The holiday season is fast approaching and if you are still looking for the perfect gift or two, it might be time to start making a list. But before you start, let’s take a look at some of the things you should consider when deciding how much money to spend.
This one is obvious but important. When planning your budget, don’t overspend. You don’t want to burn through all your cash in order to buy something that someone else will appreciate more than what you bought them. It also doesn’t help to make their gift unappealing because they have to settle for something less than ideal.
When you’re shopping around for a Christmas gift, you can find yourself faced with an endless array of options. While there are some great deals out there, it’s smart to focus on giving quality and value instead of quantity. Don’t get too excited about getting a lot of toys or electronics for family members this year. Instead, go for unique and thoughtful gifts that really show you care about them. If you are not sure about the gifts you can go to Antena3 for some really interesting ideas.
How Many People Will Be Getting the Gift?
If you know that you will be buying a gift for multiple people, then this is the first thing you need to do. If you are going to buy several gifts, consider purchasing the same item for each person so you aren’t stuck with duplicate presents. This can save you quite a bit of money and ensures everyone gets exactly what they want.
What Are Their Interests?
Think about the interests of the recipient. Some folks enjoy collecting baseball cards while others love video games. Whatever the recipients are into, you should try to match it up with a present that shows you understand their hobbies and passions.
If you are struggling to think of ideas, here are some other gift guides just for you.
Is There an Expiration Date?
If you are planning on giving a gift card as a present, keep in mind that these expire after a certain amount of time has passed. So, if you plan on giving a gift card to a college student who is going off to school next month, it would probably be best not to give them a $100 credit card right now since the gift won’t last long enough.
Does the Recipient Have a Favorite Color/Theme?
If you are sending a gift to someone who is particularly fond of blue and red, for instance, you can find some great options online. Look for items that fit those colors and themes and see if you can track down any products that have similar shades. For example, if you are looking for a gift for someone who loves red and blue, the best option may be to purchase an actual pair of shoes.
Are They Already Buying Something Else?
Sometimes, people already own most of what they need. In this case, you can skip the whole “gift-giving” scenario altogether by simply buying them something themselves. This is especially true if you are going to give them something that falls in the category of “they already own.”
Can You Ask Them What They Want?
One of the best ways to figure out what someone wants for Christmas is to ask them directly. The problem is that many times people will be tempted to tell you what they want, but they forget all about it once they sit down at the mall and start browsing. By asking them, however, you ensure that they actually remember what they wanted in the first place.
You can always ask them if they have any questions or concerns while you are picking out the perfect gift for them. Sometimes, we tend to worry about what our loved ones want so much that we end up forgetting what it is that we ourselves want. Make sure you don’t fall victim to that trap.
Try to Think Outside the Box
There are plenty of places where you can get creative when it comes to finding a gift. Online stores like Amazon and eBay make it easier than ever to browse through thousands of different items. Of course, these sites offer a ton of stuff for everyone on your list, but you can also find some unique items from smaller businesses and individuals. Just search around and you will find something.
Another good idea is to look through local thrift stores and antique shops. These places tend to carry a wide variety of items, ranging from books and toys to clothing and accessories. With a little patience, you can find a treasure for someone special without breaking the bank.
Do They Need Anything Now?
Before you begin to shop, ask yourself the question “do they need anything now?” If you find out that they are already stocked up on everything they could possibly need, then you might want to skip the shopping trip entirely. Instead, you can opt to send them a nice note telling them how much they mean to you.
Or, if you do decide to buy them a present, try to pick something that you know they would actually use. Maybe you could give them a subscription to a magazine that they are interested in. Or maybe you could gift them a new book that they said they were going to read soon.
Will Your Gift Fit Inside the Package?
If you are looking for something specific, then make sure to check out the packaging the item comes in. If the box is very small and flimsy, it’s likely that the item inside won’t fit. You can always open the package and return it if you notice this.
Take Care with Shipping Fees
Many people seem to forget about shipping when they are planning a gift. But you shouldn’t overlook the fact that shipping costs will vary depending on the distance between you and the recipient. Some items are shipped via mail service, while other items require delivery services such as UPS or FedEx.
Most importantly, make sure you factor in delivery charges when determining the total cost of your gift. If you plan on shipping the item yourself, you can usually include shipping fees in the final price tag. Otherwise, add it on when you calculate the total cost of your gift.
When you’re buying gifts for your employees, it can be a challenge to find something that will be appreciated.
