Why Audience Data Should Be at the Center of Customer Experience

Marketing Cloud

We all interact with a slew of ads each and every day. In some cases, when they offer you something that is not of interest to you, you probably simply ignore them. For example, if the ad mentions the benefits a product or service offers to parents, and you are not a parent, it is probably fairly easy to decide the message is not for you rather than continue reading to learn more about the benefits of a product you clearly do not need. In a world where we see ads at every turn, it is crucial to use audience data to tailor your messages to your customers; otherwise, you will lose their attention within mere seconds.

Audience Data

More than likely, you already collect quite a bit of audience data, whether it is first-, second-, or third-party data. Advertisers often use this audience data to determine how they budget their ad spend to maximize their campaigns’ overall performances. This is something that has been happening for quite a while.

In a nutshell, brands determine different types of audiences they wish to communicate with. These types can be as simple as “frequent purchasers” and “periodic purchasers,” or they can be much more niche like “loyalty members,” “extreme-sports enthusiasts,” or “parents concerned with safety.” No matter how a brand divides its audience, the idea behind using audience data to drive ad spend is to help you understand which campaigns work best for which audiences. This helps you to maximize the limited advertising budget you have.

Personalized Messaging

Personalized messaging and advertising already exist. For instance, if you look at a particular product but do not buy it, it is very likely that product will begin to be advertised to you on other sites you visit. This is called product-level retargeting. What gets really interesting is when you begin to layer audience data on top of personal activity to make personalized messaging more strategic.

For instance, if you can see that your frequent purchasers are all interested in a certain type of product — the data shows that frequent purchasers who purchase a particular product begin to buy it repeatedly — you might begin to personalize messaging to all customers who match that audience criteria. In fact, these campaigns can all look and feel completely different based on which audience segment you are speaking to. Perhaps campaigns to new customers include a welcome message, while campaigns to frequent purchasers remind them how much you value them. The ability to completely customize and personalize this messaging allows you to optimize your customer experience and is only possible if you truly understand your audience data.

Your ads can also move beyond what the product is (its features) to talk about why it should be of interest to your customers (benefits). This allows you to build a frame of reference based on what you know about the audience segment to whom you are speaking. One segment may appreciate the technical nuances of a product while another segment loves hearing how luxurious the same product is.

Building audiences can be an interesting task on its own; it is interesting to see which types of audiences are most likely to be drawn to your brand. But data for data’s sake does not do that much for your brand. Audience data must be acted upon with personalized messaging for it to be actionable and have a real impact on your brand’s bottom line.

The more detailed you are with your audience data, the more precise your ad delivery can be. The level of granularity that you achieve will dictate the flexibility you have to personalize your ads to help customers find the products that are most likely to serve their needs. At the end of the day, happy customers — regardless of which audience segment they are in — are most likely to be return customers.

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A Simple 4-Step Process To Help Drive Connected Customer Experiences

Marketing Cloud

Many brands still believe that they need to establish websites first, only thinking about mobile once they have laid their online foundations. However, as time goes by, we are transitioning from a mobile-first environment to a mobile-only environment. Mobile is no longer an afterthought when it comes to your customer journey; mobile is a crucial aspect of comprehensive customer experiences.

Go to any restaurant or use any mode of public transportation, and you will see the same thing: a sea of people staring at their phones. The percentage of time spent online versus that occurring on mobile continues to increase year over year.

In the past decade, we have become more and more connected to our phones – so much so that we expect to be able to conduct our entire lives from the palms of our hands. The proof of this truth is everywhere around us.

Mobile Is Mandatory

Over time, people are phasing out their desktop computers. People from many countries – and in fact, many younger folks in the United States as well – have begun to use their phones exclusively.

People are on the go, often away from home, and need to be able to connect from anywhere. So they turn to the devices they rely on to reach out to the world: their phones.

As a result, it is crucial for brands to understand that mobile is no longer optional, and it definitely isn’t something that should be put on the back burner. If your website isn’t mobile responsive, it can be a deal breaker for mobile users.

Furthermore, your website should be mobile-friendly. Users who can’t easily load and navigate your website from their mobile phones are likely to turn to another brand.

Many brands assume that, because they have developed a mobile app, they don’t need to focus on creating mobile-friendly websites. However, many users will not download your app – especially if they have already had a negative mobile experience.

It’s incredibly important to make sure that your customers have positive experiences with your brand – no matter how they interact with you.

