Fresh insights from #DMEXCO 2016

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Today was opening day for the DMEXCO 2016 Europes biggest conference and trade fair for anything related to digital marketing. My key takeaways:

  1. Sooo many people. Its crazy how many people crowed the hallways. A few years ago it was a small conference today it is huge. Digital is drawing people from all over the world. Trying to talk to Google – maybe next year. And their booth is huge…
  2. Agency where are you? There is the agency lounge where you can find one or two but nowhere else. Looking at the conference shedule there are no agency representatives whatsoever.
  3. Tech tech tech. It looks like the CeBIT. Screens with interfaces everywhere. It doesn’t look like Marketing – it looks like a Software Convention.
  4. Virtual Reality! it is so easy to create and implement. It will be everywhere soon.

The rise of Marketing Automation and Software Supported Marketing is crazy. And it is getting more and more specialized. Demand Side  Plattforms next to Social Media Insight Analysis. It is crazy, scary, fascinating and demanding at the same time.

Looking forward to tomorrow – day 2 of DMEXCO2016

With this framework you will create impactful B2B marketing strategies to increase your sales.

 

How the B2B Customer Decision Journey helps you to drive your prospective customers towards a purchase.

This is quite a long post with a lot of information. So if you are familiar with the Customer Decision Journey Framework by Mc Kinsney you might want to skip Part 1.

Part 1: The Customer Decision Journey Framework and how it helps you to support sales

Part 2: The real Marketing Juice: Customer Experience – mobile, data and Micro Journeys

Part 3: Alternatives and a final Summary

 

Part 1:

The Customer Decision Journey Framework and how it helps you to support sales

What are we talking about? Customer Decision Journey, Customer Journey or Customer Experience? A lot of buzzwords right?

All of the above explain the same thing just with a different emphasis: The steps a customer has to make until actually purchasing a product or a service. These steps can be described as

  • Phases of the purchasing process: Customer Decision Journey
  • Touchpoints with the brand before making a Purchase: Customer Journey
  • Customer Experience: Touchpoints on different Devices and at the POS and how they interfere with each other

And of course in this “content sharing” world we live in today you will find every possible mixture of those three concepts.

The Customer Decision Journey: A mighty tool for marketers

To understand the B2B Customer Decision Journey (B2B CDJ) you need to look at McKinsey Strategy Consulting. It was them who introduced this framework and made it famous among marketers. Still to this day most people don’t really understand what it is about, though. Maybe because it seems so simple and straightforward. Let’s have a look:

McKinsey states that everybody goes through the following phases when purchasing a good or a service:

  1. Identify
  2. Research
  3. Consider and Evaluate
  4. Formal RFP
  5. Buy
  6. Use & Service

Added to this phase is the so called loyality loop. It basically means that happy customers will directly come back to you and purchase without any Research and Evaluation. They simply just trust in your brand.

 

McKinsey Customer Decision Journey
McKinsey Customer Decision Journey(Source: https://www.mckinseyonmarketingandsales.com/sites/default/files/pdf/The-B2B-customer-decision-journey_0.pdf)

 

If you start to use this framework you can really create a more impactful marketing:

In numbers that means:

  • 5-10 % increase in sales (McKinsey)
  • 8-10 % more revenue per bid (McKinsey)
  • 20% increase number of leads (demand Gen study)
  • 30 % increase in retention (Association of National Advertisers)

But first a critical view on the Customer Decision Journey and it’s role in Marketing

There are a lot of experts out there that are not entirely happy with the CDJ. For once it is a very one dimensional fast track towards purchase and repurchase. That means for instance it presupposes a purchase intent at every stage. But do you buy everything you buy with a predetermined purchase intent? Definitely not.

Just look at my wife. She went shopping for a shirt and came back with shoes. Ok a certain deep-rootet purchase intent for shoes might be existing in almost every female on this planet. But you get what I try to tell you. Impulse buys, Inspiration, Discovering, falling in love with a design etc. is not part of the framework. At least it seems like it is all rational whereas we know most purchases are made mostly emotional.

 

But how rational are B2B purchase decisions?

