Digital Marketing Insights
December 11, 2013 | Katrina Conn
Here's an article I wrote for MarketingProfs:
Today’s customer is in control, and marketing today needs to keep pace with the technology-enabled consumer. New channels are becoming important, and the flow of data from myriad of sources is sometimes overwhelming.
Your assignment today, marketers, if you choose to accept it, is to look beyond lifecycle marketing to what we here at StrongView) are calling “present tense marketing.”
Present tense marketing is all about understanding customer context. Interaction data from our customers tells us what channels they choose for engagement. It is some of our most basic data, which any marketer likely has. It tells us what devices they use to connect, along with the activity they conduct, and the details of when and where that activity took place. Many marketers now analyze profile data, which goes a bit deeper to make assumptions about the demographic, sociographic, and psychographic portrait of a customer based on their interaction data. When a marketer combines the first two data sets of interaction and profile with external data, such as weather, stock market performance, or gas prices, they have the ability to identify context that reflects the customer’s current state. That allows them to engage in true contextual or present tense marketing.
On the evolution scale, beginner marketers typically do batch campaigns that have no personalization. Novice marketers, however, build in simple segmentation and personalization, which enhances the value of the interaction with their customers. Followers in the marketing landscape engage in lifecycle marketing using automated or triggered programs. Leaders begin to break away from the pack, employing real-time, cross-channel marketing campaigns that are event-driven. So, a marketing leader might be sending mobile messages to a customer based on location data.
The next level of marketing expertise is the present tense marketer. This marketer executes campaigns, which are state-aware, based on context driven by the intersection of interactions, profiles, and external data sources. This approach brings the highest value because it not only provides the customer with the right message at the right time but takes into account how external factors may influence the customer experience.
For example, a restaurant chain may send a customer an email promotion for a two-for-one lunch deal. As lunchtime approaches, the restaurant may also send a mobile alert showing its new salad choices. But, knowing that it’s 20 degrees outside where the customer is standing at the moment can prompt a more targeted message promoting hot seasonal dishes instead—if the marketer approaches marketing from the present tense perspective.
To achieve true present tense context, marketers must first understand the data that provides the contextual awareness of how and where consumers are engaging with their brand. They must employ an infrastructure that can make contextual connections as the campaign is being executed. Finally, the channels used to engage with customers must be fully integrated so that contextual picture of the customer can be reached and acted upon at the right moment to create great consumer experiences.
As we move into the holiday shopping season, marketers should be asking themselves, “How present tense is my marketing?”
Posted by: Katrina Conn at 12:15 AM
December 03, 2013 | Justin Williams
Here's an article I wrote for ClickZ:
By now, you know that consumers don't interact with just one marketing channel on their path to conversion. Chances are, your company understands it can't develop and deliver marketing on only one channel if it wants to remain competitive. But are you still using old-school, one-channel metrics (CTR, impressions) to measure success?
A cross-channel marketing approach requires cross-channel metrics. Read on to learn about two specific metrics and two measurement approaches that will give you a better perspective on your cross-channel marketing effectiveness.
The Match Rate (or Identification Rate)
If you're going to engage in retargeting using display, Facebook or other channels, a key measure of success is how many people you'll be able to reliably identify on those channels.
More generally, if you're leveraging multiple channels, you need to understand exactly how many people you can identify for targeted content.
One company recently developed a technology to identify three times as many people on its site and across various digital channels. This one change tripled their identification rate, increasing the audience of people that can be nurtured.
Of course, you still need to be good at marketing to those people that you cannot identify, and you'll never be able to identify everyone. But with identity comes information, which allows a marketer to be more relevant and therefore more likely to drive action.
The View-Through Rate
The view-through rate tells us how many people who've seen or engaged with an ad go on to participate in an important interaction, such as viewing a video or visiting a site. Many of the channels in a cross-channel campaign won't lend themselves to a direct click-through, so the view-through rate allows a marketer to better understand the contribution of these channels, helping to justify spend in channels that aren't seen as generating ROI as directly as other channels, such as email.
The view-through rate has it's own complications. It's not always clear what the value of a view-through is, and it's not always clear that the ad unit itself was seen. Still, tracking this metric will move a marketer beyond rigid focus on the last interaction to build a better picture of other channels' contributions.
