NCS launches AI service to optimize for offline incremental sales in CPG digital campaigns

The Sales Lift Metrics service is designed to provide in-flight data on key campaign tactics, such as audience targets, media placements, creative messaging and ad formats.

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CPG-focused ad metrics agency Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) announced on Thursday the launch of Sales Lift Metrics, a new in-flight campaign optimization service.

Driven by AI and machine learning technology, Sales Lift Metrics aims to deliver weekly incremental sales metrics that advertisers can use to inform and enhance campaign outcomes while they’re still active.

For programmatic campaigns, NCS said the service can help buyers optimize ad spend by tapping into real-time incremental sales metrics, allowing advertisers to dial-up or dial-down spend accordingly.  

“CPG advertisers face urgent demands to reduce budget waste and optimize for sales outcomes,” said NCS EVP of strategy, Carl Spaulding. “Until now, their only options to improve results were to make changes post-campaign or rely on in-flight media performance metrics not directly related to offline sales. But with this innovative solution, advertisers can tap into near real-time insights and refine campaigns in-flight to improve outcomes.”

The Sales Lift Metrics service is designed to provide in-flight data on key campaign tactics, such as audience targets, media placements, creative messaging and ad formats.

Earlier this year, Adobe signed on as a pilot partner for Sales Lift Metrics to test its CPG campaign optimization methodology. According to a representative from Adobe, NCS’ in-flight solution has been able to deliver lucrative insights around the campaign tactics that drive incremental sales “on a much shorter latency than with existing industry solutions.” Adobe added, “With this knowledge, our CPG advertisers can make campaign decisions to gain and maximize incremental sales.”

Why we should care

“Near real-time visibility into the effectiveness of campaign tactics that are the primary drivers of incremental sales has long been a desired ideal for advertisers,” says Leslie Wood, chief research officer at NCS.

The ability to interpret real-time metrics on a tactical level means that advertisers can modify campaigns in-flight to produce more efficient and accurate outcomes. This could help cut down on ad spend while also presenting an opportunity to course-correct during the campaign’s lifetime.

For CPG marketers, in particular, understanding the immediate sales lift on a campaign-by-campaign basis can help build a more complete picture of the immediate market and inform future campaign strategies.

More on the news

  • Sales Lift Metrics is part of NCS’ Optimize Solutions Suite, which also includes NCS Purchase Data Metrics – an automated API tool designed for publishers.
  • Earlier this year, NCS announced its adoption of machine learning technology aimed at building audience segments and driving sales lift metrics.
  • Causal sales metrics are available to all NCS clients to allow them to test, learn and optimize campaigns in near real-time.

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The 4 big reasons agencies need marketing automation to survive

Agency life is hard. Everything is due tomorrow – or yesterday. Clients demand stellar results. Your competition is trying to underbid you. Your creative team wants tacos. Meanwhile, you’re juggling:1. Marketing your agency to bring in new business2. Keeping current clients happy to gain their loyalty There are ways you can accomplish both revenue and […]

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Agency life is hard. Everything is due tomorrow – or yesterday. Clients demand stellar results. Your competition is trying to underbid you. Your creative team wants tacos.

Meanwhile, you’re juggling:
1. Marketing your agency to bring in new business
2. Keeping current clients happy to gain their loyalty

There are ways you can accomplish both revenue and agency growth. The answer: Use marketing automation to increase sales revenue for both your agency and your clients.

The demand for digital marketing services has skyrocketed in recent years as more businesses – B2B and B2C – have shifted marketing spend away from traditional tactics. Traditional marketing and advertising services are moving in-house, and service lines are blurring. One-time projects, inconsistent income, lower value relationships and cobbled-together solutions with no unified reporting will lead to failure.

To survive you must change. The answer is a fully-integrated marketing automation solution where every piece works together to help you drive leads and sales for your agency and clients.

We’ve all heard it – deliver the right message, to the right person at the right time. Marketing automation delivers nurture tracks triggered by prospects as they navigate through your marketing funnel. It’s the service clients and agencies need to grow and cultivate leads to sales.

