Evergage - Feed https://www.evergage.comf Real-time behavior-based personalization Fri, 20 Jul 2018 18:22:14 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 How Citrix Uses Evergage to Improve Demand Generation https://www.evergage.com/blog/how-citrix-uses-evergage-to-improve-demand-generation/ Fri, 20 Jul 2018 13:03:42 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=26297

Keep on reading: How Citrix Uses Evergage to Improve Demand Generation]]>

Let’s be honest: we’re all busy. As a business professional, when you’re researching a new product or service, you want the best solution for your organization — but you don’t want to waste time looking for it. You have lots to do and can’t dedicate hours and hours to sifting through website content to find answers to all of your questions.

Unfortunately, however, that is what you have to do most of time.

The websites of B2B companies are typically complex. Most have spent years adding pages to their sites, building up their content libraries and developing their blogs. Many of their products or services are technical in nature, so they fill their websites with product and feature descriptions, case studies, data sheets, videos and other collateral to help educate their prospects. And then, of course, they target different audiences — by industry, company size, geography, solution need, buying stage, etc. — with different messaging. With all of this going on, it’s tough for B2B marketers to optimize their websites to promote the best content and share the right message for different buyers.

As a large technology provider used by over 400,000 organizations, Citrix is certainly familiar with this challenge.

The Challenge

With its wide variety of B2B products targeted to a diverse customer base, Citrix recognized an opportunity to evolve its demand generation strategy to better engage, advise and direct online visitors to the most relevant content on its site. It wanted a technology solution that could identify the intent and funnel stage of its visitors and use the insights gained to affect their experience. After using multiple tools for A/B testing and personalization, the company realized it needed a holistic view of each buyer and one single platform to track, store and act on behavioral data across channels.

The Solution

Citrix turned to Evergage as the platform to give them the insights needed to understand each site visitor’s interests, preferences, and unique connectivity, collaboration and cloud services needs. With this information, Citrix could then use Evergage to present in-the-moment, personalized experiences and content to help each person select the right Citrix solutions.

For example, Citrix is able to recognize when a site visitor is an existing customer that uses one of their on-premise solutions. These visitors are presented with specific messaging about the value of switching to a cloud-based solution. This type of targeting ensures only those who will benefit from a particular message or promotion will see it. In the image below, Citrix presents an appropriate whitepaper based on everything it knows about what the visitor is looking for.

Citrix uses Evergage

Citrix also relies on Evergage’s testing and data for its personalization campaigns. In the past, Citrix had to make broad assumptions about what would work in its marketing efforts — and then spend a lot of time implementing code and analyzing data from multiple sources to figure out if those assumptions were right. With Evergage, Citrix is able to use statistical analytics from a single platform to quickly understand if a marketing campaign was successful.

Final Thoughts

Don’t think of your website as a static asset that needs to say everything to everyone. Times have changed, and the way your website works should too. Think of it as a salesperson who can modify her sales pitch for each prospect. She can describe the benefits of your solution differently depending on who she’s talking to. She can direct each person to relevant resources like case studies or blog posts that address each prospect’s specific pain points. She doesn’t simply say the same thing to everyone.

So whether your website tailors the homepage experience to different industries, delivers individualized content recommendations, presents geo-targeted event promotions — or all of those use cases and then some — personalization is the best way to help your prospects understand how your solutions can meet their needs.

To learn more about how Citrix uses Evergage, check out this case study. To learn more about how Evergage can help you improve your demand generation efforts, request a demo today.

Katie Sweet
B2B Marketers: What Netflix Can Teach You About Engagement https://www.evergage.com/blog/b2b-marketers-what-netflix-can-teach-you-about-engagement/ Tue, 17 Jul 2018 13:14:33 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=26227

Keep on reading: B2B Marketers: What Netflix Can Teach You About Engagement]]>

There’s a reason Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu all have autoplay enabled on their platforms — it encourages engagement. Whether it’s the next episode in a series or a recommended piece of content, their goal is simple: keep you watching. They show you something they think will be relevant to you based on everything they have learned about your interests to encourage you to stick around.

Digital marketers who wish to have their website binge-watched like the latest Netflix original series should be taking a page from these engagement gurus’ books. With more noise in the marketplace daily and attention spans shrinking by the minute, nudging active visitors to more relevant content, in-the-moment, needs to become the norm to capitalize on website real estate and drive conversions.

The Challenge

If you’re like most B2B marketers today, you’re already familiar with the content game and you have lots of ebooks, data sheets, case studies, videos, and blog posts on your site. Yet a primary challenge I hear is not about getting your thought leadership published, but getting it consumed. In fact, according to SiriusDecisions, 80% of B2B content marketing doesn’t get read at all.

You’ve heard it before: in order to engage a visitor, you need to get the right message in front of the right person at the right time. Netflix understands this very well. After you finish watching an episode, it would never leave you without an option to watch next. Instead, it autoplays the next episode in the series. This seems so obvious it almost doesn’t need to be said.

So if a prospect on your site is watching a video or reading a blog post, I think it’s pretty obvious that there might never be a better time to encourage the next, most relevant piece of content. You might think your content is so great that, of course, your visitors will be back to buy tomorrow, but the fact is that in this competitive landscape, you can’t expect there will be a next time.

If you can identify who a particular visitor is, it may seem like the best course of action is to select the best piece of content for that person. A power user gets the product usability-related content. The C-level executive gets the press release on your huge new enterprise client. And if you don’t yet know the title or name of the visitor, you can determine the next piece of content based on his industry, company, headcount, or revenue (determined via reverse IP lookup technology).

But what if you don’t know anything about a visitor and reverse IP lookup comes up short (like if the CEO of VMware is working from Starbucks or a JetBlue flight)? A person’s behavior can tell you a lot about a visitor. Did he click on the “Role: C-Level” option from the drop-down menu? Did he spend the most time on a solutions page geared toward technology providers? What categories or topics has he engaged with? Machine-learning algorithms can take this information and use it to pick the most relevant content asset for him.

