5 Ways for your Brand to be Always Customer Focused

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In our increasingly connected world, it is imperative for brands to be seen as customer focused – always and continuously. It is a relentless pursuit of happiness – for your consumer, your customer, and not necessarily for your brand and your team. But focusing on the customer does have its payoffs. Here are five simple things you can do to keep your customers, in the loop, informed, interested and happy...

1. Build a sense of trust. 

Whether or not, you offer some kind of customer service via your online channels, it is important that you build a sense of trust with your customer. Relationships are built on trust. It depends on the way you 'speak' to your customers on your social channels, your website, your chatbots – and particularly offline. Be clear in delivering a message that is consistent about what you do, what your brand or product promises, how you deliver on that, and what your customers (and your target audience) can expect from you.

Keep your customers informed about changes, updates, and problems (if any) with your products and services. Be consistent, and deliver a mix of information that is relevant to their everyday lives, as well as good news from your side – that is of benefit to them. When you resolve a problem that a customer had had – beyond their expectations – they usually become loyal customers and advocates for your brand and product. That's what trust does for you.

2. Listen to your customer. Be open to feedback and criticisms.

Digital marketing is built around the customer, the audience you want to talk to, and getting proper insights about your customer, the consumer, their needs is what should be your first and fundamental step. You need to listen to your customers all the time. With proper intent. 

Customer feedback, criticisms, suggestions are hugely useful because they are direct input and insight from those who have used your product or service firsthand. This allows you to and fine-tune your products, iterations, fixes and new versions to the specific needs and preferences of your target audience. You can use surveys, open social media channels that allow for interactions, communities, user groups – even user generated videos such as unboxings and 'first impressions'.

3. Be reachable, be open, be honest.

In this digitally connected age, there's no excuse to say "Sorry, we're Closed'! Yes, you are in a 24/7 world that's Always On. The more easily accessible information you provide across multiple channels, the better you look. And that information has to be open and honest – faults, fails, wins, losses and all. You have to be open to multi channel contact and engagement – and that's not easy. Are you on WhatsApp? Via SMS? On Facebook? Is your twitter channel ready to receive feedback and are you ready to deliver on that?

4. Give them value. Create usefulness.

To win with your brand's content marketing strategy – give something away – for free!  Not prizes, not coupons. Value. What you need to do each and every time is to share content with your audience that is useful and valuable for them. That's how you create an experience that your target audience will enjoy, benefit from, and look forward for more. And be consistent with your generosity!

Content is hugely valuable in our currency of marketing today. How do you create a winning content plan for your brand? There are so many ways to use content to better market your products and services, to better connect to your target audiences, and engage consumers. Whichever way, whichever types of content you plan to create and share, remember that end-user value is critical.

As far as the types of content you can or should create, see Content Marketing Strategy: What kind of content should you create.

5. Always, always deliver what you promise.

Yes, you create value, yes you are open and honest, but are you delivering what you promised? And then some? This is important. When you make a promise, keep them within the boundaries of what you can manage to deliver – and make sure they match your goals. Your deliveries, your actions do not have to be flawless each and every time, but make sure you fix things, repair any emotional damage to trust, and then go the extra mile.

Customer experience today is a tough game. And social media has made it a game where the rules are constantly changing. Play it right, and your brand will resonate with your audience. Please share this with your friends and colleagues today.

Now please read (and share) these related posts:

8 steps to building Awareness and Customer Loyalty with Social Media

•  Improve your social media engagement. Move from Selling to building Relationships

What jobs to target in Digital Marketing at Agencies and Brands

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The number of job titles and descriptions at agencies that deliver digital marketing solutions is an ever increasing list. What are the roles involved and where do they fit in in the digital product cycle? Every day, in this connected age of marketing, we see new points of engagement come to the foreground, and naturally new positions are created, or current roles are customized to address the new areas of focus. 

Here's a starting-point list of the most common job titles and roles at advertising, media, social media and specialized digital services agencies...


