Throw Away Your Advertising Strategy

If you’re deciding between a long 10-year advertising plan or no plan at all, you are better off ‘winging-it.’

The internet has transformed the way information is shared and consumed, and as a result, has changed the way advertisers promote products. Today, digital advertisers have to appeal to their audience on a wide variety of channels in order to establish a brand voice and identity in the pursuit of consumers and loyalty.

So what does this mean for digital advertisers?

For starters, it means that the world is rapidly changing and with it, the meaning of long term has shifted. A long-term strategy 20 years ago spanned decades and was supposed to take into account market changes, social shifts and advancements in technology, however 20 years ago, advertisers couldn’t predict smart phones, social media or instant mobile communication.

Today, with the world changing drastically every quarter, companies cannot adhere to antiquated plans, and many advertising strategies are irrelevant within months rather than decades.

Does this mean companies should throw it all away and wing-it? Probably not. But it does mean that companies need to be flexible and understand that new technologies can be introduced every day that will render their well thought out plans obsolete.

Instead of planning for long term, companies need to focus on their brand identity and message and keep that as the focal point for a long-term advertising strategy.  Instead of trying to predict the future and where technology will take advertisers, advertisers should build a brand (and an advertising and marketing strategy for that brand) that is flexible enough to change and stand the test of time.

Long Term Advertising Strategy in a Short Term World

The question of whether to embark on a long term advertising strategy or develop short term campaigns for immediate results is one that has plagues marketing managers and executives for years and will continue to do so as long as technology advances at a rapid pace and consumer needs shift along with it.

The advertising world, particularly digital advertising, has undergone rapid transformation in recent years. Today, instead of focusing on product-driven ads, brands are turning to emotional engagement, personal connection and multichannel content strategies in order to retain their market share.

The need for instant gratification coupled with a severe lack of attention has made advertising today a complex task that brands must delicately traverse as they attempt to convey thousands of messages in as few words or moments as possible.

While the champions of modern advertising shunned the tried and tested formulas of advertising in previous years, the rapid shift from one strategy to another has made it increasingly difficult to create a long-term strategy that will work in a short-term world.

Despite the fact that today’s world is changing at a rapid pace, businesses must still make long term plans and strategies if they want to retain their market share and consumer base over time.

Long-Term Versus Short-Term Goals

To create a long-term advertising strategy in a short-term world, it is important to understand what the purpose and goals of each strategy can yield.

Most of the modern digital channels for advertising focus on short-term goals and are based on quick and instant results. Paid search advertising and social media marketing are excellent channels for integrating short term goals that are in line with a companies long-term advertising strategy, however advertisers should not depend on them as a long term strategy.

In the short-run, increased site visits, conversions and sales can be gained relatively quickly with a powerful short-term advertising strategy; it is a simple function of budget and creative collateral. Leveraging search engine advertisements, social media ad managers and programmatic advertising tools can help a company increase exposure to a hyper-segmented audience.

The problem with short-term advertising strategies is that they are often too costly for small and medium sized businesses that cannot splurge on high click rates, and their short term effects often do not justify the expense. Despite that, many businesses push short-term advertising strategies as they seek the instant gratification their consumers crave and as a result, focus their limited time, energy and resources on the wrong channels for their long term goals.

While it’s easy to lose sight of the long-term plan in favor of quick results, the truth is that long-term advertising strategies are more effective than the quick-fix short-term campaigns that bring immediate results. While short-term sales are great for the quarterly balance sheet, long-term advertisement strategies have the potential to cultivate brand awareness and loyalty and increase existing customer conversions.

At its core, long-term advertising is based on branding and brand loyalty whereas short-term advertising is focused on immediate results. A successful long-term strategy will be built around establishing brand awareness and loyalty so that consumers will identify themselves with a particular brand.

Ultimately, the more a consumer connects to the core of a brand, the more they will spend, however advertisers should be aware that building a long-term advertising strategy requires time, dedication and resources.

The Importance of a Flexible Long-Term Strategy

The best way to increase visibility in the digital age we live in is by establishing a powerful online presence. While short-term ad campaigns and strategies will yield immediate results, the moment funds stop, the traffic will stop with it.

To ensure a long lasting advertising strategy, companies need to focus on increasing their visibility online with the help of SEO. Contrary to popular belief, SEO is not just a keyword strategy, but rather a long term advertising strategy that incorporates content marketing to strengthen long-term advertising goals. Since SEO is based on content, a long-term advertising strategy should take into account the importance of original content that is engaging to their audience and aids in establishing their brand as a thought leader in their industry.

