Tag Archives: Modern Marketing Resources

How To Win The Markie Award

Honoring excellence in marketing since 2007, Oracle’s Markie Award is a recognized global pillar of success. Companies of all sizes share their most innovative and successful campaigns in Omni-Channel Marketing, Content Marketing, Social Marketing, Data Management & Advertising, Web Optimization, Marketing Innovation and Analytics.

With over 600 entries each year, becoming a Markie finalist or winner isn’t easy. The Markie Awards recognize only the most innovative and successful marketing campaigns. Submissions take time and focus to prepare and competition is fierce. Each of the past 10 years, at least one of our clients consistently advance to the finals of the Markie Awards, and many have gone on to win.

How do these award-winning companies design their Markie caliber projects? Here is the four step process we use to help our clients architect Markie award winning projects.

1. Defining Challenging Goals

First, we spend time understanding exactly what our clients are striving for. We do this with the mutual understanding that a “challenger mindset” must be used to allow the team to come up with new innovations.

We have found that in order to become a finalist and a winner, you have to go over and beyond the basics to be considered innovative and to get the judge’s attention. Basic or easy-to-achieve goals will not accomplish that. Setting a measurable, challenging goal is key to marketing success, which leads to an innovative Markie submission.

Some of the challenging goals we’ve used recently are:

  • Increasing mobile engagement by 5x

  • Increasing new account acquisition by 50%

  • Reducing unknown to known visitor ratios 500%

  • Reducing customer effort

Our Markie-winning client campaigns all start with a specific challenging goal that’s well beyond a simple sales increase, which can be clearly documented as genuinely innovative.

2. Defining Key Data Points

Next, we help our clients define the data points needed to support the project and help achieve the goals established in step 1.

We define the key data points. Then we ask, are these data points accessible within Eloqua or Responsys? Or do we need to conduct an integration within the customer’s TechStack to sync the data? In order to achieve challenging goals, we have found the need to sync data with the web analytics platform and Eloqua or Responsys. Doing so, properly, will open opportunities to build Markie caliber campaigns much easier.

For example, we used our insights with Oracle and Adobe to share a data point that’s in Adobe but wasn’t in Eloqua. This now allows our customers to support a challenging goal of real-time, 1-to-1 website personalization that compliments an Eloqua email campaign.

Knowing what data is available isn’t enough. Knowing how it supports the project is key.

3. Experience Making - Knock Their Socks Off!

Now that the client has key data points to support their goals, the next step we use is a concept called “Experience Making”.

Experience Making is the ability to design customer experiences in a predictable manner by leveraging a harmonious integration between Oracle Marketing Cloud, the web analytics solution, and the tag manager. We have seen customer experiences go from needs improvement to exceptional. Having the right data gives clients the ability to craft better experiences and becoming Experience Makers.

Our approach is to help the client put themselves in the prospect or customer’s shoes and look for Deal Breakers.

Deal Breakers are experiences that slow down or kill engagement and ultimately, deals. This is an essential step in effective Experience Making. Markie finalist and winners seek to build campaigns that are making things easier for the prospect or customer.

4. Measuring Impact - Before and After

Documenting the results for a Markie submission is key. One example of this is how we helped a client reduce cart abandonment, increase campaign performance clarity and mobile engagement.

We take a snapshot of the baselines of how things performed before the project. We include metrics such as, opens, clicks, emails sent, downloads, video engagement, webinar engagement, leads, orders, average order size, KPI conversion rates, etc. This is so we can clearly show, in the Markie submission, what impact the new project has had by doing a Before and After side-by-side comparison.

Our successful Markie submissions have come from companies that set challenging goals, identify key data points, become experience makers, and clearly measure the impact of their efforts. Follow this proven model and maybe you too will win a Markie. Good luck!

----

Dion Jones, is VP, Consulting & Multi-Solution Architect at Enautics, and knows exactly what it takes. Enautics is a specialist integration partner with Oracle Marketing Cloud and Adobe Experience Cloud.

They have developed a suite of solutions to harness and expand the “Experience Maker” capability of Oracle and Adobe Marketing Cloud. Along with their products, Enautics provides consulting solutions for marketers striving for innovative success.

 

The Markie Awards will take place on Tuesday April 10th at the Modern Customer Experience event. Make sure to check out the complete list of finalists for this year’s Markie Awards on the Markie website and also on this blog. Still have not registered for ModernCX? There is still time. Register for Modern Customer Experience 2018 here.

Tips for the Right Marketer Mindset in 2018

The new media environment is here. Or really, it’s been here long enough already that we should be used to it by now. The one constant in the marketing world of the 21st century, however, is change. In this rapidly changing technological and social environment there are new pitfalls and problems appearing every day to challenge us and force us to rethink the way we do marketing. If you’re not careful you can slip into a certain way of thinking that will lead you into some serious misstep. Follow these keys for your marketing plan and approach this year and make a difference for your brand.

Learn to be Objective, Listen to Others

As you cultivate your marketing mindset this year and start to brainstorm ideas for your 2018 plan, hold yourself accountable and make sure you listen to others around you. We all like to think we’re objective and that we know best how to deal with our field, our product and our audience. The truth is that everyone is fallible, and often our irrational love for our own ideas doesn’t necessarily prove the quality of those ideas.

In this constantly changing media environment, a little bit of humility and careful consideration before moving forward with an idea goes a long way. Every week or two another ad campaign majorly flops or inspires significant negative publicity, and in hindsight, the problems are so clear! One example from last year was the Pepsi ad that tried to comment on political divisions and Black Lives Matter protests. Failures like these could be avoided by simply making time to vet projects more extensively, opening them up to criticism before they’re aired to the public. The brainchild project you’re so proud of isn’t always going to be perfect – but you won’t know that unless you listen to people around you.

And in what some call the “post-truth” era, there’s more and more distrust and questioning of statements and claims out there. Think twice before you stretch the truth, and set yourself apart as a brand by seeking objectivity.

Invest in Training and Skill Development

“Every day there’s something new that changes the whole field,” says Rich Newsome, attorney and co-founder of Newsome Melton Law. “If you don’t have someone already working on figuring out how to use it, you’re behind.” New technologies and practices are being developed every day to match the proliferation of new media platforms and avenues for marketing. It’s your job as a marketer to stay on top of these developments, to be a “change manager.”

