tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/strategy-operations Latest Strategy & Operations content from Econsultancy 2016-07-27T14:02:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68102 2016-07-27T14:02:00+01:00 2016-07-27T14:02:00+01:00 Why there should be more plaudits for digital audits Chris Bishop <p>Those at the top of organisations don’t feel they have the strategic sweep to justify the time and effort required to commission them.</p> <p>Audits are viewed at times as a little “too tactical” or only done once every blue moon by agencies aiming to impress for your business, only to then collect dust on top of Econsultancy buyers guides print outs or even your old New Media Age magazines (<strong>Ed</strong>: We let this lie, but only to show we have a sense of humour).</p> <p>For the in-house Head of Ecommerce, requesting a digital audit might sound dangerously like a turkey voting for Christmas. </p> <h3>Are we selling audits wrongly?</h3> <p>Or is it the slightly cheesy marketing of website or marketing auditors themselves that is putting people off?</p> <p>All that tired ‘digital health check’ stuff might be the kind of foot in the door tactic that make brands feel suspicious of then giving access to their precious AdWords account, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67171-what-is-affiliate-marketing-why-do-you-need-it/">affiliate network</a> or analytics suite.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7503/healthcheck.jpeg" alt="health check" width="275" height="183"></p> <h3>How important are digital audits anyway?</h3> <p>In reality, though, digital audits are absolutely vital. And third party objective auditing ensures that you’re not marking your own home work or ignoring long term problems.</p> <p>Proper auditing, UX testing and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67473-seven-conversion-rate-optimization-trends-to-take-advantage-of-in-2016/">CRO analysis</a> means you can elongate the lifetime and effectiveness of your website and digital media activity, in a way that can be done on any budget.</p> <p>Your digital real estate is often an expensive investment - you’ve got to maintain it properly to get results.</p> <h3>Regular servicing is vital</h3> <p>Think of that shiny new website you’ve just spent months developing as a new car you’ve just acquired.</p> <p>To start off with, it’s the envy of everyone who sees it. After-sales support is pretty good and you can see years of trouble free motoring ahead of you. Before you know it, though, your warranty is up and you’re on your own.</p> <p>As the car ages, small problems become big problems. It performs less effectively. You’re paying for petrol, but it’s becoming less and less economical to run. There are so many things going wrong with it you don’t know where to start. Eventually the car's value is so diminished you might as well scrap it and buy a new one.</p> <p>It’s the same with websites and digital marketing campaigns. They can’t be left to look after themselves – and even the mechanic themselves might need some fine tuning or training themselves.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7504/service-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="car service" width="380"></p> <h3>What a digital audit can do for you </h3> <p>Audits can show you how to balance your budget more effectively through action and prioritisation. They can identify common issues like plateaus in activity and drop offs in acquisition; all the elements that reduce profitability. </p> <h3>The Lessons of the Audit</h3> <p>Constantly learn, constantly improve, constantly trade! A timely and constructive audit will help you:</p> <ul> <li>Keep up to date with the latest channel trends - Google changes, new publishers in affiliate, new platform or techniques for social. </li> <li>Use competitor analysis to keep your enemies close! It’s crucial to analyse and understand market share/spend and its consequences for your brand. </li> <li>Help you (re)define your goals.</li> <li>Confirm your objectives or KPIs so you can measure success.</li> <li>Understand new opportunities.</li> <li>Benchmark improvements or conversely measure areas of decline.</li> <li>Ensure corporate compliance – its best practice to have someone external “rubber stamp” your activity.</li> <li>Encourage serendipity – the uncovering of that nugget of information that transforms your understanding and makes the commercial difference.</li> </ul> <h3>Should you take the plunge?</h3> <p>Regular and skilled digital auditing is a detailed and never ending task.  It can transform the effectiveness of your digital advertising, website and budget.  </p> <p>Is it sexy? It’s showing your website a lot of love and attention. It’s optimizing and maximizing your marketing profitability and performance. Sounds pretty sexy to me.</p> <p><em>More on auditing:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68031-answering-the-key-question-of-content-auditing-where-do-i-start/">Answering the key question of content auditing - where do I start?</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68091 2016-07-27T12:24:13+01:00 2016-07-27T12:24:13+01:00 How five charities are innovating with contactless payment technology Nikki Gilliland <p>But apparently, I'm not the only one.