The Opportunities

Below are a few opportunities I’ve come across recently where no data about me has been accounted for — and the end result is an experience that comes up a little short. For these examples, I engaged specifically with key calls-to-action on a few sites. A lot of marketers are measured on these types of conversion metrics, so it’s essential that each CTA is relevant to each visitor. Otherwise, they are wasting an opportunity to convert someone.

Downloading a Datasheet

For this site, I downloaded the promoted data sheet and read through it. When I returned to the homepage, it was still the top promoted piece of content.

b2b marketing engagement

Consider this: What if you met someone at a trade show booth, handed them a data sheet, watched them read it, then handed them the same exact data sheet and said “hey, read this!” It would be ridiculous. Why do the same thing on your website? (For more on this, check out another one of my blog posts: “Why Your Website Is Like a Bad Conversation at a Trade Show.”)

Registering for a Webinar

Similarly, I completed a form to sign up for a webinar on this site. Once I returned to the homepage (I even refreshed it), the main CTA was still asking me to register for the same webinar. Is there another piece of content I should consume in the meantime?

b2b marketing engagement

Watching a Video

Finally, no matter how many times I watch this “How it worksvideo, it’s always featured in the same place on the website. I wonder what would happen to engagement and conversion if visitors were offered a different piece of content after the video ended.

b2b marketing engagement

The Solution

When a website decides in the moment which piece of content to promote to me based on what it knows about me (rather than displaying the same piece of content for every visitor), I get a better experience. For example, check out the content sequencing approach used on the Evergage homepage:

b2b marketing engagement

First, the website promotes our intro video. After the visitor watches the video, even without refreshing the page, we promote a testimonial video. Upon completion of that video, we promote a demo video and ask for a little information to drive a lead conversion.

Final Thoughts

Imagine if after watching an episode of a show on Netflix, the platform suggested the same episode to you rather than starting the next episode for you. I know I’d be pretty motivated to find a different streaming service. When a B2B site doesn’t acknowledge a visitor’s previous actions and suggest an appropriate next step, it’s a lost opportunity (and just doesn’t make sense!).

Leveraging a platform that allows a marketer to act on behavioral information and other indicators of interest or stages of the buyer’s journey is critical to delivering meaningful and effective experiences. Capitalizing on engaged visitors in the moment with helpful and relevant content not only further educates them quickly, but it also moves them down the funnel faster. Where most sites remain static promoting the same asset for a month, then swapping it out for the next month’s piece of content, you can leverage your content catalog and offer dynamic content and calls-to-action to continue to engage your visitors. To learn how Evergage can help you do all of this, request a demo today.

LB Wales IV
6 Must-Have Segments for Financial Services Personalization Campaigns https://www.evergage.com/blog/6-must-have-segments-for-financial-services-personalization/ Fri, 13 Jul 2018 13:03:11 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=26217

Keep on reading: 6 Must-Have Segments for Financial Services Personalization Campaigns]]>

Segmentation is a fundamental component of digital marketing. When you segment your site visitors, you are dividing them into different groups based on some shared attributes or behaviors. When you think about your main customer segments, you may immediately start grouping them according to demographics or life stage — but there’s more to it than that. There are many ways to divide your visitors into different groups to use for personalization campaigns or analysis.

Of course, each company is different and your needs will vary significantly depending on if you’re focused on brokerage, insurance, banking, etc. or if you’re focused on consumers or businesses. But there are some basic segments that most financial services companies will want to leverage. Let’s walk through them in this post.  

1. First-time visitors

A first-time visitor will have different needs than a returning visitor or a customer. Once you create a segment of first-time visitors, you can make sure you’re leading with the right message to capture their attention — because if they can’t immediately discern whether your site is right for them, they may leave before exploring the site further. There’s no reason to prominently highlight customer-specific communications on your homepage, for example. First-time visitors may prefer to see introductory content and messages — such as anything that explains the value of your services or provides general education on your industry.

The image below shows an example of a homepage for a first-time visitor. It offers a subtle CTA to help him understand how the credit card works. Only first-time visitors would see that specific experience — other visitors would see a different CTA, as we’ll see in the next section.

personalization examples for financial services

It’s also worth noting that you can compare the first-time visitor segment to other segments to uncover insights for better personalization campaigns. What are they typically looking to accomplish? If they attempt to speak with an agent on their first visit, you’ll want to make that option very visible to this segment. If they often head for your resources or blog sections, you can promote those right away. Understanding what they’re looking to do will help you better engage those visitors.

2. Current customers

You have spent a lot of time and energy to acquire your existing customers and to keep them happy. If a person has chosen your company for their banking or insurance needs, for example, they don’t want to be treated like a brand new person each time they come to your site. They want to be recognized because they already have a relationship with you.

Make sure visitors in your customer segment receive a relevant experience on your site. Don’t make your current customers hunt around for a login so they can view their accounts. Don’t offer introductory information to them. Don’t suggest new promotions that don’t apply to them. Instead, make sure they know you recognize them as customers even if they aren’t logged in.  

For example, the image below shows the same homepage as the image in the previous section, but this one has swapped out the “How It Works” CTA for a “Manage My Account” one — a much more relevant action for a customer to take.

personalization examples for financial services

3. Referring source

A person’s referring source is a helpful piece of information to use for segmentation as well. The campaign a person arrived at the site from can be a valuable clue to her interests. You can leverage personalization to subtly modify the visitor’s experience throughout your site – in the current visit or any future visit – to continue the conversation begun by that campaign.

For example, this image below shows a homepage that is personalized to be relevant based on a visitor’s referring campaign – from the copy to the images, CTAs and content recommendations. A visitor who came in through a dental financing campaign is shown a dental financing version of the homepage.

segments for financial services

These segments can also be used in analysis. Does a segment of visitors who came in through a specific campaign behave differently than a segment with any other referring source? How can you leverage that information in future campaigns?

4. Customer who uses X product or service

In many cases, it is helpful to know not just that a person is an existing customer, but that she is an existing customer who uses a specific product or service. Once you can identify your credit card customers, checking customers, home insurance customers, etc., you can ensure that you target the right promotions across the site or remove irrelevant messages for them.

For example, if you want to promote a specific credit card across your homepage for a month, you may decide not to show it to customers who already have that credit card. Instead, you could use that space to promote other relevant services.

