How to be an innovator? Being different to do different things.

I think that people who love technology and projects, the dreamiest job is being an Innovation Director, the person who is always thinking about improving, developing and setting up new different projects or strategies, to ensure the future and the progress of the company.

Maybe, our company is very successful, but are we completely sure our business model is going to work in 5 years? Have we got some risks? I worked in a tourism company which was very successful for 10 years but they didn’t pay attention to the Tourist Internet Boom and afterwards, they tried to react but it was too late, they finally closed their business. So we can’t remain calm, we always need to study the environment, the market, the client and to invent new strategies and services.

So, an Innovation Director must be curious (go to salons, events, read articles...), always looking for improvement, analytical (don’t forget that without data, we are just a person with an opinion), creative and, it’s mandatory to have a long term vision. Currently, this position is really linked to technology (Internet of Things, Big Data, Digital Transformation…), so this person must move in these environments too.

But the most important thing is to be different. It’s impossible to be innovator if you haven’t set up a lot of projects, if you haven’t had the experience of failing and recovering and if you haven’t done different things, working in different companies and positions. Sometimes, recruiters are looking for a candidate who has already worked in the same sector or in the same position, and I really think this is less important. Several times when we are doing something and we are blocked, we need someone different to see what we haven’t seen.

And everybody can innovate in their role: sales, marketing, finance… Everybody can find a place to innovate and to improve their works. And companies need people like that, special now, when the competition is very hard and the client is very demanding.

I saw a video of Thomas Edison’s story. He was expelled from school, because he was different but her mother didn’t give up, she taught him for years and everyone knows the story that came after, he became a genius. So, please, if you see a different CV but with the knowledge, don’t put it in a side, maybe he / she can invent the light bulb in your company.


5 KPIs to measure your Social Media Strategy

No company discusses if it’s necessary to be or not in the Social Media, but many people have several doubts about the results. The main advantage of online Marketing (and it’s the reason why I love it) is that it’s easy to measure. So, how can we know if our Social Media Strategy works fine or may have an impact in our sales?

First of all, we must have a clear strategy, objectives and target for each Social Media. It’s not the same working with Facebook or Instagram, and the strategy and posts shouldn’t be the same because each one has
his own target. Then, we have to measure their effectiveness and to find improvement areas with or without tools. We only need to know that the most important KPIs are:

1) Reach: Followers or Likes / Target Audience 

How many followers / likes do you have? First, we have to determine our target audience because, how can we know if 1000 followers are a lot or not? We also have to see the growth of followers and why they are growing to check the campaign impact (maybe a TV campaign has a strong impact in your Social Media). And, don’t forget to see the number of people that have stopped following you too (maybe for the impact of a complaint). This KPI could inform us if our acquisition campaign goes well.

2) Share of voice: Mentions of your brand / Total mentions of your market 

It’s the classical word of mouth. Nobody mentions your brand or shares content if it’s not relevant. If your content or your brand is interesting to your audience, they are going to share it with their friends (through a “Like”, “retweet”, hashtag…). You can compare this rate with your competitor to know if you are better positioned.

 3) Engagement: Users with interactions / Followers 

An active follower is almost as important as 100 passive followers. An active follower can be a brand evangelist and this is better to obtain new clients than a campaign. At this point you can see if there are some more attractive posts than others and to find the perfect communication. We say that an engaged user is someone who is interacting with your Social Media at least once per month. 

4) Feeling: Negative or positive comments / Comments 

This KPI is a little complicated to determine but very useful. We have to know if our brand is well or badly considered, maybe we have a high number of interactions but just complaining about our service. We need to do it in a manual way though, because a machine can’t do it for us, not available software can sense the irony or the comments with a double meaning.

5) Social traffic: Views in your site from SM / Total views

It’s so easy to know it, Google Analytics tells you! So, look if this rate is increasing, if your Social traffic is higher than your SEM traffic, it would be better to invest more budget in Social Media. You can measure the ROI of Social Media.