</p> <p>Cash usage has declined <a href="https://www.treasurers.org/node/10213">by 14% in the past five years</a> – a statistic that sparked Cancer Research’s ‘Tap to Beat Cancer’ campaign.</p> <p>Last year, the charity placed ‘contactless giving’ windows in four of its UK shops, allowing passers-by to donate £2 with one tap. For World Cancer Day 2016, it’s taking things one-step further by using the technology in face-to-face campaigning.</p> <p>Surpassing £1.5bn for the first time this March, the growth of contactless payment shows no danger of slowing down. Not surprisingly, a whole host of other charities have been experimenting with the trend.</p> <h3>Other examples</h3> <h4>Sue Ryder</h4> <p>The hospice and neurological care charity recently began a trial of two contactless payment options.</p> <p>One, a portable device, allows people to donate £2 during sales events. The other, a static device, allows visitors to its Nettlebed hospice the opportunity to donate £16 – the price of one hour’s care.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">We're now accepting contactless <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/donations?src=hash">#donations</a> making it easier for you to help us to continue providing incredible care <a href="https://t.co/gWn6tIBqu4">pic.twitter.com/gWn6tIBqu4</a></p> — Sue Ryder Nettlebed (@SRNettlebed) <a href="https://twitter.com/SRNettlebed/status/742722251469008896">June 14, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h4>Mary’s Meals</h4> <p>Earlier this year, Scottish-based charity Mary’s Meals installed contactless donation boxes in cafes across England.</p> <p>Allowing donations of just 30p (enough to provide some of the poorest children with five meals) – the campaign used the café environment as a powerful correlation to the cause. </p> <p>Having received 1,500 taps in just six weeks, the initiative is set to be rolled out in further locations.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7208/Mary_s_Meals.PNG" alt="" width="550" height="365"></p> <h4>Blue Cross</h4> <p>The Blue Cross created the world’s first team of canine fundraisers.</p> <p>By embedding contactless technology into specially-designed jackets, it enabled the public to donate by patting dogs during charity events. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BvyQOO0D9rY?wmode=transparent" width="993" height="559"></iframe></p> <h4>The Barbican</h4> <p>Art galleries with ‘optional’ entry donations often lose out to lack of cash.</p> <p>The Barbican gallery is the first to try and counteract this, recently placing a contactless donation point at the entrance of its Curve Gallery. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7202/Barbican_Curve.PNG" alt="" width="680" height="409"></p> <h3>Why it works</h3> <h4>Autonomous</h4> <p>The problem with face-to-face fundraising is that people assume they are going to be asked to commit long-term.</p> <p>The beauty of contactless donations is that it is a one-off, one-time action. Even easier than a text donation, it is something that can be done without too much thought or consideration. </p> <h4>Innovative</h4> <p>As the Blue Cross example shows, contactless giving disrupts traditional notions about donating to charity.</p> <p>Using the technology to create a fun and unexpected experience, it is more likely to pique interest and involvement.</p> <h4>Interactive</h4> <p>The beauty of Cancer Research’s 2015 campaign was that it used digital technology in more ways than one.</p> <p>When store windows were tapped, a screen was activated to show a scientist actively working in the fight against cancer. This immediate pay-off gives the experience an immersive, interactive element.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_wxoZSEDZjo?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h4>Relevant</h4> <p>For charities, contactless technology could be a viable way to adapt to changing behaviours.</p> <p>Fast, easy and practical, it is simple to install as well as use. What’s more, it is simple to roll out, and accessible enough for even smaller charities.</p> <p>With more of us using contactless payments for everyday purchases, the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68014-how-charities-can-win-at-the-zero-moment-of-truth/" target="_blank">charity sector</a> could be next in line to embrace the technology.</p> <p><em>Find out more about out-of-home advertising:</em></p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68051-six-case-studies-that-show-how-digital-out-of-home-advertising-is-changing/">Six case studies that show how digital out-of-home advertising is changing</a></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68095 2016-07-21T11:42:00+01:00 2016-07-21T11:42:00+01:00 Measurement and Analytics Report 2016: Four key challenges in dealing with data Nikki Gilliland <p>Of course, the sheer amount of data available isn’t the only problem.</p> <p>Here are four key charts from the report, highlighting four further challenges for companies in measuring the value of data.</p> <h3>Securing executive sponsorship</h3> <p>While many view digital analytics as a vital part of a company’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">digital transformation</a>, there is somewhat of a discrepancy in securing support from the top down.</p> <p>51% of company respondents say that they don’t have executive sponsorship.