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What’s the Future for In-App Marketing?

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How much?!?

There is general rumbling against in app purchasing, especially in games marketed at children. Parents are happy to download a free game for little Timothy to play but not so happy when the credit card bill, feature charges for bliss bombs, unicorn hats or whatever lands on the doormat.  As this news story shows the Micro payment model isn’t always that micro.

And on paper it is kind of an odd premise.  You pay real money for a series of 1s and 0s that can only exist within the confines game.  Well I suspect that it won’t be too long before gamemakers, marketeers and brands put their heads together to come up with a whole new way of selling.

Imagine what would happen if in-game money actually bought you a real, tangible thing. What if when you bought a product in a game it actually turned up on your doorstep the very next day? Or in the not too distant future you got the downloadable blueprints for your 3d printer?

In a game like Sims Freeplay it would mean that whenever your online character bought something, say a magazine, you’d actually get a copy of that magazine delivered to your real home or be able to download it as a digital copy. And because it was bought through the game all your friends would see it as a personal recommendation and be more likely to buy a copy too.  This type of exposure could also be wonderful for emerging artists and talent. If celebrity avatars suddenly started wearing your designer clothes, or displaying your art in their homes it wouldn’t be long before they hit the mainstream.

With Tap style games and apps that track your progress there are obvious links to products and services.  If you’re trying to get healthy for example then having an app which allows you to buy a subscription to a local gym would make real sense.  Having to check-in 5 times to unlock your Buff Badge and upload all you times/reps for the Feel the Burn award might just be all the encouragement you need.

As with all new forms of product placement and advertisement this model opens up a whole can of worms when it comes to ethical issues.  Whereas buying a day pass to a zoo in-game might be acceptable, receiving a gun in the post certainly wouldn’t be.  Why not leave us a comment below with your thoughts?

Inappropriate Uses for Vine in Business

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There are a hundred different blog posts about how to use Vine effectively as a business tool. For instance, this one from Chris Brogan does the job perfectly.

But what about inappropriate uses for Vine? What’s the best way to damage relationships, cash flow and reputation all within 6 seconds?  We’ve had a bit of a think and here’s a few ways we think you could do it.

1) Customer endorsements are the best! Why not see how great an endorsement your customer can give you whilst you mercilessly throw peanuts at them? You can call them 6-second endurance endorsements. Take it Ken! Take the rain of peanut misery and tell us just how much you love us as a supplier!

2) Barry in Telesales is a closer. Film Barry as he lambasts 83 year old Mavis, from Sutton-on-Trent, for “stringing him along”. Snigger along to create your own laughter track. After all, Barry IS sales and the perfect poster boy for your business. No-one escapes Barry’s sales net.

3) You’ve landed that big client! Now tell everyone what you REALLY think of them.  Maybe using gestures and props. Don’t hold back. What’s the worst that could happen?

4) Show the world what a laid back fun loving bunch you are by filming the next office social at Webster’s Karaoke & Grill. Now sit back and watch the comments come rolling in as eagle eared viewers try to decide exactly what animal it is Darren from Tech Support is strangling live on stage.

5) Film Wendy from Finance as she walks down the corridor with her skirt tucked into her knickers. This is better than the time you filmed Henry the janitor choking on a skittle. Make sure you get the company logo in the shot though!

6) Your CEO is great! Everyone loves him and when he talks it’s like he’s delivering little flying candy hearts of joy directly into your ears. Your customers can’t get enough of him on-screen. So give them what they want! Show his vulnerable side. A sneaky peak of him in action next time he pops to the loo should do the trick.

Well frankly there are just a few. Why not see if you can come up with any yourself and post them below?

Sales & Marketing – An Unexpected Love Story

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“You don’t understand what I need!”  “You never listen to me!”  “This just isn’t working!”

In our experience Sales and Marketing departments have a pretty tempestuous relationship.  In theory the two should work symbiotically to create the perfect sales cycle. One creating warm leads, the other closing the deal.   In reality is often goes more like this;

  • A new product or service gets launched
  • The marketing team has a great idea for the campaign
  • They create whole host of marketing materials
  • The sales team don’t understand why or how to use them with a customer
  • The sales pack end up languishing in the boot of a car or under a desk
  • Both sales and marketing teams feel frustrated with each other’s lack of vision
  • And repeat.

