When is the best time to improve an existing product or service? When customers are complaining about it? When sales wane? When it has become so predictable it blends into the background of the industry? When analysts start writing off your company as yesterday’s news?

Let’s think about this from a different angle.

La Maison Troisgros is the most celebrated Michelin Three Star restaurant in the world, having held that distinction for an uninterrupted 50 years. Established in 1930 and located just northwest of the French gastronomic capital, Lyon, its signature dish, the Salmon And Sorrel, is often credited for its swift rise to fame. The dish relies on accurate execution of steps in astonishingly precise increments. Fifteen seconds of searing, kitchen to customer service within twelve seconds, customer plate arrival to first bite within six to seven seconds. If one aspect of the process is delayed it jeopardizes the quality of the entire dish. Culinary mastery at its finest. However, with mastery often comes ego and that can stealthily stunt innovation. In 1995 Michael Troisgros, the head chef and owner of Maison, removed the dish from the menu; stunning customers, critics and competitors alike. Many considered it a foolhardy mistake, potentially catastrophic to the business and a pall on the legacy his father had worked so doggedly to create.

Troisgros argued that we can only innovate with knowledge and it is knowledge that fuels movement towards the future. Knowledge can be throttled when we become dependent on mastering one thing and, he believed, it is knowledge that offers the path to survival and growth. Twenty-three years and three Michlen Stars later, Troisgros stands by his decsision.

Best time to improve a service is when it is publicly perceived as being at the top of its game:

While there is no rarified rating system in the technology services industry, those of us who are knee deep in it are nevertheless proud of the hardworking technical services consultants that populate software and hardware vendor teams across the customer landscape. They just keep doing their thing. Quietly. Professionally. Precisely. Successfully. Time after time.

At the moment, customers are thrilled that they are able to measurably prove positive results from the service engagement and the services and product teams operate in harmony. Maybe then, like Troisgros, the world of technical services should embrace success when it’s most apparent by choosing to make it even better. Which is exactly what the Expert Services arm of Oracle Marketing Cloud has done.

Technology reaches its potential through the people using it

When you’re in a position of goodwill with customers, it affords you the opportunity to examine what’s going well and what can be improved. Where are there gaps? What’s on the horizon that could pose a significant challenge for our customers? We are able to enhance our popular service, because we can get ahead of the need we expect our customers to increasingly face as they grapple with the rapidly changing dimensions of impact that come with deploying top-shelf technology in a disruptive business world.

As we (admittedly, a little dryly) put it in our literature, our service “provides digital transformation consulting for the Oracle Marketing Cloud technologies you’ve invested in and for the implications and changes associated with the people and processes that manage and support them.” In other words, technology offers many wonders, but as anyone who has been at this game for a while can attest, it’s not the complete story. Simply stated, we believe that technology solutions are only as powerful as the brains that utilize them.

As a corollary to that, we also believe that innovation can only happen when superior technology is governed by superior intellect. If you are a service provider, you want to help your customers create the right environment in which to design optimal processes that leverage the most appropriate features of the invested technology. For example, at Oracle Marketing Cloud, we’re already leaders in delivering to market the best marketing automation technology. Now, we want to make sure we couple that with the best guidance for customers using that technology to equip, structure, and position themselves to leverage the platform to the fullest potential

Think of it this way, we can help our customers understand how they can heighten the value proposition of content marketing, for example, by ensuring they: hire right, focus on messaging that supports and advances the corporate vision, arm the team with the right data elements, and integrate their strategy with the larger marketing organization. This is the holistic approach we adopt when working with clients.

So now, even if our customers aren’t yet thinking about Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Blockchain, we are and we’re evolving our practice to incorporate appropriate guidance around those more modern concepts for our customers. See this piece by Mark Hurd, Oracle’s CEO, in which he discusses how he and the company think about those technologies.

While the Michlen level fine dining scene continues to evolve, so do worlds of commerce and government. Customer needs and desires can change with very little warning; what was once a perfect fit for them might not seem quite right. It is crucial to anticipate the needs of your customers, where they want to go and what they will need in order to get there. That’s what we’ll be doing.

Check out how Oracle Marketing Cloud Expert Services could supplement and weild your technology stack for the best results!


Source: Eloqua

Content marketing isn't easy to do. There's no doubt that it's effective, but it's very hard to do it well. It's a little like publishing a book blindly. You have no clue if anyone will be interested enough to read it – and want another. Despite this, content marketing is still an important part of any marketing plan – so how can we overcome this problem?

One strategy is to write your content so that it is targeted to a specific type of individual. This isn't a new concept in marketing. Buyer personas are a core concept but most buyer personas are an educated guess. The buyer persona you're targeting may not be the type of person you're actually attracting with your content.

If your company does have a number of customers already and wants to really leverage the power of content marketing, then a more refined understanding of who is actually participating with the company is necessary. When you know your audience you can write to them. That's where data mining can come into play.

Data Mining your CRM

Data mining is a set of processes for analyzing a large dataset to find statistically significant information. Most data mining for content marketing purposes uses sophisticated engines to crawl through the net to find signals related to particular keywords or topics. From this analysis, predictions are made to learn more about what type of person reads what, and what readers of one topic might be interested in reading next.

But this can be turned around the other way. Instead of looking at the wider net, you can use data mining techniques on your own customer database to see which visitor behaviors correlate with particular pieces of content.

You might be asking isn't that what analytics is for? True, analytics can help but data mining takes it one step further. Analytics by its nature only looks at surface behavior, and for a small to medium-sized business this might be all that is necessary. A simple examination of which articles performed the best is a pretty good indicator of what your audience is interested in. However, if you have a large number of visitors there may be deeper patterns that cannot be so easily discerned. By leveraging these patterns via your content marketing it can become more effective.

Examples

Here are some of the questions data mining can answer when done right from a content marketing perspective:

  • Which articles or keywords did your customers read before, during, and after a purchase? What are the correlations between these?
  • Is there a shift in content consumed when moving from one product purchase to another?
  • Why did a particular post go viral? Was it an outlier, or did you tap into something deeper?
  • Which combinations of article reads are most likely to signal that a customer is close to making a purchase?
  • What are the common characteristics between the people who follow your content channels all the way to a purchase, and what might be different in the ones that fall away?
  • Are repeat customers even reading your content at all?

Let's take an example from Sink Law, a large personal injury firm, and their blog. How do they know if they're getting a good ROI from their blog? They can compare their website analytics to the consultations they get, whether those consultations begin as calls, online chats, texts or email.  The firm could compare the blog topic, length of topic to the magnitude of response, to help determine which types of content generate the best return on investment. Data mining techniques could pull all of this information together and look for patterns about which combinations of client statistics and content marketing engagements lead to a call. Perhaps a post on a recall of child safety seats resonates very strongly with young mothers compared to other articles on child safety. Done correctly, data mining will help reveal what works and why people took action, so it can be replicated in the future.

This is just the start of a much longer topic, but one that is clear. Content marketers are looking for any way they can get an edge to build up their audiences. Leveraging existing customer information to build up more refined buyer personas through data mining is a matter of when, not if.

Content marketing is challenging for many organizations. Oracle’s Content Marketing has solutions to simplify the process of creating, distributing and promoting your content. Visit our website for more information. If you are in the market for new content marketing solutions that works for you, read the Buyer’s Guide: Evaluating Content Marketing Solutions for an easy way to access your solution requirements and options.


Source: Eloqua