I'm going to let you in on a little secret about today's digital landscape.
For the modern marketer, knowledge is a revolving door.
Channel innovations and new technologies keep it spinning based on mandates from the rapidly evolving buyer decision process. There is no exit to a community where loyal customers have settled.
Either you keep moving, or you step out
. The market winners in this decade are those who either help keep the entrance spinning - or those who refuse to step out, fearing that if they do, they may never get back in.
What you're reading now, if not already in the circles of never-ending technological bandwidth, is a small window of opportunity to jump back in. And if you do, you'll do so knowing that this post could likely be dated
in a week.
Catching up to the Customer
The sales funnel is a myth. Prospects, also known as "Leads" in the Biz of Marketing to the Marketer, do not move down a linear process online - they buy what they want, when they want. Sometimes, this is a decisive process - others are just the right place at the right time.
The good news?
The analytics tools you currently use - and key metrics they inform - are still highly relevant.
And more often than not, so are your tactics.
Along with the robust analytic suites and endless mounds of BIG data, there are several other ways to use current data tracking from behavioral analytics – and expand tracking efforts for a more holistic view
of the user experience.
Here are a few...
Cookies and Pixel Data
Outside of Paula Deen's butter buffer, Cookies
are saved in a user’s browser under a certain condition. This condition might be “When a user lands here, inject a cookie”, or “If a user arrived via Google Adwords Campaign then inject a cookie.”
Web tools like Google Analytics or Adobe SiteCatalyst track cookies to help identify behavioral segments (new vs. returning visitor, visitors from social media, mobile, purchased vs. non-purchaser, etc.) and provide a holistic view of conversion paths.
Another tracking mechanism, which is also cookie-based, is pixel tracking - commonly used by ad-servers (e.g. Google Adwords). Once used to more robustly track hits to a visible object
are increasingly used as a piece of java that fires when a certain goal was obtained.
A cookie issued by the ad-server follows user behavior, with a shelf life anywhere from 24 hours to 30 days. The same cookie records the user’s click on an ad with all its unique identifiers, and when the same user makes a conversion, the java script is triggered.
Social Media Tracking
Cookies and pixel tracking are still ideal, but with and more users finding ways to bypass cookie-based tracking mechanisms, despite many of them demanding we tailor offers to their specific needs as an individual.
and other socialsign-in widgets
common in Online Communities and other Peer-to-Peer initiatives, you have the opportunity to capture user insight across long-term enterprise programs.
Simply adding a “Sign in to personalize your experience” would enable us to integrate social media profile data of users. More importantly, we can now connect user profiles to information in our CRM system - and better inform social media content, message timing across each channel, and budget priorities.
Dynamic Content on Demand
Increasingly, message relevance is proving to be equally effective as the message itself
. Rather than just for tracking and/or third party retargeting of banner placements, a more effective response to user behavior would be the landing based on each click and/or behavioral segment.
As users expect more from us every day, marketers are weighed and measured cumulatively by the brand's ability to...
- Integrate needs of each person
- Respond at the speed of change
- Simplify how these needs are fulfilled
- Deliver a solution they expected to see yesterday
- With no room for error
Content Marketing via Channel Integration
Your website likely features an encyclopedia of useful content, much of which is downloadable, universally relevant, and free.
With the content marketing and conversion optimization efforts a priority, an opportunity exists to use blogging, SEO, and email segmentation to drive opt-ins that enable the user to decide the type of content (and possibly even the frequency) they would like to receive.
This informs both email segmentation and, if combined with user IDs or Sign-Ins, placement retargeting of not only visual media, but pages that generate dynamic site content.
Additional ways to capture leads and match relevant content to qualified targets include:
1. Google AdWords – form extensions
2. In-Banner lead forms
So how does this work?
Here's a scenario...
Step 1 - Your brand launches an Evergreen Banner ad campaign, with unique tracking IDs for each ad placement. These unique links are associated with a lead source, a media source, etc.
Step 2 - “Visitor ABC123” clicks on the ad and navigates through the site. Each step on the site is now being tracked and collected through a cookie. At some point, “Visitor ABC123” submits a form.
Step 3 - You now knows the following information about:
Banner ad "A”
- Had 234 impressions
- Generated one click
- “Visitor ABC123” viewed 21 pages over 3 visits over 37 days
- On the 37th day, submitted a form to download a whitepaper
- Visitor "ABC123" is actually named...
- Jennifer Smith
- Works for Company XYZ, as Director of Sales
- Lives in Sunnyvale, CA
- Email address is Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone # is 888-555-1212
- And so on...
Step 4 - Clearly submitting a form to download a whitepaper does not warrant making a phone call. But what about her behavior before she submitted a form?
The system needs to assign a lead score and add her to a nurturing workflow.
But instead of basing this solely on the form she submitted, all of the information collected from her previous visits (when she was anonymous) is added to her score and will determine the next follow-up.
- Based on the information assigned above and her ongoing behavior (email opens, site visits, etc.), Jennifer is sent a series of nurturing emails. At some point, she converts and triggers automated communication workflows to follow up with relevant content.
The kind of content that she requested - uniquely tailored to her, with next step in the customer lifecycle-triggered Calls to Action.
Ultimately, she makes a monthly Rewards Sign-up for $XXX
So now we know the performance of the ad, the traffic the ad drove, wand hat the anonymous visitors from the ad did when they visited the website. We've appended the anonymous visitor data to lead form data, intelligently scored and nurtured the prospect and associated an ROI to the ad campaign.
And while this particular scenario is based on a banner placement, it’s relevant to all marketing channels – social media, press releases, blog posts, even offline ads.
What tools and trends are you leveraging to get a 360-degree view of the Customer Lifecyle?