Corey Patterson, Author at MarTech Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Marketing Transformation Thu, 14 Jul 2022 17:00:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 Why clean data is key to organizational success https://martech.org/why-clean-data-is-key-to-organizational-success/ Tue, 21 Jun 2022 18:25:44 +0000 https://martech.org/?p=352986 Without clean, actionable data, brands will have a difficult time succeeding in digital marketing.

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The lack of clean data is one of the main issues affecting digital brands today, making it difficult for marketing teams to effectively target and engage with audiences. In his recent presentation at The MarTech Conference (scroll down to watch the video of their session), Jack Pritchard, account manager at Peachtree Data, highlighted the necessity of organizing this information.

“You need data quality and hygiene to be closer to where that marketing strategy is,” he said. “There’s a lot riding on the quality (or lack thereof) of your data.”

Source: Jack Pritchard

Data quality issues, which often stem from first-line, day-to-day operations, can ultimately harm your bottom line if left untreated. That’s why marketers need to ensure their data collection, analysis, and activation processes are optimized from the get-go.

Here are some data quality strategies Pritchard suggests marketing teams adopt to fix these problems.

Create a data quality report

One of the first steps marketing teams need to prioritize when cleaning up their data is to create a data quality report. As an example, Pritchard shared a report template his team created for their clients that highlights many potential reporting issues, including home address changes, duplicate customers, and profiles in need of suppression.

Example of a data quality report. Source: Jack Pritchard

“[Reporting] isn’t some day-to-day operation that might save you $10 or $15 every now and then,” Pritchard said. Rather, detailing these data issues can help ensure your brand’s long-term marketing success by keeping track of problems as they arise.


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Conduct a data quality assessment

“My [next] recommendation is to do a data quality assessment,” said Pritchard. “What that means is to assess your data quality against weighted aspects.”

Data quality assessments can help determine how well your information stacks up to the dimensions of high-quality data, which are weighted according to their importance to your organization. These can include:

  • Accuracy.
  • Completeness.
  • Consistency.
  • Timeliness.
  • Validity.
  • Uniqueness.

Pritchard’s team’s assessment scores clients from a range of zero to 100, but brands can use any scale they like — as long as it’s consistent. Once completed, your team (usually middle managers) can highlight areas of strength and weakness, which will inform the overall marketing strategy going forward.

Data quality assessment example. Source: Jack Pritchard

Improve data quality through hygiene and enhancement efforts

After identifying data issues through quality assessment and reports, marketers should focus on cleaning up the errors through hygiene efforts.

“If you liken your marketing campaigns to playing darts, you want those darts to hit the board, which is the marketing campaign being effective,” Pritchard said.

He added, “Data hygiene would be increasing the accuracy of that dart.”

Data hygiene addresses the verification, suppression, and deduplication issues identified in your assessments and reports. Removing inactive, duplicate, and suppressed accounts in this way can help your team save money, spending resources only on accounts that are actionable.

But data hygiene alone isn’t enough to ensure organizational success. So, Pritchett encourages brands to enact data enhancement efforts as well.

This process involves asking customers for additional first-party data — such as phone numbers, emails, and addresses — to give your brand more context and better communicate with them across multiple channels.

“Using our dart analogy, enhancement gives you more darts to throw,” he said. “If you’re throwing three darts at a bullseye, you’ll have a much better chance [of hitting it] if you throw 100 instead.”

Combined, data hygiene and enhancement efforts have the potential to save money and resources by targeting actionable leads, encouraging more organizational success.


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How ABM strategies can accelerate marketing and sales velocity https://martech.org/how-abm-strategies-can-accelerate-marketing-and-sales-velocity/ Fri, 03 Jun 2022 18:47:14 +0000 https://martech.org/?p=352624 ABM has the potential to improve both marketing and sales operations.

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“What we have learned over the years in B2B — where we have higher average sales prices — is that we’re dealing with buying committees and multiple personas that are making [buying] decisions,” said Auseh Britt, VP of growth marketing at Terminus, in her presentation at The MarTech Conference (scroll down to watch the video of their session). “It’s a more efficient and effective approach to go after accounts than it is just one or two individuals.”

Rather than tailoring messages to individual customers, marketers in the B2B space are recognizing the need to adopt account-based strategies to resonate with groups of executive-level buying groups. This process necessitates a strong appeal to brands’ goals — often at the enterprise level — and this can’t be done without proper marketing and sales team alignment.

“The other thing that you need to make ABM successful is tight marketing and sales alignment,” Britt said. “It only works if you’re working together as a unified team and deciding who your ICP [ideal customer profile] is. Which accounts within that ICP are you going to go after?”

Here are three ways an ABM strategy can help improve sales and marketing velocity.

Account targeting from a marketing side

“I’ve worked for organizations where marketing ended when the opportunity was created,” Britt said. “We were all about driving the demand and the awareness and getting those qualified opportunities. But then after that salespeople are sometimes like, ‘Alright, it’s mine now. I don’t want any kind of marketing or promotions hitting them because I don’t want this prospect to get distracted.'”

“I think that’s changing now; it’s refreshing to see that marketing does have a role to play with open opportunities,” she added.

Britt says marketing teams can improve account targeting by looking at these open opportunities, especially those one might think to glance over at first. She recommends including opportunities that aren’t just categorized as top tier — those with the highest propensity to close quickly. They should reach out to accounts that are under a certain dollar amount or those that are at a higher stage of the sales funnel as well.


