Webinar: Supercharging your B2B digital engagement strategy

There’s one common challenge facing B2B organisations. The continual drive to show how digital can deliver measurable value to their businesses, by generating high-quality leads and attributing value to each touchpoint throughout the marketing and sales pipeline.

During this webinar, we will showcase actionable digital strategies which you can use in your day to day digital marketing:

In this webinar we’ll explore:

  • How to target the customers and segments that matter
  • How to identify individuals for one-to-one conversations
  • Creating content journeys that truly engage
  • Building lead scoring into your customer engagement plans
  • Extracting the business intelligence your sales team needs

 

Sitecore 10 Release What’s New, Why Upgrade and How To Start Using The New Features

Since the release of Sitecore 10 earlier this year, the team at Ratio have spent their time pulling the new platform apart to provide you with an update on what’s new, what will be most useful and how you should begin planning to use the new features:

Join us for this practical session as we run through the latest release from Sitecore

 

Tip: Click on the below presentation to scroll through the slides

Humanising the Customer Experience

  • How to add the human to the Digital Customer Experience
  • The role of AI in scaling human experiences
  • Why it’s not data that matters but data density
  • How to act in real-time
  • Driving connected experiences
  • Build detailed customer profiles

 

Tip: Click on the below presentation to scroll through the slides

 

How to design a highly personalised legal website and experience

Who is this webinar for?

  • Marketers working in professional services who are looking to design and optimise their website around their client’s needs

During this webinar we will cover:

  • Designing website experiences with clients needs in mind
  • Bringing your value proposition forward
  • The importance of building a single client view
  • Breaking down the disconnect between marketing systems
  • Digital data: its role in driving continual client experience improvements

 

Tip: Click on the below presentation to scroll through the slides

 

 

The role of Personalised client experiences in legal and professional services

As a concept personalisation has been talked about for a number of years. But I rarely see firms within the legal and professional services sectors managing this well.

Deploying a more personalised experience can be hard as the obvious blockers tend to crop up; where do we start, do we have the right technology and is this going to add any value.

Key takeaways

  • The role of personalisation in legal and professional services
  • The importance of building client profiles
  • Why personalisation is about mirroring the offline experience

 

 

Tip: Click on the below presentation to scroll through the slides

Sitecore 10 – what’s included in the latest release and why upgrade to Sitecore 10

With the release of Sitecore 10.0 –   we take a look under the hood at what’s new with the latest release.

So let’s dive in

Development improvements: New options for delivery of solutions including

  • Support for Sitecore Containers and Docker
  • A new ASP.NET Core SDK provides developers with additional headless development option and allows you to build your applications faster on the latest .NET technology
  • Sitecore CLI  and Sitecore for Visual Studio brings you headless serialization combining the best of TDS and Unicorn

Faster Sitecore development on the latest .net tech

  • Increase developer productivity with headless rendering architecture
  • More easily integrate Sitecore into your existing ASP.NET Core applications

For marketers and developers, there’s a lot of small and big improvements to the platform 

  • Faster personalisation reporting – additional tools to help easily manage thousands of personalisations rules 
  • Faster content delivery response times
  • Marketing automation expiry at scale 
  • Application map for xConnect services – monitor, diagnose and trace XP service requests on Micorosft Azure application map 
  • Faster xDB change tracking – faster processing of high volume of changes using fewer server resources

Content experience improvements 

 

  • Horizon editing interface  – introduced in Sitecore 9.3 and further enhanced in Sitecore 10. Editing improvements to help editors support multisite and multilingual sites.
  • New Email templates out of the box
  • Enhanced privacy features
  • Personalisation enabled on CMS only installations

 

Salesforce marketing automation 

For those companies who have integrated their Salesforce marketing cloud platform into Sitecore, version 10.0 has some new under the hood improvements to make this a more compelling proposition. 

