Study in Boston! Attending Inbound 2016

Posted by Brandon Eick

Mar 20

A Hubspot Experience

Attending the Inbound 2016 conference in Boston was a great opportunity to learn more about the growing business of Digital Marketing.  Sessions ranged from talks on the innovations coming from Silicon Valley to how to get away with swearing in your marketing.  While attending these sessions, you also had an amazing opportunity to socialize and meet people working in the field.  As a college student, every professional I met was impressed I was able to attend and eager to talk to get my opinion on Hubspot’s Inbound marketing. 

Inbound marketing is about utilizing digital marketing to bring customers to you, rather than fighting to gain attention.  In the old days of marketing, phone calls were the best tool to make a sale, it was simple and easy.  Marketers, are now creating more content than ever.  Gone are the days of three television stations, one local paper to advertise within, and maybe some community opportunities.  Social media has changed many aspects of how we communicate and the same is true for company’s marketing their products or services.  The impact of the environment, with all the different marketing channels, has led to marketers being unfocused.  You cannot win with volume; so how do marketers change for the future?

Inbound is about focusing marketers on the constantly changing trends and employing different social medias to bring the customer to your company.  The amount of content and users on the internet has opened a new business of using data and analytics to segment customers based upon any characteristic chosen.  Companies such as Google, Adobe, and of course Hubspot, offer marketers the ability to use research and data to build the best customer journey both before and after the sale.    

Building a Data-Driven Customer Journey

During one session, I learned about utilizing data to build your customer’s journey.  Christopher Penn from Shift Communications, session “Building the Data-Driven Customer Journey” explored the new concepts of using data to respond to a customer.  Chris opened his session by focusing on the amount of content out in the web.  Today, the amount of content is infinite and now artificial intelligence is creating even more.  Marketers are now learning that it is not about the amount of content they throw out; it is about getting the correct content to the right consumer at the right time.  By analyzing the growing amount of data, marketers can now understand their customer better.  Chris spoke on 5 stages a company must take to build a data-driven customer journey.

1. Become data-driven

The first stage in building a data-driven customer journey is to become data driven.  Becoming a data-driven company means making decisions with data first.  Not intuition, intellect, experience, your gut or instinct.  To most efficiently get from point A to point B use the data from both external and internal resources.  There are five steps in becoming a data-driven company.  At first, a company will be data-resistant, meaning the organization actively resists using data.  The next step is when a company becomes Data-Aware, meaning the organization has become curious about data and what it offers.  The third step is to become data-guided, using data in production and starting the analytic process.  The fourth step is when the company becomes data-savvy and is now using data in most production processes with insights based upon their data.  The final step is when the organization becomes data-driven by using data first for strategic decisions.  This journey can take years but with all the different resources offered from google, IBM, or Hubspot, it is becoming easier to advance a data-driven culture.

2. Understand the customer journey

It is important to remember; a customer can be in multiple points of the customer’s journey at any time.  Marketers have a set of steps known as the marketing funnel to move a customer through the buying experience.  A customer begins by being aware of a need and expressing interest.  Next the customer considerers different products and companies with the intent of purchase.  After researching, the customer evaluates a final few and then makes a purchase.  The last part of the funnel involves after the sale customer loyalty and advocacy.  It is important to realize funnels are a tool used by marketers at the expense of the customer.  Journeys are for customers at the expense of the marketers.  Having an organizational funnel within your marketing is okay to separate job functions such as email, social media, or analytics.  Consumers actively consider multiple brands, change their minds, and can move around on the customer journey.  The two stages of the customer journey are the buyer’s journey and the owner’s journey.  The buyer’s journey is considered most important to marketers because it is where a customer is aware, considering, and evaluating products, before purchase.  The owner’s journey is just as important because it involves evangelism, loyalty, ownership, and potentially more purchases.  A journey is nonlinear and it is important for the marketer to be there for the customer.

3. Understand the Tech

There are now many tools marketers can now use.  Marketing technology is a growing segment but understanding what tools to use and how to use them to make life easier.  Creating a marketing council is a great start to help ensure the right technologies are being used to ensure the marketing strategy is being implemented.  The council will ensure money is not being needlessly spent however many organizations do not have a council.  Google provides many tools to help start the understanding marketing technology.  Google analytics, Google AdWords, and Google optimize is a good place for an organization with few resources to start.  Using Google’s ecosystem combined with Hubspot’s management give the ability to monitor the buyer’s journey and owner’s journey.

4. Value your goals

Valuing your goals means putting an actual number to your goals.  Assign a dollar amount to your goals.  Without a dollar amount it is hard to access the value of what channel you are using.  Chris talked about a few computations every organization should use.  Begin with the net customer value which equals the customer lifetime value minus customer acquisition cost.  Next, the net customer value times the sales closing rate equals the net deal value which helps value your company’s deals.  The net deal value times the deal closing rate equals the sales qualified lead value.  Marketing qualified leads value equals the sales qualified lead times the qualification rate to see how many customers are responding.  Lastly, the marketing qualified leads times the prospect qualification rate equals your prospect value leads.

5. Map your journey

The final stage in building a data-driven customer journey is to put everything together and map the customer’s journey.  Google and adobe analytics offer tools to create a customer path based on the industry, company size, and country.  From awareness, to nurturing, to the customer being ready to buy, the customer journey should be mapped and the tools used during each stage must be defined.  Whether using email, social media, or direct contact, your organization should have a map on when to use these tools based on the where the customer is placed in the journey. 

It is vital to evolve your organization by serving the customer throughout the different buyer’s and owner’s stages.  Three people are needed to become a data-driven organization, developers to help bring data in and out, data scientists who pool the data together to figure out what is in the data, and lastly marketing technologists who can think about marketing but can be analytical too.  If you are a small organization start backwards with a marketing technologists.  With this map and people in place your organization can make the leap to becoming a data-driven organization.

Topics: inbound marketing

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