They Came, Now What? Translating Emotion to Targeted Activity
We’ll see if I can keep the momentum going with all the great material that we’ve already been hearing. And I know that everybody’s been dialed into with our first sessions here. As we’ve mentioned, we’re going to talk a little bit today about connecting to critical parts of the customer journey. And that’s the emotion that we’re really trying to help them feel and relate to us as the brand or an organization. And that’s from a marketing perspective. And then how to use data from an analysis perspective to ensure that we’re helping and encouraging all of those emotionally connected consumers to take action against those particular emotional responses.
I’ll have to cover quite a bit, and hopefully I’ll keep it general enough that we can get it done here in the next few minutes. As was already mentioned, I’m the CEO of Keystone Solutions. I’ve seen just about everything. I think that’s why this particular topic is so near-and-dear to my heart. We sit around as consultants, and we talk with a tremendous amount of folks within an organization. We get to have the opportunity to meet with the C-Suite and hear about all the things that they’re hoping to do. We get to understand some of the different product and marketing strategies, and how they’re trying to align that with the overall organization and their goals.
But we also get to see all of the niche vendors and all of these different sub-layers, if you will, of their overall ecosystem of platforms and solutions. Whether that’s the marketing agency that’s handling some of their SEO or pay-per-click, it doesn’t matter what it is, we’ve sat on the other side of the table and listen to it and seen some approaches that work well, and some that haven’t. For me, it’s always been fascinating to see. How do we connect all of these sometimes disparate silos of data into something that is ultimately valuable for the consumer and for us as the organization?
That’s where for the last 15 to 18 years I’ve spent a lot of my time first really starting to talk about measuring and analytics, and then really starting to connect data and measurement to that consumer experience, and how do we innovate and optimize against that.
That said, what we struggle with, I think, as we start to talk about transcending from an experience perspective the silos and devices and data stores that we have, and we’re trying to piece together that 360 degree view of that customer, I think that is a complicated proposition for all of us. Whether it’s on the marketing side, the analytics side, every organization struggles with this because we really haven’t understood yet that we’re talking about a way of life. A shift in thinking. That we’re really not talking about the silos of information any longer. We’re understanding more and more and more about where people are expecting us to have relevant and engaging content, and that we’re on-demand 24 hours a day. The complexity of that and marketing to that, and really understand and identifying the right audiences can be overwhelming. You’ve got, from a visitor standpoint today, you have visitors who have multiple interactions with you within a discrete time period.
For those that are not within those finite or discrete time period, what do we do with the multiple interactions over the lifetime of those particular visitors, and how do we start to assess the trends that will give us insight into what actions we want those audiences to take. Whether or not it’s actually worth chasing those particular segments down.
Within those particular audiences, that’s only the beginning. It’s where we start to identify those audiences. And we start to talk about these disciplines. Marketing, and analytics, and sales, and product, all as different components when in reality, all of us in our own ways, from the very top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel within an organization, are trying very, very hard to optimize the experience for that consumer with every touchpoint they have within that organization. That talks about multiple experiences. When we talk about interactions, and we talk about all of the different ways they can interact with us today, we’re talking about multiple experiences we have a hard time standardizing at the enterprise level.
When we start to talk about 5 or 10 or 15 different ways that a consumer can interact with us, how are we going to make sure those experiences are consistent, and those emotions that we’re trying to connect to a particular visitor, how do we make sure that all of those experiences are going to be consistent across the interactions, across the devices. And then, as we’ve mentioned here, we’ve got more than one way, more than one window into these particular experiences that we can take now. We’ve got the mobile components, we’ve got, obviously, the desktop, we’ve got linear television, and other elements.
There’s just so many different devices and unfortunately silos of data that it’s sometimes very difficult to take something that we’re driving in an emotional response to, and then also drive action from that. I think that’s the second or the flip side of the coin that a lot of times that we fall short on from a marketing perspective. We’ve had a lot of agencies—I’ve sat across from many of them—we have a lot of very large agencies where that’s really the goal for them. We want to get to an emotional response. We want to trigger an emotion from a customer. Sometimes for the agencies, it doesn’t matter what emotion. Sometimes there’s not a lot of relevance with the content that they’re using to strike an emotions, as it is for them to strike that emotion.
