Top 7 Marketing Tactics (so far) At Sherpa in 2015

1. INTEGRATED CRM

There’s a saying that everything old is new again. That is definitely the case with CRM. While CRM is far from a new concept, the hardware and software tools available to enterprises continue to be better, faster, less expensive and easier to use.

As websites evolve, they are almost always the ultimate destination for your customers and prospects before purchase or repurchase. In the recent past, many websites had the ability to collect useful data through voluntary input fields and transactional data. The records produced had to be manually exported from the website database and imported into a separate offline CRM system.

Today, Sherpa is integrating CRM data capture right into its client’s web pages. Clients and prospects are literally populating the database(s) themselves. This saves significant time and effort and means that the CRM data is more reflective of today’s customer and prospect reality. End users still fill out information forms, they just don’t know that they are populating the CRM system themselves.

The biggest change for Sherpa is the ease with which we can integrate a CRM system within our website code. There are literally thousands of CRM systems available. Many employ a SaaS model. Deploying a CRM system in the cloud means many of Sherpa’s clients don’t need expensive internal closed systems.Clients are able to login to an online command centre to view and manage their prospects. Communications can be performed in a more agile, timely and relevant fashion.

2. 3D - DATA DRIVEN DESIGN

Websites used to be designed using common sense and experience in UI/UX design. It was a mixture of “gut feel” and experience.

Many of the websites that Sherpa works on are 4th or 5th generation versions. The great news is that many of these sites have the ability to provide Sherpa with meaningful analytics.

We know what pages people enter the website on, what pages they leave on, how many pages on average they view and which pages they remain on for the longest time. We know the path they take through the website. We know where they click. We know how deep they scroll. We know where the users came from and the search terms they used.

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Sometimes, more importantly we know what users aren’t doing on our client’s websites. This is taken into consideration when reviewing the data and preparing our wireframes and designs.

All this data is incredibly useful prior to laying out a single pixel. Sherpa is able to understand what the desired high value actions are on our customer’s sites. We use analytics to help us formulate better processes and better user interfaces. We know where to put business critical components.

With all the tools at our disposal, Sherpa is available to iterate more meaningful A/B tests that validate one aesthetic over another, driving effective results without waiting for a major redesign.

3. SOCIAL MEDIA FRAGMENTATION & INFLUENCER NETWORKS

Social Media is here to stay, of that we can be certain… but we’ve learned that each of the channels has a relatively demographic reach that can safely be generalized. Not everyone exists in all channels and different channels are used for a somewhat specific purpose.

It’s very likely that your 17 year old son is using Snapchat and Instagram but NOT Facebook or Pinterest. There’s a good chance that your Mom is using Facebook and Pinterest but not Snapchat or Vine. Guys my age are probably using Twitter (to follow their favourite sports teams and athletes) and not much else!

Sherpa’s approach to social media has changed as a result of this. We change content, voice and channels depending on who we want to reach.

As more channels launch… and others fade, Sherpa works hard to understand the constitution of the platform’s users and how to best connect with them.

Of late we’ve had success building influencer networks for our B2C brands. Whether it’s a well-known personality (like an athlete) with a huge social media presence or a local blogger who has established herself as an expert on local restaurants. We have figured out how to engage with these online personalities to help extend reach and engagement for our clients.

4. BRANDED VIDEO CONTENT
Reading seems to be something many people have lost patience for, especially when it comes to deep content on a website. Where available, they prefer their content in snack sized video clips.

Another benefactor of faster, cheaper hardware and software is video production. The means to capture and produce your own content has become more available to most marketers. Whether it’s an iPhone or Sony Video Camera, it’s easier than ever to make reasonable quality videos.

Take for example our Sherpa’s Talking Shop video series. We were able to create a series of engaging videos where our Staff riffed on their areas of marketing expertise. The videos are short, concise and topical. Our Canon DSLR’s, tripods and microphones were pieces of equipment we already owned.

Once a subject matter expert is selected, filming takes about 1 hour and post production took about 20 hours. The end result was a series of 5 short videos that we are able to use across multiple channels like LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ and www.sherpamarketing.ca

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On LinkedIn alone, we’ve had outstanding impressions, clicks and social actions. Branded video is a great way to create engaging content that positions you as an industry guru in a way that is a blue ocean tactic. There aren’t many enterprises taking advantage of this tactic. This allows Sherpa to stand out.

5. MOBILE FIRST
A number of our clients experienced breakthrough numbers in late 2014/early 2015. The breakthrough was that more users visited their websites from a smartphone or tablet than from a computer (laptop/desktop).?

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 This has significant implications for anyone who has a website. It is now more likely that the first time a user encounters your website, that they will be doing so from one of a myriad of mobile devices.

If you haven’t updated your website to incorporate Responsive Design, you are dooming your users to a negative user experience and perhaps more importantly, dooming them to a poor quality score in Google’s organic search ranking.

6. APPS AS SALES TOOLS
There’s no question that smartphone apps are an incredible way to build brand loyalty with targets and prospects. Sherpa has developed more than two dozen apps for iOS, Android and BlackBerry over the last 4 years. All of the apps were aimed at delivering value to prospects and customers.

We are starting to see a change in focus to apps that are built for sales and marketing teams.

Built with the selling process in mind – we consult with a client to understand the selling process and common objections. We then collect and create content and tools that help the salespeople deliver a consistent sales experience that has enough flexibility for the individual salesperson but sufficiently built so that the brand experience and messaging is not lost.

Adoption of devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and Lenovo Yoga 2 are allowing salespeople to pare down to one device. With incredible battery life, touch screens, connectivity and portability, the heydays of iPads and a laptops are one the wane. The SP3 and Y2 are full-on computers that run Windows 8.1 and all the delicious applications available to that operating system (Adobe Creative Cloud and MS Office).

Sherpa’s creations take advantage of touch screens, pen based input (yes you can write on the screen!) and external video connections.

These sales apps replace the use of PowerPoint presentations and allow your teams to deliver an interactive demonstration that is consistent from pitch to pitch regardless of the salesperson.

7. ANALOGUE
Sherpa is one of Canada’s leading digital marketing agencies. We are trusted byclients that are from Fortune 500 Brands all the way down to local start-ups. We “get” technology driven marketing better than most firms in our space.

We are realizing however that the marketing pendulum is swinging back to include a more “human” interaction.

Technology allows us to travel virtually to clients all over North America, but there’s no substitute for face to face interactions.

Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, conducted several studies on nonverbal communication. He found that 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc).

We believe in face to face communication so strongly that EVERY Sherpa has a Web Camera at their workstation and each Sherpa has their own Zoom Meetings login so that they can conduct a video call.

A couple of years ago (after several mis-interpreted internal email messages), Sherpa created a corporate communication hierarchy that everyone follows today.

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