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4 tips to maximize your ad spend and protect the customer experience

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When an economic downturn strikes, what’s the first thing you do? 

Eliminate wasteful spending. 

As marketers, we know well that our budgets are the first to get cut. Marketing is notoriously undervalued, even though research shows that companies who didn’t cut their marketing spend during a recession actually bounced back more strongly than those who did.  

However, this doesn’t change the fact that we all have a target on our backs, no matter our talent or seniority. And now that we’ve officially entered a bear market, uncertainties will only continue to grow. Regardless of your budget or headcount, it’s essential now more than ever to ensure no ad dollar is wasted by optimizing the ad-to-website experience.

Here are four ways you can make the most of your marketing budget while driving meaningful results for your business.

1. Audit your ads

No matter how hard you work to maximize your marketing spend, there will always be at least one campaign or channel that just isn’t giving you the most bang for your buck. In fact, studies show that 26% of marketing budgets are wasted on ineffective channels and strategies. 

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While this is a common problem among marketers, you need to be particularly aggressive about maximizing ad spend in a period of economic uncertainty. Ensuring you’re not wasting a single ad dollar, impression or website visit should be your north star right now. In order to do this, you need to review your current advertising efforts to understand what’s working and what’s not.

As you review your ads, ask yourself these questions:

  • Targeting: Is everyone on your list the best fit for your brand or product, or can you narrow down your targeting further? It may cost more, but they’ll be higher quality and more likely to convert.
  • Engagement: What is your cost per click and cost per conversion? Which ads are driving the most engagement and which are driving the least? Are the most engaging ads also your biggest revenue generators? If not, go back and revisit your targeting.
  • Landing pages: Is there continuity from your ad to your landing page? Is the landing page static, or does it dynamically adjust based on the visitor or buyer segment? Beyond brand continuity, you’re also looking to deliver a seamless buyer experience.
  • Channels: What is your spend and ROI for each channel? Which channels are driving the most conversions and which are driving the least? Are you hitting the benchmarks for those channels for your industry? If you don’t know what the benchmark is, ask your rep—they all have baseline benchmarks per industry.
  • Bidding: Are your bids manual or automated? How can you optimize them for maximum reach and budget efficiency?

2. Test, test, test

Being agile is one of the best qualities you can have as a marketer in an economic downturn, so use this as an opportunity to prove your value. If you’re going to make every ad dollar count, you need to test your messaging before launch, optimize your creative throughout and constantly optimize your website and landing pages toward conversions throughout the entire lifecycle of each campaign.

Whether you choose to A/B test, use rules, or choose Continuous Conversion to “always be testing” it can take a lot of time and resources you might not have. Consider how AI and machine learning can help you optimize your ads and landing pages to increase lift all while delivering a seamless ad-to-website brand experience to your customer. 

3. Protect the customer experience

All too often we spend so much time perfecting our ad copy or visuals that we forget about the post-click portion of the customer journey. But when we take the time to optimize the entire customer experience from the first touch to last, that’s when we see big results.

It’s no secret that customer experience has become one of the most important components of a purchase decision for B2B and e-commerce customers alike. Eighty percent of customers say they are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers a personalized experience. And while personalizing your ads is important (and is appealing to 90% of customers), it is just as essential to optimize and personalize all of the touch points that come after.

Here are a couple of ways you can create a seamless customer experience to boost campaign conversions and customer loyalty:

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  • Take the time to truly understand your audience. Thoughtful research will not only help you target the right segments but will help you craft messages that resonate with them once you understand their hearts and minds. This is why it is paramount to look at both quantitative (e.g. analytics) and qualitative (e.g. heatmaps, surveys, chatbot logs) data to get a full picture of your customer behavior and motivations. Once you flesh this out you can then serve up dynamic content specific to the ad they clicked on, whether they’re a new or repeat visitor, which products or pages they have visited previously, and other contextual and firmographic attributes so you can deliver the right experience at every touchpoint.
  • Test everything. When you test, you cannot fail. Even when you carefully research your audience, you still need to remove assumptions from your marketing and test everything in the field. Our world is always changing, and so are your customer’s needs and context. When you approach every single step of your customer journey with a testing mindset, you’ll generate continuous learnings about your audience and better predict how they will behave. With these learnings, you can optimize your entire customer experience so that it resonates with your customers at any given time and compels them to convert. 

