My Digital Strategy “Elevator Pitch” in 5 points

There is no more B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human, #H2H —Brian Kramer

Yesterday I shared an elevator ride with a colleague and she asked me about my learnings. So after nearly fourteen weeks of digital marketing, I summed it up as follow… during our ride.

  1. Place Your Customer at the Center
    Start with your customer at the center and build up from there. Create brand personas to guide your selection of channels and platforms, as well as to tailor content for each.
  2. Content is King
    Be authentic and share useful, relevant content. It is about pulling the customer towards you through engagement ; pushing messages through interruptions does not work.
  3. Mine Big Data
    Leverage Big Data for insights, and to test and understand past activities so you can reach customers better with the appropriate offering.
  4. Mobile is now
    It is time to design for mobile first. Ensure your site or app is visually engaging, responsive, functional with a clear purpose and provides the best UX possible.
  5. Be Agile at last
    Remember that no one knows it all and there are no set rules. Experiment, fail fast, adjust and move on. Seize opportunities and use the first-mover advantage.


Business Thinking

The Internet of Things and Marketing

I love that the Dunkin’ Donuts app on my smart phone can tell me where the closest location is, wherever, whenever. That’s the Internet of Things (IoT) – things that are connected to the internet and able to collect and transmit data.

The smart phone is the item most people own in the world, but your Fitbit, Apple watch or Nest thermostat are certainly newer examples of IoT. The term IoT was first used in 1999, referring to a global network of radio-frequency identification (RFID) connected objects, today it refers to any digital device capable of communicating via the internet.

Today our homes and cars are being connected to the internet as well as wearables such as smart watches, fitness tracker and smart clothing. All these devices are producing data, Big Data, which furthers the discussion on privacy and security, and opens up the door to opportunities for marketers. At the end of 2015, approximately 2.8 billion devices are connected to the internet according to the United Nations agency for information and communication technologies (ITU).

By 2020, ITU estimates that 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet. This will impact nearly every aspect of our daily lives as unsmart objects such as toasters and washers will become connected to the internet and able to communicate in real time.

With the increase in connectivity, marketers are able to use the data that is being generated to analyze customer buying habits, glean insights which can lead to real-time point-of-sale notifications and targeted ads, as well as resolving issues quickly to help close sales and keep customers happy.

The Internet of Thing, the Internet of Everything (per Cisco) or the Industrial Internet (per GE) is happening right now and growing fast. For marketers it means the world of Big Data, which creates opportunities to understand and find insights to reach and serve the consumer better.





What can Target teach us about Big Data?

To illustrate the power of Big Data, read the Forbes article: “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did” by Kashmir Hill.

By analyzing Big Data, in particular customer buying patterns, Target was able to deduct when a woman was pregnant, sometimes even before anyone else (other than the woman herself). And it would trigger purchases of pregnancy related products, with relevant advertising at very specific point in time.

The article goes into further details in regards to the customers’ reactions and how Target had to adjust its marketing tactic to achieve its sales goal. Just sending out a catalogue or promotion full of pregnancy products did freak out the customer, especially when that customer had not yet told anyone about her pregnancy… Consequently, Target became sneakier and placed other types of products, such as garden tools or else, next to the pregnancy products, so it would appear as a coincidence.

This striking example demonstrates the power of Big Data for an organization when used right. It is also a reminder, just in case you had forgotten, of how much companies know about you trough first, second, and third party data. (First party data comes from the company itself. Second party data is first party data coming from a partner. Third party data is data generated from other platforms by an aggregator.)

Target was able to find all sorts of information, on its customer, through Big Data. It looked, analysed, compared and established correlations that lead to very specific insights. And then it tested and adjusted its tactic until it worked. Further, Target seems to adhere to the two general principles on how to use Big Data, according to Dane Atkinson, CEO of SumAll (featured in the article Big data: What’s helpful, what’s hype by Michael Estrin):

  1. Marketers need to adopt a culture that sees information as a key driver of success
  2. Make sure you’re using big data to measure the things that are driving your success

These general principles seem essential take away from the Target example. Today marketers can and should use Big Data to discover insights, test and understand past activities to “target” better their customers with the appropriate offering. In our increasing agile society, ignoring Big Data will leave you behind.