</p> <p>As a result, this can have a marked impact on approach, with these companies 29 percentage points less likely to have a formal data strategy in place. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7257/executive_sponsorship.PNG" alt="" width="761" height="558"></p> <h3>Lack of ROI measurement</h3> <p>Without a direct correlation between investment in digital analytics and financial outcome, the value of data can never be defined.</p> <p>Research found that 48% of companies are failing to measure that return on investment – a statistic which puts the aforementioned problem of securing sponsorship into context.</p> <p>On the other hand, the below graph does show some encouraging signs, with over half of companies citing that they do measure ROI on analytics investments.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7258/measurement_of_roi.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="525"></p> <h3>Implementing a formal strategy</h3> <p>62% of companies do not have a formally documented data analytics strategy in place, which goes to show just how much room for improvement there still is.</p> <p>Taking heed from those who do, a combined offline and online strategy could prove to be the most effective, with a merging of the customer journey providing the most insight.</p> <p>When it comes to the reasons for a lack of formal strategy, money is a big factor, with companies that turn over less than £50m being 11% less likely to have one.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7259/documented_strategy.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="619"></p> <h3>Bridging the skills gap</h3> <p>While ‘producing reports’ is one of the biggest skills in demand, research shows that this is being met internally.</p> <p>On the other hand, there does appear to be a growing skills gap in more specific areas like business intelligence tools.</p> <p>This appears to be a result of the growing focus on digital transformation, and in particular, the way that digital integration is becoming a business-wide objective.</p> <p>As more training is needed to match the pace of technological change, it’s not just a case of cherry-picking the most useful data – but having the support and skills to do so.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7261/skills_gap.PNG" alt="" width="760" height="701"></p> <p><strong>For further insight into this topic, subscribers can download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/measurement-and-analytics-report/">Measurement and Analytics Report 2016</a> in full.</strong></p> <p><em><strong>July is Data Month at Econsultancy, so <a href="https://hello.econsultancy.com/datamonth/?utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_medium=blog&amp;utm_campaign=econblog">be sure to check out our latest reports and blog posts</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2016-07-21T11:30:00+01:00 2016-07-21T11:30:00+01:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports (in addition to a B2B report) across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet, statistics and online market research with data, facts, charts and figures.The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need, to help make your pitch or internal report up to date.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Those looking for B2B-specific data should consult our <a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B Internet Statistics Compendium</a>.</strong></p> <p> <strong>Regions covered in each document (where available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4191 2016-07-14T10:00:00+01:00 2016-07-14T10:00:00+01:00 Digital Shift Report: Q3 2016 <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-shift"><strong>Digital Shift</strong></a>, a quarterly service from Econsultancy, is intended as <strong>a guide to support strategic thinking</strong>.</p> <p>Focused tightly on digital technologies, marketing and ecommerce, it’s about <strong>delivering actionable insight on trends that will be significant in the short to mid-term</strong>, and which can be used to generate new ideas, improve business performance and stay ahead of the competition.</p> <p>The <strong>Q3 2016 report</strong> explores the most notable developments impacting digital marketing this quarter. The critical shifts are summarised below:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>The end of earned media?</strong> With growing algorithmic curation, ever-declining organic reach and limited impact, typically coming from shared content, we consider whether this is the end of earned media, or perhaps just a reason to redefine it.</li> <li> <strong>Disruption and unbundling. </strong>The so-called ‘unicorn startups’ have been the recipients of a huge amount of attention and focus. However, are large companies disrupted by multiple sources, leading to the unbundling of entire businesses and sectors?</li> <li> <strong>AI, chatbots and machine learning. </strong>This quarter saw more announcements in this rapidly burgeoning area so we look at some of the more interesting developments, a way of understanding the key drivers of acceleration and the future of bots.</li> <li> <strong>Is the mobile app boom over? </strong>New data suggests that a new maturity is being reached – not only in the incremental improvement of smartphones, but in declining numbers of apps being downloaded.