Do you have a #socialmedia strategy or a socially adept #marketing strategy?

February 2, 2014

connect-enterprise-social-teamsThis is a redux of a popular blog entry from July 2012: “Do you have a #digitalmarketing #strategy” or a marketing strategy for the digital world?” In that entry I tried to describe my professional movement over 15 years of digital marketing… that “I no longer think in digital terms, I apply digital concepts, tactics and measurement to marketing strategy.”

Your target audience IS your target audience, regardless of where you come upon them. The key to this series of blog entries is that a marketing strategy needs to be your marketing strategy. Tactical plans should feed into that. Digital and social plans need to connect to the larger marketing activity. Sure, this sounds obvious, but is it really? I constantly hear people talking about their organizations’ digital marketing strategy, with no mention of overall marketing strategy. It’s as if the digital marketing strategy is the strategy. This is where we disagree.

Back to social media. Forrester describes the current state of enterprise class social media programs as producing “islands”. Altimeter identified some 74% of these same organizations producing “social anarchy”. Both indicate that social media programs are already headed in the wrong direction. The enterprise is particularly tricky, a dozen different functional organizations are hiring dedicated headcount, making connection or alignment of approach nearly impossible; meanwhile, none of the activities are attaching themselves to the larger marketing initiatives.

Making social media more difficult than digital, social is really an enterprise-wide necessity. Outside the marketing objectives of awareness and engagement, social activity is growing in importance for less obvious functional areas of todays’ company: HR needs to use social to connect with candidates, product teams need market feedback, and sales teams need to demonstrate competence and listen, to name a few.

To wrap this up, social media needs to be an intrinsic part of your marketing strategy, not a separate, disconnected plan. When done properly, your social program will:

  • Provide a centralized enablement function across the enterprise – approach, tools, metrics, sharing of best practices.
  • Provide a customer experience that’s consistent with the rest of the enterprise.
  • Increase efficiency / reduce waste of resources, avoiding duplicate tools and roles.
  • Increase coordination and communication across functional business areas.
  • And, increase the likelihood of producing greater outcomes and accountability.

#CustomerCentricity – is your customer view 360 degrees, or 208, or 151?

November 7, 2012

Quick thought… how frequently do you hear people talk about a 360 degree view of the customer? How frequently are the same people referring to a core marketing database that is exclusively offline OR online in its capabilities? This is a clear indicator of the actual range of their customer centricity.

Historically, the marketing database held insight about customers and prospects and aggregated information from many offline channels… telemarketing, POS, customer service, direct mail, and others. 15 years ago, that was pretty close to a 360 degree view. However, since the advent of digital communications channels, more and more insight has been outside the view of these assets… rendering them less valuable and perceptually obsolete. Today, with about 42% of media impressions being in digital channels, this historical vision has now shrunk to about a 208 degree view, and, promises to continue shrinking.

Contrasting this, all too often I see industry luminaries extole the benefits of a 360 degree view of the customer and refer to a solely digital solution… Yeah, that’s actually only a 151 degree view. Even a less accurate view of the customer, and typically with far more remdial concepts of marketing data and predictive analytics.

What does this all mean? Customer centricity will be illusive until online and offline marketers start sharing data and tools… communicating towards the same objectives. The traditional direct marketing folks have assets that digital marketers would be floored if they understood; Predictive analytics, record matching, cross channel campaign tools and more. However, the people who manage them frequently do not see the path to actioning these assets in the new world. Meanwhile, digital marketers are trying to build things that already exist and their vision is limited in scope, never actually seeing the 360 degree view of the customer.


Enterprise – has the word lost its’ meaning?

March 12, 2012

Yester-year I worked to connect large direct response retailers to their first ecommerce experience – integrating commerce and content systems into “enterprise resource planning” systems (ERP). While we hear less about ERP systems these days, the point of those solutions was that it really did connect all aspects of the business… finance, inventory, customer service, billing, and more.

Today, we use the word enterprise to describe something that we either want a VC to perk up and hear, or something that involves merging a few disparate things. I read a MediaPost article today, “Enterprise DMP Will Require Companies to Merge Data Silos“, and was reminded of this point.

