May 11, 2015

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Should I be on Facebook?

To be or not to be – that is the question.

 

socialmedia

If I’m at an event and announce to new acquaintances that I am a marketer, the first question that typically follows is

‘Do you think I should be on Facebook?’

‘Yes,’  Is my reply.

‘…if you want to chat with other people on Facebook. Do you?’

Back in the olden days when FB was new, many organisations, including the big corporate I worked for had a ‘listening’ vs a ‘diving-in’ approach to Facebook. Nowadays there is this FOMO (fear of missing out) that organisations go through, wondering if Facebook is like some kind of party that all their friends go to, but they missed out on the invitation to.

Well, in many ways Facebook is exactly like that.  Imagine that the world of virtual reality could for a moment become real – and you (as the representative for your business) were suddenly transported into a room of people from Facebook – all connected by the same motivating criteria (Mums with Newborns, or People who love Star Wars or Beauty-queen Wannabes).  Let’s imagine in the scenario you had the floor and a microphone and could talk to all of them about your business. What would you say?

If you are thinking – those people would throw things at me, or heckle me out of the room, then think again about Facebook being for you.  Or perhaps, think about the types of groups and people who could be on Facebook that you would be more comfortable to speak in front of.

Social media is a great tool for businesses if you know who you want to talk to and what you want to say. And don’t be limited to Facebook either.  If your products or services are Business to Business (B2B) you will find that fishing in a Linkedin pond of similar like-minded people could be perfect for you.

As with all marketing it comes back to the golden number 1 rule

WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?

What is it about your products or services that unites one group of people to need to engage with you.  Don’t just think about demographics here – a 50year old man in the US may have just as much need for baby products as a 30-something first time mum.  What problem are you solving for this group?  Know that – know who you are relevant for, and then seek them out.

Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest and GooglePlus all have filters that will bring more relevant messages to the customer audience they serve.  As long as you know the audience your products are relevant for, these social media networks can help you find those people within their walls.

The thing to remember with social media is that it is two-way.  Unlike traditional media where you broadcast your message out to the world and hope your audience is listening, social media allows people to tell you what they think, and to tell their friends too.  That way it can be an incredibly powerful tool in your arsenal if you use it correctly (talk to the right people about something that is relevant to them).  However, get it wrong and you can end up pointing that big gun at yourself.

Facebook is a media that takes work – if you are going to build a group of people (Facebook likes) that want to hear from you, you have to regularly post information that will be useful and will push that relationship with you forward.  If you fail to do this, they will simply stop liking you.

So, essentially, Facebook is no different from any other promotional channel.  If you want customers to engage, then engage them – either on Facebook, on the phone, via email, face to face or with an entertaining and stimulating tv commercial.  Get them to like you, get them to be interested and want to hear more – and then, only then, will they buy your products or service.

Face book is a means to an end.  Don’t lose sight of that.

 

May 11, 2015

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The 3 Google Analytics metrics you must know

What are the most important Google Analytics metrics every SME should be checking?

being-found

Why use google analytics? Why wouldn’t you? Is a more appropriate question..Why would you put up a website onto the wide world of web and not want to know who is looking at it – when, and why? It amazes me how many small business owners invest in a website but fail to either install Google Analytics, or know what to look for, preferring to leave that magic in the hands of a digital or SEO expert.  Yet Analytics is a simple to install and simple to use tool that is essential for anyone hoping to use the web to connect with potential customers.

Analytics will be able to tell you hour by hour who is looking at your website, where they came from (is your social media or tv campaign working) which pages they came in to (great if you are running an Ad words campaign) and which pages switched them off.  You can see page by page which articles they took one look at and thought – yeah…nah.  Leaving you to update, edit or delete parts of your site that aren’t working and promote parts that are.

Is anyone going to your contact page?  Where did they go after that?  Did they submit an enquiry?

Google Analytics is FREE and although it is fairly easy to set up, to get the best out of this extremely useful and intuitive tool, you need to have a bit of in-depth knowledge and a little bit of time. There are plenty of self-help videos on YouTube that will teach you the basics and certainly enough for you to be able to make decisions like a CEO around what is working and what is not.

 

Just spending a little time learning how to work the intuitive user-tool will soon help you understand the interface, the different report sets and how to work with your site to make decisions on what to do next.  Like all good information though, it’s what you do with it that counts. There is a raft of information for the decisioning junkies amongst us, but if you are a typical time-starved owner of a growing business, there are a few metrics that you should have on your dashboard to keep the performance of your site on your radar.

