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.

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.

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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.

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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.

6 Personalization Trends You Need to Know

In this e-book, you’ll get the six top takeaways in personalization, as well as a course of action for companies getting personalization initiatives off the ground.

How to Build Trust with User Generated Content

Making Email More Successful with Different Types of UGC

This User Generated Content (UCG) topic is explored in a new Best Practice Report from DotDigital. UCG is any type of content created from one of your customers or users. Examples might be social posts, Blogs, Forums, Product Reviews, Podcasts, etc. Although you might think of this as a B2C application since there are more opportunities to comment on consumer products and services, like many applications now this has bled over to the B2B world. Up to 80% say they would trust online reviews on products they are considering or currently using.

This report recommends some ways you can use UGC in your email marketing:

  • Run email and social competitions to reward customers for creating content
  • Encourage the use of dedicated hashtags across channels so you can collate any UGC
  • Provide platforms for customers to share stories around their experiences with your brand and service

UGC is a great insight into what customers are feeling and thinking. You could use Zero-Party response to get reactions and encourage reviews. Ultimately this puts the power of your customers’ voices in your hands to show how your market views you. This will help encourage others to follow.

Let me know what ShareDirect can do to help you achieve the ultimate personalized communication from one-to-many as you would one-to-one.

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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.

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How The Brain Reacts to Virtual Meetings, Sales and Otherwise

Three Easy Suggestions to Reach Your Goals for a Virtual Meeting

We are all making "Virtual Sales Calls" of one type or the other in our daily professional lives. Some may not be trying to close a "deal" necessarily but could be trying to convince someone else of a particular path of action or understanding a point of view. The key is remote or virtual communications requires a different method to gain trust and agreement.

From our friends at Decision Labs and Corporate Visions is another great "inside the brain" study, The Neuroscience of Credibility" on cultivating trust and authority on virtual sales calls. I've provided the full research report on my Engagement Site by clicking here. There is also a quick reference one page summary that I will further summarize below.

  • Don't split the presentation especially if one of the speakers is a weaker presenter. Use the best presenter to keep the audience positive.
  • Invite attendees to introduce themselves, one at a time but keep them brief.
  • Use frequent cognitive closure with repetition throughout the presentation.

Much of this brief overview may raise more questions than provide answers. After looking over the one page summary you can find more details from the study report which is well worth some attention. Let me know if I can show you how ShareDirect can support your sales and marketing efforts by helping provide a cognitive approach to customer communications.

Important Trends for Consumer Digital Engagement

Report: 2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index

The 2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index is out and there is a lot in this report. Sponsored by Cheetah Digital and Econsultancy, the study provides "global consumer attitudes and trends in personalization, privacy messaging, advertising and brand loyalty." This is a very lengthy report so I will try to summarize it for you. You can click HERE if you want to see some of the data and research points in detail.

  • For driving sales email has always been one of the most effective channels, especially with hyper-personalized content.
  • Personalized product recommendations, contests and exclusive access all build loyalty and brand recognition.
  • 57% of consumers are prepared to pay more to purchase from a preferred brand.
  • Consumers will share personal information in order to receive personalized content offers from trusted brands.
  • Consumers are more privacy conscious than ever and there is a large increase using browser cleaners.

Brands who are providing a better online experience including personalized content, humanized approaches and customer obsession are making big gains in their markets. I invite you to take a brief look to see if any of this data is reflective of your approach.

This further validated how we developed ShareDirect as a human communication technology with Bi-Directional Personalization. Let me know if you want to take a look.

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.

Business and Life Lessons From Golf

Testing Your Limits, Focus and Drive

I know what you're thinking. "What's this have to do with your usual topics around Personalization, Humanizing your content, Zero Party Data, Customer Engagement, etc"? Well, it has to do with Life and Business coming together using some of the tactics used on the golf course.

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I don't know the author, Jes Averhart, personally but would love to meet her. It's a quick read so I invite you to click here to take a look. The article has a good logic flow but here are her major points.

  • Give yourself time to settle in (while play golf and at work.)-Be patient and get in the present. Trust yourself and slow down.
  • Let someone line you up-Know your strengths and weaknesses. Be coachable
  • Play your own game-Be assured you can do the seemingly hard things.

One thing I have tried to adapt from golf for my daily activities, both life and business, is taking a deep breath. So as I approach each shot I have a routine which includes a deep breath prior to addressing the ball. This applies to drives, fairway shots, chips and putts. This brings my heart rate down a bit and allows me to focus on that particular shot, not the last one or the one two holes ago.

