How I approach rebranding when I am working with an internal team and not an external branding firm.Read More
My most popular talk of recent years - how startups are changing marketing as we know it.Read More
At the Fluxible UX conference last month, UX designer Steve Baty of Meld Studio gave a talk on innovation and sources of insight for customer research. The way he framed customer groups resonated with me as a marketer.
Normally, we think of people as being prospects or customers. In other words, once a person has crossed the point of purchase, they are a customer. From there many companies assume you have less work to do than when you were trying to get them to buy in the first place.
We all know that this isn't true, especially for customers of low-price-low-touch products, where you can cancel a subscription with the click of a button. Yet marketers tend to focus 90% of their efforts on getting new customers and 10% of their efforts on keeping them.
Steve's model for customer segments is closer to reality; I've sketched it below:
The first thing I like about this model is that it calls out that the customer may not in fact be the buyer or the user. This is often the case in the B2B space where there are multiple people involved in a buying decision, some who will never actually use the product. Think CRM, project management, marketing automation, etc...
The next thing I like is that it distinguishes customers from a group he calls near-customers. Near customers are people who have purchased your product, but aren't committed customers. These are people who may have chosen your product because the cost of trying it was low, or because it was the best option out there but not really what they were looking for. These people may technically be customers, but they are still looking for other options and are highly prone to switch to something else when they find it.
So how do you find the near-customers?
I'm doing this for a client right now and we are starting by interviewing people who have recently cancelled their subscription. We are using the Jobs to Be Done framework to understand why they are leaving, what they are switching to and what triggered their action. One of the things we learned was that there was a group of people who were leaving because they weren't in the habit of using the product. They were curious enough to try it at one point but they hadn't integrated it into their day to day life, largely because they were unaware of a feature that would make it easy to use this product while on the move and not just in their homes. When an opportunity came to tighten their budget or find something new to entertain them, this product was an easy candidate of something to do without.
In addition to the interviews we are doing some data mining to analyze what patterns we see in people who cancel versus renew, so that we can determine if there are specific fail points that we can flag and correct to hopefully prevent people from wanting to leave. For example, if someone only logs in through the website and not our app, or if they search for a product and can't find it and this happens more than twice in a 30 day period.
Putting both of these types of insights together, we can now start running tests to see what effect they have on customers' experience with the product, and whether our changes reduce the number of people leaving (churn).
I'll report back on how we did in a future post.
I recently gave a workshop on Social Media for Startups at Communitech, a hub for startups in the Kitchener-Waterloo region. The audience was about 70% B2B and 30% B2C and evenly split between people who already had a product in market, and people who were pre-launch.
I decided to focus my workshop on getting people to think about the content that they want to share on social channels, rather than tips on using specific channels. My slides are below but if you are short on time, here are my 3 key takeaways:
1. Think about what your company expertise is - what do you have to say, what is your personality, what are you an expert on?
2. Get a deep understanding of what your customer is trying to get done. You can do this by talking to them, searching for online conversations on social channels, or a combination of both
3. The place where #1 and #2 intersect is the golden spot for great content that will resonate with your audience yet still be impactful for your company.
In a few days I'll be heading to The Fluxible, a user experience (UX) conference in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. I've been to a few UX events in the past year and it's always struck me that I'm usually the only marketer in the room.
User experience is typically something that startups think about in the context of their product. For example, how easy is it for users to achieve their goals, how do they perceive their interaction with the product, etc...
As a discipline, UX has been traditionally considered an extension of design, but in my opinion, a user's experience is the sum of all her touchpoints with a product, much of which occurs even before she have become a user or customer. It's a combination of copy, layout, design and interaction, in everything from signup pages to email campaigns to their free trial experience. Here are a few example of good UX in marketing:
The folks at Method know their brand well, and they make sure it's expressed even in something as seemingly functional as a newsletter signup. Doesn't this image make you look forward to getting their emails?
When you go to signup for an account with Nimble, a SaaS CRM product, the dialogue box next to the field where you enter your name changes from red to green when you complete the information. Once you have successfully entered a first and last name, the text changes to say "Nice to Meet You". This small interaction sets the tone for what it will be like to do business with this company, and leaves a memorable impression.
Nathan Barry is a freelance designer who has written a number of books on design that he offers for sale on his website. He offers a free chapter of this book for download and entices the user to signup by showing a great visual sample of the interior of his book. The user doesn't have to guess at what's inside and they are given an option to also receive a 30-day email course for free (see signup box). Below this free chapter offer he lists 3 difference packages for purchase, starting with the lowest. It would be interesting to test his conversion rates if the user could view all 3 packages side by side versus one below the other.
Websites are a blank canvas for startup marketers; each page is an opportunity to win over a visitor or send them clicking away to someone else's website. Sugru is a company that makes a sort of silly-putty-on-steroids. The product was invented by accident while their founder was in university, and over the years they've developed a cult following. They use something as straightforward as their About Us page to deliver bite-sized scrollable cards that tell the story of how they came to be.
Can't Get Enough?
If these examples have whet your appetite, here are a few suggestions on how you can become more familiar with UX and find ways to think about the user experience when designing your marketing campaigns and communications:
A template that has helped me and people I work with better organize our content marketing.Read More