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CASL: Canadian anti-spam legislation – Are you truly ready?

CASL: Canadian anti-spam legislation – Are you truly ready?

Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL), also known as C-28, comes into full force on July 1 of this year. If you’re sending emails to Canada and haven’t already taken steps to prepare for CASL, you have a few short days to get ready to comply with what is considered to be the most stringent anti-spam legislation in the world. And there’s a major incentive to do so: fines of up to $10 million for a business, or $1 million for an individual.

CASL and the concept of consent

At the heart of CASL is the need to obtain consent – either explicit or implied – in order to be able to send Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs) to your customers, prospects or subscribers.

Explicit consent is consent which is given verbally or in writing by a contact, using various means including a web page that provides a check box (which cannot be pre-checked) or a subscribe button.

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Physical Meets Digital – How to Increase Marketing ROI [VIDEO]

Physical Meets Digital – How to Increase Marketing ROI [VIDEO]

In today’s cluttered always-on marketplace, strong Marketing ROI is often illusive. One of the reasons is that as channels multiply, marketing communication becomes increasingly siloed. Digital on one side, traditional on the other. Same for social media, PR and event marketing.

With some many teams working independently, it’s a challenge to get everyone on the same page, delivering a consistent brand message regardless of the channel.

Now image how hard it is to get these channels to understand how they are connected. And how they need to work together instead of independently in order to have a multiplier effect – not just additive – on results. That’s the true meaning of a synergy.

The secret to synergy is understanding media interaction, what role each channel is best at, and how you can move customers forward in their decision-making process by using media combinations along with the right call to action. But the key is using the right channels at the right time and providing content that speaks to the need and the state of mind of the customer at that point in time when they reach a given journey stage.

The customer journey
A key element of the presentation is the customer journey and how you need to choose the right media combinations at each stage of that journey.
Photo credit Dan Levy @TheDanLevy

I had the pleasure of speaking at the FFWD Advertising and Marketing Week in Toronto on the convergence of physical and digital media. The presentation was held at the TIFF Bell lightbox – an incredible venue in the heart of the city — and was sponsored by Canada Post. This was the kick-off event of the Canada Post DM Education and Awareness Program called We’re Rethinking Direct Mail.

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ROI and Effectiveness – Do You Truly Understand the Difference?

ROI and Effectiveness – Do You Truly Understand the Difference?

Do you understand these common metrics?

Because of the tremendous economic pressures since the downturn, and the need for marketing accountability, ROI has now become Marketing’s new Holy Grail. However, effectiveness and ROI are not synonymous, though many marketers perceive it to be so.

ROI is the efficiency with which a marketing activities produces a result. ROI calculates the revenue generated for each dollar invested.

Efficiency and effectiveness – what’s the big difference?

The fact that a given media, or marketing activity is efficient – meaning that the cost per dollar of sales generated is low – doesn’t automatically make this media or activity a better choice relative to others with a lower level of efficiency. Obviously, you want both. But you can’t always get what you want!

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How to start a relationship with a B2B landing page

How to start a relationship with a B2B landing page

A well designed landing page can make the difference between a raging success and an abysmal failure for your lead nurturing program. The people at Pardot, just released this really powerful Infographic on the anatomy of a well designed landing page. Their point is well taken: because you typically lose over half your visitors right from the getgo and have to really work hard to convert those who stay on the page.

Know and share your value
Some of the elements that really stand out to me as a relationship marketer are the need for strong call to action and a well crafted value statement. Answering the age old question “WIIFM?” (What’s in it for me?) is essential to producing strong results. This to me is the deciding factor in a landing page, or any other marketing piece.

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When recommendation engines go terribly wrong

When recommendation engines go terribly wrong

One of the most popular forms of personalization used on eCommerce sites is the “people who bought this, also bought that” recommendation. The assumption is that people have similar tastes and so if other people are buying the same things, so should you. Sometimes, the intention is to ensure that someone who buys an item requiring additional accessories be reminded of all that is needed before checking out their shopping cart.

Some sites use an algorithm to predict which products should be paired with each other. Others simply tag products and bucket them into groups. Now the latter can same time and money, but sometimes leads to some strange recommendations as seen below on the Tiger Direct website.

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Do you and your customers speak the same language?

