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Time to Value Can Make You Look Like a Marketing Automation Software Hero

There are over 7,000 marketing software solutions on the market. 

Choosing the right martech is overwhelming. You’ll probably sleep under your desk for a week as you sort through the options… and you still won’t have scratched the surface.

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The BIG question to ask is, how fast do you want this new piece of technology implemented? 

Some of the big, well-known cloud marketing tech companies have lengthy implementations, tying up your money, time, and resources for months and months.

Years ago I worked for a company that chose a popular piece of marketing software. Our team found out after the ink was dry on the year-long agreement that our marketing team would have to rely on developers to create some of the much-needed campaigns. 

This time suck was the reason our company stopped using the software after a month and lost tens of thousands of dollars — it didn’t deliver in the way we were promised.

Before you seek out new marketing software, step back and try to understand what is best for your company, the goals you want to achieve, and steer clear of martech that doesn’t talk about time to value.

Why Your Software Implementation Time Is Crucial

Time to value is all about speed to market.

How fast will your new piece of technology be available to free up your marketing team so they can be more strategic, creative, and productive? 

Time is money, especially in e-commerce, but time is also the intangible you wrestle with.

If you grapple time to the ground and implement your new marketing technology in a shorter amount of time than the competition, you gain a competitive edge that leads to faster revenue growth.

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Some of the biggest players in the martech field often overlook time to value.

Your peers and others in your industry may say you should only choose from the big cloud players, because it’s what everyone else does.

After you choose a big-name cloud player and ink out the contract, and months down the road when your implementation has stalled (and your boss is breathing down your neck because you wasted a truckload of time, money, and resources), you’ll begin to understand why time to value is a major concern.

Implementation is neither painless nor fast with the big marketing clouds on the market.

Using Magento 2 and looking for ways to predict the future value of each customer?

Data – What Does It Say?

If you were asked to show off the marketing technology your company leverages to grow revenue and explain how much each platform such as your EMP (Email Marketing Platform), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), customer service software, SMS platform, ad platform, and social media management contribute to revenue generation, would you be able to do so? You’re not alone if you said no.

Marketers use anywhere between 6–10 different martech pieces on a daily basis.

And because each data piece lives in a separate silo, many companies are unaware of how each piece of their tech stack adds to revenue growth.

It’s why having one location for all your data, such as a CDP (Customer Data Platform), is a great way for you to see and track every customer interaction and then use that information to build out your automations.

The shorter your time to value, the quicker you’ll be able to achieve additional sales, revenue, and profit. Plus you’ll gain the upper hand on the competition by streamlining the post-implementation process. 

A company’s future success may ride on how the tech you chose works.

If your time to value is too long, and if the process to roll out new campaigns with your new tech is cumbersome, the less likely you’ll be able to achieve your company’s business goals.

Final Thoughts

Time to value is nothing new and has applied to many businesses over the years.

In marketing, as opposed to a factory floor assembly line, time to value can be ambiguous.

And if you and your team want to showcase your value, you have to start with a platform that quickly pulls together all your data and enables you to activate campaigns in a day.

It’s why Emarsys created a customer engagement platform, to enable you with a dashboard that offers marketing strategies and outcomes. You’ll have the opportunity to show your company how your team has influenced revenue for the better.

 

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3 Reasons Increased Customer Loyalty Leads to Brand Growth

You’re probably already aware you need a customer loyalty program. Loyalty is top of mind for many marketers. In fact, you and your marketing team — perhaps even your C-suite — have already discussed the need for a customer loyalty program, and are convinced of its potential value.

But with the vast number of other considerations your marketing team — and your brand as a whole — have to consider, you might not be prioritizing loyalty. In my experience, this is a mistake, because implementing loyalty could very well have the most significant and rapid impact for your brand.

The priority for having a loyalty program must be raised within your organization. Although the reasons are myriad, I’ll share three that are most pressing, and sure to have the most significant implications for your work as a marketer:

  • Loyalty enables you to identify more customers, more often
  • Loyalty maximizes the value of your current marketing efforts
  • Loyalty reduces the need for discount-based incentives

These reasons are compelling and urgent enough — in terms of boosting your marketing and driving better business outcomes for your brand — that even the most reticent members in your organization will be convinced that loyalty should be a top priority.

1. Identification

Everything you’d like to do with your marketing platform — nearly any use case or form of personalized customer engagement — requires you to identify your customer. Birthdays, purchase anniversaries, post-purchase up-sell — none of these use cases are possible if you cannot identify your customer.

To clarify, when I’m talking about “identification,” I mean:

  • For retail, you can identify a specific shopper offline (in your store) who would otherwise be completely anonymous, and then attribute shopping behavior and purchase history to them.
  • For e-commerce and online retail, a shopper self-identifies (by logging in upon visiting your website), enabling meaningful data collection about their on-site behavior — even if they don’t make a purchase.

This level of identification impacts everything you can do (and would want to do) as a marketer.

Why Identification Matters for Retail

If you’re a retail brand, you know it’s incredibly difficult to connect the online and offline shopping experience for your customer if they can’t be identified. In fact, customer identification is one of the most difficult hurdles you face.

Customers don’t tell you when they’re coming to shop in your store. You don’t know how long it’s been since their last visit, and you don’t have a guess as to whether they’re coming back at all. If you don’t know who your customer is, if you cannot identify your customer, there’s virtually nothing you can do in the way of personalized customer engagement.

Loyalty is by far the most effective way retailers can get customers to identify themselves at the point of sale. Sending email receipts for in-store purchases isn’t enough. In terms of truly identifying who your customer is, what they’re buying, and how often, nothing compares to a loyalty program.

When you offer customers a retail loyalty program that they perceive as valuable and beneficial, they will join and identify themselves to you. They’ll use their loyalty membership for every purchase, every time, in order to reap the benefits. And you’ll know who they are whether they shop at your store or your website.

How do customer loyalty programs help you identify more customers, more often?

Why Identification Matters for E-Commerce

Important to note, e-commerce brands face challenges in identification, too. Why? For one, they aren’t Amazon, they aren’t Facebook — so their customers aren’t always logged in.

The benefit that companies like Amazon and Facebook have is that their visitors are usually logged in the minute they hit the site, so they are readily identified early on in the shopping process.

But if you’re an e-commerce brand, you probably don’t have that luxury. Customers are on your website just… well, looking around, rather anonymously. Unless they’re ready to make a purchase, there’s no reason for them to log in and identify themselves. Many times they visit your website, browse, and then they’re gone.

And what did you learn about them? Nothing.

Loyalty programs can encourage customers to log in immediately upon visiting your site so they can get updates about their membership status, view any accrued points, and see what exclusive purchases might be available. Once they’re signed in, you’re able to collect actionable data about their behavior — data that enables you to deliver true 1:1 personalization.

One potential obstacle: If you choose to build a loyalty program into your website using an API, you might have to deal with convincing the customer to go through a separate loyalty login portal. To mitigate that, Emarsys developed the Loyalty Wallet — included with the Emarsys Loyalty solution.

Loyalty Wallet is a pre-built overlay portal that allows customers to sign in easily without friction. Customers see the pop-up, click, and they’re signed in. Even better: with the Loyalty Wallet, you don’t need IT for implementation. You can have a loyalty program integrated into your website in only days (yes, literally days).

