Business Digital Transformation 700X400_Prepare1 Image

What is this digital transformation people keep talking about?

How does that affect me and my business? Career?

With every new opportunity for businesses to evolve, there are significant challenges. How companies address them will determine their growth and progress through the Six Stages.
Each year, in addition to assessing key opportunities, executives share the top challenges they currently face in their digital transformation efforts.

In the 2016 research, the top business challenge was understanding evolving customer behavior.

Executives said that they struggled most with understanding new connected customers’ behaviors, which subsequently was the top driver for digital transformation efforts: “evolving customer behaviors
and preferences.”

ALL COMPANIES ARE BECOMING TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES

Corporate innovation is vital to uncovering new means and opportunities to better compete.

There are many current trends across business and technology landscapes that point to digital transformation’s shift away from marketing and toward the IT organization. As digital transformation matures within a business, the investment, implementation, and management of new technologies is destined for CIOs and IT. At the same time, businesses face a wave of disruptive technologies fated for implementation in every part of a company’s technology ecosystem. These disruptive technologies — AR, VR, AI, machine learning, big data, blockchain, IoT, and conversational commerce — require technical ownership and skillsets to design and implement new solutions.

Faster and faster, all types of businesses are becoming technology companies. In the inaugural 2014 digital transformation report, Adam Brotman, Starbucks’ executive vice president of global retail operations and partner digital engagement, shared that Starbucks “acts like a consumer technology company” when it comes to its digital strategy. He advised other companies to do the same.

Fast-forward to July 2017, when Starbucks’ Chief Strategy Officer Matt Ryan discussed the scope of its ever-broadening technology strategy as part of the company’s post-earnings call.

“This fundamental modernization of our technology stack will replace legacy rewards and ordering functionality with the new, scalable, cloud-based platform for rewards and ordering, improved customer data organization, and tighter integration with store-based operating systems, including inventory and production management,” Ryan said.

As digital transformation matures, many more companies are exploring innovative technology as an enabler for new customer- and employee-driven initiatives. Domino’s Pizza also cites its current trajectory and success by becoming a technology company that also makes and delivers pizza around the world. Domino’s Pizza Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Patrick Doyle shared lessons about making radical change to traditional business models at a 2016 CEO summit titled How to Transform a Legacy Company Into a Technology-Enabled, Nimble, Category-Disrupting Machine.

Domino’s prioritizes investments in technology and expertise to emphasize innovation in pizza delivery. As a result, it hired 400 software and analytics professionals to explore application improvements and new delivery capabilities, such as drones, autonomous cars, and mobile ovens.

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS AN EFFORT TO AVERT “UH OH”

The remaining drivers should not go unnoticed, as they tell the complex story of how businesses are reacting to digital Darwinism, the survival of the most adaptable in the evolution of technology and its impact on markets and people’s behaviors.

Digital Darwinism

Most businesses just react to market shifts and trends, making them early in their digital transformation. However, 36.9% surveyed seem prescient because they treat digital transformation as a proactive investment for adapting to market disruption before it’s too late.

Getting ahead of digital transformation is a promising trend. Most companies react to change in one of two ways, either ahead of trends (“a ha”) or in response to the effects of change (“uh oh”).

In what may be a sign of “uh oh” moving to the forefront, 16.7% of survey participants cited a decline in business performance as their reason for pursuing digital transformation.

Digital transformation is a game-changer. Like every market disruption, it requires companies to shift perspectives and invest in modern proficiencies and talent. Yet, unfortunately, only 20.3% of businesses view “the lack of expertise, literacy, and understanding of digital trends” as a driver for digital transformation.
While customer experience is often cited as a focal point for initial digital transformation, the same digital factors affecting customers also influence employees. This year, the updated survey was to track the growing importance of employees in digital transformation. In 2017 “employee behaviors and preferences” shares the top spot as a primary factor driving digital transformation. Expect employee engagement and experience (EX) to grow in importance in 2018 and 2019.

KEY DRIVERS OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

By design, CIOs/CTOs manage enterprise-wide technology initiatives. In comparison, CMOs historically have focused on marketing, sales, and customer experience. These executive roles are evolving. No role, either independently or collectively, can successfully design and implement digital transformation strategies based on legacy or silo-based perspectives, risk-averse decision-making, or internally-focused initiatives.

