KPIs for Customer Experience

Customer Experience is not an easy thing to evaluate and it can be very challenging to identify which KPIs should be considered for that. The right vision in this process involves lots of insights such as those linked to transactions, satisfaction, service quality, opinion, traffic… Every single moment the customer has with the brand needs to be measured with the right focus.

When a customer is unhappy with a brand, studies say he shares 3 times more than when he’s happy!

KPIs that are connected with insights of satisfaction can be easily measured but the action doesn’t stop here. It needs to follow the customer’s interaction with the brand (likes or dislikes on social media, delivery issues, etc), evaluate the impact (positive or negative) and implement immediate actions (correcting mistakes or thanking the customer for example). Choosing KPIs that are relevant in this new paradigm made of instant gratification, permanent change and uncertainty, is a major challenge. KPIs have to be simple and in real-time, they need to be changed with agility if necessary.  

75% of customers are ready to leave a website and search for another one if content is not optimized!

Optimizing the way brands interact with customers is essential and relevant KPIs can help with that. Implementing KPIs especially chosen because they give the right vision of time interactions, responses quality or appreciation of new apps, etc, can be very useful and efficient in terms of customer experience. Customers are very demanding regarding the quality of websites, mobile apps and so on, and the only way to be aware and up to date is to have a good monitoring of all signals they give.

It takes 4 seconds for a customer to make its choice.

Relevant KPIs are a must-do but monitoring these KPIs is more than a must-do! It’s a question of survival, just because data is eveywhere and the only way to understand it, is to have the right dashboard at the right moment!

Captain Dash can help, so meet the Captain!

Stay updated and learn more on Captain Dash, follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our blog.

Written by: Bertrand Verret, Chief Revenue Officer at Captain Dash

Love that KPI, but let it go!

There is a saying that if you love something let it go, if it comes back it was meant to be. Sometimes companies tend to latch on to their KPIs for too long. The question is how long is too long? There are three ways to figure out if it is time to let go of a KPI:

The KPI has achieved a target and is stagnant

KPIs are meant for measuring very specific metrics and should have specific goals that define the purpose of the KPI. The basic idea behind this is to put into place improvement measures that help the team to achieve those goals. But, the fact is that not everything can be improved upon forever.

For some KPIs when they reach their goals the organization needs to take a step back and ask whether they are a priority anymore or not. If these KPIs have a lower priority since they have achieved their goals as opposed to KPIs that are still in progress then it is time to let those KPIs go.

It is better to pour resources into things that actually need to be improved instead of trying to improve something that has already reached the desired level of improvement.

Change of strategy

As a company grows and changes there are bound to be changes in the strategy and future goals. If the organization has a set of strong, well performing KPIs then their KPIs will be well aligned with their goals and strategies. As changes come about some of these KPIs will no longer be in alignment with the new strategies.

If a KPI no longer aligns with the goals of an organization or a team then it needs to be let go to make space for one that does.

Usefulness

Choosing KPIs is a science but also an art. There are times when a chosen KPI does not measure up to the expectations a team may have had. In the case where a KPI is found to not serve its purpose or found to affect other areas negatively it needs to be let go.

Letting go of KPIs does not mean to just discard them. It means that they do not have a place on your dashboard for the moment.

When letting go of a KPI the best practice is to archive the KPI so that it can be retrieved as and when needed.

Written By: Meghna Verma

 

Consumers Are Players In The Game Of Marketing

The market is a multi player playing field. And the consumers are players too! Now, consumers can either play with brands or against them. Let me explain.

The fact that marketing and branding have been a focus for protests is nothing new. It is simply proof that advertising and marketing have become powerful. The new thing is that the opposition to brand names is no longer limited to ideological groups like Greenpeace or leftists.

With the development of digital networks and a new post-industrial consumer culture, it is ordinary consumers who wake up one morning and decide to play not with brands, but against them.

These are protesters who forsake official demonstrations for ‘flash mobs’ and press announcements for ‘posts’. Their weapons are blogs and social networks. They work in their pajamas, safe and warm at home, drinking soda to stay up all night online.

Their power is absolute. It is measured by their Google PageRank and the number of hits they receive.

