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A while back I went to a talk by the novelist Kazuo Ishiguro and he was bemoaning the fact that, even though he was raised in Surrey, England, and knew next to nothing about current affairs in Japan, because of his name, visage and ancestry, whenever anything newsworthy happened in Japan, journalists would harass him for his insights!

A name such as “Nadeem Azam” is a liability in contemporary Britain, in which every day I am subjected to questions such as “where are you from?” and appraisals such as “you speak good English”, but when journalists want to reach out to somebody to be interviewed on, say, the Iranian nuclear deal or Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s jiggery pokery, I get the feeling it helps!

We’ve recently marked “World Population Day” and below is an interview with me in the daily newspaper “Gulf News”, in which I share my tuppence (“two cents” for my Stateside friends) on the population explosion in Dubai since the 1970s and the advantages and disadvantages of the emirate having an 83 percent foreign-born population.

Gulf News” is the most widely read website in English in the Middle East. It enjoys a combined print and online audience of 5.4 million uniques every month.


Print Edition:

Click here to see the interview with Nadeem in the print edition of the Middle East's most popular newspaper (PDF file)

Web Edition:

Click here to read this interview with Nadeem in a larger size

On a small mobile screen, you may not be able to read the interview in the above images, so here it is:

“Nadeem Azam, CEO, Azam Marketing and Middle East Analyst and Marketing Expert, told Gulf News that large cities such as Dubai must prepare for the future growth of urban centres.

“Population growth predictions show the population of Dubai will reach over five million by 2027, which is almost a doubling in the current number of residents. Such a significant rate of population growth can lead to a variety of issues. Most notable is the construction and maintenance of infrastructure. Housing obviously has to be provided for a booming population and this can prove to be challenging particularly in already-tightly-packed cities with limited space.,” he said.

“A tighter concentration of people, physical assets, infrastructure and economic activities can result in challenges and upheavals that can have negative repercussions, particularly over the medium-long term.”

According to the World Migration Report 2015, Dubai has the highest foreign-born population in major cities globally with 83 per cent of the emirate comprising residents from other countries.

Aazam [sic] said “a sizeable foreign-born population invariably has a profound impact on a place. On the positive side, an increasingly cosmopolitan make-up can be tremendously valuable to a location by bringing in fresh ideas, and more and wider skillsets. These benefit the host locality in terms of improving services and facilities available to existing residents, the private sector and the public sector, ranging from neurosurgeons to operate on patients to chefs introducing new kinds of cuisines to people.”

We’ve been blessed to have been kept busy by client work over the last few months which has meant we haven’t been blogging as much as we would have liked. But we’ve resolved to give some much needed TLC to azam.info going forward, so will be releasing at least one new gem each week for your delectation! Click here to subscribe for free, so you don’t miss out.







Content marketers need to focus on existing customers as well as trying to attract new ones!

Far too often we see content marketers quit at the moment of conversion, the time when a prospect turns into a customer. It appears like that’s the end of the story for most of them.

But, as digital marketing authority Christine Warner emphasises, preserving buyers is as important if not more than procuring new ones. When consumer retention measures succeed by only five percent, earnings can typically rise between 25 to 95 percent.

The content marketing funnel doesn’t stop. As you’re busy concentrating on content for the top of the sales funnel or producing ebooks and white papers for the middle-funnel, all the prospects you’ve previously generated are fading into the Land of Forgotten Customers. New customers are undoubtedly important – but it’s also critical to focus on existing ones.

Toby Scammell points out that the more we study sales patterns, the more we learn that consumer spending tends to defy conventional wisdom, so you need more than just your gut instinct to learn how to retain them. So, what are the things you can do to ensure they’ll remain with your company and purchase more of your brand?

Put Audience Development on the Top of the Priority List

What organizations are finding out is that viewing content as just a replacement or a campaign for other marketing focuses is the wrong strategy. When you view content as a way of feeding direct marketing operations, there’s just one attributable profit to it—as a replacement for brochures, advertisements or other imaginative marketing resources. As we all know, messaging that fails to resonate with its audience can never hope to capture their attention.

