You don’t know your customer……because you haven’t asked

, ,

It is likely that your business already has a lot of data; about your customers, prospects and processes. In 2017, data is everywhere. We have so much of it that sometimes we don’t know what to do with it. The problem is that most of the data we collect just isn’t very good (or we don’t know if it’s any good), or we just aren’t sure how to use it effectively. Most customer data that we collect can’t be analyzed, not because we don’t want to, but because it is trapped in a silo or is otherwise inaccessible.

So, what should you know about your customer?

  • Location data
  • Demographic data
  • Interests
  • Pain points
  • Conversion rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Purchase history
  • Content analytics
  • Customer wealth
  • Path-to-conversion
  • Customer revenue
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Churn rate
  • and more

These metrics are a given. Everyone should have them (but, many do not). There are dozens (if not hundreds) of metrics you could follow to help better understand your customer. Knowing your customers and having a good grasp of data related to your customers will inevitably help you to attract new customers. Therefore, it is important to pick which data points are the most important for your business, customers and prospects.

The data above can come from many different sources and systems. Some of them are easy to access, track and analyze. Others, such as customer loyalty, are not so easy. How do you know what your customer is doing if you aren’t looking at their purchase history, browsing habits and what information they are consuming? How do you know if they are loyal to you if you aren’t aware of their social activity? If they visit your website or if people from their networks are entering your sales channel, you won’t know it. These are all important facets of customer loyalty that you should keep track of. But, many businesses either don’t have this data, or can’t track it easily.

Bottom line: your customers are your biggest assets and it’s imperative to know if they are happy.  After all, it costs 5 times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.

Are Your Customers Happy?

Just because a customer has given you money, does not mean they are loyal. Just because a customer hasn’t churned does not mean that they are completely satisfied, or trust you. They very well be searching for a better option. It is very likely that if a customer is unhappy, they’re just going to leave without any signals. Only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain; the rest will just leave your business and never come back. Without proper data, you won’t know what motivated that particular customer to leave. If you don’t know why they left, how can you improve your processes so it doesn’t happen again?

Collect The Data

It would be so much easier, if all the data you needed to make decisions could be curated into one system. That way, the analytics you need are right at your fingertips in a single screen. Wouldn’t it be easier if your platform collected everything from content analytics to customer profiles?  

A content management system (CMS) is a software application or set of related programs that are used to create and manage digital content. Many businesses use these systems to collect data (related to content) from various sources and organize it in a single, centralized source. If you have a content management system (CMS), then you don’t need to collect and verify the accuracy of the data, only to be forced to re-enter that data in another system manually. You can see all the information in one place, and know that it is accurate. 

Ask Questions

There are a million questions that you can easily get the answer to (or at least a rough idea of), simply by asking. You can get any information about the reader, simply by enticing them to provide you with that information. You can offer them exclusive content, a chance to win a prize, or some other incentive if they fill out a form on your website.  

The more you know about your customers, the better you can target your message to their wants, needs, interests and challenges. To get the data you need, you must ask. The business case for having all this data is quite obvious: the more you know about your customer, about their pain points, their desires, and interests, the more effective your marketing plan will be. People respond to messaging that hits them on a personal level. If you know who that customer is (on a personal level), you can craft specific messages that will speak to them. Personalized marketing is and has always been effective.  It works because everyone looks for that personal attention. 

Thanks to technology, such as a Content Management System (CMS), personalization and data is more accessible than ever.  CMSs come in all shapes and sizes, can be as simple as a single WordPress page (with the appropriate plugins), or as complex as the application requires (and that a developer can manage).

Content Management System

Investing in a CMS will help ensure you have the data available in order to determine your customers’ buyer journey, how your customers are feeling, what their pain points are and how people are finding you.

If you don’t have a CMS in place, it’s not too late. While you may be behind the pack, you aren’t out of the race. Data science has advanced leaps and bounds over the last few years. Tools have been developed to better sort through data and there are baseline metrics for every industry. By using a CMS to collect data from your customers, you will be able to begin to make up for lost time. 

Once you have the relevant data you can really get started, using data to shape your thinking and drive results. You can use that data for any purpose you wish, shaping and tweaking campaigns to better fit your customer and prospects.