That means not only being aware of latest advances in the field, but investing the time and staff to be able to take advantage of them. A Capgemini Consulting study in 2017 revealed that 70% of companies in the U.S. and 55% worldwide observed a widening talent gap when it comes to new digital technologies and the ability to take advantage of them. Continuing education for you and your staff to close that gap has to be a priority. Make time for developing new skills. Your brand will suffer if you don’t.

Let Your Brand Be Genuine

Customers buying into brands today need their brand to have a personality, to represent something. One large study in 2015 showed that 91% of consumers internationally expect businesses to act responsibly and keep external interests in mind. A full 84% say they choose products from responsible, pro-social companies when possible. Gone is the era where brands could stay out of all public conversations and get by with nothing but silly, gimmicky ads. People have values and beliefs and they want to see that your company has those too. It doesn’t need to be anything controversial, and it’s safer if it’s not, but you have to somehow humanize your brand.

The most important thing to keep in mind here, however, is the importance of sincerity. If your attempt to show some sort of value or corporate responsibility is just empty posturing, audiences will see right through it and it will backfire. Let the social values of your brand come from the brand and the company itself. Smart consumers will pick up on that authenticity, and that will draw them in to your brand better than anything else.

Time to Multi-Task

If you really want to connect to your customers in 2018, you need to engage them at multiple levels. Effective marketing now means you have no choice but to work across many platforms at once. Don’t neglect your social media presence, but also don’t forget the value of video advertising across platforms like YouTube and Netflix. And that doesn’t mean you can ignore more traditional advertising media either.

The most important thing is to know your audience. Know who your potential customers are and be able to effectively target them. Follow their lead and go where they go. You have to be consistent and disciplined in your multi-platform approach so that customers don’t drop through the cracks.

For more tips, tools, and hacks to make your life as a marketer easier- join us at Modern Customer Experience 2018. ModernCX’s Modern Marketing track offers more than 200 expert-led sessions geared to equip you with new skills you can immediately apply to your work.

Register for Modern Customer Experience 2018 here.

What is a Reputation Management System & Do You Need One?

Most Marketers today are looking at new ways to improve brand advocacy through online crowd sourcing platforms. These platforms can be classified under one of the following:

1.    Online Review Communities: With the growth of ecommerce platforms, reviews from other buyers/users today plays a big part in a prospect’s buy decision. Prospects are expected to buy on platforms with a larger volume of reliable reviews. The credibility of the most successful ecommerce platforms today can be attributed to the availability of reliable and impartial volumes of reviews on their sites.

2.    Idea Contribution Communities: Such communities crowd source new ideas related to products/services of the company. By allowing customers to contribute ideas, you not only expand the pool of available ideas exponentially but also induce a sense of ownership among customers for your brand.

3.    Peer to Peer Collaboration Communities: Such communities are aimed at enabling users to help each other. Common examples of such forums are product developer/user forums where members help each other with using products. While the organization owning the product actively contributes, the success of such communities lies in creating a sense of ownership among users.

So why should you consider an online crowdsourcing platform for your organization?

These communities can act as a generator of brand advocates for your products. It may also be used to reduce product support costs and make it widely acceptable depending on what your priorities are. Above all, online communities are the most cost-effective and self-sustaining way to promote your brand.

The question, however, is how can you ensure that a platform like this is successful and thriving?

The answer is simple – Use the power of Reputation

At the heart of a community is an individual who engages and provides relevant contributions to the community. The success of the community depends purely on the ability of the platform to attract and retain such individuals. But why will these individuals spend their valuable time engaging with your community? What do they get in return?

Successful community owners know that the answer is reputation. In exchange for their contribution, you reward your community members by helping them build their reputation. Member activity details, rank/scores, testimonials, likes, awards, titles for their contribution to the community- all serve as reputation builders.

Participants work hard to achieve these awards, titles, likes etc. and this motivates them to stay active in the community.

Below are two examples of successful Reputation Management Systems:

Harley Davidson has over many years, through a carefully orchestrated campaign maintained its image of “Exclusive – Not for all”. Harley Owner’s online community has immensely contributed to the growth of the brand and its business by perfectly complementing a voraciously active offline community. It has successfully brought together many smaller groups and broadened community interactions many folds.

Does reputation play a role here? Of course, it does. Being part of an exclusive community in itself is prestigious to a Harley fan. Members of this community not only help the brand, they own it and it becomes a part of their life.

The second example I would like to share is the Oracle Community. The challenge for an organization such as Oracle is the range of products and the variety of audience. Each product line has a developer community, a user group, and a partner ecosystem with different objectives but could have a shared audience pool.  The moment you bring in product lines, there are infinite permutations and combinations of forums that a user could likely participate in.

Despite these challenges, Oracle community today is a single source of support and knowledge for all Oracle developers, customers, and partners.

While a sophisticated and rigorous moderation strategy is key to the success of a vast community like this, at the core of the community are again, individuals. The people listed on the global leaderboard on the home page of the Oracle community are proud to be there. This is evident in their testimonial videos found posted in the community.

Complexities around the structure of systems will always exist and may need constant monitoring and tweaking. However, this does not take away from the fact that Reputation Management Systems are a powerful yet cost-effective way to increase brand advocacy, online word of mouth, and reduce support costs.

If you are looking to build your own Reputation Management System, take a look at what the Oracle Service Cloud Community Self Service provides. It is a powerful and flexible underlying structure for organizations to design and build their own Reputation Management Systems. Along with Oracle Knowledge of Service Cloud that allows organizations to share knowledge articles with the larger community, the Self Service Communities can be a formidable platform to enable your user communities.

Here are the 2018 Markie Award Finalists

We are excited to announce the Markie Award finalists for 2018! This year marks the 12th year that we have celebrated the best in Modern Marketing. We were pleased to invite Oracle Commerce customers to submit for a Markie Award and they proved that great marketing can be done with Oracle Commerce products, too!

A lot goes into great marketing - from leveraging data for insights, to creating personalized messages and reaching target audiences through multiple channels. The Markies submissions reflect the changing nature of marketing and the fact that our customers are demanding better customer experiences in exchange for brand advocacy and loyalty.

Thank you to everyone who submitted and shared their inspiring stories with us. Our judges enjoyed reading through them all. The caliber of the submissions showed just how savvy our Oracle Marketing Cloud and Oracle Commerce customers are when it comes to Modern Marketing.  Congratulations to our finalists!

