Featured News and Events (47)

Should a B2B Brand Tweet?

3294932071?profile=RESIZE_180x180 Tweeting may be darlings of retail, music, and news junkies everywhere, but should it be part of a B2B manufacturers' plan?

Sometime in 2014, social networking (including micro-blogging sites like Twitter and Tumblr) quietly surpassed all other online activities, accounting for 41% of time spent online (GlobalWebIndex).

If you looked back at Twitter in 2010, they had only 105 million users and 55 million tweets per day. Twitter now boasts ”about a billion” registered users who post  500 million tweets per day.  Digital Information World reports that by 2015, 99% of the world’s top brands have a Facebook page and 97% are active on Twitter. In fact, 46% of web users look to social media when making a purchase, and 67% of Twitter users say they are “far more likely” to buy from a brand they follow on Twitter that one they don’t—and the average Twitter user follows five or more brands.

Twitter is now the top news source for political information and trends (no surprise there)  But is it a

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DCT_SPECIAL107_1280x720.jpg?v=ap&w=650&h=366&api=7db9fe61-7414-47b5-9871-e17d87b8b6a0&width=250As the East Coast gets pummeled by the first blizzard of the year, organizations should have shifted their Sales and Marketing spend for the next two days.  It's not just the snow plow guys who are reaping benefits of snow. Regional E-commerce sales and traffic always spike during snowstorms.

How big of a spike?  A typical snowstorm can spike regional YoY traffic by 10-25%. This storm is impacting the entire Eastern Seashore, so that could drive traffic up over 30%.  If your sales team is in tune with the weather and redirects your demand gen spend (including email, Amazon marketing, Google & Bing PPC, as well as social activity) you'll see some great year over year results.  Yesterday we saw southern ecommerce revenue spiked 20% for one US retailer.  Instore traffic was going to be down anyway but the team already had a plan to shift messaging and spend to maximize the online lift.

For a brand / manufacturer, you should be able to leverage these type of events to boost your direct as

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Email Operations Review List

3294931410?profile=RESIZE_180x180What are you going to do that last week of December?  Many customers are taking time off and you may find yourself with some extra time to review, refresh and revamp.  A good place to start is to review systems and procedures that you typically set and forget.  If you’re not reporting and monitoring activity on those platforms on a regular basis, you may be missing out on some vital opportunities.
 
Take Email Marketing for example.  When is the last time you reviewed your email preference lists, brand lists, and workflows?  It’s common to complete the initial set-up and then assume automation is working well, but we’ve found that a quick review can often uncover some easy-to-fix problems.  
 
Here are 4 quick steps to get you started:

  1. Log in to your email marketing platform and go to your lead database and/or customer management section.
  2. Review the lists you have set up (may be set up by brand, customer segment, or interest).  Look for any discrepancies.  Are the quantities what you
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Are you ready to “wow” your customers and edge out the competition in 2018? With a dizzying array of channels and marketing tools, it can be hard to know what to focus on. We here at Yeoman recommend you focus on these 6 growing trends.
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Groupon may have started life as an online coupon site, but most of its growth and revenue is due to their discount goods business, which launched in 2011. Five years and nearly $2 billion USD in goods revenue later, the company is ready to take on the world of ecommerce mega giants like Amazon, eBay, Sears, Buy.com and Jet—just to name a few.
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3294932285?profile=originalQuick question: What do digital strategies and bankruptcy filings have in common?
Answer: Nothing, except that if you don’t have the former, you’ll likely end up with the latter. Don’t believe us? The list of companies that have “reorged” during the last four years is a veritable who’s who of entities that failed to make the leap to digital.

In retail, think Thomasville/Lane Furniture, Brookstone, and Loehmann’s. In education, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Cengage Learning. In publishing, Gatehouse Media and Reader’s Digest. In manufacturing, Kodak, Exide, Oreck, and Hawker Beechcraft. Even in the technology world we saw two pioneers fall: SSD maker OCZ and venerable video game creator Atari.

Some blame the recession, but technically that’s been over for two years. In fact, if you strip out the real estate and financial firm bankruptcies typically associated with the downturn, most sectors are trending up. However, there’s a catch and caveat. Retail, manufacturing, distribution, publis

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3294932038?profile=RESIZE_320x320A recent Yeoman study of over 1,500 items sold on Amazon from a leading US manufacturer found a whopping 70% contained errors or did not follow Amazon’s best practice recommendations for providing product details. This study further showed the same level of inaccuracy on Google and Bing product searches. This is a maddening problem that plagues manufacturers in every industry. Once a product is “out there,” resellers, partners, distributors and reviewers end up shaping and revising the product details that your customers are going to use to make their purchase decision.

