Four common ABM myths busted

By now, most of us are familiar with the trendy term account-based marketing (ABM). At its core, ABM is used to nurture specific high-value accounts and reach stakeholders in a personalized manner, with the primary goal of generating more revenue and retention.

The focus is on the quality of engagements with your targeted accounts, but there’s nothing fundamentally new about the concept of ABM. For decades, highly profitable enterprises have been executing high-touch marketing programs and finding creative new ways to drive engagement with their brand.

Done well, its ROI is high — so it’s no wonder the popularity of ABM continues to grow. Recent research shows 56% of marketing departments plan to boost their resources (e.g., time, budget, personnel) to support an ABM strategy in 2018. Only 11% of marketing departments said they don’t plan to put any resources toward ABM this year.

At the same time, more than 50% of marketers said they need more education and best practices to improve or launch their ABM strategy and effectively set and measure KPIs.

Some of the demand for more education stems from confusion around ABM. As with any hot marketing trend, misinformation is rampant, and current myths about ABM’s purpose — and what it takes to execute it successfully — are everywhere.

We’re going to do our part to end the confusion and bust some of most common ABM myths.

Myth #1: ABM should only be used to grow existing accounts

ABM is about selling to a targeted list of high-value accounts, both existing and new. But regardless of whether the target is a current customer or a prospect, a comprehensive go-to market strategy — created in collaboration between sales and marketing — is necessary to yield success.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

What you do to engage each account can vary greatly depending on the brand. ABM allows you to focus on a narrower set of accounts that are crucial to driving your business forward, but it still requires a significant amount of creativity and personalization to influence both existing and prospect accounts. Bottom line: Don’t confuse account-based marketingwith selling.

The goal of ABM isn’t to simply sell products – it’s to influence the right stakeholders from the right accounts.

Myth #2: A successful ABM strategy requires a specialized team

Hiring a specialized team isn’t necessary, but creating a specialized approach is. You can leverage your existing marketing team to drive results in a new way. Chances are, someone on your marketing team is already targeting the accounts you selected for your ABM strategy.

But now, you can take a strategic approach and dedicate more time and resources to engage them in new, more effective ways.

Your strategy might include gathering customer insights for each account, or activating top sales reps to engage the executives in your targeted accounts. Ultimately, while the approach may be different, your existing marketing team can execute your ABM strategy, so long as they collaborate closely with sales.

In fact, alignment with the sales team is a must-have for any organization to successfully run an ABM program.

Myth #3: ABM success can’t be measured

ABM is about driving higher growth from your targeted list of accounts. The easiest way to measure success is to align with your sales team and determine which campaigns or tactics are driving the most growth.

For example, you can measure the number of meetings you set up with your ABM accounts, new contacts you’ve developed, or opportunities you’ve influenced.

At the very least, you can measure success by comparing growth of the accounts targeted through your ABM program to other accounts not targeted through ABM. And once you’ve reached your ABM goals, the momentum doesn’t stop there. It continues through nurturing relationships with the stakeholders in your targeted accounts so they become evangelists for your business and references for new prospects.

Myth #4: It’s only useful to deploy ABM if you’re going after large enterprises

False again! When ABM emerged, many marketers believed it was only worthwhile (from an ROI perspective) to target large accounts, because only those accounts could spend enough to justify the ABM investment.

However, ABM helps you target segments that you believe are most likely to convert and grow your business the fastest. If that’s the mid-market, then target those accounts. Businesses don’t have to be a certain size — in terms of revenue or employees — to drive your ABM strategy forward. But keep in mind that your marketing investment per account needs to make sense in the context of your potential return.

At the end of the day, ABM isn’t a new B2B marketing strategy, but we’re applying new terms and technologies to make it more effective. As marketing technology continues to evolve, there will be even more new, innovative ways for sales and marketing teams to execute successful ABM strategies.

Don’t let misperceptions limit your scope when using this approach to cultivate new and existing accounts.

– by Sanjay Castelino

New tool uses facial recognition to suggest customers products based on their reactions

Choosing a holiday can be difficult, there is literally a world of choices to pick from. What if technology could help you pick?

We are not talking about AI that suggests you options based on popular destinations for people your age, or based on previous holidays. A new tool being introduced by online travel company ebookers.com uses facial recognition and multisensory displays to suggest travel destination based on user reactions to being shown different options.

