Is Marketing Technology Your Friend?

Up your game with tech to win at marketing and sales
By Shaun Jensen, Interactive Creative Director

It’s Q2 and time to make sure your 2019 sales numbers are on track. Are your marketing and sales strategies fully equipped to do the job?

If not, you might consider upgrading your use of marketing technology. From implementing programmatic advertising, custom sales reporting, personalized email marketing to building a sales tool, it’s a strategy that’s been proven to work.

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Programmatic ad buyers: You might also like dynamic creative

The first way we’ll discuss to up your game in marketing technology is by using programmatic buying to deploy dynamic ad creative.

Let me explain.

Programmatic advertising identifies a target audience or individual and then purchases ad space in real time on whichever website or other digital publisher the target audience or individual visits.

This is different from traditional media buys, where you purchase impressions on a website which caters to an audience that matches your demographic.

In traditional advertising, you buy a few hundred-thousand impressions. Some of those viewers will be people who have visited your site in the past. You’ll also reach people who might become interested in purchasing your product or service after seeing your ad and learning about you for the first time.

With programmatic, you buy ad space one impression at a time and serve it directly to a consumer you have identified as valuable. This is usually based on something more accurate than just demographics or who has visited your site.

Dynamic creative takes it one step further. This is the building of one unique ad for a specific individual based on what we know about them. It’s building an ad shell that has a placeholder for a message, a photo and a call to action (CTA), and then populating a custom ad on the fly.

For our healthy food delivery service, we created ads for each user based on four buckets:

  • Prospecting = visitors who have never been to the website
  • Retargeting = visitors who have been to the website
    • New Retargeting = visitors who have been to the website previously and have not made a purchase previously
    • Existing Retargeting = visitors who have been to the website previously and have made a purchase previously

So, if consumers visited a healthy food service delivery website and looked at yellow coconut curry with pork, that’s the image we are going to show them on your ad. If they are an “existing retarget” we are going to show them a salient message. And if it’s early in the day, (so we can still ship today), we’re going to show a CTA that says we can deliver it overnight.

The criteria for targeting in another campaign could be completely different. Age, buying habits, gender, location or other customer data points available can be used to define the content each person gets served.

The power of combining programmatic with dynamic creative means that the existing retargeted consumer can visit a site they’ve never visited before that might be out of character for them and be served with an adthat didn’t exist 3 seconds ago. Artificial intelligence gathered the pieces and created it just for them because they expressed an interest in yellow coconut curry with pork.

Because the ad was built on the fly, no one, from the creative director to the client, actually reviewed the ad before it was served. They had to approve all the ingredients ahead of time that would go into the “cake”—and then trust that the result would  be tasty each time without actually sticking a fork in it to sample individual slices.

And, because programmatic trading programs quickly learn which consumers respond best to “spice cake” and those who prefer “chocolate,” a good trading desk can serve up just the right ad every time.

It worked great for our healthy food service client (along with many, many others), and it can benefit your business too.

Customized reporting boosts sales for United Rentals

Your sales people probably have a good idea of how much revenue they produce weekly or monthly. What if they could track exactly how many cold calls they make per month and how many of them converted to sales visually with a custom infographic delivered to their email inbox?

Over time, it could help them identify trends or patterns which increase their chances of personal success.

What if your sales people also had their finger on the pulse of how their results compare to the rest of the sales team’s?

If theirs is simply average or unusually low, they just might be inspired to up their game.

Such was the case when LAVIDGE integrated data from Salesforce to deliver custom reports to every salesperson at United Rentals.

While the program began with monthly emails, the concept worked so well United Rentals increased its email report frequency to weekly.

When sales people more fully understand whether they are just average or truly behind the eight ball, they can take steps to do better. They can do more than show they are trying hard. As they improve, they can point to incremental improvements in results.

As their manager, by implementing a similar CRM integration with your sales team, you can too.

Targeted emails prove envy of membership franchises

Salesforce, or any other CRM integration, isn’t just for internal sales communication. You can also sort customer data to create custom touchpoints for personalized marketing emails.

You are probably already sending emails for major holidays or seasons, which is a great place to begin. But what if you knew your customers’ preferred name, birthday, age, gender, favorite hobbies, what they typically order, and how frequently they visit your business?

