Do you ever get the sense that retail technology is overhyped?

Personally, I love it. In my career, I have overseen technology roll-outs at thousands of high-touch retail stores nationwide. I have also consulted with major retailers and automakers on a raft of tech-related projects.

But let’s take a moment to get real about the role of technology in retail.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks I often see is the tendency to apply new technology to old techniques. We all feel comfortable sticking with known commodities — the approaches that have generally worked for years or even decades. All too often, the Web and ad agencies with which retailers have existing RFPs and retainers find it easier to rely on status-quo methods. This leads to shortcuts along the lines of, “We already paid $XX,XXX to create that message for the end cap, so let’s just make that show up on someone’s phone, too.” Or, “Make sure to tweet about that new (brand/product/feature).”

Tweeting might seem advanced, but if you think about it, it’s really a one-way communication — the equivalent of taking out a newspaper ad. (read more…)

Today, your pipeline depends on digital marketing. Customers aren’t taking the time to talk to your sales team before making a purchase; instead, they’re often relying solely on the information they find about you online to decide whether or not to work with your company.

Because of this, it’s crucial that you understand and maximize your digital marketing strategy to attract and nurture leads through the sales pipeline all the way to close. As a business leader, you must ensure your marketing team is leveraging tactics that will actually support your brand and increase revenue. Here are the tools and trends proven to grow your sales pipeline:

Mobile
Today, 42 percent of mobile users consider mobile the most important resource in their purchasing process. Mobile isn’t the next frontier in business, it’s what’s happening now. When Google changed their algorithm to favor mobile-friendly sites in April, it became essential for businesses to have a mobile site. (read more…)

You understand the value of referrals. With the goal of attracting new business coming in so high on the list of firms’ marketing priorities, it’s no surprise that the desire to generate more referrals remains a key marketing initiative. But in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, traditional referrals from clients alone aren’t enough to accelerate growth

With this in mind, the Hinge Research Institute set out to rethink referral marketing and determine how successful firms are capitalizing on referrals today. After gathering responses from over 500 professional services firms, we found that 81.5% of service providers have received a referral from someone who wasn’t a former client.

This suggests that truly effective referral marketing needs to include strategies for generating referrals from both clients and non-clients. But where do these non-client referrals come from? Well, we discovered that most non-client referrals are a result of your firm’s reputation and expertise. In fact, we found there are actually three types of referrals that firms can utilize to attract more new business:

  • Experience-based referrals are traditional client referrals.
  • (read more…)

When marketers monitor social conversation, it’s difficult to determine if a spike in post volume is worthy of attention or simply a fluke.

For instance, Dairy Queen’s marketing team may notice a sharp increase in social posts that mention their brand. Getting to the bottom of a conversation spike normally requires digging through hundreds of posts to get the complete picture. What caused the spike to occur? It could be something in the news, a shout-out from a celebrity or a customer service issue gone viral. Either way, Dairy Queen needs to go beyond post volume to understand the reason mentions spiked at all.

What’s important to note, however, is that a sub-topic that spikes around your brand is truly only valuable if it deviates from the norm. For instance, if posts about Dairy Queen rise at the beginning of the summer, no one should be surprised. People are spending time outside, are warming up and desire an ice cream snack. (read more…)

Do you use social media platforms to talk about your products? If not, you should, because it makes perfect sense to talk about your products in places where your audience already is.

Building brand awareness is an important marketing strategy that can be executed with the help of social media.

In this case study, we’ll show you how Tootsie Roll Industries leveraged their Tootsie Pops brand page and used a giveaway to raise brand awareness, plus gauge interest in and receive feedback on a new product.

Here’s what you’ll learn from this case study:

  • Why Tootsie Pops decided to run a giveaway for their digital audience.
  • Where they hosted their giveaway to increase traffic and engagement.
  • How they created and maintained buzz around a new product.
  • How Tootsie Pops increased giveaway entries by 702% compared to a previous campaign.

Here’s a step-by-step look at what Tootsie Pops did to accomplish their goals along with tips on your can apply them to your own campaigns. (read more…)