Learn how to build more emotionally engaging experiences with a personalized data strategy

Here are three audience management strategies marketers can use to supply new and captivating content.

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Consumers are demanding more from brands than ever before – more relevant, consistent and personalized experiences across devices and channels. And as a result, brand marketers are facing increased pressure to understand, anticipate and deliver on these shifting expectations.

Just because marketers know where their audience has been online, doesn’t mean they understand what consumers want. Planning a trip to Austin? You Google it once and get retargeted with flight deals for weeks after already purchasing a ticket. Brands can inadvertently alienate customers by relying on old, one-dimensional audience segments and fatiguing them with content they’ve already seen or no longer want.

A successful audience management strategy requires fresh, emotionally engaging content. Brands can do this by moving away from traditional segments and toward real-time, individualized data to elevate the digital experience. Here are three audience management strategies marketers can use to supply new and captivating content.

Get the full picture of your audience

Developing a holistic understanding of your audience – their intent, interests and behavior – is the single most important factor in building more meaningful customer relationships. Create multi-dimensional audience segments using first, second and third-party data sources to achieve a 360-degree customer view and level of hyper-personalization that helps foster lifelong brand loyalty.

Using the trip to Austin example, a marketing platform that can ingest multiple data sources would have captured that the flight ticket had already been purchased. As a result, the customer would be best served with recommendations for restaurants and tourist destinations in the Austin area rather than flight deals and rental cars. It’s important to take the personalization even further. For example, if the customer bought just one ticket to Austin, they may be planning a work trip or meet-up with friends, whereas if they had bought four, it’s likely the trip will be more family-oriented. These factors are important to track and analyze as they will inform vastly different experiences.

A model is only as good as the data it’s fed and combining multiple data sources (CRM database, analytics data and partner data) will help you build a complete audience profile and surface more intelligent insights that add real value for your audiences.

Harness up-to-the-minute insights using a holistic customer view

Now that you have a holistic view of a customer using multiple data sources, you must analyze and act upon real-time audience data to deliver the right content at exactly the right time. Using stale information can lead to content that is overly generalized at best and irrelevant at worst.

For example, the customer that had been looking at flights to Austin may have changed their mind — recent visits from a partner’s travel site shows they are interested in Mediterranean food. Updating your audience profiles based on real-time individual behaviors will reveal preference changes as they happen. Then, it’s as simple as updating their profile – or combining (perhaps Austin AND Mediterranean?) – to ensure it is yet again complete, enabling you to send them content that adds value and promotes engagement.

Activate your audiences

Your audience segments are only as valuable as the experiences you use them to deliver. Often, brands use different systems for marketing and advertising making it nearly impossible to reach the same audience across channels – and if you do, odds are they could be delivering different messages to the same audience. Plus, many of these systems may have segmentation capability, however, with the systems not connecting to each other, the segments in each system may have overlapping customer data.

As a consumer, brands that reward my loyalty with personalized offers are the ones I keep going back to. If a brand gives me points for subscribing, following and downloading their app, I’ll do it…if, and only if, they work to personalize their content. That said, I don’t want to see offers for the same women’s jeans from my favorite department store across every channel. Providing personalized incentives that add value across different touch points are what keep me coming back for more.

This isn’t a lesson just for B2C brands. Even B2B software companies are building loyalty by tailoring outreach with relevant content like e-books to the right audience on the right platform at the right time.

The best way to reach the same audience across multiple platforms is to build an authoritative definition of your high-value audience segments, and equally important, a seamless way to engage them across channels, from email; to display ads; to social; to voice.

Avoid becoming the Monday morning spam by consistently updating your audience management strategy to keep consumers engaged. Churning out fresh, emotionally engaging content personalized to the consumer is essential. To do so, marketers must keep audience profiles updated and informed by multiple data sources to have the best view of the customer. Then it’s as simple as letting the experience drive the loyalty to keep them coming back for more.

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3 inspiring campaigns that remind brands to be human during the holidays

Campaigns from Europe should inspire marketers everywhere to tell more empathetic stories during this season and in seasons to come.

The post 3 inspiring campaigns that remind brands to be human during the holidays appeared first on Marketing Land.

We’ve heard a lot lately that brands need to show empathy, that they need to make a “human connection” with consumers. While that has always been true, it’s recently become more important with consumer trust at a historic low. This development makes trust a vital trait for brands to build—more than one in three consumers rank “trust in brand” as among their top three reasons they shop at a particular retailer.

The holidays represent an unusually promising time for brands to show their human side. When it comes to branding, major American companies tend to focus a lot on the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, across the pond in the U.K., yuletide campaigns have long been valued as the best branding juncture on the calendar. During this moment in time when empathy and authenticity are seen as keys to branding success, U.S. marketers have an opportunity to reimagine their holiday season strategies as more inspirational and less transactional.

