9 e-commerce practices that I haven’t seen in Belgium yet (Source: Great stuff from the House of Marketing)

With a total revenue of more than 8 billion euros in 2019, e-commerce in Belgium has never performed so well. This figure has witnessed a double-digit growth since at least 2015, the year The House of Marketing introduced the E-commerce Barometer. And we can expect a further growth in the coming years, not only because the share of online versus offline is expected to increase but also because there are still many opportunities ahead from cross-border e-commerce.

source: https://www.thehouseofmarketing.be/blog/9-e-commerce-practices-i-have-not-seen-in-belgium-yet

So, given that Belgian webshops can still look forward to a bright future, I wanted to take a look at practices seen abroad that could help our Belgian webshops differentiate themselves in a creative way and thrive in a competitive landscape currently dominated by some big players. May these 9 examples inspire you for your e-commerce strategy.

Win the hearts of the conscious buyers

1. Deliver items as big as beds by bike like Kiezbett: 
Kiezbett is a Berlin-based startup that designs and produces sustainable furniture. They want to be as sustainable as possible, from sourcing to last-mile delivery. Aren’t bikes the eco-friendliest transportation option? Yes. Aren’t beds way too big and heavy to be transported by bike? Yes but… Kiezbett has found a creative way to still deliver them by bike, although each bed weighs about 60kg. In Germany, since bicycle messengers are allowed to carry packages up to 24kg, the company has decided to simply divide the bed into three separate packages.

And the cherry on the cake? They have teamed up with RePack, a Finnish company that supplies reusable packaging as a solution to the ever-growing problem of packaging waste.
In Germany, Kiezbett beds are delivered by bike messengers using reusable RePack bags

2. Promote green delivery like Sainsbury’s: 
Green delivery can take different forms, such as using carbon-efficient transportation means, waiting until the delivery truck is at capacity before distributing or simply clustering deliveries together. Sainsbury’s, an UK-based food retailer, clusters its customers by location. Shoppers can opt for greener and cheaper delivery slots which are slots where there are already deliveries scheduled in the same area. A good way to communicate a “green” attitude while also optimizing delivery costs.

Sainsbury’s green delivery slots

3. Be radically transparent like Everlane: 
Everlane is a clothing company that opted for the direct-to-consumer model, selling both online and via a few stores in the United States. Everlane communicates on “ethical factories” and “radical transparency”. Very intrigued, I quickly went to their website. Firstly, for each piece of clothing, they communicate quite extensively about the factory that produced it, by showing pictures and videos of the factory and testimonials of the people working there. Secondly, again for each piece of clothing, they break down the price into material, labor, transportation. Quickly, you notice that Everlane’s price represents a 100% markup (and more) but the company also highlights that a traditional retailer would probably charge a few times more.

Everlane’s transparent pricing communication

If you are hungry for more sustainability in e-commerce, read my colleague Anne-Fleur’s post here

Offer flexible payment methods

4. Offer a “Try before you buy” policy like ThirdLove: 
Have you ever seen or heard of a physical clothing store that would charge you before you get to try a garment? Personally, I haven’t, while almost all online stores do. One of the exceptions in the online sphere is ThirdLove, an online company that sells bras. The company encourages consumers to “wear it, wash it, live in the bra for 30 days”. If you’re satisfied, you’ll be charged. If not, return it and only shipping costs will be charged. No strings attached.

5. Integrate a credit option at checkout with Affirm:
In Belgium, the most common payment methods for e-commerce are credit cards, debit cards, bank transfers, e-wallets and prepaid cards. But in many neighboring countries, merchants offer consumer credit options allowing shoppers the option to pay over time. Why would retailers do that? Forrester studies have shown, especially for large ticket items, that consumer credit can not only make the difference between a conversion or an abandoned cart but can also increase the average order value by 15%.
Affirm gives US buyers the option to pay over time at checkout

Reduce returns or, at least, make the most of them

6. Streamline returns and turn them into sales with Returnly: Returnly, a San Francisco-based company handles post-purchase payments. In short, it helps brands re-engage with customers who are returning products online, to help them buy again with a return credit. It typically happens before the customer has even returned the item, in an attempt to build loyalty and trust.

7. Help shoppers make more informed purchasing choices like ASOS’ “See My Fit”: 
UK-based fast fashion retailer ASOS has been testing a feature to show how the same outfit looks on people of different sizes and morphologies, using AR technology to automate the process. By doing so, they give consumers more confidence in purchasing the products they like.

ASOS' “See My Fit” helps customers make more informed purchasing choices by showing better how products look on models with similar body types as the individual customers
8. Provide a great experience even if (especially if) you sell highly technical products like Boards & More:
If you couldn’t identify your company with the above examples because you think your products are not appealing enough or are too technical, here is a case that might interest you. Boards & More is an Austria-based kitesurfing and paddle boarding wholesaler. The company mainly sells spare parts that all look similar and may not even have a name that is understandable (“Bladder Leading Edge”, “Bladder Middle Strut” just to mention the first two I came across).

However, they have found a way to make the shopping experience pleasant while reducing the number of people buying the wrong parts. Instead of showing the spare parts, they show the end product first, avoiding at the same time any misunderstanding.



9. Adjust clothes to the size of your customer before shipping them out with Taylor:
 
The fashion industry has the most returns and many companies have been testing all kinds of tricks to reduce the environmental and financial impacts of such returns. Based on the observation that the number one reason for return is the fit (62%), Taylor offers an integrated tailor service to any online clothing store, resulting in a garment that should perfectly fit the buyer as soon as he/she receives it. Check how it works in the picture below.

Oh, and by the way, Taylor doesn’t actually exist. It is one of the business ideas that my husband and I had back in 2015, when we participated in a hackathon in California.

Taylor helps fashion online retailers reduce returns by integrating a tailoring service to their shops
Way of working of Taylor

Consumers may use a lot of technology today, but they anticipate using a lot more: 60% expect that drones will be part of their brand experience by 2025 ! (source: Futurum)

For brands, this new level of consumer acceptance — and expectation — opens up a whole new level of opportunity for broadening the way they engage with consumers, from interacting with products and devices to having access to better services and conveniences as citizens. But brands and government entities alike must understand it will require not just a customer-focused approach but a new level of people, process, and technology to make it happen.

OBSERVATION
When it comes to technology, more tech isn’t necessarily better tech, and the best tech is often
used sparingly.


► 44% believe they currently have too much technology in their lives.
► 46% believe they spend too much money on useless technology.


What’s the issue here? We believe consumers may often purchase based on fads or trends, and not on needs. We’re also concerned that some brands often push or implement technology that isn’t necessarily solving a true consumer need or may be rushed to market.

6 User Journey Mapping Examples: How UX Pros Do It

User journey mapping is a widely used and impactful technique that can help you improve your product, marketing, UX, and merchandising decisions.

However, like other UX research techniques (including user personas), there’s some vagueness and obscurity around how to actually create user journey maps.

This article draws on processes and user journey mapping examples from experts in the field. You’ll walk away with a clear picture of how to do it on your own.

We’ll start with a primer on building user journey maps, but you can click here to go straight to the user journey mapping examples.

First: Outline your personas, timeline, and channels

Construct “the outline” of your customer persona. This requires an understanding of marketing psychology and relies on qualitative survey data and quantitative research.

Kofi Senaya, Director of Product at Clearbridge Mobile, a Canadian-based mobile app development agency, argues that “mapping out the user journey is an effective way to understand what turns a viewer into a long-term, loyal customer.” Based on his experience, this process should focus on two things:

  1. Motivations. “Like actions, companies need to understand what motivates a customer to keep progressing in their experience. What emotions is the customer feeling?”
  2. Moments of Truth. “Emotions are powerful determinants of how the customer perceives the brand, meaning they will either want to continue engaging with you or they will abandon you.”

Three other aspects to keep in mind are the aforementioned user personas, timeline, and channels.

Kofi Senaya:

“User personas provide a starting point for user journey maps. Businesses should focus on mapping the story ending—the end goal of that user.

Companies should ascertain a time-period that they want to map out. Companies can measure their success by setting goals in terms of phases such as awareness, decision-making, purchase, renewal.

What channel(s) have you chosen to analyze your customer experience on? Determine and prioritize it, because this is where all the customer interaction occurs – mobile app, website, or in-store. List the user(s) on the left and their story-ending (end goal) on the right and all the actions in between.”

Watch the webinar now

Defining user journey stages

In an article on customer journey maps, Jennifer Havice does an excellent job explaining what a customer journey map is and how it works. It was her piece that made me dive deeper into this topic.

Essentially, a user journey map is a model. It’s an illustration or a diagram of all the touchpoints through which customers come into contact with your company (online or off).

As with any model, journey maps are simplified. Like user personas, funnels, or any other marketing heuristics, they aren’t 100% true to reality. Rather, models reflect reality with a certain degree of accuracy. They help us make customer-focused product, design, UX, and marketing decisions.

As such, no two journey maps are exactly the same. Depending on the expert you’re following and the product you’re mapping, the design will be different.

Sometimes, the design is quite intricate and detailed:

example of a detailed user journey map.
(Image source)

Sometimes, user journey maps are far simpler:

example of a simple user journey map.

The important thing is that you can use and share the document in your organization to influence business decisions and make your company more customer-focused.

What experts have to say on user journey mapping

The first authors to write about user journey maps were Chip Bell and Ron Zemke in their 1989 book, Service Wisdom. They referred to the concept as the “cycle of service mapping.”