4. Lean on automation

We know these first three tasks are no small feat, which is why it’s essential to lean on automation to continuously optimize your ad spend, landing pages and customer experience.

Automation is key to doing more with less and driving greater efficiencies at scale. When set up properly, your good ideas combined with automation are like a superpower. It saves you valuable time on tedious or complex tasks so you can put more effort into what you do best: coming up with great ideas to connect with your audience and deliver them the best experience.

While automation can’t do everything for you, here are a few things it can help you with:

  • Programmatic advertising: This marketing strategy automates the purchasing of your ads through a real-time bidding process so you can deliver hyper-targeted ads to the right audience (and without all the work!). Plus, you only pay for relevant impressions and have control over the price, frequency, goals and targeting.
  • Segmentation: Automated segmentation allows you to take people who have seen your ads and automatically group them together based on their shared characteristics. Using these segments, you can create hyper-personalized experiences based on those attributes and save a lot of time, money and resources.
  • Website personalization: Your end goal is to drive people to your website and get them to take action, and automated website personalization goes a long way toward that conversion. Using an AI-powered personalization solution, you can dynamically deliver a hyper-personalized website experience that matches each unique visitor’s needs. A great machine learning solution will be continuously learning and improving to adjust the experience in real-time to audience and market behaviors without the need for constant babysitting.

Final thoughts

Remember, when you test you cannot fail, machine learning is your friend, and nothing is set on rinse and repeat. When you take an iterative approach to your digital advertising, you’ll look like a marketing hero. 

For even more tips to optimize your ads and landing pages, read this blog.


About The Author

4 tips to maximize your ad spend and protect the

The largest squandered opportunity in marketing today is low conversion websites. Intellimize solves that problem. Our Continuous Conversion™ platform powers high conversion by using machine learning and marketers’ creative ideas to optimize website experiences for each unique visitor every time. Conversion-obsessed marketers at Snowflake, Sumo Logic, Gong, ServiceTitan, Tableau, Dermalogica, Sunbasket, Drift, and more use Intellimize to deliver more revenue, more customers, and more leads to sales. We’re headquartered in San Mateo, CA and are backed by leading investors including Cobalt Capital, Addition, Amplify Partners, Homebrew, and Precursor Ventures.

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The Role of Enterprise Mobility Management in Modern Businesses

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The Role of Enterprise Mobility Management in Modern Businesses

In today’s fast-paced business environment, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) has emerged as a critical facilitator for enhancing operational efficiency and competitiveness. EMM solutions streamline workflows, ensuring that enterprises can adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape. This blog discusses the indispensable role of EMM in modern businesses, focusing on how it revolutionizes workflows and positions businesses for success.

EMM solutions act as the backbone for securely managing mobile devices, applications, and content that facilitate remote work and on-the-go access to company resources. With a robust EMM platform, businesses can ensure data protection and compliance with regulatory requirements, even in highly dynamic environments. This not only minimizes the risk of data breaches but also reinforces the company’s reputation for reliability and security.

Seamless Integration Across Devices

In today’s digital era, seamless integration across devices is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for maintaining operational fluency within any organization. Our EMM solutions are designed to ensure that employees have secure and efficient access to the necessary resources, irrespective of the device being used. This cross-platform compatibility significantly enhances productivity by allowing for a unified user experience that supports both the agility and dynamism required in modern business operations. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, our solutions provide a cohesive ecosystem where data flows securely and effortlessly across mobile phones, tablets, and laptops, ensuring that your workforce remains connected and productive, regardless of their physical location. The adoption of our EMM solutions speaks volumes about an organization’s commitment to fostering a technologically forward and secure working environment, echoing its dedication to innovation and excellence.

