Category: Customer Modeling

Content Marketing

The Do’s and Don’ts of Ethical Marketing

Ethics is not something marketers can afford to ignore. More than ever, customers expect their favorite brands to have positions on relevant social issues. One report found that 64% of Americans make purchasing decisions based on the brand’s ethical values and authenticity. Meanwhile, 42% will stop doing business with companies that respond poorly to controversial social issues.

The inverse is also true — when brands are transparent and ethical, people are far more willing to become loyal customers. What marketers must remember is that there’s a right and wrong way to speak up on current events. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

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CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
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Do put someone in charge of ethics

One reason why brands keep stumbling into ethical quandaries is they treat ethics as a side issue. Many companies will focus on growth or profit, while sustainability or diversity are secondary considerations. This is especially true in large brands where departments silo responsibilities and are not fully aware of what happens across the organization.

One way to address this issue is to create a dedicated leadership role for the entire brand. The cosmetic brand Lush, for example, has an Ethical Director who ensures products are cruelty-free, BPA-free, and sustainably sourced. Interestingly, Lush prioritizes ethics to the point of refusing to advertise, preferring to let its positive reputation spread by word-of-mouth.

Prioritizing ethics prevents brands from letting controversial issues slide, keeping them at the forefront of every internal conversation. Ethical directors can also help monitor supply chains or seek out diverse voices for the team. Such a position can also ensure brand messaging is consistently ethical, especially on channels like social media.

Don’t overreach with empty messaging

Ethical marketing is about more than sharing positive platitudes or a Black Lives Matter hashtag. We’ve seen countless brands try and attach themselves to social movements, only to retract the campaign because it does more harm than good. In our social media-driven age, critics will find gaps in your brand messaging that contradict your brand history. In a worst-case scenario, your pleasant advertisement may become a full-fledged scandal.

In 2018, McDonald’s experienced that worst-case scenario firsthand. It tried to celebrate International Women’s Day by flipping its iconic arches upside-down. Social media commenters pushed back almost immediately, noting the chain didn’t offer women equal wages or paid family leave. More recently, Twitter received backlash when it formally adopted the Black Lives Matter hashtag — critics reminded everyone that the platform frequently fails to ban white supremacists.

To be clear, brands should not stay silent on important issues, but they shouldn’t be blatantly opportunistic. If brand messaging doesn’t align with brand actions, many people — including your customers — will notice. Before rushing to show support, use the opportunity to recommit yourself to relevant brand values. And if possible, put your money where your messaging is with charitable donations.

How to build your customer model

Don’t speak more than you listen

As marketers, we know successful campaigns occur when we listen to and understand our audience. When marketing campaigns go wrong on an ethical level, a failure to listen — or simply read the room — is almost always where things went wrong. Sadly, these marketing horror stories are all too familiar and have real-world consequences:

The German skincare brand Nivea had to retract its “White is Purity” social media campaign once it gained the attention of white supremacists. Ironically, this campaign was meant to target Middle Eastern customers — and utterly failed to do so.

A decade earlier, Italian car manufacturer Fiat delivered 50,000 personally-addressed love letters from an admirer — secretly a new car — to prospective customers. Before the revelatory follow-up message arrived, women were locking themselves in their homes, fearing a stalker.

Both of these campaigns were tone-deaf and thoughtless at best. Yet, in each case, they could have been avoided simply by understanding the impact such messaging has on customers.

Never hurry to deliver what you think is a witty message. Instead, make yourself aware of your audience’s expectations. Even better, support a diverse marketing team with a broad range of experiences who can address your blind spots well in advance.

Do be transparent with your audience

People aren’t perfect, and neither are brands. Marketers will occasionally produce tone-deaf messaging. Leaders fail to live up to brand values. As customers, however, we usually forgive missteps if companies behave transparently. More specifically, brands must be open about internal work processes, honest about controversial issues, and upfront about what they’re doing to resolve any problems.

Surprisingly, the NFL is just now proving itself to be a great example of transparency. A few short years ago, the football league utterly failed to address the Black Lives Matter movement during Colin Kapernick’s protest. In the wake of current protests, however, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted fault and acknowledged efforts to change the organization.

“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” Goodall said. “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”

The NFL still has lots of work ahead of it, as transparency doesn’t erase a poor reputation overnight. Yet this promising first step can go a long way towards restoring audience trust, to say nothing of players and employees.

