Nudgestock, behavioural economics

2021 Marketing Trends

Yes I hate that headline too… but I can’t work out the best way of listing three helpful things which I’m working on without it becoming a silly list headline. Live with it.

The year data became grown up

If you aren’t working with competent amounts of data insights and analytics yet, this is your year to get going and to go deep-dive.

For the beginners – the new Google Analytics GA 4 is a level above earlier versions. Get it installed (new header code on your website) and find a competent expert to guide you though its features. Well worth while.

After that, update dashboards, check the CRM integrations and get a whole lot smarter in your tracking.

Single customer view got easier

Nobody has got this wholly right, easy or fully connected (if you have you are probably a micro-organisation or a startup). Enter the Customer Data Platform. This is the software you need to bridge above (think umbrella) over all your data silos so that you can move towards customer nirvana.

I’m not being totally rose-tinted-glasses on this – there are serious players who can help build the plumbing which will help you understand and integrate customer data. Go learn about CDP.

Behavioural economics for marketers

If you haven’t heard about “nudges” you need to get on board fast. The new-ish science of behavioural economics is all about how we can get people to do things.  A nudge is a way of changing behaviour – like leaving your gym kit by the bed at night as a way to encourage you to do a workout in the morning. Marketers love this.

Nudgestock, behavioural economics

And the smart folks at Ogilvy UK hosted a whole day event – Nudgestock – to talk about and showcase a lot of real case studies of effective marketing action based on behavioural economics.  They called it

a full day of top quality BS (*Behavioural Science) from around the world

Watch it on YouTube. I particularly liked Abigail Dalton’s talk about Nudging to end world poverty.

 

That’s enough for now. Each of these is worthy of a deep dive research and learning day. Plan it for yourself.

I write and coach B2B marketing – each of these could be used by your business – get in touch.

solopreneur, business at home, work from home, marketing home business

Moving from word of mouth to digital marketing

A reader sent me this question

I am about to “Go Live” with my website and Facebook pages. I am a sole trader, working with teams to challenge the way they operate / lead. In the past, my business was gained by reputation and word of mouth. Now that I am on my own, I believe it is time to have more of an online presence as some of my market will be completing online courses. What is your recommendation for the frequency of writing blogs and posting to Facebook or LinkedIn? Also, should that be to market or to educate my followers?

Word of Mouth marketing

There are many, many businesses whose main marketing activity is recommendation and referral.

This is done with no prompting from the business – it’s passive and costs nothing (expect having a good reputation).

But this is a really limiting marketing method. Any WOM marketing should be proactive and driven by the business – the unprompted referral is the “cherry” on top – an added bonus not a core tactic for a marketer. It’s a vulnerable marketing tool because it’s not within the control of the business.

Digital marketing 101

Starting to move to online marketing is challenging and the questioner is on the right lines with a website and some social media presence. BUT that is not sufficient to ensure success.

Key to digital marketing success requires you first to think carefully about strategy with regard to your audience.

  • How can you serve them?
  • What will they buy from you (now and in the future)
  • How can you create a personal, scalable business that doesn’t just trade hours for dollars?

A couple of specific bits of advice while you plan your content strategy.

  1. Understand the needs of your customer
  2. Don’t give everything away for free
  3. Productise your services so they can be sold en masse [build up to this over time]
  4. Add on support products / services which serve the industry and underpin your area of expertise

This may sound complex – but it’s important to have a long term strategy of where you want to go with your freelance business before you get down into the detail of what to publish on Facebook this week.

Understand solopreneur marketing

I recommend you sign up to Unemployable.

Their podcast is called 7 Figure Small. This podcast and advisory course (paid) is built for people like you. Solo entrepreneurs who want to build a profitable business while remaining a small enterprise sold mainly online.

This episode published recently, “The Rise of the Personal Enterprise”.

It defines what a personal enterprise is, outlines the forces converging to make now the right time to get started, and describes what your revenue and audience building mindsets should be to get you started off in a way that can you support you now and scale later.

