Category Archives: Cross-Channel Marketing

Six Tips to Cross-Channel Bliss

Your audience is savvy, using an array of devices, gadgets and “things” to engage with your brand or company. When you consider the volume of data that’s available – that might soon be accessible – it’s enough to blow your mind. Marketers need to be concerned with issues of reach, yet this also drives the need of consistency and real relevance across touch points and channels. It’s impressive that the interest identified on the website can inform a display ad, followed by an email offer and even a direct-mail coupon thanks to digital marketing hub advancements. Get it right and it’s a moment of wonder and awe, as if your brand universe aligns around the customer (cue choirs of angels singing) for a fantastic experience. But it takes some planning and investment to get there.

To support you in your journey toward cross-channel bliss, here are six steps to get you moving in the right direction. The key is to unite your data around a common goal – happy customers who support your brand.

  1. Start with what you’ve got. Do an audit of what data you have and where it lives. What are you collecting right now? If people sign up for emails, what fields are included in the form? Do you track purchase history by customer name or ID? Do you ask gender or category preferences? What about web search activity? Call center details? Get a list together so you can see what you have, and what you may be missing that could be helpful to your messaging.
  2. Build a team. Bring together people from across your internal silos, working together to move things forward as you centralize your data. With so many projects and tasks, the best way to keep things on track is with cross-company involvement. Team members should have authority or responsibility over a specific channel or data source so there’s ownership in the decisions being made across the organization, especially as priorities shift toward an integrated data approach. You’ll want both their brains and their buy-in on this.
  3. Map out customer personas. Your data integration has a single purpose – to better serve and engage your customer. This can be difficult to do if you’re not sure who you’re selling to. See how the data you have can support the buyer/customer across their entire customer journey. Consider different situations when people buy from you. Chart out the steps a sample persona prospect may take as they are introduced to your brand or services. Then see what type of data can be collected and leveraged to make each of those experiences terrific.
  4. Investigate the details. Be the Sherlock Holmes of the customer journey, then smooth and improve any rough spots you discover along the way. As you piece together your data, look for trends. Spend time on the stories behind the numbers. Ask yourself “why” things are happening as they are instead of focused on the “how.”
  5. Reduce friction with facts. Use your data to identify real issues. Is there a falling off point along the path to conversion or checkout? Are your email campaigns doing well, but activity off of purchase confirmation emails is weak? Do people click through to the home page but jump off without browsing deeper into the site? Does your strategy include ways to engage them before they get away? These can indicate a point of friction on the path to conversion.
  6. Work together.Not only do you need to be working together within your organization to establish shared priorities to pull your data together, you also can work with partners specializing in Data Management to both educate and support you along the way.
    There are resources available to you when you’re ready to put your ideas into action.

My Connected Experience

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I needed to pick up a couple of items for a party I was hosting. I had just purchased a new picture frame and needed fill it with photos to replace the smiling models to hang on my wall. My friends spoke highly of the Walgreens photo app so I downloaded it, quickly made an account, then uploaded my photos to be picked up in a hour.

Upon checkout inside the store, I was asked to provide my loyalty card, which I did not have on me. (In fact, I probably had misplaced it years ago and don’t even remember registering for it.) The person behind the counter asked me to enter my phone number, then scanned a fresh card and handed it over to me. In the back my mind, I realized that I just added another item to my list knowing I would now have to sync this new loyalty card to my separate online account created just hours before. Full disclosure: This was something I knew I would never get around to doing until forced to do so the next time I wanted to order photos.

Within less than a week, I received an email from Walgreens saying, “We noticed you joined Balance™ Rewards, so for your convenience we’ve linked your membership to your existing Walgreens.com account.”

I was amazed by this simple act for two reasons. First, they were able to use the right information (probably my email or phone number) to link the two disparate accounts automatically. Also, they have a marketing automation plan in place to send this email out and alert me of their actions regarding this convenience. Nice work, Walgreens’ digital team.

