The Marketing Mind Meld: Millennials Meet, Boomers

The Marketing Mind Meld: Millennials Meet, BoomersIn a galaxy where the skills of our youngest and oldest generations peacefully co-exist, modern marketing will go where no man has gone before.

We’re at a very interesting crossroads in marketing—there are many Millennials  (hereinafter referred to as red shirts. Just kidding, we’ll call them Ensigns) coming into the profession but there are still plenty of Generation Xers and Baby Boomers (hereinafter referred to as Admirals) who are still working. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough finger pointing about the contrasting styles of each generation. Endlessly debating about our differences gets us nowhere, and considering the pace at which we all must move today, there’s simply no time to waste. Instead, I’d rather explore the anomaly in the space-time continuum that occurs when we fuse the best marketing tools of the youngest working generation with those of the oldest. By melding all of our most efficient tools together and letting go of practices that don’t work, we can achieve a perfect age-blind blend, bringing forth a super-generation of successful marketers. So let’s explore this strange new world together, shall we?

Plan like an Admiral
If my 25-plus years in marketing (in case you were wondering which camp I fall into) has taught me one thing, it’s that Admirals know how to plan go-to-market strategies. In fact, it’s one of their strongest characteristics. Planning and goal-setting creates a sense of purpose and urgency that otherwise just going with your gut never will. Of course, an important part of planning is having a firm understanding of the metrics that are available to you, whether those come from Google Adwords, website traffic, number of leads, or conversion. Without having those metrics planning is fruitless, and without understanding those metrics, you’re shouting into the wind.Marketing Mind Meld: Fuse the best tools of Boomers with Millennials and win a galaxy of customers.… Click To Tweet

Step up to the tech
As adept at planning as Admirals are, they’re equally ineffective when it comes to understanding and embracing today’s social media platforms and technology. In fact, I often run into marketing professionals of my generation who say, “I don’t even have a Twitter account. I don’t need that.” Free social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram are the exact tools that enable all marketers to maximize their planned promotions, increase lead channels, and reach bigger audiences. To discount them as unnecessary is irresponsible marketing.

And when it comes to technology, there’s plenty more to choose from in the areas of marketing automation, artificial intelligence, predictive programs, targeting, segmentation, and personalization. No matter your age, if you’re not leveraging technology in your marketing plan, you’re leaving leads behind. Continue reading

The Blueprint for e-Commerce in 2017

The Blueprint for e-Commerce in 2017The framework of what’s to come this year and beyond

I’ve been building e-commerce storefronts, platforms, and software for 15 years. And because that in e-commerce time is akin to dog years, that means I’ve been in and around the business for several lifetimes.This unusual perspective gives me special abilities to size up the future, not just because I see the patterns of the e-commerce economy, but because of a well-earned wisdom I’ve acquired by studying our 4000-plus customers for so long. Here’s my list of what e-commerce can expect from 2017 and beyond.

The rising tide against Amazon will grow. Sure, we’ve watched Amazon develop tremendously over the last 10 years and that will continue. But the current of the industry is shifting as we speak and bringing with it different and, yes, even exciting new marketplaces. The giants—Walmart, Jet, Target, Costco, Rakuten—are expanding their footprints with marketplaces from both physical and online stores. Similarly, with the Facebook marketplace, the inevitable Google marketplace, and Pinterest Buy It buttons, social media selling also looms on the horizon. This gradual disruption will give small businesses more choices from which to sell their products and that will lead to improved experiences for both the buyer and the seller. On the flip side, that increase in choice will also mean there will be more systems for online merchants to figure out and integrate. @ParagMamnani shares his Blueprint for #eCommerce in #2017. See what's coming and adjust #Unify Click To Tweet

But we knew this would happen, didn’t we? The big fights that Amazon has been picking with film, TV, music, shipping carriers, delivery, and now grocery were bound to have an effect eventually. Although Google and Walmart are already fighting the behemoth, more resources, resistance, and competitors are finding their positions on the front lines. SMBs and consumers want more choice—and now they won’t have to do battle because the bigger players are doing it for them.