After all, when you’re the boss, you don’t want to give your workers things that seem cheap. That might make them feel like they work for a stingy employer.
The hard work, the overtime, and the dedication your employees put in are what really make it all work at the end of the day.
That’s why when you’re buying gifts for them, it should show that you value their effort and respect them for their dedication.
Why Are Gifts for Corporate Employees Important?
It’s a well-known fact that employees work harder when they feel appreciated. And what better way to show them how much they mean to the company than with a thoughtful gift?
But, hey, don’t take that at face value. Here are our picks for the top reasons why it’s important to buy gifts for your corporate employees:
- It Boosts Team Morale
One of the biggest benefits of buying gifts for corporate employees is that it boosts team morale. When one of your employees is stressed out or working hard, a pat on the back can go a long way to keep them cheerful.
A gift does the same thing but goes even further to show that you appreciate their effort!
- It Helps You Build Relationships With Your Employees
When you give a gift to an employee, it’s like saying, “I care about you, and I want you to know how important you are to me and this company.”
If your boss gives you a gift, it means they’re thinking about you and not just their own needs. This shows that they truly appreciate everything you do for them and their business.
A gift sends the message loud and clear that you value them.
- Gifts Are A Great Way to Break the Ice
If there are people who don’t get along at work, giving them a gift can help bring them closer together as friends or colleagues.
A gift can be used as an icebreaker or something that brings people together so they don’t feel like there is tension between themselves and others in the office anymore.
- It Encourages Workplace Loyalty
Giving gifts to employees can encourage them to work harder for the company.
If you give a gift to a team of employees who have recently done an outstanding job for you, then it’s likely that they will want to keep up their good work.
Top 5 Tips for Selecting Corporate Gifts for Employees
Corporate gifts can be a great way to show employees you appreciate them, but not all gifts are created equal.
Here are five tips for selecting corporate gifts that will help you make the most of your budget and show your employees how much they mean to the company:
1. Look Into Volume Discounts
Another great way to save money while still giving out personalized gifts is by looking at various volume discounts available from different companies online or even locally (if you’re shopping around).
Many companies offer lower prices if you buy more than one item at once, which will help reduce your overall cost per person for each gift.
Gift cards are easy to use and convenient for your employees. They’ll love being able to redeem them however they want — whether that’s buying groceries or going out with friends. This makes them feel appreciated by their employer even more than if they were given something they wouldn’t necessarily use every day.
2. Never Skimp out on Quality
A great tip when choosing corporate gifts is to never skimp out on quality. These gifts represent you and the company as a whole, and a high-end gift is more likely to end up on display and generate positive attention for your company.
If you are unsure of what to buy, consider buying something that can be used in the office, such as a new coffee maker or a new computer.
You should also consider giving employees something that they actually want or need.
3. Know What’s Appropriate
If you’re unsure whether or not something is appropriate as a corporate gift, get input from others within your organization who might know what type of gifts are acceptable.
This includes other managers and HR professionals who work with employee relations on an ongoing basis.
For example, if you’re shopping online for an office manager’s birthday, ask her colleagues what kinds of things she likes and dislikes so that you don’t waste money on something she won’t use or appreciate.
4. Two Birds with One Stone
Promotional products are generally regarded as an ideal giveaway for customers. But if curated properly, high-end מוצרי פרסום can also be a great corporate gifting option for employees. It’s a win-win deal for both the company and the employee, as you’re advertising your brand, boosting employee engagement, and making them happy simultaneously with minimal spending.
5. You Can’t Go Wrong With A Little Personalisation
Want to add that special touch to your corporate gift? Consider having the employee’s or manager’s name and official position stated on the gift.
This is great for celebrating some kind of milestone too, but remember to choose something that can be displayed at home, instead of that cute mousepad you were thinking about.
If you’re looking for something a little more personalized, consider giving an engraved pen set or desk accessories with the company logo on them.
The Bottom Line
In short, as long as you do your research, you should be set to find something that works for your own corporate gift needs.
Keep in mind that the company’s logo and branding have a big effect on the success of a corporate gift—so the sooner you can get started on finding the right promotional gifts, the better.
And don’t be afraid to act early. After all, you don’t want a great deal slipping through your fingers while waiting too long to make your decision.
There has been a recent surge in the construction of tiny houses around the United States because of its apparent advantages over conventional housing: low cost, low environmental impact, and low maintenance. There’s no place for unnecessary items, so your life will be easier with one of them.