Sure, some leading U.S. brands have made a habit out of appealing to consumers’ humanity during the holidays. Take Lexus’ “December to Remember” tagline, which resonates with Americans like few other campaigns—in fact it’s the leading car name for brand awareness during the holidays. Budweiser has regularly had the Clydesdales in Christmas ads. And Coca-Cola practically made Santa Claus part of its logo for decades to tap into the holiday spirit.

There’s an opportunity for more U.S. marketers to adopt the holiday playbook. With that in mind, here are three campaigns from Europe that should inspire marketers everywhere to tell more empathetic stories during this season and in seasons to come.

The Tear-Jerker

Called “Love Is A Gift,” this video has made millions of folks misty-eyed. It chronicles a young man’s journey through the first 25 days of December, marking each successive day off of his kitchen calendar as if he’s a grade schooler anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus. What he’s looking forward to is a visit from his deceased mother’s voice via an audio cassette tape that was made 13 years prior. This video suggests that the mother was terminally ill and made 13 recordings for her son—named Chris, or “Puppet” to his mum—to listen to every Christmas morning after she had left the world. It’s a slow build but packs an emotional wallop at the end.

Which brand is the advertiser? It’s an ad for the filmmaker, and his name is Phil Beastall. And it was made in…2014. But it went viral this holiday season. And it cost only $65. What a remarkable, creative story, and it should be viewed as one the best B2B ads of recent memory. It seems highly likely that Beastall’s phone’s been ringing off the hook with calls from marketers in recent weeks—after all, his 2-minute, 27-second video has been viewed nearly 12 million times on social media.

The Epic

Elkjøp, which is a Norwegian electronics retailer, tells the story of a young girl with her family at Christmastime. She meets an older relative she’s fearful of at first. They eventually become kindred spirits after it’s clear they share a common interest in flight. It’s a “show, don’t tell” kind of tale, leaving many dots unconnected. It could be even described as cryptic since there is no spoken dialogue, only slight narration. Called “To give more,” the four-minute video is epic by advertising standards, with a message that gifts sometimes mean more than words. Brands that capture deeper themes around the holidays like Elkjøp did strike a meaningful chord that enhances their humanity. The campaign was picked up by dozens of consumer-facing and advertising publications, receiving hundreds of thousands of views for ad vloggers alone.

The Elton

Back in the U.K., John Lewis & Partners’ TV spot goes through pop music icon Elton John’s life in reverse, ending with the poignant moment when he got an upright piano for Christmas from his mother as a young boy. The two-and-a-half-minute video concludes with the tagline: “Sometimes a gift is more than a gift.”

It’s been like another Top of the Pops hit for the Elton John and John Lewis, a company with a history of successful holiday ads. Similar to the other examples, it’s a brand using a novel storytelling approach to celebrate the deep connections that bring family together around the holidays. Nothing could be more human than that. The John Lewis brand, which operates a chain of high-end department stores throughout the United Kingdom, has garnered at least 25 million views on social media channels.

The season for empathy

Such view metrics make clear that consumers respond when brands show their humanity this time of year. Humanity builds a connection with customers and creates more trust. And even if measuring ROI is your end-all, be-all, note that nearly half of Americans (47 percent) get their holiday shopping information from TV ads. The fact that these spots can be shared by millions on social networks makes them even more impactful.

And as Beastall’s short film showed, it doesn’t matter if you are selling B2B creativity or high-end clothing. The holidays are an incredible opportunity for marketers to show their humanity.

The post 3 inspiring campaigns that remind brands to be human during the holidays appeared first on Marketing Land.

5 Ways to Optimize Your Website For Converting Visitors into Customers in 2018

One of the central points of a successful website is optimizing your sales funnel for conversion. Here’s a guide to CRO, including the buying cycle and the optimization of your website for each stage. But what is the buying cycle? In a nutshell, it is a patterned process customers go through when contemplating a purchase. […]

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One of the central points of a successful website is optimizing your sales funnel for conversion. Here’s a guide to CRO, including the buying cycle and the optimization of your website for each stage.

But what is the buying cycle?

In a nutshell, it is a patterned process customers go through when contemplating a purchase.

In most cases, you can break the buying cycle into three stages.

  • Top of the Funnel: The “awareness” stage when a customer is trying to solve problems, get an answer, or meet a need. At this stage, they are usually unaware of their problem, so you need to show it to them through blog posts, eBooks, and other useful resources.
  • Middle of the Funnel: The “evaluation” stage when a customer is doing research on whether your product or service is a good fit for them. At this point, they already know their problem and they are looking for the best solution.
  • Bottom of the Funnel: The “purchase” stage when your visitors convert and become a customer. At this stage, all you need is the right offer.

breakdown of visitor type to your website

Source

Your marketing campaigns must be different based on what stage the customer is in the buying cycle. Your goal is to move the customer to the next phase of the buying cycle, and your final goal is to get customers to the convert stage or to the bottom of the funnel. At this stage, the customer buys the chosen product.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. The average conversion rate is only 3% which means 97% of visitors leave the average website without buying. Improving the conversion rate is essential for all websites. If you ignore it and focus only on driving traffic, you’ll quickly spend most of your money with little to show for it in return.