Long-term advertising strategies need to focus on consumer engagement and invoke emotion rather than push products for the sake of making a sale or gaining a conversion.  Therefore a sustainable long-term advertising strategy should take into account the company marketing goals and build a budget that pushes the company vision and message to consumers in a consistent way for the long run.

Since the world is constantly changing, it is important to monitor and maintain long-term strategies in an ongoing fashion. While it is important to set long-term goals that promote the brand mission and vision, it is equally important to remember to be flexible and adapt with the times. A corporation that established a long-term advertising strategy in 2006 would have had to drastically alter it with the introduction of the modern smartphone and social media marketing channels. Therefore it is necessary to have a long-term advertising strategy that is both vague enough to enable flexibility, but firm enough to uphold the brand identity.

Ultimately, In order to truly stand out and build a brand that will have a long lasting market share, digital advertisers have to plan a long-term strategy full of short-term goals and a short-term campaign that ties into long-term goals.

 

 

 

Did Mobile Advertising Kill the Retail Star?

Since the introduction of credit cards in the 1950’s and through the rapid development of the World Wide Web, the retail industry has always had to adapt first to new technologies and digital advancements.

The retail industry is one that relies heavily on psychological factors and the ability of marketing executives to convince consumers they require products they never even knew existed. With the need to stay current and always appeal to consumers, it’s no wonder that the retail industry has been most directly impacted by the digital advertising revolution than almost any other industry.

The first recorded retail transaction on the web was in 1994 and soon after that companies such as Amazon and eBay popped up offering digital marketplaces for mass consumers.  When smartphones penetrated the market and effectively demolished any other type of mobile phones, retailers knew they needed to move – and quickly – or perish.

Following the Money Trail

The retail industry isn’t chasing mobile because it wants to; retailers are chasing mobile because they have to. The future of money has been altered in the mobile age and consumers are connected to mobile phones around the clock, forcing the retail industry to adapt accordingly.

According to a recent eMarketer report on mobile payments, “nearly one in five smartphone users will use mobile payments” in 2016. This astonishing number jut accentuates what any smartphone owner already knows – mobile is where the money is.

More and more people are making the switch to smartphones, and the integration of smartphones into the lives of kids is reaching new levels, leading all experts to believe that this trend will only rise. Consumers are increasingly trusting of their mobile devices and the security features promised by all, resulting in a growth of 210% in 2016 on mobile payment transactions.

Consider these numbers: In 2015 mobile payments accounted for $8.71 billion in the U.S alone. In 2016 that number is expected to reach $27.05 billion.

These numbers, coupled with predictions from major Credit Card companies that smart devices are on the fast track to eradicating cash from consumers hands, means that retail industries that want to stay relevant will find themselves spending more and more time on smaller and stronger screens.

Advertising on a Small Screen

Adapting a payment-processing page on a mobile device is easy – the hard part is driving consumers to reach the payment page (preferably with a heavily loaded cart ready for checkout).

Retailers have had to reinvent the virtual wheel where advertising is concerned, devising new ways to draw consumers to their websites, mobile apps and other social accounts.

Advertising today is based on the ability of a brand to relay a massive message in a small space with few words. To continue driving conversions, marketing executives have increased the dependency on powerful call-to-action buttons in the hopes of pushing consumers in the direction they want them to go. Retail companies that recognized the benefit of the mobile devices early on have been able to respond to consumer demands while integrating the latest technologies such as video, social activism and more.

We Have What You Want – On our App

The first thing retailers must realize is that consumers today want more of one thing – information. The digital revolution has educated consumers that knowledge is always at their fingertips. In an effort to control the knowledge about a product, retail advertisers have developed brand-specific mobile apps that connect consumers, offering more information accessed from the palm of their hands.

Mobile apps for retailers have the ability to provide information as well as push products, unveil new products and more. The struggle of retailers falls then on their ability to drive consumers to download the apps.

Driving consumers to download an all also enables the company to maximize their branding with constant push notifications, reminders and of course, access to information given during the signup process.

How to retailers push consumers to download their app? With freebies. Retailer mobile apps are always free for consumers to download and tend to offer more discounts, shipping specials etc.  As a result, more retail mobile advertisements rely on variations of the CTA “download our app for a special offer.”

Sure, there is little room for imagination here considering the fact that most advertisers are using social media and in-app campaigns for advertisements, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

Get More of What You Want if You Bring Your Friends

Another strategy retail advertisers brought to the mobile world relies on the basic idea of word-of-mouth.

In addition to wanting information about products prior to making purchases, consumers seek validation of products from their peers prior to purchase.  Since word of mouth in the digital age is based on rewarding the referrer and referee, digital advertisers in the retail industry have incorporated the rewards system to smartphones and use it to attract consumers though mobile display campaigns.

