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Marketing Strategies

How These 7 Companies Thrived During the Recession



In 2008, the Great Recession was all over the news. At 14, I didn’t exactly know what that meant. However, I understood that my parents were struggling financially.

While it was the first economic crisis I was old enough to remember, it isn’t the only economic downturn we’ve seen, nationally or internationally.

In 1997, there was the Asian financial crisis. After 9/11, the New York Stock Exchange closed for four days, the first time that had happened since World War I.

The world has faced uncertain times before, and I’m sure it will again. But, how do companies thrive during financially rough times?

In this post, we’ll review seven companies that grew during the recession and see how they succeeded during economic uncertainty.

1. TeamLogic IT

TeamLogic IT provides IT solutions and consulting services for small businesses. Interestingly, IT has been a growing industry during times of uncertainty, including the 2008 recession.

Since consumers are becoming more and more dependent on newer technologies, this industry usually does well during economic recessions. Technology impacts almost every area of our life from our security to our entertainment.

In fact, sales for technology increased during the 2008 recession.

Because of this trend, TeamLogic IT weathered the storm of 2008 well.

If you want to start a business, it’s important to consider whether that industry has done well during times of economic unrest. Industries such as tech, discount stores, accounting, grocery, healthcare, and DIY/repairs do well.

2. Netflix

You might be thinking, “Of course Netflix survived the 2008 recession, it’s a huge company.”

However, in 2008, Netflix wasn’t yet the media giant it is today.

In fact, Netflix introduced a new product (the streaming service), around the time of the Great Recession as a response to dying video rental stores.

Then, during 2008 and 2009, the company continued to work on partnerships with organizations like Xbox so people could stream through those devices.

It was these innovations that allowed the company to continue to grow during the economic downturn. In fact, they were increasing memberships and subscriptions during the 2008 recession while other companies were struggling to maintain revenue.

Additionally, 2008 wasn’t the only time this company has faced a recession. Netflix was founded before the dot-com bubble and had to weather that storm in the early 2000s.

It was during these times that the brand innovated ways to continue to appeal to their audience, whether that meant introducing new products or expanding its products with partnerships and collaborations.

3. Citigroup

Every year, the Federal Reserve conducts stress tests to see how much capital banks would have if they were subjected to hefty losses.

Interestingly, in 2014, Citigroup had grown in assets, making it one of the only banks to have grown since the 2008 recession.

This bank grew in the aftermath of economic distress while others didn’t because they worked on branding and offering quality services. Citigroup started supporting certain community services which helped with their brand story.

In fact, marketing played a large role in Citigroup’s ability to grow after the 2008 recession.

4. Lego

Lego is an interesting case study because you might think that toys and amusement parks or play centers are unessential, so the industry would be impacted by an economic crisis.

However, during the 2008 recession, Lego decided to expand into a global market.

The company concentrated its efforts on building revenue in Europe and Asia while the U.S. faced economic distress.

By doing this, the company reached an all-time high profitability during a recession. This company expertly knew to expand to global markets when its main market was facing an economic downturn.

5. Groupon

Groupon is another company that you might think, “Of course they survived an economic downturn.”

However, Groupon was just a startup in 2008. In fact, the company launched in the middle of the Great Recession. How can this happen?

Well, surprisingly, startups tend to do well during recessions because they usually fill a need and are able to spend less money because of discount prices.

With Groupon specifically, the site did well because it was offering discounts.

Discounts are in extreme demand during recessions because consumers are trying to cut costs wherever they can. Discounts actually offer consumers a way to survive a recession, which is why discount stores tend to do well during economic instability.

6. Mailchimp

Mailchimp has been around for almost 20 years and has survived several economic uncertainties. The company weathered the economic downturn in 2001 (in fact, that’s when it was founded), and the 2008 recession.

So, how did the brand survive and thrive during a recession? Well, the company was founded during the 2001 crisis and was able to do well because of it.

In 2008, the company survived because they changed their entire business model. They became a freemium business, and their revenue soared after that.

Many customers wanted to use Mailchimp during an economic crisis because it was free. By adjusting to the times and offering a free product, the brand was able to grow and they’ve maintained that business model ever since.

7. Warby Parker

Warby Parker is another example of a brand that was founded during the Great Recession. The reason they were able to succeed during this time? They filled an enormous gap in the marketplace.

While you might think that you shouldn’t start a business during an economic crisis, it’s actually a good time to notice gaps and pain points in the marketplace and fill the need.

Warby Parker did that when they realized it was hard to purchase an affordable pair of fashionable glasses online.