Tiny houses can be small in size, but they can still cost hundreds of dollars or more, so it’s essential to have enough insurance coverage to safeguard your investment. So, how does insurance coverage for tiny houses work? Which companies provide them? What is the cost of tiny house insurance? If you want answers to all these questions and more, you should check out Riding Tiny for a detailed analysis while we are here with all the basics!
The Insurance Coverage for Your Tiny House
As insurance protects your tiny house both when parked and in transit, it might be the best option if your tiny house is mobile and you want to move regularly. The insurance coverage is customised to travellers and has benefits like collision coverage that other policies may lack. The RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) has specific requirements to be met before a TINY home can be insured as a recreational vehicle.
The following are examples of the types of insurance coverage commonly included in a basic RV tiny house policy:
This coverage goes into effect if your tiny home is damaged in a collision with an immovable item or another vehicle, irrespective of who was at fault.
Theft, burglary, fire, falling items, weather-related disasters, and animal collisions are covered under “comprehensive,” sometimes called “other than collision.”
It assists with insurance against legal responsibility for harm to others or their property.
- Uninsured or Underinsured Driver
It provides coverage when someone without or underinsured insurance hits your tiny house. It can cover the cost of fixing up your tiny house after an accident, medical bills, and missed salaries from being unable to work.
- Personal Property
The loss, damage, or destruction of your tiny house is compensated for under this policy’s “personal property” section.
- Medical Expenses
It compensates for an accident involving your tiny home and its occupants.
The Cost of Tiny House Insurance
Insuring your tiny house can be expensive, but the final price tag will depend on several variables and your chosen insurance provider. How often you relocate your tiny house will also be a crucial factor. Many insurance plans for tiny homes won’t cover damage to the structure during its relocation. You can get insurance for your trip from your auto insurance or the transport company you contract with.
Check your insurance policy to see whether it meets your needs; not all insurance providers provide the same packages. Get endorsements or second insurance to cover any gaps if necessary. Renter’s insurance, for instance, can protect your belongings and your legal responsibility to others if your current coverage doesn’t. Thus, you should get in touch with all the service providers to compare prices and services. You may get discounts if you insure many things with the same company.
Companies Providing Tiny House Insurance
More and more insurers are starting to provide policies that cover compact houses. This is the list of the companies that we found reliable and certified:
The company offers insurance for mobile homes, including tiny houses. Online quotes from its website make it easy to find affordable policies with the necessary coverages.
- STATE FARMS
With this company, if the covered item is towed, you might look into purchasing a camping trailer or vacation insurance. You should get RV insurance if the covered item is a motorised RV.
- PROGRESSIVE THOW
While your home remains in one place, Progressive often provides a standard homeowners’ insurance policy. If an insured loss renders your house uninhabitable, extra living costs can be paid by its homeowner’s insurance.
Insuring your tiny home in all 50 states is now possible with Allstate. If you own a mobile home, you may find that the basic protections offered by Allstate are insufficient to protect the things you care about most. However, the extra coverage can be added to a policy through endorsements.
Lloyds offers many types of insurance coverage, including tiny house insurance. To purchase a policy, you’ll have to find a regional agent. Lloyd also complies with all the laws and rules of the 50 states and other jurisdictions where the company operates in the United States.
Foremost provides insurance coverage for tiny houses in addition to policies for RV vehicles. Producers are welcome to propose new tiny houses featuring solar panels for approximately $150,000.
- LIBERTY MUTUAL
Liberty Mutual’s mobile home insurance products now include customisation possibilities. State regulations determine the scope of coverage and any associated limitations.
The AMIG Tiny Home Insurance Policy is a product of the American Modern Insurance Group. AMIG’s manufactured home insurance coverage is now available.
Tips to Get Tiny House Insurance
Before you can begin the process of getting insurance for your tiny mobile house, you need to have a firm grasp on the multiple definitions of a tiny house and how your province or state defines them. Insurance companies seek to identify the risk associated with a policy and estimate the expenditures that can be incurred due to that risk. They define terms precisely before running them through their actuarial tables to get this.
It’s possible that your conventional homeowner’s insurance coverage won’t apply to your tiny house. Nevertheless, a manufactured or mobile house insurance policy can cover your tiny house. Once you’ve figured out how your state categorises tiny houses, you may start contacting the insurance providers listed above to inquire about the insurance coverage for your tiny house.