</li> <li> <strong>Mary Meeker’s internet trends. </strong>We take a look at some of the key highlights from Meeker’s annual trends deck, including factors slowing growth, new image and video formats and platforms.</li> <li> <strong>The ever-changing role of video. </strong>The growth in video is being accompanied by significant divergence in formats, leading to new distribution, consumption, engagement and monetisation opportunities. Is video the new HTML?</li> <li> <strong>Trends from Cannes. </strong>Virtual reality (VR), creating consumer movements and hacking platforms – we take a look at some of the most interesting but less high-profile examples from Cannes.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Download a copy of the report to learn more.</strong></p> <p>You can access the <strong>previous Digital Shift report (Q2 2016)</strong> <a title="Digital Shift Report: Q2 2016" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-shift-report-q2-2016/">here</a>.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68055 2016-07-12T11:14:47+01:00 2016-07-12T11:14:47+01:00 How Dyson is bringing technology to life in its new London flagship store Nikki Gilliland <p>The brand's very first brick-and-mortar store to open in the UK, it is a conceptual space designed to offer consumers a ‘hands on’ shopping experience.</p> <p>Similarly, it’s yet another example of retail stores bridging the gap between the digital and physical experience. (Note I did not say ‘<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68023-think-retail-how-brands-are-targeting-the-phygital-generation/">phygital’… that ever-so-divisive word</a>).</p> <p>But is it a gimmick, or is it really a rather lovely way to purchase a vacuum cleaner? </p> <p>Here’s a run-down of what the store has got to offer.</p> <h3>Customer-centric experience</h3> <p>As well as some fancy technology, the first thing that strikes you when walking into the Dyson store is a number of rather important-looking people standing around.</p> <p>These are Dyson ‘experts’ – people that are not just employed to sell you a product, but to offer demonstrations and speak in-depth about the science behind them. </p> <p>For the average shopper, i.e. the kind of person who might pop in to have a browse out of curiosity or mild interest, this presence could prove slightly off-putting. After all, there’s nothing worse than feeling out-of-place in a shop. </p> <p>But on the other hand, for anyone actually interested in purchasing a Dyson product, it certainly signals a focus on meeting the customer’s needs.</p> <p>With instant and one-to-one interaction, it brings to mind the sort of service (and attention) that you get in a car showroom – something that’s obviously lacking in the world of ecommerce.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6926/dyson_store_demo.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="639"></p> <h3>Integrating digital</h3> <p>Whether or not you’re determined to buy a Dyson product, the demonstration aspect of the store is hard to resist. </p> <p>Whether it’s an air-purifier or a cordless-vacuum, staff are ready and waiting to give demonstrations – even allowing you to choose between the type of dust or dirt you’d like to hoover up. </p> <p>When it comes to giving the customer a comprehensive overview of a product, it certainly beats any 360-degree video you might come across online.</p> <p>But if you like that sort of thing, you won’t be disappointed with a lack of digital integration - the store is covered in screens, further emphasising its high-tech nature.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6925/IMG_2102.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="822"></p> <h3>Try before you buy</h3> <p>While the ground floor is exciting, I was most impressed by the Supersonic salon – a mock-up hair salon on the first floor that offers visitors the chance to test-drive the brand new Dyson hairdryer.</p> <p>With an <a href="https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dyson-demo-oxford-street-supersonic-styling-13-19-july-2016-tickets-26481353441">appointment booking system on Eventbrite</a>, it is the gimmickiest part of the store. And yet, it’s undeniably smart. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6923/supersonic_salon.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="585"></p> <p>If you’re serious about spending almost £300 on a hairdryer, why on earth wouldn’t you want to take the time to test it out? </p> <p>What’s more, you’re probably rather curious to learn why it costs so much – which means hearing about the complex engineering behind each product will be music to your ears. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6924/dyson_tech.jpg" alt="" width="780" height="608"></p> <h3>In conclusion</h3> <p>With its slick design and hand-on approach, the new Dyson flagship sort of feels like the Apple store, but a bit fancier and more educational.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6922/dyson_store_walls.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="800"></p> <p>Located just across the road from Selfridges (where another <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68034-how-selfridges-s-body-studio-blurs-the-lines-between-digital-in-store/">creative shopping space has also just launched</a>), it’s certainly worth a visit if you're on the look-out for a new Dyson.