“Introducing: Digital Directive Benchmark and Roadmap”

“Introducing: Digital Directive Benchmark and Roadmap” by Jeremiah Owyang https://link.medium.com/cAzkAJ3UO0

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What is Marketing Automation & How Does It Help Marketers?

 Indrajeet Deshpande Community Contributor , MarTech Advisor

Marketing Automation is a software platform that lets you reach out to your target audience across multiple marketing avenues such as websites, email, and social media by automating and streamlining marketing activities and workflows to bring in more leads and revenue.

Whether you are a marketer working at a startup or a corporate giant, you’ll agree that generating and nurturing leads is not easy. The buyer journey is no longer a straightforward phenomenon. Its complexity increases as new marketing channels are introduced. In fact, Salesforce has identified that it takes approximately six to eight touches to generate a sales-ready lead.

Marketers have to juggle between multiple tools and software suites to communicate with their audience, identify and generate leads, nurture them, and pass the sales-ready leads to the sales team. This switch-tasking is not productive. Also, if you keep adding new tools to your MarTech stack, it will eventually lead to the dreaded frankenstack phenomenon and leave you overwhelmed.

To be efficient, you need an application that allows you to engage with your audience across different channels through a single suite of applications.

Enter Marketing Automation!

What Is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is software and technologies that help marketers reach audiences across channels and automate tasks such as organizing, streamlining and measuring analytics.

Different companies define marketing automation differently depending on their set of offerings, but Marketo perfectly sums up the essence of marketing automation in their definition:

Marketing automation is a category of technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.

Marketing automation helps marketers segment their audience, generate and nurture leads, identify the most valuable leads (lead scoring), and retain existing clients by identifying upselling and cross-selling opportunities. 

How Does Marketing Automation Work?

Your customers interact with you across multiple avenues including website, social media, mobile apps, and emails. This gives you plenty of data points that can be used to identify the needs and habits of potential customers. 

By integrating with other tools from your MarTech stack, such as your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or customer service platform, marketing automation provides a cohesive view of your audience and enables you to create more refined segments, craft highly targeted messaging, and guide your leads through the marketing funnel. It doesn’t matter how many leads you have, marketing automation is capable of processing all this information at scale.

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5 Benefits of Marketing Automation

Integrating a marketing automation solution with your MarTech stack can result in the following benefits to your organization:

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AR and VR Set to Revolutionize E-Commerce

It is obvious that any technology that helps to attract more customer engagement and increases the sale is likely to be more selected by the e-commerce companies. Most of the technology innovations which drive incremental improvements will be packaged and sold as a niche product.

A technology that touches core human experience and changes human actions is truly revolutionary.

Such is the artificial intelligence and virtual reality in the world of digital markets. We have seen a huge craze in the e-commerce development company when it comes to AR and VR as these technologies have almost blurred the line of real and virtual user experience.

The AR and VR are considered as the disruptive digital technologies which are used to define, develop and deploy the product rapidly to deliver new experiences for improving the customer journey. You may wonder how it does that? Then let us look at some crucial and attractive aspects which are utilized by the e-commerce websites to give added customer experience.

#1  Virtual Shopping Experience

Imagine a customer visiting the shop and trying on various clothes to choose the best option. The customer is gushing here and there to try on all the varieties of the clothes. At some point, he or she gets tired or exhausted and ends up leaving the store or buy something which does not meet up to their expectations. This can disappoint the client and restrict them next time from shopping or coming to your store. Such incidents can turnover the customer and make a loss.

Instead, you try the newest trend in experiencing better shopping which is VR gears. It allows you to visualize the whole store products virtually. You can feel the fabric and color of the cloth which lets you decide if you want to purchase the product or not. Such devices can help to hike your customer engagement and let your store flaunt their best items.

#2  Less Time Consuming

By utilizing such devices it allows the customers to explore more products along with saving a whole bunch of time. When you give more options to the customers in less time, it is likely expected that they end up buying more than their wishlists which ultimately raises the store profit. With less time and more profit earnings, the e-commerce store owners are going to explore more of the VR devices and future innovations.

#3  Virtual Dressing Room

The artificial intelligence has come up with a new shopping experience by giving the facility of virtual showrooms at home. All the customer requirements are taken into consideration and given the variant shopping experience as per their ideas. The AR gives a next level satisfaction to the customer while shopping as all you are required to do is just go with the specific website or an application.

Enter the preferences and there you go — better customer engagement and experience. It allows visualizing the virtual clothes on you at your home anytime. This comes with an option to choose from a wide range of clothes and try on endlessly until you end up choosing your favorite one. This allows increasing customer satisfaction which will directly hike customer engagement.