To Sum Up
Not everyone is made for the tiny house lifestyle. Only those who enjoy advantages, including reduced overhead costs, more mobility, less waste produced, and even the possibility of going completely off the grid, can enjoy this lifestyle. Thus, once you start living large in a tiny house, it’s essential to make sure you’re covered by a comprehensive insurance policy.
Throughout history, marketing is one of the most important technique to bring potential customers, and to get more sales in a business. It is the best strategy to raise a brand and make sales. Nowadays, there are two marketing strategies that a business pursue. The traditional marketing and the digital, or internet marketing. The traditional marketing has come since long years ago (may be from the start of business). Generally, traditional marketing refers to the business cards, radio, TV, billboards, and ads in newspapers or magazines. On the other hand, the digital marketing includes all systems or techniques of internet marketing. Social marketing, banner ads, and websites are some common digital marketing strategies.
This article is written to inform the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing. Also, this article will help you to understand that which one is the best marketing methods for modern business system.
You can separate Digital Marketing from Traditional marketing at various sides. C some points where the differences are significance that can be caught in the eyes every easily.
If you think of communication, you may see that traditional marketing adopt one way communication while the digital marketing adopt two way communication strategies. One way communication refers to the communication technique where a person, a business, or a product communicates with a large group of the target audience. On the other side, the digital marketings build up two, or multi-way communication system, where a company actively communicates with their clients both by talking and listening. To sum up, traditional marketing doesn’t give any opportunity to the customers to talk about the products, or services. On the other hand, digital marketing provide opportunity to the customers to talk about the service, or product of a company.
Traditional marketing provides fewer opportunities to interact with the customers. It needs longer time to plan to market a business’s products, or services. Letter, phone calls and advertising through the media are some ways of traditional marketing. Digital marketing provides an opportunity to interact with customers. So, a business can raise their brand awareness by providing immediate support to the customers.
One of the main reasons of transiting to the internet marketing is the scheduling. The techniques of creating an ad campaigns have changed a lot. Traditional marketing needs to be well-planned which also requires a long length of time to cover a campaign. On the other hand, scheduling for ad campaigns in digital marketing requires a little time. Though it requires a short length of time, but it can produce long lasting effect. Since the digital marketing is based on the customer feedbacks, you can edit your campaign time to time.
One of the significant differences between internet marketing and traditional marketing is the availability. If you pursue traditional marketing, you can only respond to your customers questions during the work hours. In the digital marketing system, most of the companies employ people on various shifts. So, a business can respond immediately to a customer query.
If you pursue traditional marketing, you will get fewer scopes to market your products. The traditional marketing doesn’t need to collect many resources, because the audience is very specific and targeted. On the other hand, digital marketing enables a business to reach a large number of people across the boarder of the country. So, there are lots of scope to market your business through digital marketing.
The advantages of both marketing cannot be said in a single paragraph. Both the strategies have many advantages. You cannot leave one marketing strategy to pursue another one. You cannot reach the boys and girls of under 18 years in digital marketing. Traditional marketing is very effective to increase brand awareness. Digital marketing is very essential to promote a business by interacting with customers.
To sum up, you cannot compare easily the traditional marketing and the internet marketing. Both marketing strategies are necessary to promote a business. Though many people think the for its effectiveness, you should consider both the marketing techniques to promote your business properly.
The Holy Grail in marketing is the ability to identify, match, and attract customers to your product or service. For decades, marketers guessed at who their customers were. They conducted surveys and focus groups to segment audiences into big stereotype-focused pools, hoping the cohorts would be large enough, and meaningful enough to generate big business for the company. It was more art than science.
But now, with the ability to capture and analyze large amounts of data, we’ve turned the tables and are able to market using much more “science” than ever thought possible.
Of course, we have a name for this category of deep, analyzable information—we call it “Big Data.” At first it was a scary Abominable Snowman of a concept — delivery of way too much information to deliver actionable information to marketers. But now, with the help of some great analytics tools, and the rise of the “data scientist” within corporations, marketers have begun to tame the savage data beast.
So now it is time we marketers start using this data to a meaningful strategic advantage. Go on — you can do it. And, I’m going to give you the secret to success.
The single, most strategic advantage you have over your competition, is the ability to fit in to your customer’s lives. Don’t take your product and find a customer for it, listen to your customers, and make products they can use, relate to, and want to feel connected to. And, with all that Big Data hanging around, there’s no reason not to.
