to a fresh Guardian article, Dell estimates it generated $3 millions thanks to its Twitter accounts.

"We're also seeing that it's driving interest in new product as well. We're seeing people come from @DellOutlet on Twitter into the site, and then ultimately decide to purchase a new system from elsewhere on If we factor those new system purchases that come from @DellOutlet, we're actually eclipsed $3 million in overall sales."

We need to be objective, these $3 million is nothing compared to Dell's overall sales of $12bn in the last three months. However, it shows out that Twitter could be a profitable activity. What would be interesting is to evaluate the return on investment Dell got, taking into considering the money spend and the staff set up for such a community management action.

I believe this has been very profitable

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Malls Among The Best Advertising Medium

Who would thoughts that mall would turn into a great advertising medium? A lot of people were considering malls dead with the appearance of Internet. Now malls are doing better.

What is interesting is that Malls are among the best promotional medium on a technical point of view. You could do print, you could have interactive booth, you could have sampler of shows, or simply billboards displayed.

It seems that advertisement present in shopping centers are well percieved by customers.

According to studies:

• 91% of teen shoppers notice poster display ads at the mall
• 85% notice hanging advertising banners
• 77% notice sampling
• 58% notice promotional events
• 57% notice TV/video screens
• 48% notice interactive displays/kiosks
• 31% notice moving images projected on the floor or walls

I have recently attended a conference in Paris about new technologies in the shopping centers, organized by DMC. What showed up during this event was the need for shopping centers companies to reinvent their business, and to find new ways to create value. Maybe through new technologies shopping centers could provide superior advertising possibilities to brands?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Inspiring Customers Thanks To Non Profit Organization Techniques

Non profit organization share in commons: they are inspiring. They are able to get emotional with their donors, because they have an inspiring goal. It could be to educate children in poor country. To help homeless people, to fight cancer...

To market such an organization isn't so hard on a branding point of view: as they have a great goal, they creat empathy. But what if businesses could be learning from their techniques in order to create an emotional bond with their customers? Here is a great article that considered the idea.

1. To inspire the consumer, you must help him believe in something that he once thought was impossible.

That is probably the toughest one. Indeed, non profit organization have this ability in their genes. They are meant to change the world, to fight for what is percieved as impossible. But for a company, that has a business relationship, this is difficult to have such an image. However, you could try to approach it by making your customer active, pushing him to interact, to share, and to create value, wether it is for the company (to improve products or service) or for the community, or even for himself.

2. To inspire the consumer, you must show genuine appreciation for her business.

Imagine how a customer would feel if he received a voice mail simply saying, "Thank you for being such a great customer [or client]. We are not calling to sell you anything else, only to say thank you."That is an original idea, but indeed, sometimes companies forget how much customers are important for them. Let's not forget that without customers, there is no business. You should be thankful for all transactions made.

3. To inspire the consumer, you must help him see that he is a part of a bigger community of world changers.

Indeed, you must explain why you are like that. That might be the easiest one once you have decided of a guideline, of how you are aiming to change the world.

This is a very interesting article. I don't believe these tools are so easy to leverage, but it is interesting to see how non profit organization are using them on a marketing standpoint.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Turning Green Is A Great Way To Create Facial Added Value

How could you raise up your mergins in these tough times, where innovations is harder to find? What about adopting a sustainable development approach, and turning green?

Of course, sustainable development is important as old production process will become more and more costly, especially due to tax threshold, and it is important to be ethical with the company's stakeholders. But a recent study has shown that a product’s “energy footprint” influences 77 percent for consumers’ purchasing decisions, with 76 percent willing to pay more at the register for environmentally-friendly products.

This is important because it underlines the importance of ethic in business nowadays. The fair trade trend is another way to create added value without innovation, and to raise up one's brand equity.

Even though the crisis eclipsed somehow the green hype that was going on the past few years, green business remain one of the main trade to follow for marketers in a near future.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Spamming Not Good For CRM

In terms of email marketing, one of the challenge remains the customer to open the message in order to convert it. Email is a very personal medium, and because it is cheap, a lot of companies are using it for communication. Of course, some of them abuse of it, which you commonly know as spamming.

A study shows out that North Americans customers are very fast to unsubscribe, especially when the message is irrelevant, or when emails are received too frequently.

CRM aims to develop a sustainable relationship between a company and its customers, by providing an accurate conversation, taking into accounts customer's background and potential.

The idea is to limit the number of message, in order to provide a great message for customers.

As a matter of fact, this is the main reason why Seth Godin has created the Permission Marketing idea. People always forget that as an interaction medium, the email accounts are very personnal and should be handled with care. Moreover, when a customer unsubscribe, you are getttin rid of data and the possibility to communicate with him.