Winners will be announced at the Markie Awards dinner ceremony at Modern Customer Experience in Chicago on April 10th at 8 PM. All attendees to the event are welcome to attend and celebrate with us.

And now…the finalists!

Account-Based Marketing Team of the Year

These teams have embraced an end-to-end view across the entire buyer journey and across all channels. They know their buyer profile, have created targeted campaigns that drive engagement and ROI and have created visibility into which accounts have the greatest propensity to buy.

This year’s finalists achieved phenomenal results with their account-based marketing strategies. With focused, methodical and well-executed campaigns, these organizations were able to increase open rates, build pipeline and tightened the overall experience, providing seamless touchpoints for their target audiences. At the same time, they were also able to create cross-functional relationships within their organizations.

  • Cisco
  • Clarivate Analytics
  • DX Marketing
  • NEC
  • NTT Communications Corporation

Best B2B Commerce Experience

These data-driven Modern Commerce or Marketing professionals have proven ways to deliver personalized buying experiences for every B2B customer. They have provided their customers with relevant content, merchandising, personalized search, customized marketing programs, and tailored websites across all channels. At the same time, they enable self-service with custom catalogs, custom pricing and account-specific experiences.

The finalists below are delivering integrated experiences, streamlining processes and providing seamless commerce experiences for their B2B customers. Some have even mastered B2C-like experiences for their B2B audience and increased their conversion rate in the process.

  • Calix
  • Dubai World Trade Center
  • Integra Life Sciences
  • The Chefs Warehouse
  • WestRock
     

Best B2C Commerce Experience

These data-driven Modern Commerce or Marketing professionals are delivering personalized buying experiences for every B2C customer, connecting the online experience to the in-store experience by exposing inventory availability and offering click and collect. This award recognizes the supremely enlightened organization that truly gets the power of personally engaging consistently delightful, and seamlessly integrated experiences where the customer runs the show.

These finalists have created strategies to align and unify their brands, designed beautiful visual selling websites, leveraged mobile in engaging and easy-to-use ways and provide a variety of their users with targeted experiences.

  • Ascena Retail Group
  • Moleskine
  • PureFormulas
  • Public Broadcasting Service Distribution
  • Vermont Country Store

Best Digital Marketing Ecosystem

These organizations are taking advantage of digital marketing integration to enhance processes or improve analytics. They have created an integrated ecosystem with CRM, third-party cloud apps, or other applications to automate, streamline, and enhance your marketing efforts and are often using APIs in interesting ways.

This year’s finalists show how integrating with either multiple Oracle products or other third party products to build their marketing stack can help improve efficiencies and significantly increase revenue, sales opportunities and customer interactions.

  • ADP
  • Atea
  • Infosys
  • Jetstar
  • Vodafone Group Enterprise

Best Email Marketing Campaign

Email can be extraordinary. In fact, there are some email communications that are so well written, so masterfully designed, that it's only a question of when people will respond, not if. Achieving extraordinary response rates isn't luck – it's the result of great targeting, content, personalization and timing.

These finalists show just how extraordinary email can be. They were able to personalize emails for their target market, adopt A/B testing, analyzed their data to make customer experience the forefront of the campaigns that ultimately, drove revenue contribution.

  • Aer Lingus
  • Certiport
  • Olav Thon Gruppen
  • Tech Mahindra Limited
  • Wine (Dia da Saudade)

Best Emerging Company Marketing Campaign

Doing more with less? These fast-growing, emerging companies of $100M in revenue or less have lean, mean, marketing teams that have executed masterful marketing campaigns using marketing automation to do the work of ten people.

This year’s nominees proved that size doesn’t matter. They were able to create targeted customer experiences with clear objectives, organizational alignment and collaboration across different departments.

  • E-commerce Enablers Pte ltd /Shopback
  • Mist Systems
  • Second City Works
  • TurnKey Vacation Rentals

 

Best Integrated Mobile Experience

For these organizations, mobile is the platform of choice for the majority of their ideal customers. As such they have created personalized experiences with messages and promotions optimized for mobile.

These finalists have adopted a customer centric approach to their mobile experience, developed creative and modern looking responsive designs and designed mobile apps to connect online and offline data for complete end-to-end experiences.

  • Moleskine
  • Mountain America Credit Union
  • Public Broadcasting Service Distribution
  • The Vitamin Shoppe
  • Vermont Country Store

 

Best International Campaign

The Best International Campaign award will go to a company with a successful marketing campaign outside the United States - in multiple countries in multiple languages, modification of a program originally created in the U.S. and re-launched in another country, or any variation in between.

The finalists this year truly built international campaigns by incorporating multiple campaign canvases designed for multiple languages across multiple countries, resulting in impressive ROI and pipeline revenue.

  • American Express
  • HCL Technologies Ltd
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Morningstar
  • Philips Lighting

Best Lead Management Program

Finalists in this category have a sophisticated lead management program that delivered measurable results. They demonstrate the use of lead scoring and deliver compelling results. In this award, people, process and technology all come into play.

The 2018 Finalists in this category managed to coordinate leads across complex enterprises and multiple campaigns, creating alignment between sales and marketing and increasing revenue and pipeline at the same time.

  • Basware OYJ
  • Covance Inc
  • HCL Technologies Ltd
  • Saison Information Systems Co., Ltd
  • Samsung Electronics France

Best Omni-Channel Marketing Program

Finalists in this category create personalized experiences with messages and promotions across web, social, mobile, email, display, or other digital channels to attract or retain their ideal customers?

This year’s finalists are leveraging multiple Oracle products, leveraging all channels to build complex marketing programs that result in uplift rates, cost savings and improved customer experience.

  • Aon
  • Lojas Renner
  • Medtronic
  • National Roads and Motorists' Association Limited

Best Overall Customer Experience

Every company says they are customer focused. But few actually deliver. These finalists have created a customer retention or loyalty program that has successfully transformed their customers into fiercely loyal brand advocates. They have shifted their culture from consumer transactions to customer relationships to drive loyalty.

The following finalists are making the digital shift and personalized their customer journeys using various technologies and integrated data, often connecting their customers offline and online resulting in increased customer retention, sales and conversion rates.

