Monday, March 26, 2012

Designing the multichannel brand experience

In the old days when interactions between customers and brands took place at the same location (usually a retail store or branch), it was relatively easy to create compelling brand experiences.

In today’s world, users typically interact with a brand in at least three touchpoints. The online world alone gives more than enough options for customer/brand interaction.

The challenge to create great experiences for customers became very important with the rise in new ways of consumer interaction with brands. Online customers can interact with a brand via its corporate website, search engines, social media, applications, and so on.

An interaction funnel between the customer and brand in general requires three attributes which together form the brand experience:
  • Recognition
  • Trust
  • Action

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Microformats - Semantic publishing with Bee

About Microformats

Microformats are - simply put - a way in which developers can add semantic markup or in other words: meaning to content, so that it is possible for machines to extract this meaningful information from the content.

Support for microformats dramatically improved in 2011 when Bing, Google and Yahoo announced their plans for collaboration known as schema.org. It is an effort to support and create a standard set of microformats for a structured markup so that they are understood identically by each of the major search engines.

So how can this help you? Microformats help search engines to not only see your content, but to understand it as well. By using microformats, you can enrich various kinds of content such as book or movie reviews, restaurants, recipes, etc. This way, the search engine knows that you are describing a specific movie or writing a recipe. Once the search engine can do this it can process content in a much different way than if it were just in plain text.
Google recipe search

Google uses microformats to understand various recipes. This allows you to search for a recipe made from specific ingredients, cooking time or even calories. Searches such as these could not be possible if the recipes weren’t marked up using rich snippets or microformats.

What’s the catch?

The major problem with microformats is that they are not particularly easy to implement into content publishing systems. Microformats require rather complicated markup and therefore it is not easy to use them on pages that are edited using WYSIWYG. WYSIWYG editors in general don’t support microformats well and their support is very constrained. Therefore microformats appear mostly on pages that have fixed structure (product description, movie review, recipe, etc.). It is because pages like these are edited via forms not WYSIWYG.

How Bee enables microformats?

In Bee, all content is created using components. These components can be re-used so that you don’t need to repeatedly input your content over and over again.

Components’ markup is fully in the hands of the developer and what’s great is that apart from other systems, they don’t have to be created using schemas. Instead the schema can be created from them.

It means that when you want to create a component that produces a recipe, for example, all you have to do is write the final markup. Add a couple more attributes for Bee to properly recognize the code and Bee will then take care of everything else. It will create the schema and form with full data validation and proper formatting. This allows developers to easily add rich markup to the code.

You can then publish properly marked content anywhere on your site.


Monday, February 6, 2012

CMS for Agencies

We created Bee with one specific goal – to help interactive agencies deliver groundbreaking web experiences.

Agencies are usually the first to pick up on emerging technologies and trends and push the boundaries of the existing ones further. We believe that if we can support them with a solid and flexible backend, they can focus on the creative side of the web and push the limits even further. The whole feature set of Bee has been created with this goal in mind.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Instant Webservice (API) publishing - Features of Bee

One of the cool features of our Multichannel Core is its ability to publish content in structured format. Structured data can then be interpreted by any third party application or website. This effectively allows content publishers to publish their own APIs without programming.

Bee serves the data as the RESTful JSON webservice. Bee also wraps the content with the default API methods which can be used to perform basic operations with the content. Developers can further extend these basic methods and enhance API with custom functionalities.

For example - a restaurant could use instant webservice publishing to distribute its menu, opening hours and contacts to third party applications (such as various recommendation services).
Creating such API for this restaurant is simple. Just select the JSON as the output channel in the Page Editor and Drag&Drop all the data that you want to publish to the page. That's it.:)


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Multichannel: The Beginner's Guide

What is multichannel?

In a traditional sense, multichannel (or multi-channel) is the communication of the brand across different channels such as TV, print, web or outdoor. But let’s talk digital and forget the offline channels right now.

Basic digital channels are web, mobile and email (and recently tablets). But this is a strictly device-centric view which is only valid from a user perspective. But from the brand’s perspective, this view just doesn’t fit in. Because when brands publish content, they usually focus primarily on the medium. The device itself is secondary.

Brand push content to medium where it is being pulled by the user using a device

Friday, January 13, 2012

Features of Bee - Live Editor

Painless content editing

Bee's innovative live editor takes advantage of the Multichannel Core and enables you to work with live content for any channel you want. We’ve worked very hard to create solution that is both easy to use and still extremely powerful.

Bee's live editor

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Improve customer satisfaction through multichannel marketing

Multichannel marketing isn’t just about reaching customers through different channels with a consistent message. The message also has been aligned with customer behaviour at different stages of marketing funnel. This can significantly improve customer's satisfaction.

Customers prefer doing different things through different channels. Some like to buy online, some of them are afraid of it and are willing to spend hours with online research only to buy things offline (in retail store). Knowing what channels your customers prefer in the marketing funnel may help you improve customer satisfaction.

Example:



Look at the example above. It shows how selected customer group is using channels throughout the marketing funnel. Customers are happy to discover (awareness stage) the product via Google, but would feel bothered if contacted directly by the company's sales department.

They consider the purchase by further researching with Google or by asking friends on Facebook. On the third stage (conversion) you can see that they prefer making a phone call to buy the product. At the same stage you can see that the customers are not keen to make the purchase/conversion via Facebook.

But what would happen if the company above put the shopping cart ONLY on their Facebook page? This would not automatically mean that users would not buy anything, but it would certainly mean that they would feel uncomfortable while doing so. As a result, their satisfaction level with the process may be much lower than if they had an option to use the channel they prefer.

Knowing behaviour of your target group will help you to decide which channel to use at which stage of the marketing funnel.

How to do it?

Managing content through many channels and keeping it consistent is challenging. Thankfully Bee's multichannel core is ready for this task. It allows distribution of content virtually anywhere and it's extremely easy to keep it consistent with live preview of how it will look when rendered.

Checklist for improving customer’s satisfaction:

  • Know your target group’s most and least preferred channels in each step of the marketing funnel.
  • Focus only on the channels that makes sense for your business.
  • Don’t force users to use channels they feel uncomfortable with.