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CMOs: This is the Year to Focus on Artificial Intelligence

execs focus on artificial intelligene

We all know by now that consumers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to marketing and the customer experience in 2017. To meet their ever-increasing expectations, we’ll need to get to know them at a deeper level than ever before and speak to them more contextually than we’ve dreamed possible.

I’ve put forth that in 2017, we will be challenged to completely rethink some of our long-held beliefs and restructure ingrained processes to cater to each individual, in the moment. We’ve established the need to think beyond one-to-one marketing, focus on the small data and provide return on attention (ROA).

The final key element that I believe needs our attention in 2017 is artificial intelligence.

Make the Move from Manual to Automatic with AI

Artificial intelligence is going to be hugely important in this process of getting to know our customers and speaking to them contextually. It will bring a whole new level of insight that we don’t have right now.

When we think about driving context with our customers, there is an infinite number of variables to consider. Currently, we have to test our own theories as to what is working and what is not. This is limited because we have to come up with and ask the questions in the first place. AI will help us to continually refine our data and our messaging by making our understanding of what’s working and why it’s working easier to uncover.

An AI engine can identify positive or negative trends or anomalies that we should pay attention to, give us the potential variables to test, and test them for us. Given behavioral patterns, an AI engine will start doing A-Z testing on its own. If you come up with some rule sets and let the engine apply and learn from them, you can get to a magical place. With an AI engine watching every set of conversations, watching everything that works and doesn’t work in those conversations, and applying the most appropriate content given the context, we can get as close as possible to personalized dialog with each individual in each moment.

This is crawl, walk, run. 2017 is the time to begin learning about artificial intelligence and planning for how your organization can integrate it beyond the simple efficiency efforts and process improvements it is currently used for.

What the Future Looks Like

Let’s bring this back to my shoe story.

If the retailer I had visited online had implemented the practices in this series of articles (think beyond one-to-one, look at the small data, provide ROA, use AI), my experience would have looked completely different.

When I visited the website and browsed for shoes, I may have received a single follow-up email reminding me about them (and possibly some similar shoes or complimentary items). If I didn’t interact with the email or visit again, the retailer would have read my digital cues that indicated I was only browsing and stopped contacting me. This would be the equivalent of picking up the shoes once in the store, declining to try them on, then leaving. Clearly, I’m not ready to buy.

On the other hand, if I visited the site multiple times and opened and clicked on the emails they sent me, I would expect a different response. This would be the equivalent of visiting the physical store and repeatedly picking up the same shoes over the course of half an hour. Or perhaps I return to the store on several occasions to look at the same shoes. In either instance, I would expect a salesperson to approach me again and ask if I am ready to try the shoes on. Similarly, I would expect to receive multiple, relevant communications from the retailer if I was actively engaged online.

Perhaps the salesperson in this story would also notice that I am dressed in business attire during my visit and tailor his recommendations to additional professional attire. Or he may notice that my young daughter is with me and that Easter is coming up and offer to show us some dress shoes for her Easter outfit. He may even notice the Runner’s World magazine peeking out of my bag and offer to show me the latest barefoot running shoes they just got in. All of these human cues are possible to distinguish and act on online, too—with the right in-the-moment data and the correct content and technology.

To be really good at this is not something and of us do overnight. It’s something we will build and then build on. And I’m more than excited to dive in head first in 2017.

A Wider Context for Content

Thumbnail for 6762Over the past five years, content marketing has become a major strategic theme occupying B2B events, editorials and analysts. Many brands have jumped on the content creation bandwagon – the internet is awash with blogs and white papers, infographics and video. And it keeps on coming.
 
I’m not disputing the importance or value of good quality content. There is an ongoing need for intelligence-led assets that talk to buyers’ pain points. But the trouble is, the sector has become content rich and effectiveness poor. Despite the surge of B2B content, Kapost claims that 65 percent of sales reps say they can’t find anything to send to prospects.
 
Assuming these sales reps’ marketing departments are in fact producing relevant, buyer-focused content; why isn’t it being harnessed effectively across the organisation?
 

Considered, connected content

First off, brands need to stop pigeonholing content in the marketing department. It might originate there, and naturally it plays an important role raising awareness, achieving engagement and supporting lead generation. But it also needs to infiltrate the wider buyer journey. That means finding ways to help sales teams leverage content in real-time whether they’re building relationships, targeting key accounts or addressing a specific buyer’s concerns. 
 
If you’ve gone to the effort of developing content that’s rooted in buyer issues, it makes sense to help people across the business access it easily. Creating an indexed content library that supports sales enablement is a good place to start. 
 
Rather than structuring a content library chronologically or by asset type, items should be classified according to the business challenges they address. Sales teams and buyers are not really interested in whether you’ve produced a white paper, infographic or e-book. They just need to know what pain points the content answers and the type of decision maker that it is geared towards.  
 
Used effectively, a content library can also enhance the lifetime value of prospects that have converted to customers. Account managers and customer service staff need to be trained and empowered so that they can continue the nurturing process. Signposting customers to bottom-of-funnel assets that help drive more value from your product or service can boost retention. It can also support upsell and cross-sell initiatives.   
 

Optimised content experiences

Marketing Automation Platforms and intelligent content are a powerful combination. But best-in-class brands go one step further, combining this with human-led interactions. They recognise it is the content experience – not the content per se – that delivers value. And they’ve learnt the benefit of enabling sellers to initiate highly individualised content experiences in the latter stage of the buyer journey.  
 
Ensuring content can be used systematically and reliably in this context requires a robust strategy. It involves buyer journey mapping, data driven insights and a sophisticated approach to persona development and management. This is where the art and science of content converge.  
 

Content is King 

Back in 1996, Bill Gates famously wrote an essay titled ‘Content is King’. He said that internet users ‘must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information’. And he anticipated ‘intense competition – and ample failure as well as success – in all categories of popular content’. 
 
Twenty years on, the B2B sector is still learning how to consistently deliver tangible ROI from content. Best-in-class brands are brave enough to risk failure, knowing that it can ultimately light the way to lasting success. 
 
Today, one thing is crystal clear: collaboration and cohesion are vital. The chasm between sales and marketing is an enduring thorn in the side of the B2B sector. Perhaps content is the glue that can finally bind them.
 
Harte Hanks understands that content is a key piece of your customer journey. Email us at lets.talk@hartehanks.com to set up a free assessment of your content strategy.

Takeaways from the VR World Congress

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 12.11.37 PMOn April 12 virtual reality trailblazers from across the globe descended on Bristol for VR World Congress. As you’d expect, many attendees were gaming professionals. But some speakers and exhibitors explored VR in relation to wider areas such as data visualisation, engineering, medicine and education.

VR is clearly beginning to make inroads to the corporate world. But even the most experienced enthusiasts concede that it’s an emerging technology. The way it’s created and consumed is still evolving, and nobody knows exactly where the industry will go next.

Is your brand VR-ready?
There is a lot of excitement about VR. And there is also some scepticism. Critics argue that it is over-hyped and gimmicky. However, there are some compelling business cases of VR delivering tangible benefits across sectors ranging from fashion to automotive and construction to medical.

Early signs indicate VR can add value in many potential applications. It could unlock whole new worlds of possibility for brand marketers. But how and when should you make a move into VR?

Here are three takeaways from the Congress that might help you make up your mind:

Everyone’s a pioneer
If you want a definitive rulebook on VR, you’ll be disappointed. Nobody has all the answers yet. However, if you want to build a reputation as an innovator or an early adopter, the VR world is your oyster.

As with all pioneering activity, there are risks as well as rewards. Whatever you set out to achieve, there will inevitably be an element of compromise and sacrifice. Paul Deane, Digital Development Lead at BBC Natural History Unit, shared his experiences creating David Attenborough’s Walk with the World’s Biggest Dinosaur. He said the project posed challenges as virtual reality has so many unknowns. Basic production decisions – such as which point of view to use and whether the camera should move – have more implications than with a linear film. Because the medium is in its infancy, there isn’t a set way to produce content.

On the flipside of this, many people experiencing VR are also new to the technology. In their enjoyment of the immersive, interactive elements they are likely to be more forgiving of imperfections. Walk with the World’s Biggest Dinosaur has been hugely successful despite the compromises made. Since it was launched in February it’s had more than 5million views and a dwell time between two and three times that of linear online videos produced by the BBC.

360-degree video could be a first step into immersive content
It’s important to differentiate between true VR and 360-degree video content. Generally, 360-degree video involves an immersive real-world view. You might use it to give consumers a front row seat at an exclusive celebrity event, or to enhance a video of your product in action. First Lady Michelle Obama recently took part in a 360-degree video interview surrounding her use of social media. And the New York Times has launched NYTVR enabling people to immerse themselves in 360-degree content associated with certain news items. While the viewing experience is greatly enhanced with a VR headset, it can be accessed on a regular PC or mobile device.

VR transcends 360-degree video to provide a virtual experience that wouldn’t be possible in real-life. Brand-led examples to date range from Patrón Tequila’s ‘bee’s eye view’ of production to Nescafe’s virtual reality coffee experience. Viewers need a VR headset of some kind, whether it’s the consumer-level Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR; or something more sophisticated like Oculus Rift. Some brands are helping customers take their first steps into VR by providing headsets, such as the McDonald’s Happy Goggles fashioned from a Happy Meal Box.

360-degree video is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. If you already work with video, it could represent a safer platform from which to start exploring immersive brand content. It’s more accessible to the masses, as well as being simpler and cheaper to produce. However, it is possible to blend elements of VR with 360-degree video to create a ‘mixed reality’ format as the BBC achieved in Walk with the World’s Biggest Dinosaur.

