How digital marketing operations can transform businessAugust 11, 2015
New digital tools and data are an increasingly strong opportunity for marketers to improve their marketing operations and achieve customer-centric strategies. These new insights allow organisations to be attuned to their customers’ needs and create effective and measurable marketing campaigns.
Last month, McKinsey released a publication on digital marketing operations titled ‘How digital marketing operations can transform business’, explaining the importance for companies of adopting digital tools for their marketing campaigns. This corroborates perfectly with Solocal Group UK’s vision on digital marketing technologies (read our previous “Why brands need to embrace sophisticated technologies” post) and this is why we found it valuable to extract and summarise insights in this blog post.
- Truly understanding customers
For any company the key point is to establish a meaningful relationship with their customers. Marketing operations give the opportunity to monitor this. By analysing customers’ behaviour it is possible to create a real experience for the company to share with its customers. This analysis should be based on an important and mapped marketing operations database which the right tools are able to provide. Some basic technologies and tracking tools could be used by companies to better know customers’ cross-channel journey. Unfortunately, many companies do not consider this strategic point very important and the customer understanding is thus weakened. Without a proper understanding of customers’ behaviour, marketing cannot be truly efficient. Digital brings reachable and effective tools for marketing operations.
- Delivering superior experience
Within the customer journey, the experience is a corner stone. Experience is at the forefront of a customer’s interaction with the company. A bad experience for a customer means a customer defecting to the competitor and a possible snowball effect if the company is not reactive enough to correct it. Here again, understanding customers is the best way to reach their expectations. If this point is often well-considered by marketers who deployed a lot of sales, support and services initiatives for customers or fulfilment and order management by their side, there are some back-end operations and systems which are neglected in this journey. Actually the magical recipe is not a secret. In this interaction and exchange with customers it is important to listen and adjust the experience according to customers’ uses and feedbacks. Comforting this idea, McKinsey article indeed reveals that best-in-class companies are reallocating up to 80% of digital-campaign budgets during a campaign. A company should propose a boulevard to consumers. To do so, it should observe wisely which particular paths or shortcuts customers are using and adapt this boulevard accordingly, closing some useless pavements, enlarging others, better indicate popular shortcuts, clearing some ways.
- Selecting the right marketing technology
As said previously, technology can bring numerous and relevant tools for marketers to optimise their operations and to automatise processes. Technology is a strategic expense, to be more efficient in the customer relationship, offer customers the expected experience, retain them, attract new ones and consequently keep an advantage over competitors. It should bring flexibility to a responsive platform, and not race for the last innovation which might be useless for the experience customers are looking for. Too many newish technologies can be a brake by making the experience too complex, when marketing technologies should aim to make a simple and responsive customer experience. The choice of technology should also be flexible to permit incrementing emerging tools.
- Implementing processes and governance
In order to manage the customer journey and implement technologies to improve the experience through this journey, the company needs to set clear and efficient governance. Technology can do amazing things to simplify processes, but cannot do it all on its own. Human decision is still above any organisation. To benefit from the added value brought by technology, all the marketing processes should be organised and this governance must be simple and the same for every link of the process chain. Employees, partners, suppliers and agencies should be part of it, and aware of their precise role in this chain to be able to adapt themselves when the strategy and campaigns evolve according to the customer’s expectations. Finally, as it is implied all along, the customer is the pivot and the governance aims to satisfy its expectation by driving appropriately – with adjustments and reorientation when needed – the campaign. Marketing, more than any other business activity, must be guided by a customer-centric approach.
- Using the best metric to drive success
Technology brings more and more powerful measurement tools. Metrics are the fuel of any marketing logic and have to be oriented and exploited wisely. Marketing effectiveness can be measured, customer journey can be detailed and understood, customer satisfaction can be monitored and its insights should be analysed to adapt processes, experience and governance. Metrics, as a quantitative indicator of the company interaction with its customers, should be used to understand customers’ behaviour and draw meaningful conclusions on past marketing actions. The effective metric is, thus, the one which delivers important insights to be interpreted and used to improve ongoing marketing campaigns and adapt past ones according to the user experience and expectations.
Marketing operations might not be the most thrilling part of marketing and many marketers are therefore not really interested in them. But consumers are the centre of any business, they have many expectations and many of them rely on marketing operations. This is why the lack of marketing operations is a main reason for marketing failure. Seamlessly integrating marketing operations into the digital era goes through five steps: truly understanding customers, delivering superior experience, selecting the right marketing technology, implementing processes and governance, and using the best metric to drive success.
Please contact Solocal Group UK team if you would like to discuss how your brand can take advantage of implementing valuable marketing operations technologies throughout the customer journey.
Digital marketing trends – What to look out for in 2015!December 9, 2014
Written by Bruno Berthezene, Country Manager at Solocal Group UK – Tuesady 16th December
From multiscreen to ubiquitous internet devices
The recent years have seen the rise of the multiscreen / multi-device trend: from desktop through laptop, console, mobile, tablet to phablet, each UK consumer uses an increasing number of devices sometimes simultaneously (second screen, third screen). Mobile and tablet have become the dominating source of traffic for many internet brands but the customer experience provided on these devices is still not always adapted to the form factor. Additionally, the fragmented usage of devices has been an issue for businesses to have a single view of the user and therefore makes it difficult to attribute conversion to a specific interaction. In this context:
- 2015 will be the year wherebrands move to provide the same experience on mobile devices that consumers receive on PCs and in store.