The SenseSational online tool works by showing the user video of various stages of the travel journey, and tracks their facial reactions and where their gaze. Recording this user data than allows it to calculate the findings and present the user with a set of personalised destinations to consider.

“New technology is revolutionising the travel sector and enabling our digital world to become a personalised, multi-sensory immersion that provides travellers with the vital ‘try before you buy’ experience,” explains Mark McKenna, Commercial Director at ebookers.com.

Travel in the digital age

Social media has changed the way that people share their travel experiences and plan where they want to go. Sites like Instagram are filled with a constant stream of real-time imagery and video content that lets people show how they have pushed their boundaries.

With SenseSational, ebooker.com is looking to tap into this key feature of the digital age. By seeing how consumers react to images and videos of different kinds of trips, the company should be able to provide better, more targeted services to its customers.

“SenseSational mimics this emotive storytelling and analyses the way we engage with certain textures, tastes and sounds, giving us an insight into how technology will continue to shape the consumer journey and help us form completely tailored travel experiences, engaging our senses every step of the way,” explains McKenna.

– by Colm Hebblethwaite

The age of SaaS: How sales is adopting marketing techniques

As businesses evolved from the mass-producing factories of the Industrial Age to the global, consumer-savvy forces they are today, so too have the techniques they’ve used to promote their products and services.

During the early half of the 20th century, companies believed it was necessary to show customers what they need but didn’t yet own – introducing us to the traveling encyclopedia sales rep cliche we’re all familiar with today.

But, as time continued and technology improved, consumers reacted less to hard sells and more to brands that seemed to understand their individual needs.

Eventually, marketing morphed into much of what we see today – data-driven analytics that create a narrow, personalized understanding of each customer to create targeted campaigns – while sales seemed to lag behind.

Consumers, including the clients of B2B products and services, want to build personal relationships with the brands they use. Despite being separate from marketing within an organization, sales teams have found great success using traditional marketing techniques to achieve the personal, long-lasting relationships that their clients want.

Data-driven sales process

Until recently, sales reps would reach out to prospects at the beginning of the sales process with the generic marketing materials handed out to all employees at an organization.

But, as SaaS subscription models became increasingly more popular, sales reps found that these tired concepts didn’t work when trying to establish relationships that would help retain clients year after year.

One trend that sales has successfully adopted from marketing is using data analytics to better understand the customer. Now, when a sales rep fires off a pitch to a prospect, the rep immediately receives data about their behavior – What was the open rate for a particular subject line? How many people moved to the next step after reading this email?

As prospects continue through the sales process, or as existing clients work with the company, the sales rep is able to gather more information about their behavior to create a true understanding of their needs. By analyzing the data, reps are able to understand what methods worked with their customers and know how to recreate this success in the future.

Customer relationship management in sales

Marketing teams learned early on that a strong relationship with a customer is key to their returning to the company’s products or services.

From this understanding sprang forth tactics like customer relationship management that allowed these kinds of relationships to grow. Marketing teams use the customer data they have to craft valuable offerings and targeted campaigns for their customers.

For sales, understanding the motivations and drives behind a potential lead’s actions through data analytics allows the sales rep to send similar targeted campaigns.

No more emails beginning with “To Whom It May Concern,” – now, sales reps are able to provide their prospects with enriching and useful information specific to any questions that they may have regarding the product or service.

Sales and marketing alignment

Although they still provide different functions for the company, marketing and sales stand to learn a great deal from each other as technology and consumer preferences continue to change.

With sales teams being called upon more often to close deals with recurring clients, it is more important than ever that they embrace customer relationship management and data analytics in order to provide the best customer experience possible.

The siloed business model is becoming increasingly ineffective, and this trend points to an emerging trend of overall sales and marketing alignment. Companies are finding that when a technique successfully works for one department or team, the actions can and should be adapted across the organization in order to reap similar rewards.

While sales and marketing are the first aspects of business to embrace this, we can expect to see this more as business models continue to innovate and change.

– by Chris Rothstein

 

Human to human: The end of B2B/C marketing

When I first began my career, I’d hear people say things like “business is business,” which they would use as an excuse for treating people badly. Today, more people are realizing that business is actually just people, which completely shifts the paradigm. Your approach should shift with it.

Marketing has traditionally been segmented into two categories — business to business and business to consumer – also known as B2B and B2C.