I had the pleasure of speaking to Bell about user journeys and innovative service metrics. He offered an example of a journey map for “Telephone Repairs,” which came from the book he co-authored, Service Magic: The Art of Amazing Your Customers.

Granted, this example is two decades old; some things differ. But it’s important to see what’s “evergreen” when building a user journey map.

As the authors wrote then, “a cycle of service is about what the customer experiences, and examines all Place, Process or Performance issues from their perspective along their journey.”

Here’s an example of their model:

example of model user journey map.

Here are some additional insights from our conversation:

What do you recommend in terms of consistent “evergreen” KPIs that are a must throughout the evolution of a company product/service?

Dr. Chip Bell:

“The goal of customer journey mapping is to create and retain a deep understanding of the customer’s experiences while he or she is traversing the path taken between having a need and getting that need met.

Its intent is to ‘get inside the customer’s head’ to ‘see,’ and therefore, understand the customer’s experiences. Armed with that perspective, organizations are better able to craft or recraft processes and encounters to become more customer-centric. It is essentially an evergreen effort since the needs and expectations of customers are constantly changing.

Metrics should be anchored in part to customer outcomes, not granular processes and practices. It enables having a ‘line of sight’ to the overall customer evaluation.

For example, if I am a call center operator and one feature of the customer’s journey includes the pace of an interaction in a call, one of my KPI’s could be my call handle time. However, without having some accountability for the customer’s overall experience, I could rush that customer call thus shortening handle time but failing to resolve the customer’s need or issue.

The customer would label the call with me as very fast and totally ineffective. But I could get high marks for having short handle times.

Be careful of and missing the point: the end goal is not a fast call, it is a loyal customer.”

In your experience, what are the biggest mistake(s) companies make when they map their “ideal” customers?

Dr. Chip Bell:

“One is believing there is an ‘ideal customer.’ It is like building your marriage expectations around a profile of the ‘ideal husband or wife.’

Another mistake is thinking journey mapping is static as opposed to ever-changing. It is like believing an annual customer satisfaction survey is the best way to understand customers. And, it is why diverse customer intelligence methods are vital and need to be perpetual.

The biggest mistake is the failure to actively involve the customer in verifying a journey map. Too many organizations think they know what their customers’ experience is. It is as challenging as a parent thinking they know what their teenager is going through because ‘I was once a teenager.’

As the owner of the processes and practices our customers negotiate, we know way too much. We understand what is behind encounters that customers experience naively. But we are blind to many details customers see and experience.”

A guest can see more in a day than a host can see in a year.

Therefore, it is imperative the customer takes an “empathy walk” with the service provider to verify “we accurately captured” what the customer experiences.”

Please recommend further reading to help companies stuck in “the old ways.

Dr. Chip Bell:

“There are many books you can read on how to drive a car, but I would recommend a wannabe driver get behind the wheel.

This is my way of saying get senior leaders in front of customers, walking in their shoes, serving them directly, talking to customers directly about their experiences. It will arm them with more design thinking than the most cutting edge white paper.”

6 journey mapping examples

This is where the fun begins. Let’s get inspired by these companies’ successful user journey map examples. While some weren’t able to share the entire process due to privacy issues, they did share a specific section in the process.

1. Leadfeeder

Finland-based Leadfeeder is a top (Google) analytics tool that shows the companies that visit your website. The company’s mission is to bring web intelligence into business.

Their user journey maps the following path from Discovery to Sales, and Retention. They have identified their customer’s goals, touchpoints, assets, channels, success factors, and secondary KPIs.

For example, a customer’s goal in the Discovery phase is to identify a tool that tracks unknown website visitors. During the Free Trial, the customer finds out how Leadfeeder works. Once the customer buys the subscription, a key goal is to obtain value for their money (accurate access to data). If this is met, then the customer proceeds to the Retention phase, where they want to see a return on investment.

As a touchpoint, for example, the top of the funnel consists of 50% incoming traffic and 35% free-trial conversions from ads. The bottom of the funnel comes from Intercom, where all new users are offered a free training session (one right away, then sporadically).

Among top touchpoints in the journey are the explanatory video (which is 4x more likely to convert), and the content displayed (features, pricing, and use cases).

Leadfeeder’s journey map.

2. Dapper Apps

Dapper Apps is an Australian-based mobile app development company that specializes in the design and development of stunning and intuitive apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, and the web.

Dapper’s user journey has five phases: Research, Comparison, Workshop, Quote, and Sign-Off.

example of user journey map for app company.

Chloë Constantinides from Dapper explained their user journey mapping process:

Chloë Constantinides:

“The user journey focuses on that of a typical startup or someone who comes up with an independent idea. Often, corporate and enterprise clients need another stage at the beginning, which I would call ‘Education.’ This is because often enterprise customers are yet to even understand the value of technology being implemented into their business.

Startups generally come prepared with an idea.

We find that no matter how much clients believe they have thought about their app idea, there are always gaps. We use a journey map to really understand what our customers are thinking and feeling throughout the process, what resources or information they may require, and what actions we need to take to ensure the process is as clear and positive as possible for both parties.”

3. NinjaOutreach

My friends at NinjaOutreach run an all-purpose influencer marketing tool designed for bloggers, startups, small businesses, digital marketers, agencies, and large brands.

Their user journey map is quite complex and consists of several phases. Below, Viktor Popovski described one of the phases: Day 3, which translated into an email message based on the following assumptions:

  • People need time to explore and use a new application, so if they don’t appear to be engaged in the first day or two, it’s probably natural.
  • At the same time, people can easily forget about an application and become quickly disengaged, so if by day 3, 4, or 5 you are not seeing sufficient activity, then it may be cause for concern.
  • Often, applications might require something from the user to allow the user to really experience the full benefits. This might be something like:
    • Importing a list;
    • Integrating with another application;
    • Filling out a profile.

Tasks like these can be tedious and uninspiring, so NinjaOutreach looked at this as an opportunity to complete them for the user. Here’s Viktor explaining further:

Viktor Popovski:

“The company needs to do this early enough in the cycle, so that afterward the user still has time to experience the full benefits of the software, while at the same time not making the invitation too early, otherwise it will exhaust the company’s resources and interrupt the natural user engagement flow such that they do not make the personal commitment in the application necessary to be successful with it.

As a result, the ‘Day 3: Are You Having Problems’ email is intended to focus on the subset of users in NinjaOutreach who have not yet experienced the full benefit of the app (have not created a list of prospects) and are perhaps on the verge of becoming completely disengaged.

The service we offer is to create a list of prospects for them, and users often jump at this offer. We collect the necessary data (i.e. who they are targeting) and promise to fill their list with around 50 prospects in 24–48 hours.

After going through the process, ourselves, we can describe to the user the different search techniques that we used to build the list, to empower them with the knowledge they will need to do it themselves.”

4. IdeaRocket

William Gadea, Creative Director and Founder at IdeaRocket, a provider of animated videos for businesses, says that “most of our lead generation comes from search engine marketing, and we feel that the search term can be a clue for where in the journey the searcher is.”

“This insight can let us focus the call to action on each of our blog posts to what is appropriate for the visitor’s circumstances,” he says.

example of user journey from idearocket.

5. ElevatedThird.com

Judd Mercer, Creative Director at Elevated Third, wrote about how to use journey maps in the real estate industry to develop your business.

For the user journey map, they outline six distinct phases: Design, Financing, Construction, Leasing, Model, and Completion.

example of the user journey in real estate.

The entire map is a bit more granular, but at a high level, they’ve modeled the process a customer goes through during the relationship. Read their article for more detail.

6. Website Setup

“Our customers have specific needs, and we have structured our website with targeted, problem-solving solutions,” says Robert Mening, the founder of WebsiteSetup.

Mening continues:

For example, if someone wants to know the answer to a question such as “Is it hard to create my own website?”, they could end up on one of our resource pages that talks about how to setup a website or a WordPress blog.

Mening also shared some stats regarding social media and the user journey map. Social is the main acquisition channel for the site, so the inflection points of the user journey often occur there.

They focus on post-click engagement metrics like pages/visit and bounce rate, which are good proxies for the success of specific channels. Their journey map also includes inquiries and search terms (as mentioned above) to assess the problem/solution fit):

Conclusion

User journey mapping is a complex process. As you can see from the examples and interviews above, there is no one-size-fits-all model. Instead, journey maps, like user personas, should be backed by data and user research. Ultimately, they need to be actionable for your specific purpose.

In addition, just like personas, user journey maps shouldn’t be static; rather, you should continually update and improve your models.

There are many ways to research and build journey maps, and there are many more ways to create the end product (the map itself). Hopefully, these journe

CUSTOMER PROFILES, PERSONAS AND BUYER’S JOURNEYS: WHAT TO KNOW AND HOW TO BUILD THEM (source: Digital Current)

The Importance of Knowing Your Audience

If you say, “you must understand your customer,” no one in marketing will argue with you. Yet 63 percent of respondents in a survey by Ascend2 said data-driven personalization is a difficult tactic to execute.

source: https://www.digitalcurrent.com/blog/customer-profiles-and-buyer-personas-defined/

Consumers are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages every day, and most are highly adept at filtering out those messages not relevant to them. What that means for you as a marketer is that you must have a firm handle on your audience — who they are and what they want. If you don’t, you risk having your contributions lost in the ever-growing cacophony of marketing noise.

