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Ecommerce: 3 vital marketing resources to explore before your next email send

July 18th, 2014 No comments

Email marketing has emerged as a staple in ecommerce.

Seemingly countless companies use emails to flood our inboxes with a galaxy of promotions and product offers.

How can you stand out in an already overcrowded inbox?

In this MarketingSherpa Blog post, I’ve included a few resources from our content library and publications that you can use to aid your email marketing efforts.

 

Read – Email Marketing: Jewelry retailer integrates product recommendations into email campaigns to lift opens 9% 

email-personalization

How it can help

This case study from Allison Banko, Reporter, MarketingSherpa, shares how fine jewelry retailer Heirlume integrated product recommendations into its email programs, tailored to male and female audiences.

Segmentation is already a best practice, so the real payoff here is in basing content on user behavior to help you deliver relevant products directly to your customers.

 

Watch – Brand Value: Ecommerce marketing on a global scale

 

How it can help

Delivering a consistent brand experience in your emails to customers around the globe gets harder the bigger you grow.

Consequently, one thing to consider according to Rob Garf, Vice President, Industry Strategy, Demandware, is when exposing brands to new cultures, marketers must understand the experience is all about the customer.

“It comes down to really being entrenched in how consumers behave and how they want to interact with the brand,” he said.

Check out more interviews from the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE featuring a wide range of speakers like Rob who represent a variety of brands including: Fathead, Website Magazine, Digital River, Save-A-Lot, Demandware, Joyus and eBay, among many others.

Read more…

Email Marketing: Don’t let email own the ecommerce showroom floor

July 11th, 2014 1 comment

According to the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study (free download at that link), email was one of the most frequent sources of ecommerce traffic for organizations across every revenue range.

Email marketing being at the forefront of ecommerce marketing tactics is quite obvious when you consider the mass of storefronts that greet you with an email squeeze before you can even get to the shelves.

channels-drive-growth

 

It works, but only to a degree. According to Ben Pressley, Head of Worldwide Sales, Magento, there is one big problem.

Ben, who was accompanied with Pete Prestipino, Editor-in-Chief, Website Magazine, joined Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS, at MarketingSherpa’s Media Center at IRCE to discuss the state of ecommerce in 2014.

As Ben explained, email now owns the showroom floor because it’s where a lot of organizations attribute revenue, perhaps even when they shouldn’t.

“Email and search are the two top channels in marketing, no surprise there,” Ben explained, “But I think we would classify that as having the approach of last-touch attribution, where you’re giving credit to the channel that didn’t necessarily stimulate the demand; you’re giving the credit to the channel that brought you the sale.”

 

Success in email marketing can have a hidden cost

Ben also made a great point that although email is a successful tactic in ecommerce, you don’t want to reach the point where your storefront becomes a pseudo list building tool.

In this case, making a tradeoff between customer inboxes at the expense of customer experience has the potential of delivering a hidden cost of potentially limiting growth in different channels in the long term.

“The more you go down this path of really banking on this channel,” Ben said, “I think you start to narrow what you can do with your site and your business.”

To hear more insights from Ben and Pete on the state the ecommerce, you can watch the on-demand replay of the webinar interview in the MarketingSherpa webinar archive.

 

You may also like:

Email Summit 2015 [Have insights to share on email marketing? Apply to be an Email Summit 2015 speaker]

Ecommerce: 2 tips to help small businesses navigate multichannel marketing [More from the blogs]

Multichannel Marketing: 3 tips to help take your e-commerce global [More from the blogs]

Ecommerce: Why going global really means going local [More from the blogs]

Ecommerce: Why going global really means going local

July 8th, 2014 No comments

Global ecommerce is growing.

With that growth comes two insights:

One is satisfaction on my part in seeing fellow anthropologists land jobs at Microsoft and Absolut Vodka to aid in marketing research.

The other part of that growth is the realization among savvy ecommerce marketers that delivering a consistent brand experience in a multi-cultural global marketplace is not going to be easy.

I say this in light of the recent interview between MarketingSherpa Reporter Allison Banko and Rob Garf, Vice President, Industry Strategy, Demandware, in the MarketingSherpa Media Center at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition.

Rob, who spoke at IRCE this year in Chicago, shared his thoughts on how preserving brand value and relevance across multiple cultures will be vital to delivering a consistent brand experience in new markets.

 

Brands looking to expand their reach into new cultures need to understand: It’s not about you; it’s about the locals.

“It comes down to really being entrenched in how consumers behave and how they want to interact with the brand,” Rob explained. “One key aspect is to have a local presence.”

If you want to see more interviews from ecommerce experts and in-the-trenches marketers, visit MarketingSherpa.com/IRCE.

Want to dig deeper into what’s working in ecommerce today? Download the MarketingSherpa E-commerce Benchmark Study for insights gathered from 4,346 marketers on everything from what’s happening to the ecommerce landscape, to which strategies successful ecommerce companies are employing.

Read more…

2 Tough Questions to Ask About Your Content Marketing Strategy

June 24th, 2014 No comments

At MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013, Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute, shared some of the forgotten strategies for generating epic content.

