Tag Archives: digital marketing

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.

“WTF is the Marketing Cloud?”: The Essential Guide

The landscape of marketing clouds is constantly changing and growing – with multiple technological choices, contradictory descriptions and varying claims, it isn’t hard to understand why getting into the game can be confusing.

Ultimately, your customers don’t care what kind of data management technology you use. What they do care about is having a positive experience with a brand that knows how to interact with them, an opportunity that comes from utilizing the right tools to glean the data you need.

So, what exactly are the right tools? That’s where the marketing cloud and DMP options come into play. But if this video is any indication, there’s still a lack of clarity surrounding what exactly the “marketing cloud” is:

“WTF is the Marketing Cloud” is here to answer that question and more. It’s the essential guide to a basic understanding of various DMPs, clouds and hubs. Get informed, get your questions answered, and get ahead of the game.

Download the guide here.

Top Takeaways from the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference

This year I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural Gartner Digital Marketing Conference in San Diego. The event brought together top digital marketers, which included brands, agencies, analysts and solutions providers, with the primary purpose of driving thought-leadership by educating marketers on the latest trends in the digital world.

As we have seen in Gartner’s Digital Roadmap, digital is exploding; channels are becoming more integrated, cross-device attribution is on the rise and marketers don’t know how to handle the complexity of a creating a seamless user experience across channels. While on the show floor I saw both new and seasoned marketers with an idea of what they want to accomplish, but a skewed understanding of the technology needed to get from point A to point B.

With increased pressure to meet high expectations of consumer demands, brands have no choice but to keep up. Here are some of the top trends that arose throughout the sessions that marketers need to be aware of as they develop their digital strategy:

1. Digital personalization is the new normal: Consumers expect brands to know them and to know them well, particularly the ones who engage regularly and spend often. In fact, one Gartner statistic explained that by 2018, organizations who have invested in personalization will outsell those who have not. The key is for brands to understand how to segment their data and effectively activate personalization at a one-to-one level, while respecting global privacy laws. On the flip side, as analyst Jennifer Polk pointed out, sometimes personalization is about knowing when to remain quiet to avoid offending or over-engaging with a consumer.

2. Identify Gaps in Mobile and Social Measurement: We continually hear that mobile is on the rise. In fact, in one presentation by Gartner analysts’ Julie Hopkins and Mike McGuire, they pointed out that 30% of Facebook’s users are mobile only. The first step is to understand how to connect your mobile and social investments to your objectives by defining your strategy. In turn, this gives mobile and social a specific purpose to work in tandem by exceeding your corporate marketing goals. By tying direct ROI back to social and mobile, marketers can justify to upper management the monetary value and in turn continue to receive more budget as needed for these rapidly growing areas.

3. Innovation is Your Competitive Advantage: One of the most fascinating presentations was by Jon Bridges, the CMO of Chick-fil-A, and Jake Sorofman with Gartner on innovation. The presentation opened by posing the question to the audience, “have you ever used another company’s name to describe what you do?” This made me chuckle a bit as I reflected on the various jobs I’ve held where I compared the company to another to help friends and family understand. The idea here is to forge your own path instead of comparing yourself to others. We can win by leading the pack. However, my favorite idea presented is utilizing your workspace as an innovation center; a place where ideas are crafted to further the business and drive change for challenging business objectives. In turn, this can be applied to digital strategy as workers begin to solve everyday challenges and best meet the demands of their users by having the freedom to explore, create, develop and solve.

Being the first digital marketing conference hosted by Gartner, I was exceptionally impressed at the content, execution and speakers. I am proud to have sponsored the event this year and am excited for its anticipated growth based on the reviews it has received.

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.

Introducing the Big Book of Digital Marketing

IgnitionOne and Netmining proudly present the Big Book of Digital Marketing. This all-inclusive resource provides marketers with an overview of the latest trends and fundamental changes in the marketing landscape, a compilation of articles and thought leadership from recent months. Use it as a roadmap to marketing success in 2015. This gorgeous guide is now available as a free download here: www.digitalmarketingsuite.com/big-book/.

Get fresh insights on topics including:

  • Understanding Ad Tech
  • Mastering Programmatic/RTB
  • Using a DMP with Cross-Device Customer Data
  • Navigating in the Marketing Landscape
  • Best Practices for 2015

This hefty edition is loaded with information designed to help digital marketers and agency rock stars stay on top of their game. Download your complimentary copy now.


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.

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.

Ad Tech, Marketing Tech and the Future of Connected Consumer Conversations

We are entering the era of Connected Customer Conversations.

Today’s consumers expect more from brands. They demand consistent messaging and experiences regardless of the channel or means or device through which they choose to engage. What starts with a search or a display ad view may lead to a site visit, a store visit, an email send, a phone call, a Facebook share, a retweet and even a conversion.

