Archive for the ‘CRM’ Category

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Product Management (Product Owners / Product Managers) typically have a very broad range of responsibilities as they’re quite often seen to be the avenue to ensure not only that ‘things get done’ when it comes to product delivery, but also that the right things get done.

The size of the business and location of departments can determine what you do day to day, for example a small company a product manager might see themselves fulfilling the role of a marketer, data analyst or developer team lead on top of their product management role, but in a larger organisation who typically handle all operations in-house might see themselves promoting the vision, providing context, prioritisation and collaborating with the different departments to get things done. Lastly you could be in the unfortunate position where you have the developers in one country, the marketers in another and further more the product management team in another country which makes collaboration all the more challenging.

Product specialists are expected to be well rounded across a multitude of disciplines including KPIs / handling data, prioritisation (effort vs. value), customer service, UX, technical, marketing, Agile and of course product life cycle, but being a specialist in all these areas is unrealistic, so it’s fundamental to closely collaborate with all areas of the business in order to get to the right solution to customers within an acceptable time frame.

Unlike a dictatorship, collaborating on what problems to solve is critical generating a positive atmosphere, so discussing the problem you’re hoping to solve and solutions openly and honestly with stakeholders and relevant business areas, enables you all to come to a decision together with the customer being at the heart of conversations which will result in delivering a far superior product / end result.

This actually applies to the majority of roles, but collaboration alone is not enough and it’s equally important to be positive with a ‘can do’ attitude which will likely be absorbed across the ranks, resulting in your fellow colleagues who you rely on so much will rally behind you to fast track solutions to your customers.

Letting the barriers down, lots of collaboration, positivity, understanding there’s no I in team, believing that you can’t do everything on your own and appreciating the support at your disposal will naturally put you on the right road to success.

So many awesome ideas from so many people to improve product, but it’ll always be impossible to fulfil all desires in an acceptable time frame to stakeholders, making prioritisation not only challenging but extremely important.

Process, data, collaboration and determination can certainly make prioritisation all the more effective and smoother, so looking at these areas in more detail:

Process: Status of projects, where do product requests / bugs sit in the pecking order, ETA on delivery, investment cost and projected value of projects held in a transparent way will help with the communication overhead and help maintain trust.

Data: To ensure that high value items are being worked on you need data to backup assumptions. It can be easy to flap and try to make a problem out to be bigger than it is to get it done, but there should always be some kind of data to back it up with examples being: incremental revenue which can be reverse engineered from retention uplift rates or projected acquisition volume increases using ARPU for example. Other ways of projecting value / determining scale of the problem is customer support queries or customer feedback, site loading times, efficiency in terms of £££ saving eg. Man hours / days or software costs etc.

Collaboration: Discussing value and priority options openly with your colleagues will help you deliver a product in a more confident and focused way, as it’s not easy making the big decisions on prioritisation because what’s at the top or moves to the top means that the items below won’t be done now or perhaps anytime soon, so checking and agreeing on the focus / roadmap helps to give confidence to just get on with delivering a high quality & value product without having to worry about justifying a decision you’ve made alone every minute of the day.

Determination: Prioritisation changes frequently if you work in an agile environment, so being positive and determined to deliver upcoming projects you’ve been discussing for months or even years helps to keep focus on delivering the key business goals and provides reminders that it’s still on the agenda, no matter the level of incoming bombshells / distractions.

If someone asks for something to be done urgently without providing any numbers representing the projected value or any element to give an idea of the scale of the problem you’re looking to solve, then asking why do it or what happens if we don’t do it in the next 12 months should help to quickly prompt the need to research more into the value.

Projecting investment cost and taking time to dig into the real value the product change will make in a collaborative way, will ensure that you’re delivering frequent value to customers internally and externally in a happy, fun and relaxed environment.

With marketing departments typically focusing on P&L / ROI of ad campaigns and product development on product quality, product feature enhancements / performance and customer UX, it’s easy for the two business areas to be fragmented which could make the end goal harder to reach.