Adopting a Multi-channel Attribution Approach
A cross-channel customer experience should necessitate multichannel attribution of success to your different campaigns. Why should the last click on an email get all the credit for a $60 sale when it was a PPC ad that caused the subscription, site interactions that built the interest and retargeted display ads that drove the purchaser to the point just before he bought? The goal of a multichannel attribution model is to spread attribution intelligently over all of the channels that contribute to a conversion.
Thankfully, most of the top analytics platforms offer some multichannel attribution reports for you to leverage. Before you begin implementing multichannel attribution, however, you should be aware of the technical and strategic challenges this entails (Avinash Kaushik's post does a great job of explaining some of these difficulties and how to approach them). But don't let the difficulty deter you! The multichannel attribution approach allows for a much more accurate understanding of how the entire marketing mix contributes to results.
Using Cohort Analysis
One-channel metrics provide precise insight into the performance of single interaction points, such as a click on a link or time spent on a page. The problem with these metrics is the lack of visibility before and after the target interaction. What else did the person see before they clicked the link? After purchasing, does the person purchase again, and how long does it take him to do so?
Cohort analysis, in contrast, allows a long-term comparison between groups, thus negating the focus on single interactions. In cohort analysis, an objective (ie.: an increased retention rate for a subscription product) is defined and then measured for different groups of people over time.
To do this, a group with a similarity is identified (ie.: joined the list on the week of November 17th) and considered against other groups (ie.: joined the list on the week of November 24th). After a certain period of time (ie.: 2 months), the groups' performances are compared. Cohorts can also be formed around other criteria, such as previous purchase history or engagement data.
In the image below, a service with a weekly subscription model is comparing retention rates of members who joined during different weeks. Why is there such a large drop in retention for the second cohort who joined on the week of 11/24/13 when compared to the other two cohorts? Such a report allows the marketer to review the marketing mixes of that cohort specifically to see if anything obvious stands out.
Retention rate of user cohorts based on join date.
Cohort analysis provides a broader view of how differences in experiences create different results. You lose the level of detail that one-channel metrics provide, but you gain that broader view that is essential to understanding cross-channel campaign contribution.
Leveraging the two metrics (match rate and view-through rate) and the two shifts in methodology (multi-channel attribution and cohort analysis) will enable marketers to achieve a higher level of insight into the specific contributions of each channel.
Posted by: Justin Williams at 12:00 AM
November 27, 2013 | Katrina Conn
Here's an article I wrote for MediaPost:
Multichannel strategies have served marketers well by providing multiple channels on which marketers can engage and interact with their customers, such as email, social, web, brick-and-mortar storefronts, mobile and call centers. Typically, these multichannel engagements have happened in a non-integrated manner, with different departments managing different channels, often resulting in siloed, disjointed messaging and responses.
There was a time when that was sufficient, but that’s not now. Today’s consumers are cross-channel to the core, moving seamlessly and simultaneously across all channels to engage with brands. Consumers don’t think or care about which channel they’re on. They care about -- and expect -- convenience and a meaningful experience, whether they’re strolling through a flagship store on Fifth Avenue or browsing new arrivals online after receiving an email notification that the winter 2013 line is just in. It’s time for marketers to evolve to the next level, to make providing a meaningful consumer journey across all channels their top priority, using data intelligence to improve the user experience at each step of the way.
Here are three ways that truly integrated cross-channel marketing can improve your marketing efforts and produce better end results:
1. Data. Here’s where it all begins. Cross-channel marketing strategies focus on the data around customer profiles, preferences, interactions and behavior to improve each consumer engagement. When you can connect your customer profile data with online cookies, social data, website data and online and offline transactions, you end up with a single view of the individual that provides the context and insight you need to create meaningful, personalized experiences for customers across channels.
2. Timing. Nothing is more frustrating than receiving an offer for a product or service that you just bought, and it’s even worse if it’s from the brand you just bought it from. This obvious miss is a symptom of a big disconnect between the data that marketing organizations collect from their customer interactions and the timing and content of the messages that they send at different points along the customer journey. True cross-channel marketing requires the ability to store, view and take action on dynamic data sets; the ability to use insights derived from that data to create, edit and proof targeted content; and the ability to orchestrate the timing of customer interactions across multiple channels. A cross-channel approach encourages marketers to focus less on the independent channel logistics required to deliver the content and more on creating consistent, relevant and timely experiences for customers when and where they engage with your brand.
