1keyIn the following we‘d like to provide our readers with a summary of the key insights of Silverpop‘s 25 page eBook.

The start of each year typically sees marketers ticking off a long list of resolutions for the 365 days to come: Pitch this product more effectively, optimize that email campaign, drive leads faster, get more social, lower costs, become more efficient and dozens of others. All noble goals, but in the year ahead, savvy businesses will shift their emphasis off of themselves and onto their customers and prospects, acknowledging a trend that’s cresting right now: customers, empowered by Web and social tools, have more control over the brand than ever.

1. Big data moves from the aggregate to the individual and starts to become actionable for smaller companies.

What if you could take traditional notions of “big data,” break down the silos, tie data to individuals, and connect it to a digital marketing automation platform that enabled you to act on this data? And then, conversely, use this individual data to flavor the way you look at aggregate data questions and predictive analytics? That’s the new vision of “big data,” which doesn’t always involve a scientific analysis team but can still drive massive increases in engagement, conversions and revenue. The good news is that in 2013 big data storage costs will decrease, as will the time to process and analyze this data.

Can you use the data you’re amassing to be relevant on your website, in real time, when the visitor shows up and is ready to make a buying decision? This is a key question marketers must ask and act on in 2013. With the recent advancements in marketing automation platforms, the time is now to link up your data between Web, CRM, relational tables, email, and beyond.

For many, the “big data” holy grail is to capture social interactions and take automated actions based on these social behaviors, and in 2013 we’ll start to see companies marrying social data with core marketing solutions. But even while the technology is catching up to the social explosion, there’s still plenty you can do with “big data.” Think about the different ways you could take all the information you have about your customers at the individual level, boil it up in a semi-unstructured ways, and begin to use it to either prove or disprove different hypotheses that you might make about your customers, when they buy and why they react in the ways they do.

The possibilities are endless, so get started today with the data you’re currently collecting, taking it one bite at a time and integrating and appending other relational data sources, capturing more and more behaviors. By doing so, you’ll be building a strong foundation for using the “new” big data to the fullest.


2. Unified marketing platforms centered on customer behaviors and automation.

Just imagine you could capture each of your customers’ unique interests and speak to them as individuals instead of shouting the same message to everyone - then communication channels should actually get quieter and means less email, less ads, less junk. What’s left are just highly relevant, hotly anticipated content that people welcome.

The problem for most marketers is that they can’t deliver individualized content to segments of one unless all customer touch points are shared in a centralized database that’s tied to a robust marketing automation platform.

In 2013, leading companies will move away from a list- based marketing approach to a constantly evolving “persistent database” married to behaviors across multiple channels, providing an all-encompassing view of customers and prospects.

For marketers, the benefits of investing in a unified marketing platform centered on customer behaviors and automation are profound. To name just a few, this approach enables you to:

  • Use programs to deliver automated lifecycle campaigns;
  • Utilize scoring to assess individual behaviors to see where each prospect or customer is in the buying process/journey;
  • Employ score-based triggers to deliver incredibly relevant content;
  • Build campaigns that reach across channels.


3. Content marketing becomes even more critical as buyers demand more personalized, uniquely relevant content.

Between search engines, social networks and peer reviews, there’s a wealth of content available to customers and prospects who are trying to make buying decisions. The result is that in both the B2B and B2C worlds, buyers are about halfway down the buyer cycle by the time they begin interacting with businesses directly. You have to find ways to provide educational content during these earlier stages, so when buyers are ready to make a purchase you’ve been guiding them all along. This means paying more attention to creating content across the entire buying (life)cycle, providing a seamless dialogue from first touch to initial sale to loyal advocate.

To drive conversions, encourage social sharing and foster a community of brand advocates, your content needs to be more educational and engaging. The key is to be personally relevant, using dynamic content or behavior- driven programs to deliver content that aligns with the recipient’s preferences, industry or buying cycle stage, whether they’re “interested,” “engaged,” “inactive” or “post-purchase.”

In many cases, you can increase engagement even more by combining behavioral data with scoring systems to help determine which content to deliver – in real time. By building rule sets that trigger message delivery when someone takes an action that pushes him or her past a certain score threshold, you’ll boost relevancy by serving up content on the recipient’s timetable rather than the company’s.

If you want to meet customer and prospect needs by providing a better balance of promotional email and behavior-driven messages, make it a New Year’s resolution to take a careful look at what content you can offer across channels and stages in the buying cycle.


4. Customers expect a mobile-friendly experience.

Email is the top activity on both smartphones and tablets – with shopping close behind, so place your focus on a great mobile experience! If you’ve been slow to adjust to the mobile customer, you’re running a real risk in 2013 of providing an experience that’s so poor that the customer goes somewhere else – perhaps never to return again. Today, people are reading your content while waiting at stoplights in their cars, as they’re watching sports on TV and while they’re walking from the parking lot to the office building. As a result, your content may need to be bigger, shorter and simpler, and pop more.

If you’re not already, in 2013 you should be:

  • Making your emails and website scan able: You want the reader to get the gist at first glance.
  • Designing for the tap instead of the click: The fingertip is the new mouse — more portable but less accurate. So, you have to give it more room.
  • Making call-to-action buttons more prominent: Along with larger type, this makes your CTA stand out and also increases tapping accuracy. Using a “bulletproof” button that renders even if images don’t will increase your tap potential.
  • Streamlining your conversion activity: Has your previous strategy involved packing as many conversion opportunities as possible into an email or Web page? If so, consider focusing on a single conversion where applicable – this may drive better results for mobile viewers with limited time to sort through your options.

Of course, at many companies these different channels are created by different departments, presenting challenges for businesses looking to build a positive mobile experience cross-channel.

5. The social conversation impacts every channel, from search to web to email and beyond.

Social media has been building in impact, with the “big 3” of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn topping 1 billion, 500 million and 175 million users, respectively. Toss in emerging players such as Google+, Pinterest, Foursquare and others, and it’s easy to see why marketers will be paying more attention to social than ever in 2013. So it’s not so much about a specific social network as about connecting conversations, people and important ideas across all your digital assets to create momentum. Think of social in 2013 as not just an extra channel, but as a medium that’s woven into every channel.

As for social itself, it too will be evolving, becoming more personal than ever. New Facebook ads are enabling smart marketers to achieve hyper-relevant, uber-targeted delivery based on buyer behaviors. Furthermore, companies can take advantage of behavioral marketing automation to serve up individualized content on Facebook. Given buyers’ propensity to interact and engage when they trust the brand, it will behoove companies to create a marketing experience that focuses on building relationships. If you want to take your marketing to new heights in 2013, make sure you’re taking advantage of the unique opportunities social provides to treat people as individuals.

6. Delivering individualized conversations with buyers.

The democratization of one-to-one behavioral marketing will arrive as we hit the inflection point of technology and data becoming increasingly affordable and available. As a result, many businesses will be shifting budget allocations to marketing to the individual. As budgets shift to account for more behavioral marketing automation, they’ll also be more ROI-driven than ever, tapping into automation’s rich capabilities of providing reporting and analytics that enable to you to track revenue sources in increasingly granular ways. At the same time, savvy companies will also be building in budget for experimentation, giving the CMO room to operate as a “venture capitalist” who invests in new channels to ensure the company stays on the leading edge of these emerging mediums.

With serious risers in the behavioral marketing space adding more technical resources to traditional email marketing, marketers will proportionally be tasked with managing more technical systems (relational tables, analytics, etc.) that help power triggered messages. Forward-thinking businesses will thus look toward hiring and training systems-thinking marketers who are both creative and adept at rules-based logic.

In addition, a lot of companies are starting to create new upper-level positions (director, VP or C-suite) within marketing to fill these new needs. Yet Sirius reports that 81 percent of organizations spend less than $1,000 per year on marketing training — and 36 percent spend nothing at all.

In 2013 focusing on the customer experience will be crucial. Is your marketing team equipped and ready to pay attention to customer and prospect actions and let buyers be their own personal marketing guides, choosing their own brand adventures that lead them down the path to increased engagement, satisfaction and loyalty? If so, 2013 just might be the year you write the most exciting marketing chapter in your company’s history. (Source: www.silverpop.com)

By MediaBUZZ