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Posts Tagged ‘CRM’

Email Marketing: 3 resources to help you close the automation gap

December 20th, 2013 1 comment

Some marketers have noticed that when it comes to using triggered emails, there’s an interesting gap in the perception of automation in terms of “how things should be” and “how things really are.”

Most marketers use automated triggered emails for nurturing early stage buyers, which leaves overlooked opportunities to use automated emails to strengthen existing customer relationships or to win back the hearts and minds of recently lost customers.

In today’s MarketingSherpa Blog post, you’ll find three resources you can use to help your marketing team close the automation gap.

 

Commit to using automation to build stronger customer relationships

Most marketers in a custom or expensive e-commerce niche are typically not scouting for the impulse buys. Instead, their tactics tend to fall along the lines of supporting a longer sales cycle that requires a little more nurturing.

 

Indochino, a custom clothing company, decided to test an autoresponder send using hand-picked product suggestions in an attempt to build customer relationships using its email program.

 

Results: Indochino increased its revenue-per-email 540% in just the first test. To learn more about the campaign and the four-step process the team used to select targets and expand the program into other customer segments, check out the case study “E-commerce Marketing: 540% higher revenue-per-email for automated send.”

 

Customer behavior matters

For Jermaine Griggs, Founder, Hear and Play Music, communicating with customers through email messaging was a critical part of his marketing efforts. Here’s a short clip of the full presentation from MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013.

 

During his presentation at Email Summit, Jermaine explained how he transitioned from using his CRM system as a “glorified autoresponder,” to a CRM system based on behavior and personalization for each customer’s unique needs.

Results: Jermaine was able to successfully increase the lifetime value of his customers by 416%. To learn more, you can also watch the entire on-demand replay of Jermaine’s session, “E-commerce: Harnessing the power of email automation and behavior-based marketing to increase conversions,” from Email Summit 2013.  

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Email Marketing: E-commerce company’s behavior-based marketing tactics increase CLTV 416% in 14 months

November 8th, 2013 No comments

For Jermaine Griggs, Founder, Hear and Play Music, communicating with customers through email was a critical part of his marketing efforts. By embracing behavior-based marketing tactics, Jermaine achieved an increase in customer lifetime value (CLTV) of 416% in 14 months simply by harnessing the power of personalized marketing strategies.

At Email Summit 2013, Jermaine explained how he accomplished these results in his presentation, “How an Online Music Teaching Company Harnessed the Power of Email Automation & Behavior-based Marketing to Increase Conversions.”

In this video excerpt, learn about behavior-based marketing, and how Jermaine applied it to Hear and Play’s CRM system.

 

“Personalized marketing is about authentically altering the user experience based on data and behavior,” Jermaine explained

In this short clip, watch how Hear and Play captures and uses internal and external data to increase the effectiveness of campaigns. Also, understand how to let what your customers and prospects do dictate what you do in return.

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Online Marketing: 4 sources of customer insight on your website

April 11th, 2013 5 comments

“The meaning of a test is to get a learning, not a lift.” 

Chances are, you’ve heard the above from us before. At MECLABS, we often speak of online testing as a means to learn insights directly from the customer, prospect, visitor, etc.

Well, what if you could be overlooking areas of your website that can give you valuable customer insight without testing anything at all. Would you be interested in using this information to improve your online operations and maybe increase conversion? I know I would. Could you use this information to inform future test ideas and test plans?

You could. And probably should.

While the following information may not seem revolutionary – or even unique, for that matter – you might be surprised by just how many large corporations fail to take such readily available information into account, even though it is supplied to them directly from the customer or prospect.

There are numerous places on your website that reference the customer. But, the areas we need to focus on are the ones in which the customer provides direct feedback, in their own words.

 

1. Comment boxes in form fields

Everyone has seen the ubiquitous form field box on contact forms across the Web, but who actually takes the time to fill these out? Depending upon the complexity of the product and your traffic levels, there could be quite a few.

Now, if you take those few comments you receive daily and extrapolate them over a lengthier period – let’s say three months – you might begin seeing trends in the types of comments or questions your customers are asking.

Yes, this would take some analysis from a staff member, but the payoff could be huge. Just remember, the analysis doesn’t have to be complicated, and this type of quick analysis can be applied across the other areas.

