Matt Langie, MarketLinc - The Power of Human Engagement in a Digital World

November 22, 2016

Slide 1:

I want to give a shout-out to the ObservePoint crew and everybody who’s put this great event on. Lots of great presentations and speakers and I’m really honored to be a part of this really hopefully momentous event for ObservePoint and the industry as we share some great thought leadership across the topics of analytics and data and measurement and what the future might hold for all of our respective businesses.

This is Matt Langie with MarketLinc. I’ve been serving as the Chief Marketing Officer. Starting with a little history to give you some context of what I want to share with you today, which is all about the power of human engagement in a digital world. As a long time digital marketer, I’m a marketer who’s marketed marketing solutions to marketers most of my career. Very much oriented toward the digital side of things and measurement and data, starting with WebTrends and then coming over to Omniture and helping to build that business and market those products on a global basis.

One of the things I’ve seen over the years is there’s actually a great amount of energy and momentum moving towards digital, which I think is fantastic. We’re all trying to build businesses, we’re all trying to reach and scale and hit new heights and revenue numbers in serving the marketing place and serving our customers. However, one thing I would want to introduce here is this idea of curbing your digital enthusiasm. What I mean by that is: don’t forget that it’s a human being at the other end of that experience. I want to share with you some history and some data that we’ve collected and garnered over the years in our business and how we work with our clients that will hopefully call this out. As we get started with this, I really want you to be thinking about how we take data and how we take digital and develop and deliver a much more compelling experience for what ultimately is a human being at the other end.

Slide 2:

That said, just some quick history on me and my experiences to put this into context. 1992, I was a very young Air Force officer in Monterey, California, stationed at the defense language institute. Ultimately I came across the CompuServe Internet Services and of course I signed up. I was really excited about what the experience was able to deliver to me and thought this was going to change the world.

Slide 3:

By 1994, America Online really started to make its push. For those of you old enough to remember, AOL was the world’s largest manufacturer of CD-ROMs with their install software on it, and of course, I was a recipient of a number of those in the mail. I signed up and I’ve got mail, and was able to engage online and really see how the world was going to change via the internet. Slowly, but surely, I started to understand the opportunities for how businesses would change and would be able to market themselves, and how you could deliver a digital experience, if it’s media, or even if it’s product.

Slide 4:

In the early days of Amazon or even Yahoo—and here’s early Yahoo, 1994. Started by David Filo and Jerry Yang, and that business you could say is coming to an end with the pending Verizon acquisition, if that does complete. Back in 1994, you can see here that not even 24 thousand websites worldwide, is what was being tracked and recorded by Yahoo’s search engine at the time.

Slide 5:

This idea of where we stand today and how far we’ve come in 20 years, thinking about your business today, and where that was 20 years ago—if it even if it existed. So many different businesses have been able to start, and a lot of that is because of the power of what the internet has been able to deliver to us. The ability to reach and scale and serve millions of new customers that we couldn’t have otherwise because of the cost or expense of a physical medium via the US Postal Service in sending out content. Or, distance and time, so you couldn’t do things asynchronously, everything had to be real time. The challenges of the medium, we didn’t have a Facebook, we didn’t have a twitter, so communicating something to a vast audience was much, much harder. It was something that was very expensive with print or radio or TV or what have you. Thinking about all that in context, I would that as of today, one of the things we should all feel very fortunate and lucky about is that we’re now it the golden age of digital marketing.

Slide 6:

We now have the capability of reaching and scaling our businesses to vast audiences. Innumerable number of channels and opportunities to communicate and acquire new customers, convert those customers to our product or services, and ultimately retain them through a number of platforms and technologies, whether it’s emails or it’s online surveys or display ad retargeting. Just take a pause and think about where we’ve come, where we’re headed, and how digital—and ultimately data—has enabled us to build some pretty amazing businesses and change the world, the way consumers consume our products and services. I think it’s sometimes fun to take a pause and think about back in the day when I was first getting on the internet, I’ve always been a musician, always enjoyed picking up new music.

Slide 7:

Of course, back in the day, it was the single channel of going to the record store and buying, at the time it might have been, an LP record, which then evolved into cassette tapes, which then evolved into CD-ROMs. Buying a CD at the store was kind of what you did. Then the internet came along, and the ability to engage in multiple channels of communication and engagement with businesses: I could now go to the store, I might be able to listen to things online, I still might call someone or go to the business and their respective stores to purchase those products. Today, it’s all about omni-channel and many of our businesses—particularly if you’re on the eCommerce side—it’s all about putting the consumer at the center of the universe and how your businesses engage and deliver those experiences.

