By Guy Marion, CMO, Autopilot
It’s a post-Trump world and we know that a few well-placed tweets can catalyze an entire online movement…or leave a permanent scar.
Of course, Trump’s secret isn’t that he is the world’s wittiest tweeter or most original thinker – it’s that he knows his audience cold and never misses a chance to needle their pains and stir them into a frenzy. He’s a master brand builder.
For marketers, the winds of opportunity are blowing. While the relationship between brand and customer experience has always been mutually reinforcing, never has the latter been so publicly visible and instantly impactful. Succeed in creating an authentic and memorable online customer experience and brands can reap the benefits of instant shares, shout outs, and no-cost growth.
Fail to do so and miss quick chances to Trump your competition. Or risk falling victim to the unrelenting millennial consumer: a thrifty, inquisitive, and self-service generation who Googles instantly and expects a 1 to 1 response 24 x 7 (bots can be ok).
It turns out that a lot of people (in fact, 71% of “high performers”) have mastered how to use the customer journey to acquire leads faster, earn repeat buyers, and create successful customers. This new report offers an aggregated view of their tricks of the trade, while summarizing their results and offering practical takeaways. So who are these high-performing marketers?
High performers are attaining 80% or more of their goals this year and grow revenue by 58% faster on average. This is consistent regardless of their company size or business focus, with high performers outperforming peers by as much as 122% in enterprise and by 74% amongst B2C marketers.
New Research: Customer journey marketers are winning
We recently released our latest research report, the “2016 State of Customer Journey Marketing,” with a foreword from Adrienne Weissman, CMO of G2 Crowd.
This 39-page report draws from 505 US-based marketing decision makers to discover where they are investing, the strategies they are adopting to achieve high growth, and which marketing tactics and channels get results in a post-Trump world.
As 2017 approaches, marketers are investing first in online ads (30%), and customer events (also 30%), followed by email marketing, social media ads, and content (download the report for the complete 2017 investment priorities list).
High performers are focusing more on the customer experience than ads, by investing in customer events and marketing (35%), and referral and loyalty programs (29%), to get ROI from creativity, proof points, and buyer incentives to drive referrals and repeat purchases.
High performers are also investing in analytics and attribution (19%), meaning that as budget allocation shifts from advertising to customer-focused marketing, marketing leaders need to hire math men over mad men to analyze behavioral and purchasing data to accurately attribute what content and campaigns generate ROI.
Marketing automation adoption has taken off
Until recently, many companies have yet to implement marketing automation software (MAS), with research completed as recently as mid-2014 suggesting that MAS adoption hovers around only 3% for non-technology companies. The complexity, high costs and arduous implementation of traditional MAS vendors have warded off most companies, particularly SMBs, from adopting the technology.
But in 2016 adoption of MAS has taken off. 53% of marketers surveyed here say they use marketing automation to nurture leads and personalize their customer’s experience. Cost, not lack of awareness, is now the main impediment of use.
Which automation journeys are working?
High performers say marketing automation’s biggest impact is on lead generation (32%). For example, the Corporate Mobility Solutions (B2B) unit of ride-sharing service Lyft reported a 600%+ increase in leads in 2016 by using Autopilot connected to Salesforce to automate the follow up, qualification, and routing of new web and content leads.
The second most valuable use of marketing automation is for enticing satisfied one-time buyers to purchase again (23%). For example, popular B2C services like the flower delivery service BloomThat tailors their new user experience based on the number of times their customers have purchased.
Other successful nurturing approaches to acquire and on-board new users include:
•Triggering helpful messages that help users reach “Aha!” moments in your app
•Personalizing content based on past behavior (in-app, web-based, or purchase)
•Crafting a compelling multi-channel experience (email, in-app, SMS, web) and focusing on vertical or functional use cases (industry, need, department)
Nearly everyone is personalizing
81% of marketers in this study are using data to personalize their marketing, and are 54% more likely to say it’s resulting in a better customer experience. Most are using basic contact details or firmographic data, like name, company, or industry, to segment and personalize their newsletters or promotions for better results
Rich personalization is still in its infancy, with only a third of marketers using online behavior, integrated CRM data like lead status’ or sales-entered data (19%, or in-app usage (13%), to deliver more granular, relevant experiences and content. So what are the benefits of this more personalized marketing?
Not surprisingly, the more personalized the marketing, the better the customer experience they deliver: 83% of those using in-app data and 79% of those using online behavior believe that personalization is improving the experience, compared to only 54 percent of those who do not use personalization.
Wrapping it all up
Top marketers’ focus on mapping the customer journey, investing in brand, and utilizing marketing automation to stay in touch more regularly and across multiple channels is paving the way to Trump-like results in 2017.