More B2B marketers are adopting account-based marketing than ever before. Find out why and explore the ABM platforms making it possible in the latest edition of this MarTech Intelligence Report.

Click here to download!


Sales engagement and outreach

Britt’s presentation also highlighted the necessity of sharing data between marketing and sales teams. When accounts start to visit your web properties, click on your ads, or attend your event, marketers must get sales teams involved with their marketing campaigns.

She said marketers should share that data with sales so they can see who’s engaging and what type of intent signals they’re showing. This provides additional opportunities for sales outreach — even if no one’s clicking on that ad, they might be showing other intent signals that sales can act on, such as visiting the site or interacting through some third-party intent.

Britt’s own marketing team’s process of collaborating with sales, enhancing their engagement and outreach opportunities. They put together an email template for sales to use (shown below). It showcases an upcoming virtual event in the signature portion, helping sales better connect with accounts via email marketing.

email signature marketing for ABM
Source: Auseh Britt

“It’s about continuing to have those touches, that engagement with the account,” she said.


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Account analysis and measurement

“When it comes to pipeline acceleration, you’re hopefully improving your win rate with these [ABM] programs that you’re putting the surround sound type of campaigns around,” said Britt. “You’re increasing your average deal size as you’re nurturing them through the opportunities journey and then shortening that sale cycle and increasing the sales velocity.”

She suggested marketers develop methods for measuring account engagement — both from a marketing and a sales side. Teams should look into whether accounts are clicking on your ads, registering for your events or your webinars, signing up for the direct mail, and other straightforward measurements, but also less obvious engagement metrics. These include activity time, churn rate, customer satisfaction, customer lifetime value (CLV), and more.

She recommends marketers put together a high-level overview of their analysis for managers, what she calls an ABM scorecard (shown below). Scoring your marketing and sales teams’ account engagement in this way can make data clearer for higher-ups to act upon.

Source: Auseh Britt

“This is a simple way to display those key metrics, especially when you’re reporting it to leadership,” she said.


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Account-based marketing: A snapshot

What it is. Account-based marketing, or ABM, is a B2B marketing strategy that aligns sales and marketing efforts to focus on high-value accounts. 

This customer acquisition strategy focuses on delivering promotions — advertising, direct mail, content syndication, etc. — to targeted accounts. Individuals who may be involved in the purchase decision are targeted in a variety of ways, in order to soften the earth for the sales organization. 

Why it’s hot. Account-based marketing addresses changes in B2B buyer behavior. Buyers now do extensive online research before contacting sales, a trend that has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of marketing’s tasks in an ABM strategy is to make certain its company’s message is reaching potential customers while they are doing their research. 

Why we care. Account engagement, win rate, average deal size, and ROI increase after implementing account-based marketing, according to a recent Forrester/SiriusDecisions survey. While B2B marketers benefit from that win rate, ABM vendors are also reaping the benefits as B2B marketers invest in these technologies and apply them to their channels.

Read next: What is ABM and why are B2B marketers so bullish on it?

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How ABM strategies can accelerate marketing and sales velocity ABM has the potential to improve both marketing and sales operations. abmt_mir_cover-232×300-1 screenshot-thirddoorevents-production.sfo2_.cdn_.digitaloceanspaces.com-2022.06.03-11_20_53 screenshot-thirddoorevents-production.sfo2_.cdn_.digitaloceanspaces.com-2022.06.03-11_43_08
Why event technology is critical to marketing success https://martech.org/why-event-technology-is-critical-to-marketing-success/ Mon, 23 May 2022 17:37:51 +0000 https://martech.org/?p=352483 In a world of remote-first experiences, marketers would be wise to integrate event technology into their stacks.

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“The world has changed,” said Vanessa Lovatt, chief evangelist at Glisser, in her presentation at The MarTech Conference (scroll down to watch the video of their session). “Eighty-three percent of employers are saying that the shift to remote working is good, 72% of US execs are investing in tools for virtual collaboration, and 54% of employees want to work remotely three days a week or more.”

She added, “As more and more workers become remote, you need to be able to provide online engagement for those individuals.”

With so many people working remotely or in hybrid positions, event marketers often find themselves competing with other virtual experiences. There are simply too many distractions vying for audiences’ time, whether it be social media, entertainment channels, educational videos or other kinds of content.

Fortunately, the demand for virtual events is high, and marketers have more opportunities to integrate event technology into their campaigns than ever before.

Challenges clients are facing in a virtual world

Incorporating event technology into marketing tech stacks can be much easier said than done, according to Lovatt. Capturing audience attention in an increasingly virtual world might seem like a losing battle.

“This is a reality of what you’re facing when you try to bring event tech event platforms into your marketing tech stack: endless online meetings every day that you’ve got to engage and energize and fight for attention from,” she said.

challenges event marketers face
Source: Vanessa Lovatt

However, these challenges don’t negate the potential impact event tech can have on demand generation.

Eighty-six percent of virtual events deliver a positive ROI in [the first] six months,” Lovatt said. “But, how do you prove that? It’s all about bringing it into your marketing tech stack where you can start to quantify and measure the results.”

One way marketers can prove the worth of event tech is by employing A/B testing frameworks. This can help generate actionable data for executives and stakeholders.


