As a Brand, You can’t out Fox, Fox News
Timely news-based content turns life (or business) into keeping up with the Joneses nightmare.
Brands need to focus on evergreen and useful content that is as valuable 6 months after it’s published, as it was the day it was published.
It might mean less immediate traffic, but it means sticky traffic and also Google traffic that will add up to monstrous traffic later.
This all factors into conversion and sales that is your priority.
This approach allows great flexibility and offers the option to hit STOP without losing it all.
If a brand were to stop writing blog posts tomorrow, they would still have opportunities to convert readers of evergreen content into users of their product(s) that results from their traffic.
People trust other people, not brands; Gary Vaynerchuk versus Wine Library as an example.
Brands can do this by singling out relatable influencers to drive brand engagement. An example is Shaq with IcyHot.
People want to follow humans, not trademarks or logos.
Brands need to plan accordingly.
Any brand as a content marketer, the value of content is often calculated in the same terms that media ROI is determined by, which is a mistake.
Brands need to rethink any attempts to quantify the profitability of every piece of content, as this affects editorial purity and stymies the ability to utilize curiosity to explore things on the edges…this is precisely what’s built their reputation, as innovators.
Become a disciple of the Drucker axiom “that which gets measured gets managed”
Brands need to write about what most excites them most and assume that will hold true for 10,000+ people…if they write a well thought out and research data-backed article, without self-promotion propaganda.
If they get 100 die-hard fans per post like that, they can build an army that will not only consider buying anything they sell later (assuming a high-quality article, this is the most critical aspect). They’ll also promote your work as trustworthy to others.
This compounds quickly.
The product — quality, educational writing — needs to stand on its own merits.
Many high-traffic blogs and publishers are coming to similar conclusions and doing much the same.
Optimizing a bad business (or marginally profitable one) is not as elegant as creating a parallel, higher-margin revenue stream. Think TED videos and TED attendance. If TED charged for their videos from the beginning, where would they be now?
Near obscurity and insignificant verse what TED is today.
As Warren Buffett once said, “Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”
That said, if you’re operating in a CPM-ruled world, you might have other near-term pressures, but I’m building a snowball the size of continents.
The catch: it sometimes moves at a glacial pace.
Big things take time, but that’s OK — almost nothing can stop a glacier from moving once it reaches critical mass.
How do you Incorporate Renewed Emphasis on Qualitative Aspects of your Business and Deliver Sustained Value to Your Customers?
Corporate CEO’s and product brand managers need to think and act with a renewed emphasis on the qualitative aspects of business – customers, innovation, people, and leadership:
- Customer satisfaction
- Nurturing of champions
The key is to quantify wherever possible.
Although some of the promises may seem wildly ambitious, each is thoroughly grounded in observed business practice, usually in the toughest markets.
Regular, quantitative measurement of customer satisfaction provides a comprehensive indicator of future brand health than profitability or market share change provide.
This needs to be measured on a 30-day cycle.
Brand management bonus and annual reviews should be tied to the level of customer satisfaction. The same holds true for every person at every level in every function throughout the company right down to the production line employees. Everyone needs to have skin in the game.
Every organizational unit in every function should be engaged to develop key quality measures.
Progress should be shared throughout the organization, and a quantitative goal report should be the first item of business at every staff meeting, regardless of topic.
All marketers should be out in the field, listening to and interacting with customers, at least 50 percent of the time.
This allows you to gain first-hand customer feedback and establish key relationships for product development. This aid in developing brand evangelists; surveys or other cannot replace a personal one on one relationship.
Even manufacturing or operations managers should be out with customers, interacting and listening, at least 10 to 15 percent of the time.
The ability to see and experience how customers are using products, any pain points or successes is an eye-opening experience for all.
Senior management is not exempt.
Every senior manager should habitually call at least four customers (end users, distributors, major franchisees) each week from a “top 100” customer list. This feedback and interactions enhances competitiveness and allows you to keep a pulse on the market, customer needs and wants, allowing for immediate feedback that is not filtered through internal channels.
Think of your suppliers and customers as partners, not adversaries. The ability to work together in a partnership enhances competitiveness.
Joint problem-solving teams that work on the low hanging fruit, such as a reducing delivery time and inventory levels are good starting points to break the ice and move the team forward.
Once team trust has been established within the working groups taking customer input and feedback and incorporating this to create small “differentiators” to each product or service can improve all products and services. For example, minor new feature or new tool for the field sales force that drives customer experience and satisfaction.
Innovation can be quantified
Every profit center in an organization establishes a tough quantitative target for a percentage of revenue stemming from new products and services introduced in the last 24 months.
Aim for no less than a 75 percent across-the- board reduction in product development cycle-time over the next 18 months.
People programs are responsive to quantification
Far too few firms use profit sharing; gain sharing and other forms of quality- and productivity-based incentive compensation.
By engaging front line employees in a revenue or profit sharing program drives ownership and commitment. People care when they are incentivized and engaged in the process and outcomes.
Aim for at least 25 percent of the average, first-line employees’ compensation should come from such a plan. All people, in all functions, at all levels should be part of the plan.
Celebrate small successes.
This does not have to be a budget breaker; it can be as simple as in house lunch or morning coffee and doughnuts for the team that completed its work on schedule, or took customer feedback and incorporated it into product design or customer service that enhances the customer experience
At the end of the day, every product or service is created to help solve a customer problem or pain point. The ability to engage with and listen to customer feedback and then incorporate this information makes the customer experience that more beneficial and successful.
This is how market leaders are created.
Companies that are compelled to over regulate their employees who have to deal with minor irritants are major detriments to enhanced performance.
Eliminate “Mickey Mouse” rules and regulations. Reduce the length of all manuals by 75 percent in the course of the coming calendar year. Cut to what is necessary and eliminate the balance.
You want an engaged workforce that is valued and responsive to solve customer pain points. This “can do” attitude becomes unstoppable and a leading competitive edge.
How much time do managers spend in their office’s verse spent managing by wandering around?
All managers should be in the office no more than 35 percent of the time, regardless of their functional area.
Hold all your fellow managers to a similar target. Then, quantify calendars.
There is no alternative to spending at least 40 percent of a managers time on the single priority that you wish to be the cornerstone of any major organizational effort at change — for example, enhanced customer service and customer experience.
To get started, have managers modify their calendar 15 percent over the next six weeks. Gradual changes are adopted more easily verses attempting to make drastic, dramatic changes in one big swoop.
Conduct a detailed, quantitative weekly review (potentially in peer groups with equal peers) of each other’s progress; this should be measured by the precise amount of time spent out of the office working with direct reports on key customer drivers that are based on customer feedback. This helps lock these new habits into place.
Quantify ten key areas in the next 30 days?
The process of quantification can be quantified.
Bringing this full circle…
Take these learning’s and share them via your content marketing program. Your customers are interested in the inner working of the company. They want to feel that they are a critical part of your team.
TV and media metrics often fall into the old logical fallacy of “Post hoc ergo propter hoc” (“After this therefore because of this”). In today’s digital market, we can be so much more precise as it relates to causation.