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Improve your conversion rate with lifecycle marketing

Improve your conversion rate with lifecycle marketing

If you want someone to buy you an ice-cream you don’t just walk up to them and say “Hey you buy me an ice-cream”. You would first introduce yourself and strike up a conversation. The aim would be to develop a relationship with points of common interest, you would then introduce the right messages at the right time about how hot it is say, or perhaps invoke a happy childhood memory of having ice-cream and then when you can see his mouth is watering for an ice-cream you mention that the little gelato shop on the corner makes the best ice-cream in town and just happens to be having a two-for-one special. And hey presto! You have your ice-cream.

Lifecycle marketing works in much the same way.

What is lifecycle marketing?

Lifecycle marketing focuses on each customer’s unique journey through the buying cycle. This includes every interaction they have with the business along the way. It aims to provide meaningful communication and information to customers to help them move to their next stage in the buying process.

Because of how easily today’s hyper-informed consumers can conduct product research, access price comparisons, and make purchases online, the goal of “getting the customer through the door” isn’t as important as it once was. Lifecycle marketing emphasises that the buyer’s journey doesn’t end when they make their first purchase. Instead, it emphasises the nurturing of customers with the goal of forming long-term relationships with them and improving lifetime value to the company.

By creating unique messages based on where the client is on the sales funnel, brands demonstrate their appreciation to customers and show that they prioritise each customer’s unique buying needs. This makes customers feel valued and encourages them to keep coming back, turning them into loyal, repeat customers that will, ideally, become brand advocates over time.

Lifecycle marketing therefore has to focus on each customer’s unique experiences and interactions, as well as the content they interact with while engaging with the brand. It’s all about grooming the customer, nurturing and helping them to reach their desired goal – just like getting someone to buy you an ice-cream. It’s no longer about putting the business first ahead of the customers’.

So how does it work?

A series of stages have been identified in the consumer buying process. Each of these has a different type of communication that is most appropriate. These stages and related communication for each are as follows:

Attraction

In the first stage, the prospect discovers the business – either through SEO, paid ads, or social media. The best way to be discovered is to create content that relates to what people are looking for, as well as what the brand has to offer. Here the focus needs to be on the target’s informational needs rather than only creating sales messages.

Considerations

The customer considers their purchasing options. This is where the brand needs to make purchasing its product or service seem like the obvious choice. Content types such as welcome campaigns, customer reviews, and detailed product descriptions are effective.

Conversion

At the conversion stage, businesses need to persuade prospects to take action and purchase their product (instead of a competitor’s). They can achieve this by providing access to content such as product recommendations and calls-to-action.

Retention

This stage focuses on keeping the customer and bringing them back to purchase again. It encourages brand loyalty. This is the stage where loyalty programmes and exclusive discounts (based on the behaviour of the customer) make sense.

Advocacy

Here, the necessary steps are taken to turn loyal, long-term customers into brand advocates. The best way to do this is by encouraging brand followers to create and submit user-generated content on social media. This in turn provided ‘word-of-mouth’ or as some say ‘word-of-mouse’ which helps other customers through the consideration stage.

Reactivation

Lastly, the reactivation stage requires brands to employ strategies that get in touch with their “lost” or inactive customers by sending re-engagement emails to past, once-off customers to encourage them to “come back” to the brand.

It is important to note that a customer’s journey may not be linear and they may not pass through all the above stages in order. To make things even more complex these contact points can occur across multiple channels. An effective lifecycle marketing strategy takes this into account and develops communication based on each customer segment’s journey.

Advantages of lifecycle marketing over traditional marketing

Brands that employ a lifecycle marketing strategy will be able to attract and retain new customers or turn existing customers into life-long buyers and advocates.

This means that brands will save money by focusing on existing customers, rather than periodically targeting new ones.

By sending customers a tailored message once they reach a new stage of the buying process, brands will make them feel valued knowing that the messages they receive are unique, rather than automated.

Brands can gain a better understanding of the target audience – who they are, how to reach them, their likes and dislikes, and how to keep them coming back.

