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Build-A-Bear using data to make itself into an all-ages brand

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Build-A-Bear using data to make itself into an all-ages brand

Build-A-Bear is remaking itself for the 25th anniversary of its founding this year. This means using its experience and its data to appeal to older customers and create stronger online connections.

“The goal that was stated for us was to diversify our brand, evolve our retail portfolio and build stronger relationships with our consumers,” said Ed Poppe, Build-A-Bear’s vice president, loyalty and performance marketing for Build-A-Bear, in a presentation at The MarTech Conference.

That’s why they launched HeartBox, an e-commerce play which the company says will let it move into “the adult-to-adult gift-giving and gift box market which has been meaningfully expanding over the past few years.” This goes along with its new Bear Cave line of “adult” bears (in this case adult means they have alcohol in hand). The brand has also expanded through partnerships with film, entertainment and streaming TV properties like Harry Potter, Pokémon, The Matrix and the Marvel series WandaVision.

These efforts are designed to give more options to customers who buy online, and increase options for engagement. This has required integrating new teams and new sources of data.

Connecting customer data and teams

“Over half of businesses now say that they expect the majority of their revenue to come from digital channels,” said Loretta Shen, senior director, product marketing, marketing cloud intelligence for Salesforce. “To meet changing consumer behavior, marketers are adopting digital channels like video, social media and digital ads across search and paid media. But it’s not just adopting these channels, but how you use them, and in particular how you use them in tandem.”

Build-A-Bear adapted to customers’ increased digital use by adding new digital experiences while also reorganizing customer data to better understand what customers want.

“We have to understand our guests at Build-A-Bear,” said Bryce Ahrens, Build-A-Bear’s senior analyst, CRM, loyalty and performance marketing. “How do they engage with our email, our websites, our advertising and, of course, how do they engage and experience our in-store environment?”

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They keep a large CRM database made up of loyalty program members, website customers, retail customers and sales prospects. Additionally, through access to the CRM, the organization is pulling together different teams: web development, analytics, marketing and also data privacy people.

These teams have to remain connected because data is coming through different systems. Build-A-Bear has a first-party data warehouse, a commerce cloud storefront, an order management system, marketing cloud, an email platform and different analytics solutions, not to mention ad platforms for campaigns.

“We need to be able to bring this information together, prioritize what we look at, and identify strategies to move quickly,” said Ahrens.

Read next: What you need to know to grow your e-commerce business

Count Your Candles

Data and digital experience come together in an ongoing Build-A-Bear effort called “Count Your Candles.”

The promotion is a special offer for customers to order a discounted bear (regularly priced at $14) that costs a dollar amount that matches their age.

The dedicated webpage for this promotion also allows customers and gift-givers to buy gift cards and become loyalty members. Additionally, there are a number of other ways that customers can celebrate birthdays, including in-store birthday parties and special birthday gift boxes that can be ordered and delivered.

These strategies came from marketers looking at the data and seeing what sparked their customers’ interests. In this case, it was birthdays.

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“We’re lucky to have a team up here who wants to jump in and help drive our business forward,” said Poppe. “But it also brings us back to where it’s important to aggregate data, identify patterns, see your opportunities, and pick your path forward.”


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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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MARKETING

20 Best Tools To Help You Scale

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To grow and succeed in the digital marketplace and increase your team’s content marketing effectiveness, you must build a dependable tech stack that will allow you to grow without placing too much pressure on you or your team.

In this article, we’ll provide ways to boost the efficiency of content marketing strategies and a list of tools to aid you in achieving your objectives together with higher performance.

Strategies for scaling your content marketing efforts

Before we get into the technology you can use to improve your content marketing, let’s look at how you can get better results from developing a successful content team to help improve your performance.

Every team member will have a different job. They will use their respective skills to help the team reach its goals:

Managing editor

This is the person in charge of your content team. They ensure that all the material published is high quality and consistent with the brand’s messaging. Often, their responsibilities include hiring content writers and then collaborating with them to ensure everything is correct and on track.

SEO analyst

This team member is in charge of ensuring that your website meets SEO standards. They also select the best keywords for each article. SEO analysts help ensure that your material is indexed properly and written with search intent in mind.

Content writer

Most content marketing teams employ in-house writers, outsource the work to independent contractors, or a mixture of both. Because “content” is at the center of all content marketing operations, these individuals are essential for generating high-quality and research-driven material for your blog and other content assets.

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Outreach manager

This individual is in charge of sending your material to the appropriate forums on sites where your leads and influencers congregate and creating backlinks so that you receive the most value from each piece of content.

Top tools to grow content marketing and automate workflow

Inefficient workflows can result in delays in the creation of content as well as low-quality content because team members may struggle to work together and communicate effectively. Here are five tools that allow you to take control over the content creation process.

1. Google Docs

Google Docs is a free writing program that permits you to create, edit, and share documents online wherever you are. It is an excellent tool for collaboration and helps your team work together by giving them editing access. Features like “comments,” “suggestions,” and “mentions” let you add relevant information and people to your Docs.

2. GatherContent

GatherContent can be described as a central platform for content creation and collaboration that allows rapid and effective content production.