But there are four more reasons marketing automation is vital to agencies:

1. Research says you can’t afford not to automate
2. Higher-value relationships
3. Prove value to your clients
4. Recurring revenue streams

You can’t afford not to automate:

It’s time to face the facts regarding agency growth. According to Ad Age’s Agency Report 2018, U.S. agency growth is the slowest it’s been since 2010, except for those offering digital marketing services – those grew 7X the revenue.

Couple this with the fact that marketing automation spend is projected to grow 14 percent annually over the next five years, per Forrester. In addition, CMOs say they don’t have the data necessary to feel confident about their spend. Enter marketing automation. It’s the answer to what clients need right now. With marketing automation, you’ll create new revenue streams, attract more clients, provide iron-clad proof of ROI and provide a service that clients feel is just too big and complicated to do in-house.

Higher-value relationships:

Ever wish you had a stickier relationship with your clients? Ever wish you provided a service that not every agency you compete with provides?

Marketing automation is a service you can completely manage for your clients. Many agencies just haven’t caught on to the fever. And, oh my, the services you can provide:
1. Initial marketing automation technology adoption and strategy
2. Creation of email templates, nurture sequences and landing pages
3. Ongoing builds of campaign assets, metrics analysis and optimization
All of these services, plus the investment in the initial learning curve, makes it difficult for clients to change agencies.

Recurring revenue:

Cha-ching. Marketing automation is the key to recurring revenue. Why?
1. You’ll move from unpredictable project work to retainer-based relationships.
2. Marketing automation is necessary for most clients.
3. Clients struggle with the technology.
4. Clients are confused with how/where to personalize.

What this all adds up to is your chance for your agency to be a consistent go-to resource for marketing automation and digital marketing.

Prove value to your clients:

Ever had a client claim they just can’t see what they’re getting for the dollars they’re spending with you? Ever feel like all you do is run numbers and try to show worth, more than you are spending time creating – which was your dream when you got into the agency biz?

Marketing automation solves that, too. You’ll be able to show clients measurable results with comprehensive lead-to-revenue reporting. After all, marketing automation is rooted in data, providing the math you need to help your clients figure out what to double down on and what to toss. The investment in marketing automation and your agency pays off the longer you both use it. You can keep showing improved results month over month while you let the platform do the number crunching. You can make more time to do the things you love.

But not all marketing automation platforms are created equal. When considering marketing automation, keep in mind you want a platform that allows you to manage and control your clients AND gives you the margins you need to grow revenue for your agency.

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NinthDecimal Introduces Multi-Touch Attribution for Offline Store Visits

Company touts “MTA” solution as the next-generation in campaign measurement and analytics.

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Location intelligence company NinthDecimal is rolling out what it calls “the industry’s first multi-touch attribution (MTA) solution for foot traffic measurement.” The approach takes a more holistic look at different consumer touchpoints and how they impact offline store visitation.

NinthDecimal President David Staas says the company already has “200 customers running live with 500 different campaigns” and that there has been a very positive response from brands and agencies. Staas characterizes the MTA approach as “a fundamental rethinking of foot-traffic measurement.”

Next-gen location analytics. The company sees MTA as the next evolution of campaign measurement and analytics. It differs from “traditional” multi-touch approaches in its relative simplicity (quick set-up) and offline measurement capability.

NinthDecimal also says it’s the only multi-touch offering among the company’s location-intelligence/location analytics competitive peers, which include Foursquare/Placed, PlaceIQ, GroundTruth, Factual, Blis, Cuebiq, ThinkNear, Ubimo and others.

For the past several years, mobile-location data has increasingly been used to measure the impact of a single digital channel or sometimes two channels on offline consumer actions and incremental store visitation. In this way, it has brought new audience insights and new data on the efficacy of media, by connecting the digital and physical worlds. However, there’s always been a quasi- last-touch attribution problem with online-to-offline analytics focused on the impact of a single channel or campaign. NinthDecimal is bringing a broader lens and attribution framework to digital and soon to cross-channel (traditional and digital media) measurement.

Multiple touchpoints weighted. According to the company, “the MTA approach fractionally applies credit for visitation across every relevant customer touchpoint… Brands can use MTA based insights to optimize across audience segments, creatives and other aspects of their marketing or content to have the greatest impact on real business metrics like revenues and customer growth.”

