Is Your Brand Visible to Your Buyers on Different Marketplaces?

Is Your Brand Visible to Your Buyers on Different Marketplaces?

Business & Entrepreneurship

Six Winning Brand Positioning Strategies

Brand awareness plays a crucial role in e-commerce success. Your online presence must capture the attention of potential buyers and your marketing strategies need to keep up with the competition. Better online visibility leads to greater credibility with customers. With this in mind, let’s take a look at six successful brand positioning strategies.

1) Online Ratings

Customers rely heavily on ratings and feedback in their purchase decisions, so it pays to make your customers happy. Consider following up a purchase with an email thank-you note and a request for feedback. Take advantage of feedback services that allow you to monitor reviews and address any negative reviews immediately. Listening to your customers is one of the most effective ways of improving your service and earning high ratings.

2) Search Engine Rank

Search Engine OptimizationAchieving a high search engine ranking isn’t easy. That’s why there’s an entire industry devoted to it. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an excellent brand positioning strategy. By driving traffic to your website and increasing organic search results, SEO ensures visibility for your brand. SEO includes a host of powerful tools and techniques that attract customers by making your site easy to find for the right people.

3) Keyword Rich Content

Keywords are such a strong part of SEO that they deserve a mention of their own. Google and other search engines look for keywords and phrases to understand what your site is about. When a potential customer searches for a product you sell, it becomes easier for them to find you. In short, keywords make it easier for buyers to find out which online marketplaces sell what they need. Keyword-rich product titles and product descriptions increase your site’s visibility, allowing you to connect with the right customers.

4) Sell Something Different

The world is crowded with goods. Your competitive edge lies with a unique offering, whether that is a new technology or a fresh design. Online marketplaces highlight brands with unique products and approaches. Updating your designs, product range and categories keeps your offering fresh and on-trend.

5) Get Social

Different Social Media PlatformsSocial platforms like Twitter and Facebook provide the potential to reach huge numbers of people for a relatively small investment. Active participation on these networks keeps the conversation going between your brand and your customers. Posting, sharing and tweeting give you a chance to showcase your brand and rely on digital word-of-mouth to gain social capital and referrals. Consider using a “Friends Referral Program” or offering social-media based discounts to increase your follows and establish your brand’s image.

6) Content Marketing

When you use blogs, newsletters, videos and email campaigns you position yourself as an expert in your field, which attracts attention and raises search engine rankings. Customers seek out helpful and insightful content. With a properly developed content marketing strategy, visitors will convert to leads more easily.

These strategies, when applied together, provide a powerful boost to your online presence and sales potential. At CrewMachine, we understand the importance of brand positioning strategy and the best ways to achieve it. Our platform enriches your online product information by identifying gaps in your SEO strategy and streamlining your workflow while you update your catalog. Our content and management teams offer SEO expertise, an understanding of customer habits and the most effective strategies to communicate your brand.

In the Crowded World of Marketing Tech, Where Do You Stand?

In the Crowded World of Marketing Tech, Where Do You Stand?

Business & Entrepreneurship

There’s a SaaS for That!

I am sure you all remember Apple’s trademark – There’s an App for That! I had a similar feeling at MarTech when I was looking through all the software. There were possibly a dozen solutions for any problem you could think of.

Whether it’s predictive intelligence/machine learning tools to do advanced attribution or content marketing, marketing project

Marketing-logos

Really Connect With Your Prospects to Drive a Deep Marketing Experience

Really Connect With Your Prospects to Drive a Deep Marketing Experience

Business & Entrepreneurship

 A Shift in Marketing Paradigms

If you got a chance to read my earlier blog, I talk about how creating a deep and rich experience is the key to doing great things in any domain. When we begin there and bring our audience to center stage, to really understand what excites them, that’s half the battle won. In this blog, I’ll specifically talk about what it means to create a rich marketing experience to make any new product and/or solution great. Especially as the paradigms of marketing continue to evolve from traditional to digital, from cost to revenue and from linear to growth, it is kind important to pause and take stalk of how the marketing engine can be tuned to meet new goals.

