If marketers want to succeed at attracting customers and generating sales, they need to optimize, according to a new survey from Adobe Systems Inc.

In a survey of about 1,000 marketers from North America, Europe, and Asia, Adobe’s researchers found 75 per cent of respondents said they feel sending their customers optimized, personalized messages is vital for their company’s goals.

Still, the average marketer’s conversion rate hovers at just 2.6 per cent. So to show how they can boost that number, Adobe looked at the top performers in their survey, which made up 20 per cent of those surveyed. Among that group, the conversion rate was as high as 4.5 per cent or more. The researchers in the survey then came up with five different methods to explain the group’s success.

First of all, 70 per cent of marketers in the “top performers” category said they regularly test their methods to ensure they work, compared to just 46 per cent of the others who were surveyed. Testing wasn’t just limited to A/B splits as variables when launching a campaign – marketers at top performing companies also ensured their data was clean and that their organizations trusted what the data was telling them.

Marketers in this group also ensured they had defined their main optimization conversion event well, and they showed they understood how they would calculate ROI with it, rather than just operating in their own vacuum.

Another factor that boosted their success was that these marketers were willing to put time and money toward optimization. Of those in the top performers’ category, 54 per cent put more than five per cent of their budgets towards optimization, though 44 per cent of all other respondents said they were investing less than five per cent towards that.

“It’s a cyclical process: More budget toward optimization efforts yields higher conversion rates and revenue to then fund into additional activities. Start with small wins to demonstrate the proof points and gain momentum for larger investments,” Adobe’s researchers wrote in a white paper.

Methods of measuring customer experience. (Image: Adobe).
Methods of measuring customer experience. (Image: Adobe).

The third reason for the top performers’ higher conversion rate was the level of effort they put in promoting their content marketing. Among the top 20 per cent, 43 per cent were targeting their content more heavily, and 83 per cent were using automation and data to help them decide what kind of content to create.

For marketers who haven’t been getting involved in targeting content yet, the authors of the white paper recommended they take a few sections of the site and keep trying to refine their targeting processes there first. Then they should look at other areas where they can optimize a customer’s experience on the site – for example, automated behavioural targeting and recommendations.

The fourth reason for the best marketers’ success was that they worked as a team, getting other departments in their organization involved with their testing efforts. That top tier of 20 per cent of marketers surveyed was 88 per cent more likely to get other departments involved. This led to creating more efficiency, as that group was 36 per cent more likely to use automation to test their campaigns, meaning there was less time spent debating across departments about priorities and outcomes.

Finally, 83 per cent of the best performers in Adobe’s sample said they feel mobile is a priority for their business and for their cross-channel marketing campaigns, while just 67 per cent of all other respondents said the same.

Given customers’ rapid exodus to their mobile devices, using them more frequently than their desktops, businesses need to look at their mobile data and figure out where their customers are viewing their sites and apps. A good starting point would be to ensure their website is mobile-friendly, Adobe’s researchers wrote.

Then there’s always the possibility of building an app, as consumers spend more time with apps than they do on the web – and marketers can also leverage app optimization technology to track how customers are engaging with their businesses, and whether that’s leading to any increased loyalty or revenue.

And of course, one advantage inherent to mobile is location tracking, as devices can show where users are physically located. That gives marketers a chance to make a location-based targeted marketing play based on GPS or Wi-Fi tracking, ensuring their messages reach customers at the right place, during the right time.

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