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The World of GAFA Part Two – How They are Different

According to a 2017 Statista survey, the four internet behemoths that make up GAFA are all now household names and an integral part of modern society with an average recognition rate of over 90% of respondents. The top brand was Google scoring 96% closely followed by Amazon at 94%. So, let’s discuss how they are different.


As everyone knows, Google is a leader among web search engines and people are “googling” every day when they are looking for something to buy. Google is also big in cloud computing and has developed a variety of products relating to planning, management, storage, emails (Gmail), translations, web referencing, photo sharing, videos (YouTube), and geolocation (Google Maps). Google also runs the Android operating system and the Chrome web browser. The company has recently launched Google Home, an online assistant to provide the user with the latest information about the weather, sports, finance, and more. Google’s dominance means that approximately 69% of people use at least one Google service or product every day.


Apple is the top seller of hardware products – the iPhone, the iPad, the iPod, the Mac computer, and the Apple Watch. Apple also runs the iOs operating system, the iCloud, the Mac App Store, and Apple Music. It has physical retail outlets – Apple Stores – over 500 stores spread across nineteen countries. It might seem counterintuitive to go to a physical store to buy a product that you will use for online shopping, but people camp out overnight to get the latest iPhone. Steve Jobs made the Apple brand one of the most important international entities in the world. In spite of fierce competition in the field of technology development, Apple has been able to hold its own.


Facebook was the first universal social network and has since become the main communication medium at both the personal and professional level. Facebook enables businesses to interact with their customers and potential customers online through their published content. Many potential shoppers log on with their mobile phone and stay on Facebook throughout the day to talk to their friends, check the news, share opinions, send messages, and follow their favorite publishers. Facebook now has a customized platform called Facebook Watch where users can watch videos. Surveys found that 87% of people have a Facebook account and 72% of those use Facebook daily.



The story of Amazon is a particularly amazing one. It took the long journey from being on online bookstore to becoming an ecommerce giant with stunning success. In fact, one survey suggests that 44% of consumers are beginning their searches directly on Amazon rather than using any other search engine. Amazon is an example of the best in operational efficiency which enables it to set and meet skyrocketing customer expectations with respect to customer service. It’s possible that one day drones will accomplish even faster Amazon deliveries. Amazon also offers AWS (Amazon Web Services) which offers on-demand secure cloud computing platforms and entertainment services through Amazon Prime.

The Future of GAFA

The GAFA giants will likely expand their businesses by continuing to purchase other companies that complement their existing activities, e.g., Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods and Facebook’s purchase of Instagram. They will also continue to buy competitive startups that pose alternatives to business as usual for the biggest players in the internet game. It seems that concerns that have arisen around privacy issues and societal influences are not enough for consumers to abstain on mass from the GAFA companies. Therefore, it is likely that these behemoths are here to stay and will grow even bigger.

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The World of GAFA Part One – GAFA and Online Shopping

What is GAFA?

In a world with a multiplicity of acronyms, GAFA refers to the four colossi of the internet:

Google  •  Apple  •  Facebook  •  Amazon

In today’s online daily life, you could ask Google how to bake a pound cake, use your Apple smartphone to check Facebook to find what your high school crush has made of their life, and, instead of going to the mall you can log on to Amazon and the mall will come to you. Indeed, we may find ourselves questioning how we used to do anything without GAFA.

GAFA and Online Shopping

  • Google

More and more people are shopping online. It doesn’t matter which device we are using – mobile phone, tablet, laptop, desktop – or where our location is, if we are researching a product or service we are interested in, Google will track it down for us. As far as browsing the web is concerned, Google is king. In fact, Google has become such a big part of everyday online life that it has been turned into a verb – everyone “googles.” If you are shopping for a product or service online you invariably “google it.”

