Borenstein Group CEO Gal Borenstein’s blog discussing the good and bad of cloud-based software and services was featured today on PR Week publication The Hub. Gal provides insight on the real business benefits that cloud-based software application services can provide, along with the just-as-real business challenges that can come from utilizing software-based services within a business enterprise.
What if your marketing organization had NSA-level surveillance and reconnaissance skills to gather real-time marketing intelligence that could help your C-Suite make actionable decisions with the same Command-Control approach practiced by super-spies? Well, it’s a rhetorical question. If your business’ marketing department isn’t able to currently tell in real-time who is visiting your web site, what their purchase intent is and provide ‘Caller ID-like’ intelligence to Business Development, you might as well declare yourself a relic of the Cold War and use a shoe-phone to present postmortem Google Analytics that show what happened yesterday.
Right now, as you’re reading this blog, savvy corporate marketers are embedding ‘Caller ID’ like visitor marketing intelligence technology services that allows them to link a visitor to any corporate communication objective from branding to public relations to reputation management to sales and business development. And all of this information is sent via email straight to their inbox in real-time.
Moreover, these savvy marketers, can even design and profile (score) each digital corporate visitor and customize the reporting so your C-Suite (Command Control) is informed of any and all new potential business leads.
You might think that it might seem a little creepy to collect this information before a sales prospect actually called or filled out a form on your site, right? WRONG. Implemented correctly and acted upon ethically, ‘Know Your Visitor’ is not just a pre-sales intelligence tool but a powerful strategic communications overlay that can help your entire brand communications operations succeed and remain in-the-know.
Some of real business application scenarios that we advise B2B clients to engage this technology with:
1. Real-Time Competitive Marketing Intelligence: A Big RFP is out and your business development team is trying to figure out what the competition is doing and who is checking you out. With visitor intelligence software, you can send that intelligence in seconds to your BD Capture team and allow them to adjust their strategic messaging for the ‘win theme’ accordingly.
2. Real-Time Crisis Communications: Wouldn’t you like to know if a reporter visited your website before they ambushed your CEO to dig up dirt? In fact, wouldn’t you like to know what media groups are snooping around your corporate site repeatedly?
3. Real-Time Recruitment Communications: When you are seeking candidates with certain demographics, for instance looking to hire someone currently working for your competitors, a huge lead for your Human Capital chief lies in the knowledge of which companies seem to be visiting your Career page repeatedly. Or perhaps use this information to form a preemptive strike to avoid the competition poaching from your talented team?
4. Real-Time Business Impact & Metrics for Communications Campaigns: With visitor intelligence at your fingertips, you don’t have to wait until a campaign is over to see which content marketing campaign actually is driving traffic and creating buzz. Campaign performance can be analyzed in real-time and reported to your C-Suite to maintain corporate buy-in and real value of NSA-Grade marketing intelligence.
You might be wondering what are the best Visitor Intelligence technologies out there. In my experience, after evaluating multiple platforms with a variety of clients, it appears that many of the providers are using publicly-available data links that interface with their software. With these types of mixed-source software platforms, a visitor logging in from a corporate domain that has a profile on LinkedIn and/or been captured by Dun & Bradstreet or Data.com is highly likely to come with a high level of detailed information, down to an accurate email address of the top decision makers at the visitor’s company. Three solid options to consider include Optify, LeadFormix, as well as SalesForce.com.
So how do you become an NSA-Grade analyst for your marketing organization and reap these incredible business benefits?
Step 1 – Select a marketing communications agency that can help identify and prioritize the critical marketing intelligence data points that provide instant value to your C-Suite. Ask them to audit your existing CRM system so which Visitor Intelligence Technologies out there could be integrated with minimal costs and maximum business value.
Step 2 – Select a Visitor Intelligence technology provider and ask them for a trial period so you can actually validate and compare your Google Analytics dashboard data to their newly provided analytics. During this trial period, verify that the contact information provided about the corporate visitors is accurate and up-to-date.