Referral programs that reward consumers for bringing friends have gained tremendous success, particularly with the development of mobile advertisement and the incorporation of social media advertisements. The ease of sharing links, track-able apps etc through social channels has led mobile advertisers to push referral and loyalty programs directly in their mobile display campaigns and this is seen from the terminology used on banners that drive consumers to websites and to download apps.

The Art of Accepting Limitations

Part of the struggle mobile advertisers have had to deal with in recent years is understanding the limitations of mobile phones and working within those limitations in order to run effective campaigns.

Successful retail marketers operating in the mobile world have had to master the art of working within the limitations of smartphone devices.

Consider the demise of flash; when the first iPhone penetrated the market, Adobe Flash was the undisputed king of the internet. Whatever conspiracy theory you may or may not believe, one thing is undisputed – the lack of Flash integration in the first smartphone was the start of the end for them. When Adobe announced in 2011 that they abandoned all development of Flash for mobile devices, many retail advertisers were in a frenzy, unsure how they would be able to effectively market to their consumers without the flash technology they relied on so heavily until then.

Fast forward to 2016 and, while flash is still dead, animated mobile advertisements are not.

Mobile advertisers, specifically in the retail industry, have found a way to work around the limitations of mobile devices while still retaining their ability to creatively promote their products. Today the use of GIF in mobile display advertising has brought back animation to mobile campaigns, giving mobile retail advertisers more freedom to creatively convince consumers to get things they never knew they needed (but somehow cant live without).

Who is Afraid of a Little Digital Revolution?

2016 is turning out to be one of the most interesting years for mobile advertising as a whole, and specifically for the retail industry. With more purchases being made on mobile devices, hypertargeted campaigns being shown to consumers on all screens and competition being fiercer than ever, retail brands are in a sink-or-swim situation they must overcome if they hope to be around in the future.

As companies adapt their marketing strategies to stay in line with the latest trend, the best thing companies can do is look to their competitors to see what they are doing (and perhaps get an idea of what works and what doesn’t). Examining media and publishing tactics through the use of big data tools such as Ad-Clarity can provide retail marketers with even more insight on the leading trends in the mobile advertising world.

The good news for retail companies is that if they recognize the trends, learn from competition and adapt their mobile display advertising strategy in order to work within the limitations of mobile devices, then mobile won’t be able to kill the retail star.

You read it on our LinkedIn back in 2016; reading all day intent on learning the best trends.

Mobile can’t kill the retail star.

Oh Oh.

Programmatic Marketing: Is hyper-targeting a good thing?

With the advent of programmatic marketing and the increased reliance on retargeting techniques, many marketers find themselves seeking their exact customer persona in order to hypertarget them – but is too much of a good thing still good?

In today’s world where consumers are over stimulated and oblivious to generic advertisements, niche marketing and detailed targeting seems to be the solution for most companies. However, when you begin to hypertarget your customer – that is, to pinpoint their exact traits, you risk excluding potential relevant customers while inadvertently letting your customer define your brand identity.

Social media brands have recently started employing hypertargeting tech niches based on customer-completed profiles with the goal of delivering ads that always suit their customer needs. In a crowded social media channel with hundreds of thousands of brands completing for attention, targeting is good, but hypertargeting is not always as good as it sounds.

Imagine you’re sitting at home, on your computer, eating a burger for dinner and you see an ad that say “Hey you, sitting on the couch with the black hoodie eating a burger – we have the best product for you” – you’d be interested, sure, but that does not mean that it’s the right product for you.

Just because marketers can identity you, doesn’t mean they should. Furthermore, hypertargeting to an extreme extent can also reduce the chance of expanding into new verticals because it will reduce your potential brand exposure to those who do not fit your defined persona

So what can marketers do?

Unless your brand has an inexhaustible budget which can be used to pinpoint every target audience member in their unique persona, extreme hypertargeting should be avoided. That being said, there needs to be a middle ground between general target audiences and exact audiences.

To ensure you do not pigeonhole your brand while maximizing the effectiveness of your digital advertising campaigns, its best to follow these simple steps:

  1. Figure out who you would hypertarget – the first step to not hypertarget is to hypertarget (and then not talk about hypertargeting). Start by jotting down the traits, characteristics and everything else you can to build the persona of your “perfect” customer (essentially the person you would pinpoint that loves, must have and will always want your product). Feel free to get down to the nitty gritty here – if you think that people talking a walk through the park on Tuesdays when its sunny are your ideal client, go for it!
  1. Don’t just stop there – once you find your perfect customer, take a step back and think of their friends and family. Why? Because people often surround themselves with like-minded individuals, therefore you can assume that the friends and family members of your ideal customer might also be relevant for your brand. Of course if your product only fills the need of a particular client, you might not need to do this step – ie if you have a pregnancy test, friends and family of a potentially pregnant woman wont take a pregnancy test out of empathy. That leads us to step three:
  1. Exclude those that will absolutely never ever buy your product, do not need your offering, or cannot benefit from what you have. For example, if you are selling a baby carriage, you can exclude couples over the age of 55 and teenagers. Sure, the occasional rambunctious 56 year old might be in the market for a baby carriage, but she’ll know to look for those specific keywords. As a marketer, you would be better off focusing on young couples and their friends as they are more likely your target audience – whether pregnant themselves or thinking of a gift for a friend.