 

How To Create A Powerful Phone Call Strategy

How To Create A Powerful Phone Call Strategy

Phone calls are among the communication channel that businesses use to connect with their customers, business partners, vendors, and prospects. More often, phones are used to make outbound calls with a view of generating leads for the business. Call agents make calls to promising leads to encourage them to purchase an item or subscribe to a service.

Some of the other reasons why businesses make outbound calls are: to boost brand awareness, check-in with customers, follow-up on recent purchases, or set appoints.

Call Strategy

Businesses also use outbound calls to verify accounts, or support customers to achieve their goal through a product or a service they bought. Outbound calls also come in handy when businesses want to remind customers of upcoming renewals and payments or when they need to gather feedback on how customers are experiencing their products or services.

But not all outbound calls yield positive results. However, businesses can enhance the effectiveness of phone outbound calls to generate more sales by developing a strategy. If you are looking to improve your outbound calls, below are some useful tips on how to create a powerful phone call strategy for your business:

1. Set Clear Phone Call Goals

A good phone call strategy starts by setting clear goals. The goals must be realistic. To ensure that you set reasonable goals for your sales or call center agents, involve them in the process. Consider breaking the goals into milestones to facilitate easy monitoring. Essentially, your outbound call goals should be aligned with what you want to achieve through the call center.

For instance, if you want outbound calls to be used for lead generation or customer survey, then set goals that are in line with this purpose. You can always modify your goals and milestones as the business grows or as new factors emerge. Share your goals and milestones with your sales or call center teams. Ensure that they understand and know how to achieve them. This will enable you to see how their individual efforts contribute to those goals and enhance their focus on the job.

2. Identify Clear Phone Call KPIs

After setting clear goals for your call center, you need to identify key performance indicators to enable you to measure the performance of your sales agents or call center representatives. Using a powerful phone system and a platform like Call Cowboy allows you to easily see and customize performance reports, so you know where it’s necessary to make adjustments.

When identifying the indicators, ensure they’re relevant to your goals. For instance, if your goal is to increase sales through the call center, consider using a key performance indicator like sales conversion rate and average handle time. The conversion rate enables you to track the number of sales made in relation to the number of phone calls made. If the conversion rate is low, it could mean that your sales agents are not selling much and that your phone call strategy needs to be reviewed or improved.

On the other hand, the average handle time enables you to keep tabs on the duration of phone calls in relation to the number of calls made. If your sales or call center agents are spending too much time on a single call, it can be an indicator of inadequate product knowledge, poor persuasion skills, or challenges in closing deals.

3. Establish A Criterion For Generating Call Lists

When you decide to make phone calls part of your communication channel, you need to determine how you’re going to reach your target audience. Without targeting the right audience or demographic, outbound calls will not have an impact on your business in terms of generating quality leads and increasing sales. The best way to create a powerful phone call strategy is to develop a criterion for creating an ideal call list.

To do this, work with the sales and marketing team to understand the profiles of the ideal customers that your business targets with its products. Better still, undertake market research to determine the kind of target your business serves. Once you are clear on the kind of target audience you need to focus on, create a call list that your call center agent can use to generate leads and sales.

4. Decide On Outbound Calling Tools

One of the most important aspects of a phone call strategy is deciding which outbound calling tools you’ll use in your business. If you’re targeting local and international customers, getting predictive dialer software is a great way to get started. This will make it easier for your sales or call center agents to place calls right from their computers and quickly take critical call notes.

Customer relationship management (CRM) is another good investment to make. With such software, identifying hot leads and personalizing outbound calls will become much easier for sales and call agents.

You should also consider getting a customizable caller ID to enhance your success rate. With this tool, call agents will be able to reach international clients while displaying local area codes as opposed to international ones. These increases call response rates since the likelihood of people picking local or recognizable numbers is higher compared to those that are random or unknown to them. With these tools, businesses can automate processes and ease the processes of making phone calls and closing deals much faster.

5. Craft A Plan For Call Agent Training

Besides picking a calling software, develop a plan for training your sales and call center teams to enable them to use the software and make outbound phone calls correctly and more effectively. A training plan is necessary because you’ll need to train them and re-train them to enable them to internalize and adopt best practices for outbound calls. Besides knowing how the outbound call software works, there are several other things that your sales or call center agents need to know.

