About id8

Work is not work, it is enjoyment. If everyday is enjoyable then it does not appear to be a work day. In practical terms, delivering solutions to client problems, delivering ideas and assisting people in, watching a smile on their face with an aha...

Share of Social Generated E-Commerce Revenue and Sales

Retailers and brands are therefore increasingly focusing their attention on social commerce.

Overall usage on social media platforms is exploding. Millions and millions of consumers are expressing likes on Facebook, tweeting about products on Twitter, and pinning on Pinterest every single day. Many owner/managers look at these numbers differently either clear understanding or lack thereof ‘how to translate online traffic into tangible numbers to their online platforms and then into sales’.

Social Commerce Revenue ImgA

Source : www.addshoppers.com March2013-April2013

What you don’t get are any sales. And sales continue to be the only ROI metic which really matters in business.
Engagement is is banded around online, and working with many craft and food business who actively engage online through many sites with their followers, I have begun to question the logic in investing money in an army of ‘Fans’ who couldn’t give two hoots about the brand and have very little intention to engage with you to purchase your products.

Social Commerce Sales ImgA

Engagement – ‘Likes’, shares, comments.
The problem with engagement? The metric becomes the goal and, quite understandably, stressed-out social media managers focus on new likes, tweets, pins or what ever tickles their fancy (KPI’s) rather than delivering real value. Hence you get pictures and comments of animals, social events. Cute kittens and a disproportionate interest in how audiences are going to spend their weekends.

Social Commerce Sales Revenue Comparison

Audience size doesn’t always translate into more revenue. Smaller brands tend to have bigger audiences and I think this is due to better communication strategies
How is social media ROI measured?
Often times you as the business owner focus on shiny numbers like Likes and Followers. Numbers that are definitely part of social media measurement but does it reflect on the bottom line, money in the till at weeks end?  The fun part is when the accountant asks:
“So now, how can we turn all those likes into tangible sales?”
 
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People are thinking in new ways

“Marketing came into engineering and said we had to put extra chips in the product (Apple III), extra money, extra parts to disable the features the business users wanted when it booted up as an Apple III, so they would think Apple II was just for games,” he said.

Steve Wozniak, NAMM 2015 in Anaheim talking about the early days in Apple

Sounds familiar ?

Apple 1 & II were designed and built by Steve Wozniak before Steve Jobs saw them, they were designed to move the world forward, socially goals – communication and education

 

People are thinking in new ways and not just repeating what they’ve learned from books.”

courtesy of PianoManChuck

Talking about creativity, innovation, technology, Apple and his experiences along the way.

Working as a creative person, don’t work in a structured way, you need to have some creativity in your process and methods

 

 

Innovation

Most of my projects involves innovation in some flavour: new product design, software development, customer engagement or operational process change and many more aspects. I work on a project (contract) basis, typically 6 month and longer projects with clients.  Presently I am coming to the end of some contracts and on the search for new ones. Many times this involves tendering, networking and plain old job searches in various job recruitment websites.

Frequently I am amused when looking at innovation management, project management with innovation positions (not pure new product development roles): Candidates must have X years, Y experience, Z skills but all in the area of the position.

Surely innovation needs a broader skill set. Bringing in experience from difference fields, sectors and life in general. Do they understand the term innovation, I often wonder ?

Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of a better and, as a result, novel idea or method, whereas invention refers more directly to the creation of the idea or method itself. Innovation differs from improvement in that innovation refers to the notion of doing something different rather than doing the same thing better.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innovation

Yes, we need a sound platform to work from, an understanding of the environment that a position requires is necessary, but surely still missing the point. If you come from a company in a similar field to another, what can you offer in terms of innovation other than product or sector knowledge.

Innovation

Innovation

What can you bring to the table?

  • Do you or can you bring a different perspective on a problem?
  • Have you the ability to re-frame the problem in a different lense (design thinking) ?
  • Can you bring empathy to the project, customer understanding and engagement skills?
  • Being Creative?
  • Curiosity as to why it something works as it is.

Working in the innovation sphere, in my opinion needs a well rounded skill set. Ability to use a diverse toolkit; brainstorming, listening, empathy, understanding, patience and more besides.

