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Telecoms: When is a rate not a rate?

Have you had this experience?

You thought you agreed a rate per minute with your service provider for your most used call types.

When you get your monthly invoice, you sum up the total charges for each of your commonly used call types, and sum up the total minutes for each call type, then you divide total charges for each call type by total minutes for each call type to get average charge per minute.

You notice the average charge per minute for each call type is a lot higher than the rates you thought you had agreed with your service provider.

You lodge a dispute with your service provider, but the service provider rejects your dispute on the grounds the invoice charges are correctly calculated in accordance with the agreement you signed with them.

You are pointed to the fine print in your agreement which states calls are rated and billed in 60 second increments.

This means if a call has a duration of 13 seconds, it is rated and billed as if it had a duration of 60 seconds. Likewise, if a call has a duration of 61 seconds, it is rated and billed as if it had a duration of 120 seconds.

This is one example of the type of pitfalls telecommunications service providers bury in their terms and conditions to confuse their customers.

A TEM professional has the knowledge and experience to make sure you are not blind-sided by devices like this. We read the fine print to ensure you have no surprises when the bills come in.

Would you like a no-obligation audit of your existing ANZ telecom contracts and how you can reduce your overall telecommunication costs? Contact us today.

Beware of LNP – There’s a Catch!

LNP stands for Local Number Portability. You will run into LNP if you want to change from one access provider network to another network but keep your existing telephone numbers.

The public network is a network of interconnected networks. To enable a calling party to be successfully connected to a called party, the public network switches need to be configured to route calls to the called party’s current access provider network.

If a customer changes access providers, and wants to retain the same telephone number, the public network switches need to be re-configured to commence routing calls to the customer’s new access provider. LNP refers to the process of changing access provider and re-configuring the network switches to ensure the customer continues to receive calls on the same telephone number.

So far so good, but what is the catch?

Broadly speaking, there are two types of industry solutions for number portability. One type is based on some form of call forwarding set up in the network switches. The other type is based on a central industry database where every call dips into the central database to find out which network the called party is on so the call can be correctly routed.

In Australia, fixed voice operates on a call forwarding type of LNP solution. Mobile number portability operates on a central industry database type of solution.

Call forwarding solutions are inferior to central industry database solutions because they tend to be very manual, slow, error prone and expensive for customers.

The typical charge to port one PSTN number is $7.27, and for an ISDN 100 number range the charge is $763.64. The actual charges depend on which service provider is involved, the quantity of numbers being ported, the complexity of the port and whether the port is undertaken during business hours or after hours. In the business market it is common for customers to have hundreds of PSTN numbers, and multiple 100 number ranges so the charges can be substantial.

The claimed intention of LNP charges is to recover the administrative cost of undertaking the porting process. The charges are substantial at least in part because of the cumbersome nature of the current industry solution.

A extra layer of confusion can arise when the customer’s current supply contract is with a reseller.

Let’s say the customer originally acquired services from carrier A. Then the customer changed supplier to a reseller B, who is a reseller of carrier A services, but also offers their own network services. Let’s say the customer’s services are initially transferred to reseller B via a billing churn. Then if the customer’s services are ported to reseller B’s network, carrier A will bill LNP charges on the wholesale bill sent to reseller B. Reseller B may then rebill the charges to the customer. The customer can be forgiven for being confused.

What are the take outs from all this?

It seems reasonable to impute an anti-competitive motivation because the high LNP charges to raise the customer’s cost of changing access network provider.

If the industry was truly competitive action would be taken to implement a better, more economical solution.

Customers need to be aware of LNP and the associated costs so they can effectively deal with it in negotiations with carriers and service providers. In short, the customer should require the gaining supplier to absorb the LNP costs.

For issues like LNP the services of a knowledgeable, independent TEM consultant can be invaluable. Would you like a no-obligation audit of your existing contracts and how you can reduce your overall telecommunication costs? Contact us today.

The market is HOT – are you doing everything you can to reach potential sellers?