With these rates, you don’t have any excuses for assessing if your Social Media Strategy works or not! And above all, these rates work helping you to improve and to continue learning, go!


Marketing in “The Internet of Things” Age.

We frequently read about The Internet of Things (some data: 50,000 million objects will be connected to the Internet in 2020) and how it is going to change our daily life, the company’s structure and strategy. We are a little bit tired of reading how important is the digital transformation and the need to innovate. Now, companies hire a lot of technical professionals to work in all this, and they are vitals, but we need to innovate for clients, to think about their needs and to do profitable projects and at this point is where Marketing is important.

Some weeks ago, I saw a presentation of a Fast Food Delivery Company and they have made a device for taking order only with a button. Thanks to this device, which has recorded all client data and the last order, clients would need only a click to eat. It’s nice but, do clients need really this? The Operations Director (who did the presentation) told us this device isn’t in the market yet because it’s too expensive to produce it and they don’t know if the client is willing to pay for this. I’m not sure but I have some doubts about this last aspect. If I don’t need a pizza every day, why am I going to need it? It’s cool to innovate and sometimes companies do this only to make people talk it, it’s frequent, but companies should innovate with common sense, focusing on the client.

So, what is the Marketing role in “The Internet of Things” Age?
  • Market & Client Research. On one hand we need to study other companies to build competitive advantages, and on the other hand we need to know client needs, as usual, but not focusing in the past or in the present (because this is a client satisfaction survey) if not in the future, what would our clients need? Or how could we improve the client engagement?
  • Test the idea: internal and external. It’s key to engage employees to these kind of projects since the begging (overall IT and Sales Departments) and test the idea with your best clients, without a lot of details, but you will know their opinion.
  • Business Plan: strategy, objectives and financial keys are important, but please, not only in the short term! All projects need time to return the investment.
  • To describe the project: user’s functionalities. 
  • To manage the project: together with IT or I+D Department, of course. And testing before launching!
  • Internal Communications Plan: doing frequent trainings and presentations and all internal processes.
  • External Communications Plan: finally communicating it to clients.  
If the company leaves the Marketing Department working only in the Communications Plan, they are going to miss setting up the project, its knowledge about clients and environment. And maybe, to have a very nice and cool device that no one needs or is going to use.


Is it possible to improve the ROI Campaigns?

The answer is YES. Yes, we can!! Let me show you some reflections.

We are going to review the ROI (return on investment) formula: revenues minus expenses divided by expenses. So, it’s logical that we need to either increase revenues or decrease expenses or even both, why not? We have to study our possibilities carefully and for sure we can find pulls to improve, it’s a matter of considering some different facts. 

To improve revenues has to do with increasing sales:

1) Increasing purchase frequency: have you studied your Data Base very well? Have you got a CRM strategy to remind your brand to your clients? It’s pretty important to have a CRM strategy and study the relation with our client to improve his experience. For example, when he asked for an item, are you really following this request? Are you offering an advantage for the next purchase? Are you really offering what every client needs?

2) Increasing purchase value: we have to work in cross selling actions, offer your client something else, but something really interesting for him, when he is buying, maybe with a discount or an advantage.

3) Obtaining new clients: maybe your problem is you need more clients, but where can I find them? Some ideas: Facebook campaigns (it offers a lot of segmentation possibilities), Member get Member campaign (with your current clients)….

4) Increasing client’s satisfaction: sometimes, we forget that a happy client can be our most effective campaign, he will speak about our brand to other people, and he will purchase again… And please, it’s not a matter of the Customer Service Department, it’s a company’s orientation.