  • Axcess Financial (Check n Go)
  • Cisco
  • Schibsted Media
  • Vermont Country Store
  • Visma Software Oy -  Tutka

Best Social Campaign

For finalists in this category, Social Media is more than just a buzz word. They have found creative ways to utilize both new and traditional social mediums in order to build sustained dialogs with customers and prospects, and have seized the opportunities available through social media to generate proven results.

These finalists incorporated social media in innovative ways to promote their product, generate leads and drive results. They used visually appealing creative, leveraged influencers and put customer experience at the forefront of their campaigns.

  • Axcess Financial (Check n Go)
  • Bajaj Finserv
  • Sage
  • Technos
  • Texas Instruments

Best Testing and Optimization

These Marketers have optimized the online customer experience with testing, insights, and personalization. They have maximized revenue potential across web, mobile, social, apps, and other digital channels as a result and have taken the leap to multivariate sophistication. Nominees for this award have incorporated testing and optimization of their campaigns and programs to mitigate risk, drive better decisions, increase revenue, and improve the customer experience.  

The finalists in this category took testing to a whole other level by starting out with testing theories before implementing, as well as testing across different country sites. They analyzed and optimized personalized content on the web, resulting in significant revenue increases.

  • American Express
  • Etihad Airways
  • Hilton
  • HTC
  • Signet Jewelers

Best Use of Data

The data-driven Modern Marketer targets and engages their ideal audience for specific business initiatives These finalists are successfully using data to target, personalize, measure and win. They are using data in innovative and strategic ways, and have seen their efforts pay off with improved customer experiences and ROI.

This year’s finalists used data science and predictive modeling to uncover segments and opportunity with a great realization and achievements. They used different data sources to lower costs of acquisition and created highly targeted campaigns using a strong mix of implicit and explicit data points.

  • Jones Lang LaSalle Property Consultant Pte Ltd
  • LTI (Larson Tourbro Infotech)
  • Passarela
  • REA Group
  • Samsung Business America

Best Use of Insights and ROI

These Marketers are interpreting data for actionable recommendations that improve business results and customer experience. This award recognizes an organization that has moved beyond reporting (old methods of organizing data into informational summaries to monitor performance) towards analysis (new data and meaningful insights that improve performance).  

These finalists used analytics and data science to proactively engage customers throughout the entire relationship lifecycle with personalized and optimized communications; establish enterprise-wide reporting strategies to create complete and actionable stories and determine ROI from campaigns to justify additional development of campaigns within their organizations.

  • Cisco
  • Covance Inc.
  • Hitachi Consulting
  • La-Z-Boy
  • Morningstar

Modern Marketing Leader of the Year

Just as great people are the foundation for successful businesses, innovators are often the driving force behind exceptional marketing. These nominees are the passionate senior people that push their teams to succeed, lead decisive change, set the vision for the entire marketing organization and introduce innovative concepts.    

This year’s submissions demonstrated impressive and inspiring leaders who are taking their marketing to the next level by aligning changing business environments with consumer behavior and bringing a “digital-first” vision into the organization. They have broken down silos and implemented ground-breaking marketing and testing new technologies.

  • Brightcove - Chris Bondhus
  • FIS - Alisa Barber
  • Pirelli - David Alemani
  • Sage - Kevin Cassidy
  • Stein IAS - Marc Keating

Most Creative Marketing Campaign

Sometimes all of the pieces align to create a fantastic marketing campaign – the perfect idea, the right target, the memorable artwork, the personalized follow-up, and of course, the measurable results.

These finalists have innovatively used segmentation and gamification to both educate and nurture their customers, increase interest in their product and leveraged celebrity to increase activity across multiple channels.

  • Cisco
  • Desert Financial Credit Union
  • Eaton
  • FIS
  • Texas Instruments

Rapid Transformation

Enabling a high-performance marketing culture isn’t always easy. For most organizations, it can take time to master the intricate blend of messaging, segmentation, data orchestration, organizational alignment and other disciplines. The Rapid Transformation award honors those who have successfully implemented any Oracle Marketing Cloud technology in the past year, for their superb planning, execution, and results.  

Within their first year, these finalists were able to both rapidly transformed their marketing and their corporate culture, successfully implement more than one marketing technology and use data analytics to drive their campaigns.

  • Banco Votorantim
  • BMW New Zealand
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel
  • Movember
  • Pirelli

People's Choice Award: Best Video Submission

This award honors the best video submission with a people’s choice award voted on by your peers. Finalists in this category submitted exceptional videos enhanced by creativity, humor or human interest touches.

  • BMW New Zealand
  • DX Marketing
  • Hilton
  • PETStock
  • Samsung Electronics France

Voting will be open soon! Check Topliners to watch the videos submitted by our finalists and cast your vote for Best Video Submission!

Note: Voting requires registration to Topliners. New to Topliners? Click here to get started.

Congratulations to our finalists! Watch the replays of the Markies Finalist announcements by visiting the Markies website.

3 Digital Trends Driving Improved Customer Experience in 2018

Customer Experience (CX) is not just a buzz word. Businesses are operating in a saturated market where brand loyalty is decreasing, price competition is rising and consumers are distracted and exposed to several media, devices and a lot of information.

In this complex ecosystem, CX is becoming crucial for companies in order to differentiate themselves, improve customer satisfaction, foster loyalty, reduce churn and ultimately increase revenue.  

Just to provide few examples, according to a KPMG study (2017) there is a positive correlation between CX and financial results. A report by McKinsey (2014) found that companies focusing on maximising satisfaction of the entire customer journey can potentially increase customer satisfaction by 20%. And again, Forrester (2016) showed that superior CX drives superior revenue growth. When they compared the total growth rate of all CX leaders to that of all CX laggards they noticed that the leaders collectively had a 14-percentage point advantage.

So CX is not just the latest trend, but what is it exactly and what makes a CX outstanding?

There are different opinions on what the key elements of a good CX are. In my view, a good CX must be Consistent, Useful, Personalised and Delightful. I like to think that it’s not a coincidence that if you play with those words, you get CUPiD, the Latin God of attraction and love who would strike you with an arrow and make you fall in love with someone…or in our case with a brand!

So, if in the eyes of the consumers, CX is trumping price and products, what are the areas where companies are investing to make their CX unique and respond effectively to consumers’ needs?

