Evergage - Feed https://www.evergage.comf Real-time behavior-based personalization Wed, 11 Dec 2019 22:23:32 +0000 en hourly 1 Beyond ‘Abracadabra’ – 3 Keys to Personalization Magic https://www.evergage.com/blog/3-keys-to-magic-personalization/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 15:19:44 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57502





Keep on reading: Beyond ‘Abracadabra’ – 3 Keys to Personalization Magic]]>
https://www.evergage.com/blog/3-keys-to-magic-personalization/

“What products or content do I want my customers and prospects to see?”

For marketers, often faced with formidable metrics and KPIs to achieve, it’s a tempting question to ask. But effective personalization requires a shift in mindset and the ultimate customer-centric approach. Instead, the key question is: “What does the customer or prospect want to see?”

When you look at customer experience delivery from that perspective, you can make what seems like magic happen – driving experiences that are helpful, individualized and memorable, and turning the 1-to-1 communications dream into a reality. It takes a bit more than saying “abracadabra” though. With a mix of actionable data, well-trained algorithms (or well-crafted rules) and some testing, you can harness the power of personalization to drive greater engagement and more conversions.

Here are three keys to maximizing the results of your personalization efforts and initiatives:

1. Insist on Seeing Magic in Action

Personalization has a certain magic to it, and when I began my internship at Evergage this past fall, I was eager to see the magic in action. And it’s impressive! All the steps that go into experience delivery – from analyzing an individual’s in-session behavior to factoring in their previous history across channels to pulling in third-party data to deciding on the optimal experience and then to displaying it – happen faster than you can blink your eye.

Unlike some magicians that bat away prying eyes and won’t let you look behind the curtain (a “black-box” approach to personalization), Evergage takes a white-box approach: giving marketers insight into the machine-learning algorithms that power their campaigns, along with the ability to test and fine-tune them. That type of approach and technology is important in helping business users see and understand how their recommendation strategies and algorithms work, driving adoption and maximizing success.

2. Go to The Personalization & CDP Summit!

For six years straight, Evergage’s Summit has helped hundreds of marketing, e-commerce, customer experience, product management, data analysis and software development professionals learn and apply best practices for turning raw customer data into refined, relevant experiences in real time. Attendees learn from knowledgeable Evergagers, industry experts, end-users and, importantly, each other.

Sessions and insights are geared toward B2C and B2B practitioners at all levels, with valuable information for non-technical and technical users alike. See some takeaways from this past Summit in this news article.

Evergage’s Summit occurred during my first week on the job. Much like some of the attendees who were just getting started with personalization, I appreciated the opportunity to hear about successful campaigns, cross-channel and omnichannel strategies, the power of a unified personalization and customer data platform (CDP), and how to create a single view of each customer to deliver relevant and cohesive experiences across every touchpoint. (When I take a step back and put on my “consumer hat,” it’s easy to see why this unified, actionable profile is critical. When my experience is seamless and personalized, it adds value to all my interactions and bolsters my impression of a brand. (And when the personalization is done right, I don’t even realize it’s happening.)  

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Here I am, on the far right, at Evergage’s Personalization & CDP Summit in September 2019 – helping set up the main stage.

3. Use ‘Extensible’ Systems

New needs pop up constantly for marketers and developers. (“If we could only add this function…” “We also really need our personalization solution to do that…”) Accommodating these important one-offs doesn’t have to result in an untamed martech stack or the need to build custom modules from scratch. To support personalization, customer data management and other critical programs and functions, businesses are seeking platforms with “extensibility” – so they can easily and continually add features to their existing platform, rather than buy (or build) multiple “point” solutions whenever there is an unmet need. 

Extensibility is at the heart of Evergage’s personalization and customer data platform in the form of Evergage Gears™, which enables customers and partners to add functionality that extends the power of Evergage and to easily integrate Evergage with other systems, among other capabilities.

The CDP Institute has an illuminating white paper about the importance and benefits of CDP extensibility that’s worth a read. 

Final Thoughts

My internship at Evergage has shown me how fast technology needs to move to keep pace with and anticipate customers’ needs. As a student-athlete, I’ve also enjoyed being welcomed onto Evergage’s “team” – with friendly, talented and dedicated individuals; a winning and market-leading platform, and a fun atmosphere (with team outings and Friday sushi lunch trips with the business development reps… I always look forward to that!).

It’s especially been illuminating to see and be a part of the personalization “magic,” and I hope these tips help you turn your customers’ experiences into helpful and enchanting ones as well! To learn more about how Evergage can be the personalization and customer data platform for your company, request a demo today.

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Scott Holzwasser
5 Retail Holiday Strategies for Driving Urgency and Conversions https://www.evergage.com/blog/retail-holiday-strategies-for-driving-urgency/ Thu, 05 Dec 2019 15:43:33 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57483





Keep on reading: 5 Retail Holiday Strategies for Driving Urgency and Conversions]]>
https://www.evergage.com/blog/retail-holiday-strategies-for-driving-urgency/

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, retailers have just a few more weeks to drive additional business during their most important quarter – as holiday sales can account for nearly one-third of sales for the year.

Plans have been in place for months, and now the clock is ticking… rather rapidly! That’s because this year, there are six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas than in 2018 – creating more urgency in a compressed shopping season, and leading many brands to get an earlier start on campaigns and promotions across channels.

Studies show the average household will spend nearly $1,500 this holiday season. As retailers look to maximize their share, they’re seeking innovative ways to apply their data – driving engagement and loyalty with shoppers and differentiating their brands. 

