Engaging with Empowered Customers: Tips for the Digital Marketer
Engaging with Empowered Customers:TIPS FOR THE DIGITAL MARKETER
Engaging with Empowered Customers: Tips for the Digital Marketer — 2 The New Rules of Customer Engagement No one doubts that the fundamental rules of customer engagement have changed. Whether your company sells laundry soap or automobiles, or offers services for the el- derly, customers rely on information from many sources and engage with each other to discuss your brand – often long before you have any contact with them. Engaged customers But that doesn’t mean they don’t want or need are worth more to your to engage directly with your company. In fact, business. customers are engaging more deeply with brands than ever before. Fully engaged customers The challenge for marketers is to find ways e deliver a 23 PERCENT premium over average customers in to engage effectively with customers across share of wallet, profitability, channels in a seamless, truly conversational, way. As most marketers will confirm, it’s not revenue, and relationship easy to execute a comprehensive engagement growth. strategy across all channels. In fact, accord- ing to a recent McKinsey quarterly report, having the ability to engage their customers e 87 PERCENT of customers are and leverage those relationships is the number one digital marketing challenge facing disengaged.2 marketers today.1 Read on for some proven tips on how to engage more deeply with your customers and prospects to drive more conversions, create greater customer loyalty, increase lifetime customer value, and generate more referrals and word-of-mouth advertising. 1. “The Biggest Challenge for Marketers: Engagement,” Steve Olenski, MarketingProfs, February 9, 2012 2. “Customer Engagement is Key to B2B Success,” Ned Smith, BusinessNewsDaily, April 15, 2012
Engaging with Empowered Customers: Tips for the Digital Marketer — 3 Get to Know Your Customers Better While messaging documents and brand positioning frameworks can help marketers stay on message about a product or service, they don’t usually go very far to help you ensure that you understand your audience in detail – their roles, responsibilities, needs, and wants. That’s where personas come in. Research is the best way to inform Personas enable you and your marketing and your persona-creation process. From creative staff to get into the mind of your cus- interviews and surveys to site traffic tomers and prospects. And when you under- analysis, you’ll need quantitative stand your audience’s world and their motiva- and qualitative tions, you can create experiences and content information on that engage them more deeply. which to base your To do this, start by defining a persona for each persona decisions. of your target buyers and influencers. Give each persona a real name, a title or position, tasks To learn more they need to accomplish, relevant demographic about creating and using personas, info, problems, needs, and wants. A good per- read “Best Practices for Developing sona description also includes a narrative that Personas with the Sitecore Customer describes the flow of that person’s day, includ- Engagement Platform.” ing their skills, attitudes, environment, and goals. Then share the personas with everyone on the marketing team as well as external agencies and creative partners. Hopefully you also have an engagement platform that will let you use the personas you define to track site visitor behavior and gain greater insight for optimizing your digital marketing efforts.
Engaging with Empowered Customers: Tips for the Digital Marketer — 4 Understand that Relevance Has a Shelf Life Relevance is a key driver of engagement. peak. In being timely and relevant, mar- Accenture states in its Point of View keters can significantly improve engage- series, “… without relevance, nothing else ment and help prospects move farther matters.”3 along the buying process. Usage indicated by sphere size 70% However, when it comes to relevance, tim- The problem is that the value of capital- Automatically send Segmented email email based on campaigns based ing is essential to effectiveness. Temporal izing on an interest or need in a timely 60% triggers on behavior relevance is the fashion is proportional to the difficulty 50% term we can apply to of the task. While research from Mar- Level of Eﬀectiveness the fact that rele- ketingSherpa shows that the number- 40% Allowed Dynamically vance has a shelf life one way to engage a customer in terms subscribers to personalized email Segmented email 30% specify email content campaigns based – what is interest- of relevance is with behavioral segmen- preferences on sales cycle ing to a prospect or tation, that is segmenting based on 20% customer now, may previous behaviors, it also shows that not be as interest- the level of difficulty increases with ef- 10% ing or relevant a few fectiveness (see Figure 1).4 0% hours from now. Over time, interest wanes 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% and so does relevance. So what’s a marketer to do? You can Degree of Diﬃculty start by looking for an engagement Source: MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Survey Methodology: Fielded Sep 2010, N=1,115 But if we capture the latest behavior of platform that lets you automate much our prospect and then trigger an inter- of the process with defined customer in- Figure 1. Three dimensions of relevancy tactics action based on that behavior in a very teraction scenarios and triggers that move timely way, we harness all the power of the conversation forward with relevant relevance. We deliver a relevant comment responses. or opportunity while interest is still at a 3. “Got the R Factor: Driving Breakthrough Performance in the Era of Relevance,” Accenture, 2012 4. “2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report,” MarketingSherpa
Engaging with Empowered Customers: Tips for the Digital Marketer — 5 Create a Natural Conversation When you think of a normal conversation, there’s There are three essential elements for creating more a natural cadence to it, and each party remembers natural, deeper conversations with customers: what was talked about in previous conversations. The next conversation then picks up where you left 1. Customer intelligence – you need to collect in- off in the current one. formation across channels in one central place. 2. Moments of opportunity – this is where it’s To have intelligent, engaging your turn to speak in the conversation. You conversations across channels, need to identify these moments throughout you need to follow the rules the customer engagement lifecycle. of natural conversation by 3. Automated interactions – the only way to keeping track of the context. If ensure a timely response is to automate the you have siloed cha nnels and marketing, the conversation engagement flow, so that relevant offers and “Through a combination of keen is constantly restarted, rather than being a single content get provided at the height of interest. customer insight, analytics and smart conversation that builds on the last interaction. creativity, online marketers can stand Here’s an example of what can happen when you out amongst the 27 MILLION PIECES put this concept into action: a prospect comes to To create a natural conversation with each of your of content shared in the U.S. each day your site from Google. You use the visitor’s key- prospects and customers, you need to collect, or the 5 exabytes of information created words to start guiding the prospect to relevant store and mine customer intelligence across all every 2 days around the world.”5 content and interactions. You can make recommen- your channels. Everything you learn in one chan- dations based on what other people using those nel – behaviors, job title, interests, attitudes – same search terms found useful. And when that needs to be accessible in all your other channels prospect then downloads a report you suggested, so you can continue the conversation wherever it that information together with the search terms left off. used and other online behavior helps you determine the right content or offer to suggest next. 5. “An Optimized Framework for Better Content Marketing & SEO,” Lee Odden, TopRank Online Marketing Blog, October 2011
