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.

DMP Alchemy: Improving Lead Generation Quality with the Data You Own

As Glengary Glen Ross tells us, leads are gold. While so much of marketing has to do with grabbing the attention of an audience, what actually matters more is connecting with the right individuals within that audience – especially those who are open to eventual conversion.  Harvesting leads isn’t enough if you’re not attracting the right prospects, which is the paradox of modern lead-generation strategy. Contrary to more recent strategies, quantity of content does not create quality of leads. It takes understanding to guide the alignment of content. At the center of marketing alchemy is the ability to use the data you already own within your DMP with real-time relevance.
 
Here are some suggestions to get started:
 
Content Alignment: Identify consistent patterns of specific customer segments. Then align your content, messaging and offers around that specific audience.  For instance, you probably have basic customer segments identified. Look at the data for each to identify trends. Are there similar page views on the website prior to conversion? Are their page views or search activities that are common to those who landed on the site but did not convert? Are prospects who consume one topic versus another more likely to follow a specific conversion path or timeline? For instance, people who need it now versus those who prefer to do their homework and take their time may require a different messaging approach based on those behaviors.
 
Linking with POS: A great place to start is using your purchase history data to influence messaging and content presented, including the cadence of those messages. Have the data from your POS system feed into a DMP so an individual customer’s purchase history can be used to inform content for their future emails, ads and offers. This simple approach to personalized content shows a deeper level of customer love, allowing for a more strategic approach that can result in meaningful ROI increase. Suggestion: Tailor content to suggest companion products, accessories, plus other details to maintain that post-purchase connection with your audience.
 
Using Location: With geographic segments, you can highlight regional interests and images in your campaigns. Consider infusing something as simple as weather information to promote relevant climate-related products and content. It’s about relevance. You can also take things a step deeper with geolocation data, marketing based on proximity to meaningful locations, different communications for in-store versus at home engagement, and so on. Getting outside the box and putting yourself in the consumer’s shoes at that moment can take current location into account to deliver interesting results. Suggestion: Test everything. If you know a particular region is experiencing a weather-related event, your lead generation approach and images can reflect such details.
 
Niche Targeting (and Re-Targeting): Having all your data in a profile-based DMP environment where information can be stored for both known and anonymous users means you have data which can be used to better communicate with each individual in your audience. Instead of the broader strokes of content alignment mentioned earlier, this is more using a fine brush to reflect specific known details – even of those not yet identified as a known lead. 
 
Distilling gold from what otherwise could be content chaos requires the smart use of data. Start small. Keep it simple at first. A few nuggets of understanding can lead to a rush of relevance in the way you engage your audiences to attract more prospects. Consider what data you have, then look for ways to use it as you add to it, supported by integrated technology to remove the complexity and provide real results.

Four Ways to Add Context To Your Marketing

This morning I woke up to 60 e-mails. I laid in bed and mindlessly went through my inbox deleting them, as I do every morning. By now I know that most e-mails I receive in the morning are editions of daily newsletters, promotions, etc. that I’ve been meaning to unsubscribe from because the volume seems overwhelming. It’s a lot to sort through first thing every morning.

This is a problem all marketers are facing. Not only are you spending hours to craft, curate and send the perfect e-mail or marketing message, you are competing against 59 others all trying to grab my attention at the same time…right when I wake up and am still a bit groggy as I begin my morning routine.

Yes – I did sign up for many of these, but because the companies do not know my preferences (or are not honoring my preferences) I find that they just end up in the trash bin. For example, I’m much more likely to read a marketing e-mail once I’m at work and seated at my desk as opposed to when I first wake up. Since I go through and clear out everything immediately in the morning, this would mean the e-mail would have to be sent after I get into my car and before I get to my desk.

When marketers think about context they need to think about the timing, mindset and overall experience of the consumer based on their current physical, emotional and mental state. Context is crucial because it takes into account all of these conditions and proactively designs a way to overcome them and get the message through on any channel. Here are four tips to help you boost the context within your marketing messages.

  1. Leverage Historical Time Data – Depending on the DMP you have implemented, you should be able to track the effectiveness of your marketing down to each consumer. As mentioned in the above example, if I am receiving a newsletter every day at the same time and the company sees I’m not opening it, it might be time to consider trying out a new time to make it more contextually relevant to my life. This can also include monitoring the times I follow-through on my purchases.
  1. Dig Into the Search Details – As I shop online and engage with different brands, everything I type into the search bar can be tracked (known or anonymous). Instead of looking for shoes, I’ve started typing in “blue shoes” and then “blue shoes size 12.” With each search I’m giving the brand more insight into my needs. At that moment I’m receptive to purchasing a very specific product. In your next promotion (which is hopefully quick), it should include blue shoes in my size.
  1. Leverage Cross-Device Use Patterns – The brands I’m engaging with should be able to understand how I navigate between my tablet, phone, laptop and desktop while engaging with their product. In fact, this is one thing I love about the Netflix. It is a seamless interaction that makes it easier for me as a consumer. I can navigate from my phone to my TV picking up exactly where I left off. Similarly with marketing, brands should be able to help me pick up where I left off to remain relevant to me. In fact, depending on the technology implemented – some brands can push me messages as I’m walking down the aisle of the product I need.
  1. Think Like a Consumer – Before planning out any campaign it is good to sit down and strategically think what you want to say. Work with your content developer to share the personas of your customers as a way to add contextually relevant content appealing to their emotions. Ask questions to better understand behavior. Depending on the amount of data you have available, you can message to them at a moment when they are most receptive by observing how they interact with your brand currently.

