Martha Stewart’s new role as cannabis adviser

Martha Stewart's new role as cannabis adviser

Martha Stewart attends the 2017 Glamour Women of the Year Awards at the Kings Theater in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

(Reuters) – Marijuana producer Canopy Growth has roped in lifestyle guru Martha Stewart as an adviser to help develop and launch a line of pot-based products for both humans and animals, it said on Thursday.

Stewart, a 90s icon who became a household name through her cooking and lifestyle shows, co-hosts a show with rapper Snoop Dogg, who made headlines last year for smoking pot in front of the White House.

The deal between Canopy and Sequential Brands Group Inc, which owns the Martha Stewart brand, will seek to leverage Stewart’s knowledge of consumer products in the launch of products based on CBD, the non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana.

Sequential’s shares surged 51 percent to $1.81 in early trading.

“I’m especially looking forward to our first collaboration together, which will offer sensible products for people’s beloved pets,” Stewart said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has prohibited companies from adding CBD to food, but many drinks companies have announced plans to use it.

Corona beer maker Constellation Brands has signed a deal with Canopy to make various pot-infused drinks.

Cannabis companies in Canada have been pouring cash into their businesses to both fend off competition and develop new products, especially after the country approved the use of recreational marijuana.

Canopy has also announced plans to invest between $100 million and $150 million in a hemp industrial park in New York State.

Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Anil D’Silva

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Quora intros bulk ad creation, editing

Quora intros bulk ad creation, editing

Ready to scale up your Quora ads? Good timing. The company just added the ability to create and edit ads in bulk in Quora Ads Manager.

How it works. Upload and download. The bulk ads editor has templates to download. You’ll create and edit ads in a CSV file or in Excel.

The bulk ads creator is available for text ads only at this time. You can edit text in existing image ads now, though.

Why you should care. Quora has checked off a lot of boxes — conversion tracking, retargeting, new ad formats, etc., but nobody wants to spend time on tedious, repetitive tasks. The need to manually add and edit a bunch of ads in a UI adds friction and can keep advertisers from fully investing. Bulk editing capabilities are key for any ad platform to increase advertiser adoption and budget flow. This could help attract more advertisers and entice existing advertisers to further build out their campaigns.

If you’re a current Quora advertiser, now’s a good time to download and spot check your current ads by downloading them with the editor.


About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all of our publications. Ginny writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, she has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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Google’s Black Box Bidding Solution: A look under the hood

Google’s Black Box Bidding Solution: A look under the hood

Live WebinarIn today’s world, Google, Facebook and Amazon are the gatekeepers to digital shoppers. But activities that once differentiated savvy marketers from their peers – keyword research, ad copy and target URL creation – have fallen victim to these giants’ automated solutions, including Smart Bidding, Google Shopping and Responsive Search Ads. They also offer automated black box solutions for many paid search activities, leaving marketers with a difficult choice between campaign control or operational convenience.

Join Crealytics founder and CEO Andreas Reiffen and Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief Ginny Marvin as they discuss how leading retailers can survive – and thrive – in an era of broad access to automation tools.

Register today for “Google’s Black Box Bidding Solution: A look under the hood,” produced by Digital Marketing Depot and sponsored by Crealytics.

About The Author

Digital Marketing Depot is a resource center for digital marketing strategies and tactics. We feature hosted white papers and E-Books, original research, and webcasts on digital marketing topics — from advertising to analytics, SEO and PPC campaign management tools to social media management software, e-commerce to e-mail marketing, and much more about internet marketing. Digital Marketing Depot is a division of Third Door Media, publisher of Search Engine Land and Marketing Land, and producer of the conference series Search Marketing Expo and MarTech. Visit us at http://digitalmarketingdepot.com.

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Ubben’s socially conscious ValueAct Spring Fund bets on workplace wonk

Ubben's socially conscious ValueAct Spring Fund bets on workplace wonk

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jeffrey Ubben’s ValueAct Spring Fund, which invests in companies aiming to address environmental and social problems, is making a bet on an academic-turned-hedge-fund-manager who picks stocks based on how effective companies are as employers.

