December 6th, 2013
Social media helps us share our story, one follower at a time.
By Erin Isselmann, director, Global Social Marketing, Xerox
If you followed Xerox on your favorite social media account during the last few weeks, you might be our millionth follower. We had no balloons, confetti, or marching bands to commemorate this achievement, and we really don’t know who you are. But we appreciate you, and the 999,999 other followers who came before you.
Let us celebrate this moment – all one million (and more!) of us. One million followers does not seem like a big deal to everyone — we are far behind Katy Perry’s 47 million Twitter followers – but we recognize that our one million followers help us share our story. Our company has transformed, and we use our social media channels (and our followers around the world) to spread the word about the company we are today – one that is services-led and technology driven.
We fully understand that it’s people who follow us, and we like to think of ourselves as a business-to-people company. We’re connecting with decision makers at various businesses and government entities; the researchers who engage with our labs for knowledge and insight; the buyers who check our capabilities, services, and products against the competition; employees and retirees who want to keep in touch. And a few competitors who keep tabs on us. (Welcome aboard, folks!)
Thank you to all of our followers, from the very first to the most recent. We’re listening and learning from you each day.
On to two million!
October 31st, 2013
By Catrina Logan Boisson, director, Customer Communication Services, Xerox
Forget the all too familiar funnel, or Seth Godin’s megaphone or even, dare I say, the latest versions of the customer journey from McKinsey and Forrester. When I visualize today’s marketing process, I see a rock climbing wall: We all want to help our customers get to the top, but there are a multitude of pathways they can take.
Here’s how it works: If we make it easy for our customers, providing handholds and footholds along the way that take into account their climbing experience (and aversion or appetite for risk), then they will ascend to the summit in record time and become good customers and great advocates.
Put too much distance between handholds or make it too dangerous, too inconvenient or just plain counter-intuitive, and they are more likely to rappel down than keep climbing. And if that foothold you provide looks stable, but turns out to be less than secure, the lapse in trust from just one poorly timed misstep is likely to lose them forever.
This exercise forces you to think not just like chief marketing officer, but also like a chief customer officer and chief experience officer.
The reality of any organization is that marketing cannot control every touch point our customers encounter along the way, but if we don’t at least influence or get involved in the entire journey, then the work we do to convince a prospect to take the first step is wasted.
Marketers must reach across their organizations to ensure that the footholds and handholds managed by customer service, sales, call center, point of sale, and operations are laid out with the customers in mind, not the needs of our own organizational silos.
What does that mean, practically speaking? It means making sure that:
- Your bill statement inspires action (pay this amount by this date); not confusion (what do I owe?)
- Your in-store shelf-tags are in sync with the Sunday circular.
- Sales teams and product marketers are armed with tools that make it easy to create collateral that is both on target and on brand.
- Call center agents not only know what promotions you’re offering, they can actually access the mailer your customers are holding in their hands.
- Your website knows whether your customer already owns the product being upsold at checkout.
- Customer service can tap into and easily join the conversation customers are having about your brand on social media.
Easier said than done? Definitely. Worth the effort? I’ll race you to the top.
This post originally appeared on Forbes.
September 17th, 2013
By Jill Morton, color psychologist and branding expert
- Three colors is the best number to use in single document.
- One color grabs less attention than two; more than four detracts from message.
- Yellow and black attracts more attention than any other color combination.
A Blue Text Worth $80 Million
The right color can be worth $80 million – at least that’s what’s been said about search engine Bing’s blue link. A few years ago, Microsoft ’s research team found that blue engaged people the most, so they tested various shades of blue in user groups – and determined that Bing’s previous shade of blue (a paler hue) lacked confidence. So, instead of reinventing the color wheel they used a shade of blue quite similar to the one used by Google. Based on user feedback, it is estimated Bing’s blue could generate $80 million to $90 million in advertising sales.
How to Find the Right Colors
To avoid the mistake of letting personal taste dictate color choice, there are three steps to determine the best color to improve retention, productivity and generate significant financial returns:
- Analyze the timeless psychological effects of a color. This is easier than it sounds. Start by thinking about the evolutionary roots of a color – the context of a color before civilization introduced contemporary meanings. For example, if you are creating a document about your company’s financial growth, green is a strategic choice because it was first associated with thriving vegetation and renewal. A document designed to convince customers that your company is trusted and dependable should incorporate blue — the color of the sky – the one constant in our life.
