Tag Archives: lessons learned

Marketing Lessons From The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

Last week’s 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band found me enjoying listening to the classic album by The Beatles. I’ve loved this album for as long as I can remember.  As a kid my older brother, Sean and I would put it on and listen to the entire album, reading the lyrics and liner notes, looking at inserts and wanting to cut them out.  

Fast forward to today and I find myself listening to the album and hearing these marketing lessons that I have listed out.  Each song seemed to have a specific marketing lesson that relates strongly to my work life, echoing best practices and marketing strategy and tactics.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

We’re Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
We hope you will enjoy the show

It’s wonderful to be here
It’s certainly a thrill
You’re such a lovely audience
We’d like to take you home with us
We’d love to take you home

Starting with the opening track, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles remind of us an important lesson.  Establish your brand and its promise.  Straight up, this is who we are and this is what you should expect of us.  You always have to establish these two points when communicating with your audience.

Both Apple and Google have established themselves as global top brands.  Google’s brand is so synonimous with its original feature, search, that most people say “Google it”.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm gonna try with a little help from my friends
Oh I get high with a little help from my friends
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends

Great marketing campaigns are a result of strong collaboration, both internally and externally.  Internally we need to collaborate with our teams of copywriters, designers, developers, process owners, strategists, executives and other employees.  Externally we have partners, influencers, analysts, customers and prospects that we collaborate with in order to succeed.  

According to a recent Bizable State of Pipeline Marketing report22.2% of respondents said that word-of-mouth referrals have the greatest impact on revenue, the most of any marketing channel or activity.

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

What we would all give for a copywriter that comes up with some as beautiful as the imagery painted by John Lennon! Lucy reminds us that we all have to tap into our creative talents to create expressions that attracts and we hope, admiration from our audiences.  John Lennon’s song based on his child’s drawing about his school friend, Lucy, illustrates creative that breaks tradition in order to create something new and different and gets the audience’s attention.  Albeit the audience thought Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was a veiled reference to LSD!

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by Julian Lennon, Age 3

Getting Better

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get more worse)

Getting better? Sounds like marketing optimization to me! From data quality issues to tracking and measuring, digital marketing today keeps you on your toes in terms of room for improvement.  As we continuously improve and optimize we are moving forward in our sophistication.  

Always challenging due to the search engines shifting algorithms, we’ve witnessed search moving to mobile devices that dominate the search volume.

Fixing a Hole

I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go

Just as you’re getting better in your data and optimization, there’s still holes to fix! When you find errors in the data or the process, you have to determine if it’s a big enough hole that needs attention now or it can wait.  

Also, are we fixing a hole for our customers? The answer to this question frames our strategy, messaging and content around the brand’s performances against the promise.

She’s Leaving Home

She (We gave her most of our lives)
Is leaving (Sacrificed most of our lives)
Home (We gave her everything money could buy)
She’s leaving home after living alone
For so many years (Bye bye)

One of the most important areas that is overlooked by marketing teams is when and why we lose customers. Unsubscribes to non-renewals, losing a customer or prospects is a great learning opportunity.  A well designed subscription center, coupled with follow up surveys can provide insight and areas of customer frustration you’re not aware of.

Speaking of the unsubscribe page, this is the missed opportunity of the majority of marketing departments. Check out the video Groupon created for their unsubscribe page.

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite

For the benefit of Mr. Kite
There will be a show tonight on trampoline
The Hendersons will all be there
Late of Pablo Fanques Fair, what a scene!

Based on an 1843 circus poster John Lennon saw in a London store, he crafted another glorious creative song that reminds us of one of the most important marketing lessons, showmanship!  Don’t be afraid to tell your audience what you do and why you’re awesome!  You have to sell the steak and the sizzle in a way that excites your audience not just informs them.

19th-century circus poster for Pablo Fanque’s Circus Royal appearance at Rochdale. John Lennon purchased the poster in an antique shop on 31 January 1967

Within You Without You

We were talking about the space between us all
And the people who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion

Over time I’ve grown to love George Harrison’s Indian influence in this song. Now I see how it tells us to experiment, try different things to see what works and resonates with your audience.  The challenge to transcend the safe approach and connect on a different level. Step outside your zone from time to time, it could pay off big!

When I’m Sixty-Four

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?

