A Strata YouTube Channel Original

Creating a personally relevant multichannel campaign can be difficult without proper preparation and guidance. Luckily, in this blog, featuring our most recent YouTube video of our Multichannel Marketing series, we go over some marketing personalization statistics, how to create a personalized, cohesive, and seamlessly relevant journey across multiple channels, and ways to better know who your buyers are. 

The key to starting is to understand who your audience is and their specific buyer journey. Once you collect this data, it’s time to personalize and make sure the content you’re putting in front of them is relevant.

Map Out Your Customer Journey

When creating the perfect multichannel campaign for your audience, take a look at who your buyers really are and then work backwards to figure out how they became a customer. What high-value acquisition channels did these customers use? Which customers have strong LTV (lifetime value)? Talk to your customer service team and your customers. Once you organize and map that out, you’ll have a much easier time figuring out where the problems are, and where objections are coming from. And finally, discover where customers dropped off in the funnel. Put all of this together, and you’ll have a clear look at the journey your customers take and how you can improve your connections with them.

Establish Your Data

When we say establish your data, we’re talking way more than first names and company names. While those are important – that’s not the personalization customers are looking for these days. You’ll want to start partnering with a company (or using software) that can help you gather info like real-time, on-site behavior, online and offline conversion history, geographic location, product affinities, and device activity. All of this will help you develop a strategy that’s consistent and relevant from one channel to the next.

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all personalized experience – that’s why customers crave it so much. To see what steps are next in establishing your personalized approach, click on the video below. You’ll hear our Marketing and Social Media Coordinator, Bridget, go through best practices. Or, if you’d like to discuss this concept with one of our multichannel experts, contact us today to get your next (or maybe even your first) multichannel campaign started.

Thankful for a Company Culture that Inspires Creativity & Customer Success

It’s the season of giving, and this year (and every year) we couldn’t be anymore thankful for the company we’ve become and continue to be. We’re so grateful for the people and clients we get to work with each and every day, and can’t thank them enough for their hard work and support. That being said, we want to take the time to share what Strata is most thankful for this year – good customer and company culture, and the ways in which you can foster it.

Thank You, Strata Company

This year, we’re not only taking time to look back on how far we’ve come, but to express our appreciation and gratitude for our successes, inspirations, and company culture. Good company culture is created by the employees who show up and give it their all, so it’s important that they have a good place to do that. Having a trusted and respected environment where employees’ voices are heard gives them a space to feel included and listened to.

We strive to make sure all employees feel challenged, supported, and respected, but also ensure it’s clear that Strata isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. The biggest part of a positive atmosphere is being able to handle negative or difficult situations and being able to overcome them. All companies encounter hurdles, but having a team that is ready to conquer them is a large part of a quality company culture. We’re thankful that our team embodies this and was able to be recognized this year, as we were awarded Great Place to Work certification. Check out our blog on how we earned this certificate.

How You Can Focus on Both the Customer & Your Team – Equally

It’s possible to put both your customers and employees first. How? By having good company culture. Customers take how your company is running into consideration, not just what you’re selling to them. The way your employees act, feel, and communicate with each other and your customers often determines how long your clients stick around for, or if they even buy from you to begin with. At Strata, we pride ourselves on the relationships we build with our clients and our employees.  We like to believe that the more excitement and connection there is within the office, the more connected employees are with clients – and the more excited clients are about services and offerings. It’s one thing to sell your product well, but going the extra mile for client experience is the game changer. A positive work environment is what motivates employees to do just that. So, before you think company culture isn’t as important as other aspects of your company, remember that it could very well be the reason your company isn’t seeing consistent sales.

How to Show Thanks

So ask yourself, what do your employees value most in their work environment, and what will motivate them? Is it trust? Respect? Creativity? Consistency? Positivity? The freedom to speak and make decisions? Whatever it may be, whether it’s one, or all of them, instilling the ones that matter most is what will facilitate the best environment for your team.  The goal is for everyone to feel welcomed and accepted. One of the best ways to do this is by periodically recognizing your employees – let them know you see and acknowledge how hard they’re working. Recent studies show that “the best-performing teams receive roughly six positive comments for every negative one. They then share this positivity with their co-workers”, causing a ripple effect of positivity.