- Evaluate the traditional colors used in your business sector. The best way to do this is to make a list of well-known businesses or products in your area and review their color choices in logos and marketing pieces. Once you have some basic color use facts, consider whether these colors are overused. Next , focus on your target customers. Are your customers more conservative and therefore more receptive to the traditional colors? Can a radically different color palette inject new life into your business communication? Take this research into consideration when selecting your color choice.
- Consider an acceptable color alternative or a shift away from traditional colors. Some of the largest brands have made bold color choices. For example, look at H&R Block. It’s worth noting that H&R Block’s green broke the blue tradition for financial institutions and signaled a forward-thinking brand and fresh approach to their market. If you want to apply this to your business, consider whether a radical color will successfully communicate to your targeted audience. In some cases, “fun” colors – such as hot pink – might work to call attention to an upcoming sale or event, but if you take it too far, “shock and awe” colors might backfire.
Color accents are another way to achieve a distinct compelling color strategy.FedEx is a great branding example that demonstrates an understanding of timeless symbolism, alternatives and accents. The company selected a traditional green for their ground services and distinct red/orange for their faster and more powerful express services.
By keeping these three steps in mind, you’ll uncover a color logic that works for your business.
Remember, a little color shift or accent can have a powerful effect and could be your million dollar color.
This post originally appeared on Forbes.
August 27th, 2013
By Jon Levine, vice president, Global Experiential Marketing, Xerox
It’s late August – the weather is hot, back-to-school fervor is in full swing, and beaches are crowded. But for those of us in Global Experiential Marketing, it’s US Open season! As a partner and provider to the USTA, and as a tennis fan, I want to make sure we are doing everything possible to promote the world-class tennis taking place in Queens this year, and to ensure the fans and players get what they came for.
In our third year of partnership, we’re continuing to help the US Open work faster and better, simplifying their communications processes so they can deliver the best, highest-attended, annual sporting event worldwide. As their official document technology and services provider, we are helping the USTA in two key ways – first by networking printer communications for their staff and the press, allowing tournament organizers and media to focus on moving the matches forward. Second, Xerox continues to manage the production of the US Open daily draw sheet, a fan’s guide to all the action happening on a given day. By helping to produce and deliver 10,000 issues to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center each morning, Xerox helps ensure a great fan experience during each of the 26 sessions.
This year, we are excited to participate in a brand new initiative, the US Open Social Wall which will prompt fans to generate content and share it on a 50 ft. wide plasma-screen wall on the tennis center grounds. Photos shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will appear on this wall, giving fans the opportunity to see themselves in larger-than-life proportions, to exchange ideas and to engage with each other and with Xerox. The content will also appear online for those enjoying the tennis from home. Whether you are coming to the Open or connecting from home, I encourage you to join in our conversation by following us on @XeroxEvents and sending us your photos using #whyilovetennis for a chance to appear on the Social Wall. Visit www.xerox.com/usopen to learn more.
For those that are coming out to Flushing, we are thrilled to partner with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) in celebration of its 40th Anniversary. As you may know, the start of the season marked out first year of global partnership with the WTA, and it’s fantastic that we’re able to work with both of our tennis partners simultaneously. We’ll snap fans’ photos right then and there with our Twitter Mirror and upload them straight away to the US Open Social Wall.
All in all, I think this is going to be our best year ever at the Open, not least because of the incredible tennis. With all we are doing to help the USTA, and all of the great enhancements we are serving up for fans, I’m proud that we are engaging the tennis world at both ends of the spectrum and I can’t wait to hear the chair umpire kick off the first match – “Ready, Play.”
August 1st, 2013
By Christa Carone, chief marketing officer, Xerox
In my last post, I called out examples of marketers including Nissan, Pepsi and the Standard that are getting it right when it comes to creating brand content, and shared a few ways we’re repositioning the Xerox brand and through content, like the launch of HealthBizDecoded.com, a new web hub we created for people in the business of healthcare. Wearing the hat of publisher is a major shift in the way we traditionally approach marketing and communications. Change is never easy and every day we’re learning what works and what doesn’t. Most of all we’re willing to experiment, to fail and to try again – all with the objective to shift legacy perceptions of Xerox and associate our story with content that connects. A few of our takeaways:
Know your purpose. Decide what you want to achieve with your branded content and how it ladders up to your big- picture marketing strategy. Are you there to inform, educate, entertain? Purpose will vary from brand to brand, but what’s most important is that what you do is believable and relevant—and it doesn’t sell to your audience.