Channel Neutral Planners, Brand Managers, Strategic Planners (non digital specific)
Integration Director/Manager, Integrated Content Manager/Coordinator

Digital Strategy

Digital Strategists – define the role of the brand in digital specific channels 
Audience & Insight: Insight specialist, data analysts, Analytics Managers,
Content Strategy Managers/Directors, Engagement Strategy Managers, Campaign & Eco-system Planners, Social Voice Strategy Managers, Behavior Analysts, Trends Analyst,
Performance Marketing Director/Manager/Specialist, Usability Engineer/Strategist
CRO Specialist (Conversion Rate Optimization), CRO Director, CRO Analyst, CRO Data Specialist
Data Planner, Affiliate Marketing Manager/Specialist, 

Digital Creative

Creative Technologist
Digital Creative Director, Digital Art Director, Digital Production Artist, Graphic Designer, Digital Identity Development Art Director, 
Video Director, Videographer, Video Editor, Video Producer
Digital Content Director, Content Creation Manager, Copywriter, Content Editor
SEO-relevant writer, SEO specialist
UI/UX Designers, UI/UX analyst
Digital Programmatic Creative Specialist/Manager/Director
Pre flight manager, Traffic Manager, 
Project Manager

Social Media

Social Media Director, Social Media Manager, Social Media Account Handler/Associate
Social Media Strategists (Director/Manager), Social Media Planners, Social Calendar Developer
Community Manager
Social Media Data Analyst, Social Media Monitoring Manager/Director, 
Social Media Distribution Manager, Social Content Publisher
Social Specific Content Manager, Social Content Art Director, 
Paid Social Manager, Paid Social Planner

Customer Experience

Web & Mobile Experience Architect, Website Designer, Website Developer, Mobile Apps Strategist, Mobile App Designer, Customer Engagement Analyst, UI/UX specialist,  CMS specialist, 
Programmers, Specialist Programmers, Mobile Code specialists, Applications Designers, Loyalty Specialist Designers, CRM designers, Website Pre-flight Analyst, QA&QC Manager, 
Experience Strategy Director, Digital Activation Manager/Director, 
e-Commerce Director, e-Commerce Strategy Director, e-Commerce Designer, e-Commerce Creative Director/Art Director, e-Commerce Content Analyst, e-Commerce Code specialist, e-Commerce Product Analyst, e-Commerce Content Coordinator
eMail Marketing Specialist/Manager/ Creative Director, eMail Marketing Analyst


Innovation Leads, Digital Product & Service Development Manager/Director, Innovation Lab Director, Innovation strategy Director, IOT Specialist, IOT interface designer, Wearables Strategist, Wearables interface designer


Digital Media Director, Digital Media Strategy Director/Manager, Digital Media Engagement Director, Digital Media Data Analyst, 
Digital Media Associates, Media Planners, 
Digital Media Buying Manager/Director, Digital Media Buyer, 
Digital Media Dashboard Manager, Programmatic Director/Manager, Digital Media Content Analyst, Digital Media Pre Flight Manager/Associate, Digital Media Distribution Manager, 
Media Creative Director, Media Art Director, Media Engagement Manager/Director
Media Content Manager, Media Content Writer
RTB Director/Manager, RTB Specialist (Real Time Bidding)
Paid Social Planner, Paid Social Buyer


SEO Analyst, SEO Specialist, SEO Consultant, SEO writer, SEO Coordinator, SEO tag specialist, SEO specialized Web Designer/Developer
SEM planner, SEM strategy director, SEM Buying specialist/Manager/Director, PPC Director, PPC Analyst, Keywords Analyst, Trends Analyst,  Growth Specialist, SEO Editor, Bidding Director, 
Demand Generation specialist, 

Account Management/ Client Interface / Agency Management

CEO – Digital, Digital Managing Director, Digital Group Director, Digital Account Manager, 
Client Services Director/Manager/Associate, Digital Services General Manager
Social Media Director/Manager/Associate, CRM Manager, Experience Director, 

I haven't even mentioned niche job titles like "Snapchat Content Strategist" or "Digital Culture Analyst" – those jobs are either super niche and fall into the "invented here" bracket, or are just ways of luring brands through the front door.

