Monday, May 4, 2015

Marketing: Art Meets Science

Most marketing professionals are familiar with the 4 P’s of marketing. In the early 1950’s, Neil Borden outlined key elements of the marketing mix: Product, price place and promotion. The traditional secret to success in marketing was the regular review of the 4 P's, changing the mix to adapt to perceived changes in customer needs and other external influences. The nature of marketing was personal, manual, and creative, resting on the marketer’s intuition, sales team feedback, customer surveys, and market information from research analysts. 

In technology companies, IT and product engineering, and to some extent, finance, have been the most technology-intensive areas of business, while marketing was seen as art more than science.  What marketer hasn’t seen and bristled at the sardonic attitudes of engineering and technical management toward marketers,an area they see as emotional, ‘artsy’, and lacking in rational, fact-based decision-making?

With the emergence of advanced analytics and metrics for business, the capabilities and tools for making truly data-driven decisions in marketing has become a reality, and marketers are embracing more methodical approaches to decisions on branding, promotions, advertising and to monitor lead management and conversion rates.

Forces driving the move to technology-driven marketing
The immediate nature of mobile and web technologies has inspired a demand for rapid information and answers, and growing expectations that marketing decisions be data-based and defensible. Consider these examples:
  • Web-based purchasing of products and services, both in consumer and B2B space, have expanded our ability to comparison shop on a 24x7 basis,
  • Increased use of mobile technologies, with location tracking and personalization, feeds extreme targeting in mobile advertising;
  • Growing expectations for rapid, fact-based decision-making in marketing: what’s our customer acquisition cost, and how can we reduce it? What mix of offers, to which micro-segments, will bring the greatest increase in sales?  What’s the lifetime value of a customer?
In response to these forces demanding real-time detailed metrics on consumers, traffic, preferences and buying patterns, an entire category of tools has emerged to serve the needs of data-driven marketers.

Trends in technology-driven marketing:
  • Automated email tools are increasingly integrated with CRM platforms
  • Social media monitoring tools with sentiment analysis help marketers track the brand’s online reputation, and tap into trending interests.
  • Content Marketing applications support the processes of curating, writing, editing, and publishing content in the form of newsletters, e-zines, blog posts, landing pages, and other content.
  • Marketing cloud solutions, and data management platforms are allowing marketers to create a data warehouse that includes information from advertising sites, web campaigns, and internal sales and CRM databases, to cross-analyze and gain new insights about customers.
  • Open APIs and strategic partnering allow integration across the entire marketing/sales funnel, from initial advertising, prospect tracking, lead scoring, and behavior up to and after product purchase.  Integration across the entire spectrum is complex at this point, but becoming increasingly user-friendly.

These are just a few examples from a burgeoning space. The number of companies offering marketing technology tools, from mobile marketing to SEO, lead management, content creation, social media management, and marketing analytics has more than doubled from 2014 to 2015, from 947 to over 1800 companies.   See Chiefmartec blog for a great infographic on this trend.

A trend is validated, of course, when investments are made. The rise of the “Chief Marketing Technologist” role in larger companies is evidence in the growing importance of technology in support of marketing strategies.  The new role of CMT has been described as “part strategist, part creative and part technologist,” comparing to the likes of CTOs and CIOs.

He or she drives many aspects of marketing, including branding, content marketing, and managing the data.  A shift to true data-driven marketing is underway, and soon Dogbert, (who was recently promoted to Chief Marketing Technologist), will be able to run predictive analytic reports to forecast upgrade sales by region, based on known customer behaviors.

The Gartner report, "The Rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist" found several patterns in comparing organizations with a CMT to those without a leader in marketing technology.  These patterns reflect the comfort with, and preference for, technology solutions to achieve marketing goals. 

