Drive Your Buyer’s Lifecycle, Increase Revenue and Retention

The process of acquiring and sifting traffic into engaged, and ultimately people that buy from you is critical to your customer acquisition efforts. Managing your “audience” is often referred to as the early stages of the “Customer Journey.” In this column, we’ll focus on the core and most pivotal part of your relationship with the customer –when they buy your brand. Based on some years of experimentation and measurement, we can share a simplified and highly actionable approach that can make a difference in how you value and grow value among Customers. This is the Buyer Life Cycle.   Prospects: Before They Are Customers Prospects, of course, come from many places: word of mouth and direct visits to your website and to your retail stores. Advertising and search drives them to on- and off-line points of sale. Prospects can be those who simply signed up on that ever larger email signup popup on your homepage, or those who put items in a cart and “almost” purchased, but abandoned. But prospects can also be those who we leverage statistical intelligence to hand-pick not just look-alikes but the “buy alike” prospects with the highest potential value. See my prior column called  The Most Important CRM Metric You May Be Overlooking). All of these prospects have the same thing in common, they have not purchased, and a level of investment and communications will be required to drive them to the next step. This cannot be overlooked without consequence. Prospects, regardless of the level of engagement or targeting, have a massive, and in some cases, a predictable difference from the buyers you seek...

Bigger is Better — How to Scale Up Customer Acquisition Smarter

While we’re all focused on delivering our holiday plan, every CMO I’ve spoken with in the last 3 months is focused on the same things. In 2016 “we need to achieve greater scale” –in other words, to get bigger. It would seem for sure, bigger is better. Bigger is the American way. Bigger sales, bigger profits, bigger staff and teams, bigger assortments, and bigger margins. Yes –bigger it seems is much better to CEO’s, CMO’s, and Board Members everywhere. “The Onceler” from Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax succinctly said:   “… I’m figgering on biggering” For marketers, New Customer Acquisition is the most effective way of to grow the organization “bigger.”  It’s the lifeblood of growing organizations, and is generally considered a sign of a business’s overall health. Yet customer acquisition can be resource and budget intensive, even if an solid value, and marketers require effective more intelligent approaches to achieve greater scale while maintaining budget guidance. So as you lay out plans for 2016 and how you’ll scale your business “bigger” –and hopefully better as well ― it likely makes sense to think through the most effective ways to drive scale. Leveraging Customer Data with ever increasing intelligence is the common thread from some of the best strategies I’ve worked with brands on successfully over time. Programmatic Advertising Advertising is being increasingly automated, and over time, it’s expanding across web, mobile, and now television and “over the top” television (think web based TV –where a programmatic buy may land your ads on Netflix one day soon). Programmatic display advertising is largely however a web based phenomenon. It adds data...

Marketing Machines — Possible or Pipedream?

True data-driven marketing is still “just a dream” for many marketers, rather than a reality. Under this vision, systems data mine autonomously, and present fresh actionable insights at your desktop in the morning. For about 99% of marketers, this may sound too good to be true –and in all candor it usually is. But it is important to know and recognize that the intelligent application of mathematics and statistics, and the creation of purpose specific algorithms, have been quietly creating value for years now. Yet the typical marketer still struggles to find enough time to get the mail out, or execute well thought website marketing experiments against a control. (see “Analytics Isn’t Reporting”) So there have never been more skeptics of the legitimate power of the intelligent application of data, even as the c-suite expectations of a data strategy that creates competitive advantage grows. Sound like your experience, industry, or career? Sure it does. But as investment continues to grind higher and competition grows, progress continues to be made. The “Amazon” of Data, is of course, Amazon. You may know that Amazon.com elected to release to the public some technology they use internally in making recommendations and determining what you’d be likely to buy and when. They took the same toolset they use and published it on Amazon Web Services. “Pretty neat” you might say…   Since we get so many questions about how Amazon does it, and how all this actually works, we’ll break down the AWS Machine Learning and Prediction toolset so that qualified organizations have an idea of what’s possible. For the purposes of this article...

Analytics Isn’t Reporting

Working with multi-channel retail organizations, we’ve experienced the frequent concern that online is competing with, or “cannibalizing” retail sales. It seems like a reasonable problem for those responsible for the P&L of the retail business to consider, same for the general managers responsible for the store level P&L. I like to do something that we “digital natives” (professionals whose career has only been digitally driven) miss all too often. We talk to retail people and customers in the stores, store managers, general managers, sales and service staff. Imagine that… left-brain dominant Data Athletes that want to talk to people! Actually, a true Data Athlete will always engage the stakeholders to inform their analysis with tacit knowledge. Every time we do this, we learn something about the customer that we quite frankly could not have gleaned from website analytics, transactional data, or third party data alone.  We learn about how different kinds of customers engage with the product and their experience in an environment that to this day is far more immersive than we can create online.  It’s nothing short of fascinating for the left-brainers. Moreover, access and connection with the field interaction does something powerful when we turn back to mining the data mass that grows daily. It creates context that inspires better analysis and greater performance. This best practice may seem obvious but is missed so often. It is just too easy to get “sucked into the data” first for a right brain dominant analyst. The same thing happens in an online only environment. I can’t count how many times I’ve sat with and coached truly brilliant web...

Channel Collaboration or Web Cannibalization?

Working with multi-channel retail organizations, we’ve experienced the frequent concern that online is competing with, or “cannibalizing” retail sales. It seems like a reasonable problem for those responsible for the P&L of the retail business to consider, same for the general managers responsible for the store level P&L. I like to do something that we “digital natives” (professionals whose career has only been digitally driven) miss all too often. We talk to retail people and customers in the stores, store managers, general managers, sales and service staff. Imagine that… left-brain dominant Data Athletes that want to talk to people! Actually, a true Data Athlete will always engage the stakeholders to inform their analysis with tacit knowledge. Every time we do this, we learn something about the customer that we quite frankly could not have gleaned from website analytics, transactional data, or third party data alone.  We learn about how different kinds of customers engage with the product and their experience in an environment that to this day is far more immersive than we can create online.  It’s nothing short of fascinating for the left-brainers. Moreover, access and connection with the field interaction does something powerful when we turn back to mining the data mass that grows daily. It creates context that inspires better analysis and greater performance. This best practice may seem obvious but is missed so often. It is just too easy to get “sucked into the data” first for a right brain dominant analyst. The same thing happens in an online only environment. I can’t count how many times I’ve sat with and coached truly brilliant web...

Google Analytics Product Roadmap: New Enhanced Ecommerce Beta

It’s that time of the year again – the annual Google Analytics Certified Partner Summit! This year, the theme of the Summit is Data in Action. One of many new product announcements made at the Summit includes a new Enhanced Ecommerce Beta. This is complete revamping of how Google measures ecommerce. Businesses can now gain clear insights into new important metrics about shopper behavior and conversion including: Product detail views ‘Add to cart’ actions Internal campaign clicks The success of internal and external merchandising/marketing efforts such as coupons and promotions The checkout process Purchase Merchants will now be able to understand how shoppers progress in the buying process and where they are dropping out of the sales funnel.   In addition with the release of the product data import feature, the amount of data that is pushed in through the Google Tag Manager (GTM) datalayer can be reduced, in fact, only the Product ID needs to be pushed. Google will automatically match the Product ID up with the uploaded product data in Google Analytics (GA)...