It’s easy enough after a bit of practice to get sucked into the metrics and go back every day to see what has happened the night before. BUT if you are a beginner and just want to grasp the basics – here are the things you want to monitor.

1) Bounce Rates

This is pretty much the one metric to get to grips with asap – it tells you how ENGAGED people are with your site.  The bounce rate will tell you how many people took a quick look at your page and decided not to read it.  Ouch. If you are driving 500 people to your site a week at a cost of $2 per click, and your bounce rate is at 90%, I’m sorry to say that you just poured $900 straight down the toilet.  Check your bounce rates regularly and if they are higher than 50%, review your content and make some changes.  Bounce rates change by industry, and by the nature of your campaign and so it is hard to work out what an acceptable bounce rate is for you.  However, keep on top of this one and always aim to develop a message or site that engages with your target audience.  If you want help with that  – then it’s time to pick up the phone.

2)Visitors and Unique visitors

2nd on the list?  Well obviously it matters how many people are coming to your site each day, and how many of them are returning – how many come back on the same day and how many are brand new.  Analytics will tell you all of this, but what does it mean?  It doesn’t matter if 100 or 10K visitors are coming daily, if your bounce rate is at 100% it’s kinda useless information anyway.  However, assuming your visitors have something to read that motivates them into action, you’ll be wanting to ensure that your daily visitor numbers are going up. You want a nice healthy ratio between those coming back for 2nd and 3rd viewings (meaning they are moving along the sales cycle and increasing their engagement with your brand) and those who are brand new and wanting to be entertained by you.

3) Time on site & pages per visit

How long are people spending reading your stuff?  When crawlers are looking at your site they are making note of the amount of time the traffic they send is spending with you.  Like all good word of mouth people, the referring sites want to only send visitors to sites that will stimulate, engage, and answer the query that they put into their original search.  If your site shows that people are spending time on your site and then going to subsequent other pages, the crawlers and bots will have to assume that your site is valuable – and so will send more traffic your way.

If you are running a Google Adwords campaign, then you will want to look at acquisition tools to find out how your campaign is going, based on your key words and your criteria, and if you changed something on your site recently you may looking at sources, telling you where people are coming from, landing pages – which pages they came into (especially useful for campaigns from other media) and conversions if you have an e-commerce site.  But for now, master the basics and have a play around with your site and your off-site engagement campaigns to see what happens.  Before long, you will become a google analytics junkie too.

If you need help with this or any other aspects of your marketing, get in touch with the team today on 0800 GETMAX or see our plans for more info

 

 

April 10, 2015

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The top 5 mistakes most SMEs make with their marketing

Here’s how not to suck at marketing your small business

Open_SME

 

When you are a small business owner, your business can succeed or fail in a season and mistakes can be extremely costly.  Fortunately, if you know the things to avoid, you can plan ahead and make sure you don’t become one of the 50% of businesses who fail in their first two years of trading.

 

1) Believing everyone is a customer

When we ask a business ‘who is your customer?’ and the answer is ‘everyone’ then we know we are already in the red zone.  This just means you’ve not done the work to really understand who needs your product or service and why.  If you get this wrong and fail to identify the specific groups of people for whom your particular widget is essential and necessary, then you will be ever-pouring your advertising and promotional dollars straight down the drain.

2) Building a website

Building a website is the LAST thing you should do.  Really?  Most SME’s now know that in order to be found and trusted by potential customers, they need a website. Quite right. So they rush into making this the first thing that they put together. Unfortunately, if they have already fallen into trap 1) then the chances are they aren’t even directing this site to the right people – and will spend lots of money on the wrong thing. Also, businesses make the mistake of building a site that tells customers exactly what they are all about, instead of trying to understand ‘What would someone searching for a solution to X need to know in order to buy from me?  Build your website at the end of the process of knowing who you are talking to, what they want from you and how much they are prepared to pay for it.

3) Focus only on leads and not on conversion

Many businesses are so focused on getting new leads, that they forget all about the conversion process of the existing leads.  It’s all well and good to have a promotional campaign, but if you don’t contact those people who have engaged with your business within 24hrs, chances are you are pouring money down the drain again.  One client improved his business by 200% revenue in three months, just by putting in a telesales follow up call to the leads he had already generated.  If you are a B2C business (business to consumer) you need to work doubly hard to ensure that the customer experience is strong at the point of sale.