When you ask business owners to describe their typical customer, they usually have a prepared answer. They describe a hypothetical person based on a number of characteristics, including their gender, where they live, their income, their interests and more. Yet many business owners assume they know their customers without actually verifying their description against data. Based on those assumptions, they make a wide range of decisions related to merchandising, marketing, advertising and even store location. Decisions based on faulty assumptions, if not downright wrong, won’t be the best drivers for business growth.

How can you hope to successfully market to your customers if you don’t know exactly who they are? Before continuing your marketing efforts this year, take a step back and develop a clear picture of your audience with customer profiles, marketing personas and buyer’s journeys. 

In content marketing, it’s essential to start with accurate, verifiable buyer personas. You need to know not only who writes the check for your products or services, but also who persuades that person to take out their credit card. Let’s take a look at how to build an accurate customer profile, buyer persona and customer journey map to create a better content marketing — and overall marketing — strategy. It won’t just boost your content marketing; it will change the way you market your business.

Robust buyer personas and customer journey maps empower you to maintain a continuous conversation with your customers by:

  • Actively delivering content. Through your social networks, email marketing outreach and more, you take the initiative to deliver content to current and potential customers.
  • Maintaining a library of passive content. You maintain content online, making it easy for customers to discover and research what you offer, and giving current customers everything they need to get the most from your product or service.
  • Creating better content. As you learn more about what works and develop a deeper understanding of your customers’ challenges, you create new and better resources for current customers. You also uncover proven ways to make new buyers aware of your brand.
  • Delivering better leads to your sales team. Customers who read, view and experience your content — and keep sticking around — are poised to make decisions when your sales reps make the call.

But, Really, Why Should I Put in the Effort?

It’s quite simple really: If you don’t understand your audience, how can you possibly give them what they need or want? As Hubspot’s Sam Kusinitz notes, “Buyer personas provide tremendous structure and insight for your company. A detailed buyer persona will help you determine where to focus your time, guide product development, and allow for alignment across the organization.”

When you’re developing a content strategy, knowing who you’re writing for helps you develop content that resonates and distribute that content strategically. No matter what type of content you’re creating — a guest post, article, video, infographic, social media post — you can ask, “Will this content meet the needs of my buyer? Will it resonate with them and spur them to action?” and answer “yes” with confidence.

Still Not Convinced? Check This:

When Jan Carlzon took over SAS Group in 1981, the Scandinavian airline company was losing $17 million per year and had a reputation for being the least punctual airline in Europe. By 1982, SAS Group was making a profit of $52 million and had become the most punctual airline in Europe thanks to Carlzon’s “Putting People First” campaign. “If you’re not serving the customer,” Carlzon famously said, “your job is to be serving someone who is.”

If you’re primarily a B2B company, you may not serve consumers directly, but you do serve a company that is serving consumers. Even though your client’s customers are a step removed from you, they’re the force behind every decision your client makes. Therefore, to truly know what your client needs, you need to know what your client’s customers need and want. By conducting comprehensive customer reviews for both current and prospective clients, you’ll get to know your clients even better than they know themselves.

Know What Your Customers Really Want: A Preliminary Approach to Understanding Your Audience

In some cases, a business perceives an industry in a certain way even when customer behavior clearly tells another story. In the 1990s, Polaroid still envisioned itself as an instant photography company when customers were ditching instant film (a market they had dominated for decades) in favor of digital photography. Instead of accepting what customers’ behavior said about its core product, Polaroid kept selling instant film and failed to capitalize on digital. In 2001, Polaroid filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a sad ending for a company that had become an American institution.

As you probably know, Polaroid bounced back somewhat by finding a niche market for instant film, developing trendy and kitschy new products as well as meeting their customers in new markets: digital cameras, printers, high-def televisions and more.

Your job as a marketer is to understand what customers buy from your company and competitors. Ask yourself some questions about your company, your competition and the industry overall. Most importantly, evaluate what customer behavior says about the market and its players:

  • Company history. How did your company and its competitors get started? What customer need did the company fulfill when it offered its initial product or service portfolio? How has it adapted to customer needs over time?
  • Industry and company trends. What does current customer purchasing behavior say about industry trends? Are you hanging onto instant film when customers want digital cameras, or do you have a forward-looking business plan?
  • Core products. What products do customers purchase the most? Does the company place priority on a certain product or on certain promotions? Have sales ratios been changing because customers’ purchasing behaviors have changed?
  • Cycles. Does the company and the industry share a predictable seasonal sales cycle? Are sales of certain products or services driven by events or recurring situations?
  • Revenue. How does the company make its money? Are competitors innovating in a way that is eroding the customer base?

Get Answers

  • Read articles about your company and its competitors (or the industry as a whole, if you’re not in the press yourself). Draw from both traditional sources, like business magazines, and newer sources, like top influencer blogs.
  • Set up Google Alerts to monitor the company’s present actions and its dynamic reputation.
  • Review annual reports. Companies say a lot about where they’re headed and where they’ve been in these reports.
  • Consume your analytics. Ask for any relevant data that your company can offer.

Know How Your Customers Prefer to Buy

Blockbuster Video did just fine when customers switched from VHS to DVD because it adapted to changes in what customers were buying. However, when customers changed how they purchased movies, the company failed to adapt its outdated sales process.

Customers stopped getting movies by going to retail stores because they wanted to get movies without leaving their homes. They enjoyed the convenience of Netflix, which sent DVDs through the mail, or they ordered video on demand from their cable companies (obviously, Netflix quickly evolved to capture both mail-order and streaming content). That’s not to mention other competitors, such as Redbox, which offered convenient movie rentals at places customers already frequented, like convenience and grocery stores. 

Blockbuster actually had a chance to buy Netflix in the early 2000s, but executives considered Netflix’s movie delivery model to be a non-competitive niche. In 2010, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy after reporting a $1.1 billion loss, and Blockbuster shuttered its last stores in late 2013. (OK, so there is one remaining. Head to Bend, OR, for a final dose of nostalgia.) 

Your job is to keep your company from becoming a Blockbuster by making sure it understands how its customers like to buy its products. Remember, movies as a product didn’t inherently change — the way they’re purchased is what shook the industry. Research the following information about your company:

  • Sales process. How does your company sell its products or services? What does its sales funnel look like?
  • Buyer behavior. How do your customers like to get their products? Is your company making it easy for customers to get products the way they want to buy them? Do you have competitors that are executing the “how” that your company is missing?
  • Customer acquisition. How much is your company spending to gain new customers? Do you get a lot of website visitors but not a lot of purchases? Is it a problem with the product or a problem with the purchasing process? (It could also be a problem that conversion rate optimization can help with, but that’s a story for another day.)

Get Answers

  • Eyeball the website for “how” problems. Check for easy-to-see contact information; intuitive website navigation; obvious calls to action; and simple, functional checkout. Note broken links, shopping cart bugs or payment difficulties.
  • Use Google Analytics. Get quantitative information like ad click-through rates (CTR), bounce rates (how many customers leave the website without making a purchase) and conversion rates (the number of leads that make a purchase or fill out a contact form). Also, get qualitative information like top referring domains to understand how current customers make purchases.
  • Calculate value per lead (VPL). To start, calculate how much your company earns from new customer purchases every month. Divide that dollar amount by the number of new customers that your company gains each month, and you’ll know the approximate value of each new customer. Multiply that value by your company’s conversion rate to calculate value per lead. A low VPL indicates that people are visiting the website but deciding not to purchase. Your job is to figure out why.

Know Why They Buy

In 2010, J.C. Penney’s annual revenue had taken substantial hits from both the economic recession and the intrusion of online shopping. The company hired Ron Johnson, the brains behind the Apple Stores who had also revived Target’s brand by creating hipper, more designer-oriented stores. Johnson became CEO and was tasked with re-envisioning the Penney’s brand.

Johnson conceptualized a younger, bolder Penney’s, so he applied the boutique setup that he’d used at Apple and Target. He also eliminated Penney’s sales and coupons in favor of everyday low prices. His strategies may have worked well at other stores, but at Penney’s they only ended up alienating current customers who liked the drama of sale, promotion and coupon-driven shopping. No coupons or discounts meant no sense of urgency, so current customers had no reason to come to the stores. Even worse, the younger, trendier customers that Johnson assumed would flock to Penney’s never showed up to replace the customers that Johnson drove away.

Ron Johnson implemented a panacea that had worked for him in the past. He lost his job in 2013. Unfortunately, he didn’t appreciate why current customers shopped at J.C. Penney, and he didn’t give new customers a reason to come and fill the void. Your job is to make sure your company understands why current customers buy from them. Your company also need to know why new customers might convert to their brand.

  • Persona. What is your company’s typical current customer like? What are the customer’s demographic characteristics? What does the customer do when he or she isn’t purchasing from your company? What motivates your customers to choose your company?
  • “Watering holes.” Where do your customers hang out, both physically and digitally? What do they read or watch? Do they participate in certain groups? Do they frequent some social networks more than others? What do their habits say about why they buy from your client?
  • Mood. Are customers happy with your company? Why or why not? What are they saying about your brand and customer service quality? Are they enthusiastic with your brand or restless for something new?