According to a recent survey by eConsultancy (2017), over one-fifth of client respondents ranked 'optimising CX' as the single most exciting opportunity for the year ahead. In order to deliver differentiated CX, brands are looking at: engaging audiences through virtual or augmented reality, using artificial intelligence/ bots to drive campaigns and experiences, enhanced payment technologies and finally internet of things.

In fact, the industry agrees that there are at least three prominent trends that are driving CX to the next level: VR/AR, AI/Bots, Mobile/IoT.

1. VR/AR

VR and AR will play an important role in connecting the online and in-store experience.

For example, it will enable customers to try before they buy. Amazon has just patented a mirror that dresses you in virtual clothes. Ikea has recently launched Ikea Place, which allows users to place virtual Ikea furniture into their own home to see how everything might look once assembled.

Another home interiors-related app, Dulux Visualiser uses AR to see what your walls will look like when painted a different colour.

AR can also be utilised to improve the experience in-store. Home Depot, for example, has launched an app that allows customers to find products inside a shop using real-time inventory and visual search. The Home Depot App has the ability to sense when the customer enters one of the stores and it activates the in-store mode, allowing them to find any item where they are. You can even use your camera to take a picture of an unfamiliar item and the app will show you a list of similar products and where to locate them.

2.  AI/Bots

AI is taking the personalisation to the next level. Chatbots, for example, are making every one-to-one interaction completely tailored, allowing customers to engage 24/7 with a “virtual” representative that mimics the way a customer support representative would talk.

Levi’s, for example, has announced a chatbot on Facebook Messenger, Levi’s Virtual Stylist, which will help customers find the perfect pair of jeans, providing shoppers with fit, rise and stretch recommendations in order to increase satisfaction and reduce returns.

Another example of how AI will change CX is through an improved ad-relevance and on-site experience.

In the last Shoptalk Europe, Topman explained how they are optimising conversion rates by serving different messages to shoppers when they are at risk of leaving the website. The notifications use machine learning to address issues that will help retain the consumers. For example, letting them know an item is low in stock is providing an uplift of 3-5%.

3. Mobile & IoT

Mobiles, wearables and smart devices will help provide a consistent and seamless experience for customers.  Let’s just think about how mobile payment has impacted our lives and how easy it is today to browse, choose and pay all within the same app.

In the UK alone, mobile payments spending tripled in the first half of 2017. In China Mobile payments totaled 81 trillion yuan ($16.7 trillion) for the first 10 months of 2017, nearly 40 per cent more than the whole of the previous year.

As smartphones became ubiquitous, they became the perfect device to act as the hub of CX. But mobiles are just the beginning. According to Intel, there will be 200 billion connected devices by 2020. A market that will reach $1.29 trillion. Future IoT-enabled devices have the potential to allow marketers to uncover new innovative ways to understand and influence customer activity, behaviour, and consuming trends.

Some great examples of how IoT is driving truly connected and omni-channel experiences is Amazon go, where customers place items in their baskets and simply walk out of the store when they have finished shopping.

OfferMoments has developed dynamic billboards that change as you walk by. They turn digital screens into an interactive experience with adverts customised to you.

Another great example of IoT in action is Rebecca Minkoff’s dressing room with smart mirrors enabled to read information from RFID tags placed on items brought into the cubicles.

Summary

CX is not the latest buzz word. It’s determining customer loyalty, influencing churn and ultimately has an impact on revenue and profits.

To be successful, CX should be Consistent, Useful, Personalised and Delightful.

Companies see optimising CX as the main opportunity for the years ahead. They are investing in new technologies to transform their CX and make it unique. Virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and Internet of things are at the forefront of these investments and are increasingly playing a key role in defining the future of CX.

Register for Modern Customer Experience 2018 here

ModernCX is the only conference where you get to see end-to-end solutions from marketing to sales, service and commerce. Your Marketing Community Pass will give you access to all 4 tracks. Join other marketing professionals, industry influencers, product experts and Oracle executives to learn how you can use the entire marketing ecosystem to impact customer experience.

See you in Chicago:

 

Why putting the business focus on experience pays off

Despite numerous articles and opinion pieces promoting the need for brands to adopt customer-centric commerce, the business realities and commercial pressures placed on retailers still mean that many are taking a purely conversion-centric approach.

As more brands make the shift into the digital space, it’s important to prevent tunnel vision when it comes to customer conversion and instead, find a balance between outcomes and customer experiences and help business to recognise that their conversion-centric approach is detrimental to their success.

According to recent research by Aberdeen Group, delivering a good digital experience can result in as much as a 15% uplift in customer retention rates, up to 7x improvement in annual company revenue and 6x improvement in customer satisfaction rates. Such stats have helped to convince marketers that – when used correctly - customer experience can be a powerful marketing tool, both helping to drive growth and bolster customer loyalty. In order to gain these benefits however, brands must first become more self-aware and more willing to embrace digital transformation.

One way to welcome this change and drive success in all areas is to think of experience as a transactional currency, from which both the brand and the customer can benefit. As competition blooms, brands need to understand that user experience is often a more powerful differentiator than price, as consumers gravitate to brands that adapt to their needs  . This loyalty, which in turn drives engagement, can be harnessed – using the right technology - for maximum benefit to both brands and customers.

This will become even more apparent once brands begin to harness their customers’ data, turning gained knowledge into tangible business outcomes. There is never a lack of data to garner; customer experience data is rich and almost limitless – often gaining even more value over long periods of time. Brands can use this information to consistently tweak and improve their path to purchase and move toward their goal of meeting a customer’s needs. By using this data to build personas of their customers, marketers can become experts in the customer groups that frequently interact with their brands.

Many of the brands embarking on the customer experience shift have already started to see positive outcomes. A company that has been successful in getting digital customer experience right, to transform its success, is the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). The company set itself the challenging task of trying to redefine its brand in the market, transforming from being a financial services provider to being an ‘experience business’ which works within the financial sector. This change in focus, away from products and towards customer experiences, has helped RBS provide a higher quality of service to its customers, ultimately building trust and loyalty in the long run. In the first week of using this technology, RBS saw a significant increase in click-through rate, and the agreement in principle completion went up by 10%. RBS has since been able to improve over one million journeys.