4) Taking the eye off the customer

It is easier to generate additional spend from a happy, existing customer than it is to find and build loyalty in a new customer. Happy customers will bring back friends, will willingly up-size and add-on. Happy customers will sing your praises and do the job of promoting your business cheaply and with more conviction than promotions can. Many businesses fail to really make an effort to treat their existing customers as if they were brand new customers – nurturing them, checking they are (still) happy and telling them about other existing and new products and services.  a reminder to an existing customer that you also can meet their X,Y and Z needs is 65% more likely to get a response than if you tried the approach on a brand new prospect.

5) Missing out the Call to Action (CTA)

What do you want me to do? Did you ever see a great advertisement and then realise there is no phone number?  Or visit a lovely website and come away without engaging with the company?  Customers mostly do what they are told to do – you need to plant in their minds exactly what it is that you expect them to do and make doing that process as EASY as possible.   If people are coming to your website, make sure you explain on each page what you expect them to do with the information they are receiving and tell them how, when and why to contact you (if this is what you want). KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid. Make sure your message is easy to understand , easy to follow – and requires little effort on their part to do it.  Make some smaller steps to your main goal if it’s a big thing like driving out to see you, that will start the relationship with them in the right way right from the start.

 

MaxMarketing programmes are designed to help SME’s to make their businesses better with a few small steps. These actions can be the difference between staying in business and doing great in business – so find out more about how we can help your SME here.  You could even qualify for NZTE funding support if your business meets the programme’s criteria.

You can call today on 0800GETMAX or contact a strategist to get in touch for a 2hr free consultation and health check of your business.

Call today – office is open 7 days.

 

 

November 3, 2014

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SEO 101

Search Engine Optimisation or SEO as it is most commonly known is one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted terms in the world of marketing yet it is my belief that it is one of the most important aspects of a solid marketing plan for any business, especially small and medium sized businesses. So this blog is intended to provide, at least in my humble opinion an overview of what SEO is, how it works and five reasons that will hopefully leave you asking not “how much will it cost to have SEO?” but “how much business am I losing not having SEO?”

So first of all let’s start with what exactly SEO is. SEO is designing the content of your website is a certain manner that it can be more easily identified by search engines when certain key words are searched for.

I heard a great analogy recently that I will share with you now. Imagine you are organising a party. You spare no expense. You have the catering, the band, the drinks, the venue and the suit. This will be the party of the century. On the night though, no one turns up – except the cousin you didn’t really want to see anyway. You realise that you forgot to send out the invites. Having a great website without SEO is like having a party and forgetting to send out the invites.

The goal of SEO is not only to increase the level of traffic to your site overall but more specifically to increase visitation by targeted customers seeking your services. This is achieved by carefully targeting the SEO of your website to keywords that customers use when searching for your products and services.

SEO should not be confused with paid advertising such as Google adwords, any other form of online advertising, anything to do with social media or blogging. Put simply SEO is making your website turn up at the top of the list in an online search without paying a search engine i.e Google to put it there for you. (Incidentally you will note that I frequently refer to Google, however this is not the only search engine out there. There are others which are obviously significantly less common such as Bing. Good SEO should aim to drive a higher search result for your website no matter which search engine is used).

Why does your business need SEO? Here are five powerful reasons that articulate the importance of SEO for your website:

