Paul Lyrek

Understanding Your Customers’ Journey

Fostering valuable relationships with your customers begins with understanding not just who they are but what they need and when they need it. Once you have created your digital persona, it’s time to define how you wish to communicate with them.

These five basic principles can go a long way toward ensuring your customers see you as a valuable resource and not an intrusion.

  1. Be true to yourself. Align all communications with your digital persona, or you risk undermining your credibility and confusing your audience.
  2. Encourage conversation. Give your customers a way to participate in the conversation through comments, retweets, shares or response forms. One-way communication does not build relationships.
  3. Tell the truth. Content should be consistently genuine and factual. If not, you risk legal repercussions and the loss of your customers’ trust.
  4. Be deliberate and responsive. Over-posting can become white noise. To keep your audience engaged, be sure your posting is valuable, useful or relevant to the audience. Think about where, when and how often you communicate. And make sure you respond to any comments.
  5. Stay relevant. Focus your content on your customers’ needs, challenges, goals and their place in the buying journey, and you’re more likely to be perceived as a valuable partner.

 

Communicate throughout the buying journey

The buying journey varies from business to business, but typically moves through these phases:

  • Attracting customers
  • Securing interest
  • Showing intention
  • Providing support
  • Building loyalty
  • Promoting advocacy

 

With the right mix of digital marketing channels and content, you can effectively move your customers through each phase of the buying cycle.

For more information on each phase, download our infographic here.

 

Paul Lyrek

The Importance of a Digital Persona

A solid digital strategy begins with establishing a company-based digital persona. Here we’ll explore what a digital persona is and how it can elevate your organization’s online marketing.

To create and sustain strong customer relationships, you need to know who you are as a company and how you want your customers to experience and interact with your business or product online. You may already have a brand or company persona, but a digital-specific persona allows you to define how you want to be represented across online communication channels.

What is a digital persona?

A digital persona represents your company, brand or product as though it were a person. It reflects your style, attitude and personality. It shapes what you want your customers to think, feel and believe about your business. It’s not your brand, product positioning or messaging; it’s not your logo, color palette or type treatment; and it’s definitely not your mission, vision or values. All of these may inform it but, put simply, your digital persona is a guidepost for your company’s online communications with your customers.

An important preliminary step is to use focus groups, customer insight surveys or other market research tools to understand how your online presence is currently perceived by your audience. These insights can help ensure that your digital persona accurately reflects your company and resonates with your customers. Here are the four steps necessary to create a digital persona for your company.

Step 1: Create an overview

Start with the image of a person, place or object that you believe accurately represents your company, brand or product personality at a glance. Now add a few words to help define that personality. For example, if you were to choose an image of Steve Jobs for your overview, your description might be:

Innovative; risk taker; not afraid of failure; pushes self and others out of their comfort zones to achieve more and master their craft; an ideal blend of maturity, experience and vigor

An effective overview should quickly and easily let everyone in your company understand the personality and character you strive to project online.

 Step 2: Define your values

To help further describe your digital persona, consider a few adjectives and statements that describe how you want to be perceived by customers. This includes both what your customers can and can’t expect. Some of these values may verge on aspirational but don’t stray too far from what you, and your customers, know to be true. For example:  

Smart, confident, clear

Helpful without micromanaging

Serious but never dull

Step 3: Define your voice

Your voice builds upon your brand values and conveys your digital persona through written words. It speaks for your company or product, and includes both what you say and how you say it. A consistent brand voice can be used as a starting point for your digital strategy, and can help shape content that is spread across multiple digital channels to feel like it’s coming from a single source.

Just as in real life, the tone of your voice will vary depending on whom you are talking to, the communication channel you’re using and where customers are in the purchasing cycle. For example, a 140-character tweet announcing an upcoming event calls for a slightly different writing style than a blog post that conveys in-depth knowledge. It can be helpful to think of tone as a sliding scale between two extremes: formal vs. informal, professional vs. amateur, stern vs. friendly, etc.

Step 4: Define your communication channels

Once you have created your digital persona, you are in a great position to plan, implement and manage your organization’s online presence. Should you launch a blog? Develop a mobile app? Connect through Twitter, YouTube, Facebook or LinkedIn? It all depends on what you want to achieve, how you want to connect with customers and what can be accomplished within each channel.

Representing your company, brand or product through a consistent digital-specific persona is essential to building trust with your customers as you interact online. Share your digital persona with everyone in the company to help ensure their online communications align with it.

To view and download an example of a digital persona, visit http://solutions.stonearchcreative.com/digital-persona

Paul Lyrek

Why medical device companies need a digital marketing strategy

The medical device landscape is in a state of upheaval, affecting everything from the customer profile to buyer expectations, from the business environment to the regulatory landscape. In addition to those challenges, the way customers seek and receive information and how we provide information and monitor results are changing. Companies must not only be responsive to industry shifts but also be able to leverage the new opportunities inherent in digital marketing. Understanding the impact all of these changes is crucial to creating a digital marketing strategy.

Changes to the customer profile

The demand for utilization management, quantifiable safety data and better patient outcomes has expanded the customer profile from the physician to the C-suite, procurement departments or purchasing committees. This shift obscures the purchasing process and can make it difficult for sales reps to establish a relationship with decision makers.

Changes in buyer expectations

With digital connectivity quickly replacing customer face time, buyers expect immediate, efficient communications. Buyer trends are also changing: a study of healthcare executives by C-Suite Resources cited increased interest in “fewer and better business partners,” joint ventures and risk sharing.