Ironically although the individual department goals for both are normally so separate and different, the most common problems they face can sometimes be solved by the other eg. Acquisition marketing unable to increase incremental volume because the CPA / ROI / ARPU of the additional media spend doesn’t look healthy, yet fixing some bugs around the product feature in question, a feature enhancement or a new product release is likely to contribute to the solution that allows a raft of new customers through the door efficiently. Vice versa, a new shiny product or feature where the target audience is so niche that acquisition marketing efficiency / volume is poor or it’s unlikely existing customers will benefit, then it’ll be an uphill struggle to make the product viable.

Fortunately the majority of brands have both of these areas in-house so it does make optimising the relationships and responsibilities easier. Naturally one area cannot exist without the other even when you look at brands like Google and Facebook who have groundbreaking products, yet still require nicely crafted ad campaigns to generate incremental revenue.

Product developers don’t bite and marketers don’t just care about ad campaign performance, so close collaboration which is vital can be achieved by letting down a shield and discussing problems openly and bravely, so that multiple solutions can be discussed and you never know, the problem you thought was a tough problem to solve, may not be so tough anymore.

Again, close collaboration is key and potentially another way of aiding / fast tracking an improved relationship is by recruiting a marketer or two into the product development arena or vice versa.

The two departments working collaboratively to solve problems could lead to some spectacular chemistry.

Greed

Even the largest businesses in the world will never be so big that they can afford to not look after their customers and more importantly loyal customers.

Apple act as if they are exempt from this rule by increasing their product prices unnecessarily, changing the dock connector resulting in millions of customers having to fork out an extra £25 for an adaptor which doesn’t work properly, updating your iPhone OS results in having to pay to update your MAC OS in order for both to stay compatible, forcing customers to only use Apple based software and then finally not allowing customers to access the most common apps such as Google Maps.

All of these things have one thing in common – Apple first, customer second. Having billions in cash reserve is not enough, they want more and more and more.

Most of those key issues could have been avoided eg. If Samsung changed their dock connector then they would have given an adaptor in the new handset box FOC, Apple could have given customers a free MAC OS upgrade with the new phone, price new handsets competitively – Sony now have the most premium smartphone on the market at the cheapest price (within the high end range) with the Xperia Z (video below) and new beautifully crafted Xperia Z1.

Once you’re with Apple you won’t move I hear you say, times have changed and there is an abundance of high end choice for the consumer at a reasonable price. Many customers are getting fed up and clearly turning to alternative products such as Google / Android, Samsung and Sony as you can see by the chart below.

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You only have to look at a few of the latest revenue trends for some of the largest brands on the globe to realise how quickly things can change for the worse such as Nokia, Blackberry, Microsoft, Dell and HP.

Many believe that Apple will end up like Blackberry and Nokia in the next 10 years. I tend to agree unless they adapt to change.

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Can we place a pixel across your whole site and we’ll give you free customer insights? Can we place a pixel on each stage of the user journey so that we can optimise towards all site traffic data?

These are two very common questions which originated from traditional ad networks and still lives on even though technology has evolved.

If you ask a marketer if they could target anyone in the world with advertising with no restrictions, it would no doubt be their competitors customers.

I am fortunate enough to have bought display remarketing campaigns targeting competitor customers in the past. This was when I worked across the largest hotel chain in the UK at an ad agency via an ad network. That level of targeting, special offer creative and high frequency reaped rewards as you’d expect.

Marketers spend £millions a year on advertising and driving quality traffic can be expensive, so the last thing they want is a competitor just simply remarketing all of their users who visit their site either through FBX or display.

Fortunately this can be avoided if marketing deploys a strict policy that they only allow media pixels to fire on an attributed basis, yes some partners might say that they’d need all data to optimise but when you weigh up value vs. risk, it’s simply not worth it. Optimising on attributed traffic only is good enough for third party ad partners.

On the analysis front eg. Google Analytics, Click Tale, Quantcast etc. it’s a case of applying a bit of logic, experience and research so then when deploying tracking / pixels on site, your data will not be sold in a data exchange or given to a competitor for remarketing. When it comes to big blue chip companies like Facebook, Adobe and Google, there’s no need to hesitate about data security because if it gets out that they’re selling your data then it would be disastrous for them. Whereas the likes of Quantcast who are very well known for giving you FREE customer insights just for placing a pixel across your whole site, is one of those cases where big red warning lights should appear because in this world nothing is really for free and the likes of Qantcast make money from using your data.

