Research : An opportunity to check the best of the recent research material from theMarketingblog

http://www.themarketingblog.co.uk/category/research/

from TheMarketingblog http://www.themarketingblog.co.uk/2016/08/research-an-opportunity-to-check-the-best-of-the-recent-research-material-from-themarketingblog/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=research-an-opportunity-to-check-the-best-of-the-recent-research-material-from-themarketingblog

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“The one about Pokémon Go and the sales of smartphone backup batteries”

Think the stories about the wild popularity of Pokémon Go are overstating things? Think again. In the two weeks following the release of the game, sales of smartphone backup batteries went through the roof. Matthew Corley / Shutterstock.com

from TheMarketingblog http://www.themarketingblog.co.uk/2016/08/the-one-about-pokemon-go-and-the-sales-of-smartphone-backup-batteries/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-one-about-pokemon-go-and-the-sales-of-smartphone-backup-batteries

Pushing Boundaries with Video: 6 Steps to Make a Video That Works

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Video is one of the most discussed marketing tools around, and certainly one of the most hyped. Cisco estimates that it will comprise 82% of all web traffic by 2020. And as the head of an inbound marketing agency with an in-house video department, I’ve seen first-hand the power of video. Our clients have used it to raise millions in funding, reduce homepage bounce rates by around 80%, and generate more leads than they know what to do with.

I’ve also seen companies foul it up beyond all recognition, wasting time, money, and effort on something that was never, ever going to work. Why?

It’s simple. Many don’t know that if video content is going to capture hearts, minds, stomachs, pituitary glands, and everything else, it can’t just exist – it needs to be done well. Naturally, doing it well isn’t always easy. If you hope to push the boundaries with video content, you’ll need to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons – and that you’re taking the right approach.

Before you even think about commissioning that animation or TV advert, you’ll want to follow these six key steps.

1) Set an objective

A video that doesn’t have a clear business purpose is a video that should never have been made. And no, “my closest business rival made one” isn’t a clear business purpose, and neither is “I have some marketing budget left and I might as well”.

Your video should be designed to add value to the company in some way or another – and to do that, you need to set a specific, defined objective. Want your target audience to fill out a contact form? Invest in your business? Buy a bunch of things? Pledge unquestioning fealty and devotion?

Whatever it is, figure it out before you get moving. A video that doesn’t have a purpose is nothing more than a vanity project.

2) Explain why you need video to achieve it

This one’s fairly self-explanatory. Quality video is expensive, and for good reason. You’re potentially paying for directors, producers, actors, camera operators, runners, animators, state-of-the-art equipment, editing, special effects, music – any combination of the foregoing and more.

Why a video? What can this kind of content achieve that a blog can’t? If there’s a way to achieve comparable results without a video – a print ad, an e-mail marketing campaign, or a light seasoning of PR, for example – you should investigate that instead. A penny saved is a penny that wasn’t wasted on something pointless and terrible.

3) Manage your HiPPOs (highest paid person’s opinion)

Lower-paid employees tend to defer to team members with higher status and salary when decisions have to be made. After all, if they didn’t know what they were doing, would they have ascended to such lofty heights?

The HiPPO – “highest paid person’s opinion” – can be troublesome. Look, your boss may be good at a whole heap of things. They may even be as creative as they think they are. But there’s a good chance that they aren’t part of your target audience, and there’s a near-100% chance that they don’t know anything about video production (most people don’t!).

Don’t get me wrong: it’s a collaborative process and it’s worth listening to anyone who has constructive feedback. But when one voice becomes dominant, it threatens creative integrity and dilutes the potential of your production.

A rampaging HiPPO – and please, don’t ever call your boss this to their face – is a dangerous beast indeed. Respect their counsel, but keep them in check wherever possible.

4) Don’t make decisions by committee

You know the story of the Little Red Hen? Production is often the exact opposite of that: everybody wants to get involved with the baking, and nobody wants anything to do with the results.

Again, this isn’t to say that other people’s voices should go unheeded. But when everyone from the sales manager to the HR director to the CEO to the janitorial team are getting involved, you’ve got a problem on your hands. The process invariably becomes less about the message, and more about not offending anyone – and your video becomes the creative equivalent of a dry saltine.

You can’t afford to make a boring video. You can’t even afford to make a good video. If it’s not going to be unequivocally great, it’s not worth doing. Get the key stakeholders involved – and no one else.