Cultures that successfully embrace gratitude tend to share these basics attributes: 

  • They treat their employees like real people, not anonymous workers. 
  • They trust and empower those employees to do great things. 
  • They accept mistakes, encourage original ideas, and reward risk-taking. 
  • They routinely express appreciation for the person, not just the job. 
  • They hire individuals who care about the organization’s future and who will add to the positive culture. 

As we said, a strong, positive, and motivating culture can take time, but the first step is recognizing the team and environment you have, and thinking through where you’d like both to be in the future. We figured, what better time than the season of giving to emphasize this topic? We hope you’re able to take away some insight, see why we’re so thankful for our current culture, and now have some ideas on how to improve your own. Questions? Feel free to contact us.

Cheers to Us – Were Certified!

Strata’s thrilled to announce that we’ve become Great Place to Work-Certified™. We consider employee experience a top priority, and owe our continued success to our team of dedicated employees here at Strata. We celebrate and thank them all for helping us earn this incredible recognition.

Why a Certification?

At Strata, our vision’s clear. We want to not only help our clients and provide them the best solutions, but to also foster a great work environment and company culture. We pride ourselves on this mission, and even as we announce this certification, we are always looking for ways to improve. Good company culture not only brings in top talent, but motivates our employees to go above and beyond for our company, our customers, and each other. In fact, we’ve learned that 94% of entrepreneurs and 88% of job seekers say that a healthy culture at work is vital for success. Along with that, 69% of employees would work harder if they received more recognition.

We believed that our people deserved to be celebrated for their positive attitudes, unity, and the impact they have on our culture, so we opened the floor to our employees and had them share their feelings towards and experiences of Strata through the Great Place to Work’s survey. We were pleased to see that 96% of our employees said that when you join Strata, you’re made to feel welcome. Plus, 94% of employees said that they take pride in working for Strata, and are always willing to give extra to get the job done (but we weren’t surprised by that)! We’re so glad that our employees feel this way, and we wouldn’t be who we are today (and where we are today) without them.

“At Strata, our brand is more than a logo, a color palette, and a tagline. Our brand is our people, and because of them we help our clients Make Smart Happen. That’s why over the years we’ve made it our top priority to invest in them and our culture – because at the end of the day that’s what defines our company – real solutions, powered by real (happy and passionate) people.” – Caitlin Lally, Marketing Manager

About the Certification

Great Place to Work® Certification™ is the most “definitive ’employer-of-choice’ recognition that companies aspire to achieve”. It’s the only recognition based entirely on what employees report about their workplace experience. Great Place to Work Certification is recognized worldwide by employees and employers alike, and is the global benchmark for identifying and recognizing outstanding employee experience. Every year, more than 10,000 companies across 60 countries apply to get Great Place to Work-Certified. We’re so proud to have applied and been selected.

What’s to Come

To celebrate, we’ll be promoting our Great Place to Work Certification all over our channels and platforms. This certification is all about our employees, so we want them to be part of the celebration and promotion today and every day. Strata also plans to take the feedback we received from our employees, and review it. We hope that this will help us continue to improve our work environment and employee satisfaction. We don’t just want to be a Great Place to Work this year, we want to be a Great Place to Work every year.

As a company who puts our employees first, we want to tell you that this type of accomplishment can take time. If you find that you aren’t sure how your employees feel at your company, let their voices be heard. Conduct a survey and allow them to share their thoughts so you can get a better understanding of your team’s pain points, wants, and needs. Who knows, maybe you’ll be next to be named Great Place to Work certified! Questions? Feel free to contact us.

San Antonio, Here We Come!

At Strata, one of our favorite things to do is talk marketing. We’re problem solvers, and we pride ourselves on helping industries overcome their marketing challenges. With healthcare marketing being one of our many specialties, we’re excited to announce that the Strata team is heading back to the annual SHSMD Connections Conference in San Antonio, Texas from September 19th-21st, and we couldn’t be more excited!

SHSMD? What’s That?

