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How unifying customer profiles is paying off for this iconic travel brand



How unifying customer profiles is paying off for this iconic travel brand

Swiftcurrent Lake in the Many Glacier region at Glacier National Park. Image provided by Xanterra.

Xanterra Travel Company owns an extremely unique and diverse collection of travel and hospitality brands that all share a common mission — to provide travelers with unforgettable experiences. 

Xanterra manages concessions at many well-known national parks and destinations including Glacier National Park, The Grand Canyon, and Mount Rushmore. Their properties cover a combined eight million acres of land. They also own or manage over 30 hotels adjacent to these iconic locations and, as if that weren’t enough, they own six luxury yachts, seven golf courses, and 89 food and beverage outlets.

“We’re a company that that grows organically through acquisition,” explained Andrew Heltzel, Xanterra’s corporate director of marketing, CRM and analytics. Heltzel has been with the company for 11 years. 

Five years ago he found himself faced with the task of unifying customer identities across multiple brands and experiences. Xanterra needed to combine their customer data and profiles into one single identity to better personalize marketing messaging and identify opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling to their vast customer base (Xanterra’s 8000 staff members service over 20 million guests each year.)

To achieve this monumental task, Xanterra partnered with Redpoint Global, a customer experience platform that specializes in creating a “Golden Record” for each customer by combining and resolving multiple profiles into a single identity, enabling much more targeted and relevant personalization.

“We help brands create a golden record of their consumer by resolving all identities that the consumer might use,” said John Nash, Redpoint Global’s chief marketing and strategy officer. “Brands can integrate all attributes into a single customer view and append third party data to it. We update that with identity resolution in real time.”

Onboarding the right technology 

Because of Xanterra’s growth model, they didn’t have the luxury of standardizing the systems they use throughout the organization to facilitate guest bookings and operations the way a company like Marriott would. When searching for a technology that could achieve an advanced level of customer identity resolution, Heltzel’s team cast a broad net. 

“We just sort of get what we get,” said Heltzel. “Redpoint allowed us to leave our existing infrastructure in place. We brought in over 100 different sources of data and established a Golden Record across the different interfaces and source systems.”

Heltzel notes that when scoping out vendors — a process that begin in 2017 — Redpoint stood out during the RFP process. They understood Xanterra’s data complexities and brought the best and fastest solution compared with the competition. “They gave us the most confidence that they would deliver on their promises — which they have,” he said.

To kick off the vendor selection and onboarding process, Xanterra established a core team of about 15 individuals made up of leaders from every brand in their portfolio. “This was probably one of the first enterprise-wide projects that impacted all the companies within the organization,” explained Heltzel. “It was new territory for us.”

Finding the golden ticket — er, record

The  onboarding process with Redpoint took about six months. “It was surprisingly fast in my view,” said Heltzel. “We could have gone even faster, but we decided to go through the implementation process brand by brand.”

Xanterra worked with Redpoint to establish a Golden Record of guests across their different brands. This enabled them to see which customers were traveling with brands throughout their portfolio, a huge breakthrough according to Heltzel. 

Redpoint was instrumental in training Heltzel’s team. They worked with Xanterra to take a “crawl, walk, run “approach within the platform. 

“They restrained our marketers from getting out too far over their skis too quickly,” said Heltzel. “Redpoint had a really great team of trainers and support that we could access 24/7 as our brands started to really engage with implementing the platform.”

Once all the data was combined and customer identities unified, Xanterra began creating audience segments with personalized messaging.

A leap forward in personalization and ROI

The impacts of their new unified marketing approach were felt almost immediately. For the first time, Xanterra was able to segment their audiences in a way that allowed them to deliver offers to specific groups of customers (e.g., a family group, a group of golfers, retirees, etc.) Some brands saw increases in their email ROI north of 400% within the first year.

“It was absolutely stunning,” said Heltzel. “We were coming from basically nothing — just a batch and blast type of email tool that didn’t even allow us to manage customer preferences. Unsubscribes were a little sketchy at best. We’ve really made a massive leap forward with our partnership with Redpoint.”

Heltzel credits a major reason for their success to Redpoint’s dedicated support throughout the entire process of onboarding, implementation and usage. 

