Later this week, I’m reprising my highly
rated (by the audience) presentation, originally given at this summer’s National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU)
Strategic Growth conference.
The topic is social marketing but not from a “slam dunk,”
“gotta have it,” “full speed ahead, damn the business
case,” perspective. Rather the presentation examines whether there is
any “there” there yet regarding revenue (specifically for credit
unions, member acquisition, retention and non-account revenue).
Here’s the abstract from the NAFCU Annual Conference site, and I will
post the presentation on SlideShare in the next couple weeks.
Social Marketing is Free so it
Must be Worthwhile… Right? Well maybe, but BEWARE— don’t be
drawn in by the ‘coolness’ of using Facebook, Twitter and
interactive applications to market your credit union without some
investigation. Before you launch a social media campaign that you’re
sure will “go viral,” don’t forget these three simple letters:
R.O.I. Even though setting up a Facebook or Twitter account, or even a blog,
is free, there are hidden costs in terms of time, resources and budget. This
presentation will explore how credit unions and other organizations are using
social media and other Web 2.0 tools and to what degree they are successful.
Presented by Bob London, President and Founder of London, Ink,
Great info from destinationCRM.com and supports why companies should consider
solutions like e.SSENTIALS from London, Ink, a fixed-price bundle of
online/social marketing programs. See e.ssentials.net for more info.
Given the state of the economy, Lamba writes that
social networking is a relatively low cost solution that could help in
fostering, “steady communication with existing partners, and clients as
well as incubating new relationships” — a function both desired by
consumers networking with friends and with employees in the workplace. The
aforementioned IDC social networking survey, in fact, indicates that the
majority of social networking users list communication as their number one
reason for usage of such sites.
Announcing e.SSENTIALS, from London, Ink: A new, fixed-price online
marketing program including development of five essential initiatives: marketing
database, e-newsletter, Google AdWords, search engine optimization & social
Potomac, MD, December 11, 2008-London, Ink, (www.londonink.com) a full-service,
on-demand marketing and communications firm, today launched e.SSENTIALS, a
fixed-price program of online marketing services for small- and mid-size
businesses and non-profit organizations.
Designed to meet the budgeting predictability requirements of small- and
mid-size organizations, the London, Ink e.SSENTIALS program includes the
development and execution of five essential online marketing deliverables for
one fixed price.
The London, Ink e.SSENTIALS Program Includes:
Marketing Database: Compilation of an organization’s
key contacts, including prospective, nurture (long-term), and existing
customers/clients and partners. Regularly communicating to a house list can be
the most cost-effective way to for an organization to maintain or increase
mindshare-a critical step towards being “short-listed” when
prospects are ready to buy.
E-Newsletter: Development of a web-based newsletter
template that will be emailed to one or more segments of the Marketing Database,
plus execution of one prototype e-newsletter.
Google AdWords/Analytics Test: Development of a test of
the Google AdWords pay-per-click online advertising program, the world’s
leading online advertising platform.
Web Site Search Engine Optimization Audit: Assessment of
content, page titles and other factors for search engine
“friendliness” and recommendations for immediate enhancements.
Introductory Social Marketing Program: Development and
implementation of a program that leverages free distribution of an
organization’s message, via at least one of the following tactics:
company/product blog or leading social networking sites.
“Running any business today without online marketing tools such as
database marketing, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising and
basic social marketing, is like making an omelet without eggs,” said
London, Ink president, Bob London. “These tools are lower cost and
easier to measure than traditional marketing tactics, but too often they fall
off the priority list due to a lack of resources and expertise to properly plan,
implement and maintain them.”
“Now with e.SSENTIALS, London, Ink provides small- and mid-size
organizations with a practical, cost-effective and low-risk way to implement
these fundamental programs as they enter 2009.”
What about Content?
The e.SSENTIALS program leverages an organization’s existing content,
such as news releases, white papers, articles and other subject matter or
thought leadership content. New or additional content can be created for an
How is the e.SSENTIALS Program Priced?
The fixed-price, all-inclusive cost of the London, Ink e.SSENTIALS program is
based on the size of the organization by annual revenue. Please contact
London, Ink at email@example.com or 240 994
7644 for more details. The cost of the program is billed monthly in five equal
“Teaching Organizations to Fish”
In addition to the development and execution of the above programs, for an
additional fee London, Ink will provide training for managers and staff on how
to continue to leverage and maximize the above tools.
