The Social Commerce Habits of Gen Z and Millennials [Infographic]


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Top 5 Sentiment Analysis Tools


Understanding how your audience feels about your product or service is paramount to any marketing strategy.

To build a comprehensive brand marketing strategy, you should know what people struggle with and what they enjoy about your products. You should also know how their attitude to your brand changes in response to product launches, marketing campaigns, and outside events.

Fortunately, the world of technology is evolving all the time, and now sentiment analysis tools can provide that data.

What is sentiment analysis?

Sentiment analysis is a method of text analysis that uses machine-learning and natural language processing to determine whether the sentiment behind a piece of writing is positive, negative, or neutral.


Why is it important to perform sentiment analysis for your target audience?

Sentiment analysis uncovers information that can’t be discovered in any other way. Big Data reveals your overall brand reputation and does the same for your competitors. Just having that data will improve your brand marketing strategy, but there are also less apparent ways you can use the information revealed by sentiment analysis.

How can you use the information gathered by sentiment analysis tools?

1. Flag customers for active communication


Analyzing sentiment around your competitors’ brands shows you the customers who are unhappy with your competitor’s products or services. If they are criticizing an issue that your product doesn’t have, you can easily swoop in with an attractive product offer.

If the sentiment analysis shows customers who are unhappy with your own brand, you can reach out to them and attempt to solve their issues.

Sentiment analysis tools can also reveal customers who are actively satisfied with your brand—i.e., they post positive things about your brand online. You might want to reach out and ask them to leave testimonials on your site or become an affiliate or brand advocate.

2. Uncover hidden conversations about your business

Sentiment analysis shows you the pain points and happiness points of your company. If your brand is popular, you’ll uncover entire discussions online that you can join to showcase your expertise or present your solutions.

You can approach the conversations about your business in two ways. The first is to act as a company representative: speak as an expert, promote your brand, answer questions and complaints.

You can also encourage your brand advocates to join in those discussions as inspired customers and thus promote your brand in a more subtle and possibly more persuasive way.

3. Keep a closer eye on your competition

Performing sentiment analysis for your competition is no less important than doing so for your own brand. You’ll find out what their customers are happy and unhappy about, and will be able to steal their good practices and avoid their mistakes.

For example, you can analyze how your competitor’s most recent marketing campaign turned out. You can’t usually get access to exact financial results, but you can find out whether the competitor’s target audience liked or disliked the campaign, what they said about it, and how much traction it received.

In addition, you can see which demographic was most satisfied with the campaign and which was least satisfied. If your competitor is an international brand, you can see how countries differed in their responses.

4. Understand your own messaging better

Sometimes, marketing campaigns, slogans, and ideas don’t work out as planned. Sometimes, you end up promoting a message you didn’t intend to promote.

Sentiment analysis reveals the reaction to your every word early on. If you say or do something insensitive, only sentiment analysis tools have a chance of catching the problem before it blows up.

Since the rise of social media, brands’ social media posts, marketing campaigns, and business decisions have frequently caused social backlash that could have been prevented with a sentiment analysis tool.

Even if you aren’t planning on anything controversial, it makes sense to know how people feel about the message you send out into the world.

5. Create a more holistic approach to your online presence

Social media marketing and other digital marketing strategies often go unassessed. We don’t know exactly what’s working and what isn’t. We don’t know the extent of the social media buzz and its effect on brand awareness and brand reputation.

Sentiment analysis is a part of the solution in that it makes us more aware of our online presence. It turns vague feelings the target audience has about our brand into numbers, and it helps us create better marketing strategies.

Top 5 Sentiment Analysis Tools

Now that we’ve hopefully agreed that sentiment analysis can be useful for your brand, let’s move on to the tools that perform it for you.

1. Awario

Awario dashboard example

Awario is a social listening (also called social media monitoring) tool, and sentiment analysis is one of its prominent features.

The tool crawls all major social media networks, news sites, blogs, forums, and other parts of the Web for mentions of any keyword. Usually, the keyword will be your brand or your competitor’s brand, but it can also be your product, industry, CEO, or whatever else you choose.

Awario’s sentiment analysis sorts all mentions into positive, negative, and neutral categories, and also shows how sentiment and growth change over time. You can choose to see only positive or only negative mentions, mentions from someone with a large following, or mentions from someone from a specific location.

You can dig deeper to find out exactly what the positive or negative mentions say.

Awario will also notify you if there’s a sudden increase in positive or negative mentions so you can react in time.

Pricing: $29/month for the Starter plan, $89/month for Pro, and $299/month for Enterprise. Free 7-day trial available.