  1. Consumers chose organic search results 94% of the time
    In the good old days paid advertising on Google looked very similar to organic results with very subtle differences. Whilst paid advertising still appears at the very top of search results, in recent years Google has taken steps to clearly distinguish paid advertising from organic results. I’m unsure what the difference was previously but recent studies show that approximately 94% of people chose organic search results over paid advertising. (Off topic and for another blog but that doesn’t mean paid search advertising is a waste of time for a number of reasons not least of all as it is pay per click). So let me just reiterate the point that 94% of people prefer to click on an organic result. Why? Without wanting to discuss the psychology of this consumers have a tendency to avoid paid advertising. Whilst SEO is technically paid, consumers view it as organic – your website has earned the right to be in that position and thus gains instant credibility with consumers.
  2. Over 35% of clicks go to the number one Google ranked website
    I think the headline pretty much spells this paragraph out. Over 35% of clicks go to the website which has the number one Google page ranking. That’s 1 in every 3 people who search for keywords relating to your business! To make that picture a little bigger nearly 60% of clicks go to websites in the top three search positions. The remaining positions after this fight for a fragmented share of the remaining 40% of clicks. While 40% may seem like a reasonable amount it’s not when you have to share it amongst the next however many hundred websites and as a small example of how fragmented the share of clicks is on average the website showing up in the number 10 ranked position received 2.2% share of clicks.
    So in a nutshell if you want targeted traffic to visit your website and subsequently enquire about the services that your business offers, you need to be in one of the top three ranked search positions.
  3. Cost Effective
    SEO is currently considered the most cost effective tool that businesses can use. Compared to the costs associated with other forms of online marketing (and offline marketing for that matter) such as pay per click advertising, social media advertising or purchasing leads for an email marketing programme, SEO provides a stronger return on investment. SEO may not be the biggest driver of leads, however in most of the case studies I have seen SEO drives the most stable and sustainable source of leads at the lowest cost – and so in many ways it could be considered the foundation of your online presence.
  4. 80-90% of consumers start their search for a product and/or supplier online
    There are a range of studies with varying results however every study I found agreed that between 80-90% of consumers search for product or supplier information online and use search engines to do it prior to making a purchase. I don’t know how to put this more simply but if you are not showing up in search engine results you are not where your customers are looking. Plain and simple.
  5. SEO is here to stay
    Unquestionably the technology sector has seen its fair share of fads and trends. Without trying too hard I can rattle off a list of at least half a dozen ‘has beens’ that are littering the technology graveyard where yesterday’s fads go to be forgotten quicker than they were adopted. But SEO is not one of them and nor will it be any time soon. In fact SEO is becoming increasingly complex as it grows to meet the evolving needs of search algorithms and the hardware we use to access the internet. Here’s a prime example: The amount of web sessions that people access from mobile phones and devices is rapidly approaching a level where it will exceed web traffic accessed through desktop browsers. This dramatic explosion opens up a whole new world of SEO techniques such as location based search optimisation.

So in short not only do I believe SEO is here for the long run it is going to get about ten times cooler than it already is.

Like anything though there are always two sides to the coin and there are some things that you need to consider for your website to be successfully optimised for search. Please take note though that I describe these as considerations and not disadvantages. Even if they were disadvantages the benefits far out way them.

As mentioned above SEO is becoming increasingly more complex. In its infancy someone with a bit of tech skill may have done a pretty good job at their own SEO. Not anymore, not by a long shot. This is now a specialist field and you will need to hire a specialist to help you. Make sure you do your research on the person or company that you hire and go as far as to ask to speak to current clients to check out the results they are achieving. It would also pay to check what industries they are accustomed to as some people and companies specialise in certain sectors which can make a difference.

Second, SEO is a never ending process. It is not something that you do once it is something that must be maintained on a monthly basis. If you’re not moving forwards or at least maintaining your position you will be losing ground to competitors in your industry.

Lastly SEO is not a quick fix or an overnight success. It will take time and you can expect to see incremental gains as opposed to drastic leaps. Your SEO specialist should be able to give you an idea of what to expect but how far and how quickly you rise will depend at least in part on how competitive the search space is in your industry.

My advice for what it’s worth…taking all of the above into consideration good SEO could be likened to a foundation of stone for your digital strategy. It won’t deliver overnight results but it will deliver cost effective sustainable results; just be prepared to play the long game.

By way of concluding this blog I want to ask you to take a moment and imagine you are one of your own customers. What would you search for in Google if you were looking for the services you offer? You might come up with one answer or you might have multiple possibilities. Either way, once you have answered the question go and try the possibilities and see where your business appears in the list of search results. If it’s not in the top three ask yourself how many people are not coming to your website, are not looking at your products and services and are not becoming your customers.

And of course if you want to have a chat about how we can get SEO working for you…pick up the bat phone and give me a call on 021 072 4525 or email russell@nullmaxmarketing.co.nz

October 29, 2014

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Telemarketing

Do you notice the customers that you do the most business with are the ones that you talk to the most? You feel comfortable and happy to pick up the telephone and ring them.

Do you also notice how often you get to the end of the day and find that you haven’t contacted people that you planned to contact at the beginning of the day?