Here are five personalization tactics and campaigns that some of our clients have employed (and are employing) to spur purchases and create helpful and memorable customer experiences.

1. Tick, Tock… Countdown Timers

The nudging of a ticking clock and imminent deadline can often prompt purchases, especially during the holidays. Clocks and countdown timers remind shoppers to act soon, before a deal or deadline expires.

Tapping into these tendencies, one of our clients – a jewelry designer, renowned for high-end gifts – is preparing to launch a countdown clock atop all the pages on its site. The live timer – which counts down the days, hours and minutes remaining, in order to receive purchases in time for Christmas – is specific to each web/mobile visitor’s local time zone, and has subtle changes in style, based on the page a shopper is visiting.

Here’s another example of ticking clocks in action. Last holiday season, an e-commerce client operating a flash-sale site combined a countdown timer (showing when deals on certain items would end) and “social proof” (showing how many people were viewing that item) – driving a 17% lift in conversion rate.

2. Inventory Counters

Inventory counters and alerts, in addition to social trending information, can also prompt shoppers to make purchases they’ve been mulling over. Using Evergage’s customer data platform (CDP), our clients combine product availability information with shoppers’ current behavioral data; past purchases, history and actions; and affinities to immediately alert shoppers of items they may be interested in, before they sell out.

With personalized triggered emails, push notifications and onsite badging, retailers can notify shoppers of the status of relevant items (“5 Left”; “Last One”; “More on the Way”; etc.).

2.-Inventory-Counters-1

This triggered email, based on a shopper’s browsing behavior, alerts the shopper that the item has limited availability. Best to act now!

3. Personalized Gift Guides 

During the holiday season, retailers want to make it easy for shoppers to find and select the perfect items for that special someone. Our clients have seen success by deploying personalized digital gift guides/“boutiques” – with dynamic recommendations based on each shopper’s preferences, explicit survey responses (“who are you shopping for?”), current and historical behavior around the holidays, and top items within the categories or collections that person is engaging with.

By keeping the personalized guide accessible within the site navigation – and using it, when appropriate, to collect visitors’ email addresses – retailers can drive greater engagement and remind shoppers of their gifting goals.

3.-Personalized-Gift-Ideas

Responses to this brief, strategically deployed survey help retailers immediately create relevant recommendations and gift guides.

4. Out-of-Stock Doesn’t Mean Out-of-Luck

For shoppers, the excitement of identifying the perfect holiday gift can quickly deflate – turning into frustration – when they learn that item is out-of-stock. It’s not uncommon for retailers to contend with challenges like these around the holidays, as high volumes of sales often result in low and out-of-stock inventory.

But if shoppers come upon an out-of-stock product, it’s important to try to turn their experience into a positive one. For example, rather than serving up a dead end, our clients often immediately present visitors with relevant recommendations, as alternate choices – mapped to the product the person was shopping for, along with that person’s affinities and preferences (typical price point, preferred categories, etc.).

By recommending similar products and optimizing calls to action, one of our retail clients drove a 12% lift in revenue per user on its out-of-stock pages during a previous holiday season. 

5. Bounce Prevention

It’s a crowded and competitive market for retailers all year long – arguably even more so around the holidays. As a result, retailers want to entice shoppers to buy from their brand and not stray to competitors. 

When visitors display comparison-shopping and exit-intent behavior (e.g., highlighting an item’s price, then moving their mouse to exit the site), retailers can woo them to stay. We often see this in the form of strategically placed pop-ups or other notifications – e.g., highlighting free shipping, a hassle-free return policy, promotions, social proofing information (“50 visitors now have this item in their carts”), competitive differentiators and more. See this example below.

5.-Bounce-Prevention

This call-out message to shoppers helps convince them to buy through the site, rather than check out a competitor’s.

Final Thoughts

Although retailers’ 2019 holiday campaigns have long been locked down, retailers will soon be evaluating what worked and what didn’t – and can incorporate best practices and the strategies above into 2020 planning. More and more, we’re seeing companies take a cross-channel approach to strategic planning – thinking about their campaigns and ROI across touchpoints, and seeking to provide a cohesive customer experience.

It bears mentioning, too, that personalization during the holidays can be an interesting and nuanced science – especially when you factor in gift-giving. A frequent, loyal shopper – for example, of high-end women’s clothes – may make purchases outside of her typical buying behavior. But just because, let’s say, that single aunt purchased baby toys for her new nephew, it doesn’t mean she wants to – or should – be bombarded with recommended baby items the whole year through.

Effective personalization and customer data platforms can distinguish gift-giving behavior from a person’s routine activity – factoring in known affinities, behavioral patterns over time, historical activity, current behavioral cues (e.g., did the shopper choose to have the item gift-wrapped?) and more – reconciling various types of purchases within a person’s profile for spot-on personalization. To learn more about how Evergage can be the personalization and customer data platform for your company, request a demo today.

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Laura Saati
What Makes Marketers Thankful? Hear from the Experts https://www.evergage.com/blog/what-makes-marketers-thankful/ Mon, 25 Nov 2019 21:55:07 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57461





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With Thanksgiving approaching, it’s an apt time to reflect on what makes us thankful. We posed this question to senior-level marketers and other senior executives – asking what they’re grateful for, from a marketing and customer experience point of view.

As the martech landscape continues to evolve – and with it, ways to reach and engage audiences – these leaders’ responses and expert perspectives offer insights into what’s valuable across businesses and industries today.  

