We just returned from the AMA Conference: Analytics With Purpose, held in Scottsdale earlier this week. This was Xcelacore’s first time sponsoring an AMA event and we were honored to represent the business. This was a great opportunity to hear from industry experts on best practices and learn what other leading companies like AOL, American Cancer Society, Charles Schwab, and IBM are working on (not to mention the great Superbowl party!).

Most importantly, it gave me a chance to meet other marketers and hear about their challenges. Many of the attendees I talked to were there to learn more about analytics and then apply them at their companies. An important pattern I noticed was that many marketers are struggling to figure out where to start with analytics and digital marketing technologies. Some have pieces of the puzzle in place, but not everything is connected. Others are further along. Every company is at a different place in the maturity curve for implementing and using marketing technologies.

But the common theme is the lack of resources and expertise internally to get where they want to be. Almost everyone talked about realizing the importance of having the right tools (including digital analytics) in place to be more efficient and informed on how their marketing activities are performing. So that left me wondering why enterprises aren’t allocating a bigger budget to make it happen. Why wouldn’t you want to have visibility into your marketing activities’ success and ROI?

I have some theories on this, having run marketing organizations in previous roles. But I would love to hear from you directly. Write me at mansoor@xcelacore.com and we can exchange some ideas on this topic.


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Setting up your digital infrastructure is very important for any business, but it is also fairly complicated when starting off. First of all, you need to select a email provider. For small business, Mailchimp and Constant Contact are great options. For enterprise, ExactTarget and Silverpop are more appropriate options. Next, Google Analytics needs to be set up to run on your website and configured for conversions. Your on your way to being a digital rock star. You start your newsletter campaigns hoping to see all the email traffic you have generated only to realize that your GA report is not showing email traffic. Figure 1 shows a channel report from Google Analytics. The third entry per the image below should should you how much traffic you have gained from email. But if you haven’t properly integrated the two platforms, all the traffic may be classified as direct and you’ll never know the effectiveness of your email campaigns.

Figure 1

 

 

So, how do you solve? It’s different in each platform but generally configuring the platform requires some form of administrative setup to use the google analytics campaign variables. As a quick review, below is a list of the Google Analytics campaign variables that you have the option of setting on each email, link you would like to track: More information is available at https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033867?hl=en

 

In ExactTarget, when you start the engagement, it’s critical that you tell your account rep that you want a link similar to the following set for your account: ?utm_source=exacttarget&utm_medium=email. This will ensure base level reporting so that Google Analytics can identify the source and medium of your emails. To take it a step further, you will need to look further at configuring the ExactTarget web connector for configuring campaign and email level data. More information can be found here: https://help.marketingcloud.com/en/documentation/integrated_products__crm_and_web_analytic_solutions/web_analytics_connector/ .

 

In Silverpop, the setup is very similar except you won’t need help from an account rep to make the update. You can use the following documentation to create an append string that will be concatenated to every email. Use the following documentaiton https://www.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/SSTSRG/Step_1_Configure_the_Append_String.html. More advanced setup such as campaign name passing is also available.

 

To keep this short, I will also quickly provide the links on how to how to make this integration work in both Constant Contact and MailChimp. Please review and feel free to reach out with any questions.

 

Constant Contact: http://support2.constantcontact.com/articles/FAQ/2687#Add

Mailchimp:http://kb.mailchimp.com/integrations/e-commerce/integrate-google-analytics-with-mailchimp

 

In summary, I can’t state the importance of making sure your email marketing platform and Google Analytics are integrated and working correctly together. If you’re going to be a digital marketing rockstar, you’ll need to take these steps to complete this configuration.


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As technology and business leaders, many of us have been part of a decision around building new technology solutions to create new services or products. In this mobile-first era, one of the first questions you are challenged with is – do we need an App for that? Or can this service or product can utilize just the mobile web version?

We all wish this was an easy yes or no answer. But the answer may be much simpler than you think. There are 3 main criteria you need to consider that will help you make the decision.

#1 – Application feature set

If your product needs built-in phone features like GPS, Accelerometer, Contacts, Push Notification, etc., then you will need to build an app. From the technological advancement with HTML5, some of the phone features can be accessed so you may be able to get away with only a mobile web version. You will need to research the specific feature set requirements with what is possible to do within HTML5.

If the answer is – yes, I have to use phone features that are not available through HTML5, then your decision is made, no need to read further!

#2 – Audience

Just because a customer downloaded your app does not mean that they will be using the app for life, or even at all. The data shows that people actively use only 5-7 apps in a given month. Unless there is a compelling need for the users to download the app, they will not.

Again, your answer here will determine what direction you take.

#3 – Resources

Since you have read it this far, the assumption is that the decision is still pending. Developing a mobile app is a skillset that not all developers hold. You should carefully evaluate the resources at your disposal in making the decision. Not only do you have to build an app (possibly on multiple platforms – iOS, Android, Windows), but you also must manage and maintain it. You should consider the total cost of ownership as you make this decision.

In conclusion, whether you build an app or not, you will need to develop a solution that is mobile responsive at the least.

Sincerely, The Xcelacore Team


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