marketCHARLOTTE: Doing More with Less,

This is a recap of marketCHARLOTTE, part three of three. 
Part one: Lowe’s Mobile Strategy
Part two: Quaero and Big Data

The last session at marketCHARLOTTE was presented by Rich Tucker, Digital Marketer Extraordinaire (ok, ok, I added that last part but it’s true).   First things first, he’s hilarious.  You just had to be there! You’re welcome! ;) 

Rich was one of the first people I followed on Twitter when I signed up for the platform in 2009 so it was exciting to finally meet him in person and to hear him speak at the event.

Rich Tucker - Slicing through the Noise

Rich Tucker - Slicing through the Noise

His presentation really hit home on doing more with less.  “Social media” is not free but it does allow you to do more with the ever decreasing marketing budget.

My main takeaways were as follows:

1)      Social media should follow your marketing plan, not the other way.  It should be fully integrated into your marketing plan and not left to flail around on its own.

2)      Focus and master one or two social media platforms.  Go where your customers are and concentrate your efforts there.  Don’t waste your time on platforms where the return on investment is low.

3)      Engage with your followers. 

Nothing upsets me more than a company that asks for follower engagement but does not participate in the engagement themselves.  Set time aside to respond, ask follow up questions, and thank your followers for their feedback.

We’re in the people business regardless if it’s B2C or B2B.

Rich Tucker - Partnerships

Rich Tucker - Partnerships

4)      Partnership, partnership, partnership!

Partnerships allow you to not only share the cost but to also gain new customers.  You don’t have to be in the same industry but you should be complimentary to each other or have some commonality within your customer base.

Rich provided six ways organizations can partner together via Social Media:

  • Guest Blog
  • Social Good
  • Re-tweet and share each other’s content
  • Co-host events
  • Create content together (such as an e-book or a video)
  • Contests or other social medial campaigns

These tips apply to all business types and sizes, whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a company of one.

What was your favorite marketCHARLOTTE session?  What was the one thing you’ve learned that you didn’t know before?  Have you since applied any of the advice to your business since the event?

Additional reading:
Why P&G Can’t Blame 6,250 Layoffs on Facebook
What in the Heck is Co-Marketing?

marketCHARLOTTE: Doing More with Less, Quaero and Big Data

This is a recap of marketCHARLOTTE, part two of three. 
Part one: Lowe’s Mobile Strategy
Part three:

The second session at marketCHARLOTTE was presented by Dan Smith and Stephanie Reese of Quaero.  

There is a lot of data out there, big data, which can be overwhelming and difficult to understand.  But we should not be afraid of it.  Data can be used as a competitive advantage and not just for sales and marketing.  It can be used to improve your whole organization, helping you work smarter and faster. 

Data is the nervous system of your organization and our customers feed it.

The most critical part of big data is the collection and organization of the data.  How do you organize it and analyze it to give you the powerful insights that you need to improve your business?   How do you move the data from information to knowledge?  How do you personalize it?

Data as a Competitive Advantage
Stephanie Reese of Quaero

Data as a Competitive Advantage
Stephanie Reese of Quaero

A great personal example of a company that takes their data and turns it into great personalized customer experience is Target.  We have all heard the story about how Target figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did.  In my case Target figured out how often I purchase laundry detergent and when I’ll need it again and which scent is my favorite, my cycle, and my need for allergy medication.  How you ask?  By figuring out how to use all the big data they have collected from me over the many years I have been a customer.  By printing coupons for all of those items that I needed when I was checking out both delighted me and freaked me out (a little).

Targeted use of big data.

What did Target get in return for using big data in a smart way?  Not only did they have a happy customer (that likes to save money) but they also got a return visit that very same day to pick up the items she had coupons for and also had a few impulse purchases.  An easy addition to the bottom line because the customer felt good about her experience with the brand.

Now multiply that by hundreds and thousands of customers. 

Big data can make a big difference for your bottom line.  It can also help predict future trends, helping a company stay ahead of the curve and the competition.

Dan and Stephanie did a great job breaking down big data and many of the marketCHARLOTTE attendees had an “a ha” moment. 

Don’t be afraid of big data, embrace it!

For more information, check out Quaero’s website and blog.

Additional reading: 
The Whimsical Nature of Data Analytics
Can 'Predictive Analytics' Help Retailers Dodge a J.C. Penney-Style Debacle?
Turning Big Data into Smart Data: 5 Lessons for Marketers from The Obama Campaign




marketCHARLOTTE: Doing More with Less, Lowe's Mobile Strategy

This is a recap of marketCHARLOTTE, part one of three. 
Part two: Quaero and Big Data
Part three: 


Wednesday night I attended marketCHARLOTTE, a yearly event organized by Charlotte AMA and included participation from several marketing organizations in Charlotte.

The theme this year was Doing More with Less.  Our marketing budgets are getting slashed but we want the same, if not better, results.  How do we do that?

Mobile, big data, and inbound marketing and partnerships.

Sean Bartlett of Lowe's presented on mobile.   Their challenge?  Doing more with less with over 1,750 stores.  Lowe's experienced a 70% growth in e-commerce in 2011, most of it was in mobile.  Their main mission?  To advance the customer and associate experience. Lowe's is utilizing mobile to provide the best experience for their customers by advancing the customer through compelling interactions.  They also make it easy for the store associates with an app that has both a front and a back end.

Lowe's Guiding Principles for Mobile.

Retail is no longer where people go to buy things, it’s now a place where they go to have an experience. 

This idea of experiences leads to what some consider the future of retailing: showrooming.  You can read more about it in an article written by Matthew Bishop on LinkedIn earlier this week.

Even if your product or service is B2B, the mobile experience still applies.  For example, my day job is in the healthcare industry, specifically in medical devices.  I see so many opportunities in improving not only our customers’ and end users’ experience but also internally (customer service and sales).  Whether it is choosing the best orthopedic brace for an injured end user, a fitter punching in measurements and knowing what size compression stocking to put on a patient and all the style available in that size, to empowering our employees to give the best advice by providing them with the best tool – information.  All of the scenarios help the customers have the best experience with the brand.

Lowe's went beyond a store app that helps a consumer find a product in their stores.  They also have a lifestyle magazine for the iPad that has a heavy subscription base full of home improvement ideas.  Their My Lowe's loyalty program is fantastic.  Their social media team is quick to respond, whether it’s to give you a pat on the back for a job well done, say thank you for shopping in their stores, or use a YouTube video to answer a customer’s question (probably my favorite yet!).   

Lowe's succeeds in providing a mobile experience worth experiencing.

And most importantly they practice what they preach:  Never Stop Improving.


What's your mobile strategy?