Key Takeaway

  • Identification is at the core of everything you do as a marketer. There are many reasons for having a loyalty program, but this is reason enough: a loyalty program is the only consistently effective way to drive identification, allowing you to identify more people, more often.

2. Maximize the Value (and Impact) of Your Current Marketing Efforts

As a strategy, brute-force marketing is less than effective. You can’t just add more and more until your customers relent — nor is that goal. That kind of approach is counter-productive, as it often leaves your customers feeling frustrated and annoyed, not appreciated and engaged. It also wastes time and resources.

Instead, consider the cliched but apropos adage of “quality over quantity.” Often times, the skill in being a good marketer comes down to your ability to enhance and improve the marketing you’re already doing, thus maximizing its value. Loyalty solutions that are effectively designed and implemented help you achieve this.

The Influence of Loyalty on Behavior

Loyalty programs have a meaningful impact on your customer’s shopping habits. Customer loyalty research from Forrester shows that, across multiple customer demographics, loyalty programs influence a wide range of behavior, including:

  • Where a customer makes a purchase
  • What they buy
  • How much they spend
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Base: 42,689 US online adults (18+) who belong to a customer loyalty program. Source: Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics® North American Online Benchmark Survey (Part 2), 2019

Knowing that customers are influenced by — and responsive to — these programs, you can implement loyalty and integrate it with your current marketing efforts to make your outreach more impactful. And a healthy assortment of rewards and motivators applied to your current use cases will drive customers to engage with your brand more often and across more channels.

What Successful Brand Loyalty Looks Like

We’ve seen this successful application of brand loyalty with Contorion, a German e-commerce business serving B2B craftsmen and B2C customers. Using Emarsys Loyalty, Contorion enhanced their current marketing efforts to achieve some ambitious goals. Within one month of launching their loyalty program, they saw:

  • 5% more activity on the website
  • 34% higher conversion rate from first-time to second-time buyer
  • 12.7% higher average order value
  • 62% more repeat purchases

By leveraging a loyalty solution that was fully integrated into all of their marketing, they were able to create true omnichannel personalization.

Many factors went into Contorion’s success, but one of the ways the company drove these important metrics was by enhancing their current campaigns with loyalty-based calls to action and rewards. This allowed the company to maximize marketing efforts they already had in play, opposed to over-investing resources into developing a scattering of new campaigns.

To be candid, not all loyalty programs will yield these kinds of results in one month. Part of the reason for Contorion’s rapid success was because of how quickly the Emarsys Loyalty solution can be implemented — it only takes days, and there’s minimal IT work, if any, required. This won’t be true for most other loyalty programs, which often require a longer lead time and more IT involvement.

A well-designed and integrated loyalty program is the link between identification, your customer data platform, and marketing use cases. It’s what allows you to create specific treatments for specific campaigns. More personalization amplifies the use cases you already have in play. You shouldn’t have to deploy more and more use cases when, instead, enhancing your current ones (with more specificity and targeted actions) results in a better return on investment.

Key Takeaway

  • A loyalty solution that is fully integrated into your platform will help you maximize the value of your current use cases and be more exacting in how you engage your customers, all while reducing the amount of operational overhead you have to contend with as a marketer — giving you better results without extra effort.

3. Reduce the Need for Discount Based-Incentives

“Discounts are destroying our margins!”

I hear this all the time from brands. The problem is, marketers as a whole have trained consumers to wait for and respond to discounts and discount-based coupons with Pavlovian precision. Now, customers are addicted. The result: There is something akin to a discount epidemic in the e-commerce and retail world.

Fortunately, loyalty programs are an effective antidote. Actually, they might be the only antidote.

That’s because loyalty-based incentives are essentially the only way to create a driver that is not a discount. Think about it: If you aren’t using price as a motivator, how do you inspire a customer to take action?

Well, with a loyalty program, you can shape drivers for your members that are not based on discounts, and instead, are based on other factors that are much more emotionally exciting. Members-only experiences, exclusive access to sales and products, special invitations to partner events — these are all achievable through loyalty.

Generating Excitement

What’s more exciting for your customer? An email that offers a 5% discount if they shop in the next 48 hours or an email with a special link to a limited-time t-shirt exclusive only to those in the loyalty program?

There’s something about getting an exclusive product offer that no one else besides loyalty members can get that is inherently more exciting than a discount, and, let’s face it, more worthy of a well-earned humble brag on social media. The goal here is to deploy incentives that appeal to customers on an emotional level to generate excitement.

Full Integration Means More Incentive Options

A fully integrated loyalty solution like Emarsys Loyalty allows you to create offers and incentives that will actually get your customers fired up. Birthday points, upgrades, exclusive product offers, pre-sale access, VIP customer care — these loyalty-based drivers can incite customers to take action and impact customer lifecycle, all without using discounts as the motivator.

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Fewer discounts, more 1:1 personalized experiences

Don’t get me wrong, discount-based drivers still have an important place in your marketing efforts. Customers absolutely respond to discounts. But you shouldn’t rely on them. Driving purchases with non-discount incentives, like the kind you can deploy if you have the right loyalty program, means you can preserve your margins, and thus, increase revenue.

Key Takeaway

  • You want to be able to create more value while reducing the discounts you’re giving. A loyalty program is the only way to drive your marketing use cases without having to rely on discounts and hurt your margins. It’s also the most effective way to create incentives that are actually emotionally exciting for your customers.

Need help getting organizational buy-in for a customer loyalty program? Read the Customer Loyalty Whitepaper.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a marketer, you want to prove that marketing directly and positively impacts your company’s bottom line. You want to implement measures that can enhance customer engagement while bringing in more revenue. Loyalty does this by helping you better identify your customers, maximize the value of your current marketing, and reduce discount-based incentives.

Loyalty programs don’t have to be cumbersome or complex. They can be simple in design and execution. However, to get the most out of loyalty, you need to seek out a solution that is fully integrated into your marketing efforts.

The Emarsys Loyalty program is built directly into the Emarsys platform. If you’re an Emarsys customer, this means it’s already connected to your customer data. We did this so marketers could easily enhance their current marketing to produce measurable business results, and do so with minimal involvement from IT. In other words, we designed Emarsys Loyalty so that, for anything a marketer would want to do with loyalty, they can do it without talking to IT first.

Loyalty needs to be a top priority for your organization. Of any initiative you take this year, deploying a loyalty program will have the most meaningful and direct impact on revenue, customer lifetime value, and overall growth. And if you already have a loyalty program, you must ask: Is it fully integrated into your platform? Is it enhancing your omnichannel engagement? Are you seeing a return on your investment?

From a brand perspective, a well-designed, fully integrated loyalty program isn’t just good marketing — it’s good business.

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How Customer Engagement Marketing Will Win You More Customers in 2020

When someone asks if you know what customer engagement is, you say, “Sure, that’s the goal of marketing. Engage the audience.”

And does customer engagement include conversions?

You answer, “Of course, everything we do is designed to get customers to buy from us.”

Okay, but do you use engagement to drive conversions?

“Probably. But why shouldn’t we focus on conversions and sprinkle in customer engagement where we can?”

Because that won’t work anymore.

