/ Digital Marketing

5 Steps to Moving Your Digital Marketing Goals Out of the Shallow End

Kevin McKernan

digital marketing dataThink about the current goals you have for your digital marketing program. Do they include boosting sales? Growing traffic to your website? Increasing subscriber engagement? And how are you measuring the success of these goals? Are you using metrics like page views, email opens, and total revenue stats?

If you answered yes to any of the above, I’ve got bad news for you. Your digital marketing program has no depth.

While digital marketing is no longer in its infancy, the way many marketers define its success certainly seems to be. Goals like “growing traffic” or “increasing engagement” are all we had to measure against in the onset of the digital marketing boom; all we really wanted was to see our website getting visitors, our social channels getting followers, and our email lists growing. The access to the data we had was limited. And we used this limited data to create strategies and establish benchmarks.

Today digital marketing gives us the ability to know more about our customers than ever before. We can see how they are interacting with our marketing materials, anticipate their needs, and provided a 1:1 experience that is targeted and relevant.

So why are so many of us still relying on vanity metrics like “page views” and “email opens” to drive our marketing strategy? It’s time to move your digital marketing program forward.

Here are 5 steps you can take to add some depth to your goals and keep them out of the shallow end:

1. Define the purpose of your digital marketing efforts.

This may seem trite, but have you actually ever thought about the purpose your digital marketing department serves and its impact on your organization as a whole? Much like every business has a mission statement, your digital marketing department should have one as well.

Your purpose should go beyond the basics of maintaining a digital presence for your brand. Think about what your department is trying to achieve through that digital presence. This could include things like building and maintaining a positive brand reputation and/or bringing awareness to the benefits of your brand’s products or services in order to bring in the highest quality leads for your sales team.

Don’t feel like you need to limit your mission to a single focus. Your department likely serves multiple purposes. And keep in mind, those purposes may change from year-to-year, so revisit your department mission statement each year to re-evaluate and update as needed.

2. Establish your KPIs.

What, numerically, are you trying to achieve? This is your key performance indicator, or KPI. And establishing these up-front can help shape both your goals and the preceding strategies you’ll put in place based on those goals.

KPIs should be specific in how they will impact the mission of your digital marketing department. For example, let’s say one purpose of your marketing department is to help increase sales. Your KPI may be to increase top of the funnel leads by 15% in the next 12 months.

It’s not enough to just set a KPl to help increase sales. You need to be more specific in how you define that increase, whether it’s a percentage or a dollar value.

3. Define metrics for regularly measuring success/failure.

Once your KPIs are established, you need to determine which metrics you’ll examine on a regular basis to determine whether or not you’re on track to reach them. The metrics you choose should help you directly measure your KPI.

If you’re looking to increase leads, you’d look at conversions and conversions-to-close ratios. You might also look to see if the content you’ve created to drive in more conversions is being engaged with by visitors, as well as path-to-conversion metrics.

Sometimes identifying metrics isn’t so clear-cut. Let’s say you establish a KPI to increase brand awareness by 30%. There’s no direct data point in Google Analytics, or any other analytics program, to directly measure that. Instead, you have to get a little creative. Reach metrics and follower metrics from your social media networks are one way to help measure brand awareness. New visitor metrics in Google Analytics can also give you some insights.

Think about the data you have access to and find the most direct way to use it as a point of measurement. Rule of thumb—if you have a KPI around it, you need to have a logical way to measure it. And sometimes that measurement may have to come from a few different areas.

4. Outline a brief marketing initiative for each KPI.

What will you need to do in order to reach each individual KPI? This could include things like additional content, new pages on the website, an A/B testing initiative, a new email newsletter, etc.

You don’t have to outline your whole strategy. Just give some thought to what you would need to implement in order to reach those KPIs.

5. Put it all together.

Now that you’ve taken the initial steps, setting non-vanity driven goals will be super simple. All you have to do is take what you’ve learned from the steps above and put it all together—Marketing Purpose + KPI + Metrics + Initiatives.

So for example, “In order to help increase company sales by 15%, the digital marketing department will create a new section of the website designed to help more top of the funnel sales convert and monitor the performance of these pages via engagement metrics, conversion metrics, as well as conversion-to-close metrics.”

