Is Agency Life Right For You?

ELIZA BALL | August 10, 2020

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Whether you’re just setting off in your career in public relations or you’re looking for a change in your communications career path, your PR journey can take many shapes and forms. From setting your sights on a particular brand or industry to joining a large company or startup, the possibilities in PR are endless.

Spotlight

Elevated Third

As a Denver-based, B2B digital marketing agency, our job is to tackle tough marketing and customer experience problems for Fortune 500 and enterprise clients. B2B marketing is more complicated than ever and we thrive on the complexity. Our approach is better. We understand not only what to do and why, but how to get it done with Drupal.

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2020 Is the Year of Digital Omnichannel. Here’s What You Need to Know

Article | June 1, 2020

It seems like just yesterday that the customer service industry began transitioning from a multichannel to an omnichannel mindset. It was a shift backed by data—lots of it. According to Marketing Week, 15 years ago the average consumer used two touchpoints when making a purchase and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today, consumers use an average of almost six touchpoints with nearly 50% regularly using more than four. But, a mindset shift is only part of the equation. For years, many companies struggled to cobble together the best customer experiences they could. They were sold on the idea of omnichannel engagement, but their operations didn’t back it up — what use are all the channels in the world if your customer’s story and data are kept in silos? Cut to everyone heralding the premature death of omnichannel. New buzzwords came out like “channel-less” and “harmonized retail” (for real). But these words all pointed to the same thing: the need for a CX solution that puts the customers above the channel, and harnesses technology to give agents the tools and visibility to deliver deeper customer care. Digital omnichannel is the next word in customer experience. Here’s what it means and how to put it to work. What is Digital Omnichannel? At its core, the digital omnichannel promise is simple; it means supporting customers effectively and cohesively across all digital channels. In customer service, digital omnichannel effortlessly blends digital touchpoints to form a unified view of the customer. Agents can view every interaction that a customer has had with the company, no matter the channel of origin, from a single console. This visibility lets them create a cohesive, deeply personalized customer profile that enables higher quality service. By combining the information gathered from channels like live chat, SMS, social media, and more with pre-existing data found in customer databases or CRM systems, companies can eliminate the blind spots and roadblocks that result from siloed customer service systems and channels for a frictionless and more successful customer journey. Why Adopt Digital Omnichannel? In theory, digital omnichannel aligns perfectly with the existing philosophies of many companies, which are to serve customers quickly, efficiently, and effectively. Here are some of the ways that digital omnichannel is helping companies meet their customer service goals and drive operational efficiency: 1. Optimized agent capacity For agents, digital omnichannel engagement means simpler customer communication and greater ease of use. No more social media queries getting sent to the marketing team, who then emails them to customer service. No more shared inboxes. With a unified view of the customer across all channels, agents can resolve queries more easily, increasing their overall capacity. 2. Increased customer satisfaction Customers expect agents to have access to their whole story when they reach out for support. According to a survey conducted by UBM, 75% of participants cited having to repeat themselves as their biggest issue when communicating with a brand. With digital omnichannel, agents have both the tools and the context they need to satisfy customers and improve KPIs such as first contact resolution rate (FCR) and average handle time (AHT). 