“Dale Renner, one of Redpoint’s founders, came out to visit us here in Denver when we were at the most critical part of the project—the implementation and adoption phase,” said Heltzel. “He assured us that he would be there to support us to whatever extent necessary to ensure we were successful and he stood behind that.”

Read next: How a smart email strategy helped Apple Rose Beauty thrive during the pandemic

A digital transformation initiative of the size and complexity of Xanterra’s requires committed vendor support — a true partnership. “We see Redpoint as strategic business partner — not a software vendor, not a data vendor, but a true strategic business partner of ours,” said Heltzel.

Technology as a means of future proofing

Travel businesses were hard hit by COVID, and Xanterra was no exception, but having Redpoint in place helped them prepare for — and address — changing consumer behaviors, demands, and expectations caused by the pandemic.

Said Heltzel, “Overnight, we pivoted our messaging from marketing-focused to more operations focused. So, how to prepare for your upcoming travel, what to expect when you arrive, etc.”

Heltzel notes that today’s travel environment remains fluid. For example, they recently had a COVID outbreak among a large contingent of food and beverage staff at Yellowstone. This forced Xanterra to pivot from dining table service to grab-and-go food and beverage options.

“From an operations perspective, we were able to use Redpoint and our dataset to impact the customer experience and help set expectations up front so that no one was taken by surprise when they arrived.”

For companies looking to undertake this advanced level of digital transformation, Heltzel’s main piece of advice is to do your homework up front. 

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Said Heltzel, “A lot of our success with Redpoint is largely attributable to how deep we go into our brands, and how Redpoint could support them, not only 10 years ago, but looking into the future. We took our time doing our due diligence around the type of customer experience we wanted to achieve,  which was delivering real-time personalized experiences across every channel. Hands down, all of our marketing leadership said yes, that’s the future. That’s where we need to be. We were able to lean into the Redpoint solution to take advantage of that capability over time.”

About The Author

Jacqueline Dooley is a freelance B2B content writer and journalist covering martech industry news and trends. Since 2018, she’s worked with B2B-focused agencies, publications, and direct clients to create articles, blog posts, whitepapers, and eBooks. Prior to that, Dooley founded Twelve Thousand, LLC where she worked with clients to create, manage, and optimize paid search and social campaigns.

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How to turn the great buyer resignation into B2B career opportunities



Create a B2B GTM strategy that buyers, execs and revenue teams love

Marketers play a large, proactive role in the buying-selling process to generate revenue across the entire buyer lifecycle – from generating a new customer, to contract renewal, to solution expansion and cross-sell/upsell.

This is no small task, especially when B2B buyers, barraged by untimely automated messages, random cold calls and lackluster outreach from both sales and marketing, are opting out of vendor conversations. B2B marketing expert Tony Zambito calls this the “Great Buyer Resignation.” This phenomenon has progressively intensified over the last five years and is both a challenge and an opportunity for B2B marketers.

A reality check

Let’s tackle the B2B challenge first by capturing today’s reality. The B2B buying process has gone primarily digital; most B2B sellers and teams have not. Sales has limited access to prospects and customers. We know the facts. According to Gartner, more than two-thirds of the buying process is complete before buyers engage directly with a brand rep. Only 17% of the B2B buying process time is spent with a salesperson across all suppliers. And this scenario is only accelerating as digital native professionals become influencers and decision-makers.

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To contribute to revenue and customer generation, B2B marketers are cranking out “leads” to help sales generate revenue. Marketers are often using legacy marketing automation-centric practices developed during the first wave of marketing technology and lead generation. The teams are pushing out random campaigns in a world where prospects and buyers already know what’s coming when they download a white paper or attend a webinar. Cringe — here come the automated nurture and cadenced phone calls.

Compounding the challenge, prospect and customer outreach happens in silos via one-off campaigns, isolated channels and focused functional teams. And data is being used to justify spending rather than apply buyer and account intelligence to deliver more timely information, better buyer engagement experiences, and more creative outreach.

The change and challenge revenue teams face are real.

Marketing’s impact opportunity in the buyer and customer generation lifecycle

With change comes opportunities for B2B marketers who understand, embrace and develop a smarter approach to identify, engage and delight buyers. And it should be emphasized that B2B teams and marketers have begun their transformation as marketing works across their entire company to play a more proactive role in all revenue and customer generation aspects.