Media home sale prices have increased 13% from 2019 to $319,178. Active listings fell 28% from 2019 to the all-time low and almost half of the home listed on the market are accepting offers within two weeks on the market. 

As we have heard from many real estate brokers and agents, it’s not the issue of finding buyers, it’s the limited access to sellers. Door to door is not feasible given the pandemic to inform homeowners of their real estate selling potential and tech is the way to go to engage these prospects. But how do you attract on-the-edge homeowners to sell their home? Data, metrics and social media are more important than ever, especially given current circumstances to help reach people and ListingLogic has the answer to getting all of these items under one, easy to use platform. We help realtors use social media to list their properties using a virtual showroom in which the REALTORs are able to communicate with potential buyers and sellers, all through Facebook and Instagram. It’s a cloud-based, programmatic ad tech platform to deliver cost-effective results with automation on Facebook. 

Need some more convincing? Reach out to us today and let us walk you through a plan to increase your buyer and seller leads in a painless and highly-effective way. 

What Gaming Can Teach Us About Digital Marketing: Part 3

If you’ve been following along with these posts so far, you’ll have everything you need to know to get started on your DnD or digital marketing campaign. Now that your campaign is running, it’s time to get to the “real” work. Your campaign isn’t just set and forget it, you need to constantly monitor your customers and players and how they’re interacting with your content and moving from encounter to encounter. In this post, we’ll talk about how to stay on your toes during your campaign and between sessions.

Your People

“Your audience is people” is a phrase that many marketers and DMs need to hear more often. When you review your campaign’s performance you’re often faced with a wall of numbers and, if you’re lucky, graphs. And it’s easy to fall into thinking about your campaign as a list of subsequent percentages. I know I do that all the time. Just because you planned and laid out everything perfectly, doesn’t mean that everything will work out. Getting down to the minutiae of your platforms and persona will get you most of the way there, but you can’t forget that every person who interacts with your campaign will have their own wants and expectations that may not match your outline. For example, let’s say a customer clicks on an ad to visit your landing page but leaves before converting.

  • Maybe they read through the landing page and decided what you were offering wasn’t right for them.
  • Maybe they looked at the form and thought you were asking for too much information up front.
  • Maybe they clicked on your ad accidentally, and quickly closed the tab without looking.
  • Maybe the content of the landing page didn’t quite match the content of the ad and it turned out they weren’t interested anyway.
  • Maybe they clicked to your landing page, fully ready to convert, but their internet was cut off by sharks chewing undersea cables (again).

Some of these are things we can adjust in our campaign strategy; some of them are out of our control. And even with the best measurement tools, some of these possibilities are unexplorable: Google Analytics doesn’t have a “Bounce because Sharks” metric.

When playing DnD, it’s easy to sit and ask your players what’s working and what’s not for them and their gameplay experience. But if your marketing campaign is going out to hundreds of thousands of people every day, you won’t have the ability to reach out to everyone who engages. Alternatively, if you have an opportunity for people to reach out to you, during your campaign, you can create these personal engagements. Now, we know from experience that the only people who will reach out to you unprompted are those who either really want your business or really don’t, those without strong feelings tend to hold back. But the opportunity for potential customers to reach out to you (presumably a real person) is always a good option for your campaigns. 

When it comes to email campaigns in particular, many platforms allow you to personalize your communication. While on the surface, this seems to solve the whole “your audience is people” issue, it can be a double edged sword. Before our intervention, one of our clients would place their customer’s name in big, bold letters at the top of their marketing emails. As a customer, I would see this as even less personal than not having my name on the email at all. When personalizing your emails, take a hint from the emails you send to your own team and clients. Do you include a greeting at the top or just a name? Do you sign off with your full name? With a full signature? As far as formatting goes, how much do you play with fonts and layout in your day-to-day emails? You can make your email campaigns personal by constructing them the same way you construct your one-on-one emails. In some cases, a big flashy email with bright-colored photos and giant text may be the best option. But don’t be afraid to dial it back to a simple paragraph sandwiched between names; even if it’s a mass email, those will feel more intimate to your customers. We have plenty of email tips and practices that we can share with you, later. This is just a reminder that treating your audience as people, instead of just numbers can go a long way.

