It’s been a few weeks since we wrapped up Amplify 2016, but the momentum and excitement is still swirling around the office. Amplify, our annual user conference bringing customers together from across the IBM Commerce portfolio, took place in Tampa, Fla., this year, and I’ve heard several attendees say this was the best one yet! Besides the fact that Elle King can rock some cover songs and Gwyneth Paltrow loves kale AND vodka, here are my main takeaways from the event:
1) Our customers are doing some awesome things with their marketing.
OK, so I might be a little biased on this one, as my job is to educate our customers and help them be as successful as possible. But during the course of the conference, I saw a ton of clients sharing insightful stories. Starting with the General Session and Marketing Keynote, IBM Marketing Cloud clients MetLife, The Color Run, Performance Bike and Standard Life braved the main stage to talk about their journeys.
Later in the conference, International Fund for Animal Welfare showed off cute animal pictures (how can you resist?) and taught listeners how to acquire new leads and then convert those leads to donors using IBM Marketing Cloud. Extended Stay America introduced us to “Testing Tuesday” and how testing is vital in reaching email goals, and STIHL (with agencies PowerChord and Red Letter) proved that using scoring and programs, and investing in services, leads to a loyal customer base.
Quick Tip: To accelerate list growth, tap the power of look-alike models to acquire contacts similar to your best contacts. Through tools on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, you can share your best customers’ demographic and/or behavioral data. The social network then identifies additional users that have similar characteristics and allows you to create super-targeted communications.
2) Face-to-face time is invaluable.
We’re all guilty of hiding behind email chains. But what we forget is that so much can be accomplished with a five-minute in-person conversation. At this year’s conference, customers met their fellow peers from across the United States (and even some globally), made connections they’ll be able to use throughout their careers and learned tips, tricks and strategies from each other.
It was also the perfect time for users and IBM Marketing Cloud team members to interact. Clients got hands-on training with our support, product, services and marketing teams, and we received valuable feedback we’ll be able to use as we’re working to enhance our platform.
Quick Tip: To help build loyalty, aim for a consistent experience across channels. Try pulling in behaviors from across whatever channels customers use to interact with you, and then use these behaviors to inform your marketing program and drive custom offers for customers.
3) Cognitive is on the rise.
Whether you were sitting in the Amplify Marketing Keynote or have seen one of IBM’s latest television commercials, you’ve heard us talk about cognitive solutions. But what exactly does that mean for our customers? During the event, IBM Marketing Cloud Real-Time Personalization was announced, a product that helps marketers test and deliver optimized content at the individual level, driving higher engagement and conversation rates. Included in that, and something our users can get their hands on in the near future, is Cognitive Rules Advisor, an engine that can automatically recommend more accurate targeting rules for each piece of available content.
Quick Tip: The cornerstone of all customer engagement decisions is data, so make it a top priority to connect the systems of record to create 360-degree profiles of your contacts. Your customer database or CRM needs to be connected to financial/sales data, to your marketing platform, to your digital behavior analytic platform, to your social aggregation platforms, etc.
Get More Marketing Ideas:
1) Tip Sheet: “Listening, Segmentation, Automation: 10 Tips for Building a Strong Digital Marketing Program”
2) Blog: “4 Strategies That Bring Customers Back to Buy Again and Again”
3) Marketing Automation Ebook: “Best Practices for Marketing Excellence and Organizational Efficiency”