Products sold by Amazon definitely had better data quality, but less than 4% could be considered 'optimized' with the proven best practices for any item:

  • Descriptive title at least 50 characters long (including brand, purpose, color, and set/quantity info)
  • Multiple images of product
  • Bullet/summary list of product features
  • Complete description that includes product benefits, usage instructions, what's in the box, and e
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Amazon has just rolled out the full version of Brand Central to all sellers in North America, but with very little fanfare and even less information. Yeoman has already enrolled several brands. Here's why this should be a priority for your team.
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Can You Feel It?

Haptics (touch) technology has been around for a while (think about how you can "feel" the buttons vibrate when you tap on your smartphone), but now is being developed with more real time control and feedback between fingertip and touchscreen. Companies like Tanvas are finding new uses for this technology. Tanvas Touch allows the user to "feel" different textures - such as grainy, silky, wavy and more - on a smart screen. It has also been used to simulate different fabrics, wood, stone and grass. Users have reacted differently to this - with some being very impressed and others "not feeling it" as much. Haptics technology could have a lot of really neat applications - it could allow users to "feel" fabrics before they purchase clothing online, it could be used in immersion gaming, and it could also be used to help the visually impaired when they use smart technology. It will be interesting to see how this technology develops over time and what new applications people create for it.

To

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3294931689?profile=RESIZE_480x480Nixie is the brain child of a Google Alumna and a PhD in experimental physics. This small camera-equipped drone is worn around your wrist, and can be quickly deployed to capture you and your besties at your best. When activated, Nixie unfolds into a quadcopter, that flies away from you (in one of its pre-programmed modes) to take photos or video and then returns to you when it's finished.

Even though this is a high-tech gizmo the likes of which neither Dick Tracy nor Jean-Luc Picard ever dreamed of, the company is going with a classic/throwback venture capital fundraising model to get it to market.

It will be interesting to see if they change it up and opt for a pre-order scheme to raise money when they are closer to launch.

If you were going to launch a new product, would you go for a kickstarter campaign or hit the fundraising trail? 

What do you think about pre-sales as a fundraising technique?

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3294932462?profile=RESIZE_480x480Amazon recently announced Launchpad a custom program that helps start-ups “launch, market and distribute” new products on Amazon.  The program is really a re-skinned version of Amazon's Vendor Express, but it's goal is to let smaller manufacturers sell directly to Amazon.  The reason for the re-branding?  Simple - it's cooler and let's them position it as an option for business that were funded by Kickstarter, Circle up, or just an old fashion invention.

Their pitch is that you get to tap into Amazon's massive presence to quickly build your brand leveraging their platform to grow. They are correct - Amazon is the largest online retailer with over 1.4 billion sessions last Christmas.  A recent Forrester survey noted that 50% of American's search for product on Amazon regardless of whether or not they're going to buy on the site.

Any Company needs a presence there and Amazon is positioning Launchpad as the way to do it for start-ups. But is it worth it?   Here's the details you need to k

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3294932487?profile=RESIZE_320x320What if, as a manufacturer, publisher or IT company, you could predict the future? You’d probably start off by predicting how much inventory you need to carry, followed closely by predicting the next products your customers are going to want to buy, so you can have them ready and waiting the next time they hit “search.”

 

Magic? Not really. Impossible? No. Mining the data you already have access to about your customers and web visitors can give you amazing insight into their future behavior and preferences – but only if you capture it and use it.

 

Case in point: Netflix cashes in on their own crystal ball

When Netflix went looking to produce its own TV show to compete with cable, they – like any other business – wanted to be as sure as possible it would be a big hit. But unlike a lot of other businesses, Netflix captures and mines enormously detailed data on their customers. That’s how they predicted that their new series “House of Cards” would be a huge success before they even taped

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, so most manufacturers have 'checked out' on the holiday season.  If you walk around a manufacturer's or publisher's office this time of year, you wouldn't think it's the busiest time of the year. Most organizations are focused on 2016 budgets, new product plans, and 2016 forecasts, with the occasional glance at the POS reports. 