</p> <p>But even if you’re not, it might be worth popping in for a nosey anyway...</p> <p>By focusing on how products work as well as what they do, it provides a far more interesting experience than the majority of its neighbouring stores.</p> <p>And just finally, it's worth noting that Dyson hasn't installed any self-serve kiosks or touchscreens, which had threatened to be one of the big retail trends of recent years.</p> <p>Maybe retailers have realised that most people don't want to go in-store to browse products on an iPad?</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67705-what-s-now-next-for-digital-technology-in-retail-stores/"><em>What's now &amp; next for digital technology in retail stores?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67096-in-store-tech-the-screen-in-the-corner-that-nobody-wants-to-use/"><em>In-store tech: the screen in the corner that nobody wants to use</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67085-starbucks-new-london-digital-concept-store-puts-focus-on-customer-experience/"><em>Starbucks' new London digital concept store puts focus on customer experience</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68039 2016-07-12T10:01:00+01:00 2016-07-12T10:01:00+01:00 What is B2B account-based marketing & why should you care? Nikki Gilliland <p>In line with this growing trend, here’s a basic run-down of ABM, as well as a few reasons why B2B marketers could benefit from using it in future.</p> <h3>What is ABM?</h3> <p>In a nutshell, account-based marketing is used to identify and target a key set of accounts, using personalised and highly tailored campaigns to generate leads.</p> <p>It is based on the assumption that B2B buying decisions are usually made by a select group of people rather than a single person.</p> <p>Targeting the core decision-makers (through IP addresses) should bring a greater chance of success.</p> <p>Ultimately, it’s all about delivering a relevant message to the most relevant people within a company, and it utilises new technology in order to do so.</p> <h3>How does it work?</h3> <p>There are many software-as-a-service account-based marketing systems out there, as well as those that are able integrate with existing platforms. </p> <p>Most will be able to identify and manage data and offer the tools to deliver personalised campaigns.</p> <p>For smaller companies, this is one of the biggest limitations, as it means investing in new technology as well as ensuring that employees have the relevant skills to use it.</p> <h3>What does it offer?</h3> <h4>Social data insight</h4> <p>An important part of the accounts-based model, social data allows marketers to get under the skin of potential clients and find out what really matters to them.</p> <p>With insight into company updates and general topics of conversation, marketers can greater personalise messages and tailor offers accordingly.</p> <h4>Direct conversation</h4> <p>As well as providing the platform for personalisation, ABM allows for much more frequent one-to-one communication.</p> <p>Whether it’s an email or follow up phone call, its direct nature means that there is the opportunity for relationships to form rather than just a one-sided sales pitch.</p> <h4>Retargeting</h4> <p>The always-on approach of ABM means that marketers can target companies that have gotten lost along the way.</p> <p>By retargeting at crucial moments – such as when an account is browsing a specific website or displaying buying signals – clients are much more likely to respond.</p> <p>By using IP addresses instead of cookies, a specific account or group of accounts can be simultaneously targeted.</p> <h3><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6798/B2B_account_based.jpg" alt="" width="780" height="520"></h3> <h3>What are the biggest benefits for B2B marketers?</h3> <h4>No more dead-ends</h4> <p>With ABM, marketers are free to prioritise the most important projects.</p> <p>Instead of flogging a dead-horse, they will be able to determine ahead of time who is the worthiest target. This creates a more streamlined strategy and a great targeted approach.</p> <h4>Alignment of sales and marketing</h4> <p>One of the biggest benefits of ABM is its ability to break down the barriers between sales and marketing teams.</p> <p>The process can only work if both teams work together (as well as get on board with each other’s way of thinking). </p> <p>Usually, it is the marketers' job to identify and satisfy customer requirements, and up to sales to persuade customers to close the deal.</p> <p>However, with marketers getting closer to the point-of-purchase commitment, and sales reaching into earlier stages of the process, the traditional rules no longer apply.</p> <p>Even without ABM, the changing customer journey means there is a growing need for integration between the two teams.</p> <p>As highlighted in Econsultancy's new <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-convergence-of-marketing-and-sales/">Convergence of Marketing and Sales</a> report, with the customer's own online research driving much of the decision-making, there is no need to speak to different teams at different times.</p> <p>Instead of a traditional funnel, a single evolving conversation with the vendor is much more typical of the path to purchase.