Think about the systems that we have to have in place to deliver those experiences, how we have to connect those once disparate systems together. So today’s consumer who might be interested in booking a flight through an app—take Delta for example, a company I’ve worked with over the years. They’ve got a pretty decent app experience, but it doesn’t always fit my needs. And when I call the Delta phone center, they need to have some understanding and some connection to the data that they have on me and my behavior and how I’m engaged with their services, to better serve me so that I’m not this random anonymized visitor calling into the call center. They know who I am and the fact that I’m going on a flight in four hours and I might be looking to rebook something or have some other issue I need to resolve.

Point being, along with these capabilities have come the responsibility and the expectations of better serving the end consumer with this omni-channel experience. No matter how I interact with your business, you should be able to know who I am and serve me in a very compelling and unique way. That has developed into architectures and the things we need to build in capturing the data, and then executing on that data to deliver those experiences.

Slide 8:

Whether it’s being delivered through a call center agent or on the web or through social or over mobile, these omni-channel experiences require pretty significant investments by way of capabilities. I’m not going to go through all of thee, but you can see on the slide here: having context-aware service oriented architecture, this ability to have the processes and the agile capabilities of delivering a highly-personalized experience, the underlying foundational platform when it comes to the transactional, and the knowledge and this overall aster data—whether you’re serving is up in the cloud or you’re capturing the data on premise, if you’re a bank or pharmaceutical—whole point being here is that very, very complex systems, which lead to a significant amount of what we would call at one time a dream—and maybe for some of us it’s a nightmare—and that’s the data.

What data has delivered us is the capability of understanding, the capability of intuiting in some sense, and even predicting. Now we’re getting to the stage where our MarTech and our capabilities of our stacks are delivering us the ability to communicate and connect with our consumers in amazing new ways. Lots of presentations you’ll hear today really go deep on this. But what I really want to orient this towards is where this is taking us and what the overall experience is for our consumers, for our customers. What does this data deliver us?

Slide 9:

On the one hand, you can say we’ve got so much data that we’ve had to put a label on it: Big Data.

Slide 10:

This is a term you likely know—popularized a number of years ago—communicating or implying that we have so much data by way of our customers that we now have to have very unique systems and capabilities to extract what’s important and understand the value from that Big Data so we can deliver a unique capability and unique experience to our end consumer. With all this Big Data and all these capabilities in digital, has come a number of other capabilities for us in delivering these experiences.

Slide 11:

Many of you have seen this. This comes from, the marketing technology landscape. Here we are in 2016, this goes back to earlier this year from their conference, but we are now well over 3,500 different marketing technology vendors. All trying to leverage that data that we’re able to capture, and all trying to stitch together these systems. Whether it’s advertising and promotion to acquire new customers, or delivering content and overall user experiences, creating stronger social relationships, delivering commerce and sales experience, harnessing all this data we talked about. And managing all of this through talent or projects or agile and lean capabilities, and a number of these vendors span multiple of these categories. All of us on the vendor side look at his and go, “Wow, there’s certainly a lot of competitors.” But you, if you’re a marketer, if you’re an analyst, if you’re someone in a role where you’re trying to put all of this together and make it work, it can certainly be quite challenging and we as vendors haven’t made it easier for you.

Slide 12:

Going back to my early, early Omniture days or even well into the Adobe acquisition of Omniture, we had something like 150 vendors at the time and we thought that was a lot. Then over the course of subsequent years following that, like I said, we’re well into 3,800—probably over 4,000 logos at this point in 2016. 4,000 businesses all vying for your attention, vying for a seat at the table of your business, to capture and harness that data, help you execute on it and deliver an experience. So giving this set-up, what I wanted to do was introduce this in the context of: what are we delivering? What is the digital experience? And the engagement that your customer is experiencing with your business as a result of all this. Do we have the best possible experience that we’re delivering? Whether it’s we’ve got amazing predictive algorithms and systems that are telling us our customer wants and needs. I would contend there’s something we’re all missing. Let me explain what I mean, and set that up so you can best understand it.

Slide 13:

In today’s digital experience, often times what we’re seeing is in the customer journey, there’s a lot of activity happening off site. I might see a TV ad or a tweet, engage with a number of venues or scenarios online, so my customer journey might take me to a number of destinations off your site. You are the business, it’s your .com, it’s your onsite experience, but off site there’s a number of things that, as a consumer, I’m doing and I’m engaged in that you have to have some understanding of. You’re capturing that through CRM data, you might be capturing that through customer acquisition systems, or DMPs—data management platforms—and advertising networks. There’s a number of tools and technologies and systems and processes in place for you to start capturing that data and really start to understand that customer journey off site, and then try to connect the dots with the onsite customer journey. As your consumer ultimately ends up on your site, and engaging with your business, what’s going to happen is there’s going to be a moment of truth for the consumer.

