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The irony is not lost on me that I am writing a blog (content) on why content isn’t all it was.

But talk to many business owners about their ability to directly link their content to active red hot leads is ambiguous. From a marketing standpoint yes, arggh, we know you need content. You need an active website. You need to update and revisit your content for the Google gods to reward you with a top of the pops ranking but if anyone out there is creating content it’s a hard slog. I know I’m the bearer of bad news here but you’re competing again millions of blogs getting published each day. That’s right each day. In 2019 its estimated that 4.4 million blogs were published E-V-E-R-Y day. It quickly starts feeling like a thankless task.

The reasons behind content creation is for two things.

  1. To share a little about you, let people get to know your area of expertise, your passions and what you do day to day.
  2. The next is to put them at the top of a sales funnel and with more and more content the intent is to work the prospect through your funnel, keep reminding them that you’re there until they are ultimately convinced that you and your business are the right option for them.

Here’s the problem of why the conversion is unclear. Subscribers, readers, followers can be a passive bystanders for many days, months and years consuming content and if we never purchase then that is a lot of time and money out the door for creators in the hope someone will pick up the phone. 

We can measure likes but we can’t measure engagement unless it results in an action.  Unfortunately, I’ve confirmed the need to create content is still there. Articles, blogs and videos are all necessary evils but if you want to engage people on a higher level we need to turn up the notch a little.

Ok Liv, ‘where’s it all at?’ I hear you say. It all lies with creating…

 …an Engaged Community

 Community offers the one thing that we all want and need which is connection. If there is anything that this time of housebound madness has taught us is that we need connections.We need to offer the chance for our customers and potential customers to meet with us on a different plain. Sure, it might not be face to face all of the time but many people have proven connection online is totally doable.

I’ve held some online sessions of late and it was with some apprehension and some reservation on whether I could create engaging experiences in the online space. My happy place is in a room full of people with a some post-its sharpies and an ability to read a room. These are all things I miss and I won’t lie it is slightly trickier in an online space but it’s totally doable. It comes down to authenticity and fulfilling a need. It could be the need for a chat or the need for information or inspiration. We’re all after something. 

Why is creating connections more effective than content?

By creating a community and connections you are offering an opportunity for people to connect, learn from each other and provide an experience.

When you write the next earth shattering post you’ll experience what many of us content creators do. Some people read it. Most will scroll past it, or like it without reading it, save it to read later (which is as good as filing it in the bin) or perhaps not even see it if because they haven’t opened up their spam that day or logged onto LinkedIn or Facebook.

By creating a conversation instead of posting an article you begin a live connection and form communication that isn’t all one way. There is back and forth, engagement respect and understanding. It’s not a passive speed read and then back into the newsfeed.

It’s an opportunity to connect with people who are facing the same challenges and discuss some solutions. It’s an opportunity to get off the sales soap box and step down and have some real conversations and its where magic happens. In this kind of scenario, its highly likely you won’t have all the answers and the good news is that you don’t need all the answers. You’re providing an opportunity for others to think.Connections are more important now more than EVER

Let’s look at the importance of connections in a time of crisis

At 8:45am on September 11, 2001 suddenly an explosion near the top of the north tower of the World Trade Centre occurred. Thousands stopped in their tracks to watch black smoke pour from the place of impact—an awful lot of smoke for what initially was mistaken for a small plane that had lost its way.

An attack on the world economy would leave more than an economic crisis, it was a human one. That statement might be sounding a little too familiar right now?In the wake of the attacks isolation and fear never being higher in NYC. Survivors had lost entire families. Workers lost colleagues and finding a new place in the world when overcome with grief is no easy feat. In 2002 Scott Heiferman done something he had never done before. He met his neighbours. The ideas of how to strengthen community engagement and connections gave him a flurry of ideas. 30 to be exact and two of which he acted on. One of those was the creation of the MeetUp platform.

Many of use have joined MeetUp groups to learn and connect over common interests and it’s a hugely rewarding networking experience. The last record of user numbers of MeetUp was done in 2017 and was flagged at over 35 million people worldwide. Clearly a few of us out there feel the need to be a part of a community.Let’s also not forget the theory of give to receive. By helping others on the journey by being involved in your world and further understanding your skills and flat out superstar charisma (ok not all of us have that but you know what I mean) people are less likely to feel pressured to click here or call now.

Now can you convert your customers and potential customers into a community? Don’t know where to start? Then let’s bounce some ideas around and start thinking what your community might look like…. I’m up for a coffee when you are.

Fisher & Paykel proudly proclaim their dedication to being a design-led organisation with a keen focus on engaging their customers.