You have to keep your audience thinking about your brand while all the other brands are trying to steal their attention away from you. True customer engagement marketing is a deliberate marketing strategy that focuses on increasing the engagement your customers have with your brand by delivering personalized messages across preferred channels. What’s more is that customer engagement marketing is quickly becoming more important than conversions.

This post takes a look at why this is so important now and what the best components and strategies are for building a long-term relationship with your customers.

What Has Changed About Customer Engagement?

Brands used to have all the power in the transactional relationship. Marketing and advertising were once a brand’s way of telling the customer how, where, and when to buy a product.

Then the internet came along and changed everything in the brand-customer relationship. Today customers determine when and where the sale happens. Technology, namely mobile, has significantly changed the e-commerce and retail landscape. With so many brands accessible through a simple search, a brand’s power has moved from channels and reach to treating customers better than any segmentation ever could have.

Regular Marketing vs. Customer Engagement Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Traditional marketing relied on blasting one message at everybody, and over time, the scatter-gun mentality of throwing a bunch of messaging at the market and seeing what stuck became the norm.

However, that’s an enormous waste of resources, and all you really learn is that some portion of your audience responds to your marketing efforts. We still see many brands employing one-to-many strategies, but the technology solutions we have today and are building for tomorrow will allow us to fine-tune personalization and get us one step closer to the Holy Grail of marketing: true 1-to-1 marketing.

In some ways, customer engagement marketing is more like nurturing than a typical sales-only-focused strategy. It’s a way for marketers to keep customers interested in their brand even when they’re not looking to buy something.

You do this by delivering relevant, personalized content for both active customers and prospects at every touchpoint. Educational and insightful content keeps your brand in the customer’s mind and may pay off with repeat purchases or word-of-mouth recommendations.

What’s at stake if you do your engagement right: “Companies who have improved engagement increase cross-sell by 22%, drive up-sell revenue from 13% to 51%, and also increase order sizes from 5% to 85%.” (Constellation Research).

Why Engagement Matters More Now Than Conversions

Traditional marketing relied heavily on segmentation, the crudest form of personalization, but segments have always sucked. It’s just a way to split your audience into vague buckets that marketers then relentlessly speak to without knowing what works or why.

Technology allows us to go beyond that now, but you have another challenge to overcome. We live in an era where marketing technology is available to everyone. This means your competitors have a similar tech stack they use to market to customers. When brands seem like a dime a dozen, customers will move from one to the next, mainly looking for discounts and never develop a long-term relationship with your brand.

So how will your brand stand out in such an oversaturated market?

What’s different now is that we’re using technology to shift away from contact lists, traditional segmentation, and basic data collection and storage in favor of engagement marketing.

Customers are not buckets. Our campaigns should target individuals, and some campaigns should have no intention of encouraging a sale. We’re learning that campaigns don’t engage customers like carefully curated content for the individual customer.

The customer gets a top-quality customer journey and experience, and your brand gets more reliable and efficient revenue growth, plus an all-encompassing strategy optimized for omnichannel.

The Customer Experience — The Engagement Battleground

In a 2018 State of Attention report, Prezi surveyed business professionals about what they considered engaging and found three primary answers:

  • 55% Story matters most in capturing the reader’s attention.
  • 41% Engaging dialog draws in readers.
  • 33% Visuals keep readers interested in content.

It should be no surprise that story, dialog, and imagery reel the reader in better than one-too-many messaging. All of this comes together in the customer experience, which is no longer a purely transactional journey.

Customer Engagement Foundations

Customers expect a few things to qualify any journey they take through your site as a good experience (see the list below for what U.S. customers consider a great CX).

Experiential marketing. Your customer experience is made up of a range of tech and channels that you’ll use to deliver a satisfying CX, but there will be forces — some of which you have no control over — that will cause marketers to re-evaluate their customer experience.

Along with the evolution of customer engagement marketing, marketers have found that customers and what they want are changing too.

An Econsultancy survey shows that 93% of marketers believe a growing number of their customers pay for experiences as opposed to just products and services. There’s data to support the benefits of a great CX — a personalized experience can spurn spontaneous purchases for up to 49% of customers in some cases.

That doesn’t mean you have to create an unparalleled spectacle. Customers have practical expectations of what a good experience should be. Often, they want speed and personalization — this combination is bringing marketers closer to real-time marketing — anything that allows them to browse as quickly or as slowly as they like and provides a frictionless checkout.

What U.S. Customers Want in a Good CX

  • 73% say that customer experience is an important influence in purchasing.
  • 65% are influenced by a good experience with a brand over great advertising.
  • 86% will pay more (up to 16% more for products and services) for a great customer experience.
  • 63% will share more profile information with brands that provide good customer experiences.
  • Nearly 80% value speed, convenience, and knowledgeable and friendly service as the most impactful parts of a good customer experience.
  • 32% will permanently leave a brand after one bad experience.
  • Only 49% say brands are currently offering a good CX.

(Source: PwC report)

Omnichannel communication. You’ve got to ensure the customer experience is consistently good in every channel where you interact with customers. According to an Adobe study, brands who marry a strong omnichannel presence with engaging content strategies can see:

  • 10% increase in YoY growth
  • 10% increase in AOV (average order value)
  • 25% increase in close rates

If omnichannel automation was ever a secret, that secret is out now. PwC’s 2020 report states that brands investing in omnichannel have risen from 20% to over 80% this year.

Mobile, of course, is the most critical channel for you to communicate with customers — 57% of customers will not recommend a brand with a poorly designed mobile site — but you’ll want the best point solution for all your channels.

Tip: Many brands are finding that partnering with a marketing platform company that includes all the necessary point solutions and integrations is the best solution.

Self-serve automation. An MIT Technology Review report found that automated journeys take care of between 25% and 50% of customer issues. Back in 2018, AI-driven automation took care of 25% of all customer engagement. Gartner found that 90% of brands are seriously planning to invest in AI within the next three years, and they predict that 25% will rise to 40% by 2023.
Automation also encourages customers to journey through your site however they like, but if the customer wants something self-serve can’t give her, then it’s good to prominently include a live chat feature somewhere on your site.

A FAQ page that answers the top questions customers have can improve the customer experience and reduce the rate at which visitors exit your site.

Live customer service. Normally this means live chat, but it could be a call center as well. A 24/7 customer service line is one of the most crucial pieces of customer engagement. This is an opportunity to prove how much you care about serving customers by listening and then resolving their concerns. This is one of the few cases where negative feedback can be used in your favor… as long as you really listen and then resolve the problem.

Content Strategies for Engagement

In the Econsultancy report, 50% of those surveyed said they’re requesting 50% more content today than they did two years ago. But the number-one rule here is that you don’t want to add to the noise of all the other brands also blasting email, SMS, and social messages. That means that, at a minimum, your content has to do the following:

  • Tell stories. 89% of respondents in the Econsultancy report said their brands are increasingly experimenting with greater personalization and story-driven content. Lots of visuals help drive the engagement, but you can go further: Think about how you can include interaction of some kind in the telling of these stories.
  • Inspire. Writing about how to use a product in a special way can catch the audience’s attention. One of the most effective approaches a brand can take here is to talk about a cause that customers believe in. Or go that extra step and donate to a charity that resonates with your audience.
  • Inform and educate. This kind of “how-to” content resonates in a big way with customers who may need a little more assistance than standard product documentation offers. Rather than leaving your customers to fend for themselves and head over to YouTube — a Google study showed that 48% of smartphone shoppers are more likely to purchase when a brand’s mobile site includes instructional video — beat the competition to the punch by providing all the how-to tips they’ll need.