Additionally, you can run specific complementary products campaigns targeted solely at customers who use specific products. For example, to visitors with an existing auto insurance policy, you can display a message about the savings they would receive when they bundle it with their home insurance. Since this promotion is not relevant to any visitor who doesn’t already have an auto insurance policy, only targeting it to this segment makes sense.

personalization examples for financial services
5. Interested in X topic or product

Progressive financial services companies should be leveraging content recommendations or product suggestions across the site that make use of algorithms to select the best options for each individual. But there are other times when you want to promote products or topics only to those individuals who have already shown interest in them. In those instances, you’ll want to create a few segments that contain individuals who have shown interest in X topic or product (depending on your specific business, of course).

When you target specific campaigns to these segments, only visitors with an interest in that product or topic will see the experience — and those that have no interest will not see it. For example, after a visitor has spent some time engaging with a bank’s credit card content, the next time she visits the site’s homepage (whether it is during that session or a later one), she can be presented with content pertaining to that product category.

segments for financial services

6. Form abandoners

For many financial services organizations, completing a form is an important step that a visitor can take — it’s how visitors can apply for various products or services. These companies definitely want to ensure that once a visitor starts a form, they finish it. It’s often a good idea to create a segment of form abandoners. Visitors who fall into this segment can then be targeted with bounce messages reminding them to complete their form as they attempt to leave the site, messages in critical areas of the site once they return, or even triggered emails reminding them of their uncompleted form (as shown below).

segments for financial services

You can also analyze the behaviors of this segment as well. How do they compare to a segment of form completers? What campaigns can you run to help those form abandoners become form completers?

Final Thoughts

There are many different ways to segment your site visitors — and there is no single right answer to which ones you should use or the number you should create. But the right solution will make it easy to build an unlimited number of segments and move visitors in and out of segments in real time.  

To learn how Evergage can help you target personalized experiences to visitor segments, request a demo today.

Katie Sweet
Personalization is a Retail Priority This Year: Here are 7 Ways You Can Personalize Too https://www.evergage.com/blog/personalization-is-a-retail-priority-this-year-here-are-7-ways-you-can-personalize-too/ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 13:06:32 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=26184

Keep on reading: Personalization is a Retail Priority This Year: Here are 7 Ways You Can Personalize Too]]>

Personalization is a high priority for retailers looking to meet customer expectations this year, according to the recently published Forrester report by Brendan Witcher, The Top Retail Technology Investments In 2018. According to the report: “Thirty-six percent of US online adults think retailers should do more to offer personalized experiences. Retailers heed this expectation by continuing to invest in technology that facilitates real-time, tailored experiences to each individual customer.”

But what do those tailored experiences really look like? What can you as a retailer do to deliver truly personalized experiences across channels? In this blog post, I’ll explore seven ideas you may not have considered before that can help guide you in your own personalization strategy.

1. Tie online and offline experiences together

Bringing the online and offline experiences together remains a major challenge for retailers. With the right solution, online and offline data can be brought together in one place, interpreted and acted on in real time. Once a shopper provides his email address to a cashier, for example, his in-store purchase can trigger an emailed receipt. That email can contain individualized product recommendations that are relevant to the shopper based on his past shopping experiences as well as products that pair with his in-store purchases when applicable. This email can drive him back to the site for more shopping.

For example, let’s say a shopper in a home goods store buys a duvet cover set. At checkout, the cashier asks for her email address. An email receipt can be automatically sent to her containing recommendations of sheets and pillows to pair with the duvet cover, selected by machine-learning algorithms based on her preferences uncovered from her recent behavior.

personalization retail priority2. Make each email individually relevant at open time

The Radicati Group estimates that by 2021, the number of business and consumer emails that are sent per day will reach 319.6 billion. That’s a lot of competition for your emails. One way to stand out from this noise is to show your shoppers that you always have something relevant to say. That means that there is much more to personalize than just someone’s first name.

The key to relevancy is to ensure that the content of your emails is selected for each person considering everything you know about her from any channel. Just make sure that those emails are updated at open time to account for everything you know about the recipient’s most current interests and intent. Otherwise, your message will seem behind the times.

For example, a shopper on this women’s apparel site may have originally demonstrated a strong affinity for dresses. But later, when she returned to the site, she spent more time browsing shirts and blouses — even adding one to her shopping cart. A relevant, open-time personalized email would show recommendations for appropriate tops – in addition to dresses – to be as relevant to her current needs as possible.

personalization retail priority

3. Tailor the site navigation

It’s a little-known fact that you can tailor the navigation of your site to each individual in a subtle way. You can present navigation options that are relevant to each person’s current and past session behavior, interests and intent, purchase history, content consumption and more so they spend more time shopping and less time digging around the site.

For example, in the image below, one visitor could see "Politics," "Sports," and "Finance" listed in the top navigation, while another could see "International," "Entertainment," and "Business" in the top navigation instead — based on the content they typically consume on the site.

e-commerce personalization

Navigation can extend beyond the main menu bar as well. You could promote a visitor’s preferred brands and categories within the main content area of any page on your site too, as in the example below.

e-commerce personalization

4. Personalize the out-of-stock experience

All retailers are familiar with adding product recommendations to product detail pages (PDPs), but have you considered the role of out-of-stock pages in personalization? No matter how quickly you avoid featuring an out-of-stock product, visitors can still find their way to an out-of-stock page through search or other channels. In that case, it’s essential that you show the visitor something relevant so the out-of-stock page doesn’t become a dead end.

Use that space to show relevant product recommendations that incorporate a person’s preferences for particular brands or categories. You may opt to show items that are similar to the out-of-stock product to encourage shoppers to find something else they may like, or instead show complementary items that go well with the product or category being viewed. If the visitor is new to the site, you could show trending products to attempt to catch his attention. The main point is that the page should be as relevant as possible to encourage visitors to keep exploring your site.

5. Combine product and content recommendations

Many retail sites offer content such as blog posts or articles that are a valuable component of the site experience. Yet many retailers keep their product and content catalogs siloed, so they can’t recommend appropriate products to a shopper interested in a particular topic or appropriate content to a shopper browsing a specific category — not unless they manually curate the recommendations. With a good personalization solution, you should be able to understand a person’s preferences for topics and categories and use that understanding to recommend both content and products.