3. Customer alignment. One of the biggest advantages of a cross-channel marketing approach is that it requires marketers to focus on developing individual customer journeys or experience paths that build upon the most recent customer interaction, regardless of the channel it took place on. This enables marketers to respond based on the customer’s last action, at the right time and on the right channel, based on the consumer’s current need. This approach not only builds brand affinity; that level of attention and service ultimately increases customer loyalty.
If cross-channel marketing were easy, we would all already be enjoying its benefits. Unfortunately, we all know there are no silver bullets. Implementing truly integrated cross-channel marketing requires harnessing breadth and depth of customer interaction data to determine consumer context and orchestrate relevant communications across channels. Once you have that, you will be able deliver truly meaningful experiences aligned to the needs and expectations of today’s fast-moving consumers.
Posted by: Katrina Conn at 12:15 AM
November 19, 2013 | Justin Williams
Here’s an old marketing adage that I’ve relied on as a go-to heuristic for thinking about campaigns:
What determines the success of any marketing approach?
- 40% depends on the audience you target
- 40% depends on the offer you present
- 20% depends on the creative presentation of the offer
The landscape has changed since the first time direct marketers applied this rule to their campaigns. In today’s world, where Present Tense Marketing reigns, does this rule-of-thumb still apply?
What is the new definition of a target audience or list?
A target audience is now defined by more than the traditional demographics that drive mailing lists. It’s more than the size of the marketable list a company possesses.
To be successful, batch messaging should vary depending on information sourced from customer profile data, digital interaction data and other external data, such as weather. Insights from the combination of this data allow a marketer to understand customer context and build a more segmented target audience than before.
For example, say a retailer is preparing to send a 10% promotion for Halloween. In the past, 40% of the success of the campaign would come from identifying “households” with a certain minimum income. Now the retailer leverages annual income along with RFM data by record to serve relevant items along with the 10% off promotion (more pricey decorations to the more active customers and more essential costumes to less engaged customers).
How have offers changed?
The ability to target by leveraging different data sources means that marketers can now create offers that are more timely and relevant. We’ve seen some of these relevant offers (e.g. coupons for customers who’ve abandoned carts or for those who are repeat buyers), but nothing close to what is possible given the wealth of data available. Most of the offers being created today vary only by engagement with the brand or some other simple demographic identifier, such as location.
I believe we haven’t seen more advanced efforts in this area because varying offers by several data points requires a lot of initial investment in defining what will work for whom and a lot of backend work on tracking what actually performs. Attempting to understand how to vary an offer for users by leveraging location, current activity, brand affinity, purchase history and the weather can be overwhelming at first. What’s more, after building such a set of highly targeted offers and running them, how does a marketer begin to understand how to attribute campaign success or failure to which data points? Daunting though it may seem, marketers need to adapt quickly to these new requirements or risk falling behind in the increasingly competitive race for consumer share-of-wallet.
Success in this Present Tense Marketing approach to creating offers requires a new level of commitment to relevancy and data analysis. It’s no longer sufficient to try a 50% vs. BOGO or a month of free service vs. $50 off. It’s no longer sufficient to report on how the entire campaign performed for all targets, or even how it performed with one or two data points considered (e.g. performance by location). A flexible offer approach and a multivariate data analysis mentality must be applied to understand the true benefit that “offer” can bring to a campaign’s success.
What are our creative options today?
Creative is a crutch for most marketers. It’s often the first feature blamed for failure or credited for success. This is because it is the most visible and obvious feature of any campaign. Anyone can see and evaluate the creative. Seeing the target or the offer in the same way requires effort, in the form of systematic analysis and performance reporting.
In the past 4 years, creative enhancement has been the focus of many marketing teams, especially with the growth of mobile device usage. Now that we have so many sources of data available, and now that we’re marketing to a fundamentally different consumer with different requirements, we need to revisit the target and offer parts of the equation with renewed vigor.
Creative shouldn’t be ignored, of course. The growth of responsive templates, real-time email and personalized retargeting ads does contribute to the success of the campaign. Yet “target” and “offer” remain more fundamental contributors to the success of a campaign.
So does the 40-40-20 formula still hold true?