Jeffrey Ubben, Founder & CEO at ValueAct Capital, poses for a portrait before speaking on the Reuters Newsmaker event’ “The Future of Shareholder Activism” panel in Manhattan, New York, U.S., February 22, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

The Spring Fund is buying a stake in Irrational Capital, a hedge fund launched three years ago by Duke University behavioral economist Dan Ariely and his business partner David van Adelsberg. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

It is an unusual move for a hedge fund to back a smaller rival. But ValueAct, the $15 billion fund that last year launched the $350 million Spring Fund, is familiar with such an arrangement. It sold a stake in itself to Affiliated Managers Group more than a decade ago.

So far Spring Fund has mainly bought stakes in publicly listed companies, including power utility Hawaii Electric Industries Inc and gene-editing company Horizon Discovery Group Plc.

“Dan (Ariely’s) work makes the case for connecting positive workforce culture to performance,” Ubben said in an interview. He met the economist seven years ago through a connection at Duke University, where Ubben earned his undergraduate degree.

Ariely and Van Adelsberg have come up with a system to measure employee engagement, pride in their work and sense of purpose across the corporate world. Their data is funneled into a computer that churns out rankings of companies that Irrational Capital then invests in.

Irrational Capital has so far gathered information on over 1,000 companies through “any type of data we can get our hands on,” Ariely said, adding this includes 350 companies with market capitalizations of more then $1 billion. Ariely declined to name the companies, and Ubben said he doesn’t need to know Ariely’s picks.

“We don’t intervene in what the data show by saying something like this company scores highly but we don’t like the CEO. We are true to the data,” Ariely said in an interview.

Ariely, a 51-year old professor, researcher and author, views himself as an expert in understanding human behavior. He spent time in the hospital as a teenager recovering from burns received when a flare exploded during a celebration and said the opportunity to observe nurses at work built his skill.

Meanwhile, Ubben, 57, is fast becoming one of Wall Street’s biggest critics of corporate America’s short-termism. He is now trying to convince investors that positive workplace culture can drive above-average returns.

OPERATIONAL CHANGES

For nearly two decades, Ubben has staked a claim to bringing a long-term approach to activist investing. His playbook does not usually call for a fast return of capital to shareholders or a quick flip of a company to a seller.

Instead, ValueAct prefers to push for operational changes at companies such as Microsoft Corp and Citigroup Inc from behind the scenes. Two years ago, Ubben handed the chief investment officer role at ValueAct to Mason Morfit, but he remains the firm’s CEO and runs the Spring Fund.

Over ValueAct’s lifetime, the main fund has returned an average of nearly 15 percent a year, an investor said. Ubben declined to say how the new fund has done, citing regulations.

Pushing back against corporate greed has galvanized public opinion and politicians alike, and Ubben wants to convince mainstream investors that committing resources to employees’ well-being will not short-change shareholders.

“These hedge fund managers write letters and dictate what should be done by management and then they get their buddies to buy the stock and help hijack the company,” Ubben said of some of his competitors, declining to name them.

Ubben said he was particularly irked when Aramark Inc, the food services and facilities company he recently invested in, was punished by analysts for doing good. Management returned the roughly $100 million windfall the company received through the tax system overhaul to employees in the form of higher wages and by boosting the match to their retirement savings, Ubben said. But Goldman Sachs Group Inc downgraded its rating to neutral from buy, citing growing labor pressures in the sector.

Aramark did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Data from Gallup Inc, known for its public opinion polls, also showed that organizations that are best in engaging their employees deliver earnings per share growth that is more than four times that of their competitors.

“This is the last mile and this is the hardest thing,” Ubben said of Irrational Capital. “We want to spread the word and introduce the concept and grow it so that a lot of people will invest in it.”

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; editing by Greg Roumeliotis and Cynthia Osterman

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The new rules to win in search and content marketing Search Engine Watch

Conversation Mapping

The new rules to win in search and content marketing Search Engine Watch

Almost two-thirds of marketers now admit that digital content strategy powers their entire digital plan and yet the majority of those that use it struggle to create a mix of content ‘good enough’ to win.

That is the main finding from the second annual State of Content Marketing Survey, an annual temperature check of the UK’s top digital marketers.

In it we discover that not only is the game getting harder to win, but skill and resource shortages are holding many of you back from the results you demand.

