Category Archives: Marketing Help

3 Ways Data Influences Marketing Strategy

Strategy – that word is thrown around all of the time. Regardless of your industry, I can guarantee it is uttered, heard or thought about on a weekly basis. The word projects reassurance to bosses, implying that someone has developed a flawless plan to minimize risk and maximize goal-attainment. Now, how often does that actually happen? My guess – not as frequently as it should.

The reality is that the average marketer is swamped. From budget discussions to pushing campaigns out the door, time is precious, short and must be used effectively. Oftentimes you might be dealing with so many tactical objectives that you forget why you are even doing them in the first place. Let’s take a step back for a moment.

The world we live in is overwhelmingly digital. The integration of tech into our lives is so acceptable people will stop conversations mid-sentence to respond to the latest alert – and with the “Internet of Things” on the rise, my hunch is that the our lives in the digital world are only going to intensify. With all of these devices, the amount of data being exchanged on any given device at any given time is not only massive, but extremely insightful for those marketers willing to invest in strategy. While haphazard plans may work from time to time, the reality is that without a solid business strategy it will be a struggle to keep up with competitors who see the bigger picture.

Data can influence your marketing strategy by:

  • Driving Customer Journey Mapping: The path to purchase is dead. Consumers have multiple touch points and entries to discover, engage and buy from your brand. Use your data to your advantage. With the right system in place, you can analyze your data to see where customers are coming in and how they are familiarizing themselves with your brand. In turn, the aggregation of this data can build out a solid marketing (or go-to-market) strategy for the best user experience to enhance the customer’s relationship with your brand.
  • Explaining the Why Behind the Purchase: Depending on your product, it might be an easy or a hard sell to customers. Some products I regularly need to buy, such as contact solution and toothpaste, while others I would classify as a luxury. With each view, open, click or purchase, there a reason behind my action that brands can begin to piece together by connecting the data points. Why did I choose to buy one brand over another? Why did I choose one product line over another? As brands begin to view all of their data on me in one centralized hub, the big picture becomes clear and this deepens brand personas, segmentation and understanding for increased marketing strategy.
  • Influencing Product Developments and Enhancements: The entire reason any business is successful is because of the customer. Customers influence every single decision from packaging to website design, with the end goal of creating an emotional connection to the brand. Data will always vary from customer to customer, which is why it is crucial to look into larger trends. Even though each customer has their own journey with your brand, their preferences dictate the development of new products, features and decisions you are making as a brand. With quality data and the ability to read that data accurately, you are no longer guessing what your customers want – you are accurately monitoring, listening and anticipating it.

We know that data is everywhere – it has been everywhere for quite some time now. As brands, we must shift our thinking from tactical ways to use our data to the big picture of strategy development. What starts out as an insight from marketing data could quickly morph into an insight that redefines how strategy is being developed in all departments. More often than not, everything is connected. Data supports our decisions, but it is up to everyone in the organization to connect the dots and use that information to build a rock star company tuned in to the needs of the customer.

Register Now for the June 17th Webinar: Harnessing the Power of Data You Own

The IgnitionOne June webinar, “Harnessing the Power of Data You Own”, is happening this Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET. But there’s still time to register!

Odds are, most DMP users are sitting on a mound of usable information – knowing how to put that information to work in the right way is what creates greater success. Harnessing the power of data means better results, better insights and better business.

“Harnessing the Power of Data You Own” will feature Luis Caballero, Chief Data Scientist at IgnitionOne. Luis will explain how to get from the point A of raw data to the point B of real results, providing registrants with clear direction and insights on how to get quick wins, create better customer experiences and uncover key trends. Participants will also:

* Learn what data points to use for stronger ROI

* See case-study examples of recent DMP success

* Get fresh ideas for faster results

And more!

“Harnessing the Power of Data You Own” takes place Wednesday, June 17 at 11 a.m. ET.

Register here before it’s too late!

The B-Word: Budget

There is one thing I have learned during my time as a marketer – we love spending money. Come Q4 we get out our excel sheets, analyze yearly ROI, and put together our best proposal to have an increased budget for next year. Oftentimes, our hopes fall short and we must find creative ways to do more with less; an experience that is quite common across all industries, verticals, and companies. With an increased expectation for success and a limited budget, we must put together a solid business case as to why our marketing department deserves the budget to match the high demands of the company.

While at the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference I attended a session by Laura McLellan, VP of Marketing Strategy at Gartner, who spoke about ways to fund and justify incremental marketing budgets. The main gist of this presentation is that marketers need to take a closer look at their budget to see what functions they are supporting, how it aligns with yearly goals and what needs to be changed for success. Here are some top takeaways from this session:

Marketing Budgets Must Align with Corporate Goals: From one year to the next it is not uncommon for company goals to change significantly. With buyouts, mergers, acquisitions, new executive management and better internal alignment, the expectations of the marketing department can evolve rapidly. With changing goals, you need a budget to match. If you request a 25% increase in budget from last year, make it known exactly why it is needed to achieve the goals asked of you. Defend your budget.