Engaging with Empowered Customers: Tips for the Digital Marketer — 6 Take Personalization to the Next Level You’ve undoubtedly read the reports that ment toolkit. So how can you take your person- personalization increases conversions and alization efforts to the next level? the average dollar amount spent. And you’ve IDC believes that probably experienced the power of personal- It starts with data – information that you are probably already collecting in some way personalization is a ization as a consumer. But many companies about your prospects and critical function for still haven’t moved beyond personalizing email with the customer’s name. In fact, personaliza- customers. The data includes all digital marketing tion is one of the most under-utilized strate- interest level, keywords infrastructures. gies in marketing. used, preferences, behav- Reaching your iors, needs, wants, patterns audience sooner of usage, and more. and grooming them through a Then you need to model scenarios completely for what content or offer to present personalized next in the customer lifecycle that would be experience will be most relevant based on this data. Technol- key to gaining ogy that can sense and adapt to site visitors’ market share.7 behaviors can help you automate your scenar- But it shouldn’t be – it should be one of the ios to personalize the experience and deepen most important tools in your digital engage- the engagement. 6. “Customer Experience Optimization: A Custom Website for Every Customer,” Mark Simpson, CMSWire, March 27, 2012 7. “The Personalization Paradox: To get more personal, B2B marketers need to think in terms of accounts,” Gerry Murray, Technology Marketing Blog, March 28, 2012
Engaging with Empowered Customers: Tips for the Digital Marketer — 7 Measure Engagement Value, Not Just Clicks Measuring open rate, clicks, and traffic to your site are metrics that show digital marketing perfor- mance from a volume perspective. But two-way conversations and customer engagement with the brand can’t be measured using purely quantitative methods. You need a way to measure engagement so you know what’s working. One way to do this is to start tracking and measuring engagement value. You can do that by assigning a value or points to interactions throughout the customer lifecycle. These inter- actions are your conversion goals and should be indicative or predictive of revenue. For instance, signing up for a free trial of a product or service demon- strates a certain level of engagement and you would assign a value accordingly. By tracking engagement value, you can begin to see trends that you might not see if you’re only looking at volume statistics and trends. For example, let’s say traffic to your site has increased, but engage- ment value is going down, that tells you that there’s a problem somewhere in your cross-channel interactions. You wouldn’t have known you had a problem at all if you had only been looking at the volume of traffic. Example of tracking engagement value for With engagement value, you can understand how channels are affecting engagement and which a website interactions are performing better than others.
Engaging with Empowered Customers: Tips for the Digital Marketer — 8 Embrace Today’s Cross- Channel Buying Process Customers are empowered by access to infor- and techniques into place that let you under- mation and it’s changed the buying process, stand and embrace the interplay between all shifting the balance of power to the customer. your channels and touch points – from your Google calls it the Zero Moment of Truth, and website to social media, from email to mobile. it’s the new decision-making moment that You need to create a seamless experience “… Starbucks[is] a multichannel happens when customers across these channels and leader that connects the dots among go online and start to learn touch points, knocking down in-store, online, about a product or service. any silos you may have so mobile and social that you can listen and learn media environments That new decision-making in every channel and then with a common moment happens across apply that insight across all language, look-and- channels and devices, with your channels. customers interacting with feel, philosophy and brands and content in real While this is no small feat, it’s commitment to personalization and time. Many companies have a marketing imperative if you intent-based options.”9 marketing strategies and want to deepen engagement campaigns targeted towards specific channels. and stop frustrating customers and prospects They may even have a cross-channel cam- with messages, content, and offers that don’t paign that starts in one channel and crosses to recognize behaviors happening in other chan- another like a contest on a Facebook page that nels. With insight across all your channels, you links to a corporate website. can then adapt your interactions, personalize them, and become more relevant to customers But that’s not enough. The trick to adapting to throughout the customer lifecycle. today’s buying process is to put action plans 9. “Got the R Factor: Driving Breakthrough Performance in the Era of Relevance,” Accenture
Engaging with Empowered Customers: Tips for the Digital Marketer — 9 Marketing has changed. Is your company ready? In the age of the empowered customer, it’s The tactics described in this eBook can help More resources on clear that the nature of marketing is changing you re-structure your marketing strategy going in fundamental ways. Traditional marketing forward to adapt to the new imperatives in customer engagement: is fast losing its effectiveness. Today, online today’s digital-powered world. From breaking customer engagement is mandatory. Deliver- down silos between channels to intelligently From Web Analytics ing relevant, valuable interactions that earn responding to your customers as part of a two- to Engagement prospects’ and customers’ interest and trust is way conversation, you’ll be laying the ground- Analytics—Quality the new way to build your brand. work for more conversions, greater revenue, Over Quantity: and happier customers. white paper Five Steps for Enhancing Your Online Customer Engagement: webinar Drive Bottom Line Impact with Engagement Analytics: podcast and webinar