Yes. The advancements in technologies and customer needs have simply changed the way we target, the way we offer and the way we design our creative—for the better.
The marketer’s role in this Present Tense world is, therefore, similar to that of the pre-internet, pre-mobile, pre-big data era. Define a target and create a compelling offer. Then present that offer clearly, and present it in the channels that make the most sense for the target at that time. The difference is that now marketers must be more precise, accurate and timely or risk losing out to competitors who are taking these extra steps to better meet customer needs.
Posted by: Justin Williams at 11:32 AM
November 19, 2013 | Katrina Conn
Here's an article I wrote for ClickZ:
The everyday life of consumers is being transformed. Thanks to the mobile devices glued to their hips, consumers are able to access information and take action online anywhere, anytime.
Understanding the behaviors that result from being constantly connected is crucial to reaching and engaging today's on-the-go consumers at their exact time and place of need. The ability to do that – to create consumer experiences that leverage a contextual understanding of the consumer's present state – is what we are calling Present Tense Marketing.
So what are the key behavior traits that define today's consumers?
Are Always Connected
What does always connected mean? The answer is easily demonstrated if you think about when and how you engage with brands and consume content. Whether it's turning on your tablet first thing in the morning to scroll through your favorite sites as you eat breakfast, checking your email to review the latest offers or looking for location-based information on your smartphone while running errands, your daily habits are likely those of an 'always connected' consumer. You seamlessly – and often simultaneously – use multiple channels and multiple devices to engage with your favorite brands. Identifying the how, when, where and why consumers connect with a brand gives marketers the contextual insight to deliver relevant Present Tense communications.
Expect Needs to be Instantly Met
Consumer expectations continue to increase. Word of mouth now travels the world in a flash, whether it's a Facebook post, a Tweet, a Yelp restaurant review or an Amazon.com product review. This can potentially turn any new product launch or brand experience into a positive or negative customer referral that reaches broad audiences. Consumer satisfaction is set and measured by their experience in terms of convenience, service level and relevance to their personal needs. Naturally, we feel disappointed when our expectations are not met. When that happens we look elsewhere for gratification. Each instance of customer disappointment poses a major risk because it means you may have lost not just a single customer, but many potential customers – all thanks to one negative comment online.
Leave Clues – A Trail of Digital Footprints
As I explained in my previous article, digital footprints are the data left by customer interactions that take place within any kind of digital environment. These digital footprints include data about what you clicked on, searched for, Liked, where you went, your location, your IP address, what you said and what was said about you. All this data can and is being used in behavioral and target marketing, personalization, and social media and social graphing. This avalanche of consumer data is the key to understanding a customer's present state, which is the precursor to being able to develop and deliver relevant experiences.
Are Easily Turned Off by Marketing Mistakes
Marketing is more than just advertising or selling. It's about providing an excellent customer experience. How people perceive your business or brand is determined by the image you project regularly, what other consumers say about your brand and the aggregation of an individual customer's personal experiences with your brand. Have you ever received an email offer for a pair of boots you recently looked at online, only to find out that the retailer is sold out of the color advertised? Do you then search other retail sites for the boots you want in the size and color you are looking for? I know I do. Failing to provide relevant and useful information to customers based on their profile, interests and behaviors is one of the biggest marketing mistakes any brand can make. Today's consumers expect more from the brands they favor, and they aren't afraid to look to competitive alternatives when they have unsatisfactory experiences.
Success in today's competitive marketing environment requires understanding these behavior traits and consciously designing your marketing engagements to be the 'always on' brand experience that consumers now demand. By capturing the digital data footprints your customers are leaving behind and using that insight to offer true Present Tense Marketing experiences that meet heightened expectations, you can avoid turning customers off with non-relevant communications that annoy and confuse rather than inform and enable.
How Present Tense is your customer experience?
Posted by: Katrina Conn at 12:30 AM
October 04, 2013 | Syed Mahmood
Acxiom Corporation, a kingpin of the consumer database marketing industry, caused quite a stir this past month with their launch of AboutTheData.com. The website lets consumers view (and correct or suppress) some of the profile information that Acxiom collects and sells about them. Acxiom’s objective in launching this service appears to be two-fold: first, to act proactively in the face of proposed legislation by the Federal Trade Commission that would require data brokers like Acxiom to give consumers access to information collected about them. Second, to provide an avenue for consumers to correct inaccuracies or holes in their records, thereby increasing the value of this data to marketers who purchase from Acxiom.