To expend less, the key is reducing your campaign costs:

1) Use Inbound Marketing!! The results are not immediate but it’s the cheapest and most effective tool. Generate content, make your company specialize in something, your brand should be in the top of the customer’s mind. After that, use your own Social Media (Facebook, maybe Linkedin, Twitter, video campaign in Youtube, influencers…) to distribute your content. It’s not disruptive marketing because clients must look for you. It’s cheap because you don’t have to pay media, but you need a qualify team to generate quality content, client is exigent and he knows very well how to appreciate if content is good or not. Be careful about this.

2) Analyze all your campaign costs and results. For example, use long-tail keywords at SEM: I reduced 20% of campaign expenses in my first month working in a company thanks to this. It’s too expensive to pay for a keyword, and clients are searching by long-tail keywords more and more, and we can personalize more our message!

3) Personalize:
are you still sending the same email with the same products to all your Data Base? Please, stop! You could waste your money and burn out your clients. This doesn’t work anymore! Here, we have to go back to the first point where we talk about increasing purchase frequency, have you really studied your client’s needs? To have and analyse quality data, to study customer’s behaviour and to personalize our message allow us to improve our effectiveness.

Sometimes it’s not a matter of budget, it’s a matter of analysing and knowing what your client is like, is what we need to succeed. There are no secret potions for improving your ROI but you can be confident that it’s possible.


Big Data vs Business Intelligence

Nowadays the most important tool for Marketing and Business is Big Data and every company should have it, however it was Business Intelligence a couple of years ago.

Does Big Data replace Business Intelligence? Is Big Data an evolution of Business Intelligence? Are they the same? Are they really different? I think we wonder many questions about these tools and sometimes we are confused and, even though I’m not a technique, I can help you clarify these concepts easily.

Both are tools for collecting, storing, interrelating, analysing and visualizing data to help us make decisions for our business. But they have differences related to 3 concepts, the three Vs: volume, variety and velocity.

Volume: Business Intelligence acts in the Data Warehouse, which usually is in a company server. But when we speak about Big Data, we speak about a data volume higher than usual, it means a treatment in Terabytes or even Petabytes, and this usually needs to have a part of data stored in the Cloud.

Variety: here we find the most important difference. Both include the first-party data, data provided by the company (from company websites, CRM, ERP or mobile web or apps). Nevertheless, Big Data can also include second-party data and third-party data. The second-party data is information or data that we take directly from another source (for example a partner data-base). The third-party data is generated on other platforms and often aggregated from other websites and usually, you have to pay for it.

Another question related to variety is that Business Intelligence manages only structured data and Big Data manages all kinds of information (structured, semi-structured and unstructured). For example, unstructured information can be a client’s opinion in Facebook, a tweet, a comment in Tryp Advisor or the online reputation of our company. Most of Internet data is unstructured. At this point is where Big Data finds its biggest challenge and the greatest advantage.

working in Big Data means getting data in real time, this is a “must” in this tool, in exchange the Data Warehouse doesn’t sometimes have this speed.

Maybe, you don’t need a Big Data for your company, because the implementation of this tool depends on your business complexity and your difficulties to get data. If your business is small and easy, with a Business Intelligence tool is quite enough.

In any case, it doesn’t matter Business Intelligence or Big Data, we must have truthful data with a real value for the company to make decisions, we can’t forget data is only a tool to build a strategy to improve our business, because:

“Without data, you are just another person with an opinion”.
W. Edwards Deming


What’s the difference? Multichannel, Omnichannel, or Customer Experience.

We often read different meanings for each of these words but there is something rather more important in common.

Multichannel refers to strategy through multiple channels to engage or to impact clients. Companies with this vision are using different media to communicate new products (e.g. website, email, social media…) or different devices to sell their products (e.g. smartphones, tablets and laptops). But this strategy is not necessarily focused on delivering a consistent message in all channels. They want only to offer several possibilities for the client. Multichannel mainly arises from the Communications department.

