Stick with Your New Year’s (Marketing) Resolution Over 40% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions each year, and of those, fewer than 10% stick with it. Honestly, most people give up before Punxatawney Phil makes his annual appearance. Why is it so hard to stick with a resolution? Usually, it’s because the steps to success look something like this: Make a resolution: “I’m going to get in shape!” Invest in equipment to support the resolution: “I bought an exercise bike!” Do an activity to support the resolution: “I’m waking up 30 minutes early every day to exercise!” Fall off the wagon once. “I hit snooze and well…attempts were made!” Use an exercise bike to hang sweaters. (For those of you who have clothes hanging from your workout equipment, you may be feeling personally attacked right now, and we apologize for that.) To stick with a resolution, you need clear goals, a strategy to meet them, support to guide you over obstacles and challenges, and measurable results to track progress. If your team’s New Year’s Resolution is creating a successful content strategy this year, it will take more than declaring, “This is the year we get good at content!” and purchasing the latest, greatest marketing software to make it happen. It takes a clear, consistent message and customer insight into the buyer’s journey. Plus, you need to know the right channels to publish content and follow a set publishing schedule. It sounds like a lot. Because it is. (Which is why so many companies struggle to stick with it!) But when you have the right support in place, such as a team of experts who can work with you to build a content strategy that aligns with your brand and resonates with your audience, this is one New Year’s Resolution that is sure to be a success. Check out how we supported a brand and content marketing strategy for a pharmaceutical tech company: and tripled leads over six months >>
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Marketers at mid-market companies are going through the stages of grief over Google Analytics 4. Some are still in denial (“Whatever, we have Universal Analytics until July 2023, and they will probably extend the deadline.”) and others have moved on to anger (“Google Analytics sucks!”) If you’re actively wrestling with the transition, you’re probably squarely in that cage match stage. We get it. Our team has been helping businesses with GA4 implementations since it first rolled out, and making the switch isn’t easy. Along the way, we’ve found four key matchups that might help you avoid getting KO’d by your Google Analytics 4 transition. Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics Google Analytics 4 Universal Analytics Round 1: Tracking Users Events Sessions Goals Round 2: Data Engagement Bounce rate Round 3: Interface Low clickability Drill down analysis through setting up secondary dimensions High clickability Drill down analysis through ad hoc clicking in results Round 4: Reports Explorations Embedded reports Round 1: Tracking In Universal Analytics, we track metrics by sessions tied to behavioral goals. Here’s one common scenario: Patricia visits your website home page on her phone one day and bounces. A few days later, she scrolls an article from your site on her desktop and bounces. The following week, she reads a case study on her iPad while waiting in the carpool pickup line and fills out a contact form. At this point, UA documents three sessions, and one goal achieved. But is that the best way to document what actually happened here? Google thought not, and pivoted. Google Analytics 4 tracks metrics according to users and events. Using the same scenario, GA4 documents that one user took four actions on your website: home page, article, case study, form fill. You see the progression, and the impact your site has, at a more granular and yet more holistic level. With GA4’s user-based data model, you see what users do when they interface with your brand — regardless of the device they use, location they come from, or platform they visit. Instead of goals per session, you’re now able to see events per user. Round 1 winner: GA4 Round 2: Data When July 2023 rolls around, a lot of people are going to be caught by surprise when they can’t just upload their Universal Analytics data directly into Google Analytics 4. Next, they will try to export their data from UA to GA4 and that will…also not be possible. Sorry, folks, it simply will not work. The data models are different, and Google has not laid down a path to make a simple data port happen. How can you counter that punch? Your best move is to get started in GA4 as soon as possible, so you can begin to collect new data and understand how those metrics will influence your overall reporting. And the sooner you start collecting GA4 data, the sooner you’ll be able to use it in your year-over-year metrics. Because the data points aren’t the same, your old UA data won’t be of much use in year-over-year comparisons. Learn more about how switching to GA4 impacts YOY reporting >> The shift that impacts almost everyone changing over from UA to GA4 is the shift in bounce rate. Long used as a benchmark for user engagement, UA’s bounce rate metric didn’t make it to GA4 in quite the same format. Instead, GA4 measures engagement in more absolute terms. GA4’s new “engagement” metric takes the guesswork out of bounce rate. Instead of saying “people are leaving immediately, probably because the content wasn’t relevant or the load speed lagged,” GA4 tells you how many people stay on the site long enough to take another action. Before, a low bounce rate could mean someone read your entire blog archive going back to 2007 OR that they had 39 tabs open for a week. Now, you’ll know if a site visitor was idle or active — giving a clearer picture of whether or not they were truly engaged. The bottom line is that GA4 offers a little more accurate view of engagement, but your UA to GA4 bounce rate numbers won’t match up. Your stakeholders are still going to ask about it for a while, and that’s going to be annoying to handle in reporting meetings. Round 2 winner: draw Round 3: Interface If you’re a long-time user of Universal Analytics, you’re probably used to being able to dig into your data as