Thinking about how the customer journey is changing as buyers increasingly move to their mobile phones, I’m brought back to Google’s Jim Lecinski’s ‘Winning the Zero Moment of Truth’ 2011 eBook.
The title comes from Proctor & Gamble’s analysis that they have to win the ‘First’ moment of truth – when the consumer first sees the array of goods in a supermarket and has to decide which to choose – plus the ‘Second’ moment – when the buyer takes their choice home, uses the product and decides from their experience whether they’re happy with the choice they made. Google then added a ‘Zero’ moment – the initial online search for that product or product category.
Over the past few days I’ve re-read the eBook and think few companies even now have caught up with the insights uncovered within it.
I’d 100% recommend you to download it from Google’s site if you haven’t a copy already.
It’s easy to glaze over when we all read the word ‘influence’ one more time. I see so many brainless articles on the subject. So this story, in PR Week of all places, jumped out yesterday. At last – someone talking sense on the subject.
Here’s a flavor:
“The very word ‘influence’ is being thrown around in many contexts and some completely abuse the real meaning or conflate it with popularity.
Real influence means to convince someone to choose to do something on their own—without threatening them or bribing them—which they would not otherwise have done. That’s much tougher to come by. It is earned through sustained relationships, and not fleeting or dependent on compensation.
Influence is a demonstrable chain of persuasion from person to person leading to new attitudes and behaviour. Having a large audience does not necessarily mean wielding influence. Views and likes are not measures of influence though they may correlate or be coincidental.”
Thanks to PR Week and Christopher Graves, Global Chairman of Ogilvy Public Relations. I couldn’t agree more.
How come we rarely hear from the brands themselves about the success of their Influencer Programs? Rarely a day goes past I don’t hear or read of marketing agencies touting their skills at working with ‘influencers’, of successes achieved or local awards secured. Many of these stories come with the flimsiest of evidence – mid-range bloggers saying how thrilled they were to work with the brand, a regional magazine writing a fluff-piece about a local agency, or the agency itself spinning numbers of ‘passionate brand advocates’ they’ve engaged with. But rarely do the brands themselves do the talking.
Are they just too busy? – maybe, do they not want to tout figures for reasons of commercial advantage? – maybe also, or perhaps the agencies are just more motivated to shout their perceived successes. All I’m sure are a factor but I think it’s primarily something else.
I think the metrics agencies are working towards just aren’t the same ones that the brands are. The agencies may well be satisfied with seeing a rise in fans, retweets, impacts and OtS (opportunities to see). But this isn’t enough for the brands. The C-level execs running them know these measures aren’t strong enough to bring in new customers, or even move new prospects far along the pipeline.
Until they can tie those important measures into their influencer programs I think they’ll be staying quiet.
I don’t have big numbers to share. I have five anecdotal conversations – each with a CMO, or equivalent, of organizations ranging from $35m to just shy of $1bn revenue. Here’s the first. There’ll be more to follow.
This East Coast marketing chief paid $9,000 in total to get five bloggers to write two blog posts and a minimum of four tweets over a four-week period about their supposed adoption of a new tablet accessory. These tweets were then re-published as part of the vendor’s launch invite activities. Each blogger then attended the San Francisco launch earlier this year. That’s approx. $1800 each person.
Was it worth it? The marketing head, who’d identified the bloggers through a ‘social influencer’ database provider, was initially “ok with it, though we’d already known two of the five so we could have approached them direct. We’d have preferred to work with independent bloggers who didn’t need payment, but we were told most did, so we went along with it.”
“It felt a commercial arrangement throughout, with them having all creative control. That was a surprise. It felt like it was all give from us. The upside was that all four turned up at our launch, it wasn’t obvious to anyone else we were paying for them, and we could use their endorsements in our web ads. Financially it wasn’t a bad return for us, but I’ll definitely read their future posts with a lot more skepticism than before. I’ll always wonder if they’ve taken a payment to write about what they have.”
Took me a while but I’ve just finished Bank 3.0 by Brett King. Sounds the dullest subject in the world but the book was captivating. I couldn’t recommend it more. It expands – in great detail – on the Bill Gates’ quote from a few years ago, “Going forward we’ll all need banking, but will we need banks?”
The book analyses what consumers increasingly want from their banking – and how, as a result, the vast majority of banks are in danger of now losing their customer mindshare to the Apple’s, Google’s and PayPal’s of this world. It also questions why banks are so intent on defending their branch strategy, often at enormous cost, when their customers would be better served if that investment were directed to their mobile banking apps.
For those interested in how we’ll all manage our finances in future, New York-based Brett King paints a compelling picture. For the traditional retail banks, it’s a frightening one. This book alone must be driving up the value of the emerging challenger banks such as Atom and Starling.
A few months back we were talking with a prospective Identification Program client. After a ten minute explanation of our methodology I was asked if we really had to include a number of influencers who the client wasn’t personally interested in. We were asked to ignore any competitors, anyone considered ‘out of reach for marketing purposes’ and any already being engaged with. Could we not discard anyone ‘untouchable’ by their marketing outreach? What we were really being asked for were the names of only the lowest hanging fruit, those most likely to be available for partnerships. The ones who would sign-up to ‘pay for play’.
I had to explain that while we have no issue with our clients subsequently prioritising those people, our original research has to include all those genuinely influencing their marketplace, whether they like the prospect of those individuals or not. The client didn’t appreciate my answer. The more I thought about it, I didn’t appreciate their question. We both agreed we weren’t a good fit for their needs.
They’d be an ideal fit for the blogger influencer peddlers.
Reviewing the applications to join the Influencer Marketing & Influencer Relations LinkedIn group we’ve seen that 31 of our most recent 100 applications have been from individuals in India. Typically we’d expect no more than 10%. Is this just a quirk or is this the year of India really getting to grips with its market influencers? Or has something else happened to create the groundswell there?
And looking at the organizations those individuals are from, it’s clear they’re some of India’s largest global and multi-nationals – in utilities, tech, engineering and auto manufacturing.
Continuing to look at the geographies involved, the majority of applicants were from the most expected regions – led by the US, UK, Germany, India, France, Singapore, Canada, Spain, Sweden, and Brazil. No great surprise there.
But what was most interesting was which countries weren’t applying. Japan, Australia, China. Leaving aside the obvious language barriers for Japan and China I’m wondering why Australia is so quiet on the topic? It has a common language, a mature B2B and B2C marketplace, and no shortage of marketing skills. LinkedIn is popular there.
So why so few interested applicants?
When I look at how Google is investing in analyzing the online buyer’s journey – breaking it down into a series of what it called ‘micro-moments’ – little understood inflection points when the buyer reaches each mini-decision stage – I wonder why most enterprise vendors aren’t doing the same.
I remember talking with the marketing VP of a well-known accounting software co. a few years back and his belief that the only stand-out decision points for buyers of his software were simply “does it have the functionality I need?” and “can I easily integrate it into my existing processes?”. He felt that if they could tick both of those boxes – and the buyer was aware of his firm’s software – then the sale was all but certain. His view was that his audience would be idiots not to choose his software. He was leaving a lot to chance.
Every purchase has micro-moments. If I think back to recent purchases I’ve made, they certainly occurred, even if I hadn’t planned them. With online and mobile purchasing there are now many more than we were used to a decade ago. But they’ve always existed. How many vendors today have really spent time breaking down the steps in their buyer’s journey? I think remarkably few. Respect to Google.
The marketing VP I mentioned clearly didn’t believe in any ‘micro-moments’. I should check if he’s still employed there.