The tool offers a medium that lets your team edit and create content, monitor its progress, and publish it when it’s ready. Your team can also create structured content on a large scale in a split second.

3. Narrato

Narrato is a team management system that lets you streamline and control your content creation process, aiding cooperation. The tool has many useful features, including AI assistance, image search, content idea generators, and employee management options. You can organize content using boards, folders, and calendars.

4. Monday.com

It is an “everything you need” platform with collaboration campaign planning and content management tools. The fully customizable templates help your team collaborate, plan, and manage content production more efficiently.

5. Wordable

Wordable allows you to upload Google Docs drafts into WordPress in just minutes and in a designated format. The tool helps keep your documents clean, removing unnecessary spaces and line breaks as well as removing font and span tags.

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It also performs other functions such as generating tables automatically, simulating featured images, helping to choose alt text for images, etc.

The best tools for scaling the writing process and optimizing content

Your efforts to market your content depend on your writing skills or search engine optimization strategies. Here are tools that help you improve the writing process and SEO.

1. WriterAccess

WriterAccess is a platform that connects you with freelancers to create content and streamline your workflow. The Partner AI tools let you research trending topics, find new keywords, optimize content, and track SERPs.

2. Frase

Frase is a tool powered by AI that detects your audience’s questions and assists you in responding to them. It helps your team identify the questions your site visitors would like answered using Google Search. It also creates detailed briefs that allow you to modify your content to meet users’ preferences.

3. MarketMuse

This artificial intelligence-based keyword and content planner allows you to speed up the research process and identify what’s missing from your content compared to your competitors. The tool also helps with content optimization for Google search.

4. Clearscope.io

Clearscope.io makes it possible to discover potential keywords and determine terms you can integrate into your content to optimize it for search engines. The tool is also great for researching content and developing freelancer content briefs.

5. Writesonic

Through Writesonic’s artificial intelligence-powered Writer and Editor, you can write blog posts, articles, essays, e-books, and other types of content at the touch of an icon. Furthermore, you can use our editing tools powered by AI, such as paraphrasers, expanders, and shorteners, to enhance your content.

The most effective methods to increase the reach of content and establish collaborations

Content promotion is an excellent way to connect with the people you want to reach. The following tools will help you connect with your audience and establish collaborations.

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1. Evaboot.com

The most trusted place to find colleagues is LinkedIn. You can pull and search for emails in LinkedIn Sales Navigator with one click using Evaboot.

Evaboot can help you find suitable contacts by scouring the most extensive business network. It achieves this through an extremely effective filter that provides accurate and high-quality results that enable you to connect to skilled people who could help you reach your goals.

2. Respona.com

Respona.com is a link-building software that automates outreach, designs personalized email campaigns, locates emails of individuals you want to contact, and then sends customized pitches to these contacts. Using this tool, it is also possible to build automated sequences of emails you can use to mail personalized proposals to your email list.

3. Mailshake.com

Make your cold outreach fully automated with Mailshake to reach more potential customers and set up more meetings. Mailshake’s email tool utilizes AI and information from thousands of cold email campaigns to create constant, high-quality emails you can send to your leads.

Furthermore, you can use an integrated screen to contact prospects via phone or social media.

4. Hyperise

Hyperise lets you personalize images in your emails, Facebook messaging, chatbots, and LinkedIn. You can customize layers on existing images using Hyperise’s online editor and adjust them instantly on your website.

5. Icereach

Icereach can reach potential clients through LinkedIn by using intelligent automated sequences. The tool makes it easy to import leads and customize the outreach to a grander scale by adding distinct elements to create an original and customized message. The program will then create an automated drip program with automatic follow-ups.

The most practical tools to improve content distribution

Without an appropriate distribution system that allows you to reach your target audience and display your content quickly, all your efforts will go to the trash even after you’ve created some amazing content. Here are five tools that let you easily publish, share and promote your content.

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1. IFTTT

IFTTT is a program that lets you connect to, incorporate, and automate the use of your favorite applications. In integrating with more than 250 personal and business applications, IFTTT is one of the most effective ways to automate your content promotion efforts.

2. Moosend

With its easy-to-use interface, this newsletter tool not just assists you with the design of email drives but also helps you target your list of contacts with specialized content.

3. Planable

You can easily organize your social media posts, collaborate with other users, and plan it from anywhere with Planable. The tool also helps you streamline your social media publishing process by letting you schedule your posts.

4. Quuu

Quuu is software that can help you get top-quality suggestions according to your target audience’s interests. Quuu’s proprietary artificial intelligence algorithm will identify high-quality content and send it to your third-party scheduling tool. It is one of the best tools to automate your social media marketing!

5. Outbrain.com

Outbrain provides marketers with customized recommendations for the top magazines in the world to reach their targeted audience. Its proprietary algorithms help capture your audience’s attention and guide them into taking action.

Wrapping up

Content marketing is the best way to establish the credibility of your brand and expand your enterprise. The tools listed in this guide can be utilized to create a distribution plan, measure your marketing effectiveness, and even make your customers feel more involved, assisting you in improving your company’s performance.

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