Comments and observations on business, marketing and life: by Martin Donohoe

Tag: web marketing

Disaster recovery – careless computing

Having had that sinking feeling when my laptop declared ‘no os found’ (this means windows has departed your hard drive), I’m remarkably happy to be back online and with more or less all of my data intact. A quick trip to pc world for a new hard drive and external caddy (to be able to access my old drive) together with a midnight download of Acronis Disk Director 11 meant that I was able to rebuild my system quickly and without too much fuss.

Yes, I had backups available to me but in this case I was actually able to retrieve and repair the original hard drive meaning I suffered very little data loss. I’ve taken the opportunity to clear a couple of years of accumulated rubbish off my machine and it runs that much faster for it. Key learning outcomes from this event? Well, point 1, keep doing (very) regular backups and point 2, make use of “the cloud” but don’t rely entirely on it – which is where my normal theme of online marketing comes in.

Over the past year or so, it seems that one cannot move for references to ‘cloud computing’ which in essence is data stored on remote server groups that are 3rd party owned. So far, so good. But, and this is a substantial but, what happens to your data when it is remotely stored?

  • From a business perspective is it compliant with all the rules and regulations that you should know about.
  • Who can access that data?
  • If there’s a problem with your access to the data, how easy is it to work around? Really?

All of these issues were at the forefront of my mind today when I read this article. Sure, we all use cloud computing in some respects: flickr, google tools, facebook, to name but a few. But, when it comes down to it, you cannot beat having physical access to your data (or at least knowing it’s on a dedicated server in a specific location).

Obviously, on a personal level it’s fairly easy to manage the data and make these decisions for your own pc. However, if your entire CRM database with a million customers is floating in the clouds – it raises some interesting questions. Questions that if the average online marketer is being honest, they probably haven’t ever stopped to consider.

Don’t forget the basics of (internet) marketing

A 12 month subscription to one of the well-known web marketing resource sites (Marketing Sherpa) came to an end a few weeks ago. Like many similar services, I’d found it useful but not so useful that I felt like renewing my membership – certainly not at the ‘full’ price anyway.

Existing customer = less attention

As I reviewed the value I felt that I’d got from this subscription, I realised that anecdotally at least, the amount of communication from the company had dropped off. This might be coincidental, but maybe not. It is common that so many companies will work very hard to win your business and then virtually ignore you once you’re signed up. I suppose it’s similar to the mobile phone networks who continually entice new customers with great offers and never improve existing customer contracts (although they do seem to do this now).

So first marketing point, maintain strong communications with existing customers, send them the occasional targeted, timely and relevant offer. As it approaches the end of their contract, maybe up the tempo of offers and reminders to get them to resubscribe. Remember build a relationship with your customer.

Hey remember us? We’re about to debit your card…

So having had no communication for seemingly a long time, an email arrives saying that to keep the same great service, we’ll debit your card for $xxx in 7 days – it’s great value. Maybe it is great value, but this process certainly wasn’t making me the customer feel valued.

Second marketing point, don’t take existing customers for granted or feel that they don’t need an offer or some other value.

Customer retention

I emailed the customer service team to say “thanks but no thanks” fully expecting that I’d get perhaps an inducement to stay, at the very least a ‘hey we’re sorry you want to leave’ message and an invitation to complete some sort of survey. What actually got was a one liner email “your subscription will not be renewed”. Concise? Yes. Blunt? Yes. The cutting edge of internet marketing in 2009? No!

Third marketing point, when you’re about to lose a customer at least try to win them back and failing that learn something from them by asking them why they are leaving and what you could do better and or differently.

Fourth and most important marketing point. Your company is your brand and needs to behave like it. If you are an internet marketing information source – you probably want to have the sharpest marketing and customer service that you can possibly have!

Perhaps it’s now time to give Marketing Profs or Econsultancy a try!

Making your url easy to access – the water cooler moment

I had a real water cooler moment today. The water cooler in question is a brand in the UK called Pow wow. but wait, what’s this? A web address on the front of the cooler –¬†

In a similar vein to an earlier post this is a pretty messy url to be using isn’t it? I suppose that you could argue there is some search engine benefit to using the word water in there, but the use of so many hyphens is a killer for anyone trying to remember an address like this. But then, maybe things have moved on, perhaps people just use a search engine instead of remembering urls. Either way, I think it still pays to have a meaningful and easy to use address.

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