How Marketers Can Capitalize on Live Events

event-marketing
Previously seen as simply a one-way advertising opportunity, mobile’s ability to facilitate a conversation with customers has transformed live events into a key component of cross-channel marketing efforts.

This allows for customers to become part of the event – whether in person or watching it online. However, just like any program, a campaign built around a live event requires preparation that identifies goals and key messages to ensure it’s a measurable success.

The multitude of screens proves to be an opportunity for brands to use mobile to create a direct connection with customers that is personal, engaging and measurable.

Here are three ways brands can capitalize on live events and make it a year of interactivity.

1. Make your audience part of the event

Customers are constantly using their phone at live events, and often, it’s for social sharing.

This constant connection to mobile phones provides brands with the opportunity to leverage audience members as brand advocates and take the conversation from not only at the event but out to social communities.

Having fans upload and share a photo to win prizes is a simple way to spread the word and share their experiences via their social channels.

The Sprint NASCAR Series has done a nice job of extending the passion for racing beyond those in attendance at the track. By using venue screens to invite fans to tweet a question or upload a photo that would be posted to Facebook, they’re engaging the attendees at the event, and reaching the fans’ extended social community, potentially drawing in more viewers.

2. Capture opt-ins for ongoing communications

You have a captive audience at live events which makes it an optimal time to acquire permission-based mobile and email opt-ins for future communications.

These opt-ins can be used to drive traffic in stores, encourage app downloads, provide exclusive product info and more. The opportunities are endless, and live events are the ideal place to start this rich engagement, especially if sponsorships are already in your marketing mix.

For example, to generate interest in and increase viewership of the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards show, text-to-win programs have been created for the past three years through televised mobile calls-to-action.

By offering prizes, such as a guitar autographed by Brad Paisley, the CMA team saw 56% of fans opt in for continued mobile communication.

3. Turn live events into commerce

Mobile opt-ins like the fans captured by the CMA represent a powerful opportunity for marketers to drive engagement and increase revenue. Subsequent campaigns can be designed to drive purchases through exclusive offers and/or coupons.

The Portland Trail Blazers were looking for a way to bring mobile engagement inside their arena and around the team. To do so, they created contests that combined mobile and social integrations to provide fans with discounts and in-venue promotions on tickets and merchandise.

The results were impressive: as the discounts and promotions sent to fans contributed to the highest grossing sales night of the year.

Brands spend large amounts of money in event sponsorships. Adding mobile to a live event strategy won’t make a big dent on a brand’s budget, but it will make that sponsorship more impactful both at the event and long after.

As marketers, we talk about how consumers always have their phones with them and the impact of mobile as it relates to the on-the-go customer.

Live events are the perfect place to turn that marketing talk into marketing strategy.

Get the most out of your event marketing. Call 877.447.0134 today.

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Marketers Strategic Priorities [report]

marketing strategiesProving the value of marketing activities with financial outcomes is the most important of 7 strategic priorities ranked by client-side marketers, details a new report from Tealium and Econsultancy. That result isunsurprising in light of recent survey results suggesting that only 1 in 4 marketers can prove their impact on the business. Interestingly, conversion rate optimization sits at the bottom of the list of priorities, despite being deemed “crucial” by a majority of marketers in earlier research.

marketers strategic priorities

That doesn’t necessarily mean that conversion rate optimization isn’t important, but rather that it’s not quite as high a priority as some other strategic initiatives. Indeed, the second-highest priority is also one that marketers are struggling with: achieving a single view of customer and marketing data. Only 14% of respondents said they had a strong capability in this area; while a plurality 39% rated their capability as average, almost half rated it as weak (34%) or non-existent (13%).

The problem appears to relate to an inability to turn data into useful information and action. On a 10-point scale (where 1 means “doesn’t apply to us at all” and 10 means “very much applies to us”), respondents averaged just a 4.6 rating in their ability to extract useful insights from data, with the most common complaint being that data is fragmented. That makes sense, given that the average respondent has more than 4 marketing application data sources, with roughly 1 in 5 dealing with at least 8.

The survey results come on the heels of another study that found half of digital media and marketing professionals claiming an inability to link data to create individual customer profiles.

Many marketers see the importance of achieving a single view of the customer as 47% agreed that their long-term success is dependent on it.

The study points to data unification initiatives as a potential solution. Those respondents with such an initiative (BI, cloud, common visitor file, etc.) were far more likely than those without to report an ability to associate marketing activities with financial results, turn data into useful information and action, and make the most of the tools they have.