You can use any program you like, but take the time to quickly go through the comments and categorize those matching or sharing a similar root problem or theme.

Once you have completed the analysis phase, see if  any comment groups emerge as a significant portion of the overall sample. If so, then you have likely identified an area of friction that could be addressed on the website to potentially aid in conversion.

How you go about addressing the issues should also be considered. Will a simple copy improvement suffice, or is there a larger issue with the website or process needing to be addressed? It’s ultimately your decision, but before rewriting all your Web copy, remember you’re working with a fraction of your overall traffic. There is no need to revamp areas that don’t need it.

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Customer Relationship Management: Bring Finance into the CRM world

March 28th, 2013 2 comments

Last November, we published a how-to article in the MarketingSherpa B2B Newsletter titled, “CRM How-to: Tactics on Marketing/IT alignment, database strategy and integrating social media data.” As you might guess from the title, the article covered a range of customer relationship marketing concepts. To get the insights presented in the piece, I spoke with six industry experts.

With all of this great information at hand, I faced a common “problem” that crops up when researching multi-source MarketingSherpa articles – after writing a thorough how-to article, I still had a huge amount of great material that just didn’t make it into the piece. The solution? Offer those insights in a couple of additional blog posts.

Here on the MarketingSherpa Blog, we published, “Defining CRM: Thoughts from three experts,” a deeper look into how different industry experts actually define the term “customer relationship management” (and a fascinating group of opinions that might change the way you think of CRM), and another on the B2B Lead Blog, “Sales and Marketing: The technology behind CRM.”

Today, I’d like to offer more insights into CRM, and also add another industry expert to the entire mix, Lou Guercia, President and CEO, Scribe Software, a data integration and migration software company.

 

4 doors into the company

One key distinction covered in the post on defining customer relationship management was between CRM as simply a technology piece of software that might be as narrowly defined as the software utilized by Sales, or CRM technology embracing marketing automation and email technology as well, compared against CRM as a holistic customer lifetime experience that takes into account marketing activity, sales actions and customer service.

Even though he is coming from a very data-centric perspective, Lou said he sees CRM from the customer lifetime perspective.

He explained the four touch points, or “doors,” for customers interacting with your company:

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Support (customer service)
  • Finance

“What can we do to do support customers better?” Lou asked. “Think through what would be the data requirements and the workflows that would allow our business to service those customers through those four doors to the company in a way that would make those customers happy and more likely to continue to use our product or service.”

In the list of “doors,” I found it very interesting Lou added finance. Customer service is often mentioned in the holistic view of CRM, but from a customer touch point perspective, and maybe even more importantly from customer data perspective, how that person interacts with the finance department is a very important piece of the customer lifecycle.

The largest section of the original how-to article we published was on the database, and whether companies should keep separate databases for Marketing and Sales.

The opinion was mixed, with one expert, Brian Vellmure, Founder, Initium LLC/Innovantage International, splitting the difference suggesting one, or two, databases should be determined on a case-by-case basis, even though he did suggest there needed to be some way to merge all data for the ability to perform end-to-end data analysis.

Lou said a CRM implementation strategy should include integrating the Marketing and Sales databases if those are not already in sync, but the next stage would be to integrate the accounting and financial data into that overarching database as well.

With this total insight into the individual customer, if a database record changes for any reason at any point in the customer lifecycle – as a database prospect, after the handoff to Sales as a qualified lead, or at the account level post-conversion to a customer – the database everyone is using contains the correct information.

This means Marketing and Sales continuing efforts in up-selling, cross-selling and ongoing brand awareness understand, and can react to, changes in that customer’s status – maybe their phone number, job title or possibly even company changed over time.

 

The cloud and big data

As a marketer you might be thinking, “Oh man, first I have to get aligned with Sales and get all of us playing in the same data sandbox, and now I have to think about adding Finance to the mix?”

Lou suggested any CRM implementation strategy should be handled incrementally, and there’s no need to “boil the ocean” and try to do everything at once. At the same time, there needs to be an overall plan for the implementation.

He said, “If you think it through from a process level:

  • What are we trying to do?
  • What can we improve on?
  • What feedback have we heard from these customers?
  • How can improve the way we work with those customers and prospects?
  • What are the data elements that we are going to need to do that and then have an actionable, prioritized plan?”

