strategy

Omnichannel Campaigns + Interactive Content

While reading has its benefits, I’m sure we can all admit that it’s easy to get bored and distracted when you’re just passively skimming something. And sure, “content is king”, but everyone is publishing content these days, so how exactly can you stand out in a sea of blogs titled “The Best Blah Blah Blah” and keep readers engaged? Interactive content!

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, interactive content is exactly what it sounds like – it’s any form of content that can be interacted with by a website visitor or user. Think quizzes, calculators, and infographics – they’re all types of interactive content. And, creating these unique experiences can give you the opportunity to convey your value to your audience and encourage more engagement.

A Rundown on Interactive Content

Since we all seem to have the attention span of a squirrel these days, interactive content is the superhero here to save the day. What makes the concept even better, is that you can take any approach you want with it. The options are truly endless, but to put a picture to the face, here’s a rundown:

  • Quizzes offer a unique opportunity to both educate and engage your audience while giving you valuable data in return. Whether you do a career quiz, personality quiz, or a brain health assessment quiz, your audience will be much more intrigued and you’ll be able to grab info without even asking for it.
  • No matter if your audience is looking to buy, save, or reach a goal, calculators offer a helping hand and ensure trust when it comes to a final decision that needs to be made.
  • Infographics give you the ability to provide key data and stats in a digestible, meaningful way. At the end of the day, who wants to read a whitepaper when you can look at a pretty picture.

Finding the Time & Place

While there are numerous benefits that come with interactive content, it’s important to not overkill your platforms with it. There’s a time and place for it and finding that happy medium will benefit you more in the long run. Here are a few tips and tricks to consider when incorporating interactive content into your strategy.

  1. Figure out what your interactive content goal is. Do you want higher engagement rates, looking to capture more relevant data, or increase brand loyalty?
  2. Narrow down which style of interactive content will give the best results and help you reach your goals.
  3. Decide where your content will be distributed. Will you get the most engagement from emails, landing pages, digital ads, etc.?
  4. Execute your interactive content strategy and modify it as you see fit.

Duo of The Year

Aside from all the points made earlier, there’s still one key component of interactive content that will maximize ROI and user experience in the long run – omnichannel marketing. To put it simply, an omnichannel marketing campaign has one goal in mind — constant contact and engagement with your targets and reaching customers in ways they want to be engaged. Now tie the concept of interactive content and omnichannel marketing together, and you have the perfect combo! Imagine all the opportunities that can come along with these two very customizable concepts.

Looking into The Future

With things like VR, AR, and many other futuristic concepts progressing rapidly, one can only imagine where we’ll be in the next 5 to 10 years when we interact with our audience from afar. Already, 70% of marketers are creating more interactive content today compared to a year ago and 90% of consumers agreed they wanted to see more interactive content in their communications. It’s exciting to see how much it’s already evolved and we can’t wait to see where it will go.

Are you finding yourself as intrigued as we are and looking to incorporate interactive content in your next omnichannel campaign? Contact us today and learn more about our capabilities.

A Brief Introduction

Let’s take a step back into the old days: your marketing team comes up with a campaign, they drop it on a single platform, send a direct mailer or blast an email, and then wait for a response to follow up on. One-touch campaigns like these were common — and wildly inefficient.

We know these one-touch strategies are a thing of the past because the future (and present) is all about omnichannel, multitouch marketing. In this two-part blog series, we’re going to show you how we’ve recently used an omnichannel, multitouch approach to get results, but first, we’re going to take a look at what “omnichannel” means.

An omnichannel marketing campaign has one goal in mind — constant contact and engagement with your targets. These campaigns use data segmentation to target highly specific demographics across a wide range of platforms. Omnichannel, multitouch campaigns not only increase your visibility, but they effectively reinforce each prior point of contact. With a host of readily available response mechanisms, this style of campaign encourages engagement at every turn.

As we’ve touched on before, this strategy is heavily data-driven, but it isn’t just about segmenting your audience at the onset. As a campaign progresses, an omnichannel approach relies on real-time reporting from all channels, then adapts using that data to analyze progress and maximize effectiveness throughout the campaign.

Remember: it’s all about reaching the customers in the ways they want to be engaged — your ability to customize is endless.