For example, if a visitor reads multiple articles about growing and caring for lilacs on a garden supply e-commerce site, his preferences for lilacs should be incorporated into the product recommendations he sees. In the other direction, if a travel site visitor is researching flights to London, the site should recommend articles on activities to do in London. By reading up on things to do in London, she may be more likely to book the trip.

6. Deliver relevant exit messages

Next, let’s address a typical e-commerce tactic: abandonment messages. These messages can definitely catch someone’s attention, but they tend to be more impactful when they contain relevant content or offers. For instance, rather than displaying a generic message when someone attempts to leave the site, you can display a product or two that the shopper was engaged with during her session. For cart abandonment messages, you can remind visitors not only of items they’ve left in their cart, but also of any special incentives they’re eligible for to encourage conversion. A relevant message is more likely to be viewed as helpful, rather than annoying.

For example, you could take a cart abandonment message a bit further by offering a promotion to cart abandoners. If the shopper continues to explore the site, you can carry that message throughout the site to remind shoppers of their additional purchase incentive, with a timer to create urgency.

non-click behavioral data

7. Don’t neglect segment-level communication

Finally, just because we’ve been talking a lot about using algorithms to deliver unique experiences to shoppers, there are many occasions where you may want to speak to a group of shoppers in a segment. Think broadly about specific groups of shoppers you might want to target. Shoppers in a specific region, shoppers that are interested in a specific category, loyal shoppers, etc. are all good segments to consider.

One interesting group of shoppers you may consider targeting is comparison shoppers. We often find that shoppers who highlight the product name are looking to find that product somewhere else (because they are planning to copy the name from your site and paste it into a search engine). While every site is different and each site’s customer base will behave differently, we have seen that visitors that highlight a product name often intend to immediately leave the page. These shoppers also tend to have a higher conversion rate that day than the average visitor.

After you recognize a comparison shopper through behavioral tracking, you can target her with a relevant message in real time — either as soon as you detect the comparison shopping behavior or when she demonstrates intent to leave the site. The aim of the message should be to remind the shopper of the benefits of purchasing from you, rather than somewhere else.

Final Thoughts

There are so many different ways that e-commerce marketers can leverage personalization across different channels — these were just a few ideas. For more ideas and inspiration on how to personalize your e-commerce shopping experience, download our eBook, Individualized E-Commerce, and request a demo today.

Katie Sweet
Creating and Delivering Emotionally Relevant Customer Experiences https://www.evergage.com/blog/creating-and-delivering-emotionally-relevant-customer-experiences/ Thu, 05 Jul 2018 14:25:26 +0000 http://www.evergage.com/?p=26162

Keep on reading: Creating and Delivering Emotionally Relevant Customer Experiences]]>

Can you ever truly understand your customers? Do you ever really know how they make purchase decisions?

Chris Goward, Founder and CEO of WiderFunnel, seeks to answer these questions. He recently presented the webinar “Creating Emotionally Relevant Customer Experiences” in conjunction with Evergage. At the beginning of the webinar, Chris quoted one of his personal heroes, Tom Hopkins (author of How to Master the Art of Selling), saying:

People make a purchase emotionally and defend the purchase rationally. You must create the emotions necessary to close the sale backed up with the logic of the decision to defend it.

Thus, it’s our job as marketers to provide the triggers that drive our customers to make a purchase emotionally, but also provide all the justification to help them defend the logic of their decisions. And since we’re all human, this applies to both consumer and business purchases.

Then Chris delved a bit further into human nature. He said that humans can detect a lot across our five senses, but our brain can only process a tiny fraction of that information. As a result, much of what we perceive is implicit — we don’t know where it’s coming from and can’t justify it explicitly, but we know it’s true. That means that our decision-making isn’t just emotional. Many times, we’re simply basing our decisions on information we can’t explain because our brain can only recognize so much of what it’s interpreting. Instead, we decide first and come up with justifications later.

As a marketer, what can you do to take advantage of this decision-making style?

Understand the emotions behind the purchase

As marketers, it’s our job to connect the dots for our customers and prospects. We can’t just present our products or services and expect people to understand immediately why they should buy them. We need to deliver the right messaging that captures their attention, speaks their language, and adequately explains the value of our offerings.

It’s easy to be bad at this. You are convinced that your messaging will resonate with your audience because you know your products or services backwards and forwards. But do you really understand all of the different stimuli that are factoring into the decision — if your customers can’t explain it themselves? For many marketers, the answer to that question is likely “no.” That’s why it’s important to do the emotional research first to understand the challenges your customers are facing and the emotions they are experiencing. Then, you can design your experiences and messaging around what you’ve learned.

In the webinar, Chris describes a number of different examples of how he and his team have done this for clients using The Limbic Map, which helps marketers understand and navigate customer motivations. Here’s an example of what the map looks like for one particular example Chris described:

emotionally relevant customer experiences

I won’t get into the details here, but if you’re interested in learning more about how the map reveals the different emotional systems that exist in your customer’s head, how these systems interact in the brain, how they influence behavior, and how it can be used to improve customer experiences, let Chris Goward explain it to you in the webinar replay.

Once you have a firm grasp of the emotions involved in your customer journey and the areas that need improvement, you can develop better messaging and smoother experiences that will truly resonate with your audience.

Use a personalization platform to deliver the best experience to each person

With rules and machine-learning algorithms, you can deliver the most relevant headline copy, piece of content, product recommendation, promotion, or anything else you can think of to each person on your site, in your mobile app, or through your emails. But if you don’t know enough about your customers to begin with, all of those experiences will be ineffective — even if targeted well.

So do your emotional research upfront. Then, after you have a good understanding of the messages and types of experiences that will resonate, leverage a solution that will target the most relevant experience to each person. Has your research uncovered that different audience segments require different messages or have different levels of emotional responses? What about people in different stages of the journey? What types of content does each group need to justify their decisions with rational facts? One group may want customer testimonials while another may want technical specs.  