As you can see, context is important. Consumers are busy and they receive multiple messages on a daily basis. You can break through by understanding and adjusting your messaging to add context while honoring their preferences, time and mindset.

Quiz: What Ad-Tech Buzzword are You?

IgnitionOne’s Q2 2015 Report: Google Regains Search Share, While Facebook Surges in Display

IgnitionOne’s new report covering trends across digital marketing reveals growth for Q2 2015. Despite gains made by Yahoo!/Bing in previous quarters, Google reclaimed paid search market share it only recently lost. However in programmatic display, Google lost ground to Facebook, decreasing -9% year over year in spend compared to Facebook’s 48% surge. 

Key findings in the report include:
  • Strong search spend growth continues – U.S. paid search spend grew 22% year-over-year in Q2, the third quarter in a row of strong growth. Competitive pressures and mobile search growth is driving this spend increase.
  • Mobile search growth continues to normalize – U.S. spending growth for tablets is up 22% and phones spend is up 71% YoY. Smartphones have seen the greatest growth and represent the majority of mobile spend this quarter with 59% of spend compared to tablets.
  • Yahoo!/Bing give back market share – After three quarters of growth, the Yahoo!/Bing network lost U.S. search market share in Q2, returning to 24.5% of share compared to Google’s 75.5% of U.S. paid search spend.
  • Facebook takes display share from Google – Facebook outpaced Google in display growth with FBX growing 48% in spend, while Google dropped -9% YoY. Facebook’s share of display spend grew to 16% (up from 10% a year ago). Google’s share dropped to 31%, down from 38% last year.
  • Programmatic display grows – U.S. display spend was up 33% when compared with same clients measured in Q2 2014, continuing the growth trend from past two quarters. The decrease in impressions that we have seen in past quarters due to Facebook changes, has tapered off resulting in a total drop of only 1%.
 

Introducing the DMP Discussions Handbook

When it comes to implementing a DMP, internal discussions are key. Even the biggest arsenal of results-based marketing strategies isn’t effective without clear communication across departments about what needs to happen. The right hand should always know what the left hand is doing, and vice versa.

The Internal DMP Discussions Handbook is designed to take you through that process step by step. In the handbook, you’ll find an in-depth exploration of the implementation process, along with the questions that CEOs, CMOs and marketers will need to ask both each other and the IT team at each point along the way. Questions like:

  • What business KPIs will we use to measure the success of the DMP?
  • Have we created a clear workflow that establishes each party’s role in DMP implementation?
  • How is the data being segmented?
  • And more.

 Download the handbook today.

 

How to Get Over the Post-Summit Blues

The 2nd IgnitionOne European Auto Summit took place earlier this month. With a day and a half of content, the cream of European auto marketers, a line-up of digital gurus discussing agile marketing, a private canal boat trip and dinner at one of Amsterdam’s most exclusive hot spots – it’s no wonder our attendees (and the IgnitionOne team) are demonstrating symptoms of the post-auto summit blues.

So, to make the experience last even longer we’ve put together some pointers to ensure the momentum continues and symptoms are remedied.

Remind yourself of the top sound bites that will help you become more agile.

1. Disrupt in your space by thinking and acting like a start-up. Create clusters of internal “start-ups” with teams of dedicated people who have the right blend of expertise; set a strict time frame for delivery; instill the belief that the unthinkable is achievable, and get a prototype out there.
 — Markus Stauffenberg, Nolte&Lauth

2. Learn to fail. Try it cheap with low-risk testing and then scale it up when you’ve got evidence it works.
 — Martin Gill, Forrester Research, Inc.

3. Fast data strategy is the best way to deliver personalised experiences. For every second delayed retailers could lose up to 7% of sales. Be quick off the mark by moving to a customer-centric data management platform – dor shrivel up and die.
–Nic Wenn, Quidco

4. Customers will make contact with you via their preferred channel, not yours. Source the right technology that shifts you from having to guess the next move of your customer, to being certain how best to interact with them.
 — Yusef Akyüz, IgnitionOne

5. Think global but act local. Centralise marketing activity but remember to give local markets the automony to adapt. Leverage the economies of scale, find solutions that allow your team to be autonomous on a global, regional and local level.
 — Francesco Frederico, Acer

Revisit the presentations
Clear some time in your diary to revisit the presentations that resonated most with you. View a selection of the presentations here.