Step 3 – Create a Strategic Dashboard and ‘profile’ the most important data points, mapping out an efficient process to get the intelligence to the right hands so it is fresh, actionable, and relevant. Sales often looks down at marketing because they feel you are wasting their time with bad information and this is a chance to prove them wrong by providing hot leads in real-time.
Step 4- Engage the entire C-Suite and share the top-line reports to demonstrate the measurable value your marketing department provides as the ‘real time pulse’ of the new information age.
Now don’t be shy, be a spy! It’s a good thing for your business.
Borenstein Group CEO Gal Borenstein recently discussed marketing intelligence technology in a featured blog on PR Week publication The Hub. Gal provides insight on the latest, NSA-grade visitor intelligence technology sources available for marketers and presents real-world business applications for using marketing intelligence technology to capture new business.
Top Mobile Trends of 2013
Look around you right now. How many people can you find staring into their hands? Some laugh intermittently. Some stare intently. You may even be reading this on a handheld device right now. Let’s face it: the mobile webvolution is upon us. Today, the use of mobile web is having a profound effect on business and consumer communications.
Back in 2008, mobile devices accounted for less than 1 percent of global Internet traffic. This year, the average American spends around 2.5 hours each day on mobile devices, accounting for nearly 20 percent of total web access around the world. Fueled by mobile trends, smartphones are outselling “dumb phones,” tablets are outselling smartphones, and both smartphones and tablets are outselling computers. One would be hard pressed to find a professional who did not have a smartphone, tablet, or even both.
Does your company understand the importance of a strategic professional mobile presence? Are you prepared to cater to what TIME Magazine has dubbed the, “Me Me Me Generation?” Here are the top mobile trends of 2013, and why they matter to your business:
Though traditional word of mouth still plays a role in standard business practice, microblogging has quickly become the easiest and most effective way to promote your brand.
Microblogging has taken the mobile world by storm. Twitter is dominating the web with a user base that makes up over 21 percent of the global Internet population. Our world is adapting to this culture at an astounding rate: in the second half of 2012 alone, Twitter experienced a 40 percent growth in active monthly users.
The fundamental piece of microblogging is you: the user. With the influx of easy-to-use technology, anyone—from Baby Boomers to Millennials—can become a mobile blogger. Personalizing your business enables you to increase customer loyalty, grow your customer base, track marketing effectiveness and keep interested parties up to date with real-time information. 97 percent of the top companies in the US and UK tweet an average of 30 times a month. User engagement with a brand is 78 percent more likely when the business tweets at all, and B2B companies that tweet regularly receive 47 percent more online traffic than those who don’t.
Whether you are tweeting to welcome a new partner or researching hash tags to develop a strategic social media campaign, developing a strong microblogging presence provides your business the opportunity to connect with millions of people and businesses around the world.
With the average professional having over 40 applications on their smartphone, shopping apps have made the act of shopping easier than ever. While this might not be good news for your wallet, the simplified process of gaining access to goods and services with mere taps of the finger opens the door for businesses to capitalize on purchases made via mobile devices.
From 2011 to 2012, US mobile sales rose over 80 percent to $24 billion. According to mobile responsiveness pioneer Brad Frost, simplifying and streamlining your messaging is the key to reaching this emerging audience. Mr. Frost remarked, “Mobile users will do anything and everything desktop users will do, provided it’s presented in a usable way.”
Recent studies have shown that 81 percent of smartphone purchases are spontaneous and nearly 60 percent of consumers will bail on a process if a mobile site does not load within three seconds or less. People expect mobile websites to load as fast, if not faster than on a computer.
This mobile boom is not just affecting shopping and blogging. From mix-tapes to CDs to MP3s, the way we share and listen to music has always been constantly evolving.
From 10 million users in January of 2012 to over 180 million in 2013, the domineering international sound company, Soundcloud, now reaches more than 8 percent of all web users. Alex Ljung, co-founder of Soundcloud, has referred to his online music phenomenon as the “YouTube of audio.” These music lovers are uploading over 10 hours of sound per minute from all over this world, and even from outer space!