Nevertheless, Omnichannel consists in offering a complementary experience for the customer from every company channel. This strategy is based on two concepts: consistency policy and focus on client interactions. An advertising campaign can be multichannel, but never Omnichannel. Conversely, a Customer Care department based on offering service through all channels and several languages listening to the client’s needs with the same message is Omnichannel. It’s more complex, so it arises from the Board of Direction.

So, in an Omnichannel strategy it’s not possible to have, for example, different refund policies for their channels, because clients could buy by web and refund at store, it’s not logical, Omnichannel is a matter of common sense. Common sense to offer the same customer experience wherever and whenever clients are. So, here we have another term.

What is Customer Experience? It’s created to improve the interaction with the client in order to give him a great experience during his relationship with our brand. This interaction includes customer's attraction, awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy and purchase, use of a service and post-service. And it’s global, no matter where the client is or when he is interacting with us. It’s an attitude inside the company, from CEO to Sales Assistant.

In conclusion, in all these terms the common point is the client and offering more consistent interactions improving client’s engagement. The client is global, today he lives in New York and tomorrow in Singapore. And interactions between eCommerce and Stores are imaginable: to search by Internet and to buy at store, to look at store and to buy by web, to buy at store and to ask for something by chat on line… The goal is client’s satisfaction. 

So, it doesn’t work anymore:

- A CRM for eCommerce and another one for Stores.

- A different Loyalty Program for each country. I live between Madrid and Paris, and I have 2 loyalty cards from each country for a retail beauty company. That’s not possible.

- Different policies: of contact, refund… It’s true that legal aspects can personalize our strategy depending on the country or state.

- Customize by country. We should personalize by person, not by country. Why do we decide that a client who lives in London wants the communications in English? Maybe, he is from another country and he wants an email in his native language.

So, ask and listen to your clients, be consistent and offer a great experience. I strongly think it’s the key to success.


5 tips to keep in mind before developing a new mobile application

We already know almost companies have a mobile application, actually, there are so many of them that this is basic for their business strategy, but how many of them are a success? So, there are some questions that we can ask ourselves before developing a mobile application in order to become successful. So, I’m going to give you 5 tips to consider:

1) Be sure about your goals.

We must be clear why we are going to develop a mobile application: to sell, to build loyalty or to make branding. It depends on your business, the moment of the company… People determine the mission, vision and objectives when they create a business, why don’t we do that every time we create a service or something as important as an app?

2) What is your app about?

Is it an e-store, a tool, a game… ? If your goal is to engage your clients, maybe the best way to achieve it, is through a tool to make all the interactions with your company better. But if your goal is creating a big network you must considerer a viral game.

3) Have a consistent business model for the long term.

And what is your business plan? If the app is key for your business, you have to know how you are going to get incomes: by advertisement, by licence, by user fees… maybe at the beginning you want to offer your app for free but you have to think about the future, or maybe it’s better to develop a free version and afterwards sell an upgrade… There are a lot of possibilities but you must have a plan. Don’t think only about short term, the strategy is king.

4) The most important thing is your target.

What is your target? An enterprise, distributors, the final consumer… Maybe your business is B2B but it would be very interesting to develop an app for final consumers in order to engage them and to make a stickiness for your client. It’s absolutely important to know our client:

- Language, functionalities and image will be different depending on the age.
- Where are they? Do we need the app in different languages?
- Does your app need a registration? Do you need some data from your client? Be careful about legal aspects!!

5) Don’t forget technical aspects and the impacts in the rest of the company’s departments.

It would be appreciated by your IT partner if you are clear from the begging that you’re either going to develop your app in iOS or Android. Maybe you want to do 2 steps, first in iOS and after in Android, but you must consider that. My advice is to know as many functionalities as you can (dispositive, camera, gps, notifications, alerts… ), in this case, your IT partner would work better. And please, if you are going to develop an app to book a taxi or a hotel or to do something at any time, don’t forget to have a customer service department with a large range of hours. An app is like a web, it opens 24 by 7.

These tips are easy to work with, but sometimes we forget to keep them in mind.