Read on for their reflections:

Nancy Hubacher, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, The Washington Redskins

“As a longtime executive with The Washington Redskins, I am grateful for the various channels our organization leverages to produce innovative experiences that capture the hearts and minds of our fans and partners in our community and around the world. The continuously-evolving digital landscape requires timely and relevant content and communication to capitalize on the real-time and viral moments uniquely associated with live sports and entertainment brands.

Nicole Reineke, Consultant, Technical Product Manager – Office of the CTO, Dell EMC

“I am grateful for the opportunity digital marketing gives us to connect with people. Digital marketing has dramatically shifted the rate we can share the right data, tech and process improvements with the people who can benefit from them. It gives us the opportunity to learn about our customers’ biggest challenges through interactive content, and enables us to use education and collaboration tools to share learnings from the customer base so everyone can take advantage of them.” 

Anna Cole, Director of Global D2C Digital Platforms, Carhartt

“I am thankful to live in an age where brands can have a personal relationship with our consumers that allows us to anticipate and proactively respond to their needs.”

Brendan Cournoyer, VP of Marketing, Brainshark

“Have to appreciate the many ways customers today are empowered to become spokespeople for your brand. Beyond traditional case studies or quotes on a website, customer advocates can easily record video snippets, help influence buyers via tech review sites and social media, share ideas via online communities and forums, and present success stories via a variety of in-person events and webinars. We’re certainly thankful for all our customers who’ve helped spread our stories via these channels (and more) this past year.”

Laura Naylor, SVP Client Experience, C Space

“I am thankful for the growing recognition that emotions matter. Customer experience, especially in B2B professional exchanges, has momentum behind it because we are moving beyond transactional activity to more effective strategies that incorporate how we want people to feel integrated with what we want them to do. Making business more human also makes it more impactful, and I am grateful for this next chapter.”

Gretchen Hoffman, Head of Demand Generation, Continuum

“It is great to have the ability to better segment and target audiences so there is so much more efficiency and less waste in marketing spend. And I love the affordable options digital marketing offers such as social media, hangouts, emails, video and more.”

Ed Gaudet, CEO and Founder, Censinet

“I’m thankful for our Voice of the Customer integrated digital marketing and thought-leadership program, which enables us to share customer experiences and adoption best practices with the healthcare industry. And I am especially thankful for Censinet’s dedicated customers and employees, and their respective families, who too often bear the sacrifice of our shared mission and commitment to making healthcare a safer experience.”

Peep Laja, CEO and Founder, CXL

"I'm thankful for the audience I've built over the years exploring data-driven marketing, digital analytics and conversion optimization. The followers on social media, the newsletter subscribers, the blog readers. They're the foundation of the business. I always make sure to add value to them, and sure enough, the value comes right back at us."

Andy Zimmerman, CMO, Evergage

“I appreciate having a team of innovative marketers who are constantly thinking about improving the experience of our customers and prospects, and finding innovative ways to engage and serve them. The content we create and programs we run are all aimed squarely on this goal, and I’m grateful we have a collaborative team that cares about the success of these efforts and analyzes the results to determine what’s effective and what’s not.”

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Sara Card
Back to Basics: 3 Ways to Improve Your Demand Generation and ABM Results https://www.evergage.com/blog/personalization-testing-demandgen-abm-results/ Fri, 22 Nov 2019 15:03:38 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57448





Keep on reading: Back to Basics: 3 Ways to Improve Your Demand Generation and ABM Results]]>
https://www.evergage.com/blog/personalization-testing-demandgen-abm-results/

As marketers, part of our job is to keep up with the latest trends and best practices, and stay ahead of the curve in terms of strategy, tactics and tools. As we’re all aware, though, the number of solutions available to us is growing by the day. As we aim to be the most innovative and try out the latest technologies (and all their bells and whistles), it can be easy to lose sight of what we’re really trying to do – provide the best possible experience to our prospects and customers, and engage them more effectively.

B2B marketers often face this struggle as they look to improve their demand generation and account-based marketing (ABM) results, while also having to navigate long, multi-touch sales cycles. It’s easy to get caught up in complicated testing strategies and micro-segmentation while at the same time overlooking more basic – yet essential – opportunities for personalization and testing.

In our webinar this week with Alex Schutte, Director of Digital Strategy at Paycor, a leading human capital management (HCM) software company, we explored how getting back to personalization and A/B testing basics can be quite impactful in providing first-rate experiences and increasing engagement and conversions for B2B organizations. Here are three easy-to-implement examples from that discussion. (And be sure to watch the full replay for more great ideas!)

1. Show Your Homepage Some Love – Testing Visuals

This might seem obvious, but taking your homepage experience for granted is a surefire way to limit its effectiveness with prospects and customers alike. So take some time to make sure your homepage is performing optimally.

Running simple tests on the impact of design elements, calls to action (CTAs), language, recommendations, etc., is an easy way to stay on top of homepage performance. In the example below from Paycor, you’ll see its homepage control features a hero image with a text overlay. Through testing a variation of the homepage – with a higher-contrast banner and more prominent CTA buttons – Paycor experienced a remarkable 71% lift in clickthrough rate (CTR).

Blog-Paycor-Home-Page-Control

The control homepage experience had a 0.2% CTR.

Blog-Paycor-Home-Page-Variant-

The variant homepage experience had a CTR that was 71% higher than the control.

2. Make Your CTAs Count – Testing Copy

This slightly more subtle test by Paycor had not-so-subtle results. On the surface, adjusting CTA button copy might seem like a lower priority, but testing the impact of different phrasing gives you an opportunity to maximize the potential for conversions, especially with new visitors landing on your site. You want to see which language best spurs action.