Share Budgets with Other Departments: As you look at your budget in detail, note how many items marketing shares with other departments. A great example here is the company website as it is instrumental in helping other departments meet their goals, such as sales, customer service, IT, business/brand units, etc. Instead of taking all of the costs for design, implementation, execution, hosting, and necessary integrations/updates, make a case as to why this needs to be shared with other departments. This applies to all types of services, software, and platforms that may be currently paid for by marketing, but should be more fairly split across the board.

Prove Your Worth: According to the session, three items are needed for marketing to be effective. First, the success measurements must align with the c-suite. Make sure you understand exactly what is being asked of marketing and that you are reporting in a way that is easily understood by your executive team. Second, the marketing itself needs to be effective. The numbers and statistics do not lie. If a campaign is not providing you with value, drop it. Finally, scrutinize over the final level of detail. For example, do you have the ability to barter or partner with a company? Is it better to buy the service you need, or build it?

Just as marketers are guardians of the brand, we are defenders of the budget. I was always taught that you can have anything you want in life, you just have to clarify what you need, make a plan, and ask. While it may be difficult to begin the process of understanding the state of your budget, it is the first step down the path of securing the funds you need to achieve your goals.

Webinar recap: Which way to a less fragmented customer journey?

Your customers embark on a journey with your brand every single time they interact with it, in both the online and offline world. Collectively those experiences shape their perception of your offering and value proposition. If customers don’t rate each interaction in isolation, it’s critical that marketers join the dots to deliver a digital frontier that is meaningful and relevant, across every single touch point.

Last week, Brian Deagan, VP of Solution Consulting, hosted a webinar ‘What is a DMP and why do I need one?’. In this session Brian demonstrated how a Data Management Platform is the central nervous system that gives marketers the ability to deliver relevant experiences via actionable insights.

Packed with advice on big data, information on how a DMP revolutionises the customer journey, evidence of how a DMP results in incremental revenue gain and a roadmap to get started – your DMP journey begins here.

Watch the webinar recording here.

Defining Data Management

Contradicting descriptions and claims regarding marketing technologies have caused some real headaches for buyers. Lack of clear understanding of terms and capabilities result in wasted time, wasted budget, departmental dysfunction and overall frustration for marketers who simply want to use their data to better engage their prospects and customers.

In a recent blog post by Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne, he describes important definitions to understand the different types of DMPs and platforms within the marketplace. The full post, which can be accessed here, includes the breakdown of the Basic DMP, Media DMP, CRM DMP, Hub/True DMP and DMS.

In fact, IgnitionOne will be hosting a live webinar on April 2 to empower you and your team with everything you need to know about a Data Management Platform. Tune in to find out how you can banish mixed marketing messages to your customers and how a DMP can fuel one-to-one digital experiences across all channels.

Introducing the Customer Data Integration Handbook

The purpose of true data management is to obtain that holistic, 360- degree view of the customer. Not just at the point of conversion, but also throughout the buyer’s journey. That clarity gives you insights to grow your business and the ability to interact with each individual in a personal and relevant way.

But how do you get the most value from any DMP investment? It requires the integration of customer data assets from across the organization, also known as CDI or Customer Data Integration.

IgnitionOne has created a valuable new book to walk you through the process and educate you on data integration: “The Customer Data Integration Handbook.” This new 24-page guide provides a blueprint and step-by-step considerations as you approach the consolidation of data to maximize its effective use.

You can learn more and download the Guidebook free here.

cdi guidebook

 

Life After Big Data

For the past few years, we’ve been hearing the buzz words, “big data” without having a tangible, concrete answer around it. What is it and what does it actually mean?

With hundreds of millions of devices in people’s hands, and millions of more people coming online every year, there are billions of data points.

The smarter question to ask is, ‘What does big data mean to marketers and advertisers?’ There is a constant quest for understanding target audiences. There are multiple point solutions that try to create a ”digital data-graph” of customers and prospects.

Imagine piles and piles of data that are siloed and don’t actually bridge towards one another. Beyond the imagination, it’s a difficult reality that the digital world grapples with. Marketers need to climb that metaphorical Mt. Everest and get a hawk-eye view from the highest place. But they still need a telescope in hand to zoom down to the minute details of their ecosystem.

But what if there is a foundation to launchpad all of your digital marketing efforts? Yes, there is big data, and it’s only getting bigger and complex. Marketers need a solution that can gather and make sense of their data from critical mass down to individual personas. This requires a Data Management Platform solution. A DMP with cross-channel, cross-platform and cross-attribution capabilities.

What would life be without a DMP? Data scattered everywhere. To have a DMP or to not have a DMP? It’s not a philosophical question, but a frame of mind.
Forrester’s report helps you get started on how to think about DMPs. Check out Forrester’s DMP report on, “Measurement is a Digital Media Buyer’s Best Friend.”

How to Make the Most of Your Data

During my time in undergrad at Miami University, I was fortunate enough to take a research course while studying for my degree in Marketing. This course taught us how to conduct, analyze, and report findings based on acquired data. In turn, this data-driven research could be used to provide strategic business recommendations on product launches, segmentation, brand enhancements, and targeted communication efforts.