This year, 64.6% of businesses interviewed are prioritizing “evolving customer behaviors and  references” as a key driver for digital transformation. This is up from 55% in 2016.
In 2014, we consistently found advanced companies centered their efforts on customer engagement and experience. Doing so helped them concentrate on initiatives and investments that drove business value, demonstrated impact, and introduced opportunities to collaborate across a company’s departmental silos.
Competitive pressures and new markets rank as the second and third drivers of digital transformation. These rankings reveal the urgency within companies to optimize operations and innovate.
Companies surveyed in 2017 are simultaneously experiencing increased competitive pressure (54.2%) and growth opportunities in new markets (46%).

TOP CHALLENGES FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

With every new opportunity for businesses to evolve, there are significant challenges. How  companies address them will determine their growth and progress through the Six Stages.
Each year, in addition to assessing key opportunities, we ask executives to share the top challenges they currently face in their digital transformation efforts.

In the 2016 research, the top business challenge was understanding evolving customer behavior. Executives said that they struggled most with understanding new connected customers’ behaviors, which subsequently was the top driver for digital transformation efforts: “evolving customer behaviors and preferences.”

So what was the most surprising result from the digital transformation study?

“What surprised us most is just how far behind companies are in their digital transformation efforts,” Solis said. “In fact, when executives benchmark the status of their efforts against our maturity model, ‘The 6 Stages of Digital Transformation‘, they consistently peg themselves further along than they really are.”

There is a shift in power when it comes to digital transformation.

Top Challenges for Digital Transformation

Lack of digital literacy and expertise anchors digital transformation to the past.

Not everyone understands digital. Businesses and their change agents still face monumental challenges to achieve successful digital transformation. It’s difficult for many executives and colleagues to “get” and, therefore, prioritize digital initiatives ahead of personal agendas. Our 2017 study exposes this issue, which will become increasingly visible during the next two years. “Low digital literacy or expertise among colleagues and leadership” leads the list of challenges at 31.4%.

Many companies are not equipped to swiftly adapt to disruption.

Limited digital literacy and expertise will greatly restrain transformation, which requires a dedicated employee engagement program and signals the importance of Human Resources departments in future trends.

Though employee engagement is a critical challenge, it sits atop a long list of equally difficult challenges.

LOOKING FORWARD

Companies must look beyond digital technologies and drive business innovation with a human-  entered approach. People (customers and employees) and their preferences, behaviors, and expectations continue evolving when disruptive technologies impact markets. Additionally, companies must explore current and future technology trends to become technology companies in their own right.
The State of Digital Transformation — 2017 highlights the early evolution through the Six Stages maturity model. These times demand urgency and acceleration of their efforts. Innovation and change management are critical partners for digital transformation initiatives. The combination introduces new business and operation models to expedite and escalate change across the Six Stages.

SOURCE: Altimeter Group | Brian Solis

About Blair

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.

Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.

Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social MediaThe Race is ON! | PREPARE | Get into the Game and WIN!

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FB Organic Reach Declining_Prepare1 Image

Business owners have noticed a decline in their organic reach have you?

Were you aware that this is Facebook’s intended goal?

Organic reach on Facebook is so in the past. Most unfortunate, but true. Facebook has long been a ‘pay-to-play’ platform for those businesses serious about optimizing all that the platform offers. Organic reach has been steadily declining from well over 100% on some pages (back pre-2012), to an average of 1-6% starting in 2014.

More Money = More Reach

As Facebook has evolved into more of a paid marketing platform than an organic one, Page managers are realizing they’re now expected to pay for ads yet again to reach those newly acquired Fans, even if those Fans have seemingly elected to see a brand’s posts by liking their Page in the first place.

Any business page today that achieves more than the average organic reach is an outlier.  Pages with consistently higher than average organic reach are likely due to many factors, such as:

  • the perfect mix of highly relevant content,
  • the right frequency of posting,
  • the best mix of content types, e.g. more video and Live broadcasts,
  • responding and connecting with fans,
  • …all of which can result in a highly engaged audience, many with notifications enabled.

There are also pages that have somehow cracked the code of crazy viral organic reach, for example, with content like recipe videos. Again, these are all the outliers.

Facebook may be pulling off one of the most lucrative grifts of all time; first, they convinced brands they needed to purchase all their Fans and Likes — even though everyone knows you can’t buy love; then, Facebook continues to charge those same brands money to speak to the Fans they just bought.”

SOCIAL MEDIA IS RENTED LAND

VIDEO IS DOMINATING FACEBOOK ENGAGEMENT

The average video post in April 2017 reached 12.05% of the total page audience, just ahead of photos at 11.63%, links at 7.81%, and status updates at only 4.56%. Videos also had the highest levels of engagement as we can see below.