They filled a need and customers showed up even though they weren’t spending a lot of money. The company was marketed as affordable (which was necessary during a recession) and customers needed an affordable glassware solution.

Even if your company isn’t as big as these examples, remember that a lot of enterprise companies today started during a recession.

As another example, Microsoft started after the recession in the 70s. Apple transformed its brand after the 9/11 economic downturn by introducing new products and investments.

The global economy is resilient and uncertainty has always passed. The economy will recover, but it’s important for your company to be prepared for when a financial crisis happens.

These companies succeeded because they looked for new opportunities, expanded into new markets, adjusted their offers, developed new products, and gave folks a cost-efficient alternative. Innovation and creativity can help you succeed in the next economic downturn.

Want to learn more about business growth? Check out our ultimate guide.

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Marketing Strategies

Real-time customer engagement and omnichannel personalization deliver a superior CX



30-second summary:

  • Marketing is increasingly viewed as a mission-critical organization responsible for driving new revenue, and the current situation only enhances its indispensable role for creating innovative experiences that fulfill a customer’s needs, wants and desires in real time. Real time customer engagement is how ambitious marketers lead markets.
  • Customer journeys have become more dynamic, fluid and uncertain with traditional patterns of engagement upended and consumers adopting entirely new behaviors (curbside pickup, grocery delivery, etc.)
  • Real-time customer engagement, always an important capability for providing a differentiated CX, is now an imperative to provide a relevant, timely and personalized engagement with every customer throughout an omnichannel customer journey.
  • Real-time customer engagement that drives revenue growth as a competitive differentiator needs to include five core elements: a CX strategy, data collection & governance rules, a single customer view, automated machine learning, and intelligent orchestration.

A superior customer experience (CX) has long been understood by ambitious marketing teams as a driver of new revenue and business growth. A 2019 Harris Poll, commissioned by Redpoint, highlighted the CX imperative: 37 percent of consumers surveyed said they will stop doing business with a company that fails to deliver a personalized customer experience. Asked what prevents them from providing such an experience, marketers cited real-time engagement (50%) and customer understanding (48%) as the top barriers.

Drastic, sudden changes to consumer behaviors in the wake of coronavirus exacerbates the personalization challenge for marketers.

Customer journeys have become more dynamic, fluid and uncertain with traditional patterns of engagement upended and consumers adopting entirely new behaviors (curbside pickup, grocery delivery, etc.).

In a recent McKinsey report on consumer sentiment during COVID-19, 75% of US survey respondents said that they have tried a new shopping behavior during the pandemic, with upward of 80% claiming that they will continue their adopted behavior beyond the current health crisis.

Furthermore, US consumers said that value, convenience and availability are now their top three priorities, ahead of price or brand loyalty.

Real-time customer engagement, always an important capability for providing a differentiated CX, is now an imperative to provide a relevant, timely and personalized engagement with every customer throughout an omnichannel customer journey.

Ultimately, real-time customer engagement that drives revenue growth as a competitive differentiator needs to include five core elements.

1) Set a CX strategy

Overcoming the barriers to providing a personalized CX through real-time customer engagement begins with setting a strategy.

Organizations must first think about the outcomes they want to achieve; what is the type of experience they’re trying to deliver, how will it be measured, and what metrics will define success both in the short-term and long-term?

Whether the goal is to improve retention, NPS or loyalty, strengthen an emotional connection with customers, or to provide a competitive advantage, real-time customer engagement has many benefits that ultimately drive revenue growth.

Formulating an engagement strategy helps brands prioritize which capabilities – from data to automated machine learning and orchestration – will yield the optimal result for the metric the business is trying to achieve.

2) Set data collection and governance rules

With a clearly defined strategy in place, organizations are positioned to map out all of the data they need access to, and in what cadence.

Real-time customer engagement requires knowing everything there is to know about that customer’s current situation – which is now subject to day-by-day and minute-by-minute change.

This detailed customer understanding requires determining all the data sources pertinent for an updated view, including behavioral, transactional and demographic data.

Customer data siloes are antithetical to the notion of a true single customer view, which requires aggregating data from every source and of every type: batch and streaming; anonymous and known, structured, semi-structured and unstructured; and first-party, second-party and third-party data.

Establishing a data-focused mindset with stringent data governance procedures is a foundational requirement for engaging with each customer seamlessly through each stage of a journey.

With a data governance approach in place that ensures data breadth, depth and quality, companies satisfy the second core component of real-time customer engagement.