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How event marketing technology can help engage audiences

Lovatt says many of her team’s customers often request meeting and event experiences that are completely customized. These can be built on brands’ websites or externally with on-brand elements that energize and activate audiences.

Once these audiences are interested, marketers can then leverage the data and intelligence gleaned from these event experiences.

customized virtual event experiences
Source: Vanessa Lovatt

One of the biggest benefits of virtual event technologies, in Lovatt’s estimation, is their ability to connect marketers with audiences regularly, as opposed to one-off engagements that have become all too typical.

“People no longer come to your event [just] once a year and then forget all about you,” said Lovatt. “You are now able to invite people into your digital event environment every single day of the year if you want to. So, you have an ongoing touchpoint opportunity.”

Event technology can offer marketers many other benefits as well: better integration with other marketing channels, improved lead scoring and conversion tracking, or even online community generation. If marketers use these technologies to connect with audiences in personalized ways, they’ll have a better chance of enjoying a sustainable channel that’s built for a remote-first world.

“Virtual events offer an amazing opportunity to create an evergreen marketing channel that is well-delivered and that can continue to generate leads into the future,” Lovatt said.


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3 ways to optimize first-party data collection https://martech.org/3-ways-to-optimize-first-party-data-collection/ Mon, 09 May 2022 17:29:59 +0000 https://martech.org/?p=352200 First-party data is more important than ever in a digital-first world.

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“Our digital future was happening well before a global pandemic; it just simply accelerated it,” said Mark Bornstein, VP of content marketing at ON24, in his presentation at The MarTech Conference. “But the way in which we engage has changed, and our ability to learn about people is changing as well.”

Industry experts have been well aware of the digital-first environment for years now. In fact, Gartner said that by 2025 almost 80% of B2B interactions between suppliers and buyers would happen through digital channels — and that was before the 2020 pandemic accelerated digital even further.

But, if marketing and sales teams can’t keep up with the acceleration of digital channels, customers will be more likely to abandon their brands. That’s why Bornstein recommends marketers take advantage of the wealth of resources offered by first-part customer data.

Here are three ways he recommends brands optimize first-party data collection.

Give viewers choices during webinars

“It’s amazing how webinars have changed over the past few years,” Bornstein said. “They’re more like TV programs than the PowerPoints of old. We see more conversational formats, such as interviews and talk shows. The audience is a much bigger part of the experience.”

He added, “We see companies creating experiences where audiences are not just watching a presentation, but they’re involved in it.”

interactive marketing webinars
Source: Mark Bornstein

Bornstein highlighted a webinar he liked that allowed users to make their own choices: You could click on webpages and different URLs, or ask for a meeting in real-time and then go to a calendar and schedule an event. Giving users options while viewing webinars can help brands make these digital experiences more engaging.

“When I talk about self-selection, that’s what I mean,” he said. “Some people are going to be top-of-funnel, and some people are going to be mid-funnel. And some people are going to be ready to engage with your company — you need to provide them with those options.”

Craft interactive content hubs

“We’re seeing more personalized content hubs,” said Bornstein. “No matter what page you navigate to, you’re going to get something specific, whether it is on a website or a targeted landing page.”

engaging marketing content hub
Source: Mark Bornstein

When marketers share content pieces from these hubs, Bornstein recommends adding multiple interactive elements to foster even more user engagement. Whether it’s an inviting CTA, an enrollment button, or a chatbot, marketers can enrich content experiences through interactive hubs.

The authoritative, informative content remains the most important element of these hubs, but marketers will miss out on conversion opportunities if they don’t help foster engaging reading experiences.

“Anything is possible with content experiences,” Bornstein said.


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Develop immersive virtual events

“A great virtual event experience is not just streaming presentations to an audience,” said Bornstein. “That’s not interactivity, and you’re not going to learn anything about those people.”

Bornstein and his team got a wake-up call about the necessity of interactive virtual events once the pandemic hit in 2020. They were in the middle of a big company tour and had to end it abruptly. Instead of hosting the next big event, they quickly shifted it into a virtual format. Then, they began brainstorming ways to collect valuable first-party customer information.

Instead of giving out free products and asking attendees to meet with event speakers (as in a live event), Bornstein’s team decided to offer interactive digital content options to keep audiences engaged in their virtual environment.

interactive virtual events
Source: Mark Bornstein

There are many interactive technologies available, so marketers would be wise to incorporate them into virtual events. The key differentiator between boring and engaging events may lie in the way they bring viewers into the experience.

“The smart marketers out there are not building virtual events to be presentations,” said Bornstein. “They’re building virtual events as real experiences.”


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How connecting customer data drives personalized experiences https://martech.org/how-connecting-customer-data-drives-personalized-experiences/ Thu, 05 May 2022 19:08:29 +0000 https://martech.org/?p=352166 Without a full view of customer data, marketers will have a hard time improving brand experiences.

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Karen Naves, SVP of global demand generation at Tealium, recently gave a presentation on the benefits — and necessity — of connecting customer data to marketing initiatives. This process can help brands gain a more complete view of their audiences, allowing for more personalized experiences.

Many organizations use CDPs or data management platforms to collect and activate this data, helping them meet the unique needs of each customer.

Here are some actionable steps Naves recommends marketers take to enhance their personalization by connecting customer data.