The Programmatic Revolution: How Programmatic Made the World Flat

 

When digital advertising first appeared, the media buying and selling ecosystem was very different than the one we witness today. I’m not just talking about the tedious and manual processes that had to take place in order for inventory to be bought and sold; I’m not dismissing these issues at all as these were catalysts for the change that occurred. Rather, I’m approaching the environment through a more…let’s say socio-economic perspective.

Let me start off with an historical analogy.

The year is 1789. We’re in France. The economy is a mess and King Louis XVI keeps making all the wrong moves.

oh louis

There is a huge disparity between the nobility class and everyone else; and everyone else is not happy about the privileges that they are not entitled to. So a revolution to overthrow the monarchy is in order. And it works! And a long history where only the nobles had a voice and everyone else didn’t collapsed. And things became much more equal.

There’s a point to that story.

You see, when we talk about the traditional days of digital advertising, we’re looking at a world which was very similar to that of France before 1789. A place where the selected few publishers were the ones with all the power and the rest…forgotten about. And these selected publishers, known as premium publishers, were all advertisers cared about.

And at that time, this frame of mind made sense. The customer wasn’t king yet and consumer behavior and retargeting wasn’t in the picture. So of course advertisers would always prefer to buy on premium sites. And because of this, the majority of all ad spend was going to the premium publishers. No one had any interest in working with the middle or long-tailed sites. But this all changed with programmatic.

Viva la revolución

To be honest, I don’t know which prompted what first. Was it the introduction of programmatic that gave brands the ability to access their audience virtually anywhere? Or had the power already shifted from brands to consumers, so the media buying and selling industry had to adjust quickly to keep up with the changes?

Regardless, it is indisputable that programmatic and the power of the consumer went hand in hand.

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And as this power shift from brands to consumers occurred, brands began to also shift their perspective from a publisher dominating world to a consumer one. Because at the end of the day, brands realized that it really didn’t matter how good their placement was on the most premium site if the right people weren’t seeing it. All they cared about was reaching the right person at the right place at the right time… and publishers couldn’t provide this.

The outcomes

Because advertisers cared more about where their users were actually surfing the web than the status of a publisher, middle and long-tailed publishers began to rise in importance; of course, with the help of programmatic.

Through retargeting and automated targeting methods, advertisers could now target their users on any site, no matter where it stood on the totem pole. Suddenly, publishers that were being ignored would be flooded with bid requests due to the consumer’s presence on their site. And the number of publishers that advertisers were working with grew tremendously.

For the first time in digital advertising, the disparities between the big and medium-small publishers are decreasing. This is absolutely phenomenal and could only bring benefits to the ecosystem.

 

 

Transparency in Programmatic – Do we need it?

Programmatic buying: you’ve heard the term, you know its trendy, but you don’t know what it is, and you certainly don’t know why it needs to be (even though you know transparency is always important).

We’re here to help you understand programmatic buying and the importance of transparency when automating media buys.

Programmatic buying is simply the shift companies are taking from manually managing media buys to automating the whole process.

As automation tools are integrated into media buys, companies are able to optimize campaigns immediately and without human involvement, based solely on aggregated data that is analyzed and optimized based on the real time results. Programmatic buying is heavily based on tracking cookies, making the mobile world slightly unfazed by this trend due to tracking limitations on mobile

If you’re thinking about the Faceook Ads API or the Google Display Network, you’re on the right track. These tools, and many others, let companies enjoy automated optimization with the belief that the multi-sourced data signaling by the programmatic buying tool will save the company money in the long run.

According to eMarketer, programmatic buying accounts for $14.88 billion of the total money spend on digital advertising (approximately $58.6 billion) and based on the fact that an increase of almost 50% was seen from 2014 to 2015, experts anticipate the reliance on programmatic advertising to increase in 2016.

So why is transparency important?

While programmatic buying enables advertisers to hypertarget their audience based on additional information collected about them, the dependency on automated processes has led many to have a false sense of trust. Advertisers as a result are often forced to pay higher CPM rates due to the inflated inventory value by the publisher and the unknown fees tacked on.