Marketing organizations led by a CMT
  • Will spend 11.7% of their revenue on marketing, compared with 7.1% for those who don’t.
  • Will spend 30% of their marketing budget on digital marketing, compared with 21% for those who don’t.
  • Will spend 9.8% of their marketing budget on innovation, compared with 5.0% for those who don’t.
Building a Technology-driven Marketing Organization
Clearly, the early success stories outlined by Gartner are larger companies with deep pockets. But medium and smaller companies don’t necessarily need a CMT, or a huge budget, to take advantage of marketing technology trends.  Tips for success in leveraging marketing technology in your organization:
  • Identify or hire a team member who has technical aptitude or experience, and an interest in growing into marketing technology management.  This may be a developer or IT person with a particular interest in customers and business strategy, or, it may be a social media coordinator with an interest in learning marketing automation and lead scoring. 
  •  Start a small search advertising program. Take some budget from traditional print ads and start running Google Ads based on keyword searches.  In additional to drawing new leads, you’ll learn about the interests of potential customers in your market, based on search term analysis.
  • Create a presence on one or two key social  media sites.  For B2B, LinkedIn will likely be a fit. For a small investment in time to learn the features, you can have a voice in the user groups on topics that highlight your expertise, building your brand and growing a network of potential customers and partners.

At the end of the day, the 4 P’s of marketing are still relevant.  Science - advanced data analytics and technology tools - will continue to provide us with relevant information to support informed decisions, implement programs faster, and monitor results more effectively.  But it’s the art – customer empathy that contributes to better product designs, messaging that resonates, and creative, engaging content - that puts the heart in marketing.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Which is Better, Email or Social Media?


AdWeek ran a recent post questioning whether email has lost ground to social networks, instant messaging, and mobile-messaging apps.  Evidence from recent market research says that social media is additive to email as a means of reaching and engaging with potential customers.  And, email is still significantly more effective at acquiring customers than social media, according to McKinsey & Company research. 

Email marketing not only continues to play a significant role in the B2B marketing mix, our expectations of it continue to grow.  With effective email marketing, and the advent of integrated CRM and marketing automation tools, marketers can build a brand following, improve open rates, increase reader engagement, and move them along to become customers and enthusiastic recommenders of a product or service.

Email is an integral touch point in the customer relationship for the majority of marketers.  In the Salesforce marketing cloud 2015 State of Marketing survey, 73% agree that email marketing is core to their business. Sixty percent of marketers in the 2015 survey said that email is a critical enabler of products and services, vs. 42% of marketers who held that sentiment in 2014.  The growing importance of email may be in part due to its convenience.  Rampant growth in the use of smartphones – offering essentially an inbox in your pocket – has made email ubiquitous.
 
Sending email marketing messages to a qualified target that 1) the message is opened and read, and 2) moves the reader to take action is the essential first step.  The fundamentals – message, timing, and audience targeting - still apply.  For a refresher, read Dr. Leslie Garrett’s recent article, Cornerstones of an Effective Email Marketing Campaign

Once your email program is running, establish processes for performance measurement and continuous improvement. Author and business process improvement expert James Harrington said “If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” 

As practitioners marketers are continuing to learn and use metrics to track email success.  The top three metrics used to track email marketing success, named by the 5,000+ Salesforce survey respondents are click-through rates (47%), conversion rates (43%), and click-to-open rates (38%).  With some relatively simple email testing, you can identify the subject lines and offers that are of greatest interest to your audience.  Strengthening the message and offer will increase open and click-through rates.

Email Marketing Trends in 2015 and beyond: Personalization and Segmentation
Just as we have become accustomed to tracking email metrics, we face new opportunities in the personalization and segmentation of emails. eMarketer predicts that 2015 will be the year for “smart use of data”.  Marketing is increasingly shifting from art to science, with the growing availability of tools to support data-driven decisions. Watch future blog posts here on the new automation tools to support lead scoring, audience segmentation and personalization in email marketing.  May your open rates double in 2015!


Monday, March 9, 2015

Are You Mobile-Friendly? Prepare for Google’s New Changes in Search

Have you ever selected a Google search result on your phone, and found that the content was too wide for the display, fonts too small or irregular size, and content just painful to read?  It’s likely that web page has not been optimized for viewing on a mobile device.
As marketers, we aspire to understand our audience, know where and how they want information, and to deliver that information at the right time, on the right device.  So if your audience is using mobile phones and tablets to access the internet, you’ll want to be aware of the need to optimize for mobile devices.
Web users in the U.S. now spend the majority of their digital consumption time in mobile applications – more than on desktop computers or mobile web surfing.  Mobile usage on the whole, including web browsing and app usage accounts for 60% of time spent using digital media, with desktop activity making up the remaining 40%.

Mobile-friendly websites in search results

Beginning April 21, 2015, Google will be using mobile-friendly factors in its mobile search results.  This means that a web page that has been optimized to work well on mobile devices will rank higher in search results.  Google said this algorithmic change will have a “significant impact” in the mobile search results, impacting all languages worldwide.  A Google blog post also said “users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

So what’s a ‘mobile-friendly’ web page?

