Archive for March, 2016

Panic Not If Your WordPress Images Fail To Enlarge

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Content marketers rarely find the space to squeeze in full size versions of images in the body of their content. Therefore, it’s customary for them to include a smaller size of the image within their (online) whitepapers, blog posts and other marketing collateral and leave it to readers to click the images to view them in full size in a lightbox or a separate window. Some of them go one step further to make the step explicit by marking their images with a “CLICK TO ENLARGE” annotation.

But what happens when images are not clickable, and, hence, not enlargeable? That’s exactly what happened on this WordPress blog: By chance, I noticed that the images on my latest post were not enlargeable.

Wouldn’t that be a good way to tick off your readers? I thought so too and panicked when I noticed this.

But fear not. The solution is fairly simple.

Before solving the problem, I wanted to know if it affected all my posts or only the latest one on which I happened to notice it accidentally (in February 2016).

To find out, I opened a year-old post and found that images were all behaving as expected i.e. they could be enlarged by clicking on them.

Phew. I heaved a sigh of relief when I realized that this is a new problem, probably one caused by a recent WP update.

Now, for the solution:

Follow these steps to make images enlargeable:

STEP 1: Open the post inside WordPress Admin.

STEP 2: Click the first image.

STEP 3: Click the pencil icon to edit image (Figure 1).

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FIGURE 1

STEP 4: In the Image Details screen that follows, you’ll notice that the default value for the Link To field is None (Figure 2). I remember seeing a different value in the past.

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FIGURE 2

STEP 5: Drop down the box next to the Link To field. Select Media File. If your selection is accepted, you should see the full path of the image file appearing on a new field below (Figure 3).

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FIGURE 3

STEP 6: Click the Update button on the bottom right hand corner of this screen.

STEP 7: You’ll be taken back to the main Edit Post screen. Click the Update post button on the top right hand corner of this screen.

STEP 8: Repeat the above steps for all images in the post and for all posts in the blog that have this problem (which, in my case, was everything published in 2016).

STEP 9: Leave WordPress Admin. Go to a browser window and open this post, just as your reader would.

STEP 10: Verify that all images are enlargeable by clicking on them.

You’re done.

While the solution is simple, the problem is serious. Many bloggers / content marketers may not have noticed it yet – like I said before, I only stumbled on to it by fluke. Hence, I thought it merited a detailed post, more to spread awareness of the problem than to describe a simple solution. Consider it done.

How Banks Can Increase In-Branch Sales

Friday, March 11th, 2016

bank-branch-fiIn his blog post titled The Power of Location-Based Offers in Financial Services, Jim Marous, Co-Publisher of The Financial Brand, highlights how banks can leverage the proliferation of smartphones to make location based offers for cross-selling of banking and other third-party products at their branches.

Let’s say a bank implements LBOs and an existing checking account customer (“Jane Doe”) of the bank receives a PUSH notification for a special deal on a credit card on her smartphone when she’s walking past its branch. Since she happens to be in the market for a credit credit, the offer is relevant. Since she’s in the branch’s neighborhood, she walks in to find out more.

I was in a similar situation recently, just that my bank’s offer for a new loan product came via email. It wasn’t very relevant at the time. Therefore, I forgot about it until I’d to visit the branch a couple of weeks later to

  1. Withdraw cash from my company’s account for petty cash expenses (unlike personal account, there’s a lot of friction in applying for an ATM card for a corporate account, so I hadn’t bothered to do so; besides, who thought cash would still be around, right?:))
  2. Update my passbook (I don’t like e-statements, my bank doesn’t like paper statements, so I use the passbook option)
  3. Collect a booklet for depositing cheques (landlords collect house rents from their tenants via Post Dated Cheques issued in advance for the total duration of the lease period viz. 24 months; since I haven’t yet found an electronic payment option to replace PDCs, I need to fill out a pay in slip to deposit my tenant’s PDC every month).

