Global Growth Through Digitalization

Software, Digitization, Inbound Marketing
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By Craig Witt, Executive Vice President at MotionPoint

Imagine the business value of having a global digital marketing presence that’s just as efficient and optimized as your manufacturing plants. By following a few best practices, you can.

Consulting firm McKinsey notes how digital transformation benefits the operations side of manufacturing. If your global sales and marketing channels can also keep pace with these digital innovations, you’ll deliver powerful, unified user experiences across all markets and channels.

As you know, B2B buyers are conducting their own research in earlier and earlier stages of the buying process. You need to optimize your digital sales and marketing touchpoints to help generate leads in existing and new markets. That means knowing your global buyers’ cultures—both their literal cultures, and how they prefer to be engaged—and being iterative and agile.

It also means speaking their languages.

Your website is the most important channel in this digitization strategy. It’s responsible for supporting the dynamic global growth of your brand, and converting inbound traffic into sales and qualified leads.

If those global websites feature untranslated content, limited search functionality, or a lack of locally preferred payment options, you’re already blowing it. Your digital channels — websites, mobile sites, social networks and apps — must continually serve fresh, multilingual content in markets around the world. Content should be globally consistent, yet locally relevant to provide a stellar user experience.

Your marketing team, like that of most B2B manufacturers’, is probably working with lean resources and is strapped for time as it is. If you’re having trouble getting started, here are some key areas to prioritize in 2018:

  • Embrace 21st century search: B2B buyers don’t have the patience to wade through catalogs. They’ve been conditioned for an Amazon-like experience, quickly finding the product they need. Give them a helpful, in-language, onsite search.
  • Go mobile-first: In many global markets, mobile device usage far surpasses desktop. Armed with the latest research on local behavior, offer mobile-first content to those markets on the devices and platforms buyers use.
  • Understand cultural nuances: Simply duplicating all the content on your flagship site for your global sites is rarely successful. Roughly 80 percent of your English site can be translated verbatim for international markets. The other 20 percent should include localizations — locally relevant products, images, offers, contact information and payment platforms. This will help global buyers develop trust and want to do business with you.
  • Keep your online channels fresh: If the content on your international sites is at odds with the latest offers and product inventory on your flagship site, you risk losing business. Text, video, images and offers should be refreshed often and translated appropriately for international sites.
  • Help buyers find you: Get more inbound clicks simply by localizing other elements of a global site. This includes translating sitemaps, metadata and other “under the hood” content on your website. Doing so helps your global sites stand out in organic search, and drives more traffic and sales leads.

Here’s the bottom line: The effort you invest into adapting to digital and mobile trends impacts every part of your value chain.

Digital channels which are localized for global customers and flexible enough to be updated frequently allow you to reach more prospects, boost your sales organization’s effectiveness and build stronger, longer-lasting relationships with customers.

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Latest Japan campaigns highlight outdoors, anime

Inbound Marketing, Digital Marketing
Image source: Travel Weekly

By Eric Moya | Travel Weekly

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) recently launched two campaigns that take vastly different approaches to target different audiences, yet have the same ultimate goal: to attract more visitors from the U.S. and other inbound markets.

Pittsburgh Zoo reaches out to millennials with new app

Inbound Marketing, Animals, Digital, Pittsburgh Zoo
Image Credit: Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette

Snap a selfie in the Islands exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, and you may end up with big sunglasses on your face and a pineapple drink in your hand — at least that’s what might appear on your smartphone screen if you’re using the zoo’s new app.

The app, which was developed by the Station Square-based Schell Games and launched this spring, features a dozen Snapchat-style photo filters that the zoo communications team hopes patrons will share on social media.

A lion’s mane appears around a photo subject’s head when using the app near the lions’ den, and patrons can appear as though they’re scuba diving in the aquarium.

“We’re reimagining what this experience can be for that more screen-minded individual,” said Laura Gething, communications manager of the Pittsburgh Zoo, a nonprofit with the mission of conservation.

Ninety-two percent of 18- to 29-year-olds own a smartphone, according to a Pew Research Center study this year.

The app is just one way the zoo aims to reach the millennial and post-millennial generations.

According to Pew, millennials are those born between 1981 and 1997 — now the largest living generation. Other analyses define the post-millennial generation, or Generation Z, as those born after 1995.

“Kids automatically are intrigued by zoos, but how do we make our facility a great place for other than just that standard audience?” Ms. Gething said.

Experts find that…Continue Reading

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A Digital Shift in the New Era of Customer Experience

Customer Experience, Age of the Customer, Digital, Customers

A Digital Shift in the New Era of Customer Experience
By Kym Gordon Moore

How do you define, and cultivate the behavior of your customer without overwhelming them? Organizations tend to obsess over ways to innovate and remain competitive as a leader in their respective industry. All too often, this obsession puts more emphasis on the operational and revenue strategy versus the welfare of their end-user, the customer. Customers are savvier, more creative and have consistently proven how the old marketing focus and platform is now obsolete.

The customer experience goes beyond the simplicity of good service. It involves engagement, trust, education, solutions, how well you treat your workforce, social responsibility, and customer evangelism. It’s about connecting to the emotion of the customer and treating them as a human and not a chatbot. How do you identify opportunities that focus on your customer, build core business data from them and better understand their behavior without disrupting their experience? The core of today’s business ecosystem puts the customer first. By initially engaging with the customer, you can get a better handle on identifying their problem through researching opportunities for finding solutions to satisfy their needs.

Here are 3 primary and important reasons why it is imperative to rethink the digital shift and plan of action in this new era of the customer experience.