You see, your customers are the single most differentiated thing your brand has to offer. Your greatest fans — and their behaviors, will help you unlock your differentiated greatness. Think about the customers who lean toward Mac over PC, Southwest over Delta, and Sprint over AT&T. All these companies deliver quality goods and services, but it is the customer associations that separate these brands. It is their strategic advantage to know who their customers are, how they behave, and how they create strong bonds with brands.
It used to be that consumers aspired to be like brands. Marketers had huge sway over consumer behavior. Wearing a Polo shirt, using the toothpaste “4-out-of-5 Dentists Approve” or the chance to “Be Like Mike” was a way consumers could “fit in” to society. Consumers changed their behavior to join the in-crowd, based on what marketers told them to do. But now (blame it on the Internet, Gen Y, or “User Generated Content”) the tide has changed. Consumers are looking to brands that are just like them. They are not looking to brands to define who they are. The current generation is looking to associate itself with brands that reflect their personal brand, rather than the other way around.
So dive into all of that Big Data you have, and come out with an understanding of the other brands your consumers associate with, and why. Associated brands are one of the most powerful tools to understand how you might fit into your customers’ lives. Do they prefer Virgin or British Airways, Oracle vs. Salesforce, Mac vs. PC, Whole Foods vs Krogers, Sprint vs AT&T. And, who are you? With this data, you are on your way to finding a strategic advantage over the competition.
Why Consulting An Attorney Before You Take The Course Is Important
Working with an attorney is key in understanding how to proceed with your pre-bankruptcy counseling.
Filing for bankruptcy and trying to fulfill the pre-bankruptcy counselling requirements without an attorney is not recommended. Here are just a few reasons why having help from an attorney at all stages of the bankruptcy process is ideal for all applicants:
Your counseling has to be completed with a government-approved agency, as this is the only way it will count. Your lawyer will help you find one of these agencies so you can be sure the course you are taking is legitimate in the eyes of the court.
The budget that the credit counseling agency comes up with has to be filed with your bankruptcy petition, and failure to do so can jeopardize your case. Your attorney will take on the task of making sure this critical step isn’t missed.
The agency is responsible for helping you come up with a feasible budget for repaying your debts. While in most cases their job is to confirm that bankruptcy is your most viable option for financial freedom, you need to be aware that they may not come to that conclusion, and they may determine that bankruptcy is not best for you. If the courts agree with this, you may be forced to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead of Chapter 7. An attorney who has seen these situations before can advise you on how to proceed.
Bankruptcy Is Designed To Help You
We’re here to show you how.
If you believe that bankruptcy may be able to help you get back on track with your finances, be sure to get in touch with us. We’ll provide you with a free one-hour consultation during which we will discuss your particular situation and how we might be able to assist you in getting the debt relief you need. Bankruptcy is a complicated process, but it’s our job to make things simple for you. Whether you don’t make enough income to pay your bills and are in need of an eviction lawyer or want to keep your promises to your creditors but need help with a debt repayment plan, Thacker & Dutton Law Firm can help you find a viable financial solution that works for your life situation.
We can hardly believe the images of the capsized Costa Concordia. It lies peacefully on its side, looking like a toy, with a beautiful Mediterranean island behind it. But this serene aftermath belies the tragedy that has unfolded, with dozens likely perishing. The cruise line’s PR machine is already in full gear, blaming the ship’s captain for “human error” by taking the vessel on a dangerous course. While it’s too early for anyone to proclaim a full understanding of a root cause, history can provide some guidance. It is likely that some combination of human error, policy violation, and inadequate controls will be involved.
So, what in heck does this have to do with digital marketing? Allow me a second to make the connection. Firms are being driven ever faster by a whirlwind of competitive forces and cultural pressures. Look at any forward-thinking company’s plans and you’ll see terms like agility, innovation and “first mover.” The culture of the social web has been one of constant and instant functional improvements to products and services. This leads to a frantic pace of new development, with firms fearing that any delay will result in fatal losses of opportunities.
Enabling this rapid pace of change is an entire industry of service providers, ready to turn up capabilities with a few mouse clicks and a credit card number. In fact, it has never been easier for a firm to provision a new web-based service. Many firms have seized this advantage, leading to quick domination of their market space. Their sites are showcases, feature-rich and user friendly. Unfortunately, many of these same firms have not paid commensurate attention to the controls needed to “run a safe ship.” In fact, there’s a toxic mix at hand, fueling potential service catastrophes. On one hand, an increasing number of non-technical business departments are involved in direct relationships with technology service providers. Adding to the problem, these providers are frequently start-ups, without the process maturity of more established, old-line technology companies.