Ultimately it comes down to your objectives and resources as well as your audience and the business goals you aim to fulfil.

Educate internal stakeholders
Obtaining final approval on creative assets can be frustrating at the best of times for marketers. With a medium like VR such challenges are amplified. There is no frame of reference in this new territory, so it can be difficult for stakeholders to give a constructive, rational critique of the end result.

If you’re managing a VR project, this risk needs to anticipated and mitigated from the outset.
Establish firm ground rules surrounding the approval process, agree who will be responsible for decision making, and make sure that all approvers are VR users.

Laying strong foundations will be hugely beneficial since addressing problems at a late stage in the production process is more costly and complex than with other media. Everybody who will be involved needs to be fully on board with the scope, goals and limitations of the activity. Stakeholders who have limited experience of VR should be educated before production gets underway. Expose them to examples of content so they can build an understanding of the medium. It may be worth creating a test VR asset using familiar items, so they can explore the functionality of the medium in comfort.

In summary
Nobody can be sure when VR will reach tipping point, but all the signs point towards it becoming a very valuable medium for fully immersive brand engagement. While it is still largely associated with the gaming community, there is nothing to prevent brand marketers from developing its commercial potential.

If you are about to take the plunge, don’t do it in isolation. Talk to people who’ve already had a go, so you can benefit from their learnings and share experiences. Be realistic about what you can achieve with such a fledgling technology and accept that you may have to compromise on some elements. But feel assured that your early steps could put you at a distinct advantage in the future as you pave the way for effective use of VR in your organisation.

Even if your brand isn’t ready for VR, you can’t afford to ignore it. Take the initiative. Explore 360-degree video on Facebook and YouTube, and get an entry level VR headset. Not every brand is cut out to be a trailblazer, and VR might not be relevant to your industry or your offering at the moment. But you can’t make an informed decision unless you educate yourself.

David Chandler is Director, Strategic Accounts at Harte Hanks. He’s co-presenting a webinar exploring the potential of VR for B2B brands on 5 May 2016. Book your seat here.

Seven Steps to Smarter Demand Generation

In our recent session at B2B Marketing’s InTech event in London, we considered how demand generation can be improved through a convergence of technology and people.

Think of it as ‘smarter’ demand generation. Human insight and expertise facilitates the creation of sophisticated personas and rich, individualised content tailored to buyers’ needs. Then marketing technologies ensure that content is served at the exact time of need.

Addressing these seven components can help ensure demand generation efforts deliver impressive results, in spite of an increasingly complex buyer ecosystem.

Social media
Building bridges between marketing and sales is a longstanding goal for many B2B brands. Social media can provide a shared territory where the two departments can collaborate in a meaningful manner. Empowering sales teams with robust social tools and frameworks can pave the way for a steady pipeline of inbound social leads.

Micro-targeting
Smarter demand generation facilitates better individualisation. This approach uses micro-targeting to enhance the buyer experience with relevant, precisely tailored interactions. It integrates data, tactics, people and technology to achieve a higher level of resonance than traditional personalisation.

Actionable
According to Kapost/Content Marketeer, 65 per cent of sales reps complain that they can’t find content to send to prospects. Marketers need to draw on data analytics to ensure content strategies are aligned to definite buyer pain points and areas of interest. Content should also be catalogued and shared internally to ensure all stakeholders can find what they need quickly and easily.

Relevance
Take time to build buyer personas and develop them on an ongoing basis. They should continually evolve and form a reference point throughout the content creation process. This ensures assets are finely tuned to address both enduring and emerging pain points. When content is relevant and of-the-moment, it helps to build advocacy and loyalty amongst buyers and prospects.

Technological
If you are in any doubt about the rise of technology in marketing, consider this: there has been a 1,767% increase in marketing technologies in the past four years. Such proliferation of sophisticated tools can be overwhelming, so it’s vital to keep the end-goal in your sights. Any technologies deployed in support of demand generation should be firmly geared towards enhancing the buyer experience.

Experience
Product differentiation has been usurped by customer experience as the battleground for organisations wanting to achieve standout. According to Gartner for Marketing Leaders, marketers are under pressure to ‘create exceptional branded moments at every customer touchpoint’. Linear buyer journeys have been replaced by a more episodic, multi-interaction buyer ecosystem. Every customer interaction is crucial and must be carefully planned, crafted and delivered.

ROI
Maximising return on investment remains the top priority – and a major challenge – for all marketers. At Harte Hanks, we typically see ROI ratios between 35:1 and 75:1 for best-in-class brands who integrate data, technology, people and tactics intelligently in their demand generation efforts.

Alana Griffiths and Alex Gill are Senior Directors at Harte Hanks, and have a combined 25 years of marketing expertise. To have one of our experts provide a free audit of your demand generation activity, get in touch by emailing us at lets.talk@hartehanks.com.

Pre-SXSW: Three Trends and Tracks That May Impact Your Marketing Plans in 2016

As I prepare for my second pilgrimage to Austin, to immerse myself in all that is emerging and mind-blowing in our industry, I thought I’d curate some of the information the organizers are now sending to registered attendees. There are three very important customer engagement trends, or “tracks” as SXSW calls them, that every marketer will want to evaluate.

The evolution of wearable technologies
An emerging trend last year will become even bigger this year, as more products enter the market. In 2015, Samsung and others showcased smart watches, VR headsets, fitness trackers, sensor clothing and so on. The Apple Watch launched post-event (their rumored SXSW pop up shop never did appear) and many, many other companies released products in a move towards a future where “quantifiable self” becomes a “thing”.

This year the big evolution seems to be a convergence between fashion, technology, art and other cultural influences. Within the SXStyle Convergence Track sessions and events, I’m hoping thought leaders answer a pertinent question for marketers everywhere, “What branded experiences are possible with emerging wearable technologies and what useful data can I collect to enhance my relationships with customers who have them?” Creatively, considering these devices as inputs and outputs for campaigns ushers in a brave new world.

And if you consider, as you should, that wearable technologies form part of the connected devices ecosystem that is the Internet of Things, then you’re already prepared for the next trend …

The potential of the Internet of Things
Ever-higher speed connections are creating opportunities for devices to converse with each other through the Internet. IoT means smart cities; connected cars; sensor and wearable technologies; connected homes and appliances; and so much more; speak to each other and can make decisions on our behalf. The on-going conversations about Artificial Intelligence, even in something as user-friendly as Google Now, also fuels conversation on IoT.

“The Internet of Things is nothing short of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” – Jamshed Dubash, “Marketing and The Internet of Things: Are you Ready?”

The big data created can, theoretically, be used to create enriched experiences between brands and customers. Figuring out how to wield the data to do this, though, is very difficult … honestly, marketers seem to have given up trying to get their heads around “big data” as a topic and have moved on to IoT––hoping this will help make the real world applications of information more obvious and easier to get their heads around.

Brands taking advantage of third, fourth and fifth screens in fridges, cars and watches … building in unrivaled relevance and usefulness, will win the engagement game in the near future. I hope the sessions focussing on IoT help us all get our heads in the game. Speaking of games …

The explosion of VR and AR
360 content is everywhere, already. You can see it in your social feeds; on YouTube channels; through cardboard viewfinders and soon on gaming consoles. Global brands like Samsung are building technologies like the Gear VR headset and Gear 360 camera; Microsoft is waiting for the right time to launch their Augmented Reality headset, the Hololens; Facebook-owned Oculus Rift made VR accessible to everyone and days ago (at Samsung’s Unpacked event in Barcelona) Mark Zuckerberg proclaimed the growth in popularity will be exponential … his presence reinforced original statements made when they spent $2 billion when buying Oculus.

“This is really a new communication platform … We believe this kind of immersive reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.”

So if you’re a brand built around an experience not easily replicated on a website, or in a showroom or through a telephone agent, VR content can create immersive experiences that genuinely offer a window into a world that your customers could live in. Harte Hanks’ David Chandler offers insight into how brands can harness VR effectively in this blog post.

Of course this doesn’t even consider the notion that the pure entertainment value of great advertising could be enriched with VR. Will someone be brave enough to create a VR Super Bowl LI commercial next year? I hope so.

So. There you have it. Just three trend tracks I’ll be engaging with in Texas. There’ll be more to follow from me, post-event. And a whole lot to keep your eye on over the next few years!

Are you planning on attending SXSW this year? Tweet us at @HarteHanks and let us know which tracks you think will draw the biggest crowds this year.

How to Optimize Spend with Fractional Attribution

Database

 

When traditional “database marketing” first took off in the early 1990’s, marketing performance measurement and attribution was quite simple. We generated sales and direct mail campaign performance reports using a handful of dimensions. Attribution was easily derived through business reply cards (attached to direct mail pieces), phone numbers or tracking codes. We also used indirect attribution rules by making control group comparisons. We were fairly accurate and the process was easy to execute.

The Current State of Attribution

We all know that the marketing landscape has changed … and it continues to evolve with massive channel proliferation. With so much data and so many options regarding how to best apply a limited marketing budget, how can a CMO receive richer insight to influence tactical decisions that will improve media/channel performance?

