The last decades, the digital revolution has been in full force. Companies are tripping over each other to capture that tiny bit of attention of consumers they want to reach. Day by day, it gets more challenging to lure people into your marketing funnel. Back in the ’70s, the average U.S. citizen was exposed to roughly 500 ads per day. That number has since increased by a factor 10 to over 5,000 ads per day (Holmes, R., 2019).
Nowadays, the main focus for brand marketers is on reaching the masses, so individual consumer preferences are — unintentionally — ignored. Ironically, at the same time, it is more important than ever to stand out in the crowd. Brands have to make radical changes in the marketing funnel to regain personal experience across the customer journey. Once they achieve this, more traction will be created in both the awareness and acquisition stage. A higher conversion in the top of the funnel is likely to trickle down to the other stages. Eventually, this will lead to higher revenue, the lifeblood of any company. This raises the important question: “how can you get the consumer’s attention when there are millions of companies to fight with?”
In September 2019, I have started my traineeship at The Talent Institute. During the first month of full-time training, I was introduced to all relevant topics in the field of Growth Hacking. These topics are organized around one central framework: the ‘AAARRR-Funnel’ (Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue), also known as the Pirate-funnel. In the world of growth hacking, this framework is perceived as the holy grail.
First of all, it provides a deeper understanding of your customers and their decision-making journey. Secondly, it gives you guidance on how to optimize your marketing funnel. Finally, this framework helps you to set valuable metrics for each stage in the funnel. As I have previous experience in digital marketing, the first two stages in the funnel got my special attention.
My biggest takeaway in the first month has been the difference in perception between a digital marketer and a growth hacker. Previously, I focused on the total number of leads instead of looking under the hood of the buying process and understanding the drivers of conversion. Total conversion performance is driven by the micro-conversions in each step of the process. Armed with the Pirate-funnel Framework, it has become easier to understand the customer journey and the importance of optimization along each stage of the funnel.
After internalizing the conceptual framework, it was time to put it into practice. I was assigned to Storyteq, a dynamic video platform which empowers brands to generate data-driven videos in a few seconds. My role is to identify and implement the growth hacking opportunities at Storyteq during my traineeship.
Dynamic Creative Optimization
According to Forrester, digital marketing spend will reach $146B by 2023, growing at a 9% compound annual growth rate. However, setting and allocating more of the total marketing budget to online is not necessarily leading to better results and better revenue. To quote Thales S. Teixeira: “attention is a necessary ingredient for effective advertising. The rising cost of this ingredient in the marketplace is causing marketers to either waste money on costly attention sources or reduce their brand investment. Instead, they should be thinking about how to “buy” cheaper attention and how to use it more effectively.” Teixeira suggests adopting multitasker-tailored ads (dynamic creatives), lean advertising, and viral ad symbiosis.
Recently, Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) has taken off in the digital marketing industry as a powerful way to improve the performance of advertising campaigns. Machine learning technology enables companies to continuously change ads according to each customer’s preferences and browsing history. To achieve maximum impact, DCO intelligently combines data sources to enhance your ads, injecting them with real-time testing, and creative optimization. This results in hyper-relevant display ads that are dynamically tailored to the specific stage in the customer buying process (Dynamic creative optimisation: what you need to know, n.d.). As you digitize and automate more of your customer communications, a natural step in scaling, personalizing that content keeps the company and client relationship feeling human. It allows you to address audience members as individuals. This way, it makes the viewer values your video content more because it was created for them (Wertz, J., 2018).
One of the companies specializing in this marketing solution is Storyteq. The company aims to reverse the trend of increasing costs of attention and creative production by offering their clients a SaaS-platform to generate data-driven and personalized videos. With the platform, brands can reduce the cost of video production, decrease go-to-market time, and become more effective in their video marketing by moving away from one-video-fits-all. Storyteq offers the following solutions: (1) dynamic video advertising, (2) personalized video in CRM, and (3) creatives at scale.
The Storyteq-solutions have impressed me as a digital growth marketer. Storyteq shows that a smart change in marketing strategy can increase a company’s marketing performance and reduce costs at the time! Furthermore, DCO has a direct connection with growth hacking. Personalization tailors content and messaging to user interests and actions, making it an ideal method for guiding prospects through the marketing funnel.
Figures and facts support this message. The latest reports show that companies investing in personalization achieve better results. 93% of the businesses that have implemented an advanced personalization strategy were rewarded by revenue growth in 2018, while only 45% of organizations that didn’t personalize customer experience managed to sell more. Additionally, marketers also noticed a positive effect on the entire customer journey, including an increase in brand awareness, higher lead conversion, and repeat buyers, as well as better customer advocacy (The new era of personalized marketing is here. Are you ready to adapt? 2019).
The implementation of DCO in digital marketing can lead to many benefits for a company. DCO reduces costs and improves marketing effectiveness as a higher percentage of customers will be convinced during the awareness stage. Furthermore, as 72% of prospects will only engage with personalized marketing messages (Carter, J., 2019), personalization strategies are increasingly important for improving the quality of lead generation and subsequent conversion.
In the new digital age, content is tailored to the individual consumer context and relevant to the specific stage in his/her decision-making journey. As a result, consumers are offered the most relevant products/services in real-time, thus enhancing their online experiences.
In short, in the new era of digital marketing, DCO becomes a valuable tool in the awareness stage. Deep understanding of each individual customer is key to improving online marketing performance and building long-term customer loyalty. By making use of dynamic creatives you can elevate your business above the competition, because “why would you show one video to everyone if you can show a unique video to every person or target audience?”