Ethical marketing is not some buzzword or catch-phrase — it’s good business. When applied effectively, it can highlight your brand values and establish trust with customers. If you hope to grow in 2020, prioritizing ethics, cultivating transparency, and listening to customers must be where your attention lies.

The post The Do’s and Don’ts of Ethical Marketing appeared first on Post Funnel.

Audience Segmentation

Quality Over Quantity: 5 Brands That Succeeded by Targeting…

At one time, marketing your product or service to the widest possible audience was considered the best way to succeed. Today, digital solutions prove that even niche audiences drive growth. When you market the right product or service to the right demographic, it’s far easier to acquire, engage, and retain loyal customers.

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

With a marketing campaign that emphasizes unique selling points, even the most specialized business can benefit from a niche audience. Consider the following examples:

BritBox reaches one million British TV fans worldwide

Shortly after Netflix launched its streaming service, it was clear that streaming would soon become the default method of consuming video content. Today, the market seems to be coalescing around large competitors like Hulu and Disney+, each offering massive mainstream selections. Yet even now, niche streaming platforms can attract and sustain audiences around the world.

One notable example is BritBox, a digital subscription platform managed by ITV and BBC. Of all streaming services, BritBox offers the largest selection of British television series, many with limited viewership outside the United Kingdom. It’s seen massive success in North America — recently hitting one million subscribers — and is planning expansions into other countries such as Australia.

BritBox’s success, however, isn’t attributed solely to a unique product but also to targeting a specific audience. The platform’s content and marketing campaigns cater to female anglophiles 45-years old and up, a demographic traditionally underserved by mainstream North American television producers. By reaching this audience, BritBox was able to achieve impressive growth and maintain a single-digit churn rate — an impressive feat given the industry’s 18% average.

Customer marketing challenges and opportunities

Procter & Gamble creates 350 personas

Reaching out to niche audiences isn’t just a strategy for startups. Enterprise brands can adopt the technique as well, provided they implement it at scale. The consumer goods brand Procter & Gamble is a great example: when its marketing and innovation pipeline saw a marked improvement in 2019, P&G attributed the success to highly specialized “smart audience” targeting.

P&G’s efforts were part of a broad attempt to optimize against direct-to-consumer competition, but the apparent resource investment remains impressive. According to CEO David Taylor, the brand’s marketing team used one billion customer IDs to create approximately 350 audience personas. This resource allowed for specialized messaging, and it let P&G test business ideas and products among target markets. “We are going from generic demographic targeting, like women aged 18 to 35, to more than 350 precise smart audiences, like first-time mums, millennial professionals, or first-time washing machine owners,” Taylor said.

While competition with DTC brands remains fierce, Procter & Gamble did experience notable growth that year, including an organic sales increase of 7%. When brands are versatile enough to target distinct audiences, the results speak for themselves.

Lefty’s San Francisco

What’s the biggest niche market you could target? While there are many candidates, the left-handed sector might be the safest bet. Left-handed individuals make up 10% of the population, but require specialized products to match the same day-to-day functionality as their right-handed brethren. Unfortunately, it’s not always cost-effective to serve this demographic equally — making lefties loyal to brands that do.

Enter Lefty’s, the San Francisco retail store that . Lefty’s found great success in collecting and creating left-handed product, from stationery to kitchen equipment. Along with offering specialized items, the store attracts a fair amount of organic foot traffic and draws online users through Google Search advertisements. Throw in design and messaging elements that reference renowned left-handed people from history, and Lefty’s will be on customers’ right side for years to come.

Facebook

In our social media dominated world, it’s easy to forget that Facebook wasn’t always a mainstream platform. When Facebook was first created in 2004, it almost exclusively targeted college students; profiles were limited to Harvard students before the service extended to higher education students worldwide. Even Facebook’s name comes from “face book” directories commonly used in American universities.

University and college students were an ideal fit for Facebook for a few reasons. During their undergrad years, many are far from home for the first time and separated from friends and other contacts. Facebook provided a central platform to manage their relationships — hence the popularity of the infamous “relationship status” notification. While Facebook now targets people of all ages and demographics, refining its features and brand appeal with students paved the way for it to become a worldwide phenomenon.

Vermont Wooden Toys

Depending on who you ask, wooden toys are charming, quaint, or even embraced ironically. Yet there is a market for non-plastic playthings without digital bells and whistles. A little over a decade ago, this market exploded in size when lead poisoning prompted a mass recall of toys from mainstream brands. All of a sudden, the simple toys of yesteryear were far more appealing to parents.