So far the site's beta launch has been plagued with technical issues. Many visitors have been unable to log in or have found significant inaccuracies in their profile data. According to Scott Howe, Acxiom’s CEO, these challenges stem from the fact that the company’s consumer profiles are generated by gathering and integrating data from a number of disparate sources. Further complicating matters, some customers were unable to view their full profiles due to connection failures between Aboutthedata.com and the disparate sources that the website pulls consumer data points from (a technical complication that was likened to dealing with a clogged water pipe).
The fields of big data, analytics, decision sciences and the technologies supporting them are costly, complicated and new – the kinks are still getting worked out. Acxiom’s launch of AboutTheData.com has shone the media spotlight on the technical big data challenges that marketers have been dealing with for a while now.
For example, it’s common across industries for customer data to reside in disparate, disconnected sources, often resulting in data that contains duplicate and/or inaccurate information. Enterprises have invested millions of dollars in building enterprise data warehouses and implementing CRM and marketing automation systems. Despite massive investments and promises of integrated, real-time cross-channel marketing campaigns, industry analysts concede that marketers have largely been unable to progress beyond single-channel solutions. This is due in part to inadequate technologies that make marketers dependent on IT resources and technical staff to gain access to the data and extract the insights hidden within - which can be a slow and cumbersome process, as anyone who has used such systems knows. By the time marketers get the desired customer data from IT, it’s likely that the opportunity to execute timely customer engagements based on those interest, trend or life event insights will have already passed.
So is big data really the key to the holy grail of modern marketing – the ability to engage customers based on a real-time understanding of their individual interests and needs? The short answer is yes. One main reason is that big data offers marketers access to a new and dynamic source of customer data: customer interactions (think web searches, email opens, Facebook likes, etc.). Customer interactions can be used to enhance static profile data consisting mostly of demographic attributes to create a more state-aware profile of the customer. However, this requires profile and interaction data to be brought together, reconciled and analyzed. Which again brings us to the same sort of “clogged water pipe” technical challenges that AboutTheData.com has been facing.
So what are today’s marketers to do? How can they keep up with customers who are constantly connected, channel agnostic, demand instant gratification and have ever-increasing expectations from their favorite companies? (Other than continue to shoot arrows in the dark and hope that some of them find their target).
Stay tuned to find out. In my next post, I'll share the attributes of an effective analytics platform that marketers can use to overcome these shortcomings and get closer than ever to that holy grail of real-time marketing.
Posted by: Syed Mahmood at 2:14 PM
September 20, 2013 | Katrina Conn
Here's an article I wrote for MediaPost:
As one of the biggest topics of discussion in 2013, real-time marketing has been given several definitions -- among them providing “dynamic personalized content across channels” to “developing quick response to mainstream event" to "offer[ing] management,” according to a recent DMA and Neolane survey.
Regardless of which definition of real-time marketing is adopted, many marketers are still struggling to determine how or where to get started. Understanding that this strategy should be leveraged across all channels and media, email is one channel in which marketers can begin deploying real-time marketing messages. Here are three tactics to avoid:
1) Assuming Real-Time is the Right Time. There are times when some real-time responses can be extremely creepy and may cause privacy concerns. Consider the man who just bought a new suit and immediately receives an offer for new shoes and a belt. Even though the offer is relevant to his purchase, it’s too soon to try to convert him again. Tactics like this can raise customer concern over how much and what types of personal data brands are capturing and leveraging in their marketing campaigns.
On the other hand, reactive, real-time marketing is extremely effective when a customer needs immediate service or information. Consumers who engage with a brand directly are seeking assistance and expect real-time responses. In such situations, it is vitally important to respond in real-time to provide a higher level of service to improve the consumer experience.
2) Failing to Integrate Real-Time Responses with Existing Lifecycle Messaging. It's very important to balance real-time messaging against any automated or customer lifecycle messaging that is currently in place. Failure to do so may cause confusion and demonstrate an obvious disconnect. Marketers need to design a balance of reactive vs. proactive messaging at specific points in the customer lifecycle to support and influence the next step in the customer journey. For example, if you have a current email win-back campaign in place to reach out to customers who haven't engaged within the past six months, you will want to make sure you have controls in place to suppress the program should a purchase be registered via any channel. If your win-back program is only keying off email or single channel data, you may find yourself trying to win back a customer who you already won back.
