Author: John Rampton

What Key Metrics Should Inform Your Cross-Channel Marketing?

 

 

Knowing what to track in your marketing can help shape your future tactics. Today's marketing success comes from the ability to make the right improvements at the right time. This sounds fairly straightforward. However, with the increased number of metrics available, it can be difficult to know which to incorporate in your cross-channel marketing strategy. Plus, not every metric is meaningful to what you’re trying to achieve for your business or audience.Not every metric is meaningful to what you’re trying to achieve for your business. How do you choose what to focus on?

Therefore, consider key metrics that include channel approaches and an integrated framework. Here is one way to approach analytics for each channel in your marketing strategy:

Website Channel Metrics

Your website has the power to inform, engage, and, most importantly, influence purchase decisions. With your other channels, you’re trying to direct prospects to your website. Hence, it's important that they stay after all the effort you put in on the other channels to get them there.

Site speed significantly impacts the user experience. It determines if customers decide to stay or turn to your competition. Also, review each visitor's session duration. This indicates their level of engagement. Heat maps assess where each visitor spends the most time, what pages they like best, and what page they were on before they bought something or left your website. When and where they leave can indicate where you need to improve content or website navigation.

Social Media Channel Metrics

Whether you’re participating in social media ads or just generating your own social media content, this channel needs to be assessed for engagement and influence. Your posts influence if followers take the next step to buy from you. To get more companies to advertise and spend their marketing dollars on social media, the major social platforms offer all type of analytics.

These tools track these metrics without having to learn or pay for additional tools. This adds to the value of investing in the promotional features on these social media sites.

Email Marketing Channel Metrics

Since email continues to be a results-driven marketing channel, it's important to measure certain metrics for email campaigns. Look at how many subscribers are added as a result of each campaign. This tells you if the content was compelling enough to peak their interest on future content you may share.

Additionally, you can find out how many recipients opened the email and followed through based on the call to action. Of course, knowing how many unsubscribe is also good. It's a sign you’re not connecting with certain people. Understanding why can direct how you alter future email campaigns.

Integrated Channel Metrics

While these metrics are all a key part of your overall cross-channel marketing effort, the reality is that today's audiences are influenced by numerous channels and don’t necessarily have a pattern or habit for which channel they prefer or feel influences them the most. After all, this is why you’re crossing channels in your marketing efforts to reach more people. Therefore, your analytics have to do the same in terms of following an integrated customer journey that determines how different channels work together to convince their target audience.

Examining metrics in an integrated way identifies cross-channel synergies that increase influence and, in return, ROI. Therefore, integrated analytics can reveal how much each tactic and channel contribute to conversions. This also points to what combination wields the greatest influence over purchases. There are powerful analytics platforms available that incorporate forecasting algorithms for digital and traditional channels.

Also, machine learning capabilities can identify changing customer behavior that separate metric analysis cannot deliver. Incorporating artificial intelligence will then provide a way to predict traffic and pinpoint the exact time to post content on a particular channel and in what sequence across channels.

Therefore, cross-channel marketing will need to go beyond looking at key metrics and evolve into a model that takes an integrative approach through applying statistics, modeling, machine learning, a range of algorithms, and predictive analytics. Cross-channel marketing becomes more of a whole-business approach when it comes to analysis, bringing together online and offline data from across the organization and the external environment. By doing so, your company can more effectively track and respond to customer behaviors with real-time changes to campaigns across all channels.

Want to read more? Check out our Cross-Channel Fundamentals Guide and Streamline CX Guide here.

 

4 Little Known Ways to Implement Cross-Channel Marketing

It's a great time to be in marketing because there are so many more channels and outlets to reach customers and prospects. Each channel has different expectations and opportunities to connect with your audience.  You need to know which channels mean the most to your specific audience. Plus, it's important to determine how to leverage them effectively and how to use them together to increase return. It's a cross-channel marketing strategy that brings all those components together.

One way of creating and implementing your cross-channel marketing strategy for business success is to use tactics like these:

1. Have One Script, Many Writers

In a choir, everyone sings from the same sheet of music. Yet, it doesn't mean they all contribute the same thing to the overall sound. Use the same approach in your cross-channel marketing. Be consistent in your messaging and theme across channels. However, don't just copy and paste what you had in your blog onto your social media pages and then make it an email, too. This bores your audience. Eventually, they will stop following you on certain channels and you'll lose that engagement.

Instead, a choir features a soprano, alto, and other distinct pitches. This adds depth to the sound while creating harmony. Likewise, your cross-channel marketing effort can use many writers on the team. They can generate multiple dimensions and narratives for your brand message, resonating with different audience members on various channels. This same harmonious result can be achieved where there are not conflicting messages or redundant content.

Use a content calendar to create your overall themes and messaging. Then, assign various team members or freelancer channels so their voice and unique style put a different spin on your storytelling efforts. Consider rotating these writers across channels so that they work on blogs one month and perhaps email marketing the next.

2. Localize Your Efforts

With cross-channel marketing, it's easy to just focus on the broader set of channels that reach across your entire target audience. To change your approach, consider looking at how to localize one or two of those channels. Select those channels where you know your audience might be inclined to use in conjunction with their local errands and needs, such as social media, SMS, and search. Then, you can adapt your content periodically to address local promotions at certain locations while still maintaining an overall promotion strategy.