Success like this is not limited to any particular sector and can be achieved by any brand that is willing to modernise and understand how customers purchase within the digital realm. All businesses – regardless of the products they sell or the services they deliver – ultimately strive to modernise their practices and identify areas that can be optimised and improved. Optimisation allows brands to overcome difficult business challenges that stem from a lack of interaction with customers. This holistic approach takes into account all the aspects of online behaviour that may have previously been missed. Focusing on experience allows brands to gain an edge over their competition, using sophisticated metrics and complex data sets to reach their targets and drive success for many years to come.

Register for Modern Customer Experience 2018:

Whether you are looking for better ways to manage the full lifecycle of your B2C customers or you want to nurture B2B clients from first impression to customer advocacy, you won’t want to miss what Modern Customer Experience 2018 (ModernCX) has to offer. Join other marketing professionals, industry influencers, product experts and Oracle executives to learn how you can use the entire marketing ecosystem to impact the customer experience. 

Register for the event hereLooking forward 

Five Pre-Conference Sessions You Can’t Miss at Modern Customer Experience (ModernCX)

Modern Customer Experience (ModernCX) 2018 once again offers registered attendees the opportunity to arrive early for a high-value, free pre-conference training event across multiple Oracle Customer Experience (CX) platforms. The Pre-Conference Education event takes place on Monday, April 9 and Tuesday, April 10, prior to the conference opening keynote.

Marketing cloud sessions, including courses on Eloqua, Responsys, DMP and Content Marketing, will span both days, presented by some of the best Oracle University instructors, like Rafael Rodriguez and Adrienne Albregts. Meet these and other favorite experts and network with your peers and Oracle pros from Oracle Marketing Cloud.

Beyond the photo ops and business card exchanges, the education is the hero of this event! Get the latest product knowledge, tips, tricks and best practices to apply in your marketing strategy.

The event session catalog is live on the ModernCX 2018 website, but here’s a sneak peek and an insider’s take on some sessions you won’t want to miss:

1.     Reporting 911: Using Robust Data Insight to Avoid Marketing Emergencies

Platform Focus: Oracle Eloqua

Presenter: Nikki Vaughn, Oracle

Overview: You'll learn how to best structure your organization's reporting in Insight to gain a more thorough understanding of your Eloqua marketing efforts. Learn more about how basic reports provide critical information and pull together your data in an easy-to-consume way. Meaningful insight and discussion are planned in this strategic session.

2.     Mobile App Messaging for Smarties!

Platform Focus: Oracle Responsys

Presenter: Rafael Rodriguez, Oracle University

Overview: You may know what a "Profile List" is, but do you know what an "App Channel List" is? Get answers to this and other questions in this intermediate-level session. Join this interactive session with one of our most experienced Marketing Cloud instructors to take a close look at how Responsys handles Mobile Apps to work with your data.

3.     B2B: Oracle Eloqua App Cloud

Platform Focus: Oracle Eloqua

Presenter: Adrienne Albregts, Oracle University

Overview: Attend this advanced Eloqua session to learn how to install popular apps in Eloqua and explore topics such as social sign-ons and sharing apps to foster engagement and increase conversion rates.

4.     Facing Content Marketing Challenges Head-On

Platform Focus: Oracle Content Marketing

Presenter: Michael Kirsner, Oracle University

Overview: Content marketers face many challenges, but you’re not alone! In this session, we’ll take a look at some of the most common challenges facing content marketers, and explore the features of the tool that can help address these challenges.

5.     Modern Learning for the Modern Customer Experience (CX) Organization

Platform Focus: All CX

Presenter: Susan Korbey, Oracle University

Overview: Your CX cloud training needs to keep pace with evolving cloud technology. In this insightful session, explore next-generation education options and get a first-hand look at how Oracle University has developed and enhanced training to drive user adoption and success.

Pre-conference education is the perfect chance to start or continue a training journey to marketing mastery! You can find more information about pre-conference education in the Topliners Community.

PRE-CONFERENCE EDUCATION SCHEDULE

Monday, April 9:

·       Time: 12:00pm - 5:00pm

·       Sessions: Three 90-minute training blocks, across multiple rooms

·       Topics: Marketing Cloud (B2B, B2C, DMP, OCM) -- presented by Oracle University instructors

Tuesday, April 10

·       Time: 9:30am - 1:30pm

·       Sessions: Two 90-minute training blocks, across multiple rooms; lunch break included

·       Topics: Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Commerce Cloud -- presented by Oracle University instructors and CX product experts

HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN PRE-CONFERENCE SESSIONS

It's easy to take advantage of pre-conference education sessions.

·       Register for MCX 2018 

·       Plan your sessions in the session catalog

·       Arrive early to attend

·       Learn, network and enjoy!

Pre-conference education sessions are free and open to any registered, full conference attendee, but space is limited, so be sure to plan your sessions early.

The Education Help Desk can assist with any questions about pre-conference education.

See you in Chicago!

 

 

Are You Tracking Your Content Marketing’s Effectiveness Yet?

In my recent blog post I shared with B2B marketers 5 Steps to Content Marketing Success in 2018 and the ultimate key to success: a documented strategy. But would you be surprised if I tell you that only 35% of organizations measure the return on investment (ROI) of its content marketing efforts? This is according to Content Marketing Institute’s (CIM’s) 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends research (North America). That’s pretty shocking, wouldn’t you say?

When asked, “Why doesn’t your organization measure the ROI of its content marketing efforts”, B2B marketers in the same research gave the following top three reasons:

  • No formal justifi­cation required (38%)

  • We need an easier way to do this (38%)

  • We don’t know how to do this (27%)

With B2B marketers continuing to produce more content each year, I wonder how long we’ll continue to get away without measuring the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of our content. But even when no formal justifi­cation is required from our organization, shouldn’t we be curious to understand the impact content has on our customers and the business? One would hope so.

While 55% of the most successful B2B content marketers measure content marketing ROI, according to CIM’s research, I understand when marketers say that they “don’t know how to do this”. It is difficult to consistently and accurately tie revenue to marketing efforts. Consider looking at the other metrics that matter to your organization.

Start with the business objectives your content marketing strategy needs to support. While all content marketing programs should assist in driving prospective customers through the buyers’ journey, not all content can be tied back to revenue.

For different stages of the buyer’s journey – e.g. Interest, Learn, Evaluate, Justify, Purchase, and Advocate – you will need to identify different content performance indicators. Those indicators may be further influenced by geographic or demographic factors.