Don’t we wish our customers asked questions like these? Wanting to know how long we’ll be there for them? We all know it’s easier to keep a customer than acquire a new one. This song speaks volumes about maintaining long term relationships with our customers.  All we need is an answer to the question of will we be there when we’re needed. Heck, Paul even says “Fill out a Form!”

Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form


Lovely Rita

Took her out and tried to win her
Had a laugh and over dinner
Told her I would really like to see her again

Lovely Rita is all about the lead generation and acquisition. Courting our prospects to become leads and eventually customers is what marketing is all about in today’s digital economy.  Rita being the object of affection in the song represents those desirable prospects that we spend a large amount of our time trying to get their attention and start a conversation.  

The cutout inserts from Sgt. Pepper

Good Morning, Good Morning

Nothing to say but what a day how’s your boy been
Nothing to do it’s up to you
I’ve got nothing to say but it’s OK
Good morning, good morning

Maintaining the right communication cadence with your audiences is a real science to marketing.  For both existing and potential customers we have to let the know we’re interested in what they have to say and the power to make the decisions rest in their hands.  From learning where your onboarding program is confusing to who’s delivering real customer value on your team, communicating with our customers is vital.

Sgt. Peppers Reprise

We’re Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
We hope you have enjoyed the show

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
We’d like to thank you once again

How many times can we thank our customers, influencers and fans? Never enough! In the reprise of the title track, The Beatles again thank us for being their audience. A lesson we can over look in marketing if we’re not careful.  You can never thank your customers too much if it’s relative to them and their success. Of course the Thank You Page is a great way to thank your customers as well as offer them something else of interest.

A Day in The Life

Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
And somebody spoke and I went into a dream

Every day we’re frantic and hectic at work, in our life and trying to keep up with all our life’s demands.  This opus end by The Beatles tells us how important the customer experience is.  We have to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and try to best understand their challenges. Then we have an opportunity to create a unique and satisfying customer experience that delights our audiences the way The Beatles did.

8 Daily Digital Marketing Challenges

It’s not as difficult as being President of the United States, but digital marketing is hard work. Most people think we just play on social media all day and create a few web pages. I wish that was true. Digital marketing is a fun career choice but can be very challenging due to several factors.

  1. Digital marketing is in a state of constant change. Search engine result pages (SERPs) change more than 75% on a daily basis.  New social networks and tools pop up every few days.  Just when you think you’ve figured it out Facebook announces privacy changes or Instagram changes its terms of service.  Whatever the state of flux what works today, may not work tomorrow.
  2. Educating others as to what’s important. For those that don’t live, eat and breath digital, there’s a large knowledge gap. A big part of my day can be spent educating others as to why certain aspects of digital marketing are unique and important.
  3. You have to play the long and short game. Even B2C ecommerce sites that can show quick conversions from email, paid search and social. But they still have to consider where there brand will be positioned a year from now, 5 years from now, etc. B2B with longer sales cycles know this well enough but again you have to educate your co-workers that
  4. It’s hard to find quality relevant data. Yes there are tons of stats on Mashable, Techcrunch and other news blogs on conversion rates, open rates, etc. But many times they are aggregated across millions and billions of sessions, users stats, log files, etc. Finding relative comparative benchmarking data is challenging and can be expensive.
  5. You have to be a part time geek.  Not just someone that loves technology but you have to understand how the web and other digital platforms work at certain levels.  Digital marketing works when the underlying infrastructure and technology support the goals and objectives of the campaign.  Without a robust framework and platform the best campaigns can quickly fail.  Understanding how the pieces work together is critical for success.
  6. You have to test on many browsers, operating systems and mobile devices. Sure your website, app, email looks great on your computer but what about the person in the cube next to you on an older browser. Or your CEO that is on his iPad. Or your customer that still uses a Blackberry.  At some point you have to cut bait and fish but the testing and revisions are important and time consuming.
  7. Traditional marketing is still important. The old rules may not always apply but lessons learned from past campaigns can provide insight into how people may respond to your campaign.  Marketing is not about selling, it’s about creating interest, awareness and demand for your product. The selling comes afterwards.
  8. There are many digital channels and associated strategies. Do I create a mobile website or mobile app? Are microsites the best strategy for a campaign. How much organic and paid search do I need to reach my goals?  Add in video, social, email, content marketing, and whatever is around the corner. Not every digital channel is applicable for each campaign, but each must be considered and reviewed.
So what do you think? Is digital marketing hard work in your opinion?Enhanced by Zemanta

6 Marketing Myths Busted!

Marketing Myths Busted!Some days I get down when reading blog posts, discussions, seeing speakers talk about new marketing channels like social media or paid search.  I have to remind myself that we live in a world where everyone is getting their mega horn on to blast out opinions.  Some are on target, others a bit skewed and some are extrapolating case studies into generalizations.So here’s my take on some current marketing myths I see.  Please note that I’m not saying these tactics don’t work in a well developed marketing plan that works in conjunction with multiple marketing channels.  I’m debating those presenting these tactics as a single, standalone strategy.