Having a strict cookie / tracking policy is safe and advisable but by not having one could cause your market share to decrease as your competitors steal your customers.

You don’t walk across a busy road without looking in either direction so think twice before implementing code on your site.

Not enough

Scenario: Revenue has been declining for years and the CEO is pointing the finger at acquisition marketing to grow business. Planners are very familiar with this scenario.

I wrote an article recently that all programmatic buying should be in-house, but if a brand is expecting that this alone will solve a decline in revenue, then they need to wake up and smell the coffee.

With ad spend over £15bn / year in the UK alone, this brings a lot of hungry salesman to your door insisting that their product is the best and that you should invest, which puts pressure on CEO’s and CMO’s to potentially waste a lot of money testing out the same option over and over again or testing out an option which only has a 1% chance of working to key KPIs. Also accepting a post-view window across their display buys as default because they’ve been constantly told that ‘the flashy banners are driving all organics’ is something which gets banded around often. With that amount of ad spend floating about also brings an opportunity for large sums of money to change hands under desks without the brand (if it’s an agency) or without the investors finding out.

Just because there is more hype than ever when it comes to advertising eg. programmatic buying, DSP’s and trading desks, it doesn’t mean that focus and investment should divert away from other core business areas. Many CEO’s feel that obsessing about acquisition marketing is the way forward because of the simplicity of delivering an ad which a potential customer can click on in conjunction with hundreds of salesman saying that this is the answer, but for those who are keen to work backwards – finding out why high value customers are leaving feeding this back into dev and marketing, developing products across all devices, looking at CRM and key promotions are the ones who will survive and therefore be able to afford a significantly higher CPA than competitors, giving the trading desk plenty of ad options which competitors cannot afford to buy.

If all of the below areas work together to achieve a common goal then the long term consequence of this will be shown in bottom line results and staff retention rates in a positive way:

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It was really nice to read Marco Bertozzi’s article the other day where he used a personal example to demonstrate that spending money on advertising isn’t the only way of generating revenue and growth.

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The top two tag management tools currently on the market are BrightTag and Tagman. Both offer more than just tag management such as attribution modelling and performance reporting.

As clients add front end marketing data into their in-house DMP’s, elements such as attribution modelling and performance reporting is pulled from the DMP. I have mentioned this before, but the reason why attribution modelling and performance reporting should always be driven from the in-house DMP is because the data will be:

  1. Across all channels and data sources.
  2. You can build your own custom attribution models.
  3. Performance is defined across a multitude of KPIs such as cohort ROI, projected ROI, cohort CPA and projected CPA.

Let’s focus on the actual tag management feature, this has certainly been attractive to many brands over the years especially those dev teams who take + 12 months to implement a new tag (I have personally witnessed this for a car insurance brand). Times have changed, websites are now more advanced than ever alongside more advanced products across multiple devices which has led to a prioritisation of developer recruitment in-house. As a result something like creating a tag management feature within their back office system would be second nature to the majority of dev teams.

What they’d be able to build which would typically take one developer two weeks to a very maximum of one month including QAing would be:

  • Compatibility with all tags including floodlights, analytics such as GA, SEO tracking.
  • No limit to volume of tags.
  • Implementation by URL string.
  • Fire pixels based on variables.
  • Passing back variables to pixel suppliers.
  • Killing a tag from loading if the response from the third party is slow.
  • Asynchronous tag loading.

Sending a work request to your dev team to build a tag management feature in your in-house back end system certainly proves to be cost efficient as you’ll find it would save you at least £60k to £100k every year. Those who aren’t motivated to build a brief like this or have much dev resource then there is the completely free Google Tag Manager product available.

Listen

You have a eureka moment and you start building out the infrastructure for product, website and staff.

The product flies off the shelves and life is good. Customers are happy, customers are spending on your site and you’re living the dream.