Understanding and Arriving at the Customer Persona

We know Segmenting, Targeting and Positioning (a.k.a the STP analysis) from Kotler days and from the big fat books on Principles of Marketing. This means blanket messaging does not work. Messaging has to be worked in to suit the audience mindset. And even before that, it is important to run a complete segmentation study on who needs to be targeted. This is where marketers can leverage data science and advance data mining, analytics and machine learning techniques to segment by psychographics, user behavior and several other attributes.

Once the segmentation study is complete, marketers can decide which of those segments they’d like to target. It’s ok not to be everything to everyone. Picking and choosing the right segments who have the most exposed nerves and showing them the value of the solution goes a long way. Once the segments are picked, the outreach will begin.

 Content and Understanding of the Funnels

We’ve heard this over and over. Content is king and content is queen. It is an art form in itself and no marketing can survive without a good content strategy. But when you’re building the content map, it is very essential to first understand where your prospect is in the funnel. You would need them to connect with your product at whichever stage they are – top, middle or bottom.

At the top, it’s still the first touch point and prospects are getting acquainted with your brand. Here’s where thought leadership blogs, visual content like infographics and short videos make an impact. The middle of the funnel audience will usually be more engaged and intrigued by what you have to offer. So, the content to keep them going has to be somewhat deeper.

Customer success stories specific to their domain, a best practices guide that could help them accelerate their business with some handy tips, or a discovery session/audit based on whether you are a product or a solution would usually go a long way.

Marketing automation software folks such as HubSpot, Marketo and Pardot do a great job in helping to demarcate your audience with the right lead scores.

The Web Experience!

All of the funnel marketing also falls nicely in place when the user experience and design elements align. This means, the user is able to easily look through for information, navigate to deeper pages and is able request for information without too much clicking around. And of course, a clean, airy and spacious websites and landing pages just keep that vibe alive! UI/UX and graphics is it’s own discipline and they are several good readings online to gather information.

Remember, Relationship is the Key!

All data science, strategy and principles look good but like any other science, good marketing is based on good relationships. As a prospect comes through the funnel from the web or a trade show, the real success is when he/she has engaged and has connected with you at some level and believes that your product or solution can help in some way to alleviate his unaddressed pain. And all the elements – content, design and UI/UX play a very important role in this journey to connect. Like stars, all these have to align to created that connected prospect experience.

I will be at MarTech in San Francisco tomorrow to see how different enterprise software companies are progressing through this journey – to create that unbeatable experience. If you are around, I’d love to catch up and tell you what we’ve been up to here. We’re solving the biggest piece of this puzzle by providing you an enterprise platform to create and enrich any type of content.

Email me if you’d like to grab a coffee!

How CrewMachine Helps You Maintain Your Brand Integrity

How CrewMachine Helps You Maintain Your Brand Integrity

Business & Entrepreneurship

In the digital age, brand integrity is more essential than ever. It’s crucial that everything your company puts out on the Internet conforms to your company’s voice and is up to your standards.

We were well aware of the challenges faced by digital content marketers when we began building our platform, which is why we built it to address those challenges. CrewMachine is designed to make it easy to enforce brand guidelines across all kinds and all sizes of content projects. With its dynamic creative briefs feature and additional features, CrewMachine offers functionality rarely seen in the digital marketing space.

We want you to stop worrying about brand integrity and start focusing on producing content. Here’s how our platform helps you do that.

Creative Briefs

Any worthwhile content marketing platform will have a way to create, store and distribute creative briefs. CrewMachine provides that, but also makes it easy to update your briefs, have unique ones for each project, and synchronize them across assignments and projects.

Additionally, CrewMachine’s creative brief interface is a powerful one. With tabs, you can set up multiple pages in the creative briefs field. Whether you want to break down your brand guidelines into smaller sections or break out the instructions into different components, this makes it easy to have all the information pertaining to a content project in one place.

Best of all, it’s easy for your content creators to access the creative briefs field — all they have to do is scroll slightly up. They won’t have to click around to find the information they need.