The New York Stock Exchange nails this. At 225 years old, the NYSE is impressively embracing new brand journalism with its magazine-like site The Big Stage. Its purpose is to inform and inspire and it certainly does that for me, as an investor and an executive looking to freshen up another legacy brand. With great visuals, profiles, and Q& As featuring NYSE-listed companies and their executives, The Big Stage gives readers a more personal way into financial news beyond the stock ticker. This makes this long-lived brand more relevant than ever.
Be relevant to your audience. Speaking of relevance, it’s important to ask who will receive and care about your content. What are their concerns and why should they care what a marketer has to say? Adobe’s CMO.com, a site aimed at informing senior marketing executives, has relevance down to a science. Editors curate top stories daily from leading business and marketing trade publications, in addition to publishing original, interviews and thought pieces. This smart content is spot-on for my peers and me and makes CMO.com an important part of our daily media diet.
Create quality content. Branded content showcases thought leadership. So how do we differentiate our brands in an increasingly commoditized world? By demonstrating our expertise and engaging our audience in a way that is accessible and brand-authentic.
McDonald’s Canada does a nice job of this with its “Our Food Your Questions” site, where the company answers consumer questions like “what kind of beef do you use to make beef patty?” and “do you use any filler on your chicken nuggets?” The site demonstrates that McDonald’s is transparent and credible.
Tap seasoned editorial talent. There’s a lot of chatter about the brand “newsroom” but it’s absolutely essential to think like a publisher with an editor leading the way. We’ve tapped a former journalist—a former AP staffer— to oversee a team of writers and videographers to run our content sites. It’s still early days but we’ve directed our editor to approach the role with a tough but fair eye.
Being nimble is important, too. Former journalists know how to react quickly to breaking news and events. I wouldn’t be surprised if a former journalist was part of the Oreo team that seized the moment during the Super Bowl with that attention-grabbing “You can still dunk in the dark” Tweet.
Share content widely. This is one of those – duh, but of course–tips. Yet, an important reminder to share and share alike across all of your owned media – and to give it extra pushes through paid and earned. If it’s really great content, don’t you want it everyone to enjoy it? For example, Procter & Gamble got more mileage out of its “Best Job” Olympic campaign featuring mothers of Olympic athletes by releasing video snippets of the effort on YouTube well before the launch of the broader campaign. Forrester says 45 million people watched the videos.
Creating purposeful, relevant content with a seasoned editor who knows quality and understands distribution is key to succeeding as a content marketer. And, speaking of success, figure out how you’re measuring it. Stick with your goals. And, if you’re not meeting them, be like any good editor. Find a new angle and a different way of telling the story.
This post originally appeared on Forbes.
July 26th, 2013
By Christa Carone, chief marketing officer, Xerox
What’s the latest shiny object in the marketer’s toolkit? Branded content…or native advertising…or brands as publishers. Whatever you call it—and even though it has been around for decades– content marketing is certainly enjoying a star turn in 2013. I suspect that the red carpet won’t wear out soon for this approach to connecting brands with their audiences in more personal and authentic ways. Forrester Research reports that 79 percent of marketers plan to generate branded content this year.
As I tend to do, I’ve become an avid student of all that’s happening in the content marketing space. I pay close attention to when brands are engaging me through content. That’s one of the downsides to being a CMO; we are always sniffing out marketing that happens to us. Often, I notice what’s working more than what’s not. Then, I have those “damn, why didn’t we think of that?” moments. (And my team cringes because they get an email saying the same thing).
Here are some marketing moments that are prompting those a-ha moments for me:
It started with a Nissan-sponsored post that wasn’t selling me a car or truck, but rather serving up relevant content about endurance sports, timed nicely to the marathon I was about to run. In video interviews veteran marathon runners, including Kara Goucher, and Shalane Flanagan, share helpful tips on cross training and nutrition. Flanagan even confides “13 Things I Hate About Running” in a blog post. (I could add at least five more to the list…and, the “Things I Love About Running” list too.)
Besides cutting through my content clutter with information that is well produced, the material is a natural fit for Nissan, a brand popular among athletes and totally aligned with its Innovation for Endurance communication platform (yes, @Nissan, I picked up on that). No wonder its Facebook page, a place for runners to connect, has nearly 138,000 “likes.” And, look at me! I’m talking about it in a blog post and serving as an advocate for Nissan. Truth be told: I don’t own a Nissan but I’m open to considering one next time around. Looks like my bike will fit well in the back of a Pathfinder.