Not Alone

Even marketers at larger companies struggle with analyzing data. Over 60% of CMOs admit that they aren’t utilizing available data to its full potential. Only 0.5% of total data collected is being analyzed at all. You’re not alone. Everyone needs to work on using technology to its full potential, especially when it comes to using the data that is right in front of you.

How to Use Data

An example of a larger company struggling to collect, analyze, and fully utilize their data is Bridgepoint Health, before they implemented a Liferay solution. Their solution involved the creation of an internal data portal. The hospital needed a way to integrate disparate systems containing their own data. The seamless integration of key data sources and applications and the simplified, secured, and rapid access to that data, were key to engineering the right solution.

While their solution is a little different from yours, the core principal is the same. You just need a system that will both allow you to collect data AND analyze it in one easy to access, centralized place. Creating a solution to collect and analyze data is at the heart of Liferay’s value proposition. 

Bridgepoints solution led to improved productivity and optimized workflows through efficient access to data. Time spent switching between systems (a hallmark of homegrown CMS solutions) was drastically reduced, while productivity rose.

———————————————-

Sometimes you just need to figure out a content and data management strategy. If this describes you then please contact us, reach out to us on Twitter @VeridayHQ or check out our blog posts about…

Benefits of Digital Experience Platforms , Digital Transformation and, Omni-Channel Marketing.

7 Reasons it Might be Time to Upgrade Your Content Management System

,

Is your workflow becoming too much for you to handle?  Do you struggle to find content or other assets quickly and easily? Are you dealing with too many systems to count? Are your systems scaleable? Are you struggling to provide an effective online customer experience? If any of those questions rings true it might be time to invest in a new Content Management System (CMS).

A Content Management System (CMS) is a software application that allows you to create and manage all your digital content, whether for internal or external use. Odds are you already have some form of CMS in your business (or several unrelated systems that act as a loosely assembled CMS). CMSs range in complexity and cost; ranging from the simple, straightforward solutions that can be acquired for free to robust proprietary systems developed in-house, to a scalable solution somewhere in the middle.

A CMS can be helpful in a number of different situations, whether your company is building an intranet (a platform for internal use by personnel), an extranet (a platform for internal use by partners and other business-critical parties) or a webpage (hosted externally on the web) a CMS can help manage all of your content.

CMSs range in scale and complexity, whether it’s a folder on some computer’s desktop with a few old logos in it to a highly technical, top of the line enterprise management system. The type of CMS needed depends entirely on the organization’s needs and can range greatly in cost but in one form or another, every business has one.

So, without further delay, here are 7 reasons why it might be time to upgrade your CMS:

1. Website Personalization

Building an engaging, beautiful and personalized website isn’t easy. It takes a lot of skill to be able to design a website that engages your target market no matter what device they are on. A CMS helps you accomplish that, allowing you to personalize content on your sites to attract multiple target markets, providing content that is appropriate for each persona. Personalization involves plenty of pre-emptive research, planning and mapping to ensure that you fully and truly understand your customers. This is required so they can be grouped together by common factors, such as demographics, needs, challenges, interests; really anything can be used to place customers into segments depending on the business objective. When the customers are split up into common groups it makes it possible for your marketing department to craft messages that will speak to that type of customer directly.

A CMS will help personalize your website is by providing tools to  create, manage and analyze your content. These tools make it easy to A/B test different strategies and content in order to deliver an excellent experience to the end users.

2. Inconsistent Customer Experience (CX)

According to the Walker Study, by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. CX has been proven to be one of the most important influences on a company’s success and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. The Aberdeen Group has conducted surveys that suggest that the top fifth of firms in terms of omni-channel engagement have a customer retention rate around 89%, while the other 80% of firms have an average retention rate of 33%. A CMS can help achieve consistency in the experience and message, regardless of the device the content is accessed with. From desktop to the tiniest phone on the market, your content and the general experience should be consistent across every platform. You want to be able to deliver the right content at the right time and an enterprise-grade CMS allows you to deliver the content in an engaging way to increase your chances at marketing success.