3. Reduced costs Improving customer satisfaction can indeed increase revenue—but it can also reduce costs. According to McKinsey, brands that improve the customer journey see their revenue increase by 10 to 15% while also lowering costs by 15 to 20%. 4. Increased agent satisfaction When a channel becomes secondary to the customer experience, it also becomes secondary to the agent experience. According to McKinsey, companies that invest in their customer experience also see an improvement in employee engagement by 20% on average. How Do You Adopt Digital Omnichannel? Once you understand digital omnichannel, the next step is to devise a plan to put it into action. There are three practical steps to building your plan: 1. Identify your channels At this point, chances are you already know which channels your customers want and expect (not sure? Ask them). Here are the top digital channels we recommend: • Live chat • Ticketing and email • SMS/Messaging • Social media • Knowledge base • Chatbots These channels cover both your real-time and “anytime” communication bases. They also provide enough self-support cushion to take the pressure off your agents in times of high-volume or after-hours support requests. 2. Create a digital roadmap for your customers’ journey Once you have selected your channels, it’s time to create your customer experience map. Ask yourself who your customers are, where they are coming from, and what actions you want them to take. Break down your key milestones and consider how you can guide your customers through those milestones using your various digital touchpoints and channels. Consider the role of your website, social channels, live chat, knowledge base, mobile chat, and more, in moving your customer from awareness to loyalty. With digital omnichannel, you will be able to effortlessly watch them move through these stages as you collect data on their engagements. 3. Choose your technology Like omnichannel before it, digital omnichannel is little more than a nice theory unless your operations back it up. So, how do you make your customer service operations digital omnichannel-friendly? You don’t want to spend resources trying to cobble it together yourself because that will introduce a technical price that isn’t worth it. The ideal digital omnichannel solution will integrate with your other core business systems, including CRM, and will scale as your company grows and new technologies and channels are introduced. Agent Assist is the perfect tool to optimize agent efficiency and productivity whilst ensuring accuracy every time. Agent Assist monitors your live chats, understands the questions being asked, and suggests the answers from your knowledge base, canned messages and chatbot intents. Within a double-click of the mouse, your agent can choose and send the most relevant answer. Fast, accurate and easy. The right solution should also have top-notch routing, prioritization, and analytic capacities. Tools such as intelligent routing ensure that your customer’s inquiry gets to the right person at the right time, with the flexibility you need to define your own unique routing procedures. Being able to segment your customers your way—by geography, historical sales, industry, and more—will further help you offer a more specialized and effective customer service program. On the analytics side, you’ll want to be able to set the right KPIs, keep close tabs on them, and learn from what’s going on so you can tweak and improve how you’re delivering. Conclusion A great customer experience isn’t merely about implementing more channels. It’s about making it easier for your customers to contact you when and where they want. It’s about how the stories gathered across those channels are appropriately unified. And it’s about equipping your agents with everything they need to create an ongoing cycle of deeper customer understanding and better service Take your time to research an effective digital omnichannel solution that matches your needs, and to carefully plan out your digital customer journey. You can’t cut corners when building a great customer experience. Fortunately the rewards of thoughtful and well-implemented digital omnichannel engagement will last for years to come.

