Building Marketing Technologies

Reid Overcash

Reid OvercashReid is a brand marketing veteran that helped found and build two previous technology companies and now has co-founded ShareDirect along with CTO, John Brown.  As CEO he oversees operations and sales as well as customer support.

"Our primary reason for being is to support our customers with the best, most current technology to engage your customers and prospects and make you successful in the process."
This is my Personalized  Engagement Site (eSite) that will allow you to find the latest information and content relevant to your personal needs and interests. I invite you to visit it regularly so we can help you grow your business.

Nielson’s Global Marketing Survey

Four Consistent Themes That Improve Your ROI

This Nielson report is worth checking out if you’re in marketing and have a budget responsibility or management of digital platforms or media. You can click here to see the full report or find sections that are more relevant to your concerns. Here is the brief overview:

  1. Spending optimism is up
    Despite inflation, slowed consumer spending and supply chain uncertainties, 72% of global marketers expect bigger ad budgets this year, up from 64% last year.
  2. Marketing tactics and KPIs are misaligned
    Marketers’ top KPIs are long-term and full-funnel ROI. However, 70% plan to prioritize performance marketing over brand-building initiatives.
  3. Digital dominance may hurt holistic returns
    With nearly two-thirds of media budgets going toward digital and performance channels, marketers may not be able to achieve the holistic returns they’re looking for.
  4. Measurement confidence is high, but incomplete
    84% of global marketers say they’re either extremely or very confident in their ROI measurement capabilities, up from 69% in 2023. But only 38% say they evaluate the holistic ROI of their marketing efforts by measuring traditional and digital marketing together.

This report is easily consumed in small bites if you want to focus one or two sections or come back later to see the parts you didn’t see before. Nielson sums it up this way:

“Rather than choosing one or the other, these approaches work best when they work together. Doing this right requires a cross-media mindset. Busting out of siloes ensures you’re spending where it counts, and measuring full-funnel impact lets you succeed today and tomorrow.”

Let me know if this helps your future planning.

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Email vs SMS in 2024

When to Use Email and How To Use Texting


This report from Marigold is a good guidebook on how and when to use email and SMS (texting). Both are relevant and effective and can be used based on the strategy and the frequency of communications. Is one better than the other? It mostly depends on the need and the type of information being sent. I’ll provide a brief overview here but you can click here to see the full document.

SMS / Texting

More than 50% of all of us check our text messages multiple times per day. For time-sensitive messages SMS is the preferred avenue. Opportunities include:

  • Event reminders
  • Appointments
  • Reservation updates
  • Loyalty programs
  • News alerts

Avoid sending before 8:00am and after 9:00pm and make the content both timely and relevant.

Email

Email has been the backbone of marketing strategies for decades and is familiar and accessible. Emails are different because they have formatting options and dynamic content elements and can provide excellent engagement metrics.

You can see this in our ShareDirect and Synchropy marketing technology platforms.

The article suggests a cross channel platform like ours that can provide personalization and robust design using email and more urgency using SMS. So, both channels are still very relevant and preferred and can provide a seamless flow of communication with the ability to manage and integrate the flow of data.

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7 Ways to Drive Customer Loyalty

Loyal Customers Are Worth Their Weight in Gold

This report from DotDigital is a good overview of the necessity and means of retaining and growing loyal customers. Although written in the context of B2C it has very good implications for B2B as well so many of the points will apply. Not to state the obvious but a loyal customer has much more value than one who is not committed. So, what can be done to help create more loyalty with current customers and new ones. Here is what the report suggests.

  1. You need to ensure your customer journey is seamless.
    Be consistent across all marketing channels.
  2. Get to know your customers better.
    Use first and zero party data with segmentation to create a Personalized approach.
  3. Deliver Exceptional customer Service.
    Communicate support options available to your customers.
  4. Create loyalty programs.
    Ensure your loyalty programs offer exclusive value to customers.
  5. Personalization is key to engaging your customers.
    Make each customer feel special.
  6. Create a brand community.
    Your customers are buying more than just your product,
  7. Encourage advocacy and referrals.
    Motivate customers to share their experiences with your brand.

“Loyal customers are invaluable to your brand. Ultimately, you need to provide a seamless customer experience and celebrate them wherever you can. Make your customers feel valued, appreciated, and understood, and they will naturally stick around for the long haul.”

Let me know what you think. Our Heron Martech technologies can help create the loyalty you need and want with our engagement and data reporting.

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Personalization: Breaking Through the Noise

There is Real Value to Understanding Best Practice in Personalization

“42% of buyers said they were more likely to engage with a sales rep if the content is personalized or tailored to their specific needs,” according to the 2023 Content Preferences Survey. This report from DemandGen and Salesforce provides three areas that are working today to engage the customer.

  • Creating content hubs with dynamic content recommendation
    We refer to ours as an Engagement Site or E-site and its unique to each customer.
  • The use of ABM strategies that improve content but also better equip each sales rep for personalized outreach
    Heron Martech allows full coordination between Sales, Marketing and Customer support.
  • The use of AI in executing personalization at scale
    Our technology uses AI for content creation and testing helping clients do more with less.

This report includes examples of using these strategies by other companies and how they were successful.

Modern marketers would do well to heed the adage, “innovate or die.” This guiding principle rings especially true when it comes to personalization, where consumer expectations are ever-changing and seem to grow loftier each year.

B2B teams looking to outrank their competitors can lean into custom content strategies that mimic current B2C tactics. An expert mix of binge worthy content, ABM insights and AI tools is a winning recipe for best-in-class personalization that drives a strong sales pipeline.

Let me know what you think and how we can help you utilize these proven strategies.

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Personalization on a New Level: Moment-Based Marketing Getting Traction

How to Create a New Level of Customer Impact

This is a topic that has seen more comment and research recently: Real time marketing or Moments based marketing. It’s certainly been around for as long as time but it has more emphasis now and not just with B2C. B2B marketing is making a use of this strategy as well. Simply put, Moments based Marketing focuses on delivering content at the moment when customers would be engaged with your brand. Mapping the customer journey to identify the touchpoint opportunities allows you to deliver the right message at the right moment.

So, what are the best channels based on this Dotdigital report?

Mobile marketing - We are all stuck on our phones and there are multiple ways to reach out through that device.
  • SMS or texting
  • Abandoned cart reminders
  • Feedback requests
  • Appointment confirmation and reminders
  • WhatsApp marketing
  • Push notifications
  • Website personalization
  • On-site popovers
  • Email at the right time
  • Behavioral Targeting

All of this and more needs to be used with care, discretion and the desire to be helpful but not a pain. I’ll be interested in seeing how many people out there are using this strategy and what your results might be. Let me know.

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Demonstrate Clear Differentiation from Your Competition

Prospects Want You to Help Them Meet Their Business goals

As I presented in the past I really admire and support the science based research that Corporate Visions provides. They have completely revolutionized much of the standard way of doing things in sales and marketing. Their latest effort has been the need to separate your solution from the competition by fulfilling the buyer’s needs through your unique advantages.

The 4 page brief, you can click here to see and download, provides a quick overview on this important topic. I encourage you to seek out their webinars which can be seen real-time or recorded. They get into more detail and allow you to see what’s behind the research and conclusions.

  1. The first thing to do is determine what makes you different. That seems obvious but sometimes it’s different depending upon the client or it may have changed due to market conditions. They propose developing a "Value Wedge" using 3 criteria:
    • It’s unique to you
    • It’s important to the buyer
    • It’s defensible
  2. Address your buyers needs
    • Buyer’s business challenge
    • What they can do better with your solution
    • How does taking this action mean for their business
    • What’s your unique solution-Your Value Wedge
  3. Sharing "Telling Details"
    • Instead of selling features, benefits or superlatives use "Telling Details" that helps make your pitch more focused, specific and detailed according to how it applies to the buyer.

This is a very brief overview on this topic. I recommend if you want to see more specifics watch the webinar or get the full eBook here.

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Optimizing Personalized Moments in Real Time

How to Captivate and Convert with Meaningful Customer Interactions

One of the key points we discuss when demonstrating the unique qualities of ShareDirect is how Dynamic Content that is hyper-Personalized is now the expectation of customers both B2B and B2C. This DotDigital report provides a good overview of crafting personalization content tailored to customers.

You can get a better understanding of the following:
  1. Dynamic personalization - A targeted approach that improves relevancy, ultimately creating more memorable experiences for every customer
  2. Adaptive messaging - Delivering highly relevant, personalized content on the best channel, at the optimal time for the user
  3. Moments-based marketing - Capitalizing on real-time opportunities and delivering highly relevant experiences
  4. AI-powered segmentation - Target based on their engagement levels and the frequency of their interaction with your brand
  5. Agile marketing - Be ready to adapt to new channels and messages that will engage their audience
  6. Leveraging data - Ability to identify the right moments to interact with your customers

“The key to success is not only creating relevant content but also delivering it through the right channels and at the most opportune moments. Doing so will help you unlock new opportunities for customer engagement and growth. Ultimately, this will help you build strong, lasting relationships with your customers, drive higher conversions, and hit all your marketing goals.”