Do you notice how quickly a week goes by these days, then a month, then suddenly half a year and there are still those people you intended to call to “keep in touch” with, but haven’t?

Making just 10 “marketing” calls can often take an hour or more. To fit that “extra” hour into a busy day can be done once or twice or maybe even three times in a week but to keep it up day in, day out, week after week is usually too great a burden. If an organisation can keep up their call or contact rates it is often in a cyclical way. When they are busy, which is what they want to be, they are also too busy to make those calls. When they find that things are getting quiet again, they quickly jump on the phone and have a mad ring round. This succeeds in reactivating some clients then they become too busy again to ring. The organisation goes through a busy-panic-busy scenario. Generally though, over time, they are able to reactivate less and less of these customers because they have drifted away to competitors.

Wendy Evans in her book “Choose & Grow your own Business in 90 Days” says that there is compelling evidence that companies ignore relationship marketing at their extreme peril. She talks about the 90-day rule, which identifies the fact that when you communicate with your clients within a 90-day period, the propensity for them to continue buying from you goes up. The more you go outside the 90 days, the propensity to buy rapidly deteriorates and the relationship cools.

Telephone marketing and research is a widely accepted means of customer contact used by New Zealand businesses. They recognise that this cost-effective means of live communication is both fast and effective. They also understand the significance of knowing more about their customers and prospects and appreciate the costs of establishing a new customer and the value of obtaining additional business from existing customers. Using a professional team of communicators who project an intelligent and well-spoken presentation, will ideally result in a call that the recipient will feel comes directly from the organisation itself. In this way, the telephone marketing team supports the organisations own marketing efforts. Pre-qualifying the information to be worked on by their marketing staff saves wasting a lot of time on detail. This allows more effective use of time on calls and they become more productive.

New customers can be obtained using the experience of the telephone marketing business to firstly obtain a new and targeted database, and then make contact to generate sales leads. A company’s database can be used for example, to update the name and title of the appropriate person prior to a personalised mail or email campaign. This person could then be followed-up with a telephone call to reinforce the mailing. The database could also be used for the rapid contact of customers in advance of a promotion or new product launch. Customer satisfaction surveys are a popular and effective management tool.

Have you ever held a function where you were disappointed with the numbers that eventually turned up? Invitation coordination can be undertaken by a telephone marketing company. The important part is a timely reminder call just prior to the event to confirm attendance, explain carparking options and double check the names of any substitute guests for issuing name tags. This will help make the occasion a success.

Where routine, standardized or innovative contact is required, it is worthwhile to look at the cost and benefits of using an organisation specializing in professional communication.

Costs are usually split into three areas. An establishment fee, which are the costs related to setting up the campaign, training and informing communicators on the company or organisation and the project to be undertaken. The cost of establishing or purchasing the database if this is required.

And finally the cost related to completing the call, and this is usually an hourly rate.

Is this a price worth paying to have contact with your customers or prospects every 90 days?

Carmel Clark – Managing Director
Telephone Marketing Research Ltd
Ph. 09 6222 863
Email: carmel@nulltelephonemarketing.co.nz

October 29, 2014

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Addresses & Their Sneaky Little Trouble Makers

Getting address details right is often a challenge for businesses, but when you do it becomes the engine that drives a business to uncover a wealth of information and measurable results.

KMS Data have discovered a few sneaky little trouble makers that appear in most address databases which at some point in time are likely to cause you to either corrupt your database, send the mail to the wrong house or play havoc with your location intelligence.

Poor addressing standards can often be the culprit for underperforming sales and marketing results, customer service complaints, poor database management and misleading business analytics. Having a focus on getting this key piece of information right should be a priority, trying to correct bad information at a later date can be costly and there’s always the risk that it ends up in a worse state.

What is seldom recognised is how important each and every part of an address is. What taught us a lesson early on was when we found a street address that appeared twice in the same postcode. Surely not I hear you say… so we checked again and now we’ve found nearly 1,900 instances of this. Here’s just one example to demonstrate what we found. Get the directions from Google Maps:

1 The Esplanade, Oneroa, Waiheke Island 1081
1 The Esplanade, Palm Beach, Waiheke Island 1081

Every component of the address is identical except for the suburb name so if you haven’t recorded that then it’s a lucky dip which one it’s supposed to be.

