Tag Archives: cross-channel

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.

What Are You Doing with Attribution?

Attribution is a hot topic. Every digital marketer talks about it. But what are you doing with attribution? Cross-channel tracking solutions, like the IgnitionOne Digital Marketing Suite platform, collect data across various online advertising channels and attribute transactions according to a pre-determined, fully customizable model. But how can you use this analysis to optimize your digital presence? First, identify which data is valuable to your company. Next, interpret the data, and last, answer this question:  How is attribution actionable for my company or client?

 Use the exposure path for budget allocation.

Determine your campaigns’ primary KPI (key performance indicator) and determine how each channel contributes to your overall goals.

Idea 1: Maximize your investment in channels that drive conversions with a single exposure. This means the consumer sees a single ad, e-mail listing or organic result, clicks and converts. These channels should be fully funded until they reach diminishing returns. For example, 32% of single exposure transactions for an IgnitionOne hotel client are driven by paid search brand terms. Our analyst team has maximized investment in brand campaigns to ensure all of the potential single exposure transactions are captured.

Idea 2: Invest heavily in channels that appear often as the last exposure in the path to conversion. In multi-exposure conversion paths, each step is important, but the last exposure “closes the sale”. For the hotel client, the last exposure is a remarketing view in 23% of multi-exposure transactions, so our display team has maximized investment in display remarketing to ensure display remarketing is not limited by budget.

Idea 3: Evaluate assist value when allocating your remaining budget. Not every channel will drive single exposure conversions or show up as the last exposure in a multi-exposure conversion path. Some channels provide value as upper-funnel tactics. For the hotel client, display prospecting is used to build awareness for promotions and events. After the awareness builds, the demand is captured through channels that drive direct conversions, like paid search brand and organic search. Allocate a portion of your budget to channels that assist conversions and build awareness.

Use latency to drive your paid search bidding strategy.

Chances are you already consider inventory and availability constraints for retail, travel and other clients, but are you factoring latency into your bidding strategy?

The first exposure usually determines the latency to conversion you can expect in a particular conversion path. When the first exposure on a conversion path is a display prospecting view, the conversion path will be longer than when the first exposure is an organic or paid search brand click.

Example: The average booking window for the hotel client is forty days, which means the average consumer books his hotel room forty days before he plans to travel. Our analysts consider the hotel’s vacancy when bidding on paid media and planning display campaigns, to limit unnecessary spend forty days before dates when the hotel is completely booked. Additionally, the team uses latency trends to further optimize. The average latency to conversion for a single exposure path is less than two days, while the average latency to conversion for a multi-exposure path is eight days. Serving display prospecting ads, which generally have a longer path to conversion, would be most effective around forty-eight days prior to high vacancy dates (forty day booking window + eight day expected latency to conversion.) Paid search brand ads often drive single exposure conversions, so bids are maximized around forty-two days prior to high vacancy dates (forty-day booking window + two day expected latency to conversion.)

Use A/B testing to optimize your media mix model.

You have probably run advertising campaigns on paid search brand and non-brand, display prospecting and remarketing, e-mail, organic and social channels. Are all of these channels right for you?

A/B testing is risky, but the payoff is worth it. The goal of A/B testing based on attribution is to reroute traffic from a less efficient channel to a more efficient channel. The risk lies in temporarily cutting off or limiting spend on a particular channel. If your hypothesis that traffic can be routed to a more efficient channel proves to be true, you should consider altering your media mix to improve overall performance.

Example: The hotel client has recently optimized their organic presence. The cost of optimizing organic is far less than the variable cost of running a robust e-mail marketing campaign. The proposed test is to stop sending e-mails for a period of time and to analyze subsequent traffic and conversion trends. If the traffic is rerouted successfully to the more efficient channel (organic search in this case), then e-mail spend will be limited in the future.

Use attribution analysis to drive actionable results. As a starting point, use exposure paths to allocate your budget, analyze latency to add another layer to your bidding strategy and do not shy away from A/B testing. The possible applications of attribution analysis are unlimited, but the real value is when you start converting big data into big results.

Reflections from iMedia Brand Summit

I just flew through ten meetings with the best of the best in brand marketing executives in under two hours… and boy are my arms tired!  (cue laugh track..)

A quick hello from the iMedia Brand Summit in sunny San Diego, CA.   Along with some excellent opportunities to share the IgnitionOne brand and Digital Marketing Suite concept with today’s digital marketing leaders, there have been a number of good conversations around the imminent intersection of paid channels and distributed content – a challenge that IgnitionOne is here to solve. The ability to follow these channels as they merge together, and optimize  both spend decisions and a customer’s continuous experience with content  holistically through one unified platform is quickly becoming the holy grail for the marketing director responsible for a brand’s digital success and accountability.

Being aware of how customers are changing the way they ingest digital information on a daily basis is just as important as being aware of how, when, and where they are seeing sponsored messaging.  The content of the brand’s message is now in focus, rather than the content surrounding it, as technology brings us closer to the one-on-one conversation with each customer, in a personalized online experience, and further away from the big splash media opportunities of the past.

As David Shing, Digital Prophet at AOL (and probably one of the best speakers I’ve ever seen) said, “none of us walked in here carrying a television today and hardly any of us even walked into that keynote room carrying a laptop.” This mobile mentality has shifted brands’ marketing objectives and goals and advertising must be executed accordingly. Being able to create a continuous, personal, conversation, no matter where you connect with your customer, while tracking and analyzing the touchpoints across screens to a conversion can accelerate a brand and create efficiencies in media spend.

The trend of the conversations at iMedia is that we, as marketers, need to adopt true connected multichannel strategies, as mobile becomes our first screen, and distributed content channels diversify outside of simply owned and earned, or display and search.  Being able to aggregate all of the knowledge about customers’ interactions with a brand as they move throughout their day is ideal. The DMS as a solution for bringing touchpoints together, and being able to make that data actionable to connect in the right place at the right time with each influential customer, is key.  Learn from those interactions and continue the conversation intelligently and informed through cross-screen, cross-channel connected data, no matter which device a customer walked into the room with.