BPO Industry and Its Recent Developments
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry is not something which anyone (across the globe) would be unaware of these days. When a consumer makes a local call to order any product in the UK or the USA, he/she will probably expect someone from India or Philippines to pick up the call and process his/her order. This is what you call BPO era in which companies outsource their non-core administrative/back-office processes to call centres based in other countries with primary intention to cut down on cost and maximize profitability.
But, the BPO industry has evolved over a period of time. Not only are repetitive or non-core back-end processes (requiring low degree of skill or knowledge) outsourced, but processes (requiring high degree of skilled knowledge and expertise) are also outsourced to offshore call centres these days. While the prior type of outsourcing would fall under the umbrella of BPO, the latter type would be termed as KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing). An example of KPO vendor could be a company handling payroll/accounting department on behalf of another organisation.
Rising Competition For Market Share: A Great Challenge For BPO/KPO Vendors
While India and Philippines are often heard of as key outsourcing destinations, there are other countries (e.g. Malaysia, China, Egypt, Morocco, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Columbia, Poland, Ireland and many more) that have emerged as favourite destinations for outsourcing lately. This trend shows that BPO vendors are mushrooming all over the world, thereby giving rise to intense competition for market share.
“According to Nasscom, in the last five years, India has lost about 10 per cent market share to the rest of the world in the world BPO space, most of which is in the voice contract segment.”
Now, the question arises as to what a BPO/KPO vendor should do to increase its market share and outdo its competitors in the industry. Is there a way for a BPO/KPO vendor to gain competitive advantage over its rivals? Indeed, there is.
Content Marketing: A Panacea For BPO/KPO Vendors That Are Looking To Grow Among Stiff Competition
‘Content Marketing’ is what a BPO/KPO service provider should engage in so as to outdo its competition.
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”- says Content Marketing Institute (CMI).
The purpose of content marketing is to communicate with customers and prospects without pitching any product to them. By way of content marketing, organisations educate their prospective buyers with an intention to position themselves as leaders in their respective fields. Once an organisation has established itself as a leader in a specific area via its content marketing efforts, it starts getting rewarded with business from its engaged group of target audience or prospective buyers or followers.
“If you look at big brands (e.g. Accenture, WNS Global Services, HCL BPO and Convergys) in the BPO industry, you will realize that they all have robust content marketing strategy in place that caters to a number of their purposes ranging from ‘brand awareness’ to ‘ lead conversion & nurturing’ to ‘customer conversion’ to ‘customer service’ to ‘retention’ to ‘up-selling’.”
Various types of content, e.g. Articles, Blogs, Brochures, Case Studies, Podcasts, Videos, Webinars and Whitepapers, are produced by such call centres to engage with their target audience as they firmly believe in the power of thought leadership and content marketing. Hence, production of valuable, relevant and consistent content should be central to the online marketing strategy of your organisation if you are running a call centre that is looking to grow.
Now, you must be wondering what you will need to do in order to implement a robust content marketing strategy for your call centre. Well, you will need to devise a robust content marketing strategy before you can implement it.
In order to work out the most appropriate content marketing strategy for your organisation, you will need to work through the following 7 stages:
Planning is the first and foremost activity that your organisation should engage in. As no organisation would want to waste its limited resources, what you need to do is lay out a concrete plan for creation of valuable and targeted content for your business entity. Please make sure that pieces of content created or produced by your organisation help it achieve its business objectives in broader sense.
“It is imperative that content marketing plan fits in well with business goals of your entity as engaging in creation of content without any purpose would result in nothing but loss.”
The best starting point for you would be to think about a mission statement or work out a business case that clearly explains the purpose for which content is going to be created.
Let’s say that you have jotted down the purpose of your content marketing as ‘generation of new leads’. Now, you will devise such content strategy that aims at achieving the aforementioned goal.
“Not only should the content strategy take into consideration ‘why’ factor of content creation, but also ‘what’ and ‘how’ factors.”
If you are a call center that is looking to grow its client base, you would probably need to do some brainstorming on what pieces of content your prospective clients would be most interested in. Touching on the challenges and needs of your target audience might be a good starting point.
From in-depth research and previous experience with international call centres, following motivations for ‘outsourcing’ were discovered. BPO/KPO vendors could produce content around the following list of outsourcing motivations in order to generate leads:
- Greater process efficiency and effectiveness
- Capitalizing on disruptive technologies such as mobile, social and analytics
- Competitive advantage over rivals through outsourcing
- Driving innovation
- Changing the mix of skills, expertise and capabilities
- Expansion into new regions
- Integration of supply chain
- Anticipating/responding to technology and market shifts
- Enabling predictive modeling using customer data analytics
- Disaster recovery
After you have answered ‘why’ and ‘what’ factors, you need to decide on ‘how’ the desired content is going to be published. The options would include whitepapers, case studies, blog articles, podcasts, videos, brochures etc. Hence, strategic combination of all the available options would conclude the ‘how’ factor of your content strategy.
The second stage is related to understanding the audience who will consume your content.
“Tailoring your content to suit the taste of your target audience is very important as it helps engage with them better. After all, engaged audience is what your call centre needs in order to prosper and generate new leads.”
So, how are you going to understand your audience? Well, you need to create persona of your target audience who you will be creating content for. Below given is an example of ‘Persona’ which was created for an international BPO firm as part of its content marketing plan until not too long ago:
Using a properly defined persona (as has been explained above), you would always remain focused and create valuable content for your target market in a consistent manner.
Storytelling is what you are supposed to engage in next. Planned content needs to be drafted in the form of stories.
The stories should not appear like sales pitches. Rather, such stories should reveal the big ideas that you represent, or the distinguishing experiences that you create.
“The stories, which you tell about your brand, should be properly structured and drafted with a view to building long-lasting relationships with your customers/prospects/target audience.”
You could resort to Brand Hero’s Journey Chart (given below) to spell out stories about your company’s brand/call centre.
As you have some nicely-drafted stories ready to be shared with your target market, you need to move a step further and work out a robust channel strategy. Please note that selection of distribution channels would depend on the content strategy that you had worked through in the very first stage of planning.
“As a call centre that is looking to grow its clientele, you should ideally try to integrate all the available digital marketing channels to produce the best result, i.e. generation of new leads in bulk.”
If you have not optimized your website for major search engines (such as Google, Bing and Yahoo), you should resort to search engine optimization (SEO) techniques (both on page and off page) to get your website ranking up the order on search engines in an organic manner.
As stated by Digital Marketing Institute (Ireland), SEO is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results.
Although SEO process takes long period of time to produce visible results, yet it will be wise on your part to invest into it as such investment will reap tangible financial benefits for your organization after your website starts ranking against certain highly searched and relevant keywords.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is another way to gain access to your target audience on search engines. Unlike SEO, you have to pay for being visible on search engines, in case you choose to go ahead with SEM.
It could be said to be one of the very cost-effective methods of advertisement as advertiser has to pay on pay-per-click basis, meaning you (as an advertiser) will only pay when someone has clicked on your ad and landed on your chosen landing page as a result of the interaction/click. But, if it is not executed properly, this cost-effective method might turn into a very costly affair for your organization.
“Everything from ‘keywords’ to ‘ad groups’ to ‘engaging ad copies’ to ‘strong call-to-action’ to ‘landing pages’ to ‘budgeting’ to ‘bidding’ to ‘scheduling’ has to be thought through in order for a PPC campaign to work in favor of your BPO/KPO organization in an effective manner.”
You could also exploit contextual targeting and re-targeting options provided by a number of websites in order to generate new leads. While Google Adwords Contextual Targeting, Clicksor, Pulsepoint, InfoLinks, SiteScout, Bidvertiser are examples of those websites that provide contextual targeting options, Adroll, Google Adwords Remarketing, Chango, Criteo, Bizo, Retargeter, Rocket Fuel are examples of re-targeting websites. Please note that payments for contextual targeting and re-targeting options might be based on CPC (cost-per-click) or CPM (cost-per-thousand-impressions) or CPA (cost-per-acquisition).