Check back soon for the next part of this series, Omnichannel Marketing for New Movers, where we’ll discuss how this strategy fits into new mover marketing, including a real-world example of our recent success using this approach.

In the meantime, for more great content or to get in touch, click here.

Why We Decided to Refresh Our Brand

Over the last three decades, we’ve done a lot of amazing things for a lot of amazing clients. We’ve pioneered automated direct mailing processes, built custom correspondence management portals supplementing complex workflows, and we’ve moved mountains to ensure our customers could stay focused on what they do best. In Strata lingo: we’ve Made Smart Happen.

In fact, our services and solutions have evolved to the point where we felt they were being constrained by the visuals of our existing brand. As experts in removing roadblocks and bottlenecks, we recognized that this meant we needed to make a change. Think of it as a makeover, if you will. And yes, we know they say, “it’s what’s on the inside that matters,” but first impressions are lasting impressions and it never hurts to have a pretty, shiny exterior to match the high-caliber engine on the interior. 

So, we saw a huge opportunity to show the world (not just our clients) our true colors. We’re marketing enthusiasts dedicated to innovation, collaboration, and top-notch service – we just needed our branding to confirm that. 

To Rebrand or Refresh – That is the Question

If you’ve ever worked on a branding project before, then you know the first question that needs to be answered is, “do we rebrand or refresh?” A complete rebrand requires scrapping your current identify and starting with a fresh slate, where a refresh allows you to keep your main identity and strategy intact.

The answer for us wasn’t hard to find – our brand was strong with our current clients and we had a great reputation as problem solvers and solutions experts – so a refresh it was! I mean, just like you wouldn’t build a new house to change the color of a room, we didn’t need to start from the ground up to create a brand that mirrored our vision, our team, and our solutions.

Ready, Set, Go!

Fast forward to January 2020 and we’re in go mode. Ideas were flying, brainstorming was brewing, and I’ll be honest, it was a good couple week of chaos. Even as a group of marketing professionals, I don’t think any of us truly recognized the complexity and number of brains it would take to refresh our brand. In the end however, the initial chaos was beautifully orchestrated and the seeds of our new brand began to sprout.

True to the saying, the first step (the discovery phase) was definitely the hardest. It made us take a deep look at who we were so we could identify each conflicting detail between who we were at our core vs. who we were on paper. It involved a lot of long, honest conversations – but they’re conversations that needed to happen. 

Then came the fun stuff. After breaking down our brand into a million essential pieces, we finally started to put it all back together and our new brand started to emerge. Our voice, values, mission, logo and brand standards all began to meld together and tell a single, cohesive story that was both accurate and elegant. 

To Infinity, and Beyond

As you can tell, we’re pretty pumped about this new brand and it’s hard for us to picture ourselves any other way – it finally feels like were walking in the perfect pair of shoes.

The best part is, our new brand doesn’t really feel new to any of us. In fact, it’s exactly who we’ve always been – sleek, bold, and always moving forward. Although we don’t know exactly know where the future will take us, we know that we have the vision, mindset, solutions, and *now* the brand to mirror it all. 

So, I pose this question to you – what do you think of our new brand? We hope you feel the same as us and that you’re ready to Make Smart Happen and #StrideWithStrata.

Killer Content in 4 Easy Steps

Welcome to part 5 of our Account Based Marketing (ABM) series. In our previous blogs, we’ve touched on the basics of ABM, such as aligning your sales and marketing teams, identifying target accounts and doing thorough research.

This week, we’ll be moving towards the creative side of your ABM strategy — creating well-written and useful content. We’re going to take you through a 4-step process that’ll help you develop the kind of content that’ll drive your ABM strategy and connect you with your audience.

It’s hard to stress this point enough: it’s both difficult and crucial to actively engage your potential buyers, but like most of us, your buyer is constantly inundated with ads, emails, and not to mention, social notifications. As a marketer, it’s your job to cut through that noise and offer value, particularly when it comes to an ABM strategy.

Here’s how to create killer (and scalable) content to support your ABM strategy.

Step 1: Do Your Research

If you’ve been keeping up with our ABM series, you should’ve noticed a pattern by now — an ABM strategy relies heavily on research. That’s because the best ABM strategy is focused on personalization.

