Categories
Highlights News Reaching New Customers SEO UX Design

How can businesses benefit from a CDP vs. a CRM?

Think about all the different ways and places you’re interacting with your customers today. They’re visiting your website, interacting with your social channels, seeing your ads, engaging with your sales people, receiving emails from you, participating in loyalty programs, the list goes on. It takes a diverse lineup of tools and platforms to make all those interactions happen, each leveraging different data sets to drive and inform their operations and each creating and collecting data as those interactions happen. 

Data is the lifeblood of modern digital marketing ecosystems. But with the ever-growing data deluge, managing and leveraging it effectively can feel like you’re dealing with a data tsunami. Enter two essential tools: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms and Customer Data Platforms (CDPs). While CRMs have been a mainstay for sales teams for years, CDPs can be game-changers for marketers. Let’s break down their distinct roles and how they can work together to supercharge your marketing efforts.

CRMs: The building blocks for customer relationships

Not only is it true that not all CRMs are created equal, they aren’t all designed to fulfill the exact same roles. In fact, there are 3 main types of CRMs, all of which are designed to enable businesses in different ways:

  • Collaborative CRMs: These are designed to combine and integrate marketing, sales, and customer service data to support a more effectively orchestrated customer journey. They’re used for interaction and channel management to illuminate the customer journey from initial touchpoint to conversion.
  • Analytical CRMs: These are designed to gather and analyze customer data to uncover customer insights. They’re used for data warehousing, mining, and online analytical processing (OLAP) tools to deliver actionable customer insights.
  • Operational CRMs: These are designed to simplify and streamline sales and marketing processes to enable and accelerate the path to conversion. They’re used for automation of marketing and sales activity, CX improvement, and driving to and tracking high-value actions.

More often than not, our clients are using operational CRMs to help sales and marketing teams manage customer interactions and relationships and track, assign, and manage action on leads, opportunities, and accounts. They enable sales teams to nurture and maintain long-term client relationships and maintain a clear view of the sales pipeline. However, it’s important to understand the limitations of CRMs when it comes to marketing:

  • Data silos: CRM data often exists in isolation, offering a snapshot of sales interactions but lacking the broader picture of customer behavior across different channels.
  • Limited personalization: While CRMs might support basic segmentation based on demographics or purchase history, they generally lack the sophisticated data analysis capabilities needed for truly personalized marketing campaigns.
  • Limited activation capabilities: While CRMs can be effective for enabling activation against customer data in channels like email and social, they often don’t offer sufficient capabilities to activate on all the channels marketing campaigns need to enter to meet customers where they are.

CDPs: Helping solve the customer journey Rubik’s Cube for digital marketing success

Remember all those channels and touchpoints where your customers could be engaging with you and all the data being leveraged and created through those interactions? That data is hard to take advantage of when pieces of it live in different places. A CRM might address some of them, but the complete picture, encompassing the full spectrum of customer behavior, remains elusive. This is where a CDP shines. 

For marketing teams, a customer data platform provides a solution for achieving a persistent, unified customer database. CDPs ingest vast amounts of online and offline data from many sources then match and merge this information into a single customer view. This includes:

  • Online and offline channels: Website interactions, purchase history, email clicks, social media engagement, CDPs gather it all, painting a holistic picture of customer activity across digital touchpoints.
  • Transactional data: Purchases, product preferences, abandoned carts, no detail escapes the CDP’s watchful eye, providing insights into customer buying habits and preferences.
  • Behavioral data: Website behavior, content consumption, search queries, CDPs unveil a detailed portrait of customer actions and interests, revealing how they engage with your brand.

This provides businesses with much greater insight into who their customers are and what they’re doing throughout their journeys. But the real value of a CDP is making that multi-source data actionable for marketing teams, giving them the insights they need to reach the right audiences at the right time, with the right message, across multiple channels, empowering them to:

  • Craft laser-focused campaigns: Analyze customer behavior, preferences, and interactions across all touchpoints to deliver personalized messages that resonate deeply. Imagine sending birthday discount codes to loyal customers or recommending products based on their past purchases.
  • Align with buyer needs: Understanding the buyer’s journey is essential for effective marketing. CDPs enable businesses to align their marketing efforts with buyer needs and cycles, ensuring that messaging is timely, relevant, and impactful. For example, if you ran an ecomm puzzle business and found that customers purchasing large, complex puzzles were also consuming blog content puzzle tips and strategies, this insight would allow you to proactively serve up content on advanced puzzle-solving techniques and special offers on puzzle glue designed for large projects.
  • Optimize marketing spend: A CDP can help you track which marketing channels are most effective at reaching your target audience and driving conversions so you can allocate resources efficiently. For example, you might see that your social media ads are generating more sales than your email campaigns and then adjust your budget to allocate more resources to social media advertising. This data-driven approach ensures you get the most bang for your marketing buck.
  • Measure campaign effectiveness: CDPs allow you to track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns across all channels to more effectively analyze impact and identify areas for improvement. For example, being able to track how many purchase conversions came from traffic that was generated from specific channels and campaigns allows you to measure ROI and optimization performance across multiple channels.

 A real-life example of a CDP solution

Now that we have outlined some of the business benefits of a CDP, let’s take a look at some concrete examples of how a niche cable provider uses their CDP to improve their business:

CDPs streamline sales and lead management

The company uses a CDP to track and manage sales opportunities across multiple channels, including online inquiries, inbound calls, and retail store visits. The CDP integrates data from various sources, such as website interactions, lead forms, and customer inquiries, to create a unified view of sales prospects within a single system. With all this data in a single system, when a customer submits an online inquiry about cable services, the CDP captures the lead information and assigns it to the appropriate sales representative based on predefined criteria, such as geographic location or service area. The sales representative receives a real-time notification and can follow up with the prospect promptly, updating the lead status and progress within the CDP.

CDPs foster deeper relationships and personalized experiences

They also use their CDP to enhance customer relationships by personalizing interactions and delivering tailored communications based on individual preferences and behaviors. The CDP aggregates data from customer interactions across various touchpoints, including website visits, support calls, and billing inquiries. If a customer contacts the customer service department to inquire about upgrading their service plan, the CDP retrieves the customer’s historical data, including past purchases, service requests, and usage patterns, to provide the representative with a complete view of the customer’s account. Armed with this information, the representative can offer personalized recommendations tailored to the customer’s needs and preferences, such as suggesting a bundled package with additional channels or faster internet speeds.

CDPs can maximize growth

With the CDP, they are able to easily analyze customer data and identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling additional products and services. The CDP leverages built-in predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms to identify customers who are most likely to respond positively to targeted offers and promotions.

For example, when they launched a promotional campaign to encourage existing customers to upgrade to a premium cable package with exclusive sports channels, they used the CDP to identify customers who frequently watch sports-related content and have expressed interest in premium channel packages in the past. The CDP generates personalized offers tailored to each customer’s viewing preferences and history, such as discounted upgrade packages or free trial periods. By targeting the right customers with the right offers at the right time on the right communication channel, the cable provider can drive revenue growth and increase customer satisfaction.

Integrating CDPs and CRMs for enhanced insights

While CDPs and CRMs offer distinct functionalities, integrating these platforms can unlock powerful insights and synergies:

  • Deeper data integration: Seamlessly integrating CDP and CRM systems allows businesses to leverage customer data effectively across the entire organization. By breaking down data silos and enabling cross-functional collaboration, integration enhances visibility, efficiency, and decision-making.
  • Supercharged segmentation and targeting: Rich customer data from CDPs and CRMs enables businesses to create targeted segments based on demographic, behavioral, and psychographic attributes. By tailoring messaging and offers to specific audience segments, marketers can increase relevance and engagement, driving higher conversion rates and ROI. Especially when it comes to targeting, utilizing your existing first-party customer data is likely to yield a much more accurate view of lookalike audiences for example versus purchasing these audiences from a third party.
  • Powered-up personalization: Personalization is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have for modern marketers. CDPs and CRMs empower businesses to deliver personalized experiences at scale by leveraging AI and machine learning algorithms to analyze customer data, predict preferences, and automate content delivery across multiple channels.
  • Leveled-up lifecycle marketing: Customer journeys are complex and nonlinear, spanning multiple touchpoints and channels. CDPs and CRMs enable businesses to orchestrate personalized, omnichannel marketing campaigns that guide customers through the entire lifecycle, from awareness to advocacy.