2. Brandwatch

Brandwatch dashboard example

Brandwatch is another social listening and analytics tool that also performs sentiment analysis. An enterprise-level tool, it covers every source you can possibly think of, including specific social networks such as Tumblr and Goodreads, and local social networks such as VK. If there is a source that you need but can’t find on Brandwatch, you can request to add it manually.

Brandwatch analyzes your data in many ways that include sentiment analysis and growth analysis. It also gives you insights into the authors of the accounts: Negative mentioners can be broken down by demographic so you can understand which parts of your target audience have the most complaints.

Brandwatch also shows trends and detects patterns in your data, and it notifies you if something unusual is happening.

Pricing: Available upon request.

3. Talkwalker

Talkwalker dashboard example

Talkwalker is a social listening tool that does much more than just listen. Like Brandwatch, it covers an unlimited number of sources, including social networks, news sites, review sites, blogs, forums, and other parts of the Web.

Talkwalker claims to have one of the best sentiment analysis technologies for detecting sarcasm. It also shows customer satisfaction trends, uncovering features of your products that are liked and ones that are disliked.

If you want to dig deeper into your data, you can filter the results by the type of service. For example, you can find out what customers are unhappy about with the type of food your airline provides.

Pricing: Basic is €6,000 yearly. Corporate and Enterprise pricing are available upon request.

4. Lexalytics

Lexalytics dashboard example

More than a social listening tool, Lexalytics is a business intelligence solution that analyzes many kinds of text among its extensive list of features.

Lexalytics covers social comments, reviews, surveys, and other text documents. The data is subjected to sentiment analysis, as well as categorization, theme extraction, and intention detection. That way, the tool ensures that it has detected the sentiment as precisely and in as much detail as possible.

Such a multifactorial approach also allows the user to understand the context and see the benefits and failures of their business in a whole new light.

Pricing: Available upon request.

5. Hootsuite Insights

Hootsuite Insights dashboard example

Hootsuite is a popular social media management platform. Its main focus is on managing a brand’s social activity, but audience analysis is also one of its benefits. Accordingly, Hootsuite Insights analyzes social media networks to reveal overall sentiment regarding your brand and the trends that surround your brand on those networks.

You can filter the information by demographic, location, and language.

Pricing: $19/month for Pro, $99/month for Team, $599/month for Business. Enterprise pricing is available upon request. Free trial available.

More Resources on Sentiment Analysis Tools

Determining Consumer Sentiment: Trends and Common Mistakes

Dark Data on Social Media: Insights That Shed Light on Your Business

10 of the Best Social Media Monitoring Tools for Every Business

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24 Popular Gifts B2B Firms Sent to Customers in 2020


Sweet treats, tumblers, and e-commerce gift cards were among the most popular gifts B2B firms sent to buyers and customers in 2020, according to recent research from Sendoso.

The report was based on internal data from Sendoso, a platform that enables marketers, salespeople, and customer experience specialists to send a wide range of physical gifts and e-gifts. The researchers also surveyed 750 B2B decision-makers.

Cookies and Yeti tumblers were the most popular direct sends and physical sends to B2B buyers and customers on Sendoso’s platform in 2020.

Six of the eight most popular gifts overall were e-gifts, with Amazon.com gift cards ranking as the most popular digital send on Sendoso’s platform in 2020.


B2B decision-makers say the biggest benefit of gift campaigns is to stand out/rise above the noise of competitors.

advantages to using gifts for customer engagement

About the research: The report was based on internal data from Sendoso, a platform that enables marketers, salespeople, and customer experience specialists to send a wide range of different physical gifts and e-gifts. The researchers also surveyed 750 B2B decision-makers.

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Eight Ad Tech Innovators' Hopes and Expectations for 2021


Although the ad tech industry wasn’t hit the hardest by the pandemic, it still felt ripples of the crisis from other businesses. Advertising growth was stalled: Predicted media ad spend for 2021 dropped from $758B to $738B as a result.

Apart from the global recession that benefited some technologies and disrupted others, ad tech went through local disruptions that prompted industry leaders to think outside the box. The death of cookies and IDFA, new privacy regulations, ad format popularity shifts, and the arrival of new technologies all contributed to a sense of uncertainty.

To shed some light on what we can expect in ad tech for 2021, we spoke to eight innovators of ad tech from Google, LiveRamp, Epom, and others.

Which 2020 events affected ad tech the most, and how can we deal with the consequences?

Michael Sweeney, head of marketing at Clearcode

From my point of view, the announcements by Google and Apple about their respective privacy changes were the biggest events of 2020 in the ad tech industry.


Although these events did have an impact when they forced companies to assess their current situation and start planning for these changes, the real impact will be felt when these changes come into effect in 2021 (Apple’s changes to IDFA) and 2022 (Google Chrome’s changes to third-party cookies).

