I am sure every marketer recognizes this situation: a promotion has been developed for your audiences and from within the company there is a need to pay attention to it on the homepage. Problem that you have is there are multiple promotions active at the same time and you have a variety of audiences you want to serve. Than the ‘fight’ begins for getting the best spot or all attention on the homepage because there is where all visitors will start their journey on your website. Well, that is a wrong assumption and a major challenge to explain within your organisation. For years you’ve worked on your marketing technology stack but you realize all of this is completely invisible with people not noticing anything about it.
Homepage not so important at all
Many people assume the homepage of your website is THE place to be once you want to pay attention to a message that you want to bring across. What I often ask people to do is to do a quick analysis about their searching behavior when looking for something new in private life. A new smartphone, a new insurance, a new chair etc. and pay attention to how many times you end up on the homepage of the suppliers homepage. That is not that often huh? This is where the key word battle starts from a supplier point of view to get your attention as the person who is looking for something. It starts with the paid results at the top and right underneath it the organic search results of the ones who according to Google are the most relevant websites for the thing you are looking for.
If people visit our homepage we did a bad job…
Do you think that once you click on a paid search ad at the top this will lead you to the homepage of a website? The answer is ‘no’. In order to be relevant and as engaging as possible this click will lead you to specific page about this keyword with call-to-actions on it to do something so the publisher gets to know you better, not the homepage. The same applies to the organic results. By far Exacts’ product pages are attracting more traffic than our homepage. I would rather have someone on our product page than on our homepage because than we did our nurturing activities in the right way guiding prospects into the right directions with our ‘off-site’ campaigns.
Imagine you are looking for a new insurance. Big chance you will even end up on a comparison side knowing upfront there are many different options to choose from. The insurancers website may even not be in scope at all! Off course depends on how far as a supplier you are away from the buyer and if people can buy stuff on your website. In our situation, Exact, you can only sign up for our software service on our website so there is no other place to go to however comparison sites also in our domain play an important role. After such a short analysis people start to understand the essence of marketing. Trying to be hyper relevant for each and every visitor which depends on many things: who they are, where they are in their buying journey, what behavior they’ve shown in the past etc etc. Something that we try to capture in what we call the ‘Exact Engagement Score’. A score that tells something about the visitor on our website which allows us to serve a message or show a webpage that exactly fits their needs in terms of what they are looking for. Hyper personalization.
The Exact Engagement Score helps us to be hyper relevant
Now this is where it becomes interesting, at least from a marketers point of view. It sounds logical and even explaining it might be an easy job to do. But to get it right as a marketing organization its a hell of a job. Lots of clean data and technology is needed in order to build such an engine. An engine that is serving messages to the right audiences at the right time. And being a potential buyer you might know by your own experiences that someone who wants to get your attention is all about relevancy. I have many discussions with colleagues about the effectiveness of email. Many tend to say this mean has had its time because they are spammed with many emails which they didn’t know they signed up for. Those are being deleted immediately which I understand. But still, if it is something of my interest and than I mean genuine interest, it will get my attention. Marketing, technology and sports will always get my attention, even emails! And for many people email is still guiding them throughout the working day.
Our technology stack is build around the Google Marketing Cloud and the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Here we gather data about how people interact with our messages on our paid and owned media channels. For us the most important are search, Google display, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Our most important owned media channel is the website. In order t understand what the visitor is looking for and serve the right messages we combine campaign data gathered from the paid networks with the Exact Engagement Score which we gathered on our own website. This tells us something about where people are most likely in their buying journey. Are they a first time visitor and just exploring or did they show a high level of engagement in specific areas? The seamless integration between the Google and Salesforce marketing cloud enables us to combine this data, interpreted in the right way and serve messages not only on our website but also on the paid networks like Google and Facebook once we see them again.
So having such a technology stack in house and knowing its capabilities and the thinking behind it you start to understand why putting a promotion on our homepage doesn’t make any sense. For sure it is relevant for some people so once we see them on our website or off-site in one of the paid media channels we make sure we serve that message. For others we won’t disrupt their buying journey by offering disruptive content like the email you didn’t ask for.
We don’t want to disrupt buying journeys with irrelevant promotions…
And especially with the bigger consumer brands this is constantly happening all the time. Sometimes you notice but in many cases it is unnoticed. Looking at specific products in a webshop and being retargeted with those products in a display ad is an obvious one and although relevant is sometimes really annoying. The real good stuff is happening without you noticing it. You are influences by the things you see and experience. And in my opinion that is what marketing is about, influencing people’s behavior in a natural way in their daily routines.