Online Communities for B2B Lead Generation: A Guide for B2B Marketers

BY Sarah Pern, Digital Marketing Consultant, G2M SOLUTIONS

Online Communities

With an increasing amount of time being spent online in communities and the subsequent uptake of community building activities in the B2B world, now is the time to get your foot in the door before your competitors obliterate you online and secure all your prospects.

B2B marketers need to know the following to generate leads from building online communities.

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Interview with Deborah Kytic – Driving Customer Advocacy

In this week’s interview, we receive some valuable insights from one of ADMA’s most renowned relationship marketing consultants – Deborah Kytic. Deborah has an array of marketing experience which spans over a 20 year period. She has been at the helm of one of Australia’s best known brands, and now runs her own consultancy, Loqium. In this interview Deborah discusses the balance of achieving a scientific approach to your loyalty initiative whilst incorporating good old-fashioned creativity, and finally insights into why Guinness is one of her favourite brands.

1. What was the trickiest aspect of working for a large corporate like Optus and trying to gain customer engagement on an intimate / one-to-one basis?

Ensuring that you have the right data and capabilities so that you’re not just doing everything to the masses is quite tricky. Also, how to refine your offers and communications in a way that will make your customers feel like you’re talking to them one-on-one.

It is such a challenge to drive campaigns that contribute to the bottom line whilst driving good data standards that enable you to talk to customers in more intimate way. it’s a simple fact that some companies do it in better ways that others.

2. What has being at the helm of one of Australia’s best known brands given you in terms of experience?

One of the most important aspects for working for big organisations is learning how to get cut-through of your ‘big ideas’. This is a lesson you can take from the largest to smallest of organisations. The experience teaches you how to construct and win an argument with facts and data and enable you to sell your idea. You also learn how to get ideas in front of right people so that they can make decisions. Continue reading

The American Customer Satisfaction Index’s Winners and Losers: What it Means for Australian Retailers

By Mila D’Antonio Managing Editor for 1to1 Magazine

The importance of delivering exceptional customer experiences during a down economy is essential to fostering customer satisfaction–a critical measure for success. But according to the 2011 fourth quarter customer satisfaction report released recently by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, there were only mild improvements in customer satisfaction with a yearly gain of .07 percent, and some not-so-surprising winners and losers.

The losers It’s no surprise, for example that Netflix’s customer satisfaction took a nosedive for 2011, crashing down 14 percent to 74, one of the biggest year-on-year losses in ACSI history. Netflix customers left in droves last fall, following price hikes and a controversial plan to move DVD-by-mail customers to a separate service.

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It Takes Two to Tango – and to Trust

Charles H. Green is founder and CEO of TRUSTED ADVISOR ASSOCIATES 

“Customer trust is down.” You’ve seen plenty of headlines like that, especially in banking. But what does it really mean?

Have companies become less trustworthy? Are customers less willing to trust them? Perhaps it’s both. Assuming someone cares about customer trust, what are they supposed to do about it if the problem isn’t clear to begin with? Rebuilding trust starts with thinking differently.

It Takes Two to Tango
We use the tango metaphor to remind us that for some things in life, more than one party is involved.  It turns out trust is one of those things. For trust to exist, one person has to do the trusting, and the other has to be trusted. And just like leading and following are different in tango, trusting and being trusted are very different roles. Continue reading

Online Astroturfing: Deceitful Competition for Consumers’ Attention

By Darren Sharp, Senior Consultant, Resonate Solutions

Online astroturfing is the practice of creating fake reviews of products and services for the purpose of building seemingly “grassroots” support for a brand. Competition for consumers’ attention across the wide spectrum of media channels has led some marketers to employ deceitful conduct to give their clients products a positive spin in review sites, Twitter, blogs and other forms of social media.

Word-of-mouth marketing has become such a powerful force that some marketers are willing to go to any means necessary to get an edge over the competition. Yet astroturfing and similar practices are dishonest, unethical and can expose companies to significant consumer backlash, reputational damage and even litigation.

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Why Relevance Drives Response and Relationships


Consumers today are deluded and overloaded with a plethora of unwanted direct marketing and promotional messages, according to a whitepaper released by the CMO Council.

The whitepaper – which discusses why relevance drives response and relationships – tries to understand what regular messages and channels of delivery are most valued by today’s customer (a survey of 1,000 consumers was carried out).

The result was a clear call to action for marketers. Consumers overwhelmingly stated that regardless of channel, relevancy, individualisation is what customers value, if not require, to ensure a sustainable relationship.

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Four Steps to Advocacy

By Richard Pester, Director of Training & Education, ADMA.

Do you remember your first loyalty card? I do. Long ago, even before Tesco Clubcard, an agency I was working for teamed up with a company selling a card swipe machine. It was (almost) the first of its kind and, as it was adapted from a ticket machine from a Belgian bus company, it was built like a tank. How we expected any self-respecting retailer to make room for this monster at its check-outs I don’t know. But eventually a paint distributor who was less interested in style and more interested in rewarding his regular tradie customers, took it on. As the years passed the machines became sleeker, the IT got smarter and the reward card became an established customer loyalty mechanic.

Throughout the 90’s brands big and small launched one card after another; some made a lasting impact, some didn’t. An interesting case study at the time was the experience of Shell, who along with the other petrol companies had introduced their own reward card. After a few years they figured that as every petrol brand now offered a loyalty card, they probably had minimal impact on loyalty as customers could accumulate points wherever they filled up, so they scrapped it. Bad idea; sales plummeted; a “new improved” card scheme was hastily re-introduced and sales recovered.

