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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.

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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.

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CRO Customer Engagement Paid Media Reaching New Customers SEO

The road to victory: Paid media strategies in an election and Olympic year

For a few months every four years, the U.S. presidential election and Summer Olympics dominate the media landscape and create major challenges for advertisers trying to establish reach, maintain ad frequency, and meet cost per acquisition (CPA) goals. From roughly mid-July to early November, election campaigns and Olympic promotions overtake ad inventory, limiting supply and driving up costs for other advertisers. 

In 2020, the Tokyo Olympics attracted $2.25 billion in U.S. ad revenue and the U.S. election cycle totaled an unprecedented $2.5 billion of ad revenue. And that’s just for TV ads! With all of that extra competition in the market, breaking through the clutter and maintaining effective reach and frequency without breaking the bank becomes a major challenge for most advertisers.

Let’s explore how a thoughtful election- and Olympic-year paid media strategy can help you emerge victorious from this quagmire. After all, who doesn’t love a good underdog story?

Politics and pentathlons: The negative impacts on marketing

Before we discuss strategy, it’s important to understand what is at risk during these quadrennial events. Here are some of the ways your current paid media plan might feel the impact of the election/Olympic year:

Limited inventory

Channels like traditional broadcast, out-of-home (billboards, transit, airport advertising, etc.), and even CTV, have a finite amount of ad inventory. As politicians, advocacy groups, super PACs, the Olympic Games, and the likes buy up ad inventory, it becomes a challenge for other advertisers to secure inventory for themselves. 

For election candidate advertising specifically, the FCC requires broadcast stations and cable systems to charge legally qualified candidates the lowest unit prices, making TV advertising more affordable, and increasing the likelihood of those candidates purchasing a lot of inventory. Additionally, because candidates are guaranteed the lowest unit price that other customers receive, this means that you likely won’t be able to secure any zero-cost added value spots during this time.

In an effort to treat competing candidates fairly, the FCC also requires broadcast stations to abide by the “equal time” rule. This means that if one candidate gets a spot in the 6p news, the other candidates must also be able to receive a similar spot. As such, many non-political advertisers get preempted (“bumped”) during this time and may not receive makegoods during the desired window. This rule makes it especially challenging for advertisers who are operating within very specific promotional windows.

With political and Olympic ads taking over the airwaves, it becomes difficult for other advertisers to secure any ad inventory at all, yet alone enough to maintain an effective reach and frequency that will grow brand awareness or compel action from potential customers.

Cluttered ad space

As politics and Olympic promotion overtake traditional advertising outlets, many non-political and Olympic advertisers will move into the digital realm to secure inventory and lock in flat rates. The political and Olympic advertisers will be here too by the way. As you can imagine (or have experienced first hand in years past), the digital marketplace becomes inundated with heated political messaging and inspirational (usually sports-themed) stories, on top of all the normal ad clutter. 

It can be extremely challenging to break through all this noise. Consumers often get overwhelmed by excessive advertising, making it less likely that they will engage with or be influenced by ads.

Increased costs

While broadcast stations are required to keep costs low for advertisers, digital channels are not. Costs on Google, Meta, and other auction-based platforms will surge as competition increases. Cost per clicks (CPCs) and cost per conversions (CPAs) will increase as advertisers bid against each other to win ad space. Target CPAs are going to take more work to hit as each impression becomes significantly more expensive to secure. While you can still serve ads within a set budget, your paid media dollars won’t go nearly as far in auction-based platforms as they normally would outside the election and Olympic seasons.

Taking the podium: Overcome obstacles with a winning strategy

While the challenges that exist during an election and Olympic year may seem daunting, it’s not too late to implement a winning strategy. Strategically planning ahead can help mitigate these challenges:

Adapt your channel strategy

Perhaps the most obvious response to the challenges highlighted above would be to adjust your paid media channel strategy. The limited inventory on traditional broadcast channels will make it difficult to maintain an effective reach and frequency and auction-based digital platforms will experience increased costs. While you may not want to exclude these channels altogether, consider countering those challenges by:

  • Secure broadcast sponsorships and packages: These often guarantee a minimum number of impressions without the possibility of being preempted.
  • Extend your broadcast impressions with digital video and streaming audio: These channels have more inventory and often allow you to negotiate flat CPM rates.
  • Invest in podcasts: Podcasts break through the clutter by speaking to highly engaged listeners.
  • Incorporate flat-rate digital platforms: Plan ahead and collaborate with digital partners that will guarantee flat CPM/CPC pricing to avoid the increased bidding costs.

