Tag Archives: marketing automation

How to Create Emails Your Customers Look Forward to Opening

How to Create Emails Your Customers Look Forward to Opening

In 1978, a marketer at Digital Equipment Corp. sent a mass email to nearly 400 recipients on ARPANET, a precursor to the internet. The email promoted a new computer model, and like that, email marketing was born. But it was far from perfect: Complaints came in almost immediately and

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4 Things To Look For In A Marketing Automation Platform

I've spent a lot of time lately with CEOs, CMOs, and other marketing professionals. During those conversations, it became clear that a marketer’s role in the company has shifted in the last few years. For the first time, marketers are being held accountable for revenue targets as their top most priority. And that is different. Two years ago, if you asked CMOs, they would have said brand building was the number one target, and revenue was somewhere in the middle.

This is a pretty big shift. Today, you’re responsible for acquiring customers, engaging those customers, increasing lifetime value, and decreasing churn. This shift is due to a couple of changes. First, all of our customers are facing increased competition from companies where marketing is at the core of the company. These companies often have “growth hackers” whose job is to help with acquisition, activation, retention. To compete with these new age companies requires a different mindset, different tools, people, and investment. Secondly, the customers are changing, and they are expecting you to know them better and provide more relevant and contextual interactions.

To meet those expectations, we have to change, too. In 2008, there was a sea change for ad:tech. For the first time, ad spending was measured on performance – the increase in top and bottom line – not some vague estimated brand exposure. I think 2018 is going to be that year for martech. Those of us in marketing are going to be held more and more responsible for measurable goals.

To adapt to this change, there are four key components you should ensure your marketing automation platform provides:

A Laser Focus on Data

According to a recent CMO Council study, just 51 percent of marketers said a single customer view was both realistic and attainable for their organization – but not without new tools and talent. Are you in the 51 percent who are looking to up their game?

In 2018, we have to live and breathe data. Why? Because it is the fabric of modern marketing. By employing the right data sources (e.g. demographics, web behavior, purchase or billing data, interests, etc.), you can better understand your customers and build more precise targeting capabilities. You’ll be able to apply the insights for 1:1 marketing – creating and deploying highly personalized conversations with your customers in real time.

This sounds hard doesn’t it? It’s not. You don’t have to learn science. You don't need to do math. You don't have to learn statistical methodologies. Today’s intuitive tools allow you to merge your propriety customer data with second- and third-party data for orchestrated campaigns in real time – without a PhD in rocket science.

Here’s an example of what you can do: Imagine that I'm a marketer at an insurance company. I’m looking for the best target audience for a new insurance product we're about to offer. In the past, I might have written some crazy sequel queries. But I don't have to do that anymore. Today’s tools provide a beautiful graphical interface that anyone can use to create those segments on the fly.

Access to Rich Customer Insights

Having the data isn’t enough. To succeed in this new continuum, you need a marketing automation platform that helps you distill information about your customers to understand their buying journey.

Most marketers still can’t see and act on incremental steps in the customer journey (i.e. from interaction with display ads to clicking through an email offer to web page engagement) in real time. In fact, according to CMO Council research, only 7 percent of marketers can deliver real-time, data-driven customer experiences all of the time.

data-driven marketing

Source: Empowering the Data-Driven Customer Strategy Report. CMO Council 2017

But you can.

Look for a solution that tracks 100 percent of your customers and prospects across 100 percent of events in real time. This will help you understand your customer and prospect’s intent based on their activities across channels.

Here’s an example of what this should look like: Imagine that the same insurance company I talked about before is creating a highly targeted, personalized email to speak to the needs of new restaurant owners. Jill, one of the new restaurant owners in our targeted list, receives that offer. She clicks on the call-to-action link, and it directs her to a personalized landing page. The link is tagged with Jill's profile ID, so that we can track her activity.

As is sometimes the case, Jill isn’t interested right away in making a purchase or speaking to an agent. She needs more research to understand the best insurance for her business. Up until now, marketing automation solutions only had visibility into what happens between the initial email click and that final form submission.

This is where the new capabilities come into play. With integrated next-generation solutions, you can capture and act on behavior as its happening. You can do more than look at aggregate behavior (i.e. as in how many visitors came to the page). Now, you can analyze the behaviors of each and every customer or prospect, including all activities pre-sale (i.e. correct size, wrong color) to send browse recovery messaging when the item is back in stock or promote complementary items. You can see and act on all post-sale activity, all cart activities (i.e. add, remove, view and purchase), and all rich media activity (i.e. play, pause, fast-forward). In. Real. Time.

Artificial Intelligence to Fuel Real Omnichannel Experiences

For a long time, we’ve had channels in a silo. SMS, push notifications, email, social media, display ads – they were all managed by point solutions. It’s a pain point we can all agree on. But that can’t continue in the omnichannel world your customers and prospects operate in. You have to be able to orchestrate an omnichannel experience that motivates the consumer in the channel that is most comfortable for them.

Advanced marketing automation solutions, powered by artificial intelligence, will even identify the most relevant channel for you.