While Soundcloud makes it easier upload music to the web, the nearly 10-year-old Pandora has doubled in size since 2011, surpassing 200 million registered users this April. While only 15 percent of listeners sported Pandora on mobile devices in 2009, over 70 percent of subscribers rely on the mobile app in 2013.
According to a Juniper study released in April, mobile-streamed music revenue will rise more than 40% by the end of this year. With the surge of streaming apps such as Spotify, and the combination of music and social media, this trend is music to the ears of billions around the globe.
Music is not the only source of entertainment that users are incorporating into their mobile devices. Over 30 percent of the time the average American spends on mobile devices is dedicated to gaming. This is the #1 use of smartphones and tablets.
Video games are being played by more than two-thirds of all web users. Of those users, 53 percent played weekly on a smartphone or tablet, considerably higher than the 42 percent playing on consoles and 29 percent playing on social networks.
In June, the International Data Corporation and App Annie collaborated to produce a report on the Future of Mobile Gaming. Released at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo, the report found that mobile gaming is expected to grow 55 percent in the next 18 months while software, upgrades, and in game advertising is poised to bring in $12 billion in revenue by the end of this fiscal year.
Mobile advertising is on the cutting edge of this ‘webvolution,’ and has the potential to be the most profitable avenue for any business. Here’s why:
According to a study done by the US Interactive Advertising Bureau, global mobile advertising revenue recently increased by 82.8 percent: from $4.84 billion in 2011 to $8.85 billion in 2012. So far, 2013 has proven that this massive upswing is no fluke.
Take, for example, Facebook. The top social media service initially offered their stock to the public at $38 per share. In September of 2012 the stock was at $17.73. At that seemingly disastrous point, Facebook moved forward with their mobile advertising strategy.
Instead of putting in advertisements for users to click through, Facebook snuck ads into the news-feed, where people could scroll right over them. Not everybody just scrolled on by. Mobile ads accounted for 41 percent of Facebook’s total revenue in the second quarter of 2013 and this caused the stock to skyrocket to over $37 in July. By integrating adverts into playlists, the 140 million mobile Pandora users netted the music streaming company over $220 million in advertising revenue in 2012, and are expected to bring net advertising revenue of nearly $500 million by 2014.
So what does all of this growth in mobile blogging, shopping, music, gaming and advertising have to do with your business? Everything.
As services like Facebook, Twitter, Pandora and others increase their mobile advertising, and the growth of mobile gaming and the app world, mobile ad spaces are gaining value and reaching millions, if not billions of people every day. Integrating Google Analytics and Facebook Graph Search will help your business strictly define your audience and enable you to enhance your online presence.
These trends have changed the way businesses need to look at mobile. As nearly 1.5 billion people are accessing the web from mobile devices, and people are spending an increasing amount of time on their smartphones and tablets, the opportunity for revenue growth is practically limitless. Within the next few years, mobile devices will be the most used platform for just about everything: from shopping and blogging to music and gaming – to blogging about the hot new game that you just bought on your smartphone while watching Robin Thicke’s summer hit, Blurred Lines, on your tablet.
Right now, more than 90% of the professional population of the United States has a mobile device within arms reach.
How will your business reach them?
To discuss ways to maximize mobile impact for your business or brand, please give us a call at 703-385-8078.
August 12, 2013—Fairfax, Virginia – Borenstein Group is pleased to announce that it has been listed on the
Washington Business Journal’s 2013 Book of Lists’ Top 15 Advertising Agencies in the Washington DC area. A perennial feature on the list, this year Borenstein Group enjoys its highest ranking ever as the company continues to expand and meet the needs of a rapidly growing client base.
Gal S. Borenstein, Founder & CEO of Borenstein Group stated, “As large agency networks continue to consolidate and downsize, we feel that opportunities for ‘expert agencies’ like Borenstein are abound. Clients are not looking for big overhead and time-sheet reports. They are looking for a trusted partner that can be responsive, strategic, and accountable to tell them what they don’t already know. In the past 2 years, we have innovated our service offering to align with what clients want and need from digital communications in the information age. This means total integration of business intelligence, digital creative marketing, interactive, branding, and competitive market research into a single unified solution that allows our clients to get more business, retain their base, and charter to new markets.”
