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

50% of Online Transactions Are Now Done Via Mobile Shopping

mobile shopping Team Debello
Mobile transactions now represent more than 50 percent of online transactions in many countries, according to Criteo’s Global Commerce Review for Q2 of 2018.

The report analyzes shoppers’ activities, behaviors, and preferences across all devices and browsing environments, using data from over 5,000 retailers, in more than 80 countries.

Data from this report can be used to gain insight into and delineate opportunities and trends within the mobile web and mobile apps.

Other Key Findings

Apps are a significant driver of online sales, the report finds, with a 30 percent year-over-year increase in the share of in-app transactions.

Customers are more likely to convert when shopping on a retailer’s dedicated app versus a mobile website.

In North America alone, the conversion rate of shopping apps is more than three times higher than the mobile web.

mobile ads Team Debello
Among online-only retailers who promote their app, 31 percent of transactions come from the in-app purchase channel.

That number more than doubles when looking at omnichannel retailers who actively promote their app, with mobile purchases representing 65% of their transactions.

In making a case for offline sales, the report finds retailers that combine their offline and online data can apply over four times as much sales data to optimize their marketing efforts.

Mobile shopping is showing no signs of slowing down across all countries included in the study.

Currently, Northern Europe and Japan are leaders in mobile shopping. That means there’s plenty of opportunities for US retailers to grow their share of mobile transactions in the coming years.

Download the full report here, or if your ready to make it happen for you, send us a message below!

Why location data matters – even if you’re not a retailer

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

The top strategies for digital marketing success in 2018

Charming today’s entitled consumers will be the key challenge for marketers next year.

To make inroads, they need to create truly tailor-made experiences and mobile-first engagement and leverage the value of owned channels.

Mega Trend – Artificial Intelligence

2018 will see artificial intelligence (AI) advance from cutting edge technology to status quo. Built into audience engagement platforms, AI will bring new levels of relevance into automatically delivered content, help marketers to recognise the most engaging channel and present a contextually relevant message to match a consumer’s real-time situation.

AI will be used to rollout prediction-based shopping recommendations, location-specific offers, and AI-powered chat conversations – to site a but a few usages.

Currently, 13% of organisations have already adopted AI (Spiceworks) and the number is even higher in large organisations with over 1,000 employees, where 30 % are already on board with AI and 25% plan to join in 2018.

1.      “Hyper” personalisation

With permission from data-savvy consumers, brands are mining rich data footprints from online user behaviour and leveraging it into new and exciting ways to further adapt to specific user needs.

And, as new biometric technologies and access becomes the norm, spearheaded by facial recognition on the latest Apple iPhone, consumers can expect brands to rush to create tailor-made, customised brand experiences in 2018.

2.      Live and kicking

Video streaming accounts for 75% of online traffic (KPCB) and live videos offer the maximum value for marketers right now. The numbers are clear: consumers spend 300% more time watching live video over pre-recorded content (Facebook), and 82% of consumers prefer branded live video over other social media formats (LiveStream). Just be sure to trigger mobile alerts (see 4.) when a live event is about to happen.

3.      Crystal clear data collection

Consumers are willing to share personal data for better experiences but brands need to keep it under wraps. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union comes into effect on May 2018 and further raises the bar on data safety (read also our guide to Marketing Data Privacy).

GDPR affects brands even beyond EU borders, and instead of dreading GDPR, brands can use it to strengthen customer relationships. With its built-in Accountability Principle, GDPR presents an opportunity to win customers’ trust – and outperform the competition – by creating transparent data collection policies. Data breaches like the recent Equifax hack (Sept 2017) are today’s Exxon Valdez-style PR-disasters.

4.      Mobile-first engagement

Convenience and frictionless customer experiences are a must for engaging consumers today and marketers are responding by leveraging mobile message integration to deliver convenience at every step of the consumer journey.

Delivered via Whatsapp, Line, Wechat, GroupMe, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and good old text messages, over 69% of digital media engagement occurs using mobile devices (ComScore), so it’s a no-brainer.

With that being the case, marketers need to design mobile-first journeys anchored by micro-moments in real-time. The main barrier? Earning opt-in for notifications and location sharing and using them wisely.

5.      Creating a niche

Shouting marketing messages from the rooftops is so 2008. In 2018, big brands are finding value in cornering niche audiences that may be small in size but high in engagement and loyalty.

Targeting these well-informed consumers with relevant content will be key in continuing these positive relationships.