As soon as I entered the branch, a bank staff waylaid me and asked me, “Have you done your tax planning?” For the uninitiated, many investment products qualify for tax rebates. Since March 31 is the last date for buying these products and filing tax returns for claiming these rebates, CQ1 is the peak period for sale of these products at bank branches. Knowing the full import of this question, I said “Yes”, and tried to move on. But this lady wouldn’t let me go. She went on and on with “Have you heard of this product, have you thought of that product, blah blah blah”. I finally had to shoo her away by saying, “Let me finish what I’ve come for, then I’ll listen to whatever you’ve to say”. Reluctantly, she let me go.

icici-fastforward-cardI spent the next 10 minutes on the teller queue. When I reached the customer inquiry counter, the guy who updates passbooks was missing. He returned to his post after 20 minutes. It took another 10 minutes to get the pay-in slip booklet. When I finished, there was no sign of this formerly pesky lady. I left the branch without finding out about the new loan product. I can bet that Jane Doe would’ve gone through a similar experience.

The bank lost potential sales from its LBOs.

Which is a shame.

Sales is arguably the sole raison d’être for banks to continue with their branch networks in today’s world where customers are increasingly turning to digital channels for conducting mundane transactions like balance inquiry, statement download, and so on. More in my earlier blog post titled Secret Of Survival Of Bank Branches.

So, it’s a no-brainer that banks should do something to prevent such incidents from happening.

Question is, what can they do?

Is technology the answer? Or is it something else?

Let me go back to my visit and imagine an alternative scenario in which the branch staff

  1. Offers to help with my purpose for visiting her branch
  2. Gets me to the head of the teller queue (which happens automatically in another bank when I simply flash my so-called “Fast Forward” card)
  3. Brings the AWOL passbook updating person back to his seat
  4. Fetches the pay-in slip booklet from the so-called “collateral cupboard”.

mobile-shelving-systemIf she does this, I won’t shoo her away. Instead

  1. I’ll be grateful to her for saving my time and energy
  2. I’ll be in a more conducive state of mind for listening to her spiel about tax saving products on offer
  3. Who knows, I might even buy the loan product I’d come to inquire about!

Going by this experience, banks can boost their in-branch sales by training their branch staff to change their selling approach. Some amount of technology – paging system to locate missing staff members and mobile shelving systems to store and retrieve collaterals – can also help.

Sales Will Hasten Its Demise By Sitting On The BANT High Horse

Friday, March 4th, 2016

In this post “ALL B2B SALES LEADS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL”, author Garrett Hollander references a BtoB Magazine study according to which only 23% of sales professionals say marketers deliver sales-ready leads.

When I read this, it struck me that “sales-readiness” is fast becoming an outdated concept. In today’s world of Buyer 2.0, the prospect has covered far more ground in their purchase journey by the time they call sales. By that time, they could end up being “sales ready” for a competitor. So waiting for a lead to become sales ready is recipe for disaster these days.

According to pundits, the key to success in today’s world of Buyer 2.0 is to reach out to the buyer earlier in the purchase cycle when they have “emerging needs” (per CEB) or are even “unware” of their pain areas (per Gartner). We agree. You can find our guidance in “Ensuring That Buyer 2.0 Contacts *Your* Sales”. Ergo, a vendor should engage with the buyer well before a lead is deemed to be sales-ready.

So the real question is who should do this: Marketing or Sales?

TOFU-CONTENT-BUYER20-fiMarketing is responsible for creating content that helps the buyer to make progress along their purchase journey. Guidelines for marketing collateral that will resonate with buyers at this stage can be found on the sidebar on the right. Marketing should also ensure wide circulation of such content via website, analysts, industry journals and social media. In many cases, Marketing may also be able to step up to the plate and engage with individual prospects remotely via email and telephone.

However, this won’t suffice in B2B technology with $$$$$ ticket size.

Some amount of face-to-face meetings will be required to walk the prospect through the content and deftly steer them towards the vendor’s offering.

no-to-bantFew Marketing people have the inclination or customer-facing skills required for taking these meetings on their own. Even though the lead is still not “sales ready”, sales needs to get involved.

If sales sits on the high horse of BANT and other old-fashioned lead qualification approaches, these leads will be lost to competition. Sales will hasten its demise.

On the other hand, if Sales wakes up to the new reality and reskills itself to engage with prospects earlier in the purchase cycle, it’d prove its worth and prove doomsday prophets that predicted the loss of millions of B2B sales jobs wrong.

It’s not that sales is not required. It’s that there’s a change in what sales needs to do in order to stay relevant in today’s world.