Archive for the ‘Strategy’ category

5 Simple Rules for Job Seekers to Avoid a Social Media Pandora’s Box

September 7, 2011

By Sean Jones, VP of Technology & Interactive Media, AIS Media, Inc*.

In today’s job market, both job seekers and employers are increasingly seeking to leverage social media. While candidates use social media to increase their reach, hiring managers are also using social media to screen potential candidates – often prior to an interview. For many candidates, their social media profile can make or break their career.

When used properly, a social media presence can help a candidate stand out from the rest. However, some will never know why they didn’t heard from the company they applied to.  Beer-strewn kitchens, scantily clad co-eds, late night ‘check ins’ or rants on your current employer may all be publically available to potential employers.

Social media, for all its benefit, can be a Pandora’s Box for those who don’t follow 5 simple rules.

1) The Company You Keep
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are great resources for social outreach and provide a snapshot view of you and your interests – including your friends, followers and people you follow.  While party, swimsuit or bar pictures may be fun for you and your friends, and potential employer viewing these may question your judgment if your private life is made overly public.  Consider also your groups and interests – a candidate with groups and interest relevant to the career being pursued will most often be viewed as a more viable than the candidate with either no professional groups/interests or whose interests are purely social.

2) Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
Being able to ‘check in’ and share where you are at and what you are doing is a great way to meet up with friends, but be aware of these are often publically available.  Constant check-ins at bars, clubs, etc., particularly through the week and the early hours of the morning can give a potential employer the impression that you party too much or may not be prepared for work the next day.

3) Insider Trading
Every employee is aware of ‘inside’ information about their work place – from corporate politics to business practices to employee complaints.  Facebook status updates, tweets and LinkedIn updates can all be easily seen, and no employer wants to see an employee airing their ‘dirty laundry’ in a public forum.

A potential employer who sees this can only presume that you’d do the same thing at your new job.  Not only might your new employer see this, but potential customers and clients as well, which is a risk most employers simply won’t take.

4) Politics and Religion May Not Be Your Friend
Politics and religion are two areas of conversation best left to close friends, or political candidates.  These topics can be polarizing for potential employers as well as their customers and clients.

While political affiliations, church or religious groups are a common part of many people’s lives, those affiliations are appropriate to bring into the workplace. Considering the continued growth of global business, it pays for companies to watch their Ps and Qs.  Any employer wants their team to work cohesively, and those that may rock the boat too much, could be seen as more trouble than they’re worth.

5) Souring Your Personal Brand
Every post, every tweet, every LinkedIn update has the potential to make or break your social clout and reputation. As more employers screen candidate’s social media profiles, posts that could be considered embarrassing or damaging to an employer can cripple your chances for an interview.

Before you post on a public forum, consider what an employer would think should they see it.  Would it enhance or degrade your image in the eye of an employer? Would you be prepared to discuss the post in an interview? If not, it’s best to avoid posting it publically.

More highly talented and qualified candidates are competing for fewer jobs today. As more companies make use of social media to review potential employees, your online profile has become as important as your credentials.

*AIS Media, Inc. 
3340 Peachtree Road, Suite 750
Atlanta, GA 30326 USA
t: (404) 751-1043 | f: (404) 751-1044
www.aismedia.com

www.youtube.com/AISMedia

 

© Copyright 2011 AIS Media, Inc.

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Former Google CEO on Social Networking: “I Screwed Up”. A Lesson You Can’t Afford to Ignore.

June 7, 2011

by Thomas Harpointner,  founder and CEO of AIS Media, Inc

Speaking at the D9 tech conference in May, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt acknowledged he’s been aware of the competitive threat posed by social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for five years but failed to do anything about it.

In an interview with AllTHingsD’s Kara Swisher, Schmidt admitted he “screwed up” with social networking. “I clearly knew I had to do something and failed to do it, Schmidt said. “The CEO should take responsibility.”

When pressed about why he didn’t focus more on social networking, Schmidt simply answered, “I was busy.”  Schmidt was so focused on Google’s day-to-day operations; he didn’t give social networking the necessary attention.  Schmidt described his failure with social as his biggest regret.

If you’re a CEO, there may be a valuable lesson for you as well. Are you “pulling a Schmidt” with social media as well? Unless you’ve been completely sheltered from the Internet over the past few years, you’re also aware of the impact social media is making on nearly every aspect of online marketing today. But what have you done about it?

Recently, Facebook trumped Google as the number one visited website in the U.S. Social media is now the number one online activity.

Does your company have a social media strategy? If so, how satisfied have you been with the results it has produced so far? If you’re not sure how to measure social media marketing performance or don’t see a measurable ROI, you’re probably missing some critical components. For social media to deliver the best possible results, it must be properly integrated with your other marketing and advertising initiatives. It should never operate in a silo.