According to Google, a page is eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:
·        Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
·        Uses text that is readable without zooming
·        Sizes content to the screen so users don't have to scroll horizontally or zoom
·        Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

Content from Indexed Apps to Appear in Search Results

Apps indexed by Google will also benefit from recent changes. Google said that apps that are indexed by Google through App Indexing will begin to rank better in mobile search. Google said this only will work for signed-in users who have the app installed on their mobile devices, which means only Android apps today, but likely to expand to other platforms in the future. Google explained this “may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search.”

Why should you care?

Facts about law firms and company legal departments, from the 2014 ILTA Tech Survey show that attorneys in 98% of responding organizations use mobile devices for email or internet access.  So your customers are likely more active on mobile devices than you might have guessed.
Your very brand and reputation are influenced by the web experience you provide to users, especially if, like many Edge Legal Marketing client companies, you are in the technology space.  If a prospect seeking, for example, case management software, should find your website in Google search results, click through and have a frustrating experience on your site, it will reflect poorly on your company and products.  Technology companies are held to a higher standard of quality on the web.

What to do Next

A simple test, if you have not done this, is to visit your website using your mobile device. Navigate many if not all pages, and check the quality of the experience.  Note any problems you see in links, page viewing, or readability.
To get help with making a mobile-friendly site, ask your webmaster to check out Google’s guide to mobile-friendly sitesA person with webmaster level skill can get ready in time for the April change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:

·  To test a few pages, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test.
·   Get a list of mobile usability issues across your site usiing the Mobile Usability Report.
·    You can also see Google’s mobile guidelines

·    If you offer apps, check Google detail on app indexing. Get your app indexed for the best user experience.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ricoh Enhances Workflows & Reduces Costs For Firms

Ricoh Americas Corporation today unveiled a new offering that, when combined with select Ricoh multifunction products (MFPs), creates a Legal MFP that delivers improved end-user workflows while also enhancing operational efficiencies and helping to lower overall costs. Law firms seeking to reduce redundancies related to cost recovery will benefit from the single, integrated user interface, which helps minimize steps in the process and integrates access to third-party document management systems. Ricoh will preview its Legal MFP at LegalTech, February 3-5, 2015, in New York City in Ricoh’s booth, #231.

With the largest network of document processing centers in the U.S., Ricoh’s certified personnel have hands-on experience with the processing of legal documents. This expertise, and investments in innovative technology offerings, has led to the development of the Legal MFP. With this MFP software solution, law firms will: 

• Reduce unneeded steps involved in the scanning process. Today, using disjointed systems can be tedious and take up precious minutes that could otherwise be dedicated to another matter. With Ricoh’s Legal MFP, redundancies in steps are reduced and the overall scanning experience is more streamlined.

• Scan to legal Document Management Systems including iManage, WorldDox, and OpenText. This approach streamlines previously disjointed processes to minimize the number of steps by end-users and eliminates data entry redundancy, e.g. log-in credentials, client matter numbers, etc. 

• Automatically split files to court-specified file size limits and convert them to the appropriate file format.

“Our team of certified legal experts spends many hours with clients truly getting to the bottom of their pain points. These conversations have made it clear that law firms are seeking improvement in two main areas of document output: lowered spend on cost recovery systems and centralization of third-party systems,” said Matt Sakauchi, Vice President, Product Marketing, Ricoh Americas Corporation. “Knowing this, Ricoh has made strategic investments in both our people and technologies to help our clients see these improvements. The Legal MFP is a perfect example of a solution developed to meet our clients’ needs – enabling them to streamline workflows and lower overall output costs.” 

For a demonstration of Ricoh’s Legal MFP, please visit the Ricoh booth (#231) at LegalTech or reach out to Tracey Sheehy at tsheehy@breakawaycom.com to schedule a meeting at the show.
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| About Ricoh |

Ricoh is a global technology company specializing in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in about 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ending March 2014, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 2,195 billion yen based on the IFRS accounting standard (approx. 21.3 billion USD).
The majority of the company's revenue comes from products, solutions and services that improve the interaction between people and information. Ricoh also produces award-winning digital cameras and specialized industrial products. It is known for the quality of its technology, the exceptional standard of its customer service and sustainability initiatives.
Under its corporate tagline, imagine. change. Ricoh helps companies transform the way they work and harness the collective imagination of their employees.