The truth is, content is usually more costly than all those other alternatives. It takes longer, and it’s harder, so it’s stressful – and without a strategy, you won’t get where you want to be. Businesses that are thriving have found that content marketing needs to give more than one kind of value to be deserving of the expense. It needs to present combined value over multiple areas of the organisation.

Nourish Your Brand Ecosystem

Let’s take a look at what this looks like through the eyes of the existing customer. They’re part of your audience already as they’ve been through the content funnel. You hold a connection with them because they’ve bought from you, which indicates that you retain reasonable business interest to reach them.

If someone already reached the bottom of your funnel, they’ll continue to be a member of your inbound traffic. They’ve noticed your content was helpful and now that they’ve previously built a reliable relationship with you, they’re even more inclined to recommend your content to others. That’s the solution to keeping your funnel full: as existing customers recommend your content, they shift to brand advocates, the most helpful of all testimonials.

A carefully-thought-through content marketing and audience development strategy is the best way to plug up those leaky holes.

If you’re interested in more marketing news and guidance, be sure to check out our homepage for new articles.

 



Think carefully about the age of the consumer you are looking to target with your product or service

If you are a marketer in today’s world you need to be profoundly aware of the optimal demographics for your product or service to be successful. That insight will take your campaigns to the next level. If you don’t, you will lose out to the competition.

Here is why
targeting searches at search engines or followers on social media by age is so important:

Buying Habits

Every age group has a set of buying habits. This information is readily available with a few searches online. It allows you to know how to propose specific offers, whether it’s a one-time promotion or a long-term subscription. But if you don’t know their age in the first place, you can’t leverage this data. Therefore you might want to tailor your social media content or your search engine advertising copy and graphic to the manner that appeals to them the most.

Engagement

Needless to say, providing content to retirees and semi-retirees ages 55+ is going to require a different approach than creating engaging content for millennials. For example, many retirees are faced with a surplus of free time in retirement and struggle to know what to do with it.

Therefore, retirees could be a viable target for engagement as they often don’t plan or adequately address their spare time in their third age. This is an example of why targeting your social media followers by age is crucial. If you want to create engaging content, you need to know who your audience is, what they value, and how your products and services can solve one of their problems. That information will affect everything from the words you use to the images in your marketing.

Sharing

Getting your followers to share your content can be a significant advantage. It allows you to enjoy a viral component without spending more money. When you know their ages, you can request in a way that they are most likely to hit the share button.

Language

Different generations use different language and slang. You might ask someone who is older to take action in a more formal, traditional way. On the other hand, younger people often prefer the informal approach.

Finding Your Followers’ Age Information

Think carefully about the age of the consumer you are looking to target with your product or service

Most platforms today, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have a way to determine the age of your followers. Sometimes this is done with a central account dashboard. Other times, you need to use third-party apps.

These apps have complicated algorithms that can either access the API uniquely or determine general ages by other means. Whether you use built-in data or tools or choose to purchase one, they can both be valuable. They’ll give you insights to grow your brand in the future.

When it comes to the ins and outs of digital marketing it can seem overwhelming at first. But whether you are a veteran marketer or a beginner, you should focus on understanding the age categories of your target market. This will allow you to create compelling content and advertising that speaks directly to their wants and needs, increasing your conversion and profits from your endeavours!

 







5 Tips for Developing Your B2B Sales

Increasing B2B sales isn’t simply a matter of hanging out your shingle and hoping that more customers will come your way. Businesses who purchase from you want to believe they have the right vendor at the right time for the right price. Because there are more people involved and there are higher price points, we know from experience at Azam Marketing it can often take months to close a business-to-business sale.

As a business who markets to other businesses how can you tilt the playing field and make sure that when the customer is ready to buy, your company is the one that comes to mind?

1. Collect Feedback

Feedback, whether received through surveys, in-person interactions, or email, is vital for both technical improvements to your site and funnels and your customer-facing work. Because in-depth and useful feedback from clients is hard to come by, it’s important that you take steps to automate the process and encourage your clients to provide you with more.