Enhanced Productivity

EMM facilitates the seamless integration of mobile devices into the corporate environment, enabling employees to access corporate resources from anywhere. This flexibility significantly enhances productivity by allowing tasks to be completed outside of traditional office settings.

Unified Endpoint Management

The incorporation of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) within EMM solutions ensures that both mobile and fixed devices can be managed from a single console, simplifying IT operations and enhancing security.

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Advanced Security Protocols

Where cyber threats loom larger than ever, our EMM solutions incorporate cutting-edge security protocols designed to shield your organization’s data from unauthorized access and breaches. By consistently updating and refining our security measures, we ensure your assets are protected by the most advanced defenses available. This commitment to security not only safeguards your information but also reinforces your company’s reputation as a secure and trustworthy enterprise.

Data Protection

EMM solutions implement robust security measures to protect sensitive corporate data across all mobile devices. This includes encryption, secure VPN connections, and the ability to remotely wipe data from lost or stolen devices, thereby mitigating potential data breaches.

Compliance Management

By enforcing security policies and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, EMM helps businesses avoid costly fines and reputational damage associated with data breaches.

Driving Operational Efficiency

In the quest to drive operational efficiency, our solutions streamline processes, reduce redundancies, and automate routine tasks. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, we empower businesses to optimize their workflows, resulting in significant time and cost savings. Our approach not only enhances operational agility but also positions your organization at the forefront of innovation, setting a new standard in your industry.

Automated Workflows

By automating repetitive tasks, EMM reduces manual efforts, increases accuracy, and speeds up business processes. This automation supports operational efficiency and allows employees to focus on more strategic tasks.

Real-time Communication and Collaboration

EMM enhances communication and collaboration among team members by providing tools that facilitate real-time interactions. This immediate exchange of information accelerates decision-making processes and improves project outcomes.

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Testimonials from Industry Leaders

Leaders in various industries have witnessed tangible benefits from implementing EMM solutions, including increased productivity, improved security, and enhanced operational efficiency. Testimonials from these leaders underscore the transformative impact of EMM on their businesses, solidifying its vital role in modern operational strategies.

Our commitment to innovation and excellence propels us to continually refine our EMM solutions, ensuring they remain at the cutting edge of technology. This dedication not only solidifies our standing as industry leaders but also guarantees that our clients receive the most advanced and effective operational tools available, tailored specifically to meet their unique business challenges.

Looking Ahead

The evolution of EMM solutions continues at a rapid pace, with advancements in technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) further enhancing their capabilities. These developments promise even greater efficiencies, security measures, and competitive advantages for businesses willing to invest in the future of mobility management.

Our proactive approach to integrating emerging technologies with EMM solutions positions our clients at the forefront of their industries. By leveraging our deep technical expertise and industry insights, we empower businesses to not only adapt to but also lead in an increasingly digital world, ensuring they remain competitive and resilient amidst rapid technological shifts.

In conclusion, the role of Enterprise Mobility Management in modern businesses cannot be overstated. Its ability to revolutionize workflows, enhance security, and drive operational efficiency positions it as a foundational element of digital transformation strategies. We invite businesses to explore the potential of EMM solutions and partner with us to achieve unprecedented levels of success and innovation in the digital era. Together, we can redefine the boundaries of what is possible in business operations and set new benchmarks for excellence in the industry.

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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

Air Canada tried to throw its chatbot under the AI bus.

It didn’t work.

A Canadian court recently ruled Air Canada must compensate a customer who bought a full-price ticket after receiving inaccurate information from the airline’s chatbot.

Air Canada had argued its chatbot made up the answer, so it shouldn’t be liable. As Pepper Brooks from the movie Dodgeball might say, “That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.” 

But what does that chatbot mistake mean for you as your brands add these conversational tools to their websites? What does it mean for the future of search and the impact on you when consumers use tools like Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s ChatGPT to research your brand?