This is a good overview and worth taking a look at. But if you want to see how this all works in real like we can walk you through the ShareDirect technology and provide you a real-life platform that can do all of this work and more in sync with your overall making plan. Let me know if we can discuss.

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Creating Personalized Experiences for Your Customers

You Must Engage With a Dynamic, Personalized Strategy

We're in the age of dynamic content and Personalization and the trends are not growing, they are here in force. Several companies have some form of the technology to use for either B2B or B2C but often they provide bits and pieces of the puzzle instead of a full platform with all the necessary element to communicate effective for 2024. “Real-Time Personalization is an integral part of curating Personalization experiences for your customers”, according to Marigold in this very recent report.

Real-Time Personalization Works

“Dynamic content fulfills the innate consumer desire for personalization and taps into the human psyche to inspire action. It also allows you to do more with less with your messaging efforts.”

This document offers options of how to use with promotions, integrated content, loyalty enablement and other options. The key to this message is you already have these options and more using our technology, ShareDirect. We offer Bi-Directional Personalization, Zero and First-party data collection, extensive metrics and data, AI enablement, and communicating One-to-Many as you would One-to-One. No One else offers what we have. Contact me and we'll be happy to show you how it could work for you.

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How to Navigate the New Buyer’s Focus

Buyers Are Now More Focused on Value and Researching the Solution

This is another very good report from Demand Gen on helping to better understand a B2b buyers focus on real value, benefits for their company and the best investment. The Personalization of content and ad medium is based on age, social factors, income level and first and zero party data among other factors.

This survey covered 300 B2B buyers in a variety of companies and sizes with most respondents in management roles. Their Top Five reasons for selecting the winning vendor were:
  1. 67% demonstrated a stronger knowledge of their company and needs
  2. 67% showed a stronger knowledge of the solution area
  3. 61% provided higher quality content
  4. 60% responded to inquires in a timely manner
  5. 59% provided content that made it easier to show ROI and build a good case for purchase.

I invite you to take a look to see if this study applies to you and if you have seen the same issues recently. Our ShareDirect technology can satisfy many if not all of these requirements and provide you with a real answer to combining several activities you might currently be engaged and provide some real differentiators to your own customers and prospects. Take a look.

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Digital Marketing that Evokes Emotion

How People Feel Emotions About What You Put in Front of Them

This is a very timely report from DemandGen on how marketing automation can use personalization and emotions to have a big impact. As more and more people are growing to prefer the digital approach for business and consumer communications, we see the acceleration of using AI in content development and personalization. Our technology, ShareDirect, is a good example of a product that can provide a method of marketing One-to-Many as you would One-to-One.

DemandGen provides 5 elements that you should “tap into to create emotionally charged outreach”:
  1. Generosity - Serve your customers’ and prospects’ needs first even if giving away more information than you’re comfortable with.
  2. Usefulness - Help your targets be more informed and knowledgeable
  3. Speed - Speed equates to caring so respond to customers quickly
  4. Empathy - You need to understand what your prospects and customers actually care about and what their end goal is.
  5. Personality - Show yourself as who you are to gain acceptance.

There is much more here to study and consider so I encourage to take a look at the attached report. “If real people feel real emotions about whatever you’re putting in front of them, all other things we care about will follow”. Let me know your thoughts on this and click here to get to the study.

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Tips To Make Complex Content More Memorable

Neuroscience Research Uncovers Design Principles

Here is another very brief overview of Neuroscience Research from Corporate Visions uncovering great design principles that can make complex content more memorable. You can keep complex content if you simplify the design and use the 5 memory enhancing visual elements.

  1. Use a Variety of Images - Contrasting images to avoid confusion
  2. Create Meaningful Icons - Icons that relate directly to the concept
  3. Show Color Contrast - Keep different concepts distinct
  4. Use Abundant Animation - Movement to display interdependent elements
  5. Elaborate With Examples - Buyers can process the information more easily

It’s also suggested these tools could be used for presentations across languages or geography. You can contact me and I can send you the full research if you want to see it. Corporate Visions is a very thorough research organization and they provide terrific science-based sales and marketing information that alters our commonly held concepts. Let me know what you think.

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Communicate Effectively Using 10 Principles

10 Science-Based Principles to Create Content

This is another summary report from Corporate Visions who do outstanding work presenting Science-based best practices in sales and marketing. I rarely miss one of their webinars and try to put much of their reporting into practice and pass it along to you. You'll need to click here to see the full one-page brief on my engagement site but it will only take a couple of minutes to see their summary of 10 Science-backed principles.

You'll learn how to best alter your presentations for maximum effect through motion, varying visual stimulation, using feelings and being authentic. Also making sure you keep the viewer's memory fresh. Let me know your thoughts and I can provide you any further details you require. We are trying to incorporate some of this into our ShareDirect presentations.

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Brand Authenticity Equals Customer Loyalty

Promote Long-Term Growth and Build Trust

How your company acts and reacts on a daily basis is how you are viewed by your market, customers and prospects. This is not new but more important since communications is not just daily but every hour/minute. What role does Authenticity play? Showing how your brand is Authentic is key to improving Customer Loyalty. This report from DotDigital is an excellent overview of Brand Authenticity Improving Customer Loyalty. Authenticity is simply being human, organic and personal.

They provide four strategies to creating authentic connections with customers that will inspire customer loyalty:

  1. Incorporate Responsible Marketing Practices - Be open and honest about business practices
  2. Personalize Customer Experiences - Leverage data to show you know them
  3. Engage in Two-Way Communication - Communications should be from somebody to somebody (At ShareDirect we call that Bi-directional personalization)
  4. Demonstrate Social Responsibility - Consumers want to see what you stand for

According to their studies 90% of customers state that Authenticity is a vital factor in deciding which brands they support” And it will reveal your Brand’s genuine character.

ShareDirect is built around this premise by providing you the ability to communicate Bi-directionally and one-to-many as you would one-to-one. Let me know what you think and we can help you achieve this key strategy.

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Stimulate Revenue, Retention and Growth

Prioritize Customer Engagement for Higher Customer Lifetime Value

I have been preaching the importance of Customer Engagement (CE) for the last 2-3 years and others are now beginning to see the light. Customer Engagement is about building a meaningfully mutually beneficial relationship with each of your customers. But in today’s world we have to think digitally which the research shows is what most customers prefer. This report from Braze provides a good overview of what CE is and the value of building it into your strategy.

They list 6 real benefits beyond pure revenue generation which 0f course the primary result:

  1. Building Brand Loyalty - This is the ultimate reason people buy from you rather than your competitor
  2. Increasing Customer Lifetime Value - Retaining customers and reducing the cost of acquisition
  3. Unlocking Anonymous Users - Encourage them to engage with you
  4. Collecting Zero and First-Party Data - You need the right technology to access this critical component
  5. Encouraging Advocacy - Turn happy customers into advocates
  6. Improving ROI - Invest your budget with activities that you know move the needle

ShareDirect can provide you all of this and much more with a Customer Engagement Platform (CEP) that can stand alone or integrate into other existing platforms you might have in use. Why not take a look to see how this can add an important advantage to reaching your goals.

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The Future of Marketing Automation: Data and Integration

Delivering Personalized Experiences That Exceed Customer Expectations

This report form DotDigital provides a very good insight into how Marketing Automation is advancing. They offer 4 Trends Shaping the Future of Marketing Automation. Targeting Customers individually with Personalized information based on clear data and analytics is not just the future but the NOW of Marketing Engagement.

The article offers 4 trends:

  1. Understanding AI and Machine Learning - Providing predictive analytics, customer segmentation and content Personalization
  2. Leveraging Big Data - Build Trust with customers with responsible data collection practices
  3. Employing Advanced Analytics - Benefits include data-driven decisions, cost efficiency, Personalization, reporting and real-time tracking
  4. Integrating Marketing Channels - Provides agility and scalability, improved customer retention, predictive analytics and seamless customer experiences

It’s important in today’s highly competitive environment to be agile and open to newer technologies that can set you apart from your competition. Again, a platform that can help you be more competitive with Personalized communications is worth more than it cost and the ROI can be significant. Ask us how we can integrate ShareDirect into your strategy. It can have impact.

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Scaling Personalized Communications

Sending Meaningful and Relevant Content to Each Individual Customer

You may have seen some of our communications surrounding our technology mentioning “One-to-Many as you would One-to-One.” This means you can digitally communicate with your audience no matter the size but can individualize each communication to each recipient. This requires data on each person, the proper channel (email, SMS, etc.) and a platform capable of implementing this.

You can download this DotDigital report on Delivering Personalized Experiences to get a more complete idea of what is needed. They provide 4 steps to boost conversions:
  1. It starts with data collection
  2. Segmenting your audience
  3. Creating personalized, dynamic content
  4. Utilizing AI technology for personalization

We have found that first-party and especially zero-party data can provide the means to establish the data needed to better understand your customers and prospects on a one-to-one basis. The good news is they are interested and even excited to provide you their preferences. But, you need the mechanism to collect it and automate the outbound communications in an effective way. All of this can work together with our technology.