For starters, they need to learn how to hook prospects or customers with a great introduction. Remember that in cold calling, they have a very limited time to connect with a target. If they’re unable to hook the recipient within seconds, they’ll lose the person. This makes introduction an important aspect of call agent training. Ideally, the agents should avoid starting outbound calls with a long description of who they are and the product they’re selling. Instead, they should state a short blurb capturing who they are, then draw the customer or prospect into the conversation. This way, they’re able to engage them better.

The other critical aspect of a call or sales agent training is about asking the right questions. Let’s face it—nobody wants to be lectured on a call. To engage customers or prospects meaningfully, call agents should perfect the art of asking the right questions. Besides training them, you’ll need to invest time in listening to live or recorded calls that your team makes. Review the calls with them, identify ineffective strategies, and give them advice on how to improve. Providing continuous support and training will play a critical role in helping your teams achieve their outbound call goals.

6. Build Synergy With The Marketing Team

A powerful phone call strategy must include clear ways of how the sales or call agents will work with the marketing team. In most businesses, it is the marketing team that has the deepest understanding of the target audience and ideas on how best to sell to them. Even though the sales and call center teams may be aware of the target audience, building synergy between them and the marketing teams will add value to any outbound call efforts, they undertake. For instance, the marketing team will help sales teams or call agents with insights on the best way to appeal to prospects based on their buying or intent behavior.

7. Engagement With Prospects

To convert prospects into customers successfully, call agents and sales reps should learn how to engage them. As such, a powerful phone call strategy should include information or ideas on how call center agents can do this effectively as opposed to dominating the conversation with sales pitches.

Engagement is a key aspect of outbound calls because it helps in capturing the attention of customers or prospects. Sales and call center agents should be able to listen to prospects and pay attention to their concerns, needs, and issues then adapt their pitches in a way that positions their offerings as a solution to those issues. This allows them to customize each phone call to the needs of the prospect and make the products or services that the business offers relevant to the target audience.

8. Honor Phone Call Commitments

When you’re using outbound calls to connect with customers, prospects, vendors, or business partners, you’ll find yourself scheduling calls every now and then. A powerful phone call strategy should include a mechanism for honoring commitments that sales teams or call center agents make with the target audience.

Though it might sound obvious, quite a large number of sales reps who use outbound calls to generate leads to neglect the commitments they make to follow them up, even when their initial phone conversation appeared promising.

Having a phone call strategy ensures that sales and call agents don’t miss out on such opportunities due to disorganization by ensuring that they honor the follow-up commitments. One way to do this is to use customer relationship management to organize their notes and follow prospects up on the day and time promised.

9. Monitor Outbound Calls Outcomes

Monitoring progress is an important aspect of any phone call strategy. You’ll need to monitor the results of sales calls to determine whether you’re achieving your goals or not. To do this, you’ll need to review the responses from the calls and check the performance of individual sales or call agents. The best way to track progress is by using the key performance indicators developed earlier.

An important part of monitoring phone calls is identifying what is working well and what isn’t. This will enable you to amplify the aspects that work well and improve those that don’t. In tracking phone call outcomes, you’ll also need to analyze your costs against the revenue generated to determine the return on investment.

10. Determine The Best Time To Make Phone Calls

As you create a phone call strategy, you’ll need to determine what would be the best time for sales teams or call agents to place outbound calls to customers. Since you’ll be using calls to reach out to prospects or customers either to follow-up on a previous communication, marketing information, or even inform them of an impending payment, timing is critical.

Consider placing business calls with prospects at a time when they’re not too occupied—like in the middle of the week. In terms of time, your teams are better off calling at mid-morning or mid-afternoon as opposed to early morning or evening when they’re occupied with work schedules or commutes.

11. Review Phone Call Interactions

An important aspect of a powerful phone call strategy is reviewing phone interactions. This not only enables you to know what your audience prefers and understand their behavior, but it also gives you a chance to monitor how your employees interact with customers. You can make phone call reviews easier by using call recording software. Reviewing phone call interactions is a great way of gathering valuable insights on different aspects of the services or products that your business offers. With this information, you can find ways to improve your offerings and enhance your customer support.

