Marketers who invest in buyer persona development, customer journey mapping and digital resource centres will lead the way over the next year, says Ellen Valentine, Product Evangelist at Silverpop, an IBM Company
Would you consider your marketing practices traditional, mainstream or leading? For marketing traditionalists, digital marketing technology is still primarily used for batch-and-blast emails and each marketing channel, whether online or offline, remains siloed. Some of these marketers have become quite sophisticated in testing, personalisation and design. But for the more traditional group, digital marketing is still about push emails focused on products, offers and company news.
Today’s more mainstream marketers are harnessing marketing automation technologies and using their digital marketing platforms to increase efficiency and effectiveness – scheduling their emails over time, using automation for projects like drip nurtures or replicating campaigns for new events or product launches.
Leading marketers – those who are pushing boundaries and driving significant business results – realise that great marketing entails helping prospects along in the customer journey. What makes a customer’s journey especially meaningful? Helpful content as they move through the buying experience and additional follow up information to encourage lifetime loyalty.
From researching alternatives and planning a change to evaluating and comparing providers and selecting a solution, digital marketing can orchestrate and support each of these stages. Several ingredients are necessary to support this new approach.
An email magnet
The email magnet is designed to increase new opt-ins to your programme. Without a strong email magnet, everyone remains as an anonymous visitor on your website, and custom tailored marketing, including customer journey approaches, remains difficult. Hopefully you have become much more creative in your email magnet offers beyond simply offering a discount or a newsletter subscription by creating something irresistible! Invest the necessary funds to advertise and market your email magnet, including search advertising and retargeting where appropriate.
Web tracking allows marketers to understand where site visitors have been, what buttons they have clicked and what content they have consumed. Used properly, web tracking provides the insight needed to know which pieces of content each person is reading or viewing. By incorporating the data gathered from an individual’s web behaviours, it’s possible to deliver extremely relevant, targeted messages.
Implicit profiling is a technique where marketers assign database values for a particular buyer persona based on which pages an individual is visiting and what content he or she is consuming and clicking. Implicit profiling can be the beginning of assigning a prospect to a certain customer journey.
Everyone is viewing content and collateral using two, three or even four devices, visiting websites, social channels, apps, etc. Having a single identity capability inherent in a digital marketing platform ensures that each person’s customer journey is consistent and updated across all devices and channels.
A content management system
To be successful, it’s imperative to marry a content management system with the digital marketing platform in order to serve up the right content at the right stage in the customer journey. Using the implicitly assigned personas and buyer stages captured and stored in the digital marketing platform along with marketing content, the content management system has the information necessary to provide a unique website experience for each individual visitor.
Once all of the ingredients mentioned above are in place, it’s time to implement a newly architected resource centre. The resource centre becomes pivotal in this new approach to helping customers in their customer journey. Instead of just throwing up all the content you’ve ever created and putting that in a self-service resource centre, consider a resource centre that provides a guided path to the right content at the right time based on and individual’s persona and buyer journey stage.
Automation and email can support the resource centre by offering the appropriate content and encouraging reengagement. Today’s sophisticated digital marketing platforms have enabled email and automation to evolve from one-off offers and push messages to rule-based behavioural messages that are in complete alignment with the customer journey.
Marketers that take the time to invest in buyer persona development, customer journey mapping, and next generation digital resource centres based on implicitly derived profiles and buyer stages will lead their peers in 2015.