About Aly Richards

CEO, Odyssiant: Very experienced and award winning CRM, Customer Experience and Marketing professional. Author of - Intelligent Customer Engagement - The Future of Content Marketing. http://amzn.to/1sMoF7f

Can your data do this?

2019-11-28T10:17:37+00:00

Can your sales funnel data show you this?   A traditional funnel report will show you how many customers you have at each stage. The stages will be defined by how interested or qualified the customer should be at that stage. As you go through the funnel the numbers of customer decreases until you reach the bottom.…

Can your data do this?2019-11-28T10:17:37+00:00

What is the role of content in the buyer journey?

2019-11-07T15:04:53+00:00

 What you don’t know about marketing and sales funnels that could cost you tens-of-thousands and threaten your return on marketing investment:                     6 Reasons that shouting louder and spending more on systems and adverts than the competition doesn’t work                   5…

What is the role of content in the buyer journey?2019-11-07T15:04:53+00:00

The difference between a buyer journey and a customer journey

2019-10-22T10:58:45+00:00

Anyone who has invested the time mapping the end-to-end customer journey for their business will almost certainly have come across one simple revelation: it is not one journey, it’s two journeys.In reality it could be many more than two journeys depending on the nature of the business. However, the two journeys that will always need…

The difference between a buyer journey and a customer journey2019-10-22T10:58:45+00:00

Persona to Map to Content to Funnel

2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Persona -> Needs -> Map -> Content -> Marketing Funnel -> Sales Funnel -> CustomerIn my previous article “Customer Journey Mapping - Needs & Wants”, I discussed how customers’ needs change throughout their buying journey. That represents a challenge for us marketers and customer experience managers – How do you create the right content to…

Persona to Map to Content to Funnel2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Customer Journey Management – Overcoming the silo problem

2019-10-22T11:00:16+00:00

Silos are one of the largest hurdles for any successful Cx programme to overcome. We explained why in our article “Is Customer Journey Management next?” when we discussed the challenge of demonstrating ROI for Customer Experience and Customer Journey Mapping: “The reason it is so hard to prove the ROI is because the customer experience/journey spans…

Customer Journey Management – Overcoming the silo problem2019-10-22T11:00:16+00:00

Can you create an omni-channel experience?

2019-10-22T11:00:16+00:00

 74% of marketers said that a cohesive omni-channel experience was important (34% said it was very important). (https://www.targetmarketingmag.com)We would all agree that there needs to be consistency of the brand experience across channels and the ability to interact where customers are and where they want to be and there is evidence to suggest that a…

Can you create an omni-channel experience?2019-10-22T11:00:16+00:00

Content Challenges: One audience, many content strategies

2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

How many content strategies do you have within your business? Indeed, how many content strategies do you have within your marketing function? Just the one? Fingers-crossed that is the case, but can you place your hand on your heart and swear to it?The above questions may have left you slightly puzzled. That is probably because…

Content Challenges: One audience, many content strategies2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Know How: What is missing in your marketing technology stack?

2019-10-22T11:00:16+00:00

The reality is that no one technology platform will serve all your marketing needs. It is more normal now to have a marketing “stack” where you select the best in breed for your needs, your budget and for each task. But it can be difficult to assess if you need a new component or application…

Know How: What is missing in your marketing technology stack?2019-10-22T11:00:16+00:00

The commercial benefits of Customer Journey Management

2019-10-22T11:00:16+00:00

 Chief marketing officers (CMOs) who design and incorporate customer journey management as part of their overall activities outperform all others by 54% (24.9% vs 16.2%) in annual improvement on ROMI (Return On Marketing Investment) according a recent report from the Aberdeen Group (see image above).But the respondents to the survey cited that a big challenge…

The commercial benefits of Customer Journey Management2019-10-22T11:00:16+00:00

The all knowing content hub

2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

 In the new world of marketing and financial accountability, data, or more accurately insights from that data, have become one of the most important elements to get right in order to be successful. However, with the explosion of digital content across multiple platforms that can be shared and accessed anywhere in the world, coupled with…

The all knowing content hub2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

Do you have a “leaky funnel”?

