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Martech is mainly about relationships

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Martech is mainly about relationships

My approach to the marketing technology field has been geared toward focusing on human topics like relationships.  Marketing technology, however, is certainly a technical discipline, and my route to this field began by working closely with web developers and designers as well as software programmers.  Further, it obviously involves marketing acumen, which I’ve picked up on the job.  Granted, one can certainly argue that most – if not all – professions are mainly about relationships, but I can certainly speak to martech.

I’ve tried to focus some of my columns on the relationship aspects of our field for a few reasons.  First, there are so many other experts and voices who provide great technical and marketing insights.  There isn’t a shortage of those.  Second, it has provided me with a niche to fill.  Third, my work experience has really impressed upon me that the technical and business aspects of working in this field are the easier (certainly not always easy) parts of the job; relationships, on the other hand, can be much more difficult.

Relationships are important – particularly, as Milton Hwang argues, where marketing operations and tech leaders have become modernizers.  Darrell Alfonso also provides some valuable insights into how practitioners handling the day-to-day and tactical aspects of marketing operations can better understand the leader’s perspective.  Alfonso weaves relationship tips throughout his piece.

You’re not alone

How often have you had a straightforward project get held up by bureaucracy or office politics?  Have you ever tried to get a colleague to slow down so that you all could more thoroughly evaluate a need or problem?  Ever been involved in training or providing other enablement to end users?  How about trying to jockey for organizational funding and priority for your project over your colleagues’ projects?  Is it just me or is persuading other people to your position not always easy peasy?  Moving and shaking is fun until the pushback, right?


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Change and project management

There are many tools and strategies out there for addressing the tricky parts of relationships.  For instance, I’ve written about the value of change management and project management methodologies to martech practitioners.  

Change management acknowledges that resistance is inevitable – regardless of whether people perceive that a change is positive, neutral, or negative.  It provides tools and tactics to anticipate, evaluate, and address such resistance.  If that doesn’t involve relationships, I don’t know what does.  Hopefully, when change management is used correctly, no one will need to even fret that resistance is futile as people will feel that their perspective and input are considered.  There’s a reason why the Borg aren’t popular.

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Project management on the other hand provides structure to getting stuff done.  It establishes roles and responsibilities along with cadences, ceremonies, definitions, measurement standards, and artifacts to assist a group to collectively work together to accomplish tasks.  The agile philosophy and its accompanying Scrum framework are rather popular, and my fellow contributor Stacey Ackerman has written about how to apply them in martech contexts.  By clearly establishing a framework for action, people are better aware of roles, expectations, and schedules — and that all helps promote healthy relationships among the people involved.

Winning & influencing

I kid you all not.  While I was drafting this column, a senior leader here at my employer Zuora shared his notes regarding Dale Carnegie’s seminal work “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”  He shared them since he believes that its principles are critical to individual and collective success.  Not only is it easier to accomplish things when people choose to get along but typically the results are superior as well.

It is important to note that Carnegie’s principles are related to leadership.  Unlike managing, anyone can participate in leading — no matter how junior or senior they are.  Focusing on establishing and maintaining positive relationships can help junior individuals punch above their weight, but when senior individuals foster healthy relationships, they too can shine as people respect and value positive leaders.  I’ve seen individuals across the seniority spectrum both fail and excel when it comes to relationships, and based upon how my colleagues have responded and reacted, my unscientific and anecdotal sample shows that it is better to strive to be likable.

Carnegie’s philosophy can certainly help martech practitioners excel if they choose to incorporate it into their work.  Working in martech involves changing things and influencing others, and failing to consider the importance of interpersonal relationships will likely hinder a practitioner’s ability to thrive.

I can also personally attest to the senior Zuora leader’s focus on fostering positive relationships and on placing people first; he walks the walk.  He’s proof that being nice can lead to success.  His resume shows that he has advanced and thrived professionally at companies of significant consequence like SAP.  If he can, so can all of you.

The difficult stuff

Don’t get me wrong.  Integrations, RFPs, measuring KPIs, and similar activities are not always easy.  However, relationships are involved in all of them, and if my experience is representative, relationships are the toughest aspects of martech.  Why not try to make this aspect not only more tolerable but enjoyable and effective to boot?


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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Steve Petersen is a marketing technology manager at Zuora. He spent nearly 8.5 years at Western Governors University, holding many martech related roles with the last being marketing technology manager. Prior to WGU, he worked as a strategist at the Washington, DC digital shop The Brick Factory, where he worked closely with trade associations, non-profits, major brands, and advocacy campaigns. Petersen holds a Master of Information Management from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Brigham Young University. He’s also a Certified ScrumMaster. Petersen lives in the Salt Lake City, UT area. Petersen represents his own views, not those of his current or former employers.

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What You Need to be Doing NOW to Get Your Shop Ready for Black Friday

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What You Need to be Doing NOW to Get Your Shop Ready for Black Friday

Did you know that 130 million users use Facebook and Instagram to discover sales and buy products during Black Friday weekend alone? 