Get Answers

  • Gather information and sentiment through customer surveys. Online and phone surveys are easy to set up and aggregate.
  • Monitor social networks for customer engagement and communication. Many programs, like Meltwater Social or SproutSocial, automatically monitor social networks for customer sentiment, but it’s also good to engage with customers on social networks.
  • Leverage CRM programs to mine customer data. These resources can provide invaluable insights into customer persona and habits. A digital marketing agency can take CRM to new heights, if you need help. 

Offering Solutions

Once you know your customers, you’re ready to make actionable suggestions. Talk to your coworkers and higher-ups about goals and about how they measure success. Ask what kind of progress your company wants to make to grow the business, and get familiar with its short-term and long-term objectives. Then, based on your knowledge of your customer, offer candid advice about strategy. Affirm goals that would work for your customers, and dissuade your colleagues from objectives that aren’t going to make the connection. Bringing in a third-party vendor, like an outside digital marketing firm, invites a fresh perspective and better, more objective insights.

Your customers determine your company’s choices and direction. That’s why a comprehensive customer review is such a powerful tool for understanding your clients. Ultimately, if you’re not serving your customers, then you’re not going to develop a lasting and prosperous business strategy.

This section has given you a starting point, a means of preliminary evaluation of your marketing, company and customer identification. But how do you really, officially build out your target audience and put together actionable sales and marketing tools? 

If you follow all the steps we just went over, you’ll have a clear picture of where you’re at and what you need to accomplish. All of this information will come in handy when you get down to it and build out personas and journeys. 

A Deeper Look at Marketing Personas and Customer Journey Maps — How do They Take You to New Heights?

Obviously, you understand the value of zeroing in on your target customer base and developing (and using!) personas and customer journey maps — since you’re here, reading this guide — but maybe that’s not true of everyone on your team. Or maybe your boss thinks it’s just a creative exercise with no real impact. Ready to show them how wrong they are?

By the numbers

The results are in — marketing personas and customer journey maps work. Check out these stats:

How are Personas and Customer Journey Maps Used?

So you want to discover, tap into, and market best to your target audiences. But how do marketing personas and customer journey maps (buyer’s journeys) help you? Personas serve as the foundation for countless successful marketing campaigns. Part of the reason for this is their wide applicability, with uses including:

  • Content strategy
  • Customer service
  • Human resources
  • Ad development
  • Email/social targeting (and retargeting)
  • Landing pages
  • Web development/UX
  • Recruitment and hiring…

…and so many more.

As for customer journey maps, or buyer’s journey maps, the same uses apply in a different manner. Since this method plots out the touchpoints of a prospective customer, defining each stage of the buying process, it’s useful both on its own to ensure relevant touchpoints exist, and in combination with personas.

When a persona is applied to a customer journey map, marketers can acutely develop the experience to meet that persona’s expectations at specific moments in the buying process, alleviating pain points, answering questions and helping them achieve goals along the way. It’s also a great auditing tool, highlighting where marketers may have gaps in their current content strategy.

Trust us — we practice what we preach, and it yields tremendous results!

Profile vs. Persona: What’s the Difference?

Most business owners have an ideal customer in mind. However, far too many of them fail to do more than scratch the surface when describing that person. Their customer profiles contain generic, basic information: age range, geographic location, household income, whether they have children or pets, rent or own their homes, etc. In the B2B environment, the customer profile may focus on business information, such as number of years in business, the market served, annual sales and length of time in operation. Taken together, the customer profile provides a marketing starting point. In our preliminary research section above, you’ve developed a sort of customer profile — but even there, we took you beyond the basics to tap into “why,” “how” and “where” of the buying process, too. 

In some cases, your company may have customer profiles on file. Someone, at some point, probably created this or commissioned it. Unfortunately, though, most customer profiles are far too generic to be of any real use — or they don’t go far enough to help you actually stand out from the competition. They group everyone into a single category — your ideal customer — without providing any in-depth, actionable details. After all, all males between the ages of 45 and 60 who are homeowners aren’t the same. They don’t all face the same challenges or have the same goals. When your content strategy rests on the notion that they are, you aren’t going to see results. 

Tony Zambito notes that ideal customer profiles are more focused on traditional sales and marketing approaches. They tend to veer toward traditional methods of customer target and account segmentation, and the buying process. In other words, profiles tend to focus on the money: who is capable of buying, not necessarily whether or not they are interested in buying. But, as he points out, such profiles are not based on deep buyer insights and don’t really get to the heart of why customers really make decisions; they don’t say anything about a customer’s values or delve into their experiences.

That’s where the buyer persona and customer journey map comes in. 

A buyer persona is a detailed, semi-fictional representation of the target customer that looks at the individual behind the demographic categories. A customer journey map is a reflection of real-world buying patterns and important moments leading up to and following a purchase. 

The persona is a specific individual who represents your “typical” or ideal customer — a person with a name, a photograph and real motivations, values, preferences and dislikes. The more detailed the persona, the better; it should explain what makes your customer tick and how and why they make their decisions. The buyer persona takes you inside your customer’s mind and heart, offering insights not only into who they are, but also why they do what they do — or more importantly, why they buy what they buy. The customer journey map shows you how they interact with your brand, and others — and organizations not even in competition with you — along their path to purchase. It’s a roadmap of awareness, consideration, conversion, advocacy and loyalty. 

Getting Down to Business: Creating your Buyer Personas and Customer Journeys

We’ve broken down each process into seven steps that will guide your persona creation and journey mapping. Following these seven steps, we’ve provided some additional exercises that can bolster your personas and journeys, help you mine for information, organize your research and make sure you’ve covered every aspect of your audience. 

Kick Things Off With Customer Profiles

The first step is to develop the ideal customer profile. Again, the profile is different from the persona; the profile is generic, overarching information. You can cull this information from your customer data, as well as based on the market research you’ve done to determine who your product appeals to. As you develop the profile, it should include:

B2C:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital status (if applicable)
  • Geographic data (country, region, ZIP code)
  • Household income
  • Household size
  • Homeowner status
  • Education
  • Special characteristics (children, pets, hobbies, interests, political affiliations, etc.)

B2B:

  • Industry
  • Products
  • Geographic data (country, region, ZIP code)
  • Number of employees
  • Number of locations
  • Length of time in business
  • Annual revenue

Once you have a customer profile, you can move on to creating a persona. 

The first rule of creating buyer personas is that you cannot make them up based on assumptions, existing customer data and anecdotes from your sales and marketing staff. You can’t base personas solely on what you glean from the social media profiles of the people who engage with your company online. That information may be useful in creating a customer profile in that it provides some general demographic insights, but it doesn’t give you what Tony Zambito calls the “customer archetype.”

Persona development requires personal interviews with a few dozen people within your target demographic, based on the ideal customer profile. These are qualitative discussions, in which you learn more about your customers and potential customers through in-depth conversation. However, as Zambito cautions, avoid collecting reams of data that fog the qualitative value of the exercise. Buyer persona research is about drawing conclusions and making connections based on qualitative insights drawn from the context of a buyer’s goals and desires.

Seven Steps to Persona Development

  1. Understand the brand. You’ll want to have in-depth familiarity with your company’s brand goals, positioning and personality, including the “reasons to believe” in its product or service and the existing core messages in use.
  2. Collect and analyze data. This is where you’ll do some research to find the data that informs your persona development. Look to demographics, segmentation data, designated market areas (DMAs) and survey data. Another key component here is empathy mapping and an “All About Me” workshop, in which people collaborate and discuss the brand, customers and more to begin to craft the framework of a persona. 
  3. Consolidate key themes. After your market research, identify shared goals, pain points and questions among the audience you’ve discovered.
    Extensio Persona Template
  4. Now, you’ll build the persona outline. This include psychographics, behaviors, assumptions, expectations and personality details. Check out the example above and others later in this post for inspiration and guidelines. You can also download our persona template.
  5. Validate. Arguably the most important step in persona development, validation means you’re interviewing real customers to gather real-world experiences, opinions and more. You should also look to survey data, feedback and actual quotes or testimonials. Essentially, you want external buy-in — that is, your actual customer personas should agree, for the most part, with the marketing persona you’ve developed. Also crucial here is internal buy-in — you need to validate the personas with those inside your company to ensure consensus and understanding.
  6. Refine. Here’s when you will adjust your personas based on any additional findings in the validation process. This is a time for fine-tuning, not re-defining, to best capture the key characteristics of the persona. It’s an opportunity to adjust original assumptions and align your research with actual customer input. The output of this refinement step is the final persona documentation, typically a combination of visuals and text (see examples throughout this post). Most importantly, this step involves training your teams and coworkers to use the personas in their marketing (and other) work.
  7. Revisit. Now that you’ve defined your persona(s), you’ll have to periodically come back and revisit them to keep everything accurate. In an ever-evolving market, the needs and wants of your customers — not to mention the customers themselves — may shift. Update your personas regularly and engage in ongoing validation to keep them up-to-date. It will be up to your team to decide when the market has changed enough to warrant fresh personas. Then, you can start again at Step 1.

Now that you understand the process of creating a buyer persona, here’s a few more ways to dig deep into audience metrics during your discovery.

Who Are Your Current Big Spenders?

You’ve probably heard the old adage: 20 percent of your customers generate 80 percent of your revenue. It’s not a hard and fast statistic, but the principle is true.

Developing a profile of your best customers, and seeking more customers just like them, is the best way to jump start growth. The way you find your big spenders probably depends on how many of them you have.

