Digital marketing - it's really about people.

We live in the age of big data - just about everything is evolving and the pace of technological change is accelerating. More and more parts of our lives are being carried out online, and with the explosion of web-enabled devices, there is some truth to the idea that we're literally being surrounded by cyberspace. Our customers are changing, too - how they act, what they have at their disposal, as well as what they expect and need.

So what does that mean for marketers? Well it means a lot of things, but boil it down to its essence and I think we can agree that "business as usual" won't cut it anymore. Much has been written on this blog and elsewhere about the changes that are needed, and you may have even heard the call to be "more digital" or think "digital first." One problem may be that everyone has their own idea of what that means to be more "digital."

For me, being digital is inherently connected to content - creating it, making it easy to find, sharing it and making it easy to share. In my opinion, something qualifies as "digital" if it exists electronically and has its own web address. That can be pictures, papers, videos, articles, blog posts, infographics, webcasts, internet memes and so on. And while it's a good start to pay attention to content, I think that's just the beginning. It goes beyond that because even with all the new digital ways to reach our customers, the traditional forms of marketing are still important so integrating the old with the new is the best approach in my opinion.

I recently viewed a brief video featuring Brian Solis - the speaker, author and digital anthropologist - that has me thinking more about the idea of digital. He got me thinking that all those forms of content are really just the means to get at what we really should be focused on - people. It's the people who want to read our papers and watch our webinars that matter, and they have values, experiences and emotions that influence their state of mind when they come across our content. And Brian believes that's why we should focus on people for mapping our way to success in the digital economy.

Gaining insights into those values, experiences and emotions with marketing analytics are what enable us to know when and how to engage them, as well as what they really care about. From how I see it, that's precisely at the core of using keywords and optimizing our pages and doing other things that come with being more digital.

I've embedded that 3-minute video below, and in it, Brian explains his view on two important "gaps" that marketers should focus on bridging to be successful in our digital economy. And yes, both of those gaps are about people and the customer experience.

Let me know what you think:

 

 

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Who owns the data? Well, it’s complicated.

The Big Data MOPS Series with Tamara Dull

I don’t know if Edward Snowden – the NSA contractor turned whistleblower currently living in exile - is a hero, traitor or a schmuck. What I do know is that he has brought the data issue much closer to home for me as a consumer and a U.S. citizen. It has left me scratching my head and wondering, “Who owns my data, anyway?”

The Snowden disruption. Google knows many of us well. So does Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and our mobile phones. We’ve shared a lot with them for several years. Freely. In fact, for some of us, we’ve probably shared more with them than we’ve ever shared in our face-to-face, professional (and personal) relationships. The virtual, digital world these sites have created has made it easy for us to stay connected with friends, family, colleagues, and even complete strangers. Not just on our desktops, but also on our iPhones, Droids and tablets.

In addition, beyond this social sphere lies our favorite retailers, financial institutions, utilities and government agencies. We’ve shared even more intimate details with them and have trusted that they would not only protect this information, but use it to provide us with a more efficient, personalized customer experience. And for the most part, this digital model has been working.

Then walks in Edward Snowden last year and tells the world that the information we’ve been handing over freely to some of these companies is being used by the U.S. government to determine if we’re a threat to this country. [Insert sound of jaw dropping]

Wow, Google, Facebook and Verizon. We thought we could trust you.

Why this matters. All kidding aside, but not really, data – big and small – is having a huge impact on our organizations, not to mention our personal lives. The exponential growth of social media data and digital content alone is forcing our traditional marketing teams to become certified digital marketing ninjas. Read More »

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5 hurdles companies face when investing in data-driven marketing

In my role as a customer intelligence advisor, I have the privilege to work with a wide variety of organizations. From retailers to the banking sector, whether ‘B2C’ or ‘B2B’ oriented, one constant is the increasing adoption of data- driven marketing. But even so, we still come across the occasional "strange situation."

Often, such "strange situations" happen when we're working with marketers that prefer following their gut-feeling versus analytics when important decisions need to be made. Some of the worst offenders are the ones that are either unable or unwilling to track the return on investment from their marketing efforts.

I have worked with banking institutions that have state of the art analytics departments, but when asked how scoring was integrated in their marketing campaigns it became clear that the scores weren’t used by the marketing department. And it was simply because the marketer believed that his gut feeling was better than the analytical model.

I just can't appreciate that line of thinking, so I have to ask, "Why do some marketers not use these important sources of information, and hurdles do they face in order to leverage new technology and adopt more data-driven marketing?"