Seamless Brand Experiences

You have no control over how customers first interact with your brand. However, since we know that, over time, people are engaging more and more via mobile, it makes sense to ensure that your mobile experience is the same as a desktop experience is the same as an in-store experience.

Everything – from branding to language to return policies – should be the same across all touchpoints. This helps customers feel that they are truly connecting to one unified brand.

How can you tell whether your mobile strategy is really helping to drive these connected experiences though? You can follow this simple four-step process.

Step 1: Build

All campaigns need strong content that is in-line with both your brand and your goals. This is an important first step to reaching out to your customers.

Step 2: Manage

Once the content has been created, you will manage when and where it publishes. You can then control customer experiences with your brand for each campaign.

Step 3: Measure

Once the content is produced, how can you be sure that you have created the right content? It is always important to go back to your analytics and measure whether your campaigns have been reaching the goals you have set for them.

Without measurement, your brand is launching content into cyberspace without understanding your customers’ experiences with that content.

Step 4: Optimize

Any campaign can be tweaked and improved. It’s important to optimize your content based on the results of your analytics so that you can constantly improve your targeting and customer experiences.

The process to create connected experiences is an iterative one. At a company that really makes the customer experience a priority, this cycle will happen repeatedly across all channels – with mobile being as critical as any other channel. If you don’t seriously consider mobile an important part of your customer experiences, it is almost guaranteed that one of your competitors will.

This piece originally published on www.momentology.com on April 27, 2016. 

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Put Personalization in Context With Real-Time Email Marketing

Marketing Cloud

Consumers can smell superficial personalization from a mile away. Even a relevant, interactive campaign can elicit eye rolls if the personal details and suggestions aren’t spot on.

But, marketers are daring. According to the Real-Time Marketing Insights Study, conducted by Adobe and Direct Marketing Association (DMA), 77 percent believe real-time personalization is crucial, and most are planning for real-time technologies that can help improve personalization efforts with more relevant data.

Surprisingly, 80 percent of marketers surveyed name email — not mobile, social, or web — as the most important channel for real-time personalization. In short, email has emerged as one of the most reliable and effective channels for engagement.

Real-Time Is More Than Just Agility

Done right, real-time email marketing is contextual personalization at its best. It far surpasses social marketing or using a contact’s first name in the greeting and other references to basic demographic data. Real-time email marketing delivers contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer lifecycle in ways that reflect the customer’s preferences.

To be contextually relevant is to take into consideration where readers are now, where they came from, and where they are going next. It’s a faster way of saying “marketing that is personalized based on behavior, time, inclination to purchase, environment, and device.”

If you want to mature from basic personalization to contextually relevant, real-time email marketing, you need access to a constellation of sources containing sophisticated data, including:

  • The time and day
  • Geographic locations
  • Demographics
  • Customer segments and personas
  • Devices and browsers
  • Loyalty statuses
  • Email preferences
  • Content previously viewed
  • Recent transactions, interactions, and site visits

Context Changes Everything

In real-time email marketing, the content of your email is never completely static. Readers may see different copy or promotions depending on the day they open it. Someone could read your email in Boston, hop a plane to San Francisco, open the email again, and see fresh content that reflects the current climate and location-specific offers.

That’s what makes context so powerful: it transforms marketing campaigns from static to interactive, favors personalized engagement over broad targeting, and emphasizes utility and value over transactions. Real-time email marketing that is driven by contextual data has the potential to blow customers away. It is consistent across digital and offline channels, populated with relevant and engaging content, and delivered at just the right time.

It is challenging to achieve all this without the right technology and methods for collecting, organizing, and continually updating customer data. But, marketers who make the effort will be rewarded with continuous cycles of interaction that build loyalty and drive revenue.

Three Steps to Real-Time Email Marketing

Real-time email marketing is challenging but absolutely within reach for digitally savvy brands. You don’t need 10 or 12 data points in a given email to see results. A more manageable 4 or 5 dynamic data points can provide meaningful and impressive personalization. It’s enough to help you leap from the spam folder to the trusted “priority inbox,” as readers discover real value in your emails.

Real-time email marketing begins with a strategy based on customer needs, then it integrates marketing technology to address the real-time, omnichannel customer journey.

Step One: Gather Customer Data
First, gather customer insights in creative and meaningful ways. Pop-up forms demand feedback and can be off-putting, and lengthy registrations can feel like an interrogation. But, if you gather from a range of sources and make it fun or rewarding for customers to share a little personal information, you can amass the contextual data you need. Social media likes and follows, fun surveys embedded in your emails, and subscriber-preference settings are all useful.