</p> <h4><strong>Increase in revenue</strong></h4> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2016/04/29/why-b2b-cmos-need-to-know-about-account-based-marketing/#65cd614c4d3e">According the recent stats</a>, 80% of marketers say AMB outperforms all other marketing channels in terms of ROI. </p> <p>What’s more, when ABM has been in use for at least a year, 60% of users reported a revenue increase of at least 10% &amp; 19% reported a revenue impact of 30% or greater.</p> <p>This certainly shows what a valuable tool it can be, and as the technology becomes even smarter, this only looks set to continue.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6799/B2B_sales.jpg" alt="" width="780" height="520"></p> <h4>Continual optimisation</h4> <p>One of the best things about ABM is that it can potentially enable marketers to get instant results.</p> <p>This means that as soon as the data is analysed, campaigns can be altered accordingly, and strategy can continously be tweaked and improved.</p> <h3>So…</h3> <p>With personalisation a growing focus for businesses of all kinds, it was only a matter of time before B2B companies realised its potential.</p> <p>Of course, account-based marketing does not spell the end for inbound and outbound marketing, but with greater relevance to the individual client, there’s a reason it is the buzzword on every B2B marketer's lips.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67984 2016-07-08T11:16:57+01:00 2016-07-08T11:16:57+01:00 Eight lessons for new digital agency account execs & managers Ben Davis <p>As preface I should say, I've never worked in an agency, but I have been a client and also met and worked with lots of agency bods.</p> <p>There are many articles like this on the internet, this is just my take on common business sense.</p> <h3>1. Don't shirk the groundwork</h3> <p>Account managers (AM) must pray at the church of research.</p> <p>Even if you are <em>only</em> working on a niche project - perhaps some copywriting or a microsite - and not a brand-defining above-the-line campaign, that doesn't excuse you from research.</p> <p>It doesn't take long to get an appreciation of brand and industry history, to follow/subscribe to brand comms, to experience a service or product, to trawl through owned media, to read an annual report - and that's before any discipline-specific research (e.g. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/seo-training/">SEO analysis</a>).</p> <p>Then, of course, an AM should understand how a client's competitors stack up.</p> <p>This should really be instinctive, like preparing for a job interview, and helps the AM understand the context of a client's wants and needs.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6413/church.jpeg" alt="church" width="275" height="183"></p> <h3>2. Think preparation before communication</h3> <p>Nothing can make a client (or any human being) as angry as sitting on a conference call, waiting patiently for their account manager to join, only for the AM to wing it.</p> <p>However smart they may be, account managers must not improvise even informal meetings - they need the latest figures, timeline and must be abreast of recent communication.</p> <p>Being late or underprepared for a meeting or a phone call completely negates the client's feeling of being valued, i.e. it's better to reschedule than to fudge it.</p> <p>But remember, although the client wants to feel the AM is in control, that doesn't mean you can't ask questions or admit where your knowledge is limited.</p> <p>Clarity is key to meeting expectations.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6412/polycom.jpg" alt="polycom" width="350"></p> <h3>3. Clients want opinions not minions</h3> <p>Yes-men rarely deliver everything they say yes to. Account managers mustn't shy away from constructive disagreement, but shouldn't be truculent or self-righteous and detached. </p> <p>Knowing when to back yourself and when to shut up might not be something that comes naturally - this is where your senior colleagues can lead by example. Learn from them where you can.</p> <p>Lastly, building a '<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63698-25-tried-and-tested-tips-for-building-your-personal-brand/">personal brand</a>' (chiefly via social media) can be a good thing, helping to place you within the context of a knowledgable community and letting clients know you're a respected figure.</p> <p>However, AMs shouldn't be controversial or divisive, as this leads back to self-righteous territory. Discretion is paramount, too.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6411/minion.jpeg" alt="minion" width="275" height="183"></p> <h3>4. Zeal seals the deal</h3> <p>Zest is best when interacting with a client. Just be enthusiastic. Smile, laugh in the right places, but not a feigned laugh.</p> <p>You can't fake this one very easily, so perhaps its inclusion here is pointless.</p> <p>Maybe the correct message is to find the angle that allows you to be most enthusiastic about a client or the work in hand.</p> <h3>5. The devil is in the detail</h3> <p>An old sentiment - check everything thrice before it goes over to the client.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6410/devil.jpeg" alt="devil" width="224" height="225"></p> <h3>6. The fiend is in the fact</h3> <p>It's not just spelling and formatting that matters - where the client's data is concerned, a high degree of accuracy is a must.