  • No more waiting for nightly synchronisation of customer data with data now synced in real-time between Sitecore and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. 
  • Send real-time customer xDB data to Salesforce Marketing Cloud
  • Take advantage of live data by placing visitors into marketing automation plans 

Helping marketers to easier connect with customers 

  • Easier email creation – for those marketers who are using Sitecore EXM to manage their marketing campaigns, new email templates have been added to help manage your campaign creation. 
  • Marketing automation improvements for more granular targeting 
  • Deeper insights with analytics reports – you can now filter reports by marketing segment

Horizon editing improvements 

Horizon editing was a major new addition when released with Sitecore 9.3. With Sitecore 10.0 Horizon now has added new editing features. 

  • Multisite and multilingual now supported: Horizon now supports site and language selectors in the application bar to allow you to use the new editing experience with your multisite and multilingual solutions 
  • Ability to edit metadata directly within the Horizon editing experience  

Greater support for data privacy compliance 

Right to be forgotten: 

 

  • Sitecore teams now have the flexibility to enable anonymisation of personal information submitted through Sitecore forms

 

Right to object 

 

  • Visitors now have greater voice over the use of their data with new consent features
  • Development teams can now easily configure sites to require explicit content before tracking starts
  • Automatically disable tracking if visitor revokes the consent

 

Why Upgrade to Sitecore 10.0?

  • Consistent UI – use either Experience editor (a what you see if what you get experience) and the new Horizon editing interface. 
  • Continuously aggregate data: with a 360 – degree view of your customers. With Sitecore XP 10.0, Sitecore’s xDB offers marketers the ability to continuously capture, aggregate, track and report on customer and content interaction data in real-time
  • Fully headless with multiple content development models, including MVC, SXA, JSS and ASP.NET Core.
  • Sitecore containers: support rapid infrastructure-as-code deployment 
  • Take advantage of data collection at scale: leverage the xConnext API to collect and connect to multiple data stores
  • Advanced customer segmentation: enhancements in Sitecore XP 10.0 allow for deeper insights on audience engagement and segmentation to provide a single view of each customer

Personalising the client experience for asset and wealth managers

 

When we speak to clients, there’s a common tendency to think that your own challenges are unique to your own organisation.  Now that’s not to say that there are some challenges which are very much unique, but the reality is usually that there are a series of common challenges we see pop up time and time again.

  • Generating value for relationship or sales managers: different companies will call these functions by different names but in a nutshell, the challenge is the same. How can marketing help the business to succeed and grow by driving and supporting business growth
  • Measuring the impact digital has in driving business value: again this isn’t a challenge which is unique to the asset management world. We see marketers from across sectors, throw their hands ups in frustration at this one. Especially in B2B type companies, where there’s a tendency for people outside of the department to comment that all marketing does is provide a nice looking brochure. Nothing frustrates a marketer more than hearing this.
  • Producing loads of content but not having any idea if they are effective: this is especially relevant if you produce lots of thought leadership and reports. You have content produced by super smart people, you have a lot of it but you’re not 100% sure if the content is effective, let alone knowing how to report against content effectiveness.
  • Differentiate against the competition: this isn’t unique to this space. We’re asked this by almost everyone we speak to. There’s an almost irresistible temptation to look at your competitors for examples of best practice and how you should be doing things.  The danger with this, is a creeping sameness across competitors websites. So the question, is how can you be different from the other guys?
  • Data held in different silos: this can be a big challenge for many organisations but we see it come up and time and time again within the asset management space where data can be spread across customer portals (which are often built on a separate platform from the website), CRM and the website.

So far I haven’t really mentioned personalisation at all.  But we’re strong advocates that organisations can differentiate against the competition by delivering a consistently superior customer experience at every digital touchpoint.

Within the asset and wealth management space, companies will typically have extremely strong direct relationships with clients.

The opportunity personalisation offers, is the ability to replicate the experience online which your clients experience offline.

Where does Sitecore come into this? 
What is Sitecore

Any personalisation strategy will fall down at the first hurdle if you haven’t given any thought to where your data is held and how you can access it.