Let’s first examine the various states of attribution from the viewpoint of the modern day marketer:

  • Direct Attribution: Still used widely today and still relevant. A specific customer behavior (e.g. a purchase) can be “directly” attributed to a given marketing stimuli via a unique code, landing page/URL, response device, etc. However, other marketing stimuli may have created momentum and been a significant contributor to the consumer’s ultimate decision to purchase.
  • Last Touch Attribution: Attributing the desired customer behavior to the last “known” marketing touch. Similar to “Direct” Attribution, but not always the same, here the marketer attributes the desired customer behavior to the last known touch. This method is very common when there are no specific tracking codes/tags that tie a desired customer behavior directly to a specific marketing stimuli.
  • Multi-Full Attribution: Channel proliferation has led to individual channel/media silos, each with their own unique attribution rules. The separation of traditional offline data and online data is very common. For example, direct mail data is stored in a traditional customer database, email data is stored with the email service provider, and online data is stored by various DMPs, by vendors/partners that are contracted to capture it, each often with their own siloed attribution logic taking FULL credit for the same desired behaviors.
  • Rules Based Attribution: Building on the “Multi-Full Attribution” described above, here marketers use what is often called a “common sense approach” to proportionally assign attribution to very siloed marketing stimuli. For example, a business had recently identified the large overlap between their direct mail and digital channels. For the overlapping purchases identified in both groups, 100% of a given purchase was attributed to direct mail, while simultaneously 100% was also attributed to a combination of digital channels. A rule was then quickly implemented to assign 20% of the attribution to the direct mail channel and proportionally reduce the attribution by 20% across the various forms of digital media. So, it is “fractional” by the simplest definition, but no real math or analytics was being used to assign the “fraction” to each media/channel.

Each of these options contains significant attribution bias towards channels/forms of media, that when taken for face value will result is less than optimal decision-making.

Database-1

What’s Next and What is Fractional Attribution?

Marketers must now leverage math, science and statistics to analyze and derive insight from large pools of data, much of which can now be integrated across channels to inform decisions across touch points during the customer journey. Fractional Attribution is a necessary tool for understanding campaign performance across a multitude of touch points.

Through advanced (and proven) analytic techniques, a weighting calculation is developed and applied to the various marketing touches during the customer’s buying journey. In short, you are attributing a portion of that customer’s purchase to each of the marketing touches that impacted the customer’s decision to buy.

Harte Hanks has a team of analysts that work with marketing organizations to create a fractional attribution model through a collaborative development process:

  1. Define the overall objectives and identify the behavior metrics you want to positively impact (e.g. response, sales, conversion, product registration, etc.).
  2. Define and implement the roadmap including identification of key performance indicators (KPIs) and setting the overall attribution approach. Companies have used both “quick start” fractional attribution solutions and more robust solutions that require dedicated data stores and data integration tools.
  3. Collect and compile the data.
  4. Execute the fractional attribution solution and create the scenario planning tool.

The “scenario planning tool” is what enables the user to optimize media/channel performance. Using the tool, the analyst or marketer can quickly run “what-if” analyses to estimate the impact of reallocating marketing spend across channel/media or removing a channel/media from the mix altogether. The end result is a much more informed decision that can result in significantly higher returns from your marketing budget. Performance data and insights from the optimization exercise are then used to calibrate and refine the attribution engine going forward.

Fractional Attribution rooted in proven math and statistical techniques is a critical tool to accurately improve and optimize the performance of an incredibly fragmented and complex system of channels and media, both online and offline.

database-2

It’s not perfect – no marketing science or advanced marketing analytic solution is. But a robust modeled attribution solution is proven marketing science, and those that leverage it appropriately will generate higher return from their marketing spend and outperform their competitors.

Has your company used fractional attribution to better analyze your marketing spend? Tweet us at @HarteHanks and share your experience with us.

How Pharmaceutical CRMs Can Lead to Healthier Relationships

Boosting physician and patient engagement

pharma CRM postCustomer Relationship Management (CRM) software offers a great deal of potential for the pharmaceutical industry. However, this is a complex sector, riddled with regulations surrounding sensitive data. It is not easy to find a solution that fits business needs while complying with relevant laws. This is especially true at an international level when different rules need to be observed for different countries.

Purchasing a standard CRM solution and trying to adapt it to various business and regulatory requirements is time consuming and difficult. Inevitably it involves compromise and hidden expense.

Instead, many pharmaceutical companies could benefit from international CRM programs that are purpose-built from the ground up by a marketing services provider.

Bespoke CRM for pharmaceuticals

A truly customized approach uses business goals as a starting point and builds a CRM framework around them. This ensures variations across different countries can be accounted for and embraced at an early stage, rather than being bolted on later. The result is a highly specified solution intrinsically optimized to meet business needs. It can have built-in scalability and the flexibility to handle international differences in data laws or standard practice, such as call centre versus nurse-led activity.

Ultimately, custom-built CRM offers better value and efficiency. Adapting existing systems is expensive, license fees can be high and product release cycles can delay the implementation of certain functionalities.

Using an MSP to build, manage and implement the solution brings multiple advantages. Since all aspects – from database management to phone calls, emails and SMS to direct mail – are handled by one organization, the program is more cohesive and affordable. What’s more, sensitive data is all held securely in one place.

Physician and patient communications

The best pharmaceutical CRM programs empower physicians and patients to make better, more informed choices – whether they’re prescribing treatment or following it.

Meeting physicians in person is becoming increasingly difficult for pharmaceutical companies. Physicians are often under pressure to see a certain number of patients per day, leaving limited time for meeting with third parties. Some countries also have complex regulations surrounding personal interaction between pharmaceutical companies and medical professionals. In many cases, direct marketing can play an effective role alongside or in place of face-to-face meetings. It enables physicians to keep abreast of the latest developments in treatments and processes such as pharmaceutical-led patient support.

Patient-focused activity varies depending on the nature of the patient’s condition, where they are in the treatment cycle, the level of data available and nuances of their country of residence. Naturally, when more is known about a patient, activity can be better tailored to their current needs and communications become more meaningful.

A central aim of pharmaceutical CRM should be fostering good relationships between patients and physicians. This means acknowledging the authority of the physician in prescribing drugs, while enabling patients to get more out of their appointments and the overall treatment. Ideally communications should operate progressively, supporting patients as they move from the initial awareness that they may have a certain condition, to actively acknowledging it, then learning to live with it. The latter stage is vital to boost adherence to treatment regimen and enhance overall patient outcomes.

Overcoming challenges

There are many challenges facing the marketing of pharmaceuticals today. However, deeper engagement rooted in custom-built CRM can help navigate many of them.

Direct alignment of patient and physician communications is complex from a data perspective, but with care and attention it can usually be achieved. Bespoke CRM programs can incorporate specific opt-in language to overcome many of the barriers surrounding sensitive data. This ensures that patients who are happy to share their data can access the wider support that is on offer should they need it.

Achieving buy-in from physicians and patients is not easy – nor should it be. Pharmaceutical organizations need to earn trust and loyalty over time. Striving for better, deeper engagement is a critical factor. An effective way to realize this in the short- to medium-term is through the empowerment of patients and physicians, arming them with knowledge and information so they can make informed choices. In the longer term, improved patient outcomes will speak for themselves.

 

Harte Hanks handles CRM programs for leading global pharmaceutical companies. Patient data is handled sensitively and an integrated approach ensures improved patient support and outcomes. Natalia Gallur has more than ten years’ experience in the sector.

 

Smarter Demand Gen Awakens

Convergence of Tech and People Will Amplify Demand Generation in 2016

UnknownThe B2B demand-marketing ecosystem continues to evolve at a rapid pace. It’s driven by emerging technologies, tactics and buyer behaviors, alongside other well-established factors that continue to shape the discipline.

Industry influencers and analysts such as SiriusDecisions and Forrester identified a raft of demand generation trends and requirements in 2015. These range from better use of analytics as a foundation for demand planning to buyer journey alignment and operationalizing personas.

The notion of operationalizing personas involves integrating persona intelligence into demand generation efforts. At a fundamental level, it involves dynamic delivery of persona-based content, messaging and offers across email, landing pages and websites. It was first mooted by SiriusDecisions in 2014, but began to take hold last year. During 2016 it will occupy a more central role as we enter the next stage of the journey: smarter demand generation.

Why do we need Smarter Demand Generation?

Many B2B organizations find their demand generation efforts are characterized by small pipelines, missed targets and failure to respond to the needs of today’s buyers. It’s not surprising when you consider the seismic shift in buyer behavior over the past few years.

B2B sales and marketing is becoming increasingly complex and far less linear in its nature. There are multiple influencers, decision makers and stakeholders. There are multiple online and offline marketing channels. And there are multiple interactions and conversations taking place.

In this fractured, multifaceted landscape we need to find a path to more effective, joined-up demand generation. We need an approach that embraces the complex realities of the B2B sector today and handles them with ease. Smarter demand generation is the answer.

What does it mean?

A central feature of smarter demand generation is the convergence of people and technology. This is true throughout the process. Human insight and expertise facilitates the creation and operationalization of personas. It also shapes the development and substance of programs that are augmented and delivered via sophisticated technologies. Finally, individuals at the receiving end of smarter demand generation are served with optimized, highly personalized communications. Content is relevant to their current and future professional needs and it is delivered at an opportune time via the most appropriate platform. The upshot is finely tuned buyer engagement and a more robust pipeline.

This might sound a world away from traditional demand generation. And it’s true that it requires a deeply analytical and intelligent approach expertly integrated with technical capabilities. But every journey begins with a single step. Marketers who set their sights on smarter demand generation can quickly realize benefits at a micro level that can later be replicated at a larger scale.