In the same way, the best ABM content is also personalized. This means that the more personal and relevant your content is, the more likely your target buyer will engage with you.

So, how do you create content that engages them? Ask yourself a few key questions:

  • Who are your key personas?
  • What do they care about?
  • Where do they consume information?
  • When do different types of content work best?

Step 2: Draw from Past Content

We never have as much time or resources as we’d like to. That’s why it’s so important to make the most of your hard work in the past to maximize your output in the future.

Here’s what we mean by that in the context of your ABM strategy: recycle your content. There is absolutely nothing wrong with picking and choosing pieces of relevant content to dust off and repurpose as part of your ABM strategy.

The key is not to waste time reinventing the wheel. Evaluate your existing content and figure out where it falls in your strategy. Go through it, find a couple core pieces of reworkable content and identify where you need to fill in the gaps with more research or fresh content.

It’s about working smarter, not harder- let’s stick to this cliché.

Step 3: Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

Before your content goes out the door, make sure that it’s as relevant to your audience as possible. For example, it’s important to include things like industry relevant examples and terminology.

Another important facet of personalization is the tone you use and making sure to change it with context. For instance, your tone may change from casual when addressing a perceived peer to more professional when addressing a member of your target account’s executive team.

The most important thing is that you decide what speaks most to the person with whom you’re trying to connect to.

Step 4: Create Your Game Plan

Once you have your content created, determine who gets what by identifying which content speaks directly to your target account’s needs. 

Referencing back to step 1 — the research you did to develop engaging content— determine the best way to get that content to your audience and act.

Creating great content can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be a monumental struggle. By researching your audience, mining existing content, personalizing your materials and delivering your offering in an effective way, you can make valuable content that resonates with your target accounts.

Check back next Thursday for the conclusion to our ABM series – How to Execute Your ABM Strategy. And of course, if you’re ready to start your ABM program and would like to see how we can help, contact us to learn more.

Finding the Needle in the Haystack

Welcome to part 3 of our Account Based Marketing (ABM) series.

To quickly review, in part 1 and part 2, you saw us introduce ABM as a strategy and dive into the steps you can take to align sales and marketing.

In this blog, we’ll go over arguably the most important step in an ABM campaign — identifying target accounts. Let’s do it.

What Are Target Accounts?

To put it simply, target accounts are the companies you want to turn into customers.

We’re sure you could’ve guessed that.

Why Target Accounts Are So Important

Selecting your target accounts isn’t as simple as “I’d really like our business to handle the collateral needs for Coca Cola.” It’s about identifying exactly which accounts fit best in your business model, help build your brand, and effectively grow your company. Basically, if you’re spending the bulk of your energy and resources identifying these accounts, then you’re doing it right.

The right target accounts are critical to the success of your ABM campaign. If you choose wisely, you’ll see better account engagement, quicker deal velocity, and larger deals. The wrong choice, however, often leads to difficulty defining clear goals, aligning your sales and marketing teams, and ultimately a poor ROI.

How to Identify Target Accounts

The first step to identifying a target account is to look at the goals your team has established for your campaign and create essential criteria.

Then, step two uses that criteria to establish a persona, creating an ideal customer profile for your target account. The process is a lot like creating personas for B2C business, except you’re creating a persona for an entire company. Things like annual revenue, reputation, philanthropic efforts, etc., all go into this profile.

Next, step three will put this persona to use. Start scouting prospects that fulfill your criteria and resemble the persona you’ve created.

Finally, step four is all about getting the data. Once you have a pool of potential target accounts, utilize any metrics you can get your hands on to delve into them and find which ones are truly the best fit for you. This is a good time to consider not only the potential financial payoff, but how doing business with this account will build your brand and provide value in the future.

Know Your Point of Contact

By now, you’ve narrowed down a pool of prospects into a group of true target accounts. Let’s not blow all your hard work with a sloppy ending — it’s time to bring it home with a little more research.

Figure out who you need to reach out to. Once you have it ball parked (department, level of seniority, etc.) start looking at who the ideal point of contact might be. The specific details you’re after are:

  • Job title
  • Tenure
  • Decision-making hierarchy
  • Account affiliation
  • Activity/engagement history
  • Skills and proficiencies
  • Experience with your category

Once you have this information, use it to identify your ideal point of contact.