In traditional location analytics, there’s a control and exposed methodology and a trailing attribution window (example: did those exposed to the (mobile, video, OOH) campaign show up in a store within 30 days?). Brands and agencies can then understand incremental lift and optimize campaigns that are driving foot traffic and sometimes in-store sales.

Many more variables in the mix. The MTA approach looks “back” at various categories of data — audiences, creatives, publishers and media touchpoints — before the offline visit. The media are weighted according to an algorithm and the data are aggregated (millions of impressions/exposures). NinthDecimal and its customers can then see which publishers, media and creatives are having an offline impact overall and on which audiences.

NinthDecimal says it gets data from a wide range of sources and says it sees 270 million devices monthly. Through direct and data partner relationships it can measure TV, search, social, display, video, OOH and print media. It also says it now has more than 200 audience attributes that marketers can target and optimize against.

Why we should care. Most digital marketers are still using a first or last-touch attribution methodology, let alone more sophisticated location analytics. Most enterprises have wanted multi-touch attribution for a long time, but it has been complex to set up and is often unreliable because it’s based on abstract formulas that may or may not reflect actual consumer behavior. The combination of MTA and store visitation data potentially solves some of these challenges for brands, retailers and others who ultimately care most about mapping and optimizing media against real-world business outcomes.

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How marketers can take the lead with revenue optimization teams

Many marketers are best positioned to drive change, improve alignment and create new opportunities for business results.

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Most marketers are equipped with copious amounts of data that help us understand our customers, create meaningful messaging that resonates with our audience and drives the business outcomes we need to achieve our goals. Marketers also have the ability to translate different trends across customers and prospects such as strong lead generation sources, common themes, objection trends and overall responses to different campaigns. But, many organizations operate in siloes, making it difficult to share these data points with the necessary people.

A solution? Establish a revenue optimization team to bring together the key internal players in your organization to improve alignment and ultimately, drive more revenue. 

Marketers and sales need to track the same goals

Thanks to the amount of valuable information accessible through our martech stacks, marketers can — and should — play a critical role in establishing a customer-centric revenue optimization team.

“Revenue optimization starts with the idea of putting the customer in the center of every interaction an enabling everyone to align around the customer to generate value in every interaction,” said Patrick Morrissey, chief marketing officer of customer revenue optimization platform, Altify. And according to Morrissey, marketers should play a critical role as part of the revenue team, and are best positioned to lead the charge. For many marketers, this requires a shift in thinking about our revenue contributions.

“From a marketing perspective, thinking about the fundamental outcomes, marketers have to start thinking of themselves as part of the revenue team,” said Morrissey. “This intersection presents an opportunity for marketers who are generally better communicators to become the translation mechanism for an entire team. Instead of tracking pipeline, marketers need to track revenue in closed/won business along with the sales team.”

The shift in mindset expands past the marketing team, however. According to Jenn DiMaria, senior manager of client services at marketing automation solution provider Digital Pi, the shift in mindset needs to be organizational. “Marketing is often viewed as a cost center, but in reality, other teams are lusting after the tools and data we have access to,” said DiMaria. “Aligning a revenue team creates opportunities for marketers to improve accessibility  to the data and help bridge gaps with other parts of the organization.” 

Marketers, get closer to the customer

Marketers tend to be far removed from any interactions with customers, but it is extremely valuable to engage face-to-face with customers. After all, marketers understand that relationship-building is key to retaining customers.  According to Morrissey, marketers need to put themselves in the shoes of the customer in order to understand their challenges.

“Marketers should focus on how we can get out of our own way and put ourselves in the shoes of the customers,” said Morrissey. “Going on the road to meet with salespeople and sit with customers will help marketers better understand the market, the broader changes in technology and fundamentally how to help customers succeed, personally and professionally.”

“Marketers need to have some real-world customer experience, explained Mary Ngai, founder of Connector42 and head of analytics and technology at RI. “Even if marketers are listening on sales calls, it can be incredibly insightful in grasping a better understanding of their needs.” Ngai also recommends that marketers attend customer site visits during ongoing projects or sales deals to increase visibility into accounts.