We often think of design as the overall aesthetics of a product. We think its the fashioning of a product, the first impression and the outer edge but design thinking leads us to design products that are far more valuable to us than that. It goes to the heart of how we want to incorporate products and use them in our life.

F&P COO, Jeremy Sargeant states “life is lived around appliances, demonstrating how our human-centred design enriches our customers’ lives”.

A key element of the Fisher & Paykel brand is The Social Kitchen – the concept that underpins the brand’s entire design philosophy.

“We understand that the kitchen is the heart of home. It is a social space, where we prepare and cook food for our families, help kids with their homework and entertain friends, and in our fast paced world, taking time to celebrate those special moments we spend with our family and friends in this space is more important than ever. This philosophy is embedded deep within our culture and is why we have been able to consistently challenge conventional appliance design and deliver products that are truly tailored to human needs,” he said.

What is innovation?

We often think of innovation being based around a sole individual who has a spark of genius or a genius cohort in a lab working for hours to develop something spectacular that the world has never seen before when in fact this is totally off base. It’s organisations that go out and connect with people, connect with consumers. They analyse the data but they don’t stop there. They reach out, observe and talk to users and consumers.

Now you might be thinking we don’t have the big budget for that but you couldn’t be more wrong. The smaller the budget the more need for the upfront investment on spending time to identify the user/consumer/client need. The more time you invest upfront the more money you’ll save in development, launch and marketing phase.

The importance of understanding your customer

F&P have transferred their wealth of customer insights and their focus on human centred design into the development of their new website. Which I would expect from an organisation dedicated to analysing human needs and their customers journey.

Customers often search online before they even step into a store. We all want to go in well armed so the way you present your products online will help your potential customers weigh you up in a lickety split.

It’s a perfect example of where an organisation needs to direct the narrative of their first impression and are confident of their understanding of their customers. Website design is commonly outsourced but organisations need to realise that they hold the key to true customer insights and where it fits in within their customers journey. Take the reigns I say.

Where does website design fit in?

“The website is one of the most important windows into what we stand for, it brings our insights to the fore and delves deep into how life is lived around appliances, demonstrating how our human-centred design enriches our customers’ lives.”

Jeremy goes on to state “We have brought our brand values to life on the first landing page, elevating them into a prime position in the customer journey. While our website is mobile-optimised, for the best possible user experience, the desktop allows visitors enjoy the immersive first look into our beautiful products,” stated F&P COO, Jeremy Sargeant

How can we learn from F&P?

Let’s make this quick.

Analyse your customers journey. How do they find you? When they do find you map out the next steps. At what point to they decide to buy and why? Is it the first 30 seconds or does it take 30 days. Identifying the point of decision making is vital. Here’s a tip: the buying decision is often made from an emotional base not a rational one. How do you influence the positive emotion of your potential or returning customer.

Talk to past customers. Talk to the satisfied customers but more importantly talk to the unsatisfied ones. Then create a map and analyse what changes and improvements you can make along the way. Is there a point where customers get overwhelmed, confused or unsure? How can you help them through it?

These are the keys to a human centred customer experience. Spend the time analysing the steps your customers go through in their decision making process and it’s guaranteed to pay off .

Fisher & Paykel enhances website experience

Here’s the link to the full video:

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/play/u8IpI-2r-Do3SYGdswSDVKAsW47sLa-shiMZ8_NczErnAiZVYVeiMLARN-ShUcwp7P9a14LzXvF-_L0-?startTime=1590544384000&_x_zm_rtaid=EQ1v4xDERuufQLVbnQ9ehA.1593326762071.cd128a166afc351726536869b713fb89&_x_zm_rhtaid=487

Welcome to the H2H era. The human to human era where the recipe for success lies in our ability to identify the needs and understand the mindsets of our customers instead of the old ‘have I got a deal for you’ tactics.

One of the most common questions I get asked after delivering presentations on anything to do with marketing is “what is the difference between B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) marketing”.

Which means if I’m a business how can I market my products or services to other businesses rather than to consumers. In fairness this is a valid question as a lot of marketing advice and tactics are focussed on getting messages out to consumers. My argument doesn’t normally come as too much of a shock to my audiences as I’ve normally spent 30 mins before had talking about human centred marketing.

The response is this…… marketing now needs to unwind itself from theories of interruption and spruiking wears. We are no longer in the soap box era of come check out this latest gadget that will set your hair on fire.

An old pic of a soap box

Instead we are in an era where this has been done to death and frankly as humans, we are sick of being told what’s great about a product. We have grown up in the consumer age where this is all we’ve heard and quite frankly as a society we’re over it.

