Meet Andy Zimmerman, Evergage CMO

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When we are talking to a person off-line, we can immediately tailor our language based on some verbal or visual clues that we observe. Gender, mood, age, style, etc. However, people online are not giving these us this same information, and in a way have a mask up, which makes it harder for marketers to deliver relevant messages to the right segment of people. On average, 95% of the visitors leave a website without performing any action, and only 5% convert to meaningful leads. With website personalization, we are looking at shrinking that 95% and keep more visitors in the funnel with relevant messages real-time when they are visiting the website.

We have different business objectives for different segment of visitors, and we achieve them by delivering different messages. With Evergage, website personalization can optimize your online presence in light of your business objectives and people you are trying to reach. Imagine there is an anonymous visitor on your website and he or she is about to leave the website. Wouldn’t it be great if you can recommend some content in real-time for her to read before she close the window, especially if that piece of content is specifically chosen for her? Using Evergage, you can tell what types of content the visitor is interested in by his or her website activities and login profile. You can also invite visitors to join your newsletter or your subscription group right after they have shown interest on one specific topic, and be able to tailor the invitation to be more relevant and effective. There are unlimited ways to interact with your customers in real-time, and Evergage is helping make that a reality.

Websites are becoming a big decision point in the B2B world and more than 70% of buyers say that they will refer to a company’s website before they make a decision to purchase, so whether companies have a dynamic and personalized website can really make a difference when it comes to winning or losing that conversion. That’s why we are thrilled to have Evergage in our toolkit, and we would like to introduce this fantastic tool to you with Evergage CMO, Andy Zimmerman.

 

Introduction

Andy Zimmerman is the CMO at Evergage. Prior to joining the company in 2014, Andy got to know Evergage as a client, having implemented the solution at his previous company. Andy has had an extensive career in the B2B software industry, leading marketing, sales, business development, and alliances functions for numerous Boston-based technology companies.

 

What is Real-time Personalization?

Real-time personalization is recognizing, understanding and delivering highly relevant, individualized experiences to your digital audiences at the moment it matters most. Everyone wants to be treated like an individual and have their particular interests respected, acknowledged and addressed. Effective personalization technology and strategies allow you to deliver a unique experience to each person that visits your site or uses your app, leading to improved customer satisfaction, loyalty, engagement and conversion rates.

The “real-time” component of real-time personalization is particularly important. Real-time means that you can take all you know about each of your visitors and apply it “in the moment.” It means that you can recognize each visitor’s intent in their current session (not what they were trying to do the last time they were on your site) and deliver experiences that match that intent. Without the “real-time” in real-time personalization, your personalized experiences could happen too late to make a real impact or, worse, frustrate visitors by showing experiences that are no longer relevant.

 

How do you suggest someone start with Real-Time Personalization?

There is no one right way to get started with real-time personalization. We’ve seen some marketers begin by setting up machine learning-based algorithms and applying them creatively across the site, while others start with rule-based targeting campaigns, beginning with messaging to broad segments (e.g all first time visitors, all visitors from a particular source, etc.) and build from there once they achieve some quick wins. The approach really depends on the needs of your organization.

What is common for everyone, however, is that to get started you need to find the right platform. Many solutions offer personalization capabilities, so you need to find one that will be able to serve your current needs, as well as support you as your needs evolve. It’s important to find a partner that will provide the capabilities and the strategic and tactical guidance you need to accomplish your personalization goals at every stage of the maturity curve.

 

Where have you seen Real-Time Personalization successful? What would you recommend as success?

We’ve seen successful personalization campaigns across industries for both B2B and B2C companies. The most successful personalization strategies tend to be based on a deep understanding of the customer/visitor and are focused on providing experiences that will truly help him accomplish his goals and engage with relevant content.

For example, we’ve seen one tech company increase its website conversion rate and average order value for small-to-medium business (SMB) customers by personalizing its main site navigation for enterprise and SMB visitors. By understanding that those groups have different needs, it dynamically modifies its navigation to help those groups of visitors more easily find relevant information. Another tech company timed in-app messages to display whenever a user began going down a path that frequently led to support issues. By paying attention to how its customers interacted with its product, the company was able to save money by eliminating support calls while providing a smoother experience for its customers.

While the applications and benefits of real-time personalization vary widely, a common success factor is the use of A/B testing. Testing out your ideas is the right way to determine which ones are winners. Each personalization campaign should be tested against a control to ensure it is effective, and you should keep monitoring and tweaking your successful campaigns to optimize your results.

 

You’ve probably seen a ton of clients implement Evergage, any tips on how to plan for Real-Time Personalization campaigns?

We’ve seen plenty of marketers jump in and learn as they go, and there is nothing wrong with that. But to develop a sustainable personalization strategy, I’d suggest you start by asking yourself five questions:

  1. What are our business goals?
  2. How will we measure success?
  3. Who are we targeting?
  4. What are our customer journeys?
  5. What data will we need?

Once you’ve worked out the answers to these questions, you’ll have a good foundation to plan and execute successful personalization campaigns that deliver measurable results and help you achieve your business goals.

And when it comes to planning and implementing personalization campaigns, you’ll want to make sure you have the right skills on your team, you have some governance in place, and you have plans for measurement and attribution. I also encourage you to check out this blog post to help you get started with these items. And feel free to also reach out directly to me for tips and guidance on real-time personalization! Follow me on Twitter at @ahzimmerman and @evergage.