The Fractional CMO: Everything You Need To Know

What is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), also referred to as an outsourced CMO, is a marketing executive brought in on a temporary consulting basis to implement strategic marketing programs, guide personnel, and help companies achieve long-term growth. The fractional element refers to the interim basis on which your company chooses to utilize this person’s expertise. A seasoned CMO can cost over $90k, not including benefits. Hiring a fractional CMO provides your business the same expert knowledge without the weight of executive-level costs.

You have the freedom and flexibility to create your own timeframe, depending on your company’s needs. You can work with your fractional CMO for 10, 15, 20 hours, or more per week and decide if you want them on-site or off-site, full-time or part-time. Typically, these directors are brought in for six months or more to establish a relationship and guarantee a strong level of commitment while ensuring your new marketing strategies will have time to gain momentum. 

What is the difference between a marketing consultant and a fractional CMO?

Marketing consultants and agencies typically work independently from companies. They use their industry knowledge to assess your current programs, develop marketing strategies for your team, and finally, send their recommendations to a key source within the company. These partnerships remain external and relatively hands-off while still delivering data-driven results. 

Conversely, fractional CMOs hold an official leadership role within your company. They provide a plan for overall growth, integrate new marketing strategies developed with your team, and are held responsible for monitoring budgets, and increasing ROI. Because they are typically working with your company for a longer period of time, they have a substantial investment in your overall success. Evaluating your business from the inside gives them the advantage to spot the problems that are slowing you down. 

Businesses are not one-size-fits-all and both of these options are viable depending on your specific needs. 

 

Six Skills To Look For In Your Fractional CMO: 

Companies hire fractional CMO’s to do the most valuable part of being a CMO: strategizing and driving key initiatives without getting stuck doing the day-day “fire drills”.  While it may be impossible to find someone who is good at everything, below are a few skills they must possess. 

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1) Leadership Ability

An outsourced CMO fills in any gaps in leadership you might have. They step in and take charge to strengthen your weaker areas, whether it’s your marketing tactics, team alignment, brand recognition, or sales force that needs the extra help.  

A strong leader can diagnose your problems and give clear direction to your team. They know when it is time to enforce change and when the campaign you’re working on needs more attention. They communicate regularly with executives and inspire morale and confidence in the company’s employees. In short, the leadership ability of just one person can positively impact an entire organization.

2) Team Building and Mentorship Experience 

You want a marketer with experience creating and leading programs and teams on a variety of different budgets. They understand the hiring process and they have developed methods to yield the best results. They’ve built and managed strong teams, mentoring employees so when it is their time to leave, everyone has a firm understanding of their role in the organization. 

3) Fits Your Company Culture

Compatibility is the most important quality to look for in a marketing leader. While it is necessary that this person has industry specific-knowledge, it’s even more vital that they align with your company’s values and vision. A skilled leader who also understands your company will work well with your team and know how to create a customized strategy that adheres to your long-term goals. 

4) Understanding of Analytical Data and The Key Metrics That Impact Sales 

Strategic plans require a firm understanding of key sales metrics to lower costs, track conversion rates, and improve your growth. Your marketing plan directly correlates with your sales funnel, and an experienced interim CMO will know how to leverage the important data in order to drive business.

5) Multi-layered Skill Set 

An outsourced marketer must be able to formulate a strategy while also being hands-on in the daily execution and direction. Your team members require support along with driven initiative, so you must identify someone who can do both tasks simultaneously. 

6) A Proven Methodology and Toolset 

The work they’ve done in the past has yielded results and they have the metrics to prove it. They’ve acquired tools and methods along the way and these will be passed down to your company. 

 

Six Benefits of a Fractional CMO 

1) Expertise 

This seems like a no-brainer benefit. Your interim leader is a marketing expert with experience driving a variety of initiatives, team building, and training, setting clear goals, and achieving results. This isn’t their first rodeo. 

2) Cost Effective 

A fractional CMO provides extensive value for a far lower price than paying an in-house team or hiring someone full-time, which can cost you as much as $300,000 or more. In addition to reducing costs significantly, you can pour these savings into new marketing initiatives developed with the aid of your interim leader. 

3) An objective, outsider’s perspective

The saying, “you can’t see the forest for the trees,” has relevance in the business world as well. It is often difficult to see what is right in front of you, especially when your own bias is involved. Your business may need honest feedback from a trained and impartial eye to foster new ideas and produce change.  