This means that setting your shop up for success is an excellent way to attract all shopaholics into your business and make serious money. But, with so little time, how can you know what you’re supposed to do? 

Well, after talking with Meta experts, I’ve put together an easy-to-follow checklist with everything you need to do AHEAD of Black Friday if you want your Instagram or Facebook Shop to be a huge success this holiday. 

So read on, and start planning now!

11 Things you need to do to get your shop Black Friday ready

The key to a successful Black Friday is reaching the right audience with the right products. In years past, this meant a well-placed ad in the local newspaper or a spot on the radio. But today, the best way to reach potential shoppers is through social media. And of all the social media platforms out there, Instagram and Facebook offer the best buying experience. 

Facebook and Instagram Shops provide an easy way for businesses to showcase their products and reach a wide audience, and offer a convenient way to browse and purchase items with just a few clicks. Plus, since most users are already using these social media platforms *we’re talking about more than 3 billion*, it has become a natural way to shop. 

So if you’re a business owner looking to take advantage of Black Friday, setting up an Instagram or Facebook shop is a must, and here are the best tips to do so: 

1. Start planning your holiday strategies if you haven’t already

For many businesses, Black Friday is make-or-break time, when they can either turn a profit or end up in the red. That’s why it’s so important to have a solid plan in place for dealing with traffic. 

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By mapping out a strategy beforehand, businesses can avoid being overwhelmed by the high demand and ensure that everyone has a positive experience. This means, planning your offer and deals ahead of time, placing your ads budget, doing product inventory, organizing customer service, etc. 

Regarding offers, Instagram and Facebook Shops allow businesses to set up coupons and discount codes during checkout, and timely offers to display their deals. Offer parity with your site is key. So be sure to review #7!

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2. Update your Meta Shop banners 

In order for retailers to lure customers into their shops, they need to make sure their signage is up-to-date and eye-catching. This is especially true for banners, which are the first thing people see when hunting for good deals and promotions. 

A well-designed banner can help to create a sense of urgency and excitement, convincing shoppers that they need to act now in order to get the best deals. These act as hero images from a traditional site, but for your Instagram Shop.

Additionally, they can be used to highlight specific sales or promotions, making it easy for shoppers to find the products they’re looking for. After all, what good is a sale if no one knows about it?

So if you’re looking to make the most of this busy shopping day, don’t forget to update your social shop banners with eye-catching designs. It could make all the difference in attracting customers to purchase in your store.

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3. Make your organic media is shoppable

Facebook and Instagram Shops allow you to tag a product every time you post a picture, reel, story, or video. This is especially relevant because it drives users from an organic publication to your shop where they can check all the information about the item they’re interested in. 

Plus, tagging can give you clean insights to how they’re interacting with products and creatives. 

Hat tip: Did you know that you can tag your products in the description of your feed posts? No more using ‘link in bio’ in your copy for your organic posts. Use the @ symbol and choose ‘products’, once you have found your product select it and BAM, your product is now linkable in your Instagram post’s description!

4. Set your products up for success

Each product description should contain anything and everything a user needs in order to buy. This includes: 

  • Engaging and informative product descriptions

Standing out from the crowd of sellers can be especially hard during the holidays. However, a great way to do that is to make sure your product descriptions are clear, concise, and compelling. 

No matter if you’re selling clothes, accessories, or home decor, a good product description will tell potential customers everything they need to know about a product, including its features, benefits, etc. Plus,  it should also be engaging, so that shoppers are tempted to click “add to cart”, so don’t forget about the call to action and use strong and convincing language to urge the buyers to take your deal. 

Be sure to exclude urls in your product description because it’s not allowed. Keep your product descriptions centered on benefits and remember, users often have 1-3 seconds to evaluate the efficacy and interest in a product from a product description.

Images that are well-lit and clearly show the product details can be the difference between a customer clicking “add to cart” or moving on to the next item on their list.

For Instagram and Facebook Shops, images need to be at least 500×500 pixels. Additionally, it’s important that you include more than just one image and focus on features. 

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Extra tip: according to Meta experts, if your product is in the lifestyle category, detailed product images can help you increase your possibilities of making a sale by 6-8%. 

Extra extra tip: Include an image of a customer’s selfie with the product. Showcasing real customers using or holding your product makes a big difference with your conversions.

  • Include price, availability, and sizes

No one will buy anything from your shop if you don’t have this information! So check your products and make sure that all of them include the deal price, pieces in stock, and sizes (this one applies only for items that are in categories like: Clothing Accessories, Newborn & Baby Fashion Accessories, and Costume Accessories)

Regarding sizes, you can (and should) add a size chart to help users feel confident in the purchase decisions and potentially reduce return rates. 

Bear in mind: July 2022, Meta changed the basic information each item showcased in their shops needs to have in order to be displayed, so click here to discover everything your products need to have!