In this article, we’ll focus on how to optimize your website for the conversion stage. Let’s dive into it!

  1. Optimize your checkout page

Making checkout process fast is a really important requirement for ecommerce sites. Many visitors will leave your website at this point if your checkout process is confusing and slow. For example, a checkout process that goes through more than two pages is likely to result in an abandoned cart.

In order to avoid this, it’s a good idea to show a progress bar to your visitors so they know exactly where they’re at in the checkout process.

Another common practice is to minimize distractions as much as possible. A minimal checkout allows the customer to check out instantaneously and increases the chances of a sale. Don’t have twenty fields on your checkout page, ask only what is required and allow the customer to fill the information in broad, convenient fields.

Ultra.com has the perfect example of a minimal checkout:

Optimize your checkout page for increased website conversion rate.

Now let’s see a bad example – don’t try to copy this one:

Optimize form fields to complete the visitor journey.

  1. Don’t force registrations

Have you noticed that nearly every website you visit asks you to “sign up” or “sign in”? But these accounts are usually forgotten in a few weeks and it just frustrates visitors.

Registrations usually involve extra steps in the buying process and it will hurt your store. Some visitor will leave the site because they don’t want to register. Some will struggle with the registration. Allowing guest accounts can simplify the process for new customers. Guest checkout means that visitors can make a purchase from your store without logging in to an account or saving any information in your database.

impact of shipping and delivery charges on checkout process.

If you want to make your checkout process even easier and less frustrating, allow shoppers to use a social media account. According to research, 66% of consumers prefer using social login.

  1. Shipping and handling costs should be clear

Many websites show taxes, shipping charges and other charges at the end of the check-out process. This is a terrible tactic. It will definitely create a feeling of shock for the customer.

That’s why you should always make the total cost visible as soon as possible. It’s even better if you already highlight your shipping costs on your homepage and product pages.

Using dynamic shipping policy is also a good practice. It means that you display real-time shipping rates to your customers based on their address, and include all costs like in the example below.

Optimize the registration step in your checkout process.

  1. Recover abandoning visitors on-site

Just because a customer adds something to the cart, it doesn’t mean he/she’s going to buy it. In fact, the average ecommerce cart abandonment rate is nearly 70%. In other words, 7 out of 10 visitors who add an item to their cart will leave the store without buying. But luckily, there is a way to save these visitors and reduce cart abandonment. It’s called onsite retargeting. Onsite retargeting works by monitoring visitors’ behavior, and when their behavior indicates they are ready for some additional message, it will be displayed to them, usually in a popup. I suggest displaying a popup which either prompts them that they are leaving or provides them an incentive to complete the purchase like in the example below.

use pop-ups to decrease cart abandonment rate

  1. Increase the sense of urgency

Visitors often think “I’ll buy it later” while browsing online stores. They leave, and they never come back – even if they really liked the product. Fostering a sense of urgency is a very effective way to overcome procrastination. You have a number of ways to make your visitors feel like there is a “ticking clock”. For example, you can offer free shipping for a limited number of buyers: only the first 50 buyers. Another option is to show when one of your products is out of stock. It can also increase buyer confidence by implying there is demand for the product and showing a certain number of items have already been sold. You can also set up deadlines for discounts or offer free shipping for a limited time, e.g. 15 minutes. The expiration date of the offer creates a sense of urgency in your customers.

Below, you can see an example where they provide $50 off if the visitors finish checkout within 5 minutes.

offer on exit intent pop up to convince visitors to purchase

Summary

Every customer goes through the buying cycle. Customers want different interactions with you depending on where they are in the buying cycle.

In this article, we were focusing on the convert stage. Optimizing your checkout page and allowing guest registrations are important to prevent cart abandonment. Despite all these efforts, some visitor will still try to leave your site, this is when you need to recover them using onsite retargeting and fostering a sense of urgency.

Using the tips we’ve shared, you’ll be able to optimize your website for the convert stage. You should check all points and see how they work for you.

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SiriusDecisions Summit 2018: Bound Event Guide

One of the best events for B2B Leaders is right around the corner…are you ready for SiriusDecisions Summit 2018? It’s a big event, with 3,000+ attendees, 120+ vendors and all the frameworks and case studies you can dream of. I’ve waded my way through the “Sirius” puns, poured over session summaries, sifted through the Sirius […]

The post SiriusDecisions Summit 2018: Bound Event Guide appeared first on Bound.