Create buyer personas and ideal customer profiles

“Some people say, ‘I’ve got my [buyer] persona, I’m ready to go. We want to go to market,'” said Naves. “But, they’re not ready yet. They need to figure out their ICP [ideal customer profile] as well.”

“They’re different, but they’re both equally as important,” she added.

The buyer persona is the fictional personality marketers create that represents a specific type of user who interacts with their brand. In contrast, the ICP is a description of customers who will benefit from your product or service.

Getting these confused can disrupt personalization efforts, so marketers should set aside time to create accurate versions of each, connecting customer data appropriately.

differences between buyer personas and ideal customer profiles
Source: Karen Naves

“For buyer personas, you’re thinking about creating a better user experience for your customers,” said Naves. “When you’re developing your buyer persona, you’ll consider things like their role within the organization, their title, their responsibilities, as well as some of the challenges they would face.”

Reduce churn with loyalty campaigns

According to Naves, marketers can help reduce customer churn through targeted loyalty campaigns. By rewarding customers after they reach designated tiers, brands can foster engagement.

She offered a fictional example of targeting a gamer who’s signed up for a trial, showing the power of a CDP for driving customer loyalty: “We want to make sure that he doesn’t churn. Using a CDP, we can help prevent it. In this example, we have his website data, his product usage data, and all of the information that he provided to sign up in our CRM database … We’re going to create a [segment] around this gaming data to show that he only plays with 10 characters or less because we noticed in our models that if a person is playing a game and only has 10 characters built into this game, that person will churn.”

“We want to create some kind of reward to encourage him to use more characters, so we would add a subscription offering him one month free if he creates 10 or more characters,” she added.

Marketers and brands can employ loyalty programs like these that fit their audiences and industries. The key is to ensure they’re personalized.


Looking to take control of your data? Learn about trends and capabilities of customer data platforms in the latest edition of this MarTech Intelligence Report.

Click here to download!


Implement personalized cross-sell campaigns

“Cross-selling increases revenue and helps reduce churn,” Naves said. “This is your opportunity to hyper-personalize.”

“You want to connect with your customers in a trusted, real-time way,” she added.

The chance of making a sale to existing customers is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new customer is only 5-20%, according to data from Invesp. So, it makes sense to market to these existing customers first, especially through cross-selling.

Marketers can use the data from these existing customers to generate personalized offers for complementary or similar products to those they’ve already purchased, and, ultimately, encourage these customers to remain loyal to the brand.

“That’s why applying these strategies from loyalty and cross-sell perspectives is critical,” she said. “They’re used for maintaining customers, and personalization is the absolute key.”


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Customer data platforms: A snapshot

What they are. Customer data platforms, or CDPs, have become more prevalent than ever. These help marketers identify key data points from customers across a variety of platforms, which can help craft cohesive experiences. They are especially hot right now as marketers face increasing pressure to provide a unified experience to customers across many channels. 

Understanding the need. Cisco’s Annual Internet Report found that internet-connected devices are growing at a 10% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2018 to 2023. COVID-19 has only sped up this marketing transformation. Technologies are evolving at a faster rate to connect with customers in an ever-changing world.

Each of these interactions has something important in common: they’re data-rich. Customers are telling brands a little bit about themselves at every touchpoint, which is invaluable data. What’s more, consumers expect companies to use this information to meet their needs.

Why we care. Meeting customer expectations, breaking up these segments, and bringing them together can be demanding for marketers. That’s where CDPs come in. By extracting data from all customer touchpoints — web analytics, CRMs, call analytics, email marketing platforms, and more — brands can overcome the challenges posed by multiple data platforms and use the information to improve customer experiences. 

Read next: What is a CDP and how does it give marketers the coveted ‘single view’ of their customers? 

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How connecting customer data drives personalized experiences Without a full view of customer data, marketers will have a hard time improving brand experiences. screenshot-thirddoorevents-production.sfo2_.cdn_.digitaloceanspaces.com-2022.05.05-10_55_47 cdp_mir_cover-494×640-1
3 effective ABM strategies you should consider https://martech.org/3-effective-abm-strategies-you-should-consider/ Wed, 04 May 2022 16:29:33 +0000 https://martech.org/?p=351875 The best ABM strategies go beyond targeting the most obvious accounts.

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“It’s provocative [for us] to position ABM as entirely different from the status quo of demand gen,” said Jodi Cerretani, senior director of demand generation at RollWorks, in her presentation at The MarTech Conference. “For some organizations and some leaders, the core tenants of ABM truly are a revolution.”

Traditional demand gen, by itself, isn’t enough to encompass an effective ABM strategy; marketers need to treat ABM as a separate activity.

Cerretani distinguishes ABM with these three pillars:

  • Identifying high-value targets.
  • Engaging buying committees through coordinated marketing and sales programs.
  • Measuring the impact against shared goals.

These activities serve the purpose of pinpointing accounts with a high potential to convert and developing more effective marketing strategies targeted toward them.

Here are three ABM strategies, stemming from these pillars, Cerretani believes can help marketers improve their conversion rates.

Incorporate ABM into top-of-funnel channels

“You want to identify your target account list formally and then run it through a program where you can identify who is cold or lukewarm,” said Cerretani. “I’ve called them ‘unaware’ and ‘aware,’ but whatever you call them, that’s who you’re trying to isolate.”