This means an advertiser could purchase ad space with a quoted value of $8 CPM without knowledge of how this valuation was achieved or, what the publisher’s value of the CPM is or, even worse, without knowing what intermediary commissions and fees the publishers bundled into the CPM price

Creating a more transparent bidding process for programmatic buying involves true transparency on where the advertisements will be placed (direct URL’s), who the intended audience is, how valuation is achieved and what commission is added on to the overall media buying fee.

How to gain this transparency    

Using digital ad intelligence solutions such as AdClarity will help you gain the transparency you need to optimize your digital advertising strategies. For example, AdClarity can give you an overview of the digital advertising trends within any industry you are interested in. Additionally, it can provide you with the most granular details for each individual campaign, including its deployment chain of ad platforms, creatives, total impressions, total ad spend, and more.

About AdClarity

AdClarity is an Ad Intelligence tool which provides online marketers with actionable insights about their competitors’ advertising activities. Driven by big data and proprietary behavioral content discovery technology, AdClarity unveils brands’ campaigns, ad creatives, impressions, and spend data across multiple channels, including Display, Mobile Web, Mobile Apps and Video. Data is collected across 20 geographies and covers over 50M URLs daily while discovering over 40K new campaigns every day. The AdClarity product suite is used by over 7,000 media and advertising professionals globally in Fortune 500 Brands, Agencies, Ad Networks, and Publishers.

Get a LIVE DEMO of AdClarity.

Digital Marketing in 2015: Predictive Marketing

The entire purpose of collecting, aggregating, monitoring, tracking, and analyzing customer data is to have a better understanding of the customer. Don’t underestimate the purpose, it is far more complex and influential than you could possibly imagine. Understanding customer behavior is the key to making data-informed business decisions through predictive analytics.

In the previous post we talked about using data analysis to figure out trends and relationships between variables in order to make an extrapolation based on existing historical data. In layman’s terms, we want to use the data we already have to see what works, what doesn’t, and most importantly, what is going to happen. To give an extreme example, in a world where data-based rationale takes precedence over natural human tendencies (emotions, impulsivity, etc.), you would be able to predict who your best customers would be, how you could effectually reach them… in short, you would be able to precisely plan your marketing strategies in order to reach your KPIs without any surplus or deficiency in any resources.

And although humans aren’t built to be completely predictable, they do leave behind enough data to allow us to make rationale and logical assumptions about their behavior- past, present, and future.

Predictive marketing isn’t predictive analytics. It’s an amalgamation of predictive and explanatory modeling, a type of analysis which requires you to understand, explain, and intervene in the prediction.

Predictive marketing is about understanding the customer and knowing what to give to them before they know they even want it. It is the cornerstone to marketing orchestration, which Forrester describes as “an approach to marketing that focuses not on delivering standalone campaigns, but instead on optimizing a set of related cross-channel interactions that, when added together, make up an individualized customer experience.”[1]

Orchestration is all about breaking down data silos in order to get a holistic perspective of the customer in order to optimize their buyer journey.

Make Sense of Your Data

Data can be everything and nothing at the same time, so it’s important you know what to look for.

Main Types of Customer Data:

To truly understand the relationship between the customer and brand, marketers must acquire three types of data: demographic, behavioral, and psychographic.

Demographic Data

Probably the most common and basic form of customer data, demographic data is comprised of basic information such as name, job title, email, etc. derived from forms, marketing automation programs, CRM, 3rd party data sources, and so forth.

Behavioral Data

This data is based on the interactions between the customer and your brand or product. Some examples would include email engagement, website/page visits, content download, browsing and purchase history, device usage, and so forth. Understanding customer behavior patterns can help you predict what interests or behavior will lead to what needs or actions.

Psychographic Data

Whereas demographic data defines the “who,” psychographic data focuses on the “why.” This data includes a customer’s interests, values, hobbies, opinions, and habits and helps marketers understand how a customer interacts and reacts to the world. By understanding their interests and personality traits, marketers can target them with material that triggers a positive action such as a sale or engagement.

Questioning the Accuracy:

As important as the data is figuring out how to leverage it.

Sample Size

A large and sufficient sample size is imperative to obtaining information that is as accurate as possible. The smaller the sample size, the less reliable the information is because of the higher margin of error and lower confidence level.

A quick way to figure out a satisfactory sample size (for a large or unknown population) is through some quick calculations.

Sufficient Sample Size = (Z-score)² * StdDev*(1-StdDev) / (margin of error)²

Confidence Interval

You always need to expect a level of uncertainty or degree of error when it comes to any statistical analysis. However, you can control the amount of error in your analysis through deciding on the confidence interval; the higher the level of confidence, the lower the likelihood that the findings were due to random chance.