3) The golden record/single customer view

A single customer view that is accessible in real time, and combines properly aggregated and managed customer data (cleansed, matched, merged) with a complete identity graph is known as a Golden Record.

This unified, real time and easily accessible profile resolves a customer’s identity across all devices, ID’s, behaviors, transactions and preferences and is the beating heart of a personalized experience as the basis for real-time decisioning.

The Golden Record sets the table for marketers, providing them with everything they need to serve the right offer at the right moment of a journey.

For it to accurately reflect a customer’s needs, wants and desires at a set moment in time, the Golden Record requires advanced identity resolution combined with zero data latency.

Real-time data collection, and real-time processing are both foundational requirements to ensure relevancy with every engagement.

If a customer abandons a shopping cart but continues to browse a web page, a brand’s ability to provide a personalized experience during that visit depends on knowing not just about the abandoned cart, but also the clicks and browsing history that led to the initial cart fulfillment – all within the same online visit.

The Golden Record infuses context into every customer interaction, the key for data-driven marketers to provide relevance in real time and to coordinate consistent messaging across the entire journey.

4) Automated machine learning

Embedded, behind-the-scenes automated machine learning (AML) is the next core element of real-time customer engagement. AML powers real-time decisioning at scale based on the Golden Record.

On-the-fly insights about a customer become triggers for contextually relevant communications and interactions, but this only made possible with automated machine learning models that can do this at scale for highly granular segments (up to a segment of one) throughout increasingly dynamic customer journeys.

It is now possible for marketers to manage a fleet of models that are tuned to constantly drive intelligent decisions for optimized customer engagement across channels.

Built to yield the best outcome for whatever metric a marketer is trying to optimize, these automated models drive associated revenue growth while making real-time adjustments based on the direction of a specific customer journey.

For models to truly drive breakthrough results, however, they should be developed, updated and applied in real-time and on an ongoing testing basis so marketers can best capitalize on each moment of interaction.

AML removes the latency that arises when the responsibility for these tasks is given to data scientists. Instead of waiting for models to be re-built, re-trained and refreshed, AML empowers marketers to let the self-trained models run 24/7 as the automated recommendations are aligned with the targeted results.

5) Orchestration and execution

Intelligent orchestration completes the real-time engagement process that results in a perfectly timed, next-best action at any point throughout an omnichannel journey.

Intelligent orchestration coordinates all communications (inbound, outbound, digital or traditional) to power the real-time decisioning engine, factoring in a customer’s up-to-the-second behaviors to ensure the optimal relevancy of a next-best action.

Because every step operates in real time, marketers will always be in cadence with the customer. This is paramount, as customers view interactions with a brand as holistic experiences.

Rendering a next-best action across channels aligns with this expectation, whereas marketing to fragmented channels with siloed data creates a gap between what a customer perceives as a unified experience and what is being delivered.

Intelligent orchestration is listed here as the final step in a real-time customer engagement strategy, but real-time customer engagement is more accurately described as a closed-loop process.

A next-best action that delights a customer with relevance and personalization will likely lead to a positive result; action or inaction become real-time updates to a customer’s Golden Record, and the process continues with the self-learning models continuing to refine and optimize a next-best action for the next engagement.

Now is the time to innovative with real-time engagement

With consumers having dramatically altered how they interact with businesses – and indicating little interest in reverting to traditional engagement models – it is incumbent on businesses to intermediate each interaction.

Real-time engagement provides an opportunity to deliver relevance and personalization that strengthen relationships with customers and ultimately drive business growth.

Marketing is increasingly viewed as a mission-critical organization responsible for driving new revenue, and the current situation only enhances marketing’s indispensable role for creating innovative experiences that fulfill a customer’s needs, wants and desires in real time.

Real time customer engagement is how ambitious marketers lead markets.

John Nash has spent his career helping businesses grow revenue through the application of advanced technologies, analytics, and business model innovations. As Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at Redpoint Global, John is responsible for developing new markets, launch new solutions, building brand awareness, generating pipeline growth, and advancing thought leadership.

The post Real-time customer engagement and omnichannel personalization deliver a superior CX appeared first on ClickZ.

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Marketing Strategies

Defining value stream management for SEO agencies business owners



30-second summary:

  • Value stream management is the practice that helps businesses to determine the value of the software development process. 
  • By managing value streams, you can improve the flow of value to your SEO agency and monitor the software delivery lifecycle.
  • Mapping value streams will help you improve visibility throughout the whole software development cycle.
  • You can enable value stream management by defining real-time metrics, creating a value stream map, enabling cross-team collaboration, connecting different processes, and automating the workflows.