Understand your audience

As inventory shrinks and costs rise, efficiency is key. Don’t let your advertising dollars go to waste serving impressions to people outside your audience. 

Many marketers use demographics to define their target audience, but demographics have little to do with why a person takes a particular action. Well ahead of the Opening Ceremonies and primary elections, consider investing in values-based persona research to more clearly define who your audience is and what motivates them so that you can tailor your messaging and creative accordingly. Effective ad messaging and creative that resonates with your audience will help break through the ad clutter and drive action during a time when consumers are faced with significant distractions.

Additionally, make sure you’re investing in your first-party data to understand consumer behavior. Today, marketers collect more data than ever before, but often struggle to harness the power of that data in a way that yields actionable insights. Effective data quality management enables you to analyze the right data points that help you understand your customer, enhance their experiences, and optimize campaigns for more efficient and effective results.

Invest in Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy is the insurance policy for any paid media plan. A strong paid media strategy can drive significant traffic to a landing page, but if users are met with a poor website experience, they might leave without converting, thus creating a leaky bucket situation. A strategic CRO program systematically tests various iterations of website design and functionality to weed out points of friction and increase conversion rates. 

By investing in CRO strategy ahead of the election and Olympic year, you can help prevent valuable paid media traffic from trickling away pre-conversion during that time when paid media traffic is more expensive and harder to come by. During election and Olympic years, when digital costs increase and consumer attention is being directed elsewhere, decreases in conversion rates are almost guaranteed. An effective CRO strategy will help offset the anticipated decrease in conversion rates.

Learn more about CRO and other Integrated Digital Marketing Services from Tallwave.

Emerge victorious

Strategically planning ahead is key to ensuring strong paid media performance during election and Olympic years. Ready to get started? Let Tallwave help you get the most out of your paid media budget this election and Olympic year.

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Customer Engagement Uncategorized

Unlocking the power of data storytelling

Once upon a time, interpreting data was as simple as processing numbers. But with the volume of data collected multiplying exponentially every day, simply being able to analyze and interpret that data is no longer sufficient. Quickly providing data points and metrics without additional context and a story around what happened to produce the numbers and what to do about it is meaningless to business users who need to make decisions for their organization. 

Enter the world of data storytelling, the art of communicating data-driven insights effectively. This approach embraces narrative analytics and weaves facts and numbers into actionable insights.

The prologue: Why data storytelling matters

Data-driven storytelling is the art of transforming complex data sets into a compelling narrative. This narrative uses context, visuals, and insights to engage a specific audience and ultimately influence their decisions or understanding. It should be an essential part of any organization’s data strategy for two main reasons:

1. Data storytelling fosters engagement

In business, engagement is not just a buzzword; it’s a strategic imperative. While raw or straightforward data might be the backbone of decision-making, it’s the narrative around that data that provides qualitative context for quantitative information and mobilizes teams to action. Combining both straightforward data with an illustrative narrative via data storytelling transforms abstract figures into a compelling story, fostering engagement and understanding at every level of your organization.

2. Data storytelling enables understanding across teams

Bridging the gap between technical experts and non-technical stakeholders is a challenge that data storytelling helps to address. It presents the data in a way that is accessible to business users regardless of their technical or analytical expertise. There is an increasing need across numerous industries to bring these two groups together via data storytelling. Read our blog about bridging that gap here and how we have been successful at bringing teams together for the benefit of the overall organization. 

The plot: Elements of compelling data stories

The elements of compelling storytelling with data are like characters coming together to set the scene in your favorite novel. Consider your approach to the data story, how you’ll illustrate the story, and the potential impacts of your story with the following elements:

Audience-centric approach

In order to be effective, a data story must be crafted for the audience at hand. The storyteller must ensure they understand the motivating factors and perspectives of the intended audience. This oftentimes requires stakeholder discussions to build a clear understanding of metrics and KPIs that are relevant to respective audiences and/or persona groups. It also requires a solid partnership and mutual understanding of how stakeholders are using their data to make informed decisions. Without this context, storytelling around the data is much less effective.

Visualizing data for clarity

Data visualization is the brushstroke that brings your data story to life. Data without visuals is like a story without illustrations—less engaging and prone to misinterpretation. However, it is important to explore the art and science of visualizing data for clarity. Certain data points might be best visualized in a scatter plot versus a bar chart and it is important to think through the best and most straightforward visualization for stakeholders. Visual literacy is a superpower. It is also critical that data visualizations do not leave anything to be misinterpreted. While it is important not to clutter and overly complicate visualizations, clear and succinct titles and labels can make or break a visualization. Take a look at our example below.