So, if you're having a bit of stress at your desk, try standing up, talking a deep breath, letting it exhale, stretching your arms toward the ceiling, getting refocused, then sitting back down to attack the situation. I know this is much different than my usual Marketing Technology messages but thought this might be useful to some of my friends and colleagues.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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Key Customer Retention Strategies That Work!

Steps to See a Noticeable Lift in Customer Retention

This analysis from Braze is an easy-to-read and understand guide to purposeful Customer Retention strategy and execution. I've said for a long time retaining and growing a current customer is far more profitable than acquiring new ones. It's not to say that both efforts should be part of almost any marketing and sales strategy, but so often, it seems like acquisition is more funded and stressed than retention.

I'll report here on the first part of the report of 7 Key Retention Strategies That Work. All of these are important to help retain and grow current customers, B2B or B2C.

  1. Customer Onboarding-Key to retention is the first interaction with your brand.
  2. Asking for Feedback-Helps to express Humility and a positive approach.
  3. Personalization-Using First Party and Zero Party data. It can boost average revenue by 10-30%. 4-ways:
    • Messages based on customer interactions
    • Use first name where appropriate
    • Segmentation to targets
    • Create opportunities to interact
  4. Cross Channel Outreach-Communication strategies across multiple channels specific to each segment.
  5. Priming for Permissions-Make a good argument early to enable messaging.
  6. Experimentation-Customer engagement is an on-going effort and testing is an essential part.
  7. Leverage Data to Support Smart Segmentation-Identify segments and engage accordingly.

"Above all, retention requires Brand Humility. In other words, if you want customers to stick around, you have to learn how to communicate with them in ways that feel human. That means taking a closer look at your brand's messaging tone, frequency, content and communication delivery methods. And making sure your customer messaging and experiences are tailored -as much as possible- to the specific needs and habits of each customer."

The key for us and you is ShareDirect covers all 7 of the strategies listed above and is made to empower you to scale One-to-Many as you would One-to-One. Let us know if you would like to see how it could provide you a human and personalized approach to Customer Retention.

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Are You Watching the Newest Content and Communications Trends?

8 Ways to Dive Into “The Now” and “What’s Ahead”

This is a very recent report from Brightspot, Content and Communications: 8 Ways to Stay Ahead of the Competition and I think it provides a very thought-provoking discussion of how to develop a successful consumer interaction. I’ll provide a quick overview but you might want to click here to see more detail on any or all of the 8 methods.

  1. Storytelling Gets Personal
    The right tone of your content that feels personal and authentic is important.
  2. Site Journeys Won’t Be Linear
    Knowing how people respond to you allows good response and optimization.
  3. Aligning Content type to Audiences Will Be Key
    Shorter content for new visitors, longer form for trusted relationships.
  4. Audio and Visual Will Shine
    86% say they are using video as a successful marketing tool.
  5. Personalization Will Scale
    85% say they are providing a somewhat personalized experience but only 60% agree with that.
  6. Modular Content Will Become A Best Practice
    Reuse existing content on multiple devices and channels
  7. Internal Storytelling Will Be Vital
    Frequency of communication and personalization is also vital within your organization
  8. Your Measurement approach Will Mature
    Having good data is essential but analysis and response is the key to success.

I admit that there is a lot here to consider. I invite you to scan the article to see if any one or two points stand out for you. I feel that this really explains how and why we developed ShareDirect. So much in this report sounds how we like to discuss our technology with our prospects and customers. Although BrightSpot may be doing it better or different way than we have so I’ve learned something here. Let us know what you think.

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People Are Choosing Brands As An extension Of Their Personalities

You Must Adapt in 2022 to an Increasingly Visual Approach

A new report from NetBase Quid demonstrates the increasing importance of social media and the rising of the "Visual Approach" in marketing. This had been gaining importance over the past few years as more and more opportunities in social media and other outlets made highly visual ads and particularly animation/video highly responsive and memorable. But, as with many things we’ll dealing with it was greatly accelerated through the Covid Pandemic.

TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have been on the forefront to revolutionize the consumer experience. You can see the full report here.

"Brands are no longer competing on the merit of their products alone. Thanks to social media, the customer experience is public, and consumers are choosing brands as an extension of their personalities."