I Want to Cook With Confidence

 

Recently I was asked to teach a 6 week cookery class at night. I run Creativity workshops for professionals where there is particular emphasis on developing Creative Confidence. Embracing new challenges and developing new perspectives are principles that I encourage people to adopt in order that they develop their own creativity so, even though I was a bit daunted, I accepted. Some years ago I gave up my IT career and trained as a chef and since then have become a qualified trainer, but until now these two aspects on my career have never met. To be honest, in the days leading up to the first class I was quite terrified. Even though I made my living getting entrepreneurs to play with markers and playdough, getting people to cook seemed impossible. I spent a lot of time poring over recipes and planning time down to the last minute.

When finally the first night arrived and it turned out nobody did have a hammer, I realised that this class was very similar to my other classes. People don’t go to cookery classes for recipes or technique, unless they are particularly advanced classes. Most people arrive because they have a belief about themselves –‘I can’t cook, in the same way that I hear ‘I’m not creative’ in my Creativity Workshops. Immediately we are hamstrung because we develop these beliefs over time and they become fact. Our lazy brains can hang on to these statements because it’s easier than coping with ambiguity.

I believe that everyone can cook and everyone is creative. We’ll deal with creativity later – today we’ll talk about cooking. Here are a few lessons that I shared with the class:

 

1. Cooking is an art, Baking is a science – this means that in baking you must’ve measure everything exactly and follow all the rules because there is an alchemy that occurs to ensure dough rises. Cooking on the other hand can be more about free expression…recipes are guidelines. If you don’t like garlic and it’s in the recipe, don’t put it in. It’s your food. (But seriously, who doesn’t like garlic…….)

2. When you are cooking at home it’s usually for you, your family or friends. These people will not be scoring your food on the way home in a taxi…people come to your house to see you, if they get a free meal that’s a bonus. Television judges get paid a lot of money to be pantomime villains for ratings. (I own a Gordon Ramsay book that I rarely cook from because I imagine him shouting every instruction at me!)

3. It is very difficult to burn things….smoke pouring out of ovens is a tv comedy vehicle. Yes, kitchen fires can cause serious damage but things burn in the kitchen usually due to inattention…so if you are new to cooking, just do that. After a while you’ll notice that devoting your time solely to cooking a meal can be quite relaxing if you let it. There is mindfulness to be had in slowly stiring a risotto.

4. Try doing your food shop without a list. Wander around the aisles and look. Concentrate on the fresh fruit, veg, meat and dairy products. Find something and stop and imagine how you would cook it. Many of the worlds top chefs base their daily menu on the best available ingredients they can find in the food markets each morning. Pick out something because it looks good. The internet is awash with recipes so you won’t be stuck.

5. There are always foods that we don’t like but if you’re not allergic, don’t refuse to try like a 4 year old. The pretend airplane is not a good luck for a grown up. If you dislike something try being specific about why. Is it too salty, sweet, too much vinegar, the right balance of hot and sour? This challenges your creative brain to come up with solutions!

6. Many people fear cooking meals because getting everything on the table at the same time is stressful. If this is a problem, start with a one-pot dish.

Marketing Strategy

Marketing Strategy

Developing and implementing a marketing strategy is a necessary process for a successful business. This process commences as you start your business, and it must remain an on-going process throughout the life of your business

Here are a few points to help you get started:

  • What is it that you are offering your customers? Know your product or service – Ensure that your staff are aware of what you are selling.
  • Know your competitors’ product or service better than they do. In what ways do their products or services compare better/worse than yours? What trading terms are they offering? Is their location better/worse than yours? What is their pricing structure? How are they adding value to their products?
  • Who are your customers? What is the demographics of your customers?
  • What is the image that you are trying to present to for your customers?
  • Is your market subject to seasonal changes?
  • What is your pricing policy? Is it consistent with your need to develop a required gross profit while meeting your customers’ expectations, do you cover your costs and something for future investments?
  • Do you know how to promote and advertise your business? Have you decided which advertising medium is suitable for you and your business?

