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Web analytics: insights into the customer journey

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Nokia is using Marketo to obtain statistics on whether a customer has visited the website, downloaded a white paper or attended a webinar in order to assess customer engagement and determine what content would be appropriate to provide the customer at the next stage. The company reports that it can better understand the customer needs, provide the right content and nurture the customer through the sales process using Marketo’s marketing analytics.

Roche Diagnostics, which offers medical products and services for detection, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of diseases, also uses Marketo to nurture customers. Because of the nature of its products, Roche’s sales cycle is long and complex; Marketo monitors customers’ progress and provides the appropriate content. Web analytics presents insights about who is coming to the site and what information they are viewing. The company is in the process of developing and aligning several personas throughout four business units in Roche to provide consistent experiences and a content map that designates certain information to be delivered at different points along the customer journey.

One of Marketo’s new products, Marketo Account-Based Marketing, was developed to support account-based marketing (ABM). The product allows marketers to engage selected accounts with personalized content and then measure the impact. “This product allows companies to focus on the accounts that matter the most to them,” says Glover. “The account list may be input from the sales department, which gives specific names, or a segmented approach like size or industry. The marketing department can then match up this information with what they know from the marketing automation system.” ABM is not a new strategy, but is difficult to scale without software that helps direct the process and tracks what is going on.

Marketo uses three major classes of analytics that cut across multiple marketing channels. Those products help marketers, who are often overwhelmed with massive amounts of data, sort out the impact of various types of input. The first one is buyer journey analytics, which provides an understanding of where people are, how quickly they are moving through the sales process and where they are getting stuck.

The second is analytics for personalization, which uses data from a variety of integrated analytics. “We can use predictive analytics and machine learning to recommend content, including videos and white papers,” says Glover. “Most companies have tons of valuable content that is collecting virtual dust, and it could be used for customer engagement.”

The third class of analytics is business impact, which helps marketers tie them to pipeline and revenue. “This information helps marketing departments show the impact of their efforts, which changes the conversation with sales and executives,” Glover says.

Analytics from customer experience platforms

Customer experience management (CEM) platforms and web content management (WCM) systems now come with built-in web analytics. Sitecore, for example, provides a variety of metrics, including clickstream analysis and the ability to do A/B testing.

“Sitecore provides marketing-aware clickstream analysis—users can see which interactions are leading to the marketing goals,” says Ryan Donovan, SVP of product management at Sitecore. “Our Sitecore Path Analyzer indicates to brands what pathways within the site are most effective and least effective, with the ultimate goal of a purchase or repeat visit. It also shows where that brand loses the customer on the journey through the site and whether customers who receive personalized content are converting to a sale at a higher rate.”

Once companies start using analytics such as these, the results are quite compelling. “Organizations can see outcomes more clearly when they look at a graphic representation of a funnel chart,” says Donovan. “They can see where people are falling off versus those going through to complete the purchase.”

Having analytics as an integrated component of the CEM means that they work right out of the box, without integration issues. CEMs also can be used to store content from other sources, including incoming emails, online and offline transactions and social media posts, in a single data set. That approach delivers a personalized experience to the consumer in real time and provides a more holistic view of the data.

The Sitecore Experience Database (xDB) provides contextual information about customers regardless of channel, which is then presented in a one-to-one individual customer view in the Experience Profile and in aggregate using Experience Analytics. Content delivery is automated based on customer behavior and becomes progressively more personalized over time.

One Sitecore customer, Danone-Nutrucia, a European manufacturer of formula, milk and baby food, embarked on a content-led personalization program called Mother’s Journey. The company identified important moments in a mother’s experience throughout her pregnancy. By combining detailed consumer insight from its Sitecore Experience Database with a thorough understanding of the customer journey, Danone-Nutrucia is now able to deliver personalized content that creates and nurtures customer relationships throughout the mother’s pregnancy. That online relationship has contributed substantially to an increase in average monthly repurchase growth for the company.

The biggest mistake that organizations make in web analytics, according to Donovan, is that they are not connecting marketing analytics to content. “If they just look at clickstream data, they are not completing the process. Sometimes they’re afraid to experiment with different scenarios,” he says. Google Analytics, a widely used free analytics tool, needs a custom taxonomy and content must be tagged to connect content to analytics. “On the Sitecore Experience Platform, the connection to content is a part of the product from day one,” Donovan adds.

A complicating factor not solved by software solutions is the competition from different stakeholders for scarce screen space. “The analytics can discover gaps, overlaps or conflicts in the user experience,” says Donovan, “but digital marketers, product developers and others all have different agendas and may have competing ideas about how to resolve the issue. Roles and responsibilities must be clarified, along with a decision about who has the final say for each situation. Only then can the promise of truly personalized and contextualized customer experiences come to life.”

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