Abhinav Choudhri, ad ops director at AdPushup

Soon after the pandemic was declared, the world was shut down to an extent that advertising budgets took a nosedive. While the situation is still being stabilized as several countries are opening up—hence, the advertising budgets are going up—it was an unpredictable year.


It seems like either the advertisers will have to find and develop technologies to access user data while respecting their privacy to show them targeted ads, or they’ll have to kiss all of it goodbye soon.

How will ad tech deal with the privacy issues that arose?

Jörg Vogelsang, head of publisher growth at Liveramp and owner at 101con

Advertising as a kind of commercial communication between brands and consumers can only work if it is built on trust. Ultimately, this trust is a prerequisite to allowing any commercial activity in the virtual space; it is the prerequisite for effectiveness in digital advertising.

Overall, I would expect three main things to happen in 2021. First, there are still many companies that will need to implement a CMP. Second, data protection officers in different European countries will continue to scrutinize existing CMP implementations. And third, advertising technology identifiers will get closer to CMPs, or even these two tech pieces will become fully integrated.

Abhinav Choudhri, ad ops director at AdPushup

While Google has issued a death warrant for cookies by 2022, it also pitched Privacy Sandbox as an alternative. The project is still in its infancy, and no code is out yet for marketers to analyze. It is clear that the giant is planning to keep its stronghold in advertising using anonymized signals (not cookies) from within its browser.

Michael Sweeney, head of marketing at Clearcode

Despite the challenges around data collection and identity, I believe that data will play a bigger role in programmatic advertising in the future than it has in the past, but privacy will be the key element. There are many companies that are bringing in the future of privacy-friendly data management. Examples include Permutive and InfoSum, which both raised funding in 2020.

What ad tech trends do you expect to flourish and emerge in 2021?

Jörg Vogelsang, head of publisher growth at Liveramp and owner at 101con

In countries like Germany, industry organizations are predicting a growth in programmatic advertising of more than 8% for 2021. This will also be powered by more formats becoming available. Omnichannel advertising is becoming more and more of a reality. What had been restricted to desktop and mobile will become available for the (connected) TV, audio, gaming, and on high street with digital out of home.

Jakub Vachal, Sr. app specialist at Google

Utilizing machine-learning and automation in user acquisition is only likely to accelerate in adoption. Many digital networks are introducing more products relying on machine-learning to best optimize companies’ user-acquisition activity.

This enables businesses to free up resources and be much more strategic about their marketing activities and focus on the big picture and its opportunities: a continued rise of at-home online activities and increase in screen time, accelerating the shift to mobile-first behavior, and increasing customer expectations for products to deliver amazing user experiences.

Stéphane Printz, managing director at Comcast and Sr. regional director at FreeWheel

In 2021, we think that the CTV component will be a fundamental element of the media planning of many advertisers with an approach that we call “total video” advertising that many marketers are already embracing.

Between September and October 2020 we conducted a study together with CoLab, an independent research company, by submitting a questionnaire to marketing professionals from the main European countries (Italy, France, Germany, Spain, UK), where 68% of German marketers are forecasting an increase in their investments in CTV devices in 2021.

Abhinav Choudhri, ad ops director at AdPushup

The invention of 5G is taking the base to a new level: The audience and consumption of content online are going to increase as the increase in internet speeds worldwide gives more opportunity to digital publishers and advertisers to capture more of an audience.

Vijay Ram Kumar, founder & CEO at Automatad

Programmatic audio. We’re still scratching the surface, and several giants are looking to get into audio ads, including Spotify and Google. The next one would be mobile commerce-enabled formats. On the quest to diversify revenue, publishers are looking to leverage commerce, and it’s working, especially for those with first-party data.

How will white-label ad tech evolve this decade?

Lina Lugova, head of marketing at Epom

Although white-label software is quite expensive compared to regular SaaS software, we are still seeing an ever-increasing demand for white-labeling. Companies with $20,000+ ad spend are ready to pay for platform ownership and buy directly from SSPs without markups.

Another option for companies is to acquire a niche tech solution to enrich their own tech stack and compete with walled gardens. Ad tech deals were on the rise before the pandemic (remember how Roku bought DataXu, and Nike bought predictive analytics startup Celect), and I think we’ll see its recovery in the coming years.

Which user acquisition strategies are no longer working and should be given up in 2021?

Jakub Vachal, Sr. app specialist at Google

Many tools and strategies currently rely on device IDs as the way to identify users and inform businesses’ user-acquisition activities. Not only the introduction of the IDFA collection opt-in pop-up introduced by Apple but also the overall increase in consumers’ awareness of data collection transparency and security will push companies to tailor their strategies to the new reality.