It was in this course that a light-bulb went off in my head where I realized the key to succeeding in marketing is all in the data. The brands, consultants, and people who are able to ask the right questions, store the data properly for easy access, and analyze it for strategy development are the ones who will excel in their marketing efforts. Every day we collect thousands of fragmented pieces of data, from both anonymous and known online users, that can be pieced together to form a clear picture of your buyer’s wants and needs. As a marketer, this is a goldmine.

The key is to step-back from the daily grind and look at your strategy from the top down. Our inboxes tend to be a blur of new priorities from various stakeholders rapidly changing at any given moment. By stepping back and putting on your strategy hat, you can start to make the most of your data by following these four steps:

1. Collect the right information: Anytime a visitor wanders onto your website, opens an e-mail, makes a purchase or clicks an ad, your system is aware of this activity. Other times, you collect information from buyers by asking about their preferences and noting their purchases. While data is extremely valuable, it is even more valuable when you can directly apply it to your business needs. Make sure that the information you’re collecting is not extraneous, but targeted and strategic – always have a clear goal in mind.

2. Store everything in a central hub: From my experience, it is common for companies to have their data scattered about multiple systems. Some of it lives in outdated excel sheets, while some is stored in CRM systems not optimally designed to achieve your goals. Now that you know what data you are collecting across the entire organization, it needs to be stored in a central hub to help you build out segments. By allowing all departments to have access to all information, it provides new insight to make the most informed decisions in any department.

3. Analyze your data: With all of your data being in one central location, it suddenly becomes easier to perform data analysis. Anytime I start to analyze data, there are two approaches I take. In the first, I have a specific question in which I want to find a solution. In the second, I explore the data to see what I can find. You do not need to be an expert with data to discover what is working and what needs improvement, but you need to be curious as you look at the information that you have. If you have a Data Scientist, this would be a good time to pull him or her in to see what insights can be extracted.

4. Implement Insights: The last, and most crucial step, is to implement the insights you just discovered. If you notice that your customer base makes 3x more purchases on weekends then during the week, you might want to setup an integrated marketing campaign to monopolize on insight. By setting the campaign up as an A/B test, you can test the validity of your research. Always keep testing – nothing is every constant and your business needs will always continue to change.

Data is everywhere. It provides unique understanding of your customers where you get to know them individually, instead just a line in a list. Make the most of your data and make it a simple process for you. Marketers have enough on their plate without having to dig through 30 different vendor software platforms for information when it is time to execute a simple marketing campaign.

For more information on IgnitionOne’s Data Management Services, click here.

Who is the Winner in Digital Marketing?

I recall my grade school days when I learned something new and eagerly raised my hand in class. In excitement, I would tell my teachers, “But everything connects. This new thing we learned reminds me of what we did in that previous subject. Things can’t be isolated. We must connect ideas together. Diversity is important and so are different points of views!”

Some Briggs-Myers and StrengthsFinder exams along the way into my adulthood, I learned that being a connector was my dominant strength. I fast-forward to my present life and ask myself if I hold true to my philosophy? As a Product Marketing Manager, I find myself tapping into various ideas, and product leaders to understand and narrate the bigger vision of our products.

Looking at my career, I found myself entering the world of social. I saw its huge opportunity for becoming an economic driver for companies big and small. But I knew there was more out there.

In the sea of digital, I could only begin to make sense of product offerings and what clients needed. Social was a fantastic way to enter digital because there was that people-centric focus of your audience telling you exactly what they want. But what about the rest of digital? There is email and search and display media with so many different systems and solutions. Hungry for more, I kept exploring Digital Marketing. I wanted more and I realized so did clients. With so many systems out there, I realized a marketer’s life could be wasted learning too many point solutions without actually accomplishing their campaign goals.

I came across data management systems and my mind blew away. It seemed like the perfect time to come of age as a millennial emerging out of the social media world. I needed to ascend my mindset into something bigger in digital. Diversity, different points of views, connecting things were all things I found myself yearning for. Why was I not thinking about data management platforms? I came from a world of APIs where relying on data pulls from other companies was the norm. But what about clients owning their own data and repurposing it?

In my current role as a Product Marketing Manager, I get to approach digital from a holistic perspective. I get to work with a Digital Marketing Suite which is a full stack of digital product offerings that covers all of a marketer’s digital needs. It’s not just about one channel, it’s about being cross-channel. It’s not just about one point-solution, but an integrated approach of taking all of your marketing efforts to manifest the bigger goals you have with your products and your clients. As an adolescent, I didn’t want to be a cookie cutter mold of anyone. In my role as a marketer, I find the needs of many marketers and advertisers are diverse as well. I’m happy to work with a digital hub that is as flexible as my thinking and the needs of digital leaders. You can finally get back in the driver’s seat and design your marketing experience and execution.

So the important question to ask yourselves is, “Who do you think is the winner in Digital Marketing? What is the right approach to the vast sea of digital?” Connect the dots to your digital marketing goals with perspectives from IgnitionOne and Netmining’s, “Big Book of Digital Marketing” found here.

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.