For example, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows targets different homepage experiences to different segments of people based on their needs. Season pass holders may see messaging around how they can get the most out of their season pass:

emotionally relevant customer experiences

While the family segment will see something else that will resonate with them:

emotionally relevant customer experiences

Final Thoughts

There are a host of small factors that add up to influence someone’s decision, and it’s critical to do all you can to uncover how your customers actually make their decisions. Without that knowledge, your marketing efforts — particularly your efforts to personalize your communication at the one-to-one level — can never reach their full potential.

To view Chris’s full presentation, watch the webinar replay. To learn more about how Evergage can help you talk to your customers and prospects as individuals, request a demo today.

Katie Sweet
Evergage SmartSurveys – a Different Way to Approach “Voice of the Customer” Surveys https://www.evergage.com/blog/evergage-smartsurveys-a-different-voice-of-the-customer-surveys/ Thu, 28 Jun 2018 13:53:48 +0000 http://www.evergage.com/?p=26118

Keep on reading: Evergage SmartSurveys – a Different Way to Approach “Voice of the Customer” Surveys]]>

We’ve all experienced them while browsing online – those annoying surveys that pop up on your screen at the most inopportune time. The web page you’re visiting has barely loaded and a survey appears asking for your opinion about your experience. Ironic, isn’t it? The fact that you’ve just arrived at a company’s website – perhaps even for the first time – is apparently of no consequence. You are forced to stop what you’re doing to respond to or dismiss the message.

But let’s say you’re one of the few who actually completes the survey. What happens to the data you provide? Is it of any value to you? The answer is almost always “no!” Once submitted, the data seems to go into a black hole of sorts. Maybe people at the company do something with it, but who knows.

There are companies whose entire business is dedicated to providing the software behind these types of surveys. The problem with their approach, though, is that the surveys and the “Voice of the Customer” (VoC) programs they support are almost always divorced from actual customer experience personalization initiatives. And they shouldn’t be.

The Value of Survey Data

No one denies that there’s enormous value in collecting VoC survey data. While today’s advanced analytics solutions allow companies to interpret customer behaviors, there are many aspects that cannot be understood by monitoring digital activity alone.

When you want to know what someone is truly interested in, what their specific needs are or what their opinion about a particular topic is, often the best approach is to just ask them. In this sense, surveys are one of the most powerful means of collecting relevant customer data.

Collecting Data is the Easy Part

The challenge is that there’s generally a disconnect between the process of collecting information and then using the data to deliver value to the customer. Collecting information is easy, and there are scores of online tools available where anyone can create a survey, deploy it and analyze the results.

The hard part is applying the insights gained from a survey and using that information to improve relationships with customers. Typically, this occurs through offline channels where teams of people study and draw conclusions from survey results, determine how to use that information (if at all), and then work to implement changes to existing programs.

In the best case scenarios, a customer may see some improvement or receive a related email communication a few months after completing a survey. Most likely, however, any change or communication would occur so far out in the future that an individual would have no idea that his or her opinion had influenced it.

Here’s the key point: while surveys are powerful tools for collecting data, they are heavily one-sided and provide little noticeable benefit to those who take the time to complete them. And because of that, fewer and fewer people take the time complete surveys.

A New Approach to Online Surveys

Today, we are pleased to announce a significant enhancement to our surveying capabilities with a new module called Evergage SmartSurveys™. Evergage customers can now build advanced surveys to collect explicit data from prospects and customers and utilize responses to improve their experiences – all in real time.

Within the Evergage platform, surveys can be created and deployed across channels – website, in-app, email – within minutes. Product managers, marketers and customer success professionals can design simple inline one-question surveys or more advanced surveys that use multiple questions, different question types and branching logic.

SmartSurveys can also leverage Evergage’s sophisticated segmentation capabilities to granularly target surveys to specific audiences. For example, you may choose to only show surveys to people once they’ve engaged with your site after a specific amount a time – a seemingly novel concept given how many of today’s survey tools operate.

But the true power of Evergage SmartSurveys lies in leveraging the data to improve customer relationships and experiences. As individuals complete survey questions, their answers are automatically stored in Evergage’s Customer Data Platform (CDP). Then, using Evergage’s real-time personalization capabilities, business professionals can design experiences – and trigger them based on how an individual responds to a survey.

Cross-Industry Applications

There is really no limit to how SmartSurveys can be used. Based on a shopper’s behavior, a retailer could ask if she is shopping for herself or someone else, has a specific budget in mind or would like to engage with a sales representative. Companies focused on demand generation can use SmartSurveys to ask strategic and tactful questions designed to collect information from prospects about their needs and stage of the buying journey and then present supporting content and suggestions. A financial services firm might detect – based on a visitor’s research and other behavior across the company’s channels – that the person is interested in automobile loans. That could trigger a survey asking about the customer’s time horizon for a loan, and then, if the answer is near term, the website experience could change in real time to highlight the latest loan rates.

Survey response data collected using Evergage SmartSurveys can also be used to immediately trigger a relevant email to a customer (or an internal stakeholder) or even send data to another system, like a CRM application or call center system.

What Are You Waiting For?

Surveys are a great way to collect insights from customers, but using them effectively requires there to be mutual benefit. If you’re going to ask a customer or prospect to stop what they’re doing and answer a few questions, you need to be prepared to provide something in return. And the more that happens, the more often people will continue completing your surveys.

Evergage SmartSurveys changes the game. It represents the ideal combination collecting valuable customer data at the appropriate time and using it in the moment to deliver relevant, helpful customer experiences, benefiting both the customer and the business.  

T.J. Prebil
Personalization Helps Financial Services Companies Meet Customers’ Liquid Expectations https://www.evergage.com/blog/personalization-helps-financial-services-meet-customers-liquid-expectations/ Mon, 25 Jun 2018 13:12:57 +0000 http://www.evergage.com/?p=26027

Keep on reading: Personalization Helps Financial Services Companies Meet Customers’ Liquid Expectations]]>

There’s no way around it: our customers’ expectations are being continually shaped by their experiences with today’s most innovative and customer-centric brands: Amazon, Coca-Cola, Apple, Southwest Airlines, Hulu, T-Mobile, Reebok, Comedy Central, Mercedes Benz, and so on. Customer experience (CX) leaders like these are upping the ante for all brands, even those associated with a more traditional, less “sexy” approach to winning and engaging customers. Like, let’s face it, most financial services brands.