Vermont Wooden Toys was well-positioned to fill this gap. This business offers over 125 handmade items, each produced using locally-sourced wood. Its natural production process and lack of chemical wood stain attracted a wide array of customers — most of whom found its small website organically. As customer-conscious shopping practices continue to grow, VWT continues to thrive.

Reaching a niche audience requires a great deal of effort, since you can’t necessarily rely on curious mainstream users to seek out and find your product. But once you manage to attract these customers, their loyalty can help your brand grow and thrive. For all the challenges they represent, that’s well worth the risk.

The post Quality Over Quantity: 5 Brands That Succeeded by Targeting Niche Audiences appeared first on Post Funnel.

CRM

4 Customer Experience Management Stats — and What They…

Here at PostFunnel, we’re all about making data-driven decisions — and helping you do the same for your business.

(It just makes sense to do so: With the right data in hand, you’ll always know the best direction to take your marketing campaigns and initiatives.)

While you certainly want to pay attention to the data your team collects (and your audience provides), it’s also important to keep up with the more overarching trends weaving themselves through the eCommerce realm.

To that end, we’re going to take a look at four key eCommerce statistics that paint a clear picture of the state of customer experience management — in 2020 and beyond.

Let’s dive in.

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

CX Leaders are Three Times More Likely to Exceed Their Marketing Goals

According to the 2020 Digital Trends Report from Adobe, companies that prioritize customer experience management are 300% more likely to reach and exceed their goals than their competition.

What’s more, CXM leaders also see three times the returns from their efforts, too.

Simply put:

Optimizing your overall CX will lead to more revenues and larger profits for your business.

To be sure, we’ve known this would eventually be the case for a while now.

(Remember back in 2013 when Walker predicted that CX would overtake price and product as the key factor for consumers’ purchasing decisions? Well…here we are.)

Of course, this isn’t to say that the quality and price of your product don’t matter.

The point of that prediction is that those things are table stakes by today’s standards. To truly set your brand apart from your competition, you need to jampack your entire CX with value at every point along the customer’s journey with your brand.

The key to optimizing the customer experience in 2020: Contextual personalization.

By now, it’s not enough for brands to offer surface-level personalization. Yes, it’s still crucial to provide personalized product recommendations and the like — but this is really the bare minimum you can do for your customers at this point.

You need to take your personalization efforts to the next level.

This means transitioning to a more customer-centric mode of operations, and gaining a more holistic understanding of your audience — both as consumers and as people. This enables your marketing team to more effectively map your customer journey, and better anticipate your customers’ needs and expectations along this journey.

Once you have a clearer idea of your overall customer journey, you can then work on injecting contextual personalization throughout your entire customer experience.

Again, the goal isn’t to just slap basic personalization tactics on top of a generic customer experience. Contextual personalization is about being able to deliver exactly what your individual customers need at any given moment to help them move forward in their journey.

The lesson to take from all this is simple:

If you’re not laser-focused on providing a hyper-personalized experience to your customers, you’re leaving a ton of opportunities on the table — and are likely falling well behind your competition.

Spending on CXM Technology Will Reach $641B by 2022

Of course, providing such an enhanced customer experience requires strategic and liberal use of technology across the board.

It’s no surprise, then, that global spending on CX-related technology is expected to exceed $641 billion by 2022.

Overall, brands continue to invest more and more into technology related to three key areas:

First and foremost, we’re seeing brands adopt AI-driven software and tools to supercharge their customer experience. With artificial intelligence and machine learning in the driver’s seat, your team can easily deliver on your hyper-personalization promises in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Behaviorally triggered outreach and engagement
  • Conversational marketing tactics, such as chatbots and conversational landing pages
  • Delivering dynamically generated content and offers

Another key area where tech comes into play is in delivering an omnichannel experience to the consumer. Here, the goal is to immerse your customers in your brand’s experience by interconnecting your channels (and the experiences you provide on them). In turn, your brand will become almost ubiquitous in your customers’ lives.

Making the shift to omnichannel is also about making the purchasing process more streamlined and convenient for your customers. To this end, we’re seeing brands continue to invest in technology to improve their checkout processes via social commerce, additional payment options, and more.

Companies are also looking to use technology to get better control of their company data, organizational knowledge, and digital assets. By centralizing this data — and making it easily accessible for your team — you’ll ensure your team members always have the information they need to deliver top-notch value to your customers.