As with most troubled relationships the problem stems from a lack of communication and not understanding each other’s worlds clearly enough.

So how can we fix this? Well, it’s all about getting together and learning to share. Short, regular brainstorming sessions are key to improving the sales cycle, and they’re even more effective if ran by someone outside the company.

Share the Problem

The aim here is to reduce the interdepartmental rivalry and get everyone thinking about solving the same issue.  Marketing often has the wider view of the customer but the sales team can get to know them intimately and understand exactly what they need.

Share the Creative

When coming up with the creative make sure everyone has a voice. Although it’s marketing that will be responsible for generating the material it’s the sales team that will be using them day to day so they need to be comfortable with what’s created.  And if you’ve helped build the idea it’s a lot harder to knock it.

Share the Results

Get regular feedback on how a campaign or sales push is working.  What are the success stories? How can you share them to create new leads? What’s not working?  How quickly can you adapt your marketing materials to reflect this new information?

But lose the shared metrics…

Because nothing causes a rift faster than a bonus based on tasks you have no control over.

It won’t happen overnight, but we’re confident that you’ll start to reap results before too long.

How do you think the relationship between Sales & Marketing is in your company?

Do you have any success stories you’d like to share?

Teeth Aren’t The Future

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If you’ll pardon the expression I’m sick to the back teeth of toothpaste adverts. I can’t believe that these aren’t being created by the same small number of companies who’ve created an unhealthy stranglehold over the dental hygiene market.

I can’t stand Sensodyne adverts with short interviews of dentists or guineau pigs shot from seemingly a thousand different adverts. Short case studies that showcase toothpaste as a life changing enamel pleasing messiah. Similarly, I’ll never cease to tire of ads from firms like Colgate where we see a team of intrepid scientists dutifully checking and rechecking results as an animated representation of Colgate bravely deflects food and drink from the tea. I use Colgate. I consider it my mission to make this heroic guardian suffer.

Compare this, if you will, with the treatment our eyes get in advertising. Unlike their mouthy equivalents eyecare adverts get lovely creative advertising and memorable slogans like “should have gone to specsavers”. Why must our teeth settle for second best?

In all seriousness, I find it strange that certain products or services slip into a rhythm in which seems to permeate that whole industries advertising. It’s when a company like Dove steps out from what we perceive as the advertising norm for that industry that they really start to stand out. I’m not advocating a “Campaign for Real Teethcare” or “hilarious” skits that involve people’s teeth being knocked out with a “Should Have used Aquafresh” tagline, but the brand that goes different I’d wager will steal quite a march on the rivals. Especially when their rival is still busy setting up a thousand different cameras in a dental surgery to capture that exact moment the teeth glint when the dentist smiles.


 

Why a video testimonial might just be the best thing you ever did for your business.

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When a customer tells the world you rock on camera it can have a transformational effect on your business.  Why?  Because potential customers are usually looking for some reassurance that what you have to sell is really what they’re looking for.  Although written testimonials could be used to do this they lack the immediacy and impact of a video and if they happen to be anonymous? Well most cynical people will start wondering if they’re fake.

Video testimonials on the other hand prove that your company is committed to good customer service.  They let you demonstrate how you go about solving your customers problems and most importantly that you won’t let them down.  And because they show happy, satisfied customers whose lives have been made better they do a far better job of blowing your own trumpet that you ever could.

So if you want to start getting the best out of your customer’s testimonials why not follow our few simple tips?

Don’t script it.  Testimonials only work if they sound genuine.  Ask the customer some open questions and let them tell you what they think in their own words.

Be specific.  “Improved profits by 200% in just 6 months” sounds so much impressive than “We saw a jump a profits”

Be relevant. If you want to sell your product to the healthcare industry make sure you’re talking to someone who works in that industry and better yet set the interview there.

Objections. What objections? Make time to deal with any perceived negatives with your product or service. Production seen as too slow? That’s because you get it right first time.  Too expensive? Not when you take into account the savings in other areas they’ll make.

Don’t fake it.  Ever. Always use real customers because it’s all too easy to spot when an actor or member of the business has been used as a stand in.

Why not let us know how you use customer testimonials to promote your business?  How easy do you find it to ask customers for them?  Or do you struggle to get clients to agree to be on camera? Have you found testimonials make it easier to get new business?

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