5. Update your catalog

An outdated catalog will make it difficult for them to find what they’re looking for, and they may decide to do their shopping elsewhere. 

So, it’s important that you check and update your catalog to display all the products that are on sale to help your customers make important purchase decisions and drive sales. 

Taking this into account, your catalog should: 

  • Have all the products displayed with their variants
  • Include product details: complete all data fields (materials, ingredients, multiple images, videos, and size charts where applicable)
  • Be maintained: update collections with new items and inventory quantity. Regarding this, you can use Meta Pixel to automatically update your catalog and reduce operational load. 

6. Enable checkout on Facebook and Instagram Shops

Redirecting users to your own website or another platform in order to complete a sale is inconvenient and can lead to lost sales. So, it’s HIGHLY recommended that you set up your shop with checkout, if you’re allowed,to help potential customers discover and buy your products on one platform. 

**For eligible stores in the US, all fees are waived through the end of 2022 for enabled checkouts.

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Onsite checkout can be set up in Commerce Manager and it’s available for US shops only; it will give insights into shopper demographic and full-funnel conversion data which, in return, can help you optimize your campaigns. 

7. Offer Parity

An Instagram or Facebook Shop is an extension of your store, but in a more consumable form that doesn’t require users to go from a place to another in order to buy something. This means that both should offer the same data: from prices and deals, to contact information and banners. 

Why? Because some people may find your social shop and make their purchase there, meanwhile others would prefer to go to your website to get more information about you, so offer parity is a must if you want to build trust with potential customers. After all, no one wants to find mismatched prices!

8. Enable product reviews 

By reading reviews, users can get an idea of what other shoppers thought of a particular item before they make a purchase and it can help them make informed decisions. That’s why they’re a key player when it comes to driving sales during Black Friday. 

Regarding this, US shops with onsite checkouts have access to ratings and reviews and can manage them in Commerce Manager, which will allow you to check customer feedback and answer them. 

Remember this: you need to have a shop with onsite checkout to enable product reviews and ratings. 

Moreover, it’s possible to import reviews from 3rd parties! For now, Yotpo and Bazarro are active, meanwhile, Okendo and Stamped.io will be available with the reviews section in the next quarter. 

9. Don’t forget about user-generated content

User-generated content has the added benefit of being more authentic and relatable than traditional marketing materials. It’s this human element that can be critical in helping persuade undecided shoppers to make a purchase. In fact, UGC drives a 9% increase in CTA clicks for buy now or view on the website

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During Black Friday, this type of content can be a valuable tool for helping brands connect with consumers and build trust, so it’s important to include it in your strategy. 

For this, you can use images and videos of different customers using, wearing, and loving your products or provide buyers with information like “how to use” or tips that can help them make the most out of an item. 

If you go to the UGC section of your commerce account, you can find UGC that’s ready for potential use in your stories and in your Meta Shops. You can find any images that tagged your handle or used one of your branded hashtags. When you find images that you’d like to use, you can send a request to that user’s profile for permission of usage of that media in your store.

It’s really that easy!

10. Leverage Shopping Ads and Catalog Ads

Instagram shopping ads allow businesses to showcase their products directly in the Instagram feed. 

By tagging product photos with relevant information, businesses can create ads that include pricing, product descriptions, and a link to purchase the product. These ads are designed to be highly visual and engaging, and they provide a convenient way for users to learn about and purchase products without ever leaving Instagram. 

On the other hand, Advantage+ Catalog Ads are a must-try for those businesses that have a large catalog of products and don’t want to be bothered by having to create a different ad per product. Instead, this type of ad helps you to create one campaign for all your products and show it to people that are interested in even one item from your catalog by creating an individual ad. 

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By integrating Catalog and Shop Ads into your paid media plan for Black Friday, you can attract possible customers and take them through your sales funnel all in one platform. 

If you’re not familiar with these types of ads, you should start experimenting and scaling them as you see fit from now on! Also, don’t forget to set up your CPA!

*** Black Friday ad ramp up should begin by September 20th. October 15th is the BIG day when everyone enters the Meta Ads marketplace and auction pressure increase***

11. Prepare your customer support service

Answering questions from possible customers in less than 24 hours increases their possibility to make a purchase by 50%, that’s why it’s important to invest in effective customer service to help users get a clear understanding of your business and build trust. 

With Facebook and Instagram Shops, you can get an email every time someone asks specific questions and reply by using the feedback tag on Commerce Manager. These replies become publicly available helping future customers see that social proof to make better buying decisions.

However, this feature is only available if you have enabled checkout and are an admin to the commerce account.

When should you start?

The peak of users eager to get Black Friday deals starts from October 15th to the big date *yes, more than a month before Black Friday*, so it’s crucial that you start optimizing your Instagram and Facebook Shops ASAP. 

And, if you feel like this long list may overwhelm you and already give you a headache, at Mongoose Media we have a team of experts that will take this task from you and make the most out of your shop to go from plan to bestselling during the holidays!

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