This simple action benefited both consumer and brand in three simple ways:

1. Willingness to Provide More Data: Within less than one week, Walgreens proved to me that they are using my data in ways to make my life simpler. This builds trust. Instead of having disjointed, disparate accounts across their app and in-store loyalty card, they have identified me as one person, an individual. Because I found direct value and convenience in exchange for the little data I gave them, I am much more willing to provide them with more information about myself (and my preferences) in hopes of a highly personalized experience, i.e., content, specials and coupons.

2. Increased Loyalty: After this positive experience with their photo app, I decided to try having my prescription filled at the same store later that week. My doctor sent the prescription through digitally and it was quickly imported into my account. Since this was the first time I was viewing it online, I had to go through a verification process, which synced up with my insurance to pull in accurate co-pay information. Much like my experience with their photo upload and account merging, this process was simple, integrated and seemingly secure. In addition, I was alerted they were out of the medicine I needed (via phone call and email) but they would have it available the next day. These conveniences have directly increased my loyalty, as it saved me the hassle of heading there after work only to find out my prescription was not ready.

3. Experience, Exploration and Sharing: When I downloaded their app, I went strictly to the photo tab (and eventually the pharmacy tab). With all of these great digital experiences piling up, I started to dabble with their other service offerings which might add convenience to my life. Just moments ago, I made an appointment for my flu shot, scheduled from my iPhone in about 45 seconds. These positive experiences encourage me to explore and use Walgreens even more often. And obviously, I am a person who loves to discuss my positive experiences with people and will continue to tell my family and friends about how convenient this experience was for my sometimes-hectic life.

The most unique part about this experience is that Walgreens identified points of frustration across the customer journey and saw an opportunity to automate a few annoying steps, which made my life easier. They made the effort to connect their data to provide the consumer with a better user experience.  In fact, if you want more information on topic of Connected Consumer Conversations, here’s a link to a recent video we hosted in the topic: http://www.digitalmarketingsuite.com/webinar/access-playback.html.

Think about all of the data you may be sitting on and not using. List it all out. Start to draw up connections between web, display, mobile, search, ecommerce, online, offline and all other data assets you have. Use these connections to help connect and identify profiles to provide your customers with an experience like mine. The end goal is simplifying and unifying the customer experience.

The Future of Connected Consumer Conversations

As digital marketers, we are in the early innings of a whole new ballgame. Forrester Research calls it the Age of the Customer. I like to think of it as the era of Connected Consumer Conversations.

Behind the ability to link points of consumer-brand interaction is the ability to integrate marketing technologies as well as disparate data stores; however, getting to that level of integration – one that’s real-time and seamless enough to create the elements of a perceived conversation versus a campaign – remains a cloudy challenge for most marketers. So many touted technologies become integration projects instead integrated solutions.

But it’s early.

Not that long ago, brand strategy was based on messages pushed out to market where salespeople were the sole gatekeepers to product information. If you wanted details about an item, you had to get in touch with a salesperson or read a brand-provided brochure. Your perspective (the entire brand relationship) was shaped and controlled almost entirely by the company. Today that simply isn’t the case. With the abundance of content available online (details, videos, pins, reviews, forums, and more) and the adoption of smart phones to access product information at anytime from anywhere, the customer now takes control of the brand-buyer relationship. Overall, marketers have risen to the occasion, taking an omni-channel approach to make sure all the bases (and possible points of consumer interaction) are covered.

Unfortunately, this isn’t enough.

Now that the customer is in control, their expectations are quite high. While to some marketers “personalization” meant including the person’s first name token in a subject line, today it’s about relevance. Individuals want to be treated as such. “Show me you know me” is the gauntlet. Marketers must respond, armed with data and insights for a deeper understanding as well as the ability to execute on that understanding in real time to provide the level of engagement consumers now expect.

Omni-channel isn’t enough because it actually may be too broad. A better approach is to use your understanding of your audiences and connect specifically with them where they are in a manner that resonates, supporting both your brand promise and your customers’ needs in the moment.