Exploring smarter demand generation with one segment of your target audience can be a good place to start. Integrating data, technology, people and tactics for the first time isn’t easy – but it is more manageable and achievable at a smaller scale. Ring-fence a project that leverages insight to improve targeting, messaging and optimization. Then closely monitor the results to track the impact on the sales pipeline. Spotlighting the effectiveness of smarter demand generation in this way, and sharing it at a Board level, can create an appetite for more. It might help secure investment in the technologies and skills required for a wider rollout.

The B2B sector has strived for precision marketing for decades. With the awakening of smarter demand generation, it is finally within reach.

 

Alex Gill explores this theme in a B2B Marketing webinar on 27 January: How to align your marketing for smarter demand generation and stronger ROI. Book your seat here.

Technology Is Not a Substitute for Creativity

Tech-Creativity

Marketing has always been a blend of art and science. But the rise of marketing technology has tilted the scales heavily towards the science end of the equation. This is not necessarily a bad thing – the digital revolution has armed marketers with information and techniques that drive more accurate, cost-effective campaigns. Essentially, technology has eliminated a good portion of the “guesswork” traditionally associated with marketing. Again, this is a wonderful development for marketers. Technology allows us to personalize our approach to better connect with audiences and do a better job of meeting their needs and desires. But too much technology can have negative effects – namely, the erosion of creativity.

Marketing automation programs are rapidly becoming “cookie cutter” strategies that rely too heavily on the medium of delivery. The “three emails and a landing page” approach can (and often does) work, but as marketing automation becomes more and more prominent, the impact of a “basic” campaign will quickly dissipate. The deluge of analytics available to the modern marketer is a veritable treasure trove of information. But too often, marketers are held hostage by data points, finding themselves afraid to venture outside of the established thinking.

Going forward, brand marketers must rely more on intuition and creativity to avoid becoming just another source of noise in the market. And brands must embrace creativity and avoid the “safe” approach of standardized campaigns. Great ideas have always been the bedrock of great marketing campaigns. Technology will never change that fact. Technology – if developed and implemented correctly – can help marketers amplify creative approaches. Real-time response measurement can quickly let marketers know what’s working and what’s not, allowing them to adjust and mold ideas into messages that get results – and prove beyond a doubt what consumers want to see, hear and, ultimately, buy from brands.

Marketing technology allows brands to paint a clearer picture of their audiences and develop a deeper understanding of their desires, needs and behaviors. Rather than playing it safe, marketers should harness this information to help them develop great ideas that make a lasting impact on audiences.

As we approach the New Year, my advice to marketers for 2016 is: be bold, lean on your intuition, and create smarter, more personal customer interactions.

The Hottest Three Letter Acronym for 2016: D-M-P

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Marketers are overwhelmed with tools and channels, and most of these – OMG! – have a three-letter acronym (TLA) that we use to theoretically make it easier for us to discuss them (and of course, to make us feel like we are in the know!). DSP, SEM, PMD, PLA, SEO, FPD, LOL, CRM, FAN, GDN . . . the list goes on and on. BTW, “LOL” on the previous list refers to “laugh out loud,” ICYM!

IMO, the hot TLA for 2016 will be DMP – data management platform. FYI, a DMP is a data warehouse that “can be used to house and manage any form of information, but for marketers, they’re most often used to manage cookie IDs and to generate audience segments, which are subsequently used to target specific users with online ads.”

For example, let’s say that you have a CRM full of FPD (first-party data) about your customers. You can upload this data to a DMP, enhance the data with third-party behavioral targeting, and then generate audience profiles that you can use to create more targeted and effective ads across your social, search, and display channels. Compared to your competitors without a DMP, your marketing campaigns should resonate better with consumers. Information asymmetry leads to better ROI, so marketers who don’t have a DMP have more to fear than just the FOMO – they may actually be at a significant disadvantage.

All of this assumes, of course, that marketers who invest in a DMP will install it correctly and use it correctly. As anyone who has seen an amazing pitch of marketing technology knows, the product never seems to work quite as well as it does in the canned demo! Setting up a DMP properly is fraught with potential pitfalls, from not properly importing data to incorrect data interpretation. So simply having a DMP is not enough – having the right pilots of data collection and analysis is vital. Given that this is a corporate blog, now would be a good time for me to promote Harte Hanks’ DMP/service solution, which we call Total Customer Discovery.

The future of marketing is always murky, so the centrality of the DMP is still TBD. That said, theoretically DMPs make a lot of sense, and it seems likely that it will be an important component of all online marketing strategies going forward. TTYL!

The Campaign is Dead, Long Live the Campaign

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The evolution of the customer journey from vendor-led to the modern, customer-empowered experience has all but killed the idea of a “campaign.” Marketing to today’s consumer is not a short-term affair – it requires a sustained effort that provides the consumer with relevant and useful information at the right time and place. This “long” approach has seemingly ended the usefulness of the traditional campaign, with the thought being that the modern consumer is acutely aware of when they are being marketed to and are turned off by campaigns. While this is partially true – consumers are more aware – the rumors of the campaign’s death are unsubstantiated.

Traditional Campaigns

When we think of the word “campaign” in the traditional sense, we think of short-term, targeted efforts and messaging designed to spur action, like voting for a political candidate or driving consumers to a holiday sale event. In the past, these campaigns were singular efforts, and while not completely disconnected from the brand, existed largely outside of the overall brand message. In essence, the customer journey was brief. Those customers targeted by the campaign were targeted specifically for the campaign, but not necessarily for an ongoing relationship.

It’s All About Semantics

The massive customer journey sea change in the digital age has painted the campaign in a negative light. But the rumors of the campaign’s demise are greatly exaggerated. The campaign is alive and well – if viewed as a tactic rather than a strategy. After all, “campaign” is just a word. Campaigns – no matter what you call them – do have a place in the modern customer journey. But they must be seamlessly integrated into a larger, more macro approach to customer engagement.

The Tactical Approach

To successfully promote your brand and its products or services, simply marketing to consumers is not enough. You must build relationships and build trust. Today’s consumer knows a pitch when they see it and tends to be turned off when approached with a purely sales-driven message, especially as an initial communication. Consumers are, however, receptive to individual campaigns within the larger context of an existing relationship with your brand. Those consumers who already have a level of engagement with your brand – particularly those who have shown increased interest by opting in to your communications – are likely to embrace a campaign for your product or service, or at the very least consider the message.

Consumer engagement communications should never be stagnant – simply promoting the same thing in perpetuity will eventually lead to message fatigue and a loss of interest in your brand. Injecting timely, targeted campaigns into your customer communications can breathe life into your customer engagement and drive revenue for your brand.

Marketing Technology: Where’s My ROI?

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The modern customer journey is consumer driven and often fractured. Unlike the linear, vendor-led customer journeys of the past, the buyer is now in full control. With endless options – and a bevvy of information about each product or service readily available for consumers – marketers must devise new ways to attract customers and secure brand awareness and loyalty. A slew of new marketing technology, including CRM, marketing automation and inbound marketing platforms, have risen up to solve the new customer journey riddle. But despite the effectiveness of these platforms, too many B2B companies are reporting negative ROI for marketing technology investments. There are a number of reasons why.

Failure to Launch

The B2B sales cycle is a complex process. Unlike B2C products, there is no such thing as an “impulse purchase.” Buyers typically spend weeks, months and sometimes even years researching and deliberating before deciding on a purchase – particularly where big-ticket items are concerned. Marketing technology can help significantly simplify this process, but it isn’t a magic bullet. Marketing platforms aren’t plug and play; they are a set of interconnected tools for marketers to utilize as part of an overall strategy. Too often, B2B companies purchase marketing technology, but fail to allocate the resources necessary to realize their benefits. Marketing systems are a great delivery system, but engaging and strategic content that guides prospects along the customer journey must be created first. You can buy a car, but if you don’t fill it with gas and get behind the wheel, it isn’t going to move.

Scratching the Surface

Most of the marketing technology platforms available today come equipped with an array of features that justify their cost – intelligent analytics, A/B testing, easy integration, etc. Companies who fail to realize ROI on these products are often utilizing only a fraction of the features available to them. These features can significantly enhance the power of the platform and should be utilized whenever possible.

Stove Piping

With so many different types of technology available, B2B companies often have more than one system for sales and marketing. Failure to integrate these systems – particularly marketing automation platforms and CRM software – creates a confusing environment where systems are not communicating with each other and often duplicating efforts. In order to get the most out of marketing software and a favorable ROI, marketing platforms and CRM software should always be integrated.

Putting the Cart Before the Horse

Too many B2B companies dive head first into marketing technology – purchasing platforms without a full understanding of the system or a plan to implement it. B2B marketers often find themselves tasked with becoming technology experts trying to implement and integrate systems they know little, if anything, about. Additionally, systems are often purchased before a strategy has been developed to utilize them.

Boost Your ROI

To fully realize the benefits of marketing technology platforms, B2B marketers must view these platforms as an important tool, but as only part of the process. Creative campaigns, strategic plans and actual customer conversations are all an integral part of the modern customer journey as well. Before purchasing a new marketing technology platform, B2B companies should perform due diligence on the products they wish to purchase and have a plan in place on how they will be utilized.

And if you need help boosting the ROI of your marketing investment, Harte Hanks has extensive experience integrating marketing technology with marketing strategy. We’re here to help!

The Revolution Will Be Televised

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Smart B2B brands have been learning from their B2C cousins about wrapping messages up in a more appealing way for years. Some B2B players have a clear vision of the role video needs to play and how to make the viewer experience both enjoyable and meaningful. Plaudits where they’re due!