  1. Social media will kill email.  Email can be a burden and require time to manage the flow of messages, archiving, etc.  It’s true that social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn allow us to message and communicate with other in place of email.  But these new communication channels are not killing email, they may be reducing it for some users, however email is not going anywhere.  Corporations are not going to use Twitter, Facebook or texting to communicate directly with customers for e-commerce ordering and other secure communication, for example.
  2. Paid search is all you need to drive traffic and conversions to your website.  For some business, paid search is a great tool for driving online conversions, acquiring customers and generating revenue.  These businesses tend to be e-commerce with short sales cycles and low price points.  For businesses with longer sales cycles, more expensive and intensive purchases, paid search may drive people to your site but will not covert into a sale immediately.  Paid search can generate some awareness but other forms of advertising may be best for specialty products and markets with complex buying cycles.  For these companies paid search may not be the best spend of their marketing budget.  Also paid search works best with a strong organic SEO plan that continues to drive traffic when the paid search budget dries up!
  3. Book authors are experts because they have been published.  Some authors are experts because they have demonstrated their expertise through years of experience and professional work.  Others may be great writers that have worked in publishing and see the value of a specific technology.  While others may just be lucky enough to be first to market and in the right place at the right time.  I follow Tom Webster’s advice and tend to be skeptical until I see some evidence and thought leadership that supports claims of expertise.
  4. Anyone can be a blogger.  While it is true that anyone can create a blog easily with platforms like Blogger and WordPress a blog is more than just writing posts and a blogger is more than being the writer.  It involves being an advocate for your readers, staying abreast of your subject matter, digging for answers to questions,  creating an editorial calendar, focusing on a subject and being consistent.  Heck I don’t even consider myself a blogger.  I’m a marketing professional that writes a blog.  A blogger is someone so dedicated to their audience they post 3-5 times a week.  There’s a difference.
  5. Social media is the only channel that allows you to have a conversation with your customers.  True that social media allows for interactive communication between a company, its employees and customers.  But it does not allow you to communicate with all your customers since not everyone is on social media and you it may not be a preferred channel of communication for every situation.  Email, phone conversations and going into a store to talk to a real person are all still alive and well and will always be viable alternatives to a social media conversation.
  6. Traditional marketing is dead.  While social media has created a new channel to communicate with customers, it’s not a replacement for traditional media.  The challenge for marketing professionals always has been and always will be to find the right marketing mix for their customers.  If the majority of customers are heavy social media users then yes social media can be the primary channel.  Yet we still see billboards, commercials, print ads, posters and other traditional forms of advertising that have not died since the social media exploded the past few years.

What do you think about these myths?  Do you agree or disagree with my myth busting?

What’s Your Data Crisis Communication Plan?

Klout (@klout), the online standard for influence and scoring site suffered a severe system error that caused users social media profile scores to drop in value yesterday. I noticed a few people questioning their scores on Facebook so I went to my Klout page and noticed that my score dropped by 50%. I was not really bothered by the drop but more intrugued since it appeared to be happending to several users.

Between 8:30 and 12 noon I watched how Klout dealt with the situation. They did a great job of informing their users that there was an error and that they were sorry for the problem. They quickly sent tweets out informing their users that there was a glitch and they had not changed their algorithym as many people speculated on Twitter. By noon, Klout CEO Joe Fernandez had written a post explaining the problem and offering an sincere apology. Looking at the comments people were forgiving and appreciated the company explaining the problem and offering an apology.

Klout Twitter messages about scoring problem

With data being the currency of the social web, it’s vital that you have a crisis communication plan in place to deal with unplanned data loss or corruption. All systems can fail at any given time no matter how much we plan. Humans and machines make mistakes and often do. We are a forgiving culture as long as we know someone is listening and responding.