Fighting a brand becomes a game. Points are tallied. Just as in a game, the raison d‘être is to free yourself from the rules, to master and transform them.

“Such and such a brand wants to impose this product or rule of consumption on me. Well, I have the power to challenge it.”

“This brand is dishonest; this product is of poor quality. Well, I have the power to advertise the fact.”

Consumers are therefore far more dangerous for brands than politically active groups, because their discourse is not ideological, but real consumer speak, which is far more likely to convince the vast majority.

This alone is a profound change in the relationship between brands and consumers. We no longer have complete power over the consumer. We are now in an equal marketing relationship.

Not only do consumers decode marketing strategies but, better still, they are capable of producing new ones or subverting them for the purposes of social or political mobilization.

With new media it often means that certain particularly skilful consumers have a greater capacity to distribute information on a large scale via the Internet than groups with a wealth of financial power at their disposal. The development of image alteration tools coupled with the viral effect means that anyone can become a marketing agent.

It also means that instead of playing against you they can play for you. They can be your voice, your brand ambassadors, your community leaders and your heroes.

These new consumers, symbolized by bloggers, instagrammers and social media savants are constantly on the move and it is up to the brands to internalize the idea that consumers have the power. The brands that understand this have a significantly better chance of coming out victorious in this game than those who do not.

Written By: Bruno Walther

Why Startups Need Dashboards

When one hears ‘business dashboard’, one thinks of executives and decision makers from big fortune 500 companies, banks, consulting firms and startups! Wait, startups? Yes, I did say startups.

Captain Dash is a startup and to top that we are a startup, which creates dashboards focused towards operational excellence. It seems rather obvious that we would use dashboards within the company.

Today, I would like to explain why we feel that dashboards are important for all startups and not just us.

Startups operate in a very dynamic environment and they usually rely on the data they produce to help them stay on course as they navigate through clients, legal issues, innovation and investors, among other things.

Relying on data is one thing but just because we are a startup it doesn’t mean we should not have solid metrics that we turn towards on a regular basis. Dashboards help us track our activity as linked to our goals – short and long term. We depend on them, we hold ourselves responsible by them and they motivate us.

A startup’s resources, both human and non-human, are often meagre and very precious. These resources need to be aligned along the correct axes and that is where dashboards come in.

Our dashboards help us figure out what to focus on to attain operational excellence. Where to put in our sales efforts, how our marketing efforts are performing, in which direction does the development team need to go and where do we stand with regards to our goals.

A startup goes through various phases of growth initially and unlike bigger, well-established companies the main thing to keep in mind is that objectives will change with time and all the metrics need to be decided within that context. These metrics may take some time to determine and need to be reviewed regularly.

For example, in the beginning the goal is to create a product that brings value to the client. All metrics need to be chosen with this goal in mind. But once the product has been created and released some of those metrics need to be reviewed in order to cater to the new goal of getting clients. I say some, because the product cannot be put in the back seat and needs to keep evolving with clients’ needs.

Another area dashboards help us with is investors.

As a startup chances are good that you need funding and you need to woo investors. You have the projected revenue curve going up like a check mark with your business plan. But, investors look at many other factors like risk, market, expenditures, etc. A dashboard that measures all these factors with open data and your own data can serve as a much better personal indicator for you to make sure that you understand fully where your company stands. You can work towards reducing risks and creating a better positioning.

From one startup to another we would love to hear if you use dashboards and why or why not.

Written By: Meghna Verma

Swarm Intelligence and Organizational Structure

Ants or bees are not exactly the most intelligent creatures in the world, individually speaking. Yet, get a million of them together and they manage to migrate, build gravity defying architectures and create very complex social systems. How do they do it? They combine their intelligences to form one big collective intelligence. Scientists call this collective intelligence Swarm Intelligence.

Swarm intelligence can achieve feats far beyond the capability of an individual. Most of the animal kingdom is ruled by this intelligence, in small or big groups. How swarm intelligence works for so many varied species is that it is based on the following 3 principles:

Flexibility – The ability of the group to change course or get creative when faced with an obstacle.

Robustness – Even if one individual cannot perform, the group can.

Self-Organization – No clear hierarchical leadership resulting in central control or supervision.