If you're a brand looking for an agency and have really specific needs, you need to figure out if they are equipped to handle what you want, or are they just going to get someone within their staff to just try and "talk the walk". The roles above cover a wide spectrum – some are highly specialized roles needing unique skill sets – the others simply evolve from current roles and job descriptions. Either way, that's how agencies and brands today are defining and rising to the needs of digital marketing. And just knowing about these roles is basic knowledge – its Digital Marketing Strategies 101

Please add your comment if I have missed a role or job title that you feel should be included in this list.
Here are some posts that address digital marketing needs and how they are best addressed by key people in the roles above:

Insights & Data/Analytics

Customer Experience & Social

and one transformative development that's redefining roles at agencies:

8 steps to building Awareness and Customer Loyalty with Social Media

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The way social media has become an integrated part of marketing is built around the fact that it helps boost customer loyalty like never before. Here are eight ways to use social media to help build awareness and customer loyalty...

1. Start by listening

Customer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing. This is something you really need to keep in mind (and do read the linked post as well). You can't have insights if you don't listen. You need data – and data that's cleverly converted to valuable insight.

Social media listening is not just for monitoring social performance or sentiment. It provides a huge opportunity for customer loyalty building and retention.

Where are your customers on social media? Which platforms do they prefer – particularly in context of your brand or product.

Which particular products and services do they talk about the most. Which ones get no responses at all? What are the sentiments (positive or negative) when they mention these products? Do they recommend them?

Do they have consistent positive or negative comments on social that you should encourage or address quickly?

And, from a social media point of view, what kind of content are they truly engaging with – commenting, sharing, liking? Are they creating content on social platforms around your brand or product (User Generated Content)? Do they prefer photos or videos? Long form content and blog posts? How To's on YouTube? Unboxings?

These above listening points give you so much insight about your customer, that you cannot afford to ignore any of those signals. And, ideally, you should also key in your customer data from your mail or CRM programs.

The importance of listening in social media, and how to get it right

2. Provide value to engage your customers

Often brands forget the importance of socially driven customer retention. Social can be of huge help with after sales. Here's where you get feedback from your customers and you build better engagement by creating value for them. Have some sort of a plan – a content calendar – that locks in promotions, customer special offers, seasonal campaigns, and a few dedicated 'customer only' offers and promotions via social.

If you create he right value adds for your customers, it becomes easy to up-sell, cross sell across your product lines. This is where brand loyalty kicks in. Value is really key here – and make no mistake, value is not just about deals and offers. Value is perceived benefit as well. When you are there for them as a brand.

3. Customers get First in Line on Responses

Honor your customers by responding to their queries and feedback quickly and effectively. A whole lot of brands often don't bother responding to questions and feedback – which really fails their social efforts. No one wants to watch a new product video when they have a beef about a product they already own. Social media customers expect to hear back – almost within the hour. If you are able to maintain a good response rhythm, that in turn impresses the people following your brand who just aren't quite customers yet.

4. Seek out the super customers and advocates

Use your social listening tools to identify which of your customers are super fans and loyal, and beyond that, who are the real advocates for your brand. Find ways to reward them – and not just in tangible ways, but also via social recognition when possible.

You can create 'Super Customer' clubs on social and offer some value for members – your best customers and advocates. Again, use listening here to get feedback about what they feel about the rewards and recognitions. Which ones work better?

5. Create rewards programs

Offer a program which your social fans and community can clearly identify as rewarding and one that adds genuine value. It does not have to be limited to special offers. You can offer sneak previews of new launches, special user tips, How To Guides, Upgrades, Product Tips, posts on product benefits they may not know about, and so much more.

6. Get more than just your social team involved

Social media aimed at customer building and retention is beyond just the realm of community management teams. Get your customer support teams, your senior marketing teams, and even your top executives to contribute to your social efforts. Content that comes from top leadership helps establish a sense of rapport with your customers and builds a trust factor that a community manager just cannot muster.