One of the guiding principles of B2Me is to use simple language and familiar terms in order to clearly communicate what you need to say to your customers. Get rid of jargon and marketing speak — Make it a priority!

American insurer Cygna clearly understands the importance of simple and effective communication. The company prides itself on systematically simplifying the language it uses in its marketing communication and more important, in its contact between their employees and customers.

If you’re trying to persuade people to do or buy something, it seems to me you should use the language they use every day. -David Ogilvy

To help achieve this goal, they created a program for first-line staff that dictates what words should be used to describe insurance concepts, products, terms and conditions. The program is called “Let’s be clear”, and is designed to help employees “translate” the obscure language of the insurance industry into plain English.

Here are a few examples: “you” instead of “claimant”, “process your claim for payment” instead of “adjudication” and “start date” instead of “activation”.

The goal is to make customers feel comfortable, to create a climate of trust and allow the customer to feel valued – not diminished by the use of language they don’t understand.

Cigna even created a website that provides a dictionary of common insurance terms and their translation into plain English in order to be clearly understood by a customer.

At the end of the day, it simply a question of respect for “me”, the customer. Do you speak the same language as your customer? Or are you forcing your customers to speak yours?

Five benefits of B2Me™ on

There’s an interesting article on B2Me™ on the Retail Experience Blog, by Paul Flanigan, former director of brand communications for Best Buy.
Here are a few lines from his post:

We have all heard B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer). But this has now evolved into B2ME. The simple definition is the practice of marketing to the individual based on the desires of that individual. It’s not about closing a sale, it’s about developing a relationship with every single unique individual.

This doesn’t (or shouldn’t) seem like a new way to market. We have been doing this all along, right? Well, the advent of personal technology has quite a bit to do with it. Marketing has had to catch up with individuals who are mobile, savvy, and in control of the sales cycle in pretty much every type of buyer/seller relationship.


How much is a customer worth? Probably more than you think!

How much is a customer worth? Probably more than you think!

When you look at marketing from a purely transactional perspective, you often lose sight of an important dimension: the long-term value of a customer. Or more precisely, the cumulative net revenue that a customer provides during the “lifetime” of the relationship between the customer and a business, or a brand.

This transaction perspective focuses on the immediate sale of good and services through marketing campaigns of all nature. From that point of view, the customer value is equal to the amount of the sale produced as a result of that campaign. Transactional marketers will work to reduce the cost per transaction in order to maximize short term revenue. Nothing wrong with increasing revenue… far from it. But this narrow vision often forces us to make choices that as purely short-term.

More often than not, when the focus is purely on short-term revenue, marketers will discard any initiative that produces a customer acquisition cost that is deemed to high when compared to the value of the transaction, without taking into account the future value of a customer. Such decisions do not take into account differences in customer quality, potential loyalty and future purchase value. Why pay ten dollars to sell a five dollar item? And yet…

Customer lifetime value

From a relationship marketing perspective however, we will take into account the actual value of a customer — what is known as Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) – in order to better understand how much we can afford to invest to acquire a new customer with whom we can engage and maintain a long-term relationship over the course of several years.

In fact, when you think about it, this value is often much greater than we suspect. Calculating CLV is based on three variables: gross revenue per average transaction, average frequency of purchase and the average lifetime of a customer relationship. Regardless of your industry, when you start to look at what a customer is worth, you quickly understand why it is so critical to retain customers and increase loyalty.

In the infographic show below, KissMetrics looks at the lifetime value of a Starbucks customer. That Grande Latte you buy from the little mermaid from Seattle starts to look even more expensive than you ever imagined. According to KissMetrics, the average lifetime value of a Starbucks customer is $14,099 over a 20 year period. This value is based on an average purchase value of $5,90 and a purchase frequency of 4,2 purchases per week. Now imagine the coffeeholic who shows up twice or three times a day, at break time, for lunch or an afterwork snack. The value goes through the roof!

Acceptable acquisition cost

Rather surprizing isn’t it? So now, if I ask you how much Starbucks could afford to spend in order to acquire and retain a new customer, you would start to see that it is much more than the cost of a single Latte. Instead, you would use the CLV as a basis to set this amount. All of a sudden, you would probably be tempted to invest a little more. Now imagine you’re Second Cup — how much would you spend to win over a Starbucks customer?