UX Design – 7 Tips for Marketers

In our digital world, we have become unforgiving of bad user experiences. If an app or a website does not lead us to what we are looking for, we move on.

So what are some of the elements that makes a good user experience. Following are my 7 tips:


  1. Include UX Design from the Start
  2. What Are You Solving for?
  3. Observe the User.
  4. Follow Platform UI Guidelines.
  5. Design for Interruption.
  6. It’s Work in Progress.
  7. Keep it Simple.

If you would like to know more below are a few sources:



Need more than a Like

A few years back, while pursuing my own business, the ad below might have tickled my curiosity and lead me to click on it to find out more. This is a typical Facebook Sponsored Ad that can appear in your timeline.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 11.18.41 AM

These past few weeks I have been looking closer at crowdfunding platforms and I am following a few of those on social networks. So I am not surprised that Fundera targeted me. They think I need money to fund a business of some sort and I am a potential customer.

Facebook knows me pretty well… It has been able to categorize me according to demographics, behaviors, specific interests (in this case “crowdfunding”), and other factors in order for marketers to be able to reach me with what might be meaningful and of some interest to me. And on Facebook anyone can become a marketer or advertiser.

Facebook ads are easy to create. I did it!

First, you decide on a daily or lifetime budget along with the total amount you are willing to spend for Cost Per Click or Cost Per Impression. Then you can either create an ad from scratch, with an image/video, a certain amount of copy, and a link, or simply “boost” a post. Further you enter various parameters targeting your specific audience. At last Facebook will estimate your potential reach so you can decide if you want to go for it. For more information see the Facebook Advertiser Center. Once your ad is published you can view its actual reach and optimize your campaign.

Remember that your ad, at best, will have your potential customer click on it. It is the tip of the iceberg. What happens once he/she has clicked on your ad? How is your landing page? How great is your product or service? How easy is it to purchase it? How well designed are your customer touch points? For more, read Facebook Ad: 9 Factors That Impact Cost Per Conversion by Jon Loomer (May 20, 2015). Jon explains well some of the factors that can impact the success of your ad, spanning product/service, target audience, creative, social recognition, optimization and landing page.

Like any other type of advertising, advertising on Facebook is plain hard.

Facebook makes it easy for anyone to be a marketer but it does not guarantee success, often defined by conversions. As a small business, my experience has been that Facebook Marketing can become quickly expensive, with few tangible results and at best an increase in awareness…



Can Bernie Catch Up to Hillary?

“If the Democratic presidential nomination were determined by email engagement, Bernie Sanders would be on the ballot in November 2016.” – Jess Nelson

Jess Nelson, a freelance writer specialized on email marketing for MediaPost.com, highlights the importance of email engagement in political campaigns in her article named What GOP Debaters Can Learn from Bernie Sanders, published on October 28, 2015. She based her article on the findings of Return Path, a global “Data Solutions” provider that tracked data before, during and after the October 13, CNN Democratic Debate. Tom Sather, a senior director of research at Return Path, explains that the motivation for his company to do this study, was the success of the Obama email marketing campaign in 2012, that had raised half a billion dollars alone.

In brief the study demonstrates that Bernie Sanders had the wider reach, in terms of email engagement. Hillary Clinton was close after, while Martin O’Malley was far behind. The article goes in more details describing what each candidate did well or did not do well. And because the GOP candidates seem to be missing on this powerful engagement medium, according to analysis from Return Path, Sather offers four tips to the future political debaters:

  1. A/B testing – Test emails, specifically subject lines and body copy to boost engagement
  2. Expand email database – Provide better access to email subscriptions to widen reach online
  3. Measure analytics – Measure “email reads” and “ignore rates” to get a holistic view and improve
  4. Engage around debate – engage before and after debate to encourage sharing by supporters

The CNBC’s Republican Presidential Debate happened last night and I am curious to know if any of the candidates have followed the above tips. Return Path has not said whether they would also provide the analysis for the GOP debate but concluded by highlighting how Sanders raised over $1 million dollars from the start of the debate on October 13, until midnight PT that night.