In addition to more face time with customers, Morrissey recommends that marketers lead internal account reviews and deal reviews with the sales and customer success teams. Regularly reviewing the accounts with members of different parts of the organization will expose different issues and areas that can be addressed by the necessary members of the revenue optimization team. Working with customer success can also bring to light what some of the daily challenges and successes the customer experiences — valuable insight for marketers as they developing retention campaigns to drive renewals. 

Leading the path to revenue optimization

Revenue optimization teams present an opportunity for marketers to leverage their communication, analytical and creative skills to improve holistic marketing efforts in coordination with other internal departments. 

“Marketers have proven that we can lead revenue optimization teams as we typically bear the brunt of the responsibility when it comes to acquiring new leads and we have to track our efforts,” said DiMaria. “Also, tools that have entered the market in the past ten years have made this possible.”

The concept of implementing a fundamental shift in thinking may seem overwhelming, but the long-term benefit is streamlined efforts across your organization and consistent communication around prospect and customer activities.

“If you think about the customer journey, we’re all trying to get a numeric view of the customer — BDRs are measured by the total number of call they make and are concerned with propensity-to-buy data,” said Morrissey. “Marketers are providing that data, creating segments and determining what funnel to put a prospect in. Then we talk about deal size or ACV, then finally we’re just an NPS score. Marketers are the ones who can best translate this into plain English, for everyone to understand.”

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Conversion optimization is an operating system (not a tactic)

CRO and growth teams should be cheerleaders for evidence-based decision making, experimentation and the judicious use of data in campaigns.

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I know it sounds banal, but I’d like to revisit the question: “What is conversion rate optimization.”

If you search Google, the answer seems obvious enough. The first result, from Moz, defines it as, “the systematic process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action — be that filling out a form, becoming customers, or otherwise.”

That seems right to me.

Then why do so many articles, courses, lectures and talks focus on conversion rate optimization tactics?

These articles – some of which include hundreds of tips and tactics – include advice like “use high-quality images” and “offer free shipping.”

These are assuredly good pieces of advice.

One would assume highquality images would perform better than low-quality images (subjectiveness aside), and I’m sure customers delight in not having to pay for free shipping (though operationally, this adds some complexity).

Any single tactic or tip on this list is not in itself conversion optimization (or growth or growth hacking or experimentation or whatever word you’re using for the practice of evidence-based decision making).

For the sake of this article, I’m going to say conversion optimization and growth, by and large, are pretty much the same thing.

Growth usually encompasses product and marketing, whereas conversion optimization usually just looks at the website experience, though that seems to be a pretty minor distinguishment in the grand scheme of things. Both of these things encourage experimentation, data-driven decision making, and fast learning and iteration.

And people have a ton of “growth hacking tips” and tactics:

However, without context none of this is helpful. Would the aspiring growth hacker or conversion optimizer just run down each list and implement each thing? Test each thing individually?

CRO tactics vs. strategy (and operating systems)

The first learning from these searches is that people misunderstand tactics and strategies and use the words interchangeably.

Strategy is the “overarching plan or set of goals.” Tactics “are the specific actions or steps you undertake to accomplish your strategy.”

For instance, if it were my strategy to appear as a growth thought leader (whatever that means), one tactic in my toolbelt may be writing articles like this. Another may be doing webinars hosted on my personal website. Another might be doing local meetups.

For my role at HubSpot, I could carve out a strategy to appear at every possible organic location for bottom funnel search results. Tactically, this could mean writing listicles like our “best help desk software” article. It could also mean getting more customer reviews to lift our prominence on review sites that already appear near the top of Google for these terms.

Now, I think that CRO or growth should neither be looked at as a strategy nor as a tactic. It should be viewed as an operating system.

An operating system, removed slightly from its technical origins, defines the rules, functions, heuristics and mannerisms that control a system. In short, it’s a code (both implicit and explicit) that defines how decisions are made.

What this means practically is that a conversion optimizer or growth hacker should look much less like a vigilante ninja, complete with both a broad and simultaneously specialized skill set, who can come in and optimize a landing page or fix a referral loop.

Instead, the practice should look much more like building and maintaining infrastructure.

This is an idea inspired in part by Ed Fry (from this blog post and from several conversations). In his article, he distinguishes marketing (those who write the copy, launch the campaigns, define the brand) from growth (the scientific method, which has come a long way in marketing due to technological enablement like front-end testing tools).