However, some B2B companies have been slow to adopt video to attract customers or communicate effectively – due largely to inexperience and a failure to understand the financial and creative commitments necessary to produce video content that gets results. Whether it’s a B2C or B2B audience, humans typically respond better to – and retain more information from – video content. We’ve been hard-wired to respond to moving pictures and alluring sounds since we were all tiny humans. All B2B marketers must learn to adapt and create visual content in order to survive.

Learn From The Pros

There’s a good reason B2C companies are adept at visual content – they’ve been doing it since the 1940s. (The first paid television advertisement, for Bulova watches, was broadcast during a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies in 1941). Since those halcyon days, the medium has expanded, changed, moved and expanded again. While few companies have the marketing budget to run a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl (estimated cost: $4.5 million), the barrier to entry for visual advertising is nearly non-existent. Anyone with a YouTube account and a smartphone can shoot and upload a video. But with expanded access comes immense competition. Simply uploading a video won’t move the needle on customer engagement. B2C marketers know this and dedicate the necessary resources for strategy, creative services and production to create engaging and entertaining video content. The rest of the B2B marketers must follow suit or run the risk of creating dull content that drives away viewers.

Plan For Success 

Before jumping into the video content world, B2B marketers must first devise a strategy. What is the goal of the video? How will it be implemented? For the most part, video content is not a “one-off” product, but a tactic to be implemented along the customer journey as the part of an overall strategy. The content and the style of the video should be determined by its place in the customer journey – top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, etc. Before creating content marketers must determine where and how the video will be best utilized.

Entertain and Engage

Perhaps the biggest mistake some B2B marketers make when creating video is the tendency to focus intently on product details. Minute product details are great for a buyer at the very end of the customer journey, but for most audiences these types of videos end up feeling like an excruciating PowerPoint presentation. Effective video entertains, engages and ultimately, wins loyalty. Dollar Shave Club – a three-year-old company now worth $615 million – launched its success with an irreverent and incredibly entertaining video that quickly went viral, garnering 19 million views. The 90-second video didn’t mention any details about the product itself (aside from calling its razors “f***ing great”), but it achieved its goal – it introduced a new brand to a vast audience, won their affection by entertaining them, and asked them to consider the company’s product without bogging the audience down with details. B2B marketers must find ways to deliver messages implicitly rather than directly, and wrap these messages inside attractive packaging.

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

One of the many benefits of marketing automation and content delivery platforms is the ability to evaluate and adjust content based on metrics. These systems give marketers at 360-degree view into content performance – which videos were opened, how long they were viewed and whether or not users clicked to learn more. By paying close attention to metrics, marketers can continually alter content to deliver more engaging and effective communications.

The Recipe

Creating engaging video content requires a thoughtful strategy, an investment in production quality and a hefty dose of creativity. Without all three, your videos may end up DOA!

Notes

YouTube – the world’s second largest search engine – has over one billion users. The site reaches more 18-49 year olds than any cable network. The number of companies running ads on YouTube increases 40 percent from year to year. The site has become the most important advertising platform in America and beyond.

Back to the Future: Predictive Analytics

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What if you knew what your customers wanted, when they wanted it? With predictive marketing analytics, gazing into the future is entirely possible. While predictive analytics is not a new concept – marketers have often tried to use past performance to predict future behavior – the dawn of the information age has amplified its effectiveness and usability. Predictive analytics allow marketers to focus efforts and maximize their budgets by identifying targets who are ready to buy and by eliminating those who aren’t.

Big Data

 To accurately predict consumer behavior, you need more than focus groups and surveys. The era of Big Data has armed marketers with a deluge of information on consumers – including engagement with marketing automation platforms and “intent” data from across the web. The technology to crunch this data and make sense of it is rapidly evolving, providing marketers with a roadmap to reach the right audience at the right time.

Data in Action

The Big Data era has produced an incredible amount of information about habits, desires and tendencies of consumers. Marketers who follow these digital footprints can optimize their marketing efforts to target individual audience segments and personalize messages to speak directly to potential customers. Predictive analytics can help create incredibly specific buyer personas – marketers no longer need to rely on broad demographic data and guestimates of what a particular buyer prefers. Enhanced buyer personas lay the groundwork for highly personalized messaging for nurture campaigns, which multiple studies show leads to significant increases in conversion and revenue. Predictive analytics also provide the benefit of targeted spending. Knowing what audiences to target and which platforms to target them through significantly increases the impact of marketing budgets.

B2B Adoption

B2B marketers have lagged behind their B2C counterparts in the adoption of marketing technology ­­– predictive analytics included. And while it’s true that personalized data from individual consumers offer a more clear view into purchasing habits and tendencies, plenty of data exists for B2B customers that can be utilized to implement more intelligent marketing tactics. Purchase history, for instance, is a great predictor of current and future behavior. If a customer has recently purchased a software system that won’t need an upgrade for three years, targeting that customer with marketing messages is not only inefficient, but could negatively affect that customers’ perception of your brand. Existing software licenses, log-in frequency, help desk calls and firmographics can also help B2B companies predict the need and desire for their products. Normally this kind of data will predict the type of customers that buy your products. Add social data sources to the mix, and you can predict customers that are ready to buy.

Implementation

Depending on the level of sophistication and budget resources, B2B marketers can deploy analyst-led solutions or automated “black box” solutions to perform predictive analytics. For larger, more comprehensive data operations, an analyst-led approach is preferred. Computers are wonderful, but a human touch – specifically when there are oddities in the data – can more accurately utilize the information output to design programs and messaging that take into account both the customer and the nuances of the company. However, there are various automated solutions that are more than sufficient for less sophisticated marketing automation programs. Both approaches have their own merit, but one thing is clear: predictive analytics allow businesses to focus on what’s important and discard what’s not, leading to amplified revenue growth – and happy customers.

 

The 4 Biggest Challenges Facing B2B Tech Marketers Today (Part 4)

Unifying Communication Strategies Across Channels Throughout the Customer Journey

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Over the past few weeks, we’ve been exploring the four biggest marketing challenges faced by B2B tech companies.

Whether you’ve been following along or just tuning in now, you can find the first three installments about utilizing all available tools and technologies, leveraging high-quality, real-time data and generating ROI with less budget and fewer resources on our blog.

For the fourth and final challenge, I will discuss the best strategies to unify communications across channels in order to drive the customer journey.

CHALLENGE #4: How do I unify communication strategies across channels to drive customers through the buyer journey?

Your brand is a powerful thing. Not only does it represent the essence and promise of your company, it also embodies the expectations and opinions of your customer as they move through their buying journey. Each touch point with your brand is a chance to enhance – or diminish – a customer’s perception.

That means that each piece of advertising, each call to your contact center and each visit to your landing page should work in tandem to convey a consistent message that represents your brand. Just one negative interaction can damage your customer’s perception. And it’s much more difficult to reverse a negative perception than it is to proactively ensure positive customer interactions from the start of a campaign.

So how can we ensure a single view of customer across their entire journey, with consistent brand touch points and a clear, unified message? Read on:

  1. Start with a clear definition of your brand. First and foremost, you need to clearly define what your brand represents. Your brand platform needs to be articulated and shared with everyone in the company, particularly the external-facing representatives. A marketing program is the creative output built on top of the brand, designed to build awareness and the desire to purchase.
  2. Decide what you are trying to achieve with your marketing efforts. What is your vision of success? What are you trying to do and why are you trying to do it? At this stage, it’s helpful to look at what Harte Hanks Creative Director Alan Kittle calls The Beautiful Intersection. Draw two intersecting circles. In one, write out what you or your client wants to say. In the other, detail what your audience wants to hear. The intersection of this Venn Diagram is your sweet spot – the message that will tell your story while resonating with your audience.
  3. Identify the necessary building blocks and work streams. After you define your end goal and key objective, work backwards to figure out what will get your there. Start with a solid strategist or planner. This individual or team should gather and interpret all available data, and determine how that insight into the customer will enable a connection with the brand. Data intelligence should help form creative briefs and build a campaign message that is highly measurable.
  4. Cut through with a single unifying thought. In a complex, multi-channel, multi-territory campaign, it is essential to have one unifying idea that all marketing efforts tie back to. In fact, the more complex the marketing campaign – the more channels, audiences, periods of time – the simpler the message should be. By looking at the whole picture, you can determine how all the pieces fit together throughout the journey: how an audience reacts to an email, then a phone call a few weeks later and a piece of advertising leading them to a customer landing page a few days after that.
  5. Create an ecosystem of collaboration and information sharing. It is essential that all agencies plug into the brand and work together in a creative, synergistic manner to tell the same story. Branding agencies need to work in tandem with creative teams – the strongest teams collaborate to make a greater sum of their parts.

By following these steps for a new marketing idea, or to increase the effectiveness of an in-progress marketing program, it is possible to unify communications across channels and create that single, unifying thought that weaves through the entire customer journey. Data helps inform and define this thought and to create a cycle of excellence: use data to create something with the best chance of success, then look at what to improve and start the process again.

The 4 Biggest Challenges Facing B2B Tech Marketers Today (Part 3)

Maximizing ROI with Fewer Resources and Smaller Budgets

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If you’ve been following my four-part series on the biggest challenges impacting B2B tech companies today, you’ll have already picked up some tips on maximizing your tools and technologies and generating high-quality, real-time data.

In this post, I’m going to address one of the most pressing and urgent pain points that marketers face today: how to show an increased return on investment for marketing activities despite shrinking head counts and budgets.

CHALLENGE #3: How do I Maximize ROI with fewer resources and less investment?