6.      Paid social media

The days of boundless (and unpaid) audience engagement on social media are over. With Facebook clamping down on organic reach, marketers need to allocate budgets to pay for boosting posts or getting on Facebook’s News Feed.

Creativity will also pay off in 2018 – whether it’s attracting audiences with live video events or finessing Ads in Facebook Messenger.

2018 is all about blending in with native ads, including search advertisements, sponsored listings, advertorials, recommended content, or seamlessly integrated display ads. Premium native ads not only play nicely with publishers’ websites, but they also deliver 400% higher click-through-rates (CTRs) on mobile devices than regular display ads (Polar). The key to it all? Delivering relevant, hyper-personalized experiences across all channels, powered by real-time consumer intelligence.

7.      Returning to owned media

With social media and mobile notifications updating consumers on new content, it’s becoming less important where content is published. If content is searchable, relevant, and useable – users will find it. 2018 may actually see brands extract more value from publishing on their owned properties such as brand websites, e-commerce platforms, blogs, and mobile apps than on third-party sites.

There are three reasons powering this shift:

First, content on owned property will by nature “live” where conversion (online shopping portals, etc.) is just a click away.

Second, owned properties support consumer-specific personalization, for instance dynamic websites adjusted according to purchase history or path-to-site.

And third, all that behaviour and preference data will belong to the owners, not a third-party app or social platform.

– by Christopher Baldwin

Google on top again as search beats social on referral traffic

According to research by content marketing platform Shareaholic, search outpaced social in the percentage of overall traffic that it delivered in 2017. This reverses a trend of social dominance that began in 2014.

The analytic platform looked at externally referred traffic from over 400 million internet users and 250,000 mobile and desktop sites. A year ago site visitors were more likely to be referred from social networks, but search seems to have made a comeback in 2017.

Search drove 35% of site visits in 2017 compared to 26% from social. Shareaholic consider the changes to the Facebook news feed algorithims to be a major factor in the shift over the last 12 months.

Another important factor is that search engines are indexing more and more social content and including it within their rankings and results pages. This means that internet users are increasingly finding social content being aggregated by search engines, rather than only being accessible through searches on individual social media networks.

This has seen Google reclaim their place as the world’s foremost referrer of traffic.

Facebook drops

With regards to the social media networks themselves, the biggest change overall was Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s site’s share of visits dropped a pretty significant 12.7% in the second half of 2017. The site has had a bumpy year, with the anger over its potential role in the US election continues to simmer and the major changes made to what content it displays on its news feed.

Facebook users are also spending 5% less time on the site, although they are spending more time watching Facebook Live broadcasts and watching video. Because video and live streaming tend to link out to less other pages, this could be a big factor in the big drop in referrals.

Pinterest and Instagram are the biggest profiteers of Facebook’s drop. Instagram in particular has double its user base in the past two years, while Pinterest has seen a 1.5% percentage point increase in share of visits year on year. The sites success is built on the fact that its 200 million monthly active users have saved over a 100 billion Pins, all of which provide opportunities to drive traffic to an external source.

The thing that links Instagram and Pinterest is that the are both heavily focused on images, indicating that image sharing is an important element of distributing and driving traffic to content and product pages.

– by Colm Hebblethwaite

How store locators can work wonders for your SEO

Creating a mutually complementary in-store and online presence is one of the biggest marketing challenges retailers with websites and brick-and-mortar stores face. All too often, they exist as separate entities, battling for custom rather than working together to enhance customer experience.

One of the most effective ways for retailers, restaurant chains, hotels and service providers to bridge the gap between the physical and the online is to add a store locator to their website. That makes it much easier for online browsers to find their nearest outlets, turning online traffic into footfall in stores.

But many businesses don’t make their store locators work as hard as they should. These days, next-generation store locators from developers likeBRIDGE can be optimised to attract internet traffic in their own right.

In this article, we’re going to look at the key advantages of a store locator in terms of the SEO of your site and introduce some best practice tips for optimising your store locator content.

Why optimise your store locator content?

Optimising your store locator content is a job that’s well worth doing when you consider the potential rewards:

Improved visibility

Optimised store locator content can improve local search by boosting the rankings and ultimately the visibility of each store in the search engine results pages.

Local search is any search aimed at finding something within a specific geographic area, for example: “coffee shops in Shoreditch”. It’s conservatively estimated that 40 percent of all search is made with local intent. That means you could miss out on a huge amount of traffic if you don’t have location-specific pages for your stores.