Let me know if we can provide you with further information on personalization at scale. We can help create a dynamic and effective communications program through our technology that your customers will want.

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You Can Become “The Master of Digital Selling”

Making Yourself and Your Message More Memorable

Here is another great research-based guidance from Corporate Visions on Digital Selling. We are all doing that now but many remain unsure of how they are doing it and if it can be successful. But nothing is fully face-to-face anymore except maybe a haircut. In fact many buyers prefer not to meet face-to-face according to the research.

This first message is about Making Yourself More Memorial. Here is the plan of action recommended by Corporate Visions research.

  1. Think Digital First - With the right tech tools and you can execute quickly and with precision
  2. Build Credibility and Reach - Share relevant and useful insights to build trust and value
  3. Personalize Your Interactions - No matter how you connect with your prospects/customers your interactions must be personalized to their business needs

You can click here for the full report. I’ll follow this up with the second part of Successful Digital Selling very quickly. The topic will be Making Your Message Memorable. We have spent our efforts with ShareDirect to create a technology that fits directly with this important research and recommended approach. It is successful and provides exceptional customer reaction. Let me know if you wish to discuss.

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Insights From Over 700 International Marketing Leaders

How Marketing Leaders are Evolving and Excelling

This report from CMSWire is a little different than I usually provide. It’s more about the marketing CMO rather than topics that can help differentiate your businesses. But, who is going to be directly involved in that differentiation process. Shouldn’t it be the Marketing Leader.

With information overload and many customers feeling overwhelmed by all the messaging they receive, how does the marketing leader embrace this problem and help their company reach their goals. The survey report is lengthy but I’ll try to break down a few key points to whet you appetite.

  • 52% say the top competency for marketing leadership is Creative Thinking. This far exceeds the second, third and many other listed competencies.
  • Marketing cannot be a standalone function. It must be a champion of the customer (CX) but not the only point of contact.
  • Demonstrating ROI is the chief challenge of marketing leaders.
  • Measurement and analytics is a developing skill leaders need to address.

The report offers 10 key takeaways but I’ll mention the top 4, as I see it.

  1. Thinking outside the box is top competency for marketing leaders.
  2. Marketing leaders agree their roles have been and continue to be changing and requires cross functional partnerships.
  3. With all of this it’s important not to forget the ABCs of marketing and branding
  4. As CX is cross functional, marketing leaders must play well with others

You can click here to see the full report and it’s divided into sections you can easily find the points you might be most interested in. Let me know what you think and if there is anything I can help you with. ShareDirect is built for this new analytical thinking and how the customer expects a more personalized approach and a real human interaction.

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Revolutionize Your Marketing Strategy with ShareDirect and AI

Unleashing the Power of AI in Your Marketing Efforts

I'm thrilled to share some exciting developments at ShareDirect. As part of our commitment to staying at the forefront of marketing technology, we are currently exploring utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our processes and our platform. This includes the cutting-edge Generative AI, a technology that has the potential to transform your marketing strategy.

Generative AI, like the renowned ChatGPT, is an advanced technology that creates unique outputs from human inputs. It learns by consuming vast amounts of data, leveraging natural language models to create something entirely new and innovative.

Here's how Generative AI can revolutionize your marketing and content strategy with ShareDirect:

  • Idea Generation: It can elevate your brainstorming process by providing unique, innovative ideas.
  • Simplifying Complexity: It can transform intricate or verbose text into concise, digestible content.
  • Visual Content Creation: It can save you time by generating custom visuals, eliminating the need for extensive image searches.
  • Synthesizing Research: It can compile and present data insights in a clear, impactful manner.
  • Overcoming Writer's Block: It can stir the pot of creativity even when you're stuck, ensuring a continuous flow of content.
  • Testing Ad and Landing Page Variations: It can rapidly produce and test diverse content variations, optimizing your marketing efforts.
  • Personalized Lead Nurturing and Sales Outreach: It can tailor your communications to fit every prospect's needs, enhancing customer engagement and conversion rates.

Learn more about Generative AI in this overview:


At ShareDirect, we're not just spectators; we're active players in leveraging this exciting technology. Our platform is designed to revolutionize the way you communicate with your customers through personalization and scalability. With the integration of Generative AI, we can offer you a marketing solution that is not only efficient but also highly innovative.

Learn more about ShareDirect:

We would love to show you how this platform, enhanced with Generative AI, can help you streamline your marketing and sales efforts, and help you build stronger relationships with your customers.

Zero-Party Data is the most honest personal data collection

Making Zero-Party collection something the customer wants and requires

We've discussed the types of data collection here before but I wanted to focus on the most effective and honest data collect on each customer or prospect. And it's a method the customer wants and desires to participate in, Zero-Party Data. This report from Cheetah-Digital outlines the key components of Zero-Party Data collection and how it allows the brand to build a more direct relationship with the customer by providing more Personalized experiences.

Forrester defines Zero-Party data as "that which a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. It can include preference center data, purchase intentions, personal context and how the individual wants the brand to recognize them."

This is well-worth your time to read through to understand the importance of honest data collection and how to Personalize the communications to customers. It is important to note that ShareDirect is well out in front on how this can work for you and your customers' needs. A few key statistics:

  • 83% of consumers will trade personal and preference data in return for the opportunity to win a prize.
  • 86% of consumers will trade personal and preference data in return for early or exclusive discounts.
  • 50% higher open rates on emails with Personalized content and subject lines.
  • Nearly one-half of consumers feel frustrated with irrelevant content that doesn't meet their needs.
  • Many companies see as much as 50-60% uplift in revenue through using Zero-Party data.

As mentioned ShareDirect is out in front on its ability to collect Zero-Party and First-Party data at scale and automating the use of Personalized content. Let us know what we can do for you.

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Increasing Revenue Through Collaboration

Sales and Marketing Can "Make It Happen"

How Sales and Marketing can better collaborate is a hot topic now that many companies are starting to use platforms that help bridge that gap. Or some continue to use old methods that create more of a gap. But the key impetuous to making this work is understanding that this is what the customer wants, a clear and concise customer journey.

The benefits start with a dynamic increase in revenue through current accounts with new ones added.
"Revenue growth is by far the most important metric with 61% of all marketers saying they currently co-own this metric with sales."

This report provides some areas of focus to implement over the next 12 months to enhance your sales-marketing alignment:
  • Integrating data across the customer journey
  • Integrating technology
  • Optimizing touch points
  • Customized/dynamic customer segmentation
  • Real-time Personalization

There is much more detail in this report from CMO Council and KPMG and I invite you to view the full report. ShareDirect is a unique Marketing/Sales Technology that can stand alone in the sales/marketing collaboration strategy or integrate along with existing platforms to provide enhanced personalization with the sales team getting credit from the customer for the worthwhile journey. This will provide the opportunity for enhanced revenue and stronger relationships.

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How To modernize Your Sales Organization

Let Go of Conventional Wisdom and Embrace Leading-Edge Practices

Here's another Game-Changing research report form Corporate Visions. They just keep bringing forward new research that changes how we need to be thinking about marketing and sales, but most of all, how we should be modernizing our approach. Pre-pandemic sales efforts were often field sales face-to-face meetings with a predictable, controlled path. Post-pandemic is far less predictable with buyers acting at their own pace using digital channels along with inside/outside sales efforts. In fact, "70-80 percent of B2B decision makers prefer virtual conversations and digital self-service interactions according to McKinsey."

You can see the entire study by clicking here. I’ll try to summarize a few key points that might provide a reason to dive a bit deeper.

Prioritize your growth PLAYS - Which of your customers link to these 5 groups
  1. Modernize your infrastructure-use automated technology and analysis
    Tools that enable, engage and provide intelligence
  2. Evolve your teams-one seller can’t do it all
    Need for supporting roles and marketing support and leadership
  3. Enable winning conversations-examine flexible sales cadences using digital applications
    Cadences tailored to your buyer’s situation and needs

ShareDirect is designed specifically to provide a digital leadership role in this post-pandemic marketing/sales infrastructure. The ability to personalize information to the buyer gives your buyer what they are looking for, a unique, differentiating experience that shows you and your company in a very positive light. And you can do this one-to-many as you would one-to-one giving the sales rep full credit.

Let me know what you think and if we can provide you any information about ShareDirect.

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Developing Buyer and User Personas to Drive Sales

Creating a Way to Enhance Differentiation and Loyalty
If you have heard of the process of developing Buyer Personas but not sure of the definition here is a good one:

A Buyer Persona is a characterization of your best customer(s) based on information about them and how they use your product or service.

You might use the Persona with market segmentation data to determine a marketing approach for like-thinking prospects and even current accounts. This report from Gartner provides a great overview of the hows and whys of improving demand generation targeting.