Final Thoughts

Creating a phone call strategy for your business is the first step towards ensuring that your call center contributes meaningfully to your bottom line. Depending on what your goal for outbound calls is, a phone call strategy enables you to align your sales and call center teams to work towards that goal by training them, monitoring progress, providing the necessary phone call software among others. When implemented correctly, a phone call strategy will not only enable your target audience to understand your brand, it will also boost conversation rates, increase your sales revenues and grow your business to higher heights.

NZ Ministerial briefings

Marketing and politics

Anyone who is updating their marketing plan or business plan knows that there’s a section that includes strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. And within this section is the PEST acronym for political, economic, social and technology – all areas to consider where changes may come from that affect your business.

How to assess politics for marketing?

Unless you are super into politics, most of us are not aware of the plans of the civil service and the government of the day. Some things hit the news, but most of the work goes on without too much hitting our consciousness.

So you write the Political part based on general knowledge and guesswork. And it’s not good.

No more, here’s a great way to find out what is coming up that will affect your business planning.

Briefings to Incoming Ministers

The New Zealand civil service writes a briefing for all the new ministers after a general election. This document is later published so we, the electorate, can see what they are planning. The BIMs are now all published for the current Ardern government.

Take a read of the briefings most relevant to your area of business – from the Finance Minister, to Revenue, Small Business, Tourism, Callaghan and the Digital Economy Communications – I found these fascinating.

Not all the briefing is public – there are redacted parts which are sensitive (some relate to jobs, others to matters like likely tax changes).

Here’s the link to all the briefings – BIMS Finance and Economy

Happy reading!

Generate Business Domain Name Ideas That Give You a Competitive Edge

Have you ever noticed that some businesses have these epic names that make it easy for them to market and go viral? You can’t choose a name at random and hope for that kind of success. You need to be careful about the selection process. By generating ideas that give you a competitive edge, the name does the marketing for you.

So, how do you come up with business domain name ideas that help you compete? It’s all about knowing what to look for in a name. These tips will help you separate the good ideas from the bad ones.

Don’t Spell Words Wrong

You might be desperate to find a domain name that isn’t already taken. In your desperation, you may decide to spell a word wrong. It looks cute, right? There are a few big problems with spelling words wrong:

  1. People may not realize that you did it on purpose.
  2. People will try to spell the word correctly.
  3. Your domain name will auto-correct in various places when you type it out.
  4. You’ll always have to spell it out so that it isn’t typed wrong.

With so many problems, there is no situation where it makes sense for you to spell a word wrong. If you choose to spell it wrong anyway, you may find that search engine optimization becomes a nightmare – and you may end up sending a significant amount of business to the competition. This alone should scare you straight. There’s no reason why you have to spell words wrong just to nab a great domain.

Don’t Limit Yourself

Sure, you might be small now. What about in a year or five years? You don’t want to choose a business domain name that limits you from growing. This means that you have to be cautious with using specific products or services in the name – or even cities. If you expand, you don’t want to have to go through a rebranding. You also don’t want to confuse your audience.

If you’re going to put what it is that you do in the business name, think big. Why limit yourself to cupcakes when you offer other baked goods, too? Why limit yourself to repairs when you do renovations and new builds, too? Regardless of the industry that you’re in, you will offer more than one product or service – and if you limit yourself in your name, you’ll limit yourself in your client base at the same time.

Explore Domain Extensions

Why should the early adopters of the .com extension get all the fun? Too many people want to claim that you need that extension in a domain name. Why? 100 million websites are already using it, so it’s going to be hard to find a winning name if you stay committed to a .com website. Go with something new and memorable, like .ONLINE. It allows you to find a domain that fits your brand. Plus, the word ‘online’ is easy to spell and recognizable in a wide array of languages.

 

I created two for clients which are unique and match their business

Tax Consultancy uses .tax (www.baucher.tax)

Podcast uses .chat (www.rowing.chat)

Brainstorm Some Keywords

It’s important to get some ideas onto a piece of paper or a dry erase board. By brainstorming, you can be more fluid about the ideas that pop up. This is not the time to censor your thoughts. No idea is a bad idea…at least not yet.