Examples of AR and VR products in the market today

The world famous brands like Amazon, Alibaba and eBay have already come up with the augmented reality technology to expand their business that can lead to massive turnovers. Other companies have also begun to explore these technologies which can help retailers with their store.

Blippar:

A platform that utilizes images for primary use and deploys it on the mobile for AR technology. It helps the retailer to use AR to reach out to new customers by marketing with custom ads, billboards, newspapers and much more. One of the impressive marketing of Blippar was organized by Oreo with Walmart where the customers can determine next Oreo flavors.

Total Immersion:

It is a global company servicing some of the top clients like Toyota, Paramount Pictures, eBay and much more. By offering virtual try on and effective augmented reality solutions for e-commerce; they also provide retail brand marketing and mobile e-commerce.

Exciting Times Ahead

We can conclude from the above trends that artificial intelligence and virtual reality is definitely going to bring a lot more change in the future by making people’s lives easier and a lot more digital. It is exciting for the store owners as it helps to achieve the ultimate satisfaction which is more crucial than any other aspect.

The e-commerce stores are furthermore seen digitizing to enable their customers to experience the virtual shopping at their convenient time and suitable place.  We can expect a lot more from these technologies to enter our lives and come up with the new innovations to excite the people.

As the AR and VR technology will start to become more open and standardized, the companies in the e-commerce fields will do well to adopt them in order to gain a competitive edge.

Thank you Olivia Diaz

Olivia Diaz is working in a Magento development company- etatvasoft.com Being a tech geek, she keeps a close watch over the industry focusing on the latest technology news and gadgets.

How Brands Can Increase Their CRO with Amazon Keywords

I bookmarked How Brands Can Increase Their CRO with Amazon Keywords on Medium.

One of the best ways any business can succeed in the world today is by implementing the right tactics needed to rank higher on search engines. Google receives over 63,000 searches per second every given day and with millions of webpages published each day. Search engines choose the highest ranking webpages to appear on the first page — to provide the searcher with relevant information. How brands can increase their conversion rate optimization (CRO) with Amazon keywords will become more and more relevant.

These pages on Amazon are ranked based on the words used by the searcher. This keyword strategy explains why keywords must also be implemented in your Amazon product page. You want to ensure that your product and page is ranked high enough that your prospective buyers can locate you — quickly.

Amazon SEO Keyword Research
If a product on Amazon contains all the search terms a user or prospective buyer use, it will be easily found and will have a higher selling chance to products without the important search terms or keywords. Proper keyword research can help your SEO rank higher, which increases your Customer Rate Optimization (CRO).

To get the best of this, simply brainstorm a list of possible keywords that relate to your product or think of terms that your customer can search for in search engines in order to find you. Then, you can use a Keyword Research Tool for Amazon like Amazon autocomplete, which works exactly like Google autocomplete, as it helps generate relevant keywords that searchers often use and can be implemented into your product page.

There are also other Keyword research Tools like Google Wonder Wheel, SEMrush, Moz Keyword Explorer, Google Trends and WordStream. These tools will help provide a list of related keywords that you can use in your Amazon page

How Brands Can Increase Their CRO with Amazon Keywords?
Here are a few proven ways that can help brands improve their Customer Rate Optimization.

Use Keyword Planner
The keyword planner is used to research and analyze a list of keywords and is proven to be extremely relevant for SEO. It helps the user develop new concepts and terms used by prospective buyers on search engines that the user probably didn’t think of. With this planner, you can further categorize similar keywords in a group listing. You could also use the search volume statistics to decide the best high-ranking keywords to use on your page.

Make a List of Keywords
As mentioned earlier, proper keyword research could help your SEO rank higher. Make a simple list of keywords used by prospective buyers and then, develop them using the Keyword Research Strategy explained earlier. Use a spreadsheet to organize your keyword research in groups and categories, aligning them according to how they rank, from the highest to the lowest.

For each keyword, track the local search volume, global search volume and the percentage of difficulty in each keyword. A keyword would be easier to rank in search engines if it has a lower percentage. This will help you create a keyword research spreadsheet that would be helpful in the long run.

In addition, if you have a category page on Amazon, with subcategory pages for products in the same line, you could create a list of keywords for each of these subcategories. These keywords will have terms related to each subcategory and the parent category. This might cost you a lot of time and effort but once you have everything together on a spreadsheet, it will help improve your marketing and help you gain traction faster.