She added, “It should be a high volume of accounts.”

Cerretani recommended that ABM marketers focus on creating top-of-funnel content that aligns with their persona and industry research. This content should be appropriate for that top-of-funnel spot — it’s often best ungated, served up in formats like sponsored content, content syndication and sponsored webinars.

“Sometimes your best chance for conversion is through retargeting,” Cerretani said. “But make sure you’re working with a partner that can allow you to just focus on retargeting your high-fit accounts or high-fit site visitors and not waste any money retargeting low-fit accounts.”

“You need to be thinking multiple channels simultaneously,” she added.


More B2B marketers are adopting account-based marketing than ever before. Find out why and explore the ABM platforms making it possible in the latest edition of this MarTech Intelligence Report.

Click here to download!


Action in-market accounts

According to Cerretani, actioning in-market accounts is the process by which marketers identify “high-fit accounts and key personas at those accounts that are highly engaged or exhibiting high intent signals.”

Once marketers have that list, she suggests they drill down into the factors that got those accounts on that list. They should analyze their visitors and determine how engaged they are with conversion-friendly content, such as pricing pages or customer case studies. The marketers should also note if their brands are surging for competitor keywords, segmenting out those associated accounts.

“So, for example, if you have a bunch of these accounts that are surging for a competitor keyword, you can isolate those accounts and then pick a CTA that makes sense for the fact that they are surging on competitor keywords,” said Cerretani.


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Re-engage lost marketing-qualified leads

“One of the things that people often forget with account-based marketing is that it doesn’t necessarily stop at being impactful at generating new opportunities,” said Cerretani.

When brands are looking to launch a new ABM program, Cerretani believes they should take the core tenants of ABM and apply them to re-engagement campaigns. Her team calls them “wake the dead campaigns,” where they work on developing an audience from disqualified MQLs, or those MQLs that have been accepted by sales but haven’t moved forward. This focus on lost (or unengaged) leads can potentially grow your customer base.

In the end, it all comes back to prioritizing those individual accounts.

“You can measure everything kind of top-to-bottom, from email performance all the way down to the deals that you book and ROI,” said Cerretani. “You should see quick opportunities and deals from this type of motion because it is so powerful.”


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Account-based marketing: A snapshot

What it is. Account-based marketing, or ABM, is a B2B marketing strategy that aligns sales and marketing efforts to focus on high-value accounts. 

This customer acquisition strategy focuses on delivering promotions — advertising, direct mail, content syndication, etc. — to targeted accounts. Individuals who may be involved in the purchase decision are targeted in a variety of ways, in order to soften the earth for the sales organization. 

Why it’s hot. Account-based marketing addresses changes in B2B buyer behavior. Buyers now do extensive online research before contacting sales, a trend that has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of marketing’s tasks in an ABM strategy is to make certain its company’s message is reaching potential customers while they are doing their research. 

Why we care. Account engagement, win rate, average deal size, and ROI increase after implementing account-based marketing, according to a recent Forrester/SiriusDecisions survey. While B2B marketers benefit from that win rate, ABM vendors are also reaping the benefits as B2B marketers invest in these technologies and apply them to their channels.

Read next: What is ABM and why are B2B marketers so bullish on it?

The post 3 effective ABM strategies you should consider appeared first on MarTech.

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3 effective ABM strategies you should consider The best ABM strategies go beyond targeting the most obvious accounts. abmt_mir_cover-232×300-1
Why WebOps is critical to digital marketing success https://martech.org/why-webops-is-critical-to-digital-marketing-success/ Mon, 02 May 2022 16:56:30 +0000 https://martech.org/?p=351473 Your brand's marketing ops department isn't complete without WebOps.

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WebOps — a brand’s team of developers, designers, content editors, stakeholders and more — is often overlooked as a nonessential piece of marketing operations.

“By WebOps, I mean a set of practices that facilitates collaboration and automates processes to improve the productivity of the whole web team,” said Steve Persch, director of technical marketing at Pantheon, in his presentation at The MarTech Conference. “The result with WebOps can be cross-functional web teams empowered to deliver to develop, test and release website changes faster and more reliably.”

Websites and other digital systems are complicated, and a poorly functioning web system could prove disastrous for your marketing efforts. That’s why brands need a dedicated team to address issues as they arise and help build trust in their systems.

“A common problem is a corrosion of trust, and that can happen when there’s a lack of confidence,” said Persch. “There’s a lack of fluency, perhaps in the shared tools and processes that web teams are using.”

Websites are digital assets

“In addition to betting on the importance of cross-functional teams in the decades to come, we’re betting on the importance of websites,” Persch said. “We’re betting that websites and web technology will remain central to the success of practically every professional venture out there for the next decade and beyond.”

Persch believes websites have an incredible amount of staying power. The web is the foundation of so many technologies, especially those where it’s not immediately apparent. Channels like email and advertising networks, as well as work platforms, all run on the power of the web.

Brands that view these tools and technologies as valuable assets will more easily see the necessity of WebOps.

web technologies as an increasing percentage of channels
Source: Steve Persch

“If you’re looking out toward the next decade and wondering what skills your team needs to be developing, what channels you should be betting on,” Persch said, “I think that betting on the skills of the web is a safe bet.”