But where we start to see a divergence is that there are those marketers who embrace the credible data that can so frequently be the difference between throwing darts to the wall, and actually having the relevant, engaging conversation with the consumer, than those who are less familiar with accountability and less interested in accountability. We have a different set, if you will, of metrics and criteria that we’re trying to drive towards. For those who are really just looking for emotion, I would suggest that that is the first step. We have a lot that goes into making them feel an emotion. And yes, today, emotion is the currency of the consumer in today’s age. So we do absolutely need to know how to connect with them and how to make those emotions relevant.
But if you just connect and make them feel an emotion and that emotion doesn’t drive to a specific action, then we’ve spent a lot of time and, in a lot of cases money, to get them to feel something that didn’t actually end up helping our organization tremendously. That’s very difficult to pinpoint, and even more difficult to change sometimes because of the increasing complexity that’s all of the different interactions, all the different experiences, devices, that they have and interact with our organization on.
Again, it can be a little bit overwhelming as we start to look at all the different ways that we can engage with a consumer.
Let’s just talk a little bit briefly about the consumer experience. We’re just going to make one up. This isn’t a completely out-of-the-blue, these are some of the things that we see every day from an analytics perspective. When we start to talk about experience, when we start to talk about the importance of how to connect each of those viewpoints, each of those windows together for a more credible, and more importantly, consistent and repeatable experience for those segments and audiences that are most important to us that provide the most value.
One of the things that I think we sometimes fail to realize from an enterprise perspective, and I’ll be blunt here, almost no consumer cares what’s going on behind the scenes. They don’t care how complicated it is under the surface of the water. It isn’t their problem. They just want to have a delighted and wonderful experience from start to finish with you. How that happens and what lines it crosses in whose organization or group within the organization is responsible for it, as I said, is not really their problem, nor do they really care. The only time they start to care about that is when behind-the-scenes, under the surface, those elements are starting to impact the experience.
What does that mean? You can see here, that we’re really talking about a number of things that can complicate the user experience and journey already. So, on top of that, you have what’s going on below the surface. It can be anything from politics, to whether or not analytics is being funded properly. Are we aligning things strategically? Are we getting stuck in that trench of just really tactical focus only and not pulling up a little bit to say, “Let’s take a look at strategically how we might align these better within the entire organization.” Do we do the exact opposite? Do we have very, very high strategic marks, but very low tactical execution?
We have great vision, we know exactly where we want to go and that’s as far as we’ve gone. We just don’t have the tactical execution to get to where we need to be in marketing, sales, data sharing, optimization, insights, all of the components have to be firing together in order to truly convince these digitally savvy consumers that you want them. Just them specifically. They’re there so that you can make them feel that they’re unique. That you’re talking to me as an individual. That you’re talking to me, and that you want me to feel that emotion connection i.e. loyalty, and then drive to action. You want me to be able to feel that and that you want me to feel that it’s unique to me. Not just that you’re looking and fishing for hundreds or thousands of people just like me.
Unfortunately those are all the varied reasons and words that the consumer experience becomes a buzzword in most organizations. We do have a hard time separating out what the consumer sees and what the undercurrents are and how we actually integrate all those components together. As we start to talk about being conscious of the fact that mobile is shifting. When we start to talk about experience, it’s no longer just about analyzing a singular experience. We’ll really have to take a look this for what it is. It’s no longer an addition to our lives, but a tightly interwoven connection, or a window to very large world.
The piece that we, and sometimes I talk about this I think in our last conference a little bit, the problem that we sometimes forget that as analysts, as marketers, we’re guests in the consumer’s world. We are in essence being invited in through those windows i.e. devices, those opportunities for you to connect with me as a consumers. But those are sometimes private moments and you don’t have a lot of moments to invade the wrong moment, the wrong time, and get that consumer’s interest and loyalty back because you can spark the wrong emotions, and you can spark the wrong targeted action when we ignore the importance of that relevance across the experience.
Whether we’re talking about reaching out to them through the top of the funnel and engaging with them in a very general level all the down to a one-on-one conversation as they call to get telephone support, or whatever the case may be, every one of these, as we start to go through the touch points, could represent its own individual silo. We could very easily get bogged down into treating each of these as their own analysis micro chasm.
So let’s take a look at all of our email data and see what we’ve got to do to optimize there. What about our search data? Let’s start looking at search and how that’s performing. Oh gosh, look at our errors and some of our 404s. Let’s start to optimize and work on those. But individual silo work is not going to have the biggest impact for the consumer experience. It’s looking at it in totality. It’s understand how do we know more about you as a person, not so that we’re bordering on that creepy stalker type of thing from a marketing perspective, but so that we can truly innovate a consumer experience for those that we want to feel special about being there.