For further information, please visit www.ricoh.com/about/

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© 2015 Ricoh Americas Corporation. All rights reserved. All referenced product names are the trademarks of their respective companies.

 

By Guest Blogger: Ricoh Americas Corporation

Leading Deposition Software Provider Further Eliminates Paper-Related Costs of Litigation by Expandi

eDepoze, LLC, today announced the release of Witness Prep 2.0TM, a new software application that digitizes the witness preparation process, making it possible for attorneys to prepare witnesses for deposition, arbitration or trial using electronic documents through an in-person or remote session. With Witness Prep 2.0, eDepoze provides a cloud-based application for sharing documents and conducting witness interviews remotely, eliminating the time consuming and costly process of printing boxfuls of documents to review and traveling to numerous face-to-face witness prep sessions. As an extension of eDepoze’s mission to ‘Kill the Paper,’ Witness Prep 2.0 will share the same platform as the industry-leading eDepoze deposition software, the latest version of which the company announced yesterday.

By Guest Blogger: eDepoze

Upgrades to the Leading Paperless Deposition Software Further Eliminate the Inefficiencies Associate

eDepoze, LLC, today announced the release of version 2.0 of the eDepoze litigation software platform, upgrading its leading deposition software with feature enhancements throughout the product and improved remote capabilities. With this release, eDepoze is making it easier than ever for attorneys to streamline the deposition process by eliminating paper exhibits and costly travel. New streaming text and presentation features enable users to remotely review and share deposition materials and court reporter feeds in real-time during a deposition.

By Guest Blogger: eDepoze

Ipro and D4 Join Forces to Streamline eDiscovery

NEW YORK, February 4, 2015 - Ipro Tech, LLC, a worldwide leader in the design of eDiscovery workflow software, today announced D4, LLC, an industry leader in providing managed data and discovery services to law firms and corporate legal departments, will leverage and resell Ipro’s Enterprise Suite and Automated Digital Discovery (ADD) workflow to streamline processes and further enhance its customer offerings.

     Ipro Enterprise Suite is an integrated, easy-to-use eDiscovery solution. It includes Allegro for early case assessment, eCapture for high-speed processing, and Eclipse for web-based reviews and productions. The Ipro Enterprise Suite is designed with Automated Digital Discovery (ADD) to eradicate time-consuming, costly, and error-prone workflows that plague the industry.

 “After an extensive evaluation, we found Ipro’s efforts to simplify and automate the eDiscovery workflow quite unique and forward-thinking,” mentioned John Holland, CEO of D4. “We’re confident that by utilizing the entire Ipro Enterprise Suite, we will dramatically improve our clients’ overall experiences, as well as reduce their litigation spend.”

Known as a leader in managed services, D4 will offer Ipro Eclipse with its integrated and advanced Technology Assisted Review (TAR) in a hosted environment to its clients nationwide. It will also resell Ipro Eclipse and Eclipse SE, the company’s leading review tools, to clients needing in-house review tools.

“D4 has a renowned reputation for operational excellence and service, and we’re excited to work more closely together to deliver the best possible results for clients,” said Kim Taylor, President and COO, Ipro.

About Ipro Tech, LLC

Headquartered in Phoenix, Ipro continues to expand its worldwide network of service providers, law firms, and corporate legal departments nationwide. Founded in 1989, Ipro is a global leader in the development of advanced eDiscovery software solutions. Ipro’s Enterprise Suite helps customers organize, review, process, and produce litigation data of vast sizes and complexity more efficiently and cost-effectively than ever before. To learn more visit www.iprotech.com; to schedule a private demonstration, email sales@iprotech.com

 

About D4, LLC

D4 is a leading national provider of Managed Data and Discovery services to law firms and corporations. D4 was one of the first providers to offer an eDiscovery Managed Services solution, which launched in 2011. D4 has been instrumental in helping customers realize up to 70% in cost reductions over previous eDiscovery solutions. The company’s state-of-the-art data center operations in Rochester, NY, are complemented by electronic discovery and litigation support offices throughout the country. D4 has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. for four consecutive years. Visit www.d4discovery.com  for more information.

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By Guest Blogger: IPRO Tech