Here’s an example of what this should look like: A marketing campaign is set up for cold-brew coffee line by one of our famous customers running a national coffee chain. They want to be able to reach customers via any channel that optimizes the chance for the customer to see, open, and interact with the content. That campaign is set up to allow Responsys to determine whether the user should be reached via email or push notification to customers that have installed the App on their mobile phones. Responsys determines that it should sent out emails to 102 Million customers on their contact list, and use interactive push notification through the App for 44 Million users. Also the customer let Responsys’ Send Time Optimizer algorithm determine what time to send the emails and push notifications for each customer. The results are stunning, driving 37% higher ROI.

Integration, Extensions & Partnerships = Extensibility

The fourth element you should look for in a marketing automation platform is integration. Are all products in the portfolio tightly integrated? Or is it a hodgepodge of acquisitions and add-on features?

Why? The reason is simple: There is no one-size-fits-all platform. No matter how many resources the vendor has, they can’t build a quality solution that fits every need, is fully supported, and grows quickly to meet future needs.

Look for a solution provider that boasts a deep partner bench and has an open and flexible API to allow for integrations with their products. This will allow you to extend the capabilities of the platform without having to wait on us to add new capabilities.

The Sum of All the Parts

You have marketing goals. To meet those goals, you need a modern marketing automation platform from a provider that is solution focused not product focused. You need an integrated, extensible solution that helps break down your own silos and provide a seamless, personalized experience for your customers and prospects. You can do more with less – and get more bang for your buck!

Want to move your organization toward modern marketing? Need help with setting and delivering on those goals? Reach out to us - we can help.

Modern Marketing Benchmark Survey: 6 Surprising Findings

Did you go into marketing because you thought it would be creative, but it ended up being all about the data?

Do you ever feel that as a marketer, you’re more valued for your analytical ability and technical chops than your creative skills?

It turns out you’re right—well, half-right.

Yes, marketers are under more pressure than ever to collect vast amounts of data, analyze it efficiently, and share the fruits of this analysis with their peers and superiors.

And yes, technology is playing a greater role than ever in the daily activities of just about every marketing professional.

But no, creativity isn’t taking a back seat. In fact, most marketers are expected to be equally tech-savvy and creative.

That’s one clear finding of the recent Chief Marketer and Oracle Modern Marketing Benchmark Survey. This study analyzed how leading companies and brands are dealing with today’s top marketing issues and opportunities. The survey also helped us get to know what today’s modern marketer is like and how his or her day-to-day landscape is changing.

Here are six of the most surprising insights we gleaned from the survey.

Insight #1: 80% of marketers are using data and analytics to inform their decisions more than they did two years ago.

We were hardly shocked when 87% of respondents said that one of their top marketing goals for the upcoming year is to use data more successfully (participants could choose more than one response). But it’s a welcome surprise to learn that four-fifths of marketers are feeling increasingly comfortable with the data-driven aspects of their job.

So, has creativity taken a back seat to data? Only slightly, if at all.

Insight #2: 85% of marketers say that “creating more innovative marketing campaigns” is one of their top goals.

Some 85% of respondents said that “creating more innovative marketing campaigns” was a top goal for the coming year. At a glance, it would seem that creativity ranks just behind using data more successfully.

But we see that 80% listed “generating new ideas for my brand/products” as a top goal. And in digging a bit deeper, we notice that respondents had the opportunity to rank goals from 5 (highest priority) to 1 (lowest priority). In a first-place tie for highest priority were:

  • Creating more innovative marketing campaigns: 44%
  • Generating new ideas for my brand/products: 44%
  • Generating sales: 44%

In the race to innovate and be data-driven, marketers clearly aren’t losing sight of the need to generate revenue. Just as significantly, we can see that as they juggle the seemingly contradictory priorities of using data and being creative, marketers are still trying to do justice to both.

Insight #3: Marketers feel far greater pressure to drive sales than to generate leads.

The traditional role of marketing is to generate high-quality leads and pass them on to Sales, right?

This may still hold true—but according to our survey, more and more marketers are being held accountable for sales generation, not just lead generation.

Some 72% of survey respondents said that generating sales is one of their highest priorities, whereas just 46% put generating leads near the top of their list.

Break it down further, and you’ll see that as we mentioned above, 44% listed generating sales as their highest priority. Just 23% did likewise for generating leads.

In an interesting side note, only 39% of respondents have a larger marketing team than they did two years ago. An equal number have remained the same, while 22% report a smaller team. Today’s marketers, then, are truly being asked to do more with less.

Insight #4: Only 53% of marketers say their marketing objectives are always related to their company’s business goals.

It’s quite a conundrum: although 80% of marketers are making more data-driven decisions than two years ago, these decisions don’t always appear to be in line with corporate objectives. Just over half of respondents reported consistent alignment between corporate and marketing goals, while 28% said they are “sometimes” in sync and a startling 19% responded “never.”