Consider also how your social media strategy is being implemented. Who are you charging with the responsibility? An effective social media program requires a multitude of competencies including planning, creative design, content development, technical know-how, and performance analysis. Essentially, you need a team of people with diverse skillsets that all work together in perfect harmony, focused on common goals.

The response rates from traditional ads can dramatically increase when there’s a solid digital tie-in. A magazine ad, for example, that offers readers the option to “friend us on Facebook” or displays a QR code with a link to a website landing page or social media landing page can deliver far higher ROI than an identical ad with only a phone number as a call to action (CTA). Additionally, after a reader “friends” your company on Facebook, their Facebook are instantly notified of their action and you have an open channel of communication to them. Consider that value of this alone!

If you’ve purchased prospect lists you know that highly targeted, opt-in, accurate and fresh lists can be extremely expensive – and often incredibly difficult to come by.

With that in mind, how much would you be willing to pay for a 100% accurate list of 1,000 highly targeted prospects who have expressed an interest in a product or service identical to yours within the last few weeks? Or, what if you owned such a list, how much would you charge if someone wanted to purchase it from you? That’s the value of your Facebook fan base!

If you’re running paid advertisements but you’re not building an opt-in list, you’re leaving a LOT of money on the table. If that’s the case, I encourage you to revisit your marketing strategy, thoroughly explore how well your digital and social media initiatives are integrated into your traditional advertising and how well all elements are working together to maximize your ROI.

About Thomas Harpointner

Thomas Harpointner is founder and CEO of AIS Media, Inc. Thomas sets AIS Media’s strategic direction and he enjoys being actively engaged in the strategic and creative direction with key client accounts. Thomas is recognized as a digital and social media marketing thought-leader, strategist, author and speaker. AIS Media is an Atlanta, GA based award-winning digital engagement agency known for connecting companies, organizations and brands with their target customers through performance-driven creative integrated digital and social media marketing. For more, visit:www.aismedia.com

How to Acquire More Customers: The Killer Business Strategy

May 9, 2011

By Ken Robbins, Response Mine Interactive (RMI)

 The amazing thing about business is that having more smart corporate executives in a company can actually lead to an increase in dumb decisions that lose money and confuse or irritate customers. Corporate policy, financial targets and even the organization itself often create unintended consequences from decisions that alienate customers and impede profits.

From start-up companies to the Fortune 100, most bad decisions come down to the company not having a basic go-to-market strategy that is known and understood by every manager and leader. The absence of such a well-understood strategy leaves companies with conflicts in their day-to-day decision making. This leads to businesses ignoring loyal customers; disregarding better margins; creating marketing and advertising programs that overlook profits and new customers; and employing marketing practices that annoy consumers.

As a business owner, customer acquisition is the most essential strategy in your marketing arsenal. A high-value customer is someone who is going to buy more, complain less, refer friends and colleagues, and then buy again. Converting leads into high-value customers is the single most powerful lever in your marketing process.

Before embarking on a customer acquisition program ask yourself these five questions:

1) How many new customers did we acquire last month?

2) How do we irrirate our customers?

3) What’s the difference between average customers and best customers?

4) What are our conversion rates?

5) What do our best customers like to buy from us?

There are more than 30 search marketing tactics that we use at RMI to help our clients acquire more customers while better aligning their marketing with process and strategy. By focusing on all of these tactics – not just bidding – we have been able to generate billions of dollars in revenue for our clients over the past decade.  These tactics are divided into four categories, all centered around measurement. Let’s begin with creative.

Creative: Google, and all the search engines, want the best content to rise to the top. Best content is always that which is most relevant to the users’ queries. That means creative, varied by keyword, is the most powerful set of tactics you can employ. Some tips:  Insert keywords in description. Put brand of product in title. Organize keywords in more ad groups.

Keywords and Match Types: Never start off with broad match.  When the strategy pendulum swings in the other direction with only exact match in the account, you end up cutting out too much volume. There is a way to get both.  Set up every keyword to run on all three match types.  Some other tips for keywords:  Buy plurals. Buy misspellings. Go very long tail. For match types:  Buy every keyword on exact match. Buy the same keywords on multiple match types and track separately.

Bidding:  Bidding is the most powerful lever you can pull to increase or decrease volume quickly. That’s why it is so overused. Simple stated, you should raise the winners in your campaign and lower the losers. Some tips: Manage budget by day of week.  Adjust bids seasonally. Raise/lower bids by ROI.

Measurement: Measure everything. Measure the clicks, sales and calls by keyword. This is the only way you can tell if the keyword is productive and profitable. Some other tips:  Measure at ad group level. Measure assist of non-brand to brand. Measure ROI at keyword level.