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AI disrupts Air Canada

AI seems like the only topic of conversation these days. Clients expect their agencies to use it as long as they accompany that use with a big discount on their services. “It’s so easy,” they say. “You must be so happy.”

Boards at startup companies pressure their management teams about it. “Where are we on an AI strategy,” they ask. “It’s so easy. Everybody is doing it.” Even Hollywood artists are hedging their bets by looking at the newest generative AI developments and saying, “Hmmm … Do we really want to invest more in humans?  

Let’s all take a breath. Humans are not going anywhere. Let me be super clear, “AI is NOT a strategy. It’s an innovation looking for a strategy.” Last week’s Air Canada decision may be the first real-world distinction of that.

The story starts with a man asking Air Canada’s chatbot if he could get a retroactive refund for a bereavement fare as long as he provided the proper paperwork. The chatbot encouraged him to book his flight to his grandmother’s funeral and then request a refund for the difference between the full-price and bereavement fair within 90 days. The passenger did what the chatbot suggested.

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Air Canada refused to give a refund, citing its policy that explicitly states it will not provide refunds for travel after the flight is booked.

When the passenger sued, Air Canada’s refusal to pay got more interesting. It argued it should not be responsible because the chatbot was a “separate legal entity” and, therefore, Air Canada shouldn’t be responsible for its actions.

I remember a similar defense in childhood: “I’m not responsible. My friends made me do it.” To which my mom would respond, “Well, if they told you to jump off a bridge, would you?”

My favorite part of the case was when a member of the tribunal said what my mom would have said, “Air Canada does not explain why it believes …. why its webpage titled ‘bereavement travel’ was inherently more trustworthy than its chatbot.”

The BIG mistake in human thinking about AI

That is the interesting thing as you deal with this AI challenge of the moment. Companies mistake AI as a strategy to deploy rather than an innovation to a strategy that should be deployed. AI is not the answer for your content strategy. AI is simply a way to help an existing strategy be better.

Generative AI is only as good as the content — the data and the training — fed to it.  Generative AI is a fantastic recognizer of patterns and understanding of the probable next word choice. But it’s not doing any critical thinking. It cannot discern what is real and what is fiction.

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Think for a moment about your website as a learning model, a brain of sorts. How well could it accurately answer questions about the current state of your company? Think about all the help documents, manuals, and educational and training content. If you put all of that — and only that — into an artificial brain, only then could you trust the answers.

Your chatbot likely would deliver some great results and some bad answers. Air Canada’s case involved a minuscule challenge. But imagine when it’s not a small mistake. And what about the impact of unintended content? Imagine if the AI tool picked up that stray folder in your customer help repository — the one with all the snarky answers and idiotic responses? Or what if it finds the archive that details everything wrong with your product or safety? AI might not know you don’t want it to use that content.

ChatGPT, Gemini, and others present brand challenges, too

Publicly available generative AI solutions may create the biggest challenges.

I tested the problematic potential. I asked ChatGPT to give me the pricing for two of the best-known CRM systems. (I’ll let you guess which two.) I asked it to compare the pricing and features of the two similar packages and tell me which one might be more appropriate.

First, it told me it couldn’t provide pricing for either of them but included the pricing page for each in a footnote. I pressed the citation and asked it to compare the two named packages. For one of them, it proceeded to give me a price 30% too high, failing to note it was now discounted. And it still couldn’t provide the price for the other, saying the company did not disclose pricing but again footnoted the pricing page where the cost is clearly shown.

In another test, I asked ChatGPT, “What’s so great about the digital asset management (DAM) solution from [name of tech company]?” I know this company doesn’t offer a DAM system, but ChatGPT didn’t.

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It returned with an answer explaining this company’s DAM solution was a wonderful, single source of truth for digital assets and a great system. It didn’t tell me it paraphrased the answer from content on the company’s webpage that highlighted its ability to integrate into a third-party provider’s DAM system.

