As content marketing has been practiced today, it resembles custom publishing. Companies tell stories that romanticize their brand, distributing those stories through various channels and amplifying them through social media. Content marketing has come to be more akin to advertising.
If you are like most marketers, you’ve probably been salivating over personalizing your website for years. It has always seemed like a good idea, but it’s never seemed possible.
At first, you thought, “If Amazon can do it, we can do it!” But then your IT folks told you the way Amazon does it. Amazon has so many products and so many purchases in its history–and so many repeat visitors–that it is relatively simple to guess what people want. But your site isn’t like Amazon.
Then you thought, “Well, if we know something about our visitors, we can use that to personalize.” But no one wanted to register on your site, so you didn’t know who they were. And privacy regulations came along, and you weren’t sure you wanted to know anything.
Does that mean that you have to give up the dream? No!
You actually can personalize using your visitors’ behavior. With the right technology, you can watch what visitors do on your site. With a bit more technology, you can find the patterns that lead them to success. And with one last dollop of tech, you can use that data to suggest successful paths to others on that same journey.
That’s the beauty of behavior-based personalization. It doesn’t require registrations. It’s GDPR-compliant, because it doesn’t require any personally-identifiable information. It doesn’t require a a slew of products or return visitors. Or heavy traffic.
If you’ve been waiting for the easy way to add personalization to your site, it’s time to check out behavior-based personalization.
Originally posted on Biznology
With less than thirty days to go in the quarter, my mind returns to the business goals we set a few months ago. Some of those OKRs were related to organizational capabilities but the ones that are top of mind relate to pipeline progression and sales. This quarter. Next quarter. You probably have your own metrics that you’re tracking. So what do you do if things aren’t going right?
As a relatively new company we’re still gathering enough data to reliably predict the trends in some places. We’ve made significant investments in getting the right data — we’re disciplined CRM users, we track our marketing activities, and we instrument our platform so we get feedback on utilization. The key is not the data itself but how you put it to work running the business.
I was speaking to a digital marketing leader at a publishing company last week. He was talking about how they’re applying advanced text analytics (embeddings for you geeks out there) to help them with content findability. With tens of millions of documents, they’ve got a fairly unique challenge that is defying traditional search techniques.
One of his challengers is that they don’t have a reliable measure of success for his area. We’re going to talk more about that and see if we can help to set them up for success in the future.
Chicken meet egg
With performance being top of mind I wondered to myself about his ability to demonstrate achievements in this quarter and beyond. I also wondered what I’d do in his place if I were looking forward and trying to build a performance management system that makes sense. That will move the ball downfield. It’s easy to succumb to the desire to work on this next quarter. That’s the wrong instinct. Now is the time. Next quarter will be over before you know it.
There are four things I’d do.
1. In-quarter demonstration of
No matter how rudimentary your measurement portfolio, you probably have a sense of what success looks like and where your most obvious problems lay. Find your highest-odds areas of success and go look at that, now. Is there something you can do this week that will change things next week?
The experiment can be modest and half-baked. But it will allow you to demonstrate that you’re taking the issue seriously, and have a bias for action. It may also slightly improve things.
I often recommend people start where they have friends. You know these people. Sometimes they are actually friends, but more often than not they’re the ones who simply nodded in agreement while others were shaking their heads. These are your lab partners.
2. Convene the experts
Whether it’s people within your department, elsewhere in the org or a vendor, you need to demonstrate that you’re able to track progress. This means metrics.
This work will arc into next quarter but by taking the reins this quarter you demonstrate that the measurement gap has both importance and urgency.
Resist the entreaties of some experts that the measurements already exist in some analytics system. That’s Holy Grail talk. If it were there you’d have found it. Someone else would already be using it.
The one thing you might have is data that could be constructed into metrics. Be open to that serendipity but don’t bet on it.
3. Establish a replicable management system
Demonstrating that you’ve got things under control usually requires not only measurements but a feedback and correction mechanism.
This is team sport. Who are the people who are going to enable your success? What organizations are going to be blockers? Who is the person who has the skills to run this thing?
This is another area where your friends can help. Make sure you have allies with you at the table. It’s hard to do this alone.
Talk to your boss, your peers and those outside you team about what you’re trying to achieve. Create a framework that is clear and concise. Can you fit it on one chart?
Also, don’t forget to listen aggressively while you’re communicating. Part of team sport is knowing the other players well and being able to respond to their ideas. The sum is greater than the parts.
Today is when this starts. Clear your calendar. Get moving. Knowing that a deadline looming sharpens the m
Post originally published on Biznology
Analytics matter: this is the unavoidable fact of digital marketing, even for those digital marketers that fear it. But are you even measuring the right things? Do you know how to make meaningful improvements?
In this episode of our SearchChat podcast, Steve and I talk about site search, personalization, and big data. In our work in website search, we’ve seen that clicks are a measure of activity, but not necessarily an indicator that something good happened. Did the click lead to a purchase? Did the click answer to a visitor’s question?
First, a brag: Marketing Tech Outlook named SoloSegment to its top 10 marketing analytics solutions. We talk about what we’ve learned and what we now offer our customers. When I first heard about receiving the award, SoloSegment was mostly collecting data. Now, we realized what sets us apart is automating changes using that data.