But even if you’re not selling SUVs, Instagram-trending handbags, or hardware for the connected home, your brand is still subject to customers’ liquid expectations.

Liquid expectations? Accenture’s design and innovation agency, Fjord, coined the term to describe “when customer experiences seep over from one industry to an entirely different industry.” When, for example, a customer compares their visit to the dentist to their visit to the Apple store. Or, when they compare their trip through McDonald’s drive-thru to their trip through your bank’s drive-up customer service lane.

Let’s take a look through this lens and explore the whys and hows behind improving customer experiences in the financial services industry.

Everything Competes with Everything

“With liquid expectations,” posits Fjord executives in their Service Design: Innovation 2.0 presentation from the 2015 Global Service Design Conference in NYC, “everything competes with everything and people’s expectations transcend expected boundaries.” This competitive universe includes direct competitors, experiential competitors, and perceptual competitors, which helps to explain why your financial services company customers are comparing your brand with Zappos, Pizza Hut, and Airbnb (even just in their subconscious!).

The book One-to-One Personalization in the Age of Machine Learning gives the example of Netflix’s experience “forever altering consumer expectations about content consumption, bringing the concept of ‘binge-watching’ mainstream,” while using personalization to serve up relevant recommendations and drive engagement. It can’t help but make you wonder, “Is my company’s content delivery ‘good enough’?”

While financial services companies are not offering video streaming services—and your content is probably not considered “entertainment” by your audience—the takeaway is that your customers are engaging with brands that expertly personalize their experiences. They enjoy those experiences and they expect similar experiences with your brand (whether you’re their insurance carrier, retirement fund company, or community bank).

Taking A Cue from Netflix

When considering the Netflix experience—or really, the experience offered by any brand that “gets CX right”—it’s clear that customers are at the center of every interaction. Most everything customers need is already anticipated and put at their fingertips for an intuitive, disruption-free brand experience. As such, the following have become standard issue across industries:

  • On-demand access to information and resources
  • Relevant offers, recommendations, or similarly individualized content
  • Self-service functionality plus 24/7 access to customer service
  • Mobile access via responsive website and/or app
  • Omnichannel consistency

In their Global Service Design presentation, Fjord explores the next step for CX innovation. Having traversed the web, internet, and mobile frontiers, we’re now tackling the “living services,” which flex and evolve to meet each person’s needs and preferences. It’s here at this critical point where the “expected” customer experience is tailored around the individual—that financial services companies are challenged to deliver.

But they—and perhaps, you—are rising to that challenge!

Applying This Concept to Financial Services: Letting Your Customers Guide You

How does all of this apply to financial services firms specifically? An Accenture blog series focusing on how insurers can succeed in today’s digital business environment kicks off with an examination of the “new insurance customer” and—you guessed it—the liquidity of their behavior and expectations driven by experiences from other industries. Progressive insurers, Accenture says, are responding by hyper-personalizing their distribution channels to make them more customer-centric.

Their research shows that 61% of carriers intend to expand their portfolios to include non-insurance offerings via partnerships with a variety of service providers. And customers are on board with this strategy—because, naturally, they’ve helped to shape it:

  • 82% of insurance customers are willing to provide their insurers with behavioral information if it can help them optimize their coverage.
  • 78% are willing to allow their insurers to use this information if it results in personalized offers.
  • 72% of the customers who were thinking of changing their insurers within the next 12 months said these services were important factors in their choice of an alternative insurance provider.

Getting Started

This is compelling evidence that consumer-centric, highly personalized service strategies will help financial services companies meet consumers where they’re at. But a word to the wise: go into it with a strategy.

Don’t roll out new technology or functionality for the sake of new technology and functionality, or just because you think you should or can.

If the experience you provide is incongruent with customers’ expectations—even if you’ve introduced “cool” new tools and content—you run the risk of disappointing customers, frustrating them, and eventually, losing them to financial services brands who deliver experiences they want. Let customer behavioral data and analysis drive your strategy, and use that data to deliver experiences that are relevant, timely, and actionable.

Final Thoughts

Your goal is not to recreate the Starbucks experience, but to make yours better through ongoing digital transformation that reflects your customers’ preferences, supports their behaviors, and makes them happy. Introduce new tools or experiences because they make customer interactions with your brand easier, better, or more enjoyable. Why not become a brand that shapes their ever-evolving liquid expectations?

To learn more about how you can use Evergage to understand your prospects and customers and deliver relevant experiences, request a demo today.

Corrie Mieszczak
Evergage Named a Strong Performer Among Experience Optimization Platforms https://www.evergage.com/blog/evergage-named-a-strong-performer-among-experience-optimization-platforms/ Wed, 20 Jun 2018 05:56:15 +0000 http://www.evergage.com/?p=25973

Keep on reading: Evergage Named a Strong Performer Among Experience Optimization Platforms]]>

Evergage is thrilled to be included in The Forrester WaveTM: Experience Optimization Platforms, Q2 2018 report that was just published today. It is an honor to be included, of course, but it is even more gratifying to be ranked a “Strong Performer” — a testament, in our opinion, to our solution’s capabilities, position, and traction with enterprise customers across industries. Here’s a summary of my main takeaways from the report, but I encourage you to download the full report for additional information and context.

The Platform Approach

This report recognizes that companies are increasingly moving away from customer engagement tactics that rely on isolated point solutions. Instead, they’re looking for solutions that “optimize the experience of digital customer experiences across the entire digitally transformed life cycle of customer engagement.”

As our customers can attest, companies can achieve operational efficiencies and deliver more consistent customer experiences by using a single cohesive platform rather than stitching together loosely integrated point solutions.

Experience Optimization Criteria

There’s a lot that goes into delivering great customer experiences — from behavioral tracking, segmentation, and machine learning, to data source integration, multi-channel experience delivery, and analysis and attribution.

For the purposes of this report, however, Forrester focused on the following three capabilities: online testing, behavioral targeting, and recommendations. The analysts and their research team evaluated each participating vendor on these capabilities as well as a company’s strategy and market presence.