Use the Keywords Where they Really Matter
To make it clear to search engines what your content is about, your keywords must be placed strategically. Some of the places where the keywords matter includes:

Title tags:
This is the most important of all; ensure your long-tail keyword appears on your title tag.
Description meta tags:
This is what search engines display with respect to your content to make it attractive for readers to click.
Page and post URL slugs:
Avoid unnecessary words in your URL slugs and edit them to include relevant short-tail keywords.
Content and keyword density:
Keywords should be integrated within the page content.
Internal links and anchor text:
Use keyword-rich anchor texts with your internal links, as it helps search engines understand what the link embedded in the anchor text is about.
Use Amazon Backend Keywords Field
This can be used to include all relevant keywords that you couldn’t fit into the title and content of the page. It could also be the best place for keyword variations that shouldn’t be seen but are also relevant. An example of this is possible misspellings of your brand or products and related terms that searchers are likely to use. This will help them find you regardless of the misspelling.

Conclusion

Amazon is known to be the top online marketplace, as over 50% of shoppers preferably shop on Amazon. To get the best from this and increase your CRO, ensure you implement the right Amazon Keyword Research Strategy to help attract a higher page rank and more visitors, which will help improve sales over time.

Tags:
#Amazon#CRO#e-commerce#page rankings#SEO

Thank you Michael Usiagwu!
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Michael Usiagwu is a Content Creator at seopow.net.A link building agency that provides premium content marketing and SEO services to help businesses improve their online visibility and growth. He can be reached via michael@seopow.net

Scary UX Facts

Thank you and with attribution for this graphic goes to http://www.filterdigital.com with this graphic.

10 Terrifying UX Facts

Amazon rolls out customer demographic analytics for third-party sellers

Amazon is now giving third-party sellers access to aggregate demographic information about customers, including age, income, gender and marital status.

It’s part of an effort from Amazon to give more information to sellers using its third-party seller platform, Seller Central. The company noted some of these moves in a news release Tuesday that highlighted newly launched Amazon Brand Analytics, including insight on popular search terms and comparable products; a promotional Fulfilled by Amazon monthly storage and removal fee waiver; personalized guidance on how to sell globally, and educational tools for sellers. Kiri Masters, CEO of Amazon agency Bobsled Marketing, said news of the move emerged on a from a seller late last week; Amazon confirmed to Digiday that demographic analytics were made available to sellers in the U.S. last Thursday.

According to Amazon, Amazon Brand Analytics, including the customer demographics report, is available to “eligible brand owners” who are enrolled in Brand Registry. Currently, the feature is only available to sellers who own a brand or who serve as an agent, representative, or manufacturer of a brand.

For third-party sellers on Amazon, unlocking free customer demographics information addresses one of the biggest pain points of selling on Amazon’s marketplace: limited access to customer data. While brand analytics offer information about keyword searches, how popular keywords are, click and conversion share, information about who customers were was virtually nonexistent before, said Ryan Williams, director of finance for Rise Brewing. With limited customer data, it’s been challenging for many Amazon sellers to market to customers and would-be customers who peruse or buy items via Amazon.

The insights acquired from the demographics tool will have an impact on broader marketing strategies that go beyond Amazon, said Williams, who said he began accessing the feature on Tuesday.

“This really helps with your marketing strategy, not just on Amazon but outside of Amazon as well,” said Williams. “We’re constantly asked by investors who we should focus on, and beyond Google Analytics, those questions are not always easy to answer.”

For Brian Hemmert, chief marketing officer at Fat Snax, the added insights are a positive move from Amazon, but not enough to abandon growing Fat Snax’ own e-commerce site.

“It’s still crucial to have our own direct channels through our site,” he said.

Twenty-two percent of 73 marketers surveyed by Digiday this April plan to move work rom agencies to consultancies.

Agencies working with Amazon, however, say the motivations behind the new analytics tool aren’t only to benefit smaller sellers. Amidst recent reports that Amazon wants to move some sellers away from the wholesale platform to Seller Central, agency executives say what’s at play is a strategy to promote Seller Central by giving third-party sellers access to data they would have to pay for if they used Vendor Central. Brands that sell through Vendor Central have to pay for demographic data as part of a subscription to Amazon Retail Analytics (ARA) Premium, which can reportedly cost as much as $30,o00 per year (ARA basic, which is free, offers reports on business metrics including sales and inventory levels). But according to the company, brand analytics are less relevant to the vendor model since Amazon is handling the listings.

“I don’t know if I would characterize it as a win — it’s an incentive for larger sellers to move to Seller Central,” said Fred Killingsworth, CEO of Amazon-specialized agency Hinge, who added that moving more sellers to Seller Central lets Amazon divert resources from seller relationships within Vendor Central. “Amazon is a tech platform; the vendor relationship requires a lot more humans to be involved in the process, given expectations Amazon is going to provide help.”

Meanwhile, additional analytics are a powerful tool to justify additional investments in Amazon’s advertising platform.

“With brand analytics, the new demographics that came out in the past few days are a case for more ad spend on Amazon,” said Masters.