Pepsi is another marketer that can teach us all how creativity and content delivers off- the-chart engagement. Its Pepsi MAX’s branded viral hit, “Test Drive”—in it, a disguised Jeff Gordon takes an unsuspecting used car salesman on a thrilling ride—has been viewed more than 36 million times.
Good news for small marketers: Good content can make shoestring marketers look “big.” Take Standard Culture, a magazine-like web site that features cool doers and doings in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami—cities where The Standard Hotel, the content creator, has properties. Think Vanity Fair meets Time Out. I’m not the target reader but, as a marketer, I like to think I could be hip enough to become one of their guests.
I’m certainly inspired to put some of these tricks to work as Xerox expands its content marketing initiatives. Our crystal-clear objective: shifting legacy perceptions of the Xerox brand. No surprise to us, we know what you’re thinking when you see, hear, or read the name Xerox. That’s ok. We like being the leaders in the printing business. But, just as important, Xerox now gets 55 percent of its revenue from a growing services business – and we need to strengthen our brand association with key areas of expertise in services, like health care, financial services, transportation, education, and more. Content marketing is a logical place to make that happen.
Consider HealthBizDecoded.com, a web hub for people in the business of healthcare. Our goal is to help people who work in the administrative and operational areas of running health care practices (IT, claims processing, electronic medical records, etc.) better understand, distill and simplify the complex changes in healthcare. Recent articles on the site include a piece on mobile apps—or chronic disease care “on the go”–the future of long-term care, and gamification in healthcare.
No one will compare our content to Vanity Fair, nor should they. This content is specific to a niche audience. One we know and one that we want to get to know us better. As we build content specific for their unique business interests, we’ll integrate this information into other ways we engage with this important audience. Research shows that up to 70 percent of purchase decisions in the B2B space are made before suppliers are contacted. That means we must reach those folks while they are in their “information-gathering, getting smart about decision-making” mode to ensure we’re considered a credible and relevant partner.
There is a lot to learn in the content marketing movement. It’s a seismic shift away from traditional – but who’s to say what’s traditional anymore? This is the new normal. That’s why, like those Nissan-sponsored runners, we aim to go the distance. In my next post, I’ll share the guidelines we’re following on our path.
This post originally appeared on Forbes.
July 15th, 2013
By Catrina Logan Boisson, director, Customer Communications, Communication & Marketing Services, Xerox
At a gathering of marketing executives earlier this year, a persistent topic of conversation was the changing role of the CMO and the marketing organization at large. Increased focus on the customer and access to a deluge of data have begun to reposition marketing as a strategic business enabler, rather than a service organization. And this change may also contribute to the increasing longevity of the CMO − at the same conference, it was revealed that research now places the tenure of the average CMO at 45 months rather than the oft-quoted 23.
However, with every opportunity, comes a challenge. Just as a new title seldom makes old responsibilities disappear, the work that has historically comprised the “service” side of marketing still needs to get done by someone. Customer communications, promotional campaigns, point-of-sale materials and sales collateral still need to move out the door and across channels efficiently and effectively. And the pressure to deliver year-over-year savings and measurable results remains a priority.
So how does the new CMO as strategic enabler find the time to focus on what really matters today, without dropping the ball on yesterday’s to-do list? Delegation is one obvious answer, but with most organizations forced to do more with less, does it really make sense to have scarce staff resources tangled up in marketing execution? Or is their time better spent focused on strategy, increasing customer understanding and making sure every touch point is an opportunity for increased engagement?
Another possible solution is the “decoupling” of marketing execution from marketing strategy. Just as the agency world has begun to see a decoupling of production from ideation in order to drive savings and global efficiencies, internal marketing organizations can consider outsourcing those parts of the marketing value chain that are not viewed as critical to moving the business forward. The strategy behind “what needs to get done” stays in house but responsibility for timely execution shifts to the shoulders of a trusted partner.
Smart companies are already making those changes. One major financial services company outsourced the end-to-end executional workflow for all of their marketing collaterals – from letters and plan documents to regulatory notices and sales collateral. The combination of people, process and technology that the partnership introduced made the hand-off of projects from the client and their agencies seamless, simplified proofing and approvals with collaborative tools, enforced strict adherence to brand standards across the organization, and enabled new levels of personalization. The result? A decrease in turnaround times and double digit savings to fund future innovation or improve the bottom line. Just as important? The in-house marketing team now has more bandwidth to focus on building their brand and growing their customer base. Everyone wins.
This post originally appeared on Forbes.