Talk with your clients. Find out what they liked and what they didn’t like. Talk about the number of steps that they took to get to the sale and the process that they went through. Ask them what about your company caught their attention and what they didn’t like.

Your customers’ needs are constantly evolving. By listening to what they are saying and keeping your ‘finger on the pulse’ you can stay ahead of the competition, making more sales for your company.

2. Produce Videos

There are compelling reasons to have video on your site, but the biggest reason is that it’s one of the most effective means of selling your company’s product. Customers and clients engage with video, often watching and engaging with the shorter ones for the entirety of the clip.

Here are some noteworthy statistics about video marketing.

  • 43% of customers want to see more videos from marketers
  • 9% of marketers name video as the type of content with the highest ROI
  • 4x as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it
  • Shoppers who view video are 1.81x more likely to purchase than non-video viewers
  • 4 in 5 customers believe that demo videos are helpful

Depending on your products, your videos can have many purposes.

  • How-to videos explaining a single part of your product.
  • Explainer videos that outline what your company does and how it does it.
  • Funny videos designed to get others to think about your product.
  • Video testimonials from your clients to persuade others.

3. Upsell and Cross-sell

Upselling and cross-selling have increased sales of B2B and B2C companies for ages. Upselling simply offers a higher version of the product itself. Cross-selling offers related products to your clients.

Upselling

Amazon has this tactic down cold. For instance, If you place an order for a laptop, you will inevitably be asked whether you want to upgrade the memory card or get a better one. It is the logical thing to do and, shown to millions of people every day, boosts Amazon‘s sales and revenues. The intent behind this is showing the customers that he could get a better product by spending a little extra.

Cross-selling

The McDonald’s sales force are also pros at this tactic. Cross-selling offers your client something different but related to the first product. For instance, you’ll most likely be asked the famous question, “would you like fries with that?” or the less leading, “will that complete your order?” with every order. This gives McDonald’s customers to look at the menu for another few moments, pondering their next mouthwatering treat.

Cross-selling and upselling tactics can be applied to nearly any business who wants to improve its bottom line and increase B2B sales. By offering multiple versions of the same service or related services, you can create a selling juggernaut with your already ‘warm’ clients.

4. Run Events

Local events can boost your bottom line like nothing else because they allow you to put a face to the name of the client. Savvy businesses regularly hold events to keep their brand at the top of mind for their customers. Here are some statistics about event marketing for your reading pleasure. The company Certain has gathered over 75 statistics for a larger view of the event marketing picture. Here are a few:

  • 84% of consumers repurchase the product promoted at the event, after their first purchase
  • 51% of marketers surveyed believe that events strengthen existing customer relationships
  • 60% of marketers use tradeshows and events for face-to-face customer meetings
  • 58% of marketers believe that events and conferences are important ways to improve customer experiences of their services or products
  • 31% of event marketers believe that trade shows, conferences, conventions, and channel events are essential to doing business in their target customer markets
  • 69% of B2B marketers consider in-person events effective)
  • The top 5 B2B content marketing tactics: Social Media Content (92%); eNewletters (83%); Articles on your Web Site (81%); Blogs (80%); In-Person Events (77%).

The event you hold doesn’t have to be something very formal. You can set up something on Meetup for your contacts and clients to attend. By offering them something different to get them in the door, you are getting your brand to stand out and lining up potential customers.

5. Publish Case Studies

Whether your business constantly generates data and whether you have hired a marketing agency like yours truly or you are the one doing the advertising, leveraging that data into the creation of case studies – and perhaps white papers – is often beneficial for your business. Case studies generates fuel for the fire to get more clients interested in your product or service because it’s measurable proof of what your company does.

73% of buyers used case studies in B2B purchasing decisions (2016 DemandGen Report). Fortunately, developing a case study mostly involves the collation of materials rather than the creation of new materials. Look at your customer successes. Are there ways that you can parlay that into viable case studies?

These 5 marketing tactics to increase B2B sales are by no means the only way to capture the attention from customers and earn higher revenues from them. Each tactic has its pros and cons, but all of them give you the opportunity to increase your bottom line.