With the rise of data analytics, there is more pressure to measure results and account for ROI on ever dollar spent. At Harte Hanks, we’ve found two complementary solutions that work best for driving ROI without hiring a team of marketers or straining existing budgets: Marketing Automation and Centralized Tele-services Programs.

Marketing Automation: Marketing automation platforms help plan, coordinate, manage and measure all of your marketing campaigns, making them more personalized, effective and efficient. The best part is they are executed just as the name suggests­­ – automatically, with minimal need for resource oversight.

Marketing automation has been a buzzword for a few years now, but according to Sirius Decisions, in 2014 85% of B2B marketers using marketing automation platforms feel they are not using them to their full potential. My colleague Anthony Figgins recently wrote about creating more relevant, personal customer interactions using marketing automation as well as some tips for getting started, which I’ve summarized here:

 5 Tips for Implementing Marketing Automation

  1. Pick the tools that best suit your business needs: Identify a tool that fits your goals and budget. We suggest tools that prevent unhealthy data and support better conversion rates, progressive profiling and social integrations.
  1. Select the right team: Because of the complex nature of many marketing automation systems, training will be crucial to success. Empower your team to know, understand and follow best practices and spend an adequate amount of time with vendors to fully immerse with the systems.
  1. Integrate your automation marketing platforms with a CRM system:Many brands use marketing automation solely as an email platform and then sync data with a CRM system. Your marketing automation platforms should work in tandem with your CRM to tell a holistic, cohesive story to and about your customers.
  1. Engage your sales force: Your sales team is the eyes and the ears in the field. They know what is happening with your customers. They can be an excellent source of knowledge about what is working and what needs to be re-evaluated.
  1. Have a plan, process and goal for your tools: Integrate and build processes early to ensure the success of your marketing automation systems. Take a crawl-walk-run approach: Start with an email, then test and refine based on real-time data.

Centralized Teleservices Program: While automating your marketing processes is a sure path to increase ROI, a complementary hands-on approach through a consolidated telemarketing program can also contribute to the bottom line. By simplifying engagement through a central point and single CRM, companies can drive and support both inbound response management to ensure quality customer experiences and outbound lead generation to drive new business.

I’ll give you an example. One of our B2B tech clients was challenged with a waning sales pipeline and declining brand awareness. They had a decentralized model with multiple local agencies, which led to inconsistent service, process, pricing, training, reporting and management. With all of these inefficiencies, the sales pipeline was clearly suffering and the customer experience was fragmented and inconsistent.

Harte Hanks collaborated with the client to design and execute a centralized telemarketing program. The new program offered marketing efficiencies and a commonality of process through a single CRM. Customer experience and sales ROI improved dramatically through simplified engagement with one central support system that drove inbound response management and outbound lead generation.

Through handling 128,000 calls and 30,000 customer and prospect interactions in a centralized manner, the client increased its sales pipeline 300 percent and qualified leads to pass to sales by 500 percent.

With marketing automation and centralized tele-services, marketers can save money and time while still driving ROI.

Join me next week for our final installation of this series: How to unify communication strategies across channels to drive customers through the buyer journey.

 

Global Patient Support Needs to ‘Think Local’

PharmaPatient support programs play a vital role in facilitating better disease management and treatment optimization. Traditionally pharmaceutical companies launched such initiatives on a local level. However, from a regional perspective, this sometimes resulted in patchy and fragmented support. Today, many pharmaceutical companies are driving centralized programs that benefit from a more sophisticated and strategic approach.

This approach brings many advantages around compliance, visibility of success and cost-effectiveness of implementation and maintenance. Yet centralized programs can be inherently complex and unwieldy. This is compounded by the fact that they often need to be coordinated at a global or area level to maximize infrastructure and management efficiencies.

Walking the line between global/regional efficiency and local effectiveness is no mean feat. Patient support is not a ‘one size fits all’ discipline; activity needs to be expertly tailored and carefully orchestrated.

At Harte Hanks, we believe five critical factors underpin patient support that is successful both at a global and a local level.

  1. Gather and leverage local knowledge

Understanding the nuances and intricacies of healthcare provision in different regions is essential. Ideally, you should have people on the ground who have in-depth knowledge of their local system and keep a finger on the pulse of any changes or developments.

Typical patient paths can vary significantly between countries for the same disease. Take the patient touchpoints and interactions for the U.S. healthcare system versus the UK’s NHS or Spain’s Seguridad Social. Prescription behaviours, drug dispensing and the length of time between specialist visits can be entirely different. There can even be differences in the role of healthcare practitioners during treatment, in terms of nurse interaction levels, nurse-led advice, pharmacist involvement and primary or speciality care.

  1. Create space for consultation and collaboration

Regional offices need to have clear channels of communication with the head office, and regular opportunities to report back on the local healthcare environment. They need to know that their observations are taken into account and actively used to shape the delivery of patient support in their territory.

At a strategic level, this collaborative approach enables program goals and objectives to be adapted to the realities of each country and healthcare system. It also needs to work at a tactical level, with regional teams of medical and regulatory professionals reviewing and approving materials before they are issued to healthcare professionals and patients.

Pharmaceutical companies often lack the time and resources required to give adequate attention to each country of a global patient support program. This is especially true when implementation needs to happen in parallel with a product launch or other internal deadlines. Working with a trusted third party can be a mutually beneficial solution for individual countries and the global program as whole. They can offer expert guidance as well as coordinate materials distribution and facilitate knowledge sharing.

  1. Ensure processes and training are water-tight

It’s vital that staff delivering the program, especially those with direct patient contact, understand indicators of pharmacovigilance events. Processes need to be in place to ensure that any spontaneous or solicited reports of adverse effects are handled appropriately and escalated in the right timeframes.

A centralized model can ensure that training compliance efforts are optimized and that all pharmacovigilance processes are managed in a cohesive way. A balance needs to be struck to ensure that training and reporting procedures meet certain standards, while respecting any elements or formats that vary between countries.

  1. Coordinated multi-channel communications

Using a CRM suite to facilitate patient and healthcare provider communications boosts efficiency and enables better control of patient support programs. For example, Harte Hanks can act as a multichannel one-stop-shop which is managed centrally but enables local offices to customize activity, such as:

  • Secure data management and hosting, in-line with local privacy rules
  • SMS, email and direct mail assets (drawing on print-on-demand and personalization capabilities)
  • Creation, development and hosting of personalized online portals for patients and healthcare providers, with self-tracking tools to support all digital communications
  • Advanced reporting and analytics to measure success and monitor progress

CRM and digital services should be flexible enough to accommodate multilingual communications and adaptations for the individual needs of each country. For instance, a global program will encounter various regulatory frameworks and the requirements of medical, legal and regulatory teams differ between countries.

  1. Continual improvement philosophy

If program goals and objectives are tailored to local regions, it follows that KPIs need to be tailored too. For measurement to be meaningful, successes or failures need to be considered in context. And they need to feed into the development of ongoing goals and objectives geared towards a cycle of continual improvement. To facilitate effective management at a macro level, it’s important to ensure global real-time visibility across the entire programme, from high-level KPIs to more detailed local perspectives.

The cornerstone of any successful patient support program is recognition that patients are people. They have their own lives, families, work and hobbies, as well as living with a disease or illness. They deserve to be listened to and helped to live their life to the fullest.

Treating patients as people within a program that operates on a global scale is complicated., but with an intelligent, carefully coordinated approach that draws on local knowledge, it is possible to achieve this. Communicating with patients at the right time with the right message via the most appropriate channel is half of the story. Ensuring information and interventions are precisely tailored to their real needs completes the circle, both supporting the treatment and enhancing the overall patient experience.

Harte Hanks handles patient support programmes for leading global pharmaceutical companies. Patient data is handled sensitively and an integrated approach ensures improved patient support and outcomes. Natalia Gallur has more than ten years’ experience in the sector. To learn more about the services we offer, take a look at our case studies.

Taking Your Customers from Anonymous to Known: Introducing Total Customer Discovery

A Deeper Dive into the Solution

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Today, we are excited to announce our newest solution to enable smarter customer interactions: Total Customer Discovery. You can learn more about the details through our press release, video and digital guide. In this blog post, I’m going to break down some of the technology components that went into creating it.

In a nutshell, Total Customer Discovery provides a holistic, 360-degree profile of customers, merging data from online and offline channels and across devices. This single customer view encompasses data across demographics (contact data, social profiles); psychographics (interests), historical (purchase and promotion history) and influencing power (networks, connections). With this richer customer view, marketers can deliver enhanced and personalized customer experiences, leading to increased acquisition, retention and, ultimately, ROI.

So without further ado, here are the different components of the Total Customer Discovery Solution and what they help address:

Solution Component: Cross Screen Identification

With cross-screen identification, each customer has a persistent, unique ID that carries with them, helping marketers track associated devices with that customer even when customers delete their browsing history (and their cookies). With Total Customer Discovery, we can identify and track customers across various devices (mobile phones, tablets, computers, laptops and so on), learning their behaviors, adding to their customer profiles and offering a seamless brand experiences across touch points that takes into consideration their past purchase history and preferences.

Solution Component: Cross Journey Mapping

To solve the problem of internal silos and overwhelming amounts of data, the cross journey mapping function captures customer’s digital behavior and stores meaningful attributes, such as click, searches, interests, preference, etc. to produce richer, more multi-dimensional customer profiles. These attributes can then be linked with other data sources within an organization such as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database. Total Customer Discovery identifies customer interactions across multiple devices and channels, so that we can track a customer throughout their entire journey, from smartphone, to tablet, to computer, to in-store.