Video is dominating Facebook

HEADLINES ARE ALL ABOUT THE PROMISE

BuzzSumo did a major study looking at 100m headlines this year. The top performing trigrams or three word phrases on Facebook are a surprise. The top headline phrases were as follows:

Top Headline Phrases

WHAT CAN BUSINESSES DO NOW TO OPTIMIZE FACEBOOK?

Whether you’re seeing organic reach in the average of 1-6%, or you want to plan now for zero reach, or even if you’re an outlier with above-average organic reach, this section is for you. This is hitting the smaller brands who do not have the advertising budget to compete with bigger brands.

Be more selective about what you post.

1. Focus on video

First, with Facebook’s big push to have users consume more and more video, marketers really ought to put video at the top of their content marketing plans in 2018.

With the recent launch of Facebook’s new Watch Platform—giving users the ability to consume television-quality shows ad nauseam on desktop, mobile and television—the company seems determined to end up becoming a merger of your first screen (TV) and second screen (phone, laptop, tablet). Not to mention tapping into the epic television advertising industry.

2. Broadcast with Live video more

Facebook does appear to be rewarding business and personal users who use the Live video broadcasting feature regularly.

Although, like most of my colleagues, I’m seeing a decline in organic reach on Live videos, they still get more reach than any other type of post.

3. Create short form ‘bitsize’ videos

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer recommends creating ‘snackable’ video content. That is, between 6-15 seconds. This is the ideal length to be used as ad breaks. On the Q2 2017 earnings call, Sandberg cited an example split test by juice company Tropicana where they ran 6 second and 15 second video ads, and the shorter one fared best.

4. Add captions to your videos

With most users on Facebook leaving silent autoplay as the default, 85 percent of videos are watched with sound off. Have you ever watched an entire video in your own News Feed with no sound – just enjoying the story by reading the captions/lower thirds? I know I have.

People are often in environments where it’s preferable to have sound off. Although, Facebook has been running tests for autoplay sound on. Hm.

Facebook does included an automated captions generation tool for uploaded video and completed Live video broadcasts. A good transcription service is, Rev.com.

5. Create square videos

According to research from Animoto and Buffer, square videos perform better on Facebook, resulting in 28% more views, more likes, and shares, while leading to a 67% greater view-completion rate.

Plus, square video (1:1) takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video (16:9).

START TREATING FACEBOOK LIKE A PAID AD PLATFORM

If you’re going to pay-to-play, get your targeting right. Once you’ve built an audience of relevant fans, focus on advertising the content assets you’ve created — blog posts, ebooks, etc. — and use ads to amplify them to targeted users.

Remember: It’s likely only a matter of time before organic reach hits zero, so you might as well hone your paid strategy now, which brings me to one final recommendation …

If you do advertise, go beyond the basics.

Facebook’s targeting capabilities have gotten considerably better over the past few years. You can now pay to reach your ideal persona based on demographics, interests, web behavior, and more.

Additionally, there are a bunch of tools and features that can help you maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns, including:

To learn more about how you can improve your Facebook Page’s reach, check out my friends over at Hubspot for their free guide: How to Attract Customers with Facebook.

About Blair

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.

Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.

Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social MediaThe Race is ON! | PREPARE | Get into the Game and WIN!

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Mobile Future 700X400_Prepare1 Image-1

Will the pace of business slow down or speed up over the next 5 years?

Will mobile and the internet play a more prominent role in marketing?

The web is always growing and changing to suit, and even to shape, the needs of consumers. Their tastes and online habits can change quickly. While some new directions may turn out to be fads; those trends which provide online users genuine and continuing value can permanently alter the way the internet is used.

Increasingly, digital consumers are relying upon their smartphones for easy and instant communication, research and entertainment.

  • To better serve your existing clients
  • Expand your reach
  • Attracting new customers; your business web strategy needs to keep pace with this, and other swiftly evolving trends.

iPHONE X

Apple iPhone X

Apple’s vision has always been to create an iPhone that is entirely screen. One so immersive the device itself disappears into the experience. And so intelligent it can respond to a tap, your voice, and even a glance. With iPhone X, that vision is now a reality. Say hello to the future.

