Customer analytics: Think outside the black box

As data-driven marketers, you are now challenged by senior leaders to have a laser focus on the customer journey and optimize the path of consumer interactions with your brand. Within that journey there are three trends (or challenges) to focus on:

  • Deeply understanding your target audience to anticipate their needs and desires.
  • Meeting customers’ expectations (although aiming higher can help differentiate your brand from the pack).
  • Addressing their pain points to increase your brand's relevance.

customer journey

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How analytics empowers campaign agility

A common practice in traditional marketing is to first choose a target market to focus on. You then align your organization’s strategies and messaging to create a campaign in that target market. But what happens when it becomes clear that the campaign you created isn’t working? How agile are you in terms of adjusting on the fly and adapting to the needs of your prospective customers?

The challenge

A campaign we ran at SAS targeted small to medium-sized businesses, or SMBs. We needed to come up with tailor-made messaging that would be distinct from similar campaigns we were launching targeted at larger, enterprise-level companies. To do that, we highlighted what we thought wedata-analysisre business needs, language and case studies that would resonate with the SMBs.

But after the program launched and began, the results were disappointing. We saw lower-than-expected results for performance metrics including click-through rates and conversions. So we tweaked the messaging, offers and program structure to improve results. After crunching those numbers, the results came in – the campaign was still floundering.

We were now forced to take a fresh look. What had we done wrong? On reflection, we came upon an even more telling question: Did we actually need to separate SMBs from larger organizations? We started with an underlying assumption that the SMB market should be treated differently. Had that been a mistake?

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What you can do to create customers as loyal as Cubs fans

My journey as a Cubs fan

I remember my first feeling of heartbreak. It was in 1984 when the San Diego Padres came back from a 0-2 deficit to beat the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series. I was devastated. Since then, this Cubs journey has had many ups and downs.

Michele and husband, Jon, at Wrigley Field (2003)

Michele and husband, Jon, at Wrigley Field (2003)

But, now it’s all changed. The Chicago Cubs are the 2016 World Series Champions! Wow.

The journey that Theo Epstein, Joe Maddon and the Cubs players took to get them to this glorious peak of performance was not easy. It was many years in the making.

The work we do as marketers is in many regards like the Cubs’ journey. We are constantly looking at what worked, what didn’t and what we can be doing better. Understanding marketing performance drives the future decisions we make. By taking a data and analytically driven approach to marketing, you are going to give yourself a leg up on the competition. Just like the Cubs.

So, where do you start? One good place is to get a baseline of where you are at. That’s exactly what Theo did when he joined the Cubs in 2011 as the president of baseball operations. He and his team dove in to understand the state of the business. They got a baseline.

You can get that baseline too. The Marketing Confidence Quotient is an assessment for marketers that lets you quickly identify your company's strengths and weaknesses across four marketing dimensions:

  • Data management.
  • Analytics use.
  • Process integration.
  • Business alignment.
Decked out in Cub gear after the big win!

Decked out in Cub gear after the big win!

The assessment can help you see the gaps and opportunities you have to start building out your strategy to improve marketing performance.

Your success might not result in getting to hold the World Series trophy in front of millions of fans. But, taking an analytically driven approach to your marketing can make a difference. It can not only increase your marketing performance, but it can also create customer experiences that are valued by your customer. Ones that create loyal and passionate fans of your brand. Hopefully as loyal of fan as I am of the Cubs!

 

#CubsWin

#WorldSeries

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Scoring leads to drive more effective sales

Leads are the lifeblood of any sales effort. But not all leads are created equal. Some have a high value for an organization and represent a realistic opportunity to win business. Others are early-stage engagements that take months or years of development.

Because of this disparity, the question “What is a lead?” puzzles many organizations. Sales and marketing groups have worked for years to formalize the definition of a lead and what it means within an existing business model. Regardless of your definition, one thing is consistent – marketing has to adapt its strategies to bring in more, better, or just different mixes of leads. The key question is: “How do you get there?”

The challenge

Over the years, the SAS marketing organization built a complex method of passing leads from marketing to sales. The process was similar to what other companies have in place, that is, leads that met a set of rules were qualified and then sent to a salesperson to follow up. The system was effective but difficult to manage, leadsespecially when business needs changed.

To build a new model to score and qualify leads, the marketing team looked at existing data and then conferred with their counterparts in sales to reorient the lead management process to accomplish two main goals:

  • Increase the number and percentage of leads that convert to opportunities. This meant identifying the best leads and finding a faster way to pass more high-qualified leads to sales.
  • Improve the outcomes from the lead conversion process. Obviously, high-quality leads are essential to creating a larger pipeline of deals. The team needed a better way to score, and then prioritize, leads.

An added wrinkle was that the project had to be global. For example, a lead in Australia would have the same meaning as a lead in Germany. That way, the company could compare lead performance across geographies and fuel global decisions about what strategies would be more effective.

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Moving from blasts to conversations

When in doubt, one of the easiest things marketers can do is send an email blast. The approach is predicated on a strength-in-numbers mentality. If you send out enough messages, somebody, somewhere, will receive it and take the desired action.

While marketers still use blast messages, their value is waning. Why? You are competing for attention with your emails, website, advertisements, collateral, events and any other initiative. People are using their phones, computers, tablets and TVs to consume information. It’s harder than ever to reach, much less sway, a customer.

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Machine learning and what it means for marketing

Machine learning has a high profile currently and is riding a wave of exposure in the media that includes articles about subjects from self-driving cars and self-landing rockets, to computers beating the world’s best players at Go, the most computationally complex board game in the world. Is there an opportunity for your organisation, and the marketers within it, to make use of this “new” technology?

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SAS 360 Engage: A/B testing and algorithmic segmentation

For the uninitiated, SAS 360 Engage enables organizations to interact with consumers by allowing them to create, manage and deliver digital content over web and mobile channels.  Wait a minute. SAS does more than the analytics? That is correct. SAS 360 Engage is a marketing super force serving as a one-stop shop for data capture all the way through delivering highly-targeted, personalized digital experiences.

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How customer intelligence can win hearts and minds

In today’s digital age, products have become increasingly commoditised, requiring organisations to shift their focus towards ensuring the customer experience becomes their biggest differentiator.

Previously, the customer experience journey was a string of static, one-dimensional encounters. But now, thanks to big data and the resulting innovations it can provide, customer experiences can be a seamless exchange over different channels between people and the organisations with which they choose to do business.

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SAS 360 Engage: Delivering blue-box predictive personalization

SAS Customer Intelligence 360 is a new digital marketing hub offering that enables users to plan, analyze, manage, and track customer journeys. It includes SAS 360 Discover for digital intelligence and SAS 360 Engage for execution capabilities that enable marketers to dynamically create, manage, and place digital content across a variety of channels. These new enhancements to our customer decision hub extends the capabilities of an organization to orchestrate omnichannel customer activity. Our intent behind this new offering? To enable our clients to take predictive action through their customer-preferred channels, and deliver a desirable, personalized experience. Read More »

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Determining the moment of truth is not rocket science

I think it's probably the most frequently asked question among teenagers who come to our house: "How much data have you got left this month?" And then, if the status of their data limit requires it, they immediately ask for my wi-fi password. They carry on unperturbed watching YouTube videos and using Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever. But what if, as a telco provider, you actually exploited this moment for something other than communicating the current usage? What if you could convince these customers – at the time when they are most susceptible to it – to expand their bundle and pay a bit more?

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