Finally, the most important capability for tying together digital marketing applications and data is seeing how marketing channels work together to affect sales, per the study.

About the Data: The results are based on a Q2 survey of 313 client-side marketers, 31% of whom identify as B2C, 37% as B2B, and the remainder as an even mix. 40% come from companies with more than $1 billion in revenues, while 23% come from companies with $11-50 million in revenues.

Take your marketing to the next level with automation. Call Lori at 877.447.0134 to learn more.

Insights That Marketers and Agencies Want From Analytics [study]

Marketing AnalyticsOn average, client-side marketers from around the world estimate that 43% of the analytics data they collect is useful for driving decision-making, while agencies similarly estimate that 40% is useful, per a recent study from Econsultancy and Lynchpin. The survey finds substantial year-over-year increases in the percentage of marketers and agencies reporting that analytics drive actionable recommendations that make a difference. But what exactly are respondents looking to get out of analytics?

 Analytics Data for Marketers and Agencies

In-house marketers surveyed for the report were most likely to cite conversion rate optimization as a top-3 growth or profit-related requirement for analytics, with 55% doing so. That was clearly the top choice, ahead of acquiring new customers (43%), improving marketing ROI (42%) and improving customer retention/loyalty (39%).

Among agency respondents, improving ROI was on par with conversion rate optimization as a top-3 analytics requirement (54% each), with ROI improvement cited by the largest share of respondents as a first choice. Close behind, a slight majority 51% cited the acquisition of new customers as a top-3 requirement.

Company marketers were also asked to identify their most important requirements for analytics as they relate to understanding the customer. The most popular of those were: tracking behavior across devices and channels (56% citing as a top-3 choice); identifying patterns of content engagement and campaign response (55%); and personalization and targeting (53%). Interestingly, fewer (44%) said that evaluating the overall customer experience is a top-3 requirement, with marketers preferring instead, it seems, to focus on specific aspects of customer behavior.

In order to meet their business goals, company respondents identified two types of data that are most important: CRM (57% citing as a top-3 choice); and clickstream (i.e. website interactions; 55%).

Compared to last year, a larger percentage of company respondents are planning to increase their analytics budgets for technology, internal staff, and consulting and services. For those beefing up their analytics staff, digital analytics tools skills will likely be in high demand.  That tracks with recent survey results from Accenture Interactive, in which CMOs were asked what would be the fundamental changes occurring in marketing over the next 5 years: a leading 43% cited analytical skills becoming a core competence.

About the Data: This is the seventh annual Measurement and Analytics Report (formerly known as the Online Measurement and Strategy Report), published by Econsultancy in association with Lynchpin. There were 1,052 respondents to the research request, which took the form of an online survey in April and May 2014. Respondents included both in-house marketers and analysts (51%) and supply-side respondents, including agencies, consultants and vendors (49%). A majority of respondents are based in Europe.

How are you using analytics to increase sales and revenue? To learn more call Lori at 877.447.0134.

Marketing Channels E-Commerce Companies Are Investing In

Media mix is a frequent topic all marketers are curious about. It’s a critical decision that requires getting and spending money, such as setting a media budget or purchasing a software tool.

This MarketingSherpa chart illustrates the channels e-commerce companies are investing in.

e-commerce marketing channels

Email marketing is almost universally used by e-commerce companies

Email marketing is one of the only channels (direct mail comes to mind as well) that forces a decision. To paraphrase a famous Apple ad, customers can glorify (clickthrough) or vilify (delete or unsubscribe) emails. About the only thing they can’t do is ignore emails. As long as your email earns its way into the inbox, customers have to make a decision on what to do with it.

Emails also have among the shortest lead times of any channel, so marketers can use it to quickly respond to events and it provides feedback on customer performance whether through A/B testing or simple analytics reviews. Companies can use this information to change campaigns on the fly, as this marketer alluded to in his Benchmark Study survey response:

Why is the number not 100%, then? Well, to use emails for marketing, you have to first build that list, so it can be a difficult for very new companies to pull off (aside from buying lists).

The top three channels most frequently invested in – email marketing, social media marketing and SEO – often require content

While content marketing is the seventh most-used tactic, according to the e-commerce marketers, there is an interesting similarity among the three most frequently used channels — they all tend to be heavily used channels for content marketing.

The marketers who said they invested in one of these channels, but not in content marketing, could focus all of their email efforts on promos, all social media marketing on ads, and all SEO on search engine friendly development.

