Top 5 Blog Posts in 2014

It’s been a great year for IgnitionOne! With our recent placement as a “Visionary” in the Magic Quadrant For Digital Marketing Hubs by Gartner, two acquisitions this year (Human Demand and Knotice), and the recent launch of DMS 3.0, we are proud to say it’s been an exciting year filled with many great memories.

Here are our top five most read blog posts in 2014:

1. IgnitionOne Announces $20 Million Series B Funding Led by SoftBank Capital

2. IgnitionOne launches Fantasy Football league for World Cup

3. IgnitionOne Earns Gold and Bronze at Golden Bridge Business Awards

4. IgnitionOne Introduces Self-Service Marketing Automation to Drive Conversations of Prospects and Customers

5. IgnitionOne Q4 Report – PLAs Take Center Stage

Whether you are a client, employee, or avid read of our blog, thank you for being part of our journey! We look forward to what 2015 has in store!

Your Guide to Developing a Winning Strategy in 2015

As 2014 comes to a close, it is my yearly tradition to sit down and reflect on the ups and downs I’ve had over the previous year. I do this to show gratitude for all of my experiences, positive and negative, as they taught me valuable learning lessons to carry forward into the New Year. With this reflection comes a focused meditation of the specific goals I challenge myself to achieve by the end of 2015. These objectives, often rudimentary in the beginning, require thoughtful strategies in order to see them come to fruition over the next year.

Much like my personal experience, it is important that brands take a moment to sit down and list out their top goals for the coming year. These goals require a well-defined strategy to serve as a road map on how they can be met. Too often as marketers we focus not so much on strategy, but the fire drills of quickly getting something out the door due to a change in messaging, product promotion, or the original plan. By putting a marketing strategy in place it helps keep the team aligned, especially in moments of ambiguity, to remind everyone how your goals will be met.

Here four key elements to remember when crafting your marketing strategy for 2015:

1. Include clearly defined goals: Gather your key players into one room and decide exactly what you want to achieve in 2015. Make sure to have all of the resources and data you need in front of you to avoid digging around for it during your meeting. Instead, remain focused on analyzing next year’s approach by evaluating the data you have with you. List out your goals and make sure that all members of your team have them handy. Without the top goals known and communicated, each member may be under different assumptions.

2. Foster a Proactive Culture: Being proactive is a having the ability to foresee and overcome an item that may become a problem in the future. There are many ways to encourage this type of culture, such as continued education, providing competitive industry insight, experience, and team coaching. I find that employees generally want to do their best when they come to work. By encouraging employees to be forward-thinking through new challenges, your company will continue to foster brand growth, saving resources for thought-leadership instead of disaster management.

3. Know Consumer Wants and Preferences: There is a lot of data your brand is collecting on a daily basis (search, display, social, web, email, etc). This data can be collected and analyzed to understand customer behavior, trends, and needs in the marketplace. The insights you can gather, both en masse and on a single profile, can start to reveal a lot about shopping patterns and consumer expectations with your brand and industry. Craft this understanding into your 2015 strategy to develop a winning plan that takes into account industry knowledge, patterns, and user actions.

4. Remain Adaptable: Even the best laid plan can change at the drop of a hat. I have been involved with many solid campaigns throughout my career that change due to new priorities and expectations arising. Incorporate a plan into your strategy indicating how you will handle the turbulent weather that will arise. Ask yourself why change is happening and if it will cause damage to the 2015 objectives you set with your team. Are you just trying to see a quick gain in the next quarter, or is the issue larger? By accepting that adaptability must be included into your plan, it allows you to fix these smaller issues while remaining on target to meet your goals for 2015.

IgnitionOne Among Visionaries in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs

If data integration and personalization tactics are part of your 2015 roadmap, you’ll be interested in the latest research from Gartner, Inc. We are excited to announce that Gartner has positioned IgnitionOne among “Visionaries” in the newly released “Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs.” The Magic Quadrant evaluation was based on completeness of vision and ability to execute.

