Lufthansa Takes You on a Virtual Journey

One of the key marketing challenges that we face in the customer journey is moving from awareness to trial. That is, we want potential customers to “try out” our products or services.

This can be particularly challenging when your product or service has a substantial price tag attached.

Think of travel.

There are a whole series of steps that we go through when we are on a travel journey:

  • Ideas and inspiration: We seek out amazing stories, pictures and reviews of places, people and experiences so that we can plan our own adventures
  • Planning and projection: We start to actively curate our activities, destinations and journeys, connecting the dots and figuring out our itineraries and (gasp, horror) budget. In this stage we are not just planning our activities – but actively imagining what it will be like to BE there
  • Lock and load: When we’ve checked, double and triple checked, confirmed our budget and dates, now we wade neck deep into the process of locking dates to a loaded credit card. Yes, it’s commitment time and the pressure is on (so many websites, so many things that can go wrong)
  • See ya, see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya: Wave goodbye to your friends and family and take the leap into the unknown
  • Wish you were here: Well, we say this to be kind, but if the planning and projection phase was well done, you’ll be taking hundreds of selfies all around the world and using them to induce raging envy across your social graph
  • Reflection and longing: Planes aren’t the only things that land with a BUMP. So too does our travel ego. Coming back to “reality” can be a confronting experience. To cope, we return to our #RunningWithTheBulls selfies to remind ourselves just what the travel rush was all about and how we really are #travelheroes.

In amongst each of these steps, there are hardly any that an airline can directly impact. They can inspire us with their media activities, advertising and profile. And they may even help us to plan – albeit in a small way. A good airline will make locking and loading a breeze and but it’s really when you are in the plane that they can make a huge impact.

But experiencing airline travel is expensive, right? And price alone is a barrier.

This virtual travel experience from Lufthansa by 3Spin is a very interesting innovation that I expect will see plenty of others follow.

Lufthansa have touched on many aspects of the travel journey – turning a largely imaginative process into something that is more tangible. More experiential. In fact, it’s not just the destination that is inspirational, it’s the experience of the virtual reality itself. And with a clever mix of digital, analog and old fashioned customer service, they’ve created something far more than just a 360 degree virtual experience. They have created an EVENT – a point in time and space that will create memories. Stories. And hopefully for Lufthansa, bookings.

It makes me think there may be something to this VR lark after all.

The Top 5 Marketing Technology Categories in 2016

Each year, Scott Brinker goes through the laborious process of identifying and categorising thousands of technologies for his Marketing Technology Landscape supergraphic. As in past years, there are hundreds of new entrants – this year there are 3874 solutions identified on a single page. This means, for the marketing technologist (and that really means everyone in marketing these days), that we would need to review 75 of these each week for a year in order to “be across” this burgeoning technology field.

For those of us who are time poor, however, let’s just take a look at the most populous categories of marketing technology:

  1. Sales Automation, Enablement & Intelligence (220)
  2. Social Media Marketing & Monitoring (186)
  3. Display & Programmatic Advertising (180)
  4. Marketing Automation & Campaign/Lead Management (161)
  5. Content Marketing (160).

marketing_technology_landscape_2016_600px

Marketing Tech Priority 1: Cover the bases

There’s no surprise that sales automation, enablement and intelligence is at the top of the list in terms of sheer number of vendors. Not only is this a multi-billion market – with Gartner predicting the market for CRM to reach over $23 billion in 2017, there is still significant upside on market opportunity. While Salesforce, SAP, Oracle and Microsoft lay claim to around 50% of the market for CRM alone, Gartner predicts that we won’t reach 80% saturation until 2025. This is still some years away, meaning that fast moving marketing technology companies (especially SaaS oriented) can lay claim to a significant market.

In the sales enablement and intelligence/analytics space, there is even more opportunity. These areas have been slower to mature and the technology has taken time to prove its power. This is all coming together now with increases in big data computing power and availability of enterprise grade cloud services. We should expect to see more movement in this area next year as growth and capability ramp up.

While I have never been a fan of allowing technology to drive our marketing strategy, the shift to digital has now become almost total. Marketing technology now has the power to track, measure and report on almost every touchpoint (whether there is ROI in the collection/use of that data/information is another thing). If we are not using these technologies to our advantage, you can bet that your competitors are.