  • If you run a service business with 10 or fewer clients, it’s easy to figure out who spends the most money. Just take a look at your accounting software records.
  • If you have a large number of customers, you probably use a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track their spending patterns, or you track them through your loyalty program.
  • In a B2B business, your sales team will have a lot of insight into which customers spend the most.

If you’re starting a new business or don’t have a lot of historical data, research your competitors to see who they’re marketing to. It’s not as accurate as mining your own data, but it’s a good place to begin. You can also check Google Analytics data for your website to see demographic and interest data for your visitors. Even if no one’s spending money yet, you’ll get an idea of who’s attracted to your products.

To get demographic and interest information about your visitors, open your Google Analytics dashboard and look at the left sidebar. You’ll see Demographics and Interests under the Audience portion of your dashboard.

What Are They Like?

After you’ve identified your best customers or developed a target based on competitor research, it’s time to get specific about every quantifiable customer characteristic. One of the most common mistakes businesses make is spending too much money on marketing to a mass audience instead of developing targeted marketing segments.

Marketers identify customers based on demographic and psychographic characteristics.

If you run a B2B business, and you’re used to thinking of the business as your customer, it’s time to drill down and think about the person behind the buying decisions. The person who writes the final check might not be the person who requests your product or has the initial contact with a salesperson. Develop personas for those important influencers as well.

As you talk with your subjects, follow this checklist to gain actionable insights:

  • Demographic information. In a B2B environment, this includes information about their job title, length of time at job and information about their company. In the B2C realm, this includes household income, age, geographic information, household makeup and gender.
  • Information about their job. Who do they work with? How long have they been doing their job? What is their job description? Who do they report to?
  • What is their typical day like? Start at the beginning — you want to know how your persona spends his or her day, how much time is spent at home or work, what tasks must be completed and what tasks are perpetually left undone.
  • What do they like/dislike? What are the best parts of each day? The worst? Find out what makes your persona happy and what causes frustration.
  • What are their pain points or challenges? Dig deep to determine their major sources of frustration and daily struggles. How do these problems make them feel?
  • What do they want and need? Look at this from the perspective of their life, their job and the companies they buy from.
  • What do they value? What gets them excited about a product or service — and what turns them off?
  • What are their goals? Where do they want to be in one, five, 10 years from now?
  • How do they get information? What kind of information is valuable to them in the buying process?
  • How do they use social media? What makes them engage with social media?
  • What are their barriers to finding a solution? What keeps them from meeting their goals and easing their pain points? What keeps them from choosing your product or service?

What Problems Can You Solve for Them?

Some purchases happen because people see something very shiny and have to have it. Most purchases, however, happen because a customer has a problem. With persona-based marketing, you show your customers that your products and services are the solutions to their problems.

After you’ve identified your target buyer’s characteristics, ask yourself what problems they have that you can solve.

  • What are their day-to-day frustrations?
  • What are their aspirations?
  • What do they like or dislike about their current product?
  • What are the larger goals of the business (for B2B personas)?
  • How can you make this person look good in front of bosses or clients?
  • Can they buy directly from you or do they have to run it up the chain of command?

Be Careful — Don’t Make These Mistakes

Buyer personas are powerful tools. They form the foundation of your content strategy. But when they are poorly developed, they are little more than creative writing exercises.

Some of the most common mistakes that marketers make when developing buyer personas include:

  • Letting the photo drive the description. Buyer personas include a photo to provide visual reference. Don’t let clues from a stock photo drive insights, though. Choose the photo after you’ve developed the text.
  • Not talking to enough or the right people. Thoughtful, accurate buyer personas depend upon observations drawn from a significant sampling of customers and potential customers. Talk with people other than your current customers. You’re already meeting their needs — and their motivations for choosing your product or service may not be the same motivations that will attract new customers. Talk to people who are at all stages of the buying process, including those who chose a competitor.
  • Not digging deep enough. Creating buyer personas can be fun. However, knowing that your customer loves the color green and hates carrots probably isn’t going to be helpful, unless you’re marketing vegetables. Adele Revellas, author of “The Buyer Persona Manifesto,” reminds us that the purpose of the persona is to determine buyer priorities, definitions of success, perceived barriers and buying/decision-making processes, not to determine whether the buyer prefers paper or plastic (unless you’re in the business of bagging groceries!).
  • Creating too many buyer personas. You’re probably targeting more than one type of customer; however, you don’t need to create a specific buyer persona for every single potential customer. Focus on developing a persona for each category of customer.

Buyer personas aren’t collections of statistical data culled from customer lists or vague surveys. They are manifestations of the real people at the other end of the sales funnel. When you understand who they are and what they really want, you’ll create a more effective and engaging persona-based strategy that speaks to their needs and spurs them to action.And this will naturally lead you to begin analyzing your customer’s buying journey. So, without further adieu … 

Seven Steps to Customer Journey Map Development

  1. Create personas. Without personas, there’s no one to go on this journey!
  2. Identify stages. Sketch out (literally, a white board is great for this) the following milestones in your buyer’s journey: discovery, awareness, consideration, acquisition, delivery and advocacy.
  3. Identify touchpoints and “moments of truth.” You’re going to want to rally the troops for this one — get everyone in a room and start throwing ideas on the board (or on sticky notes, etc. Have fun with it!). Once gathered, you’ll start to list customer actions, things they do or decisions they make at each stage; touchpoints or channels your customers engage with, such as websites or social media; pain points they may experience along the way; sentiments, feelings, opinions or attitudes they experience at various stages of the process, such as confusion, frustration or open-mindedness; and opportunities for your brand to provide value to the persona along their unique journey.
  4. Build customer journey map outline. Translate your offline notes into a visual journey map by utilizing spreadsheets, wireframes and more. It will also be helpful to have a text version of your journey, typically using bullet points to lay out the stages, then layering in touchpoints and moments of truth.
    Digital Current
  5. Validate. Just like with your personas, you need to validate the journey you’ve mapped. In this case, you’ll want to work with real customers, walking through their buying process, to see if you need to make any adjustments based on the real-world feedback. Internal sales teams will also be a resource here, but real customers are most valuable — consider leveraging your strong client relationships here.
  6. Refine. With your company workshop and customer insights in mind, refine the customer journey map to best fit the common real-world experience. At this stage, you’ll be designing your final documentation — see the examples in this post for inspiration — and making sure your coworkers know how to use this tool. This may require training around how specifically to apply customer journey maps to various departments, and not just in marketing and sales.
  7. Revisit. Again, like personas, you’ll need to set some kind of cadence to regularly revisit and refine your customer journey maps. That includes engaging in ongoing validation to make sure you’re painting an accurate picture.

Throughout your buyer’s journey mapping, you’re going to need to do some serious “put yourself in their shoes” thinking, so here are some additional exercises to help you get the insight you need. 

Where Are They in the Buying Process?

Now that you have a good understanding of your target buyer, identify how close they are to making a purchase. Their current progress in the buying process will tell you which types of content you need to create and how that fits into your buyer’s journey:

  • Blissfully unaware. Your business is new or hasn’t attracted a lot of customers yet, or you’re launching a new business initiative. You need content designed to pique their curiosity and turn people into leads.
  • Starting to research their problem. These target buyers know they have a problem, and they’re actively searching for a way to solve it. They need long-form, in-depth content that explains your product and how it solves their problem, such as a blog post series, webinar or white paper.
  • Almost ready to purchase. At this stage, target buyers have narrowed their options to a few businesses, one of which is yours. Push for the sale by sharing video testimonials, case studies, promotions and other types of content with a clear call to action.
  • Another satisfied customer. These people are your current customers with whom you want to build long-lasting relationships. Send tutorials explaining how to get more from your product, launch a podcast about your industry that they can follow or find ways to involve them in your community through social media.

Most companies encounter different buyer personas in different stages of the buying process. For example, a cashier might have a problem with mobile POS software, research a new product, and make a recommendation to a manager. When it’s time to make the buying decision, the manager or head of accounting might make a final decision between two or three options. In these cases, you’ll need to create content for multiple personas to cover all your bases.

Where Will They Find Your Content?

According to data from Social Media Examiner, 93 percent of small businesses use Facebook to share content. Only 30 percent of B2B businesses use Facebook; the majority use LinkedIn. Your job is to figure out where your target buyer looks for content and make sure your content is there — this speaks to several stages of the customer journey.

  • Choose the right social networks. In addition to Facebook and LinkedIn, look for your target buyers on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit or Snapchat.
  • Prioritize search engine optimization (SEO). For buyers who want to solve a problem, the first step is navigating to Google and typing in a search query. Optimize your content with the right keywords and make it in-depth so it has a better chance of getting a higher search ranking. When you engage an SEO agency, you’ll want to be sure you share this persona information them so they can also target their work. 
  • Publish with your target buyer’s favorite magazines or blogs. Publish guest blogs or sponsored content on sites where your target buyers look for trustworthy information. As an added bonus, when these sites link to yours, you’ll boost your search rankings.
  • Capture the email address. Design landing pages for your best content, and provide content upgrades after customers have given you their email address (which reminds me, download our free personas template).

At this point, you have a pretty solid vision of your buyer (through persona development) and their purchasing journeys (with customer journey/buyer’s journey maps). You even know where your content needs to show up in order to make a purchasing impact. 

Putting Personas and Customer Journey Maps To Work

OK, so you’ve done all this — now the leads should flow in, sales easy as pie, right?