- In 2015, we will begin to see mobile payment take off as a result of m-payment service launches such as Apple Pay.
- 2015 will see progress on multi-device tracking through the development of emerging cross-device monitoring techniques, including ultrasonic contactless technology.
- There will be a booming wave of smart devices, such as wearables including connected glasses, smartwatches and Internet of Things enabling devices. Whether all of these emerging connected devices will prove to be successful in 2015 is not certain, but those that are will considerably enrich our lives and make the internet even more ubiquitous in our lives due to the relative simplicity of smart devices.
Content and social meets advertising
- Growth in display advertising will be mostly driven by the growth of mobile devices, especially tablets, and the explosion of video as an online advertising platform.
- Ads will be more relevant than ever given the targeting possibilities provided by data that allow advertisers to push messages only for what the consumer is most likely to be interested in. However, at the same time, advertising will face the emergence of ad blockers, browser extensions downloaded by users and disabling display ads. As a result, 2015 will be the year where even more relevancy should be look for, allowing advertisers and marketers to better use the untapped data to its full potential which will therefore make users happy that they are being reached with relevant content. After retargeting, the new wave of data use in display and search advertising will be pre-targeting, which can be defined as pushing ads with messages based on a customer higher propensity to purchase a product/service, this being based on behaviour data cross-analysis.
- While 2015 will see advertising attribution improving (see above), advertisers and publishers are both looking for a better evaluation of the engagement of users generated by display advertising. More relevant than the cost per click, more universal than the cost per action, time-based display offerings (by which the advertiser will only need to pay if the user has been exposed to the ad or has stayed on the landing website for a minimum amount of time) will see a great traction.
- While advertising is transitioning towards more relevancy, content appears as a natural alternative to reach users. Native advertising and branded content, which can be defined as inserting commercially oriented content in an editorial environment, are emerging and will develop in 2015. A risk, if it develops too much, might be a commercial content overload for the users, resulting in the same rejection from a part of the users as for internet advertising. However, Facebook has already shown that significant revenue can be driven out of paid content amplification in a social media environment, warranting visibility of sponsored content within organic content, and Twitter seems to be going the same way.
Taking the multichannel customer journey seriously
The purchase funnel is being increasingly looked after. In the past decades, with the rise of digital, it has become more much complex with the rise of multiple touch points, from ‘discovery’ through ‘research’ and ‘engagement’ to ‘conversion’ into purchase and post-purchase actions. This means that taking the customer right through from the start of the journey to the purchase is more challenging than ever and when that happens, there is another challenge for marketers and that is the attribution of the purchase between the different touch points.
- 2015 will see the development of marketing automation techniques that bring more sophistication in the optimisation of the conversion. The increasing capacity to exploit the potential of data is obviously at the core of this evolution towards real-time, behavioural, marketing.
- Most of the purchases do not happen online but in-store so the challenge of optimisation, attribution and marketing automation go beyond the online activity. There is still much work to do on web-to-store journey optimisation as many brands still don’t provide some of the basics that customers have begun to expect. The most striking gap relies on the disparity between customers’ expectations of simple store and product location tools and the poor level of store locators on many brand websites, not to mention the lack of mobile optimisation or the scarce existence of a product locator. 2015 will be the year when a large number of brands still lagging behind on mobile will catch up to finally propose a mobile customer experience that will boost conversion, online (m-commerce) and most importantly offline (mobile-to-store).
- Personalisation and optimisation of in-site search and navigation will also be growing trends, thanks to the increased use of consumer data.
- Once the customer has arrived in-store, technologies like beacons or ultrasonic tracking will help with attribution and marketing automation.
- Stores, whether independent or part of a chain, will provide an increasingly innovative in-store customer experience, with digital tools (virtual trial, advice, queueing…) being used more and more, a trend called phygital merging another trend called storytailing (examples of recent innovations in retail can be found on the Local Ideas blog).
The rise of the seamless transaction
- The sharing economy, illustrated by companies such as AirBnB and Uber, has paved the way for a world when buyers and sellers, professionals or individuals, can connect and transact in a seamless, real-time way. Car and house sharing, food, professional and local services, there are no limits to what this model can apply to. And this is only the beginning as an overwhelming number of new services are following the trend, positioning themselves across all possible niches you could imagine.
- Hotel and restaurant booking has been around for a long time but other service sectors are now realising the potential that they can also tap into through online appointment booking too. 2014 has been the year of acceleration for online appointment booking and 2015 should been the year where this service really explodes into the mainstream. This is true for a diverse range of sectors, such as health and beauty, car maintenance, banking and finance and insurance, but also for the fashion and luxury sectors due to the rise of personal shopping.
- Making the delivery quick and easy will be another growing focus of pure online plays or bricks and clicks. Click & collect has shown to be very popular and players such as Amazon, Google, eBay are already testing and beginning to implement quick delivery services.