Posts Tagged ‘Online Marketing’

Customer Service: The John Lewis Way

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john_lewis_oxford_street1

I recently had the pleasure of working inside John Lewis and experiencing first hand how they deliver customer service that’s admired. I enjoyed working with the company. The customers and staff (partners) are in general happy, very polite and helpful and the company has a great atmosphere which is a credit to them. This has not happened overnight. The trust that customers have in John Lewis takes a long time to build but much easier to lose. How have they created this? First are the founding principles of Customer Service in John Lewis –

“Be honest; give respect; recognise others; show enterprise; work together; achieve more.”

Then my impressions…

1. “We’re Based on the Notion that if we Treat our Partners well, it will lead to Good Customer Service.”

This is a simple idea but one few companies really put into practice. John Lewis implement it in a number of ways:

  • Partnership
    • Staff are called and treated as partners
    • All partners are owners in the business and get a yearly bonus based on performance
    • Managers served staff at Xmas lunch
    • Partnership concept breaks down barriers and creates meritocracy
  • Respect
    • Respect for each other and for customers is a core value within John Lewis
    • Managers and staff were generally very helpful to one another and to customers
    • No difference between how customers and partners were treated…indeed partners were often customers
  • Trust
    • Trust partners and empower them to do well
    • In general partners were given space to to their jobs and to succeed and
  • Soft Benefits to create family effect
    • Subsidised canteen, discount card, subsidised, sports , subsidised concerts, holiday homes etc…
    • Social club with great parties etc.

2. Empower Staff

  • Train staff well
  • Empower them to make do the right thing. This may be asking a manager or acting on the customer’s best interests depending on the situation. They are encouraged to think outside the box once the basics have been understood and acted upon. Staff are expected to show enterprise in the right context
  • Staff are product experts in their areas and have built up this expertise over time and through training.
  • Be honest – if you don’t know do not waste the customer’s time. Find somebody with the right answer. Bring the customer to the answer if required.

 

3. Get and Act on Customer Feedback

  • Headquarter staff spend a few days serving over peak periods. This helps to give better customer service overall but also gives them immediate insight into the problem areas that customers are facing.
  • Staff are expected to communicate issues regularly and many forums are created whereby this is done in a  formal way

4. Make Online and Store seamless

  • Returns for online can be done in store at any till with systems work behind the scenes to improve this process ongoing. This can be much better than having to repackage it and post it back to other online retailers.,
  • Maintain exceptional customer service online. Customers have access to people when they need it and can use Waitrose and John  Lewis stores to pick up their purchase rather than missing the delivery at home.
  • Online is becoming a huge part of the overall service offered by John Lewis allowing customers to purchase when stores are closed. The John Lewis Clearance sales started on Xmas eve.

5. Make Customers Life Easy

  • Shopping can be stressful and unpleasant in the wrong environment. John Lewis try to help make it a pleasant environment.
  • Create a calm environment that is pleasant to look at and products are easy to find. Do not overburden with selling messages in flash colours
  • Keep queues to a minimum by hiring temporary staff for peak times to help at till as and free up existing staff to answer questions and give advice. Also deploy HQ staff to help out.
  • Provide a customer collection point that will collect all customer purchases in one location to ensure that they are not overburdened with bags
  • Provide home delivery options from store
  • Provide delivery options to John Lewis or Waitrose stores
  • Provide extensive gift list and gift wrapping services
  • Staff are honest and if they cannot answer will say so but will find someone who can and will not leave the customer until they are assured that the customer is being served by someone able inside John Lewis.

6. Be Different

  • Never knowingly undersold
    • John Lewis will match competitor prices if evidence is presented that is relevant and reasonable.
    • Staff are empowered to do this on the fly with manager’s approval.
    • Systems will support on the fly one off discounting.
  • Have an exceptional returns policy
    • John Lewis customers are trusted implicitly and when they bring back a product that they are not happy with it is changed often without question. This could be abused but at a macro level this creates tremendous good will and indeed more purchases. Often customers need to see the product in the home environment before being really sure and if they could postpone or not purchase if the returns policy was too difficult.
  • Have an exceptional warranty on electricals
    • John Lewis provides market leading warranties on electrical items whilst maintaining competitive prices.. This has become more important a sthe options on the high street narrow.