In fact, it is very rare to find a natural top down structure in nature where there is central control. For example, if the human body were organized according to a top-down structure, all the cells in the body would need to consult with the brain before acting. We would be literally incapable of moving and thinking at the same time.

Now, this holds true for companies that need to manage flows of information and be creative and innovative as well. Yet, humans love top down rigid structures, especially in business organizations.

Traditionally hierarchical organizations are structurally incapable of adapting to change and are incapable of taking new information onboard. Information has to reach the top of the pyramid before coming back down. It is a waste of time and a loss of efficiency that affects the company's creative potential and profits.

Successful companies have understood this. Highly innovative companies such as Google, Microsoft and Dreamworks have a dynamic, shifting network organizational structure. Teams are constantly forming and dissolving.

This kind of a structure is not flat. It is ever changing. It is cross-functional. This kind of structure, as we have discovered at Captain Dash, works very well when you are working with Micro Services. Instead of teams we have hubs. These hubs grow and move to make space for talent. New hubs can be created without damaging existing hubs.

The most successful managers will enlarge their hubs. Individuals know that such a system enables them to flourish. Their career will be determined by their talent, not their political ability to climb a pyramid-shaped structure.

This system is effective because it is natural.

There is no obstruction to the flow of information and chains of command are short.

Managers behave more like entrepreneurs than soldiers.

The key to success is the flexibility of decentralized networks.

Written By: Bruno Walther

 

Choosing the right web analytics solution for your marketing needs

Choosing a web analytics tool that is right for you in terms of your requirements, level of sophistication, and budget is no easy task given the number of tools out there. Here, we are not reviewing various available solutions, rather we are going to talk about the points to consider when you are shopping for the ideal solution for you.

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Evaluate your needs. What do you need to accomplish, can your company implement the technical solutions, what is the frequency with which you need to generate reports and how reliable are these reports, is your current site compatible with the solution, what are the options and costs for adding more servers in the future and last of all, how much can you currently spend on this?

Examine the breadth and depth of the solution. Is it scalable, easy to use, intuitive, how fast are the reports generated, is the language easy to understand, and last are you able to configure the solution to suit your needs?

Think about the support system provided by the solutions provider. Is the support easily available, are there additional hidden costs, are there any tutorials provided, is there an online community support around the solution and are there any integration services offered?

Company track record. How long has the company been operational, is it stable, are they upfront about costs, is this their core business, are there updates, and is there a commitment to continuously improving their solution.

Approaching your analytics solutions from these four broad angles is a good way to whittle down the options till you are left with just 2 or 3 and from there on you can go into further detail to make your final choice.

At Captain Dash we believe that there is no real silver bullet as far as analytics solutions go. Every business has its own individual needs. This is the reason why when we create dashboards, we take into account the finer details of a given business and provide customised solutions for their needs.

 

Written By: Meghna Verma Meghna Verma is the Content Manager at Captain Dash.  You can reach her on Twitter @M3GV3RMa .

 

How to Respond to Email Mistakes

Email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing tools. Like with any other form of communication mistakes are bound to happen sooner or later but unfortunately one cannot delete nor take back an already sent email. So how do you make sure that there are no mistakes? How do you control the damage? Can anything be done?

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Yes, something can be done. While, committing absolutely no mistakes is humanly not possible there is something that can always be done to control the damage. The first step is to figure out exactly how bad the mistake is and then to control the damage accordingly.

If the mistake is as simple as small typographic errors or spelling mistakes it’s best to ignore them and do nothing. The reason is that a follow up email will probably cause more damage than the mistake itself did.

If the mistake is a big formatting mistake then try to take action by either addressing it on other social media or by putting up an erratum message on the website. If the bad email went out to only a select group of people then a follow up email is okay.

On the other hand if the mistake is big and absolutely needs clarification then a rectified email needs to be sent out to all the recipients marked with a “please do not ignore” message.

The last and highest level of damage control needs to be applied to a mistake that can severely damage not only the reputation of your brand but also perhaps offend or hurt some people. In a case such as this a follow up email is not enough. In addition to an email an official apology needs to be posted on all available social media as well as on the company website.

In parting we would like to say that the best practice is to have your damage control procedures in place and well documented so that there is always a reference in the case of need.

