MOOC, MOOC. Who’s there?

After seven weeks of intensive studying on a Iversity MOOC course “Social and Digital Marketing” it’s time to  check my original objectives and reflect what the results were in my opinion.

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On the first week we were asked to think about and write down our personal  S M A R T objectives for this course. SMART is an acronym and stands for Spesific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timable.

SMART Objectives

My initial SMART objective and expectations for this course was to complete this MOOC in order to improve my knowledge and skills of social and digital marketing. This specific and simple objective was also measurable and the promise I made myself was to complete 100 % of the homework and assignments and to do all quizzes in each chapter. When I started this course I thought that this would be easily achievable, as long as I would study a little every day and the objective was also in my opinion realistic, because the material was devided into chapters and units. So in three weeks I would be much smarter in terms of social marketing. Easy peasy.

This was my initial plan, but could I follow it? Not quite. The most important reason was that I got a new temporary job a couple of weeks after the MOOC course started. My new job had very little to do with marketing so it goes without saying that I couldn’t  invest so much time and energy on a social and digital marketing course that i had originally planned.

Course Impact

But still I think it definetely was one of my best decisions to take part in this MOOC course.   With marketing budgets for digital marketing constantly growing I would say it’s a “must” for marketing professionals to know at least the basics of social and digital marketing.

First of all it was very useful to to learn how to analyse, plan, execute and evaluate a digital marketing strategy and to learn how to use core tools currently used in Digital and Social Media Marketing.

It was also nice to be able to develop an understanding of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media Optimisation, Affiliate and other relevant communication channels for engagement of digital communities.  Unfortunately I am not able to use my new skills in my current position, but I really do hope that I shall soon get an opportunity to do so.  The Gantt Chart and the Risk Assessment Table are two things I shall definetely keep in mind when next time planning for a campaign!

Already in the first week it was clear to me that many participants on this MOOC course were real pros in digital and social marketing. For me, as a beginner, it was very rewarding to be able to discuss and exchange opinions with higly skilled, creative peer participants. It  was always a pleasure to read the blog posts of fellow participants from all over the world and to learn their point of view. I also got many good practical tips from them. And it was of course very nice indeed to receive so much positive and encouraging feedback from them also regarding my own blog posts.

”MOOC, MOOC…”

”Who’s there?”

”Anee”

”Anee, who?”

”Anee one who has got passion for digital!”

Would you agree, my dear fellow participant, that it was worth while to study with this Iversity MOOC course? It would be nice to hear in what way you have benefitted from this course!

Who would need a buyer persona?

Before you start creating content to your digital media like your web site, to LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, you need to think who this content is targeted at. But there is

nothing new in this, marketers have always understood that it’s important to know who their target audience is. Why do we then at all need this new concept  called buyer persona, what is the difference, really?

According to Dr Philip Kotler the target audience can be defined as a specific group of people within the target market at which a  product or the marketing message of a product is aimed.

The buyer persona, on the other hand, is a one single, fictive person that reprecents your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your excisting customers.  A company can of course have many different buyer personas. In order to define your buyer persona you have to think about who is it, that you product or service is best fit for.

Most of the customers are either using  social media or search engines as the two most frequent activities when they are online. Therefore by understanding what the clients are doing online, gives us insight in how your organization can interact and engage with the clients in a better way.

It is very important that you take time to define exactly who you are writing for and who you want to attract, if you ignore this you are going to fail in three important areas:

  1. Number one is relevancy. If your content isn’t relevant for your client this is going to hava a cascade effect on two other important things, namely
  2. Engagement and
  3. Sharing. If your audience isn’t engaged they are not going to do a lot of sharing in their social network

How do I create a buyer persona?

Let’s have a look at a big software company “Anonymus” in the data analytics, data management and customer intelligence industry and one of their buyer personas, marketing director Betty.

Betty is the marketing director of a big telecommunications company “C” in Finland. Betty is 43 years old, has a Master of Science degree (Eng.) and she has since beginning of this year ovarall responsibility for marketing in “C”. She leads a very active life and she is busy from early morning to late evening as she is married and mother of two kids, 9 and 12 years old. Betty has always been very interested in getting good results in her job, she demands a lot of herself, her four subordinates and business partners. Betty is very active on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube) but she is also keen on reading long articles in one off line business magazine and two digital news papers. In her spare time she loves listening to classical music, especially opera.

Betty is of course highly interested in the behaviour of excisting and potential customers. There are two sides of this;  first of all she needs to ensure that “C” can keep their excisting customers with targeting marketing activities and minimize customer churn but at the same time they do their utmost to attract new customers from competitors.

Betty has also repeatedly pointed out how important it is to be able to streamline the marketing processes of “C” and to reduce costs but still be able to follow and gain insight from the customer journey through all channels regardless what devices the customer is using.

In order to do so, she needs the sofisticated products and services from “Anonymous”.  “Anonymous” has of course done keye word search on Betty and her colleegs on other telecommunications companies by using keyword research tools like

http://www.wordtracker.com/ 

http://www.spyfu.com/

Popular keywords are for instance customer behaviour, segmenation, marketing analytics and business intelligence.  

Several specialists of “Anonymous” are writing blogs on hot topics and Betty is of course subscribing to them but receives also the monthly news letter.  It’s of course very rewarding feedback for “Anonymous” to see Betty and her colleegs retweet something from “Anonymous” on Twitter or to comment a blog post on their web site or to find a “like” on a LinkedIn.

What do you think about buying personas and their relevance in social and digital marketing? Please share your opinions in the comment box below!

 

 

 

 

How to make a Finnish energy company an international topic

During the past weeks I have had the opportunity to read about many international and well known companies that really show passion for digital marketing.