INTERNET USAGE

Internet Usage (Engagement) = Solid Growth…+4% Y/Y… Mobile >3 Hours / Day per User vs. <1 Five Years Ago, USA

Time Spent Digital Media Trends 2017

ONLINE ADVERTISING (+ COMMERCE) =
INCREASINGLY MEASURABLE + ACTIONABLE

Ad Growth = Driven by Mobile

Online Advertising = Growth Accelerating, +22% vs. +20% Y/Y…
Mobile $ > Desktop (2016) on Higher Growth, USA

USA Internet Advertising 2009-2016

Advertising $ = Shift to Usage (Mobile) Continues

Advertising Spending

Google + Facebook = 85% (& Rising) Share of Internet Advertising Growth, USA

 Ad Revenue Google vs Facebook

HYPER LOCAL SEARCH

According to Google, “nearly one third of all mobile searches are related to location, and that number is growing”. Given the growth in “near me” searches, it’s no wonder that Google is always refining their local search capabilities. Instead of local search including only cities or towns, it can now include smaller locales like neighbourhoods, streets or even city blocks.

This gives local small businesses ample opportunity to reach nearby customers.  Google reports that 76% of people who search on their mobile devices for something nearby visit the business within a day. Twenty-eight percent of these searches result in a purchase. As long as your business and website are fully optimized for location searches, your business can directly benefit from Google’s improved hyperlocal search algorithms.

Advertisers = Like Measurable Engagement Metrics But…
Some Find Measuring ROI Challenging (as with Offline)

Social Media Advertisers Marketing

Ad Blocking = Growth Continues…Especially in Developing Markets…
Users Increasingly Opt Out of Stuff They Don’t Want

Adblocking Users on Web

Leading Online Ad Platforms = Providing More Ways to Target + Measure Ads

Facebook & Google Insights

Contextual Ads (Facebook) = Driving Direct Purchases

Clearly research shows that people are buying from Facebook Ads. Graphics and video play a big part as well as targeted demographic ads. You must know your customer.

Why Do You Need Facebook Ads Research?

FACEBOOK NEWSFEED EXPOSURE

It comes as no surprise that your Facebook Newsfeed Exposure is trending downward, and has for the last few years. Being a public company now for 5 years and shareholders to please, has changed the way Facebook approaches business.

After all it’s free to us. Right?

Marketers are now faced with decreased Facebook News Feed exposure, and must find ways to boost exposure. For those without a advertising budget, it will be hard to sustain any traction.

Let’s take a look at Facebook Advertising.

Conducting thorough Facebook ads research takes at least a couple of hours. However, most of the time, you’ll get worthwhile rewards for your effort.

When it comes to Facebook advertising, market research has three main benefits:

  • Identifying opportunities — Ad research is a great method for gathering new campaign ideas and expanding the existing ones.
  • Idea validation — Once you’ve got a cool idea for your next Facebook ad campaign, you can look for proof whether similar tactics have worked for others.
  • Lowered risk — You might be able to avoid mistakes made by other brands by evading your competitors’ blunders and focusing your effort on what works.

Moreover, research could help to overcome your cognitive biases — so that you won’t run with the first idea that’s looking brilliant at the moment, but later turns up to be your greatest flop to date.

Facebook Users Ad Purchase

Here’s a list of useful questions that you can ask when doing Facebook ads research:

  1. Which ad types have the highest engagement? Newsfeed ads, Video ads, Lead ads, Page Like ads, Carousel ads, etc.
  2. Which ad placements are my competitors using? Desktop, Mobile, Right-hand column, etc.
  3. What types of ad images are working for your competitors? Are they using stock photos or custom designs? What are the most prominent colors used in competing ads?
  4. Are there any smart ad design elements that you can apply to your future campaigns?
  5. What are your competitors’ strongest value propositions and how do these messages differ from yours?
  6. Which offers are your competitors promoting on Facebook  direct sales, lead nurturing, remarketing, or other types of promotional messages?
  7. How many Facebook ad tests are the competitors running and what are they testing?
  8. What about the landing pages? How well do the landing pages align with the ad offers? Are there any golden ideas to steal?

Use Facebook as a Spy Tool

Every time you see a sponsored post on Facebook, you can click on the arrow icon in the top right corner and ask “Why am I seeing this?”

Facebook’s answer could be a golden gateway to uncovering an advertiser’s audience targeting methods and adding new ideas in your marketing stack.

facebook-why-am-i-seeing-this

Facebook will show you one or more reasons why the ad is displayed in your Newsfeed.

Analyze Your Competitors’ Facebook Pages

Use a tool like Fanpage Karma to see information about your competitors’ Facebook Page performance and fans.