Navigating ethical considerations and data privacy

CDPs are central to the ongoing and real-time collection, storage, and utilization of customer data for marketing purposes. As such, they play a crucial role in the age of data privacy regulations and heightened consumer awareness. It is critical to ensure ethical considerations and data privacy practices are upheld within marketing strategies according to the following:

  • Transparency and consent: CDPs aggregate data from various sources, including customer interactions, transactions, and engagements. Marketers leverage this comprehensive view of customer data to personalize marketing campaigns and improve customer experiences. However, to do so ethically, businesses must ensure that customers are fully informed about how their data is collected, used, and protected within the CDP. This transparency fosters trust between businesses and customers, enhancing the legitimacy of data-driven marketing efforts facilitated by the CDP.
  • Data security and compliance: Protecting customer data is not only a legal requirement but also a moral imperative. Businesses must implement robust security measures and comply with data protection regulations to safeguard customer information from unauthorized access, breaches, and misuse.
  • Fairness and bias mitigation: AI and machine learning algorithms have the potential to perpetuate biases and discrimination if not carefully monitored and mitigated. Businesses must ensure fairness and equity in algorithmic decision-making by regularly auditing models, testing for bias, and implementing corrective measures.

Implementing CRMs and CDPs with a dedicated partner 

CDPs and CRMs are complementary and indispensable tools and can be a powerful duo in a business’s digital marketing toolbox. While CRMs excel at managing customer interactions and sales activities and providing a record of individual customer journeys, CDPs illuminate customer behaviors across all touchpoints, drive more nuanced customer segmentation, and activate marketing efforts against customer data across all channels at scale. When used together, they offer a holistic view of the customer, enabling marketers to craft highly targeted campaigns, personalize content and offers, and optimize marketing spend.

However, it’s crucial to choose CDPs that integrate seamlessly with existing CRMs and to invest in the data discovery—requirements gathering, data architecture, and data classification and mapping—and data retrieval and harmonization efforts required to ensure smooth data flow, avoid creating data silos, and set your implementation up for success. It’s also important to adopt a responsible approach to data management that prioritizes transparency, security, and fairness to uphold ethical standards and foster customer trust. An experienced partner can help you unlock the combined data-driven power of a CDP and CRM to fuel higher performing digital marketing strategies while applying responsible practices for data privacy. ready to build out your business use cases for implementing a CRM or a CDP, or integrating the two, let’s talk.

Categories
CRO Customer Engagement Highlights Paid Media Product Design Reaching New Customers SEO

Small wins, big results: How Marginal Gains Theory supports significant growth

The pressure to deliver outstanding results can feel immense in today’s digital business landscape. Marketers strive for significant campaign performance boosts and consistent growth. But what if the key to achieving these goals lies not in sweeping changes, but in a series of small, strategic improvements?

This is the philosophy behind Marginal Gains Theory. Popularized by British cycling’s dramatic performance improvement under coach Sir Dave Brailsford, it suggests that by focusing on a multitude of minor optimizations, you can unlock a surprising level of overall success. Imagine shaving off a few seconds here or optimizing a specific keyword phrase there—these seemingly insignificant tweaks, when combined, can lead to a substantial competitive edge and transformative improvement.

What can a strategy focused on marginal gains mean for marketers?

The pursuit of continuous, incremental improvement is a cornerstone of business success. While major breakthroughs are exciting, it’s often the seemingly insignificant adjustments that unlock significant progress. Marginal Gains Theory embodies this philosophy.

At Tallwave, we embrace this philosophy. We meticulously analyze and refine every step of the business journey, from initial brand awareness to user experience optimization, SEO strategies, and post-purchase communication. We believe in the power of “sweating the small stuff” to achieve significant results.

Here’s how marketers and other business leaders can apply Marginal Gains Theory to achieve incremental gains that add up to major impact:

Focus on measurable improvements

By tracking key metrics and focusing on areas with the most significant impact, you can ensure your incremental optimization efforts are targeted and effective.

Prioritize efficiency

Small tweaks don’t require massive investments of time or resources. Putting focus on those allows you to experiment more frequently, identify winning strategies faster, and optimize your marketing efforts with greater efficiency.

Build sustainable growth

The beauty of implementing tactics that encourage marginal gains lies in their cumulative effect. By consistently making small improvements across various marketing channels, you can create a sustainable growth trajectory for your brand and marketing efforts.

Foster a culture of experimentation

A strategy focused on marginal gains and small wins encourages a culture of experimentation and continuous learning within your marketing team. This fosters creativity, data-driven decision-making, and a willingness to test and iterate for optimal results.

Reduce risk

Large-scale marketing changes can be risky and expensive. By focusing on smaller, more manageable optimizations, you minimize potential downsides while maximizing the potential for positive outcomes.

Establish a long-term competitive advantage

In today’s dynamic marketing landscape, the ability to adapt and improve is crucial. By embracing a strategy focused on marginal gains, you develop a strategic advantage by constantly refining your approach and staying ahead of the curve.

Prioritizing incremental and iterative improvements empowers marketers to achieve significant results through a series of small, data-driven enhancements. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, but the consistent pursuit of continuous optimization can create marketing strategies that deliver exceptional results over the long term.

How can we apply Marginal Gains Theory in digital experience optimization?

Through our digital experience optimization (DXO) work with a diverse client base, we’ve found many opportunities to implement small changes that have a significant impact on improving conversion rates, lead generation, and full-funnel strategy growth.

Here are a few areas where we can turn the concept of marginal gains into tangible tactics:

Technical touch points and website health

When it comes to your website, every millisecond counts. Here are some tactics that can continually improve how users (and search engines) might interact with your site:

  • Implement caching mechanisms: This allows your server to store frequently accessed data, reducing the load time for returning visitors.
  • Optimize image sizes: Large, uncompressed images can significantly slow down your website. Use tools to compress images without sacrificing quality.
  • Minify code: This involves removing unnecessary characters and spaces from your website’s code, resulting in a smaller file size that loads faster.
  • Leverage a content delivery network (CDN): A CDN stores copies of your website’s content across geographically distributed servers. This ensures faster loading times for users around the world.

A/B testing and understanding what words work

Don’t underestimate the power of tweaking your website’s headlines and calls to action (CTAs).  Here are some tactics that can produce marginal gains through A/B tests:

  • Test small variations in wording: Focus on specific elements within your headline or CTA, like changing a verb or adding a power word.
  • Track user engagement: Use heatmaps and analytics tools to see where users are focusing their attention and how they respond to different headlines and CTAs.
  • Embrace data-driven decisions: A/B testing allows you to experiment and identify the most effective messaging for your audience. Even a minor improvement in click-through rate can translate to a significant increase in leads over time.

Friction-fighting forms

Analyze your website forms and eliminate unnecessary fields. Here are some tactics to achieve small wins:

  • Identify essential information: Only ask for the information absolutely necessary to qualify a lead. Every additional field creates friction and discourages users from completing the form.
  • Pre-populate fields when possible: Use cookies or autofill features to pre-populate fields with information users have already provided. This reduces the amount of typing required and streamlines the process.
  • Offer clear value propositions: Explain why users should provide their information. Highlight the benefits they’ll receive in exchange for completing the form.
  • Simplify form design: Use clear labels, intuitive layouts, and avoid CAPTCHAs whenever possible. A user-friendly form experience encourages completion.

Data-driven SEO and content optimization

Leverage website analytics and data strategy to identify high-performing content and low-performing pages. Earn marginal gains through:

  • Topic cluster optimization: Identify high-performing content and create supporting content that dives deeper into specific aspects of the topic.
  • Content refresh: Update existing content with fresh information, keywords, statistics, and visuals to maintain user engagement.
  • Internal linking: Link relevant content pieces together to improve website navigation and user experience. This also helps distribute link juice and improve search engine ranking.
  • Optimize for user intent: Analyze user search queries and optimize your content to address their specific needs and pain points.

Laser-focused landing pages 

Make sure your landing pages are laser-focused on a single conversion goal.

  • Clear CTAs: Each landing page should have a clear and prominent CTA that tells users exactly what action you want them to take.
  • Targeted messaging: Craft compelling and targeted messaging that aligns with the offer or lead magnet on your landing page.
  • Clutter-free design: Avoid distractions and maintain a clean, user-friendly layout that guides visitors toward the desired conversion action.
  • Mobile responsiveness: Ensure your landing pages are optimized for mobile devices as a significant portion of website traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets.

Unleash the power of experimentation and iteration with marginal gains

The beauty of Marginal Gains Theory lies in its continuous improvement mindset. By consistently monitoring data, identifying areas for optimization, and implementing small changes, you create a culture of iterative improvement that can significantly impact your marketing results over time. 

Want to know more about how small wins add up to big improvements? See our case study about how we helped an e-commerce company double revenue in just three months.

Ready to play a long game of small wins?