In addition to the above-mentioned options, you could use Whitepaper Syndication Service Organizations, such as Netline Corp., CMP Technology, CNET Network Business, Find White Papers, IDG Connect etc., to promote whitepapers with a view to generating new leads.
If you are part of B2B world, you must be aware of the fact that every lead does not convert into sale in the very first instance.
“According to Hubspot, leads need be nurtured consistently as nurtured leads have 23% shorter sales cycle.”
Hence, an email lead nurturing strategy is a must for organizations to nurture their leads and keep them moving up in the sales pipeline with various relevant and valuable pieces of information. Have a look at the below-given email lead nurturing flow-chart that was designed for an international BPO lately:
To keep track of which lead stands where in the sales pipeline, you should use any good CRM software such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics or SugarCRM. A CRM system makes your job very simpler by helping you organize, track and manage information about all of your customers/prospects/leads.
By integrating CRM software with a feature rich third-party electronic mail delivery and management system such as MailChimp or AWeber, you can deliver right messages to the leads at the right time. Consistent delivery of relevant and valuable pieces of content via email would result in more and more leads moving into sales funnel, thereby increasing the overall clientele and revenue of the organization.
Once you have worked out content strategy, persona of target audience and channel strategy, you need to bring everything together and make it work for your organization. This stage of content marketing requires you to operationalize everything you have done before.
Please follow the chart below to find out four phases of content marketing process:
In order to deliver on these phases, you need to ponder upon and choose your content marketing team very carefully as the right team would take your content marketing plan into the right direction.
Although your content marketing team would have a basic editorial calendar to follow for publishing content, you might want to make use of content production tools (e.g. Compendium, Contently, DivvyHQ, InboundWriter etc.) to turn your BPO/KPO into a publishing machine.
After you have a streamlined process for content marketing in place, you need to go out and share your content with your audience/customers via various social media channels.
Share your content like a leader in your industry with all the people you are connected to across all the aforementioned social media platforms.
After you are done with sharing, you should be ready to listen to and respond to the conversations around your content in an appropriate manner so as to create engaged community of relevant people on your chosen social media platforms.
Although ‘Measurement’ has been mentioned as the last stage of content marketing journey in this article, yet it should be an on-going process for your organization. If you learn from your mistakes quickly, you will be able to succeed fast. Nevertheless, measurement is not as easy as it seems.
“According to Content Marketing Institute, 33% of B2B marketers and 41% of B2C marketers find their inability to measure as a significant challenge in their content marketing journey.”
Using the available measurement tools, you can measure just about anything. But, the question is if you actually need to measure every parameter/criterion. The simple answer is a big ‘NO’.
“Measuring everything would not only consume your precious time and resources, but it would also confuse you to a great degree.”
Usually, content marketers use whitepapers for lead generation purposes. But, they are hardly able to measure anything beyond number of downloads. Below given is a list of key performance indicators that such content marketers should try to measure with the measurement tools they have access to:
Unique Visits – This is measured to find out how many individuals have viewed your content within a given period of type (generally, it is a 30-day window). It is a good indicator of your content’s reach.
Geography – This is measured to find out where exactly (in terms of geographical boundaries) people are engaging more with your content. This information enables you to allocate your budget on the basis of where your targeted and engaged audience is based.
Mobile Readership – This is to be measured with a view to optimizing content for mobile platforms. If more than half of your readers access your content using a tablet or mobile, you need to invest into responsive designs that optimize your content according to the device accessing it.
Bounce Rate – Bounce rate is a measure of how engaged your audience is with your published content. Keep a close eye on this metric in order to produce more and more engaging content.
Time-Spent – This metric needs to be measured for the same purpose as bounce rate.
Page Views – Co-relation between unique visitors and page views should be given due importance, and hence measured to understand the engagement level of your audience with regards to various pieces of published content.