And with an average of 23% of overall marketing budget now being attributed to content marketing it has to work.

Marketers also made clear that a very significant gap still exists between being able to create a strategy that resonates with audiences but also delivers measurable ROI. Only one in five of those that took part can confidently claim to know how to tie those two things together and more than half claim to struggle in terms of creating the type of content that will actually work.

You can dive deeper into the full survey, but this post is designed not just to share that top-level view of opinions, but instead go some way to offering a solution for those key challenges.

Overall the takeaways from the study tell us that there is a single, overriding question to fix the challenges of producing content that delivers ROI – ‘How do we create a content strategy that aligns with search growth, consistently?’

This post is designed to answer the ‘how’ element with an appreciation that designing such a digital content strategy has never been more complex and nuanced.

Where do we start?

With multiple touchpoints and a plethora of different journeys through to your product or service, there is no shame in feeling like you have no idea where to start.

And that’s a problem.

It’s an issue because of the emphasis, and rewards, now placed on the overall content experience.

It’s a challenge I’ve spent thousands of hours contemplating and the result of that thinking is captured in this post. A process focused not on content ideas, or keywords, but on the audience. I call it ‘Conversation Mapping’.

It’s a concept that borrows from the world of user experience and is designed to focus on the shift towards ‘conversational search’ and Google’s quest to solve the entire journey and follow the intent.

So, rather than thinking of the traditional ‘keyword research’ approach to designing a content strategy around what people are searching for we instead use the brainstorming process to develop and capture a number of theoretical conversations being had around our products and services.

That process can, and should, be backed by data of course.

Here’s how it works in detail…

Start with people. Always.

All marketing must start and end with people. It’s a statement I’ve made many times before in my Moz posts and it’s central to this strategic approach.

As a marketer, you’ll probably already be sick to death of posts explaining how to extract and turn data into useful personas so I’m not going to go into full detail on that again. You can always read a previous post on that process, or take a look at this one for some great tips.

And the best way to bring the conversation mapping process to life is to walk through it end to end with an example. In this case, we’re going to choose the PC components market.

This critical initial work will leave us with two to four personas such as in the example below:

The new rules to win in search and content marketing Search Engine Watch

With these in place, we can then use a tool such as the Global Web Index to understand things like internet use motivations for each of our personas – against the overall audience profile (Grey) (Blue = Gary, Purple = Tim, Turquoise = Imogen).

The new rules to win in search and content marketing Search Engine Watch

For details of how to build this yourself follow this brilliant guide by the GWI team if you’re interested in giving it a go for yourself.

This kind of data mash-up helps shape the more detailed picture that we can capture from qualitative research sessions and bigger data crunching.

With a clear picture of who it is that is likely to be interacting with the products or services, it means you can more accurately map that conversation and the corresponding conversation map (more on what this looks like a little later!) because there is clear understanding about the likes and dislikes of the intended audience. It becomes much easier to imagine their conversations with this picture in your head!

Mapping the conversation with data

With the personas clearly outlined, the next phase is to gather all the data insight you can to better inform the understanding of the key questions Tim is asking around your product or service.

In this example, Tim is in the market for a new gaming PC and we want to understand what his journey is at present and where he is obtaining his information. Do this and then build a super-targeted content plan around it.

What else do you need to know?

Before we start diving into the data it is important to remind ourselves of what we are trying to achieve here. We know from the state of content marketing research that marketers are struggling to align results’ delivery to content planning and need to upskill and resource to deliver that.

Delivering it means focusing and prioritizing on the opportunity closest to the ‘cash register’ – and that almost always means the search channel comes first.

By diving into organic search engine traffic, we are most likely to be able to tap into buying intent – therefore impacting traffic, conversions, and revenue fastest.

The upside to this approach is that search really is aligned now to the wider audience picture anyway, so in building out a search-focused content plan first you are working on solving the biggest pain points that your customers have and helping them in the process.

In doing so you stay front of mind and add value, meaning that you’ll be the first port of call when they do decide it’s time to buy.

Keyword research

The obvious place to start then is by digging into the keyword opportunity for your market.

That doesn’t mean having to trawl through every opportunity in your niche but instead, we want to focus on the informational and functional content opportunities.