Double Check

Double check everything, always…. that’s all.

Allocate Your Efforts

While all target accounts are important — that’s what makes them target accounts — they’re not all equally important. We can visualize this as a tier-based system:

Tier 1 accounts are perfect fits, similar to your highest value customers.

Tier 2 accounts are strong fits but have a lower lifetime value.

Tier 3 accounts fit most, but not all criteria. They’re worth pursuing but typically not worth investing significant resources to win their business.

The point of breaking up target accounts into these groups is energy allocation. You should allocate more resources to accounts that have the potential to drive the most revenue and/or strategic value for your business.

Worth the Work

It’s a pretty hefty work load up front, but ultimately, that research pays dividends — if you choose your targets wisely, your business could very well see growth like it’s never seen before.

That promise of success, however, does come with an important word of caution — if you rush the process and make the wrong move, you’re likely setting your ABM strategy up for failure.

The point is this: if you take your time, do your research and make smart moves, an ABM strategy can truly open new doors for you and your business.

Looking to broaden your knowledge on Account Based Marketing? Check back every Thursday for more ABM topics including tips for how to map individuals to accounts and collect data, best practices for defining and creating targeted campaigns, how to execute your campaign, and more.

Or, if you’re ready to start your ABM program and would like to see how we can help, Contact us today.

Smarketing – How to Align Sales and Marketing

In our last article, we discussed the rise of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) as perhaps the premiere strategy for modern business. With its unique ability to increase efficiency and bolster ROI, more and more businesses have begun to gravitate to ABM as their preferred outbound marketing strategy.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the ways in which sales and marketing teams must interface in order for an ABM strategy to be a success. We’ll also touch on how to align those teams for maximum impact.

Let’s go.

Locking In On a Target

Traditional Strategy: In the past, sales teams targeted specific accounts and marketing focused on leads. That meant two fairly autonomous entities working on the same general goal, rather than focused collaborative efforts on a specific, defined target.

ABM Strategy: With an ABM strategy, sales and marketing teams work together from the jump. They do this by identifying a list of target accounts and centering their efforts around those targets.

Standards of Success

Traditional Strategy: We’ve been defining our success in the wrong ways. Marketing teams have traditionally relied on vanity metrics to prove their worth while sales teams have pointed mostly to closed revenue. While sales numbers and engagements are certainly indicative of activity, they can often fail to reflect big pictures realities.

ABM Strategy: ABM identifies this problem — vanity metrics and sales as the “end all, be all” barometer of success — and allows your team to address it. Rather than judging a campaign by these traditional benchmarks, an ABM approach encourages your team to come together and define their own goals. While sales numbers and engagements may be included in these goals, an ABM campaign tends to have a broader vision of success, for instance securing a set of small accounts that may provide crucial references to secure a big account in the future.

Campaign Management

Traditional Strategy: The traditional approach to campaigns has always been pretty simple — marketing conceptualizes and launches a campaign, sales gets a list of contacts to follow up with, and the beat goes on — two separate entities independently chipping away at the same general goal, interacting only in the handoff of leads.

ABM Strategy: In the same way an ABM strategy sees sales and marketing working together to identify goals and target accounts, ABM also sees a collaborative approach to campaign development to create multi-touch, hyper-targeted campaigns.

How To Align Your Team

If we haven’t already made it obvious, the success of an ABM marketing strategy is rooted firmly in the alignment and collaboration of sales and marketing teams. With such intense focus on a relatively small pool of prospects, any slip in messaging/communication/strategy could result in the loss of a large percentage of projected sales.

The first step to aligning your team is the initial set of discussions. Start by clearly defining the responsibilities of each team and team member. By identifying these roles for the get-go, it’s easier to ensure accountability, as well as identify priorities and assign tasks.

The next step is to spark a collaborative environment. It’s important to ensure that everyone understands their role as a part of one unit working in harmony, rather than as independent entities doing their job and handing it off to the next person. Think of it as an engine, rather than an assembly line. Have open conversations, encourage constant communication and foster that culture of collaboration.