Marketing success rarely happens overnight. It’s the result of a consistent effort, a commitment to data-driven decision making, and a relentless pursuit of improvement. By embracing the philosophy of marginal gains, you can transform your marketing strategy from a series of random acts to a well-oiled machine of continuous optimization.


At Tallwave, we believe in thoughtful rigor and sweating the small stuff, just like Sir Dave Brailsford did when he coined Marginal Gains Theory. Let’s talk about the big growth we can drive with small improvements.

Categories
Customer Engagement Highlights Reaching New Customers Strategy

Organizational growth strategies: Aligning purpose and practice

Organizational growth isn’t just about increasing revenue or market share. It’s about building a sustainable and purpose-driven organization. 

Sure, every company aspires to quickly grow and see revenue rise. However, understanding the “why” behind that growth is critical for attracting and retaining talent, authentically engaging customers, and achieving long-term success. Simply put, understanding your “why” and aligning your purpose with your operational practices can unlock true organizational growth.

Understanding the ‘why’ in business growth

Many companies define growth in terms of financial metrics. While these are important, focusing solely on profit and EBITA is like having a destination in mind without plotting a route to get there, which can leave business strategies directionless. A truly purpose-driven business clearly understands its “why”—its core reason for existence beyond making money. This purpose serves as a guiding star, rallying like-minded employees, inspiring customer loyalty, and fostering a genuine connection between your organization and the market you serve. When companies are guided by purpose, they’re more likely to find their way to financial success.

Consider Patagonia, a company renowned for its commitment to environmental sustainability. Their purpose isn’t just selling outdoor apparel but protecting the planet for future generations. This purpose informs everything they do, from product design to marketing campaigns, and has earned them a fiercely loyal customer base for good reason. Consumers get to feel as if they are playing a part in the health of our environment by purchasing Patagonia goods while having great gear to enjoy the great outdoors. This is a great example of how threading purpose all the way through an organization drives positive business outcomes.

The significance of authentic branding

Authentic branding is the outward expression of your company’s purpose. It’s about clearly communicating your values, mission, and the impact you strive to make. Customers today are savvy; they can sniff out inauthenticity a mile away. Remember when Kellogg’s CEO Gary Pilnick suggested on national television that American families consider “cereal for dinner” in response to rising food costs? Consumers certainly do, and an organized boycott is still underway.

When your branding authentically reflects your purpose, it fosters trust and creates a positive emotional connection with your audience. Here’s where crisp and consistent storytelling comes into your brand’s message and content strategy. Your company story should be woven into every facet of your marketing and sales efforts. This can include blog posts, social media content, website copy, and even customer case studies. By consistently telling your story, you reinforce your purpose and build brand loyalty.

Linking purpose with operational efficiency

Purpose is not just a feel-good slogan; it must be operationalized to fuel your company and ultimately growth. This means ensuring your business operations and processes are aligned with your purpose and your people are equipped to deliver on your promises, not just to customers but to one another. 

Here’s where data-driven accountability and data-centricity come into play. Leaders and decision-makers need access to the right metrics and data to assess operational efficiency. These metrics should measure progress toward company goals, client satisfaction, customer perception, retention, and growth. By holding leadership accountable for key performance indicators (KPIs) that connect to purpose-driven growth, you create a feedback loop that ensures alignment across all levels of the organization.

The critical role of sales and delivery synergy

Imagine a scenario where your sales team paints a rosy picture of your product or service to close a deal, but then the internal teams responsible for delivery lack the resources or capacity to fulfill those promises. This disconnect between sales and delivery creates a frustrating experience for customers and can damage your reputation (your brand). It’s important to remember that sales are just one step in the customer journey.

For true organizational growth, your sales and delivery need to be in lockstep. This requires clear communication between both teams, ensuring everyone understands the product or service capabilities and realistic timelines. Additionally, shared goals that prioritize customer satisfaction and advocacy are crucial. By aligning purpose with operational practices, you can foster strong collaboration between sales and delivery, ensuring a seamless and positive customer experience from initial contact to successful delivery.

When internal solutions fall short: Finding the right partner

Sometimes, organizations get stuck in their siloed workflows and struggle to create the internal alignment necessary for sustained growth. This is when partnering with a trusted external partner can be invaluable. Infusing fresh perspectives and outside expertise can help you refocus your strategies with your customer at the center and your purpose as the driver for greater resonance with your target audience and purpose-driven growth for your business.

Here’s why seeking external help can help bring purpose to your efforts:

  • Internal blind spots: Teams can be too close to the problem, losing perspective on the value your brand exists to create for your customers and missing potential solutions.
  • Leadership challenges: Leaders may lack the expertise or resources to implement necessary changes when purpose becomes disconnected from practice in their business operations and strategies.
  • Translation to execution: Even when the purpose is clear at the brand level, it’s not always easy to thread it through to execution at the hands of practitioners. From sales and marketing to product, IT, finance, operations, and every other business discipline, the subject matter experts across all these domains need to approach what they do from the context of why they do it, which stems from your purpose.

By partnering with an agency that aligns with your purpose, understands the digital landscape, and approaches marketing, product, and data strategies as tools to help you fulfill your brand’s purpose and create the kinds of experiences that your customers demand, you can overcome organizational inhibitors and achieve your growth goals.

At Tallwave, we’re passionate about helping businesses unlock their full growth potential by aligning purpose with practice. We believe that a well-defined purpose, operational efficiency, and authentic execution of the brand are the keys to sustainable growth in today’s competitive environment.

Ready to take your organization to the next level? Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you craft a purposeful and profitable growth strategy.

Categories
News Reaching New Customers SEO

Reddit for SEO: Why user-generated content dominates search results

Is it just me, or DAE wonder why Reddit has become such a significant holder of SERP real estate? As a user and consumer, I’ve increasingly noticed that Reddit forums dominate the results I see for product and service-based queries, and as an ever-curious SEO and content strategist, I need to know why.

So, what’s happening here? Why has Reddit emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the SEO game? And what does this mean for us as marketers? Brace yourselves: we’re about to explore the complex and evolving world of Reddit and SEO, as well as the profound impact “the front page of the Internet” has on how users seek and interact with information.

ELI5: What even is Reddit?

Before we delve into the “why,” let’s quickly recap what Reddit is for those unfamiliar with this online behemoth.

Think of Reddit as a massive, decentralized forum where users create and share content on a wide range of topics. These communities, called subreddits, cover everything from news and technology to niche hobbies and local interests. Personally, I’ve used Reddit to discuss SEO news and trends with my professional cohorts, find volunteer opportunities in my community, and, most recently, connect with a fellow “elder emo” music fan to snag a ticket to a very much sold-out show for a “bucket list” band. Simply put, there’s something for everyone (YMMV on concert tickets).

Reddit’s diverse user base has more than 267.5 million weekly active users, solidifying its position online as a veritable melting pot of voices and perspectives. This rich and varied audience actively engages with all kinds of content, creating a dynamic platform where discussions and user-generated content (UGC) reign supreme.

Why is Reddit taking over search results?

Now, onto the juicy part: why is Reddit suddenly showing up everywhere in search results? Here are a few key factors contributing to its rise:

The power of user-generated content

In its relentless pursuit of providing the best user experience, Google’s algorithm increasingly values authentic, unbiased, and people-first content. Reddit thrives on UGC, offering a treasure trove of real-world opinions, experiences, and insights that traditional websites often lack. This authenticity resonates with search engines, making Reddit a valuable source of information.

Diversity and depth of content

Reddit covers a mind-boggling range of topics, with in-depth discussions and detailed information on virtually anything you can imagine. This depth allows Reddit to address long-tail keywords and niche queries with a level of specificity that traditional websites might struggle to match.

Community-driven authority

Reddit thrives on user engagement. Upvotes, downvotes, and discussions within subreddits organically signal the value and relevance of content. This community-driven authority system likely helps Google identify high-quality, trustworthy information.

The Reddit IPO effect

While maybe not a direct cause, Reddit’s recent IPO may have contributed to its increased visibility in search results. With heightened public interest and media attention, Google might be placing a greater emphasis on crawling and indexing Reddit content.

TIL why Reddit matters for marketers and SEOs

So, what does this Reddit SEO phenomenon mean for us as marketers and SEO professionals? A lot. In fact, you might think of Reddit’s rise in SEO and SERP positioning as both an opportunity and a challenge:

  • Opportunity: Reddit offers a powerful platform to connect with real users, gather valuable insights, and build brand awareness. Engaging with relevant subreddits allows you to participate in organic conversations, address customer concerns, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
  • Challenge: Reddit is a community-driven platform with strict guidelines and Reddiquette, not a marketing playground. Spammy tactics or self-promotion will be met with swift backlash. Building trust and providing genuine value are required for a visibility victory on Reddit.