  • Apple

You wouldn’t be able to “google” to find whatever you want to shop for online without a piece of hardware to enable you to do so. The Apple iPhone is not just a phone – it could be argued that it’s also by far the most successful online shopping product ever to have appeared on the market. Since its game-changing launch in 2007, the iPhone has garnered an extremely loyal user base that eagerly awaits the latest reincarnation (there have been thirteen so far). As of August 2017, more than one billion iPhones have been sold worldwide.

  • Facebook

Data analysis from Facebook reveals that people are doing most of their online shopping via their mobile phones (think the Apple iPhone for example). Facebook, as the premier social media platform, is becoming more and more important to online retailers and shoppers by enabling retailers to display their stuff on the Facebook platform and find the right people to buy it. Facebook also offers tools for businesses to reach their desired global audiences such as its IQ Cross-Border Insights Finder.

  • Amazon

The final “A” in GAFA is Amazon, without doubt the leader when it comes to buying anything online, including software and video games. When you “google” on your Apple device to search for something to buy online, count how many links to that item or similar items are Amazon links. It sometimes seems that the only place you can buy anything is on Amazon. And, shoppers have noticed this and many of them are going straight to Amazon to search. By subscribing to Amazon Prime, frequent shoppers can take advantage of free postage.

The GAFA Effect

The mighty four GAFA companies have set the standard for leadership when it comes to building loyalty and commitment in customer relationships. Google can predict customer buying preferences through sophisticated algorithms; Apple doesn’t just sell phones, it also offers a style and a feeling; Facebook can grab and hold a user’s attention and time to eat up to fifty minutes of their total time online; And, many shoppers go straight to Amazon to start their searches. GAFA has transformed the idea of selling from a simple financial transaction into a long-term beneficial relationship both for GAFA and for consumers.

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Email Marketing – Why Your Business Needs Email Workflows – 632 Words

Email workflows are the next advancement in automated email marketing and represent a giant stride forward in lead nurturing. Half of all leads may be “good” but not yet ”sales ready” when first contacted. Multiple follow ups are then necessary to “warm up” these leads and eventually produce sales.

There is a Problem

The problem is that there’s never sufficient time to manually stay on top of an extensive contact list, and a significant number of valuable leads are never nurtured. And, many recipients will receive emails that are of no interest to them. Your list is composed of different individuals each with differing interests, needs, and buying habits. Email workflows give you the ability to nurture your contacts on an individualized basis. Your list can divide itself into segments according to behaviors exhibited by the leads themselves. Research shows that organizations using marketing automation to nurture prospects experience an impressive increase of 451% in qualified leads.

Email Workflows – How They Work

Emails in a workflow system utilize an “if this then that” rationale. For instance, you could have a series of welcome emails to a new customer, to owners of abandoned shopping carts, or to social media contacts encouraging them to share content with their friends. Workflows then feed triggers into the system to assign contacts to the relevant email responses.

Email Workflows Benefit Marketers Because They: 

  • Allow true personalization.
  • Produce many more qualified leads.
  • Generate higher opening rates of emails by recipients.
  • Improve the time it takes to produce a sale.
  • Provide the ability to re-engage inactive contacts.
  • Bring about more repeat customers.
  • Help leverage the power of highly-engaged contacts.
  • Make upselling easier and more effective.
  • Increase cyclical purchases.
  • Supply valuable data on customers and campaigns.

Best Practices

Getting the best value out of your workflows means designing content that always places your brand squarely in front of customers and encourages them to inform you how they prefer to interact with you. Here are some ways to accomplish this.

Design multi-email workflows: To turn a cold lead into one that’s ready for a sale will require sending out more than a single email. For example, sending one welcome email is a “no-brainer.” However, sending a series of welcoming messages will lead to an increase in conversions.

Recognize the importance of strategies: Always consider where one workflow ends and the next begins. The ideal should be for each customer to be assigned to two or more appropriate workflows simultaneously.

Set goals: Construct workflows the same way you’d build a user journey through the various pages of your website – each step should be its own small sales funnel contained within an overarching strategy.

Don’t waste your data: Analyze the information received from your customers to give you an understanding of what works and help create more targeted email workflows down the road.

