2014 was a year of growth for me, both personally and professionally. Being acquired by IBM has given us the resources to both take Silverpop global and better serve the customers that got us where we are today. My family has also expanded, and watching my infant daughter get to know her 3-year-old brother made 2014 unforgettable.
Thankfully, the new year promises even more growth opportunities for all of us. But first, take the time to reflect on what you learned in 2014 — to think about what you did well and where your marketing strategy has room for improvement, to celebrate the ideas that have served you well and shrug off those that are no longer working, and to embrace new tools and tactics that will increase conversions in 2015 and beyond.
To wrap up 2014 and help kick off 2015, I've created a list of six digital marketing insights from my 2014 blog posts. These are the trends and tips I think are most likely to help you find, engage, convert and retain new customers in the coming year:
1) To truly understand your customers, you must talk less and listen more.
While 51 percent of marketers say that building and maintaining relationships with customers should be the primary focus of marketing investments, only 19 percent "strongly agree" that their companies are "customer-centric." Here's the thing: If we really want to have better relationships with our customers, we need to stop talking about them and start listening to them. (Read "Talk Less, Listen More: The Key to Truly Understanding Your Customers.")
2) Without the right tools and strategies, you won't know who your digital customers are or what they want.
Developing relationships with digital customers can be tricky. Like in any relationship, you need to interact with them and get to know them. It all starts with digital listening — tracking online behavior to create rich profiles of individual customers. (Read "Lost in Translation: 5 Barriers That Distance Digital Marketers from Customers.")
3) Your customers' preferences change over time. They might not think to clue you in, but robust behavioral marketing strategies will keep you in the loop.
If you know what's going on in an individual customer's life, you can anticipate their needs and personalize your digital marketing with relevant content. But in order to stay current, you must "listen" to the data they give you. (Read "From Football to E-Marketing: How to Create Raving Fans.")
4) Mobile usage matters more than ever for increasing conversion rates, and the right email marketing campaign can help engage mobile users.
In the third quarter of 2014, nearly 20 percent of online retail purchases in the United States were made via mobile devices. And using mobile touch points — such as personalized text messages and push notifications through mobile apps — can increase conversion rates by 8.5 percent. Most companies, however, have only begun to scratch the surface of what mobile marketing can do for brand loyalty and the bottom line. (Read "5 Mobile Engagement Strategies to Boost Your Holiday Marketing.")
5) Adding location data to your mobile marketing strategy opens up new opportunities to engage customers with relevant content.
The future of digital marketing is about utter personalization — delivering relevant experiences to individual buyers at the right time, in the right place, and on the device of their choice. More and more often, "the device of their choice" tends to be a mobile phone, which opens up huge opportunities for strategic brands. It's no longer enough to track what consumers are doing online; now you to need know exactly where and when they're doing it. (Read "Leveraging the 'Geo-Factor': Using Mobile and Location Data to Drive Engagement.")
6) Just because digital window shoppers haven't made a purchase doesn't mean they won't.
Don't give up on cart abandoners and site browsers who leave without making a purchase. Regardless of the buying stage at which you "lose" a customer's attention, the right retargeting strategies can reengage and convert them. (Read "From Browsing to Buying: 5 Holiday Strategies for Ecommerce Marketers.")
Stay tuned for more marketing insights from me in 2015. In the meantime, I wish you a happy start to the new year!
1) White Paper: “7 Key Trends for 2015 – and Tactics for Succeeding in the New Year”
2) Blog: “Top 10 Most Popular Silverpop Blogs of 2014”
3) Ebook: “Ultimate Guide to Assessing Your Digital Marketing Program”