New Years' Marketing Resolutions

by , Dec 24, 2013, 10:20 AM
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According to a new whitepaper by Silverpop, the customer revolution is under way. Apple, Lexus and Amazon.com have transcended prices and features to create compelling and fulfilling customer experiences, says the report. They’ve embraced the customer revolution and are raising customer expectations for every other business.

A recent study reported that 83% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product or service if they feel a personal connection to the company. And one fifth said they would pay 50% more if they felt the company put the customer first, points out the study.

Given that landscape, says the whitepaper, how can businesses distinguish themselves from the pack? To respond to that question, management and strategists from Silverpop selected 7 key marketing trends for 2014 to elaborate on and provide ongoing suggestions for inplementation.

Trend 1 ABANDONMENT REMARKETING MOVES UP THE FUNNEL

In 2013, cart abandonment remarketing crossed the chasm and became a mainstream tactic for retailers and ecommerce companies.  Cart abandonment campaigns typically yield off-the-chart conversion rates since the contacts are so close to purchasing, but the number of people who fill up carts comprises a relatively small percentage of the total people visiting your site.

For most companies, there’s a huge number of people browsing on your site every day who have previously established an email relationship with you. These people have already established that they have some affinity for your brand, yet most companies don’t remarket to them.

Key tactics for initiating browse abandonment efforts in 2014, according to the whitepaper:

  • Concentrate on a few key Web pages or categories. Trigger  browse-related email, begin with a few key categories or “fulcrum pages” that are suggestive of an engaged prospect that’s looking to go to the next level.
  • Start simple. Don’t worry about sending a multipart series, incorporating behavior driven dynamic content and using technology integrations to pull in relevant ratings and recommendations yet. Get the program up and running, and then fine tune.
  • Deliver educational content. These contacts are typically in the research phase, so leverage existing content will help them in their decision-making process rather than just sending an incentive or discount.

Trend 2 DIGITAL ACQUISITION MEETS THE PHYSICAL WORLD

While efforts to fine-tune online acquisition efforts will continue, in 2014 many marketers will be turning their attention to the next untapped opportunity for database growth: physical locations. Although physical store opt-in opportunities have always been there, mobile and POS technologies have evolved to the point that it’s become much easier for company employees or consumers themselves to opt in to your email program.

A company with 1,000 retail outlets that captures five opt-ins per day per store would be looking at nearly 2 million new subscribers over the course of a year. Even with 50 stores, you’re talking tens if not hundreds of thousands of new subscribers annually, capitalizing on the opportunity to build relationships with people who are showing some level of interest and engagement by coming into your store, says the report.

Key tactics to drive in-store opt-ins in 2014:

  • Have cashiers ask for the opt-in. Or, more cutting-edge, have a roving employee with a tablet invite customers to opt in.
  • Take steps to avoid process abuse. Educate employees about how to ask for opt-ins and why it’s an important part of their role.
  • Put flyers throughout your store inviting customers to text you to opt in to your email program. Or, include signage with a QR code that takes shoppers to a mobile-optimized page where they can opt in.
  • These tactics can be expanded to capture mobile numbers for SMS alerts and promotions, as well as physical addresses for direct mail offers, coupons and catalogs.

Trend 3 ACTIONABLE DATA BECOMES A KEY DIFFERENCE MAKER

Today’s mobile, social and Web-savvy buyers favor a personalized experience. But if the data you have on a contact is lacking, you’ll be limited in the tools you can use to connect on an individual level. Companies have been heavily investing in data warehouse initiatives.

But data warehouses also have limitations – the number-crunching process can be expensive and slow, the data anonymous and aggregate, and the systems ill-equipped to use individual customer data to immediately trigger an email, initiate a new campaign or send an SMS message.

To begin strategizing about an actionable database start by thinking about the five or 10 data elements you need to personalize your marketing and target contacts on an increasingly one-to-one level.

Key tactics for building an actionable database in 2014:

  • Try new techniques for gathering “explicit” data — surveys, progressive forms, popovers or modal windows.
  • Set up Web tracking and system integrations that enable you to capture the behaviors of your customers across the various channels they use to interact with you – mobile, social and offline.
  • Design some business rules that leverage this data. Set up a triggered email that’s sent if certain behavioral criteria are met.

Trend 4 PERSONALIZED WEBSITES MOVE BEYOND AMAZON AND NETFLICKS

Today, technological advances have made the personalized website available for all marketers to deploy. By providing a more personalized experience, you’ll find people stay on your website longer, download more offers and purchase more products.

The days of the static corporate website are numbered. In 2014, savvy marketers will be tapping the latest technology to understand who website visitors are, how they’ve interacted with you and where they are in the buying cycle. Then, they’ll use this data to improve the Web experience for their customers and prospects.

