By Jonathan Maze
Want a look at the restaurant of the future? Try Netflix.The world’s eateries are vastly different from an online purveyor of movies and television shows. Yet companies like Netflix, or Amazon have thrived over the years based on their ability to personalize the customer experience. They know where you come from and what you order. And they often know where you go when you’re done.
By Paul Armstrong
Influence is one of the big "issues" this year I am interested in. I will be poking it with a big, scratchy stick as the mucky, murky world needs a damn good prodding. Got something to say / think I should know? Get in touch.
A report called "Influence 2.0" by Altimeter and Traackr landed with a thud in my inbox. This +30-page report does not particularly help crystallise the how but perhaps it does the what and the why, per its author, Brian Solis, "[The report] offers a [call for a] new mindset and approach to customer experience where influence become the driving force for change."
Definitions and quoteporn aside, the report is a solid start for someone looking to create a POV for their company or just grapple with the issue a bit better. However, throughout the report I was struck that this is just another term for public relations. I grilled Solis further and asked if we are just seeing another unneeded term; "The truth is that any time this topic comes up it is aiming to put a pretty bow on an old way of thinking about engagement. The inference with influence 2.0 is to make a formal push into a new era of engagement that ties more specifically to customer experience or the experience the experience of anyone who is looking for useful information or relationships to make decisions." Whether you believe this or not, "Influencer Relations" is the term du jour across agencies. Some are doing "it" (the "industry" is so amorphous) well and others are simply extending reach - slash that - most are simply extending reach.
According to the report - 1/3 of marketers have a low opinion of influencer relations; Solis is surprised this number isn't higher; "The truth is that marketers don't know what they don't know and therefore they cannot see the value of influencer relationships if they don't understand what influence really means - not just to marketers but more importantly the impact and the relationships people of influence have with their community. When we traditionally think of influencer marketing we think about old methodologies and perspectives and applying those to new tech platforms. But here we are not really doing anything new. Therefore we cannot expect anything new." A sentiment echoed in the goals of influencer marketing;
The report does call for a more professional approach - which I am 100% behind - but ultimately I believe brands/clients/agencies and the public are better served with more straight talk, honest insights and a focus on the end-user than more terms, wishy-washy extensions and flaky approaches to new...anything. A topic (warning: book plug) I cover ruthlessly in "Disruptive Technologies; Understand, Evaluate and Respond". Budgets are of course mentioned in the report and I asked Solis why they were so low (STAT). He agreed that the lack of ROI and maturity of the industry are key issues; "Influencer marketing is immature in that it hasn't tried to expand its horizons beyond traditional marketing tactics and measurement and this is because it has lacked vision and ambition from marketers everywhere. A lot of marketing is still routed in outdated principles and it is difficult to break those norms when that is what marketers are paid to do today. The budgets are a reflection of the values that they carry to the business and until marketers think like business managers or owners marketing will always be just that….marketing."
After talking with multiple brands and agencies on this subject "we" are still happy with just giving access or money to "influencers" and not demonstrating any (or very little) ROI. We continue to skirt around the issue of... gulp...being a better business that people like... Solis is optimistic we are at the beginning of something big here; "The point of this entire paper and this entire conversation is that we are inviting 'influencer marketers' to add value to their work and to their companies by thinking more holistically and approaching engagement and relationships with influencers and customers and any stakeholder for that matter based on mutual value, respect and a hope to continue engagement over time. This is not about paying people with followers event though that will continue as a practice. This is a call for a new era of marketing beyond influence to improve the journeys for customers and stakeholders everywhere."
It will be interesting to see these figures next year, I expect a lot of money and tech to move into this area in 2017 but ultimately little will shift that will mean big changes for businesses. Per Solis, expect a more practical guide to follow but you can download the full report here [email signup required].
Paul Founded HERE/FORTH - the emerging technology advisory. Follow him on Twitter here and check out #social_lens (a Slack product) if you want neutral advice when big tech news breaks.
By Haris Bacic
When it comes to business marketing, there are several things we can learn from restaurants and how they’ve evolved over time. As business owners and managers, it is our responsibility to grow our businesses by utilizing effective marketing strategies.
Part of that business growth comes from takings risks while minimizing losses. In this article, we’ll go over several key restaurant marketing principles and how they could apply to your business as well.
Diversify Traffic SourcesNot too long ago, restaurants mainly depended on one traffic source – dine in customers who specifically came to sit down and eat. But restaurants have quickly dived into trying to expand into other traffic sources as well such as take out, drive through, delivery, online orders, catering, and so on.
Just like restaurants have done recently, one of the key things behind your marketing strategy should be to diversify your traffic sources too.
That means if you are just looking for SEO services, you should stop and re-think what you’re trying to accomplish. Instead of trying to find an SEO agency to help you with SEO, find a full-service marketing agency.
Full-service marketing agencies can help you with much more than SEO. They are usually knowledgeable in pay per click, social media, press releases, and many other marketing mediums. They can create a marketing plan for you that will focus on specific traffic sources that will be effective for your business. SEO services itself can take a long time to produce any meaningful results, so can your business really afford to only depend on SEO for marketing?
Service Or Product Pricing StrategiesWhen it comes to pricing your services or products, you will be surprised to know that pricing changes can effect your business quite a bit. If you think about it, you probably have competitors, so your customers don’t need to buy your services or products. They usually do it because of your unique selling proposition, and sometimes that can mean more relevant pricing.
Restaurants have several pricing strategies they use. One of the main ones is individual pricing, in which each food item is priced and bought separately. If you want a steak entrée meal and a mashed potatoes side, you simply pay for each one. This is the most common pricing method businesses use. You sell each service or product individually.
Another method is grouping multiple food items into one “meal” and selling it for one main price. The advantage of this method is that you generate more revenue per customer. Depending on how your profit margins look, this could drastically boost your revenue.
For example, if you are selling t-shirts and hats and majority of the customers only buy a t-shirt, that means if you add a hat in the t-shirt sale for an extra fee (such as $5), you will generate $5 more per each t-shirt order. As long as you are making a profit on that hat, it’s still better to move product than have it sit in your storage for a long time.
And finally one of my favorite pricing methods is the buffet-style method. This is where a customer pays one price and they get to eat as much as they can. The reason this method works so well is because it helps you offer a lower price, which makes it available to a larger audience.
For example, in a popular buffet chain Golden Corral, customers pay about $12.99 for a dinner meal. Although that seems cheap, you have to think how much food an average person can actually consume. Sure some people will eat $30 worth of food, but most people are likely to eat less than half of how much they pay.
Using that example, can you try to create a similar pricing strategy for your business? Can you bundle several products or services together and just charge one higher fee? One advantage of that is if the customer does not use a specific service, they still pay you for it regardless. And you didn’t really have to upsell 10 different things.
“All you can ____” type of deals can help increase the perceived value your business offers.
Performance-based IncentivesAnd finally we have performance-based incentives. In the restaurant industry, most of the employees that deal with customers directly such as waiters, waitresses, and bartenders are paid a low base wage with tips as an incentive to provide a good service.
Although you can use that method for your employees, specifically sales people, I’m suggesting to try using this from a marketing perspective such as affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is a way to get new clients by having other marketers, bloggers, etc. promote your services and for each successful lead or sale, you pay them a specific amount as a commission.
Almost 90% of advertisers that use affiliate marketing think it is very important to their overall marketing strategy. So there is no reason why your business cannot look into utilizing it as well.
Catch up on my current posts along with industry articles