Leveraging technology to stand out in the sea of sameness

Eric Berridge

  • CEO and co-founder of Bluewolf, an IBM Company
Eric co-founded Bluewolf in December 2000 with the intent of re-defining software consulting. Fourteen years later, Bluewolf is the longest standing professional services agency solely focused on the Salesforce platform. Bluewolf has worked with thousands of clients globally to achieve long-term success with Salesforce. As CEO, Eric drives the strategic direction of the firm, working with his executives and their teams to deliver extraordinary customer moments.

The technology I'm talking about here is data and marketing automation. Current digital marketing methodology, much as it is practiced at Bluewolf, dictates the need for a strategy that does four things: Finds the right audience, uses the right channel, delivers the right content, and does all of that at the right time.

To determine a strategy for your organisation that encompasses all four things, you need data. Data determines the channel, audience, content, and timing. Top-performing marketing organisations recognise that a data strategy is required in order to bring a sophisticated and disruptive digital campaign to life, and to achieve maximum engagement and lift.

If that's not enough, here are four reasons you want to do this:

  1. Mitigate risk by understanding what's working and what isn't by testing campaigns and monitoring performance prior to scaling. This will allow you to achieve your goals through a phased approach and exploit tactics that have proven to work.
  2. Increase one-to-one personalised content that connects with target personas by leveraging customer data.
  3. Gain an exhaustively thorough view of the customer by monitoring campaign performance and capturing customer data in a centralised system of record.
  4. Understand the consumer on a deeper level in order to anticipate their needs in the future and improve brand loyalty.

As much as I have tried to downplay the role of technology, it's absolutely necessary for marketing automation and cannot be ignored. So, start by partnering with IT. Digital marketing teams cannot be effective without the support of their peers in IT. Collaboration and partnership are key to successful campaign execution and data governance.

Also, think of marketing as a science, not an art, and apply the scientific method by determining a hypothesis, testing it, and validating it through performance monitoring before making significant investments and scaling your strategy. This approach results in a higher probability of campaign ROI and helps you avoid costly mistakes.

Finally, build a system-of-record. Be sure to build it for your consumers in your customer relationship management (CRM) platform and integrate it into your marketing technology. This is the best way to gain a complete profile of your consumers and to more effectively market to them in the future.

Marketing automation is not just a source of leads, although leads can result from it. It's a platform or set of tools used to nurture prospects with highly personalised, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted ones.

The data is the raw material that enables you to design and automate effective, personalised emails, social content, ads, everything else that brings the customer closer to you. You can also use the social sentiment data captured from Linkedln, Twitter, Facebook and the others to send targeted ads directly to your customers on their preferred social media platforms.

The same applies to email marketing by creating customised email message content based on your customer data. Williams-Sonoma, for example, uses email templates to populate messages based on a customer's interests and purchasing and browsing history. In this way, your automation can directly feed your funnel.

For example, create a set of messages to respond to those common situations that frustrate the conversion process, like items left in a shopping cart or requested information that hasn't been clicked on. The personalised message can prod the customer along toward the next step and get these fence sitters off the damn fence.

This is an excerpt from Chapter 11 of Eric Berridge’s book, Customer Obsessed.

Tags: marketing technology

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