Omni-channel marketing is very important to consider because of the typical path the customer journey takes; moving through departments at various stages of the purchase decision. Customers need (and expect) cross-department consistency and consistency between experiences. This is something that a CMS, through integrating disparate systems, can achieve.

3. Control of Content

A CMS is an excellent tool to ensure the organization is fully in control of their content. If you have a liability to convey accurate advice/information or meet any compliance requirements, a CMS can put processes in place to send any potential content for approval. Some CMS solutions can provide you with relevant, approved content, letting the user pick and choose which content they want to display on their website. They can choose which features are available to partners on the company extranet or what permissions various departments have for altering different content. The CMS allows workflows to be secure and efficient, putting necessary checks and balances in place to ensure all content meets branding and quality standards.

4. Growth

Does your company website have more than one page? If it doesn’t, it should. Do you engage in online sales or ecommerce? How much daily traffic do you get? What would happen if that traffic doubled? What would happen if it increased a hundredfold? Any CMS worth its weight will be able to easily scale, add or remove pages and handle high levels of traffic without overloading the servers, missing any interactions, or losing any data.  You will need to be able to manage a large number of pages, microsites, different domains and URLs without losing performance or responsiveness. An enterprise-grade CMS is able to handle those needs as online and digital experience continues to explode.

5. Organization Purposes

Have you ever had an issue finding a particular document, brochure, photo, or video that you know you have and could use to wow a prospective client? A CMS will help you manage internal documents, so everything you need is centralized, organized and easy to find. An effective CMS will have plenty of tools available for organizing content, allowing your organization to ensure all your assets are in one place and easy to find, saving you time and money. A CMS might cost more upfront than paying a developer to make a website, but you will see the savings over time. You will see cost savings in terms of reduced costs of managing your own content rather than having to go externally for every small change, or not having to pay someone to fix your website after your content gets disorganized. You will also see efficiency in that you can get your messaging, and website changes live in minutes, rather than hours.  These tools can be as simple as a WordPress plug-in to a complex system with processes, checks and balances in place to ensure branding, regulations and content standards are complied with.

Without a CMS (or with a CMS that is too thin for the organization’s needs) you may have wings of the organization using outdated assets, distributing old content (and not having proper access to new content). This can lead to a disjointed customer experience; confusing and potentially upsetting those customers. This reduces your chance of reaching that customer with your message. It is easy to upgrade your CMS and avoid these problems, you shouldn’t be suffering from a disorganized digital deck.

6. System Cohesion

With the multitude of solutions available to businesses today, many companies subscribe to multiple services or purchase multiple different tools to help solve different business needs. Most of the time these tools are unrelated, acquired from different vendors and do not work together very well. This introduces a variety of problems for your business including information silos;where information is trapped in one system and can’t be exported to another. Another problem from lack of cohesion is time wasted logging in and out of various screens with different credentials. Without system cohesion you will waste time and money due to digital inefficiencies. A CMS solves these problems by integrating your systems into one cohesive application, with one login allowing you to manage content, data and other digitally stored assets easily and effectively with very little effort or stress.

7. Not Properly Utilizing Tools

There are many tools that even the more bare bones CMS will provide you with that can help ensure your website gets appropriate traffic. These tools allow the average person to keep track and add content, leaving the logistics of the website’s look and feel to more experienced designers. When content and information are spread across disparate systems, the tools available may not be properly used. This can occur because the tool is inconvenient to use given a particular system, because it is impossible. By combining all of your systems in one place with the tools you need to access, edit and manage all your data and content you will reduce “system overload’ you will save time and money.

Final Thoughts

Chances are you already have a CMS in place at your business. There are many reasons why it has become a necessity for every business; from efficient workflows to customer satisfaction, a CMS can be a game changer when used effectively. If any of these points hit close to home (or your business), it’s probably time to invest in an enterprise grade CMS! What was the moment that made you decide it was time to upgrade your CMS? Let us know over on Twitter @VeridayHQ

Open Source vs. Closed Source Software – What’s the Difference?

, , ,

In the age of technology and automation, software is being used more and more in day-to-day tasks. No matter what type of uses the software has, there are two overarching types: closed source and open source. This article will take a look at the two different software, and compare them through the topics of development, support, flexibility, and cost.