He writes:

“Our observation is growth enables marketing, product, sales and other teams across the organization. It sits at an operational role, supporting multiple teams across the company, and rolls up to Operations or the CEO. This is not about managing marketing activities that have to happen every day. Growth is far more concerned about moving levers behind the sales & marketing activity instead of the functional practices of campaigns, brand, and so on.”

This is where I think CRO (or growth) thrives, particularly as a company expands in size and sophistication.

No matter how you cut it, the process usually looks something like this:

We collect data and information, put it through our proprietary growth or CRO process (made up of a unique blend of technology, processes and humans), and our output is better decisions and experiences for our users.

But why should that live within the purview of one person or even one team? What if we could enable everyone in the company to make better decisions, systematically?

Where does CRO fit into the company structure?

CRO teams tend to be either centralized or decentralized (or in growth parlance, independent or function-led).

Image Source

In a centralized model, everything flows through that team, resulting in a more structured and predictable system, but can perhaps become bottlenecked if other teams want to join in. Here’s an article about the relative pros and cons of each model.

Image source

There’s a third model as well that I see more often now, particularly in large organizations with sophisticated experimentation programs: the center of excellence model.

Ronny Kohavi talked about this in an HBR article and explains it like this:

“A center of excellence focuses mostly on the design, execution, and analysis of controlled experiments. It significantly lowers the time and resources those tasks require by building a companywide experimentation platform and related tools. It can also spread best testing practices throughout the organization by hosting classes, labs, and conferences.”

In other words, if we move to a center of excellence model, CRO or growth teams can focus on building up three components of company infrastructure:

  • Technical ability (tools)
  • Education and best practices
  • Attitudes/beliefs (culture)

CRO should support technical enablement and tooling

First and foremost, to build a company where everyone can run experiments and make better decisions, it’s important to give people the tools and technology needed to do that. I think that falls under three areas:

  • Data
  • Experimentation capabilities
  • Knowledge sharing

To make better decisions, we need better data. A growth or CRO team can help implement, orchestrate and access the data each team needs to make better decisions.

Of course, there are a million tools on the market, ranging from the free and ubiquitous (Google Analytics) to the enterprise (Adobe Analytics) to the custom setups loved in technical organizations.

There’s no right choice for every organization, but it’s an important decision to discuss.

The second point is to decide on an experimentation framework or platform. Again, there are tons of tools available, ranging from free (Google Optimize) to enterprise to custom built.

How you set this up should have a lot to do with your organization’s technical capabilities, culture and functional needs. Echoing the above, there’s no easy answer here – but here’s a really interesting paper on how Microsoft has built their experimentation platform.

Finally, knowledge sharing is probably the most underrated. Assuming you have several teams running trustworthy experiments, delivering better experiences and getting results – the next logical piece in the puzzle is to allow archiving and communicating these results.

Education, training and best practices

The second component of infrastructure is education. If you’re going to democratize experiments, then you’ll want to make sure everyone knows how to run them.

Personally, I love the Airbnb model – they send employees through Data University to train everyone in the fundamentals.

Image Source

I realize this is a heavy up-front and top-down effort, so it doesn’t need to be as robust right off the bat. Your team could simply act as an internal consultancy, holding office hours and supporting interested teams when they run experiments. Normally it takes a small ramp up period before the team or the analyst/marketer is off and running by themselves.

At the very least, documenting how to set up and analyze experiments is something that should be done. Having a resource center, or at the very least a checklist or list of guidelines like I’ve tried to put together in this article, helps people feel more comfortable running their own tests properly.

Empowering a culture of experimentation

Finally, the last component of infrastructure is the subtle and the emotional. CRO and growth teams should be cheerleaders for evidence-based decision making, experimentation and the judicious use of data in campaigns.

I’ve written a lot about building a culture of experimentation in the past and can’t say there’s any one tip or tactic or magic bullet to do it.

Often, the best way is to have a powerful and influential evangelist at the top leading the way.

Sometimes it’s built up through the bottom through consistently showing results and disseminating them through the company via Wiki posts, newsletters, and weekly experiment readouts.