Email Marketing has become the easiest and most effective digital marketing tactic in particular for awareness, acquisition, conversion and retention. It also comes with the bonus of being easy to track and measure and multitudes of tips and best practices are available online. The four tips above are so relevant for political candidates as well as for any other type of campaigns. I like it because it looks at the big picture in four points:

Test   Expand   Measure   Engage

When done right, Email Marketing can be very powerful and in the case of political candidates it might even have become a requisite in order to succeed… Time will tell.



The “Giving Tower”

Creating a great app takes time, money and involves multiple parties, including content creators, UX designers, designers, programmers, brand managers, etc. But foremost it starts with a clear purpose.

CrowdRise is an online crowdfunding community about giving back, raising lots of money for great causes, and having the most fun in the world while doing it.

“CrowdRise is about giving back, raising lots of money for great causes, and having the most fun in the world while doing it.”    — CrowdRise

To help further its community to raise more funds, CrowdRise created a very cool app named “Giving Tower”. Giving Tower is a special campaign aimed at raising money on #GivingTuesday, December 1st, 2015. Participants raise money for their own cause(s) and each donation is shown as a brick forming a virtual tower in real time… This is the cool part: inside the app you can point your camera on a dollar bill and the tower appears virtually resting on your dollar bill. It might sounds strange and it is best to experience it. The app is free.



The “Giving Tower” app has a very clear purpose—to catch the visitor’s attention, to encourage donations—and certainly it has caught my attention with its virtual “Giving Tower” resting on my dollar bill. Even better I did not have to sign in or sign up to see the tower. Of course to find ones brick (your donation), you have to log in and donating leeds youto the CrowdRise website but straight from the app you can share on Facebook and Twitter. You can also find out more about the CrowdRise community in general.

CrowdRise has created an intriguing app that makes you want to see your own action/donation, your own brick and take part in the building of its virtual tower. In our busy digital world it is hard to stand out and the “Giving Tower” app engages customers in a virtual experience where they become the actors.

So what did they miss? Well, it took me sometimes to get that I had to point my camera to a dollar bill to see the tower… So the user experience might need some adjustments or maybe it was just me who did not get it right away. The app feels a bit of a gimmick and will be ephemeral but nevertheless it is meant for a great cause and I would still rate it a five star.




Last summer, Isabella, my friend’s daughter used GoFundMe.com to raise money for her “Study Trip Abroad to Senegal”. She had intended to raise $8000 but in the end got only $795. I could argue that her campaign wasn’t very convincing or that her goal was unrealistic but after taking a closer look at GoFundMe online presence, I certainly detected flaws in regards to user experience which might have been an added factor in Isabella’s poor campaign result.

imgresGoFundMe is a crowdfunding company that allows individuals to raise money for almost any personal cause. They exist and live online through their website, app and social media presence. Needless to say that UX (user experience) is of the utmost importance to their success and especially to the individuals who are trying to raise funds for their causes.

On the positive side the GoFundMe logo is dynamic, inviting and happy which expresses their personality and fits well with their focus around “customer happiness”—they are recruiting “Happiness Agents”. The name, GoFundMe, is self-descriptive and the tagline, “Crowdfunding for Everyone”, reinforces what they are about.

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 4.45.54 PM

Unfortunately the site navigation is very poor. The main top menu disappears once you click on it and moves to the side in a different order and wording. There are too many menus with too much to choose from. It takes some digging to understand the architecture and even all the categories available.

Worse, GoFundMe does not allow you to navigate through their mobile application unless you have signed up and started a fundraising yourself. This makes no sense if you are a regular donor who just wants to fund others. On their website they also push too hard for the visitor to sign on and start a campaign.

The content, in general, feels cluttered and too succinct at the same time, with unnecessary repetitions and nothing really standing out. On the homepage the company wants to display their achievements, to appear more credible and valuable but it makes them look unprofessional and disorganized. Aesthetically the experience feels old looking, with distorted images, and inconsistencies throughout the various platforms. The desktop site is not responsive and the mobile site feels more contemporary. At a time of responsiveness and large impactful images/videos, GoFundMe is several steps behind.

“Millions of people have raised over $1 Billion in the past 365 days.”    —GoFundMe.com

Nevertheless GoFundMe has achieve extraordinary results since in business, in 2010. It is growing super fast and perhaps it should revisit, as fast, its main way of communicating with the world.