Key tactics for personalizing your website in 2014:

  • Different integration and plug-and-play options are be available that enable you to tap the marketing richness of your platform’s database and use it to customize your website.
  • Don’t customize every area of your website right off the bat. Personalizing a single section of your site can make a big difference, and it will make it easier to get the ball rolling.
  • Choose a place to start that will really move the needle. If you’re a B2C marketer, offering product recommendations based on past purchases or pages viewed can be a powerful starter tactic. On the B2B side, persona-based content recommendations and offers that match the prospect’s position in the buying cycle can make an immediate impact.

Trend 5 LOCATION MARKETING 2.0 ARRIVES

Knowing where your customers are is an immensely powerful part of delivering the right message at the right time. Apple’s announcement of the iBeacon functionality as part of its iOS7 technology is a game-changer for how businesses will conduct location-based marketing in the future. iBeacon as a form of microlocation geofencing that makes it much easier for retailers to use a person’s exact location within a store to deliver targeted, relevant content.

Use any demographic and behavioral data you have about that customer to customize the content you send based on age, gender, purchase history, online shopping cart, products viewed online and hundreds of other variables.

Serve up customized coupons with iBeacon, send sales alerts based on real-time external data (such as weather changes), display personalized product information and videos, curate shopping lists based on past purchases, and drive email opt-ins. As we move into 2014 and 2015, the most successful marketers will be those who develop smart ways to take this new iBeacon technology, says the report.

Key tactics to implement location marketing 2.0 in 2014:

  • Plan which segments of customers you want to send location-related content, and a plan for what content will enhance their in-store experience
  • The reps in the store needs to understand what’s going on if you’re going to deliver on the technology’s promise.
  • Complement your iBeacon-driven push messaging with email communications. Exiting your store might trigger an email promoting products in the areas they browsed, upsell offers for items related to what they purchased, or a summary of their rewards benefits based on their latest store visit.

Trend 6 BUYER INTELLIGENCE IS NO LONGER LIMITED TO THE ELITE

If a customer abandons a product on your page and you send a follow-up message, what’s the best offer strategy- a discount or free shipping? And how does the impact of customer interactions decay over time? In 2014, savvy marketers at companies of all sizes will be using buyer intelligence to build really smart programs that engage customers more strongly.

The goal is to use your data to start modeling behaviors, and then use these models to help you reach your goal of delivering the right message at the right time. Take this intelligence and make it customer facing via really smart programs. Make it a goal in 2014 to take one or two really intelligent campaigns and layer them into your messaging mix, gradually making your content more relevant.

Key tactics for using buyer intelligence to your benefit in 2014:

  • Look at aggregate data for new insights about your customers’ and prospects’ needs throughout their lifecycles. Consider what content you could provide that would deepen their engagement at different stages.
  • Mine your purchase history data to identify customers most likely to generate long-term value. Develop new retention programs to build stronger relationships with these high-value customers.
  • Look at the marketing/sales relationship in new ways. Order, combination and frequency of marketing touches; interaction with certain pieces of content.

Trend 7 MARKETERS BECOME THE ARCHITECTS OF THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Marketing has always been the bridge that connects businesses and customers, but in the past the emphasis was on communicating brand offers. In 2014, successful businesses will need to engage with each customer when and where that customer prefers with content that is perfectly tuned and individualized.

Think of marketing as a travel company and customers as tourists. Most marketing today does little more than herd a large crowd of tourists toward a small set of the most popular destinations. More advanced marketing is like a tour bus - more destinations and smaller crowds, but with a fixed sequence and generic experience. The future of marketing is like having your own private concierge who knows your interests, budget and pace, delivering a completely unique and personal experience perfectly tailored to you.

Key tactics to enhance the customer experience in 2014:

  • Pick a channel you’ve never individualized before and add an element of personalization. Or, add more customized content to an existing channel to make it more helpful, fun and/or engaging.
  • Look for creative ways to use customer behaviors to drive cross-channel interactions. 
  • Make real time your mantra. The timeliness of your response can make a difference. Configure your business rules and automated programs to make it happen.

In 2014, marketers will have two choices, says the report they can keep running marketing for marketers, delivering generic promotional messages when the company has an offer it wants to push out, and focusing solely on driving customer transactions. Or, they can start running marketing for customers, delivering content uniquely tailored to each individual’s needs and expectations. In 2014, choosing the latter path will be critical to achieving success. The future of marketing relationships is personal and will reflect the individuality of each customer, concludes the whitepaper.

Please visit Silverpop marketing for more information

 

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