As you’ll see in the images below, Paycor’s CTA variations included “See which products fit your business,” “Try our interactive Solutions Finder” and “Find your solution.” The winner in this case was “Find your solution,” which drove a whopping 242% increase in clickthrough rate over the original phrasing.

Blog-Paycor-CTA-Button-Image

A/B testing revealed that visitors were most likely to click on the “Find Your Solution” button versus alternatives.

Your homepage is also a great area to test and deploy ABM strategies – detecting and greeting visitors from target accounts and dynamically deploying industry- and company-specific content and experiences. You could easily apply similar tests as outlined above – like changing images, copy, CTAs, etc., for these visitors – all with the goal of engaging and converting your highest-value, target prospects.

3. Trust Your Tech – Personalizing Content Recommendations Using Machine Learning

On the Evergage site, as is often the case with B2B companies, the majority of homepage visitors are also first-time visitors. We want to maximize the opportunity to engage such visitors with relevant content, so we have a variety of personalization campaigns running that are industry- and behavior-based. We also utilize Contextual Bandit, our advanced machine-learning algorithm that determines the most appropriate high-value piece of content (or promotion, offer or product) for each individual visitor, even if there isn’t that much known yet about that person.

In the example below, Contextual Bandit automatically displays the most relevant eBook promotion to each visitor. This resulted in a 42% lift over our previous recommendations method. The algorithm works well for first-time visitors and return visitors alike, and considers a wide variety of data points about the visitor, as well as the value of each download to Evergage.

Blog-Evergage-CB-Image

This content is promoted at the 1-to-1 level and driven by machine learning.

We know that letting machine learning “take over” can make marketers uneasy, so we recommend choosing tools that take a “white-box” approach, giving marketers insight into – and the ability to test and tune – the algorithms that power their personalization campaigns. This is a great example of how applying the technology and tools you have on hand can really improve your demand gen and ABM results.

Final Thoughts

Most marketers have more data at their fingertips than they know what to do with. Or, even if they do know what to do with it, they have trouble getting started or figuring out how to make the biggest impact. Sometimes, taking a step back and working with what’s already in front of you is the right move, and you can iterate and improve your demand gen and ABM efforts from there.

We hope this blog post (and webinar replay) inspired you with some concrete ideas for how to use personalization and A/B testing to strengthen your demand generation and ABM programs. To learn more about how Evergage can help drive B2B engagement and conversions, request a demo today.

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Suzy Dolan
Evergage’s Personalization vs. an MLB Fastball vs. The Flash – What’s the Fastest? https://www.evergage.com/blog/real-time-personalization/ Wed, 20 Nov 2019 15:20:36 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57432





Keep on reading: Evergage’s Personalization vs. an MLB Fastball vs. The Flash – What’s the Fastest?]]>
https://www.evergage.com/blog/real-time-personalization/

How long does it take you to say “real-time personalization”? Two seconds? Can you squeeze it into 1? Even if you can, Evergage’s personalized experience decisioning and delivery is still 50 times faster than that.

That’s because in the Evergage platform, the process of synthesizing and activating data – to gauge and respond to an individual’s in-the-moment intent, across channels – happens in 20 milliseconds, or two one-hundredths of a second. 

For some context, that is faster than the time it takes:

What happens within those 20 milliseconds?

For companies across industries, Evergage makes it possible to understand and engage individual audience members with relevant, helpful experiences – delivering personalization to billions of people across websites, email, web and mobile apps, onsite search, and more. 

During the split-second (20-millisecond) timeframe, A LOT happens to drive and deliver an individualized experience. Evergage’s unified personalization and customer data platform (CDP):

  • Factors in an individual’s current session activity, including deep behavioral data (e.g., hovering, scrolling, engagement with images and reviews, and other indicators of interest/intent);
  • Combines it with that person’s historical behavior and activity across channels, and third-party and attribute data (e.g., geolocation, prior purchases or downloads, customer status, etc.);
  • Determines if the person is – or is not – in an A/B or multivariate test group
  • Decides on the optimal content, offer or experience (factoring in marketer-defined rules and/or sophisticated machine-learning algorithms); and 
  • Displays it

In only another split-second, Evergage even collects the data on the individual’s engagement with the personalized content, and makes it available for attribution analysis and as another actionable data point in the person’s unified customer profile.

Other platforms – even those that purport to be real-time – are unable to do all of this. Some act on a limited set of current session activities, while ignoring past sessions. Others are only able to combine past and current session activities after a 4-to-24-hour delay. And some focus just on what’s known from past sessions or attributes alone. This all adds up to an incomplete picture and faulty personalization.

Buyers deserve better, and Evergage is committed to helping companies deliver. So the next time you blink your eye or watch a fastball hurtle toward home, know that a personalized experience could have been delivered 15-20 times over! When we say real-time, we mean it.To learn more about how Evergage can be the personalization and customer data platform for your company, request a demo today.

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Sara Card
Demystifying CDPs [Infographic] https://www.evergage.com/blog/cdp-infographic/ Wed, 13 Nov 2019 14:49:46 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57412





Keep on reading: Demystifying CDPs [Infographic]]]>
https://www.evergage.com/blog/cdp-infographic/

From the sea of martech acronyms, it’s time to add CDP to your need-to-know list.

Customer data platforms (CDPs) enable companies to bring all their messy and disparate customer and prospect data into one place – and make that data meaningful and actionable. Collecting, storing and synthesizing data from across systems and channels, CDPs create a single, unified view of each customer (often called a unified customer profile).

According to Gartner, “This unified view of the customer that is enabled by the CDP creates more effective marketing by providing visibility into the customer journey, enabling personalization and improving CX [customer experience].”