You could reach out to each client by name with meaningful messages and offers.

Let’s say, for example, you are a massage franchise and offer sports packages for athletes. If you know a customer likes to hike on the weekend, you could invite them to schedule a session for Friday so they can come in before they hit the trail. Or, by enticing gym rats with the opportunity to optimize their body, you can get them thinking about coming in for a massage before the next time their muscles begin to hurt.

Reactivation campaigns are another important part of such a mix. If a customer who typically visits once a month or every few weeks becomes inactive for three months in a row, it could trigger an email. Ask, “What are we doing wrong?” or “What could we do better?” to encourage them to book another appointment.

If your customer has paid for multiple visits but stopped showing up, consider inviting them to gift their credits to someone who could use them. It’s a valid reason to reach out, and could result in someone walking through your door, even if it isn’t your original client.

All it takes is a couple dozen templates with copy for birthdays, anniversaries and customer interests to get started. Someone has to think of them, and they can include interchangeable images and messages. But your CRM does the heavy lifting of matching up the emails with the appropriate person to trigger an email at just the right time.

The result is hundreds of thousands of possible permutations for that campaign. Each is created from a pre-approved toolbox of creative elements, so every email can be pre-approved sight unseen. Because it creates a “one-off” email to go to this one individual, the message is generally far more powerful than sending out a mass email campaign.

LAVIDGE created just such an email marketing strategy for Massage Envy. It was key to helping the franchise grow from a few select Arizona locations to nationwide in record time. 

Sales tool breaks it down for B2B tech firm

All sales teams have a superstar. Sometimes the reasons for their success are obvious. They prospect more, close more often or just have the gift of persuasion.

Sometimes, however, with everything measurable being relatively equal, there is no explanation for outliers who report higher sales.

Such was the case at a B2B technology firm which manufactures body cameras and non-lethal weapons, when one sales rep was outselling everyone else—combined. Already a LAVIDGE client, the business asked us to interview him to pick his brain to uncover the secret behind his success.

After speaking with everyone else to establish a baseline, we did just that.

What we found was that this rep could back up with numbers things other reps couldn’t begin to identify on the fly. He knew customer's pain points, crafted a story that was logical and was able to create  a personalized solution that was backed up using the customer’s data.

LAVIDGE developed a tablet-based interactive sales tool so reps could input data based on answers to several questions. The tool calculated real numbers so reps could communicate the value of body cams to city officials, police chiefs or any other potential client.

Our approach was two-pronged:

  1. We boiled the successful pitch down to a script
  2. We created a tool that made data immediately accessible in a format that would make sense to sales reps and clients

You don’t want to pitch a solution for a small community outside of San Diego with the same data you would use in Detroit. So we developed a sophisticated tool which delivers custom results based on what you plug in. With nothing more than the script, a tablet with the tool installed and an internet connection, sale reps could easily show cost benefits to cities of all sizes.

When stories are no longer hypothetical they become compelling. When clients can see the consequences of their city not having the footage and associated protection body cameras can provide when accusations or lawsuits are threatened, the cost-versus-benefit value become an easy sell.

Not every business needs this type of tool. However, there’s likely one that’s perfect for your company just waiting to be developed. What mystery does your business need to have solved? We might be able to help.

Winners go beyond the entry-level stuff

Inspired to infuse your marketing strategy with technology? Keep in mind that some of the tactics above represent basic, entry-level options which you should already be doing. If you’re not, you need to get started now.

The advanced level, however, is where the future lies. So if you’re already in the marketing technology game, perhaps it’s time to take things up notch.

Not sure how to do it? We can make it make sense.

Even better, we can do it for you.

Shaun Jensen
Shaun Jensen
Interactive Creative Director
Shaun Jensen, LAVIDGE Interactive Creative Director, joined the agency in September 2006. He has more than 25 years of combined experience in UX/UI (user experience and design), web design, and print design. Shaun excels in user interface design, concept development, visual design and direction, and information architecture. He attended college in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Environmental Design. Shaun agrees with Jef I. Richards who said, “Creative without strategy is called 'art.' Creative with strategy is called 'advertising.'”

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