For those who’ve never heard of SHSMD (aka the Society for Health Care Strategy & Marketing Development), it’s an AHA professional membership group that focuses on how the industry can evolve and change with new strategies, marketing, and technology, serving more than 4,000 members.

This year, SHSMD is celebrating the 25th anniversary of their annual “Connections” conference, and we can’t wait to connect with some of the industry’s best marketing and communications strategists. It’s been two years since we’ve been able to interact with these professionals in person, and we’re excited to be able to once again inform, challenge and validate their thinking, while also learning from the conference’s guest speakers from all over the country.

What We’re Looking Forward to & What We’re Bringing

This isn’t our first rodeo (even though it’s our first time going to Texas), as we’ve attended this conference for 20+ years. However, this will be our first time back with a refreshed look, thanks to our 2020 brand refresh. As marketing experts with almost 30 years of experience, we’re excited to bring our expertise to the show, and create some new, long-lasting relationships.

It’s clear that the healthcare landscape is evolving faster than ever, and to stay competitive, hospital systems need to start looking at marketing as a strategy rather than an afterthought. We plan to go into the show with an open mindset and to educate healthcare industries on the importance of New Mover Marketing and how SmartMove can help them achieve their patient acquisition goals.

If you don’t know who (or what) we do, Strata offers a wide range of client-driven solutions to help companies solve complex marketing and communications challenges. We’re a lot of things (innovators, go-getters, marketing experts), but we’re people first—and we know you are, too. That’s why we believe the best way to help a business achieve its marketing goals is by focusing on the people who work there.

Learn More

If you’re attending this year, stop by booth 216 to learn more about how Strata can help you with your marketing efforts. We can’t wait to meet you!

If you’re not attending the upcoming conference- no worries. Contact us today to discuss your own personal marketing plan from the comfort of your own home.

How to Take Advantage of These
Tiny Lapses of Time

In today’s digital world, whether we realize it or not, we’re surrounded by buzzwords. As we evolve and try to keep up with the newest technology and trends, these buzzwords continue to evolve as well. These terms can be intimidating if you’re new to the digital marketing realm. However, they’re usually simply better ways to understand digital strategies, tactics, and optimizations available to your company. The more comfortable you get with buzzwords, the more involved your company can be with this ever-changing digital world, especially over your competitors. In this first blog of the “Buzzword Alert” series, we’ll be breaking down a very popular buzzword – the “micro-moment.”

Micro-Moments – What Are They?

“I want it NOW” is what today’s buyers are saying during their buying journey. They want immediate gratification, and they’re making decisions faster than ever before. This moment of instant need is called a “micro-moment”; the moment of intention when a consumer turns to their device to act on a need or want. Micro-moments are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences are shaped. In these specific moments, consumer expectations are higher than ever. Whether they’re looking to learn something, do something, discover, watch, or buy, they want to act in that exact moment. Since consumers are never too far from their devices and can find just about anything by the click of a button (91% of people use their mobile device to research information in the middle of a task), micro-moments are a game changer for many companies.

Why is it Beneficial to Know About These Moments?

Like we said, it’s so easy for consumers to quickly find something on their phones, giving your company the opportunity to utilize keyword research tools and social listening to help better understand where, when, and how they’re making purchasing decisions. These tactics will allow you to better optimize your products and services in real time based on your customer’s needs. And ultimately, this strategy will put you in a great spot (over your competitors) to offer more personalized content for your customers. If your company’s site pops up at the right moment and offers a buyer what they want, your brand’s performed a successful customer engagement. Maybe they’ll bookmark your page for later, send a link in a text message, watch a video, or – the end goal – buy your product.

How to Effectively Show Up in These Moments

Once you understand when and where your current and potential customers are showing up, make sure you are as well. The best way to show up and present your brand in these moments is to strategize being responsive and supportive. It’s one thing to make yourself available, but another to know how and what works best for your audience. Whether this is through a chat box, pop-up ad, or video, create a strategy that works across multiple channels so you don’t miss any potential customers. Usually, the more places you are, the better. Of online consumers, 69% agree that the quality, timing, and/or relevance of a company’s message influences their perception of that company’s brand. Make sure that when your customers are in these moments, they’re experiencing relevant content that resonates with them. Customers want deeper levels of engagement, so if you’re going to appear within their micro-moments, make your content something worth clicking on. With relevant information comes an effortless process to deliver it. Make your message intriguing yet simple to understand to minimize the chances of customer drop off. And if they do drop off – be sure to retarget. Autopilot found that brands who stay in touch with consumers every two to four weeks generate twice as many leads as brands who don’t. 