 Suman Bhattacharyya

Shopify’s Latest Moves Are a Sign of What’s to Come in Ecommerce

It changed its terms of use and broke up with Mailchimp

Mailchimp and Shopify are no longer allies in ecommerce.
Photo Illustration, Amber McAden, Source: Getty Images, Shopify, Mailchimp

Twelve days ago, Shopify, the Canadian ecommerce platform underpinning thousands of brands, announced a series of changes to its partnership program and API access that has serious implications for its partners and merchants. It was also announced that Mailchimp is leaving Shopify’s marketplace, causing even more concern.

Two big changes to its terms of use stand out: Shopify will now “restrict partners” that try to get merchants to leave Shopify; and it is also requesting that all data collected by a partner that relates to a merchant’s customer “be sent back to Shopify.”

“I’m not surprised to see this happen where Shopify wants to protect their merchants and the data that flows through their platform,” said Casey Armstrong, CMO of Shipbob, a fulfillment company. “They need to protect competition across the board.”

The language dictating what agency partners can and cannot do is worrisome for some, considering agencies work with a variety of merchants and platforms—including competitors to Shopify.

“Shopify’s a platform and ecosystem that is open and operable,” said Satish Kanwar, vp of product at Shopify. “For us, it’s about valuing the integrity of our policy and our data. Preventing bad faith actors in the ecosystem. We don’t have any concerns when we have other partners that work with other ad partners. That’s a natural part of how commerce and the ecosystem works but it’s really about the intentions about how the information flows.”

Merchants will most likely use other ecommerce email marketing platforms like Klaviyo and partners will likely comply. Instead, these new terms show that Shopify is locking up its ecosystem to maintain its growth, amass more data and flex its imaginary muscles to growing competitors like BigCommerce, Webflow and yes—Mailchimp.

“These partner agreements are not that substantial and there’s no legal precedent,” Poma said. “No consequence unless the Shopify relationship is very important to you and if you plan on soliciting.”

Armstrong added that it’s just keeping partners on a closer loop.

Often times, the agencies are the trusted third party with any re-platforming conversation or technology decision,” Armstrong said. “Keeping these partners tightly woven into the Shopify ecosystem is key to them building their moat in both the immediate and long term, plus these partners often rely on Shopify returning the favor.”

As for the data change, it makes sense considering the growing privacy concerns happening across all types of platforms, whether it’s GDPR enforcement rules or the growing amount of data breaches. Ryan Kulp, founder of Fomo, a marketing SaaS product company, said the change protects the customer and that it was time for Shopify to implement it.

“The most aggressive new change is ‘sending data back to Shopify,’ but the specific fields in question are logical: first name, email, etc,” Kulp said. “And sending this information back actually benefits the store as well, because if an app keeps all end-shopper emails but then the app is deleted, that store is now unable to send messages to their own customers. I can’t imagine any honest app developers wanting to create this scenario. Just send the basic data back and let the Shopify store be your ‘source of truth.’”

This now brings us to the controversy surrounding Mailchimp. On March 22, Mailchimp wrote a blog post stating that it asked Shopify to remove the Mailchimp integration from the Shopify marketplace. Mailchimp’s reasoning behind the move was due to the new term requiring partners to send back any data collected “on behalf of the merchant” back to Shopify. According to Joni Deus, director of partnerships at Mailchimp, that data (in Mailchimp’s eyes) doesn’t belong to Shopify.

We got permission from that user to have it within our Mailchimp platform and they wanted that retroactively,” Deus said. “The data sharing agreements in those terms go against data privacy expectations.”

Shopify then issued its own blog post response as to why the partnership ended, further stating that Mailchimp’s refusal to hand over the data meant merchants and others on the Shopify platform “can’t reliably serve their customers or comply with privacy legislation.”

However, industry sources think all of these changes—including Mailchimp and Shopify breaking up—were a long time coming.

Mailchimp’s made a series of moves signaling it’s intending to build its own ecommerce platform. Two big changes include Mailchimp partnering with Square to create shoppable landing pages (a landing page merchants can use to sell a single product) and hiring former members of LemonStand, an ecommerce company that’s fully shutting down on June 5.

The move however makes it a ripe time for other partners like Klaviyo, another email service provider to step in and fill in the hole for Mailchimp. Or, as Deus said, companies can also use a third-party integration like Shopsync or Automate.io to still utilize Shopify and Mailchimp.

However, these moves are part of Shopify keeping up with competition and retaining its leadership as an ecommerce platform. Competitors like BigCommerce and Webflow are picking up bigger clients and just last week, Square also announced an overhauled version of its Square for Retail option and a new product called Square Online store. Both leverage Square’s acquisition of Weebly last year and giving merchants more of an ability to bridge their online and offline channels.

For now, Shopify remains a leader (the company posted $1 billion in revenue last year) but it’s unclear for just how much longer.

 

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