Personalization is one of the most-discussed topics in marketing today, B2B or otherwise, and with all the chatter it can be a little tricky to separate fact from fiction. At MarketingProfs B2B Forum on Tuesday afternoon, Arm Treasure Data’s* Global Head of Marketing Tom Treanor took the stage to serve up some truth.
By offering clarity around what separates the leaders from the learners on this critical frontier, his session provided a blueprint for refining and improving our efforts to get in sync with customers and prospects.
B2B Personalization Is Challenging (But Critical!)
During another session earlier in the day, Samantha Stone of The Marketing Advisory offered up some truth of her own, which resonated with Tom and I: “We need to worry less about creating scale, and more about creating relationships in our marketing.”
Amen. It seems like B2B marketers are getting so bogged down in the complexities of personalization at scale that we sometimes lose sight of how vital the core principle is. When we fail to tailor our marketing, or try and miss the mark, it can create a disconnect that derails brand engagement, affinity, and loyalty. We also need to come to grips with the fact that consumer experiences are raising the bar.
“B2B buyers want to buy like they’re buying on Amazon,” Tom says. “Our customer journeys need to match the level of what they expect.”
[bctt tweet=“B2B buyers want to buy like they’re buying on Amazon. Our customer journeys need to match the level of what they expect. – Tom Treanor @RtMixMktg #MPB2B“ username=“toprank“]
Intuitively, most of us get this. As Tom puts it, “People want you to understand them.” But when our marketing message conveys the opposite, it inhibits our ability to develop those quality customer relationships Samantha emphasized. This frontier only grows more essential as millennials – who statistically value personalization more than preceding generational cohorts – come to occupy a vast majority of the buying population.
[bctt tweet=“The truth? Companies need to know their customers better. – Tom Treanor @RtMixMktg #MPB2B“ username=“toprank“]
But the conundrum we run into is this: How can a large organization marketing to thousands of people really understand each of those people distinctly? Most don’t have the resources, sophistication, or business models to mimic what Amazon does. But, we don’t need to. Tom explains that the path to success lies in rethinking what personalization really means, and getting our data in order.
Learning from Leaders in Personalization
Working with global enterprise brands regularly in his role with Arm Treasure Data, Tom fully understands the widespread reservations about personalization at scale. But the concept becomes less intimidating when you shift your perspective, thinking more about channels than individual people.
“Omnichannel personalization is not about personalizing every touchpoint at all times,” he explains. “It’s about personalizing experience on the channels each customer prefers at the time when they’re ready.”
Tailoring to context goes a long way. When you align with the mindset and intent of a user, they’ll feel a lot more like you’re speaking to them directly. A key step to creating this alignment, according to Tom, is through the creation of a Golden Customer Profile, which he describes as “a clear understanding of how a person or account is interacting, and what their relationship is with your business.”
Developing an accurate Golden Customer Profile requires the effective leveraging of all pertinent customer information. Tom shared research from Arm Treasure Data identifying traits that differentiate the leaders (companies that are ahead of the pack when it comes to personalization, and seeing business results) from the learners (those that still have a ways to go).
Leaders vs. Learners
To win at personalization, leaders use data differently. Tom drills this down to four categories:
- Smarter: Leaders stay on top of advancements in the space, and take advantage of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
- Wider: Leaders are able to ingest and manage more data, while keeping it organized and actionable.
- Deeper: Leaders are more granular in their segmentation, helping generate more acutely tailored profiles.
- Faster: Leaders are able to deliver personalized experiences in real-time, keeping pace with customer expectations.
Tom also notes that one clear trend he’s seeing among top performers is the integration of product data and customer data, providing a more holistic view of how people are using solutions and why. “Combining that is really powerful,” he states, adding that he’s seen it lead to increased user acquisition, decreased churn, and better coordination.
Finally, Tom suggests the right tools and technologies can greatly aid a journey from learner to leader, adding that customer data platforms (CDPs) like Arm Treasure Data’s solution are specialized for such purposes, offering independence, flexibility, and persistence that legacy data management platforms (DMPs) cannot.
Simplifying the Premise of Personalization
When we asked Tom ahead of his session what his top recommendation is for marketers when it comes to maximizing the impact of data for personalization, here’s what he had to say:
“Find those parts of your customer experience that deserve the most personalization. Make sure you have the data in place to understand where that prospect or customer is in the customer journey (and where they’re most responsive) so you can deliver a specific message. Take the extra effort to communicate to them in their preferred channel and with that message at that important point.”