Informational content

By far the most important area from a content strategy perspective is the informational piece – as it is here that we can create assets that answer three of the four key micro-moments that your customer will experience.

As a reminder here are the four key moments that an audience will work through as they search for answers to key questions.

The new rules to win in search and content marketing Search Engine Watch

Informational content focuses on the ‘I Want to Know’, ‘I Want to Do’ and ‘I Want to Go’ moments and this taps into a huge pool of traffic opportunity.

To give you a feel of what that looks like I have included a visual here showing the size of the prize from a selected keyword set of 4,502 phrases in the PC component niche.

Let’s look then at the process for pulling that data into useful formats to aid the content planning process.

The objective now is to establish where to focus effort in content creation to ensure you have the assets necessary to cover the entire user journey, which you can join together later.

To kickstart the process, I’ve used a tool that Zazzle Media built specifically for this task called the KIT (Keyword Identification Tool) but here’s how it basically works:

The ‘KIT’ process

We begin by extracting a large set of both functional and informational keywords using a mix of competitor keyword research and keyword explorer research. To maximize the size of the set, you can opt for multiple sources and then de-dupe using tools like Ahrefs, Moz and SEMrush.

Once you have the keyword set you are going to be working from, it is best to get ranking data, so you can see where your site is ranking for this content already. This will help later when creating your content strategy, as being able to see where you currently rank for a keyword lets you know whether you need to optimize an existing page or create a new one.

We have our own in-house tools to gather this position data in bulk, there are however third-party tools you could also use, for example:

Whatever rank tracker you decide to use, after it has scraped your position data you will need to export a CSV then use VLOOKUP to pull that information into the ‘Keyword Research’ tab in this free Google sheet tool we’ve created to help pull it all together easily.

There is more detail about the different ways to then categorize that data in this blog post by Zazzle Media’s Sam Underwood, and below you can see a couple of my personal favorites:

  • Incremental informational keyword opportunity by category

graph on incremental informational keyword opportunity by category

  • Incremental traffic by an operator

The new rules to win in search and content marketing Search Engine Watch

This is useful as it helps us to understand where the persona ‘Tim’ is looking for information and across which product categories. This is the gateway from which you can dive deeper into specific areas to prioritize where to focus next.

To get further value, you could also combine the category information you already have with the most frequently used search operators. From this, you are able to not only work out where Tim is searching, but also how – allowing you to shape and prioritize what questions and pain points you write content for first.

In this example, it might make sense to prioritize ‘motherboards’ for instance and look to create content around ‘best’ and ‘reviews’.

Content auditing

Next up we need to take a closer look at the quality of what is already out there to understand the level at which we must compete to win.

‘To know your enemy, you must become your enemy.’
Sun Tzu

To do that, you need to look both at what you already have and also what is currently out there and working.

This subject is enough to fill a post all of its own so I’m not going to dive into both elements of that here. Instead, for the content auditing part, I implore you to read this recent post by Everett Sizemore, which does a brilliant job of walking you through the perfect process. A lot of this focuses on the technical elements of content auditing but this is still an important element as to maximize ROI (the key fix here) we must also ensure that the platforms from where we publish are ‘fit for purpose’.

However, we need to focus more on the other half of this, by diving into the wider picture and answering the question, “what is working now?”.

To do that you can jump into Buzzsumo or Ahrefs’ content explorer. There are already excellent guides on using Buzzsumo for content research, such as this one so we won’t go over information that has already been covered in-depth.

The output from content research should really be some solid data on what kind of content we know people like related to a specific industry and niche. You should be able to explain the following things:

  1. The types of content that work
  2. Which social networks you should be promoting on
  3. What the ideal word count is
  4. Any topics that work well

For this piece of work, some other beneficial things to gather are below:

  • Most popular content types

graph on most popular content types

graph on traffic by word count

It’s incredibly clear that for Tim, articles work best and videos where in-depth ‘how’ questions are asked and that’s hugely powerful for shaping your overall content strategy.

In scenarios where we know that written content is key, the next important step is to get a better understanding of how to go about creating it – and the biggest variable is word count. Here we can look at organic traffic by word count and therefore understand the most visited (and visible) content length as well as the most shared content through social (second chart).