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Teams need a distinct WebOps team

Many brands believe they can get by with a DevOps team, relying solely on IT professionals and developers to navigate the digital landscape. But, these job roles are often too specialized for WebOps work.

“DevOps has done a whole lot to solidify the importance of this concept for the ecosystem of developers and the IT role or system operators,” said Persch. “One of the ways they have brought so much maturation and stability to the deep computer systems we rely on is because they have scoped themselves relatively narrowly to these two roles.”

“In the world of website operations, there are a lot more roles that need to be present in the conversation,” he added.

Some site issues are better suited for a WebOps team, especially when they directly affect marketing ROI. Here are some tasks a dedicated WebOps department can help brands address:

  • Lowering a rising cost per lead (CPL) after implementing a new conversion rate optimization strategy.
  • Restructuring CSS after a new template causes theme issues.
  • Improving the content delivery network (CDN) speed after adding website assets.

WebOps helps marketers align goals

”I think if you have a cross-functional web team, the people on that team need to align their goals,” Persch said.

He recommends brands align goals cross-departmentally through CDNs. These systems have the potential to handle the large traffic spikes and ensure visitors experience a site that’s fast, engaging and secure.

importance of cdn in webops
Source: Steve Persch

However, it’s imperative that DevOps and WebOps teams set up their CDNs correctly. A poorly configured CDN can disrupt your cross-departmental operations, making it that much harder to align goals.

“We want web teams moving faster,” Persch said. “We want you moving so fast that you can get to the point of safely launching more than one thing at once, or where you can get to a point where you’re working on enough bits of work in progress that any element can get deployed as soon as the business needs it.”

He added, “It’s more important to have a website that can change tomorrow than it is to have a website that is exactly right today.”


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Marketing work management: A snapshot

What it is: Marketing work management platforms help marketing leaders and their teams structure their day-to-day work to meet their goals on deadline and within budget constraints, all while managing resources and facilitating communication and collaboration. Functions may include task assignments, time tracking, budgeting, team communication and file sharing, among others.

Why it’s important today. Work environments have changed drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has heightened the need for work management tools that help marketers navigate these new workflows.

Marketers have been at work developing processes that allow them to work with those outside their own offices since marketing projects—campaigns, websites, white papers, or webinars—frequently involve working with outside sources.

Also, with marketers required to design interfaces, write content, and create engaging visual assets today, more marketers are adopting agile workflow practices, which often have features to support agile practices.

What the tools do. All of these changes have heightened the need for marketing work management software, which optimizes and documents the projects undertaken by digital marketers. They often integrate with other systems like digital asset management platforms and creative suites. But most importantly, these systems improve process clarity, transparency, and accountability, helping marketers keep work on track.

Read next: What is marketing work management and how do these platforms support agile marketing

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How Belk elevated its customer experience with personalization https://martech.org/how-belk-elevated-its-customer-experience-with-personalization/ Fri, 29 Apr 2022 15:48:29 +0000 https://martech.org/?p=351424 High-quality, personalized brand experiences are what customers expect in today's digital landscape.

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“We all know that companies are being challenged to rethink how they engage with increasingly connected, empowered, and discerning customers,” said Veda Kumarjiguda, senior product marketing manager at Salesforce, in her presentation at The MarTech Conference. “From Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report, we can see that 74% of customers have used multiple channels to complete a transaction, 76% of customers prefer different channels depending on the context, and 66% of customers have used multiple devices.”

She added, “I like these stats because they show that omnichannel communication is expected and they also show the uniqueness of each subscriber.”

High-quality, customized brand experiences are what customers expect in today’s digital landscape. As part of its effort to improve these interactions, Belk worked with Salesforce to deliver more personalization.

Understanding omnichannel needs

“A vital part of marketing is understanding the customer’s omnichannel needs,” said Colby Ireland, lead marketing analyst at Belk, in the same presentation. “This comes to life in a few different forms. The first of that being two new delivery methods that we have established in the past couple of years, one of which was curbside pickup.”

Belk also addressed these omnichannel needs through same-day delivery options, responding to customers’ need for immediacy.

Source: Veda Kumarjiguda and Colby Ireland

“In-store, we’re always trying to drive email signups,” Ireland said. “There are signs where customers can text a specialized number with their email address and then automatically be subscribed to our email programs.”

“We’ve seen a lot of new email subscribers through these signs,” she added.

Belk clearly adapted well after the pandemic hit — but it wanted to go beyond simply meeting omnichannel needs. It wanted to increase personalization across all customer experiences.

Personalized customer experiences

“One of Belk’s most engaged segments is our credit card holder,” Ireland said. “We currently have over 2,000,000 active email subscribers who also have the Belk credit card. These customers typically have the Belk app on their phones. They follow Belk on social media, and they make frequent shopping trips to their local Belk.”

To thank these customers for their loyalty and improve personalization, Belk set up an email marketing campaign that recognized birthdays. The marketing team created a customer journey that gives customers a unique coupon they can use on anything in the store during their birthday month. The coupon is sent on the first day of those months, and if a customer doesn’t use their coupon code, they receive another reminder a few weeks later.

If the customer still doesn’t use their personalized coupon, Belk reminds them about it a few days before it expires. After the month ends, the customers who haven’t used the coupon are removed from the journey.

These highly personalized email campaigns show customers Belk cares about their needs, both in the customized coupons and its willingness to let customers leave the funnel if they’re not engaging.