The Evaluation Process

For those not familiar with the Forrester Wave process, it’s an extensive evaluation that includes an initial survey, a lengthy questionnaire, an in-person demo, and a series of interviews with select customers. Needless-to-say, any vendor that is selected for inclusion in a Wave evaluation is required to invest a significant amount of time and resources.

Our experience as part of multiple Wave reports now has been very positive. Forrester’s approach is thorough, and the team does its best to account for many of the nuances and complexities that must be considered when comparing vendors. Each Wave is a significant undertaking.

Still, there’s always a degree of subjectivity with the Wave results. Forrester understands this and, provides a calculator (available once you log in) that allows businesses to adjust the Wave weightings to align with their own needs.

Evergage’s Take

For this Wave, in the “Current Offering” section of the research report, the analyst placed a higher emphasis on testing (40%), whereas behavioral targeting (30%) and recommendations (15%) – both critically important for delivering optimized customer experiences – were given much lower allocations. If you are an existing Forrester customer, we encourage you to use the calculator to adjust the weightings to see how the vendor landscape changes.

For example, we don’t disagree that testing is a critical capability of any Experience Optimization Platform, but we have an evolved perspective on testing as it applies to delivering personalized experiences. If you were to equal out the percentage allocations, for instance, Evergage’s “Current Offering” score in the Wave would be just shy (.025 points behind) of having the highest score in this report. And if you were to flip the weightings for testing and recommendations, Evergage’s “Current Offering” score would be the highest-rated solution overall.

It’s also worth noting that when looking at the expanded evaluation criteria, Evergage received the highest possible score (5.00) in the following nine criteria: test data use and management, campaign management for targeting, recommendations campaign management, data management for recommendations, recommendations techniques, enterprise appeal, platform integration, performance, and supporting services.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of how you weight the different criteria, we believe that Evergage is the most well-rounded, advanced and completely integrated solution among the vendors evaluated, and we’re proud to be named a Strong Performer by Forrester.

To learn more about experience optimization platforms and Evergage’s position among them, download the full report.

Karl Wirth
Top Takeaways from KPMG’s 2018 US Customer Experience Excellence Analysis https://www.evergage.com/blog/takeaways-kpmg-2018-us-customer-experience-analysis/ Tue, 19 Jun 2018 13:16:53 +0000 http://www.evergage.com/?p=25954

Keep on reading: Top Takeaways from KPMG’s 2018 US Customer Experience Excellence Analysis]]>

This month, KPMG published its annual US Customer Experience Excellence Analysis titled Know me: The key to an individualized, personal customer experience. The survey behind the analysis included 7,500 U.S. consumers and 250 brands across 10 business sectors: financial services, grocery, non-grocery retail, restaurants & fast-food, entertainment & leisure, travel and hotels, logistics, utilities, telecommunications and public sector. The report lists this years’ top 100 customer champions and provides a number of examples of powerful customer experiences across industries. It’s a great read for those that are looking for some personalization inspiration.

With that in mind, here are my main takeaways from this year’s report.  

Personalization is critical to influencing consumer loyalty

Each year, KPMG measures what it calls the “Six Pillars” — personalization, integrity, empathy, expectations, time and effort, and resolution — to uncover the impact of each pillar on driving loyalty and advocacy. Just like last year, KPMG found that personalization has the highest impact on influencing consumers’ choices.  

Notably, KPMG indicates that personalization can’t just be surface level. It has to be based on a real understanding of each person. The report states, “Now, you must show that you know more than their name; you have to show that you know them as a person.”

Of course, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. We’re all consumers ourselves, and we can all identify with KPMG’s statement from the customer’s perspective: “I want to be recognized as an individual; I want to be made to feel confident, important to your organization and valued.” When we feel valued, we feel a deeper connection to the company and are more willing to keep coming back. That’s why personalization has the strongest impact than all of the other pillars on driving loyalty.

But personalization is inextricably linked to integrity

Interestingly, the gap between personalization and the second-most important pillar, integrity, dropped from a seven-point difference in 2017 to a three-point difference this year. KPMG refers to the relationship between these two pillars as the “personalization paradox.” As consumers experience personalization done well from a company, the more they trust that organization. With greater trust comes the willingness to share more information — which can, in turn, lead to better and more relevant experiences.

But when companies abuse the data that customers have shared — that trust is eroded.

Data is the foundation of any personalized experience. You have to understand a person in order to deliver a personalized experience. But you won’t get the benefits of personalization if you approach it in a manner that a customer could consider “creepy.” If you are visibly personalizing an experience based on information the customer didn’t know you had access to, for example, it can be unsettling. The best personalized experience is one that a customer doesn’t even realize is tailored to her — she just finds the experience easy and relevant.

Using customer insight to drive personalization

The KPMG report covers the importance of understanding your customers to provide better customer experiences, stating that “customer insights are the lifeblood of modern business. So, the more companies know about their customers, the better they can innovate and compete.”

KPMG provides many examples. For example, USAA uses data to predict when a customer will be experiencing a major life event and provides tailored communications at those moments. Vanguard’s ethnographic research helps it fully understand what a customer goes through during specific events to provide a better customer experience overall. JetBlue measures its customer experience end-to-end every day in order to continuously improve.

These are all impressive stories of how companies can leverage insights to provide a better customer experience. At Evergage, we suggest clients take this a step further by encouraging marketers to bring together all of the data they have on their customers — including deep behavioral data and what those behaviors say about their personal preferences and affinities; any attribute data such as their geolocation, loyalty program status, the products they use, etc; and any data accumulated through surveys or forms in the past — in one single location. Then, those companies can leverage machine learning to sift through all of that information and select the most relevant experience to show an individual across channels (note: for information about how Evergage approaches GDPR, read this blog post).  

Any company can make personalization and customer experience a priority

What strikes me about the list of the top 100 US customer champions is that it spans many industries, and no single industry dominates the top of the list. Two financial services companies (Navy Federal Credit Union and USAA) and Disney make up the top three, while three grocers, an airline, and three non-grocery retailers comprise the rest of the top 10.

While companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify often get a lot of credit for their personalization, this report reminds us that no matter your industry, you can deliver a relevant experience to your customers. This is important because as customers receive personalized experiences from the USAAs and Disneys of the world, they come to expect them from all the other companies they interact with. And when they experience them from multiple industries, that expectation only grows.

Marketers across industries can use this report to feel empowered to deliver personalized experiences to their prospects and customers.

Final Thoughts

Personalization is a key aspect of any good customer experience. It helps customers find relevant products or information, makes them feel as if the companies they interact with truly know and understand them, and ultimately fosters loyalty.

To learn how Evergage can help you deliver personalized experiences across channels, request a demo today. For KPMG’s full analysis, download its report.

Katie Sweet
5 Common Personalization Hurdles (and How to Overcome Them) https://www.evergage.com/blog/5-common-personalization-hurdles-and-how-to-overcome-them/ Fri, 15 Jun 2018 13:12:48 +0000 http://www.evergage.com/?p=25938

Keep on reading: 5 Common Personalization Hurdles (and How to Overcome Them)]]>

If businesses could implement personalization instantly, at the touch of a button, they would. Personalization is critical to providing a positive and effective customer experience, but as we all know, it is not quite as simple as pressing a magical button. As an overarching strategy, there are many areas to consider — including which customer points of interaction to personalize, what technology solution to use, who will oversee the program and how will it be implemented across an organization. But given the business benefits, these considerations should not scare anyone away from pursuing personalization.

I recently interviewed a few experts on the Evergage Customer Success team to get some insight into getting started with personalization. In this article, I outline some personalization hurdles first-time personalizers face, and describe the experts’ recommendations for overcoming those challenges to become a personalization rockstar!

1. Begin with the Data

As with many other challenges in life, first-time personalizers often struggle to determine where they should begin. This hurdle can easily be overcome with a data-centric approach. A good personalization platform provides a ton of data, yet first-time personalizers don’t always realize that analyzing that data can provide an excellent roadmap of where to start.

Logan Goulett, Senior Customer Service Director at Evergage, stresses the importance of allowing data to guide the initial stages of personalization. For example, many retailers believe they should begin by personalizing their homepage experiences because they consider their homepage to be the website’s storefront. Most often, however, a quick look at the data will establish that the best places to start are the product detail or category pages, as those are the points of interaction that typically generate the most incoming traffic for retailers. A similar approach can be taken by B2B and financial service companies. Are certain pages — perhaps pricing or a popular piece of content — getting significantly more traffic? By seeking validation from data first, first-time personalizers can avoid time-consuming efforts and instead focus on what will provide the greatest return.

In utilizing this data, however, organizations must be aware of legal restrictions within their industry. Andrew Dorris, Customer Service Director at Evergage, states this is especially relevant to financial services companies. Ensure that you create internal alignment with your legal team ahead of any campaign launches by documenting what the experience will look like and who it will target. This will enable your organization to be more agile and have a dedicated process to follow as more personalization opportunities present themselves.

2. Be Flexible

In order to adequately listen to the data, first-time personalizers must also maintain a flexible mindset. Pardees Safizadeh, Customer Success Manager at Evergage, states that first-time personalizers can self-impose hurdles if they fail to adapt their frame of mind. Being receptive to testing is one way Pardees suggests individuals successfully build out their personalization strategies. Rather than committing to campaigns that you believe will work, testing will tell you which ones definitively work. It’s important to be flexible and let ideas go if they don’t work out.

3. Maintain Content

Pardees states that one hurdle some first-time personalizers — particularly in technology companies — face is a lack of content to personalize. A blog devoid of posts cannot effectively recommend the most relevant articles to each individual. A company with no case studies cannot recommend specific case studies to different audiences.

One straightforward way to overcome this challenge is to create more targeted content. While this can be a time-consuming task, it will ultimately serve your SEO strategy as well as your personalization goals because consumers will have access to more relevant content. Start by identifying your gaps: Do you have content tailored to each of your target industries or personas? Do you have content to serve those prospects’ needs at each stage of the funnel? Andrew further stresses the importance of keeping content fresh. Relying on outdated content does not serve customers and will ultimately hinder a personalization strategy.

4. Prepare for Internal Buy-In

Implementing personalization across an entire organization generally requires buy-in from a wide variety of stakeholders. This includes not only individuals from different departments, such as merchandising and e-commerce teams in retail organizations, but also stakeholders who look after different channels — like web, mobile, and email — who may have varied perspectives on how to implement personalization across channels. Logan shares that these are often the individuals who impose hurdles for first-time personalizers by making it difficult to get campaigns off the ground. However, by taking the time to establish support and buy-in across the organization from the beginning, this can be avoided or at least alleviated.

Collaboration across teams can be formalized through the creation of a personalization management office (PMO). Having dedicated individuals working on personalization within an organization allows for quicker turnaround times and a greater degree of nimbleness.

5. Create a Campaign Playbook

Successfully developing and measuring campaigns can be a challenge for first-time personalizers, but by proactively creating a campaign playbook, they can avoid or overcome this hurdle. Outlining the processes by which you’ll create campaigns and the benchmarks by which you will measure them will help set a standard throughout the organization. Establishing benchmarks prior to the creation of new campaigns is especially critical, as ROI cannot always be measured using simple, short-term, revenue-focused approaches. This is especially true for non-ecommerce companies that have a longer sales cycle. First-time personalizers can become frustrated if they can’t demonstrate that their efforts are generating a positive return, but being clear about how campaigns will be measured at the start can expedite the analysis of a campaign’s success. The formal creation of a campaign playbook reinforces accountability and ensures that everyone has access to the information.  

Final Thoughts

It should be clear that while there is a learning curve to personalization, there’s no reason you can’t move down that learning curve quickly. The ultimate goal of delivering the most relevant experience to each individual should drive everyone to implement personalization in their organization. Customers have come to expect tailored experiences, and it is the responsibility of all business stakeholders to meet this expectation (or risk losing those customers). By approaching personalization with the knowledge of what the initial difficulties will be, first-time personalizers can avoid headaches and common mistakes and instead produce results that will surprise even the biggest skeptics.

To learn more about how Evergage can help you get started with personalization, request a demo today.

Katherine Emley