Solutions developing themselves in a privacy-first environment and companies adapting their strategies to still be able to effectively approach and acquire customers are going to come out stronger than before—building a strong relationship with their consumers while also retaining the main benefits of performance marketing.

Your advice for brands and ad networks: how should they advertise in 2021 and which tools should they focus on?

Michael Sweeney, head of marketing at Clearcode

I think the first step is to assess the current situation and really understand what impact these privacy changes will have on your advertising strategies. The good thing is that there are already solutions that can help solve some of these challenges. There isn’t a 1-to-1 replacement for third-party cookies or the IDFA, but there are solutions that can still help you achieve your goals.

For tech companies, in particular, there’s never been a better time, or a more pressing time, to invest in innovation.

Stéphane Printz, managing director at Comcast and Sr. regional director at FreeWheel

Always citing the research conducted together with CoLab, we identified the current perception in terms of benefits for agencies and advertisers. The responses highlighted a clear perception of the advantages offered by Advanced TV platforms from the point of view of efficiency, targeting, and reach, therefore across the entire purchase funnel.

Lina Lugova, head of marketing at Epom

The common trap advertisers fall into is picking all-in-one solutions for one provider. However, each provider has its own flagships and laggards, so such a decision is not always the most effective.

My advice to brands is to be more mindful about their in-house stack and to be able to compile a unique puzzle from the offerings available on the market. As for ad networks, pay attention to the rising star formats and put your focus on innovation before everyone else.

Yaroslav Kholod, director of programmatic operations at Admixer

While the trend of in-housing programmatic buying remains one of the top priorities for brands, I recommend paying attention to several factors when choosing a platform to work with:

  • Privacy. Does the platform comply with local privacy regulations and practices?
  • Technical capabilities. Does the platform satisfy the brand’s targeting needs? Does it have capabilities for creative management and data management?
  • Inventory. Does it have access to audiences across different channels and environments?
  • Transparency. Does it disclose all details of the inventory performance and supply path?

* * *

The major concerns of all the featured experts are data and privacy issues. Even though Google, iAB, Liveramp, and other ad tech giants are working on unified solutions that work for everyone in the industry, their development efforts are far from the upshot. But as the death of the cookie is nigh, the ad tech industry is pressed for time and can expect a uniform solution by the end of 2021.

The expansion of available ad format offering and bold experiments with omnichannel, rich media, and cross-device advertising are other stations to stop by in this new year. CTV, DOOH, audio programmatic ads, and interactive ad units will be available soon across DSPs, just like mobile formats.

2021 will be a year of trust and genuine transparency. Users expect not only loud words but also strong actions from brands and tech providers worldwide.

It may be challenging, but the “hopes and expectations” for the next 12 months sound more like requirements we have no choice but to comply with.

*Disclaimer: All the responses featured above are the experts’ personal thoughts and not the official stances of their companies.

More Resources on Ad Tech 2021

Advertising to the Developer & Tech Community: A B2B Guide

Programmatic Advertising Trends: Top Tactics, Challenges, and Metrics

The Anatomy and Current State of Programmatic Advertising [Infographic]

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Three Ways to Optimize Your B2B Direct Marketing Program in 2021


As a B2B marketer, you’ve experienced how the circumstances of 2020 increased the complexities of your direct marketing strategy and, in turn, its effectiveness.

Connecting with your professional audience at their homes rather than in their offices has encouraged marketers to re-examine their strategy and available tactics.

By using a data-first approach to customer retention and the development of an engaging multichannel experiences, you can optimize your B2B direct marketing program to increase conversions and customer retention in today’s market.

1. Activate your first-party data

Most marketers would agree that Data is the world’s most valuable resource. But the impending demise of third-party cookies and increasing desire for a more personalized buying experience has caused many marketers to take a closer look at the customer insights and behavior metrics available within their own, first-party data sources.


A robust customer relationships management (CRM) program will not only give you a competitive advantage but also allow you to develop more targeted and personalized strategies that will resonate with your audience and protect your investment.

Start the process by conducting a comprehensive data audit to identify what variables are most relevant to your business and selling strategy—and what might be missing. Then, prioritize completing those fields throughout your contact records.


The COVID-19 era of remote work has prompted prospects to open the door and receive B2B direct marketing communications at their home offices. As you work to build complete profiles, include personal contact information, such as home address and personal email address.

Data append and identity graph technologies allow you to combine all your online and offline data sources (such as social media accounts, e-commerce platforms, apps, and direct mail history) to find buyers across multiple devices and locations.

2. Treat retention as the new acquisition

Even when budgets are tight, you are still expected to meet your revenue target. Shifting your strategy from customer acquisition to customer retention can provide higher returns for your marketing spend.

