Unleash the Power of Data into Your Digital Strategy
by John Abraham Vadakekalam
posted on 05-31-2019
With the explosion of connected devices and digital interfaces, the amount of unstructured data available to every brand is increasing exponentially.
Brands understand that to compete in today’s environment, it is important to capture, aggregate, and analyze data effectively; translate them to insights; and finally, act on them to deliver digital experiences.
Traditionally, this has been difficult as advertising technology and marketing technology has been viewed in silos by solution providers.
Adobe has made considerable strides in bridging this gap by providing a host of solutions within its Advertising and Marketing Cloud that enable server-side integrations. This brings the ability to stitch data across customer touch points and get a 360-degree view of the customer. Additionally, the open data initiative with Microsoft and SAP will further bridge the gap as the three organizations continue to build a common data model on which respective applications run so that data can be easily shared across platforms.
Data, i.e., a 360-degree view of the customer and the ability to capture information at every step of the buying journey, should be the basis of a brand’s digital marketing strategy.
Using Adobe Experience Cloud to drive digital strategy
We have built a framework that uses data captured in Adobe Experience Cloud to assess current digital marketing capabilities and optimize the strategy for the future.
Deriving insights and recommendations using data is a long journey and it can be broken down into three phases – Envision Phase, Assess Phase and Reimagine Phase.
Brands must start by taking a holistic look at current business model and establishing KPIs that drive business. Also considering the macro and micro conversion related metrics that directly or indirectly influence business.
In this phase, brands typically create as many detailed buyer personas as they can spanning across customers, prospects, and referrals. The next step is to build an Experience Map to see how it fairs for each of these personas. This exercise helps understand the kind of experience the customers are getting at each touch point and highlights the areas where the experience is falling short on driving KPIs.
To improve experiences, data gathered from Adobe Experience Cloud can help understand which segment of customers can be targeted, analyze what kind of content would resonate with the audience, and then activate experiences through relevant marketing channels.
The assess stage of the framework will detail out the kind of data available and various analysis that can be conducted at every step of the customer journey.
A typical customer journey entails several stages from the awareness where the customer is only getting to know the brand to the final stage where they become a true advocate of the brand. Having the right implementation of Adobe Experience Cloud products gives the ability to analyze each stage of the customer journey quite granularly.
In this phase, the prospect has a need and is aware of the brands product/service which can fulfill this need. They are exposed to marketing messages across different channels, like Paid Search, Display etc. These channels help drive traffic to the brands website or mobile app.
The data within Adobe Experience Cloud can be used to analyze individual marketing channel performances in driving quality traffic to the website. If cost related information is available, brands can get a close approximation of the return on investment broken by channel and find areas in which marketing spends can be optimized to yield greater profits. It can also give a view to specific landing pages that work well for channels which can then be optimized for greater yield.
The important starting point is to ask the right business questions associated with the awareness phase. Using data to get these answers can enhance the acquisition strategy through channel analysis & landing page optimization.
- What proportion of traffic is coming from paid channels vs non-paid channels?
- What proportion of traffic is coming from each paid channel [e.g.: Display Ads vs Paid Search]?
- Which specific marketing campaign has particularly performed well the last month?
- Are there specific landing pages that work for a particular campaign?
- Do certain campaigns perform better if directed to lower funnel pages rather than top funnel pages?
- How effective is each channel in driving site engagement or conversion?
- What is the return on investment made on each paid channel?
- Is the right attribution model being used for various digital channels?
- Why is the average order value (AOV) of one digital channel significantly different from the AOV of another channel? What products can this difference be attributed to?
This phase transitions from the awareness phase. The prospect begins to browse the brand’s website, mobile app or other digital properties and absorbs the content. The more they engage with digital properties, higher are the chances of buying from the brand.
User engagement can be a host of different things. It can include scrolling and reading content, viewing multiple pages in a single visit session, downloading whitepapers or eBooks, and viewing videos. Each of these interactions/events can be used to generate a score for a user based on the conversion efficacy. Aggregating these scores for all users helps the brand calculate a score for the website. The engagement scores can then be used to measure engagement performance.
Below are the questions that should be asked at the Engagement Phase. The data from these can help drive engagement strategy by analyzing conversion driver performance, evaluating content, and Video & Imagery efficacy.
- What percentage of customers are interested in hosted white papers?
- Which questions in the FAQ section of the website are most read?
- Are the videos viewed completely?
- Of those visitors that buy a particular product how many viewed the product specific video?
- What is the average time spent on site by visitors?
- What does web site engagement score look like?
- Is there a strong co-relation between certain kinds of customers and different content types?