Now that moment of truth may actually be when they get to the shopping cart and they drop it in and make a purchase, but it may happen well before that stage. There may actually be an opportunity for them to come to this moment of truth of, “Do I trust this business? Do I buy this product? Do I engage in this service? Do I watch this video?” That moment of truth may actually be indicated far before they ever get to a transaction or a conversion that you would consider to be a KPI, whether it’s a revenue or a profit or a view or whatever your conversion event might be. But ultimately I would content that along the customer journey, there comes a point that there’s a moment of truth, and there may be multiple points of a moment of truth.

As that consume is coming to your site, going through your mobile app, onsite could mean any number of mediums that you’ve delivered or enabled to be experienced by your consumers. The point being that I want you to think about what happens at this stage psychologically, or in the mind of the consumer, and what happens if, as a business, I don’t have the opportunity to engage with them at a human level. Let me explain this and take you to where I’m going with this which is the need for human to human engagement.

Slide 14:

Let me go through an example here. Take a consumer who starts with a search. They’re looking for a particular software product, let’s use that as an example. So I’m looking to potentially download a new application on my Mac, a new software product. I come from the search to the landing page, and my behavior is I spend 15 second on the page, and your behavior as the business says, “Oh great, this person clicked through our page search, they landed on a landing page, let’s serve up a 15 percent off promo code. Let’s drive this to a sale because we think or we may be finding there’s some price sensitivity to our offering.” However, what may actually be happening is that I, as the consumer, may be saying, “Is this product right for me? Pricing is not an issue for me at this point. I’m trying to discover if this is the right product for me.” For me, at this stage of the landing page, that is my moment of truth. And if your business has the opportunity to learn that, and engage with me at that stage, you might drive a very different result as you’ll see here in a second.

Then I might go from the landing page to the product page. I’m going to scroll through that product page. I’ll spend some time on that. The questions I’m asking myself are: Does this work with my recent update? I recently updated to Mac OS Sierra, I’ve got a new operating system. I’m not sure if this new software will work that well for me. Given that, another moment of truth, opportunity for your business selling me this software to really discover, “Hey, is this a pricing issue or is it a product compatibility issue?” And because of the concerns I have, psychologically what I’m looking to discover, how I’m having some consideration in this purpose, I then bounce out to a product comparison page. During which, I spend a minute reviewing similar products, and really trying to ask the question: would another product better fit my needs? Here we are with another moment of truth.

This is an opportunity for your business selling me this software, to engage with me in a way that you’ll discover that my issue is not financial. It’s not pricing. I get to the cart page and you’re offering me a free shipping offer. I’m just trying to see how much this product is with this promo code and free shipping. But at the end of the day, I abandon the cart and I exit the page. All along, you as a business may be thinking, “Hmm, here is a consumer who is really price sensitive. They didn’t bite at this offer.” And the analytics and the data we’re capturing from this may be signaling us one thing, but I would contend, that if we were really able to understand the consumer, we understand that my concern was: is it compatible with my OS? I had some consideration in the purchase process, during which there was multiple moments of truth, including this last one, for you and your business to really understand, is this really about pricing? Or is this about product compatibility? I would contend that unless you’re engaged at a human level, you’ll never be able to discover that.

Slide 15:

As good as your digital systems and data might be, the point is, a digital-only journey is insufficient for some consumers. I’m going to repeat that again because I think that’s an important point. For all of us that have been involved in digital for many, many years, the realization that I’ve come to at this stage in my career in working with MarketLinc, a digital-only journey is insufficient for some consumers. Those of you involved in analytics and digital marketing, you know that segmentation is something that we need to do. We segment our audiences to better serve the needs and personalize the experiences for certain segments. I would contend that one of the things we are missing as a collective industry, is this opportunity to deliver a human-to-human experience that resolves those issues, those moments of truth through that buying journey, and delivers a far more engaging experience. The fact is, we know this to be the case at MarketLinc, and this is something that we have data and is provable. It is verifiable.

Slide 16:

In the sense of one of our customers we work with—which actually is a software company—has seen, when they deliver a digital-only experience, a digital flow, and holding that at the control, on average, what they’ve been seeing is a 19 dollar and 71 cents revenue per visit. An average RPV of the visitors that they’re seeing. However, having engaged with my business with MarketLinc—and I’ll soon explain what we do—we’ve been able to deliver a human-to-human engagement, and specifically, the opportunity for the consumer to engage with a live person through digital chat, and through phone calls. That being the impression group, we’ve been able to drive a 26 dollar and 45 cents revenue per visitor, so a total lift of 34 percent with a 6 dollar and 74 cents improvement.

The point here is that when you identify that moment of truth, you present the opportunity to absolve or resolve the issues that consumer may have with those considered purchases, you can, in fact, deliver human-to-human experience. You can lift revenue and you can drive a much better experience for your customer and drive revenue for your business because you’re delivering what that segment of consumers want.