See These Moments in Action

Here’s an example of relevant and easy placement. You’re on your computer streaming your favorite show and – in this moment – ads for the brand “Missguided” appears – offering relevant, related content. This clothing company’s advertising the same clothing women are wearing on the show you’re streaming. The brand’s realized that their target audience is often interested in this show, providing them the perfect moment to bring these outfits to your attention.

Another example? L’Oréal’s created a personalized mobile app called “Makeup Genius.” Within this app, when you take a picture of yourself, you receive customized makeup recommendations. These are rendered on the screen, and soon after, the app allows you to purchase the recommended makeup right from your phone. Here, L’Oréal both creates and takes advantage of these micro-moments of need.

In marketing, the name of the game is thinking ahead and being one step in front of your competitors and consumers. Micro-moments are all about showing up at the right time and place, with relevant and easy-to-digest information.

Interested in working micro-moments into your next digital marketing campaign? We are here to help! Contact us.

A Strata YouTube Channel Original

When building a multichannel marketing campaign, one of the first steps is to build a cost structure to set the direction of the project. If you don’t plan ahead, costs can add up quickly, so to help you out, our most recent YouTube video goes over the different costs behind a successful multichannel marketing campaign and how to make your next campaign both cost effective and impactful. Let’s go ahead and take a look at the first cost of a multichannel campaign.

Platform Cost (Managed Service Cost) 

Picking a strong technology platform is a make-or-break decision that will determine how successful your multichannel campaign will be. Effective and coordinated multichannel marketing is only made possible through technology, so it’s essential you have access to it. A recent survey revealed that 52% of marketers utilize 3 to 4 marketing channels in one campaign, so the correct platform that can properly track and execute a campaign on many channels is imperative. If this is your first rodeo, pick a vendor to coordinate and manage these campaigns. Doing so will essentially convert the majority of the upfront costs to variable execution costs and will make the campaign easier to manage. Make sure the platform you choose properly aligns with your business strategy, as only 16% of marketers claim they have this alignment. Generally, your company should budget between $20k and $40k for a solid, multichannel-capable platform that will get the job done.

Want to learn about the two other costs associated with multichannel marketing campaigns? Click on the video below to hear from our Research & Development Director, Harrison. Or, if you’d like to discuss this concept with one of our multichannel experts, contact us today to get your next (or maybe your first) multichannel campaign up and running.

Say Goodbye to Duplicates and Hello to Increased Campaign Success

As marketers, we do everything we can to streamline our campaigns to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. In the never-ending quest for peak performance, one of the most consistent frustrations we deal with is data quality.

We all know bad data is frustrating to deal with, but beyond that, the reality is that bad data represents wasted effort, and wasted effort represents a loss of money.

We have access to a ridiculous amount of data, and in many ways, that’s a good thing — more data translates to more targets, a better understanding of those targets, and more avenues by which we can interact with them.

The problem is that all data is not created equal. In addition to generally corrupt data, duplicate data is prevalent, including name and address, household, and family (if multiple families live at the same address). 

So, how do we ensure that in a world of abundance, we’re separating the wheat from the chaff?

Step 1: Educate Yourself with Regulative Processes

It’s worth doing some exploring and familiarizing yourself with postal address regulations and how they affect your deliverability rates. Luckily there are numerous services and mail management software that can help you through this.

For example, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) is a USPS developed software that ensures mailing addresses are complete and accurate. In other words, it determines if an address actually exists. CASS also standardizes an address into a format the USPS prefers, which is an invaluable tool for creating easily comparable data points when checking for duplicates.

Another great resource is the National Change of Address (NCOA) registry. The NCOA is a dataset of permanent address changes filed by individuals, families and businesses, and can be important for weeding out which address to keep — and which to toss — in your datasets containing multiple addresses for the same customer.