Here are the Key Findings from the report:
  • Personalized Buyer Experiences result in deeper engagement but many purchases are usually made by teams, so focus on individual priorities with organizational goals.
  • Targeting a broad audience is less effective than efforts aimed at specific buyers and enterprise personas.
  • Keep the targeted attributes simple and not too complex so they will be properly utilized.
So, the report can provide you a deep dive into the need to deliver the right message to engage multiple channels through the targeted organization. ShareDirect works hand and glove to help gain more data on what drives your customers and prospects to want and need your product or service. Let’s talk about how that can work.

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You Can Bring More Clarity To Your Growth Strategy

Executing With Confidence

This is another great report from Corporate Visions. I sat through the webinar on this and couldn’t stop taking notes. The research shows that over half of corporate management are not confident on their ability to execute on their growth strategy. So, how can you be more confident in your process and practices? This study has organized it into three important approaches on how and why buyers make decisions.

Prioritize your growth PLAYS - Which of your customers link to these 5 groups
  1. Acquisition - Disrupt Status Quo
  2. Win-Backs - Reclaim Lost Business
  3. Margins - Protect Profitability
  4. Retention - Reinforce Status Quo
  5. Expansion - Evolve Your solution

Identify your growth LEVERS - Which LEVERS help you execute successfully
  1. Process - Teams Need to Be on a Consistent Process
  2. Leadership - First Line Managers Must Elevate Themselves
  3. Skills - Diverse Set of Skills and Situation Analysis
  4. Messaging - Messaging Based on Science and Consistency
  5. Technology - Having the Best Tech Stack for You
Enable your growth TEAMS - Transform Growth into a True, Cross-Functional Effort
  1. Demand Marketing
  2. Digital Sales
  3. Field Sales
  4. Channel Sales
  5. Customer Success

There is a lot here to ponder and analyze so I suggest you take a look at the study by clicking here to see the full document. If it provides Clarity and Confidence to your current strategy or helps you review and alter it’s worth taking a look. Let me know what you think.

View Ebook

Building and Measuring Brand Loyalty

Understanding Your Brand and Bringing Your Customers Into It

This report comes from a variety of research organizations but is summarized and outlined in this document from NetBase Quid. The importance of Brand Loyalty today is not to be minimized. If anything it is more important than ever with the customer requirements of personalization and a Human approach.

There is a lot of detail you can see by clicking here to access the full report. I’ll try to summarize below with a couple of my own comments that might better clarify how to approach this effort.

Best Practices for Brand Loyalty
  1. Identify your Brand Story
    I much prefer to characterize this as your BRAND PROMISE since that is what a brand is.
  2. Map the Customer Experience Journey
    What are the touch points your customers have with your brand? Collect good data.
  3. Brand Loyalty Indicators
    How do you create positive experiences with your brand.
  4. Collect and Analyze Customer Data to Measure Brand Loyalty
    Learn about your customers to eliminate pain points.
  5. Be Agile and Prepared to Pivot
    Adapt to changing consumer needs and preferences.

The ShareDirect technology can help support all of the steps included in this report. Our data collection and reporting includes First and Zero-Party data. The content is personalized to your customer and from a representative. The unique Bi-directional Engagement Sites give a unique perspective of your brand. And the entire program is scalable One-to-Many as you would One-to-One.

Let me know if we can show you how to grow your customer loyalty.

View Report





How to Easily Grow Your Accounts Using ABM

ABM Can Improve Revenue and Increase Productivity

This is an interesting report from DemandBase on ABM and how to grow and exceed your strategic marketing objectives. They mention several ways to get started and I’ll mention a few that stand out:

  1. Web Personalization is key to differentiating your brand (ShareDirect provides this through our Engagement Sites)
  2. Account-Based advertising is the quickest way to start (ShareDirect provides this through email, SMS, social media, etc.)
  3. Intent data improves marketing segmentation, sales prioritization and more efficient advertising(ShareDirect provides a mechanism for collecting and using First-Party and Zero-Party data)
  4. Available periodic sales digest and insights (ShareDirect provides an easy to access and understand portal for each sales person)

One other useful approach is the emphasis on focusing on your best accounts with the highest likelihood to buy(or continue to buy) from you.

This results in driving more growth with less money and accelerating deals and selling more.

I think this shows that creating an ABM strategy can be a simple process without a lot of organizational changes or expenses. ShareDirect is the easy and less expensive method of getting into this area and will truly differentiate your brand.

View Report

Relationship Marketing: The Human Approach to Personalization

Responding to the Challenge of Relationship Marketing Strategy

This great report from Ad Age and Cheetah Digital is the proof of what we have been trying to say to the marketplace for some time. Personalization with the Human approach is the new marketing standard to build relationships with customers and prospects. This is not an option but the requirement and need heard from the consuming public and business public. So, this applies to B2B as well as B2C.

This particular study has a lot of detail but one thing really stood out:

Strengthening customer loyalty and retention was favored by 74.2% of the respondents as a primary reason for building a Relationship Marketing strategy. In short, THIS BUILDS TRUST.

So, how can you build a path to Customer Obsession? They suggest a 4-stage process:

  1. Acquisition - Enrich the data you have on your contacts. Zero-party data can be a key asset to really understanding your customers.
  2. Engagement - Provide intelligent, human messaging in a marketing mix.
  3. Personalize Your Messages - Your customers demand this. Have an automated platform that does this.
  4. Retention - Build loyalty and trust through human connection and response as needed.

I would be very interested in your experiences with this topic. We feel ShareDirect is the one technology that can satisfy these needs and the ability to reach out in a manner your customers expect. Will you be willing to take a look at how we can help you?

View Report

Deloitte Digital Report: Personalized Customer Experience (CX)

Time to Make it Personal



If It’s Good for Customers It’s Good for Your Brand

This is a great study from Deloitte digital on Meaningful Personalization to Maximize Growth. I’ll try to summarize some of the points below. Don’t be turned off by the B2C focus if you’re B2B. The strategies for those two marketing and sales targets have meshed considerably over the past 2-3 years. They might use different media but the methodology can be the same.

Here are some quick facts from the study:
  • 69% said they’re more likely to purchase from a brand that personalizes experiences
  • 68% said Personalization increases brand satisfaction significantly
  • Brands fall short in Personalization capabilities most desired by consumers
  • Personalization leaders have a 1.5x increase in revenue per customer
  • Personalization Leaders saw 2x increase in engagement

Deloitte also recommends some questions to ask yourself to accerate your path to Personalization:
  1. Does anyone in your organization understand Personalization and customer experience
  2. Do you have metrics goals resulting from Personalization
  3. Do you have an action plan for customer engagement
  4. How can you connect different departments in your organization to deliver Personalized Experiences
  5. What are the most meaningful qualitative and quantitative results that provide long term growth

This is really a great study and report from Deloitte. ShareDirect is the mechanism for implementing a good Personalization strategy. As we say, “Reach out One-to-Many as you would One-To-One.” Let’s talk.

View Report

Highlights on the Changing Email Marketing Landscape

How to Make Email Marketing Work

This very recent DemandGen report shows what I have been preaching for the last couple of years: Personalization is the key ingredient to successful email marketing and other types of marketing as well. "Personalizing content for audience segments is important to deliver the experience and feeling of being a part of a brand's community."

The report also identifies video as a method of delivering a high open rate, 65% in some instances. This further personalizes the experience especially if it comes from a person in the video (and it's reasonably short-60 to 90 sec.) Good data and analytics are also key to a successful Personalization effort with First and Zero-Party data can be critical to providing this competitive edge in your market.

Digital experiences should not viewed just as a One-to-Many approach but can be managed as a One-to-One strategy. At ShareDirect we can show how to combine those two approaches using First and Zero-Party data and dynamic content on a Personalized email and Engagement Site.

Let me know if this fits your current strategy and practice. We're here to show you how ShareDirect can fit into your marketing and sales effort.

View Report

Using the Human Approach to Personalization

Building Relationships through Personalized Marketing

This latest study from Ad Age and Cheetah Digital makes a great case for building a strategy around “Relationship Marketing.” The only point I disagree with is the article points out that Relationship Marketing should be a part of your marketing strategy. I would counter that building relationships should be your only marketing strategy. The ROI is well established. Providing Personalized Engagement through Human Interaction, digital and one-to-one, is the ultimate objective to building any brand in this environment.

Here is the four-stage foundation the report suggest you consider:

  1. Acquisition - Acquire contacts and enrich the data you have on them
  2. Engagement - Establish an intelligent messaging strategy
  3. Personalize - Use data to create truly Personalized experiences
  4. Retention - Building Loyalty via emotion and connection

They also mention that you can enrich company profiles using Zero-Party data. I have to mention that this is exactly what ShareDirect was developed for. Building a Personalized marketing strategy using First and Zero-Party data and marketing one-to-many as you would one-to-one.

View Report



You CAN Make Complex Content More Memorable

Is Simpler Always Better?



Are sellers and marketers correct to assume that keeping it simple is always the right approach? Sometimes perhaps that works but another Neuroscience research study from Corporate Visions and Decision Labs shows that the brain respond better with some complexity to make the presentation more memorable.