Case in point: How brands are rocking Reddit

Is your brand up for the challenge? You’ll find success stories from brands like Nordstrom, Toyota, and Xbox One that have implemented effective Reddit engagement strategies.

Spotify was a pioneer on the platform. In 2014, the music streaming service created a branded account and sparked a virtual thread asking users to share the most emotionally impactful songs in their lives, and ended up with more than 10,000 responses. Leveraging this user-generated content, Spotify made a unique playlist, demonstrating their understanding of their audience and building trust within the Reddit community. 

Other examples of brands taking on the Reddit challenge:

  • Toyota: They’ve tapped into Reddit communities like r/forumla1, r/cars, and r/trucks, providing helpful content and insights from their engineers, fostering trust and brand loyalty among car enthusiasts.
  • Xbox One: By actively participating in gaming subreddits, hosting AMA (ask me anything) sessions with game developers, and addressing user concerns directly, Xbox One has built a strong community around its brand.

But wait, there’s more. Reddit’s presence at CES 2024 walked marketers through how their platform is an essential touchpoint on the customer journey with an activation called “Key to Context.” The hands-on walk-through experience showed how instrumental the platform was in a car-buying experience and unlocked opportunities for brands to engage with consumers through UGC and strategically promoted posts.

Who owns brand Reddit strategy? It’s a team effort

While Reddit engagement might fall outside typical job descriptions, brands can create a “Reddit village” for success. This village includes passionate brand advocates (including employees, partners, and even consumers), community managers who curate content, and SEO/content teams who translate Reddit insights into broader strategies.

LPT: 5 ways to use Reddit for SEO and online visibility

Now, the million-dollar question: how can we leverage Reddit’s SEO potential within the spirit of the platform’s core values? I’ve got a few pro tips and ideas from my experience and research, as well as those collected from the SEO hivemind.

  1. Find your niche: Identify relevant subreddits where your target audience actively engages. Research their interests, common discussions, the language they are using (linguistic profiling), and the overall tone of the community.
  2. Become a valuable contributor: Don’t just drop in and promote your brand. Actively participate in discussions, share your expertise, and answer user questions genuinely. Provide insightful comments and contribute valuable content that benefits the community.
  3. Focus on long-tail keywords: Reddit excels at long-tail queries due to its in-depth discussions. Optimize your content for these specific keywords to increase your chances of appearing in relevant search results.
  4. Embrace UGC: Encourage users to share their experiences with your products or services within relevant subreddits. This organic UGC can be incredibly powerful for building trust and brand sentiment.
  5. Track and analyze: Monitor your Reddit activity and track the impact on your SEO metrics. Use tools like Semrush and Google Analytics 4 to measure organic traffic and identify which subreddits and posts drive the most engagement.

TL;DR: Reddit and SEO success requires a long-term, user-centric approach

Reddit’s growing prominence in search results is a testament to the power of user-generated content and authentic online communities. As marketers and SEOs, we must adapt our strategies to embrace this shift. Success on Reddit comes from building genuine relationships, providing value, and becoming a trusted member of the community.

Leveraging Reddit in your online footprint is a long-term integrated digital marketing game, not a quick SEO win. But by approaching Reddit with a user-centric mindset and focusing on providing value, you can tap into its immense potential and elevate your brand to new heights.

Ready to talk about Reddit and SEO? We are. Let’s connect.

Categories
CRO Customer Engagement News Paid Media Reaching New Customers SEO Uncategorized

The rise of social shopping: How your feed becomes your marketplace

The way consumers interact with brands has undergone a significant transformation with the growing popularity of social ecommerce. This emerging form of shopping allows consumers to explore products and complete transactions through social media while creating a more engaging consumer journey and presenting new opportunities for brands to capture consumer interest. What once served as platforms for sharing photos, connecting with friends, and staying updated on the latest trends have now transformed into dynamic marketplaces where users can seamlessly transition from liking a product to making a purchase, all within the same app.

The emergence of social ecommerce

Online shopping has seen substantial growth thanks to the swift expansion of social ecommerce.  Global regions like China are setting the social ecommerce bar high for all brands by hosting 2-hour live shopping experiences on Tik Tok, and by creating augmented reality (AR) lenses on Snapchat that allow social shoppers to “try-on” items and share with friends. These sales-generating trends have illuminated a social shopping opportunity that the US has begun to emulate, leading to an increase of social shopping. McKinsey estimates that by 2025, social commerce in the US will have generated about $80 billion in sales (up from $37 billion in 2021) and global sales will have exceeded $2 trillion.

Social platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and Snapchat have integrated social ecommerce capabilities into their user experiences. Instagram’s ecommerce shop feature is essentially a storefront housed inside of the platform, making it easier for consumers to find and buy things featured in their feeds by enabling businesses to tag products in their posts and stories. In a similar vein, TikTok has debuted shoppable livestreams, which enable brands to showcase their goods in real time and enable instant transactions. This in turn allows customers to communicate with content creators directly during the live streams so they can ask questions about the featured products. This convenience creates a better customer experience that drives incremental sales. 

Customer behavior and mobile-first shopping 

The popularity of mobile shopping is another element fueling the expansion of social ecommerce. Through the use of mobile phones, consumers can link directly and immediately to brands, which in turn enables personalized recommendations as well as targeted ads and real-time promotions. Social media platforms are internet marketplaces where users can explore products, read reviews, or even interact with different brands in a single interface. Basically, social media apps have made it very easy for people to browse, share, and buy products, making shopping more accessible and convenient than ever before thereby completely changing the retail landscape. With social media platforms evolving to become more mobile-friendly and creating mobile-first experiences through their apps, the influence of mobile shopping is expected to further accelerate, shaping the future of ecommerce.

Blurring boundaries: Content and social ecommerce strategy 

In the contemporary digital world, remarkable social media content is critical in creating interest, user engagement, and subsequent purchases. Top-tier content incorporates helpful visuals, enlightening videos, and captivating product stories that go beyond basic product descriptions and feature lists to forge emotional bonds with customers. This blend is crucial for grabbing user attention and fostering trust. Leveraging targeted messaging, product tagging, and in-app showcases, brands can bring their offerings to life, highlighting their distinctive value propositions while tackling consumer concerns head-on. Additionally, user-generated content, plus real-life testimonials, helps boost credibility and influence purchasing choices made by consumers. Great social media contents enable brands to develop close relationships with customers, thus enhancing brand loyalty as well as conversion rates all through the immersive world of social ecommerce.

Know your customers: Social shopping by generation 

It is important to note that each generation views and utilizes social media shopping differently. Hubspot compiled data on generational shopping habits over a three-month period and unveiled how each generation shops on social media platforms, which can be used to inform marketing strategies. According to Hubspot, Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X exhibit more enthusiasm for shopping via social media platforms compared to Baby Boomers. Gen Z takes the lead with 23%, closely followed by Millennials at 21%. In contrast, Gen X accounts for 13%, while Baby Boomers lag significantly behind at 3%. Among those interested in online shopping, 28% of Gen Z and Millennials have made direct purchases through social media, with 18% of Gen X also participating, whereas only 4% of Boomers engage in social shopping.

Gen Z is dominating the realm of social shopping. This is probably in part because they grew up in such a technologically advanced era. This generation is using social media platforms as search engines in order to discover brands and their shopping behavior indicates that though they are buying fewer items, they are buying items with a high value. For all generations, posting high quality content on organic and paid social media channels, setting up social media storefronts, and tagging products are great ways to build trust, especially with the Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers who browse but do not always commit to making a purchase on social platforms. It’s important to remember that even if social ecommerce isn’t the preferred channel for transacting purchases, it can be an important part of the path to purchase in other channels. So a good social ecommerce strategy is cross-generational.

Challenges and considerations for brands

Social ecommerce, the amalgamation of social media and ecommerce, represents a dynamic frontier for brands seeking innovative ways to connect with consumers and optimize their marketing strategies. As with any new frontier, there will be both opportunities and bumpy roads ahead. 

Through data analytics and tracking tools embedded in social platforms, social ecommerce provides valuable insights into consumer behavior and preferences for brands. This information includes user interactions and engagement patterns as well as purchasing history that can help companies identify opportunities for improvement. Effective businesses will often use this data to segment their target audience so they can deliver content that has been personalized to meet individual tastes and wants. As a result, businesses develop stronger customer relationships resulting in brand loyalty.