Even these names imply an impersonal, transactional approach to customer relationships – and that’s exactly what we saw. Fortunately, business thinking is evolving and there’s a better approach – human to human (H2H).

H2H starts to say:

“I’m not a business and you are not a business or a customer. We’re both human and we’re going to have a conversation about something which will hopefully benefit both of us.”

Think of H2H as simply talking to someone, communicating the same way you would if they were standing in front of you. In a conversation, you share information that needs sharing and you can expect some immediate feedback. And while technology often feels less personal – think spam emails and robo-calls – it’s now giving us the opportunity to turn that around and be more human.

Human conversation

Imagine I go into a restaurant and receive poor service.  I might fill out a comment card and, based on my experience, I expect that comment card just to go into a void. I never actually expect the company to talk back to me.

Today, we have online review pages, and many restaurants have Facebook pages or Twitter accounts. If I leave a message there for a company, I’m much more likely to get a direct response. Since the restaurant can see who I am on social media, they can provide a personal, immediate response. And that response shouldn’t be pro forma marketing-speak. It’s more like a conversation with a friend who you let down. Offer to make it up somehow. Sorry you had a bad experience. What can I do to make it up to you?  Can we offer you a discount on your next visit, or a refund for part of your meal? That’s treating the customer as a human.

Too many companies still haven’t figured this out, and it’s worse among companies marketing to businesses. They have all the same channels as consumer marketers – email, social media, phone, along with ample data about their customers, but much of the language they use is still purely transactional.

There’s little or no attempt to understand the person they’re talking to, or where they fit it into the purchasing process. They treat every person as if they were the decision maker, so most of what they’re sending falls on deaf ears. They are in the company’s customer database, but they’re the wrong people. They’ve moved to a new job or even to a new company. And on top of all that, every single email those customers receive is an attempt to sell to them.

This results, all too often then, with the wrong message, being sent to the wrong person, through the wrong channel, in the wrong tone and at the wrong time.  Hardly a great H2H experience!

Instead of sending constant sales pitches, how about trying to establish a relationship with your potential customer? Start by understanding the person’s role at the company. Once you know what he or she does, you might decide to send relevant content about industry trends and best practices in their area of expertise.

Remember:  they’re a human. And you wouldn’t just walk up to an unfamiliar human on the street and say: You’ve got to download this thing, here’s what it costs. You need to build trust with that person first.

Human understanding

Today, familiarity and trust can be created more quickly using data and information that is readily available. At FullContact, we research prospective customers using internal tools that help us understand them as individuals – as humans.

Let’s say we find that a prospect is a fan of the Green Bay Packers and that they also graduated from UC Berkeley – as did Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. As a way to introduce ourselves, we might send her a care package through the mail, which includes some fun Aaron Rodgers paraphernalia. We are a company with great insights on humans.

We like to get to know our potential customers as humans as well. We think this gift demonstrates both of those things.

As you might imagine, we get some interesting responses. Some people are a little surprised that we can actually get that much data about them. Other people think it’s fantastic that we took the time to understand who they are, and they want to discuss how that approach might help their company.

Forward thinking companies are getting much better at relating to their own customer as a person as opposed to a number. And as people become more aware of how companies can use their data to deliver better service, they will come to expect more out of their relationships with those companies.

But collectively, we’re still at a very early stage on the journey to meaningful H2H customer communications.

To get there, we need to think differently about each interaction we have with a customer. Every web comment, every email, every Tweet about a product is an opportunity to engage with a customer on a one‑to-one level. It’s time to retire B2B and B2C and embrace H2H.

Your customers will be glad you did.

– by Scott Axcell

Reordering the data treasure trove: how to be GDPR ready

For marketers, Gartner’s prediction that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use this year means two things. Firstly, they will have access to a treasure trove of data. Secondly, the omni-channel nature of this data means it’s likely information will be held across multiple isolated platforms, making it hard to find true insight gems.

And with the May 2018 GDPR deadline fast approaching, making such huge volumes of fragmented data manageable — and compliant — on time will be no mean feat.

But the challenge isn’t insurmountable. It is possible for marketers to reorder their data and transform it onto a controllable, single store of insight using technology already at hand.

What’s more, embracing the GDPR’s mission to quell consumer distrust and protect online privacy could deliver valuable rewards for businesses; especially those that take an early lead on championing transparent data usage.

So how can these issues be tackled to ensure GDPR readiness?