Now, these differences are small. I get it. I also should be clear that I got good answers for some of my harder questions in my brief testing. But that’s what’s so insidious. If users expected answers that were always a little wrong, they would check their veracity. But when the answers seem right and impressive, even though they are completely wrong or unintentionally accurate, users trust the whole system.

That’s the lesson from Air Canada and the subsequent challenges coming down the road.

AI is a tool, not a strategy

Remember, AI is not your content strategy. You still need to audit it. Just as you’ve done for over 20 years, you must ensure the entirety of your digital properties reflect the current values, integrity, accuracy, and trust you want to instill.

AI will not do this for you. It cannot know the value of those things unless you give it the value of those things. Think of AI as a way to innovate your human-centered content strategy. It can express your human story in different and possibly faster ways to all your stakeholders.

But only you can know if it’s your story. You have to create it, value it, and manage it, and then perhaps AI can help you tell it well. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

While many brands talk about focusing on the customer, few do it. Less than a quarter (24%) of global brands are mapping customer behavior and sentiment, according to Braze’s 2024 Customer Engagement Review. What’s worse, only 6% apply customer insights to their product and brand approach.

“At the end of the day, a lot of companies operate based on their structure and not how the consumer interacts with them,” Mariam Asmar, VP of strategic consulting, told MarTech. “And while some companies have done a great job of reorienting that, with roles like the chief customer officer, there are many more that still don’t. Cross-channel doesn’t exist because there are still all these silos. But the customer doesn’t care about your silos. The customer doesn’t see silos. They see a brand.”

Half of all marketers report either depending on multiple, siloed point solutions to cobble together a multi-channel experience manually (33%); or primarily relying on single-channel solutions (17%).  Only 30% have access to a single customer engagement platform capable of creating personalized, seamless experiences across channels. This is a huge problem when it comes to cross-channel, personalization.

The persistence of silos

The persistence of data silos despite decades of explanation about the problems they cause, surprised Asmar the most.

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Screenshot 2024 02 27 140015
Source: Braze 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review

“Why are we still talking about this?” she said to MarTech. “One of the themes I see in the report is we’re still getting caught up on some of the same stumbling blocks as before.”

She said silos are indicative of teams working on different goals and “the only way that gets unsolved is if a leader comes in and aligns people towards some of those goals.”

These silos also hinder the use of AI, something 99% of respondents said they were already doing. The top uses of AI by marketers are:

  • Generating creative ideas (48%).
  • Automating repetitive tasks (47%).
  • Optimizing strategies in real-time (47%).
  • Enhancing data analysis (47%).
  • Powering predictive analytics (45%).
  • Personalizing campaigns (44%). 

Despite the high usage numbers, less than half of marketers have any interest in exploring AI’s potential to enhance customer engagement. Asmar believes there are two main reasons for this. First is that many people like the systems they know and understand. The other reason is a lack of training on the part of companies.

Dig deeper: 5 ways CRMs are leveraging AI to automate marketing today

“I think about when I was in advertising and everybody switched to social media,” she told MarTech. “Companies acted like ‘Well, all the marketers will just figure out social media.’ You can’t do that because whenever you’re teaching somebody how to do something new there’s always a level of training them up, even though they’re apps that we use every day, as people using them as a business and how they apply, how we get impact from them.”

The good news is that brands are setting the stage for the data agility they need.

  • 50% export performance feedback to business intelligence platforms to generate advanced analytics.
  • 48% sync performance with insights generated by other platforms in the business.

Also worth noting: Marketers say these are the four main obstacles to creativity and strategy:  

  • Emphasis on KPIs inherently inhibits a focus on creativity (42%).
  • Too much time spent on business-as-usual execution and tasks (42%).
  • Lack of technology to execute creative ideas, (41%).
  • Hard to demonstrate ROI impact of creativity (40%).
Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952

Methodology

The 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review (registration required) is based on insights from 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions: The Americas (Brazil, Mexico, and the US), APAC (Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea), and EMEA (France, Germany, Spain, the UAE, and the UK).

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