There’s no doubt about it: Your tech-related expenses are going to continue to increase as time goes on.

It’s vital, then, that you take a strategic approach when adopting new tools into your tech stack to ensure the returns you experience are worth the investment.

82% of Consumers Expect Immediacy from Their Favorite Brands

According to Hubspot, 82% of consumers expect an immediate response from the brands they do business with after reaching out for support.

On the surface, the message here is pretty obvious:

You need to have structures in place that enable your team to provide immediate assistance to your customers whenever they’re in need.

(A quick note: “Immediate” in this context means ten or fewer minutes.)

This is a huge reason live chat and chatbots have become so en vogue in recent years. By optimizing and/or automating your service and support efforts, you’ll always be able to respond quickly and efficiently to your customers’ requests.

Providing self-service options — such as FAQs, knowledge bases, and other informational content — can also help deliver immediate solutions to your customers. Here, you’re cutting out the middleman (your support team) and allowing your audience to take matters into their own hands.

(Needless to say, you need to optimize these resources in order to deliver value to your audience.)

Again, we’re talking here about immediacy with regard to individual interactions with your customers.

On a deeper level, though, this expectation of immediacy applies to your approach to customer experience management, overall. In order to continually provide for your customers, you need to stay on top of the shifts, changes, and evolutions occurring throughout your industry.

Again, becoming data-driven is essential here.

More than just being able to react to changes in your industry, being data-driven puts you in position to proactively lead your industry in the right direction with regard to customer experience management.

By becoming data-driven, your marketing team will inherently become more focused on growth (as opposed to maintaining the status quo).

When growth becomes your team’s main goal, you’ll always be looking for the “next big thing” you can do to enhance your customer experience — and will consistently be able to cater to your audience’s evolving expectations.

How to build your customer model

One-Third of Consumers Will Defect from Brands They Don’t Trust

A recent study by IBM found that an astounding 33% of customers will stop buying from a preferred brand if they lose trust in the company.

(In fact, the report shows that one-third of consumers have actually defected to a competing brand due to a decrease in trustability.)

So, to be clear:

If you aren’t instilling trust in your customers throughout their experiences with your brand, you’re going to lose them.

Building trust within your target audience is done both on an individual and “big picture” basis.

In terms of the individual customer, it’s vital that they’re able to trust your brand to provide for them as expected. This means:

  • Following through on the claims and promises your brand makes
  • Taking the time to acknowledge and consider the individual customers’ needs and expectations
  • Providing a consistent — and consistently valuable — experience to your customers whenever they engage with your brand

For the most part, building trust within your individual customers will take time; that’s just how trust works.

Still, you can increase their likelihood of trusting you by becoming more open and transparent across the board.

For one thing, the modern consumer needs to know they can trust your brand with their personal information. Yes, the GDPR and similar legislation have made it mandatory for brands to be transparent with how they use their customer data…but your customers will expect this transparency regardless of what the law says.

It’s also essential that your organization be transparent in terms of how your business operates, providing good reason for the modern, socially-conscious consumer to trust you from the get-go.

Some key facts to consider:

  • 73% of consumers trust businesses that can maximize profits while also improving the conditions of the communities they operate in
  • 67% of younger consumers want brands to keep them informed as to how they support and empower their team members
  • 72% of US consumers feel it is more important than ever for brands to reflect their personal values

A better way to define your VIPs

Most importantly, the report from Edelman shows that 81% of brands say they need to trust that a brand will always “do the right thing” before they decide to buy from them.

Now, we hope this goes without saying, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t make clear:

Do. Not. Fake. It.

Whether we’re talking about the claims you make about the value of your product or your public commitments to various social causes, they need to be legitimate.

First of all, it’s the right thing to do.

(See the stat we just mentioned for a reminder of why that’s important.)

Moreover, your customers aren’t just more conscious of these aspects of your business; they’re also more knowledgeable about them, as well. The modern customer does their research — and will ultimately dig up the truth about your brand, whatever it may be.

Again, this isn’t to say you should do a better job of hiding the less-than-responsible things your company does. It’s to say you shouldn’t be doing these things in the first place.

Along that same wavelength, you shouldn’t be looking to build trust as a means to generating more business. Rather, you want to see the strong relationships you build with your customers as ends unto themselves — knowing that this will lead to better things for your business moving forward.