Written By: Meghna Verma Meghna Verma is the Content Manager at Captain Dash.  You can reach her on Twitter @M3GV3RMa .

 

To Create or To Curate – The Content Marketing Dilemma

Content is king and there is a case each to be made for curation and creation of content alike.

Content creation gives a voice to the brand; an ability to create a unique universe tailor made for a given audience. Consumers return to you for a perspective that only you can provide. The biggest upside, of course, is the fact that you own the content; you get to establish the brand as a knowledge provider. The negative? Original content is hard to create on a constant basis and can become very monotonous and one sided.

Curating content on the other hand is very easily available and makes for regularity in posting online. There is also the social aspect to consider. Curated content provides different points of view and makes for further social engagement; which is the ultimate goal of social platforms. Engaging your audience in the correct way leads to them creating content for you – that makes for the ultimate curated content. The flip side is that the voice is not uniquely yours and you might inadvertently end up driving your viewers towards competition.

Clearly it is the mix of the two that wins ultimately. But, what mix? How do you know which one to do more of?

It has been observed that companies that are predominantly curators, that is, they post external content 75% of the time or more have very high click rates but a low conversion rate.

Curators

Companies that employ a balance of curation and creation with 50-75% curation tend to have lower click rates than pure curators but their conversion rates are significantly higher.

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Finally, companies that are predominantly creators with about 75% or higher created content have low click rates. Surprisingly though, their conversion rate does not rise relatively speaking.

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From this data it is clear that a balance between the two is the most beneficial route. Although, in the end it depends entirely on the business you are in and the resources you have.

Note: Stay updated with our posts by following us on Twitter or subscribing to our Blog.

Written By: Meghna Verma Meghna Verma is the Content Manager at Captain Dash.  You can reach her on Twitter @M3GV3RMa .

Using Hashtags in Marketing

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#Hastags have fully integrated in the way we communicate online. Used appropriately, they can actually drive significant attention to your business. Here is a quick guide of where and how to use them:

Twitter: initiated the hashtag revolution! Used in almost every single tweet, hashtags can be followed, clicked, searched and analyzed. From a best practices point of view it is advisable not to use more than 2 per tweet.

Instagram: is one of the most hashtag friendly platforms because Instagram runs primarily on hashtag based search. Use Instagram, hashtag your content to be visible and create marketing campaigns using them.

Tumblr: Hashtags have a very unique usage in Tumblr. They can be separated by a space and are called tags. Tumblr adds a hashtag on to the word or phrase after you type it and even suggests tags for you to use. Tumblr like Instagram uses hashtags in a very big way and they can be employed for gaining popularity. Here any number of relevant hashtags work.

Google+: Much more hashtag friendly than FaceBook, Google+ not only displays results by hashtag search but also suggests hashtags for your posts through auto fill. Another advantage of Google+ is that the results show up on Google searches.

FaceBook: Brands primarily use hashtags on FaceBook since they are trackable and the Facebook feed is easily linked to other hashtag friendly platforms like Instagram and Twitter. The best practice is to use not more that 2 or 3 hashtags per post.

Pinterest: Use hashtags for descriptions. You can follow hashtags and use them  to tie in posts that may exist on separate boards. Hashtags on Pinterest can be used to create a campaign though be careful to not over use them since hashtags are still just rising in popularity here.

YouTube: While hashtags do turn up in results on YouTube and hashtagged material ranks higher it is not a very popular thing on YouTube. Most people do not search for videos through hashtags. It is advisable to use one or two hashtags in combination with other more hashtag relevant platforms like Twitter or Instagram.

LinkedIn: After experimenting with hashtags for a while LinkedIn abandoned them in 2013. While hashtags of key words still get back results it is still considered bad form and unprofessional to use hashtags on this platform.

Note: Stay updated with our posts by following us on Twitter or subscribing to our Blog.

 

Written By: Meghna Verma Meghna Verma is the Content Manager at Captain Dash.  You can reach her on Twitter @M3GV3RMa .

5 great sites to help you to create infographics

Pictures speak a thousand words and add as much more to your text. The trend of infographics and charts is sweeping the Internet. If you have been wondering how to add this powerful tool to your arsenal then look no further! Today, we bring to you the top 5 online tools out there to create infographics.