To help you get a clear picture of what a CDP is – including the data it ingests and the various levels of CDPs – we’ve created the following infographic. And be sure to read on after the infographic below for lots more useful stats and info about the rapidly advancing CDP category.

With all the benefits CDPs have to offer, the market has exploded over the last couple of years, by many different indicators:

  • More entrants and funding: The CDP Institute noted in a July 2019 report that in the first half of 2019 “the industry added 19 new vendors; 2,300 employees and $680 million in cumulative funding” – for a total of “96 vendors; 9,206 employees and $2.4 billion in funding” in the space.
  • Analyst attention and reports: Gartner reports record numbers of CDP-related inquiries, and a “CDP” search on its website yields nearly 150 documents since Jan. 1, 2018, alone. Likewise, Forrester Research has conducted extensive evaluations and research on CDPs in B2B and B2C use cases.
  • Awards: New award programs and categories have emerged to recognize the importance of CDPs. (Evergage is proud to have been named “CDP of the Year” in the first-ever Rele Awards and “Best CDP” in the inaugural MarTech Breakthrough Awards, as well as a “Best CDP” finalist in the 2019 SIIA CODiE Awards.)
  • Events: This year, Evergage hosted The Personalization & CDP Summit – drawing hundreds of marketing, ecommerce, customer experience and product management professionals. At the event, we also distributed copies of our award-winning personalization book, now in its second edition, and covering the role and benefits of CDPs.

At Evergage – founded in 2010 as a personalization engine with a CDP at its core – we’ve seen the need for customer data platforms well before the term became an everyday part of the marketing lingo. After all, you can’t deliver personalization without a real-time and fundamental understanding of the person you’re trying to personalize experiences for!

Yet as vendors jostle for elbow room in what’s becoming a crowded space, it’s also clear they’re not all created equal. And as with any young space, particularly when it’s booming, confusion can arise – on capabilities and even market definitions!

Case in point: A recent Gartner survey (subscription required) found that “51% of current CDP users say the CDP is their CRM system, suggesting common misperceptions about what is (and is not) a CDP.” (To be clear, CRMs were not built to handle the volume and complexity of data – especially deep, multichannel behavioral data – that CDPs must process.)

We hope our infographic helps clear the fog. And for more information, see our blog post from earlier this year: “CDP Stats You Can’t Ignore.” And to learn more about how Evergage can be the personalization and customer data platform for your company, request a demo today.

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Sara Card
5 Tips for Personalizing Websites with Rapidly Changing Retail Catalogs https://www.evergage.com/blog/personalization-tips-rapidly-changing-catalogs/ Fri, 08 Nov 2019 14:53:16 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57362





Keep on reading: 5 Tips for Personalizing Websites with Rapidly Changing Retail Catalogs]]>
https://www.evergage.com/blog/personalization-tips-rapidly-changing-catalogs/

With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s important for retail e-commerce companies to help customers find the items they love and drive urgency to make the biggest impact. For retailers with rapidly changing catalogs or single-inventory items, this challenge is often amplified. With flash sales, limited (or one-of-a-kind) items and even auction timelines, these online retailers depend on real-time data and 1-to-1 personalization to encourage shoppers to discover — and act quickly on — limited items and deals.

What are their secrets for success? Here are five techniques, along with real-world examples, to consider when personalizing the customer experience before time is up.

1. Badging

It’s easy for shoppers to be overwhelmed by a company’s product offerings when browsing online. One way to call attention to specific items is by using badging — that is, visually highlighting metrics or attributes about a given item (e.g., “New!”; “Limited Edition”; “500 Views Today”; “2 Left”) — to drive attention and urgency around certain items. When combined with personalized recommendations, badges — which are most effective when rendered dynamically, based on real-time data about the catalog item and related customer behavior — can help shoppers focus on “hot” items they’re likely to be interested in, leverage the wisdom of the crowd and drive purchases before items sell out. By promoting items and their real-time status to each visitor, badging is often effective in increasing conversions and boosting average order value (AOV).

SmartTrends_Badging_2

Note the badges used on select items above, which can be rendered dynamically.

2. Abandoned Cart Emails and On-Site Messages

A key way to re-engage shoppers and drive conversions quickly is by triggering emails to visitors based on their behavior and actions on a website or mobile app (such as leaving an item in their cart without checking out). These emails remind shoppers of specific items and promotions they may have previously engaged with across channels, and can be combined with personalized incentives and discounts (e.g., 10% off, free shipping, etc.) tailored to the recipient. For companies that offer flash sales, or that have limited or rapidly changing inventory, triggered emails can be especially effective at reminding shoppers of time constraints and dwindling inventory, thus spurring urgency in purchases. In addition to email reminders, cart abandonment messages can be displayed to visitors as they start to exit a page, encouraging shoppers to complete a purchase before they lose out on the item.

Abandoned-Cart-Blog-Image

This cart abandonment message which reads “Forget Something?” includes an image of the actual item the shopper left behind.

3. Open-Time Email Recommendations

What good is an email if the information within it is out of date or the product recommendations are out of stock? Its effect is the opposite of what was intended, and often frustrates and de-motivates the recipient. Open-time emails — where promotions, recommendations and content are personalized when a message is opened, not when it’s sent — can take shoppers’ up-to-the-moment, cross-channel behavior and inventory levels into account to provide the most personalized, accurate, up-to-date and helpful experience. This is crucial for companies whose business model depends on helping shoppers find items before they sell out.