Changes due to healthcare reform

The fallout from healthcare reform is still unclear, but there’s no doubt that Medicare reimbursement, accountable care organizations (ACO) and health insurance exchanges will have a huge impact on the industry. For device manufacturers, success will depend on their ability to provide measurable results and support claims with clinical data. Providing valuable content will be critical to their reputation.

Changes to the business environment

The mature device market is making it tougher than ever for device manufacturers to create clear brand differentiation, and with OEMs and independent suppliers entering the market, competition is fierce. In the past, new product launches helped manufacturers stay in front of the customer. Today, however, longer product development and approval cycles are forcing existing products to find new ways to prolong their value and relevance.

Create digital success

Bleak news, maybe, but here’s the good news: building sales is still fundamentally about building relationships. What’s changed is simply the “how.” In today’s world one of the most effective ways to build relationships is online. To succeed in the face of all these changes, device companies will need to develop and implement a solid digital marketing strategy.

The first step is to create a digital persona for the company. It will provide a foundation upon which to build a solid digital marketing strategy. Watch for my next blog post, “The Importance of a Digital Persona.” In it I’ll discuss the four steps necessary to create a digital persona for your company.

In the meantime, if you would like a complimentary digital strategy consultation, I’d be happy to talk to you. Visit: http://solutions.stonearchcreative.com/digital-strategy-consultation for more information.

Jessica Boden

When Every Vote —And Every Mission— Matters

When Every Vote —And Every Mission— Matters

We tend to hear about democracy as it relates to choosing leaders. But democracy permeates every aspect of our culture, from our homes and workplaces to how we choose to spend our time. During the next few days I’d ask you to put democracy into action and exercise your right to vote in our annual RedEye Rebrand.

We announced the finalists last Friday and I can tell you that Hearts & Hands, Store To Door and Wiggle Your Toes are all worthy of your vote. I had the privilege to speak personally with leadership from these organizations and know that each brings an incredible amount of passion and commitment to their respective missions. Three very distinct causes, yet one unifying commonality – dedication to making a true difference in people’s lives. It’s a commonality that I’d like to think we all share.

It’s been an honor having a front row seat as Thursday, February 6 – the day of the RedEye Rebrand, —approaches. As I watch people spread the word about these organizations, it never ceases to amaze me how truly connected we are and how easy it is now, thanks in large part to social media, to tap into those connections. As each of the three finalist organizations works to mobilize their supporters, we are seeing how far this initiative can reach. The groundswell of activity is humbling. Best of all, with every share/like/tweet/vote, etc., the three finalists are already growing their networks and increasing awareness for their causes.

What’s really in it for us? Feeling really, really good about doing something good.
It’s easy to discuss teamwork in the abstract, but when you only have 24 hours, it becomes an absolute necessity. You have no choice but to be open to new ways of thinking, to collaborate, to compromise and to delegate. You need to have serious faith in the skills and talents of your team. You need to be clear in your messaging and strategy and hyper-focused on your objectives. Above all else, it is a strong reminder that there really is no substitute for passion and dedication. The RedEye Rebrand speaks to the very core of who we are as an agency. It ignites our passions and produces some amazing work. It creates a stronger collective bond that reminds us why we do what we do every day for our clients.

Regardless of the final outcome, we are all winners. Personally, I can’t wait to dig in.
Be sure to cast your vote, visit RedEyeRebrand.com. Voting ends at 11:59p.m., Wednesday January 29.

Here’s another look at the finalists:
Hearts & Hands provides nonmedical support services for families who have, or have had, a child with a life-threatening illness. By offering financial support, grief counseling and other advocacy services, Hearts & Hands looks to provide an all-encompassing, compassionate network of help.
Store To Door volunteers shop for and deliver groceries and prescriptions to aging and homebound seniors in the seven-county metro area. By making personal contact with this vulnerable and isolated population, Store To Door also helps them retain both their independence and their dignity.
Wiggle Your Toes helps victims and families of victims who have experienced limb loss regain independence and mobility. In addition to directing them to resources they need to get their life moving forward, the foundation also provides emotional and financial support.

Cassie Benowitz

Seeing My Way Clear to LASIK

Seeing My Way Clear to LASIK

Two weeks ago, I finally did it. And I must say it’s really no big deal. I showed up, went in the room, laid down on my back and less than two minutes later, it was over. Over 25 years of increasing myopia was gone in 90 seconds. That’s right – I got LASIK.

After years of resistance, for no reason other than liking the option of occasionally (rarely) accessorizing with glasses, I decided it was time. I was ready to say goodbye to all of those adorable frames (let’s be honest, I really only wore them from my bathroom to my bed) and delete www.shipmycontacts.com from my bookmarks.

My career in healthcare and medical device marketing, and the time I spend scrutinizing clinical data, led people to believe that the reason for my late adoption had something to do with outcomes or potential adverse events. It did not. When I finally decided to go ahead with LASIK, my friends and family assumed there was some breakthrough new laser technology or revolutionary piece of data. There was not. What motivated me to finally fix my eyes was much less clinical and WAY more neurotic (and embarrassing). I was concerned that in the unlikely event of a middle-of-the-night emergency (or the very unlikely event of a hostage situation), I would not be able to find my way down the hall to my son. Becoming a mother brings about an incredible vulnerability that you cannot control, so I decided to eliminate one vulnerability that I could.

So yes, despite all my natural and professional inclinations to make sound, evidence-based decisions regarding my and my family’s healthcare, I ultimately decided to get LASIK because I was worried that the smoke alarm would startle me awake, I’d knock my glasses off the nightstand and not be able to see my way down the hall. That, and I bought a Groupon.