Connect the dots

At present, consumer data is often siloed on several levels. For instance, data from website visits is kept separately to social, mobile data, and email insight.

And it doesn’t end there: offline data is also frequently stored separately to digital data, so in-store purchase information and catalogue orders have their own datasets too. But to understand consumers and serve relevant, timely messages — as well as keep data practices in check — it is crucial to link all activity.

This sounds like a tough task, but in fact, the data within multiple silos can be connected to form a data hub using models such as Unified Data Hub (UDH) or data-centric web services. This enables marketers to achieve a single view across datasets that allows for the creation of centralised segments and can be easily adapted over time to accommodate new tools as further engagement channels are introduced.

Admittedly key entity data can be complex, depending on the type of business, but once integrated it offers an efficient and effective means of joining-up the consumer journey, regardless of the devices involved along the way.

Ensure compliance

Bringing data together is one thing, but to achieve full GDPR adherence there are many other factors marketers will need to consider; such as when, where and how they are using, and storing, data.

To help them on their way, here are a few of the core processes they must follow to get a firm hold on first-party data and keep brand-customer relations strong.

Obtain consent

All businesses involved in collecting personal data (defined as any data that can be used to identify individuals, from economic to social information) need to obtain clear consent to do so. Requests for consent need to be simply worded and explain how data will be used.

Be transparent with data

Once consent is given, businesses can only use the data in question for the purpose originally stated. Furthermore, they should not hold data longer than is necessary and must delete personal information if requested by the user and if it is not essential to their services.

Report security breaches

The GDPR stipulates that any breach of data security must be reported to the local data protection authority within 72 hours of discovery.

Implement ‘privacy by design’

Businesses are obliged to implement ‘privacy by design’; in other words the construction of all systems, projects, and procedures must include privacy protection measures.

No-one would question that customer data is a valuable asset for all businesses. But the vast amount of data being generated, and its fragmentation, can hamper marketing efforts, in addition to making data compliance difficult.

Yet by connecting information in a universal data hub and bridging silo gaps, marketers can effectively store and analyse customer data insights, using technology already at their fingertips.

And taking that leap towards GDPR compliance can do a lot for retaining consumer trust and enhancing communications – it’s simple, it’s effective; it’s the way to stay ahead.

– by Lindsay McEwan

Marketing Agility: making the buzzword a reality

Marketing agility has become a buzzword in the industry; the ability to adapt quickly in response to customer behaviour, market conditions or a change of business direction.

Achieving this requires organisations to fundamentally change the way that they work, challenging traditional campaign cycles and processes that felt comfortable and adopting new ones that, quite frankly, will, at first, feel wrong.

Experience is now the product

The evolution is being driven by competition – no sector is free from disruption – but also by the customer, in what has become the experience age. Consumers no longer want products; they want to buy into brands that have purpose and to feel some kind of affinity with this purpose.

They also want to be able to engage with the brand, not just before they buy, but throughout the entire lifecycle as users and owners. This engagement is driven by them, at times that suit them and via their channel of choice, and they expect a seamless and personal experience.

Servicing this expectation requires a fundamental shift where organisations genuinely put the customer experience at the top of the agenda. The implementation of a customer experience platform is a step in the right direction but you can’t give someone a car without teaching them how to drive it.

Getting real value from that platform for the customer and the business will require change across the board, in thinking, ways of working and culture.

A fundamental and cultural shift

Digital projects tend to focus on a technology change, such as platform migration, or a finished deliverable; a new website, for instance. Very rarely are businesses free enough from the constraints of time and budget to be able to prioritise the adoption of new ways of working over ‘finishing’.

And this, in itself, perpetuates old ways of working; spending all the budget up front on the big launch and leaving little or no resource for creating the tools and techniques to support rapid future change.

It’s useful to draw some parallels between the evolution of software development and the current agile trend in marketing. Big waterfall projects are similar to the big campaigns that marketing teams often still rely on. Plan and design everything, get it right on paper, then commit to a big spend to build it and launch it with a bang.

Nobody wants to do that in software anymore, as they realise that no amount of cleverness at the design stage will be worth anything if you’re not creating what your customers need. And nothing is more real than the purchasing behaviour of actual customers to determine that. So launch something small, quickly and then iterate.

Once you are able to change and adapt rapidly, then you can start to understand the data and analytics to optimise your experiences going forwards and respond to outside influences.

