A Unified Approach to Acquisition and Conversion
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For years, siloed organizations had fragmented approaches to acquisition and conversion. Many retail-focused brands continue to struggle with operational, organizational, and even managerial challenges and barriers to success. But content strategies are ripe for significant transformation thanks to more efficient and more accurate analytics tools and a more sophisticated digital consumer.
So how do we tackle these challenges? What solutions can be adopted and implemented? Here are some answers that will help digital retailers optimize for a more unified approach, a coherent overall strategy, and cohesive content and creative executions:
Combine expertise on a common project
For retail players, the ownership of “strategy” is often divided between different stakeholders within the organization. In fact, more often than not, some teams are dedicated to the acquisition, with others dedicated to conversion. The same is true whether managing in-house tasks or outsourcing some responsibilities to agencies. If we also consider the SEO and UX teams, these teams may be competing for attention (and budget), and therefore cannibalizing one another on the same platforms.
Leaders and members from these different teams must work together to architect a plan, working from shared data sets, that includes all aspects of specialized expertise to optimize the overall strategy. Alignment on key factors, such as target audiences, type of content, format, frequency, platform, media budgets, and KPI, is the first step; How to monitor and optimize over time is the second step. Considering all scenarios together engenders fluidity and consistency at all levels and facilitates collaboration across all content operations against shared objectives:
TO ATTRACT: increasing page traffic and generating qualified leads.
TO SERVE: responding to the different needs of targets with relevant content.
TO SELL: improving conversion rates and increasing average volumes at checkout.
Leverage the right tools
A good Google Marketing Platform (GMP) solution with global analytics capabilities allows decision-makers to focus on vision and strategy. These fully integrated technological solutions provide better insights and analysis into the customer journey and highlight all critical marketing and communication touchpoint opportunities. A “full-stack” approach identifies how the different stages of the customer journey work together, from branding to purchase.
A good solution has three primary features: Production, Analysis and Performance measurement.
More and more providers and agencies offer specialized pieces of support and partnership to optimize this process. Very few understand how to integrate AND bring together disparate pieces within this more unified vision of content marketing. One of the biggest mistakes a brand will make is trying to do it all in-house without the visibility into best practices of how others can and do make it work together successfully. The right mix of art and science, content and context, technology, and human analytical expertise will ensure your brand grows in the right direction.
Focus on phased approach
Whatever solutions, technology, or partners you adopt, these five steps are required for the organization and implementation of a strategy that considers the user journey from start to finish:
- Data Collection
The first step is designing a system of inputs to aggregate and sort all relevant and practical data streams in a centralized location. This facilitates smart analysis, recommendations, and the development of an effective, efficient integrated strategy aligned with acquisition and conversion KPIs. Audit what exists, create a gap analysis, then establish a cadence for semi-regular updates.
- Combine First and Third Party Data Sources
To establish a truly comprehensive overview of the entire performance across consumers’ journeys, it is essential to connect website traffic data, media data (search, paid, programmatic), content performance, engagement data as well as ERP/sales and CRM data. When possible, bring in competitive and category data as well as platform benchmarks and industry standards. By confronting the behaviors of a particular target with conversion realities, you optimize your knowledge of your users’ actions.
- Analyze the Paths
Segmentation is key. Indeed, the tools now allow marketers to distinguish individual user/consumer segments to study behaviors. Thus, we can differentiate and learn based on infinite criteria across a variety of consumer acquisition-to-conversion paths.
- Optimize Performance by Segment
Identify and isolate a segment that is working and performing with optimal results. Observe, study inputs and influential factors contributing to success in an attempt to replicate the recipe and expand the results. Additionally, A/B testing can offer multiple customer experience scenarios against individual target segments.
In a way, A/B testing has always been around. Direct mail marketers wrote the initial playbook on performance measurement long before the modern, digital derivation. Their approach was to publish two series of letters offering different offers or discounts, then observe the one that generated the most sales. So no need to reinvent the wheel here!
- Hypothesize Across Segments
The right approach requires continuous optimization. Thanks to the cloud-based data storage and processing tools, it is now possible to see how real-time strategies come to life in the form of day-to-day performance. Thus, it becomes a question of how to best monitor (and who) performance, then without overly complicating the process with endless internal back-and-forth communication.
From acquisition to conversion what analysis can measure in an on-site content path:
“If the conversion rate of a segment is satisfactory, then we will be able to look at the entire chain of content that has contributed to it: media, articles, USP, PDPs, etc… then compare that data with all the off-site information.”
Thibault de Broissia