Lastly, it saves time. By having a clear idea of exactly who the target customer is, lifecycle marketers are able to send messages to prospects who are genuinely interested in what the brand offers, rather than wasting time trying to appeal to “browsers”.

The bottom line

Lifecycle marketing shifts focus from selling products or services to developing long-term relationships with consumers by providing unique communications with individual clients at key points in the buying process and guides them from prospects to advocates, who will not only be loyal customers but also become an enthusiastic reference to new prospects.

Smartinsights – 6 essential marketing trends for 2020

Sunday Read (3rd Party) - Smartinsights - 6 essential marketing trends for 2020

What’s new? What’s next? Six essential marketing trends for 2020

By Dave Chaffey 18 Oct, 2019

Source: https://www.smartinsights.com/managing-digital-marketing/marketing-innovation/6-essential-marketing-trends-for-2020/

 

Examples of digital marketing tools and techniques to give you an edge in the year ahead

 Well, we’ve nearly made it! For years I’ve been looking to the future, predicting how innovations in digital media, platforms and technology will shape marketing in 2020. The cutting edge examples certainly show the exciting opportunities available – there is almost too much choice…

In this article, I’ll explore six key marketing trends based on examples and research on the adoption of the latest marketing techniques and technology marketers can use. For recommendations on tapping into the innovations in different digital marketing channels, including email, social media and search engine marketing, see all the other posts from the

Smart Insights team covering Digital marketing trends for 2020.

Now we’re nearly at 2020, we can see the huge impact that digital marketing has had. Looking at advertising alone, these eMarketer predictions show how the duopoly of Facebook and Google dominate paid media investments online, although offline media buys remain important for many larger brands.

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Trend 1. Lifecycle marketing

Although it’s often said that the ‘funnel is dead’ since consumer follows non-linear journeys, regardless of the product or service you’re involved with marketing, it will always be the case that to grow a business, your primary focus is growing awareness, closely followed by increasing customer leads and prospects.

This focus is shown by the latest Altimeter / Prophet State of Digital Marketing report, which shows a primary focus on increasing awareness.

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The role of digital in creating a unified customer experience is also high in the response, but it’s shocking that digital marketing isn’t seen as a driver of boosting revenue from existing customers. It’s an artefact of the question since digital marketing is effective in achieving all of these goals, including customer retention.

A more practical way to plan to integrate online marketing into marketing activities is to consider communications from a customer point-of-view through the customer journey. I call this always-on lifecycle marketing and recommend you review your use of online AND offline media across the customer lifecycle.

An example of an audit is shown by this example of the use of marketing activities by a B2B company, which although strong at the top-of-funnel in terms of activities used, is less strong in the middle and bottom-of-funnel nurture and re-targeting activities. Many businesses are adopting marketing automation and account-based marketing technology to implement these touchpoints. See the article linked to above for all of the potential activities that can be audited.

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Trend 2. Conversational marketing

For me, this is the most exciting trend in marketing today, bringing together rapid consumer adoption of smart speakers and innovation in search query processing, conversational interfaces and messaging.

Conversational marketing was highlighted as a key innovation in the latest Gartner hype cycle alongside Artificial Intelligence, which often fuels it.  You can see that of the technologies on the Innovation Trigger slope, many aren’t expected to become mainstream for 5 to 10 years.

Of those forecast to hit the mainstream within the next 2 to 5 years, the three most significant for marketers to consider are personification, real-time and conversational marketing.

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Gartner explains:

“Conversational marketing technologies enable interactions between companies and customers that mimic human dialogue and do so at scale. This category is near the Peak of Inflated Expectations phase”.

Personally, I think the hype about smart speakers to support the purchase journey is just that. While some products lend themselves to purchase, where a choice is to be made amongst complex products, they just won’t cut it until we have truly intelligent comparison bots. However, the research suggests I may be wrong. A study of 2,000 British adults commissioned by Artefact UK, an AI and data-driven agency, reveals that:

“Six out of ten smart speaker owners (60%) have used them to make a purchase in the past year. In fact, nearly a quarter (22%) said they have done so within the past week”.

