Use Behavioral Marketing To Up The Ante In The Age Of The Customer

In March 2013, Silverpop commissioned Forrester Research to evaluate how marketers are leveraging automation in their customer engagement processes.  If you remember reading my blog post “Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2014” (Jan 2014), then you know that #3 and #4 were directly pointing to big payoffs from Marketing Automation and more specifically Personalization powered by Data Intelligence.  You may also recall #1 where I call on 2014 to be the year of Channel Agnosticism. Forrester clearly re-enforces  these insights, and specifically points to Multichannel and Cross-Channel Automation as being two keys to the kingdom.

Their research tested the hypothesis that marketing automation generates significant insight into the context and intentions of customers and prospective customers.  It is also made clear that marketers who manage and leverage this insight will see significant improvements across a number of key marketing performance indicators.

So…what drives success in the Age of the Customer?

Marketing-Automation-Age-of-Customer

Key Findings

Forrester’s study yielded four key findings:

Marketing automation enables marketing success. Marketing automation is broadly deployed to manage core marketing processes from campaign development to lead management. But top performers seem to be leveraging their tech investments differently, executing a higher number of more focused campaigns and setting higher targets.
Both B2B and B2C marketers have accepted multichannel marketing as common practice. Marketers are familiar with the concepts and practices of multichannel marketing. One-quarter of our survey respondents assessed themselves as mature practitioners of multichannel marketing. Another 39% were in transition. Only 7%
of respondents had no plans to implement multichannel marketing.
Behavioral marketing is a slightly less mature practice. Only 17% of our survey respondents assessed themselves as mature practitioners of behavioral marketing. But early adopters perceive significant benefits to becoming more buyer-centric. Significantly, a higher percentage of behavioral marketers grew revenue faster than plan (53% versus 41%) and contributed more than half of the sales pipeline (20% versus 11%).
Practitioners of behavioral marketing have significantly different practices. Those marketers who self-assessed as “mature” reported significant differences in their approach to marketing: They have more fully implemented marketing automation, run more campaigns, and run a greater variety of campaigns.

It’s NOT rocket-science…but it’s getting close to it 🙂  Blending science and creative content is a remarkable route to #INBOUND Success. Don’t let it scare you – let it drive you to new heights in 2014 and beyond!

Posted in Advanced Segmentation, eCommerce "Best Practices", Marketing Automation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Win BIG with Marketing Automation: Cart Abandonment

Here are a couple of staggering statistics standing between YOU and BIG PROFITS

How to Win BIG with Marketing Automation - Cart Abandonment 10167.91% – this is the average online shopping cart abandonment rate*!

* based on the average of 27 different studies regarding e-commerce shopping cart abandonment, compiled by Baymard Institute.

3% – the average online conversion rate for online retailers. (Forrester Research)

90% – the percentage of leads that go COLD after one hour. $3Trillion – the amount projected to be left in carts in 2014.(SaleCycle)

There are three questions / answers that think will be of immediate value to you.

  1. Is it possible to double your conversion rate in 3 months or less?
  2. Are there tools available to turn the drifters into locked, loaded & loyal customers?
  3. What are some basic best practices for re-marketing and converting shoppers who initially abandoned their cart?

#1 is a simple math problem. Let’s assume you are among the average for purposes of illustration. You are converting 3% of your traffic, you have approx. 7.0% more to convert JUST from those who are abandoning their cart.  Effective cart abandonment programs I have enacted for clients have seen upwards of a 48% close rate. That would be another 3.36% of your traffic converting! WHAT?? Is there ANY good reason not to make this a priority?

#2 Top Tools Available:mail-chimp

a. Self-Service Automation Tools are available from several Email Service Providers (ESPs). One of the best I have seen out-of-the-box has recently been launched by Mail Chimp.  I say “best” – and let me qualify that to say “best of the basic-class” and ideal for those with tight budgetary constraints.

b. Data-Intelligence / Retention Automation Partners

A whole new breed of strategic partners has emerged for the online retailer – and one of the most compelling brings transactional data and demographic data together with events and business logic to produce remarkably PERSONALIZED experiences to shoppers. Call it Marketing Automation, Personalization, Retention Automation whatever you like…but THIS is powerful stuff.  The cost of these SaaS solutions can be steep – though I consider some to be reasonable – but all VERY VALUABLE.  (I am already planning a separate blog to highlight my own top-ten list – but will highlight a few here for example.)  I have worked with the likes of Simple RelevanceMarketo, LisTrak, dotMailer, SpringBot, Bronto and Windsor Circle to name a few. windsor-circle-integrationMy most recent client project included launching a re-branded site on Magento Enterprise, integration with NetSuite ERP, and linking Magento extensions with MailChimp/Mandrill and Windsor Circle’s Retention Automation platform. This is not terribly complex to execute, but I can tell you that the results are like MAGIC! We managed a drop in cart abandonment rate from 69% down to 29% in the first two months – and that my friends is VALUE 🙂

#3 Basic Best-Practices of Cart Abandonment Email Marketing Automation

Create a Series of 3 Emails to be sent to customers who add items to their cart and do not complete checkout.  Per our statistic earlier that 90% of the leads go cold after an hour…