What steps can you begin to implement today to increase your company’s revenues?

A slightly different version of this article is originally posted at Tenfold.



Your favourite digital bods are thrilled to be entering the video age with a series of exciting new videos. The first releases have been created for the tens of thousands of loyal followers of our social media channels and their aim is to infuse folk with hefty dollops of inspiration sprinkled with pearls of wisdom from some of the greatest minds in history combined with what we have learned while running Azam Marketing.

We have created bespoke videos for each of our several different Facebook and Twitter accounts. The videos are similar, so we’ll showcase just a couple of them below for your delectation.

This one is for Azam Marketing’s Twitter account (follow here):


Twitter only allows videos to be up to 2 minutes 20 seconds in length and so we created the above to be just one second shorter than that limit. Facebook’s maximum time length is a lot longer (at 45 minutes), so we were able to shoot slightly longer videos for that channel and include another quotation from the “Wizard of Menlo Park”.

This particular one is for the Nadeem Azam Facebook page (like and follow here):


We’ve uploaded a few other videos to our YouTube channel in the last couple of weeks, including two indepth tutorials that are over forty minutes long each and pure gold dust, so make sure you check it out and subscribe here!







'This is Affiliate Marketing' with Shawn Collins is focused on the people behind the affiliate management/OPM companies, advertisers/merchants, affiliates/publishers, and affiliate networks. There are no tips or resources. No business advice. On each episode, Shawn interviews a new guest related to the industry, so you can learn more about the people of affiliate marketing. After all, affiliate marketing is about the people; not the companies.

I’ve been interviewed several times by radio and television stations this year, but the interview I’ve enjoyed the most is with Shawn Collins as part of his renowned ‘This is Affiliate Marketing’ podcast series.

For those people who don’t know him (have you been living under a stone??!!), Shawn is a legend in the affiliate marketing industry, having been a key figure in its development since he started out in 1997.

Shawn is Co-CEO of the Affiliate Summit, an industry conference for affiliate marketing, which regularly sells out and features the biggest names in performance marketing. He is also the Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine.

His book, Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants is the best selling book in the space, and it is considered to be required reading by affiliate managers. He also wrote the Amazon bestselling book, Extra Money Answer, as well as Affiliate Manager Boot Camp: Recruiting, Educating, and Retaining Affiliates.

Shawn makes a point of not “talking shop” in his podcasts and there is no business talk; instead he tries to get to know what makes the personalities in the industry tick. As Shawn states, “affiliate marketing is about the people, not the companies”.

In the interview Shawn asks me about:

  • Muhammad Ali
  • Programming video games as a kid
  • Ending racial, class, and gender bias in creative professions
  • Studying political science and political ambitions
  • My addiction to reading which means checking out dozens of books from local libraries

Click play below to listen to the podcast, with relevant pictures:



Links from the interview:


Nadeem and Shawn at Affiliate Summit London conference in 2007

My team and I at Azam Marketing have lots of exciting things we will be announcing over the next few months so subscribe to this blog to remain updated for free.








Difference between B2B (Business-to-Business) and B2C (Business-to-Consumer) lead acquisition sales strategies

It is vital to ensure your sales strategy is laser focused and effective. Your B2B and B2C lead acquisition strategy is critical to success or failure. You may have the best talkers, presenters and deal-makers in your team. However, it’s going to be a long and difficult journey, and potentially cataclysmic for your business, if you have a mismatched and ineffective client-acquisition strategy.

To devise a methodology that will reap dividends for your business, your first step is to distinguish between B2B and B2C. The sales strategies that you employ are distinctly different, depending on your target audience. Here are six key differences to keep in mind:

Lead Pool

The lead pool size is a major differentiator between B2B and B2C sales strategies. With B2Cs, you are targeting large numbers of people – often millions – who you feel need your product or service.

Let’s say, as example, that you’re selling cornflakes. To zoom in on your target audience, just count the number of people who have breakfast every day. And, in case you want to broaden the market, you can get marketing to design a campaign that sells cornflakes as snack and dinner alternatives. In this case you potentially have a lead pool made up of billions of people.

