Marketing technology is both a benefit and a burden. It’s full of promise, if you can get it right. But it can also keep you up at night, because you just can’t seem to get it all to hang together.
At n3 Hub, our life revolves around helping New Zealand and Australian businesses to master their MarTech stack. Based on our knowledge and experience, here’s an abridged guide to the most common MarTech challenges and how they can be fixed.
CHALLENGE #1: Web personalisation is tantalising, but beyond reach due to knowledge and time
Web personalisation describes the delivery of tailored content to targeted customer groups. It can allow marketers to display product-specific banners to visitors who have shown an interest in that product offline. It can change the content of a website to reflect the visitor’s country or time zone. It can also allow you to trial website changes on a sample audience, to see if the modifications are a good idea. These are just a few of the ways you can use website personalisation to improve the customer experience.
If you don’t do web personalisation right, you won’t know whether it’s working or not. One of the biggest problems is not being able to measure success. Another problem is figuring out how to segment the audience. What matters the most – buying behaviour, gender, location, time of day or age group?
To help our clients come out on the winning side of web personalisation, n3 Hub has developed a scientific approach that goes like this:
- Data analysis, usually using a web analytics tool. This can identify areas of a website that are not converting well or potential reasons for a drop-off in conversions (e.g. poor user experience)
- Developing a hypothesis based on this analysis that states that if X is changed then it is likely that positive outcome Y (e.g. an uplift in conversion) will result
- Testing the hypothesis using the web personalisation tool to make targeted changes to the website. The goal should be to achieve a statistically significant result based on a sample of the site’s visitors. A percentage of the audience should see the modified version of the website, while the rest should see the existing content. The usual rule of thumb is assigning 50% for the modified version and 50% for the control version
- Review of the results of the test, again usually using a web analytics tool or the web personalisation platform itself, to determine whether the test delivered a statistically significant result or not
- Drawing conclusions from the test results that point to whether the changes are made live or that the hypothesis is amended, and the test repeated
At n3 Hub, we’ve helped to create web personalisation programmes that deliver higher sales conversion rates, increased customer engagement with content and increased return visits. Lower bounce rates are another positive effect of web personalisation, when it’s done right.
CHALLENGE #2: Constantly chopping and changing your MarTech stack, in the hope of finding the holy grail.
There will never be a holy grail, because MarTech is ever-evolving. It’s frustratingly like living in your dream house and being forced to constantly search for a new one at the same time. Somehow you have to come to terms with using your stack, while keeping an eye on new developments. But there are some strategies that will make it easier to keep your stack current. For example:
Create personas for your key target audiences
One truth should guide everything you do with automated marketing and web personalisation: a deep understanding of your customers. And that means developing a persona for each customer group. You’ll find numerous templates for doing this online, however it’s important to build your personas on truth not guesses. You might need to do some research (either in person or using an online survey tool) to understand the emotional and rational motivations of each group.
Work with a purpose-built CDP
Effective marketing demands an up-to-date, versatile and dedicated customer database that can be used for every part of the digital marketing stack, as well as some elements of the traditional marketing mix. It overcomes the problems of disparate data and incomplete records that make it impossible to build meaningful customer segments for effective personalisation. Data is pulled from multiple sources, cleaned and combined to create a single customer profile
Combine customer data with market data
Market data includes organic search keywords and phrases that are relevant to your products or services, insights gained from surveys and research, industry sales data and trend forecasting. This type of data helps you to reach new segments of customers, as well as keep the customers you already have. It reveals both threats and opportunities.
Challenge #3: Your data is buried in legacy systems, so you really need a specialised CDP (customer data platform), however you don’t know whether to build it or buy it.
CDPs are very personal, which is why some businesses (particularly enterprise-size businesses) consider building their own rather than putting their data into a third-party system. But building a CDP is costly and time consuming, and when the people who developed the CDP leave, their detailed knowledge of the system often goes with them. What’s more, a bespoke CDP built in-house usually has no forward-looking plan, so improvements are generally reactive rather than proactive. All of this adds up to a CDP that’s expensive to maintain and always one step behind the parade.
The ‘buy it’ solution is the quickest route to a workable and future-proofed CDP, but red warning lights flash when valuable data needs to be hosted in another vendor’s environment.
At n3 Hub we’ve addressed this problem because our CDP can be installed within your infrastructure – either on-premise servers or a private cloud. This means your people can have full access to the underlying data model, allowing them to manage the platform themselves – a plan that is sure to address even the most stringent regulatory objections that might be blocking a SaaS CDP deployment.