Send the first “Reminder” email 1-2 hours (max) after a stagnant cart is created.  The FIRST email should contain the following 10 key components:

  1. Clear Subject Line Calling Attention to the Contents of the Cart
  2. Focus the message on Problem Solving vs Sales – ie. “Did you experience trouble checking out? We want to help…”
  3. Include a Clear Line Item Summary of the Cart Contents
  4. Include a Thumbnail Image of each Item
  5. Include a Clear Call to Action button to complete Checkout Now
  6. Optionally – and this will tend to promote a higher conversion – offer an incentive to complete checkout TODAY.
  7. Add recommendations for additional products – “You may also be interested in…”
  8. Include Testimonial and/or Product Ratings
  9. Include Mention of Your No-Hassle Return Policy (you have one, right?)
  10. Include an Opt-out for future emails

The second and third emails should go out 24-48 hours and 72-96 hours later, respectively.  The 2nd email should always contain an images7SBXY1KJincentive offer: “Get 5% Off Your Order when you complete checkout within the next 24 hours”. The incentive will increase your 2nd round conversions by 33-39%.  The 3rd email can be a little more playful – and targeting a long-term win-back.  Offer an incentive to complete checkout, but also offer some sort of incentive to connect via social media. For example, 5% off your next order if you Follow Us on Twitter.  This way, you make a connection that has longer term benefits, and can still incent the return visit as well.

Questions about how to execute an Automation Strategy or about any of the Automation Partners out there?  I live for this stuff 🙂  Feel free to drop a note to mark@ecommadvisor.com, or connect with me on twitter.

Posted in Beyond e-Commerce, Customer Success, eCommerce "Best Practices", Marketing Automation, Site Conversion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Customer Success and The Business Growth Theorem

Customer Success (Loyalty) Helps Crush Sales Quotas

Axiom #1: If Your Business is Not Growing, Your Business is Dying.

Axiom #2: Maximizing Retention & Minimizing Churn is as Equally Important as Acquisition.

Axiom #3: Customer Retention = Repeat Business = Lower Cost of Acquisition = > Profit

Axiom #4: Customer Retention is a Measure of Durability.

Axiom #5: Churn is a Significant Limiting Factor to Growth.

    _______________________________________________________

Business Growth Theorem:

 G = (A + R) – C

 Growth = (Acquisition + Retention) – Churn

    _______________________________________________________

Typical Acquisition Vehicles

Direct marketing, Referrals, Networking, Tradeshows, Cold Calling, Print Advertising, Affiliate Programs, Distribution Partnerships, Pay-Per (Impression, Click, Conversion) Campaigns, PR Campaigns, Social Promotions, Banner Ads, Directory Services, Email Marketing, Direct Website, SEO, Unique/Optimized User Experience (UX), Targeted Landing Pages, Blogging, Mobile Messaging, Mobile Advertising, LinkedIn/Facebook Groups, Webinars, 3rd Party Reviews, Video Content / YouTube Channel, Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE), 3rd Party Marketplaces.

Treat Every Lead Like Gold…Even the Ones You Don’t Like!

Typical Methods to Increase Retention & Decrease Churn

You’ve done the HARD work…Now DON’T BLOW IT!

Retention is more about follow-through and the overall customer experience than anything else.  So a commitment to Optimized User Experience – from Website to Fulfillment to Customer Support is a good place to start.  Here are a few things that enhance a customers’ perception of you and elevate their desire to continue a relationship with your business: Visual Appeal of your Brand and Website, Ease of Site Use, Responsive Mobile-Friendly Site, Intuitive Search Tools, Relevant Industry Resources, Clear Content, Concise Communication, Consistent/Predictable Follow-Up, Prompt Fulfillment & Delivery, Ongoing (Non-Obtrusive) Engagement, Prompt & Courteous Attention to Problems and Issues, Proactive Promotions, Authentic Customer Care, – and 2 Critical Principles…

Be Grateful – THANK Your Customer for Choosing You

 Under-Promise and Over-Deliver Every Time

Need more information and practical advice? Send inquiries to mark@ecommadvisor.com
Posted in Beyond e-Commerce, Business Development, Customer Success, eCommerce "Best Practices", Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Content Marketing Theorem

I recently participated in a webinar that focused on best practices in Content Marketing. The whirlwind of suggestions and formulas postulated, debated and tweeted was enough to bring on a marketing migraine. Ugh…got to…simplify.

content marketing theorem

I am a HUGE FAN of mathematics – finding beauty in its simplicity. In mathematics, a theorem is a statement that has been proven on the basis of previously established statements, such as other theorems—and generally accepted statements. Based upon years of business intelligence, rigorous evaluation and thoughtful input from several highly credible content marketing gurus, I think I have boiled the 90-minute webinar into a single embraceable and practical formula:

eCommAdvisor’s Content Marketing Theorem

(Useful x Authentic) + (Enjoyable x Inspired) = INNOVATIVE CONTENT

Now, PLEASE don’t misinterpret my use of math to equate to RIGIDITY!  Quite the contrary… Creativity cannot be put into a box.  However, as you set your inner-artist free, and develop content for your audience, simply check your creativity back into the theorem. Is is Useful? Is it Authentic? Does it add a factor of Enjoy-ability? Is it Inspired or Does it effectively Inspire?  If you can answer YES to these factors, then you can feel confident that you are doing a service to your readers and followers.