2019-10-22T11:00:16+00:00

Useful things funnels. In the real world they allow you to pour accurately into narrow containers and in the marketing world we use them as a way to describe the channelling of customers towards a sale. Except, bizarrely, that is not what marketers now use the term funnel to describe.Instead of neatly moving all customers…

Do you have a “leaky funnel”?2019-10-22T11:00:16+00:00

Breaking down the silos to become customer-centric

2019-10-12T09:02:52+00:00

We have already identified the pervasive problem of over communication with customers due to the wide variety of internal silos all communicating at once. But being aware of the problem is one thing, doing something about it is quite another, especially considering the complex nature of organisations and often their ever increasing global comms footprint.…

Breaking down the silos to become customer-centric2019-10-12T09:02:52+00:00

Your role as marketer needs to change again!

2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

 You have no doubt heard many times already that your role as a marketer needs to change. In fact, your role as a marketer has always been about change, so this is nothing new really. What you cannot ignore is that the customer world has changed dramatically in the last five years, and the pace…

Your role as marketer needs to change again!2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

The dawn of commercial marketing

2019-10-12T09:06:17+00:00

 Times, they are a-Changin’ sang Bob Dylan. Marketers around the world should all be singing the refrain. Change is not new when it comes to marketing of course. In fact, change is a constant. But there is a new force of change in the air and few marketers have fully come to terms with what…

The dawn of commercial marketing2019-10-12T09:06:17+00:00

How being customer-centric drives business growth

2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

 Do you work for a business that has prioritised the need to become customer-centric? If the answer is ‘no’ then it is a fair bet that over the next year or two it could very well become a ‘yes’. That is why everyone needs to get their heads around what it is and what it…

How being customer-centric drives business growth2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

Measuring the new ROI of marketing

2019-10-22T11:00:16+00:00

Before looking at what the new potential is for calculating the ROI of marketing, let us first look at the “old” ROI of marketing. What do you measure at the moment to determine success? In the majority of cases, this is not necessarily what you want to measure but what you can measure. These are things like response rates,…

Measuring the new ROI of marketing2019-10-22T11:00:16+00:00

Change how you measure your marketing ROI

2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

 In the article The New ROI of Marketing we looked at how the accounting based calculations are made to understand our ROI and profitability. The conclusion being that becoming a customer-centric business will unlock a better engagement with customers that will have direct commercial return. As marketing leaders you will be on a spectrum which at one…

Change how you measure your marketing ROI2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Have you bought your own product?

2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Have you bought your competitors product? This might sound like madness, you probably do competitor analysis if not regularly at least once in a while to keep your positioning fresh, why would you need to go further than that? The answer to that question is that you need to experience their whole journey, from how…

Have you bought your own product?2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Customer contact, the internal dimension

2019-10-12T09:12:32+00:00

Picture yourself sitting in the senior management meeting where you are seeking buy-in to a contact strategy change management programme. You have spent several weeks developing the proposed approach and building the watertight business case to the point where you believe you have tacit approval from many people around the table for what you are…

Customer contact, the internal dimension2019-10-12T09:12:32+00:00

Where existing customer contact goes wrong

2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

As you start to investigate where your customer contact/communications are causing problems with your customers you will quickly realise that what you need is a contact strategy. Your next question will be “What is a contact strategy?” if you have not come across this before. At a most basic level it should be rules that…

Where existing customer contact goes wrong2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

The growing problem of content chaos

2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

 Like algae blooming in a nutrient-rich lake, the amount of content being produced by companies today is growing at an exponential rate. How much content is being created, which functions within the business are creating it and how much of it is being exposed to customers is, for the average business, an utter mystery.Being polite…

The growing problem of content chaos2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Adding AI to marketing

2019-10-12T09:16:24+00:00

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has burst onto the scene and is now taking root within the marketing stack. From established vendors to innovative start-ups, specific applications are emerging that are simplifying tasks, enhancing analytics, freeing up resource and most importantly, creating new and exciting opportunities for customer engagement.While AI is at its best when it is…

Adding AI to marketing2019-10-12T09:16:24+00:00

How much of your content never gets consumed?