Or, one might surmise, that even when they are engaged in content marketing — they don’t consider themselves to be engaged in content marketing because they are writing a check to an SEO agency or an email service provider. For this reason, there is technically no line item for “content marketing” and investment in this channel can be overlooked.

Nevertheless, content marketing does require an investment to be successful, as this marketer pointed out.

Print is the top offline channel

While print has been a much beleaguered marketing medium of late, it is a natural fit for e-commerce.

Unlike TV or radio, which often offer fleeting mentions of URLs, print advertising puts your website in customers’ hands. Beyond simply a printed URL, e-commerce advertisers also use QR codes, apps and other technology to make the connection between offline and online even easier for customers.

Beyond direct response, print helps reinforce the brand as well.

Print marketing can involve more than just traditional paid media, as content can play a role here as well.

Radio and TV ads are the channels least used by e-commerce companies

While broadcast tends to be the medium most associated with marketing and advertising, it is only used by a minority of e-commerce companies. Not only do radio and TV ads tend to be more expensive than other surveyed channels, they can also be more difficult to connect to traffic, sales and ROI than other channels.

Is your marketing delivering results? Call 877.447.0134 to increase your ROI.

Top Digital Priorities 2014: Targeting and Personalization

Personalization and Targeting
Personalization is this year’s top digital priority by B2C marketers, according to eConsultancy’s Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing published in January.

Marketers expect personalization to be the third most exciting opportunity in five years  (after customer experience and multichannel campaign management).

Top Digital Priorities 2014: Targeting and Personalization

Participants of the Adobe-sponsored roundtable conversations varied in experience from those who are doing little to nothing to those that are doing quite sophisticated segmented targeting based on context or past behavior. However, none felt they were at the point of personalizing one-to-one.

The definition of personalization varies from person to person and company to company. As Ashley Friedlein wrote in his blog post on the rise of context for customizing digital experiences, there are good opportunities to tailor the customer experience based on context such as location, device (mobile versus desktop), time or day and even weather.

Personalization

Participants at the roundtable confirmed this loose definition of personalization. The level of personalization on websites of those participating in the roundtables varied from basic geo-targeting to recommendations based on past purchase behavior to advanced segmentation.

The challenges most frequently raised by participants included migration from legacy systems, skill gaps, data management, the technology behind personalization (including recommendation engines, content management systems and campaign attribution software) and for those just getting started – where to start!

The most common form of personalization was in email marketing and was said to be the easiest place to start.

It is easier to control the email content and landing pages and there are fewer departmental silos involved. ROI is also easily measured, making it easier to allocate future resources.

Some participants were using behavioral and past purchase data to fuel recommendation engines. There was much discussion as to the effectiveness of these engines.

Those further along the personalization journey were exploring displaying personalized website content, beyond just recommending additional products based on past purchases.

There was a strong desire to hear best practices and successes in personalization. Participants lamented the promised increases in ROI from vendors and came in search of real world success stories.

Some success stories and best practices were shared including a bank using life-change triggers such as change of address to serve personalized website content.

The Outnet’s emails showing offers available in the consumer’s size were also heralded. Amazon’s recommendations received mixed reviews. In particular, many expressed frustration with the lack of relevance based on past gift purchases.

Firms are looking to improve personalization based on advanced segmentation. There is a desire to align content management systems with individual purchases to personalize the content displayed on the home page.

Participants seemed to feel that they were doing a good job with personalizing email campaigns. The next step is to personalize website content and the web experience.

Data and organizational silos seemed to be the biggest challenges to personalization as well as a feeling that if one goes to far, the damage could be huge. One participant asked: Do you only show clothing in size six and risk offending customers who’ve gone up a size?

2014 should be the year when personalization really takes hold. Email, social, marketing communications, mobile, in store and web experiences should become much more integrated and much more focused on the individual.

It seems that retailers have been pushing fastest and hardest on this but banks, telcos, media businesses, and travel companies are catching up.-eConsultancy

How are you personalizing your marketing initiatives? Learn more – call 877.447.0134.

Marketers’ Top Tactics for Increasing Customer Lifetime Value [study]

Customer Lifetime Value TacticsAbout 3 in 4 global company marketers agree that customer lifetime value (CLV) is an important concept for their organization, according to a new report from Econsultancy and Sitecore. As part of the study, marketers were asked to identify the tactics and strategies that have been found most effective for enhancing CLV to-date, along with the most effective tools for today and tomorrow.