Keep requests brief and make it clear that you are seeking to make your content and experiences more relevant and valuable to the individual. It’s quality over quantity; letting readers opt in or out of emails may shrink your list initially, but those who do opt in tend to actually engage with content and rate emails as very useful.

Step Two: Generate Real-Time Insights From the Data
You need the ability to quickly segment your audience based on the most useful data in the moment. Organizing data around customer personas or profiles enables you to better understand your customers and predict their behaviors.

For example, everyone has different email habits. Some of us are hoarders, obsessively labeling and keeping or archiving every message. Some delete everything as soon as possible so their inboxes stay pristine. Others just let it all pile up, only clicking on unread messages that look important. You can use these contextual clues to update customer’s emails — according to date, time, weather, location, recent behaviors, and so on — each time they open them.

Step Three: Continue to Learn From the Data
Data grows stale fast. Progressively capture insights so you always have an accurate read on customers’ needs and preferences, and continually update your segments or personas to reflect what you are observing and learning about them. Ideally, you will find yourself in a loop of testing and refreshing — a loop in which underperforming content and tactics are replaced quickly.

The more behaviors and preferences you capture, the more data you have to play with and the more relevant and valuable your email becomes — and high-value readers become easier to spot.

Real-Time Email Marketing Is Mature Marketing

Mature your email-marketing efforts from traditional, static content to contextually relevant, real-time value. Ultimately, real-time email marketing will lead customers beyond the inbox to a seamless experience across multiple channels.

Start with real-time digital-marketing tools and technology that can serve relevant email content — by location, time, preferences, and more — to deliver helpful and compelling experiences.

We’d love to hear from you. Join our context email newsletter and participate in the latest dialogue on email with Adobe.

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Don’t Go To Sleep On Baby Boomers


Marketing Cloud

I can’t believe we live among such a crazy generation of technology addicts. This generation seem to always be on their phones instead of enjoying the moment. At dinner or around town you can’t get these people away from their screens, their Facebook friends, or their games. Yep, those crazy baby boomers just can’t get enough of their phones. Wait what? Baby Boomers?

Over the past week, I was able to vacation to a beautiful place. I had a lot of opportunities to see how other people were vacationing as well, and I noticed a common trend. At dinner, around the pool, on a boat, or just around town, it wasn’t the Millennials that were on their phones, it was the baby boomers! Now this is a very raw observation of maybe 100-500 people of various age ranges, but it brings up an interesting question. Are businesses and marketers too blinded by the shiny new Millennial object to notice the other large generation that are also addicted to their phones and everything happening on them?

A report from eMarketer shows that by 2019 76% of baby boomers will be active mobile users. That totals around 48.5 million people. Those users are checking there phones 46x per day on average. Sure that is lower than the 123 times for gen z, but nearly 2x an hour is still a number to be recognized. Nearly 1 in 3 baby boomers also said that they would feel very anxious if they lost their smartphone for a day.

JM111

From the same eMarketer report we can also see that social penetration rates are also pretty high, with 3 out of every 5 baby boomers claiming to be active on social media. The network of choice is Facebook and will most likely remain to be as it covers the social need of this group and provides the largest access to baby boomer friends of all generations. Mobile gaming, health industries, and even retail businesses have a great opportunity at capturing the baby boomer community on social. Nearly 1 in 10 baby boomers in the report said they are more likely to purchase products used or recommended on social sites.

JM222

Much like the time television entered our living rooms, the mobile phone has changed the world for all generations. The penetration rates are much lower with baby boomers for both mobile and social, but with the post retirement buying power that baby boomers have, they are worth focusing some marketing time on.

The next time you are out, take a look around and see who may or may not be enjoying a funny post from a friend instead of the beautiful sunset. It may just be a baby boomer instead of the tech addicted millennial you expected to see. I know the next time I am out to eat with my parents I will make sure to remind them that it is rude to look at Facebook and play Bejeweled at the restaurant.

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How to Optimize Mobile Advertising Beyond the Checkbox

Marketing Cloud

For many businesses, mobile-advertising strategy comes down to simply having some sort of way to interact with their brands on mobile devices. Whether it is a mobile website or a more sophisticated app, mobile strategy often consists of simply ‘checking the box’ when it comes to mobile advertising and mobile-content optimization. With over half of searches today being conducted on mobile devices, this is no longer sufficient.

There are many ways that these businesses can move beyond just checking the box to actually execute well thought-out strategies aimed at driving people to their mobile experiences, capturing consumer entrance sources, or optimizing content to maximize conversions.