This may be the most important job of the CRO or growth team, as it builds a sort of “flywheel” effect. The more excited others are about growth and experimentation, the more they’re willing to learn and improve their own skill sets, and the more evangelists you’ll have for the program – a perpetual motion device of data-driven decision making that will surely help you edge out past the competition in the long run.

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Who’s Hiring in January 2019?

Here are our picks: Website Optimization Specialist – In Atlanta, SunTrust is looking for a specialist to be responsible for “developing and executing business strategies, processes and policies to enhance the sales and service experiences intrinsic to SunTrust’s digital spaces.” A/B Testing & Personalization Analyst – Join Barnes & Noble’s Optimization team in New York […]

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Here are our picks:

Website Optimization Specialist – In Atlanta, SunTrust is looking for a specialist to be responsible for “developing and executing business strategies, processes and policies to enhance the sales and service experiences intrinsic to SunTrust’s digital spaces.”

A/B Testing & Personalization Analyst – Join Barnes & Noble’s Optimization team in New York to “improve bn.com’s content, design, and usability for customers and to create unique experiences based on customers’ preferences and behaviors.”

Director-Digital Product Analytics & Testing –  Join the Enterprise Digital and Analytics team at American Express in New York.  They are looking for a leader to “provide value to the online card shopping experiences within the Global Consumer and Commercial businesses through customer data and measurement, insights through analytics techniques and experimentation.”

Marketing Manager, International Conversion – Ancestry is looking for a candidate to join their Conversion Marketing team in San Francisco.  This person is “responsible for improving and optimizing the user experience at each step in the conversion funnel with the end goal of maximizing revenue from visitors in each of Ancestry’s key global markets.”

Marketing Manager, A/B Testing & Optimization – Join AuthO’s Growth Team in “driving improvement in key engagement metrics and customer experience throughout the customer lifecycle.”

Director of B2B Marketing, Demand Generation – Join Vimeo’s B2B marketing team in New York to “scale qualified lead acquisition, build and continuously optimize digital marketing, account-based marketing (ABM), email automation, social, and event-based marketing channels.”

Sr. Analyst, eCommerce Direct to Consumer Analytics – Newell Brands is looking for a senior analyst in Hoboken, New Jersey, to drive “sustainable growth online through the best-in-class use of data and analytics.”

Digital Marketing Leader – Website Optimization – Join GE Healthcare in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin to “develop a rigorous testing and experimentation framework, and conceive, scope and implement experimentation initiatives to improve the website user experience and drive conversion rate optimization.”

Manager, Marketing Planning, Test & Analysis – Express is looking for an individual to lead the testing and optimization program in Columbus, Ohio, “starting with A/B & multivariate testing taking us into experience optimization and eventually personalization.”

 

Looking for a job or to fill a position?  Give us a shout and we’ll help spread the word in our next careers blog post.

 

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Free Guide: How to Strategize & Execute Profitable Personalization Campaigns

When I speak with our clients, it often strikes me how many of them feel overwhelmed by the very idea of personalization. Our imagination, often fueled by the marketing teams of various software companies, creates a perfect world where personalization enables every interaction to be completely custom for every individual. In this dreamland, artificial intelligence […]

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When I speak with our clients, it often strikes me how many of them feel overwhelmed by the very idea of personalization.

Our imagination, often fueled by the marketing teams of various software companies, creates a perfect world where personalization enables every interaction to be completely custom for every individual. In this dreamland, artificial intelligence and machine learning solve all our problems. All you have to do is buy a new piece of software, turn it on, and…BOOM: 1:1 personalization.

As a data scientist, I’ll let you in on a little secret: that software only provides the technological capability for personalization. Even further, the algorithms found within these tools simply assign a probability to each potential experience that maximizes the desired outcome, given the data they have access to. Suffice to say, they’re not as intelligent as you are led to believe.

If you caught our first post in this series, you already know that we define personalization a bit more broadly, as any differentiated experience that is delivered to a user based on known data about that user. This means personalization exists on a spectrum: it can be one-to-many, one-to-few, or one-to-one.