The key point here is that market intelligence and consumer reaction are vital in building your brand today. Even how you handle a crisis is viewed as impactful in gaining trust from your audience.

We feel that building trust is the bedrock of our ShareDirect technology and having an excellent dashboard with very easy access and user interface allows you to make your case to the market through Social Media, Email, SMS and other outbound formats driving people to our unique Bi-Directional Engagement Sites. Let us hear from you.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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How to Succeed With Your Customer Engagement Strategy

Is Customer Engagement Your Most Important Marketing/Sales Priority?

I have probably received at least 20-25 End-of-Year reports and studies and just as many Top Trends for 2022 surveys. Many are very industry specific or focused internally rather than customer centric. I decided this 2022 Global Customer Engagement Review might have something for everyone. It’s a long document but worth skimming through to find something specific and relevant for you.

After surveying 1500 marketing executives worldwide Braze and their research firm, Wakefield Research, have been able to report and assess the shifts in Customer Engagement over the past year and what to expect this year. This is a very short conclusion to the report.

Brands Are More Confident Than Ever About Customer Engagement, and It’s Paying Off. As Brands’ Customer Engagement Efforts Mature, They Drive Better Engagement, Higher Retention, and More Revenue.

In Order to Overcome New Privacy Challenges, Brands Should Move to the Exclusive Use of Zero- and First-Party Data.

Data Management Is Now the Top Challenge For brands, Outranking All Other Concerns. While Many Brands Are Rising to Today’s Challenges, We See Major Opportunities When it Comes to Tech and Teams.

They cover financial services, health and wellness, media and entertainment, retail and ecommerce and other sectors for US, APAC and EMEA. Customer engagement is certainly becoming Top-of-Mind to the more successful companies and this study shows that. Let me know how we can help you enhance and focus on a Customer Engagement Strategy for you using ShareDirect.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Build your Brand Voice Through Virtual Events

View Article
I haven't mentioned much about how virtual events can play into personalization and brand building. This article from CMS Wire sums it up nicely. Authored by Christina Del Villar, a Silicon Valley marketing executive who has many years of Fortune 100 experience, it's a short read and well worth your attention.

She offers 4 steps to follow to help build your brand voice:

Step 1: Leverage a Thought Leader Program to Build Trust and Influence

Step 2: Determine Who Your Addressable Audience Is and Why They'd Want to Hear From You

Step 3: Strategize on Where to Speak and What You Want to Share

Step 4 Implement and Chart a New Path to Amplify Your Brand's Voice

We think this fits perfectly with ShareDirect by providing an amplification of personalization and humanizing the customer communications experience. Promoting Thought Leadership through one-way or two-way events using our technology is a perfect application. Plus you get excellent metrics and reporting from our dashboard.

Let me know what you think of this article and if we can help you.

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Three Important Marketing Studies that Set the Right Course for the Future

I have three new marketing reports that recently arrived and they are all highly relevant, based on important studies and come from respected organizations. I decided to provide all three here with a very brief summary of each so you can decide which ones might be relevant for you.


Rising Above the Fray comes from the CMO Council and Televerde:

  • What is the impact of self-reliant buyers, shifting consumer behaviors and digital disarray on corporate marketing?
  • What can marketers do to improve their odds?
  • Is there a brave new sales world that calls for marketers to break new ground?
View Report

The Guidebook to Advanced ABM comes from the ABM Leadership Alliance and provides advanced ABM strategies for you to pursue, adopt and practice.

  • What is advanced ABM?
  • How does it relate to 10 categories of engagement?
  • How do you fully engage sales?
View Report

From Salesforce this is the Sixth edition of the State of Marketing with insights and trends from nearly 7000 senior marketers.

  • How is marketing success being redefined?
  • Is there a shift in engagement standards?
  • How is marketing evolving with new skill sets and data management tactics?
View Report

Each of these E-book documents is rich with the latest information to keep us ahead of the game.

Let me know how we can help you innovate with our ShareDirect platform technology.

Your solution to building differentiation in messaging

Ensure your solution stands out in the market

I have recognized several times reports from Decision Labs and Corporate Visions. This is a new definitive report on avoiding parity in messaging based on behavioral research.

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

  • Share Telling Details - "Use rich detailed language about your capabilities to make your message more buyer-centric and concrete."

  • Throw Away Superlatives - "Avoid using fluffy and flashy superlatives to superficially dress up your message.".