Understand Where Your Users Come From

The most important thing when optimizing your mobile experience is to understand how users get to your mobile content. The practice of having your app indexed and leveraging search engine optimization (SEO) will increase the number of people that will be exposed to your mobile content overall. Increased traffic is the first step in increasing your conversions, and having your mobile site or app appear at the top of users’ search results is key to getting them to engage with it. I’ll come back to this in just a moment.

Utilize the Search Results Page

Another important aspect of SEO is occupying real estate on a search-results page. The occupation of that real estate equates to trust in the brand. By having an ad in the paid-search space, displaying multiple site links that show up under a single listing, or having something that occupies the Knowledge Graph, you build trust equity in your brand — even at the user’s first sight.

Capture and Use Your Data

Once the user clicks on your link, there is analytic information that can be captured and a whole set of best practices that can be utilized to help you optimize the experience for that user. First, you should have deep links enabled, which takes users to the appropriate content experiences based on whether they have your app installed on their devices. No app? Then the link will direct them to the mobile website or perhaps to a page where they can download the app. The idea is that, by improving the customer experience and eventually leading the user to the app, you will increase engagement and overall conversion.

Back to Understanding Where Your Users Come From

The next bit of data is to understand exactly how the user came to your mobile experience. Was it through an email campaign? Was it through a social site such as Facebook or Twitter? Knowing how users arrive at your content allows you to better understand which campaigns are generating the most engagement. For instance, to see which experience is drawing in more users, it is useful to look at how mobile-website content is performing relative to similar content on the mobile app. Mobile optimization is relatively new, which means there are huge opportunities out there for businesses that think outside the box and truly begin treating their mobile experiences the same way they do their online or in-store interactions.

Holistically identifying and tracking all of the entrances into your mobile content, and then looking at it from an analytics perspective, allows you to closely examine the traffic sources on your mobile app to see what is really driving people there. For example, are they organic opens, or are people constantly clicking on links to be pushed into your app?

Optimize Using Your Data

Once you understand how people are getting to your content, the final step is to optimize that content — based upon what you know about the user — to deliver the best experience possible. Depending on the query and the intent, this is where you can tie the engagement to specific campaigns. This helps identify not only what content you want to present to specific subsets of the population based on where they are entering from each of your different channels, but also what campaign or initial advertisement led them to the content. This can also change by industry. Each of the channels offers its own opportunities to add to these queries or to enhance the experience from a mobile-user perspective.

Luckily, some businesses are making headway in this area of optimization. As more and more businesses realize the importance of mobile SEO and optimization, the tools to deliver the best content to the right people will become more accessible and easier to implement.

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To Hell and Back: If You Aren’t Testing, You Are Failing.

Marketing Cloud

Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) provides an integrated platform solution to manage all digital content across brands, touchpoints, and platforms. Once deployed, non-technical personnel can monitor and modify campaigns and content. Developing AEM solutions for complex enterprise clients has given us visibility into some of the best practices for successful deployments of systems of any size.

One thing is clear from all our experience: success is defined — almost predetermined — long before you launch your site, and that success hinges on the comprehensiveness of your testing program.

Here’s the bottom-line message. Print this out and post it as a sign in every department: If you aren’t testing, you are failing. Period. No exceptions. It is the only way you will achieve a first-class customer experience and keep your customers away from competitors who are just a click away.

Three of the top tests include performance testing, understanding traffic patterns and traffic levels on more than just your homepage, and using testing to manage multiple brands in the face of ever-increasing special considerations.

Performance Testing

We have heard so many excuses for why performance testing isn’t important:

  • We know the site can handle the traffic. Guess what. It crashed.
  • We can just test with the AEM sample site. Their actual site was exponentially more complex.
  • By going live, we are testing anyway! You can guess where this led.
  • “We’ll just slowly increase the traffic, and if we see problems, we will roll it back,” an airline once told us. Another disaster waiting to happen — and it happened.

When a major sports team came to us for help, it didn’t want to execute performance testing because the team had stable traffic except for occasional spikes. The spikes turned out to be the problem. The team finally agreed to a minimal test the day before going live, assuming 4,000 users. The test went well, but we had a feeling this was far less testing than was needed.

