Marketing Shifts You'll Need To Consider To Grow Your Customer Base This Year
I’m not a professional prognosticator,
Website Behavior Is A Primary Focus
In my conversations with major retail clients, I continue to hear the same thing: CRM files are offering marketers diminishing returns. This year, we’ll see a shift to new customer acquisition as a priority in order to help find new, productive sources of prospects. According to Gartner, 37% of marketing budgets in 2017 were spent on new customer acquisition.
In my own client work, I have come to believe that one of the most powerful tools a marketer has for new customer acquisition is the behaviors that can be observed on their own website. How does a marketer determine which behaviors are exhibited by high-value prospects who are likely to convert — and then scale that information across their prospect pool? Last year, while working with a national home food delivery service, we found that looking at certain pages — recipes, for instance — was strongly correlated with becoming a subscriber. We also found that other behaviors, such as adding a menu to the cart, actually did not result in many conversions, even when these cart abandoners were remarketed to.
Understanding which website behaviors most consistently lead to a sale can dramatically improve your campaign efficiency. It allows you to focus on prospects with the highest likelihood of converting. Don’t underestimate the value of this data. See what you can glean from your own analytics. Are there pages that seem to be visited right before someone "adds to cart"? Are there pages that get little to no traffic at all? Understanding the common pathways on your website, especially those that are valuable, is a great place to start.
The Best Data Wins
We’re now in an era when companies with the best collection of data are realizing the biggest improvements in ROI. Retailers need to look no further than Amazon to see that actionable data at scale is separating the major players from the competition. This trend is years old, and now it’s impacting everything from product recommendations to display advertising. When it comes to data, work backward. Starting with the end analysis goal in sight ensures you'll define the right data elements needed upfront. Campaign setup is the right time to think about the data capture you'll need, rather than after the fact, when you may discover that you didn't get what you need and it's too late to go back.
Machine Learning And AI Fuel Personalization
Machine learning and AI aren’t new. But there is a new twist for 2018 that is taking personalization to a new level. Companies that are able to leverage machine learning to personalize at scale will find a bigger ROI. At MarTech last year, I was amazed at the number of companies using their vast CRM data stores to quickly update offers, channels and content at scale.
According to an IDC whitepaper sponsored by Criteo, 34% of marketing execs said they're moderately using personalization technologies, 32% are greatly using these technologies, and 10% claim to already have marketing communications completely digitized. To me, though, these personalization efforts have to happen holistically, across the entire sales ecosystem. Sure, you can personalize an email or social media post, but what about a direct mail program? At this point, personalizing digital is low-hanging fruit — direct mail is still an important channel available to us today.
So the goal becomes leveraging machine learning and AI, and making them the core of marketing operations so that they’re realizing massive returns in every channel. In 2018, a personalized message has even more power when it’s consistent across email, social and direct mail. This is going to be a big year. And with growing strides in technology, it’s up to marketers to leverage these three trends in order to drive an ROI that’s bigger than 2017.
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