From talking with progressive B2B go-to-market (GTM) leaders, here are strategies to stop mass buyer resignation, advance your career and have a much more significant impact on revenue growth.

1. Drive the shift from push to pull marketing

We often focus our effort on pushing email, cranking out business development representative calls, blasting ads and putting up forms to engage B2B pros. The breakthrough strategies are built around moving from pushing stuff at prospects and customers to pulling buyers through their process. Give them control. Provide options and let them guide their own journey, based on their needs, with value-added assistance. This is an art and science to master. This playbook and skill-set is, and will continue to be, highly coveted.

2. Focus on moments we create, not just those touchpoints we capture

Capture” is primarily what we do today in the form of paid media engagement to generate leads, drive web traffic and white paper downloads, and sponsor events to scan and swipe badges. The best marketers are flipping this model and asking, “How can we create moments for the buyer?”

Moment creation requires a proactive, experiential mindset putting ourselves in the shoes of our most coveted buyers and accounts. Breakthrough moments and experiences can be done through:

  • Product-led growth (PLG).
  • Interactive and self-guided applications and videos.
  • Personalized workshops for prospective buying teams at your target accounts.
  • Curated web pages that feature topical and popular content aligning with themes your buyer has been researching or engaging with over the last quarter.

It doesn’t have to be over complicated.

3. Master the full customer lifecycle

Today’s market realities and company growth mandates underline the need to build GTM models, strategies and resources around the entire customer lifecycle. With today’s prevailing Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud subscription customer financial models, 50 to 70% of the profit comes from existing customers.

For a deeper perspective, a five percent increase in retention results in an estimated 25 to 95% increase in revenue.

4. Embrace data intelligence and science

We will not be effective marketing leaders or pros without the ability to access, use and interpret data. At a minimum, we must be proactive in using data to understand markets, customers, accounts and market trends. The ideal case is to be confident in turning data into insights and actions and applying data science to help guide investments, programs and experiences. Data cannot be used simply to justify or defend marketing spend.

The most in-demand marketing skills in a B2B buyer-driven world

Let’s look at a few past examples of marketing career breakthroughs to plot the future. Ironically, the emergence and mastery of marketing automation tools, data and campaigns created a generation of what turned out to be the marketing operations (MOps) profession. It’s become a well-compensated, highly respected and in-demand role. In another example, the rise of account-based marketing (ABM) created a shift of sales support-focused field marketers to revenue generation-focused members of the GTM team.

Based on the Great Buyer Resignation reality and market shifts, here are a few high-impact career opportunities for talented pros who want to up-level their professional world while positively impacting their company’s growth. It is important to point out these re-imagined roles all focus across the customer lifecycle and obliterate internal silos whenever and wherever possible.

  • Growth marketing: This high-impact role is the next level of demand marketing, which today has largely been focused on digital and paid media spend to generate qualified leads or pipelines. Growth encompasses the full customer/buyer lifecycle of revenue generation in today’s Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription world. It also focuses on identifying and activating the markets, drivers and industries to grow revenue and expand the company’s total available market (TAM).
  • Journey architects: To align with best-fit buyers and accounts, this craft is an ability to use buyer and account intelligence to create experiences to more naturally pull a buyer or buying group through their journey. With a full view across buyer channels and company touchpoints, this role expands beyond marketing to ensure more timely information. For perspective, this is the buyer-driven outgrowth of what was integrated marketing.
  • Revenue ops: It is very difficult to identify and engage buyers and target accounts if your view is only on sales, marketing, customer success or finance. This progressive function demands a full view of buyer and customer lifecycles. It unifies and analyzes data to empower the rest of the front-line, customer-facing players to act on intelligence and insights.

The bottom line on what buyer resignation means for our marketing careers

Now is an opportunistic time to capitalize on market and marketing shifts and commit to buyer-centric GTM strategies and tactics. If you see a new role or transformation opportunity inside your organization or at a new company, raise your hand and dive in. These are the times when careers are made and energized.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Scott Vaughan is a B2B CMO and go-to-market leader. After several CMO and business leadership roles, Scott is now an active advisor and consultant working with CMO, CXOs, Founders, and investors on business, marketing, product, and GTM strategies. He thrives in the B2B SaaS, tech, marketing, and revenue world.