The potential of personalisation and the effectiveness of Sitecore is tied up in your approach to data integration and set-up. At its heart Sitecore enables you to create two-way connections between where your client and prospect data sit.

The importance of this within the asset management sector lies in the fact that some of your most valuable data points will generally sit outside of the core Sitecore website. Clients portals and CRMs systems are the usual suspects.

Ask yourself where do you hold information on your paying clients? It’s unlikely to be on your website 

Econsultancy’s recent report into digital transformation in the financial services sector found that almost half of respondents in the financial services sector agreed that their focus should be on making the client experience as personalised and relevant as possible.


Source: econsultancy digital transformation in the financial services sector 

Is this surprising?

There’s a common denominator with firms in the sector who are producing lots and lots of valuable content.

Is it surprising that personalising the digital experience is seen as a key tactic to help get that content in front of the right client at the right moment?

How to define your personalisation strategy

But what are the nuts and bolts of creating your own personalisation’s strategy?

1: Aligning business and digital goals 

Where we see personalisation strategies fall down is when the approach is reactive and tactical. For example, the common one we always come across is the desire of marketers to just get stuck in and do something with no thought to how any personalised experience will support your core marketing objectives.

Frankly, I don’t blame people. Sometimes just trying something is the best way to learn what works and what does not.

But I would suggest you should look at striking a balance.

The temptation to just start personalising has one fundamental drawback. What impact did this drive?

To avoid not having an answer to this question we would recommend looking to define which digital actions support your business goals. These could include:

  • Driving more people to consume research and thought leadership based content
  • Driving prospective employees to the right roles
  • Recommending content based on existing clients engagement with offline account teams


2: understand your data 

We can safely say that understanding your data is a bug priority step in any personalisation project.

Data can seem scary but it’s really not. When we say understand your data, what’s were really getting at is how can you understand your clients better. Who they are, where they are, how they interact with you, and what do they want from you as a company.

Step 1: build a measurement framework:  you could start personalising the experience from day one but what would be the point when the dreaded question will crop up and it will.

So what was the impact?

This is where building a measurement framework comes into play. This will allow you to map out what should you be measuring.

Have KPI’s and objectives that sit across the entirety of the marketing funnel

measurement framework

Step 2: combine web, CRM and client portal data: we talked about this in another post before so I won’t go over the same ground but just to cover off, combining data is important to the long term roll out of a robust approach to personalisation.

We would never advocate that this is where you start. Start small and use the data you have but build a plan for how you will eventually combine different datasets.

Step 3: Always be testing

Every personalisation scenario should be tested against the original variant. The dangers of not doing this are obvious. If scenarios are not tested then you’ll have no way of knowing what effect (positive or negative) which personalisation drove.

I’m a firm believer that when backed up by the right strategy and deployed correctly that personalisation can have a powerful impact on client experiences.

That being said. One thing I hear quite often from marketers.

“there’s so much we can do, I don’t know where to start?”

Which is why it’s super important, to map out over a 6-12 month period, the steps and actions you’ll be taking as part of any approach.

Ratio personalisation maturity model

Hopefully, I’ve covered off the importance of starting small and growing. By starting small, doesn’t mean a lack of ambition beyond just getting started.

Like any digital tactic, personalisation adoption requires a plan which should include people, technology and data.

We’ve worked with countless clients on mapping a personalisation strategy against your customer segments and data points.  If you’d like to understand how we could support you with building your strategy then get in touch.

Sitecore 9.3 Release What’s New, Why Upgrade and How To Start Using The New Features

Since the release of Sitecore 9.3 in December 2019, the team at Ratio have spent their time pulling the new platform apart to provide you with an update on what’s new, what will be most useful and how you should begin planning to use the new features:

During this video we’ll run you through the latest additions to the newly released Sitecore 9.3:

  • Overview of everything that’s included in the 9.3 release
  • Horizon: next-generation editing experience
  • Email Experience Manager: enhanced template management
  • Marketing automation updates: scheduled plan enrollment
  • Sitecore AI – auto personalisation
  • Search update

B2B marketers- driving revenue with digital & getting digital data into the hands of your sales team

Now more than ever, companies are focused on driving the right type of conversations with prospects and customers which support sales and revenue generation. But how can marketers leverage what they know about their customers to build more intimate online relationships and help support their sales teams with the leads and data which drives offline conversations?

