Inbound marketing is a rage, with its benefits touted all over the internet. However, what is often left unreported are the results. Inbound marketing experiments have a whopping failure rate of about 97 percent without good analytics!
Such a high failure rate is not due to any inherent drawback of the basic concept. It has more to do with the method, or the marketers failing to approach the method in a scientific way. Most marketers draw inspiration from the growth spikes of one-off successes, and try to emulate the same procedure, in vain. The challenge for today’s marketers is to develop highly matured data based and ROI-driven systems. A mindset of approaching marketing in a scientific and systematic way, relying on analytical insights rather than gut feelings and guesswork is an essential prerequisite for success.
The Method in the Analytical Madness
The importance of analytics can never be undermined for today’s data driven businesses. The tons of data generated in the course of business processes and interactions uncover insights to understand customers better, identify bottlenecks or trouble-spots within the core processes, and unearth latent opportunities. Insights from big data analytics often drive successful marketing campaigns, at the very least enabling marketers to reach out to customers through a medium of the latter’s choice.
It gets better with Salesforce Einstein. The Analytics Cloud Einstein infuses analytics with artificial intelligence, increasing the potential for the insights in both qualitative and quantitative ways.
With Einstein, marketers can easily map how the data model relates to customers and business processes, while getting answers to core questions such as what happened, why it happened, what will happen, and what they should do about any situation as it unfolds. Many marketers make the mistake of assuming causes for such questions, and then seek out data to validate such assumptions. Einstein allows marketers to get to the core of the underlying causes, without having to make assumptions.
Salesforce’s Intelligent Wave App uncovers future patterns, highlighting the key “make or break” findings. The Smart Data Discovery functionality empowers users by explaining insights and making predictions, based on millions of data combinations, in near real-time. Einstein goes a step further and offers solutions to translate such insights into action. For instance, the automated send-time optimization capabilities allow marketers to deliver marketing messages at the exact time when subscribers are most likely to engage, thereby optimizing the marketing ROI.
Conjuring Target Personas
The efficacy of any marketing campaign depends on targeting the right audience. Many marketers rely on personas conjured up based on gut instincts and assumptions. They draw into their experience and select who they feel are most likely to buy the product or service. If any data is indeed involved in the process, it is invariably historic data past its sell-by date.
There is no substitute for hard data to determine who is most likely to buy. Today’s fast paced business environment also dictates real time analytics, because trends change by the minute – customer preferences valid today may be totally obsolete tomorrow, with customers gravitating towards the new “in-thing” in a matter of days or even hours.
Smart marketers evaluate hard data to not just conjure up an ideal persona, but also to match targets fitting the ideal customer profile, and do both with live or current data and real time analytics. Salesforce Einstein offers ready-made functionality to realize such a scientific approach. The Artificial Intelligence capabilities of the Einstein Marketing Cloud allows a distinct upgrade from the hitherto practice of looking at past behavior, and rather seek real time data to not just identify the relevant targets, but also predict the optimal timing, content, and channel for the marketing message.
It is not enough to identify customers who may be inclined to buy, and approach them in a convenient way. It is also important to identify the critical moment that converted the customer. The true test of effectiveness is targeting the profile of most likely customers, and zeroing in on the critical moment which prompted such customers to buy. The Marketing Cloud, Einstein, introduces the predictive scoring function, which enables marketers to understand how customers are likely engage in different critical marketing outreach. Marketers may use such predictive scores to develop segments showing different predicted behaviors in common. This insight can be used to create the faultless audience segment that can channel customers to the next phase of engagement or conversion.
Marketers seeking to target prospects and customers in a highly customized way are adopting Account-based marketing (ABM) in a big way. ABM is a systematic approach to target high-value leads with precision and at scale, and about 85% of marketers describe ABM as delivering higher ROI compared to any other marketing approach.
However, most marketers are unable to implement ABM properly owing to the fragmented nature of the customer journey and marketing campaigns, including email nurture campaigns, digital advertising and analytics. The main causes for such disruptions are data silos, internal misalignment and inefficient engagement.
Salesforce’s Einstein Account-Based Marketing offers a complete, comprehensive, end-to-end ABM solution, enabling sales and marketing teams to target their most valuable accounts with personalized campaigns, and engage with prospects at scale. Einstein brings all sales and marketing data to a single platform, ending the blocks caused by data silos, and the inefficiencies resultant from cumbersome technology integration.
The Scientific basis of Creative Advertisements
Advertisements are basically creative in nature, but success depends on applying scientific methods in identifying the right medium and the right message. Effective advertisements depend on knowing how customers will think and feel, and validating such assumptions with hard data.
Not all messages are equal. Some creative message options work better than others, and the basis of identifying such options are extensive testing across customer touchpoints, in different combinations of the audience, message, and channel.
The proof of the pudding is the eating. Salesforce Einstein works. Big success stories have already started coming out, just a few months into launch. A case in point is ShopAtHome.com, the e-commerce and coupons company which redefined customer engagement around predictive scores to generate a 23% improvement in email clicks, and a 30% increase in email open rate.