First, let’s understand exactly what they are.

Closed source software is software that holds the source code safe and encrypted. Meaning, the user can’t copy, modify, or delete parts of the code without some type of consequence. It can go from voiding the warranty to even legal repercussions.

Open source software is software that does the complete opposite. It allows users to copy, modify, or delete parts of the code under their own discretion. The user is able to use functions of the open source on their own program with no consequence.

Which one works best? Choosing the best type of software depends on your business needs and objectives. The best way to compare is to look at some of the biggest differences between the two types.

Development:

Closed source software creators are the ones that generally handle the development and fixes, meaning it is under their discretion if they continue their ongoing development or not.

Open source development is handled through ‘mass collaboration’. As a result, development and fixes usually continue as long as the community is active.

In this, open source has the advantage. Closed source could end support of software at almost anytime, leaving you with whatever you have at that moment. Meanwhile, for open source software, if the community is fairly large and active, you can expect new updates, features, or fixes for a fairly long time.

Support:

Closed source software will usually have a dedicated FAQ, manuals, and options to contact someone. If there is a problem with the software, you can submit a ‘support ticket’ and get a response in one business day in most cases. All of these things will be organized and well documented as well.

On the other hand, for open source software, there are not many support options such as a dedicated and organized FAQ or contacting someone may not be available. Some of the only support options would be going through forums, reading articles, or hiring an expert.

Closed source has the advantage in support. Since a lot of the support costs have been factored into the price of the software (excluding special support types like 24/7 or personal expert). This allows for there to be a lot of different self help options such as FAQ, an organized user manual written by the developers, or an organized forum with experts. On the other hand, open source software usually doesn’t have this level of DIY support systems. Although, there might be third-party forums and explanations from the community, which could help.

Flexibility:

Closed source software tends to have only as much flexibility as the creators intended. The flexibility only extends to the front-end because the functions are limited to what was programmed. Changing these things could void the warranty or cause even greater problems.

Open source software tends to allow a lot more flexibility. You can modify the functions and even add community created modifications or features to suit your needs.

Depending on your need for flexibility either can be a viable option. Although, due to the increased flexibility open source offers with their option to change their code, it tends to scale up easier.

Cost:

This could be the biggest difference between the two types. There are a few different pricing models but the two that we’ll focus on are regular purchase and subscription services. Generally, closed source software tends to have some type of cost for the software. Closed source’s pricing model includes the right to use the software, whether it be as an upfront cost or subscription.

Open source, on the other hand, doesn’t have a cost associated with the core functionality. It can, however, have costs for additional features, assistance, or added functionality.

Based on these factors, both closed and open source are on equal grounds. Closed source has a high cost associated with the software, whereas open source has little to no cost associated with the software but has costs associated with additional features.

———————————

Overall, if you want scalability, flexibility, and to cut costs as much as possible, open source is a great place to start your software journey. It can be difficult to choose a technology solution that best fits your wants and needs. Many organizations are turning to Liferay, a leading open source platform, to help them build a fully integrated intranet that connects their people and systems. For more information, feel free to reach out to us.

 

The Business Case for Liferay DXP

 

4 Benefits of a Content Management System (CMS)

, ,

According to TechTarget, a content management system (SMS) is a system used to manage the content of a website. Using a CMS to power your website could be one of the best investments you make for your website and business. Although, a CMS can be a steep investment, it can also be a great asset to your business in the long run.

In a digitally-centric world, your organizations website is one of your main communication tools with your clients, prospects, and the rest of the digital world – so you want to make sure your audience loves your website. CMS is a web program that allows users to easily create, modify and maintain content from a single interface. Below are 4 benefits of investing in a CMS for your organizations website.

  1. Boosts productivity

Have you ever had to go through your IT department to make a change to your organization’s website? Something as simple as adding a new blog post, changing an image, or updating information? Going through this process can be daunting as it has to go through several people in your organization to make the simplest changes.A good CMS is user friendly and enables people, including those without a coding background, to make changes quickly. Having a good CMS helps boost your organizations productivity levels by streamlining website changes (and more).