Take, for instance, Invaluable, the world’s leading online marketplace for fine art, antiques and collectibles. Invaluable has a product catalog with hundreds of thousands of items — many unique and one-of-a-kind — that changes over every single month. With open-time emails, Invaluable sends collectors personalized product recommendations that dynamically change based on item availability and auction status, to help recipients get the items they love before they’re gone. By swapping out static email recommendations for dynamically populated ones, Invaluable has seen a 21% increase in email clickthroughs.

 

Open-Time-Email-Blog-Image

Open-Time-Email-Blog-Image

 

The product recommendations in this email are determined at open-time for each individual recipient based on that person’s past behavior and demonstrated interests.

4. Timers

The pressure of a ticking clock — highlighting the limited nature of a deal — can underscore urgency and drive purchases. NeweggFlash, a flash sale website (and sister site of Newegg.com) provides shoppers with a wide range of consumer technology products at attractive prices for a limited time. By adding a deal countdown timer and “people currently viewing” counter to its product detail pages (and A/B testing different versions to find the best look and feel), the company saw a 17% lift in conversion rates.

Timers-Blog-Image

Timers-Blog-Image

 

This flash sale product page includes both a dynamic timer and viewer counter to drive urgency.

5. Inventory Counters

“QUICK! Get it before it’s gone!” When something is on the verge of selling out, we can all relate to the feeling of wanting it even more. So displaying an inventory counter for low-stock items that are relevant to shoppers can help them make that last-minute decision to purchase before something disappears. 

High-performing retailers often combine the above strategies too — for example, sending triggered, low-stock emails displaying real-time inventory counts to users who have shown an interest in a given product. Plus, by adding open-time email capabilities, companies can ensure that every item recommended is the most up-to-date, relevant content — while also factoring in the recipient’s latest browsing behavior, purchases and real-time inventory.

Final Thoughts

The above personalization strategies are important ones for all types of e-commerce companies — and for those with rapidly changing catalogs, they play an especially crucial role in driving demand. So that shoppers can capitalize on a flash sale — before it disappears in a flash — and find the perfect, one-of-a-kind item before it’s auctioned away, they often need help finding hot, relevant products and motivation to complete their purchases. Real-time customer data management and 1-to-1 personalization are key.

To learn more about how Evergage can be the personalization and customer data platform (CDP) for your company, request a demo today.

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Tim Dammers
Evergage Named a Leader Among Digital Intelligence Platforms https://www.evergage.com/blog/evergage-named-a-leader-among-digital-intelligence-platforms/ Wed, 06 Nov 2019 16:33:12 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57332





Keep on reading: Evergage Named a Leader Among Digital Intelligence Platforms]]>
https://www.evergage.com/blog/evergage-named-a-leader-among-digital-intelligence-platforms/

I am proud to share that Evergage that has been named a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Digital Intelligence Platforms, Q4 2019. It’s an honor to be among the impressive set of vendors included – what Forrester calls the “9 most significant” ones in the market – and especially gratifying to be 1 of only 2 leaders in this select group. This distinction, in our opinion, speaks to the strength of Evergage’s offering, approach and roadmap; the dramatic results our clients achieve; and Evergage’s commitment to their success.

Forrester employs a rigorous process in its Wave evaluations – in this case, examining 23 different criteria and reporting on how vendors stack up. Those selected for inclusion also submitted an extensive survey and delivered a lengthy product demo; plus, for every vendor evaluated, Forrester interviewed multiple clients about their experiences.

Evergage received the highest possible scores (5 out of 5) in the Wave in the criteria of platform experience, execution roadmap, past performance, online testing, Web analytics, recommendations, first-party profile data and average deal size.

I encourage you to check out a complimentary copy of the full report, courtesy of Evergage. In the meantime, here are some of our high-level takeaways:

What is Digital Intelligence, and Why Do Companies Need it?

As companies continue to accumulate vast (and often siloed) stores of customer and prospect data, the need to make sense of it all – and make it actionable – has been amplified. Enter digital intelligence. Here’s how Forrester defines the space and technology, and the research firm’s thoughts on why it’s so critical today:

“Insight-driven firms deliver the right digital experience to the right customers within the right context. They create competitive advantage by doing this at scale and with a consistency achievable only through the holistic practice of managing and acting on digital customer data, analytics and experience delivery – which Forrester calls digital intelligence (DI).

To emulate these masters and achieve scale and consistency, firms are increasingly relying on DI technology platforms that integrate the breadth of data, analytics and experience optimization capabilities they need. In parallel, firms’ demands of these platforms are increasing – they need to track customers across more types of digital touchpoints and optimize their engagements, collect higher-fidelity engagement data and analyze for greater customer understanding.” 

To capture customers’ attention, engage them successfully with relevance and drive long-term loyalty, it’s important that all these activities – from cross-channel behavioral tracking, to experience delivery and optimization based on first- and third-party data – occur in real time. We do this at Evergage: tracking, storing, processing and synthesizing information – then activating it at the 1-to-1 level to deliver personalized messages, recommendations, offers and complete experiences – in milliseconds.

Evergage’s Approach

The category of “Digital Intelligence” encapsulates really well what Evergage is all about as a personalization and customer data platform (CDP), since it addresses not only critical experience optimization aspects (including behavioral targeting, A/B testing and recommendations), but also the data and analytics needed to drive these. Evergage excels  across all three dimensions: data, analytics and experience optimization. In our opinion, not all vendors can say the same, especially the myriad CDP vendor newcomers who can’t adequately address all three dimensions.  

While many vendors may use the same buzzwords and lay claim to these broad capabilities, Forrester cautions that “differences abound in the details.” The firm notes that “the performance of vendors’ digital intelligence business, their ability to manage first-party interaction profile data, their web analytics functionality and their recommendations feature integrations are the keys to distinguishing between vendors in this evaluation.”

