Building a Data-Driven Account Based Marketing Platform

When I think about building software for marketers, I’m building on the experience I’ve had from previous businesses and some of the challenges that I experienced.

Building DailyStory

Because of this business influence, I believe DailyStory is taking a distinctly different view of what a marketing automation platform should look like. Specifically, starting with the end in mind.

Why are we doing that?

That’s a question I ask a lot. Are we doing “that” because we have metrics that tell us “that” works? Or, are we simply doing what we did before because that is how it’s always been done?

One of my big takeaways from my previous business was you should always be asking why.

When I had the opportunity to run the Telligent business again for Verint, it’s something I pushed on. I wanted to know why and where we invested our marketing dollars. What worked and more importantly, what didn’t.

This could be as simple as “Why are we using those keywords?” to “Why do we ask for all this information just to let someone get a PDF?

To often what I found is that the answer was, “because that is how we’ve always done that”. 

So, when I started whiteboarding DailyStory I created four “buckets” of problems that I wanted to solve for:

  • Awareness – awareness of the prospective customer and their journey.
  • Acquisition – how people go through the journey to become a customer.
  • Analysis – metrics around the journey.
  • Action – make changes in how you facilitate the journey.

Imagine these on a wheel, as this is a repeating process: once you take action it elevates your awareness.

You could easily substitute ‘process’ for ‘journey’. I like the word journey because it humanizes the experience.

Awareness

When most marketers say “awareness” what they typically mean is how a customer is aware of their product or brand. I’m turning that on its head a bit – awareness means:

How aware are you of what your prospective customer’s journey is?

What’s amazing about this is that when it comes to digital this is literally the easiest thing to find out.

Web analytics tools tell a large part of the story: where did people start, where did they go, and where did they leave. How long did the spend in different parts of my site? Where did they convert?

And that works exceptionally well. Unless you have a slightly more complicated selling process.

If you have a semi-complex selling process there is likely a level of awareness that you are missing. For example, once a customer begins the journey (e.g. completes a landing page form or fills out an exit intent) what do those specific people do?

For DailyStory that is opportunity number one: helping digital marketers, specifically those working on an account based marketing approach, close that knowledge gap.

Acquisition

Once you have a better understand of the journey, the next step is to tune the acquisition aspects. For most digital businesses this means landing pages, pay-per-click and other opt-in tools such as exit intent.

Let’s pick pay-per-click as an example. My biggest challenge with pay-per-click is the lack of clarity between dollars spent and dollars returned. For example, one of the businesses that I work with expects to get $2 back for every $1 spent. But that 1:2 return rate is what they think they get back. They don’t have a way to measure more deeply.

What About Conversion Rate Optimization?

I’ve read a lot about conversion rate optimization (CRO) – that is ‘optimizing’ the journey around the customer to increase the conversions to the next stage of the ‘funnel’. While I don’t disagree with the concept, I don’t agree with measurement.

The measurement shouldn’t only be increasing the quantity of leads/contacts, it should also measure increase in quality of leads/contacts.

When the focus is on quantity vs. quality the result is well known: marketing celebrates all the leads they’ve created, sales doesn’t follow up on any of them.

For DailyStory that is opportunity number two: measure the quality, not the quantity.

It doesn’t mean CRO is thrown out the window, but it does mean you care much more about measuring the amount of new business, not just the potential business.

Analysis

In his book Megatrends, John Naisbitt wrote, “We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” By the way, he wrote that in 1982 and who would have known how well that statement would hold up.

I couldn’t find the exact stat, but a few years back I stumbled across another gem. It went something like this, “we create more knowledge in one year than we created in all the years previous combined.”

And that is opportunity number three for DailyStory: focus on the analysis, not the data.

When I was considering a new business (this wasn’t the first), I did a tremendous amount of MNW research (morning, nights and weekends). Once I circled up the marketing software space I found it was littered with technology. There is some very amazing technology out there, but what was lacking in nearly all was tying that amazing technology back to the business.

I want DailyStory to help bridge that challenge.

Action

That brings me to the final ‘A’, Action. One of the books I read this year that has influenced a lot of my thinking about building a new software product is, Switch.

The reality is, it’s hard to change. It’s easy to keep doing what you did before because that is how it is always done.

My intent with DailyStory is that it is software that helps facilitate change and feeds back into the beginning to change the awareness that marketers have about their customers.

That means that the software will have testing built into every step. Testing in the sense of being able to test out different content, test different landing pages, test different calls to action and more.

The Power of Software

What I’ve outlined above is the business-led design that the software follows to enable marketers to help their customers along the journey they take.

DailyStory is building capabilities that align with each of these steps. Sometimes it is our software, sometimes it is integration with other systems, like Salesforce or Slack.