One of the best events for B2B Leaders is right around the corner…are you ready for SiriusDecisions Summit 2018?

It’s a big event, with 3,000+ attendees, 120+ vendors and all the frameworks and case studies you can dream of. I’ve waded my way through the “Sirius” puns, poured over session summaries, sifted through the Sirius blog, and scouted every open-invite afterparty. Here is everything you need to know about SiriusDecisions Summit 2018.

Our team is excited to share this experience with you. Come say hello at booth 412!

Guest Keynotes

Last year I walked into Summit thinking how the heck does Jewel relate to B2B Marketing? As it turns out, Sirius event planners know what they are doing. I scribbled countless notes about lead nurture vs. nature and authenticity in marketing: “underneath, we’re all looking for the same thing: an authentic human experience.” You know that got my personalization juices flowing.

Jewel keynote on creating an authentic human experience

This year’s keynotes are Molly Bloom and Platon. If these speakers are good enough for an Aaron Sorkin feature film and the World Economic Forum in Davos, respectively, then we must be in for a treat. I expect we’ll witness masterful storytelling on the topics of authenticity, leadership, collaboration and ambition.

Analyst Keynotes

SiriusDecisions is known for dropping big ideas in the analyst keynotes. The 2017 big reveal was the Demand Unit Waterfall®, which shaped the conversation for the whole conference. While I don’t expect such a core announcement in 2018, we can expect the keynotes to guide the themes of the conference.

SiriusDecisions Summit Keynote Preview

Visit the Summit website for keynote overviews. The links below are to Sirius blog posts that give a little more insights into the keynote topics.

If you see these analysts out in the wild, go ahead and buy them a coffee or drink. They work really hard on these presentations. I also recommend following these keynote analysts who are active on Twitter throughout the conference: @julieogilvie, @KerrySirius, @gcanare, @Marisa_Kopec.

Sessions

The full 2018 Summit agenda features three praiseworthy changes.

  1. The 2018 Summit is condensed to three days, a half day less than previous years. This is a good move because that last half day was rough for travel arrangements (and fell after the Green Tie Gala) so attendance was low. Somehow, they still managed to squeeze in about the same amount of session time with the condensed schedule in 2018.
  2. There are 12 tracks to choose from in 2018, up from seven in 2017. The new track structure dedicates more focus within sales, product, brand, and customer engagement functions. SiriusDecisions has long advocated for alignment between the different facets of the revenue organization, so this update is feels like they are finally walkin’ the walk.
  3. Did somebody say role-based breakfast?! I’m so excited for the introduction of role-based breakfasts in 2018. Sessions, as educational as they are, are a one-way communication. Summit isn’t short on networking opportunities, but role-based networking time is valuable for getting inspiration and validation.

Personalization Strategy: A Custom Track

We recommend the following sessions to create your own personalization strategy track. Stop by our booth 412 to learn how Bound insights and personalization helps your demand, ABM, portfolio and content strategies.

Wednesday

  • ABM Infrastructure: A Capabilities-Driven View of the Stack That Drives Growth
  • Creating Demand Maps to Power Account-Centric Planning

Thursday

  • Activating Persona and Buyer Insights for Demand Creation or SiriusLab: Implementing Nurture Programs in a Demand Unit World
  • The State of B-to-B Content: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
  • B-to-B Demand Creation: By the Numbers

Parties

What would SiriusDecisions be without parties? It is held in Las Vegas after all.

Quick overview of the SiriusDecisions-hosted parties: Fall Out Boy is headlining the Green Tie Gala. The Titanium Celebration is now earlier and in the marketplace, packing in all the networking while freeing up the evening for unsponsored events and dinners. Dress code tends to range from the business casual to business chic (there is the occasional green suit for the gala…costumes optional).

…and moving on to more pressing matters: RSVPs for outside, not-Sirius-sponsored parties hosted by a range of vendors. I’ll just cut to the chase:

 Date  Time  Event Name  Location  Registration URL
 May 7  5:30 PM  ABMargs  Border Grill  bit.ly/2HqBbvW
 May 9  7:00 PM  ABM Royale  Skyfall Lounge  bit.ly/2uOsJk1
 May 9  7:00 PM  Marketing Mingle  Foundation Room  ora.cl/T5FX0

 

Want to hang with Bound?

Bags packed? Request a meeting or visit us at booth 412 (memorized it yet?). Need a ticket? Register with code SPONBOUND for $400 off. Can’t make it? Bummer. You can follow along on Twitter using @bound_360, @Stephanie_Bound, and #SDSummit. When the FOMO resides, go ahead and request a personalization strategy consultation.

Final Notes

Download the event app. Wear comfortable shoes. Bring a jacket (conference centers are cold). See you in Las Vegas!

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