Psychological power of storytelling

The human brain craves stories. There is neuroscience behind storytelling and why stories stick. Engaging multiple parts of the brain enhances the memorability of your data narrative, creating lasting impressions that transcend the numbers. Doing so is akin to creating a symphony of cognitive responses. By triggering various brain regions simultaneously, a well-crafted narrative becomes an immersive experience, leaving a lasting imprint on the audience’s memory.

Giving data a narrative engages multiple parts of the brain for emotional and empathetic processing. This is where it becomes more about the story than the raw numbers. The story becomes an experience, a journey that the audience embarks upon, making the data more than just information—it becomes a memorable and impactful narrative. The data narrative becomes a part of the audience’s cognitive landscape, ready to be recalled and reflected upon.

Learn more about Data Strategy & Analytics Services at Tallwave.

Intermission: Tallwave’s data storytelling in action

Narrating the full sales picture: A real example

Let’s dive into a real-world application of data storytelling. During a typical monthly reporting cycle, one of our clients, an e-commerce company, identified declines in sales and revenue across multiple digital channels on their owned website. Initially focused solely on e-commerce sales, the team was alarmed by the decline in organic and paid search sales. However, a more comprehensive understanding of the full story, including sales through brick-and-mortar partners, 3rd party marketplaces, in-store, and phone orders revealed a different story—increases in sales with partners resulted in greater TOTAL sales, and naturally cannibalized some of the sales from other sources.

In order to better tell this story, Tallwave created customized, purpose-built, actionable dashboards in Google Looker Studio. These dashboards helped to mitigate risk of misinterpretation, presenting a clear and concise representation of the sales landscape. It is not uncommon for individual stakeholders to misinterpret data that they might have a personal or departmental bias toward and inadvertently lead other stakeholders astray. Nor is it uncommon for individual stakeholders to exert their own bias in a way that tells the story they believe to be true. This is why it is important to include cross-functional stakeholders involved in rounding out the data story or dashboard visuals to ensure consistent KPI understanding and consensus.

A purpose built dashboard identifying products with a low add to cart to view ratio that the organization should focus on improving this ratio by comparing competitor price points, inventory availability, lack of useful information listed on the product page, etc..

The resolution: Practical tips for effective data storytelling

Reducing complexity

In an era where information inundates every corner of our professional landscape, simplicity emerges as a guiding principle in effective data storytelling. The call is clear: advocate for simplicity in both language and visuals, ensuring your data story is accessible to all members of your audience.

Language Simplicity: Complex jargon and convoluted terminology can act as barriers to understanding. Embrace clear and concise language, choosing words that resonate with a broad audience. Your goal is not to showcase your vocabulary but to convey the essence of your data story in a way that everyone can grasp.

Visual Simplicity: Complexity in data visualizations often leads to confusion. You do not gain style points for making data visualizations complex and difficult to interpret. Instead, opt for visual simplicity. Choose charts and graphs that convey the message without overwhelming the viewer. Consider the power of minimalist design, where each visual element serves a clear purpose.

The art of simplicity in data storytelling lies in finding the delicate balance between conveying intricate insights and ensuring comprehensibility. Simplicity does not mean sacrificing depth; rather, it involves distilling complexity into a form that enlightens rather than perplexes.

The theme: Emotion and impact

In the realm of data, numbers tell a story, but it’s the human connection that makes it memorable. Data storytelling is not just about numbers; it’s about people.

Humanizing Data: Every data point represents a real-world scenario, a decision, or an outcome that impacts individuals. Infuse life into your data by humanizing it. Share anecdotes, testimonials, or real-life examples that resonate with your audience. By connecting data to real people, you create a narrative that goes beyond statistical significance.

The true power of emotion in data storytelling lies in its ability to inspire action. An emotionally resonant story is more than a set of charts; it’s a call to action. 

Within a compelling data story each element contributes to the overall harmony. It is also important to maintain consistency in your data narrative.

The twist: Can AI effectively assist in data storytelling?

AI in data storytelling: A double-edged sword

Data and analytics are always evolving and changing. Along with many other use cases, Artificial Intelligence (AI) emerges as a powerful tool to aid in crafting compelling narratives. However, this opportunity also comes with its complexities and challenges. Let’s explore how AI can effectively assist in data storytelling, its responsible usage, and the potential pitfalls that counteract efforts to tell a story with data.