From what I've seen in my work, there are 5 possible hurdles that impede organizations from going to the next level:

1.  Having a clear vision on what data-driven marketing can mean for the organization,

Organisations need to have a clear vision of what data-driven marketing offers and how it's going to improve insights and interactions. Both realisations come at different maturity levels. Once the vision is set it’s very important to align, not only marketing, but the whole organization on it. Read More »

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60 Minutes got it wrong: data brokers aren’t evil

The Big Data MOPS Series with Tamara Dull

Have you heard of About the Data? It’s a website that lets consumers see what personal data’s been collected and is being used to drive the online ads they see and offers they receive. It’s a free service provided by Acxiom, a supplier of marketing data for businesses. Yes, a data broker.

I visited About the Data last September when it first launched. As a consumer, I wanted to see how much of my personal data had been collected. As a data professional, I was more interested in seeing what type of data was being collected, how accurate it was, and how easy it was for me to change and/or delete it. I was surprised at how much data had been collected and how freakishly accurate it was (~80%). Even though I had initially planned to opt-out and delete my data, after seeing what was there, I decided to leave my data as-is (with the option to change my mind later, of course).

And it appears that I’m not alone. Acxiom recently reported these site statistics: 500K consumers have visited the site since September 2013; 40% have registered and reviewed their data; 20% have changed their data; and 2% have opted out. These numbers are lower than I would have expected. Do consumers not care?

About those data brokers. In March, 2014, CBS’ 60 Minutes did a segment on “The Data Brokers: Selling your personal information.” As a consumer, you couldn’t help but watch and wonder how much of this report was true, how much of it was spin, and ultimately, why the exposé at all. Was it to increase awareness or was it just to creep folks out? Are data brokers really that evil?

As data professionals, however, we know there’s more to the story. Did 60 Minutes get it right? Who should we be pointing our finger at – the data brokers, the marketers or the consumers themselves? Read More »

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Seven benefits from using marketing analytics

Sunset over Marshall Field's Chicago, circa 2014

Sunset over Marshall Field's Chicago, circa 2014
[photo credit: Barry Butler Photography]

"Give the lady what she wants" and "The customer is always right" are quotes attributed to the venerable Chicago retailing pioneer Marshall Field. That customer-centered approach to doing business was leading-edge at the close of the 19th century and soon became a competitive advantage for Mr. Field's namesake department store empire.

Fast-forward more than a century, and it turns out that same customer-centered approach remains a best practice for marketing, but what's different is the operating environment. And in some ways, being customer centric is at once more challenging and more achievable than it was in the 1890s. The key lies in using marketing analytics.

In today's market, there are very few situations where one-size-fits-all marketing is the best approach. Customers are empowered, and unhappy customers will flock to competitors, often taking their friends with them. As a result, organizations can't afford to forgo efforts to know their customers as well as possible. And it's the companies that can quickly turn data into intelligence that have a leg up in the race to attract and retain their customers.

A recent TDWI checklist report, Applying Analytics with Big Data for Customer Intelligence, does a nice job of highlighting seven benefits from using marketing analytics and providing compelling examples of how those benefits play out in practice: Read More »

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Five ways to drive value through marketing in a digital world

“Companies that make the deep strategic, organizational, and operational shifts required to become effective digital marketers can become more agile, more productive, and accelerate revenue growth.”
- McKinsey & Company

With all of the latest buzz around digital marketing and the importance of diving in and riding the digital wave to bigger and better opportunities, it's always a good idea to do research on how to contribute and make a positive difference for both your customers and organization.

After reading “The Network is Your Customer: Five Strategies to Thrive in a Digital Age” by David Rogers, Executive Director of the Center on Global Brand Leadership at Columbia Business School, I found that everyone, working separate yet together, can bring value to their organization by implementing the same strategy. Although the book itself is several years old, the theories are still very relevant today. It examines how digital technologies — from smartphones to social media resources — connect us in networks that transform our relationships to businesses and each other.

One way to regard the internet is as a massive marketing laboratory, with people around the world launching experiment after experiment to crack the code that generates sales and customer loyalty with modest results.

Once a straigh line, now engagement with your company is a web of interactions.One constant has emerged to validate “traditional” (non-internet based) marketing best practices - talented marketers can succeed if they work together with colleagues with different – and complementary – skills where each team member learns from the others. With that collaborative approach, marketers will be better equipped to evolve with the fast-moving changes in consumer habits.

Consumers have embraced digital technology across all areas of their lifestyle, and in the process they’ve fundamentally altered how they make purchasing decisions, in many ways creating web of digital content exchanges  that characterize how they might interact with your company. Read More »

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Introducing the Big Data MOPS series

The Big Data MOPS Series with Tamara Dull

Big data – or whatever you prefer to call it – is a game changer for marketers and throughout the enterprise. And not to mince words: If you’re not using big data to improve your business – e.g., revenues, profits, operational efficiencies, decision making, etc. – then don’t do big data. It’s not worth the time, money or hassle.