the mood seizes you. Wondering which URLs drove the most traffic last month? Click, click, answer. Want to find out how you got so many hits from Denmark yesterday? Click, click, answer. Puzzled as to why your website suddenly ranks for terms like “can horses drink beer” (or maybe that’s just us)? You get it. The UA interface’s high degree of clickability that enables ad hoc analysis. Not so with Google Analytics 4. When you log into your dashboard, you’ll see a similar view, but all of your clickability is gone. No digging into traffic cohorts. No in-the-moment drill-downs. But all is not lost. If you click the plus sign on a measurement in GA4, you can set up secondary dimensions. So if you want to check which referral URLs are driving traffic, you can build that query in. Maybe you want to set up secondary dimensions to narrow down data here and dig in deeper there. With some time and patience, you can eventually get to a view similar to something you might have seen in UA. But your “click, click, answer” days are over. Sorry about that. Round 3 winner: UA Round 4: Reports We know people who have used Universal Analytics their entire working lives and never built a custom report. If you open your UA account, you’ll find dozens of out-of-the-box reports to meet your needs. While most mid-market to enterprise businesses do have some custom UA reports, they certainly aren’t required to use the tool. Now open your Google Analytics 4 account. Where UA shows you report after report to help you review your website health, traffic, campaigns, networks, landing pages, and so forth, GA4 shows you an overview screen and…two reports. Two. If that prospect leaves you feeling like you got the wind knocked out of you, you’re not alone. Once you get over the inability to migrate your data from UA to GA4, you’ll need to plan to migrate your reports. And that’s going to be a bigger problem for a lot of medium- to large-sized businesses. Take a deep breath and start by cataloging every report you use in your UA account. Map out exactly what you measure, and how the results are displayed. Note how you use the results, and which business units rely on the outputs for operational and strategic decisions. Then, start building custom reports in GA4 to answer those needs. Learn more about building reports in GA4 >> No, it’s not going to be a one-for-one replication. Yes, it’s going to be time-consuming and frustrating. Depending on your timeframe, budget, and bandwidth, you might need to look into partnering with a third party to get this work done right and in time for the switch. On the bright side, though, this process may alert you to reporting you’ve used out of habit that wasn’t exactly right. Building new reports offers you a fresh start, and a chance to really understand what your analytics needs are, and how data can help drive better decisions across the business. Round 4 winner: draw Spoiler alert: GA4 wins Ultimately, the Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics match isn’t a fair fight. Come July 2023, Universal Analytics is out for the count. But what you choose to do in the meantime could mean the difference between emerging victorious or limping out of the ring with broken ribs (proverbially speaking, we hope). Your approach to the GA4 transition could make all the difference. Increase your odds of GA4 success by checking out our (cage-free) resource: 6 steps to a successful Google Analytics 4 migration.
The pace of change and unpredictable circumstances of the past couple of years have led many companies to rethink their just-in-time approaches to resourcing tangible goods and materials. But why stop there? To scale and adapt fast, companies also need a new approach to how they resource skillsets. One of our clients, PRECISIONxtract, did just that. By taking a just-in-time approach to their shifting skillset needs, the company was able to scale up fast — and minimize risk — in a changing business environment. A right-fit-first approach PRECISIONxtract’s transformative healthcare market access solutions offer patients and providers unprecedented connection to the right medication and resources in clinical settings. To bring that vision to life, PRECISION could have found a series of single-skill vendors or taken the time to recruit and onboard new employees. Instead, they looked for a cross-functional partner that would be a seamless fit with their company culture and that had the right mix of scalable skills. They found that fit with Fusion Alliance. Fusion quickly became an integral part of PRECISION’s team, assembling a group of more than 20 strategy, data, and technology experts to deliver responsive support for a growing set of initiatives. Boosting surge capacity across disciplines Knowing that their flagship product, Access Genius, needed design and functionality upgrades, PRECISION called on Fusion to assess and modernize the application without disrupting the existing business. To avoid downtime and increase speed to market, our team used an Agile process and a model-driven design, in which models from the source code informed modernization efforts. Streamlining the overall architecture not only saved development time, but also made Access Genius easier to deploy to PRECISION’s clients. And, to make the product easier to maintain and cheaper to run, we applied containerization through a microservices model and moved Access Genius to a distributed cloud hosting framework. Our solution provided real-time customer insights that were delivered across a variety of digital channels, in lieu of a people-driven process. This helped take Access Genius: From a complex, cumbersome, legacy monolith into a lightning-fast, distributed, cost-effective, cloud-native solution From a user-driven, database-centric format to a distributed API-based framework, enabling immediate data updates for important cost and coverage changes From a time-intensive customer engagement portal to an intuitive, streamlined, automated process Equipped with a modern, stable, extensible platform, PRECISION was free to explore opportunities for more radical innovation. Disrupting the market with frictionless access to timely data Although Access Genius successfully broke down barriers with