1. Canva provides a service that makes for a very simple and intuitive creation of beautiful slides, flyers, posters, infographics, and photo collages.

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2. Easel.ly is a basic infographic-making tool. If you have any needs beyond a simple infrographic then one of the other tools is better suited for you.

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3. Piktochart offers 7 free templates, which can be customized to create infographics.

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4. Infogr.am is a tool that can be used for creating interactive charts, graphs and infographics. Each of these charts can be used with any spreadsheet information that you can upload to infogr.

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5. Visual.ly is a community-based platform for creating and sharing infographics and data visualizations.

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Written By: Meghna Verma Meghna Verma is the Content Manager at Captain Dash.  You can reach her on Twitter @M3GV3RMa .

How to Take Advantage of Timing on Twitter

Using twitter for business is as commonplace today as email marketing and while there are several guidelines about tweeting for business it has been found that the time you post for your business can affect the engagement rate on your account as well.

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Overall, posting on the weekends as opposed to not posting increases the engagement rate of your account by around 17% overall. It also helps to post more between 8 am and 7 pm of your target market everyday as opposed to just about any time of the day. Even in this time period it has been found that early afternoon - 1:00 to 3:00 PM has the highest traffic and engagement rates.

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Another factor that has an affect on engagement is exactly which part of an hour we post at. It is advisable to post either on the hour or at the half point of an hour since people usually end their meetings or classes at these times and tend to check their twitter before the next thing on their schedule.

Of course, at the end you do need to analyze your previous tweets to see which times and days seem to work the best for you.

 

Written By: Meghna Verma Meghna Verma is the Content Manager at Captain Dash.  You can reach her on Twitter @M3GV3RMa .

Marketing WITH Millennials

Millennials, most simply defined as the group of people born between 1977 and 1995, are larger as a group than the baby boomers and are set to make up 50% of the work force in the coming years. Other than accounting for one third of the retail spending in the coming 5 years they are also an extremely difficult group to market to.

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With millennials, the trick is to engage with them. They have grown up ‘hanging out’ on the internet, using peer reviews as the main source of information on brands, sharing opinions and feelings online, and grown up into a recession with huge education debts. All these factors make them very well informed consumers who keep up with current and future trends. They sell the product for you!

They do not feel the need to create an allegiance with a particular brand. They have a point of view and do not hold back in expressing it; thus, preferring brands who listen to them. They create content for the brands.

It is, therefore, brands that will engage beyond just tweeting to them who will survive in the long run. A sense of purpose and responsibility on the brand’s part will make them more interested in the brand.  As a brand you need to add value to their brand experience through loyalty programs and give your consumers a voice – a mode to engage with you. Make them a part of your brand, of your product - of your journey! You have to create a mini cosmos for the millennial to exist in. Do not try to market to the millennial. Market WITH the millennial!

 

Written By: Meghna Verma Meghna Verma is the Content Manager at Captain Dash.  You can reach her on Twitter @M3GV3RMa .

After Snapchat, What?

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The race to the top is very much a reality and the future, ladies and gentlemen, is closer than you imagine! 2014 was the year of consumer engagement and communities. 2015 is all set to be the year of solutions that will help brands target their ideal demographic better. That is always good to know, but, if you wish to become or remain ahead of the competition you should be asking what about after that?

With millennials living their lives on social networks and in light of recent technological trespasses privacy is the single biggest concern for consumers and this need for privacy will only intensify. Here, at Captain Dash we are committed towards using the best possible solutions to protect the data shared by our clients with just this very fact in mind. Data collected through Marketing efforts is collected through creating trust with consumers and hence, needs to be treated as such. Even as I write this, technology is getting closer to realizing this need.

Snapchat has paved the way ahead indeed. The power of this medium has become obvious ever since Madonna took to Snapchat for releasing her latest video. But, Snapchat is just the beginning. There is more to come – exclusivity and elusiveness both are becoming paramount and as a marketer you need to think ahead. Think about how your campaigns can and should be designed to cater to the new age consumers. You need to be predictive and proactive, with a focus on protecting the privacy of your community.

Written By: Meghna Verma Meghna Verma is the Content Manager at Captain Dash.  You can reach her on Twitter @M3GV3RMa .