Two categories will emerge: commodities and niche. In the coming year, niche products, crafts, and small-batch merchandise are going to continue to accelerate in popularity. In fact, the very commoditization of most goods will cause individuality and quality to rise in value and importance. And since consumers are all buying the same commodity items, those costs will be driven further down. Even for the newish commodity items—like $20 jeans found on OldNavy.com—there will be markets created by creative SMBs, or even the luxury industry, for consumers who want their jeans to be special. In 2017 there will be plenty of folks who don’t want everything they own to be found on Amazon, and that is why marketplaces like Etsy are booming and custom Shopify stores are being launched every day. The niche economy will be sustained and grow internationally as entrepreneurs are more educated, supported, and empowered by the larger global e-commerce infrastructure.   Continue reading

30 Proven Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Store

30 Proven Ways To Drive Traffic To Your StoreBigCommerce explains how to acquire, convert, and bring people back to your site

The famous psychophysicist Dr. Howard Moskowitz once said: “There is no perfect Pepsi; just different kinds of perfect Pepsi for different groups of people.” His point is that every visitor that comes to your website is different––bringing along with them various life experiences and points of view that alter the way your site and products look to them.

It is why it is so crucial for you to determine your buyer personas. You won’t just have one. What makes them tick? Why do they do what they do? What are their hidden or unconscious motivations? Dr. Robert Cialdini laid out six psychological triggers that can be used to increase sales on your site––one of which being a “liking” factor. People like to buy things from people they like––and most people like other people who remind them of themselves.

Want to increase your sales? Build out a website that reflects back to your buyers the personas they identify with. That’s step number one. But it isn’t the only step. Once you get a site up and live, you’ll must understand:

  1. How to drive traffic
  2. How to convert that traffic
  3. How to bring people back
  4. How to measure and report
  5. How to repeat that success
  6. This post will teach you exactly how to do that, subsequently increasing sales, revenue, and customer loyalty. Read more

“Do you mind if we dance with your data?”

Do you mind if we dance with your data?How e-commerce businesses can turn an awkward liability into an earning asset

It’s not news that the world of e-commerce sales is changing every second of every day. Fifteen years ago, businesses were beginning to experiment with e-commerce, selling products on a marketplace or through an online store, and most were relying on an Excel file to track sales or using QuickBooks for accounting. At the end of each month or quarter, sales data was sent over to an accountant or bookkeeper to manually sift through—and this could take up to a month. Once the sales data was entered, there was still no guarantee that anyone would be able to truly understand the financial health of the business.How to make your data dance with the business instead of against it. #Unify Click To Tweet

Fast forward a few years and e-commerce has grown at hyper-speeds globally, on social media, on every known device, and in the cloud. What’s more, now there are dozens of different sales channels on which to sell, fragmenting the massive amounts of sales data and adding more mystery to the puzzle. Unfortunately, this data still needs to be compiled, reconciled, analyzed, and acted upon for accounting and tax compliance, let alone for business development or growth. Sure, there are dozens of business applications standing by to help carry the data load, but often these apps are not integrated with one another, making relevant info ever more siloed. Suddenly the work has exceeded the scope of bookkeepers and accountants and even e-commerce business owners, who are often left with no resources to help them grow their businesses. Continue reading

Tao te cha-ching

Tao te cha-ching

6 simple principles for achieving inner peace while running a profitable business

Who among us would argue that harmony in one’s work life comes from earning? Shallow as it may seem, fulfillment is about satisfying a need, and a sustainable business needs profits. In my experience supporting owners of small-to-medium-sized businesses, I’ve learned that much of what it takes to build and grow a business comes not from an MBA, but from wisdom hard-fought through trial and error on the battlefield of the balance sheet. Read Tao te cha-ching by @ParagMamnani to protect both sanity and profits. Click To TweetUnfortunately few soldiers make it past the front lines to drink from the overflowing chalice of accounts receivable. For those who need a faster path to enlightenment, I give you the way of the profitable warrior. No nunchucks required.

Be transparent, not translucent. In other words, speak the truth and don’t color the message based on how you want your audience to perceive it. Remind yourself that the perception of others is none of your business, your only job is to report the news. Whether you’re sharing quarterly earnings with the board or selling software over the phone, know your truth and stick by it. A word of warning, Grasshopper: Managing with transparency is not for the faint of heart or the small of balls, but it does wonders for taking the drama out of most any business situation and building trust with those who work with you. As a wise TV character once said, “Fear is the only darkness.” Continue reading