So, how do you increase customer growth and drive long-term profits for your company? Align your marketing with your business process and strategy. Make sure everyone within your organization understands your go-to-market plan. Invest in acquiring more customers and focus on the lifetime value of the customer. Above all else, efficiently acquire high-value customers. Now that’s the killer business strategy.

Ken will be presenting “How to Acquire More Customers:  The Killer Business Strategy” during the upcoming DMA ATL luncheon on May 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Maggiano’s Perimeter. To register for the event, click here.

About the Author

Ken Robbins is the founder and president of Response Mine Interactive (RMI), an Atlanta-based, award-winning digital agency that helps clients acquire more customers using direct response digital marketing.

For the past decade, Ken and his team have generated billions of dollars in revenue for leading brands in the b2b, healthcare, travel, and home services channels. Some of his agency’s clients include: The Home Depot, Rooms To Go, Carter’s, Osh Kosh B’gosh, Liberty Medical, The Scooter Store, Education First Educational Tours, Maid Brigade, Terminix and formerly Staples, Travelzoo and Hallmark.

With more than 26 years of combined sales and marketing experience, Ken is a well-respected marketing guru and business strategist that has spoken at more than a dozen tradeshows, conferences and events. He is  a sought-after business and marketing resource for a variety of leading industry publications and is a contributor to the book, The Digital Media Innovation Playbook, due to hit shelves in August 2011. Ken is also a guest marketing and business lecturer at Emory University and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

When Ken is not with his wife and three children, you’ll find him playing Words with Friends, Twittering or sitting stoically at a poker table.

Author Contact Information
Ken Robbins

Website:  www.responsemine.com

Email:  ken.robbins@responsemine.com

Phone:  404-233-0370

How to Pitch the Right Product, to the Right Customer, and at the Right Time

February 8, 2011


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Dr. V. Kumar* | Georgia State University

In the last column, we discussed the resource allocation strategies available to managers when adopting The Wheel of Fortune Strategy@ to maximize CLV. In this column, we will focus on the decision to pitch the right product, to the right customer, and at the right time.

Why follow this strategy? Most firms offer an array of products/services. It would be useful for a firm to predict the relative probabilities of different product/service categories being bought at different times from a given firm, given the varying purchase patterns of each of its customers. This would enable firms to send out sales and promotion messages to their customers that are relevant to the products that are more likely to be purchased next. This way the firm does not waste or duplicate its sales and marketing efforts.

How does this strategy work? The timing of a customer’s next purchase is predicted first, and given this information, the product most likely to be purchased by the customer next is identified. We would need historical data on customer-level purchases on the products bought and the time of each purchase. Using this data, we can estimate the probability a customer will choose a particular product (essential to build a choice model), and the probability that a customer will make a purchase at a particular time (essential to build a timing model). Then, customers are divided into two groups – test and control groups. For the control group, all the customers are contacted with the pitch to sell all the products in all the time periods (Status Quo). For the test group, only those customers who are expected to purchase in a given quarter are contacted (Proposed). The test group customers are pitched only with those products they are expected to purchase based on the predictions of the purchase sequence model. Then, the returns on investment for the marketing efforts are calculated separately for the test and control groups and compared to ascertain the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

What are the benefits of implementing this strategy? When this strategy was implemented in a B2B high-technology firm, 85% of the customers predicted by this model to make a purchase actually went on to do so![1] This indicates the robustness of the model used. Additionally, such a strategy was also able to improve the firm’s profits by an average of $1,600 per customer, representing an increase in ROI of 100%. This strategy was also implemented in a financial services firm that resulted in an increase in the firm’s profits by $450 per customer (on average), representing an ROI increase of 200%. Therefore, by understanding the purchase sequence, firms can target the right product to the right customer at the right time. It helps in increasing cross-buy and revenue apart from decreasing marketing costs, thus leading to an incremental ROI. This also helps firms devise effective cross-sell and up-sell strategies. This, when integrated with CLV measure, can help companies design the most optimal marketing strategy directed towards offering the right product to the right customer at the right time through the most cost-effective channel.

 

*V. Kumar (VK) is the Richard and Susan Lenny Distinguished Chair Professor in Marketing, Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Brand & Customer Management, and the Director of the Ph.D. program, J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. vk@gsu.edu

@ Managing Customers For Profit (Wharton School Publishing) – V. Kumar


[1] For additional reading please refer Kumar, V., R. Venkatesan, & W. Reinartz, (2006), “Knowing What to Sell, When, and to Whom,” Harvard Business Review, 84, 131-137 and; Kumar, V., R. Venkatesan, & W. Reinartz, (2008), “Performance Implications of Adopting a Customer-Focused Sales Campaign,” Journal of Marketing, 72, 50-68.