This data is not to be viewed as a suggestion that word count affects rankings, or indeed has any effect on the SERPs; instead, we are using it to understand content consumption patterns – and the takeaway here is that Tim likes more in-depth content, as is more willing to share it.

Conversation mapping

The challenge, of course, is bringing all this to life in the context of the user/visitor and this is where our ‘Conversation Mapping’ concept comes into play. To bring that to life let’s follow our current example journey for Tim.

The idea here is to use the usual ‘brainstorming’ meeting to work through every possible conversation around the purchase journey for your product or service.

Instead of looking for individual content ideas, we instead think about the buying process and journey Tim might take through our fictional PC component site.

Clearly, this can be a lengthy process that will spit out multiple examples. For the sake of this story, however, we will look at one – the motherboards opportunity.

And to do so it requires a second voice, not just a list of questions that Tim may ask, and as a result this is where we can also start to think about the emerging voice search opportunity and know more about where Google is taking search following the logical user journey from beginning to end around intent.

Not following what I mean? Let’s look at an example:

conversation mapping example

This theoretical ‘conversation’ is one of the many Tim will be having around this product and the idea is to take the ‘motherboard’ concept and sit in a room to brainstorm the potential conversation variations that may exist around the product.

You may find there are only one or two – or it may be there are dozens, in which case distill them down to a core of the most important ones post brainstorm, to make it easier to then think about designing the content plan around it.

Content planning around the conversation

The next phase is to then map content opportunity against that conversation, as in the below example:

So, what we have done here is to think about all of the opportunities there are along that conversation to create content to help make Tim a smarter consumer.

content planning around the conversation

Turbocharging the opportunity

With your informational and functional plan in place and your conversation mapping exercises complete you’re already looking good for returning a greater ROI when it comes to measuring impact at year end. But there’s also another reason to focus on this approach – and it’s all to do with future market share.

Featured snippets

Unless you’ve had your head under a rock these last few months you’ll have been bombarded by news about the importance of featured snippets. For those that don’t know what they are, snippets are the SERP feature that pulls out and highlights content designed to answer the question being asked by the searcher.

An example of one that Tim may come across in his search for his PC components can be seen below for clarity.

google snippet example

Claiming a snippet requires you to create the best answers to those specific informational queries and doing so better than anyone else.

Google and Bing both do a lot of testing of contenders for these slots to ensure they have the best of the best by measuring bounce rate, dwell time and other factors, and that gives you a really good opportunity to use your content prowess to claim them.

And don’t expect the format to go away anytime soon. Google has been very open in its end game plan to produce a ‘Star Trek’ computer with one answer for everything, as those answers will be triggered by snippet results. It’s something I’ve written about recently here and how the plan will push voice search to the forefront of our planning within the next couple of years as a result.

Given then that such features will only grow in prevalence and importance in the coming months and years then it pays to ensure you have a very solid snippet plan as part of your ROI-focused content planning process.

To do that we can dive back into the data to understand the current snippet share and also where the opportunity still lies ahead of you.

Snippet market share

Before we dive into the planning process it is important to benchmark. To do this we dive into an internal tool called ORT, but it is possible to use a manual process utilizing data from a tool such as Ahrefs or Moz that allow you to extract snippet information and to then use VLOOKUP to push it into separate tabs that show you pieces of insight such as:

Overall snippet market share:

overall snippet market share

  • Featured snippet opportunity by category

featured snippet opportunity by category

  • Featured snippet opportunity by an operator

featured snippet opportunity by operator

And while this level of traffic is clearly a welcome opportunity it is all critical to understand what it means for the future as well.

We’ve already discussed how snippets will play a key part in the move to voice interfaces, as they provide the ‘direct answers’ given by voice assistants such as Google Home. With 50% of all search queries expected to be delivered by voice by 2020, that key SERP has never been more important as part of a rounded strategy.

Claiming them 

Snippets themselves are important as Google is building SERP ‘real estate’ around them simply because they are part of its growing conversational search strategy. As we move towards voice-led searches the phrases we use naturally become longer and contain much more natural language.