Improvise at the Right Time

My favorite part about roleplaying games is the improv, hands down. But it’s only fun when the players are the ones improvising. When the DM is flipping through his manuals and calculating stats during the game, it can really drag the game down and the players disengage almost immediately. The same goes for your marketing campaigns. Everything in your campaign, every interaction, every followup, every asset, every word of copy, should be finalized before you hit start any campaign. We’ve found, when taking on clients, that anything that can go wrong on a campaign will go wrong, and you will be left interrupting your campaign to make fixes and adjustments, meanwhile wasting valuable time and potentially ad spend. This especially applies to platforms like social media where you can’t change content after it’s published. If you have to change something in that case, you’ll easily annoy your customers (see the section about repetition above). During your campaign’s run is the worst possible time to improvise. And since everything leading up to the launch of your campaign is researched and planned, any changes you make should be equally planned.

But that doesn’t mean that there’s no good time to improvise. In fact, the best time to improvise is during the planning stage. In DnD, the worst DMs are the ones that stick to the books or the premade stories and don’t stray from the source material. The best DMs are the ones that can integrate player feedback into their campaigns, but also take the time to do it properly. The digital landscape is constantly changing, so you won’t be able to keep up or stand out if you’re constantly following the rules, or even the trends. Many marketing platforms integrate a/b testing and even for those that don’t support it natively, you can easily compare data yourself. Use the testing tools to try new things, even things you may not think possible at first. Remember, your customers are not a number and neither are you. If you think something would grab your attention, odds are it’ll grab your customer’s attention too. While not everything you do has to be prescribed by numbers, just like any DM, you can’t ignore the numbers either. The numbers are your results, so if they say something is working, it probably is. If the numbers say something isn’t working, it probably isn’t. But you can use those results to be creative and enhance your future campaigns.

Going Contactless: Prepare For Unexpected Expenses

Post-pandemic, many businesses are looking for ways to go as contactless as possible – retailers and restaurants are offering curbside pickup, online ordering is becoming more robust and technology like virtual assistants and robotics is taking the place of in-person interactions.

As part of their planning, Chuck E. Cheese – whose parent company, C.E.C. Entertainment, recently filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy – is planning to re-implement eTickets when they re-emerge. The only problem? They have 7 billion, or approximately 65 cargo containers full, of paper prize tickets on hand.

Here’s what they said in their court filing:

“As a result of the unprecedented and rapid falloff in sales and resulting decline in the debtors’ use of Prize Tickets caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the debtors’ need for prize tickets dramatically diminished, causing a buildup of prize tickets at various stages throughout the debtors’ supply chain as the debtors had placed orders and planned for prize ticket utilization on historic run rates based on pre-COVID levels,” the company said in court documents. “This issue was further advanced as a result of the debtors’ need to accelerate the implementation of electronic tickets (eTickets) and discontinue use of the paper prize tickets at all company-owned Chuck E. Cheese entertainment venues.”

The cost to destroy the paper tickets is estimated at $2 million, but that’s considerably less than the $9 million in prizes they’d have to hand out if those paper tickets weren’t securely disposed of and ended up in the hands of consumers who redeemed them.

We applaud their decision to implement a convenient, contactless payment system. This memorable tale can serve as a lesson to all business considering new, consumer-friendly, digital processes – you’ve definitely got sunk costs related to your old ways. But, when you look at your bottom line, the transformation will be worth it.

What Gaming Can Teach Us About Digital Marketing: Part 2

In the previous blog post, we discussed the mindset you need to have when defining your audience: your setting and your characters. This understanding will provide an overarching shape to your campaign and, once you have that in place, you can get into the specifics. As we move forward to the more granular plans for your campaign (be it gaming or marketing), keep in mind what we talked about in the last post. Both marketers and dungeon masters (DMs) keep binders (or digital folders) full of their research and constantly refer back to it when planning and implementing their campaign.