His passion is fueled by working in-market to create new levels of business and customer value for B2B organizations. His approach is influenced and driven by his diverse experience as a marketing leader, revenue driver, executive, market evangelist, speaker, and writer on all things marketing, technology, and business. He is drawn to disruptive solutions and to dynamic companies that need to transform.

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Grow revenue streams through web accessibility and compliance



Grow revenue streams through web accessibility and compliance

1 out of 4 people in the U.S. lives with some type of disability. Because consumers are online now more than in previous years, your clients’ websites must be accessible to everyone.

It’s not merely a matter of being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). It’s also good business—because web accessibility can deliver better results and enhance search engine optimization.

Join a panel of agency, compliance and disability leaders to hear more about how web accessibility can work for your agency and your clients.

Register today for “Agencies: Grow Revenue Streams Through Web Accessibility & Compliance,” presented by accessiBe.

About The Author

Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries.

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Why Sales Teams Should Care about the Fake Web



Why Sales Teams Should Care about the Fake Web

The issue of the Fake Web has been all over the news lately. Perhaps most notably, Elon Musk delayed his deal with Twitter until they agreed to further transparency around bots and fake users. Additionally, a viral tweet about the increase of fake internet traffic also attracted the attention of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

All of this is probably not a surprise to anyone on the pulse of technology news. But it is reasonable to wonder: What does this have to do with sales?

For starters, reports show that $115 billion is lost each year in sales labor costs due to bots and fake users.

To help connect the dots here, we’ve outlined a few specific ways these bad actors impact sales teams on every level and ultimately hurt businesses bottom line.

Sales teams end up wasting time on bad leads.

Time is critical in the sales cycle. Leads need to be acted on quickly before they lose interest or forget they requested to be contacted completely. For this reason, sales professionals put a lot of time and effort into crafting the perfect email sequences, following up with leads, and nurturing these leads until they are ready to buy.

But sometimes leads that were once considered “hot” go silent. This can be because they genuinely lost interest, their priorities changed, they realized they didn’t have budget for a specific line item, or they went with a competitor. Other times leads go cold because they were never really leads to begin with – they were bots and fake users.

When this is the case, it is not only frustrating and disappointing, but it also takes time away from real genuine leads who could have used more attention. Since time is money, this is also reducing the potential revenue a business could be bringing in.

Inventory numbers become inaccurate.

For companies that sell items of limited quantities (retail brands, ticketing services, tourism and travel companies, concerts and sporting events, etc.), it is important to keep track of how much inventory is available. They want to ensure that customers are able to purchase available items while not misleading anyone into thinking something is available if it is sold out in actuality.

Obviously, a bot can’t go to a concert or put on a pair of exclusive sneakers, but they skew inventory numbers through a variety of malicious practices.

This can take the form of scraping information and reselling at a lower price on other sites, which causes businesses to overstock and undersell. It can also come in the form of bad actors committing credit card fraud by using fake or expired cards, which causes the business to lose both the product and the revenue. Additionally, bots can be programmed to instantly buy thousands upon thousands of items before real users ever have the chance to purchase.

All of this throws off the sales cycle by making it impossible to determine how much genuine interest for certain goods and services there is in the market.

Trust is lost between sales and marketing.

Many sales cycles start with marketing. A future customer might first hear about a brand through social media. Or maybe they discovered a company in a search query. Perhaps they saw a few paid advertisements and decided to dive deeper. Marketing is a critical component of driving pipeline and ultimately revenue.

Sales teams know that when leads show up in their database, it didn’t come out of thin air – it was likely a result of marketing. But when there is a pattern of marketing leads having fake names or emails, or appearing promising but randomly going silent – sales teams start to question the legitimacy of all marketing leads.

If there are bots and fake users entering the funnel and being passed off to sales, it decreases the overall quality of marketing leads, and consequently decreases trust.

For all of these reasons and more, many teams are adopting Go-to-Market Security to ensure all the hard work sales and marketing teams put in each day isn’t hindered by the Fake Web.

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