  • Fall Back on Features - "If you can't include all the telling details, describing features in detail will perform better than just stating benefits."

The key point here is that the strategy can be on target but the story still has to resonate with the audience. Personalization and Humanized messaging is a key part of this. Let me know what you think and we'll work on describing features better for ShareDirect.

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Guide to getting started with Account Based Marketing

An excellent guide and blueprint to ABM

We have previously provided you with a foundation for an Account Based Marketing strategy but how do you get started and where can it take you. This "Blueprint" from Terminus is just such a guide. For most companies who are already at varying stages of ABM this might be a good checklist or a primer on what could make your program better.

First they provide a good definition of ABM:
"An end-to-end revenue strategy where marketing, sales and customer success spend the majority of their effort on pre- and post-sales accounts that are best-fit customers. This happens through data-driven targeting, personalized marketing tactics at scale, measuring and continuously optimizing."

Keep in mind that roughly 92% of companies are either implementing, optimizing or fully integrated in the ABM strategy. There is still much room for improvement in most every organization. They provide a good framework for success:
  • Target the right accounts
  • Engage across all channels
  • Activate all teams on the needed information on each account
  • Measure what matters most

Download the Blueprint
View Article

Can you provide your customers "Digital Empathy"

View Document - Novantas Spring 2021 Review
This is a very short read from the Novantas Spring 2021 Review. I believe many in Banking and finance are familiar with this excellent consulting organization and receive their regular reports. I want you to focus on just pages 8 and 9. You can click here to view the document.

The author Sarah Welch, who is a Novantas Director created this excellent piece and I'll give you a brief overview:
  • Promise of Personalization - "Banks that establish digital empathy with their customers through personalization enjoy the benefits at every stage of the customer lifecycle."

  • Engagement - Bankers typically try to engage the customer to build an actual relationship with them. In addition to this direct engagement can this be done at scale through digital technology.

  • Humanizing Your Approach - "To compete in a digital-first world, all banks (and other financial based companies) will have to Humanize their customer interactions to drive deeper, stickier relationships"
View Article

Our ShareDirect technology is directly relevant to helping create the Digital Empathy Sarah Welch describes. Give us a call and we'll show you how.

New Ebook: Digital Solutions to Navigate Healthcare Commerce in 2021

This post is aimed at a particular industry, medical, pharma, healthcare and adjacent segments. It’s very relevant today especially since we may be coming out of the pandemic with a entirely new set of standards and needs. For example personalization and humanizing marketing and general communication is an imperative.

I invite you to read and/or download this ebook from Proficient by clicking here. They organize this into three chapters:
  • The NOW-The elements considered table stakes for most organizations and how you may look to integrate them within your business.

  • The NEW-Components that a few companies are executing on today and why they will likely be able to differentiate themselves from the competition.

  • The NEXT-What’s around the corner that no organization is working towards today but would be at the forefront of innovation if they were.
View Ebook
View Article

Top Trends in Customer Engagement for 2021

First Annual: 2021 Global Customer Engagement Review

This is a new study from Braze, "2021 Global Engagement Review." There is an enormous amount of information and something for almost every marketer and sales manager from many verticals. They break down the survey respondent companies into three categories:
  • Activate: Companies just beginning to recognize and use customer engagement strategies and tools

  • Accelerate: Brands that have developed some collaboration across departments but are still campaign oriented.

  • ACE: Top performing brands that have lifestyle centric Engagement Teams

I’ll provide the top trends below but you can click here for a more detailed look.

"Marketing Budgets will continue to increase with Customer Engagement as a top priority."

"Even Brands that are confident in their strategies can struggle to show success."

"More brands will view Customer Engagement as critical to business growth."


Featured Insights

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.


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
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This article from the CMO Council written by Cheryl Burgess of Blue Focus Marketing is close to my heart and mind. The article, titled Why Purpose is Profitable, speaks of the “undisruptable bonds among brands, customers, and employees.”

Purpose is another way of stating your Reason for Being or Raison D'etre. I have always thought this is the core of any organization and how it should build its brand(s). I've written extensively before about the Human approach and how brands need to realize that things are different now and there will be a new normal going into the future. And Ms. Burgess agrees:

“ teams need to focus on building brands that have a positive impact on society instead of just building top-line sales.”

“...consumers expect more from the brands they buy--including humanity and empathy...”

