Thursday, October 31, 2013

Know the fundamentals of Google Analytics

I've heard a range of excuses for digital types not to get to grips with Google Analytics.  From "I don't have enough time to take the course" through to "oh, it changes so often, I can't keep up" and "it costs money to take the test"... there is always a bunch of reasons not to do something

However until the end of 31st October (tonight) you have the chance to study all about GA and take Google's Digital Analytics Fundamentals exam for free:

I took my test the other night, without reading the course material, and got 80% - a pass!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Understanding the Third Moment of Truth

Last week I posted my thoughts on whether there was an extra  'Moment of Truth' in the online & multi-channel purchasing cycle. One where users get the product home and only then decide to return some or all of them.
This Third Moment of Truth is key to an eCommerce site's revenue and stock management, as returned inventory can significantly affect a product line's profitability and add a lot of effort to the entire back-end process.

In the diagram above I have also tried to tie together this Third Moment of Truth (TMOT) with the other moments and then to align them with my previously-used model of influence & action... AIDA.

Hopefully now, regardless of which model is used, there should now be some alignment of these different pivotal moments.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Dark Side of Content Marketing

I sometimes blog about the more shady side of Internet Marketing and how you should avoid this sort of stuff (if at all possible).
Buying email lists, Black Hat SEO and other nefarious activities are still used though... primarily for short-term gains and only by some digital folk. Despite all the guidance of search engines, advice from reputable online agencies and contributions from best-practice consultants, there is still a fair bit of shadiness still used (and some clients even encourage it).

Content Marketing on the other hand is the discipline of creating and sharing content for the purpose of communicating, educating and informing prospect, customers and anyone else really. The art of great copy writing, coupled with great UX skills and fantastic creativity is rewarded in engaged eyeballs and influenced sales.

But I have been considering recently whether there a dark side to Content Marketing. Activity that isn't entirely legitimate, but that has yet to be defined as dodgy.... yet

Here's some examples I can quickly think of:
  1. Writing blog posts with very similar titles & subjects (purely to try and cover a range of search terms for SEO or internal search)
  2. Writing unnaturally (either to force a call-to-action or to appeal to search engines with keyword stuffing, repetition, etc.)
  3. Creating meaningless (or even completely off-topic) infographics just to encourage their sharing
  4. Creating numerous videos from a single original clip and posting them online under different titles and keywords.
Can you think of anything else?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Oh... We already have a digital strategy

When I talk to organisations about the need for a strategic plan for implementing online tools and services, I get told "Oh... We already have a digital strategy" or something similar.

I hear this phrase quite a lot and it is typically followed by other quotes such as "We created one of those a couple of years back" or "We had one produced in 2011 by a bunch of consultants, but they didn't understand our business".
My take on this is that the process to create a digital strategy should be:
  1. The development of a vision
    - Where digital benefits are fully utilised & integrated across the organisation
  2. Created
    - By your organisation
    - For your organisation
  3. Owned by your organisation
  4. Supported by:
    - Clear goals and measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
    - A prioritised portfolio of projects with an achievable delivery road map
But just as importantly for me is that this digital strategy should not be set in stone forever. Yes, it should have board-level approval, but it should not sit in a drawer and gather dust over time, it should be revisited, reviewed and redrafted to accommodate changes in: Technology, People & Processes, your wider Business strategy and any other external factors (e.g. competitors, legislation, etc.).

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Is the future of the Chief Digital Officer at risk?

In a recent report by Gartner called "Top Industries Predicts 2014: The Pressure for Fundamental Transformation Continues to Accelerate" [link] it's predicted that nearly two-thirds of government organisations with both a CIO and chief digital officer role will get rid of one or the other. This will eventually happen because of the overlap between the two and further changes across the business.

This announcement may seem a little premature, since the role of Chief Digital Officer is only just taking shape in the minds of some organisations and their boardrooms. To therefore announce it's redundancy before it is fully embraced could be seen as just headline grabbing (or link bait).

However, I agree with this viewpoint. Furthermore I not only believe that the future of the Chief Digital Officer post is at risk, but that it should be seen as an interim position along the path to full digital adoption. In other words... if you're aiming to be a CDO in several years time, you are probably planning for the wrong future.

But let's take a small step back to the present. Where the role of Chief Digital Office is definitely needed by some public and private sector bodies, with others having already hired & found their CDO. This person should neatly sit between the roles of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO), to help both on their journey forward to the creation of a vision, where digital benefits are fully utilised & integrated across both teams and further afield.

In some circles the title of CIO amusingly used to stand for "Career Is Over". However it is really the CDO who should not only assume they are out of a job eventually, but should plan for this as part of their wider responsibilities.