Therefore, in order to limit the unsubscription, and to keep your opening rates high, it is important to use email marketing efficiently, proposing powerful communication and fitting with customers' will in terms of frequency.

Twitter To Launch A Microblogging Search Engine

Google published a note explaining they are about to launch a microblogging search engine. That's a while we are expecting such a move in this business. Actually, Twitter made it easy for Google to access information. Now one of the main concern I have is that one of the most predictable business modell of Twitter would have probably gone through advertising, on an Adword basis. But now, Google, The expert of search engine, is taking away this possibility. Twitter could still post advertisement on Twitter account's page, but as Google is getting in the business, they excell in having contextual advertising posted on pages. I believe this is the first move for Google prior to a soon to be buyout.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Bank Is Using Twitter For Community Management

Twitter is a powerful community management tool. Twitter, as a micro blogging service, enables people to spread information and thoughts fast on the web. Therefore, this is information to set up a community management strategy to connect with customers and solve problems and brand manage online brand reputation.

On a customer relationship management point of view, banks have always been able to set up powerful CRM systems, and therefore, it makes a lot of sense for them to follow the Twitter hype. First National Bank (FNB) might not be the first bank to own a Twitter account, but their story on it is pretty interesting.

They've created the RBJacobs account, which represents the bank. What is interesting in this case, is that the company has decided not to use directly the bank, but someone that imperson the bank. Why? Maybe to acknowledge the personnal speech versus the corporate message, which we all know is very strict in the bank industry. Or simply also because big companies don't own a great public image, and it could be better for them to aboad their customer relationship with a "somewhat" third party...

Also, an interesting quote :
“Some commentators are suggesting that Twitter could turn out to be a passing fad. However, in South Africa it's still in its infancy and FNB is deriving great benefit and insight by participating in this community,” adds Wertheim-Aymes.

Hence, FNB acknowledge that Twitter is still a hype, and it is yet to be embraced by the mass market. Nevertheless, they decided to get into the conversation, and test it before it spreads out. I actually believe this is a good strategy, as ways to use Twitter are emerging every day.

A New Cool Way To Use Twitter To Generate Business

What about if you could get some customers through Twitter? That is the idea cremebruleecart had. It is a creme brulée expert that owns a Twitter account. Whereever he goes in San Francisco, he posts a tweet, to inform its followers where they could get their creme brulees.

I have found this information on Loic Lemeur's blog, where you can find this interesting Youtube video about the concept.

This is a concrete example on how to use Twitter to promote your products and to leverage your community. I believe Twitter could become a great way to communicate on flash promotions and discounts.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Self Scanning Continues To Spread In France

Self scanning is a technology that enable customers to scan themselves products in order to avoid going to cashier. The main strength is to save time.

Self scanning in France is quite different from what it is in the US. Indeed, the customer don't go to a self check out spot, but is scanning products on the go, while grocery shopping. This is a big difference because with this concept you don't even need to do no line. You pick up the handheld, you shop and then you put it back.

Self scanning has been launched first by Auchan, and now, most of French grocery retailers own some stores equiped with such machines.

If I am quite wondering about the added value for customers of self check out, because you are basically getting rid of a service (someone scanning for you products), self scanning can save time to customers, and limit workforce expenses for retailers. Also, if self scanning springs up, it could save up room dedicated right now for cashiers to other products.


Ten Years Of Permission Marketing

Seth Godin has celebrated on his blog the ten years anniversary of the launch of his Permission Marketing book. This masterpiece is one of the core document of the new customer relationship management system.

Fighting over spamming and bad uses of customers data, Seth Godin defines a new way to interact with customers, based on their will, and their preferences. That gave the birth to opt-in emailing, among other principles.

"Ten years later, ethical email marketing is a billion dollar industry. Many companies have been built on the foundation of this simple idea, and some of them are quite profitable. Daily Candy sold to Comcast for more than $120 million and it is nothing but a permission marketing engine. More important, I think, the attitude of anticipated, personal and relevant messaging is changing the way organizations come to market.

A search on the term shows a bazillion matches, though I wish spammers would quit using the term to pretend that they are actually doing something worthwhile. It delights me to see my neologism enter the language, used by people who didn't even know that it came from a book that's only ten years old.

The biggest impact of Permission Marketing isn't that there is less spam. In fact, there's more, because it's so cheap. No, the biggest measurable impact is the growth of truly opt in marketing, from close to zero to a number big enough that we've all seen it and are part of it. Not just email lists, of course, but RSS feeds and yes, Google AdWords.