You need to manage your complexity effectively, particularly in a virtual setting. It’s what the research showed:

  1. Contrasting images help avoid confusion between different concepts.
  2. Develop icons that can relate directly to each concept.
  3. Use color contrast to represent various elements on your slides.
  4. Animations can help display varied elements in the presentation.
  5. Use familiar examples to help process the information.

A key thing to remember is this not someone’s opinion but was a specific Neuroscience study as I have shown in my previous reports. You can scroll down to other similar studies from this same group. Also if you’re interested in depth on this topic you can click on the image and at the bottom is another place to click to see the full report. Let me know what you think. I’m including some of this in our presentations.

Personalization Trends That Are Important to Your Future

Building Trust Through Personalization and the Human Approach

This report from Acquia is timely and has important detail regarding the role Personalization is playing and will play in marketing and sales success. I think, however, they miss the value of using a Human approach along with Personalization to build customer and prospect Trust and loyalty. I'll provide some highlights and my comments from the Acquia report:

  • The future of Personalization is Bright -
    It's not just bright but a necessity and it's not in the future but is NOW.
  • Personalization efforts stall due to lack of resources and expertise -
    That's why ShareDirect exists. We provide the resources in our technology, the expertise through our knowledgeable staff on the subject, and the caring approach to make sure you do it right.
  • Email remains the #1 most Personalized channel -
    Although we use outbound email in nearly all instances we can use SMS, social media and other methods.
  • Customers will exchange their information for good experiences -
    Yes, that's why we are using First and Zero Party data.
  • Driving conversions is the #1 priority of Personalization -
    I say no. Although conversions are important there is also expansion from current customers, building trust and long-term value.

So, although I think this eBook has some valid points and good numbers behind it, there appears to be several flaws in their approach and I believe leaving the Human element out of Personalization is a real missed opportunity. I would be interested in your thoughts. Feel free to reach out with your opinions.

ABM Coming On Strong for Companies Committed to It

ABM Is Meeting and Exceeding Expectations After First Year

The Demand Gen 2022 ABM Benchmark Survey is out and it contains significant new data on how ABM programs that better align sales and marketing through technology are making consistent headway in reaching and exceeding their goals.



82% report that their ABM efforts are meeting, exceeding or greatly exceeding expectations.

Many are beginning the use of a platform that combines sales people with the dedicated personalized content like ShareDirect provides. Marketers are getting a firmer handle on Personalization strategies with Personalization at Scale being the big challenge, again which ShareDirect provides.

The key to improving your ABM initiative is the collection of First and Zero-Party Data and the means to use it effectively. Whereas 64% of the respondents use content tailored to an industry segment only 51% are using custom content for each account and 19% for specific individuals within the account. So, there is much room to grow and improve here.

Email is still the channel of choice for ABM engagement at 84% which is primary channel used with ShareDirect.

If you are thinking of adopting an ABM strategy or are in the beginning stages let us help you get there faster and with more impact. Let me hear from you if you have any thoughts or questions.

View Full Study






How a Mistake Can Actually Enhance Your Customer Relationship

The Scientific Approach To The APOLOGY

This may be the most intriguing and perhaps most effective message I have shared with you over the past couple of years. Our friends at B2B Decision Labs, a group I have referenced repeatedly, has reported on the science of the business apology. They take you right into the buyers brains to show how to properly rectify a mistake and the process that would lead to a very positive outcome.

People and businesses make mistakes every day that effect customers in a negative way. No one is immune. Some make many more mistakes than others and that’s another problem. The answers lie in what you are going to do about it. This report might provide you some guidance on how to work with your customer. Who knows, it may even work in your personal life as well.

It’s difficult to summarize for this communication but the order of the 5 segments of the apology matter. You can Click Here to see the full report.


“Condition 3 is the clear consistent winner. This proves the power of choreography. It’s not just what you say but how and when you say it.”

“Another key indicator of apology success is whether your customer believes you fixed the problem and that the problem will not happen again. Even in this case, You’ll see it’s the same apology message that inspires the greatest confidence in the supplier moving forward-Condition #3.”

I have a structured apology waiting for anyone who thinks this subject might be a mistake. Please take a look.

What Customers Want to Provide: Zero Party Data

Focus on Zero-Party Data

Below I have pulled out a section of an article from CMSWire, 5 Ways Transparent Personalization Can Win Over Customers written by Michelle Hawley. I have quoted is exactly because it piggy-backs nicely with my last communications on the importance of Zero Party Data.

Zero-party data is information a customer shares intentionally with a brand. This includes preferences, purchase intent, personal information and more.

Because the customer chooses to hand this information over, it's more likely to be relevant and accurate. Brands can also be certain that zero-party data is information the customer actively wants them to know.

If you're wondering if customers will even share their personal data, the answer is a resounding "yes."

Consider these important statistics from a 2022 Cheetah Digital report:
  • 92% of consumers will trade personal and preference data for loyalty points
  • 55% of consumers will trade personal and preference data to feel part of a brand's community
  • 86% will trade personal and preference data for early or exclusive access

However, it's important to know where to draw the line. While consumers are willing to trade some information for a stellar experience, 59% said they still aren't comfortable sharing location data - even for better service.


This applies to B2B and B2C equally. As I said before ShareDirect is the perfect driver to gain a willing access to customer preferences and needs. Let us hear from you.

ZERO PARTY DATA: Optimal Personalization

Are You Moving to Advanced Personalization

I just received this terrific study from Ad Age, a publication I've known and appeared in over the decades that I have been in Brand Marketing and now Marketing Technology. We all have an idea of what personalization is and how it depends on data, But, what kind of data and where does it come from.

The sudden interest in Zero Party Data is understandable with the fading of Third Party Data and First Party Data not providing enough information sometimes. Zero Party data comes directly from the customer and usually resulting from their interest in your product/service/brand.

There are some excellent statistics and guidance from this study that point out reasons to focus on Zero Party Data. You can click here to review this short report. Here's the "Bottom line" as they put it:

  • Consumers are not asking for better ads but better service and experiences.
  • Create a clear-eyed view of how customers want to interact with your brand.
  • Many brands have lost the human connection that customers crave.
  • Go direct to consumers in some way and ask what it is they want. Use your data for good.

I think this makes an undeniable case for using technology which can provide Zero Party Data but also use it to support Personalized Engagement based on your customer's admitted preferences. That technology would be ShareDirect. Let me hear from you...


View full report

How the Right Content Can Motivate Your Prospect To Agree To Meet

The Right Cadence, The Right Type of Content and The Length of Content

This is the second part of my report on the Decision Labs great study on messaging and the scheduling of marketing communications. This one is a follow-up to the study I sent you last week on differentiating your solutions. This study which can be found here is on using content to motivate a prospect meeting.

Again, the researchers discovered some counterintuitive tendencies that should cause a re-thinking of how to schedule prospect contacts and what to send them. I’ll point out some general conclusions but I encourage to read through this 10 page report and you’ll find it’s worth it.

  • Don’t stop after the third contact. Most often response is not achieved until contact 6-11.
  • Length of content matters. Videos and static infographics need to be shorter.
  • Video should come first around contact 6-8 followed by infographic around contact 11.
  • Multi-channel approach best with social media, email and digital.
  • Videos work best at 20-30 sec.

I ask that you take some time studying this to better understand the results they achieved with their study. And remember that ShareDirect is a multichannel technology using a variety of outbound capabilities and extensive content views for your market plus relatable and easy to access metrics.

View full report

The Best Approach for Differentiating Your Solution. Counterintuitive?

New Study Shows How Messaging Details are Highly Preferred

I have a new research study from Decision Labs (one of my favorites) that is broken into two parts. Part 1 I’m sending you today on the Best approach for messaging. Part 2 will come in the next few days on the kind of content. Both studies show times have changed in the last couple of years and how attitudes about communication have turned 180 degrees around.

I’ll start with Part 1 and you can download the report here but I’ll offer a brief overview. The study had participants review four types of messages designed around different versions of the same story.

Features-Describes a list of capabilities

Benefits-How the features will benefit the buyer

Superlatives-Common superlative adjectives to describe features

Telling Details-Helping the buyer “experience” what you are describing

The results: “The Telling Details condition beat each of the other three messages individually and in aggregate, across every variable that was tested.” In fact “85% more participants preferred the Telling Details message.” So, on your next emails don’t be afraid to describe the features with the benefits to properly describe your solution.

I highly recommend you take a look at this short report. You’ll be impressed with the overwhelming percentage of buyers who prefer the more detailed message. I sat through the virtual meeting on this and was blown away by how counterintuitive it is for many of us out there but the numbers don’t lie.


View full report



Full Article: 10 Most Promising Customer Engagement Solution Providers for 2022

What They Saw in Heron Martech and our technology, ShareDirect

I mentioned this about a month ago that we were receiving this recognition. It was a complete surprise since we didn’t know it existed and certainly didn’t pursue it.