Likewise, you can consider this strategy if you plan on expanding into international territories and need to address the subtle differences, cultural attributes, and varied languages of these markets. When implementing this type of cross-channel approach, you'll also need to think about how to adapt taglines, product names, slogans, and other types of content for other languages and cultures. Get local talent to help you achieve this to ensure you are not sending a confusing message to this new international audience segment.

3. Integrate Your Data Across Channels

Cross-channel analytics is an integral part of your strategy that’s often not implemented to the depth it should be to create the valuable insights for greater success. Instead, companies tend to leave their analytics in silos related to each channel. Then, they view the data separately for each channel. The better implementation strategy is to synchronize data across all channels. This uncovers how your audience interacts with more than one channel – and sometimes does so simultaneously.

The results from doing so will provide a way to make sure all the customer experiences and interactions you are creating across all the channels – email, social, mobile, web, and more – are relevant and timely for your audience. Also, it's a way to understand the impact and location of referrals. Additionally, analytics can uncover which channel combinations deliver the greatest conversion rates. That will help you optimize your spend on channel strategies such as paid social media, Google ads, and other tactics that may consume more of your budget.

4. Return to Traditional Channels

What has also happened recently is an obsessive focus on digital transformations, which means that traditional marketing channels are now being neglected. In reality, a large part of the millennial demographic prefers these old school marketing methods, especially tactics like direct mail. Determine how your audience might respond to print ads, billboards, television ads, and direct mail.

For example, a direct mail piece to a targeted local area can drive prospects and customers to your physical location. However, if you add a QRC code, they can also use that through their smartphone. This can connect them with your business through a website or social media page. In this way, your call to action is drawing customers to your online or offline presence and influencing their purchase decision. Also, you can use the traditional channel as the introduction to the new campaign. Then, follow that up with a digital rollout on email or social media a few days later. This reinforces the message and catches your audience on different channels at an optimum time.

7 Ways to Future-Proof Your Organization With Data Driven Marketing

The way prospects buy is changing. This truth has been identified by a number of studies. Even without such studies, each of us intuitively understands that our shopping habits have changed and continue to do so. Today, if we are in need of household items, we turn to Amazon. If we want to be entertained, we turn to Netflix. If we want to plan an amazing vacation, we turn to Tripadvisor or Google.

Empirically speaking, buyers research between 1 to 4 hours online before making any purchasing decisions. This was not the case a decade ago when Android did not exist and when the iPhone was just launched. Similarly, in a few years, the buying preferences of your target audience will undoubtedly have changed again.

This article is designed to help marketers prepare their marketing organizations for change. Even though we may not know what those trends will be, there are seven steps that any marketing leader can take to position their organizations for future success.

1. Embrace Data Science

Some of the world’s most successful organizations use a combination of data scientists and marketers to acquire more customers, improve customer retention, and reduce acquisition costs. The term “data science” can be applied to many different aspects of business, from software development to business operations, Marketing teams that embrace the principles of data science will be more successful because of it.

Google Trends GraphThe Google Trends chart above highlights the growing interest among all searchers in regards to data science. When it comes to marketing and data science, mining datasets for customer insights can help organizations find the right answer much faster than by relying on traditional techniques.

Businesses like MailChimp, Uber and Amazon (among countless others) have all embraced data science as a way of uncovering hidden opportunities for many different business units, including marketing. As the VP of Product Management (and previously the Chief Data Science), John Foreman says, “The data science team at MailChimp leads from the back in this way — constantly finding ways to serve other teams and our customers using analytics and data-driven products.” 

2. Create a Growth Team

Marketing teams responsible for fueling demand are essentially helping to grow the business. As a result of this focus, Growth Marketing has become a popular new trend used by companies like Hubspot, Dropbox, and Warby Parker.

Growth marketing teams are usually comprised of an eclectic mix of data-driven professionals. It is typical for growth teams to include a lead marketer who is supported by an engineer, product manager and data scientist.

When thinking about what skills a growth marketer should have, consider the “T” example shown here. The visual shows a “T” shaped skillset where growth marketers are knowledgeable about many different aspects of marketing, while also having deep knowledge about a few key areas related to growth. In this case, search engine optimization and pay per click advertising are key skills for the growth marketer represented by the diagram above.

Creating a growth marketing team will help your marketing organization to drive growth in a scalable and sustainable way, by incorporating growth strategies into many different areas of your business.

3. Measure Every Marketing Channel

The famous management consultant, Peter Drucker coined the phrase, “what gets measured gets managed.” It was true when his book The Effective Executive was published in 1967, and it is true today.

For marketing teams to be successful both today and in the future, it is important that key metrics are measured, tracked, and incorporated into company culture. Team updates should be centered around performance related to KPIs, as should individual performance evaluations.

Unfortunately, some areas of marketing—such as PPC performance or email marketing—are often over-measured while other areas are under-measured. Measurement of new social media platforms is the one facet that marketing teams should focus on, for example. After all, investing in an Instagram analytics platform like Owlmetrics can help your team get the most out of one of the fastest growing social media networks in the world.