7. Share their victories, feel their pain

You cannot build a community of loyal customers on your social platforms unless you are genuine and human. Your responses, posts, mentions have to be genuine. When a customer heaps praises, retweet and share it with an aded on comment that appreciates their effort. Address their product pain points with empathy – not "We'll get back to you asap".

8. Measure and learn. Then keep doing what works

Analyze your results regularly and accurately. What worked? What didn't? Which rewards worked? How quickly did the team respond to customer queries? What was feedback sentiment. And, of course, if you can track social to effects on sales and numbers, that's what really helps. So you need to track everything you do on social from a customer perspective and learn from the results you achieved. Then, keep doing what works and improve on it whenever possible by being creative and meaningful.

These are some simple points to remember when you use social media to attract and retain a good customer base. And, no social media strategy should be built without having that as an important reason to exist.

And that's the basics of digital marketing strategy. That's 101. Please share this post with your friends and colleagues today... And do comment if you feel you want to add to this.

Now read these related posts:

• How to Make your Social Media Rock Solid by Listening and Acting Quickly

• Improve your social media engagement. Move from Selling to building Relationships

7 Simple steps to creating a rock solid content strategy

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Content, is today's marketing gold. It is the key that brands are using to connect and resonate with their audiences. Here are seven simple steps to having a rock solid content strategy.

The fundamental strategy for successful content marketing is to consistently create and publish great, helpful content. The more your target audience can believe that you have solutions and answers when they have questions, the more your reputation grows as a reliable source. This is what leads you becoming a reliable, trusted brand – a go to brand. Simply: People buy from people they trust.

When creating content, ask yourself these fundamental questions first: Is this content going to provide something that the community will benefit from? Is it unique and something that the user won't quickly find just anywhere? And, does it resolve a problem and answer a useful question. Then, use these steps to draft a solid strategy:

1. Outline your brand goals and objectives

Your social media and content marketing goals should reflect your brand and company goals. How do your content goals (both from a type of content you create, and where it will reside) should align and support your brand's marketing goals. Audit your current social media situation and ensure that it is in line with overall marketing objectives.

2. Define your target audience

Who is your content aimed at? Have you taken the time to really understand your target audience?  Do you know their demographics? Their social media behaviours? Their media consumption habits?
Read : Customer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing

3. Where's the demand? What content do they want?

Take your time to understand exactly what kind of content your audience is looking for. What are the questions they are asking? What problems do they need resolved? You need to continuously keep listening across all social media to keep a tab on this. This is critical to formulating your content strategy.

4. What kind of format works for your audience?

What format works well for your audience and community? Is it infographics? Videos? Text? Blogs? Live Streams? Webinars? You can test this yourself by analysing what does well for your posts, or you can get insights on this by monitoring what works well for your competition or your vertical.

5. What platforms are they on?

Knowing where your audience really is helps you decide on your distribution strategy. You may be creating great, useful content, but if it is on the wrong platform, it does not serve your purpose. There's two points here to keep in mind. First, which platforms are they on, and second, what type of platform suits your type of content well.

6. Track your content performance

Have trackable, traceable criteria in place to measure performance. Set your performance goals and track against them. How do you identify and analyze what key metrics you will use? Different elements have different criteria you log against. For sales, it would be click rates and conversions, for awareness it would be audience growth and engagement.

7. Be consistent

Being consistent is key to be recognized as reliable. Having a plan is important, but do stick to it. And, as well, have a sense of readiness for in the moment content – content that reflects what's happening around you. But again, being consistent with platform, format, delivery, timeliness are all key to succeeding.

Please share this with your friends and colleagues, and do feel free to add your comments.

Now read these related posts:

6 Must Know tips to Succeed with Content Marketing in 2017

Content Marketing Strategy: What kind of content should you create?

Plan your Distribution Strategy to succeed with Content Marketing

Winning Content Strategy: Always share something valuable and useful

What's Trending in Digital Marketing in May 2017

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Here are some useful links to posts and articles which will help you stay on trend in the world of Digital Marketing for May 20017. Just click on the links below...