Think about breaking out the thesaurus. Throw in an adjective. See what the competition is doing. Remember, there are no hard and fast rules about business domain name ideas. When you can do some brainstorming, you can contribute to a list of possibilities.

Don’t be afraid to involve others in the brainstorming, too. What do your friends have to say? Take it to social media and let others weigh in on the ideas. You may even want to make it a contest. Ask for people to throw out some ideas – and if you use one of their ideas, reward them with what it is that your brand has to offer.

Generate Something Unique

When it comes down to your business domain name, you need something unique. If it sounds like every other business in town (or within your industry), it’s going to be hard for you to stand out. Take a look at some of the most successful businesses out there – they have a name that allows them to hold their own. People remember it because it’s a great name.

While you may have to do some marketing to gain your competitive edge, you don’t want to have to work harder than necessary. If a name has nothing to do with what you sell or you have chosen to make the words hard to spell (or hard to say or hard to write out), it’s going to be a constant effort to market yourself.

The best business domain name ideas are ones that are instantly memorable. Once you happen upon a winner, you’ll know it.

good better best, tin cans

Is all marketing lying?

The advertising industry has a reputation in some quarters as a bunch of liars.
And I hate marketers being tarnished by association.

Advertising is not Marketing

Well advertising is not ALL of marketing: it is a part of marketing.
Good marketing offers products to prospects with robust positioning and offers features and benefits.
The psychology of how to present your pitch is deeply studied and understood.
And you can choose to lie or tell the truth or part of the truth, or a slanted version of the truth, backed by statistics, or dodgy arithmetic or you can choose not to do this.
Marketing does not have to be this way.
Let me introduce empathy into the marketing mix.

Prompts around brand positioning

In marketing messaging there are two big issues which the well-informed marketer and consumer needs to understand before they made the purchase decision

  1. The problem of manipulation. Sales copy that gets the customer to do something they later regret. But if they knew what you knew would they still buy?
  2. The problem of “better”. We are taught that there’s only one answer to this – that a cashmere sweater is better than a fleece; a Rolls Royce is better than a Nissan. but better is not linear and not necessarily accurate because people actually make decisions on axes not on linearity.

How can we take a robust and honest assessment of our brand positioning and add empathy into the mix in order to facilitate prospect buying decisions that are not manipulation and are not [always] about a linear scale of betterment?

What does the customer do and why?

When you make a product purchase decision and I made a different decision, remember it’s possible the you are right and I am wrong in my purchase decision.

Reading the Board of Innovation article about what matters when pressing consumers to adopt sustainable products, the decision drivers are how your product makes ME feel; and how I think your product makes OTHERS feel about me.

Two drivers, two different motivations and both are under pressure from modern lifestyles and constrained budgets.

But actually I think this dual analysis is misplaced.

A linear product decision is incorrect

Representing decisions in a branched “decision tree” is not how the real world works. Individuals’ value systems affect how they choose between brands. If status doesn’t matter to me, your cashmere sweater brand offer is not going to stand up to scrutiny for me. And if I’m worth it matters a lot, then my choice is made regardless of the brand positioning of a substitutable product.

You are the marketer – don’t lie

Another consumer is not you and they don’t think like you think and know what you know.

This is why empathy is such a giant challenge to marketers.

If you genuinely know your brand and product set, you are at an immense advantage.

If you genuinely know your customer persona, you are at an immense advantage.

Merge these two and what do you get?

Axis of purchase decisions

We make our value judgements on a scale. It’s not black and white, on or off. There’s a gradient of choices.

And so let’s consider the how does a brand make you feel – saying it’s ‘better’ does little for your self-appraisal. It may do something if you are more motivated by what others think of you. BUT if their values differ from your own, the result may not be what you hope.

Our brand choices are not in a single direction (linear) nor are they along a single axis.

We make our decisions on at least 2 axes – like a graph. It might be price and convenience, or environmental impact and design.

And so lets re-assess whether all marketing is lying.

Marketing as a service

We as marketers offer you, the consumer, a service.  We can make an assertion about a choice which you might want to make.

We can help busy people to see that there’s a product which is an alternative to what they have bought or previously chosen.