Big data is not new. There’s no question that big data has received a lot of center stage attention and fanfare the last few years. Ready or not, this new age of big data is forcing organizations to look at their data - big and small, existing and potential - in a new light. But as disruptive and/or exciting as this may sound, we can’t afford to fall into the trap of believing that the “data” in “big data” is something new. Because it’s not.

Consider these “big” data sources: email, photos, videos, spreadsheets, PDF documents, satellite images, social media data, blogs, audio files, GPS data, call center transcripts, open data, RSS feeds, clickstream data - most of it is customer data, and the list goes on. Are any of these data sources new? Of course not. We’ve been collecting this data for many, many years.

So what’s new? Why all the hype? The simple answer is technology. We now have big data technology (much of it being open source) that allows us to store all this data at a fraction of the cost and process it in a fraction of the time – as compared to our existing, traditional systems. Read More »

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SAS is a leader again in the Forrester Cross Channel Campaign Management Wave

The leadership position SAS has earned comes from a strong offering and a strong market presence.Forrester Research, Inc. recently published its latest biennial "Cross-Channel Campaign Management (CCCM) Wave" evaluation. For the ​third CCCM Wave evaluation in a row, SAS is cited as a "Leader" by the leading technology analyst firm.

This evaluation is the most comprehensive study of its kind in the Customer Intelligence space, and is the result of 41 evaluation criteria of all qualifying cross-channel campaign management software vendors.

This area of Forrester’s research addresses a market in which SAS is one of only 4 vendors that lead in the space.

This is the latest in a series of great analyst validation SAS has received specific to Customer Intelligence in the last ~ 36 months. This announcement is a Forrester endorsement of our leadership in software that assists companies in the execution of multi-channel campaign management initiatives. We continue to distinguish ourselves as one of the only vendors in the market rated as a Leader across the strategy and planning, marketing and customer analytics, and campaign management and optimization disciplines required of Customer Intelligence initiatives.

SAS Customer Intelligence scored particularly well with regard to its current offering capabilities, namely around its analytics, reporting, and optimization capabilities. These capabilities are clear market differentiators for SAS and place SAS ahead of other similar service providers. SAS also fared well in the Interaction Management category, highlighting the fact that SAS has the products needed to fully manage the customer decision journey - or path from research to purchase to retention. Interaction Management focuses on both inbound and outbound decision management - and the associated actions, rules, and insight that must be in place to manage these decisions.

Forrester recommends looking to SAS
if your organization needs software to help manage
this interactive marketing journey.

Anyhow - enough from me - please take a look at the full report here and see why SAS is leading the pack!

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Are you craving ice cream? Blame the humidity.

Knowing what your customers want and when they want it is valuable insight for any business. The key is to know how to find out.

Analytics helps the VP of Marketing know what really drives customer demand.At Oberweis Dairy, one of their important product lines is ice cream - and for them, higher temperatures mean more ice cream sales, right? Not exactly. It turns out that dew point (a composite of humidity and temperature) is a better predictor of ice cream sales than just temperature.

And that key customer insight ripples throughout the enterprise, driving business decisions from production schedules to staffing - a great example of cross-business alignment to make sure that when the customer wants their ice cream, they can have it.

So how did they figure it out? By using marketing analytics. Click below to see a short video that tells the story in under three minutes:

Click here to read more details about the bigger marketing story at Oberweis, where SAS helps optimize cross-channel promotions to save millions and up customer retention by 35%.

 

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Déjà vu: Why CEM is new again

Déjà vu. For me, this term immediately conjures images of Bill Murray waking up in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on Groundhog Day – repeatedly.  In French, déjà vu means “already seen” and while I usually fall solidly into the realm of skeptic in matters like these, I have to admit feeling a strong sense of déjà vu these days.  Here’s why.

After spending the last six plus years focusing primarily on data integration consulting, I have recently changed my focus back to customer intelligence.  Discussions with our clients who are practicing customer experience management (CEM) today presents an interesting coincidence, one which causes me to feel like Murray on Groundhog Day.  Except instead of re-living yesterday, I am transported back to mid-2000.

Take CEM.  At its simplest, CEM is the ability to influence, monitor, and improve every interaction the customer has with the organization.  This definition evokes conversations with past clients about how and why to migrate from “managing the mailbox” to “controlling the communications.”  Back then we were beating the drums, warning clients that their customers would grow to expect this, attempting to shake marketers (and other business lines) out of their silo-ed complacency.

A case in point is an article I wrote for DMReview magazine in April of 2008, titled, “How Do I Love You – Let Me Count the Ways.”  In it, I posed the question “How do you avoid giving your customers too much love?” and I advocated coordinating and prioritizing customer communications across touch points. Read More »

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