The unfortunate results play out across mainstream and social media outlets: sites that are down for multiple days due to capacity problems; entire data centers failing due to maintenance operations that go awry; the endless stream of security breeches, resulting in compromised credit cards and private customer information. Many of these failures can be a “Titanic” event, resulting in lost revenue, lost customers, and severe reputational damage.
So what’s an agile, innovative enterprise to do? Long before the ascendancy of the Internet, technology professionals utilized a set of operational practices to ensure that service levels were met. Forward-thinking companies should familiarize themselves with these concepts and ensure that they are utilizing these practices as part of their web presence. Those firms or departments without the internal expertise to handle this type of assessment should utilize consulting assistance.
Availability–Is your site engineered to handle the failure of a component, server, network link or database? Is your data center engineered for high availability? Can your site scale to handle rapid increases in demand? Do you, and your service provider, have mature processes around change management, incident management and problem management?
Security–Has your environment been engineered in conjunction with security professionals? Do you and/or your service provider have mature intrusion prevention tools? Do you perform regular third party audits of your site for vulnerabilities?
Continuity–Does your site have an appropriate data backup plan? Do you have an alternate site available, if your primary site is down? Do you and your provider have a continuity plan that details how you will handle the failover to your alternate site?
There is no question that rapid introduction of new features and capabilities is necessary for firms competing in a Web 2.0 world. However, not having a basic set of well-designed operational controls is a tragedy waiting to happen. Your customers will be like cruise line passengers, lobster and champagne in hand, blissfully unaware that the ship is about to capsize.
The leveraging of technology by savvy marketing departments has been one of the key corporate story lines of the last few years. All of the major technology trends (mobile, social, cloud, big data) are enablers and drivers of marketing strategies. Whether it’s advertising, brand management, ecommerce, customer service or market intelligence, the role of the CMO is heavily intertwined with these new technologies. With all of this convergence of marketing and technology, a tight relationship between CMO and CIO seems like a natural outcome. However, a trip back in time provides some perspective on why this relationship can often be strained and under-leveraged.
Many large corporate information technology (IT) departments have their roots in a much different era. Many of these organizations got their start in the 1960’s at a time when most systems were IBM mainframes doing batch processing. Initially, most applications focused on operational or administrative functions. Classic early examples are payroll, general ledger and accounts payable. It’s important to note that most early IT departments had only internal customers. In fact, a common name for these departments was Management Information Systems (MIS). Eventually, external customers were “touched” by corporate technology through printed bills and statements, a one-way interaction.
The 1980’s saw the emergence of two technologies that allowed external customers to directly interface with corporate systems. The first, ATM’s, in addition to cash withdrawal, allowed customers to do some rudimentary account inquiries. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems offered a variety of customer service, account management and transaction capabilities via a touch-tone phone. They were a crude forerunner of the web and smart phone based apps available today. Yet despite these new technologies, the major mission of IT groups remained internally focused systems.
The emergence of the Internet in the 1990’s started to shake up the established order. In the past, IT had looked at the Marketing department as an outlier and bit player in technology. They were those quirky folks who annoyingly demanded Apple products to handle their specialized graphics requirements. Suddenly, Marketing departments were playing a strong role in “corporate computing”, looking to set the agenda around web site development, software tools and the selection of hosting providers.
In many firms, this led to a turf battle and classic culture war. Marketing departments looked at IT groups as slow, plodding and uncreative. They saw the IT technology toolset as outdated and inflexible. They saw IT’s processes as cumbersome, bureaucratic and restrictive. IT, in turn, saw Marketing teams as inexperienced, reckless “cowboys”. They believed that their tools and providers were unproven. They saw Marketing moving down a path towards compliance, security and availability issues.
In many firms an uneasy truce developed. In some cases, Marketing and IT resolved their differences and moved forward in partnership on web initiatives. In other cases, Marketing took control of these initiatives, bringing on new external partners, and jettisoning their relationship with corporate IT.
Initially, with many systems have limited customer interactivity and minimal transactional capability, hooks into back end legacy systems were unnecessary. Eventually though, the need to have access to back end systems such as order tracking and inventory management, affirmed the need for better cooperation between IT and Marketing. The explosive ascendancy of smart phone apps and social media created further requirements for cooperation, and more flash points for tension. This new world further highlighted the cultural differences between the groups, with new tools, even faster development cycles, and even greater threats. And the threats were double-edged: Threats of missed competitive opportunities and threats of brand damage from security breeches or service disruptions.
