Finding my way around the information superhighway – best wishes for 2017

Not many of you might remember the information superhighway. I do, this is how I found my way around business.

From the information superhighway to Visionary Marketing

From a business perspective, 2016 has been an eventful year, to say the least. In fact, the past few years have been very busy. Three years to the day I was working on my computer and on my blog preparing to launch my new company. New isn’t the right term. Visionary Marketing was created in 1995. Out of frustration and seeing how managers were being downsized regardless of their abilities. I then decided to use this new tool one called the Internet (in those days people referred to it as the information superhighway) to sell my wares.

information Superhighway - the early version of Visionary Marketing
The 1997 version of Visionary Marketing, then part of the information superhighway (image, courtesy of the superb Archive.org Webiste)

As I tried to post my CV online and quickly realised that nothing good would happen if I continued to do that, I turned the website around, changed its content and theme to match that of a 100 page report I had written and rebranded it to match the name of the report. Half a year later, I bought a domain name and attached it to the Website.

Information superhighway and best wishes
The Visionary Marketing team wishes you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year

The site may have changed platforms a few times but it has always been there to support my work. I used it to do research, to publish my work, to network, and evangelise. Eventually, I never had to search for a job anymore. People started to call me. I wasn’t fired from Unisys. In actual fact it went the other round, I resigned twice. Once to leave France and get back to Britain. But they wouldn’t let me go and I got an expat package instead. Even though that was deemed impossible at the time. The Website had made me visible and desirable. I went on updating it. And I resigned a second time to join Capgemini for whom I worked in Lebanon and China and France.

I went on updating my website. It got me another job outside of Capgemini and I joined Orange (France Telecom as it was called at the time). The Website got me that job and I never ceased to update it. In 2004 an Orange colleague advised me to move to blogs. I didn’t suppress the Website but went on to build blogs – this blog is one of them – on top of the Website. I was right not to do away with the site, that was visionary too.

Read more

Social Selling at the heart of Facebook Marketplace

Welcome to the Internet : the land of Marketplaces ! We all know Amazon marketplace, Asos Marketplace, or many other platforms dedicated to peer-to-peer selling. For a lot of people, the Internet is the best place to sell products (new or vintage) to other people. It’s as easy as 1,2,3 ; just find a popular platform like Craigslist or Leboncoin for our french readers, and post the most convincing image (sometimes even adding some filters to beautify it), with a short description and a price tag. And wait.. until someone makes the move. To try and boost the sale of an old couch, people share their posts on social media. Who knows, maybe one of our Facebook friends has a cousin who needs a vintage couch, right? Now Facebook, that social network we use ‘all day everyday’ is launching its own Marketplace. In this article, we’ll go through the basics of that new Facebook feature.

Don’t hesitate to give us your opinion.

Selling your old couch? Photo by Mia Tawilé
Selling your old couch?
Photo by Mia Tawilé

Facebook Marketplace: All about social selling

First things first. For those of you who do not know what social selling is (not everyone is a geek), let me explain it briefly. Social selling is the process of making the best out of your social media platform, to find potential clients to target, communicate with them, build trust and credibility. All this is done, of course, to end up with a sale.

Read more

5 Ways to Use Content Marketing for Ecommerce Success

If you are looking to sell products online, whether that’s clothing, jewellery or anything else, content is important.Valuable, great content creates trust, builds your brand and helps you stand out from the crowd of other e-commerce stores. Content marketing can draw in prospects, it can convert these prospects into customers and most importantly can close more deals and create more sales for your ecommerce store. Content is the big buzz word in digital marketing at the present, as everyone is saying “content is king” (I even feel cliché for saying it). But, content has become the most important part of digital marketing, and should be the backbone of your e-commerce marketing too.

Content Marketing and E-commerce

Here are a few reasons how a proper content marketing strategy can give you e-commerce success:

  • Improve user engagement, increase your customer base and build important relationships between your current customers and your brand.
  • Raise awareness of your brand.
  • Improve your ranking in search engines, target keywords with your content to find customers who are searching for products just like yours.
  • Provide support and help. Create useful content like how-to’s, user manuals and guides. And don’t forget to promptly answer customer queries.
  • Enhanced social reach, share content through social media to reach a larger audience.

What content should you be creating for your e-commerce store?

This can depend on your industry, what products you sell and your target market. This is a point you must remember, not just for content marketing, but it is the #1 rule in marketing, know your market, before creating any content, know who your current customers are, know who your potential customers are, and make sure your content is optimised for them.

E commerce and content

So here are 5 ways to use content marketing for e-commerce store success.

  1. Set a Goal

Before creating your content marketing strategy, you should set goals, for both each piece of content and overall. Set something to aim for, whether that is increasing overall sales and customers, gaining new email subscribers or even just engaging or helping your current customers. Having a goal will help you create content for a specific cause.