“Because it is much harder for in-house employees to divorce themselves from company politics and groupthink, the objective vision of outside agencies often produces out-of-the-box thinking.”

 

4) Experience within multiple industries

You will not only receive candid feedback, but their breadth of experience will benefit your team and supply knowledge you may not have otherwise acquired. They will be able to leverage knowledge from previous campaigns that have succeeded in similar industries while understanding how you compare to the competition. 

5) Stays up to date with the latest trends and best practices 

The CMO must be conscious of the newest trends in the market. “An outsourced CMO may be better positioned to recognize and capitalize on those trends than a startup executive wearing multiple hats.” Your company will have the flexibility to explore new marketing approaches without the long-term commitment. 

6) Save time with clear objectives and action plans

When you hire a fractional CMO, you are paying for the highest quality elements of marketing without the waste of energy on day-to-day tasks. They know how to get to the basis of your issues and clear out the cobwebs to drive key strategic initiatives. 

 

Five Reasons Why You Need A Fractional CMO

1) Your company isn’t ready for a full-time marketing executive 

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If you are a small company or start-up without a big enough budget to afford a full-time executive, outsourcing a CMO for a short period of time will be more cost-efficient while delivering the structure and proficiency to help your company mature.

2) Your marketing materials are coming from different sources 

Maybe you’ve downsized your marketing team due to the pandemic, or you don’t have one person/department leading marketing. You may even have a talented team of creatives, but their efforts need guided direction. In cases like these, your materials may not align or ineffectively represent your brand image. A fractional CMO will organize the process and create a clear strategy, crafting your vision into a reality. 

3) You lost your head of marketing 

In their absence, it may be beneficial to fill the position with an interim leader to give your marketing needs immediate attention. A fractional CMO can offer relief and make sure you maintain momentum while you’re searching for a full-time candidate. They will also assist in the hiring process to allow for a quick and easy transition. 

4) You are spending a large chunk of your budget on marketing, but not seeing the desired results 

A fractional CMO offers an affordable plan and the ability to direct your efforts. Their knowledge allows them to enhance your strategy and drive revenue so you aren’t wasting your time or money. At a certain stage, every company reaches a plateau, and bringing in an expert to assess your pain points could help you avoid this rut.

5) You want to take your company in a new direction and don’t know how 

Maybe you want to launch a new product or service and you need a little extra guidance, or you’re struggling to keep up with the competition. Someone with an unbiased perspective can step in and assess your needs with transparency while giving your brand an extra boost. Companies need to prepare for the future and outsourcing leadership will help you gain new insights and update your strategies and tools to keep up with the latest marketing trends. 

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Conclusion 

Marketing is an ever-changing industry and companies will need to adjust in order to prosper in the future. As you can see above, a fractional CMO only serves to help you. They are experts with the ability to align your team, boost your brand, enhance your marketing strategies and raise your ROI, all within a realistic budget and time frame. 

Key Takeaways 

  • If your company is in its infancy, lacks marketing organization and direction, or can’t keep up with the competition, hiring a fractional CMO is a smart move for you. 
  • A fractional CMO provides your business the same expert knowledge without the burden of executive-level costs.
  • Your company will benefit from the diverse experience they’ve acquired working with a variety of clients and industries. 
  • The most important quality to look for when outsourcing a CMO is their compatibility with your company’s values and vision. 
  • A fractional CMO is different from a marketing consultant because they work directly with your team for a longer period of time to ensure the success of your strategies and goals. 
  • Your interim leader will say it like it is, and this honest feedback can be just what a business needs to move to the next level.

If hiring a fractional CMO makes sense for your business, contact the DCG Team and we can help you find the perfect fit today!

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DCG Team June 24, 2021 0 Comments

2021 Marketing Trends

As if digital marketing trends don’t move fast enough, 2020 saw a significant and unanticipated increase in users’ time online (eCommerce, Video Conferences, Social Media Time, Email Communication, etc.). Companies were forced to adapt quickly to capitalize on this phenomenon, and the lack of in-person interaction saw the birth of major shifts in what behavior trends this increased time online. Though seemingly unpredictable, a lot of these trends were merely brewing under the surface, and the pandemic was the catalyst that brought them to the forefront. Let’s take a look at what’s here to stay, and which key trends will help your business shift with the digital tide in 2021 and beyond.

  1. Online Shopping/eCommerce

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. eCommerce sales grew more than 30% between the first and second quarter of 2020. The reason for this dramatic increase is very clear: as citizens remained socially distant at home, they spent more time purchasing products online. However, the sheer volume of online sales astounded even the most prepared and efficient companies. In some cases, sales halted altogether when businesses just couldn’t keep up with the demand of their customers. 