With the scope of the competition on the market, the delivery of SEO options is becoming harder than ever. To stay competitive, all processes within the software development cycle must be optimized to their best.

If you’re looking to improve the workflows in your SEO agency, consider implementing value stream management. To help you get started, we’ve created this ultimate guide to value stream management. After reading, you’ll get a better idea of what is a value stream and how you can start managing your value streams by creating maps. 

What is value stream management (VSM)?

To define the concept of value stream management, it’s important to understand the fundamentals. Let’s cover the basics and define key terms before moving further to discuss value stream management for SEO businesses. 

A value stream refers to every step of the software delivery lifecycle (SDLC), from the product idea to the production and tools required to deliver your software to the customers. To help you visualize the concept, here’s an example of a value stream for product (not software) development.

Source: Dragon1

In other words, a value stream is a series of activities that build up the value of your SEO software. Value is defined by something a customer gets, like high-quality software, in a fair period of time for a fair price. 

Value stream management flow

Source: Maaw info

Value stream management (VSM) refers to the process of optimizing processes from the very point when you conceptualize an idea to the time when this idea is in production and generating revenue. To put it simply, VSM allows you to manage your SEO software development process from idea to cash. 

The benefits of value stream management for your SEO agency

Value stream management enables SEO software companies to deliver higher quality products faster and more efficiently than their competitors while significantly reducing risks. Besides, proper implementation of VSM enables the following benefits. 

  • VSM helps you find and address the limitations of your workflows. By mapping out all stages of the software development process, you can identify potential limitations and blunders. 
  • VSM enables you to deliver higher quality SEO solutions. By optimizing development processes, you can deliver better quality products. 
  • VSM allows the continuous development of your agency. By investing in optimization and VSM, you can guarantee the success of your business in the long run. 
  • VSM helps you to make the overall flow of information across the entire process visible to people who normally manage separate functions, processes, and departments. 

How does value stream mapping work?

By now you should understand that value stream management allows optimization of all development processes, from the first time an idea of a product is conceptualized to the moment when the product is produced and launched in the marketplace. 

Within value stream management, many capabilities feed that process. Value stream mapping one of these capabilities. 

A value stream map refers to the visualization of all critical steps in the SEO software development process. Value stream maps include a description of each stage and information, like the time, the volume of work, and spendings dedicated to each of the stages. 

By creating value stream maps, you can analyze the current state of your processes and improve your product based on the series of events that take your SEO solution from the initial concept to the finished product your customers receive. To put it simply, value stream mapping allows you to identify where you’re adding value and where you’re wasting it. 

Besides, creating value streams allows you to categorize activities into high priority vs. low priority items. This way, you can prioritize and triage some processes in favor of others. 

How can you enable VSM?

In order to optimize your SEO software development practices and tools, you need total visibility throughout the whole development cycle. Likely, you can achieve this by mapping value streams. 

Not particularly sure where to start? Follow these five steps to enable value stream management for your SEO agency. 

1. Defining real-time metrics and objectives

Defining real-time metrics is the first step toward enabling value stream management. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to define metrics which leads to misleading results and inability to assess the effectiveness of their VSM efforts. 

Choosing the right objectives allows you to understand what’s happening in the development and identify where value is “leaking” in the process. 

Here’s a list of metrics to help you get started: 

  • The development cycle time 
  • The overall volume of change (before and after VSM)
  • Lead time (LT)
  • Process time (PT)
  • Percent complete & accurate (percept of time when the software is received by users in the correct and ready-to-use form)

Collecting these metrics is paramount for the successful evaluation of your VSM efforts. 

2. Creating a value stream map

After you’ve defined the key metrics and objectives, you can start studying your workflows. Create a map (either physical or digital) that explains each step of the software development process, from conceptualizing an idea to delivering the final product to customers. This way, you can see the distribution of resources within your software development cycle. 

Here’s a great example of a value stream map. 

Value stream management map example

Source: ipinimg 

3. Enabling cross-team collaboration

Value stream management requires you to enable cross-team collaboration. Rather than testing business analysts separately from developers and other teams, you want to optimize the workflow across all of these teams. 

4. Connecting multiple processes, teams, and tools 

Now, as you’ve created opportunities for all teams to work together, you should find a way to answer the following question. How do you make sure that all of the work that your employees are doing, the value streams of their development, map to your priorities? 

To answer this question, you have to evaluate the workflows and roles of each team regarding your objectives and priorities. 