Smile by David Mello (Creatice Commons) https://www.flickr.com/photos/mellodave/

 

B2B purchase decisions are maybe the most rational ones we have in the business world. For once they require a formal written proposal, often even extensive legal agreements. Also they are usually made by a committee rather than one single person. This does only impact some phases of the CDJ, though. And that’s why we have a Sales Representative. That’s why we have strong brands. Because at the end of they day it isn’t a rational decision at all. It might be a post-rationalization using a detailed contract, but until you get there you deal with people.

To back this up once again with data:

Groups tend to favor information that backs up their predetermined views (Study on group decision making)

Connections to B2B brands even more emotional than B2C brands (Study on emotion towards B2B brands by google)

 

Back to business:

How can I use the customer Decision Journey to help my Marketing

Start out like this:

#1: Write down your customer’s journey

First of all, you will have to have a look at your target groups and start to write down their journeys along those phases.

What is the very first interaction your customers have with the brand? Do they see an advertisement? Do they call their sales rep? Do they visit your website?

Here you might find out that you actually have two journeys. One for all new customers and another one for existing customers. It helps very much to do this as a team or together with an experienced consultant. That way you will not fall into the usual traps like “The sales rep needs to be in every phase of the customer journey!”).

#2: Assign the target group’s situation and motivation to the phases

What is the target groups Motivation in each stage? What are the target group’s needs (e.g Detailed Information vs. Overview etc.) in this particular phase of the customer journey?

What is their situation? (Maybe they are under pressure by their boss, or they are motivated to do something, they feel inspired by something….). What situation are they in while interacting with your brand? (Office, Subway, Home…)

#3: Assign the possible Touchpoints for every journey and target group

Where do you think can you bring the message across? Feel free to add all Touchpoints you can imagine. Think also in devices. A lot of interactions in the first phases are mobile today.

#4: Step back and admire the view. You’ve accomplished quite a lot. You now can make deductions:

  • How do I structure Information the best way? How detailed does it have to be?
  • Where can Marketing support this journey best? (We come back to this later in part 2)
  • How does my existing Marketing material fit here? Usually companies tend to overwhelm customers with information early in the journey, where most of the information can’t be comprehended or is even annoying or distracting.

 

How will Marketing  boost sales by using this method?

By using the target groups informational needs as a basis you can support you customers better in their decision making. Focussing on what the customer really needs will lead to a better general Customer Experience. This is a major sales factor.

(Check out my infographic with numbers How Digital Marketing influences Sales)

71 % of buyers would switch the supplier if the overall digital experience is better with another company, given the price is comparable

Now continue to part 2: The real Marketing Juice: Customer Experience – mobile, data and Micro Journeys

The real Marketing Juice: Customer Experience – mobile, data and Micro Journeys

If you’ve managed to make your marketing more impactful by using the Customer Journey Framework to make your Marketing more impactful in Part 1 of this series, you can now dig deep into what I call the real juice:

Customer Experience Strategy.

If you look back at the customer journey we did look at the different phases like Identify and Research and how optimizing you communication for each phase makes you more customer centric. Because you are focusing your Marketing based on your customer’s situation within the Customer journey.

But the real interesting part isn’t to only look at each phase, but rather at the gaps inbetween:

  • What does drive a customer into the next phase?
  • What little thing is it, that leads from “knowing to doing”?
  • What is it, that triggers the purchase?

The underlining question is:

How do we drive people through the journey instead of just smoothing the path as best as possible?

Mobile, Desktop, App, 3rd party, Social Media: Omni Channel Journeys are tough to handle

Most marketers start sweating now. With all those channels and devices it seems an impossible task to drive people through the journey. It even seems impossible to actually know the journey they take? We call that the Omni Channel Journey. It presents us quite a lot of challenges on the operative site:

  1. Who are the participants? With social media there are new players on the field. Think of colleagues or friends that feel the need to comment on things they wouldn’t know about before Social Media. Think of all the possibilities to look for information, last but not least all those Influencers out there.
  2. In what phase of the journey is our prospective customer now? We can’t just do this by placing a cookie every time he visits our site? He might be using a different device

 

If we create a digital marketing strategy, we can’t ignore those operative challenges. Actually they present us a first idea how to solve this.

crossed wires by Howard Lake (Creative Commons license) https://www.flickr.com/photos/howardlake/

The Customer Experience Strategy.
Each Touch point a customer is having with a brand is an own Customer Experience.