1. Technology is driving change. Business is social and digitized. The language customers speak is different and faster.

2. Current customer journeys no longer comply with traditional marketing funnels. Traditional customer journey stages have become obsolete. Customers do not flow in a linear fashion with new journey models, nor do they experience each stage of the process in the same fashion.

3. Build relationships, trust and earn loyalty. Focusing on building relationships and earning loyalty through delivering exceptional experiences throughout the customer journey is key for marketers. Marketing and sales teams can effectively grow tribes of customers who will advocate on their behalf and help organically grow their business to strengthen their brand.

Over 3 decades ago we strongly connected to customers through a brick and mortar location. We were in the driver’s seat guiding them on decisions based on our suggestions of what we felt they needed. They trusted our expertise whether they needed what they purchased or not. Such transactions oftentimes resulted in buyer’s remorse, which worked against repeat business.

In our customer-led market, we appeal to a larger base of consumers. You must build your business around your customers instead of the other way around. Building relationships, harnessing your resources to create a consumer-friendly culture, earning customer trust and loyalty by taking touch points and interactions seriously, will not pigeonhole ideas but will encourage the customer to feel comfortable getting on board your current digital marketing vehicle.

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Is Hyper-Reality a Real Life Threat?

Virtual Reality, Hyperreality, Augmented Reality, 3D Imagery

Have you ever gotten so caught up in watching a game or a video through virtual reality, that you were unable to consciously decipher whether it was real or not? There are several technological applications designed for play or entertainment that add new dimensions of digital components where the real and virtual worlds enhance each other. Such technology transports end-users into a new age of collaboration and thinking.

Virtual reality (VR), a common application and acronym we are familiar with, offers digital recreation of a real life setting. Typically VR headsets are very popular with gamers, entertainment, media, films, and design, by merging the power of 3-dimensional graphics in an artificial environment. Augmented reality (AR) provides virtual elements in a setting that overlay the real world. Mixed reality (MR) on the other hand, sometimes referred to as Hybrid reality (HR) merges and interrelate the real and virtual worlds, which reacts to each other in real-time environments and visualizations.

Leaders in the tech industry are doing some revolutionary things with motion-activated commands and holograms. VR and AR technology can possibly make a great impact on the medical field. While we are making quantum leaps between virtual, augmented and hybrid worlds, are we also experiencing cautionary symptoms of hyperreality? Hyperreality, a postmodern semiotic concept, coined by French Sociologist and Cultural Theorist, Jean Baudrillard, (according to his book, Simulacra and Simulation), explains a human condition in which the inability to consciously distinguish simulation from the real world really exists.

Technology is reflecting entertainment, reality, and function in radical ways. Of course, there are discussions from various non-tech individuals who seem to agree that addictions to simulated reality, particularly where young people are involved, sometimes gives evidence of real-time life encounters handled through the lens of the 3-D world. For example, kids may not truly understand the consequences resulting from the danger of handling an unsecured weapon and mimicking a VR fight scene that could have fatal consequences.

So what do you think? With such amazing software used to create entertainment for these devices, can hyperreality become such a threat that many gamers may not be able to logically distinguish hybrid reality from the real world?


Why Is Digitization Such a Big Deal?

Digitization, Innovation, digital

Every day we discover that the nature of work is being disrupted by digitization. This technological outcome is found in the enterprise of mobile application, content and mobility management. Digitization, the process of converting analog information into a digital format is transforming every company, with agility and speed.

People worldwide have access to digitized text mixed with images, and audio combined with visual. Information is more accessible through exponential thinking and all levels of the collaborative nature of digital.

Markets are rapidly evolving, and by mastering a few new technologies you can keep your organization’s infrastructure current. There is no single principle that applies to digitization and businesses who want to continually redefine their company. Some of the most important technologies for the best digital outcome include Cloud-based solutions, privacy and security, content management, reliability, mobility, social networking, analytics and big data.

There are huge benefits to digitization such as lowering operating costs, better scalability, straightforward exchanges of information and responding to the fast-changing needs of end-users with enhanced productivity. The digital revolution is here and is transforming the way we do business for the future. Digitization is harnessing innovation.

Digital Nomads: Traveling Independent Workers

Digital Nomads, Remote Workers, Business TravelCombining work and travel is nothing new, but technology (Smartphones, wireless Internet, cloud-based applications, etc.) has attributed to the increase in traveling remote workers. There are many resources providing accommodations and destinations that help digital nomads live and work wherever they possibly want.

Becoming a digital nomad is a great step towards building a location independent business. Business travelers can explore other cultures by meeting new people on an adventure while working. These professionals prefer a location-independent lifestyle where they have the ability to use co-working spaces and share offices in major cities around the world.

Before resorting to this remote way of working and traveling, be advised that not every digital nomad will be able to successfully run their business, and enjoy an independent and good quality of life without learning the types of living restrictions in certain countries. While this lifestyle is exciting and adventurous, some digital nomads still want to have a real home-base to return to.

To reduce expenses and save money, digital nomad hubs will help you learn skills in a communal environment to be able to work online since you will be surrounded by other nomads. As with any workplace scenario, one must have the discipline to stay focused, avoid distractions, get the job done and still enjoy the fruits of your travel adventures. This type of work culture may not be for everyone, albeit exciting and lucrative.

There’s no doubt that moving your business online, frequently changing travel destinations, and working abroad is an emerging workplace trend. Connect with digital nomad networks where you can commune with other like-minded people sharing similar work and travel plans. A few resources such as Remote Year, Hacker Paradise, Nomad list,  Roam and many personal blogs provide a supplemental perspective, helpful information to find diverse communities and popular global hubs for your business travel destinations.