It’s no longer about campaigns. Instead, it’s about having a coordinated marketing approach across touch points – from that first display impression to all interactions that follow. In fact, we’re hosting a special webinar on the topic on Wednesday, December 1st. We’ll take a deep dive into what these connected conversations look like, as well as provide you with specific tactics to get it right.

Get the registration details here: www.digitalmarketingsuite.com/webinar.

Ad Tech, Marketing Tech and the Future of Connected Consumer Conversations

We are entering the era of Connected Customer Conversations.

Today’s consumers expect more from brands. They demand consistent messaging and experiences regardless of the channel or means or device through which they choose to engage. What starts with a search or a display ad view may lead to a site visit, a store visit, an email send, a phone call, a Facebook share, a retweet and even a conversion.

Behind the ability to link points of customer-brand interaction is the ability to integrate marketing technologies as well as disparate data stores; however, getting to that level of integration – one that’s real time and seamless enough to create the elements of a perceived conversation versus a campaign – remains a cloudy challenge for most marketers. So many touted technologies become integration projects instead integrated solutions, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

The next big thing is here. Join IgnitionOne for an exclusive webinar event on 12/3 to learn more about why marketers need to think in “conversations” instead of campaigns, and in “context” instead of in channels, learn more about the positive impact of advanced adtech/martech integration, including case-study examples, and more.

Register now.

Online Gaming Giant Uses Site Optimisation to increase Conversions by 49%

 

The Challenge

In an increasingly competitive market, online bookmaker Betfred.com was looking for ways to increase registrations from potential customers.

Betfred.com wanted to maximise the potential of non-converting users already on its site. It wanted to achieve qualified registration conversions by optimising the most important point of customer engagement to lift conversion rates. In order to achieve these goals, Betfred engaged with IgnitionOne.

The Solution

IgnitionOne implemented its Digital Marketing Suite site optimisation technology. The technology is driven by a powerful audience scoring engine that monitors on site browsing behaviour based on 120 different variables (including click behaviour, dwell time, specific product views, RFM) of each user. This score is then used to trigger customised calls to action in real-time (see picture below), designed to provide each individual visitor with an offer relevant to their specific product(s) of interest whilst they are still on the site.

Two different types of interaction take place on Betfred.com via the IgnitionOne technology:

  1. Visitors with a high engagement score are targeted with a pop-in containing two calls to action: ‘Register Now’ or ‘Log-In’. The pop-in contains an offer relevant to the visitor’s interest profile. In addition to this, contact details and Live Chat links are also relevant to the specific interest so any query the visitor has can be channelled to the most appropriate team. This interaction is triggered on the visitor’s unique interest score and is designed to be shown when the visitor reaches the crucial conversion tipping point.
  2. In order to reduce the number of drop-outs, a second pop-in is triggered specifically within the registration page. This pop-in reinforces the relevant offer and encourages the visitor to contact the relevant customer support if they are experiencing any difficulties in registering. The pop-in on this page is triggered based on the amount of time spent on the page (if the visitor has spent longer than average on the page) as well as by mouse position. If the visitor moves their mouse above the top of the page (indicating that they may be about to leave the page), then the pop-in is triggered.

Dynamic Pop-In: Providing a customised and personalised experience at the appropriate time in these ways significantly increases the likelihood of a positive interaction with the visitor resulting in a substantial uplift of new registrations.

The Results

The IgnitionOne program was a huge success.

In order to prove the uplift generated by the technology, vigorous A/B testing was carried out whereby a control group of traffic was not shown any interactions. A/B testing allows for clear and comparative results. In the eight months since the IgnitionOne Digital Marketing Suite technology has been in place, Betfred.com has witnessed 49% uplift in registrations of the target group versus control group.

In addition to this conversion uplift, the reaction to the pop-ins by Betfred.com visitors has also been very positive, with on average 25% of users that are shown the pop-in actually using the call-to-action and engaging with it.

Buoyed by its success, Betfred.com is now preparing to use the IgnitionOne technology for a wide-range of additional purposes such as:

– Expanding the onsite offering through encouraging further customer interaction and product participation;

–  Using the audience profile to enhance cross-sell opportunities.