It could be that the corporate and marketing leadership teams simply speak different languages. But the responses to the next question underscored an even more serious problem.

Insight #5: Only 33% of marketers always pre-determine KPIs before launching a marketing campaign.

We’re not sure if partial credit counts here, but 57% of respondents did say that they “sometimes” determine KPIs before a campaign. Still, these responses would appear to indicate that despite the fact they’re using data to inform more of their decisions, many marketers are still flying blind when it comes to defining the success of campaigns.

Of course, this doesn’t mean marketers aren’t bothering to measure their results.

Insight #6: Marketers are measuring more—and more effectively—than ever.

Our survey revealed that 76% of marketers are measuring the same or more areas of their campaigns compared to two years ago. And 68% of respondents said they’re measuring more effectively now than they were then.

It follows, then, that when asked for the top three areas in which technology is improving marketing, 69% listed data analytics. (The next highest choice was “optimizing content” with a paltry 31%.)

Marketers clearly see the importance of measuring results and believe they have the tools for the job. They report that they’re getting better at analytics—but still fear that they’re out of sync with corporate objectives. Perhaps the next step for many organizations, then, is to have corporate and marketing leadership sit down and agree upon the KPIs and other metrics that really matter—and then make sure these metrics are tracked and reported on consistently within the company’s marketing platform. 

There’s a lot more to learn from the Chief Marketer and Oracle Modern Marketing Benchmark Survey. Why not read it yourself? Download your free copy now.

5 Marketing Automation Trends in the Forefront of 2018

5 Marketing Automation Trends in the Forefront of 2018

Brace your executive staff. Your organization could be spending a lot more on marketing automation technology in the next five years, according to Forrester. In its April report, “Marketing Automation Technology Forecast, 2017 to 2023 (Global)” (fee required), Forrester researchers predict marketing automation technology tool spending will reach $25.

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Identify and Rejuvenate Your Inactive Customers

By Gabrielle Tao,VP, Product Management, Responsys Development, Oracle

As a marketer, you most likely have a list of your “inactive” customers. The definition of inactive customers varies from marketer to marketer. Maybe they’re customers who haven’t purchased in the last year or those who haven’t responded to any marketing messages in the last 180 days. They opted in to receive your marketing messages, but they don’t interact with your brand any more. It is a bit of a vicious cycle – your messages don’t engage them, but without their interactions, you are very limited in what you can do to personalize their marketing messages. This leads to even less likelihood they will engage and higher likelihood that they eventually opt out altogether.

There are two things you can do to further understand your inactive customers. With better understanding, there’s an increased chance that these customers will reengage with your brand.

Analyze Past Behavioral Data

This may seem obvious. But the truth is that a lot of marketers don’t do this or don’t do it often enough. These could be two key reasons:

  • Engagement data may be scattered among different interaction channels. As an example, if you have an email system that’s separate from the mobile system, or you collect sales transactions in multiple channels differently, your engagement data will be scattered.
  • By definition, inactive customers are those who have not had interactions with your brand for quite some time. Many interaction systems do not store interactions data beyond 90 or 180 days. So, to relate your inactive customers with their past behavioral data beyond the last 90 or 180 days, you will need to cross multiple systems.

Of course, it’s possible that analysis of inactive customers can be done with some system integrations. But the ease with which it can be done will determine whether this is a one-time effort or something you can benefit from continuously.

When you have a system to analyze the past behavioral data of your inactive customers, you could potentially answer these questions:

  • Who are truly inactive customers across all channels?
  • Did they ever interact with your brand after the initial sign-up? If not, you might need to ‘re-acquire’ them.
  • When was the last time they interacted with your brand, and on which channel? What were they interested in?
Append Third-Party Demographic or Behavioral Data

Customers who do not engage with your brand generally fall into these categories:

  1. They do not engage with any other brand either (deceased, invalid email, etc.).
  2. They engage with some other brands.

Appending your inactive customer list with third-party data can help you better identify category they belong to. Third-party data (e.g., demographics or behavioral) generally are gathered by third-party data sources and do not include customer interactions with your own channels.

While third-party data marketplaces have existed for decades, marketers have not been able to easily take advantage of them. That’s because most third-party data providers price data based on the list size, which isn’t optimal for specific use cases such as inactive customers.

As a marketer, the third-party attributes you need for your active and inactive customers may be different. For example, if you’re an email marketer, you primarily need to reduce the risk of bounces if continue to email your inactive customers. In this case, a different kind of third-party data attribute is needed than when you need to improve email personalization for your active customers. But because of the way third-party providers price and append data, you will need to split your customer list into active and inactive to get two separate appends, which in turn requires you to have two separate data contracts.

By following a very simple process to append third-party data without all the time and costs for signing data contracts and transferring data back and forth, you can understand your inactive customers more effectively:

  • Which of the two above categories have the majority of your inactive customers?
  • Will you risk getting more bounces if you send more emails to your inactive customers?

In part two of this article, we will take a look at an easy way to use the new Oracle Responsys CX Audience solution to learn more about your inactive customers.

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