4. Successfully Forecast Performance within a Few Percent

Being able to successfully forecast marketing performance is key when working in a data driven organization. Marketing teams that reliably forecast performance will gain trust within the organization, while also helping other teams understand what they should reasonably expect from marketing performance results.

This skill goes hand-in-hand with the idea that business will become increasingly data driven as analytics become more accessible. A great way to begin forecasting is by learning a simple exponential, or a double exponential smoothing model. This analysis takes past performance into account when predicting future performance. A double exponential model is a bit more sophisticated, as it weighs recent performance more heavily, making it perfect for organizations that are scaling quickly.

5. Set Skill Benchmarks for Your Team

The company that created telegraph infrastructure in the United States, now needs talent that is comfortable with computer programming and business intelligence. AT&T developed an expansive employee training program to bring current AT&T employees up to speed. This move allows the company to forgo costly recruiting expenses, while retaining people loyal to the company.

In a recent Harvard Business Review profiling this strategy, “AT&T estimates that, all told, 140,000 employees are actively engaged in acquiring skills for newly created roles.”

It is impossible to know exactly how marketing will change in the coming years. The only thing that is certain is that changes are coming. Businesses can prepare employees for these changes by investing in employee development. In doing so, businesses can avoid expensive recruiting costs, while retaining hard-earned on the job knowledge that can take marketing teams to new heights.

6. Experiment With Chatbots

Over 2 billion people use at least one messaging platform a minimum of once a month. The rise of social messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Kik (among others) is changing the way people communicate with one another and with brands. While in some cases, messaging platforms create marketing challenges because accessing analytics is difficult (which is why messaging platforms are called “dark social”), a few companies are already capitalizing on these new platforms.

Chatbots use either machine learning, or pre-programmed conversation trees that allow users to interact with brands through the messaging platform of their choice. Brands like Sephora and Lyft make it incredibly easy for customers to make purchases from most messaging platforms.

Sephora’s chatbot provides Facebook Messenger users with a free beauty consultation. Depending on how a user interacts with the chatbot, Sephora will recommend specific items based on that user’s needs.

Lyft also created a chatbot that works with Facebook Messenger and Slack. In just a few sentences, anyone can order a ride without even opening their Lyft app. In addition to text based messaging platforms, Lyft also integrates with Amazon Echo, so users can request a ride by voice as well.

Marketing teams of all sizes can get started with chatbots by working with a third-party software like ChattyPeople or Chatleap. Alternatively, they can outsource the work to developers that specialize in building chatbots. Marketing teams that are interested in providing a chatbot experience but would prefer doing so on a company website, can use a tool like Drift to get started.

7. Create an International Marketing Plan

Guess which country had the most people using the Internet last year. If you guessed China, take a moment to congratulate yourself. If you didn’t guess China, take a minute to educate yourself.

Over 700 million Chinese residents, which is 2.5 times more than the number of people in the United States, used the Internet last year. Similarly, over 400 million people in India used the internet last year, which is 1.5 times more than US internet users.

Marketing teams interested in scaling products to become billion dollar companies should realize that a great deal of opportunity exists internationally (regardless of where you are working as you read this article). Localization marketing can help brands access less competitive or more profitable markets while scaling customers.

Trello provides marketers with compelling evidence that highlights the effectiveness of localization marketing. Before being acquired by Atlassian for $425 million, Trello created a team of talented international marketers. These marketers helped the brand to acquire new users in markets like Brazil, Germany, and Spain by tweaking Trello’s strategy to suit local preferences.

Research whether or not a localization strategy can help your business scale more efficiently. If you find that it might be useful, consider building a team of international marketers with knowledge in the region you hope to target.

Conclusion

Marketing is sure to continue evolving as prospects change buying habits and uncover new pinpoints. For marketing teams to be prepared, it is important to focus on hiring individuals with data-driven expertise.

Businesses should invest in analytics platforms, and should ensure that marketing teams are capable of successfully forecasting performance. In order to truly prepare for the future, it is also a good idea to create some sort of training program to update current employees on the latest best practices.

What else should your business be investing in to empower the marketing team? Download the Marketer's Backpack to find out what questions and insights marketers should be pursuing in order to make the most of your marketing strategy.

Marketers Backpack

Geolocation-Based Marketing in 2017: The Impact on Businesses

The ongoing use of mobile devices by consumers means that companies have a much better way of tracking where their customers are going. Knowing where they are thanks to geolocation technology means that a new marketing opportunity has emerged that can maximize the return you invest in marketing. Now, companies can leverage geolocation-based marketing to reach out with personalized, local messaging, promotions, and other strategies designed to raise leads and encourage impulse purchases.

A New Language

The marketing language has changed with the introduction of geolocation. First, there is geosocial networking. Consumers commonly use this to check in from their current location on social media sites like Facebook or Foursquare. Second, there are location-based services. Consumers leverage this service to learn what is nearby like a restaurant, shop, or gas station. Also, marketers can offer promotions or messages at just the right time. That's because they have each mobile device's geographic position.

