There have been a lot of changes in the marketing automation industry recently, from IPOs to major acquisitions. Technology is rapidly changing the ways we communicate with customers, emphasizing the importance of partnering with a stable automation vendor to support marketing teams in their art.
But the irony is, the more hi-tech our world gets, the more people value a personal touch. Your digital customers don’t want group spam; they want to be treated like individuals. For that reason, the future of digital marketing demands that we think about Return on Investment (ROI) as a Return on Relationship (ROR).
If you're in the market for marketing automation, you're probably not an automation software expert, so it might be a little overwhelming to understand all that's going on, particularly when it comes to deciding which vendor to work with. That's why, last time I blogged, I shared five ways to know if the ROI your marketing automation vendor promises is something you can count on.
Hopefully, that helped you select the right vendor.
Today, I share six ways for you to get ROI from that all-important ROR by using a unified marketing platform to respond to buyers’ universal online behaviors, but on a one-to-one basis. By creating detailed buyer personas, you respond to and engage customers in the ways they prefer. You’ll also build a thriving database.
What better way to talk about getting ROI from ROR than a story of how one company is rocking it right now with this approach? When marketing leaders at NetProspex realized its online content was all about the company, it decided to work with Silverpop partner Whereoware to transform the buying experience and put the customer at the center. The result? A 12.5 percent increase in website visit duration, 7 percent increase in conversion rates, and 30 percent decrease in email bounce rates.
Here’s how NetProspex did it — and how you can, too:
Keep Your Data in One Place
You want more than an email marketing solution — you want a unified, integrated digital marketing platform. As a great Ad Age blog post recently noted, outsourcing patchwork solutions that operate on different platforms isn’t the answer, because your data gets stored in different silos. Hint: That duct-tape approach screams disaster. You can’t get a complete picture of individual online customers without a centralized database that’s updated in real time.
That’s why NetProspex partnered with a vendor capable of collecting customer data, tracking universal behaviors online, automating marketing efforts, and creating email campaigns tailored to different buyer profiles — all on one platform
Whip Your Data into Shape
Your marketing efforts are only as good as your data, which is why NetProspex used its own data management services to normalize and standardize data fields and append additional insights into its Silverpop database. Take a page from the NetProspex playbook and spend some time identifying and removing bad data, combining duplicates and deleting records that belong to competitors or are clearly spam traps. Also, look for gaps in your data that third-party experts might help fill, and consider whether looking for outside help to append this information could help you deliver more relevant content.
Start a Digital Conversation
Unlike a simple email marketing tool, a unified marketing automation solution facilitates an ongoing dialogue with digital customers — one based on mutual input and feedback, just like a real conversation. For example, NetProspex implemented progressive profiling, a process through which visitors provide data over time in exchange for valuable resources, such as product guides or webinars. Based on the information collected, the NetProspex marketing team now builds identities for each visitor and offers even more relevant, dynamic resources (in exchange for more data) with each visit.
Make It All About Your Customers
Learn more about your customers, and target and communicate with them as individuals, with behavioral marketing. NetProspex marketers used behavior technology to identify three distinct buyers, or “personas.” For each persona, they created a comprehensive profile indicating typical demographics, key motivators, goals and challenges. Now, the sales and marketing teams can create content and business development strategies that respond to universal behaviors with automated messages based on identities or “triggers.” With this approach, they resonate with different types of customers.
Keep Content Timely and Relevant
Partner with a digital marketing vendor that has both the technology and a skilled service team to help you map content to your buying cycle. NetProspex’s challenge was to serve up the right content (for each unique buyer) at the right time (based on where the customer was in the buying cycle). To meet that challenge, marketers created a template to keep track of each type of content, with a description of the topic, as well as the persona and buying cycle for which it was written. Now NetProspex communicates with customers in a way that is both automatic and highly personal.
Allow Easy Access for Better Engagement
The more hoops customers must jump through to access your online content, the more likely you are to lose them. Consider how you can reduce that friction while still collecting the necessary data. For example, NetProspex improved its login forms by not only prepopulating fields, but also enabling visitors to edit the information. Social sign-in is another great way to increase opt-ins and database size by offering the option of registering with a Facebook or Twitter (or other social platform) login as an alternative to filling out a form
Bottom line: Relationships matter, and winning companies are those that value the personal touch. To get ROI from ROR, know what your customers want and need, and start treating them like individuals, rather than names on a distribution list.
To better understand and engage your prospects, invigorate your marketing programs and increase revenue, read “10 Things Marketers Should Automate to Drive Revenue.”
1) White Paper: “Vision, Skills, Data: Making the Most of Your Marketing Technology”
2) Blog: “NetProspex on 5 Ways to Make Your B2B Marketing Garden Flourish”
3) Video: “Building a Comprehensive Data Blueprint”