Subhendu Pattnaik, Director, Marketing - Gallop Solutions
I was attending a webinar by CMO Council this evening which was titled ‘Digital Transformation & Driving Business Impact’ and interesting perspectives were being discussed. I tune in to webinars every now and then when the topic entices me enough and this one was one of them. While I was listening to the webinar, I could not stop wondering about the vast amount of data we are creating from Omni-channel interactions with our customers, predominantly digital. And ironically not being able to utilize this data and treating it more as metrics for, largely, self-gratification. It is not the data which is important; it is the rich insights which can be generated from the data which is of paramount importance to marketers.
The shift to providing a pleasant digital experience to customers has changed the marketing landscape forever, increasing the need to build new expertise, new campaigns and creating rich and innovative data models to generate intelligence and insights, thereby attempting to personalize our response to every single customer at diverse stages of the decision making process. While a funnel based approach is easy to visualize and speak about for nurturing, it takes painstaking meticulous efforts to get it executed with perfection. Based on my interactions with CMOs and senior marketing leaders of mid and large sized organizations, two things are clear – one, a majority of marketing teams continue to complain about getting mixed results from their campaigns and find it challenging to break the siloes of channels, platforms, marketing tools and automation platforms and two, majority of them complain about lack of budget, lack of adequate team sizes and are overwhelmed by the enormity of changes affecting the field on one side and inability to get a leadership buy-in on the other.
Test Fast, Fail Fast & Succeed Faster
The Test Fast and Fail Fast quote by Tom Peters is a great rule to follow while dealing with multitude of unknowns – creating new things or experimenting with them. With digital becoming the new normal and hundreds of new tools and technologies entering the marketing ecosystem in the last couple of years, it becomes essential for marketers to try out new things fast and fail fast, learn from the failures and do it again. The speed of failure is what defines the speed at which you are progressing towards success. The organizational culture along with buy-in from the leadership at helm, need to be conducive of this. The core element of success in any marketing organization today is the ability to overcome fear of failure and experimentation. If your marketing teams are made responsible and allowed to fail, they will not be afraid at trying out and testing new things. Organizations which try to be taking the safe route and only do things which have been proven successful will achieve ‘safe’results for sure, but will most likely not get a high recall. To go viral, to be uniquely positioned, create greater recall and succeed with new age marketing, you need to do things differently and not be afraid.
Measure & Personalize
Not all leads are sales ready the moment they enter the funnel. 50 percent of the leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy (Gleanster Research). And the next eye opener fact - 79 percent of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance (Source: MarketingSherpa). While we are aware that lead nurturing is important, what we are unaware is the level of personalization we should aim for in our outreach and nurture campaigns. For example, you did a webinar on Performance Testing, marketed it to your in-house generated email list of decision makers from diverse industries and over a 100 folks attended the webinar. You took the first step and added them to your lead nurture funnel – they now are set to receive your next blog or whitepaper related to performance testing and you feel with your consistent efforts, they will get sales-ready one day, but sadly, they don’t. But it is natural because of many factors - the priorities of people change over time – sometimes, the problem which they confronted at time of registration is gone, they finalized a new vendor, the person changed his role, company or even the industry and your emails are not relevant to him anymore. They unsubscribe and mark you as spam and leave you puzzled.
The question is, what do we do then? How do we keep track of the changing priorities of the leads in the funnel and what level of personalization you should try to achieve. If the number of people who you add at the top of your funnel is huge, personalization at individual level would not be practical. The key would lie in the cost of segmentation and keeping the lists updated while continuously trying to measure and segment further by sending related information and repeating the cycle and at times, asking people to unsubscribe or alter their email/product preferences.
Collecting the data is easiest, measuring is tougher and personalization is a herculean task. Your bandwidth (effort), volume of business leads, ticket size per customer should give you an indication of what level of personalization you would want
Optimize Everything, Disrupt Everything
We marketers love data. However, data in itself is not enough. What we need are the insights which can be drawn from the data. Counting the number of Facebook ‘likes’ on a video you posted, for example, does not mean anything because only standalone ‘likes’ do not convey how many people actually watched the video for how much time. It does not tell how engaged the visitor was with the video and what are the other things he did on the internet after he left your website. It also does not tell you if these people would be interested to buy the product and moreover it won’t tell if these are intended target audience. While as a first step, the ‘likes’ do matter, the data needs to be looked at in entirety rather than piecemeal.
Marketers need to disrupt the entire thought process which breeds complacency and optimize everything. If a campaign is performing better, contrary to the thought that we should not touch the campaign since its working fine, marketers need to dissect the successful campaigns more aggressively and find out what worked better, than analysing the failed campaigns. Generating rich insights from the data is essential and this approach, together with the fail fast approach will help replicate success. Go Mobile. Go Social. Be Human. Fail Fast. Measure. Repeat. Succeed.