Our fears materialized when the site went live and there were over 20,000 requests — and this was without any spikes. Things went smoothly for a few weeks, but after the first month, a spike took the site from 50,000 to 300,000 requests per minute — a number that had never been tested or even envisioned! Needless to say, the server flatlined at 100 percent CPU use, and the site crashed. It was down for many hours. All of this could have been predicted and prevented with careful prelaunch preparations, such as:

  1. An analysis of where users were coming from. It turned out that it wasn’t 95 percent from the EU as anticipated, but rather, a very global distribution.
  2. Anticipation that the personalized gaming feature (that had never been tested) would be more popular than expected. The lack of forethought resulted in long load times and eventually a crash.
  3. Planning proper spacing of social-media announcements — much of the spiking occurred from an excessive and concentrated use of social media.

We tested many different scenarios extensively and implemented a four-pronged strategy:

  • Perform an extensive code review to support partner implementations.
  • Execute multiple rounds of performance testing on all aspects of the customer journey.
  • Rebuild the caching strategy to support the live-gaming content.
  • Understand the traffic patterns and traffic levels on every page — not just the homepage.

After the redesign, a rapid spike from 50,000 to 350,000 users was sustained without any decrease in performance or site instability.

Best Practices

Among the many best practices that emerged from our efforts, we found these to be most crucial to successful implementation:

  • Don’t leave performance testing to the last minute. Test frequently throughout development.
  • Understand your traffic patterns and their levels and sources.
  • Test each new component as it’s created.
  • Be sure to load test the entire stack, including the external connectivity between external systems and your system. Test every element of the entire customer journey.
  • Performance test on final code before you go live.
  • Be sure to performance test again after bug fixes and changes.
  • Produce formal reports documenting all test results.
  • Identify why spikes happen.
  • Don’t forget to monitor external connections.
  • Restructure business expectations and processes where necessary and get buy-in from all business units.
  • Have strong governance that enforces development practices across all elements.
  • Employ strict release management.

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen reminded us at Summit 2016 that digital experiences today are changing the way we experience every aspect of our lives, from the way we think and travel to the way we relate to the world around us. Careful attention to the development and testing of these experiences is vital for your brand’s credibility so you can satisfy your customers’ demands for high-velocity, personalized, memorable digital moments.

At the Summit, we took participants through a rollercoaster ride of gut-wrenching deployments that were designed to fail but ended up successful thanks to the experts of the Adobe Experience Manager Managed-Services team.

You can listen to the session recording and download the presentation if you weren’t able to attend.

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Pure Physical Retail May Be Doomed

Marketing Cloud

In the span of two months, retailers raked in over $83 billion from shoppers who never even left the house. Where retail sales fell 0.1 percent in December, online shopping was the silver lining (growing 12.7 percent from the year before).

This last holiday season’s showing puts into serious question the viability of a store with a strong presence in your neighborhood, but a weak one on your phone. However, the same digital shift that is threatening physical retail could also be what ultimately saves it.

Physical retail death knell?  

It might be.

This holiday season confirmed what we all knew, but were too afraid to be fully invested in: Consumers have become digital ninjas, and the smartphone is their weapon of choice. According to the National Retail Federation, more shoppers polled went online (103 million) than to stores (102 million) over the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend.

Consider also that on Christmas day, a record 49 percent of traffic was driven by smartphones alone, nearly exceeding desktop (38 percent) and tablets (13 percent) combined. The smartphone has become the consumers’ remote to experience the world around them, including buying things.

What we know for sure is that a retail strategy involving only a physical presence — or one that does not prioritize digital channels (mobile, in particular) — is almost certainly doomed.

There’s a major threat here to physical retail, but only if retailers choose to see it that way. The brands that will win are going to embrace the changing dynamics of their audience, re-orienting the shopping experience by blending the physical and the digital.

Shoppers are leaving brands behind. 

In mobile retail, consumers are ahead of brands. Survey data has shown that 92 percent of millennials consider the smartphone their primary device (as high as 67 percent for those 70 and over). Getting a ride home or even finding a date have become commonplace activities on a phone. These services have set a high standard for consumer expectation, and retailers aren’t always meeting it.

Case in point: the same survey showed that over 50 percent of respondents were not satisfied with their mobile retail experience.

Many retail apps and mobile sites have not pinpointed the use cases that will resonate most with their shoppers. If the mobile feature set is all that’s available on the retailers’ desktop site, it’s too much for the user to navigate for.

Simplicity is important, as well as catering to consumer desire for technology. When asked, 67 percent of shoppers were open to using their phones to complement physical shopping.

Take advantage of the shift. 