Behind the ability to link points of customer-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 doesn’t have to be that way.

The next big thing is here. Join IgnitionOne for an exclusive webinar event on 12/3 to learn more about why marketers need to think in “conversations” instead of campaigns, and in “context” instead of in channels, learn more about the positive impact of advanced adtech/martech integration, including case-study examples, and more.

Register now.

Introducing IgnitionOne’s Digital Marketing Suite 3.0: Most Integrated Marketing Cloud to Date

Today, IgnitionOne announced the latest version of its Digital Marketing Suite (DMS) – DMS 3.0. This new release helps CMOs and practitioners by providing the industry’s most simplified multi-product navigation , greater adtech/martech integration, cross-device analysis and visualizations with fully customizable dashboards, cross-channel media mix modeling and attribution visualizations.

The DMS 3.0 features a fully integrated hub at its center, which allows marketers to:
• Better understand and segment audiences through its Data Management Platform (DMP) which combines traditional database marketing capabilities with cookie-based digital profiles.

• Seamlessly activate targeted media and dynamic messaging on all devices, across all channels including search, display, mobile, social, email and personalized website content.

• Use both native and third party-solutions while storing a complete view of customer data.

Key Features include:
Fully integrated marketing technology: Digital Marketing Hub and Channel Management capabilities

Data at a glance with flexible Dashboards: Fully customizable dashboard system of cross media widgets that serve as the central home page for marketers.

Media Mix Modeling: Determine optimal media spend across all digital marketing channels and campaigns.

Attribution Visualizations: Full media and marketing attribution capabilities with visualizations showing latency ranges, first/last exposure combinations, and channel/publisher assists.

For more information, check out our new website, read this or learn how DMS 3.0 is helping AIG.

The Rise of Human Data

Pause for one moment and think of just how much data your company is collecting on a daily basis. Between transactions, ecommerce, email, display, mobile, social, marketing automation, attribution, call-center data, offline data, cookies, and all other sources of data, there is a lot of information being provided by your customers. Upon collecting this information marketers have traditionally found commonalities among this data to create lists or segments to message out to their clients and prospects. While this can be an effective form of marketing based on the campaign objectives, marketers are gravitating towards highly-personalized messages tailored to the very specific data points they have managed to collect from their consumers.

While at DMA 2014 the Managing Director at FedEx, Mike Rude, spoke on this very topic to discuss how FedEx is using this “human data” as a way to drive engagement. As marketers, we are accustomed to looking at numbers and segments all day. Imagine in a perfect world if you had the capability to personally craft the e-mail to each member on your list instead of doing a blast e-mail. It would be engaging, highly-relevant, and extremely personalized, as you could reference the customer’s file and pull in the most important details as you were crafting their copy. While it might take ten years to finish each campaign, you would be using the data in a way that reminds you each number in your data base is actually a person with feelings, emotions, passions, fears, and families…something often forgot in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of getting your campaign out the door.

Although it may be impossible to personally craft each e-mail, we can use the data we have to provide a more humanized experience for the consumer. In fact, during this presentation, FedEx recommended the following three tips as a way to effectively begin your marketing efforts:

1. Know your customer – This is a phase we hear a lot in the ad tech space. As I’ve mentioned above there are many ways we can know our customer from the data that we can collect on them. However, this should be a two-way street. Just as we capture activity data, we should allow the customer to be able to personalize their preferences and needs. This data can be used to be customer-obsessed, only serving your customers the most relevant content at the right time.

2. Converse with the person – Instead of just pushing out your marketing efforts to your prospects and clients, make sure you are actually engaging in a conversation with them. Take a moment with your team to list out all of the types of people who come into contact with your brand, then list out all of the channels used. For example, FedEx has 16 million interactions on a daily basis with deliveries, often times leading to conversations with the end-users. Perhaps drivers could take the knowledge they learn about their customers and compile it into a single database for all drivers and employees to access when needed to add that “personal touch” during deliveries.

3. Don’t automate bad behavior – While technology has advanced and can help businesses achieve all types of goals, it cannot first be done without a sound strategy. Rude spoke on this topic by emphasizing the importance of optimizing people and process before implementing technology, as this should help to “enable experiences, not drive them.” Marketing automation is an easy thing to do, be it process or e-mail, but oftentimes complicates communications instead of adding an element of simplicity to the customer experience. Observe the paths of all of your processes, both internal and external, to help you determine how automation is negatively affecting your business and what can be done to improve it.

The most important idea to remember is that behind each piece of data is a living, breathing person with feelings, emotions, thoughts, opinions, beliefs and ideas. Remembering this will continue to help your brand build execute smarter, more effective campaigns leading to results as the recipients.