Klout did several things right. First it used Twitter as a customer support channel by addressing some of the first people asking why their scores had dropped. Secondly they acknowledged the error and informed users that they were working on the problem. Within a few hours it was fixed and they issued a nice post explaining the issue in more detail and apologizing for any problems it may have caused.

Sometimes when we have a crisis we can get unfocused fast. The first reaction is to find and fix the problem. But it’s equally important to have a crisis communication plan in place and enacted at the same time. Those responsible for the social media and outbound communication channels need to have a plan in place to know how to adquately react to consumer and customer questions. Chain of command needs to be properly identified and contingency plans in place in case spokespersons are travelling, on vacation or unavialable.

Let’s face it in today’s instant gratification and social media world you are being judged on how well you react, communicate and respond in a very short period of time. Klout’s example happened in less than 4 hours! Klout’s glitch has no life or death implications. But for a company that relies on accuracy and awareness of their service it’s important for them to have a reliable scoring system that does not frequently crash!

Do you have a crisis communicatoin plan for your data?

10 Ways to Boost Virtual Office Productivity

Virtual teams present special challenges, primarily because they are so geographically dispersed. Because you never meet face to face, out must rely on technology to get your workers trained. Remote workers in the form of IT specialists or personal assistants are great ways to save money or assemble teams with unique skills, but they require some special handling to keep them focused on their assigned tasks. Here you will find 8 ways to boost virtual office productivity so you get your money’s worth.

  1. Set your expectations early: You need to make sure you discuss your communication methods and how often you must get updates. Be specific concerning the outputs you want to see and when you must see them. By setting the standard early you can develop a better relationship and also have a framework by which you can provide evaluations and take corrective action if necessary.
  2. Route tasks effectively: A thorough knowledge of your virtual workers’ skill will help you route work properly. Virtual workers all have different specialties, so make sure that you delegate appropriate work to each person. This will help your virtual workers be more productive and you will get the results you need.
  3. Get an address: Your virtual office can include physical space services that have a real address with a real receptionist to sign for packages and provide notary and other services. Space services give you the ability to maintain a prestigious address without the overhead associated with the high rent district. With a virtual address you don’t have to worry that anyone will find out that you do most of your work in your pyjamas.
  4. Use software tools: Training and planning can be done with online project management tools such as the online BaseCamp subscription service. With online tools you can stipulate that all work be documented and you and your team can pick up and move on should one of your virtual workers quit unexpectedly.
  5. Trust, not fear should characterize your relations with virtual workers: As with any employee or contractor you take a risk, although you never get to see most of your virtual team. You also should recognize that your virtual team may have never seen you either, so they have a lot at stake too. Rather than trying to keep your team members on a short leash, let them go about their work and while you go about yours. Most of the time your worries will prove to be unfounded.
  6. Start smart: With a lot of deadlines looming you may feel pressured to assign a lot of work to new virtual workers. Realize that they have to get used to you and the way your organization works just as much as a physical employee would have to do. Start small with simple tasks while your team learns the ropes and gradually allow them to develop into the productivity engine you need them to be for your business to succeed.
  7. Get some legal advice: If you are new to virtual work environments, take some time and money to get competent legal advice. You want to form relationships that don’t leave you vulnerable to legal action should one of your virtual workers become unhappy.
  8. Be culturally savvy: If you have foreign workers on your virtual team, take some time to learn about their cultural nuances and practices. Be aware of their holidays and work routines and be careful not to unintentionally insult or offend them. Everyone must have respect for each other in order for the global workforce to succeed.
  9. Provide support: Virtual workers will have concerns from time to time that you need to address promptly to keep them productive. Pay issues are probably near the top of the list with workflow issues being close by. If your workers need online or other tools to get their work done, go ahead and support them by getting them what they need. If you’re willing to work to accommodate them, they will be more likely to accommodate you.
  10. Respect: To have a productive virtual office, you must show your workers respect. Take the lead in this area and be patient while your workers adjust to you and their virtual surroundings. After you’ve been fair and respectful with them for a few weeks, demand respect in return (if you haven’t received it yet). The virtual office is just like a physical office: everyone must get along in order to accomplish the mission.

Chart your course to success with these 10 ways to boost virtual office productivity. You will you’re your experience with this modern workforce to be fun, exciting, and profitable.

John Brook is a regular contributor to other blogs where he posts about improving productivity. He works at OfficeKitten.co.uk where he writes about presentation supplies and office supplies.