Gartner’s report positions IgnitionOne furthest in “completeness of vision” within the Visionaries quadrant .  hub image

“We are proud to be positioned in the Visionaries Quadrant of Digital Marketing Hubs by Gartner and consider it a confirmation of the Digital Marketing Suite’s (DMS) role in simplifying the lives of marketers and driving improved results through a centralized marketing cloud that integrates data management and channel execution into a single platform,” said Will Margiloff, CEO of IgnitionOne. “We believe IgnitionOne’s placement in the Visionaries Quadrant furthest along the completeness of vision axis validates our long-held belief that adtech and martech should integrate into a single stack.”

The recent release of our platform, DMS 3.0, allows marketers to better understand and segment audiences through its Data Management Platform which combines traditional database marketing capabilities with cookie-based digital profiles. Marketers are using the DMS to seamlessly activate targeted and dynamic messaging on all devices, across channels including search, display, mobile, social, email and personalized website content. At the center of the DMS is a flexible hub that provides marketers the ability to use both native and third party-solutions while storing a complete view of customer data.

On a personal note, we send warmest thanks to Andrew Frank, Jake Sorofman and Marty Kihn for their thoughtful evaluation of IgnitionOne and all the various technology solution providers in the space.

For details on the report, read more here or contact us at info@ignitionone.com

My Connected Experience

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I needed to pick up a couple of items for a party I was hosting. I had just purchased a new picture frame and needed fill it with photos to replace the smiling models to hang on my wall. My friends spoke highly of the Walgreens photo app so I downloaded it, quickly made an account, then uploaded my photos to be picked up in a hour.

Upon checkout inside the store, I was asked to provide my loyalty card, which I did not have on me. (In fact, I probably had misplaced it years ago and don’t even remember registering for it.) The person behind the counter asked me to enter my phone number, then scanned a fresh card and handed it over to me. In the back my mind, I realized that I just added another item to my list knowing I would now have to sync this new loyalty card to my separate online account created just hours before. Full disclosure: This was something I knew I would never get around to doing until forced to do so the next time I wanted to order photos.

Within less than a week, I received an email from Walgreens saying, “We noticed you joined Balance™ Rewards, so for your convenience we’ve linked your membership to your existing Walgreens.com account.”

I was amazed by this simple act for two reasons. First, they were able to use the right information (probably my email or phone number) to link the two disparate accounts automatically. Also, they have a marketing automation plan in place to send this email out and alert me of their actions regarding this convenience. Nice work, Walgreens’ digital team.

This simple action benefited both consumer and brand in three simple ways:

1. Willingness to Provide More Data: Within less than one week, Walgreens proved to me that they are using my data in ways to make my life simpler. This builds trust. Instead of having disjointed, disparate accounts across their app and in-store loyalty card, they have identified me as one person, an individual. Because I found direct value and convenience in exchange for the little data I gave them, I am much more willing to provide them with more information about myself (and my preferences) in hopes of a highly personalized experience, i.e., content, specials and coupons.

2. Increased Loyalty: After this positive experience with their photo app, I decided to try having my prescription filled at the same store later that week. My doctor sent the prescription through digitally and it was quickly imported into my account. Since this was the first time I was viewing it online, I had to go through a verification process, which synced up with my insurance to pull in accurate co-pay information. Much like my experience with their photo upload and account merging, this process was simple, integrated and seemingly secure. In addition, I was alerted they were out of the medicine I needed (via phone call and email) but they would have it available the next day. These conveniences have directly increased my loyalty, as it saved me the hassle of heading there after work only to find out my prescription was not ready.

3. Experience, Exploration and Sharing: When I downloaded their app, I went strictly to the photo tab (and eventually the pharmacy tab). With all of these great digital experiences piling up, I started to dabble with their other service offerings which might add convenience to my life. Just moments ago, I made an appointment for my flu shot, scheduled from my iPhone in about 45 seconds. These positive experiences encourage me to explore and use Walgreens even more often. And obviously, I am a person who loves to discuss my positive experiences with people and will continue to tell my family and friends about how convenient this experience was for my sometimes-hectic life.

The most unique part about this experience is that Walgreens identified points of frustration across the customer journey and saw an opportunity to automate a few annoying steps, which made my life easier. They made the effort to connect their data to provide the consumer with a better user experience.  In fact, if you want more information on topic of Connected Consumer Conversations, here’s a link to a recent video we hosted in the topic: http://www.digitalmarketingsuite.com/webinar/access-playback.html.