Comments – Keeping an eye on comments (in relation to your content) on social media platforms can give you ideas about attitudes and pain-points of your customers and prospects. This will help you produce more customized and meaningful future content for your audience.
Social Sharing – This metric needs to be measured to find out how popular your content is amongst your readers. If your readers like your content, they will share it with others on social media platforms, thereby helping you reach more number of people who might be your prospects going forward.
Conclusion: A Sound Content Marketing Strategy Is A Must For BPO/KPO Vendors
Long and short of everything (mentioned above) is that you (as a BPO/KPO vendor) need to devise and implement a robust content marketing strategy for developing your business, increasing your market share and gaining competitive advantage in this fast evolving digital era.
In the end, it is hoped that you would benefit from the aforementioned content and succeed as a leader in your industry after implementation of a sound content marketing plan.
Facebook..Does it need any introduction in today’s digital era? I guess not. A social networking platform with more than 1.23 billion registered users must be already well-known across the world.
Because of its whopping number of registered users (i.e. almost one fifth of the world population), Facebook has become a social media platform that is central to the marketing strategy of almost every business across the globe.
Unlike traditional means of advertisement such as Television, Radio, Newspaper etc., Facebook has turned out to be a very cost-effective means of reaching target audience. It is a platform using which many businesses and brands have been able to create enormous brand awareness amongst their target audience that, in turn, has resulted in increased market share for such businesses.
While a large number of businesses adore Facebook for great business results, few B2C businesses condemn Facebook for not being able to reap any benefit for them. The question which such few businesses need to consider is if they have made use of available Web Apps on Facebook to add more utility to their Facebook page for their fans. Simply put, businesses or anyone trying to promote ideas, products and services need to customize their Facebook page using Apps to make it more engaging for their fans.
This article would run you though some free Facebook Apps which you can incorporate into your Facebook page to make it more meaningful and interesting for your fans.
Youtube is the most popular video site on the internet. Hence, many entrepreneurs or businesses make use of Youtube to reach out to their target audience to promote their ideas or products or services. Imagine what would happen if your Facebook fans could watch all of your Youtube videos on Facebook itself? Obviously, the multiplying effect would take place. The Facebook fans would engage with your brand more by being able to like, share and comment on your Youtube videos.
Youtube Tab App would let you do exactly the same. Using this app, you can integrate your Youtube page into your Facebook fan page, thereby allowing your Facebook fans to better engage with your brand. After installing this easy-to-use app on your Facebook page, you could customize it to meet the specific needs of your brand.
Used by more than a million users, Static HTML iFrame App provides you with the ability to create customized iFrame tabs on your Facebook page for free. With the help of HTML experts, you can create your unique tab to provide your fans or potential clients a great deal of experience in relation to your brand on Facebook.
This free App lets you create a tab on your Facebook page for a Twitter account (related to your brand). You can choose to show only selected tweets to your Facebook fans by applying hashtag or search term filter. It also gives an opportunity for your Facebook fans to be your followers on Twitter, thereby expanding your reach in the Twitter world.
You can incorporate another free app called Instagram Tab into your Facebook page to display gallery view of your Instagram content. Using this easy-to-use app, you can show either all of the photos using individual username of any Instagram account or selected photos using any specific Hashtag. Like ‘Tweet Feed For Pages’ App, ‘Instagram Tab’ App also gives your fans a chance to be your followers on your brand’s Instagram account.
Are you trying to gain followers on the Pinterest account for your brand? How about introducing your Facebook fans to your pins and pin boards on your brand’s Pinterest account via Facebook itself? Do you reckon it would help? Many businesses say that it would. In fact, most of the businesses have availed themselves of this free App that helped them increase their number of followers on Pinterest and enhance level of engagement with their fans on Facebook simultaneously. Installation of this app is absolutely free and easy.
Denmark was recently promoted as a lucrative destination for higher studies and work by Copenhagen Capacity (a Danish institution that helps companies achieve their re-location or expansion objectives free-of-charge) and Youth Goodwill Ambassador (YGA) Corp through a chain of informational events on 29th and 30th March, 2014 at Chennai.