data, the solution’s interface required users to navigate a complex dashboard with manual clicks and drop-downs. For pharma teams with limited time to connect doctors to information, seconds count. Working with PRECISION’s product team, Fusion technology experts analyzed the friction point of manual navigation and explored ways to make Access Genius more seamless for the user. Drawing on deep expertise deploying cutting-edge technologies into highly regulated spaces, Fusion suggested exploring a shift away from a traditional web-based interface to an AI-enabled voice functionality that would connect users to the most relevant data and messaging right in the flow of conversation. Changing the way pharma enablement tools go to market At the same time, other Fusion consultants were hard at work rethinking the way PRECISION’s products reached, empowered, and retained customers. We brought in a range of specialists to bring new strategies to life, including: Instructional designers and training developers created an interactive training platform to equip pharma sales reps with greater confidence in provider interactions by deepening their understanding of the Access Genius tool. RESULT: Access Genius IQ, a new training tool that helps PRECISION customers see faster ROI for their Access Genius investment Brand experts, visual designers, content strategists, and web developers elevated visual brand elements and created websites, editorial content, and outreach campaigns. RESULT: New website architecture, design, and content; long-form lead generation content; prospect cultivation email marketing Digital marketing strategists, creative designers, and ad teams implemented innovative ad campaigns in rapid succession as PRECISION had more time to develop and roll out new products. RESULT: LinkedIn ad campaigns generating 3X leads, including 100 qualified leads in the first 90 days Read more about the success of Fusion’s marketing partnership with PRECISION >> Reimagining the skillset supply chain Partnering with Fusion gives PRECISION access to a huge team of experienced consultants with a wide range of skillsets — allowing the company to surge and scale as their business needs and market realities shift. With Fusion bringing in the right people at just the right time, PRECISION saves valuable time and resources, enabling them to be more innovative, more agile, and more impactful for their customers, healthcare providers, and patients. Ready to explore how Fusion skillsets can help your team succeed? Our ongoing work with PRECISIONxtract is just one example of how we help companies build momentum for a digital-first world. We bring big-picture thinkers, technology-minded creatives, data scientists, and technical experts to work alongside our clients, providing a force-multiplying effect that leads to scalable, future-focused solutions for the most complex challenges. Ready to get started? Let’s talk.
A content management system (CMS) is the tool that companies use to manage and display content marketing. Depending on where you are in your digital transformation — and, more specifically, in your digital marketing journey — you might think of a content management system (CMS) as the place you put the copy for your website or the platform you use to launch email campaigns. If you’re like most people, you think of a CMS in narrow terms of what you’ve seen one do before. That view might have served your company well for years. It might work today. But, as you think about the ways your company might scale or shift over the next several years, in a digital world that changes more and more rapidly, it might be worth giving your CMS another look. Why your CMS matters >> Choosing a CMS: 8 things to bear in mind Whether you’re in the market for a new CMS to support an upcoming initiative, or you simply want to make sure your current solution is still serving your goals, we’ve identified eight key factors to think through as you identify the best CMS. 1. Content complexity Because the primary job of your CMS is handling your content, be sure that the platform you’re using or choosing can handle the complexity of your content landscape — both current state and where you’re headed in the near-term. Part of the CMS selection process includes envisioning where you want to be in the future. Technology advances fast, and customer expectations are not far behind. As your target audiences incorporate technologies like wearables, voice assistants, and AI-enabled interfaces, your content may need to evolve to reach them. While your content may not be complex today, will that direction remain sustainable for your business? If your content primarily exists on a single website, you may be able to use a simpler CMS. But if you use content across multiple interrelated sites, reuse content across digital properties, or support video, audio, or other media, you might need a more robust system. Planning ahead for a flexible, scalable solution may make more sense in the long run. Get help with your content marketing strategy >> 2. Storage needs Another factor to consider when choosing a CMS is storage. Once again, the types of content you need to support and the diversity of platforms where you need to display it play a critical role in this decision. If your internal policies or regulatory requirements require the CMS to be your system of record for auditing purposes, your solution will need more capacity than if storing legacy content archives elsewhere is a possibility. Depending on use cases, volume, and user experience needs, some media-rich content such as videos could be stored on an external channel like YouTube or Vimeo. Be sure to get internal input before making that decision, however, as UX for embedded video may be compromised depending on how your digital properties are structured. For organizations that rely on printable content, such as brochures, one-pagers, and other PDF content, interfacing a document management system with the CMS might make more sense than storing a large content library directly in the CMS. Storage needs can also be influenced by your organization’s cloud strategy. Where your business intends to host the CMS — on-prem, in the cloud, or with a SaaS provider — matters when it comes