Negative filters

Every company has a certain way they’d like to talk about their products, their services, and themselves. Brand guidelines are all well and good, but how do you know they’re being followed? CrewMachine’s negative filters feature allows you to maintain the integrity of your brand’s voice at a granular level.

More than just checking for explicit and inappropriate language, our negative filters are customizable. Ban any number of specific words or phrases that you feel are harmful to your brand’s image, and those words won’t be able to make it through the system. Learn more about our negative filters feature here.

Templates

You want your brand’s content to conform to a certain standard and follow a certain format. CrewMachine’s templates feature makes it easy to implement that. Use the templates that we’ve added to the platform — or, create customized templates to meet your current project’s specific needs. This way, it’s easy to guide your workforce as they create content so that you get exactly the content you need.

CrewMachine is designed to help you strengthen and maintain your brand, but that’s not the only way we’re changing the content marketing game. Get in touch with us today to learn more about this groundbreaking platform, and don’t forget to check our blog for news and information!

An Entrepreneurial Journey Driven by the PanIIT DNA

An Entrepreneurial Journey Driven by the PanIIT DNA

Business & Entrepreneurship

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost

We are very excited to be a part of the PanIIT global leadership movement. As we write this sitting in our office together today, it is taking us down memory lane, through all the ebbs and flows of our educational journey. Our foundations at IIT gave us a lot, in terms of both experience and knowledge, that helped us get to where we are today. We are looking forward to participating at the PanIIT this week to connect, meet and talk with a large, influential network of entrepreneurs, investors and like-minded folks who share the common background of having emerged from the world’s greatest institution.

The Wonder Years

Our disclaimer before you read further: This is by no means a biography of sorts or a prelude to any book on life lessons. This is just a diary of extraordinary experiences of ordinary engineering graduates who found inspiration at unforeseen places. Those experiences paved the way for the beginning of an entrepreneurial journey. Like many great stories, this one starts off with a dream to change the world in some way. And like many great stories, it talks about the jump into deep waters, without much holding us steady except for a strong will to survive, a deep commitment to our passion and a strong friendship and understanding to weather any storm and stick together despite all odds.

So here goes…the journey of the three musketeers!

As some of you might know, there is immense competition in India to get into league schools like IIT to pursue careers in advanced engineering and technology. The preparation literally started when we were in diapers — no kidding. Jokes aside, it involved long hours of solving complex problems day after day, working with each other to understand difficult mathematical and scientific models. We were rewarded with good news. Our labor paid off and we were able to attend one of the world’s most renowned educational institutions to realize our dreams.

The ‘Spongebob’ Years

We were truly ‘PanIIT’ in our essence, as we decided to join three different ones – Mumbai, Kharagpur and Roorkee. We ended up having diverse experience, networks, knowledge and orientations from being associated with the same institute in different cities and yet maintained our unified core. The aspirations and expectations from parents and others only quadrupled at this point. And of course, we had expectations of ourselves too — to excel and perform at the most optimal level.

As years rolled by, we acquired advanced knowledge of systems and mechanics. Professors well-versed in such subjects became our mentors. Midnight lamps were on as discussions and dissections of the norm and of various hypotheses and theories continued. These years became foundational for the formation of engineering-driven, scientific minds. And they also prepared us for what was to follow – to understand how these theories and hypotheses translated in the real world.

IIT also provided another key skill — the ability to question and understand the ‘why’ of everything, like Simon Sinek! Jokes apart, while on one side, IIT promoted rigor and structure — which was primarily done through various complex courses — it also implanted the seeds to challenge the status quo and rebuild based on new hypotheses. It encouraged an all-new way of thinking. And this is where it really stood out from the rest of the pack – by letting the scientific and the creative mind co-exist. In the last year of school, we could see the transformation in ourselves. It was slow but drastic. We had acquired and imbibed a new way of thinking in our DNA: the IIT way.

The Supermen Years

Our schooling complete, it was time to take all this learning into the real world to solve real problems. Like many of us, we decided to come to the USA and later moved to Silicon Valley to make a difference in companies that were solving real problems. And, like many others, we moved up the chain fairly quickly by proving our value at every step.