Friday, October 18, 2013

The Third Moment of Truth

In my earlier post this week, I explained what was meant by the traditional marketing model of the First and Second Moments of Truth (FMOT & SMOT). I then went on to cover the more recent concept of the ZMOT or Zero Moment of Truth and how it aligns to older models of: AIDA (Awareness, Influence, Desire and Action). 

In the offline world, the FMOT is typically when the shopper reaches for the product and buys it. This aligns nicely to the online (or Multi-Channel) world, where the user does virtually the same thing by clicking on the product they want, adding it to their digital basket and proceeds through the checkout process. The SMOT is then relatively the same for both channels, with the shopper either taking the item home to experience themselves, of getting it delivered / collected. 

However, I think we also need to consider that (primarily for the online shopper) we should add an additional stage, the Third Moment of Truth… or the TMOT if I’m allowed to continue the series (and not to be confused with ‘The Ministry of Truth’ or ‘The Magic of Television”).  

Consider the situation that is now quite a common problem for eCommerce retailers…
  1.  A shopper visits a website, selects a product to purchase (typically one that they wear or needs to fit them in some way) and adds it to their online basket.
  2. Because they are not too sure about the exact sizing of the product, or because they are not sure about their own physical dimensions, they order another one in a different size or two.
  3. They may also order different colours of the product or other variant in some way… all in an effort to find a single product that is the ‘right’ version or fit.
    Note: It’s also my assumption here that sites who offer ‘free delivery’ and especially ‘free returns’ will suffer from this effect more.
  4. After the user has completed their transaction (FMOT) they then await delivery, or in a ‘Click & Collect’ situation they go and get it themselves.
  5. The goods arrive at their home and the shopper unwraps or un-boxes their purchases (SMOT).
  6. However, they are now left with more than one product, when all they wanted was one thing. So after viewing or trying on these products, what do they do?

    They decide which items they are going to return.

It is this moment, when a choice about what gets sent back is made, that I think needs greater consideration and becomes the TMOT, the Third Moment of Truth.

Trust Me On This …   Doh!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Moments of Truth

Most savvy marketers should now be familiar with the concept of the first and second ‘moments of truth’. The idea (pioneered by P&G over a decade ago) that there are several key points in the shopper’s journey which should be recognised and supported, is now pretty much part of the vocabulary of modern retail marketing.

The First moment of truth (FMOT):
When a shopper decides to purchase an item (e.g. reaches for the product sitting on a supermarket shelf)

The Second moment of truth (SMOT):
When the shopper gets the product home and starts to use it.

More recently Google identified the Zero Moment of Truth. This was explained as being the online decision-making process that takes the multi-channel shopper from the initial point of stimulus through to the first moment of truth.

The theory is that by being aware of these stages in the buying process means, we can craft message and experiences around these points to encourage and persuade shoppers to buy.  However Google’s Zero Moment of Truth, or ZMOT as it is referred to, needs more than a brief explanation of how it actually works  in practice across the a digital world. Google's model highlights that there is now a new critical moment of decision that happens before consumers get to the supermarket shelf. That regardless of the products sold, customers and shoppers (the two terms here are pretty-much interchangeable) decision on what product to buy is made up. However, it is not necessarily persuaded by just one factor or one message via a single source… but by a complex combination of lots of messages, many of which are via digital marketing channels.
You can find out more about it here:

However these models aren't really that new or revolutionary. Back several years ago I used the acronym AIDA in several posts to refer to a very similar marketing concept. This explained that there are 4 steps along the path to purchase of: awareness, influence, decision and action. This process takes the shopper up to the point when they commit themselves to purchasing… in other words up to the first moment of truth (FMOT).
In my opinion… What Google has done with ZMOT is to give a name to the two steps of influence and decision, shaped for the modern generation of multiple channel users.

Or to break it down in a way that I find easy to understand, I've created the following diagram which shows how I think these different approached come together:

Monday, October 14, 2013

New Google nav hints at Google Plus desparation

I recently blogged about the new navigation that Google was rolling out across it's varied and rich estate of sites. The older black nav bar looks to be consigned to the scrapheap (at least for some areas) and the new navigation sits right-proudly in a right-aligned format on top of some of Google's principle functionality (Search, GMail, Calendar, etc.).

Although this change may have been done to easily give consistent and easy access to further Google areas... I can't help think that the search giant has also tried to put the link to Google Plus, it's own social networking platform, in a more prominent place. Google has therefore moved this link from the far left (where is sits as a link with your name and a plus symbol) to center stage, where it now the first of only three text links.

To be frank, there can't be anywhere more obvious to the user than putting the Google+ hyperlink in its new place and hints at desperation to drive users to a tool that still doesn't seem to have the user adoption that it might have expected or hoped.