</p> <h3>7. Bring order where there is none</h3> <p>Have you noticed people at your agency moving data around from one place to another, manually, making work for themselves?</p> <p>Are your colleagues making best use of appropriate collaboration tools?</p> <p>If AMs can make processes more efficient, even by a relatively small degree, they are potentially saving their future ass.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6414/274142427_3782499db4_z.jpg" alt="new order" width="350"></p> <p><em><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/dbrekke/274142427">via Dennis Brekke</a></em></p> <h3>8. Be likeable, but not at all costs</h3> <p>This is the nub of successful management. Being respected is more important than being liked.</p> <p>AMs and PMs sometimes have to deliver news that isn't going to be met with universal positive regard (about cost, time or just a flat 'no').</p> <p>Sugar-coating or, worse, prevaricating is the wrong thing to do - tell it like it is.</p> <p><em>For more insight into agencies, see the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/top-100-digital-agencies-2016/">Econsultancy Top 100 Digital Agencies</a> report.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68037 2016-07-07T14:48:39+01:00 2016-07-07T14:48:39+01:00 Amazon might be ditching the discount, sort of Patricio Robles <p>As <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/04/business/amazon-is-quietly-eliminating-list-prices.html?_r=0">detailed by</a> The New York Time's David Streitfeld, list prices, which Amazon has traditionally used to highlight product discounts, are increasingly disappearing.</p> <p>For example, according to Boomerang Commerce, a year ago only half of the 100 pet food products it identified as being sold at a discount to their list price still had the list price displayed.</p> <p>The Times observed a similar trend across other product categories it has been monitoring.</p> <p>So what gives? Why is Amazon apparently doing away with list prices at a growing clip?</p> <p>Legal issues could be a motivator. Numerous online retailers have come under fire for displaying discount information based on list prices that are inaccurate.</p> <p>More than two dozen lawsuits alleging violations of a California law that forbids deceptive advertising have been filed this year alone against retailers including Macy’s, Ann Taylor and Ralph Lauren.</p> <p>Other large retailers have settled similar suits.</p> <h3>Amazon has changed the game</h3> <p>But legal considerations probably aren't the only motivator for Amazon's changes.</p> <p>As Clarkson University professor of consumer studies Larry Compeau told the Times, "They are trying to figure out what product categories have customers who are so tied into the Amazon ecosystem that list prices are no longer necessary."</p> <p>In other words, Amazon increasingly doesn't need to compete on price; it has built a base of such loyal customers that many will likely purchase from Amazon even when they can get a slightly better deal elsewhere.</p> <p>The reason? Amazon is frequently seen as having a superior <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics/">customer experience</a>.</p> <p>By <a href="https://export-x.com/2015/12/11/how-many-products-does-amazon-sell-2015/">one estimate</a>, Amazon now offers nearly half a billion products for sale, and thanks to Amazon Prime, tens of millions of customers can trust Amazon to deliver their orders within two days for free.</p> <p>Amazon has also found ways to make itself a bigger and bigger part of many of its customers' lives.</p> <p>For example, Prime offers access to streaming movie, television and music content, as well as ebooks through a number of Kindle programs.</p> <p>And new technologies like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66285-will-amazon-dash-be-an-ecommerce-breakthrough-for-cpg-brands">Dash buttons</a> could very represent the next step in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68016-is-the-subscription-commerce-boom-over/">the evolution of subscription commerce</a>.</p> <p>While none of this means that Amazon doesn't need to be price competitive at all, it seems entirely possible that Amazon is now at the point where it doesn't need to play by the rules most retailers have to play by.</p> <p>And that could pave the way for it to put <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67330-four-top-pricing-hacks-for-online-retailers">pricing hacks</a> like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65327-why-dynamic-pricing-is-a-must-for-ecommerce-retailers/">dynamic pricing</a> to use in ways other retailers can't.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68016 2016-07-06T13:42:49+01:00 2016-07-06T13:42:49+01:00 Is the subscription commerce boom over? Patricio Robles <p>Typically, these services are focused on a particular product category, such as healthy snacks or children's books.</p> <p>One of the poster children for subscription box services is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67095-how-birchbox-engages-customers-with-personalisation-that-disappears">Birchbox</a>, which sends its subscribers five beauty product samples every month for $10 per month, or $110 per year.</p> <p>Birchbox, like many subscription box services, adds a touch of personalisation, tailoring the samples it delivers based on profile information supplied by its customers.