Perficient Digital Transformation Blog

Archives

Mark Polly

Twitter markapolly

Posts by this author: RSS

The ‘Age Of The Customer’ Is Here. What Are You Doing About It?

Customer centricity is no longer just a loaded buzzword used by marketers preaching tactics such as personalization and customer experience. Customer centricity is now a mind-set that companies need to adopt throughout the entire organization—not just marketing—to thrive in the digital world.

This quote from CMO.com’s article The ‘Age of The Customer’ Is Here. What Are You Doing About It? sums up nicely how we have evolved (or maybe suddenly transformed) into the customer-centric epoch.  The term “Age of the Customer” was coined by Forrester and aptly describes how access to information and the customer experience has shifted from companies to customers. This is why we keep seeing trends toward enhancing customer experience (see: Is Customer Experience the Top Digital Trend for 2015?).

Michael Hinshaw, CEO of McorpCX describes this the “Era of Smart Customers”.  He says, “Smart customers are customers that leverage digital devices to access information, anywhere and anytime. What that means is the power in the relationship between companies and customers is in the process of shifting.”Customer Centricity

Customer-centricity is one of the driving factors for Digital Transformation.  To be customer-centric, companies need to bring together people, processes and systems from across the company, especially sales, marketing, customer service. If your company is acting in silos across these areas, customers will see it and move on if they can.

The article, linked below, provides a good overall description of the challenges in becoming customer-centric. Some key steps to take to overcome these challenges include the following:

  • Define ownership for becoming customer-centric.  This could mean appointing a Chief Customer Officer, setting up a steering committee, or some other organizational technique.
  • Define metrics and continually measure how you are doing.  Start with a baseline, set targets and hold people accountable to meet the targets.
  • Refine and coordinate across the business where it affects the customer.  We might call this Digital Transformation, but it goes beyond the ‘digital’ part.  It is really about transforming culture and operations as well as the systems.
  • Connect with your customer.  Get feedback, encourage honest dialog about what you do and don’t do right.

Source: The ‘Age Of The Customer’ Is Here. What Are You Doing About It?

Mobile is at the Top of CEO’s Agenda for Digital Transformation

You’ve probably heard a lot about mobile in the past two years.  In PriceWaterhouseCoopers 18th annual Global CEO Study (2015), 81% of CEOs said that mobile technologies are strategically important to their business.  PWC says, “The sheer ubiquity of mobile devices today has revolutionised customers’ ability to obtain information – which has, in turn, transformed how they perceive value and the type of relationships they want to have with companies.”

PWC Technology Infographic

Everyday we see more and more evidence that mobile has to be a top priority for large and small companies. Not only are the sheer numbers of mobile devices and mobile users increasing every day, but the reliance on these devices increases every day.  Merkle RKG produces a quarterly Digital Marketing Report that has lots of information about where advertisers spend their money and the resulting consumer clicks. Here are some interesting data points from Merkle RKG’s first quarter 2015 report:

  • Mobile Paid Search Ad Spend was 32% of all ad spend in Q1.  That’s up from under 20% in Q1 2013.  Advertisers have increased buying mobile ads 60% in just two years.
  • 44% of paid search clicks on Google came from mobile devices.  So almost half of all ads clicked were ads displayed on mobile devices.
  • Desktop ad clicks dropped another 4% in Q1 on top of a drop of 3% in Q4 2014.  At the same time, phone clicks were up 42% in Q1 and tablet clicks were up 9%.  Tablet clicks were at 28% in Q4 2014, so the growth rate for tablets has slowed.
  • Mobile Organic Search Clicks accounted for 45% of all clicks in Q1 2015.  That’s up from 34% in Q1 2014.  That’s a 32% increase in just one year.

From those numbers it is clear that mobile devices are important to advertisers and search engines. From the click rates, it is also clear that mobile is very important to consumers.

But what if you haven’t jumped on the mobile bandwagon yet?  Will that hurt you? If you don’t really participate in paid advertising or paid search, does this matter to you?

Well Google is about to make that pain more real for companies who don’t make their sites mobile- friendly.  Google has decided to include “mobile- friendly” in its rankings for search results.  If your site is not mobile-friendly, then your ranking will drop on Google.  While your Search Engine Optimization efforts over the past few years have moved you up in the search results, this new designation will drop you back down.  How real is this mobile-friendly ranking?

