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The feedback loop

Published 18 Mar 2010 by , CANDDi
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Part of my role in this whole CANDDI enterprise is to secure the feedback of prospective customers - both informally and formally, as part of our forthcoming beta programme.

Part of my role in this whole CANDDI enterprise is to secure the feedback of prospective customers - both informally and formally, as part of our forthcoming beta programme. These prospects include marketing agencies and enterprises - specifically individuals with marketing responsibility within these organisations. Most are from businesses that market online but ultimately sell offline - everything from other marketing agencies to shopping centres, financial services businesses and

Their feedback is varied as you can imagine. But by and large it reinforces our beliefs about the problems CANDDi solves.

Here’s a little pieces of raw feedback we have received recently:

“Managing prospect lists is a pain in the a*se”

The more sales-oriented prospects we have spoken to tend to raise one particular issue: that managing prospect databases is really difficult. This problem tends to be particularly acute in small businesses where the proprietor/MD has responsibility for sales and marketing as well as the running of the business. They tend to run outbound campaigns sporadically; their contact with prospects is intermittent in snatched portions of time; they don’t have time to analyse the responses they get in any great detail.

As a result they immediately latch on to a reporting system that will tell them who is hot and automatically track that hotness from campaign to campaign, making easy for them to concentrate their follow-up efforts.

“Our current email system is cr*p”

Given the established nature of email marketing, we have been staggered at how unsophisticated some of the companies we have spoken to are about the software and the process they use. Some major (Global 1000) companies are still relying on five-year-old software purchased and installed on the marketing manager’s creaking laptop for their electronic communications. Even those companies that are more sophisticated are largely using SaaS systems with very little in terms of lock-in; their only migration worries are a) that their templates will carry across and b) that the system will be no harder to use. Integration with CRM systems is often only at the level of CSV file exports - updating the system is often handled manually after the campaign has run because importing data is simply too painful (and tends to cause more screw-ups than it is worth).

Surprisingly, even big companies ask about pricing, despite the fact that they typically paying only tens or hundreds of pounds per month out of a multi-hundred-thousand pound marketing budget (at least). The idea of paying per lead rather than per thousand should be appealing but it does take some getting used to as it is so different to what they have known

“We’re doing social media because the MD thinks we should, rather than because it delivers ROI”

It’s never expressed explicitly in these terms, but I have heard a version of this story many terms over the last few months. A company comes to And Digital for a project and while we’re doing background research we find they have a Facebook page/YouTube channel/Twitter feed with about three fans/views/followers and just about no content. Why is it there? Because the MD/CEO demanded it. They have absolutely no way of managing it, no policy for updating it, and no way of measuring its impact. Those that do treat these channels largely as a necessary evil, as part of their wider SEO efforts.

Everyone knows the social media success stories (Dell on Twitter), and the disasters (Habitat). But the success stories are largely for extremely large companies with an online retail proposition: few mid-tier companies have yet taken full advantage of the channels on offer. The reasons are many and varied, but one of the biggest reasons we here is lack of time: every channel they add to their marketing mix adds another creative/oversight requirement.

This feedback is all anecdotal rather than empirical, but these three issues do seem to crop up over and over again:

  • We need reports in a more usable format to help us make decisions/prove ROI
  • Our current systems are serviceable (at best) and we have no real tie to them
  • Adding channels to the marketing mix is scary because of the time requirements as much as any other reason

All of these are things we are trying to address with CANDDi.

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