Global Marketers’ Top Tactics for Increasing Customer Lifetime Value

According to company respondents, the most effective tactic to-date for increasing CLV has been improvement to customer services (42% citing as a top-3 tactic), with personalized interactions (34%), cross-selling/up-selling (29%), more effective use of data (26%) and customer segmentation/personas (24%) also in the mix. Fewer (18%) pointed to loyalty programs and improved pricing for repeat purchases (15%) as effective strategies.

Agency respondents for the most part agreed with company respondents, citing personalized interactions (34%) and improvements to customer services (34%) as their top tactics. But they were more enthusiastic about loyalty programs (31%) than their in-house counterparts, while being less so about cross-selling and up-selling. The analysts hypothesize that the respondents’ profiles could lead to agencies’ more positive view coming “mainly from a data mining perspective, while brands’ perceptions are more multifaceted.”

When it came time to identify the most effective tools to enhance CLV today, the leading response was one that has often eluded marketers: a single customer view. Close to one-third of company respondents indicated this to be one of their 3 most effective tools today; others also pointed to customer experience management solutions/platforms (28%), strong interaction between online and offline channels (27%) and a dedicated retention team (25%).

Interestingly, much-buzzed-about topics such as a focus on smartphone and tablet experience (15%) and use of product or service by influencers (13%) don’t seem to resonate with marketers – at least when it comes to increasing CLV today.

As for future strategies? Company respondents were most likely to see an improved customer experience (62%) as lending itself to an enhanced CLV. That’s not surprising; it’s logical to expect that customers who have better experiences will prove more loyal in the future. Indeed, improving the customer experience (CX) has been a recurring theme this year; earlier, company respondents to an Econsultancy survey named customer experience their single most exciting opportunity of the year, and more recent survey results indicate that large companies are bullish about the prospects for increased business results from their customer experience efforts, with a strong majority planning to spend more to attain those results.

EconsultancySitecore-Factors-Increasing-CLV-in-the-Future-Apr2014

Beyond CX, company marketers expect that better use of data (52%), better customer insight, such as that single customer view (50%) and increased personalization (50%) will do the trick. Once again, an increased focus on mobile channels (20%) appears to be less of a factor, though presumably improving the mobile experience counts towards the overall improved customer experience marketers are shooting for.

Increasing CLV through the various outlined tactics and strategies also requires overcoming current hindrances. According to company marketers, those primarily lie in siloed organizations lacking a coherent approach to marketing (35% citing as a top-3 challenge) and poor systems/integration hindering customer experience (34%). (For their part, agencies cited these as their top-2 also, though in reverse order.)

Another, more basic, problem challenging marketers’ ability to increase CLV? An inability to measure it, cited by 27% of company respondents as a top-3 hindrance. In fact, elsewhere in the report, just 42% of respondents strongly (11%) or somewhat (31%) agreed that they are able to measure customer lifetime value. Clearly this will have to be an area of focus if marketers are to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

About the Data: There were almost 900 respondents to the research, which took the form of an online survey in October and November 2013. More than half (53%) of survey respondents work for client-side organizations, while 46% work for agencies, vendors or specialist consultancies. Some 45% are based in the UK, with another 22% based elsewhere in Europe. The retail sector (22%) was the most heavily represented, followed by technology, media and telecoms (19%).

What marketing tactics are you using to increase customer lifetime value?

Marketing Is Playing A Larger Role In Business [study]

CMO
According to the current IBM C-Suite Study, CMOs are wielding more power in the boardroom, as CEOs increasingly call on them for strategic input. The CMO now comes second only to the CFO in terms of the influence he or she exerts on the CEO. A growing number of CMOs are also liaising closely with CIOs with remarkably positive effects on the bottom line. Where the CMO and CIO work well together, the enterprise is 76% more likely to outperform in terms of revenues and profitability.

CEOs rely increasingly heavily on CMOs for strategic input:
marketing business
On the other hand, very few CMOs have made much progress in building a robust digital marketing capability. Only 20% have set up social networks for the purpose of engaging with customers, for example, even though online input is a crucial part of the dialogue between a company and its customers. The percentage of CMOs who have integrated their company’s interactions with customers across different channels, installed analytical programs to mine customer data and created digitally enabled supply chains to respond rapidly to changes in customer demand is even smaller.

marketing business 2
In 2011, 71% of the CMOs interviewed felt underprepared to deal with the data explosion. Today, 82% feel that way. Two-thirds of all CMOs also report that they’re not ready to cope with social media, which is only marginally less than was the case three years ago.

CMOs, however, are not ignoring technology’s potential, says the report, planning to make even greater use of some key marketing technologies in the next three to five years. Predictive analytics and mobile applications are particularly high on their wish lists, although customer relationship management and collaboration tools come close behind. And 74% of CMOs intend to partner more extensively in the future to help them realize their goals.