Data and Insight

To be truly agile, marketing teams need to embrace data to ensure that behavioural insight captured on a customer experience platform is turned into actionable insight and business results. Capturing the data is where technology comes into its own; helping to collate information across touch points and identify what is and isn’t working well.

Turning data into insight itself can bring with it a whole new set of challenges. Who owns the data? Is it the right data? Is it going to answer the questions that need answering? Data that lives in a silo doesn’t help when it comes to looking holistically at the customer journey.  So organisations may find that they have to refocus and restructure to really make sense of the data and use it to drive agile practices.

A new way of working requires new roles

While putting customer experience on the C-suite agenda will help drive organisations towards a new agile way of working, change must be driven throughout the organisation. There’s so much talk of ‘breaking down silos’ but this is easier said than done.

The introduction of new roles can however catalyse necessary change and help to embed customer experience into the DNA of a business.

We are already seeing the emergence of Journey Managers, Experience Managers and Chief Customer Officers – roles which simply didn’t exist a few years ago. These arterial roles are agile by design; you can’t silo them because they span the whole business and customer journey.

Great customer experience comes down to the ability to sustain relevant conversations, at the right time on the right device. And that means having the right people on board and the right processes in place.

Technology Adoption

Change is hard and it is often easier to stick to old, familiar ways of working than to embrace new ones. Investing in and building new technology solutions is hard enough. But getting a large organisation to successfully leverage and use new technology is even more critical.

An organisation can spend what they like on technology, but without investing in adoption, they simply cannot expect to change working practices and become more agile overnight.

Adoption is about people, not technology. Put yourself in their shoes, understand their mind-set and don’t expect them to feel as positive about the new technology as you do. Not only is change hard, it is not always desired.

Training should be bespoke to different teams and relevant to their specific needs and concerns. Organisations with a truly customer-centric view should realise that their employees are internal customers and personalise their journey to agile in a way that is appropriate to them.

Turning this new marketing buzzword into reality is not an overnight process. It changes projects from outsource-able, ‘do it for us’ activities into business transformation or change programmes. The latter are significantly more challenging to get right, particularly in big companies, requiring technology investment, organisational and culture change and plenty of training.

However, in the experience age there isn’t a sector that is free from disruption and therefore, there isn’t an organisation that can afford to stand still.

An agile organisation will be better equipped to respond quickly and efficiently to change, to engage with their customers with relevant content on their terms and to deliver value back to the business and the customer from significant investment in technology. And let’s face it, delivering that value is all that really matters in the end.

– by Miro Walker

2018: Chatbots will unlock new era for marketers with unseen data potential

A new untapped marketing channel, effective content distribution, always online and personalisation at scale. These are the four primary benefits people often speak of when promoting chatbots. While I agree wholeheartedly, I do think one of the most significant benefits often remains overlooked.

Unparalleled business intelligence and data.

With a chatbot, brands have more information than ever at their fingertips. In fact, they have so much data it will quickly become overwhelming if they do not know what to look for and what to do with it.

There are five core areas of data a chatbot can provide:

Sentiment analysis

Chatbots are talking to people all day every day. Some people will be grumpy, and some will be happy. Wouldn’t it be great to know what topics of conversation, products, places, circumstances or “things” make a particular brand’s audience grumpy? Wouldn’t it also be great to see what promotions, prices, products, situations and events make them happy? This enables brands to start working towards doing less of the things that frustrate their customers and more of the things they like.

Analysing and measuring the sentiment of inbound messages a chatbot receives gives you an instant, always available, pulse of consumer sentiment.

No more “how would you rate us out of 10?” or “what did you think of XYZ product?” A chatbot’s conversations give insight into what people are thinking.

Sentiment analysis can help across lots of areas of a business too. Product managers understand successful features, Marketing can assess the impact of marcomms and promotions, and Customer Services are able to isolate and identify problems and produce relevant support material.

Understanding busy times

When is a bot working the hardest? What countries and territories have most conversations? What times of the day are people talking about certain things? Knowing when people are talking to a chatbot, where they are and what they are talking about provides insight into their behaviour.

This is valuable for preparing content, service and sales. If brands know when people need help, they understand the best time to deliver support and/or marketing collateral pre-emptively.

It is invaluable for marketing (right person at the right time with the right message), useful for service and even for development teams to know when to push updates to the platform or services.