Additional details are available at e.ssentials.net. To sign up for this
program or to learn more, please contact Bob London, president of London, Ink at
About London, Ink
London, Ink is a full-service, on-demand marketing and communications firm
based in the Washington, DC metro area, that develops and implements marketing
and communications programs for mid-size and growing businesses and non-profit
Bob London, president of London, Ink, serves as a Virtual VP of Marketing for
organizations that need hands-on, interim leadership in marketing strategy,
planning and execution. For more on London, Ink please visit www.londonink.com or contact Bob London at
240 994 7644 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Inside-Out Branding Guest Post by David Frankil, President
of NAFCU Services Corp. (bio)
The National Association of Federal
Credit Unions (NAFCU) represents approximately 800 Federal credit unions.
NAFCU Services Corporation is the for-profit, independent
subsidiary of NAFCU that works with leading companies including American
Express, Securian, Deluxe, Affinion and others, that provide services that help
credit unions increase efficiency and productivity in areas such as member
retention and acquisition, information security, new products and services and
investment advisory services.
NAFCU Services has 28 ‘Preferred
Partners,’ including American Express, NCR and SAS Institute, that are focused
on financial services in general and credit unions in particular. Program
participation requires a fee from Partners, and they have a choice of levels (Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum)
with fees and activities scaled proportionately. All profits from NAFCU Services
go to the parent association to support their programs.
became President of NAFCU Services in July, 2006, it was being run as a typical
trade association affinity program, which is to say it was (essentially) a
mechanism for giving select vendors an opportunity to support NAFCU
In exchange Partners received the right to use a logo, great space at the annual
trade show, some networking opportunities with Board Members, and that’s about
it – best of luck with sales and marketing. Clearly not a balancing of value
from the vendor perspective, and a major reason why many of these programs have
high turnover rates and lagging revenues.
Priority One: Create a Solutions
Turning the program around required a
shift in philosophy and strategy to a solutions mindset, making it more
effective for all parties involved. The goal: positioning our Partners as
thought leaders in their respective areas and leveraging marketing activities to
open dialogue and create relationships with prospects.
So the first and foremost responsibility
is for NAFCU Services to understand the challenges faced by credit unions every
day for growth and productivity. Where is the next round of profitable revenue
coming from, how to cross-sell and up-sell Members, how to attract new Members,
and so on. And how to run operations more efficiently, more effectively, more
securely, at lower cost,
We call the process of understanding and
pinpointing credit unions’ challenges—from their point of view—the
Marketing MRI.This involves in depth interviews with credit
union executives, fine tuned with surveys and of course ongoing
discussions with our board.Most importantly we
synthesize what we’re hearing and learning based on our experience in the
Once we understand credit unions’
challenges in a particular area—say member retention, we look for a solution
from within our current roster of Preferred Partners. If not, then we look to
recruit a top quality, market leader to join the program, following a
competitive RFP process that includes an evaluation by an Advisory Committee of
credit union executives.
At that point, we have credit unions A,
B, C perhaps even through credit union Z that need a solution, and Preferred
Partner B that has one. Here’s where that Marketing MRI comes in
again.Sharing what we know about the needs of the credit
unions with the Preferred Partners, we help distill the partner’s value
proposition to a laser beam, and then – call it multi-modal or multi-channel
marketing – using all the tools at our disposal to communicate the value
proposition and establish thought leadership for the Partner.
Many trade associations have the first
part of this equation, a Preferred Partner-type program with the association’s
stamp of approval. What differentiates NAFCU Services is the second part, where
we (in essence) become a marketing consulting services firm for our Partners,
generating webcasts, podcasts, articles, speaking opportunities, direct
marketing initiatives, recommendation letters, credits for advertising and
sponsorship, and much more. So from a Partner perspective, the value equation
(investment in the program versus value received) is much more
Since I joined NAFCU Services in July,
2006, we have grown revenue by 14%, 15%, and this year an
expected 33%. We’ve significantly upsized deal size, and more important, have
made our existing relationships far more effective. Key to the success has been
instilling that solutions mindset throughout our partners’ marketing and sales
teams by developing and leveraging the Marketing MRI approach.