However, despite its promises, social ecommerce also presents a range of challenges. One significant hurdle is the saturation and competitiveness of social media platforms, which makes it difficult for brands to cut through noise and attract consumer attention. One way for brands to do this is by doubling down on personalization to ensure relevance and increase the likelihood of grabbing consumers’ attention. Additionally, ever-changing algorithms adopted by different networks together with rules governing advertising create another, requiring companies to continuously realign their tactics. One potential solution is for brands to focus on building a strong foundation for their marketing strategy. This may include: 

  • Diversifying advertising on social platforms: This can help mitigate the impact of sudden algorithm changes on any single platform.
  • Audience engagement: Actively engaging with the audience on social media can help brands build a strong community that will continue to engage with their content regardless of algorithm changes, mitigating the impact.
  • Analytics and data: Regularly analyze advertising data and performance by conducting A/B testing to understand what strategies are most effective. This data-driven approach can help you optimize your tactics in response to algorithm changes.

Moreover, privacy concerns and data security issues are paramount considerations in the realm of social ecommerce. When collecting consumer information for personalization purposes, transparency, consent, and data protection must be observed to maintain consumer trust and compliance with regulatory requirements. If not properly addressed, these issues can not only damage the reputation of a brand but also lead to legal implications. Brands that wish to use social ecommerce should therefore put in place strong data governance practices and ethical principles so that they may protect consumer privacy while enhancing trust with consumers. 

Read more: Is SEO the secret to social media success? It could be.

Even though there are numerous opportunities for brands to foster engagement and sales through social ecommerce, marketers must exercise strategic, holistic approaches that consider both opportunities and potential obstacles.

Embrace the social media shopping revolution

The emergence of social ecommerce signifies a paradigm change in the way companies interact with customers and conduct online sales. Marketers can turn their feeds into dynamic markets that increase engagement, encourage loyalty, and increase revenue by utilizing social media’s power and embracing social shopping technologies. With the boundaries between social media and ecommerce becoming increasingly hazy, the future of shopping is in our hands as our feeds transform into virtual marketplaces.

Are you ready to grow your strategy for marketing? Get in contact with us, and together, we can begin converting your social feed into a dynamic marketplace that drives results. 

Categories
Customer Engagement Uncategorized

Cloud security management: Safeguarding your data

Over the past few years marketing and IT teams have been flying high with cloud-based innovations. These servers and software “in the sky” are aimed at improving flexibility, scalability, and efficiency of handling and accessing the data that empowers marketers to make the informed decisions they need to reach their target audiences and provide great consumer experiences. From collecting and storing paid media analytics to scheduling automated campaigns, the cloud seems to be the key fueling your brand’s digital ascent. 

But as you soar amidst the data-driven clouds, a question whispers in the wind: is your data safe?

Enter cloud security management, the vigilant guardian in this digital sky. It’s the framework, the set of tools, the sleepless protector ensuring your prized marketing data navigates the cloud with confidence and integrity.

The cloud security landscape: From seedling to towering tree

Cloud security’s journey began decades ago, as a tiny sapling sprouting from concerns about online data vulnerability. Today, it stands tall as a mighty oak, offering robust solutions across industries. But for marketers and IT teams who rely on high-quality data to drive actionable insight, understanding where you are in this forest is crucial. Are you just planting the seeds of cloud adoption, or do you have sprawling data ecosystems nestled within its branches? Identifying your stage sets the foundation for your cloud security management journey.

Learn more about Data Strategy and Analytics Services at Tallwave.

Understanding data protection: The roots of secure marketing

The heart of cloud security management is data protection. For many marketing teams, this translates to safeguarding customer information, campaign creatives, and brand-sensitive data. For others, like those who rely on healthcare web analytics data, the roots are even deeper. 

However, cloud security management isn’t without a few thorns. Today’s marketing landscape throws myriad security challenges our way:

  • Evolving threats: Hackers, malware, and data breaches constantly evolve, demanding dynamic, adaptable security measures.
  • Fragmented ecosystems: Multi-cloud environments and third-party integrations multiply data touchpoints, creating a complex security puzzle.
  • Human error: Accidental data leaks or inadequate employee training can unintentionally expose vulnerabilities.

To combat these growing threats, marketing and IT teams might consider an approach with two branches:

1. Data classification and encryption

Prioritize your data, classifying it based on sensitivity and implementing robust encryption measures for high-value information. Secure cloud storage solutions further solidify your digital fortress.

2. Cloud security standards

Adopt industry-standard practices like strong password policies, access controls, and regular security audits. Remember, prevention now is always better than breakfixes later.

So, having acknowledged the critical role of data protection, the question that begs to be asked is: how can we actively implement best practices and tools to build a data sanctuary within the cloud that protects and enables our marketing initiatives?

Best practices for cloud security management: Building your data a secure shelter

Let’s delve deeper and explore the practical tools and best practices marketers and IT teams can leverage to ensure data stays safe in the cloud.

Cloud security monitoring and threat detection

Invest in tools that continuously monitor your cloud environment for suspicious activity and potential threats. Early detection is key to swift and effective containment. Tools can vary by cloud provider. Those using AWS might look to GuardDuty or Amazon Inspector, while those on Azure might consider Microsoft Defender for Cloud or Log Analytics.

Future-proof your environment

Stay ahead of the curve by constantly evaluating and updating your cloud security measures. Remember, the digital landscape is ever-shifting, and so must your defense mechanisms.

Secure cloud storage

Choose reliable cloud storage solutions that offer robust security features, data redundancy, and disaster recovery options. Your marketing data deserves a digital vault, not a cardboard box.

Cloud security policy

Craft a comprehensive cloud security policy that outlines data handling procedures, employee training protocols, and incident response plans. Clear guidelines are your best friend in crisis mode.

Regulations like GDPR and HIPAA add another layer of complexity to the cloud security puzzle. Risk management in cloud security is key, by regularly assessing compliance and actively managing potential risks, you can chart a secure course through the regulatory waters. Other guidelines, like SOC 2 and ISO 27001, provide a roadmap for achieving and maintaining compliance, earning you precious trust and peace of mind.

Embarking on your secure cloud journey

Cloud security management may seem daunting and like a maze of risks and regulations. But remember, you don’t have to navigate it alone. Cloud security solutions abound, offering tools, expertise, and managed services to guide you every step of the way.


At Tallwave, we understand the intricacies of cloud security, especially in the dynamic world of digital marketing. Our team of marketing data strategy experts is ready to equip you with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to conquer the cloud’s highest peaks. Tallwave is just a cloud hop away; we’re here to help when you need us.

Categories
Customer Engagement

Omnichannel vs. multichannel marketing: Four considerations to upgrade your strategy

In today’s complex and ever-evolving digital landscape, understanding the nuances and differences between omnichannel and multichannel marketing is essential to providing your customer with a great experience. It’s more than just a battle of the buzzwords; marketers need to understand that omnichannel marketing is the natural evolution of its predecessor, multichannel marketing. 

This isn’t about picking one over the other; it’s about embracing the journey toward a more sophisticated, integrated approach that better meets consumer expectations. We’re talking about a strategy that resonates deeply with today’s customers who crave not just interactions but meaningful, connected, personalized experiences across multiple touchpoints in the channels of their choice. It’s about painting a bigger picture, where every channel tells a part of your brand’s story, cohesively and compellingly.

You might think of multichannel marketing like a single-round sparring session. You make the best use you can of marketing strategies and techniques within a single round (or channel), learning and iterating on the fly without the benefit of insight into how a given sparring partner (consumer) has behaved in other rounds (channels). Omnichannel marketing is more like a multi-round professional prize fight where marketing heavyweights consider their opponents’ moves in each round so that, round to round (or channel to channel), their marketing strikes are strategically choreographed around their expanding knowledge of consumers’ preferences and prior actions.

By the book: Omnichannel vs multichannel marketing

“Omnichannel” and “multichannel” are often mentioned when discussing digital marketing strategies. But there’s not always a clear distinction between the two approaches. Let’s cut through the confusion and clarify what omnichannel marketing and multichannel marketing actually are. 

  • Multichannel marketing refers to using various channels — paid and organic search, social media, email, or even in-store experiences — to engage with customers. It’s about being present and visible in multiple places, but often, these channels operate in silos with strategies that consider the best practices for each individual channel, but don’t connect to touchpoints consumers have with the same brand in different channels at different stages of their journeys.
  • Omnichannel marketing takes a more holistic and customer-centric view. It’s not just about being present on multiple channels; it’s about creating a seamless, integrated experience across all touchpoints that reflects customer preferences and behaviors across channels. Omnichannel commerce ensures that whether a customer interacts with your brand online, through an app, or in a physical store, their experience is consistent and interconnected. An omnichannel marketing strategy ensures that customers receive an experience that’s brand-consistent no matter the channel but personalized to them based on real-time interaction across channels as their behavior evolves, aiding in their decision-making process, and encouraging high-value actions. 