Knowing who are the biggest brand fans

A lot of money and time is spent identifying and segmenting power users. Brands want to be able to understand the audiences that interact with them the most, spend the most money or bring in the most referrals.

The chatbot gives insight into the type of people who talk the longest, interact the most and give the highest feedback scores. Brands can analyse and collect the data these power users provide to find and attract more people who behave in a similar way to them.

The insight also helps to improve the chatbot experience because seeing what the typical power user experience looks like means it can be recreated for others. It is a bit like that famous case study by Facebook identifying that power users add seven friends within ten days.

Assessing usefulness

The data a chatbot also provides gives insight into whether it is pulling its weight and doing its job. They’re designed and launched to be a useful tool for your consumers and the business so put that to the test.

Standard metrics like retention and engagement are very useful; for example how long people talk with the bot for, how often they come back and if they switch channels. However, combine these with more bot-centric metrics like fall-backs to human, conversation blocks and “I do not understand” errors gives a unique ability to assess how useful a bot is.

These metrics help to ensure the chatbot is meeting its one true goalbetter than any other channel could.

Time to end-result

While we’re talking about goals, the time taken to reach the chatbot’s goal is also a good insight. If a chatbot is designed to sell, how quickly did it sell something? Does changing the flow/persona/style of conversation make it better? Do some upstream channels or marketing efforts lead to a faster time to sell, do some upstream channels not convert?

It gives insight into what channels create sales-ready-leads and which create cold leads.

If a chatbot is designed to help people, perhaps in a customer service capacity, then how quickly did it help? Did the user have to go through a 15-minute conversation before they got an answer? Or did they get it in 2 seconds? Is the chatbot getting faster at helping over time? Or is it getting worse?

The importance of chatbot data

These insights, data and analytics not only provide the power to A/B test, improve and iterate a chatbot, but they give never-before-seen insight into a brand’s audience.

This insight is not a quantitative “8 out of 10 people would refer you to a friend”, but a qualitative “I liked X, I disliked Y and I’d really like you more if you did Z” type data.

Of course, getting this data is nothing new, we have all launched surveys, focus groups and consumer research campaigns. The difference is, a chatbot offers this data at scale. All day, every day and all the time. For free.

After launching a chatbot, brands have so much data they will not know how to analyse it all. Often brands will be drowning in conversations, sentiments and “what went wrong there” type information. The goal is to turn that into actionable intelligence

Much like all channels, it is crucial not to pivot, iterate and react based on hunches or personal feelings. Use the analytics and data to record, measure, understand and test.

Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

– by Dean Withey

Media intelligence: understanding the true meaning of press coverage and social sentiment

Today, organizations have more data at their fingertips than ever before and it’s influencing how they conduct business across the board. From identifying new product opportunities to potential new customers, data is becoming increasingly essential in both business and marketing efforts.

However, this rapid influx of information can be a double-edged sword making it essential to identify and analyze the right type of information. Communicators are now faced with the complex challenge of not only understanding basic facts like media reach or tone, but to also monitor public sentiment and whether opinions are coming from influential buyers or pundits or less-impactful individuals and what effect it has on your brand.

It is much harder to get that particular nuance and contextual understanding through pure volume of data.

Traditionally, companies have only been able to derive public perception through article reach, impressions and arbitrary indicators of tone. Now it’s essential to focus on what’s really important to the business by digging deeper into reputation drivers and customer sentiment.

So, what can CMOs do to understand the true meaning of press coverage and social sentiment?

Align with business goals

With tons of media data and metrics at your fingertips, you need to start with the ability to analyze the data that’s most relevant to your organization. Media analysis needs to be an integral part of the planning process.

By tying your goals and results to the overall goals of the business, you can better understand how to show that your work is impacting those goals. This is a critical step when creating the framework for collecting media information to analyze – for both social and traditional media. When you collect more accurately you can then trust what you are analyzing.

The caveat to aligning with business goals is that they are usually concept-based and vary from brand to brand. A consumer lifestyle company will have different goals than a national bank or large software company. Many enterprise-level goals align to topics like innovation” or thought leadership or Corporate Social Responsibility.

