Mi6 Round Ups are published twice a month and feature summaries and opinion on 6 handpicked articles that caught our eye in the areas sales and marketing; technology and the c-suite.

Here’s what we’re covering in this Round Up.

  • For sales and marketing professionals we cover the customer experience
  • For tech professionals we share a documentary on “Shady Data Havens” and Canadian tech clusters.
  • Finally, for CXOs we’ve featured articles on “Collective Creativity” and advice on how to succeed in the “Digital Economy”

Sales and Marketing

1) Increase Customer Advocacy by Publicly Dealing with Customer Complaints

Your customers may not be complaining too loudly on social media just yet, but they are actively looking for solutions to their current issues on message boards and in forums.  Your brand needs to participate in forums, and become part of the customer community, according to Jay Baer’s [Twitter] article “The Hidden Hangouts of Your Most Passionate Buyers”, excerpted from his new book, “Hug Your Haters”.  

Why message boards?  First, your answers are recorded and can become a valuable FAQ option for you customers long after the initial engagement.  Second, consistent participation allows you to build the influence of your brand and remain top of mind for subsequent purchases and finally, it is a personal way to interact with your current and potential customers.

2) Still Work to Do to Make Your Customers’ Experience More Personal

Those buyer personas that you have diligently detailed to hyper-personalize your offering and content marketing are not helping you to avoid call screening or ad blocking or helping to improve your email open rates, according to Shawn Fergus [Twitter] who asks “Are Buyer Personas Dead?”  

The problem is not with the development of the persona, but with the application of that description to your marketing efforts.  Focusing in the various triggers for a purchase is the key.  Adding team members with an understanding of human behaviour, like psychology or behavioural economics is one option, but most important is adding to your data sources and maybe pushing technology vendors to compile and share the data they collect.  

Though not dead, buyer personas are a step toward making your customers’ experience more personal, not the solution.

Technology

3) Governments Challenged to be More Flexible and Less Risk Averse

Governments must be bigger risk takers if they want to foster innovation in Canada. This is the main theme of “Focus efforts to build innovation, science minister urged” by Vanessa Lu [Twitter]. Governments should be more flexible and willing to pick industry winners.

The government should look at building cluster driven innovation centres, rather than spreading innovation centres regionally. The article also urges decision makers to invest in cluster driven innovation centres like Toronto and Waterloo.  Sheldon Levy, the deputy minister at the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities says that everyone should be startup friendly, not just governments, but corporations too. Levy suggests it would be a great start by putting aside 5% of procurement spending on new companies and that the government is committed to making innovation a high priority by setting big goals.  

While we believe big cluster driven tech hubs like Toronto, Waterloo and Silicon Valley are important for a growing startup friendly economy, small regional hubs like Silicon Halton (cofounded by Mi6 Agency’s Chris Herbert) can help address localized problems within a community. It can also foster growth and partnerships that may not be possible in bigger tech hubs.

4) Do You Really Know Where Your Data Is?

In “Norton Explore Shady Data Havens Life This North Sea Platform in Amazing Short Film Documentary shines a light on opaque hosting practices”, Gabriel Beltrone [Twitter] highlights some of the shady underside of hosting services and the creative ways these providers avoid responsibility uncovered in their 22-minute news-style commercial “The Most Dangerous Town on the Internet”.  

Linking the fear of cyber attacks with actual places and faces around the world, the result is startling and effective for Norton.  Apart from insisting to visit the server farm operated by your own provider, it’s a little unnerving to think about where your data is being housed, and by whom.

C-Suite

5) Harnessing Collective Creativity

Instead of the industrial approach of dealing with the process and infrastructure of the data itself, Brain-Based Enterprises (BBEs) focus on converting information and intelligence into valuable, practical  innovation.  “In the Information Age We Need Brain-Based Enterprises” Peter Cook [Twitter] advises,  the systems for creating and leading a BBE should be as fluid and creative as the innovations they market.  Strategies that embrace agility and measured flexibility, leaders who lead through engagement and motivation, and more organic, simplified corporate cultures that support divergent thinking are a start.  

Creativity itself is hard to measure – everyone is creative, but not all creativity is good.  The good comes from the enterprises ability to engineer sustainable innovation.  “Random creativity is the stuff of some entrepreneurs who don’t manage to find a market for their ideas.” Inviting individuals who have passion with a purpose to convert an idea into a marketable product or service is how Brain-Based Enterprise harness good collective creativity.

6) What does it Take to Succeed in the Digital Economy?

In “The 4 Things It Takes to Succeed in the Digital Economy”, Lindsey Anderson [Twitter] and Irving Wladawsky-Berger [LinkedIn] stress that digital is the economy and no longer just a part of the economy. There are unlimited opportunities if your business adapts to the digital economy. According to MIT Sloan research, the companies that are adapting to a digital world are 26% more profitable than their industry peers.

The article focusses on four key themes with pointers on how to get your business to adapt to the digital world. Customer expectations – Digital technologies enable companies to better engage with their customers and offer superior experiences at affordable costs. Product Enhancements – The digital revolution has restructured industry boundaries. Beyond products, companies have been harnessing the power of digital to connect buyers and sellers like Uber and Etsy. As well, Organizational Leadership has changed.

Today most company decision making stems from data. Finally, Collaborative Innovations, ecosystems are created beyond linear supply chains to provide complementary products and services (For Example: Fido’s partnership with Spotify).  Companies with 50% or more of their revenue from digital ecosystems have higher revenues and higher profit margins than the industry average.  In order to be successful and competitive, your business needs to be in tune with the digital economy.

Chris HerbertChris Herbert is the founder of Mi6. Mi6 is a B2B (Business to Business) marketing and business development agency dedicated to helping companies build their brands and develop commercial relationships. He is the founder of ProductCamp Toronto and the Hi-tech community Silicon Halton. He tweets under the handle @B2Bspecialist.

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