For B2Bs, the lead pool size usually shrinks significantly, and is more defined by the companies’ specific requirements. As an example, let’s presume that you’re selling one of those corn/oat-flake making machines. This limits your lead pool to companies, such as Kelloggs and Nestle. You don’t even have those artisan cornflake makers in your lead pool, unless you can convince them to turn to machines.

Given this reality, a blanket approach won’t work. Similar companies will go after that puddle-sized lead pool. So, you need to be specific in your pitch to each of the companies in your pool.

For both B2B and B2C sales teams, here’s a useful pointer from SEOmoz‘s effervescent CEO and co-founder Rand Fishkin in terms of how to win over your lead pool: “Best way to sell something: don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect and trust of those who might buy.”

Required Product Knowledge

Your sales team needs to know about what they’re selling. This is the same, regardless of whether they’re trying to procure purchases from consumers or businesses. You and your colleagues need to be flexible and up-to-date with your techniques. As Brian Halligan, CEO and co-founder of HubSpot, emphasises: “People shop and learn in a whole new way compared to just a few years ago, so marketers need to adapt or risk extinction.”

Both B2B and B2C sales teams need to know their product like the back of their hand. They should know their features, design details, advantages and disadvantages. Competitor knowledge is necessary too. Buyers are more sophisticated these days – be it B2B or B2C. They will know some details about your product and ask questions.

The difference lies in the depth of knowledge required. Buyers in B2B and B2C have different information requirements. A modern mother buying cornflakes, for instance, may want to know the calorie and sugar count of the product, as well as its price and taste. Your sales team can be trained to respond promptly these queries. After a week or two, they may already be highly knowledgeable about your product.

Compare this to a B2B sales team. Your team needs to know the specifications and technical details of the product. They need to know how this would fit into the systems – hardware, software and human-powered – and processes of your target companies. And, it is almost always different from one company to the next.

A few weeks of training often won’t cut it. An effective B2B sales team needs continuous training, thorough product knowledge, and experience in product presentations and fielding questions from executive-level prospects.

Number of Decision-Makers

In a typical B2C buying scenario, you only deal with one decision maker. In our cornflake example, to this day in a family set-up it is still usually the mother, and it is her tastes, budget and preferences that you need to consider. Perhaps her partner or children will also have a part to play in the cornflake-buying decision – but that is not always the case.

In the case of B2Bs, the decision-making process is more than likely to be a lengthy process that involves trying to win over several stakeholders. According to CEB (now Gartner) Executive Advisor and author Brent Adamson, the average number of B2B stakeholders is 6.8.

There are several factors to explain this, such as globalization, the decentralization of decision making and solutions packages (instead of singular products). Whatever the case, your B2B sales team should employ a strategy that factors in several key decision-makers.

Expected Response

The response to your sales strategies is expectedly on opposite ends when it comes to your B2B and B2C efforts.

You strive for an emotional response from your B2C clients. Sure, you might offer some facts here and there. Perhaps you will tell your prospects that cornflakes are good fibre sources and that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But, the end goal of your marketing outreach is to gain customer loyalty. You want them to love and prefer your product, even if there are better breakfast options.

Kellogg's corn flakes and other products of U.S. Kellogg Company are offered at a supermarket of Swiss retail group Coop in Zumikon, Switzerland

It’s different with B2B clients. Corporate purchases – such as cornflakes making machines in our example – are usually on the top end of the price scale. They’re investments that need thorough consideration, especially when it comes to the expected costs, returns, advantages and disadvantages. These are things that can’t be left to emotions.

B2B buyers are more likely to approach their purchasing decision with rationality. Keep this in mind when drafting sales strategies that target corporate buyers.

Decision-making Process

In the B2C scenario, the decision-making process is quick – in some case, even impulsive. People buy out of habit or they buy in-the-moment. Their decision is influence by advertising, word-of-mouth or habits/ cravings. To sell to this kind of audience, you need product awareness and presence.