The communications team could set goals similar the following:

  • Decrease our negative SOV for our brand driver “workplace environment” against our peers in the southeast
  • Increase engagement with third party influencers (regulators, academics, pundits) who are mentioned in articles with high volumes of sharing and/or influential followers.
  • Create campaigns to increase our positive sentiment for our brand quality-themed thought leadership

Measure more effectively

Once you properly align analysis with your communication goals, you need to find new ways to measure traction and results. It’s important to note that all mentions are not created equal. When analyzing media results, so much more should be considered than just reach. It’s essential to consider the writer’s tone and article context.

For instance, as your experts build a reputation they’ll be tapped to provide insight into controversial or negative topics. Traditionally these articles might be identified by a monitoring tool as negative; however, the comments can be very positive for your organization.

Similarly, we often see sarcasm used on social media which can be misinterpreted as a positive mention when it’s potentially damaging. This can be challenging to detect and traditionally many programs stop short of actually contextualizing a positive statement in an otherwise negative article.

Comparison metrics need a good baseline. When planning and executing events, like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for example, Consumer Technology Association (CTA) monitors CES sentiment against other shows that cover similar topics. They can closely track the overall perception of the show, including positive, negative and neutral both year-over-year, and also against the competition. With the hope that the perception remains positive and increases over time, you can measure against the baseline and use data from past events.

To measure effectively you don’t need to boil the ocean, especially when you clearly understand the media that means the most to you. In both cases of B2C and B2B – you can focus data collection on specific publications to truly understand the value. For some organizations, a trade or industry publication may carry more weight with their audience than a large, national business news source.

Be proactive and predictive

It’s important to start analyzing and measuring immediately. Now that you’re aligned with business goals and assessing effectively, you can use real-time data to inform the communications program. Often, communicators only think to measure media impact after a campaign, but they miss a huge opportunity to alter and optimize results while the campaign is still active.

Another way to be strategically proactive is to identify whitespace. Based on current data, is there a topic in the industry that no one owns yet, not even competitors? Secondly, look at the authors and publications that write about your industry and peers to see who you should be targeting. Some writers may not post high volumes but their social sharing reach is very high, or they might be covering every company in the industry but you.

By actively identifying key areas of opportunity and shifting your mindset, you can measure and modify your program accordingly.

The key to remember is companies don’t need more datathey just need to utilize it better. Excessive metrics can look impressive but prove to be irrelevant and a waste of resources. By identifying business goals and measuring again them proactively, you can truly find the data sweet spot to inform strategy and lead to great results.

– by Ruth Wiederecht

 

Right here, right now: the power of location data

‘Location, location, location’; a phrase coined in the 20th Century in the real-estate sector, but one that’s never been more relevant to advertising. Nearly three quarters of people (73%) now allow apps to access their location, providing exact insight into consumer behaviour on mobile, and a competitive advantage for brands if used intelligently.

Location data is already being used successfully in some industries by established players, trying to fight off disruptors that are masters at using new technology to seize market share. And yet, according to recent research by Forrester, 94% of advertisers still have difficulty working with location data because they don’t know how best to use it.

If marketers want to be able to use data to raise awareness of their products or services, then there are some guidelines to follow to engage rather than enrage potential customers with badly targeted or irrelevant advertising.

Take advantage of calendar events

Events specific to locales offer particularly good opportunities to boost CTRs and conversions. Any brand can use a timely event to promote a product or keep the company top of mind in particular regions.

Location data is being used well in the taxi industry – where more established companies are having to work smart with data to take on agile competitors. Ahead of the 2017 Pride in London, for example, a well-known British taxi company recognised that potential customers would be looking for transport in the area, providing a great opportunity for the brand.

Using location data to discover who was at the event, they targeted people on Twitter with creative ads that incorporated the Pride branding and specific keywords such as ‘LGBT’ and ‘Pride Parade’ with a relevant discount. This resulted in higher engagement, volume of impressions and app installations, as well as delivering the lowest cost per impression, ultimately helping them compete with the likes of Uber.

When used in conjunction with popular calendar events, like in the example above, location data can deliver excellent results. Marketers should focus on producing well-targeted and personalised ads, using contextually relevant creatives tailored for individual platforms. The more relevant and targeted the better.

Play the long game

Location technology is constantly advancing and has already moved beyond just targeting people at a particular moment in time. It is now possible for marketers to measure and react to longer-term patterns of behaviour to inform longer term marketing strategies.

For example, brands can see if someone has been to a number of shopping centres or restaurants in the past few weeks or see which journeys they make regularly using historical location data, to build up patterns of behaviour in order to optimise targeting.