You can benchmark multiple Facebook Pages against each other to detect the high-performers among your competitors and see how you compare to them.

Compare Facebook Pages with Fan Page Karma

Compare Facebook Pages with Fan Page Karma

As you select a Facebook Page, you’ll be able to see the prime posts that have received the highest engagement and also the worse-performing shares.

Learn what works and what doesn’t

Learn what works and what doesn’t.

Notice that each post also has a posting date, meaning that you could uncover the best posting times by analyzing the ads with most likes and shares.

When looking at your competitors’ Facebook posts, examine the topics and tone of voice. Moreover, see how other brands communicate with their Facebook fans and engage people to participate in conversations.

If you notice a successful competitor talking about a specific subject over and over again, it may be a good idea to target this interest in your ad campaigns or add it to your content marketing strategy.

A lot of the future of search is going to be about pictures instead of keywords.
– Ben Silbermann, Pinterest Founder / CEO, 4/17

…Social Media = Can Drive Accountability…

82% of Customers Stopped Doing Business with a Company After Bad Experience vs. 76% in 2014, 8/16

Bad Customer Service Social Media

…Retail Store Closings May Break 20 Year Record While…
Amazon Opens Retail Stores…

Retail Unit Closings 2017

More / Faster Than Ever = Great Products Find Customers…
Customers Find Great Products…
Process + Data Collection + Intermediaries = Changing @ Torrid Pace…

…World’s Largest Offline Retailer (Wal-Mart)…
Getting Aggressive Online…

Walmart Online

Internet Bigs Expansion / Growth = A Long Way from Where They Started

Internet Companies Growth

SOURCE: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers | Internet Trends

About Blair

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.

Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.

Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social MediaThe Race is ON! | PREPARE | Get into the Game and WIN!

 

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Video Marketing for Small Business – Infographic

by Blair Evan Ball November 1, 2017

Share4 Tweet Share6 +1 Stumble1 Pin1Shares 12 Are you using video in your business or holding off? Did you know how this is impacting your business? For years now, you’ve been hearing that video marketing for small business is on the rise. Really for all business. Video trend keeps moving forward. Take a look at […]

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Facebook Is Testing A ‘Pay-To-Play’ Model

by Blair Evan Ball October 25, 2017

Share5 Tweet Share2 +1 Stumble1 Pin3Shares 11  Have you noticed another drop in your organic reach? Were you aware that Facebook made another change to their algorithm? If you do Facebook marketing, one thing that you might want to understand is the Facebook algorithm. This could be the “Nightmare Scenario” For Publishers: Facebook Testing A ‘Pay-To-Play‘ […]

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The Power of Positive Self-Expectancy

by Blair Evan Ball October 11, 2017

Share1 Tweet Share2 +1 Stumble1 PinShares 4 Do you find yourself fighting the negative things in life? Is it becoming harder and harder with all the negative news? DID YOU KNOW? You can create a new optimistic way of life today! Positive self-expectancy is the first, most outwardly identifiable quality of a top-achieving, winning human […]

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Key Drivers of the Coming Digital Transformation

by Blair Evan Ball October 6, 2017

Share1 Tweet Share6 +1 Stumble PinShares 7 Are you ready for the digital transformation taking place? Would you like to know what’s coming? Do you have the endurance to keep up? All companies are operating faster and faster, and all types of businesses are becoming technology companies. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide use smartphones […]

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How to Use the Best Facebook Live Tools

by Blair Evan Ball September 19, 2017

Share6 Tweet Share3 +1 Stumble3 PinShares 12 Wondering what  desktop software and  tools you need to produce a GOOD Facebook Live show? Looking for a guide to tech setup and pre-show production? In this post you’ll learn about Facebook Live Video tools that can help you improve the video and audio quality of your Facebook Live Videos. […]

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How to Make Emotional Videos Stand Out

by Blair Evan Ball September 14, 2017

Share3 Tweet Share3 +1 Stumble PinShares 6 Are you currently using videos in your marketing? Did you realize that in two years it will be 85% of all search traffic on the web? It’s no secret that video content is on the rise. By 2019, video content will be the driving factor behind 85% of search traffic […]

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7 Steps to New Habits

by Blair Evan Ball September 7, 2017

Share3 Tweet Share4 +1 Stumble1 Pin4Shares 12 Have you ever developed good habits? Bad habits? Were they easy to create or break? “Nothing succeeds like success.” Whether we like it or not, a big part of what we do in life is governed by habits. Even more importantly, habits can lead us to think and […]

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