Choosing the Right Model

The statistical model you choose must be fitted to the level of correlation between the output and independent variables and the known historical data. Most likely, you will end up using a type of regression model.

Conclusion

Predictive marketing is going to redefine the future of marketing. It is the only way that marketers will be able to accomplish the end goal of modern marketing: to provide customers with the most personalized, relevant, and grand experience throughout their buyer journey. We live in an era where data is like a precious stone. And luckily for us, it’s extremely abundant. However, like a diamond, the value of data increases only when it has been manipulated to be in a state of precision. And still, as fine as the data is, it is still worthless until it becomes information. What we do with the information is where the value lies.

 

About AdClarity

AdClarity is a Marketing Intelligence tool which provides online marketers with actionable insights about their competitors’ advertising activities. Driven by big data and proprietary behavioral content discovery technology, AdClarity unveils brands’ campaigns, ad creatives, impressions, and spend data across multiple channels, including Display, Mobile Web, Mobile Apps and Video. Data is collected across 20 geographies and covers over 50M URLs daily while discovering over 40K new campaigns every day. The AdClarity product suite is used by over 7,000 media and advertising professionals globally in Fortune 500 Brands, Agencies, Ad Networks, and Publishers.

 

[1] http://www.cmswire.com/cms/customer-experience/forrester-marketing-orchestration-instead-of-big-gun-campaigns-022944.php

 

Digital Marketing in 2015: y≠ax+b

Over and over again it has been repeated that today’s marketing teams and brands must be customer focused in order to deliver an optimal customer experience. But what does it mean to be customer-centric? And how can brands actually create a marketing strategy based on the needs, actions, and expectations of their customers?

At the risk of being repetitive, a good customer experience derives from having positive interactions between the customer and brand. And an interaction is the output, or dependent variable, between two or more independent variables, which in this case are the brand and the customer. The customer comes into the equation with a purpose to accomplish something, whether it be a purchase, trying to find a solution to an issue, general knowledge, and so forth. The brand must be able to respond to the customer’s request immediately by providing the relevant information. If the brand succeeds in doing so, then it has been a successful interaction and positive customer experience. The challenge is figuring out what the customer needs ahead of time. And the only way to do this is by understanding the customer’s journey.

The Buyer Journey

Although we have established that the funnel is dead and that the buyer journey is non-linear, we can’t argue the fact that the buying customer will always go through the three main stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Purchase. How? Because no matter how sporadic their interactions are with the brand (entering the buyer journey mid-way, regressing buyer journey, jumping from place to place in buyer journey), they always start and end at the same point.

digital 6a

Each stage serves a different purpose for the customer and the combination of all these stages, from start to finish, are what create the buyer journey.

And as stated previously, the purpose or end goal of each one of these stages is to provide a positive interaction between the brand and the customer, which means that the brand must be able to give the customer what he or she needs as soon as they make a move. The issue is figuring out what move they are going to make, and in this case, a move is the equivalent of asking a question to find out more information on behalf of the customer. In short, the brand needs to know what questions the customer is going to ask before the customer does depending on what stage they are in in their buyer journey. Once the brand understands the customer’s incentive, it will be able to assist them with clear, relevant, and precise answers to any questions they may have.

So really, at its most basic, the buyer journey is comprised of a list of questions the customer will have at any given stage. And the brand’s responsibility is to figure out what those questions are, what the answers are, and how to deliver the message in a convenient and clear manner to the customer.

Touchpoints

Imagine you are planning a cross-country road trip. There are three major decisions you must make before you leave for it.

  • You must figure out a basic layout of the places you want to visit.
  • What you want to accomplish, see, or do at each place.
  • What route you will take to get to each site.

The basic layout of the places you want to visit represents the buyer journey. It is a very high overview of your journey and marks each spot you plan to visit before reaching to your final destination. What you want to accomplish at each spot is the interaction. It involves having a specific need that must be satisfied at a specific time and place. This interaction, exactly like the one described in the opening paragraphs, represents the touchpoint. The final decision involving the routes represents the channel you will be using to reach those touchpoints.

The touchpoint is the interaction between the customer and brand (both directly and indirectly), based on the needs of the customer.

touchpoint

And because the touchpoint plays such a large role in defining the relationship between the customer and brand, brands MUST know what the needs and expectations are of their customers. There is no orthodox method of uncovering what a customer’s needs are and how a brand should deliver it to them. Rather, brands must create a strategy that is comprised of seven steps to ensure they achieve a holistic perspective of their customers.