Further, a fast food retailer, for example, might use live location data to discover when a customer who is engaging with the brand on social media is walking near a restaurant, and deliver a tailored money-off voucher for that day only to drive them to purchase. Building a longer-term profile helps inform wider marketing strategies and enables you to target more effectively.

Use data responsibly

A recent study has shown that over three quarters of people (77%) will only share their location if they are confident that their personal information is being stored securely, and a further 34% of us will remove an app if we receive poorly targeted ads.

Being clear about how your data is sourced and validated and then ensuring you can blend it with sources from second and third parties will improve the targeting of identified audience segments.

There is no doubt that location data can be extremely valuable to marketers, but if they do not treat it with respect, brand apps and consumers will be turned off.

Brands understand that the consumer relationship with their mobile device is intimate, and getting mobile advertising wrong can both irritate and disengage potential customers. There seems to be some reluctance to adopt newer technology until it has been tested and any potential issues are ironed out, which is understandable. Yet brands that are adopting location targeting, and are doing it well, are already reaping excellent rewards.

Keep these three tips top-of-mind and trial using location-based marketing – it will surely pay off.

– by Amit Dar

Right here, right now: the power of location data

‘Location, location, location’; a phrase coined in the 20th Century in the real-estate sector, but one that’s never been more relevant to advertising. Nearly three quarters of people (73%) now allow apps to access their location, providing exact insight into consumer behaviour on mobile, and a competitive advantage for brands if used intelligently.

Location data is already being used successfully in some industries by established players, trying to fight off disruptors that are masters at using new technology to seize market share. And yet, according to recent research by Forrester, 94% of advertisers still have difficulty working with location data because they don’t know how best to use it.

If marketers want to be able to use data to raise awareness of their products or services, then there are some guidelines to follow to engage rather than enrage potential customers with badly targeted or irrelevant advertising.

Take advantage of calendar events

Events specific to locales offer particularly good opportunities to boost CTRs and conversions. Any brand can use a timely event to promote a product or keep the company top of mind in particular regions.

Location data is being used well in the taxi industry – where more established companies are having to work smart with data to take on agile competitors. Ahead of the 2017 Pride in London, for example, a well-known British taxi company recognised that potential customers would be looking for transport in the area, providing a great opportunity for the brand.

Using location data to discover who was at the event, they targeted people on Twitter with creative ads that incorporated the Pride branding and specific keywords such as ‘LGBT’ and ‘Pride Parade’ with a relevant discount. This resulted in higher engagement, volume of impressions and app installations, as well as delivering the lowest cost per impression, ultimately helping them compete with the likes of Uber.

When used in conjunction with popular calendar events, like in the example above, location data can deliver excellent results. Marketers should focus on producing well-targeted and personalised ads, using contextually relevant creatives tailored for individual platforms. The more relevant and targeted the better.

Play the long game

Location technology is constantly advancing and has already moved beyond just targeting people at a particular moment in time. It is now possible for marketers to measure and react to longer-term patterns of behaviour to inform longer term marketing strategies.

For example, brands can see if someone has been to a number of shopping centres or restaurants in the past few weeks or see which journeys they make regularly using historical location data, to build up patterns of behaviour in order to optimise targeting.

Further, a fast food retailer, for example, might use live location data to discover when a customer who is engaging with the brand on social media is walking near a restaurant, and deliver a tailored money-off voucher for that day only to drive them to purchase. Building a longer-term profile helps inform wider marketing strategies and enables you to target more effectively.

Use data responsibly

A recent study has shown that over three quarters of people (77%) will only share their location if they are confident that their personal information is being stored securely, and a further 34% of us will remove an app if we receive poorly targeted ads.

Being clear about how your data is sourced and validated and then ensuring you can blend it with sources from second and third parties will improve the targeting of identified audience segments.

There is no doubt that location data can be extremely valuable to marketers, but if they do not treat it with respect, brand apps and consumers will be turned off.

Brands understand that the consumer relationship with their mobile device is intimate, and getting mobile advertising wrong can both irritate and disengage potential customers. There seems to be some reluctance to adopt newer technology until it has been tested and any potential issues are ironed out, which is understandable. Yet brands that are adopting location targeting, and are doing it well, are already reaping excellent rewards.

Keep these three tips top-of-mind and trial using location-based marketing – it will surely pay off.

– by Amit Dar