Think about all of the data you may be sitting on and not using. List it all out. Start to draw up connections between web, display, mobile, search, ecommerce, online, offline and all other data assets you have. Use these connections to help connect and identify profiles to provide your customers with an experience like mine. The end goal is simplifying and unifying the customer experience.

Explosive Growth in Mobile Drives Holiday Weekend Digital Spend Increase

Today we released a mid-quarter report highlighting another strong Thanksgiving weekend for digital marketing. Mobile devices represented a growth area for retail marketing, with huge increases in search spending for smartphones.

Digital marketing figures are released quarterly by IgnitionOne, as we manage more than $1.5 billion in online advertising.

Key findings in the report:

  • Mobile phones dominate US Search: Mobile continues to empower consumer engagement. Not surprisingly, mobile phones saw the largest growth among device types (including tablets) at 184% YoY.
  • Sleepy Saturday wakes up to much higher paid search activity: Last year Saturday was the only day to show negative YoY growth (-7%); however, this year reveals a much different story. While Black Friday had strong YoY growth at 77%, the retail momentum continued into Saturday, with 50% YoY growth overall.
  • Desktop search impressions drop: US paid search impressions for desktop dropped 16.2% YoY during the Thanksgiving weekend and into Cyber Monday. It may be due to a shift in shopping patterns with more people out earlier as well as the continued trend of advertisers pulling out of the Google partner network.
  • Cyber Monday growth stalls except on Mobile: Cyber Monday saw relatively low growth with respect to last year (36% compared to 60%) with the exception of mobile devices which saw 272% growth YoY.
  • Programmatic Display Grows in Spend and Effectiveness: US retail spend in programmatic display increased 43% YoY along with conversions which were up 58% as advertisers delivered fewer, more targeted and effective ads.

“Mobile devices are changing behaviors of consumers across the board and extending the promotional power of the holiday weekend,” said Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne. “The strong results this past weekend show the savviness of marketers to reach consumers where they are and leverage the entire weekend to drive sales through digital marketing.”

This report is the latest in a series of reports from IgnitionOne, reviewing trends across the online advertising landscape. This and previous quarterly reports can be downloaded at http://www.ignitionone.com/thought-leadership/.

The Future of Connected Consumer Conversations

As digital marketers, we are in the early innings of a whole new ballgame. Forrester Research calls it the Age of the Customer. I like to think of it as the era of Connected Consumer Conversations.

Behind the ability to link points of consumer-brand interaction is the ability to integrate marketing technologies as well as disparate data stores; however, getting to that level of integration – one that’s real-time and seamless enough to create the elements of a perceived conversation versus a campaign – remains a cloudy challenge for most marketers. So many touted technologies become integration projects instead integrated solutions.

But it’s early.

Not that long ago, brand strategy was based on messages pushed out to market where salespeople were the sole gatekeepers to product information. If you wanted details about an item, you had to get in touch with a salesperson or read a brand-provided brochure. Your perspective (the entire brand relationship) was shaped and controlled almost entirely by the company. Today that simply isn’t the case. With the abundance of content available online (details, videos, pins, reviews, forums, and more) and the adoption of smart phones to access product information at anytime from anywhere, the customer now takes control of the brand-buyer relationship. Overall, marketers have risen to the occasion, taking an omni-channel approach to make sure all the bases (and possible points of consumer interaction) are covered.

Unfortunately, this isn’t enough.

Now that the customer is in control, their expectations are quite high. While to some marketers “personalization” meant including the person’s first name token in a subject line, today it’s about relevance. Individuals want to be treated as such. “Show me you know me” is the gauntlet. Marketers must respond, armed with data and insights for a deeper understanding as well as the ability to execute on that understanding in real time to provide the level of engagement consumers now expect.

Omni-channel isn’t enough because it actually may be too broad. A better approach is to use your understanding of your audiences and connect specifically with them where they are in a manner that resonates, supporting both your brand promise and your customers’ needs in the moment.

It’s no longer about campaigns. Instead, it’s about having a coordinated marketing approach across touch points – from that first display impression to all interactions that follow. In fact, we’re hosting a special webinar on the topic on Wednesday, December 1st. We’ll take a deep dive into what these connected conversations look like, as well as provide you with specific tactics to get it right.

Get the registration details here: www.digitalmarketingsuite.com/webinar.