Well, not quite. You’ve still got some work ahead of you, but now you’re armed with an arsenal of information on your prospective clients/customers.

Persona Template by Indie Game Girl

That means you can get more specific in your appeals to better resonate — at a deeper level. This shows the customer you understand them: their distinct needs, goals, pain points and (in B2B cases) business objectives.

Audience segmentation is the name of the game now. You’ll want to design distinct ads, content and experiences for each persona — and make sure they fit into the buyer’s journey at the right time and on the right channel (social, web, email, etc.).

Audience segmentation can mean something as simple as customizing the subject line on your email campaigns to developing completely distinct landing pages and email messages for your different personas. It will also mean adding pieces to your content marketing editorial calendar that speak to distinct personas. 

Even more, the persona and customer journey map will tell you how persistent to be — perhaps one persona responds well to a follow-up email, while another gets turned off by too much communication. Stick to email for the former, but pivot to social ads, perhaps, for the latter.

Understanding your audience, especially how they’re segmented, is key to defining impactful marketing techniques that resonate.

Remember, though, one of the most important elements of audience targeting, buyer personas and customer journey maps: they’re going to change! Set a cadence, perhaps annual, that spurs you to review and revise your personas and journeys. This may be just slight tweaking or it may be a complete overhaul, if your company has made strides in a different direction or the industry has taken a leap in one direction or another. 

The Final Assignment: Never Stop Learning

In today’s fast-changing world, the buyer persona you create today may no longer be relevant tomorrow. Also, content that works this year might not work for next year’s buyers. Always track content metrics (that goes for ads, emails and any other initiatives, too) to make sure you’re creating and sharing the right content.

The information you collect about who reads your content, and which pieces are the most popular, will help you identify new target buyers and send even more personalized content to existing leads and customers. When it’s done right, content marketing and persona-based strategies can become the driving force behind every marketing decision, both online and offline, that your business will ever make.

Need help defining your customer?

If you’re still unsure how to develop a buyer persona and building a customer journey map — or the process just seems too daunting, too time-intensive, or out of your realm — Digital Current can help! With over a decade of experience developing integrated online marketing campaigns, we know a thing or two about reaching the right audiences with the right message.

EN 2021, 46% DES MARQUES INVESTIRONT MOINS EN COMMUNICATION QU’EN 2019

LE 27 OCTOBRE 2020 À 21:35

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PAR AMELLE NEBIA

La quatrième vague du Baromètre de l’Union des marques, lancé en avril dernier, dévoile ses résultats (1) dans cet automne particulièrement compliqué. Les craintes et les difficultés se critalisent autour : du renforcement des règles sanitaires (64%), du manque de visibilité à court terme (59%) mais aussi du durcissement de la règlementation publicitaire (52%) et développement d’un environnement hostile aux marques et à la publicité (45%).Les items liés au changement de comportement des consommateurs, à leur frilosité ou à l’absence de croissance sur le marché, n’arrivent qu’aux 5e,7e et 6e rang.

source: https://www.cbnews.fr/etudes/image-barometre-union-marques-55908

PRIORITÉS POUR LES PROCHAINS MOIS ?

68% des marques intègrent désormais les enjeux environnementaux, sociétaux et sociaux dans la majorité de leurs décisions selon le baromètre…S’adapter aux contraintes dans un environnement instable demeure la priorité pour 70% des entreprises dans les prochains mois. Le “new normal” qualifie aujourd’hui le comportement des consommateurs et plus généralement notre façon de vivre mais ce nouveau paradigmes’applique aussi aux entreprises et aux marques.

Unions des marques

AVANT D’INTERDIRE…

A la crise sanitaire et économique se sontajoutés pour les marques et le marché publicitaire des projets d’interdictions, de taxations, de restrictions ou d’encadrement, amenant l’Union des marques et l’ensemble des acteurs du marché à réagir à travers la tribune “Avant d’interdire“. Les entreprises et les marques sont unanimes sur le fait qu’elles aient l’occasion de “contribuer efficacement à l’accélération de la transition écologique (98%) selon le baromètre“. Cette pression amène les marques à affirmer 61 % aujourd’hui avoir revu ou être sur le point de revoir leur raison d’être.

DIGITAL : UNE PRIORITÉ (AUSSI)

Le digital apparait moins touché par la crise que les autres vecteurs. S’agissant de publicité bien-sûr, mais aussi en termes de développement. Ainsi, les entreprises considèrent également le digital en général comme une opportunité (45%) et même comme une priorité (34%) pour les mois à venir, en intégrant notamment la création ou le développement d’une offre e-commerce et l’ouverture de nouveaux canaux de distribution. Au vu du baromètre, les marques notent que leur digitalisation continue de progresser depuis le début de la crise. C’est notamment le cas pour les process et organisation du travail, pour lesquelles une entreprise répondante sur deux s’attribue une note de 6,8 sur 10, voire une note d’excellence (8 à 10).

INVESTISSEMENTS EN COMMUNICATION…

Pour près d’une marque sur deux (46%), ses investissements en communication en 2021 seront inférieurs à ceux de 2019. Une baisse conséquente puisque 67 % estiment qu’elle sera supérieure à 10%. Pour 27 % des marques, ces budgets seront égaux à 2019, et pour 19 % supérieurs. Seuls 8 % ne se positionnent pas encore. En ce début d’octobre, avant l’annonce du couvre-feu et le durcissement des mesures sanitaires, les marques semblaient vouloir amorcer la reprise via des perspectives d’investissements pour cette fin d’année au niveau de ce qu’étaient leurs prévisions il y a un an (71 % des marques). Leurs motivations étaient multiples : maintenir ou développer leur part de voix (62 %), soutenir des produits et services adaptés au contexte (53 %) ou encore maintenir le lien avec le public (41 %). Ils sont également 41 % à investir pour favoriser la reprise. A noter également qu’alors qu’avant l’été, 42% des marques envisageaient de diminuer leurs prises de paroles à la fin de l’année, elles ne sont désormais plus que 27 %. Pour ces dernières, c’est d’abord leur situation économique qui freine leurs investissements. Si le niveau des prises de paroles devrait donc être plus élevé au quatrième trimestre qu’envisagé en juin dernier, aucun changement majeur en revanche n’est à relever quant à l’importance accordée à tel ou tel média. Ainsi, le digital qui fait toujours l’objet d’efforts de la part des marques: environ 8 marques répondantes sur 10 (85 %) déclarent ainsi avoir l’intention de maintenir ou renforcer leurs budgets display/programmatique (soit +12 points), 83 % leurs budgets search et 79%leurs budgets réseaux sociaux. Viennent ensuite la télévision (65 % de maintien ou de hausse des investissements) et le retail média (63 %), puis la communication extérieure (49 %), la radio (47 %) et la presse(33 %). Comme précédemment, le cinéma et les opérations événementielles viennent clôturer ce classement, avec près de 90 % de baisse/annulation ou report, pour seulement à peine plus de 10 % de hausse ou maintien des investissements. Globalement ce classement reste quasiment identique au précédent, avec cependant, une progression des perspectives d’investissements pour la télévision (+15% de hausse ou maintien), le display/programmatique(+12%) et la communication extérieure (+ 10%). Parallèlement aux investissements médias, on observe que les stratégies orientées clients devraient continuer d’être essentielles pour de nombreuses marques et donc pour accompagner la reprise au cours des prochains mois. Ainsi, on note que la data/CRM reste à un niveau élevé d’intention d’investissement (82% de hausse ou maintien au dernier quadrimestre, soit 8 points de plus qu’en juin dernier). De la même manière, les budgets consacrés à la relation et expérience client que 64 % des marques indiquent vouloir faire progresser (+ 20 points).

L’HORIZON ?

A l’heure actuelle, les répondants se montrent un peu plus optimistes qu’auparavant quant à la situation économique de leur entreprise (7,7 sur 10, +0,7 points). En revanche, ils le sont moins pour celle de la France (5,9). Pour rappel, après une chute du PIB Français estimé à –9% en 2020, le rebond pour 2021 serait de l’ordre de +6% selon les projections du FMI.

(1) Méthodologie: enquête CAWI (computer assisted web interviewing) réalisée auprès de 48annonceurs de tous les secteurs d’activité, membres de l’Union des marques, entre le 2et le 16 octobre2020.

TikTok partners with Shopify on social commerce

tiktok ios icon

TikTok  is further investing in social commerce with today’s announcement of a new global partnership with e-commerce platform Shopify. The deal aims to make it easier for Shopify’s  over 1 million merchants to reach TikTok’s younger audience and drive sales. The partnership will eventually expand to include other in-app shopping features, as well, the companies said.

At launch, the agreement allows Shopify merchants to create, run and optimize their TikTok marketing campaigns directly from the Shopify dashboard by installing the new TikTok channel app from the Shopify App Store. Once installed, merchants will have access to the key functions from the TikTok For Business Ads Manager at their disposal.

These ad tools allow merchants to create native, shareable content that turns their products into In-Feed video ads that will resonate with the TikTok community. Merchants will be able to target their audiences across gender, age, user behavior, and video category, and then track the campaign’s performance over time. The campaigns’ costs will vary, based on the merchant’s own business objectives and how much they want to spend.

As a part of this effort, Shopify merchants can also install or connect their “TikTok Pixel” — a tool that helps them to more easily track conversions driven by their TikTok ad campaigns.

Currently, e-commerce merchants can track user actions like a user browsing their page, a registration on a website, adding items to their cart, placing an order, and completing the payment.