A customer experience should always be designed the same way.

  1. It should be deducted from the brand strategy. (progressive or reliable? Motivating or Humble…)
  2. It should have a goal. (What is the next step, how does this experience fit within the greater context of the Customer Decision journey)
  3. It should be designed by Marketing together with those people responsible for the Experience. Please don’t let IT design your Customer Experiences.

Customer Experience: Micro Journeys

Each Experience can be looked at like a micro journey. Just think of “Ordering a product in the webshop”. The Customer experience consists of more than one step that leads from “Knowing to doing”.

Here you can do the same exercise you did with the customer journey to operationalize those micro journeys. What does the customer need in each step? What is his motivation, what are possible fears?

Back to the juicy stuff: How to drive people towards sales

Now think back to the “gaps” between the phases. Those factors that make the difference between leaving a website or continue to the shopping cart. Looking at your completed customer Journeys you can now identify those Touchpoints (or how we learnt Customer Experiences) that make the difference. Those are also called the “Moments of truth”.

Identify. Design. Optimize

those “Moments of truth”-customer experiences. You will see how much impact this will have on your sales numbers. This framework will help you to allocate your budget the right way. Focusing on the MOTs will be a smart route to take.

Check out the final part 3 of this framework: “Alternative Marketing Strategy Frameworks and Summary”

Alternative Marketing Strategy frameworks to the Customer Decision Journey by Mc Kinsey

After you’ve mastert Part 1: The Customer Decision Journey Framework and how it helps you to support sales and Part 2: The real Marketing Juice: Customer Experience – mobile, data and Micro Journeys of this series, you are hopefully hooked on how to work with this kind of frameworks but not entirely confident that The Customer Decision journey is the right one.

In this third part I’d like to introduce two alternatives to check out.

When the new Customer Decision Journey was presented by McKinsey in 2009 it took the marketing strategy world by storm. Such a simple and straightforward tool with that much impact. Great!

But just like I’ve written in Part 1 of this series “The Customer Decision Journey Framework and how it helps you to support sales” there exists also a critical view on the CDJ. And with good reason.

The Customer Decision Journey Framework is focusing very much on a purchase decision. It does require a purchase intent. But impulse buys for instance are not really part of the framework, Its very rational. Or do you research every pair of sneakers you buy? You just see them, try them and buy them. Sure you can say that these three steps can be found in the customer journey model as well, but that is really just semantics.

See-Think-Do-Care

Avinash Kaushik Digital Marketing Strategy Developer

This framework doesn’t start with a purchase intent. It does incorporate any intent that can be deducted from your product or business. I personally think it to be very interesting and I work with it quite a lot. Even in Brand strategy development.

I’ve posted a couple of posts about See-think-do-care by Avinash Kauschik here already.

See my interview with Avinash: Interview with Google-Evangelist Avinash Kaushik

and 5 steps how to develop a winning social selling strategy

And most and foremost his own take on it:  http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/see-think-do-care-win-content-marketing-measurement

 

Micro Moments by Google

Micro Moments by Google for Digital Marketing Strategy

Very similar to SDTC there are the Google Micro Moments. That base on the customer’s intent rather than a predefined journey.

  1. I want to know moments
  2. I want to go moments
  3. I want to do moments
  4. I want to buy moments

You can order your Touchpoints by using those “slogans” and build scenarios.

  • What does the customer want to know?
  • Where does he want to go and how should it look there?
  • What is the customer expecting to see?
  • What does the customer want to do? How does the customer want’s to do it?

Google is of course focusing on operational digital marketing mostly but the framework does work for strategy development as well, because you can get the same results like with STDC or CDJ.

And that’s what strategy is about.

It tells you what to focus on and what not to. It gives you the orientation where your day to day business should lead to.

Hopefully you have enjoyed my little strategy series. I’d love to get some comments on how you work with these kinds of frameworks or what you prefere.