Then, there is what's known as geofencing. This is a marketing tactic that involves putting a virtual perimeter out there. When people enter that with their mobile devices, they then receive specific alerts, messages, or promotions.

Who is Using Geolocation-Based Marketing?

The Location Based Marketing Association generated an infographic from research conducted by The Pew Center that illustrated just how widespread this type of marketing has become due to the increased use of mobile and social location services among consumers. Their findings included the fact that 58% of adults with smartphones have used location-based services while 55% of these have used it for directions or recommendations.

With the majority of adults now using smartphones, there is the potential that more people of all ages and backgrounds will adopt some type of location service or feature. Companies and consumers all over the world use geolocation services. Therefore, this means more opportunities for marketers.

Geolocation: An Evolving Marketing Process

It is also important to understand how technology furthers geolocation services. Sensors are an integral component. This includes Bluetooth Low Energy beacons, microchips, and sensors and microchips that power near-field communications (NFC). It's this technology that also enables mobile payments. There are also geofences, which incorporate technology like GPS, WiFi, electromagnetic fields or RFID.

Beyond technology, marketers still have to be aware of other factors if they want the technology to be effective. That means understanding where your customers are coming from and where they are headed. You'll also need to figure out what gets their attention and admiration. All the technology in the world identifying where a customer does not matter unless the marketer has the context for the various types of experiences that customers go through, it won't yield results. As the technology evolves, a marketer must still be that human point of context that can integrate that very necessary perspective about behavior and customer expectations. An Immediate Impact

The real impact is in the benefits that this marketing strategy is providing to companies of all sizes and across multiple industries. Here are some of the key ways you can gain an advantage quickly:

  • Social media sites offer location-based searches that allow you to find prospects by city, region, or country. This is ideal when you have a physical location and want to draw customers to your business. Targeted marketing messages are sent to these prospects. These include a special or promotion as an incentive.
  • You can receive an alert when customers are in a certain area. This allows you to interact with them. Customers like to know that you are interested in what they are doing. This can quickly increase the engagement level with them, especially if you can tie some reward to it. When they are walking into your store, use a geolocation alert you and send them a greeting with timed promotions or a coupon to increase the chances of them buying while there. Even beyond a purchase then, it can also encourage them to come back again in the future.
Long-Term Benefits Then, there are advantages that can be achieved over time:
  • While the ability to incite impulse decisions is a great benefit, the results don't have to always be immediate to get your ROI. For example, the geolocation data leads to a profile of buying habits. This profile shapes future marketing campaigns. This profile can also include dates so that you know when to follow-up with certain customers. An analytics platform assists with developing this profile.
  • Other information that comes from the geolocation data an tell you where they went in your store and how long they stayed. This also can impact other marketing endeavors, including store layout, in-store promotions, and product placement. This approach improves their experience. 
Things to Remember

When it comes to geolocation-based marketing, you still must proceed with caution. While customers like the engagement and attention, they are also very concerned about their privacy and maintaining some distance. That means finding the right balance between respecting those boundaries and taking the available data to do something that enhances customer experiences. A best practice is to use an opt-in arrangement for location-based services. That way, users can choose to agree with this sharing or not. For those that do connect with your business this way, you can target even more precisely as well as engage in new and exciting ways. It also delivers a win-win for a sustained relationship.

When you can personalize the customer experience across channels, you can provide a unique experience that increases customer loyalty and satisfaction. But in order to do that successfully, you'll need to know how. Download the Personalization Playbook for more information on how to make it happen.

Personalization Playbook

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5 Things About Email Marketing Your Boss Will Want To Know

An email marketing strategy always needs approval from the boss to ensure it is in line with the company's overall strategy, delivers on key objectives, and fits the marketing budget. While these are the obvious factors you have to address, there are some other key things that your boss will want to know about the email marketing campaign you have planned, so be ready to talk about the following five critical things:

1. The Audience is Correct

Nearly a third of all contacts on your email contact list or database will change every year in terms of their interest and contact information, so your boss will want to know how you ensured that the current email list is accurate. After all, resources are limited and should not be wasted on sending emails to the wrong person or email address. At the same time, your boss will also want to see that the list is growing with the best targets for what you offer.

To ensure your boss that your email marketing list is accurate and growing, you need to create frictionless signup opportunities through all channels so it's easy to join the list of prospects. This means keeping the signup form basic with just the minimal information you need to contact them with an email marketing campaign. You can also consider incentivizing them with a discount or something else that will convince them to sign up.

Consider using automated contact update software that integrates with your contact list so that if there is a change of information or if someone unsubscribes then this information is automatically updated. MailChimp, Zapier, and Constant Contact are three examples of automation tools for ensuring a current email subscriber list.

2. The Format is Engaging

Your boss will want to know how the email marketing format you selected will truly engage your audience, so be prepared to offer the rationale. This may involve explaining why you have chosen a certain email format for the email campaign, including the need to create an authentic, trustworthy message for recipients in light of fake email marketing campaigns some retailers have experienced.

The format needs to be easy to read on all devices as well as intuitive so it knows what device the recipient is using to read the email. You will also want the email marketing to reflect a consistent look, feel, and message to the rest of your marketing communications.