2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

You have created an awesome video, written a gripping article or drawn a masterpiece. You publish to your website and social channels. Being a good marketer, you then amplify the reach of your content by posting, pushing, advertising and emailing your content to all your selected audiences through all the channels that you are present…

How much of your content never gets consumed?2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

The Missing Link

2019-10-12T09:19:56+00:00

Every piece of creative that you produce whether text, images or video and for social media, campaigns, TV adverts, call centre scripts or corporate communication is content. Content is marketing fuel, it is sales support materials and it drives improved customer experience. Why then is it the one area where brands either have no plan…

The Missing Link2019-10-12T09:19:56+00:00

The Cost of Content Chaos

2019-12-12T10:18:23+00:00

 How much does your business spend on content each year? If you are following global trends, it is an amount that is set to have doubled between 2016 and 2021; global spend on content marketing was assessed at $200bn+ in 2016 and in on track to exceed $400bn by 2021.However, that only covers content that…

The Cost of Content Chaos2019-12-12T10:18:23+00:00

Why is content not connected?

2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

 Watch an online ad, navigate around a brand’s website or consume some social content on the likes of Facebook or Linkedin and you will notice one similarity – none of the content is connected.You read, watch or consume the content and then, if you’re lucky, it might link to a landing page. However, most of…

Why is content not connected?2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Is Customer Journey Management next?

2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Growing the size of your customer base and managing it has been the mission of a number of methods, movements, technologies, approaches or business functions (take your pick!) for around the last 30 years. First there was Customer Relationship Management (CRM), which started as simply having a customer data set rather than product management systems…

Is Customer Journey Management next?2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Houston we have contact…

2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Why do you need to do anything differently when it comes to the way you contact your customers? Because change is inevitable and your customers have already changed and in many ways. When things change and new information comes into existence, it is no longer possible to solve current problems with yesterday’s solutions.The Hippocratic Oath…

Houston we have contact…2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Real-time insight essential for marketers to navigate BREXIT uncertainty

2019-06-19T15:38:00+00:00

Brexit has impacted consumer and business buying behaviour and will continue to do so throughout the chaotic process that Britain is enduring. As a result, marketers targeting UK buyers (B2B or B2C) have never needed up-to-date insight more than they do today.All the latest trend data underlines the degree of uncertainty marketers face:The ONS shows…

Real-time insight essential for marketers to navigate BREXIT uncertainty2019-06-19T15:38:00+00:00

Posing questions around the danger of describing but not understanding

2019-06-19T14:35:00+00:00

Who are these socio-demographic twins?Both maleBoth born 1948Both grew up in the UKBoth have divorced and re-marriedBoth have grown up sonsBoth are very wealthyBoth like to spend their holidays in the alpsBoth are world famous ….        If they are both in the same segment, what would the potential results be:If we used the same tone of…

Posing questions around the danger of describing but not understanding2019-06-19T14:35:00+00:00

What insight do you need to map a customer’s journey

2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

There is considerable amounts of noise and “trending” around customer journey mapping at the moment. While it is good to see that this now includes more about what content is required to guide customers through the stages of the marketing and sales cycle, there appears to be a lack of depth around the customers’ actual…

What insight do you need to map a customer’s journey2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

The biggest challenge of setting up an AI for marketing

2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

As marketers begin to seek practical applications of AI, they are encountering the first challenges. However, the biggest challenge of all is data. Almost all AIs require “training”, this means preparing historical data so that it can learn what has happened in the past to predict what might happen in the future. This “predictive model”…

The biggest challenge of setting up an AI for marketing2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Mapping the Buying Journey

2019-12-12T15:19:12+00:00

 A few weeks ago, I treated myself with a pair of Bose SoundSport Free wireless headphones. They’re brilliant. I love them. But even though they have been available for some time and I love Bose equipment, I only bought them just a few weeks ago. Why not sooner? Because I wasn’t finished with my buyer's journey.You see,…

Mapping the Buying Journey2019-12-12T15:19:12+00:00

Building an audience to leverage customer timing

2019-10-12T09:26:02+00:00

What is “customer timing”?In my previous article (https://bit.ly/2F1Cq0i), I talked about mapping the buying journey so that, as marketers, we could better help the customer through the process of buying and making a decision by gaining a better understanding of the true buying process. Customer timing is being ready when the customer is ready, it…

Building an audience to leverage customer timing2019-10-12T09:26:02+00:00

Dynamic Content personalises the journey

2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Personalising content is not hardThe quest for personalisation remains a marketing obsession, and rightly so. Simply treating customers as a collective mass where the individual’s needs does not matter lacks common-sense and conflicts with customer expectations.However, achieving personalisation is considered hard. After all, to truly personalise the customer journey you need to understand individual needs…

Dynamic Content personalises the journey2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Can all content be centrally planned?