The implementation should be based on an overarching plan, and he said to avoid being so tactical that urgent problems get fixed without a framework in place for the entire process.

From a data perspective, one relatively new technological solution is out there.

“One factor that is impacting the market for adopting this kind of strategy is the rampant growth of cloud services,” Lou said.

He added the cloud provides the ability to link data from sources ranging from sales and marketing automation technology, call center systems and even accounting and finance.

Lou said one school of thought regarding another hot term right now – big data – is the idea of “give me every bleeping piece of data under the sun, and I will have smart algorithms that will figure out where to get some patterns.”

“I think that’s great for IBM,” he explained. “What I am about is relevant data sets. What are the types of data that you would want that can be reasonably well parsed through and used by organizations.”

He added big data is about finding patterns in unstructured data that will be helpful to the business, and marketers probably know what data they want for better access into customer insights. The challenge is managing big data in a coordinated way.

“Maybe I am not about ‘big data’ in the classic sense, but more [about] relevant use of bigger data, not vast data,” Lou explained.

Brian Vellmure, the advocate of allowing corporate culture to determine the database strategy, provided another perspective on actually handling big data for marketers:

Big data will allow us to obviously understand our customers better.

If we can understand who they are, who they are interacting with, where they go, what they are interested in beyond our products and service offering, and what their normal day in a life is, then obviously, we have a potential to bring them the right message at the right time.

It is not intrusive. It is not annoying, and it also allows us to find patterns that we didn’t even know to look for before.

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Defining CRM: Thoughts from three experts

December 7th, 2012 2 comments

A recent B2B newsletter article, “CRM How-to: Tactics on Marketing/IT alignment, database strategy and integrating social media data,” covered three tactics on customer relationship management, commonly known by its acronym, CRM.

In researching the article, and speaking about many customer relationship management concepts with six experts on the topic, one aspect of CRM that came up was, “How is CRM defined?”

Even between the story’s sources, there was no hard and fast definition. However, I thought it was also interesting to think about how different people define CRM, often depending on their role in a company or as a thought leader in the customer relationship management field.

Although there is an entire continuum of concepts, most can fit into one of these three general areas, completing the sentence, “CRM is ____:”

  • Simply the software piece called a CRM solution, such as Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, InfusionSoft, Oracle Siebel, et al.
  • All technology related to customer relationship management, including CRM solutions, marketing automation software and email marketing solutions
  • Everything involved in the customer lifecycle and customer interactions with a company, including all of the above, customer service and more

Since this topic did not make it into the newsletter’s how-to article beyond the introduction, I thought I’d give MarketingSherpa Blog readers the opportunity to hear what several of those experts had to say on answering, “What is CRM?”

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B2B Marketing: 7 tactics for implementing marketing automation from a fellow brand-side marketer

December 15th, 2011 No comments

In the B2B marketer’s toolbox, marketing automation software is more like industrial equipment than a simple screwdriver. It’s a capital investment, and it does some serious heavy lifting.

There are many automation vendors out there with a wide range of price points and features to fit the needs of marketers of all size of prospect list and complexity of sale. One thing that remains the same across all these options is there are some key elements to fitting marketing automation into any sales cycle that every marketer should keep in mind.

Jason Striker, Digital Marketing Manager, ICM Document Solutions, presented “Marketing Automation for Misers – Strategies for implementing an effective automation program on a tight budget” to the audience at the recent MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2011 in San Francisco, and he offered a solid blueprint for doing just that for marketers with any budget size .

Here are seven tactics Jason gave our Summit attendees that I’d like to share with you:

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B2B Marketing: How good data can solve big problems

October 27th, 2011 No comments

Problems in your marketing can be tricky to identify. They might seem isolated, but they can also have a single root cause.

Brian Carroll, Executive Director of Applied Research, MECLABS, believes a central problem for many B2B marketers is a lack of effective data.

“Everything connects to your data,” Carroll said. “Your data represents relationships, and that’s the hub.”

Carroll touched on this issue at the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2011 in San Francisco this week. He described how seven of the most common problems that B2B marketers face have their roots in poor data optimization. We’ll go through each of these below.

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