As the business expands it produces more risk to ‘issues’ across key business areas which effect customers such as product stability, CRM / customer service and product development especially when linked to different platforms. As time goes on, competitors pop up trying to attack your weak points offering a viable alternative and the ideal solution would be to have had long term business strategies in place to cover all areas which could be at risk of those ‘issues’ appearing, resulting in customers not having a good reason to go anywhere else.

Many businesses only have short term strategies which apply temporary fixes and patches resulting in those ‘issues’ appearing in full view to customers.

The 21st century has brought customer opinions and voices which are not only expressed across the globe but also across all channels especially social media and forums instantly within seconds to millions, so no longer does a customer have to write a letter to complain or stay on the phone for hours, customers are now in the driving seat not the brand.

Those businesses who closely monitor, analyse and engage with their customer feedback especially their high value customers will avoid getting annihilated, emmbaresed and shown up in front of millions as well as having to pay high acquisition costs to convince new customers that they have changed.

Brands need to stop thinking that they know better and start believing the classic saying that ‘the customer is always right’. Yes, not every single customer is right and you don’t need to add every piece of feedback to the business agenda, but apply logic to constructive feedback and where a clear trend appears apply it to the relevant business area.

Not only are your high value customers willing to give you an abundance of ideas on how to improve, but you only have to give a tiny gift away to get vital feedback to improve business, which in turn once implemented will give you an abundance of organic new customers compared to the expense of having to use ad budget to acquire those new customers.

On a similar note, it’s also not acceptable to put a product on the shelf when based on customer feedback post launch is clealy unfinished. A brand should never be in this situation, especially with so many tools available which would give you the feedback you need in order to build the ultimate product which meets demand prior to launch.

So when you’re lying on the beach seeing the cash flow, you need to remember that if you don’t listen and look after your customers, you can lose them significantly quicker and in greater volume than you can aquire new ones and that is certainly not what investors like to see.

In house

Ad agencies have offered huge value for advertisers for decades and continue to do so. This will never change.

The key benefits of outsourcing the media planning and buying function to ad agencies include the likes of: global negotiating power, specialist contacts for sponsorship deals, cross client learnings, cross channel integration, deal with the hassle and admin and it’s someone for the CMO or CEO to blame if the business isn’t hitting key targets.

With programmatic buying (Paid Search, Social Media, Display RTB, Online Video, Mobile and Affiliates) becoming the bulk of digital Marketing, the majority of these benefits no longer applies therefore it doesn’t make sense and can be classed as lazy if a brand wasn’t to even consider taking all programmatic buying in-house.

Although rightfully CEO’s obsess about growth, also ‘wastage’ and efficiency across the business needs to be reviewed often.

Let’s look at the pros and cons for taking all programmatic buying in-house:
Pros

  • New digital media team would be sitting next to all other marketing areas eg. CRM, creative, content, web design, product managers.
  • Close to business KPI’s and budgets so they can be extremely reactive.
  • No hidden margins in bid platforms.
  • Can often get cheaper adserving and bid platform rates.
  • Team become specialists in the business sector / vertical.
  • 100% of time and focus will be given to the one client.
  • Learnings and data won’t be shared with other clients with no chance of leakage to competitors.
  • Can turn around new campaigns significantly quicker.
  • 24 hour contact.
  • Will always have the time to stay ahead of the game.
  • Work closely with the data team / in-house DMP optimising on real KPI’s such as revenue / LTV / ARPU.
  • Can openly recommend business requirements to CEO in order to get things done quickly and grow the business.
  • No hidden agendas – everyone aiming for the same goal.
  • Other internal departments can be educated about what role the media buy has on business goals.

Cons

  • Can take six months to recruit team, train grads and setup systems and data integrations.
  • Ad agency would have to make more effort to integrate offlline and online brand with internal programmatic team.
  • The CEO might ignore team recommendations of key requirements needed to improve marketing.
  • CMO would need to find someone who has +5 years experience in programmatic buying across all channels to head up the team and train the grads.

