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Website, Meet Marketing Automation

by: Bryan Brown (@getvision)
10 July 2013

In the last year, we’ve seen a huge upswing in the number of Silverpop clients delivering more behavior-driven, individualized messages to their contacts, and with good reason: targeted emails containing personalized content and offers enjoy a 4X greater click-through rate than generic email offers, with “mature practitioners” of behavioral marketing 29 percent more likely to grow revenue faster than plan.

Sending contacts down different messaging tracks or serving up dynamic content based on that person’s previous behaviors, interests or demographics is a savvy way to connect more strongly via email. But in today’s multichannel world, email is just one of many platforms contacts are using to interact with you. So what happens when they connect via other channels, such as your website?

Breaking Down the Silos

Many companies struggle to implement an integrated marketing approach across channels. Part of the challenge is that most businesses capture interactions via email, Web, social, mobile, in-store and more in individualized silos. The result is often a disjointed, less-than-optimal customer experience. Let’s say, for example, that someone reads your email on her iPad, interacts with your mobile app on her smartphone a few days later, and then visits your website via her desktop computer a couple of days after that. The customer looks at these interactions as part of a single relationship with your company. But are you able to capture these actions in one place and reflect these behaviors across different channels and devices – not to mention in real time?

The answer lies in fostering what Silverpop calls the “single identity.” As the name suggests, it’s a way of tying cross-channel behaviors to an individual that allows you to take behaviors that are occurring in different systems and have different IDs for the person and relate them back to a specific individual in your marketing database. The key is having a unified marketing database capable of storing data in a single customer view rather than being siloed by channel or segment.

Why is this so exciting? Now you can enhance the personalized messaging engine you’ve created and extend it beyond your emails. For many businesses, the website is a natural place to begin this process, since it’s typically a key hub for building relationships and driving revenue. To individualize your website, you just need to get your marketing platform communicating with your CMS.

Wait … What’s a CMS?

Surprisingly – or maybe not, given all the tasks they’re juggling — many digital marketers aren’t all that plugged in to the CMS process at their company and how it relates to their efforts.

In short, a content management system is a centralized interface that enables you to easily publish and edit content on a website. For many companies, this Web content – articles, images, offers, videos, etc. — is the same for every person who visits, regardless of who they are or how they’ve interacted with that company in other channels.

Personalized Web Content exampleIn some cases, the CMS person in the marketing department might build dynamic content blocks into the website, then set up business rules that would determine what content was delivered based on IP addresses – serving up individualized content based on the person’s geographical location, for example.

Wouldn’t it be cool if that CMS person had access to your entire unified marketing database and could create business rules within the CMS based on this data? When someone visited your site, the content management system could pull in data from your marketing platform, displaying images, offers, text and more based on the visitor’s previous behaviors and interests. Every touch point would build on the last, with your digital marketing platform and CMS feeding information back and forth to make your data smarter.

How Silverpop Helps

We’re always looking for new ways to help clients provide a seamless customer experience across channels – something akin to the type of individual interactions people expect offline, but rarely experience online. To assist marketers of all types in achieving this goal, we now offer three ways for marketers to connect their digital marketing platform with a CMS:

  • Native Integration: Earlier this year we announced partnerships with EPiServer and Adobe CQ5, the first-ever native CMS integrations with the Silverpop Engage platform. Marketers using this functionality can tap the full data available via Silverpop as they’re building dynamic content on their website, enabling them, for example, to serve up one piece of content for visitors who are in a welcome email program, and another for those who are in a 90-day nurture campaign. To get a feel for how this works, visit and click on the arrow in the top-right corner of the screen.
  • Custom Integration: This option allows marketers to use our CMS APIs and other data hooks to provide a personalized experience for their Web visitors. In other words, even though we’re not the hosting CMS tool, the underlying data infrastructure – the contacts, the behaviors, the programs, all that marketing richness — is connected into the company’s website. NetProspex, working with Silverpop partner Whereoware, has employed this approach on its website and seen amazing results.
  • Plug & Play: This option — the easiest way to get up and running — provides the ability for marketers to go into Silverpop, build a Web form or landing page, take a snippet of code, and embed it into a section of their website. Presto -- that window is now enriched by the Silverpop database and platform.

What You Can Do With a CMS Integration

This is where the real fun begins. With all this data at your fingertips, there are endless ways you might customize your website. Maybe you want to serve up unique content based on an individual’s:

1) Browsing History: Offer up educational content that complements a person’s viewing history. Depending on your business, types of content you feature might include selection guides, price calculators, how-to guides, case studies, and customer and employee reviews and testimonials.

2) Social Behaviors: Take what you know about a person’s social habits and use it to serve up personalized comments. For example, someone who signed in via Facebook might see content related to a special Facebook promo you’re running, while another visitor who recently commented on your blog might be prompted to check out your Twitter feed to get more thought-provoking content.

3) Contact Score: Vary discounts and offers based on the visitor’s level of engagement. Maybe your most engaged customers see a special “VIP Special Invitation” or a link for an exclusive complimentary service when they visit your website.

For more ideas for delivering a customized Web experience, including aligning content with an individual’s position in the buying cycle, mobile use patterns, purchase history and more, check out my blog post, “4 Ways to Serve Up Individualized Content on Your Website.”

Hello, Behavioral Marketing Website

The days of the static corporate website are numbered. Today, the technology is here that will change the Web experience forever, enabling your website to understand who visitors are, how they’ve interacted with you and where they’re at in the buying cycle, and use this data to create a tremendous personal experience for your customers and prospects. So why not complement your super-personalized email program with a website experience that’s just as rewarding?

Got a question about customizing the Web experience? Please post your queries below or reach out to me via Twitter @getvision.

Related Resources:

1) White Paper: “20 Ways to Personalize Content and Enhance the Web Experience
2) Video: “Personalizing the Web Experience for Every Customer Through a CMS Integration
3) Blog: “Universal Behaviors: What It Means for Marketing and the Customer Experience


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