5) Take charge

In the spirit of not making everyone happy, it’s worth taking the initiative when it comes to commissioning your video and driving the production process. The best way to avoid a boring, box-ticking, HR-friendly, glorified PowerPoint presentation is to assume responsibility for it. While you should seek input and advice where appropriate, don’t be afraid to take a little heat for your decisions – as long as they aren’t completely inexplicable and unjustifiable.

Better to ask forgiveness than permission!

6) Work with Professionals

By this I mean three things:

  1. Nobody will blame you for not knowing what you’re doing: you’re not an expert in video production. Just make sure whoever you hire is.
  2. You can’t leave everything to your chosen agency or production company. They’ll need information and support, and you should do all you can to provide it. Be responsive and give the process as much time as it deserves.
  3. It’s not you against them. Nobody wants to make a bad video, and your production company least of all: they’re in it for the potential case study as much as your money.

A single, seemingly inconsequential decision can harm your video irreparably. It probably won’t, of course, but you’ll be facing hundreds of them throughout the production, and if you want to make something that truly stands out, you’ll give each one the attention it deserves.

That means putting some thought and energy into it, and seeking the advice of your production company wherever appropriate. They don’t push back just to be awkward: they usually do it for very good reason. At no point should you ever give anyone any opportunity to say “I told you so.” It annoys you, it doesn’t help the production, and it’s apt to make people insufferably smug.

Producing the right result

It’s important to note that simply following these steps isn’t an assurance of success. A great production depends on a variety of different factors, some of which you’re completely powerless to affect (it’s always worth remembering that the internet’s most popular video content is often completely inexplicable).

But if you put the requisite effort into it, if you collaborate productively with a qualified agency, and if you give the project the attention and resources it needs, you’ve got every chance of creating a boundary-pushing – hell, boundary-shattering – video.

Download The Ultimate Guide to Commissioning a Corporate Video

from HubSpot Marketing Blog http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/pushing-boundaries-with-video

Remember the best content in the world won’t drive revenue if nobody sees it – a special Marketingblog fast track plan

“Remember the best content in the world won’t drive revenue if nobody sees it” / theMarketingblog :  ’Load your own Success Story Plan’. You can have your article loaded in this top spot in the next 24 hours – it’s fast! You can have quality articles created for your company in this blog  http://www.themarketingblog.co.uk Help [more…]

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How much personal time should you let your employees have during the work day?

When you manage people who are all working on their own things, for instance in most office environments, you generally have to let them manage their own time to some degree, in order for them to be able to comfortably carry out their tasks without feeling their time is micromanaged. Of course, almost every employee [more…]

from TheMarketingblog http://www.themarketingblog.co.uk/2016/08/how-much-personal-time-should-you-let-your-employees-have-during-the-work-day/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-much-personal-time-should-you-let-your-employees-have-during-the-work-day

18 Tips for Planning a Flawless New Product Launch

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If your product team is working on the next big thing, there ought to be an equally awesome launch plan in the works to accompany it. 

While some companies are guilty of drafting a press release, crossing their fingers, and hoping that the users will come, there’s actually much more to it than that.

Quite simply: If you have big news, you need a big plan. And that’s where the product launch comes in. From establishing the proper messaging and creating the assets to enabling your sales team and keeping momentum, there’s a lot that goes into putting together a solid product launch plan. Download our free campaign checklist here to help you plan your next product  launch campaign. 

At HubSpot, I work on the product marketing team, and we’re responsible for launching all of HubSpot’s new products. Our experience has shown us that there are three distinct phases of a product launch: pre-launch, launch, and post-launch. Let’s walk through them below.

18 Foolproof Product Launch Tips

Pre-Launch

Before you launch, take the time to get really close to the product. Work with your product team to understand the problem they are trying to solve. Join them as they do users tests. Chat with them about their product philosophy. And most of all, ask a ton of questions — especially if you’re not familiar with the space.

Focus on understanding their vision and becoming a product expert. Outside of the product manager, the marketer launching the product should be the most knowledgeable person at your company about that product.

1) Research the space in-depth.

At most companies, the product manager will own the problem that the product solves. They’ll have a deep understanding of who the end user is and what their unique needs are.