Betfred.com has fully bought into the concept of IgnitionOne’s audience scoring engine and is reaping the rewards from using the technology. All elements of the business are familiar with the LiveMarketer display, which visualises the data on the client site in real-time as well as the benefits that the technology can bring.

Betfred.com is a truly innovative business that really sees the value in working closely with third-parties such as IgnitionOne to drive results. The most exciting aspect of the relationship is that there is a significant desire from both parties to improve results even further. They continue to explore other elements of IgnitionOne’s Digital Marketing Suite, to ensure that the technology is used to its full potential by contributing Betfred.com’s growth and offering visitors the best possible experience.

For further information, please feel free to contact stewart.holt@ignitionone.com

Reflections from a Site Optimization Veteran

As we welcome our newest developer, Cristian Ferencz, I figure it’s a good time to reflect on the road traveled, from 2008, the early days of what we now call Site Optimization.

Back in 2008, I was hired to help the four developers with our 20-or-so clients in Benelux. At that time we were offering simple site metrics and lead generation through pop-ins, testing and refining our now-ubiquitous scoring algorithm. We already had had great success with automotive companies such as Fiat, whose web marketing conversions grew 30% in two years.

By 2009, the company’s portfolio had already grown significantly and had become more versatile, expanding out of Benelux into Europe and beyond the automotive business. We also started to roll out new solutions that required full-time developers (Live Marketer, for instance), which meant we needed to hire, and further structure our team. That’s when I was asked: “How do you feel about working full-time on Client Implementations?”

From 2010 on, we never stopped hiring and the Client Implementations team grew to reach our current headcount of 18, spread between Brussels and Atlanta, handling more than 200 client implementations. I trained each of the developers that joined the Brussels team and even my own manager, Nico Callandt. The result? A diverse team of developers with professional backgrounds not only in computer programming, but also graphic design, psychology and baking, who share a unique brand of unbridled humor (some would even say it’s often politically incorrect), a Minecraft server and a goldfish.

Our Site Optimization team consists of Kurt Briers (head of software development), Nico Callandt (production manager), Adrian Price (US team leader), Cliff Kilby, Greg Smith, Greg Flynn, Daniel Labrador, Dominique Rolin (EU team leader), Joris Brauns, Ryan Megidov, Arslan Megidov, Arthur Laurent, Matthieu Fradcourt, Mathieu Bernimont, Sebastien Le Touze, Cristian Ferencz, Adam Abramovicz (reporting), Andras Szerdahelyi (R&D), Andi Chirita, and Popi (the goldfish).

At the dawn of 2013, our team has now grown to match the size of our portfolio. As we’re finding our cruising speed for day-to-day business, we are able to commit a share of our efforts to research and development of internal tools. The future of this department holds attention to more automation for faster client implementations, better monitoring, new insight in visitor metrics for improved behavioral targeting, and much more.

Four Things for Digital Marketers to be Thankful for

With Thanksgiving a couple of days away from us in the US, I thought it was timely to think back on all that I am grateful for as a digital marketer. This is just a small list, but maybe it will get you thinking about what you have to be grateful for in your job.

1. Innovation – Things keep moving and changing. I love this because it keeps us challenged and striving for the next best thing. But innovation is also lifting our whole industry up. Even if it causes some fracturing and confusion at first, when new ideas are inserted into the landscape, if they prove to be helpful, it only will add to our capabilities and help us reach our goals.

2. Smart people – Our CEO recently shared his thoughts on the importance of high-quality service, and behind that service is processes, methodology and most importantly really really smart people. I am grateful for the smart people I work with because they help simplfy complex concepts, can cut through huge piles of data like butter, and have deep knowledge and experience with every digital marketing channel. My coworkers make me smarter everyday

3. Mobile Devices – Not only do I love my smart phone and use it every day in job, but I am also thankful for their place in digital marketing. It is an amazing world we live in where users can access all the information in the world from their pocket – and we as marketers can also use these devices to communicate our message. And because of advanced targeting – we can reach these users only when they actually want to hear from us.