Generally, your content has to add value that typical marketing and sales pitches do not. Offer insight into a challenge associated with your product or service. Let your customers know what you as a brand are committed to, whether that’s a customer-centric helping hand, a charity, or cause. This is the fastest way you can set yourself apart from the competition… and maybe start a trend of your own.

Final Thoughts

We are on the cusp of the customer engagement marketing era. A Walker study predicts that the customer experience will win out over price and product as a competitive differentiator by the end of 2020.

A Gartner survey also found that more than two-thirds of brands are competing against each other purely on customer experience — up from 36% in 2010.

Are you ready for the shift?

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How AI Adoption is Revolutionizing Digital Marketing

It wasn’t so long ago that artificial intelligence was just a vague but heavily-hyped (albeit capable) technology. AI promised to radically change the way marketing operated, but the tech was haloed by many unknowns:

Would it be too complex to implement? Would it steal jobs away from marketers? Would it pave the way for machines to take over the world and conquer humans?

The answer to many of those questions, of course, is no (in spite of what The Terminator movies might have you believe). But many marketers continue to speculate about artificial intelligence. They hold a wide range of opinions about the implications of the technology.

The problem is, few marketers actually understand AI’s potential to revolutionize how they achieve marketing goals

AI Works Alongside Marketers, Not in Place of Marketers

Working in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, I occasionally run into former colleagues or professional acquaintances — mostly fellow marketers — who I haven’t seen in a while. Naturally, we’ll take some time to catch-up.

If they ask, “What are you up to these days?” I’ll mention that I write content for an omnichannel customer engagement platform company. If they press deeper, I like to mention some of the specifics about the platform — notably, its artificial intelligence component.

For some, this is where their eyes start to glaze over. They think we’ve gone into deep tech territory and they can’t hang in the conversation (again — these are marketers I’m talking about). Others stay poised, but raise a curious eyebrow. They’ve heard AI as a marketing buzzword, but beyond that, they remain skeptical.

I’m not too surprised by these exchanges. It turns out, a good deal of marketers are not fully informed about AI adoption. They’ve been jaded by the baggage of wary, cautious skeptics who fear the worst aspects of AI. Some even believe AI will replace marketers, removing the human element of marketing and altering the landscape of the industry forever.

The reality is, AI is a tool to be used by marketers, enhancing what they can accomplish. AI functions best alongside marketers, not in place of marketers. In fact, that’s why it’s built into the Emarsys platform — to better enable marketers, not displace them or disempower them.

This is the point in the conversation where I’m usually asked something like: why would marketers use AI? Unless you’re in technology or robotics, would a company even need to adopt AI?

Webinar | Why is AI adoption a must for marketers in 2020?

So Why Should Organizations Adopt AI?

Part of better understanding AI is related to gaining clarity on the “Why”: why should organizations adopt AI? 

It comes down to better use of data, better information, and better execution.

AI and its subsets — like machine learning, deep learning, and predictive analytics — enable you to connect data, decision-making, and marketing automation in a way that you’ve never been able to before. You can then predict crucial aspects of your customers’ behavior, which informs important decisions about overall customer lifecycle.

Sorry, mere mortals: unaided, your brainpower alone won’t allow you to do what AI can do from an analytics perspective (more on this later). But what your marketing expertise does allow you to do is decide how to use AI to get the marketing outcomes you want.

Monkey grabbing multiple tree branches

By adopting AI, marketers can fully leverage their data to nurture, scale, and automate personalized customer experiences across multiple channels and devices. Several years ago, this would never have been possible.

Reactive vs. Proactive Marketing

Another major advantage of AI: it allows for a proactive approach to marketing.

For years, marketers have been reliant on post-purchase engagement with their customers, having to wait until a purchase was completed to inform the type of communication those customers would receive. This kind of reactive marketing all but ensures customers receive irrelevant or untimely communications. Delivering 1-to-1 personalized customer experiences is near impossible with a reactive approach.

However, AI allows you to take a proactive approach — one that is anticipatory and predictive.

The predictive capability of AI technology is the key to proactive marketing. And we aren’t talking about some soothsayer, reading-the-tea-leaves kind of predictions. We’re talking about sophisticated, advanced algorithms that, using your data, learn and anticipate customer preferences and behavior with an incredible degree of accuracy.

For example, AI segmentation makes it possible for you to calculate the likelihood of a customer action happening or not happening via prediction scores. Segments like “likely to remain inactive,” “likely to disengage,” or “likely to engage” can be determined by the tech. Over time, as your data becomes more robust, AI becomes even better at predicting customer behavior.

AI also predicts the most relevant products, content, and offerings for a given group or segment. It will automate those messages, delivering them at the time and place most suitable for a customer, and through whichever channel the customer prefers.

Few marketers understand how AI can revolutionize their marketing. Do you? 

Applying AI in Day to Day Campaigns

Upon adoption, AI can play a vital role in the day-to-day marketing activities of your organization. Common use cases include:

  1. Send Time Optimization (STO)
  2. Open Time Content (OTC)
  3. Product Replenishment
  4. Omnichannel Engagement (Email, Web, Mobile, In-Store, etc.)
  5. 1-to-1 Marketing (Incentives, Birthdays, Abandoned Cart, etc.)
  6. Ad/Banner Personalization
  7. Revenue and CLTV Predictions
  8. Buyer and Lead Predictions

Done manually, many of these use cases are tedious and resource-intensive, difficult to carry out consistently, or in some instances, flat-out unattainable. But you can employ AI to execute many of these marketing use cases with a high degree of efficiency and consistency while making time-intensive ones scalable and easy to execute.

Although you can automate some of these use cases with basic marketing technology, having an AI component allows for a “personal touch,” because it enables you to create individualized, proactive interactions with customers. As a result, you get better business outcomes through increased customer retention, growth, and revenue.

It’s Not a Fad: AI is a Proven, Industry-Focused Technology

We’ve now seen that AI has started to live up to its promise of revolutionizing marketing.

What’s more, AI has proven itself to be a profound tool to be used by — and function alongside — marketers to create powerful customer experiences. It is not the job displacer that some feared it would be. AI actually frees marketers from repetitive, time-intensive tasks and allows them to focus on the more crucial goals of marketing: maximizing customer engagement and driving revenue for their organization.

We also know that failing to adopt AI puts organizations at a disadvantage. Not only will non-adopters disappoint customers who have come to appreciate and expect personalized communications from brands they shop with, but these organizations will be left in the wake of competitors who adopt AI and fully integrate it into their marketing efforts early on.

Having AI integrated into our customer engagement platform allows our clients to engage in proactive, omnichannel marketing with their customers and achieve results that actually move the needle for their brand. In fact, our industry-focused AI technology was cited by Forrester in their recent Forrester Wave™: CCCM (Independent Platforms), Q4 2019 Report — a report in which Emarsys was named a leader.