I believe that building in more relevant to web, email and mobile-based conversations can have a bigger impact by boosting relevance and speaking in a more personal tone. Persado is an interesting tech here.

Persado uses a copy impact classification applied to existing copy, which is used to tailor copy and calls-to-action on an individual basis.

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For example, using Persado Natural Language Generation to run an experiment, Air Canada sparked a higher response using Anxiety language getting a 3% engagement lift, compared to a 5% drop using Exclusivity language, and a 3% drop using Safety language.

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Another example of AI application is nutrition and wellness retailer Holland & Barrett using AI to provide better-targeted emails. This Machine Learning approach from Tinyclues goes beyond optimizing copy using a tool like Persado, instead, it also involves targeting based on the behaviour of individuals to create more micro-targeted campaigns.

Speaking at a session I chaired at the Email Innovation Summit, Richard Lallo, Head of Digital Marketing, described what he calls ‘strategic promotions and mono-product pushes’ in a campaign. The business was able to drive campaign revenue and increase re-purchase rate while sending emails. Campaign revenue increased by 27%, open rates increased by 19%, while email send volume decreased by 23%, which also gives cost savings.

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Trend 3. Insights-driven marketing

At Smart Insights we’re huge fans of using analytics and insight to drive business performance and optimize the results from digital marketing. It’s why we’re called what we are.

Improving their data-driven marketing is an aim of many businesses indicated by the most desired skill amongst digital marketers revealed by the Altimeter/Prophet State of Digital Marketing report.

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Businesses using this approach are trying to gain the benefits reported by Mckinsey research that suggested that:

Intensive users of customer analytics are 23 times more likely to clearly outperform their competitors in terms of new customer acquisition than non-intensive users, and nine times more likely to surpass them in customer loyalty.

In addition to advances in customer analytics supported by CDPs described in the next section, new Voice of the Customer (VoC) techniques, such as online-hosted customer communities, can improve customer preferences for future products and how they are delivered.

For example, Red Bull used insight platform Vision Critical to launch a community of consumers passionate about the energy drink category. By providing a deeper understanding of consumer preferences, the community challenges widely-held assumptions. The company, for instance, learned who consumes Red Bull drinks — and how and when they buy — were changing. Data from the community provides insight on the competitive landscape, revealing channels the company can enhance to improve growth.

The community also helps Red Bull deliver more value to retailers.

Trend 4. Marketing technology

Today, Marketing Technology (Martech for short) presents a bewildering choice of software services for businesses looking to improve their management of digital media, experiences and supporting data. If your business and your agencies adopt the right blend of Martech, it can help give you an edge against competitors, but if not, you may be missing out on the insights and automation processes they are using.

The latest 2019 Martech supergraphic from Scott Brinker, a specialist who hosts Martech conferences and has advised on technology for HubSpot, has created this somewhat scary map of all the potential categories and services that companies can use.

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To highlight the range of great services available and to simplify the options a little, we designed this essential digital marketing tools infographic to recommend the categories of tools you should consider across the Smart Insights RACE Planning system and highlight the most popular, most capable tools.

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We will create the annual update for this in early 2020, discussing it recently on LinkedIn has highlighted some of the latest trends that aren’t evident from this version of the wheel.

Raviv Turner, Co-Founder, of B2B service @CaliberMind said:

“No MarTech stack is complete these days without the third leg of CRM, MAP & CDP. The only way to map, store, analyse and act on the complete end-to-end customer journey is having all the data in one place using a Customer Data Platform (CDPs).”

I’m not sure ‘the only-way’ is accurate, but that is the sentiment.

Kristen Obaid, Always On digital marketing campaigns manager for an international

Education company, added:

“The Salesforce and Adobe MAPs are underrepresented here (eg Pardot can be used for email, social, CRM, CMS, audience management, analytics. Krux is now SF. They can both be used as DMPs if the data is configured properly.) BI with simple data integrations (like Domo, Tableau) are also missing, plus Intercom for service CMS eg FAQs, and Drift for automated service chat”.

