Business drivers are the factors that support the fulfillment of a business objective. Some of the recent trends indicate that Revenue is the biggest driver. If we analyze what projects are to be funded and what projects are to be negated by the organizations, we will find revenue to be the deciding factor.
According to Bain & Company, Inc. “Executives overwhelmingly cite revenue growth, as their organization’s most important priority over the next three years – three times more often than any other priority, and six times more often than cost containment”
DemandGen, Marketing Analytics, and Revenue Management Survey Report indicate:
But “How do we generate business”? The answer is “Generate most positive business outcomes”.
The business outcome is a measurable activity that has a quantifiable impact on revenue. An increasing number of customers and conversions are some of the obvious business outcomes.
A new approach to generate positive business outcomes which would lead to revenue growth is to make a connection between content and revenue. Delivering more business outcomes enable you to further grow your organization’s revenue. This is accomplished with technology that is built upon four steps: content, context, experience, and optimization.
Content: A great piece of news, which lays the foundation to this approach, is that most organizations are already creating content. They are creating marketing collateral, thought leadership material, blogs, websites, landing pages, microsites, etc. These are already out there and organizations are investing their resources in it.
Context : Now if we can add context by knowing the website visitor, what is driving them, what’s going to entice them, their device, social graphs, environment, location, we would be able to create an experience which would help deliver the right information at the right point of time in their web journey.
Experience: The right experience is delivered through channels like a website, mobile devices, communities, and email.
Optimize: Once we generate these experiences, we can analyze them through the analytics tools and optimize to provide a highly personalized experience.
Business Outcome: And finally once we do this in the form of a virtual cycle, we can increase the business outcomes. The increase in the page views, brand awareness, lead acquisition are some of the positive business outcomes.
Engagement cannot be measured with analytics anymore; mere clicks cannot define the level of engagement. Engagement can be defined as turning on a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by a surrounding context.
Some of the other definitions of engagement are given below:
“Engagement is an estimate of the degree and depth of visitor interaction against a clearly defined set of goals” – Eric Peterson
“Engagement is defined as the strong connection a company, or brand creates with a customer that drives purchase decisions and satisfaction over time” – Adobe
Forrester has developed a model to redefine the engagement process. It’s a thought framework suggesting how an organization should think. It’s also about a visitor’s participation with a brand, where they call the shots.
The model is primarily broken down to four different areas namely, Involvement, Interaction, Intimacy, and Influence.
Involvement is about how people get involved with your site and interact with your brand, Interaction is about the various touch points where visitors take some action. For example, filling up a form or downloading a whitepaper. Once we get these interactions going, we need to look at Intimacy, which is about how close people feel to the brand. This essentially leads to Influence where people begin to recommend your brand to others.
Digital engagement drives customer acquisition and retention that translates into revenue generation for organizations.
Involvement can be measured through the number of click-throughs, time spent on the website and unique visits. By wrapping analytics around these, we can calculate the level of involvement a visitor has with the brand.
Interaction is where the customer takes a step further and interacts in a two-way dialogue. Examples include filling up a form, leaving a comment, requesting a sales call or a demo, etc. These activities can be measured and analyzed to provide valuable customer insight.
Intimacy shows the preference of your brand over another. Here the customer makes the choice and comes back to purchase your products or services.
Finally, Influence is where you convert the customer and persuade them to influence others as well. This involves activities like word of mouth promotion, forward to a friend, social network contribution, recommendations etc.
Capability models drive engagement and support the organization’s overall digital strategy. The six essential elements of such capability models are:
These six elements form the DNA of the digital ecosystem. Hence, delivering deep engagement requires a core set of capabilities that are supported by an ecosystem of technology platforms.
Integrated Channels: This involves the ability of people to engage with you across the web, email, mobile, communities and various other channels. Integrated channels ensure there is no disconnect and a unified message is delivered across all channels.
Demand Generation: There’s lot that fits into this bucket, including inbound marketing, outbound marketing and lead nurturing.
User Experience: It involves good design, great information architecture and it applies to all the steps, as it supports the brand and the way people engage with the brand.
Relevance: This means the delivering right message to the right person at the right time on the right device.
Analytics and Optimization: We are all aware of web analytic tools like Google analytics, Adobe Omniture and many more. Now we need to take these to another level where we would gage and measure things like intimacy and influence.
Customer View: It ties a variety of things together, like relevance, analytics, user experience and the integrated channels. This essentially means getting a single view of the customer and delivering a unified message across all channels for better engagement.
Organizations may start with stand alone platforms, disparate views of customer with singular experience for CMS and email automation. However, as they move on, they begin to bring all these together to create a personalized experience across all the channels and provide cross-channel integration with a single view of the customer.
The Digital marketing capabilities model shows how organizations start by incorporating basic user experience, basic demand generation programs, disparate platforms and no optimization and then move towards a more sophisticated user experience with information architecture targeted to specific segment of audience.
Thus, we need to figure out where our organization fits into this Digital Marketing Capabilities Model:
In the context of where organizations currently are and where they want to go, we need to take a closer look and map their present state, identify the gaps, find a reference point and keep improving as per the digital strategy.
In the Basic Digital Stage, they start by having a website and leveraging a content management solution. They focus on spray and pray emails which are typically not targeted or personalized. They focus on web design but not equipped with a fully solid information architecture based on the best practices. Then of course comes analytics, here organizations know how many people have visited their website and how many have opened their emails. However, they do not know about the level of engagement people have with their brand.
As organizations move further down the maturity curve, they invest more and start improvising quickly. They reach the stage of Advanced Experience. At this stage, they improve the user experience and become more sophisticated about analysis. They broaden their scope of analysis and focus on demand generation. They think about SEO and SEM, and how they can leverage the targeted keywords. Capabilities like marketing automation, channel specific analysis, and targeted user experience are initiated during this stage.
The next step in the maturity curve where organizations move to the next level of sophistication is Driving Relevance. Here organizations try and understand the relevance of content in context. Now they are not only thinking of improving the user experience but are also beginning to drive relevance through personalization. They do not have personalization across all the channels; some are still independent. But now they are reaching a point where they are segmenting at a much finer level. They are not only segmenting the content based on industries but also based on the role or function of the audience. They are beginning to create whitepapers, blogs, and images so that they are direct and personalized in their approach.
The final step is Continuous Optimization. It is more of the nirvana step, where organizations get to the point where they have expanded analytics across all the channels and have a broader view on how all of this will ultimately resolve into the maturity of the prospect into a lead. At this stage, the capabilities of the organization reach the epitome of sophistication and they position themselves as best in class with best practices like deep analytics and multivariate testing of the user experience, logical view of the ‘digital footprint’ of customer, lead nurturing & scoring and unified cross-channel engagement.
It is important to understand how to deliver these capabilities through technology and how to organize these technologies with strategy. Typically we need to consider technologies like:
Technology is only one part of the puzzle. It has to be aligned with strategy and context; else digital marketers will face challenges like:
Uncoordinated platforms deliver dissonant messaging to leads. Thus without strategy, even a complete digital ecosystem will not effectively drive the results.
To drive value for the organization, deliver capabilities through CMS, CRM and Marketing Automation technology platforms, integrate them with automated work flows, define matrices, create a closed loop engagement cycle and align engagement strategy to accelerate the buying cycle and increase conversion.