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Questions to ask vendors before buying a customer journey orchestration solution

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What is customer journey orchestration and how does it work?

Once you have determined that customer journey orchestration (CJO) software makes sense for your business, spend time researching individual vendors and their capabilities. Completing this research will better prepare you for when the time comes to select a specific vendor.

Researching customer journey orchestration

Here are the important steps in evaluating your company’s current CJO capabilities and conducting research on solutions.

Make a list of current capabilities. Make a list of all the CJO capabilities you currently have, those that you would like to have and those that you can’t live without. This last category is critical and will help you avoid making a costly mistake. For example, if you seek to harness the data coming from your call center, make sure to ask vendors about their capabilities in this area, and their ability to perform sentiment analysis on the conversations happening in that channel.

Take your list of capabilities and then do some research. Speak to your marketing peers at industry events to find out who is using which tool and why. Many vendors profiled in provide whitepapers and interactive tools that can help. The MarTech website is a great resource for advice and information on vendors.

Narrow your list to those vendors that meet your criteria. Submit your list of the critical capabilities you’ve identified, and set a timeframe for them to reply.

Decide whether or not you need to engage in a formal RFI/RFP process. This is an individual preference. If you run a formal process, be sure to give the same list of capabilities to each vendor to facilitate an apples-to-apples comparison.

The most effective RFPs only request relevant information and provide ample information about your brand and its needs. It should reflect high-level strategic goals and KPIs. For example, mention your company’s most important KPIs and how you will evaluate the success of your CJO efforts. Include details about timelines and the existing martech systems you have deployed.

When written properly, an RFP will facilitate the sales process and ensure that everyone involved on both sides comes to a shared understanding of the purpose, requirements, scope and structure of the intended purchase. From the RFP responses, you should be able to narrow your list down to three or four solutions that you’ll want to demo.


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Questions to ask vendors

Set up demos with your short list of vendors within a relatively short time frame after receiving the RFP responses. Make sure that all potential internal users are on the demo call, and pay attention to the following:

  • How easy is the tool to use?
  • Does the vendor seem to understand our business and our marketing needs?
  • Are they showing us our “must-have” features?

Other questions to ask each vendor depending on the type of services they provide include:

Data gathering

  • Does the solution integrate with the systems you currently use to store customer data?
  • What type of machine learning and/or artificial intelligence does the tool use?
  • Are we able to choose different models and tune them to our own needs?
  • Can we segment and view customers by multiple criteria?
  • Can the tool identify anonymous interactions and match them to the correct profile?
  • Does the tool allow us to reconcile data from all of the channels in which we interact with
  • customers?
  • Is the solution GDPR and CCPA compliant?

Reporting

  • Does the solution provide real-time analytics?
  • What do the reports look like and how can they be customized?
  • Does the tool use artificial intelligence and machine learning? How?
  • Is sentiment analysis of relevant customer interactions available?
  • What types of insights are surfaced through analysis and what recommendations does the
  • tool make proactively?

Real-time interaction management

  • How does the tool natively orchestrate interactions or integrate with the systems we use
  • (i.e. display ad management, content management systems)?
  • How is data exchanged? Are real-time or near real-time personalized or segmented
  • campaigns feasible?

Training and customer support

  • How much training will we need to use the software, and what kind of training is available?
  • What level of customer support do you offer, and when is it available (i.e., 24/7 vs. 8/5)?
  • What is the turnaround time for support queries/tickets?
  • Do you provide professional services or support for our transition?
  • What new features are you considering?
  • What’s the long-term product roadmap and launch dates?

Download the full MarTech Intelligence ReportEnterprise Customer Journey Orchestration Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide


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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MARKETING

B2B Digital Marketing Strategies for Educational Services

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B2B Digital Marketing Strategies for Educational Services

More than 90% of Australian higher education digital marketers believe they’re investing in and building digital elements for their institution. Statistics show that educational-led marketing is the second most common strategy that 77% of B2B marketers use to nurture leads. Market conditions are forcing universities to engage in advertising and promotion. Until yesterday, they relied on their image and the natural flow of applicants, All because the competition is actively growing and young people’s ideas about quality education are changing. Many prefer to study remotely and use online educational services. Educational organizations must use the most impactful digital marketing tools to develop in this unfamiliar new environment.

What are the peculiarities of educational services?

