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Friction: Friend or Foe?

In marketing, ‘friction’ typically refers to a point of contention or difficulty for your customer in the buying journey. This could mean anything from a broken link to a long and frustrating form – whatever’s keeping your customer from moving forward. Too much friction and you could lose the sale. 

But is all friction bad?

 

Selective stickiness & momentous experiences 

It makes sense that most of the time we’re hoping for smooth sailing. We want our customers to navigate our websites easily, buy quickly, tell their friends, and come back for more. But when you think about your favourite brands, products, and services – has the experience always been perfectly frictionless? 

Marketing without a little bit of resistance isn’t very good marketing at all. Strictly aiming for an easy-going experience means that you could be giving up precious opportunities that your customer might appreciate now and into the future. When we both embrace and create small moments of friction, we’re able to better understand our customers, provide them with additional value, and find ways that make your brand remarkable in a sea of sameness.

 

When is friction good?

So, when should you intentionally create friction without irritating or losing your customer?

 

  • Email or newsletter sign-ups: this is a small moment of frustration for your customer – but how else will they know about your upcoming sale? By taking the time to sign up, they’ll access exclusive information that is of value such as discounts, news, and releases   
  • Contact forms: by having to fill out a form, their question will likely be answered sooner and directed to the right person, ultimately creating a more positive experience even if it takes them an extra minute to get in touch  
  • Gated content: to access a piece of prized content, your customer may need to give up their email address or visit a secondary landing page. For serious customers, this is a small price to pay to gain valuable insights  
  • Messaging: there’s an opportunity for you to create a little bit of intrigue about your product/service through your messaging, inviting your customer to question your offer and seek out more information. This can be a chance for you to provide proof or backup to your claim, ultimately – building trust with your customer and hooking them in. From there, closing the deal gets easier 

 

So remember, friction isn’t something to fear – the right amount is actually good for your business. It might be what keeps your customer engaged and excited about your product or service. If you’re looking to improve your marketing strategy, let’s talk. 

How marketing drives sales

A business can be measured by any number of metrics, with sales and revenue among the most important. But looking at the bottom line also means understanding other aspects of the business – including marketing strategy. Often referred to as a top line metric, marketing’s got a bad reputation as a cost-centre, but its potential to support key functions is much more significant than that.

Tying marketing to sales and other business objectives can be done with the right strategy and systems in place to measure the success of your efforts towards the right targets.

Start by gathering data

In order to craft a strategy that drives results that affect the bottom line, you first need to take a closer look at the market and your business – you know what we’re about to say: do your research. Research methods we use include:

  • Customer interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Observation

Data is the best teacher

Not all marketing efforts start out with a high degree of success – and that’s normal. What’s important is what you do with the insights you collect from your efforts.

When you’re able to look at the data to see what worked and what didn’t, and then combine that with what you already know about your customers, you’re able to continuously craft marketing strategies that deliver consistently better results.

Part and parcel of making these direct links from marketing to business objectives comes back to market research that leads to informed strategy, followed by consistent implementation and a reliable measurement process.

Systems are a prerequisite to marketing you can measure.

Using data, we can explore what stages of the buyer’s journey led to actions that are linked to business objectives and develop a marketing strategy around those successful touchpoints – but this is really only effective when you are consistent about tracking your results. Make sure you develop a strategy with KPIs in mind and a system to track those KPIs on a regular basis.

 

Support your bottom line with digital marketing that’s directly linked to sales. Learn more about our Impact Assessment market research process at http://www.wearebottomline.com/process/

Adapting Post-Pandemic: 3 Major Changes Within the Retail Industry

Due to the pandemic, online shopping has become a tool for people to purchase personal care items, clothing, groceries and everything in between. The typical dynamics of the retail business have shifted dramatically in the past 13 months, resulting in new trends and client expectations.

This blog post will cover three key developments in the retail industry and how businesses need to adapt in order to experience continued success!

  1. Brick-and-mortar stores pivoting online are creating more online competition. 

    Prior to the pandemic, there were many businesses that found great success due to their store’s physical location and pedestrian customer base. However, as the pandemic has affected these businesses very heavily, they were forced to adapt by selling their products online.

    As more businesses establish their presence online, there is increasing competition for keywords, competitive pricing, and communicating their unique value propositions to build a relationship with customers.

    With the growing online competition, it is imperative to invest in digital marketing by crystallizing your brand identity, implementing a tailored SEO strategy, and creating content that connects with your target audience.

  2. The growing use of Omni-channels.

    Many brick-and-mortar stores have successfully transitioned online by cultivating a strong digital presence. There is a great opportunity for these businesses to lean into both aspects and continue to offer customers a unique shopping experience.

    Although stores are opening up again, the habits formed due to the pandemic are here to stay. People will continue to research and buy online, with delivery and curbside pickup options available to them. Customers have simplified their shopping experience to whatever is simple and convenient for them. Alternatively, this has made the customer journey become more complex, as businesses need to reassess their service to meet customer’s changing expectations and mindsets.