7. Hire people who share the John Lewis vision

  • Hire people who will take on the values of John Lewis and take it forward. The gatekeepers that hire staff  into John Lewis have an important job to hire people that will not abuise the trust and respect gievn to them by partners and customers.

 

Lead Generation Terminology

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May 25, 2011 · by Ray · Lead Generation

Target Market

The Target Market or Target Market segment is a list of companies  (B2B) or consumers (B2C) that possess the required buyer profile that make them pre-disposed to buy the product.

Territory

A territory is  a part of the target market which has been allocated to a  sales person or sales team.

A Lead

A lead is a  potential opportunity sometimes known as a prospect – For example, a person met at a conference who expressed interest, or someone who filled out a form on the company website.

Lead Conversion (Or Qualification)

If the lead is qualified and the salesperson and decides to pursue it, the lead is “converted,” and becomes an opportunity. ( Note that the term conversion is used somewhat loosely and in many cases in Digital Marketing does not end up with an opportunity but with a (more qualified) lead that still requires further qualification before it becomes an opportunity.

An Opportunity

Opportunities are the sales and pending deals that are tracked in that Sales Pipeline or Funnel. The pipeline is built by adding more opportunities will contribute to the forecast.

Opportunity Qualification

Opportunity Qualification means that the prospect has provided information and performed certain actions that show that they are  at a minimum in the market for the product, have the budget to buy and are willing to do  so within a reasonable timeframe.

Qualification is tailored to the specific sales process which is itself  aligned to the specific buying process in place.

In a simple B2C eCommerce transaction the qualification is a very simple process.

In B2B solution selling the qualification is a process that may be spread over weeks or months that forms a large part of the sales process due to the relative complexity of the buying process.

For instance in B2B solution selling:

  • A Lead may be qualified initially by an internal telemarketing team who may deem it good enough to pass on to the field sales team.
  • The Field sales team would initially qualify the company known as a suspect to avoid confusion with the term prospect. At this stage it would enter the funnel as a qualified suspect.
  • Further levels of Qualification would then take place with the other members of the buying team such as the Sponsor (Person Driving the Project) and the Power Sponsor (Normally at Executive or C Level).

An Account

An account is the company or consumer that makes the purchase. An account may deal with several opportunities.

Digital Marketing Strategy

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May 25, 2011 · by Ray · Digital Marketing, Lead Generation

Build Foundation for Success

The key to success is to create:

  • Clear Value objectives (or Clear Return on Investment objectives or Business Case)
  • Clear measurement (“You can’t manage what you don’t measure”)

Value = Total Benefits – Total Investment.

Deliver Value

The Value delivered by a Digital Marketing Strategy is:

  • Customer Sales
    • Part or all of the sales process depending on sale complexity.
    • For Complex B2B Digital Marketing can:
      • Create Awareness & Stimulate interest,
      • Generate Leads
  • Audience Engagement
  • Customer/Market Insight
    • Is the market aware, Ready to buy? Are my customers satisfied?
    • Used for Product Development or to Gauge the Appropriate Sales & Marketing Strategy.

This post will focus only on Customer Sales & Audience Engagement.

Deliver Customer Sales

Digital Marketing integrated  into the Sales Process

Digital (Online) Marketing integrated into the Sales Process

Digital Marketing allows niche markets  to be targeted at a comparatively reduced cost.

Create Awareness

Use

  • Display Advertising
    • on websites that are relevant to the product being sold.
  • Social Media & Blogs
    • to engage with target market, to help educate and to announce new products.
  • Email Marketing
    • to distribute newsletters, whitepapers to stimulate interest.
  • Website
    • to educate.

Use in combination with Offline Marketing in the right blend to enhance success.

Generate Leads

Use

  • Search  (a mixture of organic and paid),
  • Display Advertising (on websites that are relevant to the product being sold) &
  • Email Marketing.
  • Social media (networking and leads from engaged audience)
  • Website (Capture inbound inquiries)

Use in combination with Offline Marketing in the right blend to enhance success.

Search has historically been the strongest digital channel  for lead generation. It has been found that the yield is improved when combined with other channels such as Display Advertising.

Demonstrate Value using a Marketing Funnel

Use Marketing Funnel Above Sales Funnel to demonstrate Value

Whether you are B 2 B, B 2 C or non profit your marketing activities can be best viewed using  the sales funnel.