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No store was safe from the purchasing pandemonium, whether they were brick-and-mortar businesses or strictly online, like Amazon. Toilet paper became a valuable commodity! And because these businesses’ supply chains weren’t prepared for the influx of demand, they weren’t able to replenish their shelves quickly enough. This is a prime example of an opportunity for entrepreneurs to fill a need. Any gap within the business landscape is an opportunity.

Certain companies have adapted to this major shift to online shopping, most notably Instagram, and the substantial updates that were made to the app within the last few months of 2020. Instagram put a heavy emphasis on Reels and their shopping feature, encouraging users to spend directly on the app and giving brands the ability to add a new video-making platform to their marketing strategy.

2. Social Authenticity

As we social distance, there’s an opportunity to close that distance with authenticity, transparency, and relatability. Recognize the problems that your audience could be facing, and connect with them through that recognition. There doesn’t even have to be a concrete solution to the problem – you don’t have to have the solution or the answer. Acknowledging difficult experiences in an honest way can make a monumental difference in the way that your brand is perceived.

3. Companies with Standards

Consumers are actively searching for companies that hold themselves to higher standards, be it ethically, environmentally, socially, etc. They want to give their business to brands that they feel are making a positive impact on the world, and by purchasing from those brands, they are inadvertently contributing to that impact. 

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4. SEO Changes on Instagram

Instagram is putting less impact on hashtags as a way to explore similar posts and becoming more “search-friendly.” Marketing-wise, this means businesses should focus on including more SEO in their captions – smart use of keywords, instead of just trendy hashtags for increased reach and engagement. 

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  1. Reels as a Response to TikTok

Human connection, especially important in times such as these when we have to interact with each other at a distance. With the controversy that TikTok has faced in the past few months, Instagram decided to answer it by facilitating the use of Reels by making it a featured button at the bottom of the app’s homepage. We expect to see more platforms adopting this style of video, including “duet” and response style capabilities.

  1. Hybrid Events

Activities that once we would never dream of hosting online have now become the new norm. Every business has been forced to adapt and make this adjustment, and while it has introduced many difficulties to the usual processes, there are many positive developments to come out of these hybrid events and work environments. 

There are millions of employees all over the world performing their job duties from a remote location, an ability that they never thought possible before COVID-19. 

Try hosting your own virtual event! You have the potential to invite new customers who might otherwise have not been involved or showed up in person, but the virtual aspect makes it much more lowkey and convenient.

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  1. Social Media for Customer Service

Don’t be afraid to use your brand’s social media as a method for customer service. There is something very powerful and special about connecting with your customers via social media platforms. Rather than being a company that simply spits out content, interacting with customers through your accounts gives them a sense of importance and satisfaction. It makes people feel sought out and important, and it will also encourage more interaction from your followers, thus raising the engagement on your social media and giving you the potential to get more eyes on your pages. 

  1. Social Monitoring

It will be easier and more important than ever to incorporate social monitoring into your marketing strategy. There are many benefits to social monitoring, including proactive crisis management, determining your brand’s market positioning, understanding the behavior of your customers, etc. 

As a means of crisis management, social monitoring will allow you to observe the way consumers are reacting to various events in the world, and gauge how you need to respond to these events in order to make the deepest and most lasting connection with your audience. It keeps you from being tone-deaf and saying something that could put your brand in a bad light. Always be aware of what your particular consumer base is saying about current affairs and never take for granted the value of such knowledge can be. 

Social monitoring can also help you understand where your brand is in relation to the market. Listen to the market and to where the demand is, and this will help you locate a particular group of consumers whose needs aren’t being met within the current marketplace. Really listen to what it is that people want/need.

Understanding your target audience’s behavior is essential in order to deliver the best service possible and to prepare for future purchases. If you know your audience well enough, you can predict what their future actions will be, what type of messaging and advertising appeals most to them, and how to turn them into loyal customers.

  1. Voice Search
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Convenience is the name of the game. Make sure your website and social media are optimized for voice search. People are searching the web differently, and video marketing is one of the most affected types of content so far. Voice search is having a big effect on SEO because of the difference in speech patterns versus typed searches. Speech is more colloquial, more free-form, and on the spot, while typing a phrase or question into the Google search bar takes a little more forethought. Most of the time, typed searches involve inadvertently searching keywords or ideas. Voice search is more centered around the thing itself, is often phrased in the form of a question, and is much less rigid or predictable (making SEO more complicated than ever). 