And while there are many tools that enable you to do personalization from a technical standpoint, they don’t solve for one of the main sources of anxiety around personalization: strategy

Most personalization campaigns fail because of a lack of a strategy that defines who, where and how to personalize. So I’ve put together a free downloadable guide to help you do just that. This seven-page guide is packed full of guidelines, templates and best practices to strategize and launch a successful personalization campaign, including:

  • Major considerations and things to keep in mind when developing your personalization strategy.
  • More than 30 data-driven questions about your customers to identify campaign opportunities.
  • A template for organizing and planning your personalization campaigns.
  • Guidelines for determining whether to deliver your campaigns via rule-based targeting or algorithmic targeting.

Free Download: Plan & Launch Profitable Personalization Campaigns.

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Thank You + Brooks Bell’s Best of 2018

It’s January 3, and if you’re like us, you’re already heads down at your desk and neck deep in emails. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a minute to reflect on the previous year. In November of 2018, we quietly celebrated 15 years of being in business. When Brooks Bell was founded, experimentation was in […]

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It’s January 3, and if you’re like us, you’re already heads down at your desk and neck deep in emails. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a minute to reflect on the previous year.

In November of 2018, we quietly celebrated 15 years of being in business. When Brooks Bell was founded, experimentation was in its infancy. But despite all the changes we’ve experienced since then, one thing remains true: it is the opportunity to connect with so many interesting people that are solving big problems for their business that makes our work worthwhile. Thanks for walking with us.

A look back at some of our big moments from 2018

Winning like Winona

In January, our Founder & CEO, Brooks Bell, was recognized as one of 25 women who rocked digital marketing in 2017. Later in the year, she was also announced as a Southeastern Finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. 

We also celebrated 2017’s record-breaking growth, were recognized as Optimizely’s North American Partner of the Year, and we garnered our local business journal’s Best Places to Work award.

Getting Lit with Illuminate

Fun fact: We originally built Illuminate to help us better manage and iterate upon our clients’ tests. Over time, we got so much great feedback, that we decided to make it available to everyone this year.

Now, with a successful beta launch under our belt and even more new features being added to the software, we’re excited to see where this new endeavor takes us in 2019.

F is for Friends, Fun and…Fear?

In October, things got a little spooky around the office and it had everything to do with Scott, our Director of Sales, who decided to channel his inner Ellen Degeneres for the day (much to our colleagues’ horror). Watch the video if you dare.

Making Bacon for our Clients

Back in 2014, we set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal to achieve $1 billion in projected revenue for our clients. By the end of 2017, we’d reached $500 million. And this past December, we hit $1 billion. (cue ::gong::)

But we’re not resting on our laurels. We’ve set some aggressive goals for 2019, with a focus on personalization, and we’re pumped to get to work.

Brooks Bell takes the Bay Area 

In September, we officially opened the doors to our San Fransisco office. This decision came after years of working with clients on the West Coast and our desire to work even more closely with them. And with the Bay Area’s rich history of innovation, we can’t think of a better place to help more companies push their boundaries through experimentation.

Still Clickin’ 

Last May, we hosted our annual Click Summit conference. We might be biased but this remains one of our favorite events as it’s filled with meaningful connections and seriously impactful takeaways. 2019 marks our 10th Click Summit, and we’ve got big plans. Request your invite today.

2018 on the blog

 


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Who’s Hiring in December?

Here are our picks: Sr. Director – Customer Experience Leader – Equifax is looking for a Senior Director in St. Louis, Missouri, to lead the Customer Experience Team in “intuitive design workflows and overall customer experience as they interact with Workforce Solution products.” Senior Software Engineer, Build Automation – Blizzard Entertainment is “seeking a talented […]

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Here are our picks:

Sr. Director – Customer Experience Leader – Equifax is looking for a Senior Director in St. Louis, Missouri, to lead the Customer Experience Team in “intuitive design workflows and overall customer experience as they interact with Workforce Solution products.”

Senior Software Engineer, Build Automation – Blizzard Entertainment is “seeking a talented and enthusiastic software engineer to join the Hearthstone team” in Irvine, California to improve testing, building and developing Hearthstone through software automation.

Conversion Optimization Specialist – Vivint Smart Home is looking for an “action-oriented thought leader to partner with the digital marketing channel manager to optimize ad creative, product lifts in on-page response rates and improve conversion rates for Vivint’s digital marketing portfolio.” in Provo, Utah.

