The digitization of everything – its impact on the CMO/CIO relationship

We’ve talked in the first two posts about how the digitization of everything is disrupting marketing and changing the face of commerce. Organizations are having to change the way they operate, and that’s causing roles in the C-suite to evolve.

The digitization of everything is doing three primary things:

  1. Increasing the speed and access for everyone to find and interact with relevant people, information, and products/services.
  2. Creating a fast-paced, never-ending game of “survival of the fittest” among corporations.
  3. Moving more of the customer journey into digital channels.

These three factors are forcing organizations to focus on being found among an ever growing sea of competitors – and also on responding in context to their audience with something that resonates.

This requires an increasing depth of customer understanding. Companies need to understand what customers want to accomplish, the motivations behind their actions – and be able to provide meaningful responses, at scale, across a growing spectrum of channels.

Each time a vendor does this well, it raises the collective bar of customer expectations, until someone does it better. This constantly repeating, ever shortening cycle puts an enormous amount of pressure on every company to relentlessly innovate. Those that don’t, struggle or die.

The increasing reliance of the CMO on technology to help them know and respond to customer needs, coupled with the availability of cloud infrastructure and applications, is forcing both the CMO and CIO to re-evaluate their roles. Read More »

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The digitization of everything — its impact on customer experience

It’s 10:30 in the morning, and her Jawbone buzzes. Jane is notified that she’s been sitting too long, and her meeting is ending anyway. She rises up from her booth at the coffee shop, bids her associate good bye, and walks through the mall towards the parking lot. Her device reminds her that she’s walked 1,430 steps today (and has only 6,070 to go until she reaches her daily goal).

She’s digitally prompted to visit a new boutique that three of her friends have visited recently, and offered a coupon for 20% off if used during the next three hours.

As she walks into the boutique, she’s greeted and invited to take a look at the latest winter fashions. She tries on a few outfits and gets real-time video input from her two friends vacationing in Vail and mom, her greatest advocate, and critic.

With unanimous feedback from her trusted circle, she chooses a luxurious new sweater, but before purchasing, she does a quick check to make sure that the same sweater is not available from other merchants for a better price. She finds one, and is automatically offered the best market price by the boutique. With a confirmation on her phone, her account is debited and the additional 20 percent discount applied. She shares her new treasure with friends in her digital networks, and watches the boutique amplify her message to their larger audience. She’s excited to find out how much money she’ll earn this month based on her product referrals.

As she drives home, she’s prompted to take an alternative route, not only to save twelve minutes due to a traffic jam on her normal route, but also to stop by the store and buy her groceries, which she’s reminded that’s she’s a couple of days late on from her normal routine.

The fictitious scenario above paints a realistic view of the near future, powered by the exponential growth of several simultaneous tech innovation trajectories. As more and more of our lives are transitioned into a digital landscape, more details become measurable. Anything digital can and will be recorded, archived, analyzed, and shared. Cisco chief futurist, Dave Evans even proposes “We’ll be able to record, playback and analyze our entire lives by 2020.”  Startups like Narrative make this stark vision seem possible.

With the blending of the physical and digital worlds come new habits, expectations, opportunities, and challenges. With the growth of digital, even with laser-focused targeting and personalization, is it possible to create the same bond and experience at scale, devoid of a meaningful 1:1 human interaction? Read More »

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The digitization of everything – its impact on the buyer’s journey and marketing’s role

For nearly a century, the buyer’s journey was relatively linear. Advertising messages distributed across a few mass media outlets were the primary method of spreading awareness. Purchase consideration generally occurred by reading product brochures and conversing with salespeople, friends and family.  A purchase was made, and if the product did its job, some level of loyalty followed.

In a digitally networked world, the narrative is not as simple. In 2012, Google and Shopper Sciences did a study of the purchase journey of 3,000 different customers in tech, CPG, automotive, and finance, and literally found 3,000 different paths to purchase. However, there were five common hubs (online, friends & family, print media, TV, and brick and mortar) that consumers visited along the way to a purchase decision. Consumers chose their own journey and hit each point along the way in the order and time that made the most sense to them.

In a B2B scenario, a similar pattern emerges. Multiple reports show that 55 to 75 percent of the buying process has been completed prior to a prospect reaching out to a potential vendor.