AI’s role in enhancing data storytelling

AI offers the ability to sift through vast datasets, identifying patterns and trends that a human might overlook. Automation from AI can also assist in uncovering key narratives without as much of an exhaustive manual effort. With the help of AI, data stories can be tailored for specific audience segments, considering individual preferences and comprehension levels. This personalization ensures that the narrative resonates with diverse stakeholders, enhancing engagement and understanding.

Using predictive analytics can also be a big factor in forecasting future trends based on historical data. Integrating these predictions into data stories provides a forward-looking dimension, empowering decision-makers with strategic insights.

Responsible use of AI in data storytelling

It is important to be transparent about how you use AI algorithms to contribute to data storytelling. Specifically, outlining how AI is being used to process data ensures that stakeholders understand the methodology behind automated insights. This is critical for building trust with your audience.

While AI assists in streamlining the data analysis process, human oversight is absolutely imperative and neglecting the need for human oversight when building a data story could result in a less effective narrative. Human intuition and contextual understanding add a nuanced layer to storytelling that AI may lack. Striking a balance between AI assistance and human interpretation is key to responsible usage.

There is also a risk of AI identifying correlations without establishing causation. This can lead to misinterpretation of data relationships, potentially distorting the narrative and steering decision-makers in the wrong direction.

If you endeavor to use AI as a tool in your toolkit, to enhance your story, rather than using it as a crutch to tell your story, you will be exponentially more effective. 

The resolution: Navigating success in data storytelling

By acknowledging and addressing complex datasets, avoiding unnecessary complexity to prevent misinterpretation, and encouraging data literacy across various teams, organizations can transform the potential impediments into catalysts for success in data storytelling. At Tallwave, our data experts are equipped to support your data storytelling needs. We can help you embrace technical advancements, foster a culture of collaboration, and prioritize education to bridge the knowledge gap. Let us help you tell a comprehensive data story today!

Categories
Customer Engagement Reaching New Customers SEO Strategy

Microconversions: Unlocking the power of incremental steps in your conversion funnel

Introduction: What is a microconversion?

In the dynamic world of digital marketing, where every click and interaction matters, understanding microconversions is crucial. But what exactly are they? Let’s start by demystifying this term.

What is a microconversion?

A microconversion is any incremental step a user takes to show initial interest in your brand or product. Unlike the grand finale of a macroconversion, like a product purchase or subscription that constitutes a final goal and often achieves a financial outcome, microconversions are the incremental steps along the way that lead up to those final actions. Imagine a visitor to your website as a curious explorer embarking on a journey. Along the way, they encounter various signposts, each representing a microconversion. These small actions might not lead immediately to a purchase, but they’re part of the breadcrumb trail that leads prospective customers to that final transaction.

Learn more about the power of the “micro-yes” in sales.

Why do microconversions matter?

1. Trust building and brand advocacy

Microconversions are like the first handshake between you and your potential customer. At the earlier stages of the buying journey, some common microconversions include:

  • Email newsletter sign-up: When a visitor subscribes to your newsletter, they express interest in staying connected. This small commitment builds trust and opens the door for further communication.
  • Social media sharing: When someone shares your content on social platforms, they vouch for your brand. Their endorsement reaches a wider audience, potentially attracting new visitors and signaling trust and confidence in your brand.

2. Insights into user behavior and intent

Microconversions provide valuable insights into user behavior. By tracking these smaller interactions, you gain a deeper understanding of what resonates with your audience and gain insights into the stage of the buyer’s journey they’re in and their needs at that stage. Examples include:

  • Page views: The number of pages a visitor views indicates their level of engagement. High page views suggest interest, while low views may signal disinterest. The nature of the content on the pages viewed can also illuminate stage and intent. For example, if a visitor navigates to specific product pages, adds products to a cart, or reviews a page on returns, those behaviors are all microconversions on the path to purchase that signal a higher degree of intent than a visitor that lands on your home page and then leaves.
  • Comments on blog articles: Engaged users often leave comments. These interactions reveal their preferences and pain points.

3. Optimization opportunities

Microconversions act as breadcrumbs leading you through the forest of user experience. They can also serve as a “canary in the coalmine” of your digital engagements, signaling friction that can then be resolved and highlighting areas for improvement. Consider:

  • Process milestones: These are linear steps toward the primary macroconversion. Analyzing them helps identify bottlenecks and UX pain points. For example, for one client, we pinpointed significant dropoff between the process milestones of viewing a product page and adding the product to a cart, particularly for mobile users. We discovered this was due to an issue causing the “add to cart” button to display much further down the page than intended, causing many users to overlook it and abandon the page. Addressing this issue allowed us to increase add-to-cart actions by 3.8x.
  • Secondary actions: These desirable but non-primary goals indicate potential future macroconversions. Examples include downloading an ebook, creating an account, or watching a video. Using these secondary actions as opportunities to deploy targeted outreach can be a great way to optimize the path to purchase with stage-specific content and messaging that nurtures prospective customers toward other high-value actions.