  3. Customer reviews are more important than ever.

    Customer reviews have always been important for the success of a business. However, with the shift to strictly purchasing online, reviews are increasingly more integral to the business’s success. For companies newly established online to companies with years of online presence, potential customers will refer to other people’s experiences with the products and customer service.

    When positive reviews are given, it is crucial to highlight and promote them on your platforms to establish trust with your audience. When negative reviews are given, it is vital to respond to those in order to make those customers feel heard and valued.

    Retail is ever-evolving and to be successful, businesses need to keep up with trends and react to ensure they’re not left behind.  Businesses can take advantage of the shifts in retail by leveraging insights to inform business activities, such as online investments, physical expansion, supply chain logistics and marketing strategies.

Need help? Contact BottomLine for a tailored marketing plan to stay ahead of the game.

In the Weeds: Marketing Cannabis

Earlier this year, BottomLine and LoKnow joined forces to present a webinar that tackled the Canadian cannabis industry, unearthing insights about the state of this relatively new legal market. 

 

If you missed the webinar (or your memory is a bit hazy), here are the top insights we discovered:

  • Government regulations is still the #1 concern in the cannabis industry, especially in regards to limitations to marketing the green goods. 
  • Rules and regulations surrounding cannabis have made it a very difficult product to advertise. Current laws are stricter than alcohol, and carry the ambiguous rule that ad content “cannot appeal to young people”.
  • The industry is estimated to be worth 5 Billion in 2021, with some forecasts seeing it valued at 9 billion by 2025.
  • The industry calls for change in advertising regulations and in the regulation of the black market. 

 

After the webinar, attendees reached out with their thoughts, sharing their own sticking points in the business of cannabis and suggesting new focuses for our research. Unsurprisingly, marketing cannabis to consumers in Canada continues to be no easy feat. Attendees were also interested in learning more about usage and effects, no doubt to inform business and marketing decisions in cannabis. 

 

Creativity in advertising isn’t just the icing on top of the cake – it’s the lifeblood to standing out in a very regulated, very saturated market. So what trends in cannabis use and marketing can inform our business decisions and drive business growth in legal cannabis? 

 

  • The search for the functional high. Microdosing is predicted to become a preferred performance, productivity and wellness tool across many lifestyles and professions, and will become a common method to combat triggers for stress and anxiety for many users. 
  • It’s not just about potency. As the legal market for cannabis continues to grow and users become more attuned to the nuances of the substance, more cannabis connoisseurs will emerge, developing an awareness of the benefits amongst all the variances in cannabinoids beyond that of just THC and CBD. 
  • Cross-promotion companions. Marketing cannabis is far from easy, but trends are beginning to indicate the value of cross-promotion between cannabis brands and companies from complementary industries like entertainment, video games and food (Example: White Castle’s 420 promotion). 

 

While we can’t necessarily do anything about the marketing regulations in Canada, more insights into cannabis usage and innovative marketing tactics can support the legal cannabis industry in Canada. 

 

We’re beginning to develop a deeper understanding of consumers’ preference for a more moderate or functional high that still provides a feeling of control and consistency. Knowing this allows cannabis retailers to create targeted campaigns to appeal to this particular penchant for a high that allows users to remain energized and social while feeling the stress-reducing effects that many cannabis users look for.

 

For our next webinar, we’re taking a step back to look at the effects on consumer behaviour in general as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us as we share research to help you make informed business decisions as we move through this new business environment.

Our Interview with Pathmonk Presents

Interested in maximizing your message and your ROI by uncovering your true value?

Our president, Lisa Genovese, recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Pathmonk where she explains how BottomLine leverages market research to do just that.

 For those of you who don’t know Pathmonk’s Presents, run by the folks at Pathmonk, you’re in for a treat.

The show focuses on real-live insights from top business leaders sharing real success stories (and failures) always backed by data in a brief 20 min format.

They run a great show and host really detailed conversations with founders & business owners (like us) to dissect growth strategies and execution. They also look behind the curtain to show the personalities as well.

The interview closes with a rapid fire session and there was no prep on our side as to what to expect. 

If you’re interested to know what it’s like running BottomLine check out the interview below.  

3 reasons why your business needs video in 2021

If content is king, then video wears the crown.

Take a look at any of your favourite social feeds and you’ll find a video easily within thumb’s reach. The blistering growth of platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels has pushed video into the limelight, and made it easier than ever to capture, edit and share your own movies with the world.

So why does your business need video?

Chances are your customers are consuming it on a daily basis. In fact, it’s estimated that by the end of 2021 the average person will spend 100 minutes per day watching videos online.

It’s also likely that your competitors are already doing it.

So without further ado, here are our top three reasons why video should be in your 2021 marketing plan.

  1. It’s effective

    With decreasing attention spans and an over-crowded internet, it’s becoming harder to reach your customers.

    People crave information and entertainment, but they want it fast and hassle-free. Put too many barriers up and you’ll lose their attention.

    This is where video shines.

    From how-to explainers to product demos, video is the ideal vehicle to drive a message home. In fact, according to a recent survey by Wyzowl, 84% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.

    Within just a few seconds you can share important information, engage potential customers and promote your brand. It’s win, win, win.