About Borenstein Group:
Borenstein Group, Inc. is a Northern Virginia-based integrated strategic marketing communications agency that specializes in the areas of supply chain, systems integration, information technology, homeland security, defense, intelligence, telecommunications, aerospace and government. For more information, call 703-385-8178 ext: 28.
Borenstein Group CEO Gal Borenstein authored a new white paper providing commentary and insight on recent technology marketing blunders by industry giants Microsoft, RIM and HP. The following is an excerpt from Gal Borenstein’s “Four Colossal Technology Marketing Blunders that Microsoft, RIM & HP Could Have Avoided.”
“General George S. Patton coined the phrase “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” If only the General could see how accurately his critique describes the colossal leadership failure at Microsoft, Research in Motion and HP. He’d recoil in disgust.
In every case, each of these technology titans who tout themselves as industry-leading “innovators” got caught “thinking alike.” They failed to drive innovation, take risks or dare to do things differently. They failed to truly listen to the actual needs of the competitive BYOD marketplace. New data from Strategy Analytics shows that tablets will likely outsell PCs by the second quarter of 2014, according to TechCrunch. Judging by the series of colossal product marketing flops – from Microsoft’s Surface RT Tablet to Blackberry’s rapid obsolescence, to HP’s Touchpad– one wonders: How did Apple and Samsung manage to achieve and own “Responsive Innovation” in technology marketing and branding, while bigger behemoths capable of more competitive production, costing, talent recruitment and trusted name recognition have failed to successfully launch.
Mid-2011, HP was forced to discontinue its next-generation WebOS and its new tablet Touchpad, as the products’ underwhelming sales failed to compete with the offerings of Apple and Samsung. Last week, according to PC World Magazine, “Microsoft reported revenues that came in nearly a billion dollars less than what analysts expected, thanks to a $900 million writedown of the Surface RT tablet,” Former technology giant RIM (Blackberry) has announced major layoffs of over 250 employees from its dwindling workforce. In 2012 alone, Blackberry has seen its smartphone market share slashed by more than half, according to IDG News.
So what’s behind these colossal blunders that cost billions of dollars and reputational equity to the most trusted brand names in technology? Simply put, with innovation comes risk. Rarely do risks equate to success. Innovation in marketing has to be grounded in both innate and learned intelligence of the target market, its desires, needs, psychological persona, as well as the intricate ability to connect these dots into actionable intelligence at real-time market speed.
At the heart of Amazon’s legendary success is the company’s ability to tap into and dominate ‘dead markets’. While Amazon now is the world’s largest marketplace for lifestyle products from e-books to groceries, the company got its start selling print books, a market which had been characterized by declining profits and an ever-diminishing audience for years. Starting a business within a dying market was undoubtedly an incredible risk, but Amazon’s thoughtful innovation, combined with the customer-centric functionality derived from the trusted customer product reviews, has singlehandedly created the new generation of informed buyers that has translated to virtually every other industry, from large technology purchases to consumers deciding where to go to dinner. Even with Amazon’s universally accepted role as the world’s e-commerce leader, the company continuously refines its business model by listening to their core audience and implementing unique, value-add functionality to the user experience.
This same principle is seen with eBay’s continual refinements of the e-bidding process, continuously updating the BYOD user-interface to ensure its core constituency can bid on any brand, anywhere, at any time, with convenient payment options. This responsiveness and level of customer understanding is what has allowed eBay to remain the online bidding industry leader since its explosive IPO in 1998.
In analyzing what went wrong with the Microsoft Surface RT, RIM’s Blackberry line, and HP’s Touchpad OS, I have identified four key marketing blunders that could have been avoided. In fact, avoiding any one these blunders could have changed the companies’ course from being “Top Flops” to offering a competitive solution to a market need.
