Silverpop’s 10th Annual Customer Conference Amplify 2012 #spop12
This is my third visit to Silverpop’s annual customer conference and probably the most useful so far since I have been using Silverpop for three years. I won’t post anything about email stats or average open rates but some of the speakers they had were very memorable – thought leaders in digital marketing.
One statement from the conference that I remember the most was from CEO Bill Nussey (@bnussey). He explained that technology is driving marketing and if we were able to go back 20 years ago and tell someone all the things that we do today in marketing, they wouldn’t believe it. Probably in another 5 years we will probably eclipse most marketers’ imaginations with the realms of possibility.
At its core, Silverpop is an email service provider (ESP) but they call themselves as a “Digital Marketing Platform” that provides a “Return on Relationships” as they expand digital marketing into Behavioral Marketing.
Silverpop defines their new mission to provide Behavioral Marketing to all marketing departments. To them Behavioral Marketing is more than just hyper-segmentation that would evolve with technology as marketing migrated from 1950’s Mass Marketing to consumers via radio and TV and 1980’s Direct Marketing segmentation by audience (geo, category, age, etc.). This latest change is more than further narrowing down your segment to a more granular level, this is about the individual. I would also add that it is more than just 1:1 marketing to the consumer based on what you know about them, it is also about attempting to market to them intelligently; the right product or service at the absolute right time when a purchasing or customer service decision needs to be made.
This is achieved by adding email marketing, marketing automation and social networking. Using the traditional collect data lists and blast out emails either to everyone, to segmented lists or to segmented lists with customization isn’t going to work. This Behavioral Marketing needs to look beyond the traditional list data and look at behaviors (purchases, social interactions, actions on a website, etc.) and take those behaviors and customize the topic of the message to the user at the right time.
A Mere Truffle
One interesting demo that Silverpop put out was for a made up chocolate shop called A Mere Truffle (http://www.ameretruffle.com). This site showed how you can use simple Silverpop forms and email to personalize a website and start to create a cloud personalization feature. Upon visiting the A Mere Truffle website, the page starts asking questions about your preferences with the notable absence of asking for an email address.
This is a pretty bold statement for a ESP company – go ahead its OK not to ask for them email first. It is also very clever since you will help build trust with the customer by not immediately jumping into their face with offers and cart abandonment notices via email. The fear of giving away the personal email address is replaced with the ease of asking for preferences that are in the end much more valuable than the email address.
Now of course without the email address or some other way of communicating directly with the consumer the fictitious shop could miss out on an ecommerce opportunity but I would imagine that in the long run, you will obtain he email addresses and have a more receptive customer when they finally do receive the email offer or cart abandonment notice. (Note: I think this demo site needs a very simple email login, since if you don’t click from an email from the site from your second or third device all the personalization is gone.)
Coffee, Tea & Slow Hunches
Did the Age of Enlightenment start because of the affordability of coffee and tea? I’m not sure but Steve Berlin Johnson (@stevenbjohnson) made a compelling argument about it. In his speeches and in his book “Where Good Ideas Come From,” Johnson explains how in the 1600s the introduction of affordable coffee and tea at coffee houses started to offset alcohol intake. This literally changed mindsets and attitudes as populations changed their daily intake of depressants to stimulants.
A great idea, Johnson explains, doesn’t result from a flash of insight or burst of inspiration, but rather, emerges as the result of a slow, evolutionary process. A great idea begins as a “slow hunch” and grows over a long time. What finally triggers a “Eureka” moment is when this slow hunch collides with somebody else’s slow hunch and a mature idea finally emerges from an idea network that was shared with all of your previous social contacts.
Having a diverse set of friends, colleagues and acquaintances can help in the diveristy of idea creation. It can also assist in cross pollination effect of ideas. For example, Johnson explains that Apple looked to hotels like the Four Seasons and Ritz to figure out how they should handle customers in the Apple retail store and not to other electronics outlets. So rather than just try to improve on what other computer store and electronics stores did, they looked into other industries to find best practices to bring back to their store.
Listening In With Chris Brogran
The second day keynote speaker was Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan), who talked a lot about listening to customers, relationship selling and the importance of Google Plus. Chris stressed the importance of creating that relationship with the customer and not focusing on the transaction. His thoughts centered around thinking about a multi-faceted customer relationship and not one just centered around sales. A few points from his talk:
- Listen to your customers.
- We Buy From People We Like
- Always have something to sell, but don’t always be selling
- Don’t invest in a social network invest in people (customers)
Business is about belonging, not names. What’s better, a bar that knows your personal information in a loyalty club card and sends you an email about drink specials or a bar that knows your name, greets you and asks if you want your regular drink when you sit down?
Chris also talked about the three stages of a brand:
- Known for Something (e.g. Apple makes great computers)
- Recommended for Something (I recommend Apples to my friends and family)
- Use Your Brand To Tell Their Story (My startup hospital services company created an iPad app that helps doctors and nurses become 37% more productive and generate 23% less errors on patient documentation)
Overall a great conference. See you next year Silverpop.