News and Trends

Reports, How To's & White Papers

Simple ways to improve your Brand's Facebook Reach

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With organic reach at an all time low on Facebook, brands need to look at more innovative and creative ways of improving overall reach. And, yes, while engagement is still key as a metric, you can't engage unless you reach.

1. Start with Organic, then go Paid

Clever brands today do use paid, but they start with organic – meaning, they'll wait a day, or a few hours at least, before they boost their posts via paid. Some brands believe only in promoted posts and have ditched the organic reach goal. But it's best to have a strategy for when you should promote via paid and why. On some posts your goal may be to drive traffic to a website – via links. On others it may be to increase awareness and engagement.

Use Facebook's algorithms wisely. If you have $100 to spend, don't just do it in one go. Select the Objectives (Traffic, Video Views etc) according to your goal. Create the ad and spend around $40 the first time around. Run the ad and pause it after a day or two. Then spend another $30, for example in a second burst, and then the rest. Spreading this out will boost both organic and paid content. And the reach can keep increasing over time if the content is engaging and shareable.

2. Create content that is shareable – that gets immediate attention

Attention is the commodity every brand is after these days. You need to get people to pause as your post scrolls by. Thumb-stopping content that people stop at, read, and then share right away is your magic key. The Facebook news feed algorithms is geared to support advertisers with engaging content. The more reactions, comments, and shares your posts get, the better their reach. This applies to both organic and paid. Content has to be relevant to your audience, and engaging – they add value, they educate, they entertain.

3. Video content gets better traction

We know today that video content gets 1200% more shares than image and text posts combined. Go with native video on Facebook – it gets 10 times more reach than YouTube videos shared via links on Facebook. The newsfeed algorithm will factor in time spent on a video post as well as the shaes – and it will boost your visibility and reach. 

Go Longer on Video

One quick tip, Facebook actually supports longer form videos better. We see that video content between 5-15 minutes does better.

But don't limit to video only. 

That gets boring quickly. Facebook posts should vary between video, images, slides and text – catering to a variety of audiences and their mindsets as they scroll through the newsfeed. As well, depending on the insights you see, don't forget to repost a post that did well. Most of your target audience may not have seen it the first time around.

4. Engagement is key

What keeps your audience coming back is engagement. Remember, it is after all, a dialog, a conversation. When you expect people to comment, like, share, shouldn't you be doing the same? Always respond to any comments and queries right away, and do that on each and every one when possible. Acknowledge shares and any feedback that you get on your posts. Facebook algorithm better supports engaged posts and recency is a key factor, so as long as you can keep the engagement rolling, you'll get better results overall.

5. Support your Facebook reach by cross-platform mentions

Use all other social platforms, including any blogs, and your website to boost your Facebook page's reach. Each post has a unique URL (the timestamp of your post is the URL) and you should use this in mentions on Twitter, for example. 

Those are simple ways to increase and optimize your Facebook reach. And that's the basics of Digital Marketing. Do share this with friends and colleagues...

How AI and VR will disrupt and shift your brand's digital marketing

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Digital marketing today is being disrupted and we see a shift in how brand's are using both AI and VR in planning a seamless, immersive experience that is truly relevant in context.

Brands today need to understand the shift. They are no longer in the B2C business – they are in the C2B business, where the customer drives what brands should be doing. Particularly in the social realm. So, a seamless, omnichannel experience that is rewarding to the user – and one that resonates in context is key. With this paradigm shift in mind, we're beginning to see both AI and VR gain ground in digital marketing.

Predictive analytics and Immersive Experience

Brands are fast moving into this territory of contextually relevant (and non interruptive) experience that uses VR’s immersive technology along with how AI’s and it's live predictive analytics makes context and content work seamlessly. 

No real guidelines just yet

What most brands are learning quickly is that there are no guidelines just yet. It's early days. The future is now, but we don't know how to negotiate it. So, the key for brands is to learn fast, be agile, experiment and both adopt and adapt.