At this stage, the prospect is a qualified user and could be a lead. Brands begin to nurture the prospect by offering free trials of their products, website widgets, personalized demonstrations, or product tours to entice a transaction.
For example, Retail bankers can target a strong lead interested in home loans by sending an email suggesting an in-person meeting to avail the loan. On the other hand, software companies could provide a free trial to experience the software first hand.
Questions that associate well at the nurture phase are listed below. The data derived from these questions can help optimize your nurturing strategy by measuring offer effectiveness
- What proportion of my leads return to the website?
- How long does it take for a lead to convert post signing up for a trial?
- What product features do they most leverage?
- How effective are product tours? What proportion of prospects viewed them completely?
At this stage, the leads are convinced that the brand can solve their problem and move quickly from the browse layer of the website, through the ecommerce funnel, and finally purchase the product or service.
The lead moves from being a prospect to an actual customer of the brand. Brands now need to offer a frictionless experience so that all customers at this stage make the purchase without hesitation. The data within Adobe Experience Cloud helps conduct an analysis at each step within the cart & checkout layer to uncover areas that might be preventing prospects to make a purchase.
Below are a couple of business questions that help you improve your transaction strategy by identifying barriers to conversion
- What are the drop out percentages at every step of the funnel?
- Is there a scope for improvement when comparing funnel performance across similar products or product categories?
- Are the lower funnel pages [Order confirmation etc.] receiving near 100% follow through? If not, is there a reason for the drop?
Customer success and advocacy
These two stages can be looked at together as they are strongly complementary. This is the moment of truth for customers as they begin experiencing the product or service and start assessing how close the product marketing messages are to reality.
To ensure customers are successful in unlocking the value of the purchase, brands need to ensure top notch delivery of after-sales support across all post purchase channels, including online chat, call centers, self-serve site sections, training videos etc. If the product meets expectations, customers become loyal advocates which positively influences other customer journeys through word of mouth.
These questions help you improve your post sales strategy by analyzing customer satisfaction impediments
- What percentage of customers interact with the enablement material?
- Is there a co-relation between product adoption and specific content types on the website?
- What percentage of reviews are positive vs negative?
- What does the NPS score look like?
- What do renewal percentages look like?
- What is the current advocacy score and has it increased month over month?
Answering questions with data across the customer journey helps assess the performance of the strategy and optimize the strategy to drive top line growth.
Reimagining digital marketing strategy involves the management of all media. It involves deciding what kind of content needs to be created, which target audience needs to reached, and what channels are needed to reach them.
Content creation and testing
At this point in the framework, brands will have audited all the content that they own and documented all the gaps that exist. They then need to prioritize the order of creation of content. This is done by assessing the impact these content fragments have to overall KPIs. Once the content is created, brands need to A/B test this content to check if the new content impacts conversions positively.
Without testing these fragments out thoroughly, there is a risk that the digital marketing strategy fails from the get go. This requires a strong optimization and testing culture within the organization.
Our most mature clients have dedicated teams that run this program leveraging Adobe Target and Adobe Audience Manager simultaneously. Depending on the amount of traffic, they can end up running as many as 30-50 tests a quarter.
Segmentation and campaign deployment
The next step is to decide the audiences that needs to be reached with the content available to you. The data available to a digital marketer could either be implicit data or explicit data. Explicit data is information that customers have chosen to share with the brand like age, gender, products of preference etc. Implicit data is information about a user that is assumed based on browsing patterns and dimensions captured through information stored in cookies. Implicit data in most cases will form the bulk of the information most organizations will have.
Adobe Analytics and Adobe Audience Manager allow for the creation of very distinct audience segments based on explicit attributes derived from 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data ingestion into Adobe Experience Cloud.
With implicit data, brand need to conduct a clustering exercise to divide audience into homogeneous and distinct clusters and then leverage the various attributes to create distinct segments in Adobe Analytics and Adobe Audience Manager.
Once the segments are in order, it is about reaching out to them on various digital channels. The Adobe Experience Cloud solutions like Adobe Campaign, Adobe Media Optimizer gives marketers the ability to leverage the segments created in Adobe Analytics and Adobe Audience Manager and engage them with relevant display ads, email campaigns, push notifications & SMS. Adobe Target can also leverage these segments for onsite personalization. Additionally, Adobe Sensei’s Machine Learning capabilities for personalization and product recommendations can also be taken advantage of.
Data driven marketing brings in several benefits personalized targeting, enhancing customer experience, marketing spend optimization, promoting brand awareness and loyalty and much more. The framework helps ensure a digital strategy that is data backed so that brands can reap the benefits of an effective strategy and focus on improving it with every iteration.
Topics: Digital Transformation, Analytics