During this video we’ll cover:

  • How to get Sitecore digital data into the hands of your sales team
  • How to build a lead scoring model to drive targeted leads
  • How to deploy account-based personalisation based on lead scoring
  • How to deliver more relevant content based on your visitor’s interests

 

Legal marketing: How to digitise, engage and personalise the client experience (and support BD at the same time)

During this video, we’ll take a deep look into what goes into making an exceptional legal digital website experience:

  • How to create a content strategy which transforms engagement
  • How to deliver engaging, personalised experiences that drive leads
  • How to amplify lawyers’ brands as trusted advisors

 

 

How to combine Sitecore & Google Analytics to create a 360 customer view

This video is relevant if:

  • You have Sitecore powering your website but you have yet to leverage the data Sitecore is collecting
  • You use Google Analytics as your marketing source of truth and you are exploring ways of enriching your data set

During the video we cover:

  • What are the strengths of each platform and how can they work together
  • Which data points should be integrated between the two platforms
  • How does the integration between Sitecore and Google Analytics work
  • How to measure personalisation, personas and engagement score in Google Analytics
  • How integrating the platforms can make your marketing spend more efficient

Why financial services should focus on delivering a superior digital experience

At the start of every year you’ll see software services and agencies (like ours) publish the same kind of content.

Often it’s press releases. Sometimes a blog post. And rarely it’s a video.

But almost all of the time they’ll open with something like this;

“[Brand X] is a Forrester Wave/Gartner Magic Quadrant leader/challenger etc”.

They’ll then outline exactly what it is they do. Often in wonderfully confusing text that’s loaded with vague (but impressive sounding) marketing buzzwords.

“[Brand X] is an automation and AI company that enables thought leaders to leverage omnichannel engagement optimised for social virality and scalability”.

It’s posturing of the worst kind.

A simple brag that lets you know what they’ve achieved without offering anything of value to you, the customer.

So, in an effort to cut through the BS and offer something of tangible value to you, I’m going to address the Q4 Forrester Wave CMS rankings.

In particular I’m going to address Sitecore – it’s a tool we use here day in and day out – and how it can actually help you achieve your marketing goals in 2019.

What the Forrester Wave Ratings Mean?

 

Forrester is as close to a household name as you can get in the B2B tech space.

They’re a world-renowned research institute and advisory company who poll over 650,000 people every single year to create guides like the Forrester Wave.

It’s fair to say the reports are well grounded and researched.

The Forrester Wave report is specifically focused on technology services and aims to give users the information they need to make the most informed decision. 

If you want to read more about their research process, you can check it out here.

Now, onto the important stuff. Let’s take a quick look at the summary from the end of 2018 Forrester Wave report.

Forrester wave web content management systems 2018

 

 

Strategy and offering form the dual axis for this graph. However, All you really need to know is:

  • Those toward the bottom left are often newer, less comprehensive services ideal for small brands and startups.
  • Those toward the top right are more established and comprehensive ideal for large multi-nationals.

You’ll also notice that Sitecore, the tool we’re partnered with, is in the top right with only two other brands.

But why should you care?

What Does this Have to do With Financial Institutions?

The real question is why you should care that Sitecore is rated a leader in the content management space.

Or even why we, as a partner agency, think it important to tell you.

The answer is simple.

Your users, the people you’re trying to attract and retain, are turning to digital channels at an alarming rate.

 

That’s all well and good, you might say. But, peer to peer payments, paying bills on your phone, or linking Apple Pay to your card are hardly worth your time.

What you’ve got to remember is that this is representative of the market as a whole.

More of your customers are turning to digital channels for everything from bill payments to researching loan options.