Okay, it’s a bit of a mouthful compared to goals like “increase traffic to the website”, but it’s also a lot more impactful as it more specifically outlines what you are trying to achieve, where you want to achieve it, how you plan to achieve it, and how you’ll measure it.

Don’t let your digital marketing department run based on shallow goals that don’t mean anything. Instead, outline goals that clearly demonstrate what you’re looking to achieve and how. When you work with goals that have depth you’re better prepared to put together a truly robust digital marketing strategy, and you’ll have access to the types of information you need to adjust your strategy month over month, and year over year.

/ Pierry

Catching Up with the First Graduating Class of “Pierry Academy”

Kevin McKernan

Pierry Academy GraduatesIt’s no secret that in the digital marketing world, the skills of developers are in high demand—particularly the skills of developers familiar with Salesforce and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. However, many the curriculum of most undergraduate programs and coding boot camps don’t have the opportunity to cover the many intricacies of these complex marketing platforms, meaning employers are left to fill that gap, often resorting to developers having to learn as they go on live-client accounts.

Needless to say, this system is not always ideal, especially when your client base is on a constant increase.

To remedy this, Pierry introduced “Pierry Academy” an intense 4-week pre-employment training program designed to train developers in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform and various integration processes.

All participants in the Pierry Academy were recent graduates from San Francisco’s General Assembly, a global network of campuses that provides technical, creative, and business training programs designed to prepare students for today’s technological needs. Each participant was interviewed by Pierry staff and chosen to participate in our Pierry Academy with the understanding that successful completion would result in permanent employment.

Over the course of four weeks, the Academy participants came to the Pierry headquarters in Redwood City, CA, where they participated in intense training sessions, while also gaining exposure to real-life, hands on client work.

We are happy to announce we had a 100% passing rate among our academy participants, giving them the knowledge and experience to not only work in Salesforce, but also some real-world experience dealing with the multiple, often complex implementation issues that our clients require

But what made Pierry Academy so successful? We caught up with three of our recent grads (Hila Vaisler, Ayush Jha and Bryan Smith) to discuss life after post-Academy:

What was your biggest takeaway from Pierry Academy?

Hila:

I really appreciated the technical knowledge that I gained from the class, especially since I haven’t worked in Salesforce and Marketing Cloud before. We learned its uses and how to create data extensions, Journeys etc. It was nice coming in as a group with people you went to school with, getting trained as group and working on projects together. It felt like a continuation of General Assembly because we were all together in a class setting.

Ayush:

I liked the opportunity to collaborate as a team, and having experienced implementation consultants come in and show how the teams behave and work together was helpful. Everyone was very accommodating and Pierry’s organizational structure made it easy to get to know everyone quickly.

Bryan:

I feel I got a much better understanding of the Salesforce atmosphere.

What was your favorite part about “Life at Pierry”?

Hila:

The people! It’s a younger environment with a lot of collaboration. And someone is always there to help when questions come up. Everyone is willing to drop what they are doing and help out, even if they are busy. All the functions outside of work are fun also– getting to meet the team in a more casual environment, plus having the dogs around is great.

Ayush:

The open atmosphere. I like knowing that as long as I work hard and am responsible for my tasks, then everything will go well. The youthful environment is great because people are more open to new ideas for tasks and projects.

Bryan:

The vibe and the people. It’s a work hard / play hard attitude.

What has been one of your biggest challenges since working at Pierry?

Hila:

Dodging all the nerf bullets!

Ayush:

Getting ready for the certifications has been tough and getting trained up on the tools takes time.

Bryan:

Working through the technical issues since I am new to the Salesforce platform.

What advice would you give to new hires at Pierry?

Hila:

Talk to everyone and ask questions, ask for examples of similar work that they have done in the past.

Ayush:

Focus on getting familiar with Salesforce and ExactTarget. Everyone is super helpful and is willing to help you.

Bryan:

Practice makes perfect. Make sure you go through the program and understand how it works and is set up.

We’re excited to see our recent Pierry Academy graduates working on projects and fully integrated into the day-to-day. As we continue to grow, we’ll be working to build more programs like Pierry Academy to not only help empower potential employees to build upon their skills, but to ensure every brand and company we partner with at Pierry has the resources to make their marketing technology needs a reality.