2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Can all content be centrally planned?Simple answer: yes.However, for many organisations the gap between how content is currently planned (i.e. within lots of separate teams) and planning content centrally may appear too enormous a challenge. To cross the gap, you need to take a big step back.Talking about ‘central planning’ has a ‘command and control’…

Can all content be centrally planned?2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

What do I need to do differently to be customer-centric?

2018-11-30T10:06:00+00:00

 The world of customer-centricity can be split into three camps. Firstly there are those that have embraced the need to transform themselves into a customer-centric business. Then secondly there are those who realise that being customer-centric is more than a cultural and behavioural attitude. Finally there is the third camp which contains the majority of…

What do I need to do differently to be customer-centric?2018-11-30T10:06:00+00:00

Content Challenges: Commercialising a content strategy

2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Recent research shows that because of the ubiquity of content, most buyers will be 60% of their way to a purchasing decision before they speak to sales or make a purchase online. Of those that are 60% of their way to a decision, only 26% will ever actually buy anything. That means that of the…

Content Challenges: Commercialising a content strategy2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Know How: Audience Journey Planning is the first step to commercialising content marketing

2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

“Holy Grail”, “Elephant in the Room”, “64 million dollar question”, whatever idiom you want to give it, the marketing industry is quite rightly obsessed by ROI. In the world of content marketing, the initial feeling was that this was a discipline that had ROI at its heart. After all, the rise of content marketing was…

Know How: Audience Journey Planning is the first step to commercialising content marketing2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

A New Organisation Capability Model

2018-11-30T09:59:00+00:00

You may be familiar with this type of model that describes the capabilities of an organisation:(This example has been cut down to just consider the areas that are required for customer communications.)Current methodology for using this sort of model would have you colour code this from red to green to indicate how well you can…

A New Organisation Capability Model2018-11-30T09:59:00+00:00

Content Challenges: What is a content strategy

2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Current accepted thinking on a content strategy is that you think of some themes that you want to create content around - you may well call these content pillars - and then you brainstorm some ideas about what content would fit around these pillars. Once you have a list of ideas you then apply this…

Content Challenges: What is a content strategy2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Signs that you are suffering from Content Chaos

2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Effective content doesn’t happen by chance. It is the result of a strong centralised content strategy.When content is out of control it might not appear on the surface that it is a problem or that it is affecting your business performance, but it is. It goes unnoticed as teams are most often focused on technology…

Signs that you are suffering from Content Chaos2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

The Enterprise Scale Content Conundrum

2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Pity anyone within a blue chip business who tries to unravel the complexities of their content programme. For a start, it won’t just be one content programme as multiple brands, agencies and functions will be actively creating an exponentially larger amount of content, akin to feeding a ravenous beast with an insatiable appetite.It’s not overly…

The Enterprise Scale Content Conundrum2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Best practice in Customer Journey Mapping

2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

All too often Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) is constrained to the customer’s online journey and even then may only be the journey from entering your website through to the point of sale. However, creating true business success from CJM can only be achieved by considering the customer’s entire journey and that means looking across six…

Best practice in Customer Journey Mapping2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

The problem with silos

2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

 Integrating disparate customer communications silos is a major headache for CMOs, as highlighted by a recent survey of 50 CMOs by Marketing Magazine.The article says: “Creating a truly integrated customer experience requires joined-up thinking across the business – and, although steps are being taken in this direction, in many companies this isn’t yet taking place.…

The problem with silos2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

What is a communications silo?

2019-10-12T09:35:05+00:00

Customer communications silos are commonplace within nearly every business. For large businesses there is no getting away from the fact that the natural evolution of the various business structures and processes has led to different parts of the business communicating with customers and, for that matter, prospective customers. However, those communications are rarely co-ordinated.So let’s…

What is a communications silo?2019-10-12T09:35:05+00:00

How silos impede customer-centricity

2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

 Having a customer-centric culture does not make your business customer-centric. Many factors will be behind this but the hardest one to tackle will be the customer communications silos that exist within your business.So why do customer communications silos impede customer-centricity? There are two ways to answer that question. The first is to look at it…

How silos impede customer-centricity2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