The post 4 Customer Experience Management Stats — and What They Mean for Your Business appeared first on Post Funnel.

Customer Intelligence

5 Types of Customer Segmentation You Should Be Using

Understanding your customer starts with segmentation. By categorizing your audience into groups of shared characteristics, it’s far easier to personalize your message to respond to specific needs. What elements will help you find the most useful customer segments as quickly as possible?

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

Why customer segmentation matters

Offering an excellent product or service isn’t enough by itself to ensure success for your company. You’ll waste precious time and resources by trying to be all things to all consumers. Tailoring your approach to clearly defined customers increases your ROI as you invest in methods and products more likely to resonate with your audience. The better you know your customers, the more precisely you can cater to their preferences, habits, and needs, thereby creating an exceptional buyer experience.

Customer segmentation helps you understand what motivates them, and speak directly to those needs. Well-examined segments are the first step in higher customer retention, a superior overall customer experience, and more effective ad targeting.

There are several different ways to divide your customer base into various segments. All of them offer useful information you can use to benefit your business, but not all segmentation methods suit all organizations at all stages of their development. Before creating your customer segmentation strategy, consider what you’re trying to achieve.  To get the answers you want, you first need to understand the questions you’re asking. Do you want to increase customer retention, or improve ROI on ad spend? Do you want to expand into new territories, or simply know the buying habits of your existing customer base? A smart examination of customer segments can help with all of that—and more.

Demographic Segmentation

Demographics are probably what come to mind first when you think about dividing your customer base into segments. Customer demographics typically cover some mixture of data about age, gender, marital status, education, or income. In a B2B setting, demographic information might include company size or industry. Consumers are usually willing to share this sort of anonymous information, which makes demographic segmentation one of the easier ways to define your audience. This data can create a baseline against which you can use other segmentation to drill down into smaller customer segments. For example, starting with a demographic of women over 40, you could break down the results of a specific ad campaign with a secondary segment based on geography.

The guide to advanced customer segmentation

Geographic segmentation

Geographic segmentation breaks down your audience based on where they live or work. It can be as broad as country or state, or as narrow as population size or climate features. Customer needs may vary dramatically depending on the economics or culture of their area. An ad that may be amusing in one country could be considered wildly offensive in another. For example, geographic segmentation can inform you on whether or not you need to pull back your ad spend in India during Diwali—or increase it. You can collect some geographic information from your customers based on the ISP they use to visit your site, which can also be categorized alongside other basic demographic information.

Behavioral segmentation

A good way to think about behavioral segmentation is breaking down your customers by their purchasing and spending habits. It’s important to note that in this context, purchasing and spending are not the same thing. Purchasing habits are defined by where and when customers buy. Spending habits are defined by how often customers make purchases and how much they spend. For example, only buying a car during fall clearance sales is a purchasing behavior, while consistently purchasing a car that costs over $30,000 is a spending behavior.

Buyer’s journey segmentation

Buyer’s journey segmentation is particularly useful because it differentiates customers based on how they interact with your site. Perhaps they added something to their cart but never checked out, or they may faithfully browse new stock when prompted by a promotional email. Targeted messaging that speaks to their specific behavior can move the customers in these segments further along their buying journey, and careful examination of them can reveal opportunities for improving your buyer’s experience. Along this line of thinking, information gleaned from follow-up surveys asking why a visitor didn’t buy can be just as valuable for your company as an actual purchase.

Psychographic segmentation

Psychographic segmentation relies on subjective personality traits, and as such is more difficult to collect than basic information like age or gender. This kind of segmentation defines your customers based on their values, motivations, priorities, and lifestyle. One example might be whether they’re early adopters of new technology, or whether they tend to wait for a product to be tried and true. The psychographic information you gather can help create a brand identity and design marketing materials that speak directly to your customers’ emotions. If your customers identify as being environmentally conscious, for example, you could create an ad campaign highlighting your eco-friendly manufacturing process.

Your market segmentation strategy may use just one of these, or all of them together. More information is typically more helpful, but be wary of overly narrow segmentation. It’s true that the smaller the group, the more precisely you can speak to their needs, but if the segment is too small, it won’t impact your business’s bottom line. Finally, be aware that customer segmentation isn’t something you do once and never worry about again. Your customer segments will remix as your customers grow and change over time. A sound strategy, revisited at regular intervals, will provide you with the insight you need to help your business thrive.

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