</p> <p>The model has been a hit with consumers. Birchbox's customer base reportedly eclipsed the million subscriber count, producing a business generating eight-figures in revenue each year.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, investors were impressed and funded the company to the tune of more than $70m, valuing the young business at nearly $500m.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9abbP9ZeaGQ?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>But, as Bloomberg's Kim Bhasin and Polly Mosendz <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-03/birchbox-finds-cute-boxes-filled-with-makeup-aren-t-enough">recently detailed</a>, "Birchbox [found] cute boxes filled with makeup aren't enough."</p> <p>The company laid off staff earlier this year, and launched a traditional brick-and-mortar retail effort.</p> <p>But this week, the company laid off another 12% of its staff, suggesting that Birchbox is finding it more difficult to live up to expectations than it had hoped.</p> <p>With volatile public markets and no funding since 2014, Birchbox is not in an ideal position. And neither are its <a href="http://start.cratejoy.com/blog/the-ultimate-list-of-subscription-commerce-companies/">many competitors and copy-cats</a>.</p> <p>As Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told Bloomberg, "Expectations have been too high. We've seen this story before..."</p> <p>She was perhaps referring to the daily deals market which produced <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/5017-q-a-groupon-s-andrew-mason">one of the fastest-growing companies of all time</a> only to fade away a few short years later as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9515-has-reality-finally-caught-up-with-groupon-and-the-daily-deal">consumers</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/6603-the-dark-side-of-groupon-emerges">businesses tired of the model</a>.</p> <h3>Subscription box services are dead, long live subscription commerce</h3> <p>The rise and fall of subscription box services was just as predictable as the rise and fall of daily deal services.</p> <p>Subscription businesses obviously have attractive attributes, the most attractive of which is arguably an annuity-like revenue stream.</p> <p>But there are <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66034-the-pros-and-cons-of-subscription-ecommerce-models">numerous cons to the subscription commerce model</a> that make building a business for the ages a challenge.</p> <p>As Philip Wilkinson, founder of Kopi, a subscription gourmet coffee business, noted:</p> <blockquote> <p>They can get boring. A lot of subscription businesses just send the same thing each month and then it just becomes a dull commodity item.</p> </blockquote> <p>With barriers to entry low, competition in many subscription box niches is rife, driving churn and customer acquisition costs up.</p> <p>For highly-popular subscription box services like Birchbox, the model itself becomes an impediment.</p> <p>While subscription revenue is great, once subscription growth slows, companies find that they have little to no means to increase revenue-per-customer unless they embrace a traditional retail model (eg. selling products, not subscriptions).</p> <p>However, that is easier said than done because these companies are frequently in no position to compete with the major brands that dominate the conventional retail markets they're associated with.</p> <p>For these reasons and more, it seems quite possible that subscription box services could go the way of the daily deal, leaving investors who have funneled over a billion dollars into the space very disappointed.</p> <p>But even if subscription box services have already seen their best days, subscription commerce is not dead.</p> <p>Some subscription box services will survive. And the Birchbox-pioneered subscription box isn't the only form that subscription commerce can take.</p> <p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/subscribe-and-save/details/">Amazon Subscribe &amp; Save</a> allows consumers to receive periodic scheduled deliveries of thousands of products with a focus on essentials like toilet paper, dietary supplements, diapers and pet food. </p> <p>Other subscription services focused on essentials include Gillette Shave Club and hair coloring upstart Madison Reed.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6629/dash.png" alt="" width="347" height="348"></p> <p>But eventually, subscription commerce could merge with traditional commerce thanks to offerings like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66285-will-amazon-dash-be-an-ecommerce-breakthrough-for-cpg-brands">Amazon Dash</a>, which allows customers to reorder products on demand with the tap of a branded button.</p> <p>Amazon says orders through Dash <a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160628005870/en/Amazon-Dash-Button-Continues-Rapid-Growth%E2%80%94Orders-Increase">have increased by 70%</a> in the past three months and there are now more than 150 brands whose products are available through the program.<br></p> <p>While it's too early to call Amazon Dash a success, or proclaim it the successor to subscription commerce as we know it, Dash has best of both worlds potential, offering much of the convenience and economic benefits of subscription services without a formal subscription.</p>