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

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.

How to make personalisation work for you

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By Renate van der Vaart, Customer Experience Specialist & Sitecore MVP

As a customer experience specialist I am always looking to find better ways to communicate with consumers and understand them better. But how do you grab the attention of a customer when everybody else is competing for seconds of their time? And even more importantly when you have their attention, how do you keep them and ensure they come back for more?

If you read the marketing press, you'll see everybody is talking about how getting the attention of your audience is about making your stories personal and relevant. But how do you actually make your communication more personal? We can all give examples of when we've visited a website to buy shoes, clothing or holidays and couldn't find anything to buy, and for the next couple of days, you see adverts and promotions for these products all the time. Unless you clear your cookies regularly, these brands will follow you everywhere - it's personal, but also very irritating.

So how can you make your communication personal and relevant, without being intrusive? That’s the question we asked ourselves. Together with our partner Sitecore, the leader in web centric customer experience management, we explored this question and set up a testing program of personalisation and A/B tests to see what was working and what not.

What did we learn in this period?

1. Choose your testpage carefully

The page you use for personalisation testing needs to have enough visitors to give a clear indication of each variant. So do some data analysis on how many customers come to the page and try to find out what they are doing next. We call this defining the content-path. To find out high entry pages you can use your Google Analytics account. After finding a high entry page I used the path analyser.

2. Make the test-variations not too small or to big

You need to find a balance between the variations. If they are too big you can’t compare them in your results because it's hard to define which elements the customers are attracted to. But on the other hand, if you make the variations too small, you can’t conclude why the customer prefers the default or variation version. So it’s very important to find a balance.

3. Define a clear goal

This sounds logical, but with only defining what you want to achieve is not enough. It's insufficient to describe “what you want to achieve”. Ask yourself what the “background” of the test is and if it is in line with the goal. Then you can test the outcome against the hypothesis. In this way you defined the full context of your personalisation test.

4. Big brother

Watch out you don’t become big brother, as it is a very thin line in being personal and intrusive, especially with all you know about your customer. For example welcoming your customer with “How nice that you visit our webpage” if you know your customer is coming from Facebook. It is better to adjust your text in line with the copy of the Facebook post and make it feel personal in a subtle way. If you scare your customer with a too personal message you will lose them and they will never come back. So use personalisation wisely.

As we learn more, we see that we improve the quality of the customer experiences using personalisation and A/B testing to drive engagement with our brand. Along the way we develop an understanding about the different personalisation tactics and using them to optimise the contact we have with our target group.

The results we are seeing are showing an increase in conversion uplift across different goals like membership sign-ups, engagements and sales. Also we delivered a positive ROI of costs to set-up and execute a single test. We will continue with testing, to go on improving the quality of our personalised (in the right way) and relevant (the correct format) communication experiences.

“We're not making full use of our Sitecore Experience Platform”

"A well-known and common pain point for many Sitecore clients is the struggle to make full use of the SXP capabilities. That's why we provide a practical implementation strategy, and lead by example. We know the advantages and also how to overcome the common pitfalls and hurdles" says Lars Wisselink, Manager Operations OnModus London and Sitecore MVP.

In any implementation project the project team has a clear focus to bring the new initiative live as soon as possible. Business is asking for it and deadlines have been set.  "We cannot wait any longer" is a phrase often heard, resulting in core functionalities not being implemented correctly or not even at all.

In order to have full success, the organisation needs to think differently. Different in terms of seeing the new initiative as another important touchpoint in the customer journey and experience. As Omnichannel affects the organisation integrally, it is not only the marketing department that drives the project. Moreover it is a real challenge to analyse the customer journey, improving the customer experience and predict the next action. Whether this is a purchase or a call for information - IT and Marketing need to work together and learn from each other.

"Technology is an enabler, not a solution" Max Goijarts, CEO OnModus adds. "In the many projects we have played an active role, it was our job to simply bring the communication between different departments alive". "You might recognise this in your own organisation that the priorities of projects which increase the experience of your customers in your Omnichannel strategy conflict or are misunderstood. The software platform is a tool which should be understood properly in order to support the ultimate customer journey. But the platform needs well researched analytics data and thorough analysed customer paths to use the capabilities of the platform in the right way".

The proof is in the eating

OnModus is best known for our winning Danone - Nutrcia case. The platform was named Sitecore Site of the Year 2015, and earned the Customer Data Award in 2014. Via SXP 8 we used our personalisation model to proof the power of context marketing and the value of Sitecore towards the business of Danone - Nutricia. We have learned a lot from this case and help our clients to become more mature in personalisation. "What we don't do is producing documentation and implementation plans and piles of documents. We are in it for the results while keeping it real and practical" says Jeroen van Mierle, Omnichannel Partner at OnModus.

Best practice resource

OnModus is a best practice resource focused upon the Sitecore Experience Platform (SXP) that helps transforming the digital maturity of your organisation. We use a proven and winning personalisation model (Personalisation tactics, Customer interaction data & SXP) to empower your organisation to activate and optimise Sitecore marketing automation. Powered and energised by Sitecore Strategy MVP's.

Let our experienced team help you with the following:

  • Sitecore Context marketing workshops, specifically tailored towards SXP 8, to increase the knowledge and hands on experience of current marketing teams  
  • Analysing and operating daily engagement strategy, coaching and support marketing operations within Sitecore
  • Monitoring cross-channel attribution and optimising digital marketing. Enabling data to tell and support the Customer Journey
  • Setup Agile development process, supporting the practical and daily operations within Sitecore. Guiding product ownership and leveraging Agile development methods for execution
  • Implementation guidance for UX design, coaching UX Designers how to implement the (SBOS) engagement strategy, also using Sitecore Experience Accelerator
  • Aligning customer and partner teams with existing experience and capabilities

 

Our proven cases

The power of context marketing and the value of Sitecore towards the business of Danone - Nutricia