And yet, so few banks and financial institutions are ready for this shift to digital.

If you check any other industry they’re years ahead of finance brands. Their focus on creating seamless, logical, and personal digital journeys for their users are paying dividends.

Not only does it lead to a higher conversion rate of first time users, but it turns one time purchases into multiple sales and also leads to more referrals and reviews.

 

But here’s the kicker.

This isn’t a secret. A lot of people within financial services recognise and understand the importance of creating personalised customer journey.

The problem is that very few seem to be doing anything beyond the bare minimum.

We have apps that allow us to perform the most basic of banking tasks.

Websites and information materials are now optimised for mobile devices.

And consumers are able to handle some of the more demanding banking tasks through a desktop.

As an industry we’re doing too little. And we know it. 

digital banking report

 

The world of financial services could and should be doing more.

There are huge gaps in the market that will pro side huge gains to the first handful of companies who fill them.

The demand is there, there’s simply not yet enough supply.

So, with that in mind let’s bring this back around to Sitecore and talk not just about how they’re a leader in the CMS space, but how you can leverage it to fill the gaps in the industry.

The Service Your Users Want from You

If we looked at all the features you’ll likely have to leverage, we’d be here all day.

What it all really comes down to is one specific goal.

Your users want a personalised experience.

They want the same level of care they’d get if they walked into a branch 30 years ago. But they want it delivered through the digital channels and devices they use to run their lives.

Here’s the key actions you should be implementing and how Sitecore can help you achieve them.

Personalised Content

This is the big one.

The difference between brands who thrive and those who survive.

Content is at the forefront of modern marketing. Never before have consumers had so much easy access to advice.

A quick Google search can help a consumer become well versed in mortgage rates or the details of loan repayments from different providers.

And consumers will remember which brand went out of their way to help them understand what have historically been complex financial issues.

 

 

Producing content that informs and educates your users is key to standing out from the competition.

It’s the first step in building the trust they need to bring their business to you.

The content itself can take any form. Written articles like this, audio files that can be listened to on long drives, videos, or even downloadable content like ebooks.

Answering the questions your target market is asking is so incredibly important nowadays.

But here’s the thing.

Producing content is half the equation. You’ve also got to make sure that the right people see it.

Right now, most financial institution sites promote their content to their audience as a whole.

You log onto their site and there’s what they believe to be the most important content or information.

And even if they’re in the right ball park, it’s not necessarily the right information.

Take mortgage advice as an example.

Someone looking to get on the property ladder will need different information to a buy to let landlord.

Providing the same advice to both groups isn’t going to resonate as well as it could

You have to get specific. You have to understand the different segments of your audience and provide them with the information that’s most relevant to them.

Content personalised to the individual improves how 88% of consumers feel about your brand.

So, how can you achieve this?

At the most basic level, you’ve got to be segmenting your users based on how they arrived at your site.

For example, if someone comes to your site after clicking on a link featured on a site that’s all about being your first home, then there’s a good chance they’re first time buyers.

And so you amend your website content to better answer their questions.

But you can’t stop there. It’s still a broad cohort to try and target. So you’ll then need to analyse their on-site behaviour to get a better understanding of what exactly it is they need.

Before long you’re populating this user’s profile with little bits of information that flesh them out into a real person with real needs.

The more information you can analyse, the more relevant you’re recommendations.

With Sitecore, the personalisation of content is drawn from 4 different areas so you not only provide a unique experience for each user, but it’s based on the best practice trends for the segment as a whole.

how to drive a personalised digital experience

 

This isn’t going to be a game changer in the next couple of years.

It’s already here. And if you’re not one of the brands offering this sort of personalisation, you’re going to quickly fall behind.

Mobile Optimisation

Next time you’re out at a restaurant, take a second to look around the room.

What you’ll see are dozens of people who are more interested in their phone than their partner.

As a species, we spend an incredible amount of time on our phones.

They’re used for everything from talking to friends and family to researching huge purchase decisions.

And right now, mobile is far more popular than desktop.