The tough task of getting traffic for a new blog – Let’s start the experiment

I do write this little Digital Marketing Strategy Blog. If you decide to write a blog that’s probably the worst topic you might choose. It is a corner of the internet where millions are trying to compete around the same audience. Also I write in English mostly. The reason is that most up-to-date hot content is in English and I’d love to connect with the people behind it to learn from the best in the world.

Ladigit Marketing Strategy Blog: Lost in the google abyss

So there is this blog and I would love it to be a little more prominent – a little better ranked. As a digital marketer myself I know that this means I have to spread content that is interesting and people like to share. Easy to say if nobody will ever discover the content hidden on page 1.2344 of the google search results.

Ok, not that bad. Currently, I am pretty much stuck at an average position 32 which is page 4 of the google search results.

but…

Everything beyond page 2 I personally call “the abyss” because nobody ever goes there even though beautiful things might be hidden there somewhere.

Like on page 9 there I am with this beauty:

Ladigit Digital Marketing is still hidden on page 9 of the google results

 

This is pathetic isn’t it? For a Digital Marketing Expert that’s actually really sad to look at.

Ok I didn’t really invest in this blog. All I did was publish my own thoughts mostly to create my own documentation of interesting topics. It is a lot easier to remember something you wrote about, compared to something you only read about.

My business is Marketing Strategy Consulting and it is an important part of my job to stay up-to-date and it is my personal desire to learn as much as possible from the best marketers all around the world. (And sadly I have to dig through the amazing pile of mediocre posts about Digital Marketing that you’ll find everywhere o the net.)

But my blog was never meant to be read.

Now I’d like to change that. I will try to push this blog a little up the google results. And I will document everything I do here. To learn, to understand, to test out, to ask you guys out there what your recipe for success is.

The Ladigit Content Marketing Strategy: Essentials

#1 Step: Quick win backlinks

I use the SEOPROFILER tool  (for free at the moment) and there is a “Quick-win” tab where you can find all kinds of websites to build your first couple of backlinks. All those sites have a rather good link-influencer score. I will sbmit my page to the ones that seem fitting for Ladigit. I won’t submit it to any questionable sites or anything.  With that I start building a little more impact on the link side before hopefully the organic links start to come.

Today I have 1065 backlinks. 99.9% of thoese are nofollow and mostly from Blogs or communities I engage with and where my link is in my Bio. So my anchor text are basically 99% “Ladigit.com”. With other words: Yes I am indexed but I start practically from scratch.

#2 Content for “B2B Customer Decision Journey”

I will write a dedicated piece of content for B2B Customer Decision Journey and how it interconnects with what people call the customer experience. This is of interest for all digital strategists or marketing strategists out there. I will put a lot of effort in this one and back it up with numbers etc. Let’s see where this will get me. The post you see above about the Customer Decision Journey by McKinsey  in the image is not my best piece.. just something I written on the cellphone to sort my thoughts and pretty old. So it will be alot better🙂 I promise.

#3 I will engage with experts on inbound.org to learn more about how to spread this content and how it can contribute.

#4 I will create the content in a way that easily can be distributed all over the web.

So infographic elements, visual elements, quotes, numbers etc. will be part of it.

#5 I will promote it on the Ladigit Twitter account.

It has about 6k followers and I get quite a lot of impressions with my post and sometimes even some engagement. Lets monitor the traffic coming in from Twitter

And then I will report back with the results. Let’s see where it will take me and stay tuned for the results.

Cheers,
Pascal

The scary rise of technology in marketing communication

I’m a tech-savvy guy. I am all over data, analytics, tools and everything connected to this crazy dynamic world of digital marketing. Still I think we are on the wrong track. We are running into a brick wall – with open eyes.

The multitude of channels we serve – or believe we have to serve – leads to a dangerous development: We actually believe that we have to do that. We need to be on Snapchat and we need to do something on Facebook live. We start to believe in Digital Marketing Advisors telling us that we are “behind”, scaring us that we are missing the “next big thing”.

“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit.” Harry Frankfurt

Like this guy I heard speaking yesterday. Telling us that Macy’s is selling underwear somewhere using an app rather than hanging all the stock into the store. People just choose their size on their smartphone and it will appear in the changing room automatically behind some hatch. He actually said “you have to think about mobile customer experiences to stay relevant”. Seriously?