Great question–which begs several precursors: (a) what are the goals?
(b) how are “results” defined? (c) what measurement tools are in
Probably safe to assume a B2B marketing department is charged with generating
demand (leads) and in many cases educating/priming the market while positioning
the company as a thought leader.
Here are some ways in which a B2B marketing department can improve results
and not get lost in the characterization that “we’re not sure what
marketing does relative to the business.”
Commit to the challenge of contributing ROI for the overall marketing
budget–so that the department pays for itself at least 15 - 20 times over
Exert internal marketing leadership–take on the business’s
longstanding challenges/dilemmas, whether it’s “why do we churn
customers?” or “why don’t we know which marketing programs
work and which don’t? or “where is our most profitable 3-year growth
going to come from?”
Improve accountability–measure everything that moves (and everything
that doesn’t for that matter). Every weekly update should include a review
of 30 days previous results and forward projections. Integrate all systems (CRM,
marketing automation, accounting) that will provide an end to end view of the
Assume a budget of zero (regardless of how uncomfortable this may
feel)–then implement programs in order of priority and results. This will
force you to orient the marketing budget and department around the
Listen to the rest of the organization–don’t bump heads with
Devote/redirect as much budget as possible towards lower cost, online lead
gen and thought leadership initiatives. For each business challenge, ask the
question: how can we address this via online strategies and channels vs.
traditional. This will make the entire budget work harder on a dollar for dollar
basis since it will be easier to track results.
Every B2B marketer should use Google AdWords; at least do a significant test
using .05% of your total annual marketing budget. Do not run a generic ad
pointing to your home page; rather offer a white paper or other valuable subject
matter content, and point the ad to a specific landing page dedicated to that
Optimize your site content so that it shows up in targeted searches for
whatever you are marketing.
Make sure you are using some form of prospecting/hunting to bridge the gap
between lead gen programs and sales. Prospecting (i.e. outsourced or in-house
telemarketing) serves as a lower cost way to qualify leads as well as gather
market data on prospect hot buttons and what competitors/
substitutes/alternatives your prospects are using.
Implement a simple but formal prospect nurture process whereby you treat
every inbound inquiry as a long-term suspect and stay in touch via
e-newsletters, white paper offers and webinars.
Have an intern or staffer collect all stray business cards that have not
been entered into the marketing database and enter them as part of your nurture
Have an intern or staffer mine LinkedIn for prospect names using company
names and job titles. Relevant contacts should be fed into an outbound
teleprospecting process to qualify; interested contacts should then be added to
the nurture process.
Add a “living” FAQ section to your site and regularly publish
your answers to client/customer questions. Your answers will invariably include
relevant keywords that can bolster your natural/organic page rankings on Google,
et al. Also, we all tend to get the same questions from multiple people, so
rather than rewriting the answer each time or searching your hard drive, just
send the link to your blog/site where your answer already resides.
Hope this proves helpful!
- Bob London
On Target. On Site. On Demand.
We received a very nice DVD from our son’s sleepaway camp in the
Poconos (Lake Owego Camp, if you’re interested) which had a lot of great
photos, footage and interviews of kids, counselors, administrators from this
From the perspective of a CEO interested in marketing, the most notable
element of the DVD was the timing of its arrival: Right after we received the
bill for next summer’s experience.
One of the best ways to get a free bump in your marketing output is by
coordinating the timing of various activities. You would assume, in the above
example, that the camp’s renewal and sign-up rates are higher among people
who view the DVD and get the emotional lift during the time they receive the
Here is a simple way that I have applied this principal to my business.
When I do an e-newsletter, I can either send it when it’s ready and
when I have the bandwidth to edit/proof it to within an inch of its life (!), or
send it one or two days before a big networking event where I know I will be
seeing many of the people on my house list.
The cost of executing the e-newsletter is the same either way. But by
coordinating the timing with the event I get the combined impact of (a) seeing
someone in person, (b) having them mention “hey, I just saw your
email,” and (c) having something else to talk about that demonstrates I
practice what I preach regarding nurture marketing.
Bob London is president of London, Ink LLC (www.londonink.com), a
full-service marketing and communications firm, and serves as a Virtual VP of
Marketing for growth-stage companies that need hands-on project-based leadership
in marketing strategy and planning.