While customers are consulting more information sources along their decision journey, they’re simultaneously ignoring exponentially more.  From Martin Lindstrom’s Buyology:

“By the time we reach the age of 66, most of us will have seen approximately two million television commercials. Time-wise, that’s the equivalent of watching eight hours of ads seven days a week for six years straight. In 1965, a typical consumer had a 34 percent recall of those ads. In 1990, that figure had fallen to 8 percent. A 2007 ACNielsen phone survey of one thousand consumers found that the average person could name a mere 2/21 commercials of those they had ever seen, ever, period.” Read More »

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Universal truths about customer experience

Recently, I attended a symposuim hosted by the Calvin Institute with my wife.  Some of the many sessions I attended focused on how to create an awesome worship experince.  By hearing many of the different musicians perform live,  I noticed how the art and science of music enhanced the message.  Music brought the message to life in the worship experience.  Different types of music changed the message and moved each listener to a different experience.  Being a musician along with my wife,  music has a deep and moving meaning for me in the worship experience.

Jim and Kris Hiepler-Hartwig are musicians.Listening to many of the religious experts and musicians throughout the two day symposuim, I started to put on my marketing hat and had an epiphany! I started to correlate how the worship experience ties directly to creating a customer experience.  Let me illustrate what parts were striking simliar to both types of experiences.

  • Invitation- The invitation is targeted to a audience that is compelled to participate.  Both audiences are targeted to the experience via word, print, digital or website and sometimes divine invitation.
  • Message-  The message is strong to satisfy the content promised by the invitation.  Both messages appeal to the audience with strong supporting statements.  Music tends to highten the senses compelling you to action just like choosing the right marketing channel compels the customer to take action.
  • Sending- The sending is the call to action after the experience.  Both experiences send you on your journey charged based upon the message.

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Five ways to increase fan revenue with marketing analytics

Experiencing a major sporting event in person is a hard-to-describe experience for a fan. When your team is winning, a feeling of euphoria rolls through the stadium or arena. I have hugged and high-fived complete strangers when a game-winning shot goes in or someone scores a game-winning touchdown in the final seconds. On the other end, a loss brings a communal sense of disappointment – and sometimes tears.

This desk fan is not the kind we're talking about.

This is NOT the kind of fan we're talking about.

The in-stadium experience is what brings many fans through the turnstiles time and time again. They come in droves wearing jerseys of their favorite player, braving the rain and cold to see their beloved teams play. This isn’t anything new to sports teams. But how they are using analytics to increase revenue from the fanatics is new...and exciting.

At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference last week, noted author Tom Davenport published a SAS-sponsored research paper outlining how teams and leagues are embracing analytics. In it, he outlines five “frontier approaches” that those teams and leagues are using to increase fan loyalty – and increase revenue:

  1. Variable ticket pricing
  2. Personalized web content
  3. Season ticketholder segmentation
  4. Social media analytics
  5. Marketing optimization

Read More »

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#DigitalMarketing - Where is Your Foundation?

If you are reading this and you are doing so because the #DigitalMarketing got your attention, then I’ve succeeded! The ‘term’ digital marketing is trending, showing up in white papers, blogs, and other social media, so it was a natural to use the term in the title.

Digital marketing is changing the way marketers reach and interact with their customers. As a result, marketers need to know how to execute across all of these new channels while continuing engagements on traditional channels. As these digital channels generate valuable data, marketers also need to figure out how to harness that data to inform better customer interactions. But as I read more and more about digital this, and #digital that, I can’t help but think that many marketers are missing the bigger picture. As digital marketing continues to introduce complexity (and opportunity) into marketing departments, now, more than ever, marketers need a foundation to help them manage the operational side of marketing to coordinate the end result: the message.

As digital channel proliferation continues, marketers must adapt their planning and execution strategies to include these valuable new data sources. At the same time, they cannot ignore more traditional channels such as media and print. To help them execute across all of these channels, marketers need solutions that help them automate their execution efforts, allowing them to effectively reach their consumers.

SAS Marketing Operations Management - foundational for successful digital marketing

SAS Marketing Operations Management

With these new digital channels and the potential of their data streams comes the temptation to overlook the need for a means to integrate marketing operations management into a broader integrated marketing management ecosystem. My goal is to highlight the risk that comes by making that oversight, and to point out a better way to address the issue.

Using a marketing operations management solution offers great benefits in terms of organizational function and also as the foundational element to an integrated marketing management (IMM) framework. Read More »

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Is SoLoMo the new loyalty card?