Marketing at its heart is geared towards lead generation,  but  can also help in development and closure. The Value of any Marketing Campaign must be measured in the number of leads generated and opportunities created.

A Marketing  Funnel  may therefore be added above the Sales funnel.  The exact breakdown of the Marketing and Sales Funnels will vary depending on the nature of the customer buying process. In general for B2B,  the Marketing Funnel moves the target market members to Awareness, To Lead and To Converted Lead which then becomes an Opportunity for development by Sales.  In Small Sales Teams, with no specialized Marketing help, this may well be all done by the sales team.

Demonstrate Value using an ROI Model

The actions to create a model are as follows:

  • Map out a number of channels whereby a target company engages and becomes a lead, for example:
    • Search Engine –>Main Site –>Download Whitepaper –>Registration
    • Search Engine –>Blog–>Main Site–>Enquiry Form
    • Twitter–>Blog–>Enquiry Form
    • Facebook Fan page–>Main Site–>Enquiry Form
    • Display Advertising Banner–>Product Microsite–>Main Site –>Enquiry Form
  • Create KPIs and predicted relationships between KPIs and Leads generated, for example:
    • Main Site Visitors
    • Actions Performed (eg Download Whitepapers)
    • Facebook Fans
    • Twitter Followers
  • Create Model
    • Predict Customer sales
    • Estimate Break down by Lead Generated and Path
    • Estimate Costs
  • Do Pilot Campaigns
    • Compare Different blends and strategies
  • Implement most successful on full market.

Initially, Social Media will be all about building awareness but if an engaged audience can be created then inevitably it will generate leads.

Social Media sites like Linked In are used by Sales Teams as part of their networking strategies.

Measurement and evaluation are very important.  Every business is different and requires some testing  to achieve the optimum blend of digital marketing channels.

Deliver Audience Engagement

The collateral benefit of Digital Marketing strategy is the creation and growth of engaged audiences (customers and prospects).  A more engaged audience delivers the following benefits

  • More Likely to purchase – A Mature engaged Social Media Audience can be a Lead Generation source.
  • Better Retention – more likely to stay
  • Brand Advocate leading to referrals and good references

 

 

Digital Marketing is Now Mainstream

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May 20, 2011 · by Ray · Digital Marketing

Value Delivered is Nothing New.

The value delivered by Digital (or Online) Marketing is nothing new. It delivers,  or helps to deliver:

  • Insight into customer requirements
  • Customer Sales
  • Customer Service

Digital Marketing  uses the internet which has taken market share from Newspapers and other traditional media and provides new ways of gaining customer insight and delivering customer service.

But, Digital Marketing Is Now Mainstream

But, Digital Marketing is now Mainstream and must be a key part of any sales and marketing strategy.

In the US it is a substantial $26Bn business (2010  comScore):-

  • 15% year on year growth from 2009 (and 11% growth from 2008 – 2009 declined)
  • 16% of the total advertising spend  in the USA  in 2011  (comScore and IAB/Pwc)
  • 25% of predicted total advertising spend by 2015 (IAB/Pwc).
  • No.2 in spend to TV. Newspapers number 3.

Globally, it is an estimated $55Bn business (using Google splits of US/International as guide)

The UK it is £4.1 Bn and is about 25% of the total Advertising spend( Enders Analysis).

  • 13% year on year growth
  • 25% of total advertising spend

Search still dominates . Search is dominated by Google at approx 70% market share with Microsoft Bing at approx 24% (comScore) now that it has done deals with Facebook and Yahoo.

Display has shown good growth, driven by Social Media and led by Facebook. Facebook had approx 40% of all impressions in 2010 and passed the trillion mark with Yahoo next at half that amoun

Driven by the pull of Online Content

The growth in online content is pulling a greater audience online and keeping them there longer:-

  • Stores (From Cars to Music)
  • Entertainment (YouTube, BBC iPlayer etc)
  • News (Mainstream to Blogs, Video to Text)
  • Search
  • Social Networks

The growth in richness of the online content is enabled by the growth in bandwidth to the home (in UK average is 6Mb and growing )and the penetration of internet globally.

And Online Advertising Cost Effectiveness

And the growth in the sophistication and cost effectiveness of online advertising:-

  • Better targeting ( Using profiles on social networks and relevance by search or by product)
  • Performance based pricing (Pay on Click through – accounts for 65% of all search advertising)