Tag Archives: HR product marketing

HR technology trending in a Web 2.0 direction

More companies are incorporating Web 2.0 technologies such as social networking tools, blogs and webcasts for internal communications and as part of their overall technology mix, according to Watson Wyatt’s 2009 HR Technology Trends Survey.

Some key findings:

  • Since the economic downturn began, 72% of employers have increased their use of an intranet and 61% have increased their use of email to communicate with employees.
  • Newer technologies have made a strong entrance, finding that 32% of companies increased their use of webcasts, 13% have increased their use of social netowrking tools and 12% have increased their use of blogs for communication.
  • Many organizations continue to use manual processes for talent management, including succession planning (53%), career development (48%) and workforce planning (55%).
  • More than half (56%) of organizations are planning to increase their use of talent management technology over the next two years.
  • Companies are most rapidly adopting role-based employee portals (personalized to the user). Survey results show 41% of companies have already deployed or are piloting role-based employee portals and 24% are planning to adopt them in the next 24 months.

“Web 2.0 technologies work well, in most instances, for targeting specific employee and manager groups, and companies are using them in appropriate situations,” said Jon Osborne, senior technology consultant at Watson Wyatt.

“Using tools such as role-based portals, internal blogs and webcasts ensures that both managers and employees can send and receive tailored messages in an engaging format. This is useful for improving productivity and maintaining employee morale and engagement, particularly in this difficult economic time.”

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Don’t drop the price, fatten the offer

Yes, everyone is well aware that we’re in a recession and customers everywhere are looking for a great deal. But relying on that fact alone is the wrong reason to start reducing the price of everything you sell.

Instead, during these lean times it’s best to fatten your offer, according to Judy Kirkland from Echo Point Marketing partners in a Business Management Daily post.

The problem is, she says, is that when you “only focus on price you’re vulnerable to any competitor who undercuts you by a couple dollars.”

When you “fatten your offer” with something extra, you’re giving customers an added reason to buy from you.

Don’t have the money to add anything extra to the sale? No problem. It’s easy to find “extras” in things you’re already doing for your customers.

For example, the Wyndam hotel print ads offering to make sure your favorite snacks and beverages are in your room when you arrive. Since the hotel already stocks mini bars with a variety of snacks, allowing guests to make requests requires little to no extra effort on the hotel’s part.

Or the kitchen remodeling company that offers an added concierge service to help clients clear out their cabinets. The company had been doing it for years until they started positioning the service as an added bonus for signing a contract promptly.

Whatever your product or service is, odds are you can find something “extra” to help fatten the offer.

Think about giving customers added content with their purchase, such as a white paper or tip sheet. And what about offering free customer service for the life of the product?

In what ways does your company “fatten the offer” when selling their product or service? Any ideas to share with the rest of us? Leave a comment and let us know.

Half of HR vendors rank poorly online, where do you stand?

Since their launch of the SEO Center at HR Marketer.com, the company has been witness to some interesting statistics when it comes to how well HR vendors are managing their SEO.

HR Marketer’s data shows that not many have the hang of it, with only half of HR vendors ranking on the first few pages of major search engines for their top keyword strings.

After analyzing hundreds of HR vendors using their SEO Center, HR Marketer found that:

  • About 20% of HR vendors don’t show up on the first 10 pages (100 rankings) of top search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN).
  • Another 30% of HR vendors ranked on just one or two sets of keywords, but after the first two or three pages of search results.
  • Only about 15% had “exceptional” SEO, meaning they landed on page 1 of search rankings for at least two or three keyword strings.

On a positive note: What their data reveals is that about 50% of HR vendors do “get it” and are ranking on the first few pages of major search engines for their top keywords.

According to HR Marketer’s Mark Willaman, the data showing how many B2B companies are using SEO effectively to improve their search rankings should be a wake-up call for the other half of marketers out there.

“These are the companies being found first. So if your competitor ranks and you don’t guess who is getting the leads?” Mark asks.

Does your company “get it” when it comes to SEO and search rankings? What have you found that works or doesn’t work for your B2B that could be useful for others out there? Leave a comment and let us know.

B2B’s bread and butter: The white paper

White papers, B2B's bread and butter

White papers, B2B's bread and butter

InformationWeek recently released an insightful report on how to maximize the power of white papers in B2B marketing.

Researchers surveyed 542 IT decision makers and how they use white papers. The survey results show that white papers are still considered an important tool in persuading and engaging customer decisions.

You’ll have to register with InformationWeek to download a full copy of the report, but here are some highlights:

  • 76% of respondents use white papers for general education on a specific technology topic or issue
  • 74% percent use white papers to investigate possible technology solutions
  • 83% use white papers just as much or more than they have in the past
  • 93% pass along information they find in downloaded white papers to colleagues

While the survey dealt specifically with IT buyers, the results of the survey are easily translated across all areas of business to business marketing.