Other formatting aspects are important to note in case your boss is not sure why you are using these, including white space, text size, balance in color selection, and a CTA button for your call to action. You will also need to consider optimizing the email for those who might be viewing it with images turned off. While the use of images is typically one of the most engaging factors in an email, not everyone prefers to view them. If that's the case, your email marketing content is what will need to engage these audience members.

3. The Content is Optimized and Segmented

While you are not optimizing the content for a search engine, your boss needs to know how you are creating the content in a way that works specifically for inbox delivery and the expectations of your segmented audience. To help your boss understand how you will achieve optimization and segmentation, you will need to provide specific examples that show how various forms of content and types of mediums you are sharing with your email audience looks. For example, your content will be different for an email campaign that shares new video content than it would with a white paper. The former may require an embedded clip while the latter might benefit from static visuals or charts.

Just like optimizing content for search engines, illustrate to your boss how you have addressed the details of an email that can also impact upon conversion rates, including the subject line, headlines in the content, preheader text, and the call to action (CTA) content. For example, an iPhone will only show 32 characters of a subject line so make sure those characters count. You'll also want to point out how you have personalized and segmented the email list and accompany email content for those groups to illustrate that you realize the value of doing this over just sending out the same content to everyone.

Explain to your boss how you have personalized and segmented the email list and accompany email content for those groups to illustrate that you realize the value of doing this over just sending out the same content to everyone. This segmentation can be done by age, location, purchase behavior, or place in the customer lifecycle. Just ensure that you have reasons as to why you have segmented the list this way and how the relevant content has been optimized for the needs and interests of that particular segment. Be sure to mention how you have optimized the timing and frequency of the email campaigns according to the segmentation that you developed.

4. The Campaign is Linked to the Rest of the Marketing Strategy

Your boss will always want to know how what you are doing within the email marketing campaign relates to the bigger picture of the overall marketing strategy. Your cross-marketing efforts are vital to your company's leadership because they have to ensure that all the marketing tactics are working together to create a greater return on the investment that's being made.

You'll want to work with other members of your marketing team to see what they are doing, when they are doing it, and through what channel to see if you can coordinate efforts. You don't want to send out an email marketing campaign when every other channel has the same information being broadcast. It's better to spread out the messaging across channels at a designated time to create a flow rather than a flood.

5. The Program is Using Specific Metrics to Prove the Return

Be prepared to give your boss specific metrics that illustrate how the email marketing program has delivered on its goals and provided good return on investment. The best metrics to focus on for email marketing campaigns include clickthrough rate to see how many recipients clicked on a link within that email; the conversion rate that shows how many recipients clicked on a link and completed a specific action like buying a product or filling in a form; and the bounce rate to see how many emails did not make it to the intended inbox.

Other email marketing metrics that are good to share with your boss include email list growth, email sharing/forwarding rate, and the overall return on investment. All of these email marketing metrics deliver a picture of the effectiveness of the campaign and the ability to engage with recipients in a way that delivers on how many marketing dollars were spent to achieve those results.

Deliver the Goods

This information delivered to the boss can help you continue to get approval to generate more email marketing campaigns because you have proven your worth in developing and executing marketing tactics that engage and convert.

For a more detailed approach to prove the value of your email marketing campaign, verify that you're following all the steps in the Email Deliverability Modern Marketing Guide. It's free and available now! 

Email Deliverability Modern Marketing Guide

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How to Build a Social-First Thought Leadership Program

Thought leadership is a strategy that can lead directly to brand equity enhancement and offers an incredible return for the time and effort that you put into developing this program. While you would like to think that you could pour some water on your thought leadership tactics and they instantly bloom, that's not how this works.

My own thought leadership program has grown over time, which is what you should expect yours to do if you build it strategically and continually manage its development. In implementing it over social media platforms, it's gained additional momentum, thanks to influencers who share the content I've produced. Once your program is launched and getting traction, you will need to continue overseeing it, but it will pay you big dividends in return.

Here's a framework to build your own social-first thought leadership program, which delivers relevant, valuable, and insightful content that answers the questions that your audience is pondering as well as provides actionable solutions for issues that they are facing.

Study Your Audience

This tactic takes considerable time because you want to ensure that you know who they are, what they are asking and seeking, and how they want to engage with brands to get that assistance. Learn when and where they are having online conversations and sharing with their social circles in a public environment. Study your findings, particularly looking at how they respond. Also, pay attention to their values to see where you can align yourself based on your own belief system.

By arming yourself with this audience intelligence, you can figure out how to deliver the best answers as well as approach them with that information at just the right time. How do you determine the right time? Note when they are holding conversations, including the day and time they frequent specific social platforms.

Identify the Social Platforms for Conversations

Go where your audience is spending their time. However, if you are not sure about all of these social platforms and how they work, start with just those that you can already navigate.

Save the new social platforms for research before you announce your presence there. You want to make sure you do it right because there aren't any "do-overs" when it comes to social media. And, you don't want to blow it when it comes to trying to win their trust.