Solution Component: Data Onboarding

A single view of customers provides a comprehensive view of the purchase journey. Integrating both online and offline data helps round out the single view of customer for a comprehensive picture of customer behavior for better retargeting and personalization. With data onboarding, online and offline data are merged and customer files are created using email or physical address lists that are matched with a database of advertiser tracking parameters. Particularly for brick-and-mortar stores, integrating online and offline data sources is crucial for delivering relevant content across channels based on the customer identification, from digital interactions on their smartphone to offline purchases at a retail store.

Solution Component: Social Linkage

Personalized, relevant content is the key to driving ROI in today’s world of real-time “micro-moments.” With social linkage, customers’ social interactions and behaviors are tracked across sites to enable deeper customer segmentation. Social linkage takes data from over 150 social sites, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Google+, and gives marketers insightful social profile data to inform their social investment decisions and make their digital marketing efforts more effective.

We’d love to tell you more about how Total Customer Discovery takes customers from anonymous to known. For more information, you can visit hartehanks.com/TCD or email TCD@hartehanks.com.

Predictive Spam or Predictive Revenue

spamAbout 50 times a day, I get an email with an innocuous subject line like “Wanted to Circle Back David” or “Lunch Tomorrow?” (these are the first two I found this morning in my inbox).

Given that these appear to be from people that I’ve apparently talked to or know, I open the email (in marketing terms, I contribute to the “open rate”). It’s only after I start to read the content that I realized I’ve been duped; these emails are spam in sheep’s clothing.

For example, the woman inviting me to “lunch tomorrow” is selling contact information appending and is based in Vancouver, Washington – a short two-hour flight away for our lunch date. The man circling back is selling an “automated communication” software to – you guessed it – enable me to create annoying emails just like the one he just sent. His pitch is here:

Repetition is the key to connecting with busy, important people like yourself.

Most salespeople stop after the 1st or 2nd touch.

When often the 5th or 8th touch leads to the most replies.

The key to our system is that we use a global workforce & technology to create smarter automated communication, for often less than an entry level wage minus the expensive benefit costs.

I can create a sample prospecting plan for no charge, if you have time next week to collaborate?

Yes, apparently spamming someone eight times is the golden ticket to success!

You might be tempted to believe this pitch – after all, if thousands of people are using deceptive subject lines and multiple “touches” as part of their email marketing plan, it must be working, right? The answer partly depends on timing and partly on your target audience. If your audience is “any business”, then I suppose that this strategy might work. This is a game of large numbers, so if you simply increase your delivery rate, open rate, and response rate, the odds are that you will drive more sales in the end.

If you are trying to sell an expensive or complicated product (think enterprise B2B) or reach “busy, important people,” then this this approach is destined for failure. How can you expect to build rapport with an executive when your initial communication is an outright deception?

I was first introduced to the concept of testing different “faux personalized” messages and then sending out the most effective ones at scale via Aaron Ross’ excellent book Predictable Revenue. The technique was quite successful for Ross, as he used it to scale SalesForce’s inside sales team to the point that it allegedly drove $100 million in revenue for the company.

It seems that I’m not the only one who read the book. Indeed, an unintended consequence of Ross’ success evangelizing his technique is the over-use and misuse of his principles. A recent blog post on his Web site warns that “95% of salespeople” make major mistakes with cold emails, which can result in “a declining open rate and in extreme cases, a tarnished reputation.” And this leads us to the second determinant of success: timing. When Ross was perfecting his predictable revenue methodology at SalesForce, he hadn’t written his book and consequently no one was mimicking his approach. Today, tens of thousands of Predictable Revenue readers are sending – and often spamming – the world with faux personalized messages.

The result is a classic “tragedy of the commons” situation, where “individuals acting independently and rationally according to each’s self-interest behave contrary to the best interests of the whole group by depleting some common resource.” The common resource at risk today is the trust of email recipients. Every day that I receive another 50 trick emails from people I don’t know trying to convince me that I do know them, my level of suspicion is raised. These days, unless I recognize the name of the sender, I just assume that the email is spam. Do I read it just in case? Sure – but there’s no way I’m actually going to respond to the email.

Getting back to those mistakes that 95% of salespeople make, one of the top four according to Ross’ blog is an “overproduced tone.” As the blog notes:

Make your email authentic. Email templates that look too fancy or overly modern end up just feeling fake and impersonal. The last thing you’d ever want is for someone to consider your email spam. This is why it’s really important to ensure your email feels human, not like something mass-produced.

This, however, is the problem – the more “human” the email feels today, the more I’m apt to conclude that it is spam. In some respects, I think I’m more responsive to emails that are clearly bulk email marketing messages – at least the sender is being honest about wanting to sell something to someone they don’t know!

The bottom line is that good marketing – be it cold emails, Google AdWords, or a roadside billboard – needs to be both authentic and original. Authentic in the sense that you begin your relationship with a customer in a way that is truthful about your brand and forthright in your attentions. Original in the sense of Seth Godin’s Purple Cow – creating advertising that stands out from the crowd. What worked for Aaron Ross ten years ago may not work for you today, because it’s no longer a purple cow and the tragedy of the commons has raised the suspicions of respondents. There are great testing and scaling lessons to be had from Ross’ book, but imitation alone is unlikely to replicate success.

Get to Know the Harte Hanks Team

Barry Winn, Senior Strategist

BarryWinnBarry Winn has spent more than 15 years working in the digital, multi-channel agency business. His diverse background comes from having worked in several of the key roles across the global agency landscape.

Prior to joining Harte Hanks, Barry served as Director of Strategy and Business Development for Realtime Media, a technology-driven consumer engagement agency. Not only is Barry a pro in our digital marketing world, he’s also an avid musician – writing, producing and performing in his spare time. He even has a national commercial jingle or two under his belt. A left and right brainer – sounds like the kind of guy you need to know, right? We think so too.

Let’s learn a little bit more about Barry:

Q: Tell us what a typical day at Harte Hanks looks like from your perspective.
A typical day involves a nice mix of collaborating with the teams (Creative, User Experience, Account, etc.) and working alone to create solutions and meet deadlines for our clients. During the last year, my primary client has been a national insurance company. Recently, I’ve participated in several new business pitches as well as taken on additional client work for a variety of healthcare clients. Daily interactions include both internal team members and clients.

Q: What is your role in making customer interactions smarter and how did you get there?

I provide omnichannel strategic planning services; working with our clients to create meaningful experiences for their customers and prospects. My background is a bit of a winding road in the agency world, as I’ve worked across Business Development, Strategy, Client Services and Tech. However, this background has given me a great perspective on many of the roles across a typical agency team. Smarter customer interactions start with smart team interactions within the walls of Harte Hanks. Understanding and respecting all of the stakeholders in the room – and what they’re trying to accomplish – makes us more powerful and effective for our clients.

Q: What is your favorite part of working for Harte Hanks?

Harte Hanks offers a great combination of autonomy and a collaborative environment. It allows me to surround myself with great people who have great ideas (and those who can execute the ideas as well) – but also lets me spend the necessary quiet time on research, trends, case studies, and what’s next for my clients. Also, the client portfolio at Harte Hanks allows me to work across B2B and B2C as well as verticals that I’m passionate about such as healthcare, financial services and retail.

Q: What about the future of marketing are you most excited about? Trends? Tools? Platforms?

I’m excited about the opportunity to be more relevant to the audiences we’re communicating to. Relevance is the key to building relationships in an age where it’s all about the customer. Content, channels, devices, timing, personalization; it’s all about customer choices. Marketing automation and data visualization are two things I’ve been working with for years. It’s been a great experience seeing these disciplines evolve and become such an integral part of what we do. We’re seeing and addressing customer behaviors in an individualized way – and have a great set of tools at our disposal – which are only going to get better!

Q: What is something about you that very few people know?

I am a devoted dog rescuer of the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed, working as a foster, volunteer and adopter. Our organization (RRCUS) has rescued hundreds of abandoned and abused dogs from all over the country; placing them in the loving homes they deserve.

Tips for Creating Smarter, More Effective Email Marketing

Email MarketingIt’s no secret that marketers have it tougher today than ever before. A saturated market place, overwhelming amounts of brand messages and shorter consumer attention spans are just a few of the challenges we face. Reaching your customers at the right time, on the right channel, with the right message, in less than 30 seconds isn’t exactly a walk in the park.

Email remains one of the most powerful marketing tools at our disposal. When used correctly, it can have a huge impact on your ROI and drive sales. According to a 2014 digital marketing strategy survey by Ascend2 and Research Partners, email is the most effective digital marketing tool and the least difficult to execute. However, given today’s challenges, marketers need to be smarter about executing email campaigns. Here’s what you need to do to elevate your email game:

1. Build your strategy around the right key performance indicators. Many marketers like to boast about strong email open rates. But open rates don’t provide us with important insights into what is resonating or working with customers; they tell us that images have been downloaded but don’t track behavior beyond that. On the other hand, click-through rates should be the industry benchmark we all consider while mining for data insights that will drive email strategy and results. This key metric tells us the consumer read the email and was intrigued enough to take action. Focusing on click-through rates may significantly decrease the volume of data you have to work with, but it also increases the quality of data you can leverage by providing you with actionable results. Click-through data can also help improve unsubscribe rates and create more personalized, relevant content.

2. Don’t underestimate a healthy database. A database with proper and current email addresses and contact information is of utmost importance for an email campaign. Why? Because it helps you segment lists and send hyper-targeted messaging to an audience that wants to be communicated to. The result? Higher-click-through rates, better data quality and insights that will drive your strategy for future communications.

3. Remember that content is king. Gone are the days of blanket emails to your entire database. Nothing will make your customers click “Unsubscribe” faster than generic, irrelevant content that’s been sent to 50,000 plus consumers. Use your database to your advantage and figure out what content is resonating with what segments and then target accordingly. Don’t be afraid to use relevant third-party content. White papers, blog posts and news articles can be leveraged in your email outreach to have a great impact on your program.

4. Make A/B testing mandatory. A/B testing, often referred to as split testing, determines which of two campaign options is the most effective based on open- or click-through-rates. You can simply distribute two variations of one campaign and send them to a small percentage of your total recipients. This provides insights into email elements—like subject lines, color, layout and link placement.

Email marketing truly is a science and, when done properly, it can drive sales, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Healthy and effective email campaigns will produce more relevant, personalized interactions with your customers. Taking the steps outlined here can make your brand more effective and maximize your marketing dollars.

4 Hacks to Keep Your Company’s Blog Content Flowing

creating blog contentAs the managing editor of this blog, it’s my job to make sure we have a steady stream of new blog content. If you manage your own corporate blog (or even a personal blog), I’m sure you know how challenging that can be. No matter how many subject matter experts (SMEs) you ask for a post, you still often turn up empty handed. The following are some hacks I’ve come up with to make sure I always have something to publish.

1. Troll your internal networks for ideas.

You probably have some sort of internal communication/collaboration platform like Microsoft’s Yammer, IBM Connections or even something more custom to your company where people chat and share ideas. This is a prime spot to find potential blog topics and their authors. For example, this post about 3 trends that we predict will occupy retail CMOs this year came out of an internal Yammer conversation on the same topic.

2. Ghostwrite.

Once you find a great topic, it’s still unlikely that the SME wants/knows how/has time to write a blog post for you. Make it easy for them. Get on the phone for 15 minutes, pick their brain about the topic, ask for some sources of relevant stats, and get to work. I take highly detailed notes during my phone conversations so that I can 1) fully understand the topic, and 2) accurately reflect the SME’s unique voice. Make sure to run the draft by your author before actually publishing.

3. Repurpose. For real.

Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard this one before. But have you done it? I’ve been assigned to write countless white papers, case studies, point of view papers, infographics, etc. They mostly live as downloadable PDFs. With a little tweaking, most of this content can also live on your blog. For example, this post about how pharma marketers can reach limited-access docs, as well as this post about how Shutterfly failed at social customer support, started out as a point of view paper and case study, respectively. And this post about finding your most “persuadable” targets came from an infographic.

Each piece was used for its specific lead gen campaign, and then sat mostly unused in the content library. Repurposing them on the blog gave them new legs…and gave me something to publish. When you’re coming up short, browse through your own content library and see what you might be able to bring back to life.

4. Be your own expert.

Of course there are times when you can’t seem to find an SME to talk about anything interesting. And your content library has already been stretched to the max.

Now it’s time to ask, what are YOU an expert at? Then write about it.

This very post is a perfect example. I am part of our corporate marketing department, which means I don’t specialize in a particular area of our business–I support all verticals, solutions, etc. While I’m not officially an SME in the typical sense, I’m pretty darn knowledgeable about…managing our blog! I’m sharing a little bit of that knowledge here (and I think it has made a halfway decent post, if I do say so myself).

I hope these hacks make your life a little easier when it comes to blog content.

What tips and tricks do you have to keep your blog content coming?

 

The 2015 B2B Content Marketing Report: My Top 3 Stats

Earlier this month, the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs released their annual B2B content marketing report, the 5th of its kind.  The report includes findings from 1,820 North American B2B marketers from among 5,000+ marketers surveyed across 109 countries and 25 industries.  Naturally, the result has been a number of articles from varying sources, outlining key findings.
cover image of 2015 b2b content marketing report


One piece in particular
, that received a lot of attention when referenced on the Harte Hanks Twitter account, came from Social Media B2B and highlighted 20 of what they consider to be the most important stats from the report. Now, while they are all valuable stats, I am not going to discuss all 20.

Instead, I would like to focus on 3 that stood out to me most:

  1. 86% of B2B Marketers are using content marketing:

I know that we have all heard numbers like this repeatedly, but what’s interesting about it this time is the fact that the number has gone down from last year’s 93%. What also changed this year is the way “content marketing” was defined, which the aforementioned article speculates as the catalyst for the drop in participation.  The 2015 report defined “content marketing” as: “A  strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” So, it is likely that the decrease is due to the realization to some that they are not truly using content marketing, but merely creating and distributing content.

  1. 54% of the most effective B2B Marketers have a documented content marketing strategy:

The key takeaway from this stat seems to be that if you want to become more effective in your content marketing, the first step may be as simple as documenting your strategy. Now, I obviously use the term “simple” loosely, and a written strategy will not solve all of your content marketing problems overnight.  But, when you compare the overall 35% of B2B marketers who currently have a documented content marketing strategy to the 60% with a documented strategy who consider themselves to be highly effective, the need to record this type of information is evident.

  1. 94% of B2B Marketers use LinkedIn to distribute their content:

There were a number of notable social media platforms mentioned as a distribution channel for content, with an average of 6 platforms used.  LinkedIn, however, was not only the most frequently used, but also considered the most effective (with 63% rating it as a 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale.) These numbers have stayed pretty consistent with last year’s results and continue to prove that LinkedIn can be a B2B marketer’s best friend, if utilized correctly.  Social media is here to stay, and new platform options are debuting on a regular basis.  So, with the 92% who are using social media in their content marketing efforts, it is important to have a sense of which channels to invest in.   In my experience, LinkedIn tends to offer the greatest reach opportunity as well the highest potential for businesses to speak to the most appropriate audience.

 

In reality, I have offered a very small sample size of the information provided by the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Report.  With so many terrific findings to choose from, selecting just 3 was not an easy task, but I feel that my assortment touches on key issues that range from the overall use of content marketing to the best way to distribute content in the ever evolving digital world we live in. Which points from the report were most significant to you?

To Gate or Not to Gate Content: Burning Question Answered

To gate or not to gate contentWhether or not to gate content is a hot topic. One day, one of our clients said, “We are going to limit, if not eliminate forms from our website. It doesn’t make sense to put up barriers between our customers and the information they need to make decisions.”

This client was right. Just 5 percent of B2B buyers said that they are willing to provide detailed information to gain access to your white paper or eBook, for example. The point: a lot of people are walking away from your content if you put it behind a gate. If your customers and prospects are coming to your website and looking at your content, why put barriers up in front of that content? Why not let them have free, easy access and get key information about them in a different way?

That just begs one question: how CAN we get that key information without forms so that we can engage with that customer or prospect more effectively?

Hello, Inference Marketing

The information you need about your prospects and customers to make smart marketing decisions exists out there, and you shouldn’t have to gate content to get it. What it does require is some planning and research to infer, based on alternate data sources, who your customers are—hence the term inference marketing.

Here’s how inference marketing works:

1. Build your ideal customer profile.

(If you need help with this piece, check out this white paper that outlines the steps). Basically, you want to make sure you are collecting the right data points to meet your specific marketing objectives—you don’t want to spend time and money collecting data that doesn’t matter to your goals. Most customer profiles should consist of a variety of data points from four general categories of attributes, such as these examples:

  • Core: title, location, demographics, firmographics
  • Extended: installed base, wallet size
  • Behavioral: sites visited, content consumed, campaigns responded to
  • Social: sentiment, interest, intent, influence

2. Figure out who is visiting your site.

Infer who your website visitor is through data you have without a form: account data from IP address, on-site behavior, etc. Use this data to fill out the appropriate pieces of your ideal profile at either the account or contact level (within privacy standards). In addition to the well-known web analytics platforms, Profound Networks, Lead Forensics, and DemandBase offer solutions in this area.

3. Leverage web and social data from source providers. 

Matching this data to contact or account files can add fresher and richer data to the profile. Well known providers of digital and social data include LeadspaceDataSiftFullContact and Gnip. Before using this data, it’s important to check on how it is collected and whether the method of collection and use meets the privacy standards set by your company. You can also obtain information on content consumption through companies such as Madison Logic. The company tracks and reports content use across a network of over 450 B2B publications. This information can be particularly useful at the account level to understand what topic or solution areas companies and some of the people who work for those companies are finding interesting. When you take all of these little snippets of information and match them back to individual contacts and accounts, you can create highly detailed—and highly useful—profile of each audience member.

4. Engage (or re-engage) your key contacts.

All of this information you have collected can be used to plan better sales and marketing strategies, identify higher opportunity accounts or contacts, and create more relevant content and effective customer experiences

In a Nutshell

When you use inference marketing, you can take the limited contact or account information you have and enhance it in ways that make those records more marketable and more productive. Using digital sources, you’re able to learn far more about your customer than what a typical content form can tell you, allowing you to market to them far more effectively. And you can do all of this without putting a deterring gate in front of the content you work so hard to create.

Data-Driven Marketing on the Roadmap to Revenue [Infographic]

By Andrew Moravick

We don’t just happen upon effective marketing initiatives, or strike it rich with successful campaigns by hapless strokes of luck. Great marketing is engineered. It’s built out of a better understanding of our buyers and a bolder focus on delivering value. We don’t leave our audiences to wander aimlessly on their buyer’s journey; we build roads to speed them to their desired solutions. To chart such precise pathways to purchase decisions, however, it takes equally precise insights into what’s happening in the marketing and sales pipeline. In other words, this road to marketing-sourced revenue is written in data…

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Source: Better Demand Gen

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