Three members of the MBS marketing team spent last week in Boston, attending one of the biggest marketing conventions in the country, which was hosted by HubSpot (the marketing software platform that we use). They’ll each be sharing their experiences from Inbound 2015, and talking about what they learned as well as how they plan to teach us how to apply that knowledge to help our partner stores grow. We’ll pick up the third installment of our three-part series with Marketing Analyst Andrew Hesse.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a morning person. I need a little bit of a slow warm up before getting into my heavier workload, which can be tough when most of my daily activities involve opening up HubSpot and scrutinizing numbers.
INBOUND15 seemed to understand my dilemma, starting mornings off with speakers such as Aziz Ansari. Finally, something that works for morning haters like me!
As our daily HubSpot user and analytics reporter, many of the sessions I attended at Inbound were specifically related to better understanding how to take advantage of the many tools in HubSpot and other tracking software such as Google Analytics. However, there were a few strategic marketing sessions that stood out to me as informative and worthwhile for anyone who considers themselves a marketer (or even those who don’t, as Erica detailed on Wednesday). Two of the more interesting sessions I attended weren’t even about the inbound strategy, but rather focused on the second half of a marketer’s job: customer retention.
It’s 5 times more cost effective to keep a current customer than it is to attract a new customer, right?
This commonly repeated phrase has been thrown around throughout marketing textbooks, articles, and by guest speakers for years now. Marketing consultant Noah Fleming takes on this popular saying in his book Evergreen, and at Inbound went into detail about some of the flaws he sees in it. While the general message is accurate, maybe not all of our current customers are worth 5 times the cost of a new customer, and those that actually are don’t start out that way. We need to groom our ideal customers to reach their potential worth. So our problem is, how do we find our customers with maximum potential, and then what do we do to help them reach it?
Our first task is to identify who our ideal, most worthwhile customers are and figure out how to distinguish them from everyone else. We all have different types and amounts of data about our customers, so we all must have different methods for segmentation. After establishing what factors we can segment our customers on, we then want to determine which factors we want to segment on based on our definition of our ideal customer. This should at least give us a starting point to allow us to target those that matter most to our business.
As for helping our newly segmented customers obtain their maximum worth, we’ll turn to Fleming’s 3 C’s.
The 3 C’s are
- Character: the initial impression we give off to our customers
- Community: who our customers are and where we can interact with them, and
- Content: our offerings to our customers.
Instead of solely looking to improve content (the most common method), we need to make strong offerings in all three areas in order to maximize our customers’ worth to us and make the old thought of current customers being worth five times more, true.
LinkedIn – Is it really social media?
To bring the focus in on the second C, Community, I wanted to touch on the use of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is considered by many to be a professional social media site, but Viveka von Rosen believes we shouldn’t think of, or treat, LinkedIn as social media at all. Unlike social media where likes and shares are often the goal to maximize our reach, LinkedIn’s potential is in generating discussion between you and your customers via groups.
With over 8,000 new groups created every week, it’s tough to gain traction as a new LinkedIn group. Luckily for most of you, there’s an easier way: piggyback off the success of your school’s LinkedIn page. Instead of creating your own group specifically for your store, use some of the popular groups already started by your school to generate the discussions you want to have.Sure, there’s less freedom of what you can talk about and accomplish, but for many of us it’s a good starting point that can lead into creating our own group in the future.
- Stalk the Influencers – Frequently check what those marked as Influencers are doing, and comment!
- Don’t be afraid to share – Share trending, controversial, valuable information, advice or recommendations… anything your segmented audience finds interesting.
- The 80/20 rule – 80% content, 20% promotion. And no outright sales pitches!
- Be wary of SWAM (Site Wide Auto Moderation) – If you’re marked as spam enough in one group, you’ll be automatically moderated in ALL groups. Again, the 80/20 rule and quality content are key.
The goal here is to harbor discussion to increase loyalty and perception of your brand, with the upside of gathering honest feedback and opinions. And once you’re comfortable taking part in other groups, maybe it’s time to start your own!
Experience INBOUND15 the next best way
As you have probably gathered, my coworkers and I had a great time at Inbound. The amount of speakers and information were almost overwhelming at times! For everyone who couldn’t make the conference, many of the keynotes have been added to HubSpot’s Youtube page, with more to come. Numerous presentations have also been added to Inbound’s SlideShare already as well! I highly recommend checking them out, there’s a lot to learn whether you’re looking to draw in new customers or increase loyalty and retention.