Some lessons about accidental success:

  1. Fred Hills, the editor who worked with me at Simon & Schuster, had worked on books by Nabokov and others. The fact that he didn't do a lot of business books gave me the freedom to write the book I wanted to write. Thankfully, he largely left me alone to make my own mistakes.
  2. Because I got a small advance and wasn't a key book on their list, I had a lot of freedom. They let me art direct the cover, which ended up being a big win for the book and for my brand.
  3. Brian Smale, who took the cover photo, was one of the new breed of magazine photographers who worked hard not to take boring photos. In those days, that was a revolutionary idea.
  4. This was the first book where I started my tradition of using the ideas in the book to market the book. In this case, a simple permission offer: if you visit, I'll send you the first four chapters of the book for free. And you'll never get another note from me as a result. The only reason my publisher approved this idea is that they believed it would never work. Ten years later, I have no idea how many millions of people have written to that address, but it's a lot. (Yes, it still works).
  5. I didn't have a grand organized promotional plan. I didn't orchestrate a movement. I just wrote a book and talked about it and tried to take my own advice.

There's a lot of updating that the book could use, because when I wrote it there was no Google, Facebook, Twitter, universal email access, widespread high bandwidth connectivity, browsers that rarely crashed or iPhones. But I'm going to let it stand as is, because keeping it up to date is a never ending task. I hope the general concepts stand the test of time. The biggest thing I'd change is the emphasis on games and prizes over promises and connection and information. I think the latter end up scaling better and are more universal and reliable."

Seth Godin is probably one of the most influential marketer of our time, and I invite you to read this great book

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Can You Build A Community?

Most of the companies are dreaming about creating their own community thanks to the new social media. Hence, there are many reasons why they would like to interact with such a community:
  • A community is a group of involved customers that would be the ambassadors of the brand
  • They know the products and could be used to improve products or identify new products defects
  • Having a community is a new medium which could provide a high return on investment during marketing campaigns as they have an emotional bond with the brand.
Therefore a lot of companies are embracing the idea of creating a community. Now that the hype has gone by, some people are wondering now if it is possible to build a community.

That is the question Loic Lemeur asked on his blog.

What is for sure is that building a community is not an easy task. We have already discussed about this topic on this blog.

In fact, even though you are a big corporation and you already own a great data base of customers, that doesn't imply you will be able to set up an active community. Indeed, the most difficult task is to get your community active. If someone has subscribe and entered its contact information, it doesn't mean his going to come back on a regular basis, nor to become a user and interact with the brand.

That is the reason why I believe any kind of community creation should be associated to a social media plateform like Facebook, in order to get people that participate and that would actually use your community, versus creating your own private community.

As a matter of fact, some brands struggle to generate a community for two main reasons:

- First, because most of the time they are creating a community which is a copycat of Facebook or a blog platform, that wouldn't create no added value to customers.

- Secondly, building a community requires time. Of course, if you are a big corporation, you could always leverage your customers' data base, and have a great marketing campaigns which would generate you leads, but a community needs to be active. It isn't a sprint but more like a marathon, and therefore it isn't an efficient way to create a community.

The key is therefore developping an added value service that will provided a daily service, which will create bonds with the community.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Video Camp 3 Paris, 20 juin 2009

Retenez la date et venez nous rejoindre pour célébrer ce Vidéo Camp.

Le Web devient de plus en plus visuel... les jeunes générations font de YouTube leur nouveau moteur de recherche...

Quelles, sont les nouvelles tendances en terme d'usage, de techno... Comment se porte Silverlight, comment réagit Adobe ? Et pourtant, cela reste très difficile aujourd'hui de faire un Business Model qui permette aux entreprises comme Google, DailyMotion, d'être rentable. Elles en sont bien loin (c'est faux?) !

Il semble qu'il y ait moins de projets portés par des startups sur le domaine de la vidéo... vous confirmez ?

Comment se portent les videocasts, les programmes video face au modèle de programmes viellissant ?

Bref, de quoi faire le point un an après le 1er VideoCamp à la Cartonnerie...

PPC et Henri Kaufman ont quelque chose à célébrer... ils vous diront cela de vive voix...

Et pour les passionnés, des bons moments fraternels, nous organiseront un #OpenKitchen... en clair on va cuisiner toute la journée (en bonus : en live streaming s'il vous plait) pour un bon repas de fin de journée bien mérité !

Alors ?
Pour s'enregistrer c'est là
On vous attend... vous venez ?! Oui, oui, ouyi, oui, on compte sur vous..............

Moi j'en serai, et je serai ravi de vous y rencontrer!