There are certainly plenty of pros and if you’re wondering how to kick things off, speak to some of the recruitment agencies below who will be able to provide an abundance off free advice:

Neil’ Recruitment

Digital Bubble

Cookies

Firstly you need to have access to a DSP and have adserver container tags across your whole site. When implementing the container tags, it’s essential to pass back as much data through the custom variables as possible eg. age, gender, bucket amount, revenue, customer loyality type.

Container tags should be placed across each site / product page and then a tag from homepage throughout the whole conversion process to the sales thank you page. Also a tag across the current customer login section is required.

Now it’s a case of building up your CRM database within the DSP. A pixel within the DSP represents a targeting segment to be included / excluded such as:

  • Main acquisition homepage
  • March 2013 microsite landing page
  • Car Insurance homepage
  • Home Insurance homepage
  • Quote confirmation page
  • Logged in
  • Deposit confirmation page
  • Business awards landing page
  • Affiliate landing page
  • CRM email – non converting
  • Males
  • Age 25-34
  • Gold customers

Once your pixels have been created in the DSP, it’s a case of implementing them within the adserver container tags using the existing variables which have already been setup. This will allow you to setup basic scripts to conditionally fire the pixels to match the segment. To increase cookie volume, implement separate pixels across all of your CRM emails also.

The tech part is out of the way and now you just need to setup all of the relevant strategies in the DSP including / excluding the newly created CRM segments accordingly.

As new product pages, websites, microsites and CRM email campaigns get created, then the same process needs to take place in order to keep the cookie CRM database updated.

As the cookie database is held within a DSP such as MediaMath, you can deliver the CRM campaigns across ad exchanges, yield optimisers and FBX.

Retargeting

Excitement hit the ad industry when Google announced that they will provide advertisers with the ability to retarget their paid search ads through display advertising via DBM.

The exitement was short lived for a couple of reasons 1. DoubleClick didn’t understand what you could actually do resulting in mis-selling to clients and 2. You can only retarget from the search ad click and not from search ad view.

Remarketing search traffic by keyword has been around for years so there is really nothing new here.

If you haven’t got the ability to already do this internally through referral data, then it should be added to the display bid managers agenda on a low priority. Low priority, as data suggests that the ‘extra’ retargeting media cost on top of the already high paid search CPCs, doesn’t yield a positive ROI for the majority of keywords.

Currently the likes of Facebook are coming out with new ad formats which are in demand by the bucket load that work. In order for Google to compete, then they really need to bring out more thoughtful product initiatives which clients demand, such as remarketing paid search ads on the view, now that would be something special!

With the official release of DoubleClick Digital Marketing along with recruiting some high profile candidates from agency land to sell DDM, this hopefully means that future product updates will bring greater value to clients.

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With such huge global reach and engaging ad formats, Facebook has now become a very powerful CRM tool.

Similar to display CRM, this activity would usually fall under the programmatic buying team. When thinking about what strategies to setup, it’s always good to discuss them first with the central CRM team.

Facebook CRM should run across both Facebook Marketplace and FBX. You can still use a consistant strategy structure which would be in line with display – remarketing site visitors who didn’t get passed the first conversion step, remarketing those who drop off during the conversion process and remarketing those who have converted (current customers).

For FB Marketplace you will need to rely on the CRM team heavily to provide an up to date list of email addresses by segment / strategy as targeting is by email addess (custom audience targeting). This can then be used for including / excluding at time of strategy setup. As well as targeting by email you can also target your existing FB fan base within Marketplace. The good thing about CRM across FB Marketplace is that you can deliver ads across all formats including mobile install ads.

For FBX, this is all cookie based so you can mirror the display setup 1-1. You can only deliver basic ads across the news feed and ASUs for FBX.

When it comes to post click performance, all clients will notice a dramatic improvement vs. display CRM (+250% CTR and +350% click to pixel / conversion event) but for CRM campaigns it’s all about having up to date bespoke creative, a reasonable freq. cap and bid to match the segment. Also it’s essential to have exposure across as many channels as possible for CRM and all of this is a priority over performance.

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The search is over and the best DSP on the planet has been found.