Let’s be honest, a site that has millions and millions of visitors, not everybody is the ideal happy path customer that we want. The onus is on us to help automate and digest the information that’s available to find those that we are really truly trying to engage with, and then innovate that experience around them across the entire spectrum of how they interact with us. From that very first touchpoint until they actually purchase from us, whatever that product, solution, end goal is.
It’s very important for us that we start to care more effectively for that tightly connected, that interwoven window to the consumer world. More importantly understand that we are guests there. We need to be cognizant of that and treat our content and communications that we are putting together accordingly.
As we start to talk a little bit about first making that emotion connection. We understand that that’s not going away, that’s what we want. That understand is the consumer today barters in emotion. When we are out and you are facing choices, sometimes dozens, if not hundreds of choices of where to spend your time, your attention, your money, whatever it is that we’re asking for in return. You have a tremendous amount of choices as to where you spend that. For us, what we do want is to touch an emotional trigger. We do want, as marketers and analysts, to more relevantly connect our consumers. The right consumers.
Just making that emotional connection, as we’ve been talking about, isn’t enough to then turn that emotionally charged consumer, if you will, into an action-driven consumer. We want to make sure that we’re aligning from top and the bottom, up and down, and making sure that everything is working at a strategic and holistic level. So that once we do achieve that emotional touch that we’re looking for, that they have a very, very logical path to follow for the targeted action.
As we start to talk a little bit about first of all defining what our experience objectives are. And I know that this sounds really basic. And yet the number of times that we’ll sit down at large enterprise levels. And we’ll say, “Ok, you’re working with some very expensive agencies. And you’ve got a lot of irons in the fire with your SEO and your pay-per-click and you have a whole bunch of ad dollars going out the door, but you’ve got a lot of return that’s coming through as well.” To what end, is what we’re trying to accomplish.
There’s so many times where we’ll sit down and the question about what do you want me to achieve from an experience perspective is met with blank stares and crickets. Those awkward silences where if we say, “What are you doing from a campaign, or an experience perspective?” We literally can’t keep up with the things that are flying out. “Well, we’re doing direct mail, we’ve got this over here. We’ve got some of these campaigns that we’re doing and these keywords and we’re buying.” But when say, “Ok great. You’re spending X and you’re bringing in Y.” To what point? What is the purpose of the experience? What is the long-term objective that you and me as a consumer and a vendor? What would like me to do? And I think that’s one of the first things that we need to do, is make sure those experience objectives are clearly outlined. From the top level and all the down, in some cases, to the individual flow level, we need to understand what is the outcome? What are we trying to care for?
Sometimes those are emotional connection points. Sometimes they’re tactical or strategic milestones. But what we’re really doing there, we define those objectives making sure we’re always relevant. We’re looking at how we are funneling people to those objectives. Are we achieving the right results i.e. are we texting and looking and seeing staying very engaged with our customer at each of these milestones. But understanding and having everybody understand the experience objective, whether at the flow level, or just at the audience segment level, is critical in making sure that we don’t get off-track. Because as we saw, there are no end, other mediums and devices and silos that we can get side-tracked into, and very quickly start cannibalizing our own success efforts at a holistic level.
Then of course, one of the things that we sometimes get bogged down on, and I keep these things basic just because they’re a little more applicable that way, but one of the things that we see a lot of times when we come in and we start to define experience objectives and what is the data components that will help us with those experience objectives. Here’s a hint: none of those are page views, or visits, or visitors, those types of things. Those are not the strategic aligned experience objectives and data elements that we’re talking about. But one of the things that we do see frequently is that we stop at what we’ll call “happy path analysis”. We’ll look at it and say, “We’ve optimized the best that we can. All of the people who were in this ideal flow, this optimal flow that we want to drive people into. That we want to accomplish A, B, and C, and we want to drive out the end with this purchase.”