My favorite company in Finland who has done everything just perfect in terms of digital marketing, is the Finnish energy company Helen Ltd.  According to their advertising agency N2 Helen Ltd used to be a somewhat dull and dusty energy company that certainly wasn’t as well known in Finland and abroad that they would deserve. In fact, Helen has invented energy saving and eco-friendly solutions. Helen has also been internationally awarded for having the most efficient energy production in the whole world. The problem was that nobody knew it!

But let’s have a look upon how this success story was done.

The objectives of the digital marketing campaign

Obviously the final objective of Helen was to engage with customers and finally increase its conversion rate. But to do this they had to find their way to costomers minds which is easier said than done. The people at Helen and the advertising agency figured out that energy companies are hardly media sexy, they don’t simply seem to interest anybody.

First things first

I would recommend every company to question once in a while whether its name and corporate image still support the company’s objectives. Helen did this.

Helen wasn’t called Helen when it was established more than one hundred years ago, they used to have a much longer and more complicated name Helsingin Energia (can be translated as ”The Energy of Helsinki”). The old name was pretty well known – in Helsinki. But the company wanted to achieve more customers in all parts of Finland and also abroad.

So in the beginning of 2015 Helsingin Energia became Helen Ltd and along with the name change they also decided to update the corporate image and revamp the website

Helen new corporate image

Lets’s be hip and cool!

All marketing professionals know that it’is always better to act than to state something. You can’t just go out and tell your customers that, “well, from now on Helen Ltd is hip and cool. Period”. If you want to achieve this kind of image, you have to act in that way! And this was presicely what Helen did. They started to post daring and hilarious videos on YouTube where a really crazy, Finnish engineer called Yrjö Uusivirta, talks to the audience about solar energy, for example. The engineer is a fictive person played by a stand up-comedian.  Here are some examples (warning: the videos contain dirty words and odd humour).

The videos immediately went viral as people started to watch and share them on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Some of the videos have been seen almost 220 000 times. These crazy videos were, however, just one part of Helen’s digital marketing. Helen Ltd has also launched many informative articles, images and videos on their web site, on YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram.

These funny videos functioned obviously as perfect door openers that assured the customers that Helen Ltd is a different kind of energy company that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Who wouldn’t give such a company a chance!

Imagine that you would be the marketing manager of Helen – would you have dared to take the risk?

 

Digital – to be or not to be?

I am a marketing and communications professional who has taken my masters degree at the Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration in Helsinki in the last century. Thus, I can hardly be called a digital native. In fact, in the beginning I can admit that I was  quite skeptical when comes to social media and digitalization. But I was in good company!

Suddenly I realized that it was precisely this digital word that has offered me most opportunities during the last ten years to develop my own knowledge and skills by forcing me out from my comfort zone.

Once you get started you want to know more about these exciting possibilities that were not possible before. Here are my five useful tips to think of, when you have decided to begin your own digital journey whether it comes to the company you work for, pitching for a new client or marketing your own qualifications to possible employers.

1. You will need a strategy!

This is, however, something that hasn’t  changed.  You always need a strategy on how to proceed. It’s no point in fumbling in the dark, you have to decide your objectives, analyze where you stand now and plan how you might get there.

2. Kick off the process with SWOT!

The SWOT analysis is a simple tool that can be used to identify and understand your digital internal and external marketing environment. SWOT is an acronym that stands for

Strengths are positive factors within your company that can provide you competitive edge towards other products or companies in the market. These can be managed by the company

Weaknesses are negative factors within you company  that can be harmful if competitors use them against you. These can be managed by the company

Opportunities are favorable situations in the external environment that can give you competitive advantage towards your competitors. You can’t really manage these, only react to these

Threats are unfavorable situations in the external environment that can negatively affect you business. You can’t really manage these either, only react to these.

3. Be SMART!

You also need to ensure that your digital marketing long term goals and objectives are realistic in terms of your resources and capabilities. An objective stands for a specific and measurable result that is planned to be achieved within a certain time-frame. The SMART-model can help you to set realistic targets.

Specific: The company needs to know exactly what to do in order to meet the objectives it has set itself

Measurable: You need to define some quantitative or qualitative attributes so that you can know whether your objectives are being successful or not

Achievable: The objectives have to be achievable. There is no point in setting objectives that cannot be achieved. Some authors state that “A” stays for assignable

Realistic: The objectives must be realistic. Some authors state that “R” stays for relevant or resourced

Timeable: Specify when the results can be achieved

4. Online branding brings more money!

According to Dr. Philip Kotler a brand is a name, a sign, symbol, a slogan, a design or a combination of all these that is intended to identify and differentiate the product (or a company or a service) from those of the competitors on the market.

Online branding is about to create an asset of the brand online and to do this, the brand must be trusted by its audience and also be able to solve the client’s problem. If a brand is able to create this kind of relationship with the customer, it is likely to be successful also in commercial terms. You can say that the brand receives added value in the customer’s eyes. The customer is thus willing to pay more for an attractive brand than for just the product or service itself.  The brand gets competitive advantage towards competitors on the market. This happens particularly when there is very little difference between the products.

5. Be there – or you don’t exist!

Digital branding and online branding is nowadays very important for all organizations. The buying process of the customer or consumer has changed a lot in the last five years. It is no longer a funnel where the client moves from A to B but comes in at any stage, jumps stages and moves back and forth between them. In the digital world the client seeks and gathers information from various online sources and then looks at different products they might purchase.

It is therefore vital that the organization is contributing in discussions, offering information and advice online. It is very important to be there because if you are not, you can be sure that your competitors are.

It would be very interesting to hear about your own experience – how have you helped a friend or a client to take a leap into the digital world?