Busting the digital marketing misconceptions

By Malcolm Duckett

There has been an explosion in new solutions to help marketers develop slick, effective campaigns that engage new customers, while at the same time, help continue to build loyalty with existing customers. But how do they decide the most important aspect of digital marketing to focus on: Real-time personalisation to engage new visitors? Targeted campaigns to turn loyal visitors into purchasers? Implementing efficient email campaigns that give greater returns than the last?

Marketing departments are under more pressure than ever before to exploit these new digital tools and services and it can be a struggle to develop a strategic marketing approach that can reach new and existing customers through all channels.

In this article, I help marketers discover what really needs to be done.

Marketer: Browsers aren’t worth spending as much time on as customers that have already made purchases

It is true that a visitor that has previously made a purchase is the most likely person to buy again. However, focusing on attracting new customers is what will really grow and strengthen brands. Although persuading browsers to become purchasers is the biggest challenge, building a visitor profile of these potential customers is key. But how can this be done when they haven’t yet entered any details? Remembering site visitors’ movements across the site can give invaluable insight into what those customers want and need. Understanding which campaign has driven them to the site will help you to more efficiently target them in the future. What’s more, having visibility of what customers are searching for means you can push personalised content that will give the visitor a positive, hassle-free experience, enticing them to return and place an order.

Marketer: Every site visitor has the same value to the business

Each visitor has a value and every customer deserves an appropriate level of service, but businesses can benefit from having visibility of the different values of each customer. Individual visitor profiling means collecting key data from visitors in order to put together a picture of who they are. Is he or she a single customer looking for a one off product, or buying on behalf of a business with the possibility of making large repeat orders? Having an understanding of this value will enable you to predict future visitor behaviour and therefore target each person with offers and content based on their individual requirements and that value to the business.

Marketer: An AB testing tool is the best way to understand the effectiveness of an advertisement

AB testing is the best way to understand the effectiveness of an advertisement. However, for it to be accurate, it needs to be tested on the right people. For example, when testing the effect of one advert for women’s shoes (A) over another (B), it’s important to exclude men from the sample, as the data collected from these visitors will be irrelevant. The trick is to isolate the relevant segments of visitors based on the data held on them. This ensures the adverts are being tested on the appropriate audience and will give you a far more reliable view of their effectiveness. There’s also value in conducting multivariate testing if you have more than two options.

Marketer: My customers are bombarded by emails from so many sources they surely don’t bother reading any of them

Spamming customers or potential customers is the number one way to annoy them and ensure they don’t open marketing emails. It’s a well-established practice that targeted emails with offers and content directed to the individual are key to running a successful email marketing campaign, but many marketers continue to push out additional generalised emails at the same time, undoing the good work laid down by the initial targeted email.

Having built up a thorough understanding of your visitors, you should be looking to tailor every email campaign you issue. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean manually creating and sending each email. Real time triggers can make things much easier. These monitor a customer’s actions in real time and trigger an email based on their behaviour. For example, if a customer abandons a basket, a trigger can be set which means an email is sent to them to encourage them to continue with the purchase. This communication can be sent immediately to minimise the chance of the customer going elsewhere.

Marketer: Pushing personalised content requires greater technical skill than my department has the budget for

Although marketers want to utilise real-time personalisation, many won’t have the technical skills to change the website or the CMS to push personalised content, and to outsource this to a development agency is expensive. However, simple tools can be utilised to ensure that the pages customers land on have the right content. For example, a ready-made tool that works to ensure that when a search for ‘kids’ shoes’ in the search engine results in a visitor landing on the home page, that home page has content about ‘kids’ shoes’ on it, without the hassle of redesigning the website’s source code.

Marketer: There’s little point in investigating these tools when there’s no money to waste on unproved ideas

Marketing campaigns can be expensive to create and as a result marketers are far more likely to spend their money on tried and tested campaigns rather than express their creativeness and trial a new idea that they believe will require the assistance of an external expert. As a result, plenty of potentially great ideas never become reality. The truth is that an external expert isn’t always required as the latest tools and services let you experiment with new ideas and measure their success in real time. If the campaign is a success, there is more money to continue to experiment in the future.

Marketer: I need to decide what the most effective method of digital marketing is and focus resources on experimenting with that

Real time reporting, multivariate testing, effective email campaigns, building customer profiles and tracking their movements, and all at a low cost – no wonder marketing teams feel under pressure when it comes to implementing a digital strategy. You might think that you need to decide what the most effective method of marketing to digital customers is and make sure it’s flawless but it’s actually much easier than that.

Depending on the skills and requirements of your marketing department, you can either invest in simple tools that you can use yourself, or outsource the digital strategy to a partner that understands how to get the best value out of those tools with a managed service, ensuring that all of the above steps work together.

By engaging the visitor at every stage, you can ensure that customers are not let down at any point of their journey through the site, either by confusing content or unnecessary adverts. Not only will you have regained control of your digital marketing strategy, but also the visitor’s experience of the site will be easy, engaging and ultimately provide the visitor and the brand with exactly what they want.

About the author

Malcolm is one of the founders of Magiq and has spent the last 10 years specialising in developing technologies to better measure and understand users interactions with online applications.

After spending the early part of his working life in Research and IT functions with Shell, Malcolm moved from "User" to "Vendor", working in Computer Graphics and Telecommunications companies in the roles of Product Manager and Marketing Director.

Following a spell as an "Industrial Storyteller" founding and running a high-tech PR company, he be
came VP Operations and Marketing at Speed-Trap, the online customer insight provider, from where his interest and expertise in online marketing and the utility of customer data has grown. Malcolm has spoken around the world on the application of technology to business applications, and has focused on helping marketing functions within e-businesses understand just what can be achieved by close analysis of the way their customers interact with their web sites and applications.

About the company

MAGIQ is the real-time lifecycle marketing company dedicated to helping businesses compete like the megabrands, by making it easy and affordable to increase website conversion, sales and cross-channel campaign profitability through web personalisation and lifecycle marketing.


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