When managing my own marketing team back in the day I’d often hear it said, “everyone thinks they’re an expert when it comes to marketing.” Often this came after a big unveiling of the next campaign or promotion that promised to deliver big results. At the conclusion of any unveiling what often happened was the marketer was left standing at the front of the room putting their hard work on a silver platter only for the rest of the team to pick, poke and tear it apart. Then if that wasn’t enough, they’re asked to go back to the kitchen and drench it in tomato sauce.

Why… well often the marketing team works in isolation and they work with external creative teams who never come in contact with a customer. They then set upon their campaigns like its secret squirrels’ business. When the final unveiling happens it often lands as a surprise to teams who feel they are the ones accountable to hit the targets and the feedback is that this isn’t the support they had in mind or it simply won’t hit the mark.

I watched this many times and have experienced it myself, but I always impart my view which is that ‘everyone IS an expert in marketing’. This is for so many reasons. In a workplace often marketing is often the last step and is necessary for launch instead of being involved from the get-go. Everyone should be on the same page of the same book, in the same library.

In a wider picture we’ve all grown up in the consumer era where products promise outstanding results, tourism promises the trip of a life time, investing will get you the life of your dreams and unfortunately marketing has done a good job in making all of this look convincing. So now we look through the too good to be true promotional offer. We look for the truth, we seek out reviews, we talk to people to find recommendations because nobody wants to be caught out.

That bigger picture view is what led me to the conclusion its not B2B or B2C but human to human? What I mean is that the principles of successful marketing are the same. If what we are offering fulfils a need (a genuine need, not one dreamed up on a whiteboard) and we have an authentic offering with a positive experience and genuine marketing message then success is imminent.

Businesses are made up of people making decisions every day. So whilst the social platform might change or the time of day you post what we need is to look beyond tactics. How are we meeting a persons need. Does it really matter if they are in an office behind a desk or at the grocery store? A need is a need. If we dedicate our time to uncovering more about our customers and get into their shoes to uncover WHY they buy, what they need to buy or how they want to buy then this pays off in the long run.

“The premise of human-to-human marketing is one human buying from another. It taps into the human psyche and helps you form a broader and more complete form of marketing that can exceed almost any other form.”

Sarah Davies

So here’s some quick tips on how you can start embracing the human to human era.

Key tips

Define reality

So many times we get carried away with our own ego’s when someone comes up with an idea in a meeting we hit the white board and we all spend the next 30 mins convincing ourselves why this will work. Of course this is often in isolation from society, trends, the market, adjacent markets, competitors, company culture, short and long term plans. So take it from the whiteboard and get out there. Get a team together to tear the idea apart then build it back up again. Talk to some experts, talk to some customers. Just talk!  

Harness the horse power your in your stable

Before you go out and start marketing and outsourcing to creatives challenge the team inside your organisation to validate so called ‘whiteboard idea’. Get some data, historical evidence, and most importantly some analysis of what problem you’re solving.

Get the opinions of your sales or service delivery team. This data may not be quantitative, but you’ll find quality insights from teams in the thick of it. In other words, people directly connected to who you are trying to sell to. Three words collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.

Ok, ok I know its one word repeat 3 times, but you get the message. It’s important.

Don’t forget to say thank you

Look at your post-purchase experience. What can you do to amplify the positive experience you’ve just provided and better yet ask how else you can help. Many organisations will step away from the post experience analysis but this is such a valuable way to unlock opportunities for future business growth, future relationship building and future referral.

The post-purchase feedback will be the key conversation that will unlock all the opportunities you can improve on for you future customers experiences. Then rinse and repeat.

I’ve done plenty of failing in my time. Failing to have a trophy lined a shelf, failure to read between the lines at a job interview when they say “we are dedicated to improving our culture” (because it’s currently terrible), failure to recap a bottle of wine in fear it might go off. Yep, that’s me a lot of failing …. and I still do a lot of failing.

And let’s face it we all do. Every conversation we have, every meeting, every presentation there is always something that could have gone better. Instead of beating ourselves up though, let’s congratulate ourselves for being dedicated to reflection. If you’re that person who thinks what you did was 100% and couldn’t be better, I 100% guarantee your wrong.

There’s always room for improvement and we don’t know what we don’t know. We can never understand the true potential of what we can become the realms of what we know are only within what we experience, watch and do each day. It’s limited.

I’ve seen presentations where people politely thank the presenter on the way out only to hear their comments about how mortified they were at the language or the constant innuendo the presenter used, or seeing the presenter being completely unaware that they got the name of the organisation wrong every time they said it, or was unashamedly sexist amongst an audience of 98% females including the entire management team. So yes these are ‘fails’ but this isn’t the alarming part it’s the lack of self-reflection and ability to read the room or read the conversation that is most alarming. It’s my hope that in those examples that those individuals did reflect on their performance, their bias and their impact. Continuous improvement, is just that continuous.