  1.  Video Marketing

With so many people working from home, video content has become more frequent and casual, with glimpses into the life of someone who works at home and what a typical day is like. With the freedom and confidence to make more video content, we are seeing a rise in these more interactive posts that will continue to grow as the months go by. The lack of in-person connections has brought about the desire for continued interaction through social media, and what better way to feel as if you could be hanging out in real-time with someone else than through videos?

Certain platforms, most notably Instagram, are beefing up their video features to encourage users to take advantage of this specific type of media. Instagram has been pushing Reels hard ever since TikTok’s privacy policies were called into question, and Reels has even become the main focus on the homepage of every Instagram user. 

Conclusion

It is clear that the space provided by 2020 has been filled by what people want, and more than ever, the digital world is being dictated by how the general public (and your future audience) is using their time, melding personal behaviors with business opportunities. Luckily, social platforms are fighting hard to evolve to suit the behaviors of the public, which happens to coincide with an opportunity for business.

If 2020 showed us anything, it’s how quickly things can change/are ever-evolving/adaptable. It’s likely that this list doesn’t cover everything we’ll see in 2021, and the best advice we can offer is to stay vigilant, pay attention to how digital platforms are changing and why, and check in on online consumer behaviour regularly.

Interested in how to implement any of these tactics successfully? Request a free consultation with a DCG marketing specialist today!

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DCG Team February 17, 2021 0 Comments

4 Reasons Why Good SEO is Worth Your Attention

It’s no secret that search engine optimization (SEO) has become an essential part of doing business in the digital age. While a fair amount of guesswork was necessary for businesses in previous decades to fine-tune the best way to reach their target audience, the sheer amount of data that can be leveraged with SEO has given today’s advertisers a far deeper understanding of their place in the market. This isn’t to say that utilizing SEO means businesses will never have to resort to “trial and error” from time to time, but it does empower them to create a more data-driven approach to marketing. Surprisingly enough, despite how significant the rewards of using good SEO can be, it’s also one of the most cost-effective things you can do to drive sales in the long term (as long as you’re willing to flex your patience while the work is being done).

Whether you’re in the startup phase, or looking to reinvigorate growth in an existing business, here are 4 reasons why good SEO should be on your radar (if it isn’t already):

  1. Organic Search is Still the King of Website Traffic

Simply put, when it comes to driving potential customers to your business, 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search. While it’s true that Google runs on advertising funds, their search engine is still designed to answer people’s questions as quickly and easily as possible. This indicates consumers’ tendency to search for specific products or services when they’re ready to make a purchase; not choosing to buy something simply because they were prompted by an ad. Optimizing your SEO to best answer the questions being asked, therefore, is likely to be favored by search engines such as Google (who, by the way, happens to own over 75% of the search market), helping potential customers find you amongst a vast sea of competitors.

2. It Doesn’t Just Drive More Traffic, It Drives the Right Traffic

Advertising drives your product to the right people; SEO drives the right people to your product. Aside from email marketing, search traffic from Google performs 400% better than any other method. Google Ads, for example, are a powerful way to reach potential customers that you likely wouldn’t get by other means, but, even then, if they aren’t carefully targeting your audience, it’s like casting a large net into the ocean: you may catch a few good fish, but you’re also going to catch a lot of kelp. Whether you’re using it for paid advertising, or organic searches, SEO analysis makes it possible to not only identify which factors are most relevant to your business and target market, but it also helps build a more accurate picture of the people who are likely to buy from you. Since 71% of commercial buyers begin their research with Google searches, knowing your customer means you can more accurately provide what they’re looking for, and attract more people like them.

3. Your Search Ranking Increases Your Credibility

Appearing on the first page of any search is like winning the internet lottery – only better, because, as it turns out, it has little to do with luck, and a whole lot to do with proper SEO practices. Over 95% of people never make it past the first page on Google. And why would they? Thanks to Google being synonymous with “having the answer” to any given question, if your business isn’t listed on that coveted first page, you’re probably not what people are looking for. Moreover, businesses that rank at the top of Google’s search results garner the perception of trustworthiness, reliability, and credibility. This is because Google’s algorithm is designed to display content that it sees as the most relevant (and legitimate) first, and the public knows it. But how do you get there? While it’s true that clever keywords can increase your visibility and cause your click-through rates to skyrocket, it isn’t the search position alone that feeds your business. It’s the use of intelligent SEO that backs up those strong keywords and gets you in the rankings in the first place (and keeps you there in the long run). In essence, it’s not about the clever keywords, it’s about the quality of the information they’re found in.  