1) Understand what information should be supplied at the difference stages of the buyer journey

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2) Integrate all your data sources

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3) Use data analytics to see which variables and customer segments drive the most sales
equation

 

4) Adapt offers, pricing, and messaging according to customer segment

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5) Take the most impactful variables and use them for predictive analytics to make the best educated assumptions about future conversions

extrapolation

6) Track, monitor, and analyze how customers access their information to determine which channel will bring in the best results

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source: http://davidmlane.com/SPSS/correlation.html

7) Get as much customer data as possible to continue improving marketing for product and services

Digital Marketing Channels

In order to have enough data to fulfill some of the equations in the previous section, you must already have some data in your system which includes a majority of the variables such as digital marketing channels.

A channel is the medium in which a brand communicates with a customer.

There are a plethora of marketing channels available to marketers, but depending on the brand and its goal, certain channels may be more relevant than others. No one can predict which channel is going to work the best without some trial and error, and that’s where the imperative need for data comes in. By tracking and measuring the results from your different marketing channels, you can plug the data into the equations to figure out what works best and what you should be spending most of your resources on.

Conclusion

The buyer journey may seem unpredictable, but with a little patience and data analytics you are sure to find a pattern amongst your customers. No matter where they start in their buyer journey, there is always a solution to providing them with valuable content and information that can push them towards a purchase.

It is vital for marketers to track and monitor their customer’s movements and interactions with the brand as much as possible in order to see which variables bring in the best results. These variables could include channels, segments of the population, content, and so forth.

But once you are able to gather your data and put it to good use, you will be able to understand and potentially predict what your customer is going to want before they know it. And that is the key to building a long-lasting customer relationship.

 

 

About AdClarity

AdClarity is a Marketing Intelligence tool which provides online marketers with actionable insights about their competitors’ advertising activities. Driven by big data and proprietary behavioral content discovery technology, AdClarity unveils brands’ campaigns, ad creatives, impressions, and spend data across multiple channels, including Display, Mobile Web, Mobile Apps and Video. Data is collected across 20 geographies and covers over 50M URLs daily while discovering over 40K new campaigns every day. The AdClarity product suite is used by over 7,000 media and advertising professionals globally in Fortune 500 Brands, Agencies, Ad Networks, and Publishers.

 

Request a guided tour of AdClarity.

Digital Marketing in 2015: Omni-Channel Marketing

When it comes to omni-channel marketing, the argument that the customer is king is more powerful than ever. Why? Because omni-channel marketing embraces the customers and their needs.

What is Omni-Channel?

Omni-channel marketing requires CMOs to provide their customers with a truly seamless and integrated purchasing experience, no matter what device the customer is using or where they are located.  The customer must be in constant dialogue with the Brand, not the channel. To emphasize, the experience for the buyer must be synchronized regardless if they are on mobile, desktop, in-store, on the phone, or on their laptop. Each campaign or piece of content targeted at the customer must be in line with their status in the purchasing funnel, and interactions with the Brand should not be repeated. The Brand must have a singular and unified view of their customer. And this requires marketers to take all the fragmented big data they have meld it together in order to have a holistic perspective for each and every customer.

The Cycle

The entire concept of omni-channel rests on the purpose of delivering an exceptional customer experience. Once this customer experience has been delivered, a relationship arises between the customer and Brand, where the customer begins to grow loyalty and trust towards the Brand. This feeling breaks down a lot of the barriers brands often face in acquiring customer data. And once the Brand has access to the data, they can use it to better market their products and services and therefore provide a better customer experience…which leads to more loyalty and trust on the customer’s behalf.

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At the end of the day, brands must realize that bettering their customer experience is the secret ingredient to boosting their business and sales.

According to a recent study done by the Temkin Group, a modest increase in customer experience at a typical $1 billion company can help it earn an addition $272 to $462 million in revenues over three years.[1]  How?

  • There is a correlation between customer loyalty and repurchasing, with a high Pearson Correlation coefficient of .83.
  • Supermarkets generated more than $100 million in additional revenue over three years just by word of mouth as a result of the improved customer experience.[2]

The Process

Data acquisition is the most important component necessary to deliver a premium customer experience. However, acquiring useful data is the main barrier most brands face due to the privacy and security issues customers are facing when it comes to providing their personal information.

A recent study done by Intel[3] showed how omni-channel technology improved a brand’s ability to collect customer data and measure its results, the two major parameters vital to determining ROI and strengthening the marketing strategy as a whole. And this makes perfectly good sense as the more personalized data a brand can collect, the better they can market their products and services (Step 5 in the cycle).