Now here’s the kicker – only one of them is mail deliverable so that means only one of them appears on the NZ Post postal address file (PAF) and if you are reliant upon the PAF file to either verify an address or use the delivery point identifier, you will only find the Palm Beach address. We’re now wondering how often the family in Palm Beach receives mail meant for the family in Oneroa. Random fact: over 3,500 roads in NZ are not mail deliverable.

map

Another example of an address that often causes errors is 10 Bridge Street, postcode 3120. This exists in both Edgecumbe and Whakatane. The trick with this one is that many residents in Bridge Street, Edgecumbe actually record their address as “Bridge Street, Edgecumbe, Whakatane 3120”. Since the Edgecumbe address isn’t mail deliverable, most address cleaning software will change it to the Whakatane address – yes it looks valid and yes it will now be postal deliverable but now your mail is going to a house 19 km’s away from the person you’re looking for. If you’re checking this one out on Google Maps make sure you enter the Whakatane address first and then get driving directions to the Edgecumbe address – this one even causes Google problems!

So that’s the duplicate road names in the same postcodes sorted but the issues don’t stop there. New Zealand has an incredible rate of repeating road names, suburb names and even town names throughout the country.

SUBURB

Appleby
Appleby
Avondale
Avondale
Kensington
Kensington
Kensington

TOWN

Invercargill
Richmond
Auckland
Christchurch
Dunedin
Timaru
Whangarei

TOWN

Aromoana
Aromoana
Clifton
Clifton
Longbush
Longbush

REGION

Otago
Hawkes Bay
Tasman
Otago
Wellington
Southland

So what does all this mean? Our goal is to educate NZ businesses on the importance of recording every little bit of an address that you can. For many of our clients it’s about getting the postal address right, for others it’s more important to figure out which locations are performing better than others and don’t forget if you’re ever purchasing new prospect data and want existing contacts removed, the state and accuracy of your existing addresses is a big factor in how successful this is.

At KMS Data our primary activity is supplying prospect databases and analytical services to our clients so having good location intelligence and the best possible address information is paramount. With this in mind (and because we’re a fussy bunch of pedantic data geeks) we set off to find the most authorative physical address reference file for NZ and to our surprise no such thing existed, plan b was to build our own. It took almost 2 years to build KMS Data’s Address Vault database and it was well worth it.

Address Vault gives us over 2.2 million physical address points with complete street address, suburb, town/city, postcode, district and region information along with mapping coordinates, meshblock information and a host of other details that make the rest of our databases function with ease. KMS Data now licenses Address Vault to businesses that need the most flexible and complete physical property reference information possible. To make sure Address Vault works for every need, it can also be supplemented with information from the NZ Post postal address file so alongside “2 Vaughans Road, Long Bay Auckland” you can also see the postal details “2 Vaughans Road, RD 2, Albany”

From building Address Vault and managing our client databases, we have certainly learnt a few lessons along the way. Apart from what we’ve already mentioned above, there are three other common problems that you need to work around.

  1. No matter how hard you try to discourage it, someone will want to put special instructions in their address e.g. “Back unit down driveway” “Beside blue barn” “C/- Mr Smith” etc. In some cases having this information is helpful so most people force this in to the street address field. The better solution is to have somewhere to record this; having a special instructions field to store this detail means you’re less likely to lose this detail if you have your address database cleaned and less likely to corrupt the rest of the address information.
  2. Units of a house number seem simple enough, right? Apparently not. The most common error we see is “2- 70 Carr Road”. The issue here is that some commercial buildings do actually have number ranges e.g. 48-52 Mayoral Drive, Auckland Central. When you separate units from the street number it is better to use a forward slash “/” rather than a dash “-“ so you can easily identify which are building number ranges opposed to those that are separating a unit from the street number so 2-70 Carr Road becomes 2/70 Carr Road. It amazes us regularly to see how many people get the unit number and street number around the wrong way so make sure it is clear what information you want recorded and in what format.
  3. If you can, keep physical addresses separated from postal addresses. This way your location intelligence doesn’t get confused by postal delivery information. Few people are aware that postal details like RD 2, Albany is actually physically located in Long Bay, Auckland. Also when the RD (rural delivery) information is put in with the street address it is often mistaken to be the abbreviation for “Road”, keeping this separate makes a huge difference when you need to tidy up your street addresses. A common issue we see is where someone originally had “1 Adian Way Rd Rangiora” and now has “1 Adian Way Road, Rangiora” when it should be “1 Adian Way, RD 2, Rangiora”.