The final step is to share the results of ABM campaigns openly — including failures — and encouraging constructive dialogue around them. Find out what worked and what didn’t. Examine both successes and shortcomings against the metrics your team has come up with. You may find that the problem is not with your strategy, but rather your goals. This is the type of information that will grow campaigns in the future.

At the end of the day, this is the golden rule: Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. Align, align, align.

If nothing else, we hope you leave this article with those two words as the primary focus of your ABM strategy.

Remember: getting the ball rolling is only half the battle. Once you’ve developed a collaborative environment and aligned your teams, you must sustain it. Encourage constant conversation, communication and dialogue between your sales and marketing teams. Once this level of cooperation becomes a habit, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the foundation your teams rely on to get results.

Looking to become an ABM master? Check back every week for more ABM topics, including how to identify high-value accounts, tips for how to map individuals to accounts, info on collecting better data, best practices for defining targets, creating targeted campaigns, executing those campaigns, and much more.

Ready to start your ABM program? Contact us to see what we can do for you.

How We Helped a Client Think Outside of the Box to Reach their Perfect Prospects at Home

COVID-19 has thrown businesses for a loop, but there are still jobs to be done and innovations to be made.

Let’s talk about the spectrum of what we’ve been seeing.

At Strata, we’ve seen the success of certain marketing campaigns ebb as some business temporarily halt marketing operations. The explanation for that one is pretty obvious — if you’re not marketing, you get no return.

We’ve also seen some business remain stable for other customers, like those primarily marketing through digital channels. As we touched on here, email and digital marketing are remaining relatively consistent and in some cases, experiencing positive trends.

And then we’ve also seen some increase during the COVID crisis, like a recent B2B direct mail campaign, which might surprise you. With a B2C direct mail campaign, people are home and opening their mail, so it would make sense to experience an uptick in return in a B2C direct mail campaign response rate.

But with people out of office, could a B2B direct mail campaign really be experiencing success?

The answer is yes. Thanks to our adaptive strategies at Strata, that’s exactly what happened. In fact, one campaign that’s expected to performed better than both industry and personal benchmarks.

Here’s how.

An Idea and a Survey

Our team realized that with decision makers working remotely, B2B direct mail campaigns would fall short, likely reaching their intended recipients too late — or not at all.

To get around this, we pulled data from our B2B data base, identified the decision makers, then matched it against a mailing list used by B2C businesses. This matching revealed the personal addresses of the decision makers, allowing us to send them B2B communications as if it were a B2C direct mail interaction.

This presented an obvious question: if we were to send decision makers B2B marketing materials directly to their homes, would they take this initiative as an invasion of privacy?

We sent a survey to IT professionals and executives focused around that exact question. We found that the overwhelming majority would not mind business materials being sent to their home given the current crisis.

Implementation

Once we had this information, the next step was to implement the strategy.

Our campaign consisted of highly-personalized dimensional mail boxes sent via mail directly to the homes of top B2B decision makers. Of those that received the campaign mailer, we’ve seen very promising clickthrough rates and an upwards tick in scheduled appointments.

We plan to update this post once final results for this campaign are available.

The Takeaway

In the worst of times, successful businesses find ways to adapt and overcome.

Let the above serve as a real-life demonstration. It’s a reality we’ve been harping on since the beginning of this blog program (and certainly since the beginning of the COVID crisis) — the absolute importance of adaptive marketing.

Want to put Strata’s adaptive marketing solutions to work for you? Contact us to see how we can do to help your business thrive as we get through these difficult times.

Four Strategies for B2B Marketers to Consider

In our last post, we visited some of the ways COVID-19 has impacted marketing and which advertising channels are producing results in our strange new world (and which aren’t). 

We touched on some pretty simple concepts — customers are looking for greater value in their purchase, marketers need to lean into digital and direct mail in their omnichannel strategy, and COVID-19 is weird, but not the end of the world.

So how do we continue to get through it?

Here are four specific strategies B2B businesses can use to adapt in the current COVID climate.

1: Don’t Fade Away

Knee-jerk reactions are never good, particularly in the business world, and completely halting the presses may damage your brand visibility down the line.