I am presently working with many small business owners, by some of which some of the points are ignored, claimed ignorance or not even in their business sphere of operations. Many business start out with a great idea, do some market research and then run with it without as part of their business model develop a complete marketing strategy. You may make your product, and for the lucky few your customers come to you, but for the majority of us, including Id8 Consulting, we have to continually develop and monitor our business model, marketing plan and identification of who our customers are.

“Marketing is getting the right product or service in the right quantity, to the right place, at the right time and making a profit in the process”.

Marketing is about identifying and understanding your customer and meeting their needs through the use of your products, giving them what they require. Effective marketing is a result of examining every aspect of your business and how it affects the consumer’s end experience. It covers everything you’ll need to do in order to deliver your products and services to the consumer including research, planning, pricing, packaging, promotion, selling and distribution.

Write a successful marketing strategy

A well-developed marketing strategy will help you realise your business’s goals. A good marketing strategy helps you target your products and services to the people most likely to buy them.  Developing a marketing strategy that includes the components listed below will help you make the most of your marketing investment, keep your marketing focused, and measure and improve your sales results.

Identify your business goals

To develop your marketing strategy, identify your overarching business goals, so that you can then define a set of marketing goals to support them. Your business goals might include:

  • increasing awareness of your products and services
  • selling more products from a certain supplier
  • reaching a new customer segment.

State your marketing goals

Define a set of specific marketing goals based on the business goals you listed above. These goals will motivate you and your team and help you benchmark your success.

Examples of marketing goals include increased market penetration (selling more existing products to existing customers) or market development (selling existing products to new target markets). These marketing goals could be long-term and might take a few years to successfully achieve. However, they should be clear and measurable and have time frames for achievement.

Make sure your overall strategies are also practical and measurable. A good marketing strategy will not be changed every year, but revised when your strategies have been achieved or your marketing goals have been met. Also, you may need to amend your strategy if your external market changes due to a new competitor or new technology, or if your products substantially change.

The six “Ps”

The following six areas provide a comprehensive framework for developing an effective marketing plan. These areas are often referred to as the “6Ps” or the ‘marketing mix’:

Product

This covers the combination of goods and services that your business offers. It could include the following characteristics of your good or service: quality, variety, design, features, services, warranty, sizes, packaging, brand name and returns

Place

How does the consumer access your product or service?  Think about in; distribution channels, coverage, inventory, transportation, logistics and retail outlet location.

Price

What approach will you take to pricing your product? Will you offer discounts or extended payment periods? What credit terms will you set?

Promotion

How you communicate with your customers. Most businesses use a combination of advertising, personal selling, referrals, sales promotion and public relations

People

Your staff are the front face of your business. Try to understand your staff in terms of their knowledge, experience, skills, communication, teamwork and attitude

Process

The processes that you use in the day to day operation of your business. This effects your interaction with your customers. Think about the following aspects of business operation:  systems, quality control, planning, review, continuous improvement, documentation and feedback channels.

What is market research?

Market research is a key part of developing your marketing strategy. It’s about collecting information to give you an insight into your customer’s mind so that you understand what they want. You can also do market research to get a better idea of market trends and what is happening in your industry sector.

Research your market

Research is an essential part of your marketing strategy. You need to gather information about your market, such as its size, growth, social trends and demographics (population statistics such as age, gender and family type). It is important to keep an eye on your market so you are aware of any changes over time, so your strategy remains relevant and targeted. There are many online sources that can be used, the CSO is a good starting point.

Profile your potential customers

Use your market research to develop a profile of the customers you are targeting and identify their needs. The profile will reveal their buying patterns, including how they buy, where they buy and what they buy. While you try to find new customers, make sure your marketing strategy also allows you to maintain relationships with your existing customers. Current customers are a good basis for research into new customers, your most popular items should under the 80/20 rule be valid with new customers also.

Profile your competitors

Similarly, as part of your marketing strategy you should develop a profile of your competitors by identifying their products, supply chains, pricing and marketing tactics.

Use this to identify your competitive advantage – what sets your business apart from your competitors. You may also want to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your own internal processes to help improve your performance compared with your competition.

Why do I need a marketing plan?

  • A successful business operator understands
  • What they are offering the customer
  • And how it differs from their competitors.
  • What are you offering your customers?