4. You Don’t Have to Break the Bank to Get Results

There isn’t much out there you can get for free, so we can understand your skepticism when we say that SEO doesn’t technically require any money at all. No, really. Unlike PPC (Pay Per Click advertising), SEO doesn’t necessarily have a strict, close-ended budget applied to the bookended time an ad runs for. What it does cost is the time, effort, and dedicated commitment to continuously improving the quality of the content your business provides. 

The good news is, there are tons of free SEO tools out there to help make sure you’re spending that time and effort effectively. The even better news is, as you implement SEO to improve the quality of your site (and it’s hub of digital media), you’ll be recognized for it in the form of increased traffic, higher ranking, and ultimately, a boost in overall performance where it matters most: conversion. 

Conclusion

Investing the time and redirecting in-house employees to cover this task can be scary for businesses, and, as a result, the long term benefits of proper SEO are often pushed aside in favor of short term solutions that burn bright and fast. If your business is just starting out, or needs to place its time and talent resources elsewhere, hiring a professional may be well worth it. Yes, this will cost you some, but, that cost will pay for itself as your well designed SEO actively works for you, and continuously enhances every other aspect of your business. 

Not sure where to start? Our team offers website analyses to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your website, including how well your website has been optimized. Start your website audit here

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DCG Team January 15, 2021 0 Comments

2020 Social Media Marketing Trends

Every year, the advancement of technology gains more momentum than in years previous, and 2020 will be no exception to the phenomenon. As technology evolves to meet our needs, businesses have to stay ahead of social media marketing trends in order to remain relevant in a time when consumers have the world at their fingertips, and due to Coronavirus, are more online than ever. If a company is merely keeping up with trends, then it has already fallen behind. Therefore, our digital marketing team has compiled a list of the top social media trends to help you and your business make the most of 2020.

1. Continued effort to decrease “vanity metrics”

In 2019, Instagram rolled out a new feature that hides the number of “likes” a user gets on his or her posts, so only individual users are able to see the total number of likes that each of their posts receives. The purpose of this change was to encourage users to focus more on the quality of a post rather than the quantity of likes that it could accumulate. We can expect to see this trend continue throughout the year as social networking companies make an effort to combat the negative effects that social media can have on a person’s self-esteem. 

Although Instagram is currently the only company to start hiding likes, other social media sites are attempting to minimize the emphasis put on likes or follower counts in their own ways. Youtube, for instance, is now abbreviating a channel’s follower count, so rather than seeing 12,050 followers on a Youtuber’s page, the number will simply read 12K. While it is only a small change, it is enough to begin drawing eyes away from follower count and refocusing them on the quality of the content that Youtubers are producing.

2. Video content is taking over

Hubspot conducted a marketing survey and discovered that video is currently the most popular form of media used in content strategy, more so than blogs and infographics (hubspot.net). This trend will continue as more marketers catch on to the success other businesses are having with video content as a primary tactic of their marketing campaigns. Those that haven’t utilized videos to market their products or services should integrate this into their marketing strategy as soon as possible to combat a decrease in sales and customer interest. 

There are certain benefits of video marketing that no other medium can properly produce, especially when it comes to demonstrating a particular product or service. Because the marketplace is saturated with similar companies vying for the same customers’ attention, it is more important than ever to communicate what it is that makes your business unique. That uniqueness can come through in a behind-the-scenes style video, a quick thirty-second clip with your tip of the day, a tour of your home office – the possibilities are endless. And it’s important to remember that not everything has to be a big-budget production with an entire camera crew at your disposal. Customers just want another way to connect with the brands that interest them.

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3. Ecommerce Tools Galore

Instagram is leading the pack when it comes to new features for users to explore. In March 2019, the platform added more eCommerce tools to the mix, most notably the ability for users to make in-app purchases straight from the brand accounts that they follow without ever having to visit the actual company webpage. This is a game-changing feature because it concentrates the user’s experience of a brand within a single app. Customers can find a product on Instagram, learn more about it on the brand’s account, scroll through pictures, videos, and testimonials within the comment section, add the product to their carts, and pay right on the app. Facebook conducted a survey of 21,000 Instagram users to learn how they use the app and for what purpose and these were the results:

  • 83% said they discover new products/services on IG
  • 81% use the app to research a product/service
  • 80% use it to determine whether they will purchase a product/service

Imagine surveying 100 people on your social media performance, and 80 of them are judging you against your competitors on Instagram. This is a huge group of potential customers that are using the app to determine who they give their business to from the moment your account appears on their screens. It is absolutely worth it to invest time in optimizing the way your brand comes across on this platform. 

