Kevin Dykes, our CEO and Co-Founder, was recently a guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share his insight on marketing automation. The podcast series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Clark Buckner, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.
Dykes joined Buckner to discuss trends in marketing automation, e-commerce, and predictive analytics.
Here are a few of the highlights from the conversation:
When you first meet somebody, how do you explain what you do and create buy-in for AVARI’s mission?What we’re doing at AVARI, formerly known as RetentionGrid, involves predictive personalization and predictive analytics, which sounds very “buzzy.” It means some things to some people. It means different things to different people.
We started as RetentionGrid two years ago serving eCommerce brands. We currently work for over 7,000 around the world. A year ago, we introduced the first version of the predictive analytics solution in the market. Since then, we’ve really evolved the technology and grown the capabilities of the technology, adding in the machine learning components. And we also changed the way we access the data that drives our model.
Overall, we’re talking about making emails more personal — personalized email experiences for each recipient, for each consumer. The potential of [predictive analytics] is what really strikes people in beginning to understand what’s possible.
It’s clear the future of best marketing automation practices is centered around creating one-to-one interactions and taking customer engagement to a completely new level. How do you see predictive analytics — real-time predictive personalization for email — being applied across other verticals, in addition to e-commerce?
This is what we describe as [the] shopper journey when it comes to e-commerce: it’s the journey people take across the e-commerce website as they're exploring products [and] clicking on things, and how long they’re dwelling on certain pages, as well as all the transactions and other types of conversions that happen on a particular site.
We began to realize that the trends we’re seeing in e-commerce have strong potential to be applied across many industries, especially B2B email marketing. Still considered online shoppers, consumers might be business buyers spending great deals of their time in resource-intensive websites: they explore content, they still make conversions, they complete form submissions, etc., so it feeds the e-commerce model in a very similar way. We’re rolling this out right now, where predictive content marketing for B2B can enable marketers to really personalize the experience of their business consumers.
When you collect all this behavioral data, it’s clear you’re seeing a trend around consumers who are shopping but not yet purchasing. How can you use that data in the B2B marketing to drive results even further?
Let me give you an example: TechnologyAdvice is a B2B-oriented site. Shoppers — people like myself looking for technology solutions for my business — will come here and explore things, clearly indicating a pattern in their exploration to what it is they have an interest in. From that interaction with the site, you can then add dynamic content elements in the emails that are sent afterward. We have the entire end user history before the point where they “opt in” and submit their contact information, and after that point as well. This data can help guide what content you send them in your email marketing campaigns and personalize outreaches.
We know it works in e-commerce. We know it’s a growing area in B2B, so we’re applying a very similar model on what we’ve learned in e-commerce and now diving into this industry.
What future trends in marketing automation do you see unfolding? How do they tie into predictive content and predictive analytics?
We’re not quite there yet, but there [was] a lot of discussion at the MarketingSherpa’s 2018 Email Summit around the topic of the email as a data-driven framework: Header, Footer, Body Structure, and the content being data-driven. The typical history of that is segmentation-based, where subsets of the customer base [are] broken down into smaller groups and a custom designed message is sent to them.
What we’re seeing right now is a shift in thought, where the content itself is being triggered by either segmentation or, in our case, the predictive analytics and the personalization happening from the buyer side. The idea that everything would change the moment an email is opened based on who the individual is can be both powerful and overwhelming for most of the marketers today. It’s important to address this new challenge to find the best marketing automation strategies, but in a way that doesn’t scare off the marketers.
From our vantage point, in a lot of cases, the bottleneck for adoption of this technology is with software implementation. When you communicate directly to that marketer who’s establishing the software and workflow, how do you answer to this?
What we do that’s different is we work directly with the ESPs and the marketing automation companies who already have a relationship with a brand and their marketers. Email is the name of the game. It’s a big part of what those technologies do, if not the sole reason they exist. They have a relationship, and they’re account managed; they understand the inner workings of that customer.
Our partner is this ESP. We give them the ability to create dynamic content blocks that are somewhat automated, that represent product recommendations and other types of real-time (delivered at time of email open) content, and those are all copy and paste snippets that go into the ESP’s typical campaign workflow of building an email.
So, it is so simple for someone who is a customer of any one of our partners to easily just add a little bit of code, take advantage of the pre-configured content blocks, edit them, and they now have this capability of predictive dynamic content, personalized for every single individual recipient, within a 20-minute investment. That’s something that is, for what we do, quite unique, and is what is making adoption happen much more rapidly.Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or download the show to listen later. You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud, in order to get alerts about new episodes. You can also subscribe to just the TA Marketing Automation Soundcloud category.
This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Clark Buckner.