Encounters

We’re still far from launching the campaign, but we still need to plan out every step that your players/customers are going to take. This is often overlooked by marketers and DMs, but it’s essential to any successful campaign. It’s not enough to plan out the first step, alone: I’m going to have my characters wake up in a tavern and see what they decide to do from there (cliche, I know); I’m going to put this one ad on LinkedIn and see where it goes from there (cliches come from somewhere). Before you start the campaign, you need to plan (if possible) all the way through to the end. Both tabletop and marketing campaigns are made up of encounters: interactions between you and your players/customers. This can take the form of fights between your players and enemies, social media posts or ads, conversations with friendly NPCs, emails and newsletters, solving a puzzle, visiting a website or landing page, the list goes on. When planning an encounter, the easy part is just to come up with the initial interaction: your players meet a river troll (roll initiative); you send your customers an email (also roll initiative). But a successful campaign plan includes all parts of the encounter.

What weapons/armor will your players encounter?What content will your customers encounter?
Why is your troll fighting against your players?Why are you showing this to your customers?
What loot will the troll drop?What will your customers gain from this experience?
What about experience points?What will being your customers back?

Will your customers/players learn something that they can apply later? Will they want to convert after reading it? Will they enquire for more information? A good campaign plan includes all this information. As people are becoming more inundated with digital advertisements in our everyday life, less is more but meaning is most. Once you have a plan of what you’re making and what your customers will gain from it, then you can create meaningful content.

This is also the place where marketers and DMs need to put their own wants on the backburner. Sure we may have learned about a great new innovation in our field or something weird and sinister in the Monster Manual, and we get excited and want to share it. But when creating a campaign, specifically, your focus needs to be on what the customers want and what they will get out of it. Giving your audience what they want is the primary focus, but that doesn’t mean you have to ignore what excites you or your company. Sometimes you can convince the customer that they want something as well. While this can take more time, you can use your encounters to fulfill this purpose. Your level one players may not be ready to take on a full-sized dragon, but an interaction with some villagers who had their homes destroyed by the local beast may inspire your players to move toward that goal. Likewise, your customers may not be ready for the latest update you have to offer, but carefully placed educational campaigns can help get them there in the long run. Remember, the end result to most digital campaigns is not a transaction; your customers won’t always walk away with something tangible but, if you prioritize the customer in your campaign, they’ll almost always walk away with something. And that something can bring them back to you, so make sure your customers are getting something out of your interactions.

Calls to Action

What’s just as important as encounters is how they are linked and how players and customers get from one to the next. We’ve all seen the “Customer Journey” funnel, but what we tend to forget is that it’s not a normal funnel: customers don’t just fall through when you dump them into the top, they need to be pushed through every interaction to reach the next level. Just like in games, your characters need a motivation to get from one encounter to the next. You can’t send a horde of goblins to attack their wagon and expect them to follow their trail to the goblin lair, just like you can’t expect to send an email to potential customers and expect them to convert on their own. Both scenarios rely on calls to action. But calls to action aren’t always as obvious as an NPC with a yellow exclamation point over their head or a big, colorful button that says “Click Here to Learn More”. Those simply act as a doorway for your audience to walk through, the real CTA is in the content of your encounter itself. Slicing through a sea of sewer rats can be just as boring as slicing through a sea of promotional emails, not just because it’s monotonous but because it’s supremely impersonal. Since you’ve already defined your audience and the environment that you’re in (thanks for following along in real-time, by the way), you can use this information to tailor your content to them directly. Take a look at the following CTAs:

  • “Learn how [our service] can help your team work together”
  • “Learn how [our service] can help your team be more efficient”
  • “Learn how [our service] can help your team save on costs”

They look the same, and they function pretty much the same, but they appeal to widely different audiences. Once you understand what your audience is looking for, you’ll be able to tailor your content to help push them to the next level.