Instagram has become a popular platform to research and purchase products, but it is not the only app that users flock to for more information about a company and what it has to offer. Facebook is a commonplace for customers to learn more about a business, read reviews and browse photos. Money can also be sent or requested through Facebook, and the Marketplace is perfect to buy or sell just about anything in your area, but neither of those features are as sophisticated and formal as the eCommerce tools utilized by Instagram, nor do they reinforce brand identity. They are actions experienced separately from the brand, while Instagram seeks to immerse its users in a single brand from discovery to purchase. If your business has products for purchase but you’re unsure whether you could benefit from this new Instagram feature, consider speaking with social media experts to determine how to get the most of your online presence.

4. Brand outreach as a form of customer service

Companies are recognizing the importance of having genuine interactions with their customers and how it affects the way they spend their money as well as who they spend it with. It is clear that customers love to see brands responding to comments and questions in their social media feed – it confirms that the brand is not only aware of customer concerns but that the company cares enough about its customers to take the time to reach out to them. By engaging with your customers, you build trust, through trust you enhance your brand’s reputation, and with a good brand reputation you can encourage brand loyalty. 

According to an article on Sprout Social, more than half of consumers will increase their spending with a brand that they feel drawn to, and 76% will end up purchasing a product or service from that brand over a competitor. The experience that a customer has with your brand will absolutely determine how that customer interacts with your business in the future, so in 2020 focus on building strong relationships with consumers and lean into the social aspect of social media. 

5. User-Generated Content is more popular than ever 

User-Generated Content, or “UGC”, is akin to “influencer” marketing in that it is content created by an individual showcasing a brand’s product or service, but rather than relying on a few specific users to share their experience with your brand, UGC gives any social media user the chance to essentially advertise your business for you. When you repost User-Generated Content, you are doing two things at once: filling your social media pipeline with little effort on your part, and encouraging other users to share content pertaining to your brand with the hope that they, too, could be featured on your accounts. The simple truth is that the more you engage with your followers, the more your followers engage with you. It’s a win-win.

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6. Increase in Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence adoption

Augmented Reality is yet another tool that fosters consumer engagement and enhances customer experience. One example is GlassesUSA, an online eyeglass store, which uses AR to allow users on their website to “try before you buy,” a feature that involves uploading a picture or turning on the computer’s webcam to let the user virtually try on a pair of glasses. We have seen AR used on a number of platforms, especially apps like Snapchat and Instagram, where users can pick different filters that alter their hair, eye color, face shape, and so on. However, we can expect to see AR play a much bigger role in the way people shop as companies begin to invest more time and money into creating virtual mirrors in which to try their products. 

As consumers shy away from brick and mortar businesses to shop online instead, new demands are being met to attract potential customers who require a little more security before making a purchase. AR aids in the buying process, and Artificial Intelligence is gaining popularity as a tool to give consumers a more well-rounded virtual experience. Whether it is a chatbot that sends updates on a customer’s order, or a program that analyzes customer buying patterns to better recommend products or services in the future, AI is changing the way people interact with businesses online, and the technology becomes more advanced every year. 

Conclusion

The landscape is changing quickly, and business owners can struggle to keep up. It is important to invest in your company and make sure you are being strategic with your efforts. Our team at Dolomites Consulting can help you navigate the ever-changing digital and technological landscape so you can not only keep up with the market but stay ahead of it. Don’t just get a marketing person or team that simply goes through the motions, make sure they take the time to understand your business and look ahead to scale your efforts. 

Get a customized action plan for your business. Contact Us to get started today.

Sources:

Instagram Launches ‘Checkout on Instagram’ to Facilitate In-App

ShoppingSocial Media Trends for 2020 and Beyond

Insider Drift Conversational Marketing

#BrandsGetReal: What consumers want from brands in a divided society

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DCG Team April 21, 2020 0 Comments

Marketing During a Crisis

As we navigate through uncertain times, many questions run through the minds of not only the nation, but communities around the globe. Cities, states, and countries continue to escalate restrictions, slowing down operations and marketing to a crawl worldwide. We continue to watch the news and social media for updates on the Coronavirus and its impact in order to determine the best course of action for ourselves, our families, and our businesses. No matter where you stand in the political climate or the concern spectrum, there is a widespread need for many businesses and entrepreneurs to continue making strategic decisions on how to best move forward with marketing their business. 