Scroll through the picture gallery
Relive the spectacular summit venue, the views of the Amsterdam skyline and our boat trip through the dutch canals in the glorious sunshine here.

Email the IgnitionOne advice line
Should you require further inspiration, insight or advice on making your organisation more nimble get in touch with the IgnitionOne team or visit our resources page here.

I Love You, But You Don’t Know My Name: Personalizing the Customer Experience

As each year ticks by, consumer expectations increase when it comes to the depth of personalization of the brand experience. Many brands are doing their best to keep up, using customer data to identify key points of interaction to ramp up the customer love in fits and starts. While this is well intended and perhaps better than nothing (albeit worthy of an A/B test of no personalization versus limited personalization), it still begs for a more consistent approach.

But how do you introduce personalized consistency into a cross-channel mesh – and mess – of interactions?

Some suggestions:

  • Start with the audience you’re trying to reach and design your content strategy around them. Demonstrate that you know them by embracing your target personas as part of your “customer family.” Get intimate with who they are, what they do, what they think, what keeps them up at night, what makes them laugh. Find images of persona people (or a fair representation) and paste them on the walls of your office. Name them, nurture them, be inspired by them. Advisory groups and qualitative data can help.
  • Look at your core two or three audiences and map out the typical customer journey for each. Use that at a starting point to simplify the moments that matter. As you continue to advance in the use of data in an effort to grease the funnel, you can prevent the impression of fits and starts by mapping out and tackling one journey at a time. Even if you can’t do everything right away, you can at least allow for consistency across specific audiences. Start with the ones that matter most to your success.
  • Analyze the data you own for the most important “moments of truth.” Optimize those points of engagement first when it comes to effective messaging and customizing of cross-channel content.

You know more than you did a year ago about most of your core audiences. Take action on those insights and assumptions knowing that the use of a data management platform (DMP) with cross-channel integration can make easy work of something that’s become increasingly complex. It’s the fusion of science into the art of marketing to bring the brand experience to life for your audiences, and bringing your audiences to life for your brand.

3 Ways Data Influences Marketing Strategy

Strategy – that word is thrown around all of the time. Regardless of your industry, I can guarantee it is uttered, heard or thought about on a weekly basis. The word projects reassurance to bosses, implying that someone has developed a flawless plan to minimize risk and maximize goal-attainment. Now, how often does that actually happen? My guess – not as frequently as it should.

The reality is that the average marketer is swamped. From budget discussions to pushing campaigns out the door, time is precious, short and must be used effectively. Oftentimes you might be dealing with so many tactical objectives that you forget why you are even doing them in the first place. Let’s take a step back for a moment.

The world we live in is overwhelmingly digital. The integration of tech into our lives is so acceptable people will stop conversations mid-sentence to respond to the latest alert – and with the “Internet of Things” on the rise, my hunch is that the our lives in the digital world are only going to intensify. With all of these devices, the amount of data being exchanged on any given device at any given time is not only massive, but extremely insightful for those marketers willing to invest in strategy. While haphazard plans may work from time to time, the reality is that without a solid business strategy it will be a struggle to keep up with competitors who see the bigger picture.

Data can influence your marketing strategy by:

  • Driving Customer Journey Mapping: The path to purchase is dead. Consumers have multiple touch points and entries to discover, engage and buy from your brand. Use your data to your advantage. With the right system in place, you can analyze your data to see where customers are coming in and how they are familiarizing themselves with your brand. In turn, the aggregation of this data can build out a solid marketing (or go-to-market) strategy for the best user experience to enhance the customer’s relationship with your brand.
  • Explaining the Why Behind the Purchase: Depending on your product, it might be an easy or a hard sell to customers. Some products I regularly need to buy, such as contact solution and toothpaste, while others I would classify as a luxury. With each view, open, click or purchase, there a reason behind my action that brands can begin to piece together by connecting the data points. Why did I choose to buy one brand over another? Why did I choose one product line over another? As brands begin to view all of their data on me in one centralized hub, the big picture becomes clear and this deepens brand personas, segmentation and understanding for increased marketing strategy.
  • Influencing Product Developments and Enhancements: The entire reason any business is successful is because of the customer. Customers influence every single decision from packaging to website design, with the end goal of creating an emotional connection to the brand. Data will always vary from customer to customer, which is why it is crucial to look into larger trends. Even though each customer has their own journey with your brand, their preferences dictate the development of new products, features and decisions you are making as a brand. With quality data and the ability to read that data accurately, you are no longer guessing what your customers want – you are accurately monitoring, listening and anticipating it.

We know that data is everywhere – it has been everywhere for quite some time now. As brands, we must shift our thinking from tactical ways to use our data to the big picture of strategy development. What starts out as an insight from marketing data could quickly morph into an insight that redefines how strategy is being developed in all departments. More often than not, everything is connected. Data supports our decisions, but it is up to everyone in the organization to connect the dots and use that information to build a rock star company tuned in to the needs of the customer.