Every encounter is made up of micro CTAs that you need to consider: the subject line should push your customer to open your email, the header and hero image of your email should push your customers to the content of your email, the content should push your customers to the next step, and so on. It can be easy, as a marketer, to create content for the sake of content; keep the pipeline open so someone can come through. It’s even easier, as a customer, to ignore content that doesn’t appeal to you. So make sure that your audience is engaged, every step of the way.

Reusing content

Creating a campaign, especially one that lasts a while can be exhausting. It’s a constant cycle of analysis, creation, analysis, creation, analysis, creation. It can be 

The two greatest forces that work against campaigns, both in games and marketing, are disinterest and repetition. Even if you’re repeating the same message, for example advertising the product across multiple channels, there are things you can do to break up the repetition. And by monitoring the interaction and engagement of your audience, you can see what works and what should be modified. But that doesn’t mean what works will always work. Every success is an opportunity to try something new. If your campaign is successful, take a look at all the encounters. What had the most engagement? Where did people drop off (people always drop off)? It may be enticing to say “this piece worked, so let’s just do it again” but from the customer perspective, they’ll say “I’ve already seen this.” And maybe they’ll cave and engage with the content, but more likely they’ll be annoyed and ignore it. Instead, try to take what you’ve learned from your interactions and hone in on your customer.

Once you have all this in mind, you’re ready to start creating your campaign. Time to pull out the snacks, your lucky d20, and your Google Analytics tab and get started. Remember, you want to do as much planning as possible before the campaign actually starts. Any changes you make during your campaign may confuse your customers or your players. Besides, you’ve spent enough time on the planning, you may as well stick with what you have. There will be plenty of opportunity to make changes in the future. Next week, we’ll get into analyzing your campaign and how to plan for the future.

Big data and AI is the go-to to interact with potential real estate clients

Real estate is poppin. It’s a sellers’ market, and real estate brokers, agents, and investors are working overtime to make deals happen. The pandemic has turned traditional marketing tactics upside down since many in the field would host face-to-face meetings, events, and showings. 

Because of this market shift in how homes are now found and shown, some of the most successful brokerages have deeply invested in tech for their firms and to connect with potential buyers and sellers. You are probably already familiar with many of these marketing-related tools like software for 3D virtual tours and for hosting virtual open houses and showings. But behind the scenes, virtual operations, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis are driving the real estate industry. 

One emerging area we see developing is the use of big data for more accurate property valuations. My neighborhood is a hot area for buyers, and it was only on the market for less than 24 hours when I saw it. (From list to accepting my offer was approximately 36 hours.) It was priced fairly, accurately, and the listing agent compared market trends to make my listing HOT. This type of data is important both for sellers to price their properties accurately, and for buyers to know when to make a full-price offer and when a lower offer might be appropriate, especially when time may be of the essence.

Another trend is providing deep insights into specific properties. A detailed and complex list of previous insurance claims and permits, neighborhood details including home values, crime rates, school districts and performance levels, demographics and proximity to fire stations, emergency rooms, and sinkholes are a must to know. 

There is also a developing trend in predicting consumer behavior to get listings before the homeowner even realizes they’re ready to make a change. According to RISMedia “Data analysis is more than reactive; it can also be predictive. Tracking mortgage payments and home equity, and matching that information with the age of a home and how long the owner has lived there, can help agents recognize when someone might be getting ready to sell. Data can be used to analyze potential leads and increase the probability of higher quality leads.”

The last trend: model building performance for investors. When I purchased my home, I knew this was going to be a place I lived for 3-5 years and then rent it out for the next 10+ years and then sell it – it’d be a safety net, go towards the retirement fund or a college fund for possible future child(ren). I did research on rental rates, vacancy rates, and bigger trend information. I paid attention to the cars in the driveways and the maintenance of the grounds to determine that this property was the best fit I was looking for. This was a very manual process – especially for investors with multiple homes, analyzing and tracking the market data and predicting trends is better done with intelligent software. 