Final Thoughts

It’s difficult to cover the full gamut of reasons why marketers should be adopting AI in a single blog post (and even more so when conversing with a colleague in passing). However, for a more comprehensive deep dive into AI adoption for marketers, sign up for this upcoming webinar. You’ll hear from industry experts like Raj Balasundaram, SVP of AI at Emarsys, as well as guest speaker Rusty Warner, Principal Analyst at Forrester. 

Stop thinking of AI as a marketing buzzword, or worst, the death rattle of traditional marketing. Learn more about AI adoption and embrace it. AI is truly the most powerful marketing tool available, so make sure you know how to leverage it.

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Webinar | AI Marketing 2020: How Adoption Can Predict Customer Behavior and Drive Business Outcomes

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The AI Advantage: How Artificial Intelligence Is Helping Retailers Keep Up with Customers

This article originally appeared in The Retailer in November 2019 and has been adapted for the Emarsys blog.

In a hyper-competitive retail landscape, AI-enabled personalization can help retailers deliver experiences that lead to loyal customers

And the climate in which retailers live is growing more unrelenting from several angles. Customers demand recommendations for them as individuals, but there are more brands that are getting closer to actually being able to deliver that kind of personalization — so the heat (competition) is quickly rising.

We’ve talked about how reactive marketing no longer cuts it. Marketers need a proactive approach in order to deliver positive experiences that keep customers coming back.

Here’s the good news: with data as the great equalizer for brands of any size, artificial intelligence is spurring a new movement in marketing. This new era will be defined by proactive marketing.

AI helps retailers to do proactive marketing — learn how.

The Promise of AI

Research by Gartner shows those using AI for online commerce can expect to see a 25% increase in customer satisfaction, revenue, or cost reduction by 2023. This is because AI enables us to take mounds of data and turn it into actionable insights that can be used to improve customer experiences. 

That said, I continue seeing many brands still investing in outdated tools and strategies and who, in time, succumb to subpar, reactive customer interactions… the very thing AI fixes!

Still other companies remain stuck in a “business-as-usual-mindset” where they market based on hunches and personal opinions. The problem with a “best guess” approach is the lack of real-time, data-driven information about customers’ purchasing decisions. In a retail context, this approach can lead to serving customers irrelevant content and, therefore, missed revenue opportunities.

Retailers need to start considering solutions that ensure every customer interaction becomes enriched — not eroded — with time. This is precisely why brands need a platform that helps them, in essence, “continue” in the progression of the customer journey by personalizing communications.

This kind of approach will not only boost loyalty, but will propel you to the very top of the many competitors vying for your position.

Related: How are Marketers Using AI Today? [Q&A with Raj Balasundaram]

Strong Brands Beat the Market

The benefits of working with AI are clear from a business perspective. AI can also allocate marketing spend based on optimal allocation; it identifies the value of certain marketing activities as it relates to the broader business. All brands want the ability to predict the value of individual customers and their revenue potential… something AI quite eloquently performs.

For example, by using behavioral data, brands can predict engagement points that will escort a customer through their journey towards conversion. Thus, retailers can create better personalized experiences by targeting the specific audience segments at the preferred time.

twitter“By using #AI & #behavioraldata, you can predict engagement points to escort customers through their journeys to #conversion,” says @HeathRJ CLICK TO TWEET

This might be as simple as an abandoned cart campaign that leverages AI to identify customers who’ve exited a purchase before checkout. Offers or incentives tailored to influence conversions (such as a new loyalty program tier or a discount) can literally be customized for individuals.

Knowing how to best allocate budget and identify tactics like next-best offers or in advance to increase campaign effectiveness is crucial to success. What’s more, retailers can leverage data analytics tools to create projections of metrics such as purchase probability, customer loyalty, or estimated transaction value.

Value of Using AI

According to our research, only 37% of retail organizations are exploring the potential use cases for AI. Similarly, 52% of retailers are not able to manage real-time customer interactions. This suggests the retail industry is just beginning to harness AI technologies and its benefits.

As I’ve seen repeatedly, one big factor inhibiting AI adoption is apprehension. Lack of knowledge, fear of disrupting the status quo (or the unknown), silos, and constant pressure to drive results have actually caused some businesses to avoid AI.

Companies that have a foundation in place to drive value from AI at scale have a better chance of implementation. Brands can start by identifying where opportunities lie and begin building a robust AI strategy across the business rather than operating in silos — as this can hinder its impact.

AI is fundamentally transforming how retailers operate. From the way they manufacture products to how they’re marketed to building ongoing relationships, AI is enabling retailers to revolutionize their approach. Perhaps more than anything, it can also provide the “WOW” kind of experiences that leave customers speechless, coming to you for their every need.

Learn more about the Emarsys’ Impact-Ready AI solutions

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See how top retailers use AI to predict customer behavior.

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Is It Possible to Capture a Complete 360-Degree View of Customers?

I get it. It’s frustrating.

As a marketer, your company has loads of disconnected data.

And you have to log in to each tool to pore over the data and make your best-educated guess. You look over reports in your email marketing platform, your website analytics, your social media data, and your ads.

This tech stack approach — adding more marketing technology — creates headaches because of your siloed data.

What if you could view all your customer data in one place, allowing mere mortals to decide on the best steps to take?

Is this even possible? Keep reading to find out.

How Data Platforms Work

Your company probably has one of several platforms to organize and sort data.

To better explain how you can connect all the data your heart desires, let’s look at the most common platforms.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

crm_example_data

The most common platform, a CRM collects customer and prospect information — such as name, email, and title — for the entire organization. It stores interactions with customers and prospects so everyone is on the same page. If a customer reached out about a question, if a prospect downloaded a whitepaper, or even if your customer opened your email, this information can be found in a CRM.

DMP (Data Management Platform)

dmp_example_data

A DMP collects data from a variety of sources and segments the information so advertisers can create lookalike audiences to target potential prospects in the hopes of converting them to customers. Wow, that was a mouthful. Go ahead and read that again. Don’t worry. I’ll wait.

This is a simplified explanation of a DMP – just know the incoming data is anonymous and created for display and paid search. It’s not designed to provide individual profiles of your prospects and customers.

CDP (Customer Data Platform)

cdp_example_data

A CDP breaks down data silos and pulls together data that generally isn’t integrated — everything from email to SMS to social to offline transactions to your website — to give you a complete 360-degree profile of customers.

It’s designed for marketers. So if you’re anything like me, you’re glad when technology works. Kind of like when I maniacally wave my phone in front of a card reader to pay for my coffee, Apple Pay just works. Mind blown.

Data Platform Comparisons

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Data is like a puzzle, disconnected until someone comes along and fits together all the pieces. Each platform is designed to connect data together, but for different purposes.

A CDP is designed to eliminate data silos and funnel all customer interactions with your company and website into one place.

Your marketing team can make the best possible decisions in connecting one-to-one with customers on their preferred channel, providing you with a true omnichannel approach.

No longer do you have to waste time logging into all your separate marketing tech accounts, or relying on other internal departments to pull together some data.

Final Thoughts

The Emarsys CDP gathers all your data and uses AI to generate smart attributes about individual profiles. You can view their probability to purchase, potential future value, and even assign a customer lifecycle stage based on your business needs.