Shopify tells TechCrunch a small number of merchants previously gained access to these features as part of a beta test. But as of today, Oct. 27, the product is being made available to all merchants across the U.S.

“TikTok is one of the world’s fastest growing entertainment platforms with over 100 million highly engaged users in the U.S. alone,” said Satish Kanwar, Vice President of Product at Shopify, in a statement about the new partnership. “The TikTok channel means Shopify merchants—even those without a strong TikTok following of their own yet—can connect with these new audiences using content that feels authentic and genuine to the TikTok experience,” Kanwar added.

To get started with the new features, merchants who want to advertise on TikTok will first install the TikTok channel app, then create and connect their TikTok For Business account and install the one-click pixel. They can then deploy In-Feed shoppable video ads by selecting the product they want to feature using ad templates specifically designed for commerce. Because these templates use existing imagery or videos, the TikTok channel can work for merchants of any size, Shopify notes.

To kick off the partnership, merchants are being offered a $300 ad credit to get started with their first TikTok campaign.

In addition, the two companies have partnered on their first co-branded Hashtag Challenge Plus campaign, #ShopBlack, to celebrate Black-owned businesses. Shopify had earlier featured Black-owned businesses in its own app, Shop. But from Nov. 10 through Nov. 15, the TikTok community will be able to browse videos from over 40 Shopify merchants via the new hashtag and its accompanying branded effect within TikTok, too.

Shopify and TikTok had been working together to test various social commerce initiatives ahead of today’s announcement.

The companies, for example, had been spotted trialing a new shopping button that allowed TikTok creators to link their Shopify storefront from their videos. (Teespring was also testing this with TikTok). TikTok had offered a TikTok Ads Pixel for Shopify merchants before today, as well.  But the partnership makes the pixel integration a 1-click install, so merchants don’t have to manipulate code.

“We are delighted to partner with Shopify and provide a channel for their merchants to reach new audiences and drive sales on TikTok,” said Blake Chandlee, Vice President, Global Business Solutions at TikTok, in a statement. “As social commerce proliferates, retailers are recognizing that TikTok’s creative and highly engaged community sets it apart from other platforms. We’re constantly exploring new and innovative ways to connect brands with our users, and Shopify is the perfect partner to help us grow and expand our commerce capabilities globally,” he said.

TikTok and Shopify’s partnership won’t be limited to the new TikTok channel app, however. That’s just the first step.

We understand the deal will soon expand to other shopping features, too.

TikTok says it plans to start testing new in-app features that will make it easier for users to discover Shopify merchants and their products by expanding their reach through video and on their account profiles. These features will also “let users browse merchant’s products and shop directly through the TikTok app,” a spokesperson said. They didn’t offer specific details about the features or how the payments portion would work, saying that more information would be available when the new tools launched.

However, the features will launch to a limited beta group of testers soon, a TikTok spokesperson confirmed.

Shopify isn’t the first to recognize TikTok’s potential as a new type of social shopping platform. Its ability to drive merchant traffic and sales was a key reason for Walmart’s participation in the TikTok-Oracle deal — a deal whose current status is still unknown, of course, given the ongoing TikTok lawsuit and the upcoming Presidential election whose outcome could impact the Trump Administration’s TikTok ban.

TikTok itself has been steadily ramping up its tools for merchants and other social shopping features. To date, it has  experimented with allowing users to add e-commerce links to their bios; launched “Shop Now” buttons for brands’ video ads; and introduced shoppable components to hashtags with the e-commerce feature (soon to be used for #ShopBlack), known as the Hashtag Challenge Plus.

Shopify, meanwhile, has been working to deliver more tools that give smaller businesses the ability to compete against Walmart and Amazon, while at the same time partnering with Walmart to give its merchants broader reach.

The TikTok-Shopify partnership could help the video platform better compete against other sources of social commerce, including the growing number of live stream shopping apps as well as efforts from Facebook and its family of apps. The social giant has recently rolled out a bevy of shopping-focused updates across FacebookInstagram, and — just last week — WhatsApp, with the goal of directing users to shop in its apps, then check out seamlessly with Facebook Pay.

TikTok’s advantage is that it’s a video-based social network, more like YouTube, rather than a platform whose roots were in editorial-quality imagery, like Instagram. On Instagram, video features have been added in over time. Now, a number of Instagram products include video — like  Feed posts, Stories, Instagram Live, IGTV, and, finally, Instagram’s TikTok rival, Reels. But overall, the impact is that Instagram has started to feel overcrowded.

TikTok says the new TikTok channel for Shopify merchants is available today in the U.S. It will roll out to other markets next year, including elsewhere in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Is your company ready for data?

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The BMMA is conducting a survey about the Data Readiness of Belgian companies. Since data is at the core of our challenges and concerns as management and marketing professionals, we thought it was critical that we address this burning topic by collecting the insights from the market.

How do you perceive the role of data within your company in various areas such as leadership & culture, operations, customers and products?
Thank you in advance for your participation.
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MORE THAN 8 IN 10 PROSUMERS BELIEVE PROFESSIONAL LEAGUES AND FEDERATIONS HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO UPHOLD VALUES AND ETHICS WITHIN THEIR SPORTS

OUR LATEST PROSUMER STUDY FINDS SPORTS ARE NO LONGER SIMPLY A PASTIME OR WAY TO SEE WHETHER AN INDIVIDUAL OR TEAM CAN OUTPLAY/OUTRUN/OUTLAST THE COMPETITION. THEY ARE FAR MORE FUNDAMENTAL THAN THAT.

At the beginning of the year, Havas fielded its latest Prosumer study, “Sports Forward,” to better understand the role sports play on both an individual and societal level and analyze their evolution in this era of digitalization. 

Some people may be quick to dismiss sport as a mere hobby, but the newly released study proves they play a far more essential role than that. They contribute to physical fitness and public health, imbue participants with important values and life skills, and are a critical component of our social fabric, bringing together communities and nations. 92% of Prosumers consider sports have the power to change lives. With an expected market value of $614.1 billion by 2022, the global sports industry undeniably offers tremendous opportunity for brands across sectors. 

For this report, Havas surveyed 12,521 adults in 28 countries to explore the fundamental role sports play across the globe. From instilling inner-strength and resilience in children, to uniting communities and preserving the physical and mental health of populations, “Sports Forward” found that sports have the indisputable power to make a meaningful difference. 

Key Findings 

Sports are transformational: 92% say that sports have the power to change lives and almost all respondents agreed it is a way for children to learn teamwork, self-confidence, and perseverance. 

Sports are a geopolitical weapon (and salve): Two-thirds of Prosumers believe the success of a nation’s team or star athlete can help a country stand out on the world stage, while 8 in 10 believe sports can even serve as a tool for peace within nations as well as between them. 

Fans deserve compensation for loyalty: Two-thirds of Prosumers believe fans should be able to interact with athletes regularly, while 8 in 10 Prosumers believe sports brands have an obligation to provide fans with in-person experiences that money can’t buy. Interestingly, 4 in 10 Prosumers are convinced that most sports coverage in the future will come from fans rather than from media professionals. 

Sports are at the heart of our health: 9 in 10 Prosumers globally agree that people who play sports are more likely to stay healthy. This benefit is especially critical in an era in which rates of obesity and cardiovascular disease are skyrocketing and in the context of a global pandemic that has put everyone’s health at risk. 

Sports need to be reinvented: More than 8 in 10 Prosumers believe professional leagues and federations have an obligation to uphold values and ethics within their sports. 78% of Prosumers believe media coverage of female athletes is the best way to change perceptions of women and diffuse stereotypes, while 61% of Prosumers believe that sports brands should create athletic apparel that’s more inclusive of all religions. 

Sports are the cornerstone of social cohesion: More than half the sample consider sports the best way for people to socialize—with exceptionally high levels of agreement in Serbia (76%) and the Czech Republic (72%). 

The future of sports: 51% of Prosumers believe that in the future, countries that excel at artificial intelligence and data analysis will have the best athletes, while 86% believe sports brands or sponsors have a responsibility to consistently innovate to improve people’s performance. 

Esports are vital for successful brands: 53% of Prosumers think sports brands that are investing in Esports are more innovative and appealing, while 43% would engage more with sports clubs that create their own Esports teams. 

La faillite de Quibi annonce-t-elle l’éclatement de la bulle tech ? (source: Maddyness)

Les 1,75 milliard de dollars levés par l’Américain Quibi ne lui auront pas suffi à éviter la faillite. De quoi laisser entrevoir un sombre avenir pour des entreprises tech qui seraient toutes sur-valorisées ?