The product marketer’s job is to understand the market. They must be able to answer questions like:

  • What’s the larger narrative around this space?
  • How do current customers feel about it?
  • What do people like and dislike?
  • Is it growing and cutting edge or old and getting disrupted?
  • What are the leading strategies and tactics in this space?
  • What is your company’s unique point of view when it comes to this space?
  • How does your new product fit in?

2) Focus on a single buyer persona.

You may not need to reinvent an existing buyer persona, but you should outline who amongst your target audience is a great fit for this new product. What kind of challenges do they have? How do they work? How big is there team? Talk to people who fit this profile to really understand their needs and goals.

If you need help organizing this information, check out these buyer persona templates or this handy tool.

3) Write a mock press release.

At HubSpot, we write a mock press release before we launch a product. We do this very early on in the product’s life to ensure that everyone involved in the launch is aligned on the messaging.

To give you a better sense of how this exercise unfolds, here’s an example: 

Mock_Press_Release.png

But we’re not the only ones practicing this approach. In fact, the folks at Amazon use this exercise, too. The idea is that when you work backwards and start with the press release, it’s easier to put yourself in the customer’s shoes.

If the press release doesn’t sound very interesting or fails to conjure a reaction, it’s likely that there’s more work to be done.

(Need some help getting started here? Check out these free press release templates.)

4) Build your messaging — but don’t marry it.

Messaging or positioning is mostly about refining your product narrative to focus on only the most valuable aspects of the new product via a simple message.

This is tough.

Most product people have the urge to communicate how great individual features are –something you want avoid in launch messaging. At launch, you may only have someone’s attention for a few minutes or seconds, so your messaging needs to be persuasive, simple and unique. It needs to communicate what your product actually does and communicate its high-level value.

You want to get this right, but don’t over commit to messaging. It can (and should) change as you share your messaging with internal folks and customers.

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Elements of good position often include:

  • A tagline
  • The problem it solves
  • A list of core features
  • The value prop
  • A 10-word positioning statement

In the screen shot above you can see some of these elements in action on the HubSpot Ads product page.

5) Share your messaging with everyone.

It’s time to take the messaging you’ve been slaving over and get it in front of your coworkers, customers, and prospects.

This is often the least fun part of a product launch. Mainly because no matter how good your positioning is, it takes time to get the pitch down, and not everyone will get it.

It’s good to start with individuals who may be a little more forgiving and honest before presenting to executives. Use every meeting to pitch people and ask questions. You want to gather as much info as possible here and root out any confusing or bad messages.

6) Get involved in the beta.

Having a group of beta testers evaluate your product before you release it to the public is a really important step. At HubSpot, we release products to a group of folks — our beta testers — that have opted-in to give us feedback in exchange for early access.

If your company does this, make sure you are talking to the customers using the tool in the beta. Capture their stories, review their performance, and validate your value prop with them. This is your opportunity to test your messaging and build real-world proof to support your pitch with an audience that is ready to share feedback.

7) Change your messaging and find the best hook.

After talking to prospects and salespeople, and seeing how beta users use the product, it’s likely that you’ve uncovered a thing or two about your messaging that you might want to adjust. That’s good.

If you’ve done things right, this won’t mean drastic changes, but most likely a tweak to the value prop or tagline.

8) Set ambitious goals.

You need to be deliberate and ambitious with the goals you set, and that can be challenging when you have a new product without benchmarks. To combat that, we ask the question: “If everything went exactly right, what is the highest possible number — whether that be leads, users, etc. — we could achieve?”

This sets a ceiling for your campaign — a number that is realistically almost never achieved.

If I project that the highest possible number of leads the campaign can generate is 500, and I end up with 450, I know we got just about everything right. If I generate 550 leads, it means I probably didn’t do a great job of setting a realistic ceiling. And if we only generate 300 leads, we know some tactics didn’t work at all.

The image below can be a useful slide as part of your go-to-market plan:

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9) Take the time to get the market ready.

If you’re launching a new product that enters your company into a new space — potentially a space where your company doesn’t have a ton of authority — start creating content about that space pre-launch.

You’ll want to seed this content for SEO purposes and to establish your company as experts in the market. It’ll also give you a chance to see what kind of content resonates prior to the launch, as well as help you surface any issues.

10) Build compelling creative assets.