That’s fantastic and let’s make sure that we’re constantly doing that because there is an ideal path. But we’re also not wanting to ignore the fact there’s tremendous amount, in many cases, a tremendous amount of alternative approaches to get to that outcome. When we start to define an experience objective. A flow outcome. We also want to make sure we’re looking at likely and unlikely approaches to getting the consumer there. We want to always make sure that we’re analyzing the whole landscape. Because otherwise there things that we may not see, or that are not surfaced that we just didn’t understand or didn’t know when we first started to create those happy paths. That may actually have a bigger impact on our conversation as we start to incorporate aspects or elements of those alternative approaches.
People who know me certainly get tired drum beat on with this next piece. When we start to talk about credibility. Credibility in data, to me, is it’s the most essential thing. If we’re talking about data, and you’re telling me that you kind of believe in the data and you kind of don’t, then you’ve already at that point told me that I won’t be using this data for any truly actionable game changing decisions. These are things that when we need to understand about a particular segment, when we’re trying to optimize, and half a percent is millions of dollars in potential revenue, when we’re talking about being able to trace the consumer that we have engaged here at the top of the funnel from a mobile perspective all the way to the purchase that transcends several different mediums and different touch points, we can’t have, “We think this might be good data give or take and here are three pages of data caveats.”
We need to understand that this is credible data. We need to understand that we’ve tested this data. That we’re monitoring this data. That we’re ensuring that we have the right components in place so that credible data is the rule, not the exception. We need to make sure that if we don’t have credible data, that’s the first place we start. You’re essentially throwing darts on the wall if you are basing all of your information on “good enough” data. Credibility and data is something that we’ll consistently focus on. And that’s just making sure that again, it announces that we’re providing data that’s being democratized across your organization from marketing to the C-level, that everybody understands what it means, and there’s not an adoption barrier because of the inconsistency of the data credibility.
I think obviously there’s tons and tons of things we can talk about when we talk about transitioning an emotion response to action, but one of the things that I think is going to be important is making sure that we also have advocates through alignment within your organization. I think a lot of times where we start to feel that disappoint that we haven’t been able to have everybody see the value of the data that we’re working on, is because we haven’t done, in some cases, good a job as we can in aligning our KPIs, in aligning our objectives with the overall goals of the organization.
If what we’re trying to do doesn’t measure up and doesn’t add up or line up with the rest of your organization and the rest of the entire trajectory of the company, the data value, while there, may be or appear to be deluded throughout the organization. When we start to talk about consumer experience data, when we start to talk about an emotional response, we need to start catching this appropriately. I think that’s where we sometimes still convey this information in terms pageviews, visits, here’s our path analysis, rather than really helping people understand within your organization that we’re not talking about partly metrics, we’re talking about aligning with their most strategic goals so that as an origination, we are collaboratively and collectively changing the game for our customers.
That we’re using credible data, that we’re using this infrastructure of information that we so meticulously cared for and put together, now we’re going to use that to change the experiences of every person within this segment that we identify. That we want to have a relevant conversation. And again, not all those particular segments will be our ideal, but that’s where this data becomes so important so that we’re not spinning our wheels and spending our time that we don’t have, sorting through things that we could have automated out.
I think this is the most important takeaway of today if you boil it all down to everything. When we start to talk about experience, we’re talking about the mobility of experience. We’re talking about the fact that a customer experience does truly live everything. There’s no such thing as more silo-based development for a desktop experience, or for a mobile phone experience. We’re, as a technologically advanced society right now. We’re everywhere the consumer is.
As we continue to blur the lines between productivity and no productivity, it’s becoming more and rarer to be completely unplugged from an experience of some type. When we start to talk about everything from your apps to billboards to music to virtual reality, the internet of things, voice command, technology, augmented reality, there are so many different components that, as we said earlier, mobile then really becomes more of a state of being, rather than a reflection of the device that I might be using at that time.
As we begin to understand that as digital marketers and analysts, we’re creating an immersive experience and that has to be consistent to any window or device the consumer looks through. That’s very tough as the consumer is so mobile now. To engage us in our daily life, we have to be committed to data at a level that we’ve never been before. I think that understanding that really truly experiences that state of being, rather than just a reflection of what device I’m using we’ll start to make more strategic, more holistic decisions about the data that we’ve both collect and use.
I appreciate everybody coming and tuning in. I know we covered number of different topics there, so I’m happy to go into more detail and certainly ask any questions that you want. We’ll leave some time for some questions and answers. As I know you guys all seen from the agenda, there’s just a tremendous amount of material coming so make sure not to miss any of the coming keynotes as well as the break outs. With that, I’ll turn it back into a Q and A and get those questions answered.