This means, as marketers, we need to ensure we are covering the bases in at least two or three of the top five category areas. We need to double down on our sales automation, enablement and intelligence in a couple of areas:

  • Implement out-of-the-box capability: Even a basic CRM is better than no CRM. Seriously, it’s time to ditch the spreadsheets.
  • Use the functionality available: Almost every technology investment is underutilised. We need to get serious about our use of technology and move beyond the basic functionality.
  • Invest in skills: Fundamentally, this means training our marketing teams. Don’t assume that they know how to “do social” because they have a Twitter following. Make sure that your marketing skilling programs has a “business” not “consumption” focus.

Marketing Tech Priority 2: Double down on social and content marketing

While social media has been around for some years now, and most marketers have significant experience in running and integrating campaigns, we are still in the earliest stages in terms of business value and outcomes. We have seen that traditional media channels are collapsing, but we thought that the “digital doppelganger” replacements like banner ads and search engine marketing were going to serve as a valid replacement. This is not the case – just think about 0.06% CTRs that we are seeing for display advertising.

The reality is, that we need to innovate our approaches. We need to double down on social (category 2) and content marketing (category 5). We have had significant exposure to these areas in the last couple of years, and the technology companies are starting to better understand the needs of brands and marketers. Expect to see innovation in this space. More vendors. More cool technologies.

Marketing Tech Priority 3: Marketing automation is a no-brainer

We all want better quality leads, happier customers and more revenue, right? As we reach scale – with CRM in place and a good understanding of our customer journeys, we can start to bring technology to bear. This doesn’t mean that we are automating our marketing teams out of existence. It means that we are doubling down on customer experience – using our creative teams, agencies and strategists to deliver compelling experience that surprise and delight our customers (remember when we liked to do that?).

For those marketing teams who have not yet invested in marketing automation, perhaps 2016 is the year that you did. But beware, there are 161 vendors in that space. You’ll need to get started now, or 2017 will be with you before you’ve scratched the surface.

Download the supergraphic PDF here.

Marketers as Innovators – Join the DisrupTV Live Stream

This weekend – at 5am Australian daylight time – I will be joining the hosts of DisrupTV, R “Ray” Wang and Valar Afshar to talk marketing-led innovation, and provide a snapshot of the Australian innovation landscape. This weekly web series is streamed live on Blab.im and is focused on leadership, innovation and disruption in the enterprise and brings together A-list guests, the latest enterprise news, hot startups, insight from influencers, and much more. And when I say “A-list guests”, I’m not talking about celebrities. I’m talking about business and technology leaders who are changing the way that we do, think about and create value in business.

The show has featured:

The discussion with Alex Osterwalder is eye opening and full of insight for those seeking to change the way businesses organise themselves, create value and operate in the world. It’s well worth tuning in (embedded below).

This week’s interview features GE’s Chief Digital Officer, Ganesh Bell. He leads digital innovation and transformation, and is responsible for the digital solutions business and digital engagement to drive business growth. I will be discussing the nature of corporate innovation, how a market-product fit wins over a product-market fit in the enterprise, and will touch on some of the initiatives arising from the Australian Government’s #IdeasBoom. We’ll also be joined in the “Influencer’s Corner” by Guy Courtin, VP and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research.

Be sure to tune in at 11 a.m. PT/ 2 p.m. ET and remember to tweet your questions using the #DisrupTV hashtag.

DisrupTV: Featuring Alex Osterwalder, CEO at Strategyzer 3.4.16

This week on DisrupTV, we interviewed Alex Osterwalder, CEO at Strategyzer. We also caught up with Tradeshift’s CEO Christian Lanng and Constellation Research’s Chris Kanaracus. DisrupTV is a weekly Web series with hosts R “Ray” Wang and Vala Afshar. The 30-minute show airs live at 11:00 a.m. PT/ 2:00 p.m.

When Your Dev is the Centre of Your Universe

I like to think that when I ran a digital agency that my team loved me. I like to think that my demands were, for the most part, not unreasonable. Or that my scoping and project planning came close enough to achievable. But I also know that my expectations would sometimes be unreasonable. Or that “going above and beyond” really did mean going to the CEO’s house.

The thing is, marketing without IT is almost impossible now. Imagine if you had to revert to faxes (what are they?). Or hand drawn mock-ups. Or “camera ready art”.

This is why marketers and technical teams need to work on better relations. We need better ways to communicate. And even just respect some professional boundaries.

Will it happen? It can. And it needs to. Because your dev is the centre of your universe.