“Because of this personalization, we have seen great results, including an over 6% increase in conversion rate for each touchpoint,” Ireland said.

Source: Veda Kumarjiguda and Colby Ireland

Ireland and the Belk marketing team also employed a rewards balance system that keeps customers informed about their unused benefits.

“We will show a customer if they have any rewards dollars that they can use for their next purchase,” she said. “If a customer doesn’t meet that first scenario, we then move on to the second scenario, which would show them how much they actually need to spend to earn that next reward, and if neither scenario is met, we show customers how much they would need to spend to move up to the next tier.”

“These [messages] have increased conversions for our daily marketing campaigns by about 5%,” she added.

Source: Veda Kumarjiguda and Colby Ireland

Tactics like these can help keep customers engaged, improving their experience and encouraging buy-in.

Relevant content for each marketing channel

Brands engaging with audiences on email, social media, or any other marketing channel need to make sure their communications resonate with audiences. The messages and medium marketers choose should be based on customer preferences and their marketing goals.

“You have to think about it from a perspective of the actual intent behind the messaging,” Ireland said. “Email and SMS are retention channels, and we’re very transactional. We’re trying to drive the customers to convert. We’re trying to keep them happy trying to retain them and so our content is a little bit more geared toward that objective versus social media.”

She added, “I think it all comes back to personalization, having that data on the customer and seeing what channel they prefer.”


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3 ways to deliver better marketing experiences https://martech.org/3-ways-to-deliver-better-marketing-experiences/ Thu, 28 Apr 2022 14:36:00 +0000 https://martech.org/?p=351394 When impersonal and negative customer experiences are the norm, marketers need a way to differentiate their brands.

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“As martech ambassadors, we have a choice,” said Nina Butler, director of event experience at Alyce, in her presentation at The MarTech Conference. “We can continue to create more of the same experiences that over time have become more generic — a little bit more spammy, a little bit more self-serving — or we can pause, reflect, and start to think about how we can begin creating more meaningful moments that deliver lasting impressions with our buyers.”

Part of the modern marketer’s responsibility is to reduce the number of impersonal touches prospects face. Digital customers are increasingly disillusioned with brands due to so many negative interactions, which is why marketers need to differentiate themselves via engaging customer experiences.

“Oftentimes, it’s those differentiated experiences that help your brand stand out from the pack and create more momentum in that customer journey,” she said.

Here are three ways Butler recommends marketers deliver better customer experiences.

how to personalize customer experiences
Source: Nina Butler

Work to bring offline audiences online

It can often be difficult for marketers to draw in potential customers from offline platforms (like podcasts), especially when those avenues offer people so much useful information.

“How can you take what is normally a long game — like building up credibility and subject matter expertise in your space, hoping that over time people view your brand as the expert — and shortcut some of the time and get more instant results by driving [people] back to your website?” asked Butler.

Butler’s marketing team was able to draw in these audiences by combining their marketing automation system with a chatbot. After realizing they were missing out on a highly relevant audience from a marketing podcast, the team set up a chatbot on their site with a specific keyword and custom URL. Then, they asked the podcast host to share the keyword and URL with their listeners, directing them to the site. When the listeners visited their URL, the chatbot noted when the keyword was entered and then rewarded users with a customized gift.

This highly effective tactic helped Butler’s team bring in a whole new audience, enhancing the customer experience through personalization.


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Identify valuable actions and reward users

“Think critically about what the actions are that are most valuable to your community,” said Bulter. “Look at KPIs that drive community membership or subscriber growth year over year.”

Whether it’s a click on a call-to-action, email open, or sales form submission, marketers need to analyze customers’ most valuable actions, taking note of behaviors and circumstances that lead to these events. Butler suggests marketers help facilitate these actions by offering users gifts upon completion, which are determined by engagement tiers.

Brands can use a marketing automation platform to monitor behaviors and engagement, then email gifts to qualifying members.

“As you’re thinking about the most valuable outcomes, make sure that you are looking across your marketing automation and technology to ensure that you can monitor your desired behaviors,” said Butler. “You want to make sure that you’re normalizing your aspirational KPIs with the things that you can indeed track successfully.”

Highlight customer milestones with gifts

“I think we could all agree that we are living in this world of digital distance and, honestly, digital dissonance,” Butler said. “When it comes to these transactional touches, how do we create some memorable moments out of those experiences instead?”

Her team, with its emphasis on rewarding audiences, recommends marketers use technologies that monitor customer behavior so they can note milestones they consider valuable. Customer journey analytics platforms can help pinpoint these behaviors in the customer experience, which can include specific site engagements like form fills, course completions, product purchases and other actions.


Explore capabilities from vendors like Adobe, Pointillist, SharpSpring, Salesforce and more in the full MarTech Intelligence Report on customer journey analytics platforms.

Click here to download!


Butler says milestone recognition isn’t so much about where it takes place in the customer journey, but rather about how your brand acknowledges it. It’s about how your brand rewards the customer, using whatever gift will improve the experience.

“Gifting is going to be a way to get into the hearts and minds of your loyal, championed customers,” she said.


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Customer journey analytics: A snapshot

What it is. Customer journey analytics software lets marketers connect real-time data points from across channels, touchpoints and systems, allowing users to gain insights into the customer journey over time. This allows marketers to explore the customer journey using data.