If you need to take a break from promotional materials that simply don’t make sense during times of social distancing, by all means do so. Now might not be the time to buy a billboard or ad space at the airport.

That said, reinvesting some of those savings into techniques proven to be successful during the COVID crisis — like direct outreach via mailers, email campaigns or digital advertising — is paramount to coming out of this thing in a position of strength. 

2: Double Down on Customer Engagement

In times of crisis, your customers are looking for comfort and reassurance — on some level, we’re all looking for that right now.

Look at this as an opportunity to confirm what your customers already knew about your brand. Show them when the chips are down, your business values its customers above all else by engaging them via social media interactions, email or whichever way they reach out.

3: Approach Uncertainty with Confidence in Your Messaging

There are effective and ineffective approaches to crisis management. An ineffective way to manage a crisis is to project a specific outcome and bank on it, leaving you open to catastrophe if things don’t go as planned.

Kind of how we ended up here in the first place.

An effective approach is to focus less on specific outcomes, and more on the range of outcomes. This doesn’t mean giving doomsday predictions equal credence at more optimistic projections. Instead, it means acknowledging uncertainty in your messaging and reassuring customers that your business is prepared for both the good and the difficult.

4: Get Smarter with B2B Outreach

For B2B business, this strategy might be the most important.

You can’t just send your outreach to the office — with many employees working remotely, it could very easily be a waste of a direct mail campaign.

So how do you make sure your outreach lands where it needs to?

It’s been simple: we’ve been comparing our account information against available customer databases, finding where we have overlaps and sending B2B marketing materials to the homes of decision makers.

So, there you have it, four strategies for B2B businesses to consider going forward. These times are tough, but with a strong focus on adaptive marketing — particularly in messaging and outreach strategies — we’ll make it through.

For more on how Strata can help your business stay strong through COVID-19, contact us today.

How We Plan to Exceed Sustainable Business Standards


I spend a lot of time in the outdoors. I always have.

Whether it’s hiking, fishing, diving or something else, the outdoors has always been a defining presence in my life — a presence that has allowed me to see some of the best of what our natural world has to offer.

Unfortunately, I’ve also seen many ways in which we’re failing our environment. Regardless of one’s political and institutional beliefs, I think we all can agree that we only have one planet, and caring for it makes the same “sense” as caring for our homes or our children. In fact, for me, this is mostly about caring for our children.

I believe we’ve reached a tipping point, a crossroads — whatever you want to call it — where the choice is simple: take action to protect our planet now or accept a future of grave uncertainty and limited possibility.

Those of us in business are on the front lines of environmental impact, and now more than ever, we must act as leaders.

For too long, businesses have simply chalked up environmental activism to donations or the purchase of energy credits.

These are both fine things, but cutting a check and carrying on, “business as usual,” has become nothing short of insufficient.

Looking inward, sustainable business practices have always been somewhere on Strata’s agenda. We offer eco-friendly options, we’re careful with our byproduct disposal and make efforts to reduce waste wherever it’s created.

This too is not enough.

Going forward, effective immediately, Strata is implementing an aggressive eco-first strategy to not only meet widely recognized standards for sustainable business but exceed those criteria to the point of setting new industry benchmarks. We’re going to look carefully at the science and our environmental impact, and address each part of our operation to reach a goal of being carbon neutral by 2025 and environmentally neutral by 2030.

To start, we will develop, articulate and implement more responsible internal and external practices. We will allocate ten percent of company profits towards eliminating our footprint. We will participate through company-sponsored volunteerism in environmentally impactful ways, and together, see just how far these actions take us in attaining our goals. As these things come into being, we will re-evaluate and adjust.

We’re creating this blog series to lead by example, taking our readers along with us as we move towards new levels of sustainability. Throughout, we’ll be exploring what environmental responsibility means to our business and what kind of changes we’re making to see a real, measurable impact.

We are not certain where this journey will take us. Some of the concepts and technologies we will need to reach our ultimate goal are not even fully developed or available, yet. However, we have a chance to take adversity and channel it into opportunity. It is a challenge that we meet with optimism.

We’re excited to share our journey with you, and hope you’ll follow along, both as readers and business people committed to sustainability. We look forward to seeing what one small, for-profit business can accomplish.