You can create a host of segments based on all the customer data collected such as location, purchase history, website behavior, and just about any other relational data added to your system.

It’s no wonder Forrester named Emarsys a leader in The Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Campaign Management (Independent Platforms), Q4 2019 Report.

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Marketer + Machine Podcast: Best of 2019

We published more than 50 episodes of the Marketer + Machine podcast in 2019. And, a little insider insight: because of you, we’ve seen continuous growth of the show, including:

After an unbelievable jump start to the show in 2018, I wanted to take a little time to reflect on what made 2019 so great, too.

Here’s my top 10 favorite moments from the podcast over the past year.

10. Vivek Sharma, CEO at Movable Ink on visual content

Vivek and his team at Movable Ink are spearheading a movement to help marketers marry data and creative.

As he explained to us back in February, you have more data than you think — in different places and from different channels. Unifying this giant ocean of mostly unstructured data, and coupling it with wonderful creative and technology can help you tell personalized, visual stories. Up until now, why have these two aspects of marketing existed in disparate realms? Why haven’t we completely and fully brought them together?

Sharma-Vivek

"Visuals haven’t kept up with the way content needs to be produced. The modern digital marketer has to contend with more channels popping up every day! This profusion of new channels, more devices, more moments people pass through in a given day, and the burden of more campaigns, moments, and channels has made those old content production processes crumble, and it hasn’t scaled or kept pace with all the other innovation happening in digital marketing.”

Vivek Sharma • Founder & CEO, Movable Ink • @vivsharma

twitter“The fact of the matter is, for hundreds of thousands of years, humans have evolved to understand things visually – #visual is the language that moves people,” says @vivsharma CLICK TO TWEET

Episode: Uniting Data & Creative to Bring Personalization Into the Visual Era: Vivek Sharma

9. Sandra Wroe, Head of CRM at WorldRemit on customer centricity

As Head of CRM, Sandra Wroe of WorldRemit understands the challenges of information overload, personalization, and technology. Customer centricity is a nice platitude that a lot of us boast about, but how do we actually do it? As Sandra shared back in April, the easiest way is to start with email at the center — and then to take on those auxiliary channels like push messaging and social media ads.

Episode: How to Adapt to the Digital, Omnichannel World (In 12 Minutes): Sandra Wroe

8. Shane Lenton of Cue Clothing Co. actually did omnichannel

Cue Clothing Co. uses their customer data to provide a frictionless experience for customers regardless of touchpoint. Any team member can see who the customer is, purchase history, frequency of shopping, and preferences — whether in-store, online, via customer care, live chat, or any other channel.

Back in May, CIO Shane Lenton shared how the 51-year-old brand stitches together the entire digital customer journey to epitomize true omnichannel.

twitter“#Omnichannel #marketing or #unifiedcommerce is really about having your systems talking in real time.” – Shane Lenton of @cueclothing CLICK TO TWEET

Episode: How Cue Clothing Co. Offers a Truly Omnichannel CX: Shane Lenton [Podcast]

7. Jim Sterne demystifies artificial intelligence

Just after the turn of the year, we had AI industry expert, keynote speaker, and author Jim Sterne on the program. Jim’s 12th book called Artificial Intelligence for Marketing: Practical Applications had came out in 2017, and he discussed some of the key principles included.

My favorite part of his interview centered around Jim emphasizing how marketers can get past misconceptions about AI. As he explained, there are 3 main fears about AI: that it’ll become sentient and take over the world, it’ll steal our jobs, and that bias and privacy issues are inherent. Only the final point has merit, says Jim.

twitter“There are 3 fears about #AI: it’s going to take over the world, it’s going to take my job, & there’s bias/privacy issues — only the last one is sincere,” says @JimSterne CLICK TO TWEET

Episode: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Marketing: Jim Sterne

6. Chris Pirrotta on authenticity

Chris Pirrotta, VP of Marketing at Sideshow offered some of the best advice we’ve heard on the show: make authentic connections — whatever that means for you. Don’t get so lost in the technology that you forget why you’re using it! Chris shared a couple really great “mic-drop-moments” as well… which is why his episode is one of my favorite from the past year. Chris told us:

“The most effective marketing is marketing in which you really touch someone’s heart.”

twitter“The most effective #marketing is marketing in which you really touch someone’s heart,” says Chris Pirrotta of @sideshow CLICK TO TWEET
Pirrotta

“You can’t fake authenticity when it comes to specificity… Marketing is marketing, it’s just using tools to do it correctly. We look at technology to help us reach and discover new people. We have a large website which is something like 15,000th on Alexa — it gets a lot of traffic, but obviously all of those people don’t become customers. We look to the technology to help us [decide if] those people that got to us would be interested in a physical mailer or a postcard — those types of opportunities are what we’re pursuing at this point.”

Chris Pirrotta • VP of Marketing, Sideshow

Episode: [Revolution Series] How Authentic is Your Marketing? Touch Customers’ Hearts: Chris Pirrotta

5. Caren Carrasco gets in the weeds with RFM modeling

RFM modeling allows marketers to gain visibility and understanding of the influence that their marketing efforts have on driving repeat revenue, preventing churn and winning back dormant clients. Using this innovative methodology, you can better understand the true health, activeness, and engagement of the various segments of your database. You can also define opportunities within repeat segments to fill revenue gaps.

Caren Carrasco of our partner Benjamin David Group joined the show back in April to break things down.

twitter“If you track how much repeat business you’re driving, that’s a good indication of effectiveness for your #RFM #segmentation,” says @carencarrasco CLICK TO TWEET

Episode: RFM Modeling 101: Predict Churn, Purchase, & Retention with Simple Segmentation: Caren Carrasco

4. Chelsea Mueller makes data understandable

With more than half a million active SKUs on the website, and many product variations and verticals, it’s pretty darn important for Cheaper Than Dirt to have both a birds-eye and bullseye view of each customer. They’re leveraging data to achieve that proverbial “right time, right place, right message” status all of us strive for. How? Chelsea Mueller, CMO, explained:

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"Historical data makes a big difference. Understanding where your customers were and where they're going is important... I don't want to know just the last thing you purchased... if [you bought] a high-end price-point item... you're not buying another one of those immediately! You need everything in the periphery. If we don't understand that journey, we can't serve first-time customers. That comes back to the data price points, average order value, where they're from, how they entered our site, etc. All of those components together give us a much better picture."

Chelsea Mueller • CMO, Cheaper Than Dirt • @ChelseaVBC

Big thanks to Chelsea for taking some time at our Revolution conference to share CTD’s story.

Episode: [Revolution Series] How Cheaper Than Dirt Uses Customer Behavior Data for Personalization: Chelsea Mueller

3. Brian Solis on the link between happiness and creativity

Industry mogul Brian Solis gets the grind — and how digital distraction is making a lot of us (if even subconsciously) unhappy. He generously joined the show in May to share how to stay sane amidst the continuous influx of tech overload, the ads, emails, calls, beeps, bells, dings, pings, popups, players, notifications, texts, and more.