With B2Bs, however, the wooing period is longer. There are several people making the decision, and you need to convince each one of them. You will go through a lot of phone calls, meetings and demos if you’re keen on closing the deal. And, this can take months.

Length of the Business Relationship

Typically, B2C business relationships are looked upon as one-off transactions. The focus is right there at the point of purchase. Outside that, preferences and loyalties can change. The cornflake-buying mother today may decide on another brand next week; or, she may choose to switch to eggs and toasts for breakfast.

With B2Bs, it’s different. The whole purchasing process is an investment for both sides. Your sales team puts in weeks or months of their time and effort attending to the requirements of the prospect. You nurture your lead, and provide necessary information and content. You follow-up, meet and present to all stakeholders. Your buyers put in their time and effort too to find the best-fit solution for their needs.

The underlying expectation of this mutual investment is that it’s for a long-term relationship. It’s never a one-off transaction because there’s going to be a consistent need for maintenance, support and upgrades. The stakeholder’s purchasing decision takes a long time because it’s a crucial one: that of choosing a business partner.

Of course, this can also apply to B2C transactions, at a lesser degree. You create relationships with your clients, whether B2B or B2C. This is where your business’ success lies. As speaker, writer and Chief Content Office of MarketingProfs, Ann Handley, puts it: “Make the customer the hero of your story.”

This article is originally posted at Tenfold.













The European Union and the United Kingdom have been through extensive negotiations to discuss the terms of the latter’s withdrawal from the former. With the fifth round of talks ending in Brussels on Thursday, I was invited by television channel ‘HispanTV’ to be interviewed about the discussions and the ramifications of a “no deal” scenario.

‘HispanTV’ is an international Spanish language news channel whose programmes are distributed in Spain, Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba and other countries.

I summarised where the stalled Brexit negotiations stood as regards the three key points the EU insists are resolved at stage one, namely the financial settlement, citizens’ rights and Northern Ireland, and expressed how there were severe risks to the British economy were the country to leave the trading bloc where 44% of its exports go without a meaningful deal to facilitate trade.

As is common with broadcast output, my interview was snipped down to about a twentieth of the original length, but you may see my segment here:


If you’re a Spanish speaker, here’s the written news report, as filed by HispanTV’s renowned reporter Ian Díez (the gentleman who interviewed me in the above transmission and I’m in the pictures with in this blog post):

Finaliza la quinta ronda de negociaciones para que Reino Unido abandone la UE, y por el momento no hay resolución en ninguno de los aspectos sobre el divorcio.

En este sentido, derechos de ciudadanos, frontera de Irlanda, y compromiso presupuestario son necesarios para negociar el futuro comercial entre ambos bloques tras marzo de 2019.

Hace 9 meses que el Gobierno británico activó el artículo 50, iniciando formalmente el periodo de negociación de dos años para salir de la Unión Europea (UE) y de hoy los avances son escasos.

Tras el fin de la quinta ronda de negociaciones, sigue sin haber acuerdo en lo referido al estatus de ciudadanos, frontera entre Irlanda del Sur e Irlanda del Norte y las contribuciones al presupuesto comunitario a las que se comprometió la primera ministra británica, Theresa May, en su discurso en Florencia (Italia) el pasado 22 de septiembre.

El negociador británico, David Davis, afirma que las negociaciones avanzan, pero el jefe negociador de la UE para el Brexit, Michel Barnier, no comparte su optimismo y destaca la falta de acuerdo en puntos clave del divorcio, sin el cual, no se negociarán futuras relaciones comerciales. En Londres, las presiones para que estas negociaciones comiencen antes de final de año, ponen en riesgo aún más la unidad del Partido Conservador.

La primera ministra desea que la totalidad de las negociaciones terminen antes de marzo de 2019, fecha en la que Reino Unido abandona oficialmente la UE, pero el ritmo actual de las negociaciones no invitan al optimismo y si Bruselas no acepta la propuesta de un periodo de transición, se podría llegar a la fecha límite sin acuerdo. A consecuencia de esta incertidumbre, la libra esterlina ha vuelto a bajar tras esta jornada.



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