Google wants to incentivize the building of more useful, conversational content to fuel its voice plans and snippets are therefore precisely that – a reward for creating such content and are, as a result, the perfect way in which to test your own voice strategy. Snippets serve as the perfect signposting to a great ‘conversation mapping’ plan.

To give yourself the best possible opportunity of claiming snippets the key factor is a focus on content quality and structure. Numerous recent studies like this and this have pointed at the importance of precisely structuring pages to separate paragraphs into bite-sized 40-50 word direct answers and make the use of bulleted list and tables to present information.

Other useful insights include:

  • Create lists if your users are predominantly mobile-first
  • Write succinct headers that exactly describe the answer being given
  • Use strong external links to trusted sources
  • Use HTTPS
  • Make sure your site is mobile friendly and fast
  • Use multiple images
  • Use tables where appropriate

To make it really easy you can download a really simple guide to page and content structure for snippets here.

Summary

In short, the key to getting over this clear disconnect between content strategy, production, marketing and a return on growing investments is to double down on data and make search the key focus for activity.

Of course, by becoming successful, content has the unique power to positively affect many other key indicators as it never works in a silo.

And with search engines now much better at rewarding people-based marketing efforts with more traffic, rather than keyword focused strategies, a content-led approach is the only way to attack.

Data plays a critical part of that as the days of subjectivity are behind us. By leveraging search data, we can truly understand what our audiences are looking for, what pain points they have and how we can make their journeys more informed and easier to navigate.

The process for doing that starts with the insight piece, defining key persona groups within your target audience and then in understanding their ‘I want to go’, ‘I want to do’, and ‘I want to know’ moments through the informational content research process.

In short, we need to be using data to help us map conversations and not ‘keyword opportunity.’ Do that and you’ll ensure that you deliver positive ROI from your owned and earned marketing activity.

And if you missed the wider findings from the state of content marketing survey then here’s that link again.

Simon Penson is the founder and Managing Director of Zazzle Media. He can be found on Twitter at @simonpenson.

Related reading

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How customer-obsessed brands are pulling ahead in the emotion economy

How customer-obsessed brands are pulling ahead in the emotion economy

How customer-obsessed brands are pulling ahead in the emotion economy

Glossier and the power of customer connection

When Emily Weiss launched her beauty blog Into the Gloss back in 2010, it was because she wanted a platform for storytelling. There were no products, and the pioneering beauty brand we know as Glossier was yet to be born.

But within a few short years, Weiss leveraged her cult following from the blog and parlayed it into a line of Direct to Consumer (DTC) beauty products, which quickly produced a 10,000 person wait list for Glossier’s two (yes, just two) initial beauty products.

How customer-obsessed brands are pulling ahead in the emotion economy
A snap from Glossier’s flagship brick and mortar story in NYC.

Since then, the beauty brand has expanded to experiment with short and long-term retail locations, has achieved multi-million dollar rounds of funding and boasts 275% annual growth—not to mention its network of high-impact influencers, brand ambassadors, and hopelessly devoted customers.

How customer-obsessed brands are pulling ahead in the emotion economy
Image source.

So how’d they accomplish all of this?

By putting their customers at the core of everything they do.

The reality is that customer-obsessed brands like Glossier are winning in the marketplace—and they’re doing that by working tirelessly to understand who their customers are, why they behave the way they do, and by finding out how they can provide more value. Often times, this is thanks to harnessing rich customer data and translating it into ideal customer experiences.

Today’s marketers are shifting from the attention economy to the emotion economy. It isn’t simply enough to catch the eyes of customers; it’s also important to deliver happiness and win their hearts. Buying is often an emotional decision, and customer experiences have to trigger the right emotions to get them to buy — and keep buying. When customers are engaged emotionally, they are much more compelled to take the actions that drive business.

Over the next few months, we’ll investigate several disruptive brands like Glossier who are disrupting industries and look at what can we learn and adopt from them to stay competitive.

The rise of customer experience as a competitive battleground

For modern merchants, it’s not enough to have the best product photos or to offer the fastest shipping. Most of the time, it’s not even enough to be the cheapest.

With so much competition around price and product, brands are turning to customer experience (CX) as the competitive differentiator that sets their business apart. In fact, Gartner data shows that 81% of brands expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX by as soon as 2020.