Monitoring and measuring microconversions: Enhancing your conversion insights

Understanding what microconversions are and the signals they represent is only half the battle. Unlocking their power to gain insights into the path to macroconversions and inform strategies for optimizing digital experiences to improve conversion requires ongoing monitoring and measurement. Both the types of data each microconversion produces and the methods for collecting and analyzing that data vary:

Qualitative data

Qualitative data can be invaluable for getting a sense for how effectively website visitors are navigating to and completing microconversions and where they may be encountering roadblocks in the path toward macroconversions. Here are some common approaches for gathering qualitative data on microconversions and examples of these measurement methodologies in action:

Heat mapping & scroll mapping

Heat mapping is like having a thermal camera for your website. It visually represents user behavior by highlighting the “hot” and “cold” areas of a webpage based on where users click, scroll, hover, and otherwise interact with the page (and where they don’t). Here’s how it works:

  • Heat maps: These colorful overlays show where users click, move their mouse, or spend the most time. Red and orange areas indicate high activity, while blue and green areas are less frequented.
  • Scroll maps: These reveal how far users scroll down a page. Understanding where visitors drop off helps optimize content placement.

Example: Imagine an e-commerce site. A heat map reveals that users consistently click on the “Add to Cart” button but rarely explore the footer links. This insight prompts you to enhance the checkout process and reposition critical links.

Session recording

Session recording is like a digital surveillance system for your website. It records user sessions, capturing every click, scroll, and interaction through the eyes of the user. Key points:

  • User behavior: Watch real users navigate your site. Understand their pain points, hesitations, and moments of delight.
  • Error identification: Spot usability issues, broken links, or confusing forms.

Example: You notice users repeatedly abandoning their cart during the payment step. Session recordings reveal that a confusing coupon code field is causing frustration. Fixing this leads to higher conversions.

Quantitative data

Quantitative data brings a numerical lens illuminating actions that can be counted, measured, or otherwise described in numbers. Where qualitative data can help you channel the perspectives and feelings of website visitors, quantitative can put that data into perspective in terms of its frequency and impact. Here’s how quantitative data on microconversions is often collected:

Basic analytics tools

  • Google Analytics (GA): The Swiss Army knife of web analytics, GA tracks user behavior, traffic sources, custom website conversion rates, and more. It’s free and essential for any website.
  • Built-in e-commerce analytics: Platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, or Magento offer built-in analytics. They provide insights specific to e-commerce, such as product performance, revenue, and customer demographics.

Example: GA shows that your blog attracts high traffic, but few readers proceed to the product pages. You optimize the blog-to-product link placement, resulting in increased sales.

Funnel reports

Funnel reports visualize the user journey. They break down the conversion process into stages:

  1. Awareness: Visitors arrive on your site.
  2. Interest: They explore content, view products, or sign up.
  3. Consideration: Users add items to their carts or engage with your services.
  4. Conversion: The final purchase or desired action.

Example: An e-learning platform’s funnel report reveals that most users drop off during the “Interest” stage. You tweak the landing page content, leading to better engagement.

Remember, microconversions are the stepping stones that pave the way for macro success. By combining qualitative and quantitative insights, you’ll create a conversion funnel that’s both user-friendly and revenue-boosting! 

Making the most of microconversions: Optimizing for conversion

The final step is putting qualitative and quantitative data-driven insights to work to optimize the digital experience to increase the microconversions (and ultimately macroconversions) your audience is successfully completing. This can be done broadly to optimize the digital experience as a whole or more narrowly to optimize for a specific high-value action through two distinct but interrelated approaches: 

Digital Experience Optimization (DXO)

Digital Experience Optimization (DXO) is the strategic process of enhancing user interactions with digital technologies to drive superior customer experiences. It encompasses a holistic approach to improving every touchpoint where users engage with your brand online. DXO aims to create seamless, personalized, and delightful experiences across websites, mobile apps, social media, and other digital channels.

Why does DXO matter?

  • Customer expectations: In today’s digital landscape, customers expect smooth, relevant interactions. DXO ensures you meet these expectations.
  • Business impact: Positive digital experiences lead to increased customer loyalty, higher conversion rates, and improved brand perception.