3) Not Using the Contextual Data You Have. Data availability and latency are two of the biggest challenges to harnessing real-time marketing. However, at a minimum, marketers still have basic customer, Web and purchase information that could and should be leveraged. Consider the customer who just bought a new light fixture for her bathroom at a local store and then subsequently receives a promotional campaign with an offer on lighting. This happens because the store didn't recognize her latest purchase to either suppress the promotional message completely, or send content with cross-sell opportunities to accessorize the customer's most recent purchase. In this scenario, the store could have known that this subscriber was a customer, not prospect, that she was interested in home improvement, and that she has a preference to purchase in a specific store and location. By leveraging this contextual data, marketers can determine the next best message and inform content versioning to drive this customer back to her preferred purchase channel, which is her local store.
Context is Key to Real-Time Marketing
Real-time marketing has become synonymous with generating new creative content very quickly, based on the context of a customer situation to ensure relevance.
What are you doing today to capitalize on the consumers' context to meet their demand of relevance with real-time marketing?
Posted by: Katrina Conn at 8:51 AM
September 05, 2013 | Jason Klein
There's been a lot of buzz within the marketing industry lately about the new Gmail Inbox Tabs, which isn't too surprising given the potential influence Google has in changing how consumers interact with email.
There have also been a number of studies to date about the impact of Gmail Tabs on engagement metrics (with varying and sometimes conflicting results), but none yet have focused on how consumers feel about them – until now.
Today, StrongView announced the results of its August Gmail Inbox Tabs Survey, which used Google Consumers Surveys to poll US consumers on their reactions to Gmail's new tabbed inbox interface and how it is changing their email behaviors.
The Infographic below summarizes some of the key findings, including how young millennials are most welcoming of the change. (View full size.)
You can also drill down on the findings in more depth by accessing the full results here:
Also, be sure to check out our latest Success Guide, "The New Gmail Inbox Tabs" for marketing advice on how to measure impact and respond accordingly.
We welcome your feedback in the comments, including any impact you've seen since the roll out of Gmail Tabs in July.
Posted by: Jason Klein at 12:00 AM
Categories: email_marketing gmail
July 27, 2013 | Jai Williams
To learn how to steer clear of some of the common pitfalls that marketing teams fall prey to when initiating cross-channel strategies, check out this article that I recently published on MultiChannel Merchant:
Whether your company operates in the B2B or B2C sectors, you have to communicate with your audience when, where and how they want to be reached. Enter the concept of cross-channel marketing.
For the uninitiated, cross-channel marketing is the act of catering marketing messages to fit the functionality and customer usage preferences of each communications channel you are employing in a given campaign – in an integrated way that still provides customers with a unified brand experience.
As I will point out on the following paragraphs, there are many “killers” that can bring about the death of a cross-channel marketing effort at different stages in its development. I’ll show you how to avoid them.
CONFOUNDING YOUR MARKETING CONCEPTS
First and foremost, you need to be sure your team understands exactly what cross-channel marketing is and how it differs from other common marketing strategies. If you don’t, you’ll get lost in a quagmire of terminology misapplications that will confuse everyone involved. For example, not knowing the difference between a cross-channel and multi-channel marketing strategy can kill off a successful program before it even begins. The two concepts are commonly confused, but they are different in key ways that can significantly impact the effectiveness of your customer engagement efforts across channels.
At its core, multi-channel marketing involves hitting your target audience with the same message across multiple channels. While it is a step up from the single-channel marketing approach, it still ignores how your customers use and consume information across different channels.
By contrast, cross-channel marketing involves clearly understanding how your customers interact with your brand on each different channel and tailoring channel-specific messages. The end result is a coordinated campaign where different messages reinforce each other across different channels to achieve the same business objective. Much like real-time or right-time messaging, cross-channel marketing involves giving your audience the right message – at the right time – on the right channel.
So how can confusing these two approaches kill your marketing campaign? Consider this example.