That said, maintaining loyalty throughout the unique circumstances of 2020 proved more difficult than in the past. A whopping 80% of B2B buyers have swapped vendors in the past year, Accenture research found—and the more frequently buyers make purchases, the more likely they are to switch vendors. The same study reported that 21% of buyers claimed to be dissatisfied with a lack of personalized pricing and offers.

So how do you keep your best and most frequent customers happy?

Personalization turns generic marketing into a meaningful connection and plays a pivotal role in creating satisfying relationships. More than half of people say they feel connected to a brand when they feel that brand understands them and their desires.

Segment your CRM data to ensure your messaging is personalized and relevant to each of your customer groups by addressing their unique needs and pain points, then nurture them to another conversion on a relevant channel.

As for direct mail, 6 out of 10 consumers say they feel it is more personal and trustworthy than other marketing channels, according to USPS research. Moreover, more than 40% of marketers rely on mail’s subconscious influence to drive customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

Progressive technology and data advancements have continued to optimize the versatility and effectiveness of print media in a digital world. Variable printing data (VPD) allows you to apply your freshened-up CRM data to craft persona-based mailers by swapping elements of your direct mail piece (such as text, colors, or images) from one piece to the next without interrupting the printing process. That makes every piece relevant to each individual buyer on your mailing list, naturally increasing its impact.

Exclusive offers, personalized invitations, and feedback requests can be triggered by a variety of events such as stage in the buyer journey, website activity, or dormant periods to reactive purchase interest and engagement.

3. Create a multichannel experience

B2B buyers are also consumers, so it is realistic to assume their professional buying preferences can mirror that of their personal buying preferences.

One-third of those surveyed in a CMO Council study said they expect direct mail to be part of their ideal communications mix. More than 80% of marketers agree that including mail in their multichannel mix has a positive impact on response rates and ROI, according to industry research.

Including mail packages in your B2B direct marketing strategy, especially at a time when 33% of workers are at home, will enhance overall customer experience and support diversified online and offline buyer preferences.

Content bingeing has become a social norm, so it is no surprise that a B2B buyer binges 13 pieces of content, on average, before making a purchase, as shown in recent studies. Determine how you can incorporate the natural storytelling benefit of direct mail into your selling process to lengthen prospect interactions.

To encourage your prospects to dive into your piece, use a variety of educational elements, such as product specs and comparisons, reviews, and success stories. Incorporate interactive digital elements (QR codes or PURLs) within the package to link prospects to online video content, let them request product samples, or start the RFP process.

Use online intent signals to trigger retargeted mailings and provide a seamless customer journey as researching buyers engage with your organization between channels and platforms, naturally moving them closer to your desired action.

* * *

The 2020 effect will continue to influence your B2B direct marketing strategy in 2021, and likely for years to come. Maximize and activate your first-party data to provide a holistic view of your audience and your competitive edge, then use those insights to build a relevant and personalized retention program and appeal to buyer preferences with an intentional multichannel approach that makes it easy to do business with you, both online and offline.

And, most important, stay agile by closely watching campaign performance and testing across multiple channels to improve results.

More Resources on B2B Direct Marketing

A Direct Effect: Direct Mail + Digital = Better Marketing Results [Infographic]

Back to Basics in Direct Marketing

How Direct Mail Can Cut Through the Pandemic Marketing Clutter (And How to Obtain Those Valuable Home Addresses)

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Audio Marketing: From Radio to Clubhouse [Infographic]


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Chief Marketer Survey: The Biggest Marketing Leadership Deficiencies


Senior marketers say the biggest marketing leadership deficiency in their organizations is an understanding of the customer journey, according to recent research from the CMO Council and Chief Outsiders.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted in 1Q21 among 150 members of the CMO Council.

Some 44% of respondents say their organization has a marketing leadership gap/hole/deficiency in understanding the customer journey.

Other major deficiencies include understanding how to segment and personalize messaging at scale (42% of respondents cite that as an issue at their organization) and having the ability to act on customer data insights (37%).


Senior marketers say the top areas they plan to recruit/upgrade functional leaders are go-to-market execution and operations (45% say so), and content and demand generation (38%).

surveyed senior marketers say what leaders they plan to recruit or upgrade in 2021

Senior marketers say their top developmental priorities in 2021 are to expand marketing automation and data analytics programs and resources (61% cite that as a priority), and to add strategic marketing depth and capability across all functions (58%).

surveyed senior marketers share their development and diversity priorities for 2021

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey conducted in 1Q21 among 150 members of the CMO Council.

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What Are You Going to Do About Your Outdated B2B Buyer Personas?


The hard truth is that no one came out of 2020 unscathed. So, as marketers, how does that change the way we work with our customers in 2021?