We are never a complete masterpiece and sometimes people won’t tell you that you got it wrong. It’s up to you to figure it out.

The same goes for customers. Unfortunately, we are so used to terrible service that its rare we are prompted to complain. Then when service is undeniably awful that complaint or that letter that we intend to make or write never sees the light of day. So majority of the time no one is going to tell you changes need to be made.

If you are stepping out into entrepreneurship and innovating expect failure. I love the saying that “if businesses fails, entrepreneurs learn“. It’s a key differentiation. Failure needs to be seen as an opportunity to learn and we need be doing something that aligns with our purpose so we are motivated to try again.

In order to be successful you must learn from many failures. Success is never immediate it just appears to be.

First of all be clear about what you’re trying to achieve. Clarify your goals and then look for a marketing consultant who can deliver on these. This is important as we’ll mention again later marketing can cover a lot. Be clear about what it is you need. Is it a social media expert? Is it help with researching your customer? Is it capturing testimonials? Is it driving leads? Think of the end goal and talk to a few professionals to see how they would deliver on your problem.

At the end of the day a marketing consultant is just like any other business consultant. They should be there to understand your business and then work with you on developing a strategy, planning and problem-solving.

The Start Up

You might be a start-up and let’s face it employees can be the overhead you just can’t afford. A consultant on an hourly rate seems a lot more suitable. You may just need some help validating your offering and then tightening up on your key messages such as an elevator pitch and value proposition.

The Small Business

Perhaps you’re a small business. Perhaps you’ve been doing the marketing yourself since you started the business and you simply don’t have time to do this and actually RUN your business. Considering a consultant could be the flexible option for you to see what can be possible from a professional before you commit to a permanent hire.

The Marketing Team

Perhaps you have a marketing employee but you’ve uncovered that marketing covers a lot of tasks. If you have someone in the hot seat whether it’s a marketing manager or marketing coordinator chances are they are doing everything from designing letter heads, coordinating office signage to managing all digital platforms and getting involved in many strategic projects when they get the chance. It’s hard for them to come up for air never mind clearing time for creative thought and strategic planning.  

Here are some major benefits to hiring a consult:

Focus

They are free to focus on the specific project and task you set for them. There’s no getting distracted with the demands of internal stakeholders and needing to sift through priorities day in day out. The focus is clear and because of this the deliverables are more efficient.

New points of view

Often working across various industries they can deliver a different point of view for your organisation. They will come equipped with success stories where tactics and strategies have had great impact and then they can adapt this to your organisation.

Skills and experience

The average consultant has worked in different industries and gained insights with their skills and experience over many years. You can benefit by acquiring the skills you need to take your business to the next level without having to permanently invest in hiring someone with that level of expertise.

UK-based research firm Source Global Research published a report stating “The Australian consulting market is now the largest in the world relative to national income.” This is a trend that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down as organisations seek external expertise to accelerate plans for growth.

The Finanical Review reported

“Firms in Australia are enthusiastic users of consulting services and were much more likely to call in the advisers than businesses in almost every other country”

This was according to the report Planning for Growth in 2017 by research firm Source Global Research.

Planning for Growth in 2017 by research firm Source Global Research.

David Zehner, the head of Bain in Australia and New Zealand further supported these sentiments stating “The premium consulting market in Australia has plenty of room to grow. The market for premium consulting services is growing because companies are increasingly aware of the value of external support.”

So if you’re considering a consultant you’re not alone. It’s a flexible option that allows you to access premium expertise and maintain a focus on driving change and results for your organisation.

At Liv By Design we are a Marketing and Design Thinking Consultancy based in Perth Western Australia. We come armed with a wide network of marketing experts from digital marketing, SEO, social and overall strategic planning and coaching. If you’re looking for some obligation free advice on how you accelerate your results we’d be happy to chat.

Thanks for now!

Agile marketing is an iterative and adaptive process. Agile lends itself to driving innovative solutions, a more innovative culture and better results. 

Whilst it requires the ability to be fast to act and quick to respond, this does not define the theory of agile. Being quick to respond simply means teams are still reactive but are very efficient at being reactive. 

Here’s why Agile is more than being fast to act. 

1. The customer is at the core. 

The concept of Agile Marketing brings a focus on identifying needs and pain points of consumer markets. The ability to empathise with consumers and adapt to their changing needs forms the foundations of competitive advantage. 