According to Merkle RKG, Google has identified 29% of the Internet Retailer 500 websites as not mobile-friendly.  For all Fortune 500 websites, 46% do not meet Google standards for mobile-friendly.  Wow, half the Fortune 500 websites are at risk if they don’t revamp their sites.

It should be clear why 81% of CEOs think that mobile is strategically important. Not only are there a lot of mobile devices, but consumers, advertisers and Google are paying a lot of attention to content delivered on mobile.

CMOs Under Increasing Pressure to Produce Results

We’ve heard a lot about Chief Marketing Officers in the last few years.  With Digital Transformation at the top of many CEOs minds, the CMO role has gained prominence and power.  Of course with that prominence, comes increasing scrutiny.  Matt Langie wrote a story on CMO.com about the pressure CMOs are facing due to the high visibility and costs of digital marketing efforts.

Perficient Digital Transformation Series

For me this is a very timely article.  On April 15, I’ll be hosting a webinar titled Harness the Power of Your Digital Marketing Tool Box, where we’ll talk about digital marketing tools and provide some insight into the marketplace. You can register for the webinar by clicking the link.

The CMOs interviewed that story identified four concerns they face:

  1. More variables and more players to navigate.  The marketing marketplace has been going through a high level of turmoil in the past few years with the influx of hundreds of new tools and mergers and acquisitions by big players in the space.  Matt writes: “The pressure mounts each time a digital solution enters the marketplace. What are its capabilities? How does it drive ROI? Who is behind the latest release? What product support can I expect? These are all questions facing digital marketers on a nearly daily basis.”
  2. More issues that require marketers to quickly react/adapt. As our digital capabilities evolve to provide immediate feedback from customers, marketers are expected to address this feedback through their marketing efforts.  There are plenty of stories where marketers did not react quickly enough to both good and adverse events.
  3. Expected to be more proactive in more areas.  Being reactive and adaptive is great, but CEOs don’t like to be surprised.  This puts more pressure on CMOs to be proactive in areas like site optimization, mobile and social.  There has been a lot of talk about analytics, so CMOs are under pressure to be more proactive with identifying trends.
  4. Answering the usual call to deliver more, faster.  Every executive is under pressure to deliver more and deliver faster.  As marketing budgets increase, CEOs are looking for more return on that spend.  So not only do CMOs have to deliver more with limited budgets, they need to respond faster to market changes, which increases pressure on budgets even more.

As I see it, our digital marketing technology is enabling us to become faster, more agile, and more responsive.  However, as we gain these abilities, the pressure to deliver and show real results increases. Right now technology gains aren’t necessarily keeping pace with increasing expectations.

Here is a link to the story where you can read more details: Pressure Pushing Down On CMOs.

10 Questions To Ask A Digital Transformation Consultant

I saw this article – 10 Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Digital Transformation Consultant – on CMO.com and thought it would be interesting from a Digital Transformation consultant’s point of view. The author, Jon Bains, correctly identifies that it can be difficult to know who to trust when you need to engage somebody for consulting services. The Digital Transformation market has a lot of players with traditional agencies and consultancies expanding into this space. Who to engage with is a critical question and could mean great success or dismal failure for your business.

Mr. Bains offers these ten questions that you should ask before partnering up with a consultant. Speaking as one of those potential consultants, these are great questions that any respectable firm will be more than willing to answer.  The key for your company is to match the consultant’s answer with 1) reality – are they telling you the truth? and 2) your culture – will this consulting company fit your company’s style.

Here are the ten questions and my comments.  You can read the original article for Mr. Bains’ clarifications on each question:

  1. What is a typical engagement?  As a consultant, we have processes and methodologies that we like to follow.  Sometimes your engagement lines up exactly with our process and some times it doesn’t.  Look to see if the consultant is adaptable to what you want without losing the essence of their process.
  2. What is the shape of the billing curve?  A lot of potential clients want free strategy work in exchange for the promise of future work.  More than a few days of free work is not really a viable option for most consulting companies.  Strategy work involves the best consultants who are typically in high demand, so giving away that knowledge for free doesn’t make a lot of sense.
  3. Who are we likely to be working with?  In a digital transformation engagement you will typically have strategy work followed by implementation work.  Often the strategy team is different than the implementation team.  When you ask this question, its also important to find out if the strategy team will be available at least part time during the implementation phases.
  4. Has your team worked together before?   As Mr. Bains points out, really large consultants have thousands of employees who may have never met.  While you do want to have experts on the team, it is also desirable that they know how to work with each other and not at odds with each other.  You don’t want the “lead gen” expert creating strategy that the “content marketing” expert can’t deliver.
  5. How well do you know the sector?  This is a really good question because many consultants know marketing or IT, but really don’t know the market that you are in.  Automotive companies have different issues than healthcare providers.  Healthcare providers have different needs than do healthcare insurers.  Make sure your consulting company has experience in your specific sector.
  6. Do you expect to do any related production work? Really this is about the consultant’s ability to implement the strategies they help you create.  Too often I’ve seen consultants create great looking strategy that just could not be implemented with the budget or skills at the client.  If a consultant can help you implement the strategies, then you are that much closer to meeting your goals.
  7. Who is in your extended network – What are you likely to cross-sell?  Is your potential consult going to put pressure on you to “take advantage” of all the other great things they can sell you?  Will your strategy include signing up with the consultant’s email marketing distributor? While taking advantage of the consultant’s other divisions or partners might be very beneficial, you should be able to engage other firms independently as you desire.
  8. Which lines of the org chart are you most comfortable with?  Mr. Bains talks about making sure your consultant lines up with the “Doers” in your company.  If your digital transformation effort will require a lot of IT consulting and you engage a marketing/advertising agency, will that agency be able to work with your IT group?  Of course the opposite is true.  If your work is heavy on marketing or sales transformation and you hire an IT consultant, will that work?  Often times you will need a consultancy that can bring resources who align with all of your “Doers”.
  9. Have you done this before (successfully)?  Experience is always a key factor and usually why you are looking for outside help.  One thing to note is that engagements are almost always covered by some non-disclosure agreement.  So don’t expect your potential consultants to be able to tell you exactly what they did for other customers.  Just like we won’t spill the beans about your company, we won’t do it to other clients.
  10. Why do these programmes fail?  Hopefully your potential consultant as the experience to know what works and what doesn’t.  While all consultants will bring you case studies and examples of successes, try to find out what didn’t work on those projects or where an unnamed client had problems. Equally important is to find out what the consultant learned from those failures and will they apply that to your engagement.

At Perficient, we look forward to you asking us these questions.

Thriving in the Digital Economy thru Digital Transformation

IDC released a new MaturityScape report intended to provide guidance to companies about how to thrive in our new digital economy.  They predict that by 2018 a third of the top twenty market share leaders in each industry will be disrupted by new competitors that use digital technologies to create new services and business models.

IDC provide the following maturity model for digital transformation:

 

Digital Transformation Maturity

Source: IDC

IDC also identifies five key dimensions that need to be addressed:

  • Leadership – leaders need to become more sophisticated and knowledgable in their digital ecosystem.
  • Omni-Experience – the ability to attract and retain customers, employees and partners through engaging digital experiences.
  • Work Source – transforming the businesses work with talent through digital technologies
  • Operating Model – making business more responsive and effective through digitally connected people, partners, systems and assets
  • Information – leverage information and analytics to respond quickly to business opportunities

In the coming months, IDC plans to add further information about these dimensions.

Overall this is exciting information and validates a lot of the work we are currently undertaking with regard to Digital Transformation.

Transformation Needs Marketing, IT and Product Teams To Harmonize

With any Digital Transformation journey, various groups within your company need to coalesce together in order to move the organization forward.  Adobe CIO Gerri Martin-Flickinger spoke about how Adobe had to harmonize their Marketing, IT and Product efforts to ensure their transformation journey was a success.  You can read my blog article about what Adobe and other companies are doing to bring these factions together.

Is Customer Experience the Top Digital Trend for 2015?

If you listen to over 6000 business professionals, the answer would be YES!  Econsultancy, in association with Adobe has produced a Digital Trends report every year for the last several years. This year’s report, Digital Trends 2015, says Customer Experience is the top, single most exciting opportunity in the digital marketing world. 22% of the survey respondents said that Customer Experience is their top opportunity while Content Marketing came in second at 15%. Here is an infographic from Adobe’s Digital Marketing blog highlighting the trends (view the infographic below as well).