Step 2: Double Check Mail List Data for Common Errors — By Hand

While it’s easy to be lulled into the convenient trap of relying too heavily on software solutions, it’s important to comb through your data — yes, manually — for common errors. Even the most advanced mail management software still requires human interaction and understanding for optimal outcomes.

How? It’s not uncommon for things like commas, missing spaces, or data simply entered in the wrong field to throw CASS off. Simple mistakes can cost you big when it comes to getting rid of duplicate data sets.

Once you’ve used software to get your data into a great starting point, it’s important to remember that that’s all it is — a great starting point. It’s up to you to do the manual work and ensure the data is uncorrupted beyond that.

Step 3: Remove Excess Info from Your Files

Since we’re solely talking about mailing, it’s important to remove as many variables as you can from your mailing lists, and that means dumping the excess information.

This excess information includes things like email addresses, phone numbers, revenue, years in business, etc., all of which aren’t pertinent to your direct mail vendor.

In short, avoid the clutter and dump the details for your mailings. Keep it simple and save that info for later.

Step 4: Choose Your Direct Mail Vendor Carefully

Much like data sets, not all vendors are created equal, and some will prove to be nightmares to work with. This speaks for itself. You want to consider attributes like experience, referrals, and knowledge of the postal regulations.

A good tip? Make sure you’re working with a vendor who proactively takes initiative when it comes to cleaning lists.

Step 5: Enjoy A Job Well Done

Cleaning and getting rid of the duplicates in your mailing list can be a process, but one that is well worth the effort. When it comes to direct mail campaigns, remember: the better the data you put in, the better the data you get out.

Need a hand with your direct mail marketing? We have the knowledge and experience to help you every step of the way. Contact us to see how we can help you design and execute and effective direct mail program.

Today, Tomorrow and the Future

Welcome back to part 2 of our series, 9 Ways COVID-19 Has Changed Sales and Marketing.

In our last installment, we touched on a shift to digital, an increased emphasis put on relationships, a move to remote selling and a switch to purely virtual events and conferences.

In part 2 of this series we’ll start to discover how COVID-19 is changing our lives today, and what impact that may have on tomorrow.

5. We’re Doing More with Less

Doing more with less isn’t uncommon, but lately we’ve all been stretched a bit more than usual, particularly the members of marketing and sales teams. With widespread layoffs and reduced staff becoming the norm (though that’s beginning to bounce back), we’ve been expected to pull double duty and cover responsibilities that may not have otherwise been delegated to us.

This means that we’re expected to cover multiple bases — like the development of new advertising, the shift to more digital-centric models, as well as maintaining current customer relationships — that would have previously been handled by a whole team. Enter marketing automation, wash and repeat processes, and the increased use of marketing technology.

6. Video Continues to Rise

Anyone who’s been watching what Zoom (ZM) has been doing knows that video continues to be crucial in helping businesses cope with the new realities of the pandemic — namely social distancing.

While we’ve touched on the idea of video in our previous installment, it’s hard to understate the importance of video capabilities in our new normal, particularly when it comes to sales.

This is a time to double down on your personalized marketing efforts, incorporating a video stand in for what might be a meeting or email. Sending a piece of direct mail, like a dimensional mailer with a video component, is a great way to use video to move forward as we deal with the effect of COVID-19 on our ability to meet face to face.

7. We’re Switching Focus to Omnichannel Marketing and Loyalty

In one of our recent pieces, we pointed out the strengths of an omnichannel, multitouch marketing strategy. This type of marketing is making more on an impact now than ever before, and will continue to thrive as new customers enter the market every day in search for new services.

However, this search for new and better services is a double-edged sword — while it brings with it the opportunity to attract new customers, it also puts us in a position to lose loyal customers as they open themselves to the idea of new services elsewhere.

But there’s a way to capitalize on both scenarios – focus on the opportunity to gain new customers with engaging omnichannel campaigns, while not losing sight of your loyal customers needs in the now.

8. We’re Looking for Alternative Ways to Gather Information and Make Connections

We’ve started to get better at finding new ways to make connections in the wake of COVID – mostly out of necessity. Being that so many people are looking for alternative solutions and forms of communication, we’re also beginning to streamline them in an effort to find what works and what doesn’t.