Craft Your Unique Thought Leadership Story

To stand out within your industry and even business segment, there has to be something memorable about you that people will be drawn to. Think about your strengths and what makes you the entrepreneur that you've become. How can what has shaped your evolution help your audience?

Or, what is it about your personality can you leverage to engage with others? For some, it's being completely transparent about their past and current startup experiences. Others may feel comfortable using their sense of humor to enhance what they are sharing to connect with the audience. Charisma, passion, and excitement on your part are definite musts when it comes to audience engagement.

As part of your leadership story development, research what topics related to your brand appear in your online search results. These topics will then shape the story you create on these social platforms.

Understand and Address Your Limitations

Just because you know a lot about a particular subject doesn't mean you know everything about it or other topics. Define the areas that you know and, if you want to know more, add talent to the team who can be your eyes and ears to extend that thought leadership library of subject matter.

You may also be limited in terms of the amount of time you can invest in creating the content. It's okay to bring in ghostwriters who can craft the best content that matches your voice from existing content so that they can "take over" to continue regularly publishing similar content that keeps the conversations going with your audience.

Uncover Unique and Relevant Content Types

When studying your audience, determine how various segments use social platforms to get to the content types that they are most interested in. If that's a silly video, live stream format, listicle or a combination, focus on delivering the content in their preferred way. This can simultaneously speed and deepen the engagement level.

Always use facts, statistics, and quotes to add leadership credibility to the content you are supplying. You can also consider curating content from other sources to further the belief that you are an expert in this subject area. The ability to know what everyone else is saying and apply your own perspective is one strategy that has really worked for me in boosting thought leadership.

Leverage Offline Opportunities to Enhance Online Awareness

You might be wondering what offline presence has to do with your social-first thought leadership strategy, but it is an important tactic that builds momentum for you. By looking for speaking engagements at conferences, trade shows, seminars and networking events, you are adding to the persona you are building online.

These offline opportunities can also be shared across your social platforms to illustrate your focus on developing personal relationships with your audience by also meeting with them, face-to-face. When you do have these meet and greets, you also get more insights into what your audience needs, which continue to feed you with the content themes to pursue.

Don't Sell

Whatever you do, steer clear of sounding like a salesman. Thought leadership doesn't involve a hard or a soft sell. Instead, it's just about providing education and specific information. It's through this assistance that you establish trust and credibility that can motivate your audience to delve deeper into what you offer and decide for themselves if they want to buy your product or service.

The need to reach most audiences through mobile has been written about again and again. If you sense the need to brush up on your mobile testing expertise, check out the Mobile Testing Guide. It's free and provides the best advice from thought leaders and experienced mobile marketers.

Mobile Testing Guide

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How Do You Create a Business Case to Prove the ROI of Your Cross Channel Marketing?

Gone are the days where the marketing department operated on a "wing and a prayer." Data is now available on every marketing tactic imaginable. That's good and bad. It's good because now ROI can be calculated more accurately to justify campaigns and shape future initiatives. However, it's also bad because there is literally so much information now available it can be a struggle to know how to sift through it all and compile the best data points to develop your business case for cross channel marketing efforts. Additionally, as more options are included in the cross channel marketing effort, the ability to analyze and assess the ROI can become complicated.

Here is a way to frame your justification for the cross channel marketing strategies you have selected for your organization.

Determine Success Factors and Quantify ROI

There are many types of ROI an organization can achieve. To build a compelling business case, you will need to know what type of return the organization expects. For example, your cross channel marketing objectives should reflect the desired success factors. The type of ROI might be an increase in sales (online, offline, or both) or loyalty, or it could focus on improved customer engagement and retention.

You may find these within the data analytics software you use. Disseminate them in your marketing plan. Once the ROI is specified, also include a quantitative amount for the ROI.

Frame the Case Around the Cross Channel Marketing Plan

What often happens is that marketers create a plan and execute on it but do not use it as the basis for presenting their results. While it may seem obvious, there can be a disconnect between the formal document and marketing team's actions. However, putting these together creates a compelling picture for your leadership team.

Put the specific objectives, messaging, and tactics in one column while another column has the data points that illustrate the result from each of those. It connects the dots and clearly shows whether or not you were on the right path with your marketing strategy. Additionally, it justifies your marketing budget by connecting each action to a measurable result — that's the ROI.

Gather All Data Metrics

Your business case will come from a number of data sources, especially since this involves a cross channel marketing strategy. This means collecting paid (search engine marketing, sponsorships, social media ads, etc.), earned (SEO, blogs, social media, etc.), and owned (page views, email, surveys, website visits, etc.) metrics. You will need to pull this data from many places. This includes any creative agencies you partner with on your cross-marketing program as well as your marketing systems, reports, and platforms.

Bringing all the data together into one place ensures you haven't forgotten any important information that could justify how well the cross channel marketing initiatives are working. The CEO and CFO are going to want to see evidence that what you are doing is working. Putting all data in one place can also illustrate to them how the initiatives are working across channels to drive greater results versus focusing on one channel.

