Recommendations in Context Marketing

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The first half of 2018 has come to an end. But we still have 6 new exciting digital marketing months ahead of us! I look forward to creating and executing new and exciting ideas with you. Developing the next level of Context Marketing will provide your customers with even more context for your brand. 

Recently, I was asked for my thoughts about content marketing in 2018. My expectations are that a lot of brands have new propositions and ideas on how to engage with their customers, so they are going to expand their customer journey with more and new content based on their 2018 message. But just creating more content is not the answer. What should be the answer is to create content that gives your customer context around your storytelling. Simply, you need to show ‘what’s in it for them’. Why should they spend time on your branded content? What does it bring to their lives? My recommendations are:

Start making full use of your platform

Without a solid home for your content with easy access to all available articles, tools and services, it is not easy to distribute the right content, to the right person, at the right time, at the right place and right channel. To achieve this, start testing which content is relevant to your customers and why. In addition, if your customers come to your platform from another channel, make their visit personal. Max joins the conversation and says, ‘as an international business partner, I hear this pain point a lot. Clients tell us that they don't make full use of their platform.’ So, together with all the stakeholders, we:

Take the guesswork out of Context Marketing

Create a data plan and start testing the data you have. Listen and learn from this data, because this is the true story of your customers. And if your digital team or IT department doesn't have the skills, invest in or hire a Business Intelligence specialist. Alex agrees. He saw companies spending costly marketing resources on building Excel sheets to get the data right. ‘But this way, they don't have the time to really focus on what they are good at. Namely, storytelling.’ Read also his blog, Solving pain points through analytics.

Think differently about your content

Think differently in the broadest sense of the term, from creation, use, channels and formats. Every piece of content needs to feel unique to your customers. It must trigger them to read or use more and repeatedly convince them that your brand is one they need in their lives because you understand them. Lars adds that it is important that you really think in advance about how you could solve a pain point. ‘The "design thinking" method is great to achieve this,’ he says. This approach, with every stakeholder around the table, gives you insights into both business needs and customer needs. And that can bring new ways to optimise content journeys. Also, an optimised UX design will create an easy path from context to purchase.

Here at OnModus, we call these three recommendations enablement, and this is what we believe in. We support and coach brands in their digital marketing efforts. We give them the right tools and teach them the right skills, which we learned ‘by doing’ our roles with different brands in different branches. We focus on a fully optimised customer journey and platform from start to finish. Want to learn more about us or talk to us? Don't hesitate to contact us at flow@onmodus.com.

Looking forward to hearing from you and learn your thoughts on these points.

Best,

Renate

We welcome Maurice to our team

We are pleased to introduce Maurice Smedts, our newest team member. Maurice just started with OnModus in the role of Omnichannel Consultant. Jeroen sat down with Maurice and asked him to explain what excites him most about joining OnModus.

‘For the past six years, I’ve been working at a leading fulfilment provider. I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most forward-thinking brands and online retailers, helping them to expand their business internationally,' Maurice begins. ‘At OnModus, I am very keen to take this great experience one step further, guiding our clients as they build the best possible customer experience.’ 

Max Goijarts, OnModus CEO, joins the conversation. ‘Maurice adds a new dimension to the team. Having someone on board who really understands the drill is a great benefit. Maurice knows what it takes to be successful in Commerce, business-wise and operationally. By tapping into Maurice’s experience, we can broaden the scope of services we offer to our clients.’

‘As a brand or retailer, it is great if you have been able to build an amazing customer experience on your platform. However, if you fail to deliver a smooth fulfilment process, you can easily diminish your investment in the platform,’ Max continues. ‘Maurice really knows what it takes to extend your carefully orchestrated customer journey up to the moment your customer opens the box and starts enjoying your products.’

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 ‘And even beyond that point,’ Maurice adds. ‘Failing to set up a smooth return process will greatly reduce your customer’s lifetime value. Building confidence and trust in your brand will take a while, and one bad customer experience during the after-sales process can easily ruin it. And interestingly, if set up in a proper way, the data about returned products provide a wealth of insights and opportunities to further improve your customer's experience and grow your business internationally. I have had the pleasure of working with one of the most well-known online fashion retailers (particularly known for their annoying but sticky ads), and have seen the effect of a well-organised fulfilment and returns network. Doing it the right way will greatly improve customer satisfaction and your business case.’

