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Transforming The Digital Journey

Creating Intelligent Content.

Companies continue to expand their thinking towards ways that will increase the perceived value of their brand, promote lead generation and customer acquisition opportunities and decrease support needs – across all digital channels.

Source: Evergage, Inc.

However, a majority of companies continue to struggle to implement personalization strategies and tactics in a way that delivers a cohesive and integrated experience across the entire ecosystem – the digital journey. Today, a web-only experience will bring limited success. The more savvy brands (category 3’s) are competing in all aspects of the journey and contextually sharing their messages to engage users.

Let’s face it, today’s corporate leaders care less and less about the latest technology platforms – they want outcomes. At Consensus, our goal is to transform the user’s digital journey, fundamentally creating personalized customer experiences based on different buying personas. However, we are finding that many of our clients and prospects lack one or more of the following areas of expertise to execute successfully:

Journey Mapping. A comprehensive journey mapping strategy linking user behavior data across social, site and landing page properties.

Data + Analytics. An in-depth understanding of their customer’s data beyond user behavior signals. A comprehensive, single dashboard/view of their customer’s browsing and purchase habits.

Content Intelligence. The ability to create content that can be mapped and targeted across the ecosystem. Key elements include dialog for authenticity, portability for content socialization, relevance for connection to user goals and consistency for delivering the brand’s positioning and messaging throughout the ecosystem.

Personnel. The right personnel to take an organization to the next level. This includes content scientists or marketing technologists to model and create intelligent content.

At Consensus, we assess our clients (and prospects) digital journey effectiveness and classify them into one of three different categories (1, 2 or 3). By identifying an organization’s capabilities and content intelligence levels (dialog, portability, relevance, and consistency), we can assist in implementing more advanced strategies and increasing their likelihood of success.

Let’s take a closer look at the strategies and tactics within each category and how we work to help our clients become more successful:

Category 1 – Infrastructure (Acquia defines this audience as “Crawlers”)

It’s okay to say it out loud – “crawler”. Your organization has many digital initiatives taking place, a backlog of ideas and not enough in-house expertise to get it all done. Your website experience is vastly improved and your social properties are providing engagements (and some conversions). But wait, you are a crawler?

Let’s face it, there are plenty of opportunities to know more about your user’s browsing and buying habits. Maximizing satisfaction with customer journeys can increase customer satisfaction by 20% and lift revenue by 15% (source McKinsey & Company). If you walked into the office of your chief-revenue-officer and shared those numbers, there is no doubt you would immediately get funding for more digital ideas.

Category 1’s have a foundational understanding of their audience and use data to influence decision making as it applies to their website, campaign or social experience. This decision making comes in the form of a revised navigation scheme, improved landing page design or more targeted content. However, this is a great opportunity to compete in more aspects of the digital journey and share a contextual brand story to engage buyers includes:

Journey Mapping. Your marketing campaigns should support smart site *and* landing page experiences. It is important to take advantage of your campaign technology and ensure there is consistency between your campaign’s messaging platform and your site’s pages.

Data + Analytics. Your experience should know the user’s device and be able to “goal target” based on the user’s need for that micro-moment.

Content Intelligence. Your content should know the location of its audience and/or pay close attention to all user behavior signals (e.g., are your users habituals? repeaters? flybys?). True localized content can support event registration, sponsorships or beacon-based merchandising.

Personnel. Do you have someone on the team who is a “journey mapper”? This would include a strategist or content scientist to include the time-of-day, emotional state, and motivators for your audience’s experience.

Category 2 – Personalization

The promise beyond a great browsing experience is real for these organizations. Not only does their thinking include almost all of the Category 1 tactics, but they are also starting to know a fair amount about their audience through greater data collection with the start of a personalization engine and/or customer data platform (Acquia Lift + Journey, Lytics, Evergage, Adobe, etc.).

While there are many descriptions of “personalization” one of my favorites is by Dr. Dave Chaffey and the team at Smart Insights:

“Digital experience personalisation is the dynamic serving of customised content, product or promotional offer recommendations to website visitors or app users based on their characteristics and intent behaviour to support conversion and long-term engagement goals”

This is a great opportunity to create market differentiation, prepare for the digital journey and share contextual content to engage buyers. Characteristics of this category include:

Journey Mapping. Your organization should be able to create digital maps in a way that can be shared across the organization and connected to actual customer roles. The journey and its content should be portable across the ecosystem.

Source: Evergage, Inc.

Data + Analytics. It is time to turn on your personalization listener(s) and crank up the data collection. As your personalization needs become more sophisticated, so will the needs for deeper audience insights. This may include the collection of cross-channel data and integration with CRM systems. Does your team have the tools in place to support such an initiative?

Content Intelligence. Your content should be much smarter than Category 1. Certain content types or sections of your experience should be tagged to match the persona or role of the user based on browsing behavior, pages viewed or an implicit rule set defined by your content scientist.

Personnel. Many times at Consensus, we run 1-3 day Content Targeting workshops with our clients to assist in completing our audience matrix (a comparative persona deliverable), targeted content definitions and content sections. If the client does not have the personnel on staff, we are happy to engage in a short retainer to manage the personalization or content targeting.

Category 3 – Digital Journey

Many of our clients have a difficult time attaining Category 3 status because it takes a perfect combination of strategy, insights, technology, and personnel. As the Aberdeen Group writes:

“Companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies. “

Source: Evergage, Inc.

Why is the delivery of the Digital Journey such an important part of a brand’s success? Simply put…content intelligence. As Scott Brinker points out in his excellent post, “Agencies and the Marketing Technologist Revolution”, digital is winning. Category 3 companies are turning their strategic thinking towards ways that increase the perceived value of their brand, increase lead gen and customer acquisition and decrease support needs – all through increased digital means. Category 3 companies (both outward and inward facing) have more touch points that are relationship driven and ultimately define the brand.

Let’s take a look at what many of our Category 3 companies are doing as they execute on their Digital Journeys:

Journey Mapping. These companies are no longer siloed because of inadequacies in technology. Journey Mappers are creating unified customer profiles and executing across the digital ecosystem based on a user’s behaviors in emails, social properties, websites, landing pages, and apps.

Data + Analytics. It is almost impossible to be successful in an omnichannel world without a real-time dashboard comprised of your most important KPIs reporting across all of your digital touch points. The days of tiny spreadsheets presented every 30 days lacks evolution.

Content Intelligence. Your content adheres to our content intelligence keys (dialog for authenticity, portability for content socialization, relevance for connection to user goals and consistency for delivering the brand’s positioning and messaging throughout the ecosystem and it is dynamically tied to a customer journey engine (like Acquia’s Journey platform). It is contextually smart, takes advantage of micro-moments and is delivered across all platforms.

Personnel. These clients have assembled a team capable of creating and supporting the digital journey. This includes digital strategists, content scientists, and marketing technologists.

If there is one important discussion we continue to have with our prospects and clients, it’s that delivering amazing cross-channel customer experiences takes new capabilities. Contact us today.

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