Brian’s new book, Lifescale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive, and Happy Life, is all about this topic. As Brian told us:

“I think it was Kristen Harris who said, ‘We were given the power of Gods, and not the wisdom,’ and we absolutely got drunk on it. We tasted what it was like to have followers and to be adored and liked on demand. We got a dose of what it’s like to be famous, even if it’s just micro fame… that’s lifescale. It’s a human journey to reset all of your core pillars in life for a modern generation.”

twitter“We were given the power of Gods, but not the wisdom, & we absolutely got drunk on it,” says @BrianSolis CLICK TO TWEET

Episode: Stop Working for Your Tech, & Make It Work for You: Brian Solis [Podcast]

2. Ashwin Ram updates us on where AI stands today

Anytime you can learn from a tech leader the likes of, say, the Director of AI at Google, you want to take advantage of it.

Prior to joining Google, Ashwin Ram led AI development and R&D for Amazon Alexa, the intelligent agent that powers Amazon Echo and other devices. He has been pushing the envelope in artificial intelligence, natural language understanding, machine learning, and conversational dialog for years and is widely considered the leading expert at the intersection of cognitive AI and social computing.

He joined the show to talk about how to get computers to simulate human thought, blending ethical implications of AI with innovation and creating a great CX, and how humans work with machines and AI.

twitter“We’re in the midst of a #marketing renaissance — everything is driven by #technology,” says @ashwinram CLICK TO TWEET
a

“We’re moving from a channel-first mindset in marketing to a consumer-first mindset. Marketing used to be about one-to-many conversations — you’d take a bunch of messages and find a way to broadcast them out to your audience. Now, marketing is shifting to be [about] one-to-one conversations. We want highly personalized, individual interactions with people when they want them, where they want them, about what they want. You need AI to help make sense of this complex world we live in to be able to interact with people where they are without being intrusive. That’s the big win for marketing!”

Ashwin Ram •  Technical Director of AI, Google, AI Researcher, and Entrepreneur • @ashwinram

Episode: [Revolution Series] The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Marketing: Ashwin Ram, Technical Director of AI, Google

1. Chris Pearce gets at the heart of it

In one of my favorite episodes on the show, Chris Pearce, CEO of TMW Unlimited, shared his passion and unique understanding of behavioral science and neuroscience — and how to dig into consumers’ subconscious mind to ultimately create more emotive experiences.

What would you do if you could dig into the mind of your customer? How would your placement and context of the content you’re including in your communications change if you knew what your buyers desired — based on neuroscience and behavioral marketing? How would you rethink your creative if you knew that a beautiful picture with a price tag (vs. one without) triggered the same pain receptors in the brain which light up when you cut yourself?

twitter“Get into customers’ subconscious & help them consider your #brand as a solution to some implicit goal they’re trying to achieve — then you’ll be successful,” says @chrispearce CLICK TO TWEET

Episode: [Revolution Series] Using Behavioral Marketing to Understand Context, Content, & Deep-Seated Customer Needs: Chris Pearce

Final Thoughts

These 10 episodes are some of the best we’ve put out not only this year, but over the course of the last two since the birth of Marketer + Machine. Cheers to you for helping make the show such a success, and a BIG thanks to all of our amazing guests who made the show possible. If you haven’t yet subscribed… what are you waiting for? Sign up on your favorite podcast platform and don’t miss anything:

Here’s to a new year — stay tuned, because you won’t want to miss the content we’ve got planned. Please feel free to reach out to me and let me know your favorite episodes of the past year, and what you’d like to see in 2020.

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Window shopping

What Is Brand Loyalty? Definition, Examples & More

Brand loyalty is when a customer continues to purchase from your company, not because you’re the only option, but because they trust your company.

In the age of online commerce where Amazon sets the bar, anyone can import products from countries all around the globe and slap a brand name on them – diluting the authenticity of the original brand in the process. On the other hand, there are brands with cult-like followings they’ve amassed over the years.

So what does it take to build brand loyalty? Keep reading to find out.

Why People Leave Brands

Growing up, we all identified with some brand or another. As a toddler, it was whatever our family bought us. Maybe that was Oshkosh B’gosh clothes or a toy from Mattel like Hot Wheels or Barbie. As a teenager, it was what our friends were into… and either what we could afford, what was handed down, or what family and friends bought for us. As an adult, it’s whatever we want… or can afford.

We tend to grow out of brands, not just because of our age but for other reasons, too. Maybe you want to try something new, or what you’re wearing is suddenly out of style. Maybe you had a negative store experience, or a brand just stopped meeting your needs.

Back when I purchased a specific brand of jeans, I could walk into the store, grab the exact style, pay, and leave without trying them on. They always fit. For some reason, they stopped selling my style, and that’s when I moved to another brand.


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Did you know that just a small change in customer loyalty can have a major impact on your bottom line? Find out more.


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The Importance of Storytelling for Brand Loyalty

“And even though Pixar is the most technologically advanced studio in the world, John has a saying that’s really stuck, which is no amount of technology will turn a bad story into a good story.” – Steve Jobs

There’s a reason literature from thousands of years ago is still read to this day – “The Iliad,” “The Odyssey,” ”Beowulf,” and “Sir Gawain and the Green Knights,” continue to be popular tales. They’re riveting stories, a narrative woven to ignite your imagination.

Research shows a story activates feeling. Specific words such as “soap,” “cinnamon,” or “coffee” activate areas of the brain that deal with smells.

The brain doesn’t see much of a difference between a real-life experience or reading about an experience… the same regions of the brain are stimulated.

Stories connect us, yet many companies share boring stories that don’t attract anyone. How many times have you heard something like the following example: We’re the best maker of widgets and there’s no one better than us.

Your story should be powerful. Think of the Silicon Valley company that started in a garage, overthrew the CEO, only to watch their company tank until the former CEO came back to save the company. That’s a powerful story!

What’s the reason for your business? Why do you exist? How was it created? If you don’t have a story, Donald Miller shares how you can craft a message to resonate with your audience in his book “Storybrand”.

“You can’t tell a good story without conflict – the story can’t be beautiful or meaningful. We’re taught to run from conflict, and it’s robbing us of some really good stories.” – Donald Miller

Examples of Exceptional Brand Loyalty

howard-schultz-branding-quote

Red Bull

The drink known as Krating Daeng was introduced in 1976 in Thailand as an energy booster for low-income earners. While traveling in Thailand, an Austrian marketer fell in love with the drink and formed a partnership to sell it abroad.

The drink became Red Bull, and although much of the original ingredients were untouched, carbonation was added. Instead of targeting low-income earners, the new company found its success in the emerging energy drink market. Red Bull continues to dominate the market to this day.

Zappos

Instead of wasting hours looking for shoes, going store to store trying to find a specific color and size, Zappos created a website to help you find any shoe. A novel idea in 1999, over the years they’ve added handbags, accessories, and clothing to their inventory. What hasn’t changed is what they’re best known for – their customer service.

For example, there’s the story of Sarah. Her child’s sandal strap broke so she contacted customer service for a replacement. Zappos overnighted a new pair of sandals, but they accidentally sent the wrong pair. When they found out, the brand overnighted the correct pair and told Sarah not to send the sandals back but donate them to charity.

Airbnb

In an effort to earn some extra cash for their soaring rent in San Francisco, Airbnb founders started a site called Air Bed n Breakfast. They laid down air mattresses in their apartment and offered people a place to sleep, along with breakfast, for $80 a night. Airbnb now has more than 2 million listings in 190 countries.