Which brings us to the present. How should forward thinking CIO’s and CMO’s align their organizations and their priorities? What are the benefits of better alignment? What’s the downside to a minimized partnership?
Unsurprisingly, I’m going to suggest that the partnership needs to be strong and supportive. In fact, in many organizations, I believe the CMO will be the most important customer for the technology organization. Many of the classic internal applications such as operational systems are mature and unlikely to provide high ROI from further investments. Customer facing systems utilizing mobile and social media represent fresh ways to build your brand, service your clients and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
So why should CMO’s care about the technology organization and their relationship with the CIO? With SaaS becoming ever more popular and mature, there is a temptation for CMO’s to “go it alone”. This represents short sighted thinking that will ultimately backfire. The sophistication of apps demanded by today’s customer typically requires even greater reliance on the data and transactional capabilities traditionally supported by corporate IT. The need to provide reliable, high-performance access to these capabilities necessitates a strong CIO-CMO partnership. Separately, there is much that IT organizations can offer to Marketing teams in the way of process maturity. They can provide guidance and support in such domains as Quality Assurance, Testing, Vendor Management, Security and Business Continuity.
Here’s the catch. Both organizations will need to recognize each other’s value and also compromise on some historical cultural tendencies. In general, IT organizations will need to speed up their cycle time and reduce their level of bureaucracy. Marketing teams will need to apply more structure and add greater process maturity to their technology related functions. The end result can be an enterprise that moves forward briskly with innovative technology that doesn’t create reputation destroying events.
Like the good marketer you are, you’ve started to pore over all of that “Big Data” you have on your customers. Not surprisingly, 20% of your customers generate 80% of your revenue. Around 80% of your customer issues are coming from 20% of your customers. In social media, 80% of mentions are positive.
The 80/20 Rule is in effect everywhere.
So, you set a strategy. Your first inclination is to pay great attention to your great customers—to keep them, nourish them, and encourage them to keep being great.
The second thing you may look at are your “worst” customers—you know, the ones who don’t buy very much and tend to be “the complainers” who suck up a lot of Customer Service time, and your Social Media staff’s daily commitment.
On the surface, they look like they’re costing you a lot of money in manpower, and not generating a lot of revenue. So, you may want to ignore them by cutting down the amount of time and attention your service reps and community managers spend dealing with their whining and complaining.
I’ve heard this argument many times. “Ignore your worst customers! Why are you spending 80% of your customer service time on your worst 20%?”
Well, I say that would be a big mistake.
With today’s giant customer megaphone called the Internet, those complainers can create a negative networked effect that can be extremely harmful. Those 20% of bad mentions on the Internet could easily turn into 80% of what people are talking about you on the web, and translate into a 80% negative perception rate—making it difficult for even your best customers to ignore. And ultimately costing you more money than the cost of the manpower to deal with them.
Let’s face it, people who are ticked off at your brand turn to the Internet to vent, and they have a giant audience to hear them. They’re like a festering wound, the more you ignore it, the worse it gets. A friend of mine is a HUGE fan of Zappos. He bought into their brand of awesome customer service, which created a halo effect onto their products and pricing. He loved everything about them. Then, the other day his shoe order was stolen. UPS said they delivered it, but there was no sign of the package. As his neighbors shrugged their shoulders when asked if they had signed for it, he began to get angry. And worse yet, Zappos customer service was “slow” to respond. He began to boil over. So, my 20-something friend took to Facebook, and started venting. By the time Zappos had gotten back to him, the damage had been done. Right? Well, not so fast. Zappos expedited another package to him to be delivered the next day, and all is better. The hateful comments were retracted, and all is right with the positive perceptions of the Zappos brand.
You see, you’re far better off over-extending your generosity—through polite behavior and even gives of service and product, to at least defuse the negative language those complainers are spewing. Set a strategy—with boundaries that allows you to efficiently handle even the most pissed off customer. Treat them with respect, and they will deliver in kind (double entendre intended).
I say pay as much attention to the 20% of your best customers, as you do the 20% who do all of the complaining.
This may sound strange, but you may need to pay as much attention to your best customers, as you do your worst.
Be kind to the 20%. They’ll return the favor.
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