When I looked back over the trends from the last several years, Customer Experience is the only topic voted highest two years in a row. Back in 2014, Customer Experience was predicted to be the hottest trend. In 2013, Content Marketing came out on top.  In 2012 Social was the top opportunity and Mobile topped the charts in 2011. (more…)

Why “visitor to lead management” is so important

Back in the old days (like 2005!), to find information about a product, people contacted a salesperson, visited a retail location,  or waited for the company to advertise or email information out.  Things have changed dramatically since then.  A recent CMS Report story, What is Visitor to Lead Management, cited the statistic that 74% of buying decisions are made in advance of the first sales call. Customers are getting the answers they need way beyond them ever contacting your salespeople.  That is astonishing.

So where do these customers get information from to make their buying decisions?  Naturally, they get a lot of it from your digital presence – your website, social media talking about your products, etc.  It follows, therefore, that your leads ought to be coming from people visiting your website or your Facebook page or Tweeting about you.  As a result, you want to make sure the content you are publishing is consistent, comprehensive and can lead a potential customer to the right buying decision.  In short your Content Management System is at the forefront of your lead management system.

In the CMS Report article, the author describes the following major themes you should consider when looking at your content system:

  • Content Marketing – you need to create relationships with your visitors and customers by “providing relevant and engaging content”.
  • Content Performance – use metrics about your content to drive your marketing strategy and messages.  Measuring what resonates with your visitors is crucial to understanding how to tweak your marketing efforts.
  • Progressive Profile – this is really the heart of “Visitor to Lead Management”.  Anonymous visitors must be profiled as soon as they appear.  Then as the visitor navigates through your site, use more and more profiling techniques to figure out who that visitor is and target them with engaging content.

These ideas lead to the fact that your content management system also needs to intLeads to Dealsegrate well other other lead management systems, like your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, your Marketing Automation systems and even your help desk/customer support centers.

Once you have mastered Visitor to Lead, then it is time to take on “Lead to Revenue”.  This process describes the sales funnel that many people know. Over at Forrester, Lori Wizdo is considered an expert in Lead to Revenue. You can follow some of her research on her blog.

The Digital Business Landscape circa 2015

When you start to think about what it takes to be a digital business today, you may think that you have to be doing some form of e-commerce. Or, you may come up with the idea that you need to focus on improving your customer’s digital experience.

It turns out that there are lots of elements of a digital business to which you should pay attention. Dion Hinchcliffe and Steven Mann at Adjuvi produced The Elements of Digital Business diagram shown here that provides a good overview of the many areas considered part of being a digital business.

(null)

Of course, you don’t have to implement all of these elements as part of your digital transformation. But it is important to understand the various elements to see if there could be something missing from your portfolio.

For example, your company may be best suited to offer APIs (think IFTTT) rather than e-commerce. Or maybe you have a good customer experience platform but lack a great search experience.

As you evaluate your digital transformation progress, keep this picture in mind, and make sure you are addressing the key elements for your business.


Connect with Perficient on LinkedIn here

B2B Content Marketing: What type of content has the most clout?

Marketing to other businesses (B2B) is very different from marketing to consumers.  We’ve heard and talked a lot about Content Marketing in past, although it mostly has been focused on consumers – B2C. I just came across an interesting bit of research from Eccolo Media that looks specifically at content marketing in the B2B space.

eccolochart

Infographic by Eccolo Media

For the past few years, Eccolo Media has been surveying B2B marketers and buyers to get a pulse on the market. In their 2015 B2B Technology Content Survey Report they created an infographic describing which content has the most clout for B2B.

The first thing to note from the report is all the different types of marketing content that are available and used by B2B marketers.  Most of these are tried and true marketing vehicles: white papers, email messages, case studies, product brochures.  But Eccolo Media has also asked about webinars, blog posts, ebooks and even podcasts.

B2B customers consumed all of these content types. In fact, no less than 25% of the respondents consumed at least one of these types of content. That tells us that various types of content are important to reach the right audience.

However, the most revealing data is shown in the chart I’ve included here: What content types are the most influential for a B2B customer.  You can see that our old friend “product brochures and data sheets” still come out as the top influencer. White papers and case studies  came in second and third.

For all those marketers trying to influence B2B customers through email campaigns, the survey results here show that email influences only 15% of the buyers. That is only slightly higher than social media and print magazines. Also interesting is that tweets on Twitter were the least influential of all the content types.

Again, this data is for B2B marketing only. When you are looking to create or update your content strategy, you should take into account this kind of research data.