Generate a Statistical Model with Software, Of Course

This is not something quickly made on graph paper. It requires the assistance of highly sophisticated modeling software. This technology can take all compiled data and distill it into a measurement score. This score is a number to use against the quantitative ROI you previously developed. Your leadership team will like seeing this number since they mostly work with that type of information versus the often intangible marketing results of the past. These scores will mean something to the CEO and CFO when you present them for your paid, earned, and owned tactics.

This also allows you to diversify your business case by presenting different perspectives on what the data means. This includes statistics about specific campaigns, audience segments, a marketing channel, and other filters. You'll be able to quickly compile a range of information and include it. This ensures you have provided the most comprehensive picture possible.

Deliver a Dashboard Visual to Clearly Present Your Business Case

The more clearly you draw a picture of those ROI results for your team, the better the reaction will be. That means developing a dashboard that is user-friendly for scanning the information and reaching a conclusion on what it means. Use numerous visual analytics to simplify the information.

Also, put details around specific areas that are important to your audience and that drive your case. This includes a progress-toward-goal approach related to financials, customers and leads, operations, and campaigns.

Takeaways

Keep in mind that everything you can build into your business case about the ROI will generate ongoing support. It may also assist with funding (and, perhaps more funding, if the results meet or exceed expectations). From there, momentum will result in more leads and sales and greater brand awareness. Other benefits include a higher rate of customer retention and increased ROI. These can also help you stay on top of any changes in preferences and behaviors. Responding to the shifts you find in the data can also speed how you pivot and maintain that expected ROI.

Proving the ROI of your Cross Channel Marketing doesn't end with your most recent success. Make sure you're staying on top of the best insights and inspiration, moving forward. Check out the 7th Annual Lookbook today!

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Mobile Marketing to a New Generation

Marketers have long tracked the habits of various generations of consumers, understanding that each generation has developed its own preferences and tastes based on the environment in which they were raised. We've gone from Baby Boomers to Gen Xers to Millennials and a few in-between.

Now, we have arrived at a new generation set to attract marketers' attention: Generation Z. That means further customization strategies in order to prove to this new generation that brands get them and have what they want.

Defining GenZers

Gen Zers were born from 1995 onwards. They are set to grow in volume, far out populating all previous generations—even the current largest group known as Millennials. That makes them pretty important to marketers since their power will grow over previous generations. Getting their attention needs to start now and that can't happen if we assume they are similar to Millennials.

Their traits illustrate that they are their own generation. They have some of the shortest attention spans (of which are getting shorter by the minute). They prefer to use symbols (a.k.a., emojis) and images to communicate and express themselves.

Despite being so young, they have already learned the fine art of consumerism thanks to their connectedness and being weaned on mobile devices. However, they want to be in control of when they feel like being a consumer and when they want to be anything but. That makes their technology settings and preferences like gold to them.

Gen Z is not necessarily loyal to a brand like past generations. Instead, they are not as picky about what brand they use just as long as it does what they are looking for and is priced well. This generation is frugal given the fact that they were raised during the last major recession.

Gen Z and Mobile

Mobile is life to this generation because they are considered true natives to technology. They have been connected to some type of technology since birth and have high expectations about instantaneous results from search engines and great trust in online tools and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This connection to their phones runs deep almost as though the mobile device was part of them.

Because of spending their lives on these devices, they even think spatially and are used to zooming and swiping in high-definition and surround sound. They also fear missing out and why the features like self-destructing chats on SnapChat and limited videos on Instagram have worked so well with this generation.

Mobile Marketing Strategies to Gen Z

Mobile is a central part of the strategy to reach Gen Z, but other screens cannot be left out, including computer, TV, wearables, and tablets. In fact, they are often using multiple devices at once, including watching TV, looking at their phones, and playing a game on a tablet. When providing your brand story to this generation, you also need to use different delivery methods besides the all popular video content chosen by Millennials. That's because Gen Z also likes to get content via live streaming, instant messaging, and chat.

Provide your content to them as a snackable—that means to deliver it in small portions that they can digest individually before receiving more of those bite-sized content messages. This works well with those short-attention spans and their ability to process more information at a faster rate than the previous generations.

Without overusing it or in an unauthentic manner, mobile marketing can also use emojis, stickers, and memes, if appropriate, to grab the attention of this audience. To ensure the proper amount, it is even a good idea to encourage Gen Z users to submit their own content, which is something they really like to do. And, when people they admire are involved and interactive with them, that engagement intensifies.

Include mobile marketing approaches in a way you could not do with previous generations, which did not use mobile as exclusively as Gen Z does.

In need of more concrete examples of brands that are using these techniques? Click to download our 7th Annual Lookbook to see how big name brands are using Oracle to create personalized customer experiences across all marketing channels.

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5 Examples of Brands Using Cross-Channel Tactics to Drive Real Results

The goal of your cross-marketing strategy should be to tell all your audience and customers a similar brand story across multiple channels. However, you need do so in a slightly different way for each one while holding user engagement. Your story has to be slightly different for each channel due to the fact that people on those channels interact with these channels in unique ways.

That means you can't just blanket each channel with the same exact content. While one channel may work more effectively for video like social media, another channel is best suited by tips and lists of content that deliver helpful advice as found on a blog. Figure what works well where and you've got a winning cross-channel marketing strategy.

