What to Expect in 2014 and How to Stay Ahead of the Curve

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Laurie Hood, Vice President for Product Marketing at Silverpop, hosted a marketing webinar, “What to Expect in 2014 and How to Stay Ahead of the Curve.” Hood provides insights on what marketers have learned in 2013 and gives advice on how to best approach marketing in 2014:

The Main Takeaways for 2013

  • “The customer is in control of the buying journey”-Because customers have more access to information, they have the freedom to choose what products or services they want based on their own research. According to one survey Hood shared, “one out of five people would pay 50% more if they felt the company put the customer first.”
  • “Marketers can no longer market to audiences, but instead need to market to customers at an individual, personalized level”- Mass marketing does not make the cut anymore: the same survey Hood had shared claims “83% of customers are willing to spend more on a product or service if they feel a personal connection to the company.” The customer is looking for an interactive, personable experience, so organizations must find ways to establish a high-level of customer service and build strong relationships with customers.

Looking Ahead to Marketing Goals for 2014

“Actionable vs. Big Data”

Bigger doesn’t always mean better—sometimes it’s easy to get lost while navigating through large amounts of data. Hood explains that actionable data answers questions such as “How should I treat this customer?” or “What’s the next product the customer would purchase?” Although keep track of Big Data is still important, identifying information to answer day-to-day issues and applying the information leads to more immediate, active results in shaping customer interactions.

  • Tip #1: To start working with actionable data, consider 5-10 data elements in your organization that have the potential to become more personalized for your customer, then incorporate those ideas in your marketing strategy.
  • Tip #2: Get to know your customers by gathering “explicit data,” conducting surveys, progressive forms, or modal windows. While conducting surveys, give customers an incentive by offering a prize, such as a gift certificate or a free service from your organization.

“Move Re-Marketing Up the Funnel”(Browse Abandonment/Cart Abandonment)

How do you convert online browsers to online buyers? Hood notes that cart abandonment marketing became a mainstream tactic in 2013, but in 2014, the best marketers will get ahead by launching browse abandonment campaigns to encourage online browsers towards making a purchase. In comparison to cart abandonment, browse abandonment occurs more often and there are more browse abandoners to reach out to than cart abandoners.

  • Tip #1: While developing your browse abandonment campaign, identify which pages are visited most frequently or which categories are most important to your business goals. Also be sure to choose pages that are most suggestive of an engaged prospect looking to move to the next level.
  • Tip #2: Deliver educational content to your browse abandoners. Because browse abandoners are most likely in the research phase of the buying process, send them helpful information that is relevant to their website activity—sometimes this can be more effective than simply sending a discount or other buying incentive.

“Responsive Design Becomes Mainstream”

“Multi-screen” will replace “mobile” as a marketing buzz word for 2014. Not only is there is no single device that captures “mobile”—operations that work for Apple devices may not necessarily work for Android devices and vice versa—but there is a need for easy-to-use interfaces that are compatible different Smartphones and tablets for both email and Web browsing. Responsive design, according to Hood, “uses tags in your emails to present different versions based on device screen size and other variables.”

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  • Tip #1: For mobile email, your company has a limited number of characters to convey your message to your customers. Think about what your email hopes to accomplish in terms of what your organization wants and how you want your customers to respond to your message. Make sure that the “From Name” is clear, the “Subject Line” contains a call to action for the reader, and the “Pre-header” works with the “Subject Line” by providing supplementary information.
  • Tip #2: Think simplicity and clarity—remove unnecessary elements and provide mobile-appropriate length. Every organization will use responsive design differently based on the organization’s marketing goals, but the goal of responsive design is to efficiently and effectively deliver a strong marketing message.

“Delivering a Consistent Customer Experience Across Channels”

In 2014 and beyond, Hood states successful businesses will be prepared to engage with customers based on the customers’ terms. Businesses will offer opportunities when and where the customer wants to engage and will offer individualized content the customer wants to use. Even though technology has enabled companies to capture consumer behavior, it is the marketer’s job to use the information to better connect the brand and the customers.

  • Tip #1: Pick a channel your company has not yet individualized and add a personal touch—personalizations in emails are also available for websites. Alternatively, add more customized content to an existing channel to make it more helpful and engaging.
  • Tip #2: Post content on one company channel that leads to another company channel to best optimize content. For example, on a Facebook post, include a link your company’s website or another one of your company’s social networking sites.

To watch the webinar and listen to Hood’s full commentary, visit the Silverpop website.

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