Clearly, the rigor, training and engineering mindset which IIT had imparted made a difference in becoming really successful, really fast. On top of that, the Valley provided us with a whole new perspective as we progressed through our careers. The region allowed risk-taking and fostered a spirit of entrepreneurship — and we were not left behind.

While still working our day jobs, we decided to meet during weekends in Alok’s and Deepak’s garages to work on a few crazy ideas. Some might fail, but some might click, and we hedged the bets to pay that opportunity cost. We spent time away from family, the beach and parties. The three of us were making plans and cracking code to build the next revolutionary new software!

We are an interesting trio with completely different personalities. We are similar in some aspects but different in others. We all had a diverse technology foundation, and a solid one at that. For these reasons, writing beautiful code, building marketing strategies, understanding content gaps in the eCommerce world and building a community of fabulous workers distributed across the world are all in a day’s work for us.

And, having worked at different companies in USA (in Silicon Valley, Texas, New Jersey and other regions) and India, we brought a diverse set of experiences to the table. That’s why we took different approaches to the same problem. Having been in the retail industry, Alok would see the business problem at hand and Deepak and Rahul would try to build the architectures and backend code necessary to solve those business problems. We built a lot of code, validated the product in the market quickly and made ourselves ready to fail early and move on if there was a need.

This is not uncommon in Silicon Valley, and that’s why some of the best and newest ideas have thrived there. After a few years of gruesome experimentation — we say that because our garage sessions took a toll on our families and our ‘me’ time — we were finally solving a problem! We built the code, nurtured a community of thousands of contributors and tested the waters with a few enterprises. We were addressing a need, and it was all coming together.

The Entrepreneurial Years

The journey to building our dream started. We quit our jobs, moved out of the garage and rented an office space. We wanted to build the next-generation collaboration platform for marketers and merchants to manage enterprise content. There’s a burning need for this, since all digital marketers rely on good content for client engagement and conversion.

The Internet has set the stage for a new age marketer, a marketer who must drive results in the digital world. Enriched and indexed content has to be available on search engines and online for people to click and buy. Brick and mortar retailers are now strongly supported by eCommerce. Marketers have been struggling with a siloed approach, using different softwares and integrating them to support their overall needs. The market did not have one tool to manage the chain of content from creation to consumption. eZdia showed promise to solve this exact problem.

Alok brought in rich experience from noted retailers like Walmart and eBay, enabling him to understand the customer’s psyche and build features based on several use cases seen previously. Deepak and Rahul, who had worked at Sun Microsystems, Cisco and VmWare, built the architectures to support this model. The product evolved. Large eCommerce brands started seeing value in using this platform to build complex content like optimized and enriched category pages, buying guides, rich product descriptions, featured blogs and a lot more. Quickly, business started rolling in from both the USA and India. Our model works, and we are proud to say that we’re serving seven out of the top 10 eCommerce retailers in the USA and four out of the top five in India presently!

Technology continues to evolve. We are now live in a ‘Brave New World’ of the Internet of things where everyone is mobile. Buyers are transacting on mobile and wearable devices, and the experience of parsing content on different platforms and form factors is absolutely critical. We understood this need and introduced new features to support the mobile-optimized world through new heuristics.

Our platform continues to addresses the Content First needs of digital marketers by providing the capability to gather content intelligence, map to the right content resources, perform the creative tasks, gather collaborative feedback and analyze content outcomes through suggestive and predictive intelligence. We continue to evolve the platform with the evolving needs of digital marketers and consumer trends, and we continue to see resounding success!

Some Key Features and Differentiators of this Platform

  1. The content engine allows marketers to identify content opportunities and analyze existing projects by integrating with intelligence tools such as BrightEdge, Google Analytics and others.

  2. The content mapping feature connects the right content projects to the the right experts based on team assignments, geography, domain expertise, writer rating, seniority and other configured attributes.

  3. Real-time tracking and workflow tools support content planning, creative and publishing scheduling and frequency.

  4. Advanced capabilities enable users to process sophisticated content, rich images, videos and other interactive content.