1320

There is a bunch of middle aged men I know running around chasing Pokémon just to “not loose contact to today’s world”. Pathetic isn’t it?

Related: http://www.amsterdamadblog.com/columns/im-getting-too-old-for-this-shit/

To master this rising complexity (out of fear of missing the next big thing) we start seeking for tools. Marketing automation. Data analyzing tools and CRM Suites so powerful they promise to streamline your whole marketing. We just tend to forget the most basic rule of technology:

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” Bill Gates

Also and most and foremost we tend to forget the most basic rule of advertising:

„What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.“ David Ogilvy

So don’t forget those rules. And you’ll be fine.

How to use a canvas to set up your Digital Marketing strategy

This post has been published by me before, but recently I worked quite a bit with tools like this one and I’d like to add more aspects. So even if you’ve seen it before – there are a couple of new things to discover.

Every time I have the task to develop a digital strategy I go to my drawing board and work with a canvas. It is a great tool to structure everything you’ll have to do in the next couple of days. A while ago I stumbled upon happy canvas for start-ups that uses a great canvas called the Lean canvas for start-ups.

Lean Canvas for start-ups

It was developed in 2010 and looks very similar like the one I use to work with. That’s why I decided to make a post about it.

How do I work with a Strategy Canvas.

Basically the canvas is like a form to fill out at the DMV. You need to fill out everything to move ahead. I like to fill a big Whiteboard with these segments and start filling it out by hand, attaching Post-its and so on, until it looks like a mess. But a well-structured mess that you can then bring into another form

Why do I need it? I could do this in PowerPoint!

Do you know these scenes in crime movies where the police is pinning everything on a huge wall and starts drawing lines and making connections? That’s how a canvas works. And you can’t do that in PowerPoint. At least I can’t.

What your canvas should contain.

The must haves for communicational strategies are:

  • Value proposition: The ONE SENTENCE that describes why your product is awesome and what the competitors can’t deliver
  • Competition: Who are the competitors and what’s their value proposition
  • Customer Segments: who are the customers, how to segment them, Maybe Personas
  • Channels: Where to reach the customer segments/Personas
  • Challenges: What are the challenges to overcome / per Segment
  • Solutions: Write those next to the challenges and number them.
  • Customer Journey: Structure your solutions above, using the customer journey model.

A couple of interesting canvases I found and used to build my own set of tools that I like to share with you:

Buyer Persona Canvas:

buyer-persona-canvas

Buyer-Persona-Canvas.jpg

The digital Marketing Canvas:

Customer Experience Strategy Canvas

aaeaaqaaaaaaaauvaaaajgnhnji2zdaxltdiodutndq3ns1iyzg5lwrlzje5nzazzjjiyq

Also here filled so you can get an idea how this works:

aaeaaqaaaaaaaaouaaaajdcwytbmzmrhltq4mwmtndflnc1hyjvmlthkogyxzmy3ndjmma

And a little different kind: Later in the strategy development you can still use a canvas to really pinpoint your communication in terms of what media, channel, message to use when if you combine Persona and customer journey e.g.

The Customer Journey Canvas

customer-journey

And last but not leas something I always do even if I call it Hurdles instead of anchors (sound better in German) its this one:

Anchors and engines Business Strategy Canvas

anchors-and-engines

 

Once you have your personal canvas (or more than one) in place it is a great tool to work with. So give it a try. Love to hear your experiences.

 

 

 

The „Hub“ and „Spokes“ content strategy.

A very common strategy to use if you are developing content that is promising to drive people to your homepage is the skyscraper strategy.

I personally really don’t like it as it produces mostly mediocre generic content that you’ll repeatedly find all over the web and only Search engines might find a difference in these posts. That might sound cynical but sadly it is very often true. Although of course some people out there make very good use of this technique and actually do add value to the original thoughts.

Anyway if you are interested in Skyscraper check out this site.

The alternative Content-Strategy

But I found an interesting discussion on inbound.org that lead me to an alternative that I really like. I deals with creating more in-depth content that is linked together strategically.

There is a short article at jimmydaly.com outlining this better than I could. So check it out:

http://www.jimmydaly.com/hub-and-spoke/

Definitely worth the one minute read.