Taking into account global resource, data centre locations, commercials, minimum spends, targeting options, QPS, UI, reporting, sources plugged in, a list of the top DSPs has been put together.

MediaMath have a good combination of most key elements such as internal expertise for advance setups, they tap into all sources as a priority so they have the most reach available out of all DSPs and have an advanced algorithm that does what it says on the tin. They are also flexible on the commercials allowing you to build your volume up overtime with little risk. This strategy also gives you an idea of the kind of client service they provide which is at an exceptional level.

DoubleClick Bid Manager have certainly improved since moving onto the Google stack tapping into more sources than ever. They still cannot tap into FBX though and are locked out from certain publishers due to being under the ‘Google’ umbrella. As you’d expect, they do have the most superior QPS which is certainly an advantage when it comes to display CRM.

Turn were very slow getting a data centre in Europe and they have a long way to go but they are still a very respectable DSP.

1
MediaMath
2
DoubleClick Bid Manager
3
Turn
4
AppNexus
5
DataXu
6
[x+1]
7
LucidMedia

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Criteo have certainly become popular over the past few years with marketers. This is mainly due to them being sold into a no hassle site remarketing solution paying on a low risk CPC basis.

What a lot of marketers and CEOs don’t know is that by using a managed site retargeting service like Criteo is not only lazy and inefficient, but it it’s also opening the business to data leakage which could have a damaging effect.

Let’s break those three key points down further:

1. Inefficient way of spending money – Criteo typically charge c 50p CPC yet using a DSP eg. MediaMath and Adacado together, the eCPC rate would be c 5p. Everything works back to an eCPM for display, so on a CTR of 1.5% you’re paying £5 CPM for the managed service via Criteo and only c 70p CPM for the media and dynamic creative service both on a self-service basis. Not only that, 1.5% is quite conservative for a dynamic remarketing CTR so as it goes up, so does Criteo’s eCPM.

2. Lazy – it’s a lot easier to send a monthly invoice to accounts to pay but it does take a bit more intelligence, will power and proactiveness to get a self-service DSP on board and dynamic creative supplier. Display CRM would only be part of someone’s job and they’d typically apply a tight frequency cap and low CPM at the top of the funnel, but as you go lower in the funnel the frequency cap should be increased alongside the CPM as the users become more valuable to your business.

3. Data leakage – allowing a third party to ‘manage’ your data for you is always risky that it could fall in the wrong hands eg. a competitor or data exchange.

Something I haven’t mentioned is scale and volume, although Criteo do have a few exclusive publishers, this doesn’t match to any degree the sheer scale which a DSP such as MediaMath or DoubleClick Bid Manager bring to the table.

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Using a DSP on a self service basis lets you set your own rules and strategy structure therefore site remarketing strategies should be completely separate from prospecting. It’s essential to separate them as the KPIs and strategy between prospecting and CRM are so different (similar to brand and generic search) – it’s a classic way of how a lot of ad networks used to over represent the real prospecting display results by including remarketing strategies within prospecting campaign results.

From remarketing site visitors who have bounced, to remarketing high value customers, the set-up should be bespoke to the segment. The further you get in the user journey, the less cookies there will be allowing you to be able to afford to be more aggressive as there’s less risk of budget getting out of control, also the further your customers get in the journey, the more you want to keep them (as their value increases):

Let’s start with remarketing people who have visited but not registered their details – a tight frequency should be implemented and reasonably low CPM.

Dependent on your user journey you should then split out your remarketing strategies by segment (which should all be list in your cookie CRM database) eg. Age, gender, country, product, user level – as the segment becomes more valuable to your business, the frequency cap should be loosened and CPM increased.

As well as the media strategies, the likes of creative and ongoing promotions are crucial for success in this area – it’s not going to help serving your high value customers banners telling them to sign up again or promote an out of date offer. A reminder of what’s currently available, what’s just launched, cross sell, RAF, special offers and what’s coming soon are the basics.

Remember, the harder you work on CRM and generally looking after your customers to avoid them leaving, the more you can afford to pay for new customers which has a positive effect on the incremental volume you can drive (referring to the classic volume price curve).