We discovered this was due to an issue causing the “add to cart” button to display much further down the page than intended, causing many users to overlook it and abandon the page. Addressing this issue allowed us to increase add-to-cart actions by 3.8x.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) focuses on improving the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up, or downloading content. It involves data-driven experimentation to enhance user experience and drive conversions.

Core elements of CRO

CRO applies a systematic approach to increasing high-value action completion by identifying and testing solutions to resolve friction points along the path to conversion to continuously improve performance. This process includes:

  1. Setting expectations: Clearly define goals and success metrics for each conversion action.
  2. User insights: Understand user behavior through analytics, heatmaps, and session recordings.
  3. Hypothesis development: Formulate hypotheses about what changes will improve conversions.
  4. Testing velocity: Regularly test variations (A/B tests, multivariate tests) to validate hypotheses.
  5. Cross-device testing: Ensure consistent experiences across different devices.
  6. Pre-test prototypes: Validate ideas before full implementation.
  7. Limit changes: Focus on impactful modifications rather than overwhelming redesigns.

Best practices for optimization

While CRO is focused on a specific digital experience, doing it effectively requires considerations that extend well beyond the specific microconversions you’re trying to improve, including:

  • Keyword research: Understand user intent and optimize content accordingly.
  • On-page SEO: Optimize meta tags, headings, and content for search engines.
  • User experience (UX): Prioritize intuitive navigation, fast loading times, and mobile responsiveness.
  • Content quality: Create valuable, relevant content that resonates with your audience.
  • Backlink building: Earn high-quality backlinks to improve authority.

Remember, DXO and CRO are ongoing processes. Continuously analyze, test, and optimize to create exceptional digital experiences and drive conversions. Let us show you how to incorporate this must-have continuous improvement cycle into your business!

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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.

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Strategy

The analytics evolution: Embracing the power of GA4 metrics

Now that we’ve all had a few months of working exclusively within Google Analytics 4 (GA4), it’s worth taking a moment to explicitly define some of the new metrics within the platform and how they compare to Universal Analytics metrics.

As clients and marketers navigate this transition and consider these metrics, understanding their distinct functionalities and how they diverge from their Universal Analytics counterparts becomes paramount for harnessing the true potential of GA4. This is especially true when it comes to metrics related to average duration.

Decoding the differences between Universal Analytics and GA4 metrics

In Universal Analytics (sometimes called GA3), metrics like Average Time on Page and Average Session Duration were widely used to measure user engagement. However, with GA4, there’s a shift in how engagement and user behavior analytics are measured. GA4 introduces Average Engagement Time, which is an entirely different way of measuring user engagement. Let’s compare the differences with the new metrics in GA4.

1. Average Time on Page vs. Average Engagement Time

In Universal Analytics, Average Time on Page measured how long users spent on specific pages. It was calculated by measuring the time between consecutive pageviews, assuming that the last page of a session didn’t require a subsequent view. However, GA4’s Average Engagement Time takes a more nuanced, user-centric approach. This metric assesses the actual time a user actively engages with the page, disregarding instances where the tab loses focus. For instance, if a user switches to another tab or app, GA4 doesn’t consider this time in the calculation, providing a more accurate depiction of user interaction and true engagement duration. Let’s take a look at more examples below:

Average Time on Page (Universal Analytics):

Calculation method:

Utilizes the time between two-page hits to compute the average time on a specific page within a session.

Measurement Scenarios:

  • Sequential Page View Scenario:
    • Scenario: User visits “Page A” for 10 minutes, moves to “Page B” for 25 minutes, and leaves.
    • Calculation: “Page A” registers a time on page of 10 minutes, but with no next page to feed into the model, no time on page data is captured for “Page B.”
  • Interruption In Session Scenario:
    • Scenario: User spends 5 minutes on “Page A,” switches to another site for 5 minutes, then returns to spend 25 minutes on “Page B.”
    • Calculation: “Page A” registers a time on page of 10 minutes, but “Page B” remains unmeasured due to interruption.
  • Bounce Scenario:
    • Scenario: User bounces from “Page A” after spending 30 minutes, with no subsequent page views.
    • Calculation: “Page A” shows no recorded time due to the absence of subsequent page visits.

Average Engagement Time (GA4):

Calculation method:

Measures the average length of time the website remains in focus in the browser, excluding time when the tab loses focus.