Some associates of mine started a company based on a product that enabled consumers to better manage their daily deal purchases. Not only did it allow consumers to easily organize and sort them, it made it easy to dispose of them if they couldn’t be used. When they began to discuss how to market their product, naturally there were a lot of questions. Who is their target audience? How does their target audience currently get their daily deals? What communications channels do their target audience use on a day-to-day basis?
The answer to the last question was clear: email, mobile, social and display. They realized early on that building the marketing strategy around all of these channels was the key. They decided that they needed to develop a “multi-channel” marketing strategy, which then led to questions about what such a strategy involved and which tactics would make the most sense for each channel.
The conversation then led to other questions. Do we use the same marketing messages for each channel? What will be the impact of a multi-channel marketing strategy on our business and how do we measure that impact? What is the difference between a multi-channel and cross-channel strategy?
How can this “kill” a campaign?
When there is no clear, shared understanding of what cross-channel marketing means and involves (and how it differs from multi-channel marketing), marketers can waste a lot of time spinning their wheels arguing over terminology. If no shared understanding is reached, it can result in siloed, disjointed marketing efforts that alienate customers by bombarding them with the same message on every channel they interact with your brand.
How can you avoid this campaign killer?
When expanding your campaign beyond a single channel, make sure everyone on your team has a shared understanding of the fundamentals of a cross-channel strategy and how it differs from a multi-channel strategy. Remember, multi-channel means the same message across many different channels. Cross-channel means many different messages catered to each specific channel, delivered in a carefully coordinated manner.
Real World Example: Gucci’s 60th Anniversary of the Horsebit Loafer is a great example of how to successfully use email, mobile, social media and web channels together in a truly integrated cross-channel marketing campaign.
LACK OF TEAM CONSENSUS AND DIRECTION
Great business ideas often fail because not enough effort is placed into breaking down, line by line, each aspect of how the overall idea should work – and how it should be marketed.
From the moment a new business idea is initiated, you should schedule a “meeting of the minds” for a big pow-wow on what the business goals and objectives are and how each department can best work together to realize them.
Lack of a shared vision across relevant teams can lead to disjointed efforts that result in confusion and sub-par end products and results. The marketing team has to coordinate with the social team, the development team and the legal team – all need to be a part of the conversation.
How can this “kill” a campaign?
The absence of a clearly defined, clearly understood business strategy makes it almost impossible to develop a clearly defined, clearly understood cross-channel marketing strategy that all departments will buy into and help support. As a result, marketing efforts can quickly devolve into chaos.
How can you avoid this campaign killer?
Come to a consensus on what your company’s business objectives are, map out how your cross-channel marketing efforts will help achieve those business objectives, and share that information with departmental teams to gain buy-in before embarking on a new initiative.
Your marketing campaign goals should be outlined upfront. Examples are:
• Driving awareness
• Increasing leads
• Generating additional revenue
Any parties that have a vested interest in the initiative should have buy-in on the overall plan. This means making all parties aware of:
• Possible opportunities
• Any associated risks
• Giving the authority to provide final approval/sign-off before proceeding or moving forward
Real World Example: How to Build Your Digital Marketing Strategy provides an excellent outline of how to pull a marketing plan together.
Brand messaging across channels should have a consistent look and feel. The last thing any company wants to do is confuse their target customers by projecting a different brand message and customer experience on different channels.
Cross-channel marketing does involve customizing messages for each different channel, but they all need to clearly tie back to – and reinforce – the brand perception that a given company wants to instill in customers.
In addition to maintaining a consistent, look, feel and tone, your cross-channel messaging should be transparent enough so that it’s obvious to the recipient that the message is from your brand and not an unknown third party.
How can this “kill” a campaign?
Sending inconsistent and unfamiliar messages to consumers can lead to confusion and damage your brand recognition.
How can you avoid this campaign killer?
The first step is to develop a clear strategy for the overall brand messaging that spans all customer-facing channels – i.e. a brand messaging and style guide that all marketing communications are required to follow.
Here are four tips to help ensure messaging consistency across channels:
- • Coordinate messaging across all offline and online channels
- • Keep messages simple and clear
- • Communicate in a voice that is recognizable and relatable
- • Avoid confusing the audience with unfamiliar email sender names
INSUFFICIENT CUSTOMER SEGMENTATION
As media consumption becomes more and more personalized and sophisticated thanks to constantly improving technologies that allow inpiduals to customize how and when they receive information, marketers must increasingly cater to the demand for branded content and context.