to your storage decisions. Cut through cloud complexity >> 3. Workflow automation Regardless of the size of your IT and marketing teams, smart workflow automation can be a force multiplier. As you evaluate your current CMS and move toward choosing the right CMS for your business, think through how that tool may impact existing workflows. If your content creation, editing, review, and publication process has many steps, automating some parts of the workflow probably makes sense. Some CMS solutions can handle step-by-step hand-offs, which frees your team from the need to shepherd pieces through to publication — and eliminates the risk of a task being dropped or forgotten along the way. 4. Ease of use When it comes to CMS selection, functionality requirements balance against ease of use. If you don’t have on-team resources who can handle in-the-moment development or ongoing maintenance, you might need to opt for more of a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) content editor so that your marketing team has the flexibility to create needed assets in a timely manner. To weigh your needs for self-service content creation, think about which team members might be entering, editing, and approving content, and what skillsets might be required to use and maintain your chosen CMS. How your team is structured, existing competencies, and the ability to upskill or cross-skill those team members can also be important factors in your decision. 5. Ease of integration While there may be an edge case or two of a CMS operating as a sole solution within a business, chances are you need one that can function as part of an existing or evolving tech stack. As you choose the right CMS for your business, take the time to map out all of the other marketing, sales, project management, and other business-critical technologies you’ll need it to interface with. Some examples of tools you’ll need to interface with a CMS might include: Customer relationship management (CRM) Email systems Social media marketing Marketing automation Project management Forms Analytics and data dashboards Most of these tools will either send data to or receive data from your CMS, so once you’ve identified the tools, systems, and platforms that need to connect with your CMS, you’ll need to determine if APIs are available or if you’ll need custom API development. Different CMS solutions offer different options for built-in integrations, and some make it easier to customize integrations than others. Find out more about API strategy>> 6. Amount of customization required Customization concerns extend beyond API options to encompass everything from the user interface, workflows, security, and functionality of your CMS. When it comes to choosing the best CMS, customization is a Goldilocks evaluation. You don’t want too little or too much. If your CMS requires significant customization or workarounds to achieve basic customization, you may be introducing too much risk. It might be easier to find a CMS that more closely fits your needs. On the other hand, if your CMS restricts code access and doesn’t allow enough customization, you could find yourself locked into a solution that holds you back when you need to scale or change. Instead, look for a CMS that hits the “just right” balance between meeting your needs and allowing creativity and control over the customer experience. 7. Costs When it comes to technology, the sticker price rarely equals the actual cost of the solution. To get a more accurate view of cost when you’re choosing a CMS, factor in: Ongoing subscriptions if you choose a SaaS CMS Licensing fees if you choose a proprietary CMS software External vendor time if you choose an open-source CMS and don’t have a dedicated development and maintenance team Internal team efficiency and infrastructure if you choose to handle maintenance, security, and development in-house 8. Service Related to overall cost throughout your CMS lifecycle, remember to think through your service requirements — both in terms of implementation or upgrade and the ongoing support you’ll need. Your CMS vendor may be a great partner for implementation or might suggest that you choose a third-party implementation team. As you think about implementing or upgrading a CMS, also consider: What kind of data migration support you need The level and duration of support you’ll require for the shift If you need help with cut-over planning The time and resources you’ll need for system testing Training needs On-site support Choosing a CMS: next steps As you consider how to choose the best CMS for your business, remember that well-defined needs make for better-fitting solutions, and don’t try to tackle the requirements, system audit, and vendor selection process on your own. Getting key stakeholders involved early on in the process can help you make better decisions and give you the perspective you need to choose the right CMS. At a minimum, that group should include leaders from IT, marketing, and sales, but you may also want to include customer service, data, and key business units as well. If you have the right people at the table, a half-day workshop could be enough to set your project up for success. Key points to cover in that sort of meeting include: Getting a big picture view of how the CMS will fit into your existing technology ecosystem Aligning goals and requirements across the business Outlining a budget Designating project owners Agreeing on how to prioritize requirements in light of available resources Next, your project team can evaluate potential solutions against the agreed-upon criteria. You might use your organization’s vendor selection matrix, or develop a new one to fit the project. Finally, plan for the transition. If you aren’t sure what that might entail, consulting with a team of experts can make sense — saving you significant time and expense. Ready to get started? We help organizations navigate the process of choosing the right CMS from start to finish, but we’re also happy to jump in with a quick consultation if you’re feeling stuck. Set up a 30-minute consultation >> Learn more about martech strategy >> Find out how a CMS fits into your overall customer data strategy >>
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