Don’t Tweet at Me in that Tone of Voice

Setting tone of voice in social media is a challenge. How do you balance the assertiveness and authority with a sense of engagement and approachability? How do you strike a tone that delights your customers and attracts new prospects? And what is that “distinctive” personality that can only be expressed through text and how do you create it consistently?

Tone of voice is not just a problem for social media. In a business world where communication occurs largely through the written word – in email, messaging, enterprise social networks and so on, a misplaced word or misconstrued meaning can cause much drama.

Consider the hastily worded email that you sent after a bad meeting. Or the tweets you made in response to a troll. What about the situation where you really wanted to recall an email but realised that you could not?

IBM has been experimenting with language and semantics for some time. Their Watson platform specialises in natural language processing, and with the Tone Analyzer service, you may just catch an overly aggressive email in the nick of time.

How Tone Analyzer Works

We often rely on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to help us profile individuals. It is still widely in use despite being largely dismissed as a scientific method – but I have always found its indicators lacking. I much prefer Sam Gosling’s OCEAN framework. It measures:

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extroversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism

watson-tone

This framework is used by IBM to assess your social tone of voice. Watson also gives you a score on writing tone and emotional tone. You simply cut and paste your text into the field on the demo page and have Watson analyse your words. It then returns a visual assessment. This is the assessment from the first half of my last blog post. You will see, the post was:

  • 80% analytical (good for this kind of article)
  • 96% confident (I do want you to believe me)
  • 87% agreeable (please, please like and hire me).

You can also integrate this platform into your enterprise tools using the API platform. That could make for a very different form of communication within and beyond the enterprise.

But here’s a question – would you dare to run your marketing copy through this system? What would you find?

Hootsuite and the Instagram Integration You’re Still Waiting For

Instagram has been wildly successful in building an alternative and deeply connected community of users. And I say “community” for a reason. Far more than the one-to-one-to-one connection that has made Facebook so popular and adoptable, Instagram’s connection architecture provides an easy way to connect people with similar interests and passions. And it does so whether that passion lasts only an instant or a year.

And while some brands have been able to build vibrant communities around their Instagram accounts, it’s often a hit and miss affair. It’s hard to keep track of the growth of a community base, almost impossible to gather key metrics, and even the simplest publishing functionality is notably missing.

Until now.

Hootsuite has announced that Instagram will now be integrated into their social media dashboard. This means that Hootsuite users will be able to:

  • Schedule and publish Instagram content
  • Monitor and engage with conversations on Instagram
  • Create team based workflows.

With content marketing becoming an ever-more important component of marketing strategy, this new integration provides marketers with a simple and easy way to bring that content marketing strategy to life.

Insta-Hoot

To get started:

  • Ensure you have the latest version of Hootsuite installed on your smartphone
  • Turn on Instagram notifications in the Hootsuite Settings
  • Start publishing.

Now, for the bad news.

While you can schedule Instagram posts, you still need to manually post to Instagram from your device. The Hootsuite integration just notifies you at the appropriate time that the post is ready to go. So, unfortunately, those wanting to seriously engage with Instagram as a brand and marketing channel will need to struggle with the lack of API integration.

This means Instagram will remain a promising but ultimately immature channel for most serious brand marketing activities. At least for now.

Selling on the Web – Landing Pages that Work

While brand websites attract the lion’s share of marketing budgets, the great, largely hidden, power of selling on the web is driven by landing pages.

How do landing pages work?

I prefer to create landing pages with a single job in mind – to help the web visitor take the next step in the buyer’s journey. That may mean:

  • I want to change our relationship so that I know who you are – a name, email address or Twitter handle will do
  • I want to help you choose my product or service – provide some useful content such as a comparison guide
  • I want you to order – you’re ready to buy and my landing page will make that easy.

This means that my landing pages will do away with unnecessary distraction. There will be:

  • Only a single call to action
  • No menus or links that will take you away
  • Laser sharp focus on delivering you value.

There are plenty of great online tools that help you quickly create landing pages, but my favourite is Instapage. And while it is a little clunky, it integrates seamlessly into WordPress (there’s a plugin), allows for A/B testing, includes analytics (plus Google Analytics) and starts at an affordable $30 / month. Oh, and you can work with existing templates to create a launch your landing page in as little as 3 minutes.

Ok, you may want to spend a bit longer on your masterpiece, but you can do it with a drag’n’drop interface – and you don’t need technical skill.