2. Aligning with overarching goals. 

Successful marketing not only requires an intimate understanding of who you serve but it also requires a close alignment to your organisations long term vision and the overarching business goals. One of the greatest strengths in agile marketing is the involvement of small cross functional teams which is proven to improve any campaigns success rate. Cross functional teams can identify potential inefficiencies earlier as more critical insights are presented before campaigns go live. It also empowers marketers and gives them access to different points of view that may have never been considered. 

3. Driving an innovative culture. 

The methodology behind Agile Marketing increases communication and transparency within an organisation by breaking down silos and empowering employees to offer new ideas. The fear of failure is removed as to fail fast is a natural step in the build-measure-learn loop. As part of the loop Agile also relies on testing, rapid iterations and small releases as opposed to large drawn out campaigns. In order to iterate it also forces teams to be more data-driven to learn and guide their efforts. 

In 2012, a group of forward-thinking marketers put their heads together to come up with the marketing version of the Agile Manifesto. (Agile applies key principles from agile software development.) 

According to the manifesto, Agile marketers value:

1. Validated learning over opinions and conventions

2. Customer-focused collaboration over silos and hierarchy

3. Adaptive and iterative campaigns over Big Bang campaigns

4. The process of customer discovery over static prediction

5. Flexible vs. rigid planning

6. Responding to change over following a plan

7. Many small experiments over a few large bets

Agile Marketing will become more and more important to teams and organisations. It’s a new way of working that is proven and used by the most innovative companies in the world. Agile is simply a representation of how we need to adapt and rise to the challenge of a fast-moving world and rapidly changing needs and channels. Agile allows us to do this by ensuring our analysis of the customer is never complete. 

It’s inherently a dedication to making peoples lives better by matching their needs with our products and services. 

If you enjoyed this leave me a comment. I’d love to hear what you think!

Innovation managers, chief innovation officers and head of innovation. These are all new titles becoming more commonplace as organisations realise the importance of developing new solutions and ideas for their markets. Often these roles are filled by someone with no previous experience in a formal innovation role but who have proven themselves and displayed abilities transferrable to driving new ideas across the organisation.

We have the top 3 tips for innovation managers.

Teamwork makes the dreamwork!

It would be a tough task to try and drive innovation alone and its one of the glorious aspects to your role. Who doesn’t love a good brainstorming session and being able to give people in the organisation a chance to have their ideas heard as well as being able to contribute to the next big thing that they’ll be working towards.

Implementing regular forums for collaboration will start things moving in the right direction. It’s important the wider team in the organisation understand the big picture and how important innovation is to the direction of your organisation. Start with an ‘introduction to innovation’ with examples of companies who have transformed themselves through new and innovative ideas. Then provide a summary of what you are trying to achieve, where the organisation sits currently and where it needs to get to in the next 6-12 months and then in the next 5-10 years. You want to gain your teams interest to ensure their future engagement.

Culture Club

You’ve made a good start. You’ve got the members of the organisation together and shared the big vision for the future but now the challenge is to keep up the momentum.

Examine your workplace culture. Chances are that if your organisation have made a specific role for driving innovation then there is a belief not only on the importance of new ideas but that there are areas for improvement in how they have done things in the past. Challenge the status quo and examine why it is that new ideas haven’t succeeded in the past or what improvements could be made on those that did succeed.

Develop an ecosystem that is built on being open to new ideas and open to one another. The acceptance and willingness to share new ideas must be cultivated and encouraged from all members of the organisation. Leaders should demonstrate productive leadership and model the behaviours of what they are trying to instil. Silicon Valley is an example of one of the most innovative ecosystems in the world and it’s these traits that promote the free flow of ideas and lay the grounds for so many success stories.

Seek Out New Methods

Try to view things differently. Examine other organisations who have successfully achieved what you are trying to do or look at different industries that you can learn from. In the global 2018 report “State of Innovation” by CB Insights it clearly states that one of the primary factors affecting innovation velocity is the insular view on how they will attack new developments. Rather than partnering or buying most organisations choose to build innovations themselves. “60% of companies say it takes a year or longer to create new products, with almost one-forth saying it takes over two years from ideation to launch.”

Look at the market and seriously consider partnerships or acquisitions that will help you accelerate your release date. Also, consider opportunities for co-design as you may find a partnering organisation with equal expectations for success who are embarking on the same or similar challenges. If managed correctly co-design and co-creation can ensure more efficient go to market timeframes and less risk.

If you have recently been appointed as an innovation manager congrats! We’d love to hear about your experiences for our research. Do you think we all have a little innovation manager inside of us? :O)

Thanks for reading! We love talking innovation so if you want to chat more contact us here.