There are 5 primary factors that significantly changed the educational market and the way of educational services promotion:

  • Marketing of the services. Services are intangible. The client cannot come into the store, touch your product and evaluate its quality characteristics. The only thing the client can rely on is the feedback from former students and the organization’s reputation. Therefore, it needs to be worked on.
  • Service not retained. Faculty change periodically, as does the curriculum. Even if former clients have left good reviews, the future client cannot be assured that the quality of education has remained high. To solve this problem, it is necessary to work with the educational institution’s reputation constantly.
  • The long decision-making process. While deciding which hairdressing school to go to is made in a couple of hours, deciding which college to attend can take years. This means constant contact with interested students.
  • Working for two target audiences: parents and students. As a rule, parents and children make the decision to attend an institution jointly. However, their values, desires, and perceptions regarding education may differ dramatically. It is necessary to work with both of these audiences.
  • Active market development. New competitors have appeared in the educational services market: educational document-sharing platforms, courses, online tutors, workshops, etc. Requirements for education have also changed, like secured personal data when learning online.

Now let’s discuss 3 digital marketing strategies for educational services that will lead to creating a successful business.

Educational services strategy 1: PR (public relations)

PR campaign aims to increase the organization’s status, recognition, and prestige. These aspects are fundamental for the development of an educational institution.

First of all, we suggest paying attention to reviews. Applicants and their parents will pay attention to them when they choose educational services.

Working with reviews in education is especially difficult. Here you can’t just leave a comment on a negative review with apologies and a discount on the next purchase. It is necessary to encourage students to write positive feedback. And this should be achieved not by incentives and rewards for writing reviews but by a high quality of education and interaction with students, forming a comfortable environment.

An additional advantage will be if the authors of reviews praise teachers and provide some evidence of a high level of education.

If you have several training areas, then analyze the reviews separately for each area. Prospective students look first at the reviews of the department or educational program to which they want to apply.

Native advertising is another powerful PR tool. It has a significant impact on readers. They perceive it as a regular article and treat the information less critically. It gives the impression that the educational institution is in the spotlight and discussed in the press. As a result, the status and recognition of the organization are increased. The impact is indirect. The person thinks they have made the decision themselves, which increases their loyalty in the future.

Also, an important aspect of Digital PR strategy is crisis communication. When some negative aspect of the organization’s work is actively discussed in the media or on the Internet, it is necessary to respond to it. Measures must be taken to reduce the damage to reputation.

Educational services strategy 2: content marketing

Content marketing is an educational services strategy for dealing with information. It is primarily a way to build relationships and increase brand reputation. Interesting articles draw students and their parents to the site, where they unknowingly absorb information about your organization and become more loyal to it.

Advantages of content marketing strategy for educational services:

  • If your articles are cited, your reputation and visibility increase significantly
  • The credibility of the brand increases. With your articles, you demonstrate your expertise
  • Unlike advertising, it does not cause irritation
  • Long term result
  • Possibility to spread the content at the expense of the users
  • Organize your conference content in an abstract management system.
  • Increase loyalty to the brand
  • The natural inflow of the new clients

Disadvantages of content marketing strategy for educational services:

  • Delayed result. Content marketing requires time to bring the first customers
  • High cost of implementing a content plan
  • Requires constant work on content

Content marketing strategy is complicated in execution but very effective in the long term. Content marketing is especially powerful together with email marketing software.

Educational services strategy 3: email advertising

In mailboxes, you can promote educational services with advertising. The peculiarity of banner email advertising lies in the advertising distribution model. It is shown only to users you or your employees send emails. This approach ensures maximum coverage of the target audience at a minimal cost.

In fact, email ad campaigns have changed the landscape of digital advertising strategy. They are display ads for your everyday emails. However, you don’t have to pay for the ad space within the emails your organization is sending day in and day out. In fact, a handwritten and hand-targeted email from one human to another is the most valuable type of email.

With Opensense, you can:

  • Spread awareness about your products and services that would provide value to each recipient.
  • Deliver specific banners after triggering events like survey results to take advantage of the momentum.
  • Easily ensure your banners match the primary language of the recipient.
  • Target the right audience by lifecycle stage, location, and more for any event.
  • Promote your new podcast or branded content with your logo design to your most engaged crowd.

When combined, separate promotion channels work better because efforts are synchronized and united by a single marketing strategy. Also, different promotion channels complement each other and have a complex impact on the target audience.

Conclusion

For an educational organization, prestige and an impeccable reputation come first. This complex task requires working on PR promotion and building strong relationships with clients through content marketing.

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