This is neither manipulation, nor lying and it’s not on the good/better/best axis either.

As marketers (and copywriters) we can know and understand our product and our ideal customer really well. And by empathising with prospects we can position products appropriately to appeal to the audience who will value our marketing service. Our descriptions, videos, explanations and photography of the product are a service to the customer.  We offer a new choice which has resonance and meaning on the axes which matter to them.

Can you put your hand on your heart and say your brand does this?

water data visualisation

Marketing perception versus reality

I love my profession. Marketers come in all stripes and sizes. Some are shysters and others are hard graft honest workers.

We use a lot of techniques to advantage the brands we are working for. Some are sly and dishonest and others are honourable.

And today I am focusing on two different ways to influence the customer’s perception versus the reality.

Pricing perception & reality

You may know that there is a “Left Digit Bias” which is well documented in the psychology literature.

This means when we read a price, the numbers before the decimal point get more attention from us than those to the right. And so if a price is slightly below a threshold number like $29.99 as opposed to $30.00 our perception of good or best value goes with the lower left hand number, 29 in this case.

Marketers advise on pricing. And it’s worth reading this recent research about when to use the left digit bias tactic and when not to use it.

If your product is normally priced $2.00 and your net margin is 9% and the price is lowered to $1.99 the net margin drops to 6%. That’s a lot of profit left on the table just for one cent of discount.

A better tactic is to show the Before and Now price. So the relative prices are known by the consumer.

By playing with the pricing you can advance a marketing perception which is less obvious than the reality and which delivers a better outcome for your client brand’s profitability.

Data visualisation perception & reality

I have a tiny obsession at the moment with water. We have a local hose pipe ban – it’s the middle of winter and has been

water data visualisation

Auckland Watercare data

raining heavily most days this month. So why the ban?

I investigated and found the local water company publishes daily updates on the water level in local dams, the volume of water consumed per week and the weekly rainfall compared to the long term mean.

We are currently at 64.95% water storage compared to a historical average level of 88.77% at this time of year. And they illustrate this in a handy graphic, updated daily.

Now I know why there’s a hosepipe ban.

Marketers could use images and data visualisations more often. They offer an easy way to explain things quickly to your customers and prospects.

Geeking out on data summaries isn’t everyone’s hobby of choice. Yet I was drawn into a very detailed analysis of what “good” actually looks like in data visualisation and ways to use this to advance your marketing reality compared to customer perception.

Define good data imagery

Avinash is a data geek – he works for Google. And he shares his expertise in a wonderful weekly email.

Here is a comparison of 4 data visualisations about Covid19. Timely, yes – and each trying to convey a lot of information to the public about what is and is not “safe” to do.

Which of these 4 do you prefer? Which can you ‘understand’ fastest? What is each trying to explain?

Is there a perception and reality gap in these four images? Which is best at showing Covid19 risk?

Avinash Kaushik data visualisation

Comparisons of 4 data visualisations for Covid19

Avinash writes a detailed analysis of his personal scoring system to appraise each image against 8 criteria.

He creates a weighted scoring for each so that a total score is out of 66.

The scoring is on a three point scale “Perfect” scores 3; “Could be optimised” scores 1 and “Reboot” scores minus -2. As you can see the weighting he applies rewards perfect far more than the midlevel score. But hey, that’s his choice. When you do well your score easily out-strips the others.

Which image got which score? [ For answers scroll down.]

  • 23
  • 7
  • 50
  • 64

How were they so different? Isn’t Avinash’s judgement seriously wrong? They all look great to me.

First understand the qualities he is seeking to appraise.

  1. Time to the most important insight.
  2. The effort to understand the whole graphic.
  3. Trust marks.
  4. Rank-ordering of key messages.
  5. Explaining the key logic powering the graphic.
  6. Exposing nuance.
  7. Visualizer trying to be too clever.
  8. Likely to recommend to influential leaders.

And now we can better understand the relative effectiveness of the designs against these criteria.

Read the full article – warning, it’s 6000 words long.

[Scoring – list top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right.]

Copywrite a marketing brief

Briefing is everything.

If you ask the right questions you get the brief right. Then you’re most likely to get the best answer / output to suit your goals.