Here are five categories that can help you measure your content marketing success:

  1. Consumption metrics measure how engaged your audience is with your content and gives you insight into your brand awareness (e.g. page views, click-through rates, and downloads).
  2. Sharing metrics indicate how much your readers or followers like your content, how funny, insightful or unique they have found it (e.g. likes, shares, tweets, and pins).
  3. Lead Generation metrics tie your content back to leads and help you optimize your top-of-the-funnel performance (e.g. form submits, downloads, and lead conversion rates).
  4. Sales metrics link your content to revenue and are required to calculate your ROI (e.g. online and offline sales, contract renewals, and retention rates).
  5. Reach metrics inform you of the size of your audience as well as the geographic and demographic spread (e.g. visitors per region, demographic split, and mobile readership).

The metrics you identify should give you the insight to make informed decisions, which lead to optimization of your content marketing efforts. Once you have defined the metrics that will help you measure your content’s effectiveness, document the data sources and owners. We’ve developed a simple Metrics Data Tracker to help you keep track.

Visit our Metrics Do-It-Yourself Marketing Success page today to find an action plan and more resources to help you implement the content marketing metrics that matter to you.

For more tips, tools, and hacks to make your life as a marketer easier- join us at Modern Customer Experience 2018. ModernCX’s Modern Marketing track offers more than 200 expert-led sessions geared to equip you with new skills you can immediately apply to your work.

Register for Modern Customer Experience 2018 here

What we think about Google’s AMP for Email

Heard about Google’s recently announced AMP for Email project?

AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, was developed by Google to efficiently load modules within web pages, specifically on mobile devices. A few weeks ago, Google announced they’ll be bringing this same technology to inboxes, allowing for what they're calling "engaging, interactive, and actionable email experiences."

Currently being tested by Pinterest, Doodle and Booking.com, it’s being used to include dynamic content and real-time pricing and availability, all within email.

Example of Pinterest using Google's Amp for Email

But is this something you need to start learning right away?

Since I have the coding knowledge of about a 2nd grader, I turned to James Wurm and Rowdy Gleason, both Senior Email and Web Developers out of our Chicago and Seattle offices, respectively, to get their thoughts.

And I’d love to hear yours below in the comments.

Okay, so what are some good AMP for Email use cases?

RG: AMP is already used on the web for things like carousels, image galleries, hamburger menus, embedded video. With the new AMP for Email announcement, we can use those same modules within email. It’s even possible to theoretically load applications, demonstrated in the form of JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, and interact with APIs.

I’d imagine for our typical client, the primary use cases would be simple carousels and hamburger menus. Although, the more exciting tech is dynamic and real-time content. Think real-time shipment tracking on your online orders.

JW: Versions of this type of programming already exist in some brands’ shipping confirmation emails, or other communications that provide status updates. For example, delivery tracking emails that are continually updated as more info is provided by the shipper. Right now, we use third-party vendors such as Movable Ink and Liveclicker for similar functions.

Why should businesses and email marketers care?

JW: If they’re communicating shifting data points, the emails could reflect live, current information, which is valuable to customers.

RG: This is a huge evolution for email if it sticks around and sees adoption across a broader base of clients. In the short term, it allows AMP developers to easily implement otherwise fairly intensive and hacky modules, like carousels (although purely as progressive enhancement). The real excitement are the long term implications that are much more difficult to envision. Being able to connect with APIs and load full applications can lead to a whole host of possibilities.

Example of Doodle using Google's Amp for Email for real-time scheduling

How will this affect email marketers’ work?

RG: I think there is the desire to bring cool and interesting experiences to the inbox and this could be enticing if the tech is adopted and email developers become familiar with the language. It would allow marketers to mimic offerings like Movable Ink’s “real-time” content.

Where is AMP for Email supported?

RG: Support is extremely limited to Gmail webmail (not even their mobile apps). Even if Gmail is a majority market share for your list, I don’t believe the amount of development time necessary to make an AMP module is worth it. Google is hopeful that more clients will support AMP, but in my experience with Google technology for email (anyone remember Grid View, pulled less than a year after its release?) and other clients supporting modern web tech, that’s probably not going to happen.

What does this mean for email and web developers? How will this change how you work?

RG: In the short term, I don’t foresee clients investing the time to have developers code specific AMP modules. If we see Apple devices pick up this tech, it could become worth it. Otherwise we’ll likely continue doing kinetic development instead, as well as partnering with Movable Ink–type services that can show “real-time” content.

That being said, if we do see that adoption, our role will evolve a bit as we’ll need to learn AMP development – it’s basically its own language, although it’s fairly semantic and shorthand – and become quite good at it since the modules function independently from the markup that shows in unsupported clients.

Do you see any benefits to this new technology?

RG: The main benefit is evolving the inbox. Going back to the question about use cases, the best thing we can do with this service is real-time content (flight info, shipment tracking, etc.). Maybe if nothing else, it could push the inbox to adopt more web standards.

Example of Booking.com using Google's Amp for Email showing real-time offers and pricing

Any drawbacks?

RG: The big one is support. Only working in Gmail is not sufficient for the amount of time invested into coding the module separately from the rest of the markup (meaning the fallbacks are entirely discrete). Knowing the pace at which email clients move, it seems unlikely that other clients will adopt it anytime soon. Even if they did, Apple is a must considering their device range makes up nearly 50% of the market share. For OMC Creative Services standards, we expect at least that, in addition to the big webmail providers, to pick it up before considering it standard support. Otherwise it exists more in the realm of kinetic.

JW: Google hopes devices and platforms will support this feature, but enforcing such would be difficult and messy. Also, they have a history of big pushes for new tech, and then dropping products after a few years. Imagine all the training and strategy that could go into a fully realized campaign, just for Google to unceremoniously kill the library.

Any other drawbacks developers and email marketers should consider?

RG: Frankly, there are some major problems I have as a web developer when it comes to development, security and weight.

In terms of development, although it seems simple enough in the examples provided like carousels, the code is proprietary Google AMP – essentially shorthand Javascript with some markup. I’d recommend spending a lot of time becoming very familiar with the possibilities before making it an official offering, which requires a big up-front investment for a technology that is likely not going to be around for very long or adopted, based off Google’s history with these things (speaking about AMP for Email, not AMP as a whole).