With these definitions and differences in mind, you can put your marketing strategy on the path to omnichannel prizefighter status.

Four ways omnichannel marketing can give your strategy a fighting edge

Exploring the differences and nuances between omnichannel and multichannel marketing isn’t just academic or informative; it serves as a practical guide to aligning your marketing strategy with the evolving expectations of today’s consumers and taking an integrated approach.

There are several ways omnichannel methods can level up your marketing strategy, from focus to flexibility:

1. Focus: Product vs. Consumer

In multichannel marketing, the focus often leans toward the product, service, or brand. Each channel works independently to highlight the offering, sometimes leading to a disjointed customer experience. 

Omnichannel marketing shifts this focus to the customer. The focus is on crafting a narrative around the customer’s needs and preferences, ensuring a unified and engaging experience across all touchpoints. Tallwave embraced a similar holistic methodology in our recent engagement with the Arizona Governor’s Office and AZ OnTrack when we took a customer-centric approach to messaging and channel selection.

2. Integration: Connected vs. siloed

The hallmark of an effective omnichannel strategy is its integrated nature. Unlike multichannel strategies where each channel might operate in a vacuum, omnichannel marketing strives for connection. This integration means data and insights are shared across channels, ensuring that the customer journey is not just multichannel but truly interconnected. 

Consider this example: a customer visits an e-commerce apparel website and visits the product page for a particular top. They even add the top to their cart, but ultimately abandon it before completing the purchase. The abandoned cart and purchase history data is used to trigger retargeting and the consumer sees an ad for that same top later on Facebook. It also triggers an email reminding them of the item in their cart. A few days later, they receive an exclusive promo text with a discount that applies to the time in their cart. In this example, we have a consumer interacting with a brand on three different channels, website, social media, and text. With an omnichannel strategy, every one of these touchpoints reflects the consumer’s preferences (they’re interested in tops), behaviors (they showed interest in a particular top), and journey stage (adding the top to the cart suggests an intent to purchase). Data makes it possible.  

3. Personalization: Tailored vs. generalized

Personalization is the heartbeat of omnichannel marketing. While multichannel marketing can sometimes result in generic messaging across various platforms, omnichannel marketing leverages data from all touchpoints to create a tailored, personalized experience. It’s about understanding the customer’s journey and reflecting that in every interaction at every stage of the funnel

To understand what that looks like in practice, consider the previous example, but this time imagine that the reason the consumer visited the e-commerce apparel website in the first place was that they received a text message announcing the the arrival of a new spring collection triggered by the fact that multiple months had passed since the consumer’s last purchase. And imagine that when they landed on the home page, they were greeted by featured products personalized for them based on past site and purchase behavior. That’s omnichannel marketing at work to create a highly personalized experience powered by an integrated data strategy.

4. Flexibility: Controlled vs. Agile

Omnichannel marketing is inherently more flexible and agile compared to its multichannel counterpart. With the latter, strategies are often rigid, with each channel functioning within its predefined scope and data being collected and housed in channel-specific silos. Omnichannel marketing, however, thrives on adaptability, responding in real-time to changes in customer behavior. 

Consider this last example: a customer visits a software company’s website and reviews two related products on the website. Not finding quite enough information to decide between them, the customer clicks into the website’s chatbot to ask some questions about the two products. Because there’s some complexity to the answers, the chatbot escalates to a live sales rep. Rather than greeting the customer with a “How can I assist you today?” the rep greets the customer by saying they understand the customer has questions about two products, mentioning them by name. And in addition to answering the customer’s questions, the rep highlights the new integrations on one of the product offers with another that the customer purchased several months ago. That’s the power of omnichannel marketing to an exceptionally personalized, integrated, and customer-centric experience in real time.  

Embracing the right approach in your marketing strategy

Embracing omnichannel marketing means you’re not just using multiple channels; you’re masterfully blending them to create a narrative that speaks directly to your customers. It also means you’re reaping the benefits of an omnichannel approach to data and analytics that creates a 360-degree view of the customer, making omnichannel customer experience possible.  It’s a savvy move for any marketer aiming to make a real impact in this digital age. This holistic, customer-centric approach is not just the way forward; it’s the key to unlocking deeper connections and lasting loyalty with your audience. 

Giving your digital strategy a bright future

As we look ahead to the future of digital marketing, the trend is clearly skewing toward more integrated, personalized experiences. Brands that understand and implement omnichannel strategies are poised to build stronger connections with their customers, leading an optimized conversion journey and enhanced brand loyalty.

Whether you choose omnichannel marketing, or want to innovate further with a convergent commerce approach, you should always focus on delivering value to your customers. By understanding the nuances of each approach and aligning them with your business goals and customer expectations, you can create a marketing strategy that not only meets the demands of today’s digital landscape but also sets the foundation for future growth and success. And with a mature data strategy that prioritizes a single source of truth for customer data, you can bring that strategy to life.

And you don’t have to go at it alone. From increasing visibility with future-proof SGE-informed search strategies to embracing data centricity, Tallwave is eager to implement digital marketing strategies that align with your consumers and meet them where they are when they need you most. Let’s talk.

Categories
Customer Engagement Uncategorized

Tallwave year in review: Creating value, contributing knowledge, and pursuing growth in 2023

As we draw near the close of 2023, our sights are set on the year ahead and in true Tallwave fashion, we’re turning our focus to the challenges and possibilities of a new year. But before we run headlong into 2024, we’re taking a moment to reflect on all we accomplished this year. 

Our incredibly talented teams executed high-value work that made a real impact on our clients’ businesses. The brilliant thought leaders among our ranks contributed knowledge to the benefit of prospective clients, partners, and business leaders of all stripes. And Tallwavers at every level of the organization seized opportunities to learn, develop, and grow, demonstrating that our value of relentless pursuit isn’t just a series of words, but words we live by. In the spirit of honoring auld lang syne (times long past), here are the highlights the Tallwave team will be toasting as we ring in the new year.

Creating value for our clients

Looking back over our work in 2023, data enablement and modernizing the technology and strategies for delivering on customer needs stand out as themes in some of the most ambitious challenges we helped our clients tackle.  

Powering up a customer portal strategy

In 2022, we were engaged by a private, independent energy company with over 35 years of experience in the industry. They’d always been technology-forward thinkers, and their customer connect portal was already a differentiator that set them apart from competitors and contributed to their number one ranking in the industry for customer service. As a tech-forward company, they were planning for ongoing evolution of their portal into a best-in-class solution that continued to meet the needs of their customers. 

After evaluating their portal and making strategic recommendations in late 2022, the stage was set to translate strategy into action in 2023. Over the course of the year, we’ve worked with our client to design, test, and validate a new customer connect portal 3.0 solution, implement a measurement strategy to evaluate the performance of the new portal solution, and provide ongoing analytics maintenance, reporting, and strategic insights for a portal that’s always evolving, improving, and creating value for our client’s customers.

Enabling growth through an upleveled internal asset management strategy

One of our largest, most complex clients, a multinational financial services corporation, enlisted our help to establish the proper team and organizational structure, improve data quality to unlock insights that empower decision making, standardize global policies and procedures, and strengthen relationships that align into the broader enterprise with the right engagement models. These desired outcomes coincided with an increase in demand for internal technology assets, intensifying hardware budget management demands, and the increasingly complex logistics for supporting a global workforce’s technology needs.

They initially engaged us to help them create a playbook of standard operating procedures to drive predictability, agility, and efficiency in servicing employee tech needs. But as we helped them imagine the art of the possible, we set our sights higher, ultimately building a strategy for service automation and digital experiences that work in concert with SOPs and designing an MVP solution and a framework to continually build upon their internal product ecosystem to drive efficiency, scale, accuracy, and predictability. This, in turn, will help our client optimize their internal technology asset investments, reduce risk, and improve the quality of service to colleagues.

Enabling data-driven business processes by translating between business needs and infrastructure parameters

CP Skin Health Group, Inc., a division of Colgate-Palmolive focused on product and service innovation for dermatologists, estheticians, and other skin health professionals, found themselves in a position common among our clients. Rapid growth, including the merging and acquisition of well-established and high-performing brands, led to a fractured data ecosystem. They were leveraging multiple disparate data sources and systems across their business units and many of the processes required for their business relied on manual data entry, which negatively impacted their sales and marketing teams’ ability to operate effectively at scale and created a poor customer experience. They needed a partner to work alongside their Global IT team to create a more unified technology and data infrastructure to serve the needs of the business.