Knowing your success criteria and metrics are important and also defining what ‘success’ looks like. This is a great methodology of writing the brief from the end back to the beginning.  Try writing the ‘conclusion’ statement as your opening paragraph.

We need customers to understand a Covid19 activity risk matrix. We will have succeeded if fewer people undertake risky activities as measured by…..

One of the things I admire about Avinash is his consistent support for people in the same line of work – how to impress your boss is a key theme. Hence item 8 on his list above.

As a marketer, it really MATTERS that you get noticed for doing good work. Learning some of these things I’m writing about could help your career.

  • Do good marketing
  • Get noticed
  • Get the next job / pay rise / promotion you deserve

If you would like to know how I would copywrite a marketing brief for this job – just email me. Happy to share.

 

objectives and key results

Tips on Getting Things Done

Getting things done is the difference between the successful and the rest.

objectives and key results

Book on Objectives and Key Results

I like to prioritise tasks for myself on a grid or importance and urgency – but this is just a short term day task management tool.  If you have big projects that will achieve your goals, you need a better system.

A workable workflow

Introducing OKRs – Objectives and Key Results – a toolset that will help you align focus, engagement and get the team aligned.

Working within a team is challenging because each person can contribute massively as either an accelerant or a brake on progress.

I’m a rower and the sport of rowing is often used as a metaphor for workplace teamwork. The lessons I learned from sport carry through into my working life. I’ve enjoyed hiring sportspeople because they understand many of these techniques already.

Pick a toolset that works

Rebecca’s rowing business Faster Masters Rowing

Having a hierarchy of tools helps you both in the day to day and also in the longer term. The bigger a project the easier it is to lose focus and direction as you dive into detail, it’s hard to see the bigger picture of your overall progress…. or lack.

An important feature of OKRs is pacing. Setting the speed of work that is manageable.

This book explains what OKRs are and also a detailed example of ways to set them up which you can copy in your business.

Now, get going…!

 

Rose and thorne, bra donation, essential workers, Covid19, Lockdown marketing,

Brand repositioning post-Covid19

Are you trying to understand how your marketing needs to change?

This article sets out the themes which you can use in your own firm to help discern the new rules, the new landscape and the new markets we are now trading in.

The new marketing reality

Nothing is clear.  This is obvious.

But that’s hardly helpful for us marketing people who need to keep on creating campaigns, keep on filling funnels and keep on pushing our recovery efforts after lockdown.

Signs are emerging about what consumers are interested in and where they will look favourably on brands.

I am regularly scanning the world looking for examples and inspiration of what can be done and how you can do it for your brand.

What consumers value

Top home-stay business Look After Me surveyed their audiences and found a distinct shift in sentiment.

Instead of favouring flying on holiday, most now prefer car travel; most prefer to book with local companies to “keep money in the NZ economy”, and most now prioritise accommodation “cleanliness” over price, comfort and wifi provision.

Financial and economic news website, Interest.co.nz asked its readers what they value.  The answers were clear from the start – every single segment of reader who was surveyed came back with similar views.  Two quotes suffice

Your people have a better understanding of fringe issues, more reliably, than any other NZ news outlet. Your reporting on these peripheral matters shows incredible strength. And that makes the world better.

With the woeful quality of NZ journalism it’s my only trusted source of financial news.

ACTION: do a survey now

Understand the new priorities

Clues about the new priorities can be found from a range of commentators.  Some have been “banging this drum” for a while, others are interpreting new data.

I look to global trends as well as industry-specific experts when trying to find a pattern worth following.

Mark Carney, Central Banker, says the “The economy must yield to human values“.  By this I interpret that people matter over profit and that the capitalist model of pursuing profit over all other goals is being challenged.

Retail specialist Mary Portas calls it the “Kindness Economy”.

She realised that kindness isn’t weak but strong: a foundation from which to grow a business that has truth, integrity, longevity and commerciality. As we move away from a time of rabid consumerism and ‘peak stuff,’ Mary believes we are entering a new type of economy. One built on kindness and a Triple Bottom Line: people, planet and profit – in that order. And business who organise themselves around this kinder way of behaving, will be the ones that win.

And Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist, interprets apparently polarising reactions to the same situation in terms of “moral intuitions and values”. In this way, relaxing lockdown provokes both protests against restriction of liberty from social distancing and protests about growing exposure to harm by going back to work. Both can be understood from underlying moral values.

In the context of Brexit and the lockdown, he found

Remainers placed more emphasis on the value of care and the need to minimise harm, whereas leavers placed more emphasis on the value of personal liberty. When evaluating an action or a policy, remainers would ask “will this cause harm?”, whereas leavers would be inclined to ask “will something restrict our freedom?”.

The moral values of your brand now matter.  The alignment and prioritisation of your internal teams across departments will be different now. Your emphasis on the planetary community needs to be interpreted into both the bottom line and operational mores.

ACTION: Review your CRM and sales / marketing alignment

What will “value” mean?

This is tough and will definitely evolve as fear of infection subsides and rises with waves of the pandemic.  In New Zealand now we are feeling relatively safe – lockdown is in Level 2 and we are back at school and work.  Compare our situation to Brazil or New York and value will be very different.

Here are some themes which may emerge – to what extent does your brand and business subscribe to these?

  • Local resilience > global efficiency
  • High corporate debt > riskiness of underlying equity
  • Will the state continue to be engaged within private commerce?
  • Is resilience > risk now?
  • How are tail risks managed?
  • We all understand the fear of unemployment now.
  • The price of everything = the value of everything, including global heating.
  • Economic dynamism and efficiency ≠ solidarity, fairness, responsibility and compassion
What is the new Maslow hierarchy?

Values and needs are realigning.

Now that we fully realise the deep inter-dependency of our global community, will this change our prioritisation about health, wellbeing, global supply chains and personal independence (doing what I want) compared to communal dependence (doing what WE need)?

Can we learn to trust experts again?

Will our approach to climate change (surely the biggest existential threat to our way of life) be adjusted to reflect these new values and to form a new consensus on priorities compared to risks?

What did your company do during Covid-19?

Writing the history of this period can wait for now.

Yet I am certain that the judgements will fall on brands and the public perception of where they were before and after the emergency passes will be based on “people” outcomes not “profit” outcomes.

I bet Greg Foran wishes he was still at Walmart and hiring thousands of new workers rather than at Air New Zealand and laying them off.

This will have the resonance of “what did you do in the War?” and whether you judge the outcome to be “good” or “bad” will depend to a large part on the consumer’s view of whether you were a hoarder or a generous giver; whether you laid off staff, furloughed or retained staff; whether you hoarded resources or paid over the odds to acquire over others or whether you generously supported others.

Adjust brand positioning

Once you know what values your consumers now have you can start customisation to respond to this new priority.

Rose and thorne, bra donation, essential workers, Covid19, Lockdown marketing,

Rose and Thorne donate bras to essential workers

Some of these will be short-term and related to Covid19 and Lockdown – like Rose and Thorne’s Gift-a-Bra to an essential worker.

How important are these people? Very.  How much do we value them?  A lot.  And how many do we know? Lots.

This is great marketing because it is a classic member-get-member programme aligned to the issue of the day.

theme holiday, covid19, marketing in lockdown,

Brand repositioning post-Covid19

 

Look After Me have taken a lead by redesigning holidays into packages that theme around hobbies and interests, that are local and have quality marks for locally owned businesses with high cleanliness scores.

Smart.  Easy to understand.  Aligned.

There’s a Recession too

And of course the recession is already creating new winners and losers.  Take a browse through the Emergency Business Forum questions business owners are asking and their own perceptions of “need” and the consistent themes emerge

  • growth of online ecommerce or at a minimum a website
  • how do we reach our customers
  • fresh marketing ideas
  • finding distributors and stockists
  • learning about digital media
  • how to get customers to switch to online
  • why word of mouth doesn’t cut it any more
  • migrating from in person to online
  • starting a customer database

Part of me groans when reading these; part of me rejoices.

Blending the practical with the strategic is going to be critical in giving quality guidance and up-skilling.  Yet the problem lies as much with medium as small businesses.  Speedy decision making is easy for the owner-operator and will not be so easy to apply to enterprise.