To quote one manufacturer: "all of our heavy activity is leading up to the holidays; our partners take it from there. We don't sell direct." That may have been true in years, past, but original manufacturers have a major impact on holiday sales - regardless of whether or not you sell direct.

A recent study of 5,000 shoppers found that 65% of have visited a manufacturer's website as part of researching a product over the last year. Not presenting your products in a clear, salable, format is just a mistake. Key things you can do this week to help sales include:

1. Polish the product details on your site:  Yeoman

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3294932478?profile=RESIZE_480x480Sometimes even Big Data needs a hand. The latest release of Google analytics has added some great new options for data analysis that every manufacturer and publisher should configure.   For those living in the 80s Google analytics is the #1 web analysis tool used by almost every major manufacturer and ecommerce site.  The product is part of Google's 'suite' of 'free' products designed to bolster their paid search revenue; every tool makes it easier to spend on paid search...

The main benefit to every organization is Google makes this tool available no matter how small your paid search program is.  When properly configured web analytics is truly a window into the behavior of your online visitor.  If configured correctly it can even give statistically relevant insights into their offline behavior too.

The newest features to note:

  1. Custom Brand Term setup:  You can now segment out all of your brand names into their own bucket.  This will filter organic as well as paid search.  This is a
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3294931537?profile=RESIZE_320x320Google has confirmed it - a Buy Button is “imminent.”  The button is expected to be rolled out on mobile devices, and will enable people who click on product ads in search results to buy those products without navigating to a third-party site.  The button, following similar moves by Facebook and Twitter, are a significant departure for the search giant, which has built its business based on ads that link to other websites.

"The rationale is to reduce friction for customers'" said Omid Kordestani, Google’s Chief Business Officer, "making it simpler to complete online purchases."  Trust us, there's another reason - Google is facing significant competition from Amazon and others when it comes to people searching for products and has been steadily moving to be more "direct."  Recent examples include:

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Just Do It - living your motto.  Can a manufacturer sell direct and not kill their channel?  It's a question every manufacturer or publisher asks in every industry  You've heard all the objections:

It will cause too much conflict with our existing channel
We can't fulfill small orders
We won't be able to generate any sales
It will cost too much


Nike had the same questions too, but dug in and took their own logo to heart.  They started a 'direct model' a few years ago; combining online and a retail presence to engage customers directly.  Stores are hard; but online clothing is one of the toughest ecommerce transactions to support; size, color, and fit all require great data or you'll be swamped with massive returns.

How have they done?  How does a 50% increase in online sales sound?  And that's not 50% of 10 million. E-commerce sales surpassed the $1 billion mark last fiscal year.  In fact, their entire direct-to-consumer sales topped $6 billion this year—a full 20% of the company’s t

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3294932413?profile=RESIZE_480x480Any B2B manufacturer or publisher involved with public sector bidding and RFPs knows the model for finding these opportunities has dramatically changed over the last 5 years.  The traditional methods of 'formal' postings in local papers or state publications has vanished.  So too, has been the time honored tradition of keeping a 'bid list' to mail out formal documents.  

Blame the economy and the web.  All states now recognize a 'web posting' as a legitimate public posting that meets the fiduciary responsibilities of the city/town or state.   While this makes it simpler to get the bid out, it creates a mess for those trying to find and respond.

Federal bids have a standardized format and set process for posting, however, when you move down to the state and local level the wheels fall off.

Yeoman tracks over 50 different bid and RFP sites and all of them have slightly different formats for posting and  actively block deep Google crawling of their web.  For these sites, you can't just '

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Amazon Tries for B2B Again

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If at first you don’t succeed try, try, again…

Amazon this week announced its "new" Amazon business. The service offers B2B level ecommerce to any qualified business. If that's sounds vaguely familiar it is. Amazonsupply.com was launched back in 2006 after the acquisition of smallparts.com. That was Amazon’s initial entrance into the world of B2B ecommerce.

Unfortunately, the specialty site never really gained traction as a true B2B site when compared to its primary competitors, Grainger, ULine, Global Industrial, etc.

To put these numbers in context, Amazon.com had 2.4 billion visits during this same time period. Therein lies the problem.

It's important to note that Amazon has been successful growing B2B sales, just not Amazonsupply.com. Industrial and Business categories have grown double digit for the last several years.  Yeoman's B2B clients have seen doubling and tripling of sales over the last 5 years.

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The reality is the sales of industrial and B2B goods are being done on Amazon.com n

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