Our focus for 2019 is on putting data to work. It’s not an easy task — it means determining if your data is accurate, as well as usable to measure success.
We discuss personalization, which every marketer wants to jump into. Not everyone is ready. Do you have the data to identify your audience, what the right content is, and identifying whether it’s working or not? If you want to put your data to work, feel free to check out our technology solutions.
Tune in and discover more!
00m 00s — Intro and overview
02m 00s — SoloSegment named in top 10 marketing analytics solutions
5m 20s — Why measurements like clicks fail
9m 25s — Can you use your data to power success?
15m 15s — Why your B2B content marketing isn’t ready for personalization
20m 45s — How to think about Google Discover
28m 02s — Subscription links and outro
SearchChat is available on
Search Chat is SoloSegment’s podcast dedicated to all things search AI and content marketing related. Who is SoloSegment? We’re a technology company focused on site search analytics and AI driven content discovery to improve search results, increase customer satisfaction and unlock revenue for your company.
Originally posted on Biznology
Here’s a scenario for you: imagine you have an amazing salesperson who develops a deep connection with customers, beginning with their very first interaction. Even better, these prospects share their deepest concerns, telling your salesperson everything you’d want to know about how to help them — and how you can sell them what they need.
But you ignore everything this salesperson wants to share with you about what they’ve learned. You simply say, “Nah, I’m not interested in providing a better experience for these prospects. I’m not curious about their needs. I don’t care what they’ve told you.” That would be ridiculous, right? And yet, if you’re like most companies, you’re probably doing this every single day.
You may have guessed that your company’s best salesperson is, of course, your website. This brilliant salesperson who knows what matters most to your prospects and leads might still surprise you: website search. That is, the searches customers conduct directly on your site. What customers tell you in those searches will make the difference between successful enterprises and the also-rans.
Old Time Search
Just past Fish Creek Campground, a gravel, two-track wanders off into the wilderness of Glacier National Park. At the head of the road there are several warning signs about the perils of backcountry travel. Bears. Mountain Lions. Falling trees. There are also unlisted perils — flat tires, dehydration, fire, and the various demons that live in our imagination when we venture into wild places. There’s a lot of unknown down that track but that’s where we’re going, so we drove on.
The age of digital marketing is defined by data. Data has quickly become one of the most valuable assets a business can have, and businesses are willing to invest a ton of resources into market research and collecting data about target demographics. Yet far too often businesses fail to collect the data that customers willingly give them.
Site search is the most underrated and underfunded part of the sales process. Up to 50 percent of customers use site search–but most companies don’t have resources dedicated to improving their search. A significant part of the problem is that many decision makers are confused by site search and don’t know where to start.
In this free 60 minute webinar, four site search experts discuss:
- The importance and value of site search
- Ways to assess your company’s site search
- Approaches to improve your company’s site search
SoloSegment CEO Steve Zakur and Chief Strategist Mike Moran have worked in search for decades and join this webinar to share crucial insights on measuring and improving your site search. SoloSegment specializes in measuring site search analytics to help clients measure their site search and use those measurements to significantly improve their conversions and sales.
If you only have 5 minutes to spare, skip ahead to 26:10 where Mike provides two compelling answers about site search value.
Special offer for SEMPO viewers: Try SoloSegment’s Site Search Inspector free, and get 10 percent off if you decide to purchase!
The ROI of Site Search
The calculation of ROI (Return on Investment) is a critical step of the business decision making process. It can also be the most intimidating step. Even those who sat through Finance 101 and understand the concepts of ROI calculation may not fully understand how to do it in practice. Fortunately, we’ve had a lot of experience in using this tool, especially in calculating the ROI of site search improvements.
Determining what to do and how to make the most money doing it would seem to be reason enough for calculating ROI. But there’s another, almost equally important reason. Communicating the returns on business decisions is the language of business. You’ll need this information to convince the IT and Finance guys to make the investment. But (ironically) many businesses fail to put the proper time, resources, and methodology to determining ROI, and end up allocating their resources poorly. Site search is a great example of this problem.
Even though up to 50 percent of your customers use your site search, I bet you don’t have technical and human resources dedicated to it. That’s something that needs to be remedied. You’re leaving money on the table. You need to build great partnerships with stakeholders from across business functions to change the status quo and you need to be able to express the need for change in terms of value. Fortunately, you don’t have to have an MBA to figure out the value. Here’s the steps you need to be taking in your ROI process.
B2B Sales is changing
According to Forrester, the percentage of B2B buyers who prefer to do research online increased from 53% in 2015 to 68% in 2017. But it’s not just pre-sales research. Accenture’s research indicates that when you look at the end-to-end buying process, 94% of buyers do online research. The digital shift has completely transformed B2C buying behaviors, and while B2B has been more resistant to the shift, those changes are coming.
To take advantage of this trend, successful digital sales leaders will recalibrate where resources and management attention is focused. Sales Reps will continue to be a key part of the B2B sales process, especially during the final phases of high consideration purchases. But online capabilities, especially during the research phase, needs a better seat at your sales table.