Costco

Founded in 1976, Costco opened its first store in an airplane hanger full of discounted products to serve small businesses. They soon opened their doors to everyone who wanted to be a member… and it took off. Their philosophy is to keep costs low and pass the savings to members.

Burt’s Bees

Imagine picking up a hitchhiker who not only becomes an instant connection, but also the co-founder of your company. That’s what happened to Burt, a local “bee man,” who pulled over to pick up a hitchhiker, Roxanne Quimby. Burt had been stowing away his surplus beeswax and Roxanne was able to turn it into useful products.


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Did you know that just a small change in customer loyalty can have a major impact on your bottom line?


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The Secret Sauce to Building Brand Loyalty

To create brand loyalty there are a few things your company must get right in order to win trust and keep customers coming back.

Project the Right Image

You want to make certain your company projects an image that aligns with your vision and values. The clientele for a Chevy Impala owner vs a Rolls Royce Phantom owner is vastly different. Both cars will enable the owners to arrive safely to their destination in relative comfort, but only one embodies craftsmanship, luxury, and refinement at a high price point.

Be Authenticity

From a personal brand, James Altucher is about as authentic as they come. He talks about his struggle with depression, bankruptcy, how investors got the best of him, and the pain of divorce. He doesn’t sugar coat life. He is authentic and people gravitate towards him.

Adopt Transparency

“Transparency starts as a mindset change.” – Kevan Lee, Content Crafter, Buffer

Everlane is a lower cost high-quality clothing company that cuts out the middleman, and partners with ethical factories around the world, including one in Los Angeles.

I found out about them years ago when someone said Everlane has $15 t-shirts (now $18) with the same quality as $50 t-shirts from a high-end store.

Everlane is so transparent they show what it costs to make a product, their markup, and their competitor’s price.

everlane-cost-breakdown-cashmere-crew

Buffer, a social media management platform, has a company-wide transparency policy. You can view their editorial board, upcoming articles, the price breakdown of where the money goes after a customer pays, and even the salaries of all team members.

buffer-transparent-pricing

Final Thoughts

Creating brand loyalty isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. But if your brand is unique, transparent, authentic…  all this adds up to creating a loyal customer base.

Competitors are just around the corner. It’s why it’s most important to set your company apart from the competition and share your compelling story.

To maintain, reward, and retain loyal customers, the fastest approach you can take is to set up a loyalty program with the Emarsys Loyalty module. You’ll have access to pre-built tactics you can use right way to reward your loyal customers.

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15 Must-Read Marketing & E-commerce Articles from 2019

The past couple years, we’ve done round-up posts (2017, 2018) to share some of our favorite articles of the year. 

We’re following suit this year to share a few of the most informative, eye-opening pieces of 2019. Whether for those fireside evenings over the holidays, or those long flights across the country, here’s 15 must-reads sure to get you set to take on 2020 with a perfect vision.

On the move to strategic KPIs and aligning tactics with strategy

Operational, channel-specific metrics often inhibit marketers from proving their contribution to revenue. More marketers are using technology to connect their day-to-day work with high-level strategic KPIs.

Article: Growth, Goals, and KPIs | Something Digital

Article: How E-Commerce Brands Can (Finally) Tie Objectives to Tactics and Prove ROI | Emarsys

On personalized retail

Personalization is the expectation. For example, 20% of online shoppers expect retailers to offer personalized product recommendations based on their previous behavior.

Article: Personalized retail to drive AI solutions spend | Tech HQ

Article: Personalization Is Boosting Retail Sales. Here Are 3 Ways To Do It Right. | Forbes

PDF: 2019 B2C E-Commerce Benchmark Report | Retail TouchPoints

On customer lifecycle marketing

As channel proliferation intensifies, the burden to stitch together a complete brand experience falls on marketers.

Article: What is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)? Definition, Calculation, Model, Benchmarks, and Examples! | Martech Advisor

Article: Lifecycle Marketing: Your Complete Guide to Reaching & Retaining Customers | Emarsys

Article: How to Nail Abandoned Cart Emails | BounceX

twitterGreat round up of 15 of the best #marketing, #ecommerce, & #retail articles of 2019 CLICK TO TWEET

On digital transformation & AI

AI is taking brands who employ it to the next phase of their evolution: proactive marketing. It’s all part of this wave of digital transformation that is permeating the e-commerce space.

Article: 6 Digital Transformation Trends for 2019 | Convince & Convert

Article: What is Digital Marketing: The Ultimate Guide | Martech Advisor

Article: How AI Based Email Marketing Can Increase ROI: Expert Perspectives | Martech Advisor

Article: Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet trends report | TechCrunch

Podcast: How Artificial Intelligence Will Impact Customer Relationship Management with Bob Fernekees | AndreaJoyWenburg.com

On marketing leadership

As marketing evolves, so too must the people that fuel it forward. Marketing leaders and executives are taking on more and more, faced with new internal and external pressures to perform.

Article: The Rise of the Hyper-Relevant CMO | Martech Advisor

Article: Building a Next-Generation Digital Marketing Strategy | Emarsys

There you have it. While you don’t have to dig into all of these pieces of extraordinary content, reviewing even 5-10 titles that speak to you will help you better understand the intricacies of your marketing strategy — both in hindsight, looking at the year behind, and as you look ahead.

➤ 2020 is here — learn 5 big predictions for the next 5 years.

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The DNA of a Successful Marketing Campaign [Podcast]

As 2019 winds down, and as we get ready to welcome a new decade, biohacking, “DIY biology,” transhumanism, genetic engineering, and biotechnology are exploding in interest, and more people than ever are learning how they can actually alter the micro- to affect change at the macro. 

They want to connect the minutiae, the details — the data — with the ultimate outward expression to create a desired result. 

Ethical debates aside, here, we’re seeing something of a parallel movement happening in marketing. Channel managers are finding a growing need to articulate how their day-to-day activities (and the numbers they’re driving) are impacting “the organism” (the organization). They know that without a mechanism to connect engagement, vanity metrics, and all the proverbial data dots (what leaders want to see and what their team wants to prove but isn’t always able to), a divide between marketers and the C-Suite will remain.

Show details and highlights

► (0:29) DNA is complex… just like marketing

► (1:50) Channel managers vs. the C-Suite — mending the divide

► (4:16) Marketers need to be change agents

► (5:22) Benchmarketing.io connects strategic KPIs with operational metrics

Michael Becker

"If marketing wants any credit for helping to grow the organization, they need to focus on KPIs tied to revenue and customer growth. They need to place greater value on improving their performance in those strategic KPI areas -- not just the operational ones."

Michael Becker • Digital Content Manager, Emarsys • @mjbecker_

   
“If marketing wants any credit for helping to grow the organization, they need to focus on KPIs tied to revenue & customer growth,” says @mjbecker_       CLICK TO TWEET

So, how do we take things like open rates, web traffic, shopping carts, and click-through rates — which are mostly representative of the process part of your work — and tie them to revenue growth and customer retention?

One way is by leveraging technology that can do it for us. Benchmarketing is inherently focused on these kinds of KPIs, and goes beyond the traditional benchmarking reports that you might generally rely on — the ones that only measure and track the aforementioned operational metrics.

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