Retailers have already begun dipping their toes in what it means to blend physical and digital. Last year, we saw brands creating custom mobile maps to get shoppers quickly in and out of stores. If you went to a home improvement store for a bathroom renovation project, this could save you a lot of time.

You can also imagine a retail store with large screen displays installed. When shoppers walk by, the image changes based on historical info about the individual. A shopper may not be in the market for a flannel shirt, but if shown the latest style as they walk by, it might spark something. Demos such as these have been prominent at recent retail shows.

The work here is around defining the use case, and it will be different for each individual retailer. Leveraging location information to send promotions in real-time for instance is popular and can also be very effective. Forrester has said that 100 percent of the consumer brands they work with saw clear incremental revenues through leveraging coupons and loyalty programs via mobile wallets. But if used improperly, consumers will consider it spam.

Brands will have to figure out what adds value for their shoppers, and the level of personalization that’s helpful without being intrusive. The starting point of any data-fueled strategy will be to earn the trust of your audience and entice them to opt into your service. Without trust, even the best use case will fall on deaf ears.

If all these pieces come together, the in-store shopping experience is transformed in a way where competing channels become complementary. Retailers have the opportunity to upend themselves for the better, before another company does it for the worse.

Consumer habits move quickly. 

Retail brands have time to leverage the digital shift, but not much. We saw with ride-sharing apps how quickly consumers were able to change their transportation behaviors.

If last year was about laying groundwork and experimenting with digital retail, this year will require brands to think execution.

When the 2016 holiday season comes around, we can expect that consumers will continue turning towards their phones in between the celebrations. Hopefully, we’ll begin seeing them do that inside of a store.

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The NEW Digital-Content Universe — What You Need to Know NOW

Marketing Cloud

The Internet is a very different place than it was just a few years ago. Your potential customers no longer take their time looking for information about your brand. In fact, a Chartbeat study of over 2 billion Web visits found that 55 percent of readers spent fewer than 15 seconds actively reading a webpage! That’s all the time you have to engage your customer. Can you do that now with your present content?

You simply can’t compete in today’s digitally dominated world without having the ability to coordinate, control, and centralize all of your company’s content. The biggest companies are moving in this direction in a big way. Adobe customer Ford Motor Company has recognized the value of delivering the right content and functionality at exactly the time it’s needed. When launching the 2016 Lincoln MKX reveal site, Ford used a digital platform to create a personalized experience for priority-customer segments and was able to update content on demand and in real time to match changing customer preferences. The new site increased customer engagement to 99 percent and significantly improved stickiness compared to previous reveal sites.

10 Steps to Creating Your Own State-of-the-Art Digital Foundation

The following best practices will enable you to coordinate, control, and centralize all of your company’s content quickly, so you can compete in today’s digitally dominated world.

  1. Change Your Company Culture and Put Marketing in Charge of Content.
    This could be your single-most important step. Your marketing team needs to be able to move faster and, ideally, have access to your core content capabilities without having to go through the information-technology (IT) department. Marketers need to be able to share digital assets and apply content changes across all channels without IT involvement.
  2. Create a Customer Data Control Center.
    You must learn about your customers’ entire journeys with your brand and understand their online behaviors. Do they start browsing on their desktops and continue later on their mobile devices? Today’s users expect to be able to pick up their journey wherever they left off — or they very well may abandon it altogether. To accomplish this, you must gather information from all the places where they might interact with your brand and create centralized profiles.
  3. Unify the Journey From the First Contact to the Final Destination.
    It is critical to think of every touchpoint as an extension of the same conversation and to create an ongoing story across all of them. When you connect all of your marketing touches with the same brand continuity, you improve your customers’ overall digital experiences as well as their perceptions of your brand.
  4. Use Responsive Design for All Channels.
    Your content may be seen on a desktop, a tablet, a mobile device, a large in-venue screen, or even a smart watch, so it has to work – and work well – in each of those environments. Your marketing team should control the process and decisions that need to be made regarding where the content will be seen.
  5. Create Real, Personalized Experiences.
    Customers are demanding personalized online experiences; yet, of the customers who are receiving personalized experiences, 70 percent call them superficial, while 63 percent say they are annoying, not compelling. Use the power of data to create truly personalized experiences.
  6. Use Customer-Generated Experiences.
    Consumers tend to trust social media more than your own content. Getting your social content all in one place, using analytics to determine your social content’s impact, and staying current will keep you ahead of the game.
  7. Modernize Your Design-Content Generation-Implementation Workflows.
    You can’t afford the time it takes to spend hours developing content, getting it vetted and reviewed, and then having IT turn it into a webpage. Your content developers should be going to a central asset library, keeping content flowing to the marketers who can reuse existing assets, and then publishing to any channel without coding or help from IT.
  8. Choose the Right Analytics for the Right Insight.
    Do you understand the difference between interaction, engagement, and value metrics? Do you want to know the impact your content had on consumers, how it resonated with their needs, how your audience engaged with your content, or all of the above?
  9. Have Solid Privacy and Security Protections in Place.
    As your customers interact with your content on more devices, and channels and you develop deeper customer profiles to serve those extended experiences, your security foundation has to keep up.
  10. Begin a Path Toward Content Maturity.
    The key to digital maturity — or to getting ahead as we move forward in the industry — is making sure you have the right messages, delivered to the right person, at the right time, through the right channel.