The process of developing a marketing plan will help you understand the key benefits and features of your product or service, and how to go about attracting and retaining the right type of customer. The marketing plan is a component of your business plan.

A significant component of your marketing plan involves in depth industry analysis which will help you to segment your target market and appropriately position your business.

A good marketing plan will also provide you with clear objectives so that you can benchmark your achievements and measure the success of your marketing endeavours

Test your ideas

In deciding your tactics, do some online research, test some ideas and approaches on your customers and your staff, and review what works. You will need to choose a number of tactics in order to meet your customers’ needs, reach the customers within your target market and improve your sales results.

Once you have this completed, the loop is complete and you need to start again to address your marketing plan. As the business environment are in a continuous state of flux, you cannot say, hey that’s the plan done, lets run with it for next few years. You need to start again and understand your business model, following on to your various business strategies.

Where Ideas Come From: Be a visitor!….

island_cruise5_smallWhen you travelled to work this morning, assuming it’s a route you’ve taken regularly, what did you notice? Did you see the people? Did you notice the beautiful Georgian architecture or wonder about the inhabitants of the 1970s concrete office tower? Chances are your route is so familiar that you really don’t notice anymore. Our brains are so overloaded with information that, for efficiency, we automatically ignore what is routine.
Our everyday environment can be a bountiful source of ideas but to see them we need to change our perspective and start acting like a visitor. A study in 2009 showed that students who lived abroad were significantly more likely to to solve a difficult creativity problem than those who had never left their birth country. Those who travel widely develop their observation skills.
Imagine you are taking your route for the first time… what would change? Is there an alternative route that would be more interesting? Observe others…what causes them frustration? Often we become used to things that initially caused us irritation. A fund of ideas can arise when we come across something that doesn’t quite work but instead of saying ‘it should be fixed’ say ‘how would I fix this?’. Take it further and figure out what resources you need or who you could get involved to improve things…..is the ticket machine in the wrong place at the station ? It’s possible that a 5 minute email to the right person could fix the problem eliminating years of stress. Or you might end up working with a local university to develop a brand new turnstile system. Or it may come to nothing….but with all these options you are now an active participant in your environment! So how about setting yourself an ideas quota? Your goal is ten in one day. To quote Tom and David Kelley of Ideo in the book ‘Creative Confidence’ …”part of what makes venture so business savvy -and ultimately so successful- is that they see a lot more ideas than ordinary people”
After all the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas!

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Grainne

Have you seen your creativity?

You put it down somewhere, maybe when you were I 7 or maybe after that creative teenage burst but you haven’t seen it about for sometime. Is it gone forever? Has it just faded due to neglect? Chances are it has been kept like a guilty secret in the back of the mind. Most of us, grown ups, have either been told or come to our own realisation that creativity is for kids and not for the serious professional, unless you the arty type, the hippy types who were born with oodles of talent. But what if we challenge that belief?

When you were 5 and someone put a bunch of simple art supplies, markers, coloured paper, felt etc, On a table in front of you, what would you do? Dive in? Of course you would. You wouldn’t stop and consider thst it was a waste of time, or worry about other peoples assesment of your output.

But step forward to the present – what would your reaction be now? Chances are you’ll suddenly have an important call to make. Why? Generally playing makes us uncomfortable because we have lost the habit. In a work situation this discomfort can be excrutiating at first. I think that at some point a lot of us have become convinced that if we cannot play music or paint to a professional standard then it is not worth pursuing. But what if we enjoy it? Even if you can draw stick men you can convey a story. Had an unusual encounter this week? Or even a boring one? Take 2 minutes to draw it with a stick man and bubbles?

So many people find the idea of creativity uncomfortable and find it hard to see how it is relevant in their daily lives but did you know that in a recent IBM worldwidse survey, creativity was considered to be the top management competency, yet only 25% of us will admit to being creative. Becoming connected with our creativity is the prime way that we can differenciate ourselves and our businesses. Got Tqm, so can everyone else, Lean Six Sigma blackbelt, they can get it too, MBA, same. Ideas – there isn’t a course to get them, but you can learn to develop your creative confidence and the confidence of those around you so that you can become a creative powerhouse!

More soon..Grainne