Slide 17:

In fact, as we’ve seen with all of our clients, the thousands of visitor flows—and in some cases, millions of different flows through a site—what we’re seeing is somewhere up to 15 percent of visitors to your site, in fact, want and need human engagement. Those are the targeted visitors that we touch and we engage with. I’ll show you in a second here what that might look like. The other thing that we find is that when we do engage with those visitors coming to your site, then engaging with your business through a digital-only experience, when we do offer them human engagement, when we offer them an opportunity to have a personalized invitation to chat with a live human being, a live sales agent, they take us up on the offer to engage in a live phone call in real-time with a real person. What we find is that 63 percent of the questions those consumers ask are completely unique.

Meaning you could never build a digital-only experience. You could never develop an FAQ. You could never present a digital experience that would resolve the issues they have, that would address the consideration they have in that purchase, in the customer journey they are experiencing. Point being is that the only way that you’ll resolve this, is with a human being. Someone who can actually listen to the end consumer, the visitor to your site, and really understand what their problems are, what their questions are, what goals they’re trying to achieve, and ultimately deliver the experience.

Slide 18:

Now, you’re probably sitting back going, “Great, I have 20 million unique visitors to my site every month, there’s no way we could do this economically.” And you’d be right, if you’re trying to serve everyone. But the point is, if you’re able to segment your total traffic to just those 10 to 15 percent of those site visitors, and deliver them that human-to-human engagement, that experience, it is challenging to do it right, but when you connect the data and the digital and the marketing technology to that human experience, you can deliver a very positive experience. In fact, we’ve seen MarketLinc, as a business, we’ve delivered 20 percent revenue lift to a number of our clients based on this opportunity.

Again, the business being combining that understanding of what’s happening on the site, to the digital experience, bring them into a human-to-human engagement, through a digital chat invitation, offering them an opportunity to get on a phone call with a live agent. Those are all human beings that we staff that we deliver as part of our service to our clients. And connecting that data and that marketing technology to the human experience, culminating in the sale. Because what we’re discovering, is that moment of truth can be addressed all along that digital journey by engaging that consumer with true human engagement, with a live person. It’s not just us that have discovered this.

Slide 19:

Accenture, as a business, has actually been doing an annual survey over the last 11 years. What they’ve found was that consumers want human interaction. In fact, 77 percent of U.S. consumers prefer dealing with human beings when they need advice. So I would just pause, and maybe caution or advise you to think about your own personal consumer experiences. What are those times where you had what we call a “considered purchase”? If you’re buying white socks on, it’s pretty straight-forward. You drop it in your shopping cart. Not much consideration, they’re on your doorstep in two days. However, if you’re buying software, if you’re buying a cruise, if you’re researching a mortgage, any number of products or services and business that you’re engaged with where there’s some level of consideration, there’s some complexity in what you’re trying to buy.

Inevitably, there are going to be some times where you want that human engagement. I recently booked a cruise package—last year in fact, for my family—and I got so far through the digital experience, to the point where I needed to talk to a human being, I needed to talk to an agent. The cruise business would not be able to make any money if they were presenting a human experience for every single site visitor who’s just fine booking the cruise by themselves through that digital only experience. But, in reality, there is a percentage of consumers who want advice, who need to talk to a human being as they’re going through this considered purchase.

Slide 20:

In fact, for business and all of our business collectively, when we don’t get this right, according to Accenture and their survey, 1.6 trillion dollars are lost from customer switching due to that poor customer experience, that poor customer service.

Slide 21:

At the end of the day, what is missing? When I say curb your digital enthusiasm, what digital is missing? What is the one thing that we are all born with as human beings that our digital systems will never be able to achieve? I would contend, that’s empathy. That is something that a live human being, a live sales agent, a live chat agent can deliver. They deliver that empathy. They can understand the problems your customers have. And if you can connect to that right customer at that right time, you can deliver some pretty amazing experiences.

Slide 22:

I would contend, in conclusion, not to think about your business as, “I’m B2B,” or, “We’re B2C,” I would contend that all of our business would collectively, all of our business are H2H. It’s all about human-to-human engagement. We have to find opportunities to engage with that customer during that considered purchase, finding that moment of truth, having that empathy to discover, “You know what, it wasn’t a pricing issue all along. It was actually a product compatibility issue,” for example. And creating that human-to-human engagement.

Slide 23:

With that, I’ll leave you with the idea that ultimately, at the end of the day, business don’t do business. People do.

Slide 24:

If you’re interesting in digging into this further, I’d welcome the opportunity to connect with you. So feel free to reach out to me: or connect with me at LinkedIn. I thank you for your time and hope you enjoy the rest of the great presentations we have lined up today for the Analytics Summit. Thank you.

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