Adobe has robust Web-experience management solutions in place like Adobe Experience Manager sites combined with personalization and targeting solutions like Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target. Whatever solution you choose, use these best practices to help you navigate the new Internet where you need to continuously deliver personalized, relevant content quickly.

You can learn more about these practices in an in-depth report on the “New Content Frontier,” which is all about the new content-management universe in which we now live.

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How The Best Enterprises Think About Mobile Strategy

Marketing Cloud

Like many organizations, you may think that mobile is something that the team over there does and not something critical to your everyday business processes. After all, it only represents a small percentage of how users interact with your brand, right? While that is the perception of mobile that seems to exist, that’s increasingly untrue.

On Thanksgiving this year, mobile-shopping visits (totaling 57 percent of all visits) surpassed desktop while driving 37 percent of online sales. Over the entire 2015 holiday shopping season, mobile drove 45 percent of online shopping visits and 25 percent of sales. The truth is this: mobile cannot be ignored. Your mobile experience — whether through your mobile site or an app — is becoming ever more crucial to your business’s success.

Competition for Users’ Attentions

While users are increasingly using mobile sites and mobile apps, they statistically spend most of their time in the same five apps. In fact, many apps are deleted by customers after only a week. So, if your enterprise is exclusively measuring its mobile success by the number of downloads, you’re missing a large piece of the puzzle: customer experience and engagement on mobile.

So, what do you need to do to get users to download your app and then continue using it?

  1. Keep Up With the Joneses. If your competitors are offering a particular functionality that is incredibly well received, you need to be able to offer that functionality as well. While it can take a lot of effort to keep up with leading enterprises, customers expect the best experience every time and will go to the brands that offer it to them. This means that your mobile experience isn’t something you can ever put on the backburner. You need to be constantly working to improve your mobile experience and keep up with evolving industry standards.
  2. Personalize Your Customers’ Messaging. If you pick up 10 people’s phones, you’ll likely see 10 different layouts for the lock screens and home screens. People’s phones are incredibly personal things. It’s not enough to think about this the way you think about personalizing emails — adding someone’s name to your message is not going to cut it. You need to be able to dig through your mobile analytics to understand how to best customize your messaging. This can be done through in-app messaging, push notifications, and more — but without personalized messaging, your app is unlikely to drive engagement or convert sales.
  3. Deliver Experiences for People. You’re not crafting an experience for a device or a platform. Instead, you’re crafting an experience for an individual person. To do that, you need to truly understand customers’ behaviors and what drives them to engage and convert. You’ll need to learn whether they never respond to personalized messaging through push notifications but perhaps frequently respond to in-app messaging. You need to understand what times they are most likely to respond and positively receive your messages. This can be difficult — there’s no doubt about it. But, leading enterprises are continuously innovating and making experiences more unique. As a result, that’s what customers will increasingly expect from you.
  4. Continuously Execute Testing. In addition to testing what works and what doesn’t from an engagement perspective, you need to be sure that your mobile site and your mobile app work — and work quickly. Often, mobile users do not have a lot of patience for long load times. Even if they are ready to buy, if your cart loads slowly or your credit-card processing takes forever, you can lose that sale at the last minute.
  5. Monetization. It’s important to have a monetization strategy for your app that does not disrupt your users’ mobile experiences.

It is not enough just to make your site accessible on mobile. You need to be able to think of your users as people. Their experiences should be personal, efficient, and something that can improve their lives — whether it’s through making their lives easier, saving them time, or saving them money.

To compete with leading enterprises’ mobile strategies, you need to understand — when you boil it down — the number-one best practice when it comes to mobile strategy is understanding that there is no longer any one-size-fits-all strategy. You must constantly be innovating and improving your mobile experience to reach your customers where they live and work.