A commonality for these four trends are the fact that many in the real estate space have seen dramatic shifts in the way they market, keep investors and potential clients engaged and informed, and have built big data new methods of analysis to simplify the process and focus on the bigger picture: building healthy and long term relationships with their clients. 

What Drove Brand Switching During COVID-19?

A recent McKinsey and Company study evaluated the many forces that impacted brand choice and brand loyalty during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an eye toward what would work for brands now in the “new normal” and in the near future in the “next normal.”

You’ve probably read a lot about customer experience driving brand loyalty, but their chart on what inspired customers to switch brands in several countries is very interesting:

Lower prices are always relevant. But even more important in three of four countries (and almost as important in the US) was the need to show real value. Customers are carefully assessing whether a product shows a real benefit that merits the price.

Several of the other factors that were important also show a trend – toward corporate responsibility and stewardship. Consumers rewarded companies that had repurposed part of their production lines to support COVID-19 efforts, perhaps making face masks or ventilators. They also actively sought out brands that were making visible efforts to support their employees.

Overall, these factors show a more thoughtful process going into consumers’ purchase decisions – looking for real value in their purchases and for companies that rallied to support essential workers as well as their own personnel. We expect to see this move to value and responsibility to continue to be a driving factor in customer loyalty – and this study shows these values can also contribute to customer acquisition.

What Gaming Can Teach Us About Digital Marketing: Part 1

Any start-up will tell you: make your job your passion. Unfortunately, I had a passion from before I had this job, something that I continue once the sun goes down. But, much like those “entrepreneur” Instagram posts will tell you, my passion and my job aren’t completely separate. In fact, there’s a lot that I’ve learned from my years of being a Dungeon Master that I’ve since applied to digital marketing.

A Dungeons and Dragons campaign is functionally the same as a digital marketing campaign when you break it down. Your Playable Characters (PCs) are your customers, your Non-Playable Characters (NPCs) are your ads, your emails, and anything else that interacts with those customers. But it doesn’t stop there. As a Dungeon Master (DM) you need to plan for every possible choice your PCs make. And while a healthy dose of improvisation is necessary for any good campaign (tabletop or marketing) the true success comes from careful and thorough planning. Before you even start the campaign, you need to carefully plan the entire trajectory, from beginning to end. Some campaigns, if successful may result in add-ons and spinoffs in the future, but when you get started, plan for a single campaign with a definite endpoint. In both gaming and digital marketing, planning on continuing “forever” is both a waste of time and resources, and you’ll run yourself and your players/customers ragged. So, plan for a single campaign. If your customers like you, and they want more (and you’ll know if they want more) you can plan a continuation, but we’ll talk about that later.

The Setting

The basis for any good roleplaying game is going to be the setting: where are your players now and where do you want them to be? Most games start off in a single village with one mysterious and troublesome dungeon nearby, they’re heavily localized. In the same way, digital advertising is also moving to small scale, local “adventures”, with 46% of all searches staying local (according to Go Gulf). But it’s not just the geographic location you need to worry about when you plan a campaign, there’s a lot that goes along with it, including language, culture, and local customs. For example, if your campaign is in multiple languages, make sure your content is localized (or localised) to the audience, instead of just translated. When our client Pickles expanded into Southeast Asia, we had to delay their launch campaigns in order to get their emails and landing pages localized into Bahasa Malaysia and dialectical Chinese; since the content was originally written in Australian English, we had to make sure that the language resonated with locals across the sea, and Google Translate can’t compete with local speakers (yet).

You also need to consider the digital “setting” when planning out your campaign. Social media functions differently from display ads, email newsletters function differently from email reminders. The “geography” of the digital space needs to be considered, as well as the language and the culture of each platform. While doing recent competitor research for a number of our clients, we found lots of examples of recycled content that outline the disparity between these internet settings: the same content performed wildly differently depending on which social media platform it was posted on. During this research, we found that news about a recent merger or acquisition performed better on LinkedIn than the same content on Instagram. A link to a blog post about emerging technologies fared better on Twitter with the right hashtags than it did on Facebook.