I think it validates the tag line in our Heron Martech logo: Innovate-Enable-Engage. It is not an award for John, Marie, me or others in the organization. It shows how we built our company and our technology around Personalization and the Human element and placed our focus on our customers and their success.

The effectiveness of ShareDirect goes beyond its features. It lies in the customer-centric approach that the Heron Martech team employs for every new client that uses the tool.

I think the team at CIO Review were really impressed with the scalability of our solution and that led to the recommendation to appear on the front page.

ShareDirect helps their clients market to one-to-many prospects and customers as you would one-to-one.

Hopefully this doesn’t appear too self-centered but we feel it might result in others realizing the opportunity this technology might provide them. Let me know if you have questions or what you think.


Read the full article



Understanding the Benefits of Zero-Party Data vs. Third-Party Data

How Personalization Can Be a Benefit to Each Customer Engagement



We have been hearing over the past 2-3 years about the need to limit or control the amount of information brands can attain about each of us and our interests and preferences. Cheetah Digital has prepared an excellent guide on the topic including how to gain insight on customers and prospects that they will actually want you to have. Here are a few highlights from "The Zero-Party Data Playbook 2022."

  • 62% of consumers feel ads based on tracking behavior are creepy, not cool and 49% hate irrelevant offers.
  • However 86% of consumers will trade their personalized data for early access with 50+ open rate and up to 84% conversion rate.

So, what are the data types:

  • We've all heard about Third-Party Data which is data collected and compiled by outside vendors.
  • First-Party Data is collected from current customers or prospects about purchasing behavior or information they have shown interest in.
  • Zero-Party data is information the customer or prospect has volunteered through a direct questionnaire or other process.

Obviously First and Zero-Party Data is well within the comfortable personalization categories and can enhance the relationship with customers and grow their business. You can see the entire report by clicking here.

The ShareDirect technology platform has the means to create First and Zaro Party data that stays within the comfortable parameters of the trusted customer relationship. Hope this helps you better understand this very important topic.


Download and view full report

Growing and Generating Customer Engagement

Customers Buy Brands not Products

This report can be useful to almost anyone who is responsible for marketing and sales for a wide variety of brands. Customer Engagement is sometimes difficult to calculate since genuine engagement can be best demonstrated "when customers promote or defend your brand to peers."

The study recommends that you tap into every layer of the consumer's psyche:

  • Emotion
  • Rationale
  • Ethics
These are referred to as the "Three Key Pillars of Customer Engagement"

It boils down to using data and digital resources

  1. Trust Building-Inspire Emotions, Beautiful Emails, Personalization, Tell-don't Sell, Social Proof
  2. Commitment Building-Rational Decision Making, Position Product to Meet Need or Desire, Use Data to Segment, Leverage Different Channels, Lifecycle Automation Programs
  3. Promotion Building-Lead the Charge on Ethics, Make a Commitment and Stick to It, More Than Just a Transaction

I feel like much of this relates to how we built our company and our brand, ShareDirect. The core benefit to ShareDirect is helping you to achieve engagement with your customers One-to-Many as you would One-to-One.


View full report



The Neuroscience on Sales Presentations

Which to choose: Virtual, Phone, Face-to-Face or Hybrid Presentations?

Here is another excellent report from B2B Decision Labs and Corporate Visions on the use of Neuroscience to understand the buyer's brain. These studies utilized EEG, ECG, Eye Tracking and Skin Response to determine when and where to use the various selling techniques. There is way too much here to repeat in this email but I invite you to click here to see the report and scan what section might be import to you.

I'll try to sum up the key points below:

  • Avoid hybrid presentations particularly for high level presentations.
  • Go virtual for high level presentations
  • Face-to-Face is best for presenting insights
  • Don't disregard the phone
  • Transcend modality with strong design. Invest in visuals.

I've reported on several of their cognitive studies and each one is an impressive game-changer. Let me know if I can answer any questions and if you find this useful or to see how we can incorporate these results in ShareDirect.


Download and view full report

Steps for Embedding ABM for Market Leadership

A New Benchmark Study | December 2021


This is a very thorough study released just a month ago on using Account Based Marketing to obtain market leadership. This report comes from ITSAM Group and the ABM Leadership Alliance. So, how can you use ABM as a critical strategy to drive business growth? This study provides insight into the current state of play with ABM and what’s working.

A few key take-aways:
  • 70% say ABM influences the way they do marketing today.
  • 49% say ABM is playing a major role in their company becoming more customer centric.
  • 53% do One-to-One ABM, 63% do One-to-Few and 48% One-to-Many with 24% doing a combination of two types. Doing 2 types tends to be the most successful.
  • The leaders in ABM report measurable business improvement

This is an important document and well-worth taking a look at. You can view the full report here.

The unique benefit to ShareDirect is we can provide a communications technology that allows you to market One-to-Many as you would One-to-One. So, we have the best of both strategies embedded in our platform. Let me hear from you.

The Value of Getting Personalization right

Excelling at Personalization Generates 40% More Revenue Than Average Players

View full article at McKinsey & Company

This McKinsey study is a new benchmark indicating that “Personalization matters more than ever before.” The focus is on consumer expectations but we now know that this requirement is just as important in B2B applications. We understand that personalization and brand loyalty go hand and glove regardless of the level of business.

Here are some key take-aways but I encourage you to check out the entire article.

  • 76% say that Personalization is a key factor in purchase decisions, 78% are more likely to repeat purchasing, and 78% will recommend you.
  • Companies can capture more value, up to 40% more revenue from marketing personalization tactics.
  • Digitally native companies can see revenue lift of up to 25%.

You can click here to see the full report that will only take about 10 minutes to review. We are available at ShareDirect to help you not just use our technology but we will provide guidance and best practices we have seen and experienced to be successful. Give us e a call.

View full article

Building Stronger Customer Relationships

How to Create, Elevate and Expand customer Success

Here is another great study from Corporate Visions on building successful customer relationships. You can see this study by clicking on my Engagement Site and you can also download the report. It is filled with great information that you can utilize for 2022.


The three stages they see are:

  1. Align value with meaningful metrics early in the customer relationship.
  2. Maintain executive engagement and access throughout the customer relationship.
  3. Master commercial conversations to keep and grow the customer relationship.

The last section is particularly interesting as behavioral and social scientists weigh in on dealing with organizational change, price increases, keeping and growing your customers and when things go wrong. I’m sure many of us can think of instances when we wish we could have a second chance to handle a problem with a customer.

Let us know what you think. We believe our ShareDirect technology can help to create and keep successful customer relationships.

View full ebook

How ABM Strategies have dramatically shifted

2021 ABM Benchmark Survey Shows Personalization and Engagement Top Drivers

There is a lot to digest in this survey from DemandGen. This will help those of you who have initiated ABM and you're working on advancing the program for 2022, and those who might be considering this opportunity to provide a more efficient and effective marketing strategy. Or if you haven't looked at this yet the report might be the fuel that ignites your interest in moving toward with an ABM program in your organization.

I'll point out a few highpoints and I promise there is much more. You can take a look by clicking here.

  • The biggest ABM challenges are Personalization at scale (46%) and providing an ROI attribution (43%)
  • Email reigned supreme as the top delivery channel (91%)
  • ABM initiatives are positively impacting business with 51% seeing better alignment of sales and marketing and 50% having more efficient use of marketing resources.

Let's discuss how ShareDirect could help you to utilize and expand this growing marketing strategy. We would love the hear from you.

View full article

Eye Tracking vs. Saliency Modeling: The Best Technique

What is the most important area of an ad or other marketing communication? What is the path of viewers' visual attention? These are questions that are gaining increasing emphasis in marketing as the science of Eye Tracking and Saliency Modeling has advanced in it's acceptance and the science behind it.

This article written by Tobias Komischke, PhD who works as Head of Innovation Lab at Infragistics is a good primer on the topic and worth the short time to check it out here.

  • Eye Tracking assesses the eyes focus and the motion from one place to the other empirically derived from user behavior. It tells where users look in sequence.
  • Saliency Modeling is more algorithmic determining the visual properties of screen areas including contrast, position, and size.

Which technique is best depends on the situation based on budget, time frame and how accurate the results must be. So both have their place. This topic is absolutely fascinating and I invite you to take a quick look. You'll want to re-read some of the paragraphs and pass it around to others in your organization. As you know we're here to answer any questions or thoughts.


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Build Messaging That Ignites Interest and Action

Inside the Buyer's Brain: Captivate Your Prospects

You might be wondering when I'm going to get off this neuroscience/buyer's brain/cognitive study kick I've been on the past few of months. The fact is these excellent and unique studies from Decision Labs have been coming out with great frequency and regularity and I believe these could help any of us create a real difference in how we approach our various markets. We have tried to integrate some of this in our approach at ShareDirect.

So, what's the story this time? How can we be "the winner" more consistently in early-stage messaging?

"Participants' responses clearly and consistently speak to the benefits of including qualified, contrasting results in early-stage prospecting messages."

This report will show you the importance of making your prospects "Think and Feel."