Beacons : What are They & Their Potential for Marketing

Imagine a world where you can push content and information to consumers’ mobile devices based their proximity to your product/store. Welcome to the world of beacons!

Beacons are small transmitters that connect to devices on location via blue tooth and are proving to be a formidable marketing tool. By the end of 2016 it is predicted that 85% of the major retailers in the US will be using them. So, how exactly can they be deployed for push marketing in an effective manner?

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Since these devices connect to consumers through Bluetooth the most important thing is to seek permission to access said devices. Privacy being of paramount concern, consumers need to understand what information will be accessed and for what it will be used. This way, creating trust can create value.

For a consumer to readily give access to their devices they need to see the value in your proposition. Most times brands promote schemes to their own benefit. Thus, the value needs to be beyond just discount coupons – customers today are smarter than that. For example, interactive maps of the shop floor can be offered to the walk-ins through the use of beacons.

Another great application of beacons is improved customer service. Brands like Urban Outfitters are using them to alert employees on the shop floor about loyal customers and their preferences to create a better shopping experience.

Beacons are also a way to discreetly get real time feedback from the customer while they are still in the store. Though one needs to be careful with this one as it can be an irritating tactic if not handled with delicacy.

And last but not the least is to take it out of the store. Nivea for example has rolled out child tracking bracelets, which connected, to an app warn parents if a child strays too far. This creates a pure value for the customer.

As more and more devices equipped with Bluetooth are rolled out beacons will only gain popularity. It can provide a great way to extend reach to your consumer base and in the coming years the brands that will win will be the ones who get innovative with their use of such technologies.

Written By: Meghna Verma Meghna Verma is the Content Manager at Captain Dash.  You can reach her on Twitter @M3GV3RMa .

How to Read Bar Graphs and Cumulated Bar Graphs

  BAR GRAPHS

The bars allow the comparison of a large number of different elements within the same dimension, sharing a common metric. Effective for showing a time evolution, that is to say where the dimension is time and each value of the dimension is a date.

Let's say you want to visualize your website's visits over time. Here, the dimension is time:monthly so each bar is a month and the metric is visits so each bar height is relative to the number of visits for this month.

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At a glance we can see that there’s seasonality in our database, with almost regular sinusoidal variation. At the same time, we can see that 2013 outperformed 2012. As we take a closer look, we see that our best months in both 2012 and 2013 are February, March and April. Moreover, we can quickly spot that 2013 outperformed with a gap consistent with other months. We can also note that September was consistently positive with significant audience peaks, as compared to appalling performance in August of both years.

So, the question that we need to answer at this point is - what does this mean for our business?

In order to play around some more with bar graphs you can head over to the Visualization Lair at Captaindash.com .

CUMULATED BAR GRAPHS

This visualization allows us to follow a progressive increase as the value of each bar is cumulated. In other words, each bar represents the current value added to the value of previous bars. This means that the added value each month can be easily seen in the difference between the value of the current and past bars. Progression of bars that appear constant signifies little increase in value, while steep inclines indicate that the value of the metric has increased dramatically from the previous period.

Let’s say that the dimension is time:monthly and the metric is the amount of Facebook fans.

 screenshot-visualizationlair.captaindash.com 2015-03-31 13-06-07In that case, the bar length represents the total size of the Facebook community and the different between each month represents the amount of new fans. We can then identify the months in which community size increased significantly. The community size increased more significantly between June and July 2013 in comparison to July and August.

Here the questions we can answer are - Was your Facebook post content different during the former period? Were you more active online?

In order to play around some more with cumulated bar graphs you can head over to the Visualization Lair at Captaindash.com .

5 tips to best use Pinterest for Marketing

Pinterest is the one place on the web to spot, collect and share visual content. Here are 5 tips to help you get the most out of the platform:

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1.     Create your own boards: Free up your creative mind and consider your boards as albums that visually showcase your product categories or your business interests. Keep each album clean, well organized and as much as possible good looking. Pay attention to fonts and graphics. Remember: Pinterest is all about visual experience.

2.     Start pinning: Pins are what you find visually relevant on other people’s boards. It is also what you want others to pin from you. Allow your website visitor’s to pin your content and share it on their own boards. Use Rich Pins to add additional information such as pricing, availability, etc on your products and services pins.