Construct workflows around field updates: Many names on your email list will undergo a “field change” because of marriage, relocation, change in employment status, etc. Capturing these updates in your workflows will keep you on top of your customers’ needs and their changing relationships to your brand.

Add net promoter scores to post-purchase emails: Autoresponders constantly crank out post-purchase emails, but these messages can also be used to deliver significant marketing benefits by inputting Net Promoter Scoring (NPS).

Utilize the topical: Build your workflows according to your customers’ interests and encourage them to proceed down the sales funnel by sending them topical emails.

Make use of live events: Email workflows are great for promoting real-life or digital live events. You can profit from the before-the-event “buzz,” the attendance, and event-related materials that you can send.


Email workflow technology provides so many advantages that it deserves serious consideration by your business. Please contact us to see how we can help you.

How to Get More Revenue from Your Key Accounts – 631 Words

Key Account Management (KAM) is one of the most significant business developments to emerge in recent years. It is an organizational process used by business-to-business suppliers to manage their relationships with strategically-important customers. If its importance is recognized, and if it is done correctly, it will increase your company’s bottom line. You will not get more revenue from your key accounts if your program is not set up and operated effectively. Here are some important factors to consider. 

Recognize What KAM Means 

KAM is not a sales technique. Instead, it’s a way of conducting business involving the entire company, not just the sales department. It’s a commitment by the whole company to work diligently with priority customers. For example, if a key account is promised priority access to products or services that are needed urgently, it is the operations department and supply chain personnel that have to deliver, not sales. 

Identify your Key Accounts 

Existing customers with an established relationship with your business are your most valuable asset – the result of time, money, and careful cultivation. Regard them as an investment in your company’s economic future. These customers should meet certain criteria that your business has set. Resist pressure to add certain customers because they play golf with the CEO. 

KAM Needs High-Level Support 

The companies with the most success in KAM have senior executives working on their key accounts. Each executive sponsors several key accounts and visits them regularly. The aim is to make your company’s critical accounts feel important and valued. You want them to feel happy and happy customers will keep increasing your organization’s revenues. 

KAM Needs Trained Key Account Managers 

It’s advisable not to simply move your best sales personnel into key account manager roles. You might end up putting a bunch of people into managerial positions they are not suited for and losing your best sales people. Your salesforce should concentrate on targeting new prospects and your key account managers on working with your key accounts. KAM requires a wide range of skills – planning, interpersonal, financial, consultative. Each key customer should be made to feel that they have an “insider” in the company, someone they trust and can go to with their needs and concerns. Keep in mind that a satisfied customer is one that will stay with your organization even in times of economic uncertainty. 

Set Up the Right Metrics 

If your key account managers have been tasked with building long-term relationships with your key customers, don’t reward them as though they were doing a typical sales job of focusing on short-term sales. Key account managers should be spending their time managing things on behalf of the customer to build long-term value for your business. 

Keep the Program Moving 

Your key account program should be flexible. New key accounts can be added to the program, and former ones moved out if they are no longer matching up in terms of long-term value. You should be actively seeking best practices both within your business and outside to update and improve the performance of your KAM program. It’s also important to continually review your relationships with your key customers, and have your program reflect changes that are important to them. 


KAM if implemented and carried out correctly can have a profound effect on the performance of your organization and enable you to receive more revenue from your key accounts. We can help your business make a successful transition to KAM and, over time, it will be worth it. Your most valuable asset for the longevity of your company isn’t your sales team’s prospects for new customers; rather it’s the relationships Key Account Managers develop with your existing, most valuable clients. Talk to us and we will advise you how to keep and grow your key accounts.


Use the Stacking Effect to Enhance Your Digital Marketing Strategy – 900 Words

The fast-paced, ever-evolving world of information technology has an incurable addiction to acronyms. However, SMAC has not yet made it on to Wikipedia’s list. This particular acronym stands for: Social . Mobile . Analytics . Cloud 

SMAC is a rapidly spreading methodology which can have a significant positive impact on a company’s digital marketing strategy. Let’s look at SMAC’s components in more detail.


Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube serve as great “connectors” for millions of people worldwide. Businesses are increasingly using social marketing tools to increase exposure to their products and services and to grow the popularity of their brands. Social media channels are used to engage targeted viewers and to build a marketplace in the social media community. Businesses are able to create “mind-sharing” personal relationships with their customers and thus build targeted and productive digital marketing strategies. 


Who do you know who doesn’t own a smartphone? Mobile devices are increasingly being used by consumers to purchase goods and services. Shoppers are able to engage in sales transactions anywhere and at any time of the day or night. Users are provided with much-appreciated shopping convenience and businesses with insights into the preferences and buying behaviors of users on a global scale. Most companies have developed their own business mobile applications in order to take advantage of this low-cost way to connect with their customers and increase their customer bases.

Analytics – “Big Data,” a “buzz phrase” currently in vogue, is the name given to the treasure trove of information which can be collected from social and mobile platforms. By analyzing this massive mountain of data, business enterprises can gain an inside view of their customers’ likes and dislikes and can respond in real time to their shopping preferences.

Cloud – The use of cloud computing will only increase. One advantage is that it enables businesses to reduce their IT budgets by avoiding the sometimes significant financial costs for premise-based hardware and its subsequent maintenance. Cloud computing also provides business flexibility and agility with respect to meeting the demands of customers.

The Power of the Stacking Effect

Each of the four individual SMAC components is a valuable tool in its own right. However, if this quartet is combined to form an integrated “stack,” the stack has more overall power than its individual parts. Harnessed together, the components can provide a broad-ranging view of customer spending habits, enabling companies to more accurately target their customers. For instance, the data gathered from a user’s social media postings can be teamed with location-based information coming from the user’s mobile device. This combined data is then ready for real-time analysis on a virtual cloud platform.

SMAC Helps Provide Personalized Service

A big advantage of an SMAC marketing strategy is that it enables companies to move into high-margin areas with relatively minor financial expenditures. It’s a strategy with low overheads, far-ranging availability, and worldwide reach, creating unparalleled opportunities for organizations to more thoroughly understand, engage, and influence their prospective customers. Because modern, tech-savvy shoppers don’t possess as much brand loyalty as their parents, they will shop by first reading reviews and doing research on a product before making a buying decision. By putting in place individualized marketing and sales strategies, a company can significantly increase its bottom line. Personalized service equals a happy customer. Here are some ideas to achieve this highly desirable SMAC multiplier effect.

Come up with a plan: Assess what stage you are currently at with respect to leveraging the use of each SMAC component. Then, determine where it’s most important to target the delivery of information on your products or services.

Pay attention to the “easy” data: Take a look at each method currently being used to gather insights about your customers and make sure it’s working properly and efficiently. Then put it to use. For example, your customer interface should be straightforward and easy to use so that a new customer has no problem signing up. Then, your system should be constructed so that the data inputted by your customer follows the customer as they journey through your website. So, if a buyer has filled out an application form for one type of product, that person should not be made to enter the same information all over again if they decide to purchase something else.

Examine your level of customer service: Your customers’ experiences of your end-to-end services need to be as trouble-free as possible. For instance, when a customer experiencing problems contacts your call center, an integrated SMAC approach would enable the customer services representative to see exactly the stage that the customer has reached and help move the transaction along to the next step. 

Don’t regard the norm as good enough: There should be a continuously evolving process in place to develop the best products or services tailored to the insights gained from your customers’ preferences. Evaluation teams should be set up to keep on top of how your program is performing. You could even employ a specialist whose assignment would be to design internal best practices incorporating best practices used by other businesses.

Bottom Line

Using SMAC as a digital marketing strategy can be a transformative experience. Never before has it been possible to obtain so much information on your customers’ preferences and buying habits and put it to good use. Please contact us for a consultation on how we can help your company increase its revenues.