So, how should you market during this crisis or recession? Where do you start?

Here is a quick guide on marketing strategy during emergencies:


1.Pause and evaluate your current marketing efforts. What do you have scheduled or on autopilot on various platforms and mediums? Do you have ads running or email campaigns scheduled to go out? Identify all queues and put a stop to them immediately if it makes sense to do so. It will be much better to delay communication from your brand to evaluate and update it, rather than risk the interest, trust, or even respect of your follower base due to messaging that is not relevant, tone deaf, or in bad taste

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2. Update your customers and followers on what your business is doing. Yes, we see news about it everywhere, but it’s important to let your customers know what to expect during the foreseeable future. Make sure you update your Google listing, website, and social media pages with adjusted changes (i.e. hours and closures). If you are able to assist those in need, be sure to have clear information on how customers or community members can take advantage of your products or services. Even if you are unsure of how you will move forward long term, acknowledging the circumstance and informing your followers with updates goes a long way in keeping your brand relevant

3. Be real and genuine in your efforts. Address your employees, teammates, and consumers with a caring message. No matter what industry or vertical in which you operate, nor the size of your company, people’s lives are being affected. Almost 89% of American consumers say that they are loyal to brands that share their values, so it’s wise to emphasize your core values in your messaging and how you will be handling what the future holds. Communicating empathy reinforces qualities that are human, and offers a chance to reinforce an emotional connection with your audience. Messaging using “we”, “us”, and “together” shows solidarity with your company culture and gives a positive message of resilience.

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

– Seth Godin

4. Know your audience to understand and predict consumer behavior. We are seeing first-hand how individuals and groups act in crisis and uncertain situations. A lack of trust in media and news outlets, combined with an overload of information sources, causes confusion, fear, and distrust that drives people to act in ways they normally may not. Economic uncertainty drastically changes financial and buying practices for everyone.

Understanding your audience and their decision-making process allows you to create a strategic marketing plan that aligns with what is most important to them. Focus more on how you can help your consumers and what problems you can solve more-so than simply what your company does. Something like, “Got your hands full? Eliminate the stress of planning meals by ordering online!” will speak to your restaurant audience more than, “We are open and deliver”. Communicate what consumers could miss out on if they wait, let them know about how a product could be helpful during stressful times, and let them know you’ll be there for them whenever they are ready.  Use this time to lay a foundation to build brand loyalty as the economy improves.

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5. Look for other creative ways to connect as consumer values and attitudes shift. If your company hasn’t modernized yet, it’s crucial that you do so now. Adopting videos, webinars, and video chat in communications will allow you to keep connected and top of mind. Find unique ways to reach out with a personal touch like handwritten notes to top clients. Send big supporters a private message on social media and let them know you are there for them. Think about parts of your experience that you can share to relate to your consumers. Our social media feeds will continue to be saturated with stressful information. Sharing a bit of humor on your feed can stand out to your followers and reinforce a positive sentiment, loyalty, and conversions when the time is right. Creating engaging content like polls and asking consumers to share photos is a good example of ways to connect. 

6. Stay focused and update your goals accordingly. While operations are slow, you will naturally have more time for other things. It can be a golden opportunity to PLAN! Make sure you are still paying attention to how you’re spending your time, even with adjusting habits to accommodate work-from-home dynamics. Think critically about projections. The business landscape will shift dramatically, but that doesn’t mean opportunities don’t exist. As competitors cut back, there may be opportunities to take advantage of lower marketing costs to increase market share. 

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Make sure your operations are ready to handle increased interactions digitally. Make sure your website is optimized to be found on google. Take advantage of organic social media tactics to grow and connect with your audience, and provide a high level of customer service. And when you see a good story, pass it along.

If you are looking for customized recommendations for your business, our MC360 team is here to help. Contact us to get started today, or click here to read more on our strategy consulting services. 

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Kathryn Donadio March 28, 2020 0 Comments

3 Key Relationships of Marketing and Supply Chain Management

How is marketing and supply chain management (SCM) related?

It is important for marketing and supply chain professionals to have a strong understanding of how the two fields harmonize. The marketing and SCM fields are so broad and interconnected, that it can be harder to think of how they differ, than how they relate. 

