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How to decide if you need an enterprise email marketing platform

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Email marketing benchmark report shows personalized subject lines under-perform

Deciding whether your company needs an enterprise-level email marketing platform calls for the same evaluative steps involved in any software adoption, including a comprehensive self-assessment of your organization’s business needs and resources, staffing, management support, and financial resources.

Use the following questions as a guideline to determine the answers.

  1. Do we have the right human resources in place? Employing people to implement and use all the features available in an email marketing platform is a prerequisite to success. This includes design and content creation as well as data analysis and strategy. Typically, email providers accommodate multiple levels of expertise when it comes to building email templates, so you’ll want to ensure your staffing matches the functionality available in a platform. Utilizing the toolsets available within these platforms can help make your marketing staff more efficient and effective.
  2. Does our customer data reside in disconnected silos throughout the organization? Organizational silos between departments such as sales, marketing, procurement or customer support increase the risk that your customer’s experience with the brand is not as targeted or consistent as it should be. An enterprise email marketing platform may help connect these disparate systems to provide a more insightful view of customers.
  3. Do we have customer knowledge gaps that could be filled with trusted second- and third-party data? First-party data, which includes an email address, is the foundation of your brand’s relationship with customers, and becoming more important as third-party data sources like cookies and mobile IDs are phased out by Google and Apple. A unified database that can be appended with data about demographics, locations, financial and other anonymized second- and third-party data can allow you to fill gaps in customer insights. As data collection and matching techniques improve, along with access to cooperative data sources, creating a 360-degree view of customers may make sense.
  4. Are we in compliance with CCPA, GDPR and other data privacy regulations? Consumer data breaches and evidence of misuse continue to make news headlines. As a result, data privacy regulations are on the upswing. Are your organization’s data governance practices in compliance with the EU’s GDPR or the CCPA? Data-driven marketing is a competitive edge in today’s environment but can also escalate the risk of damaging your brand and incurring legal consequences. Many email marketing platforms can ensure compliance with the growing list of regulations and create greater customer trust in your brand.
  5. Do we have C-level buy-in? Since email is such a commonly used medium, those not directly involved may not be aware of the complications involved in large-scale mailing and how a dedicated platform can help businesses meet those challenges. It is critical to educate C-level executives and demonstrate the value of a new email marketing platform by running pilot test projects and agreeing to a definition of success in advance.
  6. Can we invest in staff training? To ensure you’re achieving the greatest possible benefits of a new platform, it is vital to provide ongoing training to technical, design, content and marketing teams and reinforce it on a regular basis. Some tool companies include or offer training for an additional fee, so be sure to ask about this.
  7. To what extent do we need to share data and reports with non-email marketing staff? Some tool providers focus significant resources on unifying data across the enterprise, so teams like customer service and product development can also benefit from a holistic view of the customer. If you plan to take advantage of these capabilities, make sure the integrations, interfaces and reports also meet the needs of stakeholders in other organizational roles.
  8. Have we established KPIs and put a system in place for tracking, measuring, and reporting results? It’s important to know up front what you want your email marketing to achieve. Are you seeking to turn newsletter subscribers into customers, or more frequent customers? Perhaps you’re looking to build brand affinity and nurture recipients through a more long-term purchase cycle. Having specific goals will help you decide if you’re ready to put an enterprise platform to good use, as well as help you decide which tool will best meet your organizational needs.
  9. Do we have realistic expectations? Adopting a new email platform, especially if it differs significantly from the system you’ve been using, can take some time to deliver results. There are likely cultural shifts and workflow processes that will need to be implemented and refined. Setting realistic timelines and goals will help build support at all levels of the enterprise.
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Read next: What is email marketing and how are platforms helping brands succeed?


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About The Author

Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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B2B customer journeys that begin at review sites are significantly shorter

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B2B customer journeys that begin at review sites are significantly shorter

The B2B customer journey can be a long one, especially when the purchase of expensive software subscriptions is under consideration.

“The average B2B customer journey takes 192 days from anonymous first touch to won,” according to Dreamdata in their 2022 B2B Go-to-Market Benchmarks — a statistic described by co-founder and CMO Steffen Hedebrandt as “alarming.”

But the report also indicates that this journey can be significantly sped up — by as much as 63% — if accounts begin their research at software review sites, gathering information and opinions from their peers. Journeys that originate at a review site often lead to deals of higher value too.

Fragmented data on the customer journey. Dreamdata is a B2B go-to-market platform. In any B2B company, explained Hedebrandt, there are typically 10 or even 20 data silos that contain fragments of the customer journey. Website visits, white paper downloads, social media interactions, webinar or meeting attendance, demos, and of course intent data from review site visits — this data doesn’t typically sit in one place within an organization.

“We built an account-based data model because we believe that there’s such a thing as an account journey and not an individual journey,” said Hedebrandt. “So if there are two, three or five people representing an account, which is typically what you see in B2B, all of these touches get mapped into the same timeline.”

Among those many touches is the intent data sourced from software review site G2. Dreamdata has an integration with G2 and a G2 dashboard allowing visualization of G2-generated intent data. This includes filtering prospects who are early in their journey, who have not yet discovered the customer’s product, or who have discovered it but are still searching. This creates a basis for attributing pipelines, conversions and revenue to the activity.

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“Strategically, our ideal customer profile is a B2B software-as-a-service company,” said Hedenbrandt. “B2B SaaS companies are particularly ripe for understanding this digital customer journey; their main investment is in digital marketing, they have a salesforce that use software tools to do this inside sales model; and they also deliver their product digitally as well.” What’s more, it takes twice as long to close SaaS deal as it does to close deals with B2B commercial and professional services companies.

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Read next: A look at the tech review space

The Benchmarks findings. The conclusions of the 2022 Benchmarks report is based on aggregated, anonymized data from more than 400 Dreamdata user accounts. Focusing on first-touch attribution (from their multi-touch model), Dreamdata found that customer journeys where a review site is the first touch are 63% shorter than the average. In contrast, where the first touch channel is social, the journey is much longer than average (217%); it’s the same when paid media is the first touch (155%).

As the Benchmarks report suggests, this may well mean that social is targeting prospects that are just not in-market. It makes sense that activity on a review site is a better predictor of intent.

Hedenbrandt underlines the importance of treating the specific figures with caution. “It’s not complete science what we’ve done,” he admits, “but it’s real data from 400 accounts, so it’s not going to be completely off. You can only spend your time once, and at least from what we can see here it’s better to spend your time collecting reviews than writing another Facebook update.”

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While Dreamdata highlights use of G2, Hedenbrandt readily concedes that competitor software review sites might reasonably be expected to show similar effects. “Definitely I would expect it to be similar.”

Why we care. It’s not news that B2B buyers researching software purchases use review sites and that those sites gather and trade in the intent data generated. Software vendors encourage users to post reviews. There has been a general assumption that a large number of hopefully positive reviews is a good thing to have.


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What Dreamdata’s findings indicate is that the effect of review sites on the buyer journey — especially as the first-touch channel — can be quantified and a value placed on it. “None of us questioned the value of reviews, but during this process you can actually map it into a customer journey where you can see the journey started from G2, then flowed into sales meetings, website visits, ads, etc. Then we can also join the deal value to the intent that started from G2.”

Likely, this is also another example of B2B learning from B2C. People looking at high consideration B2C purchases are now accustomed to seeking advice both from friends and from online reviews. The same goes for SaaS purchases, Hedenbrandt suggests: “More people are turning to sites like G2 to understand whether this is a trustworthy vendor or not. The more expensive it is, the more validation you want to see.”


About The Author

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Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

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He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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