 

Again, this isn’t a brand new development. Mobile usage overtook desktop for the first time in 2015.

However, most brands failed to change their operations to accompany this change.

In the majority of instances brands simply implemented a responsive design. All the does is resize the content to fit the screen the user is on.

It’s not enough.

People interact differently with your brand when on mobile. The smaller screens and mobile nature change how they interact and what they expect.

Just resizing content isn’t enough and has lead to the disparity between usage and conversions.

Mobile visits are making up most of the time on your site. Those users deserve an experienced optimised specifically for them.

That optimisation needs to encompass the above problem areas. In short, making it easy for users to navigate, read, and engage with your site on smaller devices.

But once again, that’s not a complete solution.

To ensure your mobile visitors get the most out of their experiences you also need to implement the following.

OmniChannel and Cross-Device Experiences

Imagine you’re searching for a mortgage provider.

You might start your research on the morning commute to work on your mobile.

You then pick up that research on your lunch break from your laptop.

Later that evening, you’re carrying on where you left off from the sofa on your tablet.

Across all those devices you might engage with brand A on Twitter, their main site, and even through the emails they send you.

The modern purchase journey is insanely complex.

thomas cook cross device customer interaction

But here’s the problem. Each time you pickup a new device or open a new channel, you have to start from scratch.

You have to re-navigate through the same steps you did earlier in the day to pick up where you left off.

It’s infuriating. And when modern users have an ever diminishing attention span, it’s enough to make them question if they should take their business elsewhere.

You’ve got to reduce that friction.

You’ve got to enable the user to pick up where they left off by delivering the right content to them when they revisit your site.

The only way you can do that is if you have a single, centralised database of user data that can then inform your content choices and recommendations across your web properties.

A Full 360 View of Your Customers

Most brands tend to segment their users into extremely generic groups.

As mentioned earlier you’ll have groups like first time buyers, buy-to-let landlords, or property development mortgage.

It’s a good start. But within those groups you’ll have different sub-segments.

Those looking for fixed rate, variable rate, who are buying to let for the first or fifteenth time.

The more detailed you get, the more you realise that your audience is not made up of general cohorts, but individuals.

And to secure more sales, you’re going to need to talk to each prospect as an individual.

Of course, this isn’t feasible when you’re dealing with hundreds or thousands of leads.

What you need is for your centralised data hub to flesh out each customer’s details until you have a full 360 view of their needs and problems.

Here’s how that would look with Sitecore.

sitecore xprofile

 

Pulling data from each interaction they have with you will help you understand their needs.

Then, you can serve them the most relevant information for their needs.

For example, someone who looks at the buy-to-let mortgage page might benefit from your beginner’s guide to buy-to-let mortgages.

However, if your 360 view also tells you that they’re an existing buy-to-let landlord then the beginner’s guide might be too simple.

So you put a rule in place that gives them the guide to reducing tax payments or explains stamp duty for multiple property owners.

Basically, it answers a key question they have at the point in their life as a consumer.

By answering that question you’ll immediately build trust and establish a better relationship with the potential client making the sale much, much easier.

However, it’s a difficult task to accomplish.

To do it well you have to be able to track each customer interaction, store it in a centralised database, but be able to pull from it to personalise your site in real time.

It’s a constant cycle of recording, analysing, and improving across all of your digital properties.

This is the Current State of Personalisation

This is the level of personalisation you need to implement with your business.

It’s what your customers expect, not as a “great service” but as a bare minimum.

Right now, the industry is wide open. Too many financial service brands have fallen behind the times.

Which is terrible for the industry, but an incredible opportunity for those willing and able to jump into implementing a full digital personalisation strategy.

As referenced at the start of this piece, Sitecore is undoubtedly one of the best services to help you provide that service to your customers.

However, a tool within the skilled hands to wield is useless.

If you’re using Sitecore or considering changing and need the expertise to implement the high converting strategies mentioned in this piece, read h out now and we’ll run you through exactly what will work for your brand.