Here’s a quick reminder of why personas are so important (even if they’ve fallen off the top of your priority list) according to this helpful article:

  • They explain who your ideal customer is through demographic and psychographic details.
  • They offer buyer insight that helps you understand why your ideal customer pulls out their credit card or PO form to buy from you or your organization.

Ask yourself: How has the pandemic, social unrest, or uncertain political environment changed your ideal customer profile (ICP)?

2020’s Impact on People

Let’s take a peek inside the windows of the homes in which organizations’ employees reside.


Parts of the US are still in lockdown, and we’re also still in a precarious political situation and struggling with blatant racism in our country. People are having visceral responses to those realities, according to the CDC:

  1. Fear and worry about their own health and the health of their loved ones, their financial situation or job, or a loss of support services they rely on
  2. Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  3. Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  4. Worsening of chronic health problems
  5. Worsening of mental health conditions
  6. Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances

Do any of those sound uncomfortably familiar? If this were a Facebook quiz, I’d be a 1, 2, 3, and 6, with a side of 5.

How do people react to anxiety?


Animals react to anxiety differently than they do to fear, according to a paper published by the US National Library of Medicine: “Anxiety may just be a more elaborate form of fear, which provides the individual with an increased capacity to adapt and plan for the future.”

How do people react to fear?

According to the same paper, fear is a different beast: “Animals may learn to fear situations in which they have previously been exposed to pain or stress, and subsequently show avoidance behavior when they reencounter that situation.”

Assuming that the laws of the animal kingdom apply (highly likely in my opinion because, of course, science), there’s a whole subset of humans spending a lot of time on avoidance as they face the daily grind of exposure to complex and exhausting circumstances.

But where can they go to avoid the fear? Being in lockdown means the very source of the fears we want to avoid are right there in our living rooms, our home offices, and on mundane errands such as trips to the grocery store.

How People and Companies Buy Your B2B Products Today

Whether the businesses you’re targeting are thriving or not, their employees are dealing with a complex range of emotions—from oppression to general uncertainty. Those emotions are triggering tangible behaviors that will, in turn, affect how you do business.

Now, I’m not saying to take advantage of the precarious situation we live in—in fact, quite the opposite. It’s important be sensitive to the situation so you don’t accidentally step into a giant puddle of “NOPE” in a bid to serve your customers.

Your best-case scenario is to be of service to people who are struggling with fear and anxiety by offering tools and products that better support them, whether for anxiety-induced planning (How can we help them plan for the future?) or avoidance (How can we help them take in meaningful information while making authentic connections?).

Changing Your Approach to B2B Buyer Personas

Now, let’s turn those questions into messaging, relationship, andcontent strategies for your revised buyer personas.

Anxiety-induced planning

1. How can we position our products and services to help create long-term security?

  • Create whitepapers that help them understand the long- and short-term impact of their industry.
  • Rework product and service pages to show how the offerings can help prove their success/impact over time.

2. How can we help them plan and build?

  • Provide planning templates.
  • Offer calculators to help them estimate impact.
  • Put on live events that allow them to ask critical questions from experts.

3. How do we need to change our offerings to help them look down the road?

  • Build strategic planning tools into the offering.
  • Offer more customer service support to help them plan for the future.
  • Rework offerings to be more flexible so they can choose based on what they need in the moment.

4. How can we receive and act on their feedback more effectively?

  • Systematize feedback collection.
  • Create intentional loyalty loops.
  • Build transparency into the road map.
  • Publicly celebrate when feedback is incorporated into an offering.

Avoidance

1. What are ways we can provide moments of escape?

  • Offer an experience that takes them out of their reality.
  • Find ways to incorporate sensitive humor.
  • Send them real-life things to bring delight.

2. How can we help avoid overwhelm?

  • Offer micro-content that allows them to take it in one bite at a time.
  • Simplify messages—the “keep it simple, stupid” (KISS) approach.
  • Invest in the customer journey and plan out every step in the process.

3. How can we create real moments of connection?

  • Review brand voice for authenticity.
  • Deploy ambassadors into the market to interact with prospects that truly empathize with their issues.
  • Invest in a community that creates a framework for people to help one another.

4. How can we help people feel comfortable with their decisions?

  • Focus on previous customer satisfaction ratings.
  • Invest in case studies to show (not tell) about the success of their product “in the wild.”
  • Solicit reviews from happy customers on impactful platforms.

The Power of B2B Buyer Personas

Regardless of the future implications of the pandemic of 2020 and 2021, we’re still dealing with today’s marketing demands. Considering the larger picture will help you and your organization to develop deeper empathy and, as a result, forge a more genuine connection with your audience as you roll out campaigns.