The spinning wheel of engagement

2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

PR and marketing has fallen into a trap. This trap is something we call the ‘spinning wheel of engagement’.PR and marketing teams have become very good at engaging their target audiences online and within social media. Like good little hamsters attracted by some food, the target audience is being drawn in and clicking their ‘follow’…

The spinning wheel of engagement2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

The business benefits of customer journey mapping

2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Customer Journey mapping is a term that is increasingly being used within the marketing industry, the but definition of what exactly it means is still very much in dispute. Many commentators refer to Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) in a way that is more user experience design (UX) such as what web layouts optimise the customer’s…

The business benefits of customer journey mapping2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Understanding the role of content in your customer journeys

2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

In the previous article, “Every journey starts with a single content step”, we explored the need to define your customer’s buying journey from their perspective and then use this to create truly customer-centric content. This approach creates an end-to-end content journey, as content is the tool being used to facilitate your customer’s journeys. But what…

Understanding the role of content in your customer journeys2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

Every journey starts with a single content step

2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Customer journeys. That age old process adopted by marketers to define the behaviour of their target audience when they are trying to persuade them to buy their product or service. Most commonly visualised as a marketing funnel, customer journeys aim to cover customer touchpoints across multiple channels and with different customer segments that all lead…

Every journey starts with a single content step2019-10-22T10:58:44+00:00

Where to begin when considering your contact strategy

2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Better customer communications can be worth millions in annual revenues. This is because there is a strong correlation between the customers’ experience and loyalty [Forrester Report: Customer Experience Index]. So, companies that manage their communications with a strong contact strategy can create better experiences for their customers and tend to have more customers who will…

Where to begin when considering your contact strategy2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

The ideal approach to customer contact

2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

In the article “Houston we have contact!” we talked about the first three steps to take in designing and implementing your contact strategy. Whilst these are all necessary steps, they are still “tactical”. What we mean by this is that these steps are required to stop you hemorrhaging, but at the same time they are…

The ideal approach to customer contact2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Customers hate badly managed communications

2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

When was the last time you thought about the way in which your business communicates with your customers? Not what you are saying or how you are saying it, or even the KPIs of your call-handling; such considerations are commonplace because they, fundamentally, involve looking at individual communications. Rather, the totality of the communications you…

Customers hate badly managed communications2019-10-22T11:00:17+00:00

Aligning comms silos equals business benefits

2019-10-12T09:41:17+00:00

Building a business case to break down the communications silos within a business does not only require a clear understanding of the business benefits that will be achieved but a considerable amount of internal alignment of different functions. While both are obvious points, they also pose significant challenges. To a degree, it is the challenging…

Aligning comms silos equals business benefits2019-10-12T09:41:17+00:00

What is Intelligent Customer Engagement?

2019-10-12T09:42:02+00:00

Intelligent Customer Engagement began from a simple premise: content is the best way to have meaningful engagements with your target audience but most content marketing lacks strategy.Why is that though? The answer is really quite simple: companies are creating lots of content in lots of different channels but failing to join that together into a…

What is Intelligent Customer Engagement?2019-10-12T09:42:02+00:00

Where are your customers on the pre-sales journey?

2018-02-21T09:15:00+00:00

Two questions with profound consequences for how your market and sell to your customers todayQuestion 1: How many customers make it from your marketing activities through to a sale?Question 2: How many customers are making it from your marketing activities through to a sale right now?Nonsense questions? Not so, although you will be surprised how…

Where are your customers on the pre-sales journey?2018-02-21T09:15:00+00:00

Knowing your customers needs

2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

The no brainer business value of speaking to your customers’ needsIf I’m going to buy from you, I need to know you can meet my needs; that’s a no brainer. If I’m going to engage with your company’s marketing, I also need to feel it’s relevant to my needs; that’s a no brainer also. The…

Knowing your customers needs2019-10-22T10:59:14+00:00

How to integrate Pega Decision & Adobe Campaign (Other suppliers are available!)

2019-10-12T09:18:47+00:00

 Who am I to write this article?Well, I have over 20 years’ experience with the Pega decision engine, from way back when it was KiQ and similar with marketing automation/campaign management solutions. I have run and implemented a few! My experience is not just as a technologist though, but also as a marketer using these…

How to integrate Pega Decision & Adobe Campaign (Other suppliers are available!)2019-10-12T09:18:47+00:00