As a result, customer expectations around experience have risen as well. Deloitte found that the consumer’s decision to buy a product or service is impacted by their overall enjoyment of their individual experience, while ThinkJar research indicates 55% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.

But it doesn’t stop there. When it comes to customer retention, customer experience plays a major role as well. Temkin data shows that 86% of customers who had an excellent interaction with a brand were likely to make another purchase, 77% were likely to recommend the brand, and 79% were likely to trust the brand. Not bad, right?

How customer-obsessed brands are pulling ahead in the emotion economy
Image source.

What does all of this data tell us? That CX matters more than ever before.

Focusing on customer interactions and optimizing experiences across all brand touchpoints isn’t a ‘nice to have.’ It’s a must-have.

And that’s where data plays a major role.

The how: Gathering and leveraging the right data

Every ideal customer experience program hinges on in-depth customer data, and is the result of an ongoing optimization process (not a one-and-done) that encompasses different departments, channels, and formats. The key is to gather actionable information around who the customer is, why they behave the way they do, and how more value can be provided to them.

The question, however, is: Where do you find that information so you can put it to good use?

Customer data can be found in a variety of different ways, including:

  • Surveys/feedback collection: From quick Net Promoter Score ratings to customer satisfaction surveys with open-ended responses, ongoing survey efforts can give your customers a voice and provide valuable context around your current customer experience.
  • Customer outreach: You can take the feedback collection a step further by doing outreach to individual customers or customer groups that meet specific criteria (such as number of purchases, average lifetime customer value, etc.)
  • Review mining: Looking to customer reviews on individual products and across social channels can provide insights into what’s working for your brand as well as areas for improvement.
  • Analytics: The numbers don’t lie. Looking to important KPIs like conversion rate, customer acquisition cost, lifetime value of a customer, average order value, and other revenue-related metrics will provide actionable benchmarks that help you make smarter, more data-backed choices around your customer experience optimization efforts.
  • Experimentation: Testing different variations of your digital experiences is a necessity if you want to better understand what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to creating a delightful customer experience. If possible, you should always run experiments to validate your customer research. Qualitative data often provides powerful insights, but if you can validate those insights across a much larger sample size, this is one of the best ways to find winning strategies that drive results.

Case Study

Discover how one organization is translating customer research into an ideal customer experience

For one SaaS company, in-depth customer research—including customer surveys, interviews, and an analytics deep-dive—led to 3 consecutive winning experiments, each generating +15% lift. Get the full story >>

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to data collection, but it’s a good starting place. We’ll be diving deeper into this topic in future editions of this series.

Brands executing stellar CX (and what we can learn)

When you hear about brands associated with stellar CX execution, Glossier is a name that crops up again and again, along with others like Casper and Outdoor Voices.

The common theme between all three of these brands? They’re 100% customer obsessed.

They are also consistently improving and never let their efforts become static. Instead, their customer experience programs involve continuous experimentation and evolve based on data and input from customer feedback loops.

Glossier, for example, employs a team of data scientists who conduct experiments that study improvements in different metrics, and have built a self-proclaimed culture of hypothesis-driven development. “We’re frequently running experiments to learn more about our customers and how we can improve their experience on our e-commerce platform,” wrote Glossier’s Meghan Heintz.

And it’s paying off:

These three companies aren’t the only ones hyper-focusing on their customers, either. Other brands are following suit, and that means there are implications for retailers across all industries as this approach becomes the norm rather than the exception.

In coming editions of this series, we’ll get into the nuts and bolts of customer obsession and look at how different brands are executing customer-centric experiences via data-driven marketing, feedback collection, customer support insights, analytics, and experimentation.

If you’re curious about how to step up your company’s customer experience strategy and get on the level of brands making waves (and money), stay tuned and sign up to get future editions in your inbox.

Author

How customer-obsessed brands are pulling ahead in the emotion economy

Kaleigh Moore

Freelance Writer

In this 22-page guide, jam-packed with scientific theory and real-world examples, learn how to create an emotionally resonant customer experience.

Get your guide now

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Retail manufacturers, Walmart wants your ad business

Retail manufacturers, Walmart wants your ad business

Walmart says its ready to start monetizing its shopper data and become a go-to ad network for retail manufacturers — both online and in-store.