When decisions and efforts from both functions unify together, organizations can pack a more powerful punch in the results they pursue. They can satisfy customer demand triggered by the company’s advertisements, and by making their products and services consistent, companies can build long-term trust. When the two perform disjointedly, the organization starts pursuing different internal goals, which frequently leads to dysfunction or even disaster. 

The first step to understanding how the two business functions come together is through definition. 


Marketing Defined:

As defined by the American Marketing Association: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” (AMA, 2019).

SCM Defined:

As defined by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals: “Supply chain management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities. Importantly, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers, and customers. In essence, supply chain management integrates supply and demand management within and across companies.” (CSCMP, 2019).


Let’s look at some examples of how marketing and SCM are related.

1. Supply and demand:Untitled design 300x300 1

This might be somewhat rudimentary, but it’s a powerful concept here. The whole basis of a free market economy is supply and demand. 

Supply is overseen by the company’s SCM personnel. Such functions include sourcing, procurement, logistics, inventorying, distribution, and more. Demand is overseen by marketing managers, like advertising, sales, differentiation, and customer feedback through surveys and focus groups. 

When these two components come together, a business can effectively supply the products that their marketers promoted. Marketing is the recognition of what customers need. SCM is the delivering of those customer needs. This is the broader essence of the relationship between SCM and marketing, but there is much more behind this face value.

2. Avoiding stockouts from promotions:Untitled design 2 300x251 1

When items are promoted with advertisements and discounts, the number of sales tend to increase. Hopefully not so much as to cause stockouts, which is when the inventory of items is sold out completely. Stockouts are a SCM’s worst nightmare. 

Of course, it’s bad for the customer because they will lose trust in coming to your business for things, but it’s a huge opportunity missed for the retailer and manufacturer to earn profits. One saying goes “Stockouts cause walkouts”. Customers lose confidence in shopping at locations that fail to stock enough of what they came to purchase. This leads to the risk of customers developing new habits of shopping at competitor locations. For example, if CVS keeps running out of milk, people might start shopping at Walgreens.

When the marketing team is setting up promotions, it is important to communicate with supply managers to ensure some measures are put into place to prevent stockouts. Some SCM considerations to prevent stockouts:

  1. Forecasting accuracy
  2. Safety stock utilizations
  3. Fast resupply logistics capabilities (Just-in-time)

3. Brand quality:qtq80 uY4XiX

Quality can be the key differentiating factor for many products and services, especially heavily competitive markets. A trust in a company’s standard of quality often keeps customers coming back for more. 

Take Häagen-Dazs ice cream, for example, the level of quality in their ingredients is held to a higher standard than most other brands of ice cream. They source their vanilla beans very precisely to keep consistency in their vanilla ice cream. This builds customer trust. Sourcing and procurement are critical SCM functions that facilitate a company’s quality standard. 

On the flip side, marketers need to be able to convey the right messaging in their advertisements regarding things like product quality. Good marketers know their products well. Häagen-Dazs marketers would benefit from having an understanding of their ice cream’s quality so they can formulate marketing strategies that speak to their target market. 

SCM personnel must communicate with marketing to ensure the right products are being produced and the right messages are being sent out. If the marketing department is sending messages that are inconsistent with the company’s SCM capabilities, customers can get misleading information and lose trust.

Untitled design 1Conclusion: 

A company’s SCM and marketing departments are more interconnected than it may seem on the surface. The reality is that organizations that encourage communication and collaboration between the two are poised to be more in-tune with customer needs and delivery expectations. When properly integrated, the business model becomes inherently more cohesive and high-performing.

SCM needs marketing to facilitate communication with potential customers. Marketing needs SCM to fulfill the products and services advertised. The two go hand-in-hand. 

Perform planning and goal-setting sessions with representatives from both functions. Ensure processes are in place that promote communication and knowledge sharing between the two departments. Then encourage and recognize the efforts of collaboration.

Interested in learning more about Supply Chain Management or Marketing? Reach out to the DCG Team. 

References:

CSCMP, 2019. Definitions and glossary. Retrieved from: https://cscmp.org/CSCMP/Educate/SCM_Definitions_and_Glossary_of_Terms.aspx

AMA, 2019. What is marketing. Retrieved from: https://www.ama.org/the-definition-of-marketing-what-is-marketing/

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DCG Team December 10, 2019 0 Comments

2019 Social Media Trends

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Building a Business Strategy is Like Throwing Darts

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Innovative Marketing: Keeping Up with the Times

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Making Your Website Airtight

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