  1. Allows multiple users

In an organization, there are many employees who have input into your website – the creative director, marketing team, developers, and so on. A CMS makes it easy to manage different roles and permissions for each user, whether they need to produce and publish blog posts for your content marketing efforts, give your website a fresh new look, or change the layout entirely.

  1. It’s easy to use for the non-technically minded

Not everyone has the same skills and comfort level with technology. Working with a CMS allows those without a design or developing background to easily create functional pages and update them periodically without having to depend on back-end developers. CMS functions like writing and publishing content are easy to grasp for everyone, so you don’t have to worry about spending too much time on training.

  1. Easier access to content

According to SER Group, businesses spend 30% of their working time searching for “locked up” information. With so much time being spent searching for that information, an organizations profitability and efficiency decreases. A CMS makes it simple to share, reuse and search for content throughout the system, ensuring that the data is available to everyone who needs it. This heightens the effectiveness of your employees and helps in decreasing total costs for your organization.

Although there are many benefits that a CMS can bring to your organization, not all CMS systems are effective.

Liferay as a Content Management System (CMS)

, ,

There is no denying that Content Management Systems are important in today’s web ecosystem. They allow you to spend less time staring at your computer screen and more time doing business. A Content Management System (CMS) is a tool that allows you to create, edit, manage and maintain website pages on a central interface without the use of codes and scripts.

CMS allows non-technical users to publish content to the web without having advanced knowledge of web technology or programming of any sort. It eliminates the need for a developer or HTML designer to be involved every time you want to change something on your site, resulting in increased work efficiency.

Liferay provides a powerful and flexible CMS to make fundamental changes to the way you do business. It is is one of the most popular CMS in the market for managing and administering website content and is recommended by many industry experts. Despite its many other robust features, many customers use Liferay Portal just for its content management system, whether it be web content management or management of file-based content. It comes with many features that make your content management task simple, and is used for both developing personal as well as enterprise websites.

Liferay continues to grow in popularity due to the fact that it simplifies the work and user experience, and can easily be customized to satisfy specific business needs. Advocates of Liferay point to its open source architecture, ease-of-use and integration capabilities as reasons for its continued success and popularity. If your business is looking for a CMS solution, Liferay is definitely worthy of consideration.

So, what can Liferay’s content management feature do for your business and website?

  1. Web Publishing
    • Allows anyone to easily maintain fully functional websites. Non-technical users can create, edit and publish content with a simple point and click interface.
  2. Unified Documents & Media
    • Includes a unified document repository that houses documents, video, audio, images and other media types from one place. It can be used across an enterprise, within a specific group or for a single individual. Enterprise-wide repositories allow groups to store assets, tag them with key words, lock them, search for and leverage them in web pages, or download them for use offline.
  3. Live Page Editing and Scheduling
    • Pages from a live site can be edited and previewed without affecting what is seen on the public site, then scheduled for future publishing all within the online editor.
  4. Integrated Collaboration Tools
    • Wikis, message boards, blogs, activity tracking, instant message, e-mail, shared calendar, pools, announcements and alerts, tags and categories
  5. Advanced Workflow and Approval Processes
    • Allows users tο produce thеіr οwn personal workflow аnd define thе amount οf approval paths based on thеіr οwn distinctive business requirements аnd operational units.
  6. Customizable
    • Easily customizable platform to satisfy specific preferences, user requirements and business needs.
  7. Multi-Language Support
    • Supports international localization and includes out-of-the-box support for 30+ languages. Users can toggle between different language settings with just one click.
  8. Integration with Microsoft Office
  9. Quick Page and Site Creation
    • Web structures and templates allow common web layouts to be saved for future web pages. Users can create pages or sites with sets of predefined templates or pages, and immediately begin adding content without the help of any developer support.
  10. Search Engine Optimization
    • With its ability to create web content, blogs, wikis and to share documents, your website becomes a valuable source of information. Liferay also optimizes updates to the site map information and makes new pages instantaneously searchable by external search engines.

For more information on the features of Liferay’s Content Management System, click here.

——————————————————————

Is Liferay a good fit for your business? Drop us a line to discover how Liferay can be customized to meet your business strategy and goals.The Business Case for Liferay