“To succeed in the digital era, you have to be totally in sync with the behavior and preferences of your customers in a fast-changing landscape. You have to be quick and adaptable.” CMO, Retail, United States

With a current gap between aspiration and action, it’s questionable whether CMOs are moving fast enough to keep up with the speed at which the commercial landscape is evolving, opines the report. The study found that “… our biggest challenge is creating the data infrastructure.” A CMO, Insurance, New Zealand, says

CMOs plan to use certain technologies more extensively in the future:
marketing business 3
The study identified three distinct kinds of CMO, each at a different stage on the path to digital nirvana:

The Traditionalists are just setting off. 37% of the respondents, they’re challenged by the data explosion, the growth in social media and the plethora of new channels and devices; have yet to integrate their physical and digital sales and service channels; seldom engage with customers via social networks; and rarely use analytics to extract insights from the customer data they collect.

The Social Strategists, 33%, recognize social media’s potential as a vehicle for engaging with customers, and are building the infrastructure they’ll need to operate in the social arena. But, haven’t yet begun to exploit the opportunities arising from the data explosion and advanced analytics.

The Digital Pacesetters, 30%, are reasonably prepared for the data explosion and well placed to handle the increasingly heavy social and mobile traffic from a growing range of devices. They’re also actively putting the resources required to operate as a fully integrated physical-digital enterprise in place, and regularly use advanced analytics to generate insights from customer data.

The Digital Pacesetters in the survey have invested far more heavily than Traditionalists or Social Strategists in capturing and analyzing data during every phase of the customer lifecycle. Digital Pacesetters typically have a far clearer picture of their customers than other CMOs. Enterprises with a deep understanding of their customers are 60% more likely to be financial outperformers, says the report.

The CMO of a German chemicals company notes that “… marketing is a data-driven science… (but) people often see it as a ‘nice-to-have’ because they don’t think it drives the future of the company… (however) marketing is actually about using data to target audiences and create value… it’s about monetizing things…”

Marketing business 4
Digital Pacesetters lead the way in building an infrastructure and rewarding customer experiences: 82% of Digital Pacesetters expect digital channels to play a bigger role in their interactions with customers in the next three to five years, compared with just 64% of Traditionalists and 76% of Social Strategists.

CMOs have the same top priorities for managing digital change, but they seem to have given up on taming social media. Monetizing social media has sunk to the bottom of their agendas. Only a quarter of Traditionalists and two-fifths of Social Strategists and Digital Pacesetters are attempting to make money via social channels. The rest see social mainly as a tool for building awareness and forging connections.

Key goals:
Design customer experiences for tablet/mobile apps
Position social media as a key customer engagement channel
Deploy an integrated software suite to manage prospects and customers
Monitor the brand via social media
Measure the ROI of digital technologies
Conduct online/offline transaction analysis
Develop social interaction governance, guidelines, policies, etc.
Gain comprehensive visibility of supply chain
Monetize social media

A significant number of Traditionalists are still wrestling with relatively basic problems such as developing a set of digital guidelines. Social Strategists, by contrast, are more concerned with conducting transaction analysis, while Digital Pacesetters are preoccupied with managing the customer relationship and creating a transparent supply chain to fulfill orders rapidly.

CMOs face different challenges for much the same reason, depending on how far they’ve gone down the digital path:

Traditionalists
Lack of a cohesive strategy for leveraging social media/business   71%
Other competing priorities or initiatives   58%
Undefined return on investment   50%

Social Strategists
Other competing priorities or initiatives   62%
Lack of appropriate technology   61%
Lack of a cohesive strategy for leveraging social media/business   54%

Digital Pacesetters
Other competing priorities or initiatives   61%
Undefined return on investment   59%
Lack of a cohesive strategy for leveraging social media/business   51%

Concluding, the report offers salient comments by two of the respondents:

The CMO of a Canadian bank noted, “… we’re increasing the emphasis on the customer… building a better understanding of digital, mobile and social media… drawing insights from knowledge and analytics… collaborating with technology partners to enhance the customer experience.”

But the gap between desire and daily reality large as the CMO of a Brazilian professional services firm explained, “… the only way CMOs can… close the gap is by invoking their growing influence in the boardroom… other C-level executives don’t have a deep knowledge of marketing… so they don’t understand marketing as a strategic role… ”

For additional information from IBM click here.

Take your marketing to the next level. Call BDS at 877.447.0134.