The more we see our customers as people who have needs and feelings, the greater chance we have to connect with them on an emotional level in our marketing offerings—not to manipulate them into buying, but to draw in those we can serve and make their lives and jobs truly better.

More Resources on B2B Buyer Personas

How to Use Buyer Personas to Understand Your Customers in a Post-COVID World

Buyer Personas Demystified: Seven Steps to Success [Infographic]

How to Heat Up Marketing Impact With Data-Driven Personas

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Which Countries Hate Online Ads the Most? [Infographic]


In which countries are people most interested in online ad blocking?

To find out, Surfshark looked at every country’s search volume for the top ad-blocking software relative to its population of Internet users.

The researchers found that people in France dislike online ads the most: There were 579 searches for ad-blocking software per 100,000 Internet users.

An infographic (below) covers the full list of the 10 countries with the populations that most search for ad-blocking software.


Check out the infographic:

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Social Media Retargeting: The Benefits of Drawing Your Customers Back In


How many times have you added a consumer product to your virtual cart only to get distracted, hesitate, or simply exit out of the window? And how many times have you seen an ad for the very same product on your Instagram or Facebook feed less than three hours later?

That is social retargeting, and it is one of the most powerful tools in marketers’ arsenals today— and. no, not only for e-commerce marketers.

One challenge facing businesses comes from consumers who quit the race 10 feet from the finish line: They click on an engaging post on social media or a call to action in your email newsletter, add items to their cart, and fill out some of the shipping and billing information, but they do not make the purchase. The same thing can happen with potential clients about to fill out your contact form.

Distraction, indecision, or a change of heart are all reasons someone might abandon a considered purchase or not send a contact form, and it’s a marketer’s job to use incentives to create a paying customer.


Social Media Retargeting for Selling Services

Retargeting is especially efficient at improving brand awareness and recognition during the buying process—and not just for buying products.


If a CMO at a company wants a new website, plans to hire an agency to do an SEO audit, or needs to outsource content for the company site, the CMO is going to do a lot of research to make sure the selected vendor will return the most impact on the company’s investment. And 99% of that research will be conducted online.

If CMOs come across your services and begin to weigh you against your competitors, you can use social retargeting to remind those potential clients about your brand as they go about their daily lives. You might have had an introductory call during the workday, but retargeting will nudge them in your direction when they’re on their off time, at home, scrolling social media.

Retargeting and the Mere-Exposure Effect

Retargeting ads will improve conversions, no doubt about it. But, why do retargeting ads work?

The mere-exposure effect is one of the more persuasive psychological phenomena used in marketing. The mere-exposure effect states that the more you see something, the more likely you are to trust or prefer it.

It even works with interpersonal relationships. Imagine walking to work every day and seeing the same person cross your path for months. One day you’re running late and decide to take a different route. You will subconsciously assign more trust to the person you’re familiar with than the people you meet on the new route.

A Twitter screenshot about the mere-exposure effect

Retargeting ads work on this premise: The more you see a brand or business, the more likely you are to trust it, especially if its message is positive.

Embracing the Mere-Exposure Effect for Agencies

When you continue to show potential clients case study ads on various social platforms, the case study success story will appear as an image or video on the page as they browse their social media feed. They will begin to associate your brand with impressive results. Less-savvy users might even confuse it for endorsement.

A line graph showing the mere exposure effect

One last, unobvious benefit of using social retargeting to generate leads for your agency is that it builds thought leadership with future customers. As buyers do research on “content marketing,” for example, retargeting them with your expertly written guides and industry research will build trust in a new way. They will come to associate your brand not only with your service offerings but also with your industry leadership.

The Monetary Benefits of Retargeting for Agencies

Retargeting provides monetary benefits that will reduce the costs of digital ads while raising their effectiveness.

Improve clickthrough rates

Using retargeting, you can target a user who has already shown interest in your product or service instead of targeting a mass audience. Those interested users will reduce your ad costs, improve clickthrough rates (CTR), and raise your overall conversion rates.

Reclaim leads

Retargeting also gives you the ability to reclaim users who may have abandoned their purchase or left during the conversion process. You can target that user with the specific items they are interested in, instead of random products.

How to Optimize Landing Pages for Social Media Retargeting

Collect contact information

If you’re an agency, you’re likely offering services rather than products. Landing pages for you might be client case studies, exclusive research related to your industry, or expert thought leadership blog posts.

The main thing you need to track for initial visits are pixels or email addresses. Both are valuable, although pixels are automatic. Make sure you drop a retargeting pixel, and that it’s segmented.

For example, at Fractl we have a case study specific to a financial services client. From that, we could assume traffic to that page includes people interested in content marketing success for finance-related topics. We could track their pixels and then segment them into finance-based campaigns that showcase our experience in the financial vertical, whether that’s through blog posts, research we’ve done, or further case studies.