With Amazon’s rapid ad growth looming large, Walmart is bringing its ad sales in-house, bridging the divide between store and digital ad teams as part of a broader effort to build up its advertising business.

Why you should care

Company executives said they want CMOs to consider “Walmart as a network I can go advertise on.” Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S., thinks Walmart’s unique combination of online and store purchase data from hundreds of millions of customers will make Walmart ad buys more efficient that the competition (e.g. Amazon).

Walmart is ending its relationship with Triad, which managed ad sales on the retailer’s sites and other digital properties, The Wall Street Journal first reported Tuesday. WPP’s programmatic media unit Xaxis acquired Triad in 2017.

As Amazon can attest, building up an in-house team and technology stack takes time and investment. Walmart’s efforts could take years to realize.

More on the news

  • The company plans to harness its shopper data to sell advertising and marketing opportunities to brands and manufacturers directly. For example, the Journal said, rather than having Triad manage digital ad campaigns and a Walmart team managing in-store sampling, a snack supplier will be able to work with Walmart directly on both efforts.
  • Amazon’s market share is still dwarfed by Google and Facebook, but it offers up a proven model for attracting ad dollars from digital and trade marketing budgets by leveraging shopper data — and tying ad investments directly to sales.
  • Walmart’s other properties include online marketplace Jet.com and video streaming service Vudu.

About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all of our publications. Ginny writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, she has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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JPMorgan keeps key profit goal, says wary of U.S. recession risks

JPMorgan keeps key profit goal, says wary of U.S. recession risks

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co on Tuesday maintained its key profit goal for the next three years, but its chief financial officer warned the forecast does not reflect significant risks that could speed the beginning of a U.S. recession.

The logo of Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index listed company JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is seen in Los Angeles, California, United States, in this October 12, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Global trade worries as well as Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, or Brexit, also presented uncertainty for 2019, CFO Marianne Lake said at the bank’s annual Investor Day.

The bank may exceed its key growth targets, Lake said, but the bank’s estimates take a cautious view of future risks.

“The further out you go, the less confidence we have that we won’t see” changes in interest rates and a downturn in the economy, Lake said, when asked why the bank did not raise its target for profitability.

“Recent declines in business sentiment have driven recessionary risk higher,” she said.

Still, she added, “the U.S. economy remains consumer-led, and consumers are strong and healthy.”

The bank projected that returns on tangible common equity (ROTCE), a key profit measure for how well banks use shareholder money, will be 17 percent, the same as last year, according to a slide presentation ahead of the investor day.

JPMorgan shares were down 1.3 percent at $104.72.

JPMorgan is the biggest U.S. bank by assets and its annual commentary is closely watched. It accounts for about 14 percent of U.S. banking industry revenue, according to estimates by analysts at Barclays.

The bank’s outlook dimmed for profits from its corporate & investment bank unit, with a turn on equity of 16 percent, down from a 17 percent target a year ago, according to the slide presentation. The investment bank provided one-third of JPMorgan’s revenues in 2018.

The outlook for the asset and wealth management business took a worse turn, with a 25 percent-plus return on equity in the medium term, down from a target of 35 percent set a year ago. The prior target had been increased from 25 percent two years ago.

Asset managers are faced with pressure on fees from competitors and index-based investing. For JPMorgan, the business accounted for about 13 percent of revenues last year.

Targeted return on equity remained unchanged at 25 percent for consumer and community banking, and 18 percent for commercial banking.

The bank stuck with its previous targets of an expense overhead ratio of 55 percent as adjusted expenses were set to rise this year by $2.3 billion, or 3.6 percent.

The higher expense forecast includes $600 million of new technology investments and $1.6 billion for marketing, front-office hiring, new branches and a new headquarters building.

The additional spending is down from $2.7 billion a year ago, when it boosted the technology budget by $1.4 billion.

  British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday offered lawmakers the chance to vote soon on whether to delay Brexit or go for a potentially disorderly no-deal exit.

Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts, Aparajita Saxena and David Henry; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Jeffrey Benkoe

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Ponoka Alberta Canada Real Estate Marketing – Buy Real Estate

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