  2. It’s versatile

    Staff vlogs, behind-the-scenes previews, product educationals, customer testimonials, thought leadership pieces. The possibilities for creating video are almost endless.

    Polished promos and slick product launches may require a good videographer. But you don’t need to be Martin Scorsese to include video in your marketing strategy.

    You can start by using free tools that are readily available on the web. A good camera will help, but don’t be afraid to use a Smartphone to get your video reel rolling.

    As with any form of marketing, effective video starts with an effective plan. So start by writing down your goal, your message, and who your audience is.

  3. It’s shareable

    You’ve spent time crafting a shiny new video, now you want it to be seen. Likes and views are great, but a shared video is a truly successful video.

    Host it on YouTube or Vimeo, then embed it on your website. Post it to Facebook and Instagram, then share it with your followers and social influencers. Give your customers a reason to share it with their friends and family.

    Try to create videos that are useful and informative, or funny and entertaining (you’ll need to balance this based on your own brand style). Think about the kinds of topics and questions your customers ask about, then create videos that provide answers and information. Make sure they’re optimized for search engines, too.

    At every stage of the process, ask yourself whether your video is useful, interesting, engaging and shareable.

Talk with our team today and find out where video fits into your company’s marketing plan.

How Is Your Website Performing?

Whether it’s via mobile, tablet or desktop, consumers are increasingly browsing and shopping online. So it’s no secret that having a functional and user-friendly online presence is mandatory in today’s tech-savvy world. In this blog post, we discuss the top five ways that conducting a regular website audit will help you rank on Google and turn prospects into paying customers.

How Is Your Website Performing Infographic by BottomLine

The 6 Layer Dip of Branding

How to Build an Unforgettable Brand

So you’re an entrepreneur, huh? Let’s fast-track to your ideal future.

Imagine your product is a hit with your target audience the moment you go to market. It’s all anyone can talk about on social media and through word of mouth. Before you know it, your early adopters explode into this cult following, cheering you on for what’s to come next.

Weeks roll by, and your traction remains steady. Not to mention all this buzz comes nearly free of charge, as you’ve barely scraped the top of your marketing budget. Now, you’re just sitting pretty raking in a hefty ROI.

What’s your secret?

You’ve got to hand it to your branding.

But it hardly ever goes this way for businesses looking to shape up their optics. It usually takes a painstaking number of attempts to get it right. Why’s that?

Because inexperienced marketers and early-stage companies often make the mistake of only scratching the surface with their brand and fail to define their purpose.

Let’s unpack this more.

What is branding, and why should you bother?

No matter if you’re selling trendy, all-natural bar soaps or trying to build an e-commerce empire from scratch, all brands need to connect with their prospective customers on an emotional level.

This means uncovering why your brand even exists. What’s in it for you, really?

Building a brand is all about getting people to think about you first when you’re nowhere to be seen – you want your existing and prospective customers to remember you without having to subtly (or not so subtly) remind them.

Taking up space in your customers’ hearts and minds is a humbling place to be, but that said, your reputation can either make or break your business. So here are the winning steps to make sure you land on your customers’ good side and score a positive brand rep.

How to build a purpose-driven brand

  1. Define your mission and vision

    The start of any new business always calls for a little soul searching. Once you nail down your mission and vision, the clearer your decision-making will be in how you arrive at those goals.

    Have trouble piecing together the big ideas? Check out these proven formulas for writing your mission and vision statement.

  2. Identify your core values

    Brands are nothing without the values that anchor them. Think of these as an extension of your personality traits.

    Are you an innovative brand that reimagines the way people do things?

    Does your team work together through good times and bad to meet your customers’ expectations and pull out a win?

    Are you the kind of business that checks yourself to make sure you’re delivering on your commitments?

    Just like how your values make up who you are as a person, the same goes for your brand.

  3. Sniff out the competition and determine how you can move in on your target audience

    There’s no way around doing your homework. As an entrepreneur, you need to research who you’re up against, crack open their weaknesses, and be ready to offer your solution in a snap.

  4. Craft the right message

    What you say matters, and so does what you don’t. Marketing is complicated like that, so that’s why spending the time to get it right is so important. You want your audience to perk up when they hear or see you. Learn more about stringing together the right words from the folks over at Pardot.

  5. Get your look and feel right

    Yes, brand colours and logos do matter! But it’s much more than that. How you visually present your brand–on your website, app, marketing assets– is one of the first things people notice about you. And if it’s good, it can break them from scrolling. And we all know how challenging that can be.

  6. Spread the word

    Finally, you’ve got to push your messaging forward on all the right channels. There’s no harm and no foul in using paid media advertising or going the organic route. In fact, a combo of both distribution methods can score you some big brand awareness points from different audiences.

The bottom line

Branding is everything. It takes time to develop a reputation you’re proud of, but it’s so worth the initial effort to capture the interests of your ideal customers.

In the end, they’ll be your biggest champions. Now that you have the right strategies at your disposal–all 6 layers of your branding dip–it’s time to create an unforgettable brand experience.

Ready to uplevel your brand’s tone of voice? Drop us an email and chat more about how we can make that happen for you.