3.     Engage with your audience: Reply to comments and questions that are posted on your boards. Post your own comments. Leverage the platform to create a community not just content.

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4.     Don’t forget reciprocation: Don’t just pin things on your board and wait for miracles. Follow people you think embody your brand identity, engage with them and talk the language of the people who are a part of your community.

5. Data, data, data: Start with the data you can get off your pins to figure out which ones are most successful and start adjusting and optimizing your pins. Next, share your statistics and information with the help of data viz.

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Happy Pinning!

Written By: Meghna Verma Meghna Verma is the Content Manager at Captain Dash.  You can reach her on Twitter @M3GV3RMa .

 

Data-Driven Marketing Best Practices

information_overloadIt's impossible to escape from the truth that, following the wake of the digital transformation, the marketing environment has irrevocably changed. The digital ecosystem is not what it used to be and so activities must be adjusted and refined in order for companies to succeed in the new world. First we must identify the changes that have taken place in order to define the and anticipate the resulting challenges. New customer experience The digital transformation has affected communication and thus the consumer experience as well. Companies who have leveraged big data to their advantage are micro-targeting their market and delivering hyper-personalized communication and offering. With the standard for competition set at a high bar, all companies will have to strive to deliver a customer experience that wows, marketing that effectively generates leads, and a streamlined and efficient system of customer relationship management.

Every solution claims to be a "wonder fix" The market is heavily imbued with different technologies that claim to be a wonder all on their own but don't have integration capabilities. A true wonder fix doesn't exist - with the competitively of the technological environment, new technologies are constantly emerging that outperform those of the past. A truly intelligent investment would be in a flexible data solution that has the capacity to integrate multiple systems and is capable of adapting to future developments.

So what best practices can act as solution to combat these challenges?

Develop skill sets When hiring it's important to pay attention to key quantitative skill sets that relate to the core business function. However, the world is evolving and as even months after a new hire, you may be faced with a technological challenge that requires new competencies of your teams. In these cases, training and continuing education are essential…that means investing in the new software and the tutorials to teach your team how to use it.

Define goals and constraints Ignoring challenges doesn't make them go away. With change comes difficulty and uncomfortable adjustment periods, so rather than ignoring a potential problem or setback that may result, pay attention to, define, and address your constraints.

Integrate technology Cross channel marketing is now essential and we communicate with our customers through a variety of feeds. It's important to consolidate your marketing efforts and simplify your life through adopting integrated analytics and management systems.

Complete company alignment Determining priorities and creating company cohesiveness must be promoted through complete company alignment. Teams need to share the results of a campaign or important pieces of information on a fluid, instant and company-wide level. The only way to manage the complexity of the digital world is through aggregation, consolidation and simplification.

 

 

 

 

Digital Marketing Transitions: How to Make a Clean Pivot

rebranding At the start of creating a business, we spend painstaking weeks planning out our brand identity, writing value propositions, creating brand personas and the like. We create an airtight, consistent digital image with a strong voice and a cohesive aesthetic in our logo, website design, product design, etc. It’s a long and lengthy process, but as we all know consistency and brand identity are the building blocks to success.

But what if a year down the road you realize that your current voice isn’t working? What if you decide to make a radical shift in your product offering? What if you redefine your target consumers and have to spin around to cater to a new demographic?

The point is that no industry is completely static, and so we have to constantly evolve and modernize our businesses and marketing to keep up and stay relevant.

So how do we seamlessly execute a transition across every level, while still keeping customers and remaining attractive?

Make visual transitions immediate and change all across the board

If you’re planning to give yourself a new look with a new logo, package design and visuals, make sure to announce these beforehand to prepare your community for an upcoming change. When you do actually implement the change, make sure its immediate and across the board. If you’d like to make your visuals more sleek, do a full-body makeover across all platforms. If you’d like to change your brand colors, factor them into your product and marketing material all at once.

Make voice changes gradual

Voice changes you should gradually shift. Don’t alarm your audience by switching too fast from one persona to another in your marketing outlets. If you’re going from serious to fun, start subtly and gradually with a few interesting opinion pieces on your company blog. Add in a few jokes here and there on your company Twitter.