Congratulations – You are producing INNOVATIVE CONTENT!

content marketing wheel

Want more thought provoking info on Content Marketing? Check out my prior blog post called The B.E.S.T. Approach to Content Marketing. Cheers!

Posted in Beyond e-Commerce, Content Marketing, Demand Generation | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Advanced Marketing Segmentation: Behavioral & Predictive Modeling

The last 3 years have seen a dramatic shift in marketing that have made it highly technical.  So much so that many companies shifted significant marketing related functions over to their IT team.  This was, and continues to be, a big mistake.

YES – Marketing has become extremely complex.ted-goff-woman-stands-before-two-charts-on-wall-the-complicated-one-says-finding-cartoon

What needs to happen in order for today’s CMO to be successful is simple.  The CMO needs to embrace technology, and skillfully blend it with creativity.  She/he needs to help their teams grow more technical skill-sets, and understand the power of data to the success of their marketing efforts. Why is this necessary? Because popular models of segmentation have become so commonplace. Chasing leads by standard demographics and KPI’s is the quickest way to achieve mediocrity, find the spam box, lose valuable customers – and ultimately have to answer for sliding revenues.

Let’s start by examining the most popular segmentation models:

  • Standard Demographics: Segmentation by Gender, Age, Location
  • Acquisition Based: Segmentation by Products Purchased
  • (RFM) Recency, Frequency and Monetary Value: Segmentation based on How Recent, How Often and How Much is purchased.

The primary reason Amazon has been so successful is that it committed early on to Drilling Down into the shopper BEHAVIORS in order to PREDICT shopper NEED.  The concept of “Customers Who Purchased This, Also Liked…” is a lot more complex than it looks on the surface. Product searches, purchases, navigation, clicks, trends in buying and situational interaction is collected and analyzed to build behavior trend models that lead to PREDICTIVE models.  This is what keeps Amazon ahead of most everyone else.  Don’t believe for a minute that you cannot achieve the same objectives – even on a tight budget!  I promise you, it can be done and I have first hand experience seeing it and implementing it.reveal-listen

Let me give you a few simple examples of how to more effectively break down data that you already have – and lay the groundwork for more productive interactions with your prospects and customers alike.

Behavioral (Needs Based) Segmentation:

  • Motivational Behaviors: Filter your list by – purchasers that only buy product “on sale“, purchasers that buy on the “last day” of a promotion, purchasers who only buy with coupons, customers that return items…keep thinking about this…what motivates interaction??
  • Categorical: Go BEYOND product-based upselling and start grouping or clustering your segments by categories.  For example, a customer who has purchased Jimy Choo dress shoes is not only interested in Jimmy Choo dress shoes. In fact, they are more likely to be interested in similar products or complimentary products – so broadening the appeal by category, but tailoring to the customer (by item specifics ie size) will encourage MORE purchasing.
  • Brand: Taking ‘categorical’ a step in a slightly different direction… If the customer has purchased more than one pair of Kate Spade heels – then don’t just send an email pushing more Kate Spade heels…that would be VERY short-sighted.  This customer has given you fantastic information about themselves a) they know you for the heels you sell and b) they love kate spade product.  Your job just got exciting – because you have a great opportunity to present them with a full array of {Kate Spade} products – from Handbags, to Wallets, to Scarves, Jewelry and More!

Predictive modeling takes groups of data even further – to develop a cadence that walks in step with the needs of customers – and increases the likelihood of invoking a purchase.

The FIRST RULE that I communicate to clients is this:

START with an end in mind.

Segmentation should not be about creating marketing buckets.  Successful Segmentation is All About SOLVING A PROBLEM. So – create segments based on what question or issue you are trying to solve on behalf of your customer!

Here are your simple steps to effective (behavioral and predictive) segmentation:

  1. Define the Problem or Issue that Your Customer Needs Solved
  2. Develop a Hypothesis About the Solution You Will Suggest
  3. Determine the Segment Variables needed to Identify the Customer Need Accordingly
  4. Collect, Filter, Normalize and Pre-Process Your Data
  5. Create Appropriate Segments that Will Benefit from Your Solution
  6. Execute Actionable Steps to Communicate the Solution to those Customers in Need

problem-solvedSubject for another day: Marketing Automation Solutions – there are many SaaS tools available that can help to automate the tasks of behavior monitoring (ie activity scoring) that can be setup to automatically send dynamic content to customers.  Timely and meaningfully tailored content has been proven over and over to be highly effective.

Behavioral & Predictive Modeling will help you meet customers where they are & help to cultivate loyalty, breadth of interactions, frequencies of purchases, and, oh….let’s not forget…a healthier bottom line for your business 🙂

Posted in Advanced Segmentation, Beyond e-Commerce, eCommerce "Best Practices", Marketing Automation, Site Conversion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment