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Email Marketers: What You Need to Know About iOS 10

In a continuing effort to improve their customers’ experience, Apple recently began releasing iOS 10 and will continue throughout the fall. The release includes features and issues that will have a direct impact on email marketers. Most importantly:

  • Simple unsubscribe option
  • Less real estate in the pre-header section
  • Spotty support for image scaling
  • Ability to delete the default iOS inbox on phone

Here is what you need to know.

Simple Unsubscribe Option

Remember, the inbox is about the end user and not the people marketing to them. In order to make it easier to unsubscribe from lists, Apple is following in Gmail’s footsteps to add list unsubscribe to their emails. List unsubscribe automatically adds the option to unsubscribe to the header of the email.

iOS 10 simple unsubscribe

Impact

You will probably see an increase the number of unsubscribes from your email lists. However, if you are delivering timely and relevant emails, the impact should be negligible. The one positive aspect of this is that we have noticed, over time, that the SPAM button was becoming a “proxy” for unsubscribe and therefore impacting deliverability rates. Hopefully with this move, more consumers will choose to unsubscribe rather than “report as spam,” improving deliverability.

To Do

  1. Keep an eye on unsubscribe rates after the IOS 10 release.
  2. Consider auditing your emails for relevancy or come up with more tirgger strategies to ensure your emails are engaging.

Less Real Estate in the Pre-header Section

To make way for the unsubscribe option, content will be pushed further down the page.

Impact

Viewing on smaller mobile screens will make real estate a premium. Marketers will need to make sure they are making the most of this limited space with pre-header, headlines, creative and calls to action.

To Do

  1. Compare your creative pre-release vs. post-release and consider changes as necessary.
  2. Test your emails to optimize performance with the new header.

Spotty Support for Image Scaling

iOS 10 in BETA has been offering spotty support of automatically scaling large images. While later versions of the iOS 10 BETA seem to be correcting the issue, some are still not fully scaling.

iOS 10 image scaling iOS 10 image scaling

Impact

Marketers using large images without responsive email design may see some scaling or rendering issues.

To Do

  • Make sure production teams bake in extra QA time to ensure optimal viewing on iOS devices.
  • Consider creating and using mobile responsive email templates.

Ability to Delete the Default iOS Inbox on Phone

For the first time, iOS 10 users will have the option to delete the default iOS inbox that was pre-installed on their phones.

Impact

This may or may not be significant. It will be interesting to see if there is a shift in market share from the iOS inbox to additional apps (Gmail, etc.). Do users use iOS because they love it or because it’s there and cannot be deleted? If we do see a shift, marketers will want to monitor their email list to see who is opening on which devices. Support varies from inbox to inbox so email design approaches may need to be modified.

To Do

  • Determine which email environments your customers are currently using to open your emails.
  • Consider how a shift may impact your design approach as design support varies in different inboxes.

Three Marketing Automation Myths That Need to Die

Marketing_AutomationAutomation is a fairly young, up-and-coming concept in the marketing industry, so it is understandable that there would be misconceptions in the beginning about what it is and what it does. As we start 2016 and “marketing automation” becomes less of a buzzword and more of a mainstream strategy, Harte Hanks wants to set the record straight on the facts about marketing automation. Here are three myths that we want to clear up:

1. Marketing Automation is for Scheduling Email Batch-and-Blasts

This is by far the most common myth, and misuse, of marketing automation. Email is just ONE tactic within automation. Most enterprise marketing automation technology platforms can incorporate landing pages, social media, personalized emails, gated content, videos, pay-per-click ads, and third party apps into your campaigns.

“59 percent of companies do not fully use the technology they have available.”Ascend2 “Marketing Technology Strategy” (August 2015)

The beauty of a marketing automation platform is its ability to respond differently depending on the contact. It can be integrated with your CRM and allow you to personalize all emails and touchpoints in a campaign based on this data. For example, a highly personalized email can be sent to a contact who has visited a certain page of your website, while simultaneously a more generic discovery email can be sent to another contact who you know little about or who has never visited your website.

Marketing automation is also much more “aware” than traditional email marketing. Automation tools are sophisticated enough to not only tell whether a customer clicked on a link in your email, but also which product-specific pages they visited after they clicked, whether they filled out a contact form, and even gather geographical and language information from them based on their IP address. Marketing automation tools can then take that user’s activity data and segment him or her into another flow of automated touchpoints (including additional emails, retargeting ads, high value content, etc.) that are specific to their interests.

2. Marketing Automation Means ‘Set It and Forget It’

While it’s true that marketing automation is great for scheduling emails and other campaign activities in advance, simply “setting and forgetting” is a sure-fire way to make sure your investment goes down the drain.

Many marketing automation tools offer robust functionality out of the box, but most are also cloud-based platforms that have new features added on a regular basis. Keeping a pulse on these updates, and participating in product improvement discussions, is important in making the most of your automation software. In fact, Eloqua will be rolling out a new UX experience this spring.

Another reason you should never “set it and forget it” is that with a healthy marketing automation program, your contact database will be continuously growing. Your customer insight will evolve as the system collects more data from your customers and their activities. And as you learn new things about your customers and their preferences, you can use that information to create more meaningful content in your campaigns.

3. Marketing Automation Stops After the Lead Converts to a Customer

Using marketing automation only for lead generation underestimates the power of the tool. As marketers, we know that the best lead source is always your previous customer. Repeat business and customer referrals will always give you the best ROI for your marketing budget. So why not make the most of that source?

“53 percent of marketers say continued communication and nurturing of their existing customers results in moderate to significant revenue impact.” (DemandMetric, Customer Marketing: Improving Customer Satisfaction & Revenue Impact, October 2014)

Luckily, marketing automation is not only a powerful lead generation tool, but it also gives you a platform to keep the conversation going with your new customer(s). When you properly sync your CRM to your automation tool, you can harness the power of segmenting by moving converted customers away from prospects into their own nurturing campaigns. These customer-specific nurturing campaigns open a two-way communication channel allowing your customer to become more engaged with your brand and to fully utilize your product or service.

For example, a customer-specific nurturing campaign can share content on best practices using your product (or service) via weekly newsletters, retargeted ads, and videos. Likewise, you can use those touchpoints to upsell products or services that complement what they’ve already bought. Automated campaigns can also be used to promote customer-only events via email invitations and trigger follow up phone calls from telemarketing or sales representatives.

You will never see the value in your marketing automation strategy if you don’t have a clear understanding of what it can accomplish. Marketing automation is more than the latest corporate buzzword. It’s a powerful marketing strategy and tool that allows companies to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content. It helps convert prospects into customers, and customers into brand ambassadors.

Harte Hanks is a full-service marketing agency that can support all aspects of your marketing automation program with minimal ramp up and faster go to market. Contact us for a free audit of your marketing automation programs at 1-844-233-9281.

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 Campaign is Dead, Long Live the Campaign

HarteHanks_Campaign-is-Dead

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?

HarteHanks_MarektingTechnology_ROI

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!

Back to the Future: Predictive Analytics

Predictive-Analytics_HarteHanks

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.

 

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

TCD-1

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.

Learning the Power of Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation-1Marketing automation is quickly becoming one of the most valuable technology tools for both B2B and B2C marketers. The right tools can save you time and money, and they can showcase ROI faster. However, like with any technology platform, there can be a steep learning curve. Here is what you need to know to get started.

The Power of Marketing Automation

First, let’s take a step back to define marketing automation and how it can improve your marketing efforts. Marketing automation is a platform you can use to plan, coordinate, manage and measure all of your marketing campaigns. Marketing automation technologies and software help brands more effectively streamline relevant and personal communications for customers. These touch points can span multiple channels, including email, social, websites and CRM.

Marketing automation tools can also help automate repetitive tasks and churn out and analyze data more efficiently. The benefit? Marketers can select criteria and outputs for tasks and processes, which the software then interprets, stores and executes. This leads to stronger data and reduces human error.

The tools used in marketing automation can range from email marketing to analytic services and can be software based or web-based. These tools provide reports, analytics and insights into the use of your marketing budget. And, as we all know, marketers are being pressured to show ROI on their programs more than ever before. Marketing automation allows you to showcase your value in actual sales dollars produced. This is the real power in marketing automation.

Create Relevant, Personal Customer Interactions

Marketing automation serves a basic marketing communication purpose, but it does so in a more strategic way—by providing more relevant communications. Customers want to receive personal information, and they want it to come to them instead of having to seek it out. Automation allows marketers to communicate with their customers strategically, and react to customers’ behavioral information in real-time.

It can also control the quality and quantity of information that customers receive, and reduce spam. We are making sure customers receive specific information and are able to control what, when and how much they are exposed to. It helps us lead the conversation with customers and help them form positive opinions about brands. And, because the messages are pre-programmed to happen in a certain way and flow logically, it allows us as marketers to focus on quality of message instead of quantity.

Check my next blog post on marketing automation in which I share insight into determining the right tools for your business, tips for getting started and how to define success.

Get to Know the Harte Hanks Team

Laura Watson, Strategist

Laura Watson Cropped PicHarte Hanks is excited to welcome Laura Watson to our Strategy team! Laura brings 20 years of multi-channel marketing experience, mostly in the banking industry, and a whole lot of energy to the organization. Prior to joining us, she was a VP in direct and digital marketing at PNC Financial Services and earned an MBA with an emphasis in marketing. True to her professional background, Laura has a passion for relationship building, digital trends, and the future of omnichannel marketing. Want to learn a little more about Laura? We thought so. Read on.

Q: Welcome to Harte Hanks! Tell us about your new role at Harte Hanks – how do you spend a typical day, what is your favorite aspect of working at Harte Hanks, etc.

When I was interviewing for the strategy position, a member of the team said, “Have you seen the Lego movie? We’re like the master architects.” Ultimately we’re not thwarting Kragle to save the realm, but we do take a similar approach. We look at all of the business elements around us, apply our understanding of the market environment and vertical context (my vertical specialty is banking), and then help clients understand and apply new marketing techniques driven by data intelligence. The optimal outcome is a brand that consumers love, that’s helpful and relevant, while providing positive incremental return on investment for the brand and value for the consumer.

A typical day…what’s that?

My favorite aspect of working on the business so far has been the opportunity to learn more about cool stuff and trends in the digital and email marketing space. For example, there’s a Bank in Russia that synchs their customers’ wearable devices (e.g. Fitbit, Jawbone) to their savings account – incentivizing them to earn a higher interest rate when their device shows they’ve been exercising. How cool is that?

Q: How did you spend your days prior to joining Harte Hanks?

On the client side with the bank, I managed agency partnerships and a team of 15 direct reports doing one-to-one marketing across multiple channels and lines of business. It was an incredibly dynamic environment working more in the business, and in support of the same ideals…with a lot more regulatory and governmental “influence.” I find that relationship-building there, and in every role I’ve held, is a critical component of my learning and success.

 Q: What attracted you to work at Harte Hanks?

The people. Without a doubt, that was the #1 reason I joined Harte Hanks. I’ve worked with a number of really smart, collaborative, authentic, driven professionals throughout the years as a client of Harte Hanks, most of whom are still with the organization to this day, by the way. The level of stand-out talent, tenure and genuinely good people at the organization, and the opportunity to grow professionally in a supportive environment – I couldn’t resist going to the “dark side” of agency life!

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

Yikes! How much time do you have? In no particular order – customer-centricity, tailored, real-time, automated marketing (nearly a requirement for any business that wants to stay on top), Agile Email, Email period. (Email drives interactions that we can measure in all channels…Search, Social, Display, Digital, Mobile, Direct and even Mass), content marketing, omnichannel marketing, micro-marketing, mobile, video, the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, connecting online and offline data through data management platforms to drive a conversation and value exchange between brands and their stakeholders, big data, the power of all channels working together in an optimized, efficient and orchestrated manner (powered by data, models, etc.)…ultimately it’s caring about what consumers need and want, and finding a profitable way to go to market to deliver it.

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

I skied with the US Olympic Ski team in Killington, VT. (It’s not as awesome as it sounds…I just happened to be there at the same time, on the same slopes and got to meet, interact with some of them. VERY fun!)

 

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.

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