  • Quantify Your Business Impact-Illustrate the business challenge and the solution through stats and metrics.
  • Engage their Emotions-Include specific details people can feel.
  • Show Value through Contrast-Compare the current risk against the future benefits.

Click here to see this study.


How Buyers Make Decisions (Or Not)

The Neuroscience of Digital Content

This is another great study from Decision Labs on buying decisions from digital content. I realize it seems I'm really promoting this organization but their work recently has been truly excellent, unique and challenging to how we work in today's environment.

Dr. Carmen Simon, a Cognitive Scientist, has provided a new brain study measuring EEG and other physical functions from viewing content and participant's reactions.

The process of forming memories involves three phases:

  • Encoding-Registering information through your senses
  • Maintenance-Storing the information in your mind
  • Retrieval-Accessing information as you need it

The key phase is storing which relies on "Working Memory." This is essential to "thinking, understanding, planning and making decisions."

There is so much more so I'll probably provide a couple of follow-up communications about this study. You can access the study here. Let me know if I can provide any additional thoughts for you in what this research means to digital marketing.


Download and view full article

How You Can Stand Out In The Buyer's Brain

The Neuroscience of Selling With Video Email

This is a big-time study and very important for the current environment we all find ourselves in. Decision Labs along with Corporate Visions created this Neuroscience study to test video as a selling tool in emails. There are four parts to the report and I'll send you a communications about each one separately over the next couple of weeks but include a link to the entire study each time.

You might remember over the last year that I have sent you several "Simple Videos", as I have called them. I have a couple of new ones that will come out in the near future. But the important thing to consider is that a personal video reflects personalization and a human approach better than most other options. And it can communicate an idea with higher recall and agreement.

"Over 70% of sellers who use custom videos say they perform better at producing opens, clicks and responses than text-based emails."
The following emails I send you will provide an overview of each of these sections of the study:
  • Neutralize the Negative
  • Create a Concrete Message
  • Add Dynamic Elements
  • Leave Room for Reflection

I hope you check this out and, as always, I look forward to your comments and thoughts. We are certainly recommending this approach as we work with our clients and prospects.


Download and view full article

How Cognitive Neuroscience Can Deliver Persuasive Impact

Data-Insight-Question, A Three Step Tactic to Increase Persuasive Impact

I've been following and reporting for some time webinars and other communications from Decision Labs and Corporate Visions. Most of their research and recommended applications are a full cut above many other marketing research presentations.

Dr. Carmen Simon is a Cognitive Neuroscientist and Chief Science Officer with Corporate Visions. She runs studies of how buyers' brains react to certain messages and the manner they are delivered using neuroscience equipment measuring GSR, EEG, Eye Tracking and ECG.

I'll report on some other key aspects of this recent study in following emails over the next few weeks. This one is a summation of one part of the recent extensive study. It's entitled Data-Insight-Question, A Three Step Tactic to Increase Persuasive Impact. There is a precise choreography to gain an advantage in a presentation or dialogue.

It breaks down to three Guidelines that can make you communications more real and appealing to prospects and customers:

  1. Data - "Start your dialogue with a piece of data that is related to an external factor that's important to your buyer's business."

  2. Insight - "Turn the data into an insight by placing that information in the context of your buyer's business and current situation,"

  3. Question - "When you prompt your buyer with a question after sharing a provocative insight, their brain starts connecting the insight to their question. They take ownership of the challenge and initiate the process of self-persuasion."

I'll have much more on this study in the near future but this might be enough to absorb right now. You can click here to see this synopsis of this one point from the bigger study.


Humanizing and Analyzing Relationships To Drive Revenue, Retention And Returns

Bridging the Gap Between Relationships and Revenue

This new report from Deloitte and the CMO Council is a foundational marketing study on Humanizing and Analyzing relationships with customers. It is important enough that I plan to send out two following emails in the coming weeks highlighting key points from this valuable study.

We're showing how Lifetime Customer Value (or LTV) helps predict revenue attributed to future relationships with customers. As you will see in the attached report there is much opportunity to improve the tracking and reporting that reflect the digital realities of marketing communications and scalability.

So, how are marketers working to improve their LTV programs?
  1. Most important requirements are Humanizing connections and aligning the organization.
  2. Most effective current initiatives are communicating the value proposition, more sophisticated targeting and relevant content.
  3. The key future plans are building unified, lasting and dynamic connections with customers.

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The core of this study supports some of my past reports on Humanizing and Analyzing relationships to drive retention and Lifetime Customer Value (LTV) resulting in loyalty and trust.

The most important requirements for brands to better create long-term relationships with customers:

Deloitte and CMO Council Report Stats

The best channels where customers leave signals about their needs:

Deloitte and CMO Council Report Stats

There is a lot in this study so you might wish to download and distribute the report to make sure you're touching the bases. We remain available to discuss how ShareDirect can provide you a method of better securing your LTV.

Marketing the Human Element for More Human Connections

Embracing Digital While Becoming More Human

The last 12 months have provided a new imperative for how marketers communicate to customers: “Don’t treat me like a Customer, I am a Human and want to be understood.” I have reported on this over the last 9 months and there is much more coming out in studies and reports that support this strategy.

Digital Handshake
This fresh article from CMS Wire sums up the case nicely and offers some additional perspective especially in the digital world. Here is a brief summation:
  • Embrace Digital while becoming more Human
  • Drive the Human Experience with more empathy and values
  • Use social media to be more Human
  • Storytelling for the Human element

“Brands have had to take a stand socially for the values they espouse. Brands have had to show their human side, to provide customers with a human element in all of their interactions with a brand.”

I highly recommend this brief 5-minute read. Our ShareDirect is the one technology set up to provide a scalable digital connection with the Human element. Let us hear from you.

Read the Article
View Article

Building Trust Through Account Based Relationship Marketing

Reid Overcash, CEO, Heron Martech

We are hearing about the fast-paced movement toward Account Based Marketing with many successful companies and organizations. ABM takes two groups within a company, usually sales and marketing who are oftentimes siloed, and creates a more coordinated and consolidated organization with common objectives and core strategies.

I created one of my Simple Videos to accent the point about using ShareDirect as the primary communications tool for this type of effort. It’s very brief, about 2 1/2 minutes.

We have taken this one step further. ABM is a strategy but the objective is achieving ABR, Account Based Relationships that puts the emphasis on the customer. ABM to ABR is the real strength that ShareDirect brings to the forefront. View my video and how this leads to building Trust and a stronger and more valuable customer(s).

Please contact me if we can provide you any information or guidance on how we can help you with this timely technology and its application to ABM strategy.
View my related videos and articles below on the power of building Trust with customers

Trust: A Rare Commodity in Business

The “Why” and “How” to Building Customer Trust

View Article
This article appeared in CMS Wire and is written by Jake Athey, titled Business Has a Trust Crisis. What's the solution? Athey provides several great points related to trust in your business, both B2B and B2C:
  • Trust is a competitive edge. Trust is the second most important brand attribute, Trust has a strong positive correlation with loyalty, engagement and advocacy.
  • Trust is Primal. What fuels such a belief? The consistency and quality of our interactions with people. When we interact with a brand in person, it's easier to establish that belief.
  • Trust Is Omnichannel. Everything your brand does must be oriented around cultivating trust. Quality and consistency of content and customer engagement matters.

And he says what I have been saying:

You can't build Trust with a company, organization or entity. We build Trust with people who are in that company or organization. And I contend that we should not ask for Trust but should earn it with our deeds and words.

We talk a lot about building Trust through our technology, ShareDirect. You are communicating through your Trusted Advisors or Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). And you provide help and understanding through Personalized content and a Human approach. ShareDirect is the “How” to building that trust virtually and with scale.

View Article

Building TRUST through HUMAN Interaction

Three featured articles highlighting the connection between personalization and building human relationships

I have three articles from the last couple of weeks all from CMS Wire that have a distinct connection to Personalization and Human interaction as current marketing imperatives. You can click on any of the three but here is a quick summary of each.

There are at least two core points that run through all three of these reports:
  • The HUMAN element is not to be denied or you are losing ground fast.
  • The other is TRUST gained by compassion (which is HUMAN), transparency, communication and HUMAN interaction.
I invite to look over these three short articles to see if you can apply any of their advice.

Again, ShareDirect is the only scalable technology that can truly help address these and other current need unmet needs. Let us hear from you.

Personalization Goes Nowhere Without Trust by Sharon Florentine

  • Personalization Delivers Great Trust
  • Be Transparent and Open
  • Data for Value to Customers
View Article

4 Ways to Ensure Brand Trust During Turbulent Times by Janelle Estes

  • Consistency Is Key
  • Show Compassion
  • Keep Lines of Communication Open
  • Optimize Your Digital Channels
View Article

When Customer Experience Needs a Human vs. a Machine by Allen J. Porter

  • Automation vs. Human Interaction-Not a Binary Relationship
View Article

Your Solution to the HUMAN Connection

The Human Connection with ShareDirect

I’ve been preaching the need for companies to move beyond just thinking about Personalization (which is very important) to the next step of Humanizing their communications with their customers and prospects. This latest article from CMS Wire provides some context to this evolving story.