One of those strategies revealed how creating a mission statement for your content can help you define the desired outcome for your content marketing efforts.

So in today’s MarketingSherpa Blog post, I wanted to share two questions every marketer should ask about their mission statement to help craft (or refine) the ultimate purpose for content creation.

 

Question #1. Is our purpose clear?

Content-purpose

 

Here are two examples Joe shared of mission statements that are clear and concise in their purpose and intent. They also have one other unique similarity that’s worth mentioning.

Their focus is exclusively on helping customers instead of trying to sell to them, or as Joe explained:

“It’s not about trying to sell more,” Joe said, “It’s about what is the outcome for my persona.”

 

Question #2. Who does our content serve?

content-mission-statement

 

Joe also explained that creating a mission statement help fill in the strategy gaps is essential to give content a much needed targeted focus.

“This is part of the strategy that most of us don’t have,” Joe explained.

Here are three recommendations Joe had for crafting (or refining) your content marketing mission statement:

  • Core target audience – Who is your persona? What are you talking to?
  • What will be delivered? – Is this information useful?
  • The outcomes for the audience – What will your audience get out of consuming your content?

Read more…

Why Savvy Marketers Establish Affiliate Relationships with Bloggers

June 20th, 2014 No comments

Having in-house bloggers on your marketing team can keep your content flowing, but there are limits to the audience they can reach.

One way to solve this challenge, according to Carolyn Kmet, Chief Marketing Officer, All Inclusive Marketing, is strategically recruiting third-party bloggers outside of your team to help deliver the right mix of credibility and content that can reach new audiences.

At this year’s Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago, MarketingSherpa hosted the event’s official Media Center. Our team of reporters interviewed marketers from across a variety of business verticals to learn insights on what works in ecommerce marketing.

As Carolyn explained to Allison Banko, Reporter, MECLABS, third-party bloggers can deliver additional exposure opportunities for your brand.

“Bloggers can position brands beyond traditional reach,” Carolyn explained.

 

According to the MarketingSherpa E-commerce Benchmark Study, less than 40% of all companies surveyed utilize affiliate marketing as a traffic driver to an ecommerce site. Using bloggers as affiliates can help with driving traffic from audiences outside of your reach.

The trick is, as Carolyn explained, is to build relationships with bloggers and offer them content opportunities that make exposing your brand to their audience worthwhile.

To do that, she often recruits third-party bloggers outside of her team as affiliates and helps them access industry thought leaders for interviews that would be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain otherwise.

The affiliates create content from those interviews to share with their respective audiences.

“There’s a lot of transparency, Carolyn said. “It gives them fresh content for their audiences.”

Read more…

Email Marketing: Stop building lists and start building assets

June 17th, 2014 No comments

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, Allison Banko, Reporter, MECLABS, captured an interview with speaker Jeff Rohrs, Vice President of Marketing Insights, ExactTarget, who shared a concept that should appeal to your inner entrepreneur.

If something doesn’t make money, then it doesn’t make sense.

I say this because, according to Jeff, email marketers are often underappreciated (and underpaid) because they don’t effectively connect the dots for executives on the true ROI of their marketing efforts.

“I think email marketers tend to be underappreciated in their organizations,” Jeff explained, “and I think part of that is the language we choose to communicate the value we bring to executives.”

 

Jeff’s proposed solution is to change the conversation by adjust the way marketers view what they contribute.

In sum, stop telling people you build email lists and start telling them you’re building proprietary assets that are exclusive to your company. One additional point Jeff shared was how social media is experiencing growing pains due to increasing pressure from executives to see clear ROI from social media.

“The executives are beginning to demand more from those channels and email marketers understand that because they’ve fought those battles,” Jeff explained.

Ultimately, Jeff delivered the bigger idea that your organizational marketing goals should supersede the channels you use to deliver them. As a result, hopefully marketers will be able to tear down the silos that emerge from those channels in the process.

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Multichannel Marketing: 3 tips to help take your e-commerce global

June 6th, 2014 No comments

Achieving e-commerce growth in a global marketplace is tough for any organization.

This is especially true when you consider the increasing complexity of global e-commerce coupled with the challenges of reaching new regional customer bases that are different than your existing customers.

These were some of the challenges facing Tom Davis, Global Head of E-commerce, Puma. In a recent MarketingSherpa webinar, he revealed how Puma used an omnichannel marketing approach to successfully position the company’s e-commerce initiative worldwide.

“I think the biggest thing for us is to identify where we fit in the marketplace,” Tom explained.

In this MarketingSherpa Blog post, we’ll take a look at three tips you can use to help take your e-commerce efforts global.

 

Tip #1. Love your customer data

successful-brands-data

 

According to Tom, diving into your data to discover how your business will operate (and potentially grow) in new regional markets is paramount.

“I think it’s imperative for brands, especially retail brands that may have a wholesale part of their business, to really embrace the data,” Tom said. 

 

Tip #2. Focus on delivering a mobile-first experience to stay ahead of the pack

mobile-growth-global

 

One interesting point Tom mentioned was how different regional markets are in different stages of smartphone tech adoption, which will, in turn, impact both online user experiences as the mobile migration continues and the organization’s market penetration strategy in different regions.