In DnD, the setting informs the rest of the campaign: you’re not going to find a car to drive during the golden age of piracy, and dwarves tend not to deal with credit cards. That should be the case for your digital marketing strategy, as well. Instead of creating content and just throwing it out into the digital universe, you should cater your content to the place where your customers will interact with them. You need to pair your intentions with the intentions of your platform. YouTube (and Google as a whole) is designed to keep users on their platform, so while it may be a great place for people to find your videos, you can’t expect them to convert on your website. Of course, most campaigns span multiple platforms, so take all the settings into consideration when creating your campaign. You won’t end up with one-size-fits-all content since you’ll have to tweak your content for each platform, but your customers will have a better experience of your campaign.

The Characters

When creating your campaign, you also need to take into consideration your characters and customers. What you include in your campaign is highly dependent on who your audience is and what they’re expecting. At the beginning of any DnD campaign, we create characters, and at the beginning of any marketing campaign, we create personas. This process not only defines who your players/customers are but also what they want, which is foundational to your entire campaign. On the most fundamental level, your job as a DM or marketer is to give your audience what they want and to do that, you need to understand where they’re coming from. Not to rely on old stereotypes, but a dwarf character would be more motivated by a large sum of gold than an elf character. Likewise, a business executive may be more interested in the wide scale applicability of your product or service than an off-the-street consumer. You customers will also have different expectations of your product or service. While a pyromancer and a druid would like to visit a dense forest, it would be for completely different reasons. Likewise, a software engineer may be more interested in integrating your service into what they already have, but a marketer may only be interested in how your service looks and behaves on the front end, even though you’re selling the same service to both. When planning your campaign, you need to understand where your customers are coming from and how best to appeal to them. Just like the setting, you’re not going to get a one-size-fits-all campaign for your different personas, and it may behove you to create a single campaign for a single type of customer; you don’t want to try to integrate a post-apocalyptic zombie encounter into your space-opera, just like you wouldn’t want to integrate a long-winded explanation of your brand design process in your campaign that explains your encryption methods. It’s often best to keep them separate.

Now that you’ve defined your audience, both broadly with industry and specifically with personas, we can move on to setting up the actions of your campaigns. Join us next week, where we discuss how to move your customers through your campaign.

GAP and Face Masks – SEO In Your Innovation Strategy

US retailer GAP Inc reported earnings yesterday for the previous quarter. Retailers, as a whole, are seeing falling earnings year-over-year due to coronavirus-related store closures and customer pivots. GAP did have a couple of interesting bright spots in their earnings. Their Athleta brand has been able to capitalize on the athleisure trend, as people spending more time at home are spending more time in comfortable activewear, which was somewhat expected. What did surprise some analysts is how much GAP made on sales of face masks in the last quarter – a phenomenal $130 million on individual and bulk sales.

And how, exactly, did they manage to capture so much of the mask market? On their earnings call, their CEO credited some excellent SEO work:

Chief Executive Sonia Syngal said during an earnings conference call that Gap is currently the No. 1 search result on Google for “face mask style guide.” She said Gap scaling this business is “the ultimate example of how we want to operate as a culture.” 

This page that features excellent content, informative links, a solid mix of visual, textual and video content, and soft shopping-related calls to action captured the #1 organic spot. (Side note: imagine how much easier it might have been for them had the page had a friendly, keyword-rich URL.)

The face mask business will only be able to scale so much, but when their CEO says this is an example of how GAP wants to operate as a culture, it suggests a commitment to a digital-first, innovative, and nimble strategy, educating customers, providing multimodal content and becoming a high-ranking authority wherever opportunity exists – here at the intersection of safety and style – and doing it all in a timely manner.

Digital strategy makes it possible to pivot instantly like this to meet customer demand, and we’re impressed to see this SEO shoutout on a conference call.