  1. Create How-to Videos and Guides

Creating how-to videos or guides are a great way to hook people into your product through your content. Making how-to videos which simply and easily explains your product is great, although how to use your product may be obvious for you, it may not be for your customers. Giving customers and potential leads advice on topics directly related to your product builds your authority, as well as your customer base. A great example of this is to create a large amount of content that informs and teaches people beyond your specific product to reach larger audiences. This works great, as you are giving something away for free to attract potential customers to your product and brand. Never underestimate the power of teaching others. Read more

Don’t Make These Mistakes When Choosing a Domain Name

Choosing a domain name seems straightforward, but there are actually many things to consider before you register your business’s website. And while domain names usually aren’t terribly expensive, it can be a real hassle to try to reroute all of your webpages to a new address later on, should you change your mind. Instead, spend a little extra time up front brainstorming multiple domain name options. To guide you, here are some definite mistakes to avoid:

Choosing a Domain Name That Is Easily Confused With Another Brand 

At best, you’ll receive an uptick in site hits from people who have simply typed the wrong address. At worst, you might be hit with a lawsuit, especially if the brand you’re being mistaken for has a big budget and thinks you’re stealing customers. For example, if you sell fence building materials, you might think “Wall Mart” is a clever business name. But trying to register wallmart.com might result in a cease-and-desist letter from the lawyers of Walmart. Play it safe and make sure to choose a domain name that is quite unique.

Matching Another Domain Name But Using a Different gTLD 

Let’s say you already have a great domain name picked out. The only problem is that someone else has beaten you to the punch, and the .com generic top-level domain (gTLD) is already registered. That’s okay because you can just choose to register as a .net business or use any number of other gTLDs, right? Wrong … for the same reasons as Mistake #1, this is a bad idea, but you’ll also be positioning yourself in the shadow of another business. It could hinder your marketing efforts if you have to keep reiterating that your business is the .net version, not the .com one.

domain-name

Using a Domain Name That Is Difficult to Pronounce or to Spell

When you network with others face-to-face, you want to be able to casually throw out the name of your website and have it stick in the recipient’s mind. You don’t want to have to stop and laboriously explain how the domain is spelled or make it difficult to pronounce. For best results, choose a domain with words that are spelled how they sound and sound how they look. Read more

Middle management Versus digital transformation

Cecile Demailly, a consultant in organisational change within large companies, built a survey to better understand how middle management cope with digital transformation. The latter is a phenomenon that is touching all the industries. Yes, it brings changes. That’s why disruption is also a keyword that you might have came across when looking at digital transformation. When developing her research, Demailly brings corporate knowledge, strategic consulting expertise, adaptation to new business models with the regular research practice. In order to get a complete analysis of middle management’s perception of digital transformation lived in their jobs, the questionnaire she designed covered 7 areas of questions. She made the questions as comprehensive as possible, for the managers to understand, and give accurate answers. The areas she touched on are the following: Technology adoption, mindset, status, relations, organisational environment, change and adaptability. The answers she collected and analysed are very interesting to look at. Let’s go through them briefly in this article. Feel free to dig deeper.

Digital transformation is not only about technical stuff, it also helps human relationships flourish
Digital transformation is not only about technical stuff, it also helps human relationships flourish

The digital divide

By definition, a digital divide is an economic and social inequality with regards to digital and technology. In other words, it’s the digital gap that exists between two parties. We can also talk about global digital divide. It’s simply the digital gap that exists between a developing and a developed country (or group of countries).

In the context of Cecile Demailly’s study, we are mainly talking about the digital divide that appeared with executive management.

Middle management has some positive feedback about the implementation of digital practices within their company. However, it came with some challenges and a lot of ambiguity in regards to their tasks. They were expected to stand up and take action. In other words, to be leaders. Usually, people are not unhappy with that. But, here, the problem is: the lack of recognition. Middle management “leaders” made efforts that were not really looked up to.

picture1

A shift towards leadership

Today, in a “digitally transformed” company, middle managers go through a shift in their identity and their job tasks. How? Well, by guiding, influencing and facilitating the organisation basically. Middle managers should be open minded, and work towards to development of their teams and the processes. They should not think of controlling processes and people, like in some sort of dictatorship.

By adding new ingredients, the digital transformation recipe is made more difficult. New tools and new processes add a layer of complexity and uncertainty. Middle managers should answer questions they have not come across in the past, and must step in a new area of activity. This brings us to the next part of our article: middle managers’ required skills.

picture2

The digital paradox

Obviously, when analysing the findings of a survey, we find different opinions and perceptions of the same concept (that’s the whole point of developing a survey). In Cecile’s study, she found very interesting, yet paradoxical results: 50% of the respondents think digitisation helps them grasp situations and think more creatively, versus 40% who think the exact opposite. Read more