Customers now expect to be able to define the delivery medium of their choice and engage with brands through highly personalized interactions. This requires sophisticated customer segmentation strategies based on a thorough understanding of customer preferences and consumption habits.
Failure to develop accurate customer segmentation can quickly kill a cross-channel strategy. Not all target customer segments use each communications channel in the same way.
A successful cross-channel marketing strategy takes this into account and develops distinct messaging campaigns for distinct customer segments to fit their distinct usage preferences.
How can this “kill” a campaign?
A failure to segment audiences based on communication and channel preferences can negatively affect engagement and brand loyalty among customers accustomed to engaging with other brands in highly personalized, customizable ways.
How can you avoid this campaign killer?
Understand your customer segments. Engage in regular and data-driven segmentation, and implement message development processes that allow you to effectively capture and act on your audiences’ identified behaviors and preferences.
Real World Example: The popular marketing video The Break Up cleverly demonstrates how one-size-fits-all marketing efforts fail from the consumer’s perspective. As stated in the video, customer expectations have changed. They expect individualized, interactive dialogues with brands now – not just blast emails or coupon mailings.
In summary, don't let your cross-channel marketing strategies fall victim to these common killers. Ensure that you and your team clearly understand what cross-channel marketing is and how it can benefit your company. Disseminate a shared vision of your business objectives across departments and clearly map out how your cross-channel marketing efforts will help achieve those objectives. Strengthen brand recognition and loyalty by establishing messaging and style consistency across all communication touch-points. Understand your customer segments and keep up with their changing channel and usage preferences.
So take a fresh look at your current cross-channel marketing programs, and don’t fall prey to these common campaign “killers.” Avoiding these pitfalls is the first step towards establishing a successful and effective cross-channel marketing strategy.
Posted by: Jai Williams at 7:51 AM
Categories: cross-channel marketing
July 25, 2013 | Amanda Hinkle
Here's an article I wrote for MediaPost:
If you read my last article about online privacy, you may get the sense that I am often inspired by music. Not to let you down, I recently read about two products created to provide false consumer profile information to digital marketers. It got me thinking about that old John Hiatt song, “Have A Little Faith In Me."
Profiling Ain’t So Bad
Okay, I know I’m opening up a can of worms here, but is consumer profiling so bad? Most of us marketers would say "Surely not!" It enables us to provide targeted and relevant information to customers, making it easier for the consumer to find what they want. Communication scholars would say human beings profile nearly every day of our lives. Like them or not, stereotypes help us make sense of the world, and without them we would have no foundation for assimilating information or understanding when something seems out of place. Computer scientists talk about profiling in terms of classifier systems, which are a foundation for machine learning. But, particularly as data collection practices (and the misuse of data) become more transparent, the average consumer will likely be reticent to embrace the use of profiling by marketers.
Here Come The Decoys
As such, a few ideas have sprung up to combat us “evil” digital marketers. Take 10 Minute Mail, which touts itself as a “temporary disposable e-mail service to beat spam.” It allows individuals to create a fake email address that expires in 10 minutes -- just long enough to “confirm” one's existence (e.g., during a double opt-in process), but not long enough to receive additional emails from the brand.
Another invention (in beta), “Vortex ,” is a browser extension that creates a game out of gobbling up Web cookies in order to create a fake user profile. The creator’s goal is to keep people from getting targeted digital advertising with unique (and potentially higher) pricing for products and services based on one’s assumed income or propensity to buy.
What’s A Marketer To Do?
Consumers will provide companies with more data when it’s used to provide helpful feedback (you’re over budget, you’re halfway to your exercise goal, the temperature at your destination is 90 degrees). Take note. What this tells us is that we should reevaluate when and what type of messaging we’re sending to our customers. Commit to going above and beyond, to looking holistically at customers’ decision-making process and creating experiences that will enhance their journey. Find savvier ways to provide value to your customers -- offering recommendations, services and customization tools -- rather than pushing what might appear to be intrusive messaging.
Digital marketing is in the midst of a symbiotic evolution of technology and consumer expectations. Find the sweet spots that will reduce reluctance to buy, increase confidence in what you sell, and create permanent relationships with consumers.
Until next time , Have a Little Faith in Me.