The trick to having a clean, manageable and mineable database is to separate everything out (within reason) so it is clearly identified what information you want and where. Having a robust address structure means if any work needs to be done on your database in the future, you reduce the risk of errors and corruption and duplicates become far easier to find. The best address structures we use look like the following:

OR

Other addressing need to knows:

  • Postcodes, RD numbers and Postal Towns can change if the mail delivery route changes.
  • DPID numbers against a property can change and a large number of properties still don’t have a DPID number. Be careful using DPID’s as a unique record identifier.
  • Postal suburb names, postal towns and postal postcodes do not always reflect where the physical property is. Remember this information is used to identify postal centres that deliver the mail to the property which can be in a completely different town to where the property is.

We could go on about addressing issues all day long (and we often do!) but it all boils down to recording as much address detail as you can and making sure you have it in an easy to understand format.

If you’re not sure what the best solution is for your business, KMS Data provide free consultations and can review what you have and make suggestions that can work within the limitations your database may have, or call us to discuss if Address Vault will work for you.

October 22, 2014

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The difference between design and advertising

Graphic design is the creation of visual order and meaning. It’s about bringing harmony and consistent principles to bear on the many different ways an organisation expresses itself.  It’s about rules.

Advertising is about disruption. It’s about standing in the marketplace and making everyone stop and turn their heads. Once you have their attention, you can deliver your message (which probably involves selling something).

These are two very different tasks.

Complicating matters is the fact that graphic designers often work as advertising art directors, and vice versa. Their technical skillsets – typography, image creation, page layout and art buying – are the same. They often graduated from the same courses and learned a lot about brand identity in the course of their training. Where they differ is in the way they work.

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October 20, 2014

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Words are cheap. That’s what makes them valuable.

Luxor-649-Red-Finewriter-Ball-Pen_9000006622-300x257A successful film director once gave a piece of advice to aspiring filmmakers.

The gist of it was simple: you don’t have money but you do have words.

To put it another way – treat your time as a penniless outsider as an opportunity to hone and polish your script.

Don’t fret about lack of resources. Don’t turn your idea into a draft and then hawk that precious first draft around the industry as if it were the finished product. Instead, focus on making the script utterly compelling. Revise, rethink, polish and refine.

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November 28, 2013

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Discontent is the Father of Progress

How is it that so many lending institutions in NZ failed and couldn’t get back up, when GE Money held its ground and became stronger in 2009?

It was a hard time for most New Zealanders and businesses as we watched in horror as another bank collapsed like a broken building around us. Financial institutions were the foundation stone of our needs, upon which nothing was safe.

During these tough times, there is still opportunity.

GE Money used the necessary cost cutting exercise to flip the challenge on its head. How do we become closer to our customers during this time of fear and mistrust? How do we become more customer centric?

The last thing they thought would achieve this would be to close branches. Branches offered trust, security, safety presumably? Yet, the necessary closure of branches freed GE to develop a new way to do lending.

1) Instead they invested in a stronger, local call centre that were trained to much higher rigorous standards to ensure that customers could get the same personal, dedicated experience they would expect from a branch.

2) They invested in online systems, looking for the fastest way to approve lending, but maintaining the strong risk policies that had sured the company from failure in the first place.

3) They reviewed processes and procedures that were developed at the branches and cut out unnecessary steps – and delegated lending authority to the trained and skilled operatives on the phone instead of requiring GE Head Office approval for each application.

4) They extended call centre opening hours, so that customers could contact them during their preferred times, rather than during branch opening hours.

What happened? Customers were delighted by the great service, the fast response to their application and the ability to now contact the business 24/7. There were a number of customers who wanted to stay with face to face connections locally who moved to other providers, but in 12mths, GE Money recouped more customers than it had lost. With faster, more cost efficient and customer centric solutions GE not only survived the global financial crisis, but came out stronger and better placed than it had before it happened.

So the message?

Tough times are often the best times to innovate. Often all you can achieve at the top is complacency and a line of people ready to knock you off. A challenge is definitely an opportunity if you look at it and make it better. For smaller businesses this is a real and an every day challenge. Fixing something that is broken and putting it back to how it was is pointless – the world would have moved on.

If it’s broken, or you suspect it could break very soon, take it apart and put it back together in a new way that will make it stronger and better than it ever was before.