  5. The platform offers a streamlined distribution of content via integrations with most social plug-ins, CMS, eCommerce platforms and a growing number of marketplace providers.

  6. It integrates with predictive intelligence (big data analytics) to combine unpublished and published inputs from various sources like third party feeds, search engines, weather forecasts, comparison and personalization engines and other data aggregators.

  7. A suggestive intelligence engine creates optimized content using natural language.

  8. The transparent and collaborative platform encourages ‘Bring Your Own Workforce’ (BYOW), comprising of internal content teams, external agencies, freelancers, other crowd networks, eZdia and more to cover all your content needs.

  9. eZdia’s App Marketplace allows customers to select from a growing list of services and tools to enhance their content and easily publish anywhere they want!

PanIIT in eZdia’s DNA

We’ve mentioned this before: The three of us have really guarded and fostered the DNA of PanIIT at eZdia. We are looking to grow the eZdia team now, and on our way forward, we are looking for people to support us and share our success. As we walk the floor this week, we look forward to meeting with mentors, like-minded engineering leaders who would like to work on the next big technology innovation in eCommerce and content marketing, and investors who will believe in our idea and provide the capital to take this humble yet innovative venture to the next level. We want to make a difference and we want you to be a part of this fabulous ride.

Alok-Jain profileDeepak Goyalrahulshah_cpo

Making a Case for that ‘Dream Marketing Budget’ and Winning it

Making a Case for that ‘Dream Marketing Budget’ and Winning it

Business & Entrepreneurship

Establish Goals Firmly Goals are important. But establishing unified goals is more important. Unified goals tie in other parts of the organization to work in alignment with Marketing. Everything starts and ends with increased sales or conversions. So a good sales pipeline driven by marketing could be the first and foremost goal. Second could be customer retention or growth. A lot of this activity would be driven by the the account/project management function or delivery organization in case of services. So tying in with their KPIs and what they consider as success would be critical.

Case in Point: Evaluate the most critical need of the organization. Most times it is building the sales pipeline, other times it could be related to restoring the brand, and a few other times it could be focused on growing the existing strategic customer base. As someone leading the marketing pack, you really need to analyze that and establish strong KPIs around them and propose a plan to achieve them.

Think Beyond Marketing

SEOs-and-CROs-working-together

This means that don’t just think about convincing your CMO, but also your CTO and CIO, Sales and Product guys. A lot of these decisions are intertwined and not made in a silo anymore. Marketing budget spend has implications on several groups within the organization especially when it is a start up.

Case in point: you want to make an investment to revamp your web presence on a CMS and give your brand a facelift. A cost-benefit analysis of current vs. ideal state to show it to your CTO would be a good starting point. Identify the key measurable KPIs like development and testing of different builds and templates with an internal development crew vs. running this through a centralized content management system by your marketing team. Establish a concrete ROI either in terms of larger conversions or increased traffic resulting in a possibility of a larger pipeline to impact the topline.

Make Realistic Assumptions to Manage Expectations

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We usually get into this ‘transforming the marketing organization’ syndrome. You cannot build this structure in a day. So be conservative but realistic to define what the KPIs should be. Consider all possible failover and contingency scenarios. Establish a fail early, learn fast model with a small budget to prove success before going all in with a marketing strategy. Evaluate your business not in a silo but against and in the face of the different supply and demand, substitutes and complementary forces to assess success and make the bets accordingly.

Case in Point: There might be a chance that you might have a few key marketing resources drop out mid stream, so plan for plan B. Your business could be disrupted by another competitor who builds core strengths really fast to scale.  There might a chance that other departments are unable to scale the way you want them to to support your growth trajectory. All of these scenarios need to be built in into your plan.

The Ultimate Trump Card

Believe in the Product – Believe that what you are building is powerful and is going to make a dent in either a big or a small way. That will keep you going even if the above don’t align, and sometimes they don’t. The firm conviction that you are going to make it happen is quite infectious and rubs across other folks within the organization very soon. And that’s when great things happen, including magical approvals to budgets.

Good Luck and Have a Busy 2016!

To connect with me or send in your queries drop an email Click to Email

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