C’est le sujet qui a agité l’écosystème tech américain la semaine dernière : la plateforme de streaming Quibi, spécialisée dans les formats courts, a annoncé qu’elle mettait la clé sous la porte. Rien d’exceptionnel ? Sauf que… D’une part, Quibi ne s’était lancée que 6 mois auparavant. Sa mort est donc quelque peu prématurée même si, dans l’univers des startups, c’est loin d’être rare. D’autre part, le projet était porté par Jeffrey Katzenberg, ancien patron de Disney et expert du secteur, soutenu par des célébrités au premier rang desquelles Steven Spielberg qui était prêt à produire des contenus pour une plateforme qui avait levé… 1,75 milliard de dollars.

source: https://www.maddyness.com/2020/10/26/quibi-bulle-tech/

La chute aura donc été à la fois fulgurante et spectaculaire. Et a rappelé à la réalité entrepreneurs et investisseurs. « Quibi était un bel essai mais il servira à nous rappeler que vous ne pouvez pas hacker le chemin vers le product-market-fit. Une startup qui ne s’est pas encore lancée reste une startup en amorçage, avec les risques que cela comporte, même si elle a levé 2 milliards de dollars. Vous ne pouvez pas brûler les étapes » , philosophe ainsi sur Twitter en 280 signes l’investisseur David Sacks, fondateur du fonds américain Craft Ventures. Les montants mirobolants des deux tours de table bouclés par la startup (1 milliard de dollars en 2018 et 750 millions en mars) ont remis sur le tapis le débat autour de l’existence d’une bulle spéculative parmi les valeurs technologiques. Une question brûlante alors que les méga-levées ont été légion depuis le début d’année en France, depuis les 104 millions d’euros de Qonto en janvier jusqu’aux 190 millions d’Ÿnsect début octobre.

Bulle ou pas bulle, là n’est pas la question

« Même si le terme de bulle est en général utilisé pour évoquer les actions votées, on peut actuellement parler de bulle dans le non coté » , tranche Christopher Dembik, directeur du service macro-économie chez Saxo Bank, qui explique que « c’est la conséquence de l’évolution financière actuelle : il y a eu beaucoup de liquidités qui ont été mises sur le marché à des coûts très bas par les banques centrales et qui ont inondé les marchés financiers. Les investisseurs ont encore beaucoup d’argent et investissent dans le non coté dans une logique de diversification afin de trouver un meilleur rendement » .

Deux phénomènes se combinent alors pour aboutir à la formation de cette bulle financière : « d’une part, l’incapacité à mettre en lien la valorisation financière des entreprises avec leur valeur intrinsèque, beaucoup étant très peu rentables et pourtant très bien valorisées ; d’autre part, l’engouement irrationnel pour les valeurs technologiques, qui découle de la croyance que toutes les entreprises tech vont révolutionner le capitalisme » . Une tendance encore renforcée depuis la crise du coronavirus et la mise en lumière des atouts que présentent certains outils technologiques pour la continuité de l’activité économique en période de pandémie.

« Le Covid a montré que la technologie pouvait être utile pendant un confinement. On ne peut pas dire que les valorisations sont folles : elles sont élevées mais il y a des raisons » , tempère ainsi Pierre Entremont, partner chez Frst. Mais alors que la pandémie a renforcé les cours de Bourse des géants de la Tech et contribué à faire grimper les enchères pour les tours de table de certaines technologies réputées essentielles, des produits et services moins bien calibrés ont profité de l’appel d’air – et des poches bien garnies des investisseurs. Ce qui a contribué à renforcer le phénomène de bulle parmi les valeurs technologiques non cotées.

La bulle a éclaté, vive la bulle ?

Serait-ce donc le moment de paniquer ? Surtout pas. « Les bulles font partie de l’histoire du capitalisme, comme les récessions, elles accompagnent le changement » , constate Christopher Dembik. « C’est normal qu’il y ait des entreprises qui vivent et qui meurent, médite pour sa part Pierre Entremont. Quand tout se passe bien, il y a une grosse récompense à la clé, mais ça se passe pas toujours bien. Au cas d’espèce, la perte est supportée par des gens qui investissaient dans l’idée d’avoir une récompense. Il n’y a rien de mal à ça. » La chute de Quibi procède donc d’une auto-régulation du marché.

De quoi se rassurer parce qu’il n’y a, de toute façon, pas grand chose à faire pour éviter une bulle financière. « Personne n’est en mesure d’empêcher la formation d’une bulle, prévient l’expert de Saxo Bank. Une bulle est pour partie basée sur les croyances irrationnelles des individus. Les travaux économiques actuels portent donc davantage sur la façon de dégonfler une bulle sans trop d’à-coups… mais il n’y a pas de vraie solution en la matière. » Pire, la situation économique actuelle laisse à penser que la bulle des actifs technologiques non cotés devrait encore s’accentuer. « Les niveaux d’endettement privé et public sont tels qu’il est impossible pour les banques centrales de remonter les taux sans risquer une vague massive de faillites. Or, ce serait le seul facteur qui pourrait contribuer à limiter les liquidités.« 

Le rôle essentiel des VCs

Pierre Entremont se veut plus optimiste, en rappelant que la sur-valorisation de Quibi a découlé de trois facteurs principaux : le poids trop important de la renommée du fondateur dans l’appréciation de la valeur du service proposé par l’entreprise, la stratégie de développement de l’entreprise qui a préféré voir grand très vite plutôt que d’appliquer celle des petits pas et enfin la sur-représentation des investisseurs industriels (Walt Disney, Time Warner, Alibaba) dans les différents tours de table.

« Comme dans le cas de Theranos, ils ont eu un comportement moutonnier » , dénonce-t-il. Une fois les premiers investisseurs ferrés grâce à un casting de stars, les autres ont renchéri, prêts à faire partie de l’aventure à n’importe quel prix, contribuant à faire grimper le montant des levées de fonds et la valorisation de l’entreprise « alors qu’il n’était pas nécessaire au développement de l’entreprise de lever autant d’argent » . « Si les tours avaient été menés par des VCs, ils n’auraient probablement pas eu la même taille, veut croire l’investisseur. Penser qu’une entreprise peut avoir besoin de 2 milliards de dollars dès le premier jour, c’est l’erreur d’investisseurs non professionnels. » Le meilleur atout pour dégonfler la bulle financière qui s’est créée autour des valeurs technologiques est peut-être le même que celui qui permettra de dégonfler les egos des fondateurs trop gourmands : la rationalité.

La lettre ouverte de Johan Vandepoel (ACC) aux annonceurs: « Prenez vos responsabilités » (Source: MM)

On en peut qu’approuver le message de Johan Vandepoel (ACC). Ce qui est vrai pour les agences créatives l’est également pour les agences médias… et le Covid19 ne fait qu’accentuer cette réalité.

source: https://www.mm.be/enews-fr-3935-d9d8059fc825b2ee32ed9eb1bc88f846-49534?utm_source=emailR&utm_medium=enews%20Media%20Marketing&utm_campaign=FR%203935%20E-News

Johan Vandepoel (ACC):

“Cher marketer, prenez vos responsabilités, svp, au lieu d’entraîner les agences dans la chute !

La plus grande crise du secteur de la communication depuis des temps immémoriaux renforce apparemment certains marketers dans la conviction qu’ils peuvent faire fi de toutes les règles du jeu, et que les agences sont prêtes à tout pour travailler à tout prix sur leur magnifique marque.
 
Avec l’annulation du Salon de l’Auto en tête, quelques grandes marques ont lancé la semaine dernière un appel d’offres à pas moins de six agences événementielles, comme si les agences n’avaient rien d’autre à faire que d’élaborer des concepts ayant une chance sur six d’être un jour mis en œuvre.
 
Une étude récente montre que le budget moyen pour une mission ponctuelle est de 100k, sur lequel l’agence sélectionnée dispose alors d’une marge de 15% : 15K. Le coût moyen pour soumettre un dossier d’événement est de 5K. Cela signifie que chaque pitch de plus de trois agences est une perte pour le secteur. Et qui pensez-vous qui paie cette perte, cher marketer ? C’est vous !
 
Et ce parce que votre réticence à établir une liste restreinte de quatre agences au maximum, les empêche de dégager les marges nécessaires pour développer leurs talents. Et parce que les agences intelligentes incluent leurs coûts de pitch dans leurs tarifs pour leurs autres clients : deux fois plus de pertes pour vous en tant que marketer.
 
Si la charte des pitchs UBA/ACC/UMA a été réécrite l’année dernière, c’est justement pour améliorer leur niveau. Pas l’inverse.
 
Les conseils les plus importants de la charte sont les suivants :
   
Un maximum de 4 agences dans la shortlist  
Il y a une raison pour laquelle on demande de présélectionner une shortlist de maximum 4 agences à partir d’une longlist d’un nombre indéfini d’agences. Less is more : une meilleure préparation de la part du client permettra de constituer une shortlist plus appropriée d’agences qui auront plus de chances d’être sélectionnées et seront donc plus motivées pour en tirer le meilleur parti.
 
Un briefing clair et complet
Cela devrait garantir un engagement réel, approuvé par la direction. Un bon briefing contient les informations suivantes : contexte, objectif, résultats attendus, budget disponible, agences sélectionnées, planning, remboursement des coûts en cas de non-sélection, critères de sélection et personne(s) responsable(s) de la sélection. 
 
N’attendez pas des agences qu’elles vous donnent le bon retour d’information si vous n’êtes pas prêt à rédiger vous-même un briefing clair et complet.
 
L’expérience montre que tous les marketers attendent de leurs agences qu’elles fassent preuve de Transparence, de Responsabilité et d’Equité. 
 
Permettez-moi de conclure avec la chose suivante, cher marketer : la Transparence, la Responsabilité et l’Equité commencent chez vous. Donc n’attendez pas de vos agences ce que vous n’êtes pas prêt à leur donner, svp.
 
Mais je suis convaincu que le bon sens finira par s’imposer et que tous ceux qui sont à la recherche d’une nouvelle agence prendront désormais notre charte en mains. 
 
Cordialement,
Johan Vandepoel (CEO, ACC)