Still need more tips? Check out the infographic from Copyblogger that provides 26 tips to help improve your landing pages.

The ABCs of Landing Pages That Work [Infographic]

Like this infographic? Get landing page advice that works from Copyblogger.

How to Remember Passwords Like Sherlock Holmes

One of the greatest challenges of the internet age has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with being human. It is the act of remembering passwords.

There was a time – and yes it was a simpler time – when we really only needed to remember one or two passwords. There was a personal identification number (PIN) for our ATM cards and then a password for our email. Then along came internet banking. For all of our bank accounts. Logins for news sites. Websites. Shopping accounts. We setup profiles on sites like Kiva for charity, registered for various frequent flyer programs, free email accounts and games. On top of that are cornerstone accounts – the Apple iTunes account and your Google Account are controlled by a single ID that is linked across a variety of services – but that integration was rolled out over time.

By the time that social networks came along, we already had dozens of user IDs, a handful of email addresses and profile and accounts scattered across the web.

To make matters worse, each of these sites has its own standard for password strength. Some sites require complex passwords incorporating non-standard letters or numbers or capitalisation. Some sites require all of these. For online transactions, financial institutions require two factor authentication (but only some) – requiring two stage combinations before providing you access. This can include your standard account ID and password along with an SMS code or a picture puzzle displayed on-screen.

All of these variations have to be remembered. Or documented somewhere secure. Accordingly, our ability to remember passwords has become big business – with service and platform providers offering to help us “manage” the mess we have found ourselves in. Sure, many of our web browsers “remember” our account details for us, but what happens when you login from your phone and not your computer? What happens when you login with your home PC and not the laptop you use for work?

It doesn’t matter if someone hacks an account?!

Many people believe that it doesn’t matter if an account is hacked. For example, you could have an old email account hacked and not know it. What happens? Here are a few scenarios to consider:

  1. Your email account is quickly scanned / searched for user IDs or passwords (like account confirmations)
  2. This information is fed into the hackers computer to test out on sites across the internet. This is automated and means that hundreds of attempts / variations can be made in minutes.
  3. The process is repeated with each success – with more information gradually being built up around your profile, access etc
  4. If credit card or bank account numbers are found – then these can be quickly shared, sold on or used as currency in their own right
  5. Small charges can begin appearing on your statements without your noticing, gradually escalating in size
  6. In worst case scenarios, your accounts can have passwords changed and address details altered

There are a series of approaches that can improve your password security – and they are relatively simple to implement:

  • Create your own tiered security:
    • Tier 1: Make a list of your high risk accounts – bank accounts, email, online payments like PayPal or Amazon, social media
    • Tier 2: A list of less risky accounts where no confidential information is kept.
  • Create complex passwords for Tier 1 accounts – each account should have a UNIQUE password
  • Use password managers to store and remember your details
  • Delete the spreadsheet on your PC desktop that stores all your passwords (yes, I know you have one)
  • Reset or change passwords regularly.

Is there another way?

Fans of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes will have seen the intense visual approach that the Holmes character uses to remember complex pieces of information. Called the Mind Palace, it involves visualising a complex place in which you can “physically” store your memory. Then by embellishing the location with story, the item to be remembered is reinforced and supposedly easier to recall.

If you really want to be safe on the internet, try storing your passwords in a Mind Palace. Here’s an infographic showing how it works. Good luck!

Story-4-Taking-Back-Your-Privacy-Infographic-full-2

You Are What You Endorse–Google Shared Endorsements

Remember that old saying that “when the product is FREE, the product is YOU”? Well Google are putting their advertiser’s money where your mouth is – with shared endorsements now being incorporated into search results. This brings together two powerful web transformation engines – search and social – in the one interface.

That means that those online reviews etc that you have contributed over the years are being aggregated behind the scenes and will begin to appear in the search results that you and your friends see when using Google Search. Your friends will know it is you, because the results will show your name and photo along with the review, +1, follows or shares that you have published on the web.

As Google explains, it will look like the image below …

GoogleSharedEndorsements

Over the last 12 months or so, Google has been requiring Gmail users to sign up to Google+. So even if you are not a dedicated G+ user, so long as you are signed into Gmail, your browsing habits, interests etc are being collected, analysed and tagged in preparation for this style of endorsement.

But if you are not keen to lend your personal brand, reputation or face to these businesses (and to Google), you can opt-out of Shared Endorsements here.

SuccessConnect – Where Talent and Social Collide at the SuccessFactors Conference