Some key points:
  • 75% of customers prefer to interact with a real person.
  • Customers engage with Humans not companies.
  • To make your company sound more Human you must first be a Human.
  • Always try to add a face.

All of this builds the image of company representatives being their trusted advisors. Some of this article is built around the use of social media, primarily LinkedIn, to make that Human connection. But you don’t have to go there as ShareDirect is designed and programmed to be Your Solution to the HUMAN Connection. Give your customers what they need and desire; someone who can engage, help and understand them.

View Article

A Video Message from Reid

Your Customers are Humans!

Reid Overcash, CEO, Heron Martech

As a result of the pandemic and social realities, we have found ourselves better understanding customers are REAL HUMANS rather than just customers. Thus, the Customer Experience (CX) mandate is quickly being replaced with the Human Experience (HX) imperative.

I look forward to answering any questions or hearing your thoughts and comments.
View my related article below on the necessity to focus on the Human Experience (HX)

TRUST is the Ultimate Goal

Harvard Business Review Article: Begin with Trust



This new article from the May-June issue of Harvard Business Review by Francis Frei and Anne Morriss titled "Begin With Trust" deals with managing employees but also has implications for customer engagement when placed in context with other research.

They break it down to the TRUST TRIANGLE:

Trust Triangle

This new research interconnects with all of the previous research we've shared here from Gartner which tells us that customers want you to know them and help them in a variety of ways (Tailored engagement). Then we have the article from Keith Weed in Marketing Week we shared a few days back. The second point he provided was the need to place Business Effectiveness over Efficiency.

Building Customer TRUST During Difficult Times

Compelling article on trust in advertising/marketing from Marketing Week

Video Introduction

Reid Overcash, CEO, Heron Martech



View Full Article

Trust in Advertising (and Marketing) is Imperative with your Customers

This is a terrific and very timely article written by Keith Weed, President of the Advertising Federation in Great Britain for Marketing Week. This is about what I call the Big "T" word, i.e. TRUST. I will summarize here and nearly everything should be in quotation marks but you might want to click on this short op-ed piece. I'm substituting marketing rather than just advertising since it should include all aspects of outreach and communications.

"Our Trust Working Group recently commissioned industry experts Nick Manning and Derek Morris to work with Credos director Karen Fraser and her team to conduct a full review of available data, alongside qualitative interviews with a select group of the UK's biggest advertisers, their agencies and leading media owners. From this, they drew up five key actions, each supported with a series of questions, to help marketers improve the public's experience of advertising."

The five key measures all advertisers (marketers) must undertake are:

  • Make your advertising (marketing) welcome in people's lives
  • Place business effectiveness above efficiency
  • Achieve full visibility of where your advertising (marketing) goes
  • Ensure every impact and exposure matters
  • Deploy the necessary resources to track, measure and manage this program


The author concludes:

"A bond forged in times of difficulty can be the strongest bond of all and if we want the public to trust us again, we need to demonstrate we are on their side when they need us."


We've been discussing this TRUST concept for some time now and how ShareDirect is custom built to help you help your customers and prospects. And it's far less expensive than most of the other activities you might be conducting.

See my related post on The Big "T" Word



Maximize Impact by Rethinking Personalization

Gathering and analyzing consumer data to deliver a tailored interaction between the brand and the consumer.

We recently participated in a webinar from Gartner that showed some amazing research and guidance for marketing personalization. The presenter was Alex De Fursac Gash, Gartner Director, Marketing Advisory in Europe. I'm going to report to you this week and over the next two weeks the three key concepts that came out of the presentation (at least for me and hopefully relevant to you).

I'll mention here several more general points from the study about the importance of personalization in marketing and sales.
  1. 55% of budgets are continuing to increase for Personalized Customer Engagement, some dramatic, some by a smaller percentage.
  2. Consumers expect and appreciate brands that personalize messaging and communications to them, but there are limits.
  3. There are a range of well-defined benefits to personalization:
    • Relevant messages that capture attention
    • Growing and magnifying the relationship
    • Driving purchase decisions
The most important thing at the outset is to start from the customer or consumer point of view (rather than your own).

"Help me understand how to use the products effectively."

"Can you save me some time?"

"You are familiar with me and my preferences."

I highly recommend that this 30 minutes of your time will be well spend if you are interested in this subject. Next week I'll describe how to best optimize your Personalized Engagement program with ShareDirect and otherwise. The following week I'll bring up the "what not to do."

Customer Experience (Success), Personalized Engagement, Relationship Management

Personalized Engagement is at the core

Learn From The Leaders

How do Customer Experience Leading firms create such positive, memorable impressions on the people they serve? It doesn’t happen by accident. They all embrace some basic tenets when shaping their customer experience – principles that can very likely be applied to your own organization:

They aim for more than customer satisfaction.

Satisfied customers defect all the time. And customers who are merely satisfied are far less likely to drive business growth through referrals, repeat purchases and reduced price sensitivity. Maximizing the return on customer experience investments requires shaping interactions that cultivate loyalty, not just satisfaction.

They nail the basics, and then deliver pleasant surprises.

To achieve excellence, the Leaders execute on the basics exceptionally well, minimizing common customer frustrations and annoyances. They then focus on “nice to have” elements and other pleasant surprises, all of which help to create memorable peaks in the experience that strengthen customer engagement.

They understand that great experiences are intentional and emotional.

The Leading companies leave nothing to chance. They understand the universe of touchpoints that comprise their customer experience and they manage each of them very intentionally – choreographing the interaction so it not only addresses customers’ rational expectations, but also stirs their emotions in a positive way.

They shape customer impressions through cognitive science.

The Leading companies manage both the reality and the perception of their customer experience. They understand how the human mind interprets experiences and forms memories, and they use that knowledge of cognitive science to create more positive and loyalty-enhancing customer impressions.

They recognize the link between the customer and employee experience.

Happy, engaged employees help create happy, loyal customers (who, in turn, help create more happy, engaged employees!). The value of this virtuous cycle cannot be overstated, and it’s why the most successful companies address both the customer and the employee sides of this equation.

Building Digital Relationships Through Personalization

Bi-Directional Personalization is key to improved customer engagement

What is Bi-Directional Personalization?

Recent studies show 65% of business buyers are likely to switch brands if a vendor does not personalize communications to their company. So, building personalized engagement with your customer is not an option but an imperative. ShareDirect has the unique mission of providing your organization Bi-Directional Personalization.

View Document 


Getting Credit

Will your company and your customer-facing reps get credit for building customer relationships?

There is very little written in marketing or especially martech literature about “Getting Credit.” I'm not referring to financial credit such as credit cards, credit score or getting a loan from a bank although you could make the case there could be some similar processes. This is about the customer recognizing your efforts to serve them with your key customer-facing representatives and the branded promise you make to those customers.

“Getting Credit” is about making sure the customer understands who you are and what you stand for and how it applies to them.

 I learned this while my brand marketing firm was working with a major restaurant chain in the 1990s that was undergoing a major transformation from a budget steakhouse to a large buffet concept with a bakery built in. I was fortunate to work with a brilliant CMO who understood the need for customers to see the process and result, in some cases the smell and the activity it took to achieve freshly baked yeast rolls, cookies, buns, etc.

Operationally the bakery was placed in the middle of the dining area. You could see the yeast rolls being placed in the ovens and when they came out the aroma was intoxicating. They had a brass bell that they would ring when those rolls would come out of the oven and storms of people would chase up to the bakery fighting for those hot rolls that smelled so good. This CMO knew how this worked. He made sure that as much of the kitchen as reasonable, especially the grilling and other visual activities, would be exposed to the dining room and their customers would respond appropriately. All that work on behalf of each customer he referred to as “Getting Credit.”

I have taken this idea to many other industries in my career over the past two decades and now have introduced it into marketing technology as one of the end benefits of our ShareDirect platform. All too often communications from a company to their customers bypass their customer-facing representatives, sales people, account managers, etc. They lose the opportunity to give credit to those front-line people who are supposed to be the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) on their accounts. They lose that opportunity to personally engage their customers in a meaningful and optimal way. They lose the opportunity to “Get Credit” for what might otherwise be an effective message.

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With ShareDirect we are offering the only automated personalized engagement technology. You may have the best, most compelling message built around your caring and interest in serving your customer but it could easily fly completely over your customers' heads unless you provide a mechanism for you to receive “credit” for your noble works.

That CMO taught me a game-changing marketing concept. He is now retired, living in Colorado and remains a friend and frequent advisor. He probably didn't realize how we would eventually apply this through technology.



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Learn more about ShareDirect


What is ShareDirect?

ShareDirect is a SaaS platform that provides personal engagement sites for customer-facing personnel.

The engagement sites can be managed at a group level or individually - and, each site is personalized for the representative and for each visitor - we call this bi-directional personalization.

ShareDirect also provides easy, intuitive email tools for outreach to new and existing prospects.
 
  

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