Outerknown: A brand doing digital right!

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On this episode, I throw some props to Outerknown, a brand that I think is doing everything right when it comes to digital. From prospecting thru Instagram (which offers amazing targeting at very low CPMs) to retargeting me with Facebook Ads, they effectively got me into their funnel. They then had a social following (based on brand and awareness) that gave me a social queue that they might be a brand worth exploring further, based on social interest within the Facebook Graph.

On their website, they offered a first-time buyer discount to incentivize me to purchase and I pulled the trigger and purchased shorts from them that came in record speed mind you. I wanted to return two pairs for credit and their outsourced Zendesk customer service solution was excellent and resolved it for me right away.

When I went back to buy some new pairs, I didn’t want to pay full retail so I put some items in my cart and bet that this smart brand would have an abandoned cart campaign in motion in short order.  Of course, they did and when they teed up a 20% cart completion offer I pounced!

On top of all of this their branding and messaging from the packaging, to their emails is sharp and memorable. A cherry on top is that they have a sustainable mission and are the type of brand I want to invest my money and attention with. #wellplayed

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Get It Straight: You Need A Digital Consultant

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Every single brand that is looking to transact (sell via e-commerce, capture emails/signups and/or even just to inform via content to facilitate offline business) needs to have a digital team with the savvy and prowess needed for today’s online ecosystem. The statement makes a lot of sense and most people reading it are probably nodding their heads in agreement, but the problem is – most don’t!

I find that most marketing teams are generally leaner than they should be and more often than not they are overworked and under skilled for the ever changing digital landscape.  A skilled sailor needs to be steering the ship and they have to be armed with information so they can implement meaningful change for their company. We created the Digital Deep Dive about a year ago to help look under the hood, assess the landscape and then deliver a roadmap for improvements and it pays off in a big way.

Once you know where to go, you then need a team with the chops to implement changes and get the work done. It doesn’t have to be Sircle Media, but it does need to be done by someone with the knowledge and the skills (and the landscape is constantly evolving mind you) to get you there.  Some companies just don’t have anyone who can “get er done,” and they desperately need an outsourced team. Often though they might have the right leader, but the department is so understaffed that they cant get to the changes that need to be done. That is really dangerous, because the necessary fixes are known, but nobody will make them.  It is like knowing you need to pave the potholes in the road and just ignoring them until a few cars blow out.  It is an accident waiting to happen and that should be unacceptable for a brand or business looking to not just survive, but actually flourish online.

I came across this article which is such strong support for our “Digital Consultant” offering.  Regardless of what direction a brand wants to go in, it is so valuable to have peace of mind on the state of the union. Then, once they have uncovered the areas that really need fixing, an outsourced digital consultant provides the ongoing support, that will provide high impact for a fraction of the price of a full time hire (or group of hires) that a company is probably not going to be willing to make.  So this becomes a real value proposition play, rather than being too expensive.

For any business owner, brand manager or digital marketing department head, I implore you to sit for a moment today, and think about your digital plan of attack, as it stands right now. Is it where it needs to be?  If not, then it’s time to get to work!

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Start Getting Serious About Social Media, Or Lose.

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It is mind boggling to me how some brands and businesses are still debating whether or not they need a social strategy.  I hear things like “it doesn’t apply to my industry,” or “it doesn’t sell product or create revenue,” or “my client base doesn’t use this network or that,” etc. People…you are over thinking it. If you have set out to be in business, then you need to define your goals as a company and then layer in a social strategy that is consistent with them…This is fact, not fiction.

Social media is the internet and the various social networks are just a part of the ecosystem.  Look around; are people using computers, tablets and smartphones everywhere you look?  Trust me, you will be interacted with online and to not have a real, make sense strategy in place is detrimental to your business.  Stop the insanity.

Social media helps with branding, partnerships,  improved search rankings, lower marketing costs, better customer service and generating qualified leads and sales. These are just some baseline reasons, as to why you need a social presence and social minded strategy coming from the very top.  It is mission critical to stay the course on your social efforts if you ever plan to reap the benefits listed above.  It does not come over night. It requires time, energy and effort.  It is an undying commitment to be a good company and a provider of positive interactions.  If you are genuine in this approach people will take to it and they will buy.  Marketing costs will go down, sales will go up and your economic model will benefit greatly. Faking it will lead to clean up work, customer service issues and will be counter-productive to your company’s goals.

Each week you need to drive the message and focus on all of the benefits listed. It is not a marketing campaign that you run for 2 weeks and then review ROI’s and KPI’s on a spreadsheet.  Some success will be measured by gut, while some will be in responsiveness.  Some will change on a dime based on pivots in your industry or your business.  You need to define what is important to you (aesthetic? service? troubleshooting? interaction?) and then execute a plan that is consistent with any and all of those.

It is a living and breathing thing and will develop with your brand.  It is not a silver bullet, it is a suit of armor that will allow you to be strong and win online. This social media plan must be planted, and then you must nurture it and let it grow. Then you will be the beneficiary of a business built to last.

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