The Unknown and the Known
In the Demand Generation world it is all about the “Known” and “Unknown”. Before visitors fill out a form they are considered to be “Unknown”. After supplying their information on a form, they are considered “Known”. Increasing the percentage of visitors that fill out these forms adds a significant amount of value to organizations.
If you are unfamiliar with Demand Generation tools, they are often used to capture information from prospects, score leads, and send targeted emails to prospects, among other things.
Focusing on optimization techniques will allow you to increase the progress of “Unknowns” to “Knowns”, and progress to true personalization; where you know exactly what to show to each person on your site. To start, using the traffic source, environmental variables, online behaviors and geographic variables to target content will help discover what is the most effective content to present to visitors. These types of visitor profile attributes should serve as the foundation of your visitors’ marketing profiles. Then, add to them with offline data and contextual data to determine content to present to visitors as part of an optimization.
Let me walk you through two examples that have allowed companies to extend the value of their Demand Generation Platform by integrating it with their Optimization Platform.
The architected solution that is shown here leverages Adobe’s Test&Target and can applied to Demand Generation tools such as Aprimo, Eloqua, and Unica. This model can be adapted to other platforms and technologies; these are simply the ones that I have helped customers execute and see value with in the past.
This first example highlights ways to increase the percentage of visitors that complete these forms. Here we are optimizing to the Unknowns.
Optimizing the Unknowns
1. An Unknown contact comes to the website and we want to increase the likelihood of them filling out the form. The areas on the website and in the email in light red represent mboxes, which is short for marketing box and is the Test&Target code that is placed on the page. This mbox does two key things in this exercise: it allows for injection of content to target this visitor and it sets a unique visitor ID.
In order to increase the likelihood of visitors filling out the form and becoming Known, we have to be relevant. We can target different product promotions, messaging, or content that is relative to the referral messaging to find out what is the most relevant content that leads to increased form completes. Optimization allows us to not only understand what is the most effective content for form completion for the general population as a whole but also across segments. For example, we may learn that SEM traffic should be presented with promotional messaging and visitors who are on their third visit should be presented with branded messaging as that increases their likelihood to fill out the form and convert.
2. In this step a visitor has completed completed the form. They supplied information such as title, organizational department, company size, industry and personal information such as email, name and address. All if this information is helpful for the Demand Generation tool to manage this particular lead. There are two additional data points that should be communicated to the Demand Generation tool as well that only the Optimization Platform can provide.
The first is the information on what targeted content was presented to this individual. Consider how helpful it would be for the Account Manager or the Sales Person if they knew if a visitor was presented with promotional content versus branded content. In cases where the company is presenting differentiating products, having that data tied to this lead is even more valuable.
The second data point to be passed to the Demand Generation tool is the Test&Target unique visitor ID. This ID, when coupled with Demand Generation unique ID, allows for augmentation of the visitor profile attributes with offline data – something I address in the second example.
This communication of optimization Attributes happens programmatically behind the scenes as part of the integration.
3. At this point, the visitor has made the progression from an Unknown to a Known. The Optimization Platform provided the ability to determine what content was relevant and would lead to a higher percentage of form completes. The Demand Generation tool has an increased amount of leads to manage that also have the rich test information provided by the Optimization Platform.
Optimizing the Knowns
1. While optimizations are running targeting content to different segments of Unknown visitors, we can also simultaneously run optimizations to different segments of Known visitors. Clients see incredible value doing this because they are continually being relevant by personalizing the site and email communication even after they have gotten the lead.
In step two in the first example, I pointed out that the optimization platform should communicate to the demand generation the Test&Target ID. This ID is then coupled with the ID the Demand Generation tool manages. As activity takes place offline such as phone calls or email communication, the profile of that lead gets richer. Test&Target allows users to augment the online ID it creates with offline information such as sales cycle stage. This is something that is accomplished programmatically when lead data is exported from the Demand Generation tool and then feed into Test&Target’s offline profile API.
2. With all this rich information made available to the online profile, we now have the ability to target content in the same mboxes that were being used in the first example. Using the Analytics Demystified’s website as an example, if this Known visitor came back to the site after filling out our form and then attending one of our ACCELERATE conferences, we may want to use the real estate in the mbox to promote our next ACCELERATE conference. Anything that is known about this visitor can be used. Another great example of the personalization capabilities here would be around targeting content based off of interest expressed offline. Lets say a visitor came to the Demystified website and submitted their information for us to contact them. During a phone call that we had with them, we found out that they were interested in the SiteCatalyst audits that Adam Greco provides. We notate their interest in our Demand Generation tool. That then gets pushed into their T&T profiles and upon subsequent visits to the site we can target content associated with Adam’s offerings that clients love. This personalization or relevance can help progress this visitor into further engaging with Adam for his services.
3. In this step, Test&Target is augmenting the Demand Generation tool’s profile by again communicating additional optimization data points as well as any recent website behavior. This is very similar to Step two in the first example but in this case the visitor is already Known and may have visited other pages of the site or was presented with specific targeted content that is worth noting for the Sales Person or Account Executive.
So there you have it. If you are using a Demand Generation tool and you are also using an optimization platform that supports the augmentation of the online ID with offline data, I highly recommend integrating the two. There is incredible value in optimizing form completes and by continuing to be relevant to visitors even after they completed a form. Because we are using an optimization tool to accomplish this, all the effort here is easily quantifiable to show the value and ROI.