We brought business stakeholders together with their Global IT team to map their data environment, identify and document technical limitations and risks in their data inventory, and define problem statements. As a result of our work, the skin health division and the Global IT team were able to align on a shared data strategy and vision that would pave the way for better support for the skin health division’s business needs and lay the foundation for future data analytics capabilities. This allowed the skin health division’s marketing team to operate more effectively and efficiently and optimized sales processes to deliver better customer experiences and business outcomes.

Bringing a new mobile app to life at the speed of light

Working with one of our development partners, we embarked on a journey to redesign and develop a new mobile application for a national broadband communications provider. The new application required some complex features—like account registration and management, bill pay, service appointment scheduling, and more—that also played high-stakes roles for the customers who would ultimately use them. And the timeline for getting it done was tight. But that’s just the kind of ambitious challenge the Tallwave team thrives on.

We mobilized our wildly talented product design team to quickly develop a digital brand UI kit, UX/UI designs for 3 new complex user flows, front-end code acceleration training, and consultation on UX/UI execution, usability, and accessibility in the span of just a few weeks. The team’s work was a shining example of our ability to deliver great mobile app design at the speed of light without sacrificing our commitment to deliver a great CX for consumers.

A power-packed, end-of-year kickoff for a 2024 product strategy 

We partnered with a new client, an energy management services, procurement, and energy infrastructure development firm, in December to help them define and package their intellectual capital and expertise into an ongoing and scalable data-as-a-service (DaaS) product. Starting our engagement this late in the year, it would have been easy to assume we’d kick off in January. But with a client who shares our bias toward rapid action, we decided there’s no time like the present to get the ball rolling. 

This month, we mobilized our team to head out to the client’s offices in Texas to lead them through a full-day workshop with their senior leadership team to understand the energy ecosystem and value chain and begin to formulate ways to package their unique value to customers. Seizing the moment to begin our work now puts us in a strong position to advance our plans to design, develop, and test the product concept with prospective customers and develop a go-to-market plan that drives immediate adoption upon launch in the new year.

Contributing thought leadership to the industry

The work we did for our clients wasn’t the only way we created value in 2023. Tallwavers showed up as thought leaders, contributing their knowledge and perspectives on hot industry topics like data unification and enablement, conversion rate optimization, and more at industry events and a few of our own. Some standout moments include:

On the physical stage at Brand Innovators

At the Brand Innovators Sports Marketing Upfronts in Scottsdale, Arizona in February, Tallwave Partner, Robert Wallace, had the privilege of moderating a panel session with members of the marketing team from Riddell Sports Group, a leader in high-performance football gear.  

Tallwave Partner Robert Wallace speaks with marketers from Riddell Sports Group.

On the virtual stage at the GDS CX Innovation Summit

Our SVP of Marketing, Jessica Pumo, hit the big screen at the GDS CX Innovation Summit in May, presenting a Masterclass Keynote on bridging the data divide. The topic of overcoming fractured data ecosystems to harness the business power of data resonated so much, she gave a special live encore presentation at our invite-only dinner for current and prospective clients focused on data unification and enablement in August. 

Tallwave's SVP of Marketing, Jessica Pumo, have a keynote presentation at the GDS CX Innovation Summit in May

Spreading the word on the value of CRO

Conversion rate optimization can be an extremely effective strategy for improving conversion rates and maximizing return on investment in traffic-driving marketing. But it requires a highly integrated approach to execute, making it difficult for clients and many other digital agencies to capitalize on. Our Integrated Marketing team brought their knowledge, experience, and expertise to conversion-conscious brands of all kinds in a CRO webinar in May. 

Pursuing personal and professional growth

Our ability to do great work for clients and contribute thought leadership to our industry is fueled by our relentless pursuit of growth. In 2023, Tallwavers fed their brains, expanded their knowledge, and refined their perspectives on a wide range of topics through conferences, events, and other personal and professional development opportunities. Here are two that really blew us away:

Making quality connections at KPMG /Michigan Ross QuantumShift

Tallwave CEO, Jeff Pruitt, had the rare opportunity to attend QuantumShift, an exclusive four-day peer-to-peer learning experience for the top decision-makers of fast-growing private companies. This experience took Jeff out of his day-to-day business environment to share with, learn from, and collaborate with leading CEOs from around the country as well as top professors from the University of Michigan’s world-renowned Stephen M. Ross School of Business. It was a highly impactful experience that allowed him to live our value of thoughtful rigor in a whole new way while embracing the power of human connection.

Having flurries of fun at the Snowflake Data Cloud World Tour

Senior Data Strategist, Brooke Weidenbaker, and Engagement Manager, Rikki Ebenal attended the Snowflake Data Cloud World Tour event in Austin, Texas where they plowed through presentations, demos, and customer breakout sessions celebrating data centricity and came away with new ideas and examples to share with clients as we help them navigate the data maturity curve.

Raising a glass to the past and focusing on the future

Reflecting on all we’ve done, everywhere we’ve been, and everything we’ve accomplished, we’re proud of the year we’ve had. And we’ll be raising a glass in gratitude for the opportunities it’s brought us to learn, grow, and evolve and to help others do the same. It’s been a year worthy of celebration. But when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, our gaze will be squarely focused on the future and all the opportunities that lie ahead to help our clients dream bigger about the growth possible for their brands, discover a path to achieve it, and not just do what it takes to get there, but to constantly strive to do better together.

Categories
UX Design

Unlocking success: The impact of collaborative product development

About this series: Great products are not just about great functionality, pretty graphics, or even revenue. Great products are about solving problems for the people who use them so well that they return again and again. It’s easy to miss the needs those humans have when focusing on the individual components from a specific (and inherently limited) perspective. Each department in your business sees a different part of the story and a different way that customers engage with products. As we continue to explore the business value of great design, remember that only the BEST problem statements deliver the best designs. And when it comes to delivering the best problem statements, cross-functional teams have the advantage. Let’s unlock the potential of great design as the ultimate path to great business and how cross functionality advances it.

See the first installment of our three-part series here: Define the problem, not the solution.

What happens when teams align?

Design excellence requires more than individual brilliance; it demands diverse talents and perspectives. Digital products today are so easy to build that great digital products must shine brighter than most, which means solutions must be sourced from across the business landscape and not just from one person or team. Collaboration is pivotal for exceptional design and each player has a vital role toward innovation in product development and customer experience. 

There is power that arises when different disciplines converge, contributing their unique insights to sculpt a solution and then align on building that experience together. Let’s look at the magic that happens when teams align for collaborative product development.

Introduction to cross-functional teamwork

The concept of cross-functional teamwork is easy to grasp; when more perspectives are available, there should be fewer gaps during design and build. Executing well on a cross-functional team, however, can be incredibly challenging and depends on many factors, including leadership, organizational structure, time and talent available, and individual personalities. Much of the challenge of effective teamwork in general is alignment. It can be difficult for a company to work toward a single strategic goal if one team is doing something radically different. Cross-functional teams have a distinct advantage in this situation as they can draw on team members’ experiences from various disciplines to move toward a singular goal. Collaborative product development enhances efficiency and becomes a cornerstone for cultivating a culture of creativity and adaptability within an organization.

When companies organize by customer experience or mission rather than by feature or technology stack, there is a lot of opportunity to build cross-functional teams with shared goals. This strategic approach allows a customer outcome to be analyzed and improved from various perspectives, unlocking gaps or opportunities that might have otherwise been missed. Think about a customer that is signing up for a new software product. In that single customer experience, they will likely encounter the general marketing of the company and the product itself, as well as welcome emails, onboarding tutorials, and probably a community of users, not to mention new targeted social media ads. In a cross-functional team, there are a lot fewer gaps than if different team members handle each of those customer touch points. 

Building cross-functional teams

At the heart of building effective cross-functional teams lies the intentional structure of diverse skill sets to propel creative problem-solving. That doesn’t mean that all skill sets are required all the time. Building a cross-functional team is as much about communication and timing around when and how skill sets are brought together. Understanding how and when to bring team members in and out of the conversation (with the right amount of context and background) is a skill that each organization must build and refine. 

As we shared in the first part of this series, great design starts with a strong problem statement. But problem statement development can also be the starting point for effective cross-functional collaboration.  Sharing qualitative and quantitative UX research results across a diverse team to build a great problem statement will ensure that the right team members are being consulted for the cross-functional team to create the best customer experience to solve that problem. It’s useful to bring various stakeholders together during a solutioning conversation, essentially beginning with the ‘entire’ team to get perspectives on the customer experience and potential solutions. It might seem like a design or marketing team is all that’s needed in this ideation stage, but it’s incredibly valuable to bring varying perspectives in at this point. After that, it’s more useful to think of all of those participants as stakeholders who need to be ‘informed,’ but the responsibility will shift from department to department as the development progresses. 