At this point, you’re close to launch and it’s time to start building launch assets. But before you start writing emails or building landing pages, think about the customer journey:

  • How do people make purchase decisions in your space?
  • What do they need before buying?
  • Is it a free trial? A demo?
  • Is it best for them to talk to a sales person?
  • What do they need to know before they get to that point?

Once you’ve answered those questions, outline your conversion path. How will you first get people’s attention? Perhaps it’s and email, that drives people to a landing page, where users are encouraged to fill out a form.

Once you have this, get to work building the actual forms, site pages, videos, social posts, emails and other tactics that will drive users down your funnel and to your conversion point.

(If you’re looking for inspiration, check out this list of the best promotional product videos we’ve ever seen.)

11) Assemble your go-to-market strategy.

All the elements I’ve mentioned should come together in a deck or a doc — something that is clear, complete, and easily shareable.

This is your go-to-market guide: A holistic document of all launch activities, planning, and goals. This can include pricing recommendations, market research, competitive analysis, and any other relevant information you might need.

Launch

This phase is much shorter than pre-launch: it can take a day, or a week — depending on how long you feel you need. As you prepare to move on to the launch, you want to stay focused on the execution and be ready to put out any fires.

12) Choose the right channels.

During the planning phase you should have outlined the channels you want to use to share your message. This is not a “the more the merrier” sort of thing — a mistake new product marketers often make.

Be sure to avoid channels where the audience may not be the right fit. Pick one main channel — an event, a Product Hunt post, or blog post — and use email, social, paid, and other channels to support that main post.

For example, earlier this year HubSpot re-launched Website Grader on Product Hunt. We choose Product Hunt because it serves as a great way for startups and technology companies to introduce new products to a community of product-centric influencers.

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Before you launch, do a final check to ensure that everything works — buttons are functioning, forms are working, copy and creative looks good, and so on.

If you’re at an event, make sure you’re over communicating with your team. At this point, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Be prepared for that.

14) Activate your sales team.

Work with your sales team to coordinate meetings and outreach the day of the launch, or directly after. And use signals from your marketing efforts to drive the hottest leads to sales right away.

If you running an event, make sure your sales team has the opportunity to talk to customers in an organized way. That might mean ensuring there is a comfortable space for them to meet with customers, computer access, or a system for booking meetings.

15) Make it an event.

Even if your launch isn’t a live event with speakers, you can still make it an occasion.

Host a webinar or hangout on air, do a Reddit AMA, or try out a live social chat. (Here’s a helpful guide to get you started on the right track with Facebook Live.) Invite influencers to check out your product. Bring customers and press into your office for a live demo of the new product from your product team.

Whatever you do, strive for an in-person element. It’ll help propel your launch even further.

Post-Launch

16) Don’t lose your momentum.

You’ll reach a lot of people with your launch, but it often takes several touch points before someone is convinced to start a trail or get demo. Make sure to continue to move folks who’ve raised their hands as “interested but not ready to buy” down your funnel.

This means nurturing emails, free trials, demos, and more in-depth, product-focused webinars and activities. Build extra creative, like a longer video or social media posts that you can save for after the launch. This will give you fresh assets to share.

And don’t forget about your sales team. It will take a while before all your salespeople feel comfortable with this new product, so it’s important to arm them with amazing sales collateral (demo video, one pagers, etc.)

Beyond that, you can make a big impact by joining their calls: Getting on the phone and pitching the product with them the first couple of times will give them the confidence they need to carry the torch.

17) Revisit your “go-to-market” doc for reporting.

With all the work that’s going into launch, you don’t want to have to retroactively figure out what to report on. If you’ve done a good job with your go-to-market doc, you should be able to create a new slide and fill in your results with real numbers.

Once you’ve had a little more time away from your launch, spend some time to analyze the results. Where did you campaign succeed and fail? What did you not anticipate? What did you learn? Post these to your internal wiki or as a public blog post.

18) Shift your focus on retention.

Now that you’ve successfully launched a new product, shift your attention to retention. Marketing can generally play a bigger role in driving new users, but it’s important to work with your product team to figure out how you can help keep those users around.

This means more ongoing education like post-launch product webinars, as well as sharing case studies and success stories to show your users what they can achieve with your product.

What did I miss here? What sort of product launch lessons have you learned? Share your ideas below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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from HubSpot Marketing Blog http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/elements-flawless-product-launch-li