- FAILURE TO KEEP YOUR RAVING FAN BASE HAPPY. Windows 8 Operating System was launched as a dual-platform product that was supposed to provide a better user experience to mobile users while also act as an upgrade to desktop PCs and laptops in business settings. From personal experience, both my 15 year old son, my 21 year old intern, and my 50 year old accountant equally confirm that Windows 8 is a confusing, non intuitive, clumsy and difficult-to-use product. In fact, for both office and home usage, we had to install a free ‘shell’ utility to force Windows 8 to bring back Windows 7 classic functionality. This example shows that Microsoft neglected basic market research and user testing when both the youngest and the oldest in the user population achieve the same confounded consensus. Historically, Microsoft’s customer base largely consists of user over the age of 35, a demographic known to be less open to new software with steep learning curves. The real confusion here is how Microsoft managed to alienate and mar their brand with the loyal and committed Windows 7 customer base in a single software release.
- FAILURE TO THINK OF R&D AND MARKETING AS UNIFIED DISCIPLINE & INNOVATION CONTINUUM: Reviewing the failures of RIM’s Blackberry, Windows Surface RT, and HP’s Touchpad, it’s as if the corporate decision makers interpreted Patton’s statement “when everyone thinks alike, someone isn’t thinking” in a reactionary way. Instead of evaluating the market and developing products to meet particular needs, it’s as if they reacted to Apple’s success by producing something different just for the sake of being different. What else could explain the reasoning for why neither HP, Microsoft, nor RIM, could connect the dots to find what consumers wanted. In the case of Windows 8, the market wanted simplicity, flexibility and performance, not another proprietary device that works only on proprietary software, with a dated interface resembling Windows Vista. No one wants to pay for a device with a steep learning curve. There is no doubt that original thoughts and data points existed in the marketing and branding departments of these companies and the Research & Development Laboratories Yet, none of these giants could get their internal CRM, Six Sigma, and CMMI teams together to deliver one agile solution to meet customers’ actual needs.
- FAILURE TO REMOVE MARKET SHARE ARROGANCE FROM STRATEGIC PLANNING: From my experience observing market trends, innovation dies when you start believing that because you own the majority market share, someone could not disrupt your hegemony. One has only to think of Kodak, Xerox, or Blockbuster to understand this phenomenon. The complacent acceptance of their current market status blinded the corporate decision-makers from the ability to see where the market was going. Those pesky IPads were first seen unnecessary new toys, even though Bill Gates himself stated years-ago that the next generation of computing would be browser-based with no operating system. So why then, did HP, Dell, and Microsoft not lead the tablet revolution by recognizing that tablets would soon replace desktops and laptops at blazing speed? They were too focused on owning current market share to anticipate emerging trends.
- FAILURE TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT BASED ON COMPETITIVE FAIR MARKET VALUE: It was simply bewildering why a giant like Microsoft launched a Tablet that was supposed to compete with Apple’s iPad based on the premise of giving users an “Office Experience.” For the average middle-class American buyer, the core target audience of the product, the tablet was impractical and undifferentiated from other Microsoft products. For the price of the Microsoft Tablet, one could purchase a middle-of –the-line laptop or Netbook, already loaded with Microsoft Office and with more computing power. What the market needed was a high-powered tablet to answer Apple’s iPad, at a competitive price point and Microsoft failed to deliver to a market ripe for its products.
So how could Microsoft, RIM, HP and others can redeem themselves? Consider General Patton’s retort; “Good tactics can save even the worst strategy. Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy.”
- Listen to your current base of raving fans and recognize their needs and build something great for them. Don’t go chasing waterfalls without building a fan base first.
- Never take your market share leadership for granted. No one is immune to disruption and innovation in any which form it may take place. If you rest of your laurels in technology marketing, you will surely become the winner of one sprint in a perpetual marathon.
- Abolish and reorganize your “innovation dream team” to include target audience persona that isn’t just based on market stats about millennials and nerds. Combine strategic market research with real market focus groups (not online panels) to hear what your audience has to say before they say it by purchasing from your competitor.
- Consider strategic pricing that aligns the ‘pulse’ of users, not just with Wall Street profit expectations, but as part of your overall marketing expense. If you are not gaining early adapters because of a price point, no amount of future ‘write-off’ will be justified when the product fails. Your real shareholders and stakeholders are your users. They will stick around long after your stock holders will short your stock.”