4. Actionable Data – More data is not good. In fact, more data is usually bad. Data by itself is just noise, but if you can centralize that data and organize it in a way that insights rise to the surface, you have something powerful and actionable. I am grateful that there are systems like our Digital Marketing Suite that approach data intelligently, so that I am able to use data to do my job better.

Tablets: Disrupting the Way we Consume Media Since 2010

Tablet related statistics and predictions have tremendous implications for marketers, such as “20% of tablet owners claim to have shopped less in brick-and-mortars since purchasing their tablet,” and “tablet makers are on track to sell 110 million units in 2012 alone.” If, as a marketer, you believe that you must reach your audience in the places they populate, consider adding the tablet to your collection of canvases.

How? You ask.

Revamp your search strategy. Tablets are expected to reach 670 million in number by 2017, helping to generate over $12 billion in mobile search advertising spend within the same year.

Users have unique search habits and expect different results when they are on various mobile devices. If I Google “gas” on my smartphone, I’m probably driving on empty, looking for a nearby gas station and am minimally interested in a Wikipedia page, gastrointestinal advice or articles on gas price surges in the results that I might see on my laptop. This mindset must be reflected in an online marketer’s strategy. The same applies for tablets; we need to consider where and when people are using these devices and define our marketing strategy around what the user needs at those points in time.

For example, like most tablet users, I wouldn’t be caught dead without my tablet at the airport. And I travel a lot. Just a few weeks ago, I was at an unfamiliar airport and learned that my flight was delayed by two hours. I wanted to know what kind of options I had for food, so I Googled the airport name. The first thing to come up was a search ad (with promotion) for a restaurant in my terminal. As a proponent of digital marketing, I rewarded the restaurant for its crafty paid search efforts by eating there. As an average search engine user, the immediate connection coupled with the promotion prompted me to bypass two other restaurants en route to my destination. The power of digital advertising!

Establish cross-device marketing campaigns. More than 50% of media interactions span two or more screens. Research indicates that tablet users are feeding information absorbed from television into their search queries onto tablets in real-time. Also, users are continuing to read the results from their computers’ and smartphones’ search queries on their tablets, adding to their shopping baskets while using a tablet and then making the actual purchase on their PC.

So many factors affect this process. I might browse LOFT.com during my lunch break at work and then convert from a device at home. I also might prefer to recline on the couch that evening rather than sit upright, thus influencing my choice of device at the time of purchase. Marketers must consider these and many other factors when developing their strategy.

Engage with your customers. Our Q3 report found that consumers are spending 30% more time surfing the Internet on their tablet than their PC and are 20% more engaged online than PC users. Marketers: it’s time to get creative! Consider the best ways to really connect with your audience. Whether that translates to personalization, enhanced content, pop-ins, etc is really determined by your business needs and the product or service you are marketing.

It took years for companies to recognize the business potential in e-commerce and developing an online brand presence, and a little less time to recognize the importance of creating sites that make sense for mobile. Marketers today don’t have the luxury of time. If they want to be competitive, they must adapt with this shift in technology.

Think it’s just a fad? The industry is telling you it’s not. 37% of tablet users say that they will be purchasing a new device in the next 12 months and tablet prices are falling, making them more readily available to more groups of people. Three years ago, only techies and high-income households had tablets, much like the demographics of smartphone users in their infancy – and look at them now! Next year, we are going to see a lot more people on trains, planes, and buses (as well as cars, living rooms, bedrooms – the list goes on!) with tablets. Make sure you are maximizing your online marketing presence on these devices in order to stay ahead of the curve.

Media Mix Modeling, the Next Frontier

By now, most marketers understand the benefits of a multi-channel view of their marketing efforts. It provides a much needed strategic picture of where and how efficiently their media dollars are being spent (read more about it here and here).

But what does a marketer do with the wealth of information in front of him? How does he monetize this new found knowledge? The easy answer here is to use this acquired data to optimize.