Still not sure? Here are five brands with winning cross-channel tactics:

  1. Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz has a cross-selling strategy that includes digital and social media channels, including paid media, owned media, earned media and content marketing. For example, its “Generation Benz” online community was integral in developing a customer profile for Mercedes Benz that would help them understand which marketing tactics would work best for each channel.

They determined that their campaign for their CLA model should include a traditional marketing tactic, which was a Super Bowl television ad with Usher and Kate Upton. This was also selected because the game was being played at a stadium they sponsored: The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Additionally, they leveraged a microsite for that model and increased awareness across social media channels, including the #clatakethewheel campaign that targeted those in their early 20s to early 40s.

Additionally, Mercedes-Benz used paid Facebook ads, which was linked to video content also produced by the brand about the CLA model. In terms of earned media, they partnered with Casey Niestat, a known key influencer among the Millennial demographic, to cover that channel.

The result was the best product launch for the brand in 20 years, one million visitors viewed the CLA content online, and they had more visitors to their MBUSA.com website than at any other point in history. Additionally, they achieved an 82% conquest rate, which was the percentage of new buyers who had previously bought other luxury vehicle brands.

  2. Starbucks

Starbucks and their Frappuccino Happy Hour campaign is a good example of a cross-channel campaign that delivered results. Starbucks updated their website and released a television commercial in conjunction with the 10-day campaign. They used common imagery across all channels to tie together the various tactics and messaging style they used for it. They included other tactics like an in-app message to customers that encouraged users to text "WOOHOO" to find out what the brand had in store in terms of summer surprises they would be offering.

Starbucks continued to send out regular messages that were cross-promoting their "My Starbucks Rewards" program to get more people to sign-up and use this loyalty program. The brand also created their own social media identities for Starbucks Frappuccino from its regular Starbucks social presence. Both identities, however, worked to promote the Frappuccino Happy Hour campaign without just copying the content from each other.

The focus for success here is to pick something that is worth promoting, limit the time to create that exclusivity and demand to not miss the opportunity, and maintain consistency across channels like Starbucks did with consistent visuals but customized content and delivery mechanism.

  3. Heineken

In continuing the emphasis on consistency as a key success factor for cross-channel marketing, Heineken's Departure Roulette campaign provides a good benchmark of this factor. Heineken's campaign focused on an interactive video that provides the viewer with an opportunity to get involved. They see those who take part and play the game win an exotic vacation while those that opted not to take the challenge go home. The video was tied to a Web series called "Dropped," which furthers the idea that the best journeys in life are those that are spontaneous.

The cross-channel tactics included marketing this video on its website, YouTube channel, and other social media accounts like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. The brand's logo and identity were clearly indicated alongside the video content but other than that the focus was on the visual engagement that the video offered that did not focus on beer or the brand. In this way, the marketing felt more about the user and less about selling them something. Yet, the user still connected the message of adventure and spontaneity with the brand that created the visuals and content.

  4. Land Rover

The luxury vehicle brand created a continuous brand experience with cross-channel marketing that included numerous Google-related channels, including using the Google Display Network, homepage masthead and Masthead in Lightbox ads on YouTube, and visibility through mobile, search and Google+. The brand also focused on digital campaigns that focused on voyages like its "Bred for Adventure" campaign. This cross-channel effort also included traditional tactics like television ads.

The campaign also included four different influencers who created visual content for their blogs and Land Rover's microsite. Each influencer took multi-day trips to places like Glacier National Park and the Appalachian Mountains. Land Rover also took visuals of the areas and included these on their website and ads, which provided consumers a way to check out the interior and exterior of their Discovery Sport model. Their cross-channel efforts resulted in 100 million impressions from the YouTube homepage masthead, 11 million more impressions on Masthead in Lightbox, and 10% increase in search ad CTR. Further results found that online leads from its digital channel efforts now account for 15% of the brand's total sales.

  5. Under Armour

Fitness brand, Under Armour, understands the need to create a cross-channel user experience. It combines its social presence, influencer marketing with admired athletes, and in-store content and interactive engagement with its “UA Shop”, a lifestyle-based custom shopping app and its Connected Fitness community.

The app delivers a personalized experience for customers collected from data on each customer, including their athlete inspiration, workout history, and previous purchase history. For example, its partnership with various apps helps to deliver data about what they are doing fitness-wise with their connected fitness tracker and geographical location. The result is that they receive specific product suggestions based on that data.

Other marketing tactics include the UA Play application, which allows users to scan barcodes across the store to learn about product details get other valuable content. This is a further way to connect the channels and draw the audience to all channels for a memorable experience. The result has been increased traffic and user engagement in their stores, on their website, apps, and social media platforms.

 

Lessons Learned

Cross-channel marketing success comes from consistency, interactive elements, and diverse content delivery systems. While everything digital rocks when it comes to marketing, these success stories also include in-store and traditional marketing tactics that extend the power of cross-marketing and touch customers and prospects in every way possible.

As demand for multi-channel campaign management grows, so do the options. Read this guide to learn how major industry players stack up against each other when rated for campaign management, advanced analytics, and digital marketing content capabilities.

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