Mysterious Forest in the Pacific Northwest

The Intrigue…

Google has two definitions for “Intrigue”:

  1. the secret planning of something illicit or detrimental to someone
  2. a mysterious or fascinating quality

I’ll choose the second because the “Intrigue” is me or at least that is what Sally Hogsheads,through her questionnaire, says I am.

If you have not heard of Sally or her company, How to Fascinate, check out her Ted Talk or visit her website at HowToFascinate.com. She has developed tools to discover how the world sees you and how you can fascinate the world. In particular she has developed a metric of 49 personality archetypes formed by a combination of seven possible “fascination” advantages.

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 11.04.53 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 11.04.06 AM


Perhaps both but when I read the report I thought yes—the INTRIGUE could be me. My primary advantage is “passion” which means I connect with emotions. This might not be obvious right away as my secondary advantage is “mystique” – meaning I communicate with substance thus I control my emotions and certainly dislike redundancies.

Diving deeper, Sally gives further analysis and tools for my archetype which is enlightening and certainly useful. In particular, she points to the one “fascination Advantage” I do not resonate with, and it all make sense. Now I can recognize and prevent situations where I would need to use it and try to avoid them.

The “How to Fascinate” method could be particularly useful in a work environment and Sally says “Leaders need to know how to tap into their team’s variety of Advantages so that they can help each person develop signature areas of performance.”

Sally also encourages you to create your own anthem or tag line. One sentence or just a few words that can differentiate you from others and make you instantly more valuable at the first approach. I am trying to define one but the INTRIGUE that I am, I will have to ponder for some time.

So now… do your own assessment on HowToFascinate.com and figure who you are so we can tap into our communication Advantages together and better understand each other. 





I just got back to work, from maternity leave, and thought I would dust off my Fitbit Flex that has been laying around for some times on the desk of my home office. And right then, on the Fitbit website I find the perfect blog post for me: 8 Crazy-Simple Ways Parents Can Slip Fitness into Their Day. This might just be what I need to get back into shape, right now. I am hooked (again) and I read on…
About 10 month ago, I bought a Fitbit Flex right after they came out with their new campaign on national television and all over the web. I chose Fitbit over Garmin, Jawbone, or Nike specifically because their advertizing was engaging to me. The story is simple: You, who ever you are can be empowered and inspired to live a healthier and more active life.

Fitbit products are wireless activity tracker devices, in particular wristbands, to help support one’s health and/or fitness goals whatever they are. Check them out at fitbit.com and on Youtube.

Fitbit has a fabulous website, filled with useful information such as:

  • Easy, simple product information
  • Various apps to track your activity and progress
  • Fun stuff like “celebrities challenge”, stats about anything related to health and fitness, news and a blog with relevant posts (see above)

All of it is well designed, simple and uses a happy tone. Fitbit makes it easy for me to find what I need but more importantly, it gives me the motivation to workout.

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 6.46.43 PM

On the main social media platforms, YouTube showcases their brand and product advertising. The others—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+—socialise with consumers with suggestions on how to stay active and healthy. For instance, on Pinterest, Fitbit features categories such as “Smart Salads”, ”Tory Burch Collection” or “Health Tips”, engaging subjects related to health, fitness and their products. Fitbit also connects your stats with your friends which is not something I am interested in sharing but see this as a potential great tool and additional motivation for some more social consumers.

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 6.35.56 PM

Fitbit has created an integrated experience throughout all its digital media presence and made it easy for the consumer to navigate and find what he/she is looking for. It is quick to respond to the market demands and even at anticipating the next move, it launched three new products in the past ten months.

I have found one flaw though: They lack of search engine dominance. For instance if I search for “fitness bands”, I get the “Apple watch” in first position (SEM), Jawbone and Garmin are below and Fitbit does not appear on the first page although they are featured by BestBy on the side. Fitbit is the most popular health and fitness tracker and they ought to be first when looking for related products. Has Fitbit missed something about Search? Anyway, I am looking at my fitbit and the little lights reminds me that it is time for me to get moving if I want to reach my “fitness” goal of the day.

MoveFit, RiseFit, GetFit, MuseFit, DigitalFit,…