Now think about your own customers. What is the CLV of your average customer? Better yet, forget the Average Joe. Think about your best customers—the top 15% to 20%. Your most active, loyal and profitable customers. Now thank about what you are doing to keep them loyal… If your answer is nothing, what are you waiting for? It’s a matter of survival!

This infographic was created by KissMetrics

How To Calculate Customer Lifetime Value
Source: How To Calculate Lifetime Value

Influencer marketing – Leveraging the Power of Social Influence in Five Easy steps

Influencer marketing – Leveraging the Power of Social Influence in Five Easy steps

In his best-selling book Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell examines the concept of influential individuals and how they impact the spread of trends and change. He categorizes them into three groups: Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen.

Tipping Point is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand social influenceWe all know one or more Connectors: people who seem to know everyone. People through whom you could reach a very large population. Mavens on the other hand, are those who are considered experts in a given field by their peers, who know the answer to any question related to that field and to whom everyone they know turns when they have a question or need advice.

Intuitively, we all recognize that influencers can play an important role from a marketing perspective. These well connected and well respected individuals have the potential to spread the word about your brand—good or bad—and to influence the people they touch with the power of word of mouth.

Obviously, spontaneous and unsolicited word of mouth recommendations are the most sincere and credible. But sometimes, you need to give things a little nudge in the right direction and help influential consumers discover your brand, your product or service.

Over the past few years, we have created a number of influencer outreach programs for products and services alike. Many have been wildly successful, while others…not so much. So in order to save you countless hours of wasted time and effort, here is our view on how to create a social influence campaign in five easy steps:

1 – Find and recruit influential bloggers and tweeps

OK, not so easy after all… this is really the key to success: finding people who have a real following that is both broad and active—and who are credible and influential in your field, or who can reach and touch your target audience. Influencer campaigns are a little like media relations—except instead of journalists, you’re targeting socially influential consumers.You’ll need to use a number of methods to find them and get them on board. Keyword and category searches on Twitter, Google and Google blogs, StumbleUpon, Facebook and other search engines are a start. Influencers themselves are also a great source since they tend to know who else is influential in their community. Make sure you find more than you think you need since not everyone will agree, or follow through once they have said yes. Don’t kid yourself—it’s hard work! But equally rewarding.

Rand Fishkin, formerly from Moz, and now the CEO of tech startup launched the Sparkscore. This tool measures the level of influence of a Twitter account. It’s a good way of evaluating the true potential impact of an influencer before engaging with them.

This information kit was created for Tourism Laval. The objective was to get influential bloggers to discover and talk about the diversity of recreational and cultural activities and attractions in the region.

2 – Make it interesting and exciting

It all boils down to communication and motivation. Create a piece that explains the WHY behind your project—what makes this worthwhile, cool, worthy of their time and attention. Give your influencer-to-be a taste of what the experience is all about, be it a visit to a tourist attraction, tickets to a new show, trying a new trendy restaurant, a new line of cosmetics or a new eco-friendly car.

3 – Make sure the experience is positive

Influencers are VIPs that can make or break your project. They need (and expect) to be treated accordingly. They can amplify the good and the bad. So if you’re not ready for prime time, better wait till the dust settles.

It is absolutely essential that front line staff be aware of your campaign and know how to react appropriately when an influencer visits your establishment, or reaches your call centre. If you’re offering a new product to be tested, make sure you clearly explain how to use it properly and effectively. No boring FAQs. Liven it up so they can’t wait to use it!

4 – Don’t forget to follow up

It’s essential to structure the process in order to ensure that everyone gets the right information, products, etc. But more important, you have to remind and encourage your influencers to take action, answer their questions and concerns, manage the hiccups, etc. Obviously, you don’t want to harass you participants. But a timely follow-up is always welcome. Making sure that the experience was positive and to get their feedback live. If something is wrong with the program, or your product, you can react quickly and set things straight.

5 – Share the results as you go

To be effective, and influencer campaign should span several months. But why wait until the end to share the results? Each time an influencer mentions your product, share a link on Twitter, your Facebook page, your blog or any other tool at your disposal. And don’t forget to thank them in real-time for their feedback, comments and suggestions…good, or bad.

At the end of the project, prepare a detailed report that outlines each participants degree of influence, and details the conversation, coverage and comments. It will come in handy the next time you have something to say to the community and will simplify your next initiative.