Tag: continuous engagement
Shamir Duverseau

Choose Your Partner through Diagnosis & Design

Someone once said, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Both the origin and context of this quote are somewhat obscure and open to interpretation, but it comes to mind whenever I think about the importance of seeking the right help at the right time, particularly in business.

For example, to meet specific business goals, you and your team may have reached the conclusion that more digital expertise and resources are needed. There are hundreds if not thousands of agencies and consulting firms that specialize in digital marketing, strategy, and technology and further specialize in a particular market segment. If you are seeking a partner to support your digital efforts, is finding one that simply focuses on your target market sufficient to be considered the right help at the right time?

Of course, cost is likely a factor in the decision making, as well as the likeability of the team. But I would argue that none of the aforementioned criteria predict whether a firm can actually help you meet your business goals. You may not even know the obstacles your business must overcome in order to meet those business goals—a fact that makes it all the harder to choose the right partner to see you through.

To find the right help at the right time, you need a process that is not simply focused on personalities or price—although those are factors—but on discovery, diagnosis, and design.

Discovery

To provide a framework for this process, think about a visit to the doctor. No matter how much you like the provider’s personality, or the price of your copay, your primary concern is their ability to address your health concerns. You want them to take the time to understand your symptoms, review your test results, and apply their expertise and knowledge to properly diagnose your problem.

Your organization is no different. Before you can begin solving problems, you first need to understand what they are. Engaging a third party—ideally the agency you hope to enlist over the long term—can help you conduct a thorough exploration of your current digital strategy. Engage this partner to listen to what you need, audit how things are currently working, review the data, and help you take stock of your digital challenges and opportunities.

Diagnosis

After robust discovery, it’s time for a careful diagnosis. Conditions can be complex and nuanced, so the right diagnosis takes time. Everyone on your team needs to agree on the problem, because everyone must be invested, collectively, in solving it. If the firm supporting you in this process is applying their expertise and their creative intelligence to the process, they will be able to help you connect the dots between causes, symptoms, and the challenges to solve.

Design

With respect to our doctor visit analogy, once you feel good that you and your care team have properly diagnosed your health problem, it’s time to design your treatment plan. The same applies to your business. Once your challenges are diagnosed, your partnering firm or agency will need to provide you with a high-level understanding of the proposed solutions. You’ll also need to know what the solution is worth to you and your organization, not just in potential revenue but in errors prevented, time saved, or opportunities created. And you need to have a clear understanding of how the partner will be able to add value.

Just as you wouldn’t select your medical specialists without knowing what is wrong and how to treat it, it is only after the discovery-diagnosis-design process is complete that you can make an informed decision about your partnership. How will the agency address the problem? What empirical intelligence and expertise will they bring to your team and your organization? How do they plan to work with you to overcome the obstacles? And, what will these solutions cost you?

 

When all is said and done, you want a partner who will act as your guide and add value to your work. They will use data and intelligence to articulate problems and bring solutions to the table. And, ideally, they will also identify early in the discovery-diagnosis-design process if they are the right fit for the task at hand, or whether additional “specialists” may be required along the way. If they do become your agency of record as a result of this process, then you’ll enjoy the added benefits of earned trust, an established common language, and a completed trial run of the collaboration.

We believe due diligence is a necessary part of the selection process. Before you put your trust in a partner, put your trust in the process.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • If you are seeking a partner to support your digital efforts, you need a process that is not simply focused on personalities or price—although those are factors—but on discovery, diagnosis, and design.
  • Before you can begin solving problems, you first need to understand what they are. Engaging a third party—ideally the agency you hope to enlist over the long term—can help you conduct a thorough exploration of your current digital strategy.
  • After robust discovery, it’s time for a careful diagnosis. If the agency supporting you in this process is applying their expertise and their creative intelligence to the process, they will be able to help you connect the dots between causes, symptoms, and the challenges to solve.
  • Once your challenges are diagnosed, your partnering agency will need to provide you with a high-level understanding of the proposed solutions. You need to have a clear understanding of how the agency will be able to add value.
  • Just as you wouldn’t select your medical specialists without knowing what is wrong and how to treat it, it is only after the discovery-diagnosis-design process is complete that you can make an informed decision about your partnership.
Tag: continuous engagement
Charlene Hixon

The Future of Email is Interactive

It’s been 46 years since Ray Tomlinson sent the first ever email. The history of email itself is a fascinating evolution, and the progress in email marketing, especially of late, has been exponential. As a CRM marketing expert at Smart Panda Labs, it’s my job to keep up with these rapid changes.

With that goal in mind, earlier this month I attended the Experian Marketing Services Client Summit in Las Vegas, themed “Rev’17” (Revive, Reveal, Revolutionize). This was my first time attending this conference, and it did not disappoint. Speakers included thought leaders like entrepreneur Josh Linkner and Forrester’s Joe Stanhope to Olympic athletes and celebrities, including undefeated boxing champion Laila Ali and Emmy-award winning host Andy Cohen. There were also informative breakout sessions, user workshops and networking opportunities with digital marketing experts from around the country.

To kick things off, Experian’s Cross Channel Marketing Services (CCM) announced its launch as an independent marketing technology company, Cheetah Digital.