In sum, there are a lot of smartphone tech adoption opportunities yet to occur in markets outside of the U.S.

Tom also explained that the gray bars are last year’s mobile penetration (percent of unique mobile visitors) for Puma’s Web properties versus the blue bars, which were just for Q1 of 2014.

“You can see that in almost every market, our mobile penetration is growing,” Tom said.

Read more…

Marketing Automation: Moving past a batch-and-blast email strategy

May 30th, 2014 No comments

“The most important step was just starting,” Byron O’Dell, Senior Director, Demand Management, IHS, said.

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, MarketingSherpa Reporter Allison Banko held a brief interview with Byron on how building customer personas is key to transforming your email marketing program.

Byron took the stage at Email Summit to present his case study, “Marketing Automation: Key challenges a global information company overcame to transform from batch-and-blast to persona-driven email marketing.”

 

In this interview in the Email Summit Media Center, Byron stressed the importance of not overly focusing on perfection at the expense of getting started on building customer profiles.

“If you wait to try to make things perfect before you begin, you’re going to miss out on all that opportunity where you could have been seeing a result,” Byron said.

 

Getting the right content to the right people

Building your customer profiles also helps you overcome the challenge of delivering relevant content to them, as Byron shared in this brief excerpt of his Email Summit session below.

 

One suggestion Byron shared was geared toward helping you deliver targeted content and rests in understanding how technology will impact the delivery to your personas across a larger multi-touch nurturing strategy.

“Don’t mistake having a marketing automation platform for having a process,” Byron explained.

You can view Byron’s full presentation along with 14 other valuable sessions from Email Summit 2014 to learn more transferable insights from marketers who are discovering what works.

Read more…

Web Optimization: Can you repeat your test results?

May 21st, 2014 No comments

This week, I’m deep in the heart of the Big Apple (also known as enemy territory if you share my love for the Red Sox) for Web Optimization Summit 2014.

Day 1 has delivered some fantastic presentations and luckily, I was able to catch Michael Zane, Senior Director Online Marketing, Publishers Clearing House, in his session that covered “How to Personalize the Online Experience to Increase Engagement.” 

Publishers-Clearing-HouseMichael’s take on personalization starts with a key distinction between visitors to PCH he mentioned early on.

“You have to define your personas,” he said. “It only made sense for us to take a simplistic approach at first and then dig deeper.”

According to Michael, the challenge rests in driving engagement in unengaged visitors. To help the company’s engagement efforts, Michael and his team turned to testing and optimization.

identify-customer-personas

 

In this MarketingSherpa Blog post, we’ll take a look at some of his team’s testing efforts including one key aspect that often goes unspoken.

Before we get started, let’s look at the research notes for some background information on the test.

 

Objective: To convert unengaged visitors into engaged customers.

Primary Research Question: Will a simple, but attention-grabbing, header convince unengaged visitors to play a game?

Test Design: A/B split test

 

Experiment #1. Side by side

game-engagement-test

 

Michael and his team decided to test a header they hypothesized would encourage visitors to play a game.

“The text in the treatment was innocent at the top of the page and it wasn’t really competing with the other content,” Michael said. 

unengaged-message-variations

 

The team also used a variety of messages in the experiment to help them dial into their core value proposition.

 

Results

real-time-messaging-results

 

The treatment outperformed the control by a relative difference of 36%. There are plenty of marketers that would be thrilled by these results.

However, Michael made an interesting point here that should be mentioned a lot more than it usually is.

“The initial test showed strong results, but they are only valuable if it can be repeated,” Michael said.

 

Experiment #2. Testing for the two-peat

pop-up-test

 

Michael’s team set up a second test to continue to build on their engagement success. For this experiment, the team devised a lightbox pop-up that interrupted users after two seconds on the site.

 

Results

pop-up-test-results

 

After only four days, Michael and his team concluded that the new lightbox approach was decreasing conversion.

“Having this failure helped us validate the metrics,” Michael said. “We didn’t want to rely just on third-party metrics. Not every test is a winner.”

Read more…

Social Media: How to turn customers into brand advocates

April 11th, 2014 1 comment

For many marketers, user-generated content is the upcycling opportunity of a lifetime. It’s free content created by customers turned brand advocates with a margin of credibility money can’t buy.

Sadly, this content often goes to waste in marketing, or worse, unnoticed altogether.

The challenge, however, for savvy marketers like Evin Catlett, Digital Marketing Manager, Amer Sports, often rests in finding strategic ways to repurpose content effectively.

In a recent MarketingSherpa webinar, Evin explained how Amer Sports was launching its first U.S. Instagram campaign in support of a new product. According to Evin, the launch would also focus on the overall goal of increasing social media engagement with U.S. consumers.

“We didn’t have a ton of reach,” Evin explained, “And while we did have really strong engagement, it was with a very small community.” 

social-media-engagement

 

Before Evin began, she realized one important element to the campaign was the need to inspire social media interaction with customers.

invitation-to-inspire

 

To help accomplish this, the team brought in key brand athletes to have a fairly robust part in interacting on social media with the product, and invited the social media community to do the same.

suunto-ambitions-instagram

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