At this strategic level, the marketer is not optimizing intra-channel efficiency (the profitability of an individual channel), but rather the mix of media dollars across all channels.  Media Mix Modeling can be a very useful tool, helping the marketer make decisions which are backed up by historical performance and statistical significance. It can be used to create a strategic, media dollar, potential efficiency curve.

The curve is created by stacking the individual efficiency potentials of each channel together and plotting them on the same graph. This provides a comprehensive view of the relative profitability of each channel at any particular budget. It’s easy to see at what level of media spend the diminishing returns set in for each individual channel and the entire media mix as whole.

For instance, SEO and paid search brand channels are extremely efficient at very low levels of spend. However, these channels quickly become maxed out and lose their efficiency. Using a chart like this, the marketer can quickly see each channel’s potential and distribute the media dollars accordingly.

In order to take full advantage of these optimization techniques, the marketer must have control of budget making decisions at the strategic level. The usefulness of Media Mix Modeling quickly dissipates if each, or even a significant minority of channels, is “siloed” into preset budget regales of their relative inter-channel efficiencies (read more here).

The historical performance of aggregate marketing efforts can be seen by plotting several Media Mix Modeling curves on the same graph. Assuming that overall media efforts are improving, the curves will move up and to the right, showing the increased efficiency and scalability of all inter-channel media.

Innovation through a Desktop

Encourage, foster & share – those are, in my opinion, the three most important words when it comes to innovation in a company. Being a digital marketing solutions provider, our office is filled with computers, keyboards, monitors, headphones, servers and more! Being so dependent on computers inspired me to look at innovation like a computer.

Browser history

If it weren’t for innovation, IgnitionOne wouldn’t exist. Who would have thought that synchronising media management and optimization, cross-channel attribution and analytics and conversion optimization would create the first ever Digital Marketing Suite (DMS), covering all digital marketing solutions? We did.

Am I overloading my own USB a bit? Of course I am! But there’s good reason for it. Here’s why. First let’s state the obvious: what’s shown to the outside world, what’s on our monitor. IgnitionOne introduced the very first Digital Marketing Suite and are constantly innovating to improve digital marketing returns and efficiency. Another example is IgnitionOne announcing the industry’s first integrated Engagement Optimization solution, offering marketers the ability to optimize ad spend based on behaviours and interests.

So, how on earth do we come up with these things? Where do the ideas come from? How are they tested and worked on to produce a useful solution for our customers? These questions bring us to the chore facets of innovation, the most interesting, opening up the shell of the company and looking at the processor inside.

Encourage, foster and share

A big forté of the company here is our diverse backgrounds. In just 40 employees in Brussels, we have over 12 different nationalities– that is a whole lot of desktop applications, getting the creative juices flowing.  Our office has a very open atmosphere; it’s easy to ask anyone what he or she thinks about a certain topic and you’ll always get an honest answer.  We are even working toward redesigning the office to bring all departments closer to each other, meaning more data will be stored on the RAM instead of ROM and the CPU can create extra bits to work on testing out ideas.

Nurture and encourage growth

We try to increase the number of followers. There is a fun spirit in the office: there is music, some people play ping-pong to relax the mind, people comfortably speak with one another at the lunch table and sometimes it is there that wacky ideas are thought of (our own chef, a hunky masseur for the ladies, or just the idea to have a BBQ together). IgnitionOne creates a comfortable atmosphere that encourages its employees to work hard and produce results.

Share

In the office in Brussels we have monthly “TEDx” sessions. We present new ideas, interesting projects and results from testing, discuss suggestions. This often results in the creation of new ideas. Our TEDx sessions are interdepartmental because we understand that what each of us does has an impact on other’s work. We share the presentations after the sessions for others that are interested too (even internationally) to download, which sometimes spurs new ideas in others, opening new browser tabs.

Better than a computer

Is comparing innovation at IgnitionOne a stretch? Maybe. We avoid the blue screens of death and rebooting our team is as easy as an afternoon coffee. But the important part is the fact that all the components of our system work together like a well built machine to develop and foster new ideas to help our clients achieve their goals.