Cut out the middleman

There are lots of business directory sites and online yellow pages like Yelp that contain location-specific information about hotels, restaurants and stores. If you don’t have location-specific content then these are the results that are likely to show in the search engine results pages when browsers search for your specific store locations.

The trouble is that these sites often contain outdated information and even negative reviews that could prompt prospective customers to go elsewhere.

Branded content gets a boost

The major search engines, particularly Google, give preferential rankings to brand name sites for location-specific searches if they can find relevant local content. If you create optimised content for each location, it’s likely you’ll outrank other sites, boosting site traffic and improving the overall user experience.

How can you improve your store locator SEO?

In our view, the benefits of optimising your store locator content are quite compelling, particularly given the potential rewards for what is relatively quick work. But what simple steps can you take to optimise your store locator for local search?

Include the right links – You must include links to all of the store location pages that the search engines can easily follow. This allows them to be indexed so they can appear in the search engine results pages. If you have multiple locations in certain cities, you may even have to generate a hierarchy of pages to link out to all your stores.

Create a page for each store – Ideally, you will have a standalone page for each and every store. This will ensure the content is hyper-relevant to that city, postcode and local area.

Write unique content – You need to make sure the content on every store page is as unique as possible. It should contain things like contact details, opening and closing hours as well as information relating to any promotions or offers that are specific to that store.

Write title tags and meta descriptions – Every page needs a unique title tag and meta description. The title tag should include the business type, city name and brand name without exceeding 60 characters. The meta description should contain a short description of each location and a direct call-to-action, at a maximum of 300 characters.

Include images – Ask the manager of each store to take a picture of their storefront which you can upload. People love images. We can form impressions immediately from images that might take several minutes to create by text. They also make it easier for customers to find your store.

Get links from other local sites – If individual stores are involved in the local community, are members of business networks or support local charities, requesting links from local sites to the store’s location specific page is an excellent way to build its authority and boost its visibility in the search engine results page.

Let’s get optimising!

Many businesses fail to see just how beneficial store locators can be when it comes to SEO. Yes, they are an effective way to drive online traffic to your stores, but they can also be a valuable source of traffic in their own right, allowing your stores to market their products and services directly to new and existing customers.

– by Vincent Naigeon

Customer experience management top strategic priority for 2018/19

A global survey of 13,000 marketing, creative and technology professionals has found that customer experience management has emerged as the top strategic priority for businesses in the coming year.

The findings were published by Adobe and Econsultancy as part of the former’s Digital Trends report for 2018. 45% of respondents ranked customer experience as one of their three most important tasks in the next 12 months, with 20% listing it as their primary strategic focus.

Many think that they are on their way to achieving that goal, with 62% claiming that they have a “cohesive plan”, as well as long-term vision and executive support for making it happen. The report suggests that one of the keys to building effective customer experiences is creating cross collaboration between creative, content, marketing and web teams.

Those businesses that employ tools to facilitate streamlined workflows between different business functions are 62% more likely to show better business performance. 43% of respondents, however, reported that their current tech set-up is fragmented and inconsistent.

Intelligent planning

AI is seen as a key driver of customer experience execution, particularly in large enterprises, where 24% said they are making investments in the technology. The push towards AI adoption is often coming from the top of organisations. 57% of the c-suite respondents said that their companies were already using AI, or planning to.

There remain significant skills gaps in a large number of organisations. 40% or organisations currently lack the AI knowledge or resources that they need to make their plans a reality.

“Digital means that customers now have more power to engage with brands in their own terms,” John Watton, Senior Marketing Director, Adobe, said.

“This has changed the way companies interact with their customers, who expect great experiences as standard. For businesses that put the customer at the centre of everything they do, it’s clear the investments are paying off. But customer experience cannot just be the remit of marketing or customer services; it must be driven through every function of the organisation, from marketing and IT to product development and design. By breaking down organisational silos and using data and AI to combine analytical insight with design and creative capabilities, brands can offer stand-out experiences across every interaction.”

– by Colm Hebblethwaite

Journey analytics show the customer experience through a different lens

Marketing directors can’t make decisions in a vacuum. They need information about their customers, their channels and all the touchpoints that help them to connect with each other. How can they deliver what the customer wants unless they can see through the customer’s lens?

Customer interactions with a brand are now defined as their ‘journey’ and it is insight into that journey that helps organisations to plan product roadmaps or launch new services. McKinsey calls it ‘journey analytics’: the combination of big data technology, advanced analytics, and functional expertise, which come together to develop a comprehensive view of the end-to-end customer journey that gives marketing departments all the information they need.