Rebranding Campaigns

You may not want to announce that you’ve decided to go in a new direction for fear of repercussions or losing current customers, but a rebranding campaign has several benefits. For one, it allows you an opportunity to explain your motivation for rebranding and discuss why you chose the specific changes you’ve made. It also gives you greater control over the situation in allowing you to spin the change in a positive light for your audience. You’re then able to explain to your community why your new aesthetic fits your new brand personality better or why you’ve decided to target a different demographic.

For a bit of humor, check out some of the biggest re-branding disasters http://www.businessinsider.com/rebranding-disasters-and-what-you-can-learn-from-them-2014-4

 

Data-fully yours,

The Captain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Unconventional (Yet Effective) Ways to Deal With Creative Teams

There is no denying that the line between functionality and design has become increasingly thin and blurred.  Technical competencies are used to design and execute high-functioning products, and the truth is that functionality and performance is heavily influenced by aesthetic and artful conception - the easier things are on the eyes and the more efficient the design, the easier and more effective they are to use. This leads to many companies, especially in the digital realm, realizing that marketing is the most important business function and that they can only survive against competitors by spurring their companies in a design-driven direction. You will probably find yourself having to deal with more "creative" types than you ever thought possible, and along with them their unusually delicate egos and strong opinions.

Creative types are notoriously flaky, inflexibly opinionated, aggressive and difficult to compromise with. So how do you deal with these clients/partners? You may be tempted to turn to the "logical" approach of setting down rules and being "stricter", but that traditional method just leads to an unhealthy parent-child relationship, resentment on both sides, and a productivity-draining power struggle.

Here are a few less politically correct yet effective approaches to develop a mutually beneficial, harmonious relationship:

1. Set by example - Get to work on time, religiously stick to the deadlines you set, and show that you are disciplined and take your work seriously. Actions speak louder than words. These behaviors will create an environment of accountability and professionalism without you having to explicitly what kind of environment you would like to form.

2. Pick your battles - There's nothing more irritating then being told to "chill out" when you're in the height of an argument, so make sure to walk into a situation with a calm attitude and positive disposition to prevent those hateful words from being uttered in your direction. This "chill" attitude, however, should not apply to the quality of work you expect, but rather to the discussion and negotiation style you use throughout your projects. Being overly dogmatic, nit-picky, or nagging will not help anyone but rather cause exasperation on both ends. Be sure to actively listen (and show that you're listening!) to everyone else's ideas and invite room for compromise.

3. Positive reinforcement- Make sure to give positive recognition to a job well done in order to nourish their fragile egos and help soothe their insecurities. A lot of creative types will walk in to a meeting already assuming that you'll be another cold, dispassionate corporate robot. They'll feel like they can relate to you a lot more if you show that you appreciate a job well done. We know that you don't have to have a degree in design to have a good eye…make sure to make it clear that although your typical job may be on the numbers side of things (or whatever it may be), but you still know what looks good.

4. Speak their language - Use an adjective-rich vocabulary to help you communicate the big picture of what you want to express. The more descriptive words you use, the more accurately you paint a picture of what you have in mind. Make sure that you convey the spirit and voice of whatever you're trying to project in terms that an author could understand.

5. Create a hierarchy- It's often difficult with a lot of creative minds to keep them all working together with each other, and not against or in spite of each other. Instilling a sense of purpose-based hierarchy rather than value-based hierarchy will help streamline the process of project implementation. The hierarchy should clearly be "who makes decisions and who approves work" rather than "who is the best and has the best ideas."

6. Be very clear and give directions, then let go of the reins. If you're looking for something average, namely just a routine run-of-the mill sort of a task, specify that you don't need it to be a product of genius. Clearly prioritize tasks and let it be known which projects you think should be more of a time-and-effort investment. This will help the creative department improve efficiency and prevent burnout.

 

As someone working with a creative team, you likely fall into two categories. Either you're on the technical side and you understand that you NEED a creative to package and beautify your product or service in a way that you can not OR you still have opinions on aesthetic.

Whatever the case and regardless of the level of involvement you wish to have in the more creative projects, it's still essential that you strike up a positive relationship early on so that you can create a system of healthy collaboration.

 

TGIF and Happy Weekend!

The Captain