“By building goodwill and loyalty among their customers and their own people who serve them, these purpose-driven organizations will ultimately improve their bottom line and create a better world.”

So, Purpose is directly related to Personalization, the Human approach, and of course scalable technology. Just so you'll know we have had this statement from early in our existence and ShareDirect lives this every day:

Our primary reason for being is to support you, our ShareDirect customer, with the best, most current technology to engage your customers and prospects and make you successful in the process.

ABM Benchmark Study Provides Guidance for 2021

I am providing you a remarkable study recently completed by ITSMA and the ABM Leadership Alliance. Account Based Marketing has been around in various forms for the last few years. With the disruptions and changes in our workplace and methodology it is easy to see why enhancing Marketing and Sales collaboration would be essential to survival and growth.

This study sets the tone from 2020 and provides guidance for 2021. Today I want to highlight the types of ABM and the core principles or goals.
Types of Account Based Marketing: Most successful companies choose one or two of these types.
  • One-to-One: Marketing to individual accounts
  • One-to-Few: Marketing with specific Sales teams on clusters of accounts
  • One-to-Many: Scaling Marketing and Sales to many accounts
Core Principles: What is needed to have a successful ABM effort.
  • Strategic focus on improving business reputation, relationships and revenue
  • Tight partnerships and integration with sales (Collaboration)
  • Tailored and personalized programs and campaigns based on deep customer insight
As we have mentioned before ShareDirect is the premier outbound application for Account Based Marketing. We like to think of it as building Account Based Relationships (ABR). Let me know if I can help you and be on the lookout for the next installment.

View Study
Defining ABM
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a strategic approach to designing and executing highly-targeted and personalized marketing programs to drive business growth and impact with specific, named accounts.

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)

Building Your Business With More Human Experience

Excellent report with data highlighting the coming trend toward HX over CX

The coming trend toward HX over CX

We have been hearing over the last couple of years about the importance of Customer Experience (CX) over just Customer Service (CS). Now we're taking the next step, Human Experience (HX).

Customer Experience (CX) Human Experience (HX)
  • Identifies you
  • Gives reasons to believe and buy
  • More satisfying transaction
  • Understands you
  • Engagement to improve people's lives
  • More fulfilling life
Now, this study from Globalwebindex and Worldwide Partners takes it another step. This report "From CX to HX: Unleashing the energy of Human-First Experiences (HX) to empower marketing of the future."

Download the Report

The report drills into several verticals: Healthcare, Consumer Packaged Goods and Retail, Travel and Tourism, and Business-to-Business.

Let me know your thoughts on this shift and we can discuss how ShareDirect is built around empowering marketing through Human Experience (HX).

Today and in the foreseeable future HX determines the ultimate brand value.

Decision-Makers Gravitate Toward Brands With Human Connections, Page 30

Human experience can elevate brands from transaction experience to brand culture experience, resulting in stronger trust and better customer relationships.
Helen Lo, Head of Strategic Planning, We Marketing Group, Worldwide Partners, China

Through it all, marketing and sales teams must incorporate a level of selflessness and empathy in their messages and approaches to connect in a human, authentic, and personalized way. As customers navigate life through this crisis, positioning your company as a true partner is critical. Dialing back product promotions and leading with a common understanding of our shared experiences during this time can be invaluable.
Alison Fetterman, Director of Strategy, Godfrey Worldwide Partners, U.S.

Source: Worldwide Partners

Deliver Exceptional, Personalized Experiences

3 Customer-Centric Steps to Building a Strong Offense

Video Introduction

Reid Overcash, CEO, Heron Martech

View Full Article

Deliver Exceptional, Personalized Experiences

You can view the full article at CMSWire by Paul Hagen and Mike Rowland, The Great Restart: 3 Customer-Centric Steps to Building a Strong Offense. They cover the following points:
  1. Build Your Restart Plan Around Profitable Customers
    • Refine segmentation to identify your highest-value customers
    • Revisit your cost-to-serve model to understand which customers to engage
  2. Optimize Your Teams and their Technologies
    • Assess technology value to stop leakage
    • Reorganize your teams based on customer needs
  3. Take Advantage of New Opportunities
    • Create more customer value by meeting new needs

Their findings are built around a laser focus on your customers and new value proposition that will create an "increasing share of wallet, gaining higher margins and building market share."

I invite you to check out my video above and access the article. Please let us know how we can help you with our ShareDirect technology and our help for your business.

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.


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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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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