When put that way, it doesn’t sound all that overwhelmingly complicated, does it? And it shouldn’t! Context and timing are of the essence. Once you’ve wrapped your arms around your customer data – optimizing the way you collect it, store it, manage it, and understand it – the truth is that personalizing becomes far more simple and effective.
*Disclosure: Arm Treasure Data is a TopRank Marketing client.
Der Leistungsdruck in der Gesellschaft ist hoch und so gut wie jeder kennt das Gefühl schon einmal gescheitert zu sein. Nach jeder Zielsetzung besteht die Möglichkeit zu scheitern.
Die Bachelorarbeit aus dem Studiengang Mediendesign beschäftigt sich mit dem Thema Scheitern und setzt sich interaktiv damit auseinander. Durch das Entdecken der Inhalte und die Auseinandersetzung mit dem Versuch und dem Irrtum wird das Scheitern simuliert. Dadurch soll der Betrachter verschiedene Lösungsmethoden entwickeln und in seiner Herangehensweise kreativ werden. Das Buch dient nicht als Ratgeber, sondern zur Selbstreflexion und zur Erläuterung der Thematik. Auf verschiedenen Ebenen kann der Betrachter neue Informationen entdecken, dabei muss die Hürde überwunden werden das Buch in seinem Ist-Zustand zu belassen.
Von Isabella Witzany-Wokalek. Betreuung durch Prof. Dr. Markus Rathgeb, DHBW Ravensburg
What is that makes Alice in Wonderland so powerful and resonant? It’s a tale that’s been retold – through books, movies, TV, video games, and various other content formats – time and time again. Terms like “down the rabbit hole” and “through the looking glass” are now fixtures in our collective lexicon. Almost everyone is familiar with Lewis Carroll’s whimsical world of fantasy.
There are many reasonable answers, but for me, it comes down to the characters. From Alice to the Mad Hatter to the Cheshire Cat to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the denizens of Wonderland are deeply memorable, and – in their own ways – relatable. As humans, we connect with people on a level that transcends things or places.
This is why influencer marketing is so vital for modern businesses. And it’s why Alice’s adventures served as a perfect backdrop for Tuesday’s session from Ashley Zeckman, TopRank Marketing’s Senior Director of Digital Strategy, covering always-on influencer strategy at MarketingProfs B2B Forum.
The Whimsical World of Always-On Influencer Marketing
Marketers need to find new ways to engage people and build rapport with our audiences. These are simple realities of a crowded business environment where trust is in peril. Influencer marketing presents an opportunity to tap into the established credibility and connections that people in your industry or niche already have with their own audiences.
But, as Ashley explains, it’s all too easy to get it wrong.
Down the Rabbit Hole: Three Pitfalls of Influencer Marketing
To keep you from running astray in your journey, here are three common missteps to avoid.
Interviews and podcasts and eBook contributions… oh my! Random acts of content are pervasive throughout the marketing landscape, and influencer co-creation is no different. When the content you’re creating in partnership with influencers feels random and chaotic, it isn’t likely to achieve the results you seek.
Instead, Ashley recommends using a connected approach. Ensure that everything you’re creating is strategically aligned and purposeful.
“We can’t ask for something without giving them a reason,” Ashley explains. But that doesn’t mean we should always view influencer engagements as transactional, give-and-take situations. Yes, you want the people on the other end to feel incentivized, but you also want them to feel personally invested.
That’s why relationships are foundational to always-on influencer programs. Building those relationships takes time, effort, and thoughtfulness. Instead of just reaching out as a stranger and making an ask, Ashley advises priming a relationship with an influencer. For example, before asking Alice for a contribution to your content, you could follow her on social media, interact with her there, and maybe even feature her in some of your own content.
Quality over quantity. It’s a mantra worth embracing in every area of marketing, and this one is no different. Great influencers aren’t defined solely by the size of their followings, nor are great programs defined solely by the extent of their reach. Instead, measure success in terms qualitative metrics like these, with respect to each specific influencer:
- Editorial Mentions
- Total Link Shares
- Share of Voice
Scalable Influencer Success: A World of Wonder
“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” – The Red Queen
Scaling any major initiative is hard. It can sometimes feel like running in place. But with the right strategic framework, you don’t need to run twice as hard to get where you want to go.
Step 1: Find Your Topical Sweet Spot. Effective and relevant influencer content lies at the intersection of business priorities, search demand, and influencer expertise.