Journey analytics captures customer feedback from everywhere, doing the hard work in bringing together the ways in which customers engage, what they are trying to accomplish and where there are areas of friction that need ironing out. Their journey can be seen clearly, and shared across the company so that changes can be made and ideas implemented with confidence.

Using analytics to enhance the customer journey is a process that can be taken in stages. Here is an introduction in five steps:

1. Gather the data

When customers interact with a brand they leave clues about their levels of satisfaction and engagement that can be acted upon by marketers.

If you think about the number of touchpoints, from loyalty programme information and purchase behaviour through to online reviews, social media references and conversations with customer service representatives in contact centres, these interactions deliver data that helps marketers to visualise the customer’s journey, assess their responses and uncover sentiment.

The smallest detail can reveal the most interesting finding, and as the data accumulates across all of these areas, it provides an accurate, and often unexpected perspective.

2. Reshape Customer Feedback

Data relating to customer interactions is both quantitative and qualitative. Structured quantitative data, which might include when the customer last purchased from a brand, how old they are, where they live and the products they most frequently buy, together with qualitative feedback, such as the unstructured voice of the customer needs to be married together. This requires Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology. This transforms the unstructured information into something that can be analysed. NLP can reveal a customer’s sentimental response and spot discord based on how, and how often, the customer talks about the experience.

Sentiment analytics have the power to ascertain what customers like or what they don’t, and more importantly, why. It is the difference between quantitative data that informs a company that their customer service is rating 6 out of 10, and qualitative data that explains why, and it enables specific issues to be addressed with accurate information. This delivers the ‘moments of truth’ that for marketers are akin to the holy grail.

3. Analyse Customer Data in a High-Level Journey

Now it’s time to place the data into logical journey touchpoints. A retailer, for example, could segment the data for the “Purchase Online” journey as follows: Research products available ➔ Open Account ➔ Select delivery options ➔ Pay for Goods ➔ Establish Online Connectivity. There would then be lots more steps, but maintaining a high-level allows marketers to place all data related to that area in one bucket to determine which areas to drill into.

This enables the emotional high and low points to be assessed using customer sentiment as they move through the journey, and focus on extreme areas of positive and negative sentiment. A robust analytics solution will help marketers to include actual customer comments, such as those delivered to contact centre staff, in the charts that are produced, and which can be elevated to board-level.

This way, the company can see representative and statistically relevant comments in context rather than just anecdotal pieces of information that don’t accurately portray the bigger issues.

4. Take action

Of course, there’s no point in marketers doing any of this unless they then show their team, and the extended company, how to set a path to improvement, the reasons for doing it, and the key objectives. Interactive dashboards on analytics solutions allow marketers to illustrate the impact that all stakeholders have on the customer journey. This is empowering, helping to drive communication and process improvements, system enhancements, and policy changes. The insights can be easily consumed and deliver contextual understandings of trends. Interactive dashboards also allow for real-time root cause analytics that throw light onto issues being faced by customers. With this information, marketers can work with other departments to manage these issues and reduce the necessity for customers to call back into the contact centre.

5. Avoid pitfalls

As with any tool, unless journey analytics are used properly, they will not deliver. Forrester Research has said that this happens when journey analytics are used in one of three ways:

·         to validate assumptions instead of to discover;

·         in a silo, instead of throughout the enterprise;

·         and as a one-off project instead of a as a change management tool.

Analytics should be fed with both qualitative and quantitative insights and with feedback from multiple sources so the results are based on how the customer actually interacts with the brand across all channels.  Most importantly, the data should be shared on a regular basis with the key stakeholders via dynamic dashboards. And marketers should not forget, customer journey mapping too often ignores the unstructured feedback provided by customers, so customer testimonials, verbatim comments and what customers say to contact centre customer service reps in conversation, is vital.

By following these steps and implementing the right tools, journey analytics can become the lens through which a marketer views the customer’s journey and experience. When implementing this, it is important to map customer statistical data (demographic and behavioural) with the customer voice, their feedback and friction points. When this is done, it is possible to improve the parts of the business that matter most to customers.

– by Fabrice Martin

Have A Question?
Ready For Answers?
Call Us 1-949-954-7769
eMail us at: wantmore@teamdebello.com

Have A Question?
Ready For Answers?
Call Us 1-949-954-7769
eMail us at: wantmore@teamdebello.com