“Today we become a new company and a new brand,” said Matt Seeley, formerly CCM’s Global President and now Chief Operating Officer of the new, independent marketing technology company. Cheetah Digital’s offerings include the first-gen email marketing platform, CheetahMail (from which their name is derived), Mail Publisher and the Experian Marketing Suite. The company’s focus, explained Seeley, is on the innovative spirit that was the basis of Cheetah’s original success in the marketplace. Cheetah Digital will seek to modernize and redefine the solutions offered to contemporary marketers.

Continuous Engagement—Meet Your Consumers Exactly Where They’re At

As part of their mission to lead and define these digital solutions, the summit took a deep dive into the latest technology trends. One of my favorite talks at the event was by Joe Stanhope, lead analyst at Forrester, titled “Transform the Customer Experience with Continuous Engagement.” Stanhope presented the view that marketing teams are being asked to move beyond the single customer view and understand their customers at specific moments in their lives. This means meeting them at every touch point in their personal journey. This level of engagement boosts digital intelligence practices and enables continuous optimization. It’s also essential to keep pace with the shift in customers’ expectations of their digital experiences.

According to Stanhope, continuous engagement requires brands to make most of every interaction with each customer. It means finding the marketing moments depending on where the customers are in their lives: are they buying a new home? Are they having their first child? And instead of ignoring a poor customer experience, continuous engagement means connecting with the customer at the point of aggravation. These are all opportunities to build loyalty and a renewed allegiance to the retailer.

As part of this conversation, William Sonoma presented how they have successfully targeted these large life moments through a cross-brand touch. From a new baby registry to crib-building assistance to a meal provided to the family, they provided special touches. What a way to stay relevant with your customers!

Critical to the success of this high-touch approach is data quality. Enrichment—the use of custom logic to transform an attribute from a static value to a dynamic one—can provide real-time audience data to help marketers understand who the customer is, where they are in their journey, and what moment they may be experiencing. Rapid progress in new technology is enabling this next-generation marketing approach.

Email Trends for 2017: Interactivity, Animation, and Real-Time Communications

A particularly exciting breakout session, “Email Evolution: The Rise of Interactive and Real-Time Communications,” homed in on email trends for 2017. Presented by David Kepets, Creative Director, and Jim Kelley, Senior Art Director at Experian Marketing Services, the talk demonstrated tactics and approaches that exemplify the summit’s theme words: Revive, Reveal, and Revolutionize. Why the drama? Now that responsive design is commonplace, it’s going to take more than a clean, functional template to command attention. New, interactive features in email are making it possible to highlight contextual content and capture key behavioral points for a more data-driven experience. (Music to this panda’s ears.) And some of these interactive elements are super cool.

For example, it is now possible to infuse email templates with unique components, such as profile options, local store info and prioritized navigation. A library of options enable consumers to tap, expand, and reveal particular items—in other words, emails that function more like an interactive web page. The speakers gave the specific example of an email from Bass Pro Shops that asked consumers, “What would you like to do this weekend?” The audience could choose their preference, and the email content populated accordingly. Another example was Future Solution LX and their interactive email for night and day cleanser. They asked the consumer to “Tap Night or Day to explore”.  The audience could choose their product preference within the email itself and the email content populated accordingly. Their selection was then captured as useful consumer data for future segmentation and personalization.

These interactive features can also be a lot of fun for consumers, who can now use their cursor to “scratch” an image to reveal a discount or special offer beneath it. It’s your birthday? Pop the balloons to reveal your offer! These interactive elements are a clever way to keep consumers engaged.

And finally, brace yourself, because everything is going to start moving. Animation will be everywhere, but with the capacity for interaction. The New York Times recently included an interactive crossword search within the email creative itself. Users would find words through interactive play, triggering animated, on-screen offers

Times They Are a-Changin’

Change and growth in digital is constant, exciting and seemingly infinite. Personalized, interactive experiences are clearly the present and future of email marketing, and a brand’s hyper awareness of their audience is becoming essential. Consumers are now expecting customized, personalized messaging and experiences, and new technology is fueling and then meeting those demands. The amount and specificity of data we can now collect means endless possibilities for engagement—and ROI.

The conference hosts were acutely aware of the rapid pace at which digital has evolved, and they perfectly demonstrated that growth with an interactive element of their own. One on one side of the conference room sat two typists and their 1960’s typewriters, on which they typed out personalized haikus for participants. On the other side was a booth where you could instantly create your own animated gif, share it via social channels and even print it out. A clever illustration of how fast our communication channels have changed.

Back at Smart Panda Labs, we’re excited to see what the first year will look like in Cheetah Digital’s new history, as well as the exciting opportunities with this valued partner moving forward. For now though, here are two haiku’s about pandas!

Key Takeaways

  • Marketing teams are being asked to move beyond the single customer view and understand their customers at specific moments in their lives. This means meeting them at every touch point in their personal journey
  • A brand’s continuous engagement with their consumers boosts digital intelligence practices and enables continuous optimization. It’s also essential to keep pace with the shift in customers’ expectations of their digital experiences.
  • Critical to the success of a high-touch approach is data quality. Enrichment can provide real-time audience data to help marketers understand who the customer is and what they are currently experiencing in their life.
  • New, interactive features in email are making it possible to highlight contextual content and capture key behavioral points for a more data-driven experience.