In order to make the events successful over the weekend (i.e. 29th and 30th March, 2014), CC and YGA needed a digital marketing agency that could help them:
- Craft an effective content strategy that was able to create awareness about Denmark, its high quality education and informational events;
- Create a Facebook community that targeted Indian audience from ICT and life science sectors; and
- Generate a database of prospective students for future engagements.
Digital Escalator International was up for the challenge. Hence, it took the opportunity to help CC and YGA overcome their digital marketing challenges over a period of two months (i.e. 3rd February, 2014 – 3rd April, 2014) in the following manner:
Event poster was created and emailed to 130 participating academic institutions in Tamilnadu to create awareness about the events. Reminder emails were scheduled to be sent 48 hours and 8 hours before the events were due to start with a view to increasing the total number of attendees.
Not only did the emails have information about the scheduled events over the weekend, but the emails also contained some useful links for the students to go through.
Post-event follow-up emails were also sent to the attendees in order to get feedback about their overall experience with a view to improving future events.
Relevant communities were identified on Facebook that could help spread the word about the events. Hence, the administrators of such groups were consulted and requested to spread information related to Danish events among their group members. The administrators of the relevant groups were very supportive and helpful in doing the needful.
Facebook Community Growth and Engagement
When handed over the project, the Facebook page of ‘Study In Denmark –India’ had about 350 fans in total and it was agreed to help CC and YGA grow their fan base of the Facebook page to 5000 fans over a period of 2 months.
Using a series of creative, entertaining and informative posts and regular ad promotions, the total number of Facebook fans for the page was increased to well beyond 5400 over a period of two months.
Creative and beautiful designs were used to put across the idea of ‘Study In Denmark’ to prospective Indian students over a period of two months, and such pieces of content proved to be really effective in drawing attention of the masses.
Facebook Events, Facebook Ads and Eventbrite were used to get the prospective students registered for the events. Of all the registration platforms, Facebook Event (and posts related to events) turned out to be really effective one. Names, Email Ids and Phone Numbers were collected via registration process for future engagement purposes.
Humongous awareness about Denmark, its education and Danish events was created amongst Indian students in Chennai through a series of emails, Facebook posts and ads.
As a result of consistent Facebook posts and ads, 5400+ Facebook fans were generated over a period of two months.
More than 60 queries and 30 queries were received from prospective students via Facebook and email respectively over the two-month period. The students showed their deep interest in pursuing any course or career in Denmark. So much of interest in only one part of India showed to CC and YGA that India could be a potential market for Danish Educational Institutions. Using the right channels and strategy, Danish Universities could certainly increase the number of Indian students in Denmark.
More than 230 interests for the events were registered as a result of using of Facebook Event (posts), Facebook Ads and Eventbrite. Hence, CC and YGA had contact details (Name, Email ID and Phone Number) of fairly good number of prospective students to follow up on.
In the end, the project was a big success for all the parties concerned. What needs to be learnt from this case study is the fact that digital marketing is not an option in this digital era. Rather, it has become necessity for businesses that want to succeed by leaps and bounds in this competitive world.
When it comes to implementing social media campaigns, ‘listening’ is apparently the first step that one should pay heed to.
Actively ‘listening’ to conversations around your brand, or any of your products or services, or any other relevant topic would enable you to recognize which channels or social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc.) are the most effective ones for your business.
‘Listening’ would also help you identify the tone or sentient (negative or positive), style (i.e. serious, funky, professional etc.), demographic (i.e. age, gender, location etc.) and influencers associated with your brand, or your products or services. Access to such meaningful insights via the process of ‘listening’ would, in turn, enable your firm to draw a concrete social media marketing strategy that will achieve nothing but success.
Now that we all know about the importance of ‘listening’ in social media marketing, the question arises as to what tools one could make use of in order to be able to carry out ‘social media monitoring’ or ‘listening’ in an effective manner.