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How Intent Data Activates the Marketing Cloud

Article | June 1, 2020

Why is the digital marketplace ascending and demanding the attention of more B2B sellers? Clearly, with COVID, anything digital is popular and necessary. The crisis has accelerated digital transformation, forcing everyone into more digital marketing. As a result, B2B marketers are having to learn a lot of lessons very fast, while their revenue objectives haven’t gone away. This has pushed faster adoption of digital technology for digital marketing and demand generation. So naturally, as the digital space is growing, so is interest in running martech from the cloud, instead of cobbling together point solutions for different channels like display and content syndication. That time has passed. We’re entering the era of the marketing cloud: an integrated suite of solutions available as web-based services delivered via software-as-a-service.

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Why Is Blog Writing So Important In 2021?

Article | June 1, 2020

Despite the rise of video content, 8 in 10 digital marketers still have blogging as a strategy in their back pocket. The simple answer is that it works. For example, more than 5 in 10 marketers claim that they gained new traffic from blogging. Here are some of the statistics about blogging you should know about: More than 400 people read at least 20 billion blogs monthly Readers comment on blogs 70 million times each month The average blog has more than 1,000 words Bloggers on average finish the blog in three hours and fifty-seven minutes 3 in 10 readers prefer a list post to a long narrative Websites featuring blogs have more than 400% indexed pages More than 7 in 10 users read and skim through blogs But you need to understand one thing about blogging--it is challenging. For one, blogging is time-consuming, especially for a new business that needs to build its audience. It is one thing to speak to a captured audience (your loyal customers), but it is quite another to use it as a tool to funnel traffic into your website. So, why do you need to include blogging in your content strategy for 2021? We list down the reasons for doing so. Blogging is still the king of content -- More marketers are using video to reach out to their target audience, but the strategy has not replaced blogging on top of the totem pole. More than any other form, blogging can establish your authority as an expert in your field. As an added benefit, blogs are still the cheapest form of SEO, compared to video, infographics, and images. They are perfect for small businesses with limited budgets. You can outsource the assignment to professionals, and it will cost you between $20 and $250 per blog post. But you can drastically cut costs if you are doing it on your own. In comparison, professional videos will cost you upwards of $1,500. Boost your rankings -- Last year was a surreal one as the pandemic upended the world. This year does not bode well for bringing things back to normal as the coronavirus continues to lay waste to economies. However, despite the pandemonium, you know what has remained consistent? Blogging continues to drive traffic to websites at exponential rates. Some businesses may take a more conservative tack in terms of marketing spend. But you do not have to erase your previous gains by abandoning your strategy altogether. Blogging is the perfect way to reach out to your audience and assure them that you are still fighting along with them. You also rank higher when you manage to position your website as the primary authority in answering the user’s relevant queries. Another way to boost your rankings is if other websites link to your blog post as a primary source of information. Demonstrate your credibility -- blogging helps establish your credentials. There is nothing like putting thoughts to paper while inviting scrutiny. It is like putting a challenge out there to question your authority on the matter at hand. But you can build your credibility further by adding stats and studies to back your claims. You can also invite industry experts to write their perspectives on the topic. Finally, you can include videos, infographics, or images to prove a point. Again, it is not easy for most businesses to produce high-quality posts regularly. You can outsource most of the writing jobs to competent SEO professionals out there. But make time to write a blog at least once a week so that you can continue to connect with your audience. If anything else, you blog because you offer a unique perspective to add to the ocean of opinions out there. Promote your products -- E-commerce websites do not put too much stock on blogging, which is a shame since they can increase sales this way. Most businesses do not understand that the amount of quality content on your website is crucial in search engine indexing. You can post special events, discount offers, flash sales, and other announcements. Another reason to blog is to engage your customers, especially if you open your post to comments. You can ask satisfied customers to include their testimonies and highlight these success stories on your website. The trick in promoting your products is to be truthful. You should also list down the cons, along with the pros, and let your customers decide. But it would be best if you did it so that you do not sabotage your product. You can still pitch a product without peppering your post with too much sales talk. Reach out to new markets -- blogging can drive new traffic to your website as Google tends to recommend websites with updated and high-quality content. The important thing is to be patient. Your blog should work to funnels sales to your website. You would only be wasting space otherwise. Finding new markets will guarantee a steady stream of revenues. You have zero chance of expanding your business if you are always relying on your existing customer base. More importantly, you can use blogging to make your loyal customers feel rewarded while reaching out to prospects. However, it takes blogs at least three months to gain traction, especially for new businesses. You cannot demand results immediately just because you are producing premium content. But one thing to remember about your blogs is ownership. Make sure that you do not use free blogging platforms to host your thoughts. You will be at the mercy of these platforms, and they can delete your content anytime. Conclusion One of the most significant challenges of blogging is finding the right person with the talent to put their thoughts on paper with their business goals in mind. It is intimidating for most people to stare at a blank screen as the pressure to churn out a product increases. Fortunately, in today’s age, you do not have to do it on your own. Social Media Marketing agencies can cost-effectively handle your content strategy. We already demonstrated that blogging establishes authority and generates traffic. Now, the easy part is for you to decide to place that call.

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Why is Most B2B Marketing So Forgettable?

Article | June 1, 2020

Every marketer wants to make an impact. Today, with 80 percent of the sales cycle happening in digital or remote settings, you’ve never had a greater opportunity to directly influence buying decisions. And the number one factor driving those buying decisions? Memory. Your buyers interact with your marketing in one moment, but they make the decision to buy in the future. That means the messages and assets you create must stick in your buyer’s mind long enough to influence their purchase decision. Unfortunately, most marketers don’t believe their content is memorable or actionable.

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Spotlight

Elevated Third

As a Denver-based, B2B digital marketing agency, our job is to tackle tough marketing and customer experience problems for Fortune 500 and enterprise clients. B2B marketing is more complicated than ever and we thrive on the complexity. Our approach is better. We understand not only what to do and why, but how to get it done with Drupal.

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