This article reflects insight presented at Adobe Summit 2016. To watch the full presentation and others, click here.

The post How The Best Enterprises Think About Mobile Strategy appeared first on Digital Marketing Blog by Adobe.

Three Pillars to Unlock the Value of Customer-Journey Management

Marketing Cloud

When will a customer buy? That’s a pretty big question, right? Predicting the point in time and the place in which our messaging and engagement will make a difference can be challenging to many marketers. But, we can exert control over what, when, and where we meet customers by managing the customer journey.

Our marketing approach must infiltrate each phase of buyers’ journeys with our brand in rich, meaningful ways: acquisition, where they are anonymous; loyalty and retention, where they become authenticated following purchase; and win-back, where data is leveraged to create new appeals.

We must be ready to give them what they want, when they want it, and where they want it.

The Value in Journey Management

Customer-journey management helps to build three value centers:

  • Increased revenue and brand loyalty, which helps to sustain growth;
  • Better customer experience, which boosts brand image; and
  • Increased customer engagement, which strengthens a top-of-mind position.

The results from creating a managed journey depict a level of brand loyalty that can’t be denied. For instance, a 2014 Gallup study showed that customers who experience a well-managed journey:

  • Purchase 22% more,
  • Purchase 3X more frequently,
  • Have 4+ years longer tenure with a brand, and
  • Recommend a brand 4X more often.

But, before you can drive numbers like those, you have to focus on a primary objective of any successful customer-journey management initiative: building the buyer persona.

Focus on the Persona

Let’s say, we have Jack, a Boulder, Colorado consumer — new to the community — who loves the outdoors. He needs new hiking and camping gear. What will his shopping journey, or path to purchase, look like? Along with most consumers today, he expects instant access, consistency in brand experiences, and to feel known and appreciated.

In Jack’s case, the journey might start with a search query such as “Merrell Hikers hiking boots” that drives him to a sportswear site. He wants to test drive his choices to see how the products work and perform. Therefore, another step in his journey is to engage with an associate while at a local store. There, he notices signs promoting the mobile app. He whips out his smartphone and downloads the app because it has a cool hiking-simulation feature.

Jack goes back online and is about to make the purchase when he abandons the cart, closing his session. The next day, he sees an ad while browsing Boulder natural attractions. He goes back to the website and completes the purchase.

At each step, there is an opportunity to reengage with pleasing, enticing content. Maybe an email or an ad or a push notification. Whatever gets Jack to purchase is relevant in managing the experience. Conversely, if something doesn’t move him to purchase, that company may need to retarget in a different way.

To manage how Jack’s customer experience leads to his purchase, the buyer persona we create will be built upon three pillars.

Three Pillars of Journey Management

Data
Data will reveal what has worked and what hasn’t. From anonymous to authenticated, data provides a unified view of Jack and enables you to create audience profiles to deliver similar customer journeys to lookalike audiences. The single view is created by leveraging data resources, analyzing relevant datasets, and sharing those insights across different marketing tools.

Data can improve customer-journey management with predictive modeling. Where is Jack likely to engage? How much time passes between online research and the in-store test drive? You can meet him anywhere along the journey with the right content.

Content
If data forms the foundation of a successful journey-management approach, then the content pillar is structured environment where assets live. We create a seamless, iterative relationship built on insights from data. Centralized access to content and authoring privileges enables marketers to customize the journey while expediting campaign delivery. With a content-management system (CMS) solution, such as Adobe Experience Manager, we can increase the velocity of delivery. So, how do we leverage the content we have to generate the highest engagement? Through optimized delivery channels.

Cross-Channel Delivery
The final pillar drives the actual engagement that comprises the journey. We can automate the right delivery modes at the right time with the right content using rules and business logic for campaign delivery. Centralized decisioning hubs create campaigns from within a unified dashboard, driving reengagement along the journey — all within the same interface.

Lastly, a common question is, “How do you align organizationally to manage the journey under these three pillars? How do you break the data silos that restrict true visibility?” One approach is to create common key performance indicators (KPIs) from engagement activities across all channel teams. There are great tools you can use to do just that. Customers engage across multiple channels at all hours, so it is up to us to better manage the journeys as they move through the interest, explore, consideration, and purchase phases of the buying funnel.

This article reflects insight presented at Adobe Summit 2016. To watch the full presentation (and others), click here.

The post Three Pillars to Unlock the Value of Customer-Journey Management appeared first on Digital Marketing Blog by Adobe.