Accurate measurement scenarios:

  • Sequential Page Views:
    • Scenario: User spends 10 minutes on “Page A,” then 25 minutes on “Page B.”
    • Calculation: “Page A” registers 10 minutes and “Page B” registers 25 minutes.
  • Interruption in Session:
    • Scenario: User spends 5 minutes on “Page A,” loses focus for 5 minutes, returns to spend 25 minutes on “Page B.”
    • Calculation: “Page A” accounts for 5 minutes, while “Page B” registers 25 minutes.
  • Bounce Scenario:
    • Scenario: User spend 30 minutes on “Page A” then bounces.
    • Calculation: “Page A” registers 30 minutes.

2. Average Session Duration in Universal Analytics vs. GA4

The Average Session Duration in Universal Analytics was a fundamental metric used to gauge overall session length. It calculated the total duration of a session from the first to the last hit, including the time spent on exits or bounces. Conversely, GA4 approaches this with a subtle yet crucial difference. Instead of calculating the entire session time, it focuses on active engagement within the session, excluding periods of inactivity or when the browser tab loses focus. This shift emphasizes active engagement, providing insights that are more indicative of genuine user interest and intent.

3. Implications of transitioning metrics

The transition from Average Time on Page/Average Session Duration to be more focused on Average Engagement Time results in some implications for Marketers who are trying to interpret user behavior. The new methodology in GA4 aligns more closely with actual user engagement, offering a more precise view of user interaction on the website. This transition necessitates a shift in perspective, especially for those accustomed to Universal Analytics metrics. Embracing this change unlocks the potential for more accurate insights into user behavior, ultimately empowering businesses to tailor their content strategies more effectively based on genuine user engagement patterns.

This shift in perspective empowers marketers and businesses to ditch vanity metrics like average pageviews and prioritize meaningful interactions. They can craft targeted campaigns based on engagement patterns, identify conversion pathways hidden in passive metrics, and ultimately, drive growth based on genuine user interest.

Learn more about Data Strategy & Analytics services from Tallwave.

So long Universal Analytics, it’s time to embrace GA4 and all that comes with it

As we bid adieu to the familiar metrics of Universal Analytics and embrace the increased customer centricity of GA4, it’s like saying goodbye to an old friend and welcoming a more insightful companion. The shift from both Average Time on Page and Average Session Duration to Average Engagement Time empowers marketers to better understand true user behavior.

By equipping yourself with the right tools and knowledge, you can leverage GA4’s advanced capabilities to gain a deeper understanding of user behavior to uncover hidden conversion paths and personalize experiences for targeted segments. Embracing GA4 and its new measures will also let you prepare for the future of digital analytics with a platform built for flexibility and adaptability. And you don’t have to go at it alone. We’re just a click away and can help you build a meaningful data strategy that enables actionable insight.

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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.

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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.

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Data-centricity: Takeaways from the Snowflake Data Cloud World Tour 

We recently had the privilege of attending the Snowflake Data Cloud World Tour event in Austin, Texas. It was a full day of presentations, demos, and customer breakout sessions dedicated to discussing the technical and cultural challenges that organizations face as they strive to become more data-driven. Industry leaders who have harnessed the power of Snowflake’s data processing technologies and platform experts convened to shed light on the evolving landscape of data utilization and the critical need for businesses to adapt.

In today’s business environment, where access to data has reached unprecedented levels, success hinges not on the sheer volume of data you have access to but on how effectively you can leverage it to make informed decisions on an ongoing basis. In fact, research by Mckinsey & Company found that insight-driven companies report above-market growth and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) increases of up to 25%.

Our most significant takeaway from the event was the pervasive sense of urgency, coupled with encouragement, that resonated throughout the sessions we attended. In the fast-paced world of business, staying ahead of the curve is imperative. The lifeblood of modern organizations is data, and if your company hasn’t already placed your first-party data at the forefront of your decision-making process, you risk falling behind. While it’s one thing for decision-makers to prioritize data, it’s another to instill a data-centric culture throughout your entire organization.

During the event, we heard from business leaders who recounted their early efforts to get their data houses in order. Some of these efforts date back to 2017 and 2018 when these visionaries recognized the transformative power of data and embarked on a strategic journey. Fast forward, as 2024 approaches, data isn’t merely a choice—it’s a necessity. If your organization hasn’t embraced a data-centric approach yet, the time to dive in is now.

Right after returning from the event, we received a timely report from Experian Research, focusing on the “Data Quality Revolution.” The message was crystal clear: if your business isn’t placing a strong emphasis on access to high-quality data, you should be, and the time to act is now. Continue reading as we explore the key takeaways from both the Snowflake event and the complementary Experian report.