Why it’s hot today. Businesses know they need to be customer-focused in each aspect of their marketing operations. As a first step, brands need to understand how consumers are finding them. Whether it be via search, advertisement, or word of mouth, the medium used will set the trajectory for the rest of their journey.

Meanwhile, the average person uses many devices to access the internet, and Cisco forecasts that the number of devices connected to IP networks will increase to more than three times the global population by 2023. With so many devices, people shift back and forth depending on the task at hand and their current environment. Consumers and business buyers turn to an average of nine channels to browse product inventory, look for advice, and make purchases.

Capturing their interactions post-discovery, such as communication with a call center or visit to a retail outlet, helps brands see which of their assets are helping them along their path. What’s more, brands need to know what those who convert do post-purchase–this information helps companies win repeat business and encourage customer advocacy. Customer journey analytics tools do just that.

What the tools do. The majority of vendors offer one or more of the following capabilities to give marketers an understanding of the customer journey: data gathering from a wide variety of channels and touchpoints; analysis using artificial intelligence and machine learning, and customer journey visualization.

Many vendors also offer customer journey orchestration (CJO) capabilities, which allow users to act upon the insights and actually deliver the next step in the customer journey in real-time.

Why we care. Customers expect to have consistent experiences at each of these touchpoints. They want personalization, a trend that continues to grow. Tools like customer journey analytics software give brands the ability to gain insights from their audience and act on them.

Read Next: What is customer journey analytics and how are these tools helping marketers?

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How to drive email innovation with programmatic coverage https://martech.org/how-to-drive-email-innovation-with-programmatic-coverage/ Tue, 26 Apr 2022 17:45:57 +0000 https://martech.org/?p=351335 With so many customer touchpoints, email marketers need automated solutions to meet their needs.

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“The consumer is something we’re trying to figure out,” said Ryan Phelan, managing director of RPE Origin, in his presentation at The MarTech Conference. “They consume everything that we do. The email marketer is sending out promotional campaigns, triggered campaigns –all kinds of different things to get a conversion.”

“Whether you’re on the B2B side or the B2C side, what you experience in email is trying to get that consumer to do what you want them to do,” he added.

Encouraging customers to opt into your email marketing programs isn’t a straightforward process — it’s a conglomeration of numerous touchpoints that marketers need to grasp if they hope to engage with these groups. But, to keep track of so many points of contact, marketers would be wise to take a programmatic approach.

Here’s how Phelan recommends email marketers implement programmatic coverage to secure customer buy-in.

Understand the changes to the email lifecycle

“The ’email lifecycle’ … is an archaic term, something that we need to think differently about,” said Phelan.

He then described his experience working for Responsys (now part of Oracle) back in 2006. During this period, he and other marketers talked about email using the lifecycle framework –how the consumer started and ended in predictable places. This was because marketers were responsible for teaching customers to use the internet during this period — how to shop online, how to get an email, how to sign up for email, what newsletters were, and what websites were.

However, in today’s digital-first culture, customers use the internet in a multitude of ways. The standard customer email lifecycle mentality no longer makes sense.

“This [lifecycle] approach of acquiring a customer, converting, growing, retaining, and reactivating them is very linear,” said Phelan. “I don’t think that represents consumers today.”

No two customers interact with campaigns the same way. There’s no longer “one type” of customer — if there ever was.

Source: Ryan Phelan

Email marketers need to move away from this linear “lifecycle” model and focus on understanding the customer’s journey, using their unique touchpoints as signposts.


Explore capabilities from vendors like Adobe, Pointillist, SharpSpring, Salesforce and more in the full MarTech Intelligence Report on customer journey analytics platforms.

Click here to download!


Take an inventory of touchpoints and segments

“I think marketers need to take an inventory to ensure that they have good coverage across the touchpoints and segments,” Phelan said. “Do you have coverage? Do you have programs that address the transitory nature of a consumer?”

Phelan asks marketers to consider five different phases of the email marketing program: acquisition, onboarding, conversion, retain, and reactivate. Unlike the lifecycle framework, these phases are nonlinear, so customers can find themselves in any segment at any time. Marketers can employ automation tools to keep track of these touchpoints.

Source: Ryan Phelan

“My job as an email marketer is to make sure that when I hit criteria when I pass a threshold of engagement, there’s a message there to meet that moment,” said Phelan.

“Look at these five different phases and make sure that you have coverage in terms of marketing automation or ways to recognize peoples’ presence in that phase,” he added.


Everything you need to know about email marketing deliverability that your customers want and that inboxes won’t block. Get MarTech’s Email Marketing Periodic Table.

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Implement a programmatic approach

Recognizing which phase the customer is in is vital to marketing effectively, said Phelan.

He added, “These are the major places where people visit, even for a moment. Think about audience size and the transitory nature [of customers] — think about acquisition, subscription, conversion, loyalty and influence.”

Source: Ryan Phelan

Phelan believes the goal of this programmatic approach is to map out each customer touchpoint and email marketing program available to you, enabling teams to select which programs they enact based on the audience. The mapping process is designed not only to understand your coverage but to help enact new programs over time, connecting with customers at every touchpoint.

Source: Ryan Phelan

“It’s not about a lifecycle, and it’s not about a linear path,” said Phelan. “It’s about having the programs in each of these key areas to talk to your consumers.”


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