“Truth be told, I wouldn’t mind seeing our loyalty card program go away, but we’re not there yet.”
A retail CEO

I invite you to put on your consumer cap for a minute and answer these questions:

  • How many loyalty cards do you have and how many of those are you actively using?
  • What if your favorite loyalty card went away?
  • What impact has recent stories of data breaches and privacy infringement had on your willingness to share your personal information with companies?

If you think about it, there’s definitely a shift occurring in today’s consumer market. Face it, yesterday’s loyalty cards are losing their luster, and consumers are having to reconsider what information they’re willing to share with companies. The biggest shift, however, can be seen with today’s SoLoMo - social, local, mobile – consumers.

What does this new breed of consumer look like? You’ve seen them; in fact, you may very well be one of them. They are the ones who are expecting companies to (1) meet them wherever they’re at – offline or online - and (2) make themselves available through any and all channels. Not only that, with the always-on nature of social media and mobile technologies, these consumers are expecting more personalized experiences, tailored to their individual needs and wants, and based on the information they believe they are “freely” providing.

That’s a tall order to fill for marketers, and it is forcing B2C marketers, in particular, to look at their loyalty card programs and privacy policies through the eyes of these SoLoMo consumers. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges these marketers are facing. Read More »

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Need to solve a big data marketing problem? Visualize it.

Developments in advanced analytics, data visualization and processing power are opening new doors to solve big data marketing problems. Most notably, the time horizon on our perspective has broadened into the future by progressing

  • From descriptive analysis (What happened?)
  • To diagnostic analysis (Why did it happen?),
  • To predictive analysis (What will happen?) and then
  • To prescriptive analysis (How can we make it happen?).

These issues and opportunities span the enterprise in terms of impact, but the locus is in marketing because much of big data is customer data. And how visualization applies to marketing is where it gets interesting.

Marketers of all stripes share two common goals:Marketers of all stripes.

  1. Getting a holistic view of customers, and
  2. Predicting how customers will respond to your marketing efforts.

Those goals in the complexity of today's digital marketing environment translate to all sorts of questions, including:

  • Why do customers interact with your brand?
  • How do customers engage with your digital properties (single or multidomain) across multiple experiences and touch points?
  • What type of content do customers and prospects spend the most time engaging with and, more importantly, why?
  • Which channels work together to attract and create higher-value traffic segments from an integrated marketing perspective?
  • What types of interactions have predictive value in leading to conversions?
  • What will happen to digital traffic if more advertising dollars are spent on paid search versus display – and vice versa?

Finding the answers to these questions has been difficult. Many digital-savvy marketers have long been frustrated in their attempts to achieve a comprehensive, forward-looking understanding of customers. Part of the challenge has been the siloed nature and varying structures of digital data sources. Another part has been the limitations of Web analytics tools that aggregate and report on what happened in the past, but lack the sophistication of predictive marketing analytics. Read More »

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We're ready to do big data. Where do we start?

A question often asked by marketers about big data is “Where do we start?” For newcomers and seasoned experts alike, there is no shortcut to finding the “signal” in the “noise” of today’s big data. What I recommend is a structured, methodical approach to meet the challenge.

Here is a suggested 9-step road map for those organizations just getting started with big data, or for those who got off to a rocky start and are looking for some course correction.

Learn about big data

Do your homework. Read what others are doing with big data. Attend conferences. Talk to others who’ve both succeeded and failed in their big data initiatives. Research what your competition is doing with big data. Read More »

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Customer love - it's all about the connection

How many of your customers would make heart-shapes about your brand?

How many of your customers would make heart-shapes about your brand?

Happy Valentine's Day! Today is the international day for celebrating love, or at least the day for love offerings. Naturally, I'm inspired to write about ways marketers can spark and nurture feelings of love in their customers, and for that there are valuable lessons to be had in looking at personal relationships.

While "love" in a customer relationship is not the same as in a personal relationship, I do think there are elements of personal relationships that can be useful to consider in a commercial context. My main reason for that thinking is because purchase decisions are made by individuals - even in a B2B setting. The purchase happens because the offering fits a need, and affinity develops over time because some key aspect of the offering fulfills a need repeatedly.

All relationships begin with a connection. Perhaps its momenary or fleeting - an exchanged glance or a smile. For marketers, it can be as simple as showing up in an online search result, or a click-through to your landing page.

Google has posited the ZMOT - zero moment of truth - as a digital-era reinterpretation of Procter & Gamble's First Moment of Truth to describe your customers' first experiences with your brand. In the Google ZMOT, the first experience a customer has with your brand is likely one that is online. The concept is a great way to sell search advertising, but it's also likely true. Read More »

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