While there are plenty of social media monitoring tools available across the web (both paid and free), we would only go through some of the best free monitoring tools in the below-given content.
Hootsuite, being used by over 9 million users across the world, could be said to be the best social media monitoring tool that lets you manage multiple social networks, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, WordPress and Foursquare, on single platform. It works really well when a team of people is handling multiple social media accounts simultaneously. With this amazing tool, you could engage in a number of activities, including delegating tasks to other team members, scheduling messages to be posted across various social networks, and sending private messages to team members so as to collaborate effectively.
Klout is one such social media tool that has always been amid controversies. While there are some people who do not have any faith in the accuracy of the influencer score that Klout offers after taking into account over 400 variables, there are many others who believe in the power of Klout score.
According to the believers, Klout score is a useful social media tool for their businesses as it allows them to understand how well their brands are engaging with their followers on Twitter, what people think about their brands and what influences the engaged audience of their brands the most on Twitter.
This understanding helps businesses strategize as to what content should be published to enhance the engagement or interaction rate on Twitter.
If you are someone whose interest lies in knowing the impact and implications of interactions taking place on Twitter, TweetReach is the tool you should look at. This analytical tool lets you monitor tweets about your hashtags, brand name, twitter account or URL and tells you who all are talking about your tweets, how many people happened to notice your tweets and who those individuals/businesses are.
Access to such insights certainly helps create content that is in line with the interest of your Twitter audience which, in turn, enhances overall Twitter engagement rate.
Social Mention is another free listening tool that you should use to monitor social media interactions. It measures what people are talking about you, your brand, your product, or any other relevant topic in real-time by pulling data from over 100 social media websites, including Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook etc. Its in-depth analysis of real-time data across social media websites is what makes this platform special to its users. You could get to notice wide variety of valuable pieces of information in relation to your search ranging from ‘top hashtags’ to ‘top keywords’ to ‘top users’ to ‘4 categories measuring overall influence (i.e. Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach) on Social Mention.
Analysing such data will help engage with your target audience on the most promising social media platforms.
Addict-o-matic is another handy social media monitoring tool that you could resort to, so as to keep abreast with your industry’s latest developments and buzz around your brand. Unlike Social Mention that filters data from only social media sites, Addict-o-matic draws its data from a variety of sources, including Flickr, WordPress, Bing News, Delicious, Ask.com, Google etc.
Close to the heels of Addict-o-matic comes another social media management tool called HowSociable. It claims to measure the impact of your brand in the online arena using just your brand name. All you have to do is type your brand name into the search box on the website of HowSociable and wait for it to return magnitude score that ranges between 0 and 10.
While the magnitude score of 0 means that there has not been any activity around your brand across 36 most popular social media websites over last 7 days, a magnitude score of 10 suggests that your brand has been immensely active and engaging across all those platforms during the past one-week period. The magnitude score lets you know which all platforms your brand needs to improve on and which all platforms your brand is actively engaging with your target audience on.
With around 200 million blogs in its database, IceRocket is a promising free resource for brands that want to keep a check on their blogger activities or latest trend terms for their respective industries. It also lends you the ability to monitor two famous social media platforms, i.e. Twitter and Facebook, in relation to your brand or other search terms. Its analytics, its ability to monitor in 20 languages and its flexibility to let you choose the desired period of time for monitoring are some of the interesting features that make IceRocket stand out.
Twazzup is another monitoring tool for those who love to analyse their twitter conversations. This free tool lets you know who the top influencers are for your search terms and what are the top 10 keywords that are being used around your search terms across Twitter. You also have the ability to scroll through the top pictures and top links related to your search terms on Twazzup. Access to such pieces of information helps decide who your brand would like to target for maximum reach and engagement on Twitter.
With photos and videos becoming utmost important for brands to engage with their target audience in today’s digital world, 10alike is a tool that you would want to browse through for measuring and optimizing your images and videos effectively. Especially known for its Pinterest analytics, 10alike helps you expand the reach of your engaging media content across social, mobile and the web.