Step 2: Identify a Balanced Influencer Mix. There are many different types of influencers (brandividuals, up-and-comers, niche experts, internal experts, and customers). It’s ideal to have some of each included in your program. Think about the reach-versus-resonance dynamic; an internal expert at your company might have fewer followers than a brandividual, but the target audience will likely see themselves more in the former. That’s valuable.
Step 3: Create a Repeatable Engagement Model. This is critical to the success of a scalable always-on strategy. There are no shortcuts to building and maintaining genuine relationships, per se, but you can do so sustainably with a repeatable set of actions.
At TopRank Marketing, always-on influencer programs are among our primary focuses. We’ve seen great success deploying them with several clients, and Ashley shared a number of examples, including:
- An episodic podcast with SAP that exceeded industry download benchmarks by 20%, with 104% higher-than-average time on landing pages and 81.9 million in estimated influencer reach.
- A connected narrative content program with Prophix, featuring several interactive experiences designed to help finance pros solve problems, that surpassed video view and conversion benchmarks by 54% and 150%, respectively.
- A relationship-first communal influencer program with LinkedIn that yielded the most-shared post on their blog and drove subscriptions at a rate 350% higher than the benchmark.
Step Through the Looking Glass
“When I used to read fairy tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one!” – Alice
Successful always-on influencer programs are no fairy tales. You too can find yourself in the middle of one by following the strategic approach Ashley lays out: Avoid pitfalls, choose the right partners, measure accurately, and develop scalable models for sustained relationships. With these steps, you’ll be on your way to Wonderland.
The post A Journey Through Always-On Influencer Marketing with Ashley Zeckman #MPB2B appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
We live in a world where a large number of people like to engage with their favorite brands online, and business owners are understanding that now.
Today, a chunk of people find new products online and also place the orders online. However, a paradigm shift can be observed in how they approach this which is how we see more and more people searching for information on the web using voice-commands rather than textual queries.
1. Brand voice
AI has impacted lots of industries and the branding industry has not escaped its reach, nowadays we have machines that can create brands based on user inputs. However, while AI has made building a brand identity more accessible, it can also present a challenge, and one of these challenges is the rise of voice assistants.
The voice assistants we have today are finite in number. Some of the most popular options that we use are Google’s Assistance, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortona. However, as artificial intelligence technology is becoming stronger, we will have a wider range of these services to choose from. When this happens, then the voice of the virtual assistant may interfere with a brand’s personality. For instance, if someone is using a female virtual assistant to look up information about a masculine brand, then it can hurt the brand’s impact. To tackle this problem, brands must keep these potential situations in mind. So, in this very example, a brand could alter the content that the voice assistance finds in a way that it’s able to retain the brand’s tone (masculine and rough) even if it’s in a female voice.
Consistency is the key to successful branding – there is no denying that. However, you need to keep that in mind when you work with voice searches as well. For instance, you want to ensure that the tone and language used in the results of voice searches are optimized and in line with the brand book. These affect the following results returned by voice commands – product descriptions, social media content, ad copy, chatbot dialog, and more.
Virtual assistants are mainly used to find information on the Internet. However, service providers are also looking into new ways of using these services. For instance, Google Assistant now allows Google Pay users to send and receive money using voice commands. In the same way, payments leader MasterCard is aiming to bring its Masterpass online payment platform into Google and Amazon’s voice systems. So, what does this mean for the brands? Well, for one thing, they need to think about making provisions like this, that is, making payments easier and simpler with voice commands so that they can enjoy first-mover advantages.
4. Optimized content
What’s meant to be read doesn’t always sound good when voiced. For instance, if you define “SEO” on your blog by starting with the words “SEO is one of the most-effective digital marketing techniques used by brands today”, then you may fail to arouse the interest of the user if and when they search for the content using an appropriate voice command. However, if you ignore the introduction and focus on the main content by optimizing the content, then you can let the virtual assistant read something like “SEO refers to Search Engine Optimization which combines different kinds of techniques…” which is far more effective and engaging.
As you can see, voice search isn’t only making the lives of people around the world easier, but it’s also interfering with the practices of old and new brands. Those who are adapting to the changing trends have nothing to fear. However, the rest of them who have decided to remain unchanged can face all kinds of problems in the future.
Remember – branding isn’t just for big businesses. It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is, you need to take as many branding measures as possible. Naturally, voice search must be an integral part of the plan.
This is a sponsored post from PRchitects.
The post Different ways voice search is affecting your brand appeared first on Search Engine Watch.