But what did this tell us? That reward cards are the key to customer loyalty? No. There were probably two key learnings from this:

  1. If you have nothing else to differentiate your service from anyone else’s then a card will make a difference.
  2. If you don’t collect relevant data about customers and use it in a relevant way you may find it hard to differentiate your service (especially in a homogenised market like petrol).

Since those early days a vast amount of material has been published on the effectiveness of loyalty schemes and there is no doubt that regardless of whether a card is used or some other means of tracking regular patronage a loyalty scheme will impact customer behaviour if managed properly. However as marketers are often focussed on the communication end of the marketing mix we often forget that building loyalty starts much deeper. The way we recognise and reward a customer’s patronage is the icing on the cake. Even the best reward scheme won’t work if the layers beneath are unsound.

So what are those layers? There are basically four:

  1. Perfect the basics: The ground level. This is your company doing the basics right – your products and supporting service are excellent. Customers get a great experience and your people and their attitude reflect your brand. This sounds so obvious it’s tempting to skip to numbers 2-4 but too often companies get it wrong. They let their processes slip, they start losing customers and try to fight the fire with better rewards and offers. Trouble is when the offers and rewards stop, the attrition continues if you fail to perfect the basics.
  2. Create dialogue: Having based your relationship on product/service excellence you’ve effectively bought your right to communicate with your customer – but you need to seal that deal with their consent. Once you have that permission you need to reinforce the excellence they already associate with your brand by creating a two-way dialogue. Make it worth their while to talk to you and find ways to collect relevant information from them – whether it is to do with their demographics, their needs, or their transactional and communication preferences.
  3. Enhance the relationship: You’ve ticked two boxes already – the next is to provide your customer with further proof of the fact that you value their patronage, and it doesn’t entail offering a reward. You’ve got their permission, you’ve gathered their data, you’ve listened to them – now you’re showing them it was worth their investment by making relevant offers at the right time. No-one minds being offered something they need. It’s a sure way to further enhance your brand and strengthen the relationship.
  4. Reward: Finally – you reach the level at which a customer reward really pays off. Sure you can put a scheme in place which rewards everyone for regular patronage, but the difference is without the other layers the “loyalty” is skin deep. Take the Shell example. You could argue they got the basics right – but in that market it was probably absolutely no different to any other competitor. Take the brand names away and you can’t tell the difference. So layer 1 was adequate, layers 2 & 3 were completely absent so the scheme had no long-term impact. On the other hand with all the layers in place you get more than loyalty, you get advocacy.

The steps outlined above form the structure of ADMA’s 2-day Retention Marketing course written and delivered by Deborah Kytic. The course runs next in Sydney (16-17 May 2012) and Melbourne (6-7 June 2012).

9 Steps to a Profitable Loyalty Program

By Adam Posner, ADMA Multi-channel Direct Marketing Certificate Tutor

Loyalty is much in debate these days. Are we as a consumer society as focused on brand loyalty as we are on self loyalty? Self indulgence and the trusted marketing adage “what’s in it for me” perpetuates the selfish intent for oneself.

So are retailers who embark on loyalty programs genuinely giving back to get loyalty or are they simply pandering to the consumers self desire?

Brian Woolf in his article “Loyalty Marketing or Loyalty selling?”[1] states that

“…companies practicing loyalty marketing are recognised by their primary focus on gathering customer data to better understand and satisfy their customers’ needs and measuring, through their customer retention rates, how effective their efforts have been.

Companies who practice loyalty selling are recognised by their primary focus on using their customer data to sell more to them”

The fact is, whether your business is practicing loyalty marketing or loyalty selling, doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that a well structured program will have 2 winners …the retailer who has the customer coming back to purchase, profitably, and the customer getting something in return for coming back to purchase at the retailer.

Planning for a Successful Integrated Digital Strategy – Part 1

By Tracey Brown, ADMA Tutor

Having worked in digital for 15 years, in a number of different roles and within some large and complex organisations, I recently gave a talk about achieving a successful integrated digital strategy, which contained a number of tips based on these experiences. Breaking down the content of the talk into a series of articles, I hope that ADMA readers will be able to use some of these tips.

When planning your digital strategy, it is important to consider that:

  • It can be a complicated time – the business you work in might be complex, and the digital strategy itself can require a technical understanding of capabilities (or limitations) The digital landscape is also constantly moving, and it can be a difficult challenge to define what you want to achieve using digital.
  • The strategy will not be a static item. While it  needs to be defined and documented,  it is likely to change and may sometimes have to adapt quickly to the business that might be changing around it. Strategic digital marketers need to be prepared for this.
  • Digital marketers need to understand how digital fits within their organisation, the various stakeholders and touchpoints, in order to shape a digital strategy that truly supports the business and its goals.

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Why Australian Retailers Are Losing The Online Battle


Consumers are using multiple channels to engage with companies and brands across a multitude of media and platforms. When they think about buying products online they use the web to search, evaluate and compare products. Every retailer therefore needs to understand the purchase habits of customers and each of the digital touch points to ensure they provide a consistent and optimum experience.

Australia’s large retailers face increasing competition online both locally and overseas. eMarketingConnected have conducted research into 62 of Australia’s largest retailers and their basic capabilities across web, social and email.

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