So, Jeroen asks, why OnModus? ‘There is a certain vibe in the company. The team at OnModus has everything that a start-up characterises: entrepreneurial spirit, positivity and the eagerness to leave our stamp on society,’ Maurice explains. ‘However, if you look at the actual experience the team holds on themes like digital strategy and digital transformation, we actually know how to execute on those topics. This is quite unique already, so it seems like we hit a sweet spot in the market. It really excites me to be part of this journey, building the company while creating true value for our clients.’

Solving painpoints through analytics

The interaction between business departments and IT has often been a source of tension within company ranks. Lack of transparency, a different view of the customer and a general cultural conflict are just a few symptoms of the clash between these organisational silos. That is why, here at OnModus, addressing this tension has become our priority as we guide our customers along the path of digital transformation.

In a recent project with one of our clients in the clothing & fashion industry, discovering the pain points between the business department and IT was critical to aligning the organisation and making it a digital enterprise. Alexandru Sabau, Digital Project Manager at OnModus, joins us in the conversation.

‘In the fashion industry, product information and product data are still very inconsistent among clothing suppliers. Formats and level of detail can vary greatly. Suppliers send product data files not only in different formats, such as EDI or Excel, but also with a lot of missing information like group codes, season codes and colour codes. The business department spends valuable resources to streamline this various data from hundreds of suppliers and prepare it for their internal or external product information systems. To ensure brand consistency and relevant product data communication for customers and end users, it's important to have the right product data coming in. Thus, the focus on this process already makes resources scarce’.

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And when the majority of resources are being spent on aligning supplier data, the product data enrichment process is slowed even more when marketing and IT are highly interdependent, since communication between the two departments is often slow and difficult. ‘Whenever a supplier updates their product data taxonomy, the business department communicates the changes to IT, which in turn has to optimise the product information systems for a perfect import. This ultimately leads to a longer time to market, lower product availability and frustration on both sides’, Alexandru adds.

Since data analytics and business intelligence are two of our core competencies, OnModus offered to enable our customer's business department through technology. The goal was to prototype a solution that empowers marketers to gain full control of their processes. 'We aimed to create a solution that eliminates time lost communicating product data changes between departments. Through Alteryx, a workflow-based, self-service analytics tool, we showcased a prototype for the business department that automatically processed product data into the right format for import into the product information system, eliminating the need to coordinate changes with IT', explains Alexandru. The prototype solution can result in reduced time to market for products, increased product availability, increased brand consistency and, ultimately, improved customer experience.

Transferring such a capability in-house can have a crucial empowering effect within individual departments. ‘We realised that we are offering an opportunity for our clients to focus on activities that add value for the end customer, and to learn new and relevant skills. Both business and IT departments have the chance to reduce countless hours of manual data input and inefficient communication due to out-dated processes'. Furthermore, enabling our clients through a software solution might have additional hidden benefits. ‘The solution turned out to be a breath of fresh air for employees. They can now minimise their relationship with spreadsheets and start focusing on team efforts that drive positive customer experience. Software can play a part in forming a customer-centric culture', Alexandru concludes.

As an Alteryx partner, OnModus offers the opportunity for clients to become self-empowered in their analytical and data processes. Want to find out more how OnModus can help your organisation's departments to become data independent?Contact us at flow@onmodus.com.

Context marketing boosts leading FMCG brand conversions by 25%

Previously released in Internet Retailing on October 16, 2017 by Paul Skeldon.

Understanding the intent of your customer leads to more relevancy, an increase in engagement – with brands such as Danone and Dr. Oetker seeing an uplift of 25% in e-commerce conversion and brand engagement. 

So finds OnModus, a customer experience strategy firm operating in the UK, Germany and Benelux, which works with Top100 FMCG brands to not only help with engagement but to understand the context of what shoppers are doing.

A shifting model

“Our clients are top 100 FMCG’s, popular brands which traditionally put a lot of effort in creating big marketing moments in which their brands can shine,” explains Lars Wisselink, Design Strategist at OnModus. “Clearly, this model is shifting. Due to the change of behaviour of customers, we move to a more customer centric approach in marketing activities”

Wisselink continues: “What is important to be effective in your communication as a brand is to tap into the intent of your customers, being in the moment. The use of implicit and explicit customer data is crucial to understand this context, we help discover these insights for marketers to become more effective. Software such as Sitecore helps delivering this experience”.

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Test and learn

Brands such as Danone and Dr. Oetker increasingly want to establish a data-first strategy to enable context marketing. By helping them iterating on small successes, they get results in early and can test and learn.

“We work in multidisciplinary teams to come up with creative hypotheses which we test in an agile fashion,” says Wisselink. “Our context marketing teams work in sprints of two weeks, in which they create and test hypotheses. At the end of each sprint, learnings and ROI improvements are presented to business stakeholders.”