5. Coordinating and automating workflows 

VSM tools allow you to embed governance into existing system development cycles. In other words, some platforms allow you to automate the value stream management processes. 

Tom Hayes, a VSM advisor at the Guerrilla Agency shares his expertise,

“By coordinating and automating workflows, you can continually improve your SEO solution and ultimately achieve better results.”

The bottom line

Value stream management is different from other approaches because it’s focused on the idea that everything that happens to your customers, from the idea to the delivery, is important and needs to be managed in a holistic manner. 

By implementing VSM in your SEO agency, you can better understand your system development cycles and workflows. 

Implementing value stream management is easier than it may seem. You can start by mapping value streams and defining your main objectives. Moreover, there are many platforms that will make the VSM process easy and personalized for your SEO agency.

Connie Benton is a chief content writer, guest contributor, and enthusiastic blogger who helps B2B companies reach their audiences more effectively. You can find her on Twitter at @ConnieB34412379.

The post Defining value stream management for SEO agencies business owners appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Marketing Strategies

Facebook users can soon broadcast their Messenger Rooms via Facebook Live



With more people wanting to connect via video during the COVID pandemic, Facebook is now enabling users to broadcast their Messenger Room via Facebook Live.

For those who don’t know, Facebook Live is a feature that allows users to broadcast real-time video on the social media platform. When you broadcast live on Facebook you can decide who on Facebook can see your video and can use the content to engage your audience.

Now, Facebook has connected its popular Messenger Rooms feature with Facebook Live to offer new functionality to users.

Early on in the pandemic Facebook “felt the demand for real-time video.” According to a press release, more than 700 million Facebook users were participating in calls on the platform each day:

“In many countries, video calling on Messenger and WhatsApp more than doubled [during the pandemic], and views of Facebook Live and Instagram Live videos increased significantly in March. But there’s more to do to make real-time feel real.”

Seeing this trend in usage, Facebook created a new product called Messenger Rooms.

Introducing Messenger Rooms

Messenger Rooms is a video chat room where users and 49 of their friends can chat. While there is a limit to the number of people, there is no limit to how long you can chat — and you don’t even need to have a Facebook account to join.

Some other features of Messenger Rooms are:

  • The room can be locked or unlocked once a call has started
  • The room creator can remove any unwanted participants
  • Any participant can leave as they choose

While this new feature has been popular and allows people to stay in touch and have small virtual gatherings, Facebook has also seen an increase of live broadcasts.

Looking back at June 2019 and comparing it to June 2020, live broadcasts have almost doubled since the shelter-in-place has been implemented in many locations around the world.

With the increase in live broadcasts, this has put the limitations of Facebook Live on display. Facebook Live only allows two accounts to stream together, and it is not easy for a group of people to broadcast live together just using Facebook Live.

The only way you can is if you are using another software that connects to Facebook Live. Until now.


Introducing Messenger Rooms via Facebook Live

Facebook has taken both Messenger Rooms and Facebook Live and brought them together — announcing recently that you can now broadcast live your Messenger Rooms.

This now allows you to expand your audience and get more of your content out there and have an even bigger group discussion.

As the moderator of the room you can broadcast your room to a profile, a page, or a group and invite people to tune in. You can also invite or remove participants.

Live viewers will not be able to join the room, but they will be able to comment and watch via the regular Facebook Live tools.

What does that mean for me as a marketer? 

While Facebook Live allows you to broadcast live with two accounts, you couldn’t do more than that. If you had in-person events coming up and wanted to host panel discussions or interviews with more than two people, it wasn’t possible.

Instead, people had to use a subscription software (like Zoom) that allows you to have multiple people on a call — and then stream to Facebook Live.

Now with Messenger Rooms you can accomplish this without having to pay for services through another platform. You can bring your in-person events to a virtual platform, host panel discussions, interviews, smaller events, AMAs and much more, and all while practicing social distancing. 

Using Facebook’s reach, your broadcast could be seen by a lot more people. Social Insider’s study says that live-streams see higher levels of engagement than pre-recorded videos.

People around the world are having to shift from working in an office to working from home, going from in-person networking events to virtual events, changing from in-person consultations to virtual consultations, and much more. All of this is leading to a proliferation of video calls and virtual events.

It is great that Facebook is adjusting to trends that are happening now to make such things easier for people. It will be interesting to see how this new feature performs. If it does really well Facebook may decide to increase the number of people who can join a room.

Or, will Facebook make it possible to also stream to Instagram Live from Messenger? Only time will tell, but I am looking forward to seeing what is next for this feature.

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