As far as security goes, AMP for Email allows applications to load inside the inbox. This is dangerous and alarming for obvious reasons, but in the same respect if anybody is going to have complete control over it, Google is a good company to put a handle on how it works and what can be done. I’d like to see more emphasis placed on security before I’m willing to assume more clients adopt the tech because Javascript has no business being in the inbox.

And lastly, load time and weight. This is the least important here, but worth noting that in Google’s presentation, they call out that modules do load independently from the rest of the markup. I didn’t enjoy that there was a noticeable “loading wheel” that held for a second on open, even on Wi-Fi. I can’t imagine it’s much better of an experience on dicey mobile connections. I’m not sure on the weight over a user’s connection and how that impacts data, but I’d be curious to play around and see how it feels in my hands and how much I can push it before it’s noticeably slow to load. The irony is that AMP for web is meant to make the experience faster than typical pages, but compared to simple HTML/CSS for email it’s probably still heftier.

So, do you think this will be worth it?

RG: In its current state – no. It needs to at least see adoption by Apple before it’s worth investing time into beyond cute enhancements. Having to code the module independently rather than as a progressive enhancement means directly investing time into whatever client supports it at the time, which I currently do not see a serious benefit to doing.

We can continue to do kinetic development and work with our partners to provide a more well-supported but similar experience in the inbox without investing a ton of development time into learning a proprietary new tech that may or may not exist in a few years.

When can marketers or developers start using this technology in their own email communications?

JW: There’s no date provided for wide release. It seems it’s still in beta mode.

RG: And right now developing for it is under NDA and a limited acceptance. They’re looking to release it this year publicly and broaden to their mobile apps. If your dev team can get access to the developer preview then you can start right away – public release is slated for “later this year.”

So what do you think? Are you biting at the bit to get creative with Google’s new AMP for Email? Or will you just wait and see? Let us know below!

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 5 Steps to B2B Content Marketing Success in 2018

We are only two months into 2018 and I already hear some B2B marketers say that they work harder, not smarter, and only see limited results. So what differentiates the successful marketers from the not-so-successful marketers? One word: strategy.

According to CMI’s 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends research (North America), 62% of the most successful B2B content marketers have a documented strategy and 72% of B2B content marketers have increased their level of success over the past year as a result of having a strategy place.

So what stops B2B organisations from developing a content marketing strategy, when it’s so clear that having a strategy is key to success? In the same CMI research B2B marketers gave two main reasons: Small Team (67%) and Lack of Time (44%).

Wouldn’t it be so much more effective to create the right content for the right audience at the right time? Wouldn’t it be great to find ways to repurpose the content we’ve spent so much time creating rather than creating content haphazardly? Wouldn’t that save time?

I ask you to invest a little time today and start with a simple content map. Creating a content map will help you align your brand and product stories with your customer lifecycle stages, the questions your audiences ask and their content needs and preferences. This is a logical process that is easy once you get it down on paper.

Just follow these five steps to get started with your content map:

1. Build Your Audiences
When it comes to content, one size does not fit all. While a Marketing Manager of a small business and the CEO of a large enterprise might be on the same customer journey, their content needs are likely not the same. You need to identify your top purchase influencers and decision makers. These are your buyer personas. Once you have identified them, give them each a name. Describe who they are with as much detail as possible. Include things like what they fear, what motivates them and identify their goals and challenges. It’s always much easier to create content while having someone specific in mind. If you need help getting started check out our DIY-Marketing-Success page on Buyer Persona Development.
 

2. Define Your Customer Lifecycle Stages

Think about how your prospects and customers interact with your organisation and the stages they go through. Some companies start simple and only define three or four stages. Some companies look at as many as eight stages: Need > Research > Select > Purchase > Receive > Use > Maintain > Recommend.

For this blog post I will work with six stages: Interest > Learn > Evaluate > Justify > Purchase > Advocate. But at the end it depends on your buyers, the length of the buying cycle and how complex your process needs to be.

3. Understand What Questions Your Audiences Have
Different audiences will have different questions at each stage of their customer lifecycle journey. The purpose of your content should be to answer those questions, so that your buyers can make informed decisions and naturally move through the funnel from Interest to Advocate. Here are some general questions buyers ask at each stage of their journey:

Interest:

  • How can I manage content and content mapping for my department?
  • Am I the only one trying to figure this out?

Learn:

  • Are there content management tools out there that can manage personas, too?
  • What are the benefits of using these tools?

Evaluate:

  • How can Oracle Content Management help me?
  • How does it compare to other options?

Justify:

  • Is there an attractive ROI? How can I prove it to stakeholders?
  • What are current users saying about the solution?

Purchase:

  • What kind of support is there to me going with solution?
  • How can I best leverage the features?

Advocate:

  • Have I been successful?
  • Do I want to tell my story? Where?

 

4. Answer Your Audiences’ Questions
Start to align your brand or product stories with the questions your audiences ask. Keep in mind what makes your story unique and what differentiates you from your competitors. You may want to start off by taking an inventory of your existing content and identify gaps. Capture all the details that will help you to categorize your content so that you can easily find the right content for the right persona at the right stage.

5. Identify Preferred Content Types for Each Stage
Certain types of content work better at some stages than others. During the initial stages prospects are often more interested in informal types of content consumption like newsletters, infographics or videos – things they do not have to commit much time to. In the mid-stage, they are more interested in case studies or demos. Later in the cycle, when they are more committed to your products and services, they want detailed information, like product specifications and pricing and will spend much more time consuming your content.

Having a documented content marketing strategy is key to ensuring the content you create is timely, relevant and targeted. And creating a content map is the first step to documenting your content strategy and calming the content chaos. As more content is being created each day, adding order to the process is critical. Your content will be most effective when it’s planned, produced and published for a specific persona. You’ll have content that will address your audiences’ needs during each stage of the buyer journey.

Are you ready to get started today? Then visit our Boost Series Content Mapping Plan Builder. The Boost Series is a self-guided service, focused on helping you to implement essential Modern Marketing strategies, on your own time, at your own pace.

For more on how to maximize content marketing download the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Content Marketing, where you'll learn:

  • How to develop a balanced content marketing plan to support your most significant business objectives
  • Mining sources of inspiration to help create meaningful content
  • How to maximize existing content to create additional assets
  • Content calendar best practices
  • Ways to get to know your content comrades within your organization
  • Capitalizing on the idea of “content as data” (and must have content marketing metrics)

Download your copy of the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Content Marketing now!