According to Wisselink, a typical example is retargeting people who, for example, have just been looking at a new pair of shoes. “For us, this does not mean you should retarget that customer over and over with the same pair of shoes,” he says.

Instead, understand the moment, the intent of the customer. What blog posts have they been reading, which referral url they came from, how does their purchase history look like. By using this context, you will get a clear picture of where this customer is in their journey. This data can be used to adjust the (retargeting) message and change strategy.

How do you start?

But how to start? “Probably your current data structure contains already many clues about typical behavioural patterns, for different persona segments within your customer base,” explains Wisselink. “These segments can tell you something about the intent, the job your customer is trying to get done. Use these insights to target a specific segment. Iterate and learn from small successes. At OnModus we provide a practical implementation strategy towards context marketing, and lead by example. We know the advantages and also how to overcome the common pitfalls and hurdles. We don’t provide you with documentation and implementation plans, instead we are in it for the results.”

Sitecore Symposium 2017 Las Vegas, Day 3

Today was already the last day of the Sitecore symposium, and we are sorry to see it end. But we did have some truly inspirational moments and shared thoughts with peers in the past three days.

Like every morning, today opened with a keynote. It was Jay Baer on stage today, a Customer & Marketing Speaker who has worked with many brands and companies to set up their experience marketing strategy and become a loved brand that customers talk about.

“I found his keynote to be very spot on what building experiences mean,” Max and Jeroen say. 

Renate had already done a bit of homework. “I received a tip about Jay a couple of months ago, so I already follow him on Twitter, and sometimes listen to his podcasts about ‘Youtility’. I also read his book about this topic,” she says. “Youtility is about the fact that you should not do digital marketing from a hype perspective, because everybody is doing it, but rather because it will help you to achieve your strategic objectives. This is 100% in line with what we do at Onmodus: taking the guesswork out by creating customer experiences based on their needs. Jay’s story triggers me to think and challenge myself about customer experience, and helps me think in different ways about creating an experience for loved brands and insights about loyalty.”

Then it was time for the last rounds of breakout sessions. For Renate, this meant a master class on generating business value using Context Marketing. This master class was split into two parts: the first part was all about accelerating Context Marketing initiatives. The second part was all about how Sitecore customers have brought this into practice. “It's always cool to see how context marketing works and see possibilities to set-up Context Marketing, because this gives me new insights and ideas and also let me think about how I can bring this into practice with our clients and their customers,” Renate explains. “After this session, I joined the closing keynote from Ryan Donovan, SVP of Product Management at Sitecore. He gave a peek into Sitecore’s future roadmap regarding digital marketing, and how the technology supports this.” Although it's still work in progress, I become very enthusiastic about plans they have to upgrade even further the possibilities of doing Context Marketing and listening to your customer all within one system.

Looking back on the 2.5-day symposium and all the inspirational keynotes, breakout sessions, talks with peers and Sitecore’s roadmap, we found a lot of great information to take back to the Netherlands.

Jeroen starts us off with his impressions: “For me, it was great to join and get to learn the Sitecore community and learn all about Sitecore commerce. I am looking forward to learn and get to know the even more peers from the Sitecore community”.

As for Renate, the key takeaways she wants to note are “we really need to think differently about content creation, start investing in analysing your data in your team or invest in a business analyst and provide a digital training program on all company levels which lead to understanding and career growth paths".

Hope you enjoyed our input during the symposium days. If you want to learn more about us, please stay tuned. New blogs will follow soon. And if you want to get to know us better, please get in touch. We are looking forward to driving your digital destiny and bringing technology, marketing & sales together to build relevant and personal experiences for your customers.

Max, Jeroen, Renate 

 

Sitecore Symposium 2017 Las Vegas, Day 2

Day 2 of the Sitecore symposium 2017 started with a keynote from Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, who is Research Director at Gartner. After a morning full of interesting sessions, Renate found Jeroen and Max at lunch, where they discussed the sessions and key learnings they took away from them. 

“Today, I started with a session from the Strategy track, hosted by Charlotte Ziems VP Communication & Marketing at Sitecore,” says Renate. Together with BBDO, Microsoft, and ComBlu, Charlotte gave a session on how to plan and create content for personalisation. My key takeaway was that it's all about "learning by doing" and start small to learn from your data. It's the similar approach we took at the Nutricia BLX platform. In the afternoon the three of us went to the session "What does the latest version of Sitecore eCommerce mean to you”, on how you can make use of your content in the commerce environment. Which is very interesting to make the online buyer journey more relevant for your customers and start building a bridge between online and offline buying. And I closed the day with Global Commerce: A global perspective and the closing keynote from Mark Hamill, better known as the legendary Luke Skywalker from ‘Star Wars’ and the voice of the Joker from ‘Batman’. Mark did a fireside chat with Scott Anderson. Where they answered questions from the audience.