At Evergage, we’ve made significant investments in all of these areas as core aspects of our platform, and we also view these features and capabilities – along with our machine-learning algorithms and predictive analytics – as critical to experience delivery.

Evergage’s Differentiators

The Wave also included some very large and established marketing suite providers – what you might think of as industry heavyweights. Here are some of the areas that we believe set Evergage apart and show why we were named a Leader:

  • Evergage is a single, integrated and comprehensive DI platform, built in-house – and not scraped together through acquisitions of different technologies and systems that don’t always play well together and don’t communicate with each other in real time. We see that cobbling together systems this way often results in multiple disconnected customer profiles, and lags in data processing, analysis and activation – meaning customers don’t get the relevant experiences they need, in the moment they need them. In contrast, Forrester notes: “Evergage’s all-in-one approach delivers customer centricity.”
  • We apply industry-leading artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning algorithms that keep getting smarter, so companies can anticipate customers’ needs across channels – mapping their preferences, affinities and intent with the experiences and offers that are just right for them, and just right for the business. Forrester’s report notes the importance of AI and machine learning on experience optimization capabilities. Again, we feel these are strengths of Evergage and important points of differentiation. 
  • Evergage helps companies illuminate their customers’ true interests and intent – and then act on that. We combine our rich, first-party, cross-channel behavioral data with historical information and third-party data to power real-time, 1-to-1 personalization across websites, email, web and mobile apps, onsite search, online ads, social media, call centers and in stores/branches. In its evaluation, Forrester recognizes the need for customer insights (CI) professionals to “look for strong first-party digital customer interaction profiling capabilities” when choosing a DI platform and calls attention to the importance of gaining a “richer understanding of customers’ digital intent, sentiment and propensity.” All of this is core to what sits at the heart of Evergage and what we believe makes our platform different and better.  

What the Analysts Had to Say

Get it straight from the source – here are some direct quotes from the report about Evergage and what makes us unique:

  • “Evergage 1 [our solution name] is a tightly integrated platform designed to identify, understand, decide and engage with customers on a one-to-one basis across all major and emerging digital interaction channels.”
  • “Evergage’s greatest strengths lie in the integration of its modern customer interaction data model with its experience optimization capabilities for testing, recommendations and behavioral targeting.”
  • “Evergage 1 is ideal for retail, technology and financial services firms seeking to take a customer centric, cross-channel and cross-departmental (e.g. marketing and product teams) approach to enhancing customer experience.”

Final Thoughts

In the digital age, digital intelligence is a necessity. To win over customers, you need to know them, and DI platforms let you do this at scale. But it’s not enough, of course, to simply know about your customers and prospects; you need to be able to do something with that knowledge – acting on digital intelligence in a way that will help, guide and delight your audiences.

To learn more about DI platforms, including capabilities among them and Evergage’s position as a Leader, download the full report.

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Andy Zimmerman
Top Considerations When Evaluating Enterprise Platform Vendors https://www.evergage.com/blog/top-considerations-when-evaluating-enterprise-platform-vendors/ Fri, 01 Nov 2019 13:40:07 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57314





Keep on reading: Top Considerations When Evaluating Enterprise Platform Vendors]]>
https://www.evergage.com/blog/top-considerations-when-evaluating-enterprise-platform-vendors/

As a business development rep (BDR) at Evergage, I’ve watched a lot of companies go through the software solution evaluation process. Selecting the proper vendor can be daunting, especially with the exponentially growing number of software providers on the market today. Although there are many moving pieces in an evaluation, I’ve realized there are steps that can be taken to streamline the process and ensure that you collect all the proper information to select the best vendor for your business.

Of course, the specifics of how you evaluate technology vendors will depend on the type of technology you’re looking for. (If you’re looking for CDP technology, for example, check out this RFP template as a guide.) So in this blog post, I’ll focus on a few things that you may want to consider at the beginning stages of the evaluation process for any type of software platform. 

Laying the Foundation for Vendor Evaluation: Questions to Consider and Resources

Before you can start the exciting process of scheduling multiple introductory vendor calls with strangers (ha ha), there are few things you should consider upfront to optimize your time, such as:

  • What is our timeline for this project?
  • How many vendors do we plan to evaluate?
  • What is our budget? 
  • Which colleagues or consultants will be involved? 
  • Who signs off on the decision?
  • What is my personal bandwidth, and how much support do I need internally?
  • What are the specific ways we plan to use this solution?
  • How will we measure success/ROI?

Thinking through these issues in advance will help you and your prospective vendors get on the same page from the beginning.

Your timeline can be especially crucial. If a solution needs to be up and running for the biggest selling season of your fiscal year, for example, then a vendor’s ability to execute quickly is critical in the selection process. Or, if you are replacing a SaaS solution that is already in place, starting the evaluation with enough runway prior to the contract renewal date may save you from needing to wait another year to implement. 

To help create your initial list of vendors to research, you can start by checking out reports prepared by analysts firms, such as Gartner or Forrester. There are also crowdsourced alternatives such as G2. They can provide an unbiased starting point for you as well. 

Researching Vendors Online 

As you begin deeper research of each solution on your list, I recommend starting by analyzing the vendor’s website. Content such as feature pages, eBooks, and case studies can give some indication of the types of customers (e.g., size, industry, etc.) the company typically works with. You can see if the company has published anything addressing your specific needs or use cases. 