The survey also asked for feedback on what readers want from white papers, information that anyone within the IT industry or not can put to good use. Respondents revealed the top features of a good white paper include:

  • A concise abstract
  • Transparency/minimal marketing
  • Case studies
  • Product information with specifications
  • Technical diagrams
  • Downloadable PDF version

Survey respondents also revealed some eye-opening statistics on the impact white papers have on readers. Among the survey respondents:

  • 54% contacted a vendor for more information as a result of reading a white paper
  • 36% made a purchase after reading a white paper
  • 32% included a white paper in a case to support a purchase.

As new media struggles to show its growing value, the tried-and-true methods like business to business white papers prove that they still can have powerful results.

Improve product visibility with Google Base

Google Base is a free service from Google that allows you to submit information about your company’s products and services, along with keyword descriptions to help improve your online visibility.

The cool part is that you don’t necessarily need a website in order for Google Base to work for you. Anyone can list their products and services whether they’re sold online or offline.

Improve product visibility with Google Base

Improve product visibility with Google Base

The service functions just like a regular Google search. Depending on how relevant your product is to a person’s Google search, your product will either show up in “Google Product Search” or it will come up on the main search results page.

Google Base is easy to set up. First you need a Google account, which is free and takes minutes to create. Once you have your account, go to Google Base and login. You can either start adding your products and services one by one, or upload the information using a spreadsheet or XML file.

Similar to the way you optimize your web pages, there are ways to improve the chance of your products showing up at the top of Google Base results pages. Success mainly depends on your product descriptions and images.

Make sure that the titles and descriptions of each item are valid. Avoid using salesy descriptions or anything that sounds spammy, it will only hurt your rankings.

Upload a high-quality image for every item you list. Images increase the chance that people will click on your item to find out more information.

Google Base is an interesting tool that is definitely worth trying. Even if you don’t have a website, it’s a great way to boost your product visibility online.

Fun with links: Customer service, HR marketing trends and how to stop ‘wigging out’

Once again, there’s too much in my giant list of blog post ideas to get around to one at a time. So, here’s some of the latest and greatest marketing advice on the web. Enjoy!

Cut customer service and you’ll lose customers. As straightforward as that idea may seem, some companies are testing the waters when trimming customer service and customers don’t appreciate it. Scott Anthony at Harvard Business is one of those customers dealing with more than one damaged customer relationship due to cuts in customer service.

Yesterday HR Marketer announced the release of their ninth installment of the “Trends in HR Marketing” series of research reports. The findings mirror what was found in previous reports based on surveys sent to HR suppliers. Internet marketing and online social media are playing an increasingly important role in the marketing mix of HR vendors and suppliers. Find out more and get your own copy of the report at the HR Marketer blog.

Times are tough these days and everyone seems to be feeling the effects of the economic situation we’re in. Though the news may be bad, it doesn’t mean your attitude has to be as crummy as the headlines. Use a few of these tips on how to get away from “stinking thinking” and put yourself in a better mood, courtesy of the folks at Conversation Agent.

Paul Williams at MarketingProfs Daily Fix recently asked readers for their expert marketing advice on how to help his struggling business, simplifying the task by pretending the business was a lemonade stand. Advice came pouring in, “ranging from conservative to far out.” Read all of the comments and discover some new ideas to help your business in our down economy.

Have you been worried about the recent request by Postmaster General John Potter that Congress allow the U.S. Postal Service to cut mail service to five days a week to reduce costs? While it may save the USPS money, many marketers and publishers are worried about how the cutbacks will affect business. Read more about their plans at BtoB Magazine.

91% of B2B buyers using social media tools. Are you?

On Monday Forrester Research reported that 91% of B2B buyers are using social media tools, often using the tools to research and execute purchases.

“You heard right. Social media is no longer some fluffy domain for folks who can’t read a spreadsheet. It’s now one of the most widely used and cost-effective ways to reach new customers,” according to Rick Burnes at Hubspot, where we discovered the report (Thanks!).

With more than 90% of your customers using social media tools to research and make new purchases, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to get online and get involved in social media.

Here’s a breakdown of how B2B buyers are using social media, according to the Forrester Research:

  • Spectators – 91%
  • Critics – 58%
  • Joiners – 55%
  • Collectors – 48%
  • Creators – 43%
  • Inactives – 5%

That’s right, only 5% of B2B buyers aren’t using social media. Josh Bernoff at the Forrester Research blog calls the business-to-business sector “one of the most active groups of people I’ve ever seen when it comes to social participation.” Adding:

“What does this mean for you? If you’re a B2B marketer and you’re not using social technologies in your marketing, it means you’re late.