Congrats to the first graduating class of Pierry Academy! Excited to have you in the Pierry family and to see what you can do!

/ News

Pierry Inc. Ranked #6 Among the Fastest Growing Private Companies in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times

Kevin McKernan


REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Oct. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Pierry Inc., an industry-leading marketing software integration and solutions company, today announced it has been ranked #6 Fastest Growing Company of 2016 by the San Francisco Business Times on the 25th annual Fastest Growing Private Companies in the Bay Area list, an exclusive ranking of the region’s fastest growing private companies; one of the most important segments of the local economy. The winners and rankings were unveiled at an awards gala on October 13, 2016 at the Four Seasons San Francisco. Ranked #21 in 2015, this year’s ranking reflects Pierry’s accelerating momentum over the past 12 months.

“Pierry is pleased to be included among some of the Bay Area’s most prestigious companies in the 2016 edition of Fastest Growing Companies by the San Francisco Business Times,” said Josh Pierry, Founder and CEO of Pierry Inc. “Thanks to some thoughtful growth initiatives over the past year and some excellent work by our dedicated team, Pierry continues to add manpower and functional expertise that enable us to partner with marquee brands across a variety of sectors and deliver the best possible results for our clients.”

The companies on this year’s list ranked between 58.9 percent and 2,786.5 percent growth. Companies are ranked by percentage of revenue growth increase between 2013 and 2015. They were required to have at least $200,000 in revenue in 2013, and be privately held and headquartered in the counties covered by the Business Times — San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Contra Costa & Marin, plus Palo Alto.

As evidenced by the ranking, 2016 was a year of remarkable growth for Pierry. They kicked off the New Year with the acquisition of C.TRAC Inc., an interactive agency specializing in digital and direct mail marketing, which doubled their workforce and client base. A few days later, Pierry announced a strategic investment from MDC Partners and Salesforce Ventures, which enabled the company to scale its Marketing as a Service™ (or MaaS) approach to clients globally. In addition to headquarters in Redwood City, Pierry now has offices in Boulder, Colorado; Albany, New York; Ruston, Louisiana; Cleveland, Ohio; and Kyoto, Japan. Earlier this year Pierry was ranked #538 in a national list of the “2016 Fastest Growing Companies” by Inc. Magazine.

Today Pierry counts more than 100 employees and serves a wide range of clients, from start-ups to multi-billion dollar brands across all sectors. Their proprietary MaaS™ (Marketing as a Service) approach describes the unique way Pierry helps clients design, develop and execute marketing solutions that dramatically improve efficiency and impact, and increase ROI. The company is a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Platinum Partner, and winner of several Salesforce implementation awards.

“Our region is renowned as a hub for innovation and as an ecosystem that fosters growth companies,” said Mary Huss, Publisher of the San Francisco Business Times. “Pierry, along with all of the companies on the list deserve special recognition because they fuel our regional economy.”

About Pierry Inc.

Ranked #6 in the “2016 Fastest Growing Companies” by the San Francisco Business Times, Pierry helps companies optimize their digital marketing campaigns through Salesforce Marketing Cloud implementations and consulting services. Founded in 2008 by Josh Pierry, the company quickly grew into a global preferred digital marketing partner for companies in all sectors, and now has offices in Redwood City, CA, Boulder, CO, Cleveland, OH, Ruston, LA, Albany, NY, and Kyoto, Japan. For more information about Pierry, visit pierryinc.com.

About San Francisco Business Times

The San Francisco Business Times is the #1 print and online source for Bay Area business news and information on the most successful people, companies and transactions in the region. Every Friday, the Business Times arrives with an in-depth lineup of breaking local news stories, business profiles and valuable industry rankings. From technology and sustainability to small business, biotech, hospitality, real estate and banking, the Business Times covers the most relevant and timely topics for the Bay Area business community. SanFranciscoBusinessTimes.com takes the Business Times brand known for its insight, analysis and high journalistic standards and extends it to the Internet. Thousands of established and up and coming executives visit SanFranciscoBusinessTimes.com every day looking for the information they need to do Business in the Bay Area.