As in the example above, there are various customer touchpoints that different teams might own, but all of the stakeholders involved need to be informed each step of the way in order to ensure a cohesive customer experience. For example, when the marketing website for a new product is being launched, the product design team needs to ensure that the expectations set on the marketing website reflect the realities of the final product. Similarly, the customer success team needs to ensure they aren’t asking customers for information they’ve already provided via the marketing website or other pre-sales activity. By keeping these cross-functional team members informed, they can hold each other accountable for gaps, missed opportunities or missed expectations throughout the customer experience.

We know a thing or two about communication across teams. Learn more about how Tallwave builds bridges between business and technology.

Critical information for critical stakeholders

Cross-functional teamwork is vital to the success of a good product but that doesn’t mean that each stakeholder must be present for each conversation. Being efficient when sharing critical information can really elevate the communication across team members. Documentation and communication needs to go beyond live, collaborative communication to consider how to effectively institutionalize critical information in a way that contextualizes it for different stakeholders while driving alignment to an overarching vision and topline business goals. These versatile communications become more than just documents or “updates;” they evolve into powerful tools that communicate a unified vision, fostering cohesion and alignment among teams and organizations. A well-built roadmap is an excellent example of a flexible communication strategy that can share the most critical information to a variety of stakeholders. When presenting to leadership, the roadmap can be collapsed to only show the highest level strategy and initiatives. As conversation is required and/or different stakeholders are included, the roadmap can be expanded to show various tasks and strategies that will come together to deliver the initiatives. Leveraging communication tools that can adapt to the intended audience is a valuable way to keep communication up to date across team members.

Summing it up: Embrace a collaborative process

Creating and fostering a strong cross-functional and collaborative culture may not be the most obvious enabler to exceptional product design. But the impact of driving diverse perspectives into the product design process is key to unlocking its full business value. It can be difficult to create a highly collaborative environment, particularly when time is tight, the strategic importance of collaboration isn’t clear, and organizational silos get in the way. Enlisting the help of a neutral third party can be an effective way to broker buy-in on the value of strong cross-functional collaboration, align priorities across different teams and departments, and challenge historical organizational silos. Beyond the product design strategy and execution support we provide to our clients, we often find that the role we play in uniting cross-functional teams behind a common goal and achieving a shared point of view is equally valuable. 

Are you ready to embrace a cross-functional and collaborative design process led by a strategic partner? Tallwave is ready to get to work and help your organization excel. Let’s talk.

Categories
Customer Engagement Product Design Reaching New Customers UX Design

UX design: Define the problem, not the solution

About this series: In the fast-paced business world, it’s all too common to hear about companies striving to become “product-led” and chasing after metrics like velocity and conversion rates. While these numbers undoubtedly hold significance, they often overshadow the underlying force that drives the success of great products: design. Design is not just about aesthetics; it’s about understanding your customers, empathizing with their needs, and crafting solutions that meet and exceed their expectations. In this exciting three-part blog series, we will dive deep into the realm of design and design strategy and its pivotal role in achieving business goals. Let’s unlock the potential of great design as the ultimate path to great business.

Understanding the cornerstones of great product design

In the ever-evolving landscape of product design, success hinges on the ability to navigate a maze of user needs and expectations. Understanding the need at hand and then defining the actual problem is a crucial first step that can make or break the entire journey. You might have a fantastic idea for a product but if you aren’t drilling down to the true problem that this product is solving, then you aren’t going to be able to truly satisfy customers. This design stage uncovers true pain points for customers to ensure your product is solving the right problem and a real problem. Understanding user needs and defining the problem are cornerstones of successful products, ultimately paving the way for continually high business value.

Empathy: The heart of a user’s needs

User needs are the foundation of good design, placing the customer at the very heart of the product development process.  It’s imperative to empathize with users’ unique experiences, desires, and pain points when creating designs that resonate. User needs specific to a problem serve as a constant reminder that humans (specifically users) are at the core of the design process. By placing the human at the center of design, user needs act as constant reminders that the end goal is not just a product but a solution that addresses real-life challenges.

Moving from good to great design requires more than just a surface-level understanding of desired functionality. It requires a combination of both qualitative and quantitative UX research techniques that delve deep into user needs. First, quantitative UX research methods provide a structured and data-driven approach to learning about user behavior and preferences. Understanding the numerical data and statistical analysis can help you quantify user interactions, preferences, and performance. Surveys, questionnaires, A/B testing, and analytics tools are common examples of quantitative research techniques. Teams don’t need to use all of them every time, but carefully selecting a combination of methods will bring some helpful data to the surface as you assess user needs. These methods allow for the identification of patterns and trends, enabling UX researchers to create informed hypotheses about user needs. Quantitative research complements qualitative research by offering a more objective and measurable perspective, providing the necessary data to think through problems and have support for business decisions.

Qualitative user experience research methods provide valuable insights into the intricacies of user behavior, emotions, and perceptions. These methods delve deep into the more nuanced and harder to quantify psychological aspects of user interactions, aiming to understand what users do and why they do it. Qualitative research techniques, such as in-depth interviews, usability testing, and ethnographic studies, offer a way to channel the individual perspectives and experiences of users. Open-ended questions and real-time observations can help researchers uncover users’ needs, pain points, and desires, shedding light on the nuances that quantitative data often cannot capture. Qualitative research is an indispensable tool for human-centered design, enabling designers and businesses to truly understand user needs on a deeper level.

User needs are the baseline of effective design and encapsulate the essence of what the user truly desires and values. Before jumping to solutions or pixels, design teams must first empathize with their target audience, truly understanding their hopes, aspirations, and pain points. Taking the time to crystallize the human-focused needs and desires of the users ensures that every design decision is rooted in empathy and a genuine desire to enhance the user experience. Businesses that research, prioritize, and build products for these needs are not only better equipped to stay competitive in an ever-changing market but also to forge lasting, meaningful connections with their customers.

We know a thing or two about consumer values. Check out our post on the new persona playbook.

Crafting the perfect product design problem statement

With a solid understanding of user needs in hand, next up is crafting a clear problem statement to fuel product creation. A well-defined problem statement encapsulates the precise challenge that needs to be addressed, serving as instructions for design teams. Outlining the problem’s scope and context ensures that the design effort remains aligned with the customers’ real pain points and needs, allowing for a solution that truly resonates with them. This clarity and alignment fosters creativity and innovation in finding the optimal solution. It ensures that the entire team is headed in one direction, toward solving one problem. A well-crafted problem statement that is based on solid UX research guides the design process toward an excellent customer experience.

When thinking about the parts of a perfect problem statement, you must consider the person as well as the problem. This might be a problem that only a certain type of person has or a problem that lots of people have but only at specific moments in their lives. The person in the middle of the problem is just as important as the problem itself and cannot be separated from the problem statement. In addition to the who, problem statements must also consider the why but without the how. When the right amount of research has been done, there should be no trouble succinctly explaining for whom the problem exists and why. As the team sets out to create a solution for this problem, user needs and problem statements come into play. The goal is to reach an actionable problem statement that defines for whom you’re  building the product or feature and why.

The positive impact of a clear problem statement reverberates through the entire business ecosystem. First and foremost, it reduces the risk of costly missteps in product creation. By defining the problem clearly, teams can avoid the pitfall of investing time and resources into solutions that do not address the root issues. It ensures that design efforts are aligned with the actual needs and pain points of the target audience and that the team is setting out to solve for the user and their why. As a result, products are more likely to resonate with and create value for users, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. A great problem statement empowers businesses to differentiate themselves in the market, gain a competitive edge, and drive sustainable growth. In sum, a clear problem statement acts as the catalyst for great design, and when design excels, so does business.

Learn more about Tallwave’s Digital Experience Design Services.

Wrapping Up: Great design, greater user experience

In the realm of product design and business success, two critical elements stand out as paramount: crafting well-defined user needs statements and clear problem statements. These statements act as the guiding light that illuminates the path to exceptional design and, in turn, outstanding business performance. User needs statements distill the essence of what customers truly value, enabling design teams to create products that resonate, cultivate customer loyalty, and fuel lasting trust. Clear problem statements also serve as a map for design, defining the challenge, scope, and objectives. They streamline decision-making, stimulate innovation, and ensure that design efforts align with real customer needs, ultimately reducing the risk of costly errors. The result is a positive ripple effect that enhances customer satisfaction, differentiation in the market, and sustainable business growth. In sum, these foundational statements are the key to unlocking the synergy between great design and great business.

Are you ready to embrace great design and improve customer experiences? We’re all ears. Let’s talk about your next project. And there’s more on the way; stay tuned for the second installment of this series! We’ll delve into how collaboration leads to the best design outcomes.

Play Video

Bunger Steel

Doing some things and making some impacts