Data and Insight

The power of predictive analytics that AI brings can enhance the customer experience by aligning customer  or target audience needs to the medium and the message being delivered. This, of course is hugely dependent on how we employ AI to turn data into insight. How we gather data and what we do with it is key – the accuracy of the data and how we leverage it is where AI can really help.

Earlier brand marketers guess worked their markets – somehow figuring out how consumers behave. Today, technology enables thin-slice targeting and delivering ads and experiences, and content, based on the target's online behavior. IBM’s Watson  runs analytics on thousands of pages per second, collecting and analysing a huge volume of data relating to every ad generated. It also does sentiment analysis down to great detail – including emotions generated during consumption of content. All this in real time. Which enables brands to adapt, make changes on the fly, and make their communications far more meaningful. 

AI can truly shift native advertising

This is particularly relevant to native advertising or native content – because the success of this kind of advertising is context. AI greatly enhances the possibility of native because it can help place the right content in the right context – including the measurement of sentiment and keep adapting and changing as needed. Even with vanilla advertising, ad blocking is reduced because AI helps with better placement that is more acceptable in end-user context.

VR and Immersive content

While AI can help brands configure context, the end experience is still the important thing. No amount of code or algorithm can draw in the consumer if the content fails. At the end of the day, the content needs to engage, tell a story. The inherent power of VR in producing engaging, immersive experiences online is being explored, but the possibilities are seemingly endless.

VR is no longer a technology advancement. Google is ensuring that VR is here and VR is now. With a VR viewer in hand (and Google has shipped millions of its simple Google Cardboard viwers across the world),  there is no shortage of content. What matters then, is for brands to be able to create purpose-built VR content that will resonate in the right contexts. 

Google driving VR

Google tells us "The promise of VR is what the industry calls "presence"—the feeling that you're really somewhere else. VR cameras like Jump can capture the entire experience of a place—every corner, every angle. 

In the not-so-distant future, cameras like these will be capturing experiences all over the world. What does this mean for audiences? How about access to the best seats in the house at any event—floor seats at the NBA playoffs, a box at La Scala, front row at the BeyoncĂ© show? Or the chance to visit the most beautiful places on earth, from the comfort of home? It's the closest thing we have to teleportation, enabling deeper engagement than has ever been possible."

The trick then is for brands to use VR with AI and combine the two to deliver meaningful experiences. Beyoncé for the pop fan. La Scala for the opera fan. McDonald's for the hungry when they are hungry. And a virtual resort tour from Marriott for someone planning a holiday. All in grand immersive virtual reality.

Google reminds us that "VR lets viewers be active participants; they can look wherever they want. When a viewer feels like they are there, they have a greater sense of the situation. Messages become more impactful.

And, again, Google suggests that brands need to ask themselves some important questions...

"Will VR give viewers an experience that they otherwise couldn't have? The subject matter should truly take advantage of the medium—transport people to a place, immerse them in a world, and compel them to explore.

Could you give shoppers a better feel for your product? According to a study from Ericsson ConsumerLab, shopping was the top reason worldwide smartphone users were interested in VR, with "seeing items in real size and form when shopping online" cited by 64% of respondents. This doesn't just apply to retail brands. Cadillac is already using VR to create virtual dealerships.

Will your recording environment be rich with things to see? If you're shooting in a simple white room with nothing on the walls, probably not. If you're at a sports event or a music festival, there's likely plenty to see.

Will viewers want to continue watching beyond the initial "That's cool" moment? It can be a challenge to get viewers to stick around after a minute or so. Make sure you have a compelling hook that will keep them engaged."

So, in conclusion, once we can harness both AI and VR – for the right reasons and it genuinely makes sense for our brand – we can say we have arrived in the middle of this disruption, and we're just OK with it.

Please share this post with friends and colleagues.

Now read these related posts:

Top Technology Trends in Marketing for 2017

• How Data will really drive Marketing in 2017

How VR and 360 degree video is changing advertising and content marketing