The shift towards data-centricity: Where we stand

In the realm of data-driven decision-making, businesses are no longer tentatively testing the waters; they’re taking a deep dive. As highlighted in the Experian research report, “Over a third of business leaders say that better and faster decisions using data is a top priority to respond to market pressures. A continuous influx of accurate data enables team members—technical or not—to act with confidence. This is a claim that we see year after year and is vital in a market that is moving faster than ever.” 

This sentiment echoes the progressive strides made by forward-thinking companies showcased at the Snowflake event. For instance, the Senior Director of Data Architecture, Engineering, and Platforms at a Fortune 500 athletic retailer shared insights into their innovative use of real-time data. By monitoring inventory levels and analyzing optimal pricing strategies in real-time, they’ve effectively maximized space utilization and ensured optimal profitability without compromising margins. This sophisticated approach underscores how organizations at advanced stages of data maturity leverage their data reservoirs to tackle genuine business challenges. Experian defines data maturity as “the extent to which your business can collect valuable data, derive meaning from it, and leverage this information in the decision-making process.” 

Successful companies are often able to point to a mature data strategy that is disseminated throughout the organization that lends them a competitive edge. Consider Netflix or Amazon, for example. Both companies utilize their data to personalize content and provide product recommendations that increase customer satisfaction and ultimately drive greater customer engagement, retention, and overall revenue. 

However, this level of sophistication isn’t universal. For numerous organizations, the journey along the data maturity curve is just beginning. Bridging the gap between recognizing the potential of data-centricity and effectively implementing it remains a common challenge encountered across various industries.

A graph going the data maturity curve

The challenges: Technical and cultural hurdles

One of the key challenges emphasized at the event was the demand for tools that can expedite the transition to data-centricity without subjecting organizations to extended development timelines. In today’s fast-paced business landscape, waiting months for development to design and implement complex systems is simply not feasible and leads to frustration throughout the organization. 

What businesses need are solutions that are agile, efficient, and user-friendly. Experian “[s]urveyed businesses are looking at their technology to plan for scaling, expanding, and innovating data quality initiatives including easy-to-use tools for business users (50%).”  The emphasis on user-friendly tools highlights a critical aspect of overcoming technical hurdles—providing accessible platforms that empower business users, regardless of their technical backgrounds, to harness the full potential of data, ensuring that the journey towards data-centricity is smooth and collaborative.

Learn more about building bridges between business and technology.

Embracing the potential, feeling the pain

Many organizations now find themselves at a crossroads—they’re acutely aware of the immense potential that a data-centric approach offers, but they are equally familiar with the growing pains that accompany this transformative journey. The heightened awareness of the benefits is juxtaposed with the acknowledgment of the challenges. This duality can be both motivating and overwhelming. The Experian research report echoes this sentiment, revealing a profound truth: “Year after year, we find that data investment equates to business growth. Our study shows that 95% of super performers—these high-achieving and data-mature leaders—believe that data quality is fundamental to business operations going forward.”

This statistic underscores the critical importance of data quality in the contemporary business landscape. It’s not merely a matter of investing in data; it’s about investing in high-quality, accurate data that can fuel informed decision-making and drive business growth. The realization that data quality is intrinsically linked to future success is a powerful motivator for organizations navigating the complexities of the data-centric journey. It signifies a shift in mindset from viewing data as a mere asset to recognizing it as a cornerstone upon which robust business operations are built.

While the challenges are palpable, so are the rewards. Embracing the potential of a data-driven approach means not only understanding the significance of data quality, but also taking proactive steps to address it. As organizations grapple with the intricacies of data utilization, this awareness becomes a guiding light, illuminating the path toward transformative change. By investing in data quality, businesses not only mitigate risks but also position themselves for sustained growth and innovation.

In this landscape of shifting paradigms, Tallwave stands as a strategic partner, ready to navigate the complexities of the data revolution alongside your organization. We offer tailored solutions designed to guide you and your teams to think through what data matters to your organization and build a culture that ensures your business is not just prepared for the future but actively shaping it. Let’s embark on this transformative journey together—where challenges become opportunities and data becomes the cornerstone of your success.

Tallwave: Your partner in the data journey

If your organization is ready to embark on the journey of embracing data-centricity but you’re uncertain about where to start, Tallwave is here to provide expert guidance. We know the intricacies of this transformation, offering expertise in both technical solutions and cultural adaptations across various teams in your organization. Our approach is tailored to your specific needs, ensuring a seamless integration of data-centric practices into your existing framework.

Ready to make the shift?

Don’t wait until you’re left further behind—take action now. Discover the business benefits, navigate the challenges, and transform your data potential into tangible results. Your journey toward a data-centric future starts today. We’re ready to lead the way.

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