In addition to reviewing success stories specific to your industry or company type, understanding how a vendor is trending in the market is important, especially if you are planning to keep the solution long term. 10-K reports offer great snapshots of a public company's financial well-being. You can look at a company’s LinkedIn profile to get a good idea of how its employment is trending. Plus, there are free sites and tools like SimilarWeb, which provides helpful data on website traffic over time.

No vendor is going to tell you when their company is going downhill. Taking these steps to research a company can provide insight into that organization’s health and may save you from having to abruptly find an alternative vendor down the road.

The analyst firms such as Gartner and Forrester, and free sites such as G2 – which publishes unbiased user reviews – can be helpful to you at this stage of your research as well. For thousands of different B2B software solutions, G2 provides numerous detailed reviews from users discussing the strengths and weaknesses they encountered while using a solution. G2 also provides a “G2 Grid” like this one for many different solution categories, which you can use to compare vendors against the dimensions of market presence and user satisfaction. 

Meanwhile, analyst reports from Forrester and Gartner can provide valuable details and unbiased insights on vendors you may be considering. Their reports are stringently compiled, and many vendors do not make the cut. The analysts work closely with each vendor to make sure they have an in-depth understanding of the solution, and they gather extensive user feedback directly from vendor clients. For example, the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Personalization Engines report provides a synopsis of the strengths and cautions for each vendor, as well as the renowned quadrant image that ranks each vendor based on “completeness of vision” and “ability to execute.” Reliable and reputable sources such as these provide objective and helpful insights to buyers. In contrast, be wary of lesser-known sites that may be “pay-to-play” (where vendor sponsorship can influence coverage/rankings).

Engaging Directly with Vendors 

No matter what type of solution you’re searching for, it’s important to take into consideration how smooth the initial sales process is. This can help you determine how helpful the vendor will be in the long term. A vendor's ability to properly respond to your initial inquiry and subsequently engage with you and provide value will give you a glimpse into their responsiveness and professionalism as an organization generally. This insight is important, as a good solution with insufficient support can leave you less than satisfied and unable to realize maximum value from your investment.  

Two key questions to ask yourself:

  • How quickly and thoroughly did the vendor follow up and respond to my questions and requests?
  • Was the right vendor staff present and prepared for each call/meeting? 

Also, take note of any questions the vendor asks you prior to each call or meeting. By asking you questions, they are likely trying to uncover some information about your business to ensure your needs align with their capabilities. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, you want to make sure you are properly laying the foundation before exploring the vast world of potential vendors to make the best use of your time. Do your homework online in advance, and pay attention to the nuances of coordination once you engage directly. Selecting a new vendor can be stressful, but pioneering a new solution that jumpstarts your business is usually worth it.

To learn more about how Evergage can be the personalization and customer data platform for your enterprise, request a demo today.

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Chris Sparanges
Hot off the Press: Our Personalization Book, Now in Its 2nd Edition https://www.evergage.com/blog/one-to-one-personalization-book/ Tue, 29 Oct 2019 14:30:53 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57274





Keep on reading: Hot off the Press: Our Personalization Book, Now in Its 2nd Edition]]>
https://www.evergage.com/blog/one-to-one-personalization-book/

Writing a book is a labor of love. And I love personalization and customer data platforms. So I’m excited to let you know that the second edition of “One-to-One Personalization in the Age of Machine Learning” is available as a free digital download today. Authored by my colleague Katie Sweet and me, the full-length book (now 220 pages) describes how to harness in-depth data to power great customer experiences.

Because that’s what personalization is all about, right? Tapping into your data to create relevant, excellent experiences that help, motivate and delight your customers and prospects – no matter on what channel they’re engaging. Personalization is good for the customer, and it’s good for business. We at Evergage feel it’s important to demystify personalization and customer data platform (CDP) technology – and in the book, we share strategies, processes and real-world examples that drive success.

Why the 2nd Edition? Why Now?

For so many years, the 1-to-1 dream was just that: a dream. It’s taken decades for marketers and technologists to turn fantasy into reality. But now, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, 1-to-1 personalization – in real time and at scale – isn’t just talked about; it’s implemented. 

And while it seemingly took ages to achieve the 1-to-1 dream, now that it’s here, we’re seeing progress at lightning speed. Cost and technical barriers drop every day. CDP technology, predictive analytics and machine-learning algorithms that keep getting smarter – among other advances – are propelling our industry forward. Even since we released the first edition of our book two years ago, we’ve seen significant advancements, and we want to tell you about them.

So for new readers, there’s a trove of actionable information. And for those of you who read our first edition, you’ll find new ideas, examples and info that will strengthen your campaigns and, we hope, inspire you.

Here are some of the additional areas we address in this new edition:

  • CDPs – Their role in stitching together and activating siloed data into unified customer profiles to deliver segment-based and 1-to-1 personalization in real time
  • Additional channels to tie into your personalization strategy – and how to deliver a seamless experience across them
  • The function of a personalization management office (PMO) – and whether it makes sense for your organization to have one
  • Predictive modeling – that is, how to apply machine learning to predict future events and take course-correcting or enabling actions
  • An in-depth guide to evaluating CDP and personalization technology
  • A glimpse into our crystal ball – with more predictions on what’s next for personalization technology
  • And more

We had great feedback on the first edition of our book – including positive reviews from industry analysts, customer experience luminaries and personalization practitioners; a feature in Forbes; and even an award we’re very proud of. We look forward to hearing what you think.

You can access the second edition of our book, free in its digital form, courtesy of Evergage, or purchase a hard copy through Amazon in a few weeks. Happy reading – and here’s to 1-to-1 personalization done right!

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Karl Wirth