And that made an end to day 2! Based on all we have heard, seen and talked about with peers, we are certain that our digital destiny to "drive digital transformation and business maturity to create, optimise and innovate authentic digital customer experiences and marketing technology" is the right way to go and grow!

Want to drive your digital destiny with us or get to know us better? Read our blogs or send us a message.  

Jeroen, Max & Renate

 

Sitecore Symposium 2017 Las Vegas, Day 1

And we’re off!  Today was the first day of the Sitecore Symposium 2017: ‘Drive your digital destiny’.

Before we travelled, our team discussed what ‘digital destiny’ could mean for OnModus. “For me, my digital destiny is to enable technology and marketing to create a valuable context for our clients,” says Max.

Jeroen adds: “True, but I would also like to mention that for a lot of retailers, eCommerce is becoming their digital destiny. This digital disruption changed the playing field of how customers search for and buy products and brands. Of course, this has also to do with the technology and marketing, but it's a different game to play.”

Renate added her thoughts. “For me, it is about marketers and brand teams embracing technology. So they can become more personal and relevant for their customers and start building a loyal relationship. For a lot of marketers and brands, this becomes their digital destiny,” she says. So overall, it's a broad topic with a lot of touch points with different stakeholders.

During the next three days, we will keep you posted on what the team experienced, what new tools are available, which learnings and insights we gained and will take home to drive our customers’ digital destinies.

Opening

Opening The first day started with an opening keynote from Mark Frost, the new CEO of Sitecore. Mark offered his vision on what Digital Transformation means in an inspirational speech.

Next up was Kenneth Cukier from The Economist, where he is Senior Editor Data & Digital. In addition, he is also a co-author of several bestsellers about Data. He talked us through the way how AI is going to change marketing. Back in the days, the computer knew what to do when a person told what to do. Now it's the other way around. The person gives in several options and the computer recommends which option is the best, according to an algorithm. 

“For me, the key takeaways from Mark Frost’s keynote was the focus on Innovation, Quality and Customer Delight,” says Renate. It means to deepen and intensify the direct relationship with your customer. This is the only way to drive loyalty.

Knowledge building

After these two keynotes, it was time for the ‘Track sessions’ keynotes, which kicked off the breakout sessions in which customers, partners, and Sitecore exchange knowledge. The sessions are divided into three tracks: Developer, Marketing and Strategy, so based on your interest, you can pick and choose where to get your insights.

“My breakout sessions started today at 13:45 at the Strategy track,” Renate says. “Since ‘Chick-fil-a’ is one of the newest users of Context Marketing and they have the ambition to integrate Sitecore Commerce, I was very curious how they did it. How to bring local and global together based on customer stories. And to end my day, I followed the session ‘How to influence and automate Google AdWords buys & bidding’, which is a nice next step in developing my skills in Contextual Media. This was one of the topics I presented during the Strategy track. Because before I could start learning from what my peers have done, I presented what we have done. That is, the steps we took in 2017 after the implementation and optimisation in 2016, towards digital maturity in 2017 with Sitecore. It was cool to see that so many participants took the time to listen to the co-presentation I gave with Microsoft and Herschend Family Entertainment. I found it very interesting to see how we all approached the next steps to digital maturity differently. My story mainly was about how we could make Contextual Marketing performance-driven, so the topics I presented were:

  • How to set up Contextual Media
  • The role of product brands in an unbranded customer journey
  • Flagstore commerce

Microsoft’s focus in 2017 was mostly on optimising data structures and organisation and for Herschend Family Entertainment, the focus was mostly on scaling, and how to start doing data-driven campaigns and personalisation.”  

Looking back

The day ended with a keynote from Mark Zablan, Chief Revenue Officer at Sitecore. Mark also hosted a panel of trend marketers from global digital agencies. They had all made the move towards digital disruption to help their customers build customer experiences that deliver their growth ambition.

So looking back on day 1, we followed some interesting sessions, had great talks with peers and received a lot of new insights and ideas that enable us to create an even more valuable context for our customers by combining marketing and technology. We are looking forward to day 2!

Do you want to know more? Read our blogs. Do you want to get to know us even better? Have a look here.  Jeroen, Max & Renate