Head Of Customer Marketing – Kabbage is “looking for an extremely analytical, results-oriented leader to join their data science team in Atlanta with a passion for growing customer relationships and increasing the value of customer marketing.”

Associate Director of Experimentation – Marketing Analytics – Join Walmart in San Bruno, California and “help the World’s largest omni-channel retailer develop, promote and lead execution of a rigorous testing and experimentation roadmap.”

Senior Product Manager, Data & Analytics – In New York, HBO is “looking for someone who has a proven track record of leading teams to identify unique market and consumer requirements, with experience in digital products portfolio management.”

Digital Product Manager – Cole Haan is looking for a manager in New York to “own the front-end digital site experience on ColeHaan.com and drive the overall user experience, optimization efforts and road map.”

UX Manager (E-Commerce) – iHerb is looking for a UI/UX Manager in Orange County, California to “enhance iHerb’s customer experience on their industry-leading, global e-commerce site through design and maintenance.”

Senior Manager, UX Planning & Insights – Join Leapfrog Online’s Strategy & Insights team in Evanston, Illinois and “help lead the strategy and cross-channel, digital user experience planning for Leapfrog clients.

Senior, UX Development – Fidelity Investments is looking for a web developer in Durham, North Carolina to join the User Experience Design team.  This role will be “supporting the Health Care Group’s digital employee and employer platforms, which customers and plan sponsors use to manage their health and welfare benefits.”

Looking for a job or to fill a position?  Give us a shout and we’ll help spread the word in our next careers blog post.

 

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Built to Wow: An Introduction to Launching Personalization At Your Company

The promise of personalization is enticing: a complete 1-to-1 experience for every customer, driven by every detail and data point about that person: who they are, their interests, needs and history. Their customer experience is completely optimized to deliver the right content at the right time, influencing brand engagement, purchase activity and “wow”-worthy customer experiences. […]

The post Built to Wow: An Introduction to Launching Personalization At Your Company appeared first on Brooks Bell.

The promise of personalization is enticing: a complete 1-to-1 experience for every customer, driven by every detail and data point about that person: who they are, their interests, needs and history. Their customer experience is completely optimized to deliver the right content at the right time, influencing brand engagement, purchase activity and “wow”-worthy customer experiences.

For years, this vision has been a pipedream among marketers, product managers and customer experience professionals. Many clients come to us wanting to “do personalization” but face significant challenges in doing so.

Part of this is due to the fact that “personalization” is so ill-defined.

At Brooks Bell, we define personalization as any experience that is delivered to a user based on known data about that person. By that definition, personalization exists on a spectrum: it can be one-to-few, one-to-many, or one-to-one. In the digital environment, product recommendations, customized search results and even segmented experiences are all considered examples of personalization.

But while many companies are already implementing these experiences, there’s still an overwhelming sense that many brands have yet to arrive in terms of personalization.


Got a bunch of burning questions about personalization? Submit them using the form below.

We’ll use this information to make sure we cover these topics in our upcoming posts.


A 2018 study of 300 marketers by Evergage and Researchscape International found that 98% of respondents believe personalization helps advance customer relationships, but only 12% were “very” or “extremely” satisfied with the level of personalization in their marketing efforts.

This is because (not unlike experimentation) personalization is a business strategy that should evolve in order to deliver long-term value. And while it’s true that many brands already have the ability to do personalization, they’ve also found that elevating and scaling a personalization program is difficult, costly and, frankly, can feel pretty darn impossible.

So, how to do this? In addition to the fundamentals for a standard optimization program, there are three critical working components that need to be established for personalization:

  • Technology: you need top-notch tools to centralize user profiles and deliver personalized experiences;
  • Data: personalization requires a clean, unified view of relevant customer attributes, and
  • Strategy: you need research and planning to purposefully and effectively launch, scale and benefit from personalization.

In the coming weeks, we’re going to break down personalization further by each of these components. We’ll outline the best practices, advice, strategies and tips to go from scrappy to smart when it comes to introducing and scaling personalization at your organization.

Struggling to execute a scalable personalization strategy? We can help. Contact us to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

The post Built to Wow: An Introduction to Launching Personalization At Your Company appeared first on Brooks Bell.