/ Content Marketing

User Generated Content: The Secret Weapon You Aren’t Using

Kevin McKernan

Hand taking top view shot of table.We’re blogging, we’re info-graphing, we’re creating listicles, and gifs, and videos, and images. We need content for our emails, our website, our Snapchat, our Instagram, our Tumblr. New channels for marketing your brand seem to pop-up every day. And in our efforts to help our brand stand out above the rest, we’re all creating more content than ever.

And to be honest, we’re likely all creating far more content than we have to. Why? Because our customers are already creating content for us.

What is User Generated Content?

User generated content is, as the name reflects, content that is generated by the user, a.k.a. your customer, and often comes in the form of a review, photo, video, blog post, or a social media post.

This type of content isn’t created as a result of hour-long strategy sessions, persona development, or a deep analysis of your past content performance. This content is created by a real customer using your products or services in a real way, and sharing it with others.

And with proper permissions, you can post user generated content pretty much anywhere you need content, from your website, to social channels, to emails, to landing pages and banner ads.

Of course, like any piece of content, you don’t want to just use it for the sake of using it. Make sure you have a strategy around the types of user generated content you want to collect, how you’ll use it, why you’re using it, and how you’ll measure its success.

But Is User Generated Content Effective?

65% of millennials feel that user generated content is more honest and genuine [http://investors.bazaarvoice.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=649677] than content put out by brands themselves. 86% find that user generated content is a good indicator of quality products or service.

So yes, user generated content can be extremely effective as it gives consumers an objective view of your product or services, showing your brand and building its reputation in a way that your marketing department can’t.

How Can I Get User Generated Content?

Getting user generated content isn’t as difficult as some marketers may think. Really all you have to do is ask for it.

Reviews

Reviews are one of the oldest forms of user generated content. But don’t anticipate that customers will actively think to go and leave a review on your website after they’ve received their purchase. About a week or so after they’ve received their product, send a quick follow-up email asking them to let you know what they thought.

Often just asking for a star ranking (i.e. 1-5 stars) and a simple description of their experience with your product or service is enough, but you could also take the review process one step further by asking customers to upload a photo of them using the product.

This tactic can be especially useful for retailers looking to create content shaped around how actual customers are wearing the items they sell. Not only does having these customer images make it easier for potential buyers to see what a certain item could look like on them, but it also allows retailers to show of the versatility of their pieces without having to pay for a stylist, models, etc.

Social Media

As social media has grown in popularity and new channels have been born, it’s become one of the best ways to gather user generated content.

Brand specific hashtags and special promotion hashtags are easy ways for consumers to tag images of how they’re using your products in their everyday life; for millennials in particular, social media is the way they find new products. Statistics show that 68% of 18-to-34 year olds are more likely to make a purchase after seeing it on an influencer’s or friend’s social media account.

Taking the time to create a clever or memorable hashtag [https://blog.hootsuite.com/4-excellent-user-generated-content-contests-using-social-media/] allows you to take advantage of content those users likely would have been posting anyway.

But don’t just promote hashtag campaigns on your social media channels. Include it on your website, in your email newsletters, on non-digital advertising spots, etc. to maximize the exposure of the campaign and the potential for engagement.

Contests

If you want to obtain a lot of user generated content in a short amount of time, a contest is the perfect way to go.

There are a number of tools you can use to help you run your contest, but in some cases, you can keep it even more simple than that.

Take for instance, Kissmetrics, a B2B behavior analytics platform, that created a Pinterest board to house all the entries for their Messy Desk contest. The entry with the most re-pins won. It was a fun, simple contest that engaged their audience, helped promote their brand through sharing, and gave them some fodder for their blog.

How Can I Get Started with User Generated Content?

First, think about where you might have some gaps in your content strategy, or where you could use some added support. Maybe you’re not seeing the type of engagement you’d like on your Facebook page, or perhaps you need some fresher content to liven up your monthly newsletter.

You then want to consider your goals around user generated content, regardless of whether you’re doing a one-off campaign, or if this will be part of an on-going effort. When you know what you’re working to achieve, you’ll be better equipped to determine where to seek out user generated content and how to ask for it.

Finally, always make it clear that the content you’re sharing is from a real customer. Your brand should engage with this user and their content as if your brand is a person and the customer is a long-time friend. This can help further promote engagement and help you drum up even more user-generated content.