Just as omni-channel promises the customer a singular view of the retailer, it provides the retailer with an entire comprehensive overview of the customer and their shopping experience.[4]

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Omni-channel doesn’t just benefit the customer; it arms the brand with the knowledge and data it needs to optimize all dialogue and interactions they are having with the customer. The customer may be moving from device to device or from online to in-store, but omni-channel enables for their preferences and activities to travel with them no matter where they go or when they go. And even before the dialogue between the brand and the customer begins, the brand is armed with information that enables them to target the customer with exactly what they need, eliminating any friction the customer may have faced otherwise. This data goes beyond just the pre-sale necessity; it also allows brands to have the tools they need to offer a consistent and compelling customer experience during and after their purchase.

 

About AdClarity

AdClarity is a Marketing Intelligence tool which provides online marketers with actionable insights about their competitors’ advertising activities. Driven by big data and proprietary behavioral content discovery technology, AdClarity unveils brands’ campaigns, ad creatives, impressions, and spend data across multiple channels, including Display, Mobile Web, Mobile Apps and Video. Data is collected across 20 geographies and covers over 50M URLs daily while discovering over 40K new campaigns every day. The AdClarity product suite is used by over 7,000 media and advertising professionals globally in Fortune 500 Brands, Agencies, Ad Networks, and Publishers.

 

Request a guided tour of AdClarity.

 

[1] Temkin Group Q4 2014 Consumer Benchmark Survey

[2] http://www.dmnews.com/the-roi-of-customer-experience-who-cares/article/374873/

[3] http://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/solution-briefs/omni-channel-tech-gives-retail-marketers-new-edge-brief.pdf

[4] http://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/solution-briefs/omni-channel-tech-gives-retail-marketers-new-edge-brief.pdf

Digital Marketing in 2015: Hyper-Personalization with Display Ads

Customers are no longer apathetic about their digital purchasing experience; they want it to be personalized and relevant. They are running the game now and marketers must play according to their terms and rules. Personalization is about being relevant at the right place and time to the right person- and the last thing that matters is you.

For marketers, the challenge with creating hyper-personalized content or campaigns is gaining the actionable insights they need quickly and efficiently in order to target their customers with personalized messages and offers. This type of engagement is what creates a good customer experience and customer loyalty. Marketers may think they know where to approach prospects or how to approach them, but without the right Marketing Intelligence tools, marketers are left in a constant stage of assumption, especially when it comes to display advertising.

Personalized display ads do in fact work, but they must be delivered at the right time of the customer’s buying process. Showing an end-of-the funnel ad to a customer who is only at the beginning of their buyer journey is not effective and is a waste of ad spend.

AdClarity Marketing Intelligence

Use Case 1: Knowing which creatives and publishers work in different stages of the funnel

Depending on what stage of the buyer journey the customer is in, it is vital that your display ads and campaigns compliment their behavior. For example, you aren’t going to give a reader who has never heard of your company the same message as someone who is already in the decision-making stage. By discovering which publishers your competitors are using, you can identify the stages based on the creatives they are delivering on each site. This will allow for you to understand which types of creatives and messages you should be delivering on your own spectrum of sites.

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Pic3Use Case 2: Discovering which publishers are most relevant

In addition to knowing which publishers are associated with different stages of the buyer journey, you can also discover which publishers are most successful for your competitors. Not only does this enable you to know where you should be advertising your own ads, but you can get an idea of who you should be working with in ways other than display: partnerships, collaboration, sponsorships, newsletters, guest blogging, and so forth. If you know which sites are bringing in good results for your competitors, you know that they are targeting your audience and that your information will be useful to them. Additionally, by using the previous example, you can also understand what type of content you should be promoting on those sites.

Conclusion

The whole purpose of hyper-personalization is to develop a relationship with a customer, and this takes time. In most cases, no one is going to propose on the first date; they need to develop trust and take the time to get to know one another. This is no different than the kind of relationship between brands and customers.

Giving your customers a personalized brand experience is not an impossible task, if your brand is using the right tools. With Marketing Intelligence, brands can gain the actionable insights they need to better their display ad strategies and make them more effective.

 

 

About AdClarity

AdClarity is a Marketing Intelligence tool which provides online marketers with actionable insights about their competitors’ advertising activities. Driven by big data and proprietary behavioral content discovery technology, AdClarity unveils brands’ campaigns, ad creatives, impressions, and spend data across multiple channels, including Display, Mobile Web, Mobile Apps and Video. Data is collected across 20 geographies and covers over 50M URLs daily while discovering over 40K new campaigns every day. The AdClarity product suite is used by over 7,000 media and advertising professionals globally in Fortune 500 Brands, Agencies, Ad Networks, and Publishers.

 

Request a guided tour of AdClarity.