Optimize the post-click landing page

You can have massive contact lists, fine-tuned segmentation, and creative content, but if you don’t have a landing page that’s optimized to drive leads through the sales funnel… then all of that is for naught.

Such pages shouldn’t just be other blog post pages on your site; they should each be optimized for the intent of your audience. They should be as sticky as possible and they should include a compelling call to action (CTA) that aligns with your agency’s goals.

That’s all because social traffic normally has high bounce rates, so you need to do your best to keep the traffic on the page and drive visitors through the funnel. One way to do so would be to end with related content that’s more bottom-of-the-funnel, or invite the lead to fill out a form for a free 30-minute consultation on your service offerings.

Is retargeting intrusive?

Percentage of users who notice retargeting ads

In a 2019 inbound marketing survey of respondents noticing retargeted ads, just over half said they feel slightly negative or mostly negative about them.

I get it. The ad for headphones that I almost bought bombarded me for months. I was annoyed. I was paranoid. But I did end up making a purchase in the end.

My guess is that retargeting feels more intrusive than other ad types because a consumer could feel bombarded with all of the personalized ads, as if they’re being stalked wherever they go on the Internet.

To avoid frustration among your potential clients, try to switch it up in your ads. Continue to hyper-focus on your segment, but use off-brand colors or remove your logo from the ad. Focus less on your branding and more on the service you are trying to sell.

Common Retargeting Mistakes to Avoid

Some of the most significant issues tend to occur after the user has been tracked and lists have been built:

  • Failing to segment your list. If a user is visiting your site looking for a push lawn mower and you’re showing them ads for an industrial tractor mower, they will most likely not click.
  • Using generic ads that all look the same. Make unique ads for your segmentation, and make them stand out so users don’t get tired of the same branding from your website.
  • Setting the same tracking cookie time limit for everyone. The tracking limit should depend on your niche’s buying time process. Larger ticket items (six-month contracts, for example) usually mean a longer buying process, so you may need 120 days of tracking, whereas smaller items may only need 30 days of tracking.
  • Failing to update your list. Retargeting users who have already converted can happen, especially with pixel-based tracking, so make sure the lists are kept up to date.
  • Showing your ads too many times to the same person can make that person not want to visit your site or engage with your content again. Limit the ad frequency in your campaigns so potential clients aren’t saturated with your content.

The most common mistake made by marketers is to not focus enough on segmentation. If you segment inaccurately, you can kiss your money goodbye.

Customizing the ad experience to be timely and highly relevant to each person is what makes retargeting an effective and inexpensive tactic. Your landing pages, ad copy, and content should be created with the consumer’s intent in mind, every time.

Social Media Retargeting Implementation Examples for Agencies

If you want to begin using retargeting for your agency, here are a few questions to get you started.

Where are your potential clients spending their time?

Are they on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram? Hit them with ads where they are.

What can you provide to your audience for free? What do they need help with?

Make buyers’ lives simpler before you even sell them. Offer an “Ultimate Guide” or template that will make their jobs easier. Provide value first; then it will become easier to sell because they will remember your brand positively.

What are your competitors doing? Can you do it better?

If your competitors are already ahead of the game with retargeting, head over to their site and see what their on-site content looks like. Are they offering free resources or case studies? What are their CTAs?

Allow yourself to be tracked, and take a look at the ads that are retargeted to you. Analyze their efforts and optimize yours so your ads perform even better.

Do you have content for each stage of the buyer’s journey?

The first page your customer visits is going to be different for each unique visitor. Some visitors might land on a blog post that is designed for the awareness stage. Another might land directly on a case study that is more middle of the funnel, or the consideration stage. Then another might land on your services page, which is at the bottom of the funnel: the decision stage.

A typical marketing funnel and content types relevant to each stage

In other words, people visit your website at various stages of the buyer cycle, so make sure you have enough content to segment according to their stage.

The first ad you show someone who’s ready to make a purchase shouldn’t be 10-year-old how-to content. Conversely, if someone recently browsed a tutorial on your site, you shouldn’t be showing them ads for free consultations.

* * *

Social retargeting as a marketing tactic will return big on your investment if you strategize. Be deliberate and thorough with segmenting. Optimize your landing pages. Test new CTAs. Explore new content formats. Test out video ads. Pause your campaigns and reboot them later on. Change your ad copy. Always be tweaking your campaigns.

The goal is to keep tweaking until ROI is at its highest.

More Resources on Social Media Retargeting

Six Lead Generation Tactics to Use in Your Social Media Channels

B2B PPC Tactics: Six Ways to Bring in Higher-Quality Leads

Three Easy Ways to Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Marketing

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