Trend 5. Consumer Privacy and KYC

Repeated privacy faux-pas by Facebook, Google and security breaches at other brands leading to the release of customer details have highlighted to consumers that their data isn’t as safe with online brands as they may have once thought. Privacy regulations like GDPR have been enacted to improve data privacy with increased fines.

Record fines have arisen in 2019 from the maximum penalty for contraventions increasing under GDPR to up to €20m (£17.5m) or four percent of global turnover – whichever is the greater.

British Airways was issued with a proposed fine of £183m for a breach of customer data and a £99 million fine on hotel chain Marriott for failing to protect personal data contained in approximately 339 million guest records.

While these may be more the concerns of the CIO or CFO rather than the CMO, it shows the need for marketers to work with colleagues to mitigate the potential impact of security breaches and reassure customers.

At the same time, we have seen a decreasing effectiveness of traditional identification methods such as cookies for tracking, which makes media ROI determination – supposedly one of the key benefits of digital channels – more difficult.

Emerging technologies can potentially help with both of these challenges.

New Identify Management or Know Your Customer solutions are being developed that can both improve security, reduce fraud and improve insight about customers across multiple devices.

For example, UK start up Hooyu blends traditional methods of customer verification such as database checks (where available) with ID document validation, digital footprint analysis, geo-location and facial biometrics. While this is most relevant for banks and other gambling applications, it indicates the range of data points that are now available.

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With these consumer concerns and new legislation such as the EU ePrivacy legislation about to be launched and the inaccuracy of tracking online with increasing restrictions built into browser like Chrome and Safari it seems like the days of the cookie (and particularly third-party cookies) and digital fingerprinting may be numbered. This means that businesses should be considering other alternatives if they aren’t already.

Discussing Unified ID – Why Identity becomes a key success factor in the post-cookie era era – Alwin Viereck, Head of Programmatic Advertising and Ad Management, United Internet Media estimates that

“More than 20% of all cookies in a desktop environment do not live longer than a day and a further 15–20% do not survive a month. For vendors in a third party context (which are typically all participants of the programmatic ecosystem), the problem might even be worse.

Multiplatform consent solutions like Sourcepoint and Identity and Access Management integration solutions like Auth0 and OneIdentity will be adopted more widely. Within AdTech new solutions will have to be found in response to Google and Apples Ad-targeting limitations.

Trend 6. Digital transformation and Marketing Transformation

Our managing digital marketing research revealed many challenges in terms of how digital marketing is run in companies today. Problems included a lack of focus on integrated strategy, testing, and optimization and structural issues like teams working in silos or a lack of skills in integrated communications.

To counter these types of problems and to make the most of the opportunities for growing a business through digital marketing, many businesses are now putting a digital transformation programme in place.

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The aim of digital transformation is to develop a roadmap to improve digital capabilities and skills, while at the same time, integrating ‘always-on’ digital marketing activities with brand and product marketing in the business.

This chart from the research shows that many businesses are active in transformation to try to achieve this aim through the success factors covered in this briefing.

Despite some talk that we might be in a post-digital world by 2020 and some traditional marketers suggesting that “it’s time to shut down digital marketing for good” the reality is that many specialist digital job roles and are needed to run digital marketing activities as my post ‘10 reasons you still need a digital team‘ shows.

A common practice that we can expect to continue in the future is a move to a hybrid approach to managing digital marketing with digital marketing skills being developed in marketing teams as suggested by this structure.

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However, the label of a ‘digital department’ is outmoded, since the creation of large digital teams has caused silos to develop with other marketing and product teams. Instead, we can expect a continued move to a digital/marketing Centre of Excellence model. The DCoE will be smaller ‘digital services units’ that track the latest developments in development, advising on new digital techniques and technologies.

Through the year, we’ve been adding to our tools to help all members assess how well their businesses are adapting to using digital media and technology as part of Digital Transformation. To review your digital readiness, either for integrated digital marketing or individual channels, download our benchmarks or take our interactive capability graders.

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All the best for grasping the opportunities from digital marketing in 2020 and beyond! To help you on your way take a look at our benchmarking templates, each of which will give you a quick review for digital marketing governance and the key channels like search, social, email marketing plus analytics, content marketing and experience.