We’ve noticed this in the increased usage of things like chatbots as well as online scheduling and other self-service platforms, like stock tracing and order tracking. And, at the same time we’ve also seen it in the way we interact on social platforms — LinkedIn recently reported a 55% increase in engagement between connections.

9. E-commerce is Accelerating

We knew the average consumer was trending towards a preference, or at least acceptance, of largely digital interactions making up a significant chunk of their day to day purchases. That’s nothing new.

But COVID-19 threw gas all over that fire — with the temporary closing of most brick and mortars, we experienced a massive shift towards e-commerce by necessity.

And for an example, we need to look no further than what retail giant Amazon has been doing. Despite, the pandemic, Amazon has been thriving and is set to become the biggest US industrial distributor by 2021.

As you know, COVID-19 has done a lot of damage, plain and simple. But in light of that damage, the pandemic has instigated a shift towards net-positive trends in business and how we operate.

One thing is for absolute certain — now more than ever, we’re all looking towards the future.

Looking to see how Strata can help you evolve during and after COVID-19? Contact us to see how we can help you make smart happen every day.

Navigating a New Normal…LOL

Do we really need to begin an article with another paragraph about how COVID has changed how we do business?

Jokes aside, we actually do, because what’s happening now, will only tell what the future holds for many industries.

An often less explored element of our new “normal” has been COVID’s impact on marketing. To that end, we’ve created a two-part mini-series, 9 Ways Covid-19 Has Changed Sales and Marketing. This article will dive into the first four.

Let’s go.

1. Shifting to Digital Everything

Let’s start with the obvious — things are getting way digital. Where a personal touch was once valued, we’re now avoiding touching anything and will likely continue to avoid personal contact for the foreseeable future.

As a result, when it comes to both sales and marketing, companies are making the obvious move to invest heavily in digital resources for consumers, as well as digital interface between consumers and sales. As marketing gurus, we always knew tech was important, but COIVD has given us the opportunity to narrow down the digital tech deemed essential. Zoom, for example, was a platform many of us used sparingly on the 30-minute trial basis and probably took for granted – but not anymore. Instead, COVID has opened our eyes to the huge role tech plays in this industry and what’s really working and what was an undelivered tech promise. Much like the practicality of remote work, it’s unclear how much of this will remain after COVID is under control, but digital everything is part of our DNA now whether we like it or not.

2. Reinforcing the Importance of Relationships

Just because many businesses are focusing on an accelerated shift towards digital resources, it doesn’t mean that we want our customers interfacing with some robot workforce.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

When it comes to what we value during times like these, businesses lean into their relationships to get them through, and we know that customers do the same. Trusting the solutions/products they utilize is what they rely on most during touch-and-go times. This is where personalization, interactive content, and omnichannel campaigns can come in to save the day. It’s all about putting a heavy emphasis on relationships – even from afar.

3. Moving Towards Remote Selling

There’s no more perfect intersection of points one and two than a shift towards remote selling. Remote selling relies on digital to get the job done, while making sure we don’t lose sight of the personal connectedness that allows us to make the sale.

This will lead many of us to overhaul our idea of sales, focusing on an almost entirely digital platform, at least for the time being. This means a focus on hard and soft digital skills, as well as defining new standardized systems and protocols that can be scaled up for the long term. With pressures high, it’s important we all put our thinking caps on, put the client first, and not push our agendas on them. After all, you’re selling motive is to help clients to succeed.

4. Switching to Virtual Events and Conferences

Noting back to Zoom, at this point it’s almost impossible to say you haven’t participated in some sort of online meeting or conference. That has definitely become part of the new normal and may continue in the future as a more cost-effective alternative.

We’ve already seen well attended webinars, but this mass beta test we’re collectively participating in is unprecedented and will result in the accelerated adaptation of these types of events — and their scale — going forward.

Stay tuned for the second installment of this series dropping next week, where we get into five more ways in which COVID is changing the sales and marketing world as we know it. In the meantime, contact us to learn more or checkout StrataBytes for more great marketing content.