While I thoroughly agree with the authors premise that data silos  are on their way out, I disagree that having a larger silo is substantively better. Or, that it represents the “enterprise”. Combining more digital data for the purpose of sending more, or even better, digital messages is a great ideal but is not the right answer. Two points to consider…

  1. To rightfully use the term, enterprise, it should at least cover a majority of the average media spend, if not all of it. Combining all digital channels, the best we can see in this digital coverage is about a 25% of ad spend and 40% of the consumption of media.
  2. Consumers exhibit multichannel behavior, 70% research and purchase in different channels, online versus offline. Being better at just the online part of this equation match well with consumer expectations or marketer needs.

#Digital #Attribution is a misnomer

March 9, 2012

The concept of “last click” is as flawed as attributing the purchase of an adult beverage to the neon sign hanging outside the liquor store. The concept of “Digital attribution” simply tries to count the number of beer signs the person saw. What about TV, bill boards, demographics and socioeconomic factors?

While reading a Digiday article this morning, “The Last-Click Attribution Dilemma“, two arguments presented by the author struck me as worthy of comment…

  1. Authors point – Brand marketers are staying out of display ads because of the inherent inability to properly attribute spend to results. Really?!? Is TV a good example of being able to attribute spend to results? Of course not. Yet, this has been the haven for brand dollars for generations. I suggest that while attribution is AN argument to this issue, the main argument is that display ad technologies target consumers very poorly and that those targeting capabilities have little to do with the knowledge and needs of brand marketers. Comscore identified that 80% of targeted ads fail to reach their intended audience. Pause for a second… yes, 80% failure. Why? They all rely upon poor proxies of the real, underlying predictive insight required… bad and incomplete data. 3rd party cookies, context and behavior are not sufficient. Individually or collectively.
  2. Authors point – focus on expanding perspective of digital touch points to do attribution properly. Three research points come to me: 1) about 40% of ad impressions occur in digital channels; 2) Forrester estimates that 70% of consumers exhibit multichannel behavior – researching in one channel and purchasing in another; 3) multichannel customers contribute 4-5 times the revenue per customer than single channel customers. Doing a perfect job at assembling all digital touch points will never be enough. I suggest it’s a false objective. It misses the perspective of consumer behavior, information necessary to support executive media mix decisions and simply creates focus on the minority of ad spend.

All of this makes me thirsty… Sierra Nevada’s my favorite beer!


Narrow solutions lead to false impressions

December 30, 2011

Subtitle: If all you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail

I recently read an article in digiDay, written by the CEO of a modestly large online personalization firm. The title drew me in… “Outsourcing Data Management is a Mistake“.  As I read, I was consistently impressed with the idea that narrow solutions, while interesting, lead to profound mistakes.

An open reply to the article -

If the proposal is that better management of online data needs to drive towards online personalization, I believe the premise and conclusions of the article are too narrow. While interesting, they are incomplete. Consider this, even if the premise is executed perfectly, advertisers will still have not solved 60% to 80% of the problem. A growing portion of media is being consumed online and a growing number of transactions are occuring online, but it’s still a minority.

The root of my point is that the writers premise solves only a small portion of all consumers interactions with a brand… not all portions of some consumers. In a world where more than 60% of consumers act in a multichannel manner and bring 4 to 5 times more value (Forrester research), solving the larger problem of multichannel insight has become the new table stakes. Using the writers premise, relying solely upon online actions to drive personalization, success would rely upon shere luck that a media impression would actually be triggered by the appropriate marketing reason.

 Until we have a data management solution that leverages the knowledge, segmentation and targeting of a brand as the primary data select and targeting methodology, we’re going to be chasing after the big money with small solutions. Consumer behavior is more complex than the distillation of online data. Consumer expectations are greater. The problems marketers are trying to solve are larger.

 What you propose isn’t wrong, I feel it’s just incomplete.

Love to hear your thoughts!


Reaching consumers has become more difficult…

June 1, 2010

The challenge has increased exponentially.  There are more channels, more screens and more data than ever and the rate of change is increasing. Adoption driven by accessibility and affordability, technology enables consumers to access a vast wealth of information, on their terms. Starting in the last few decades, the trajectory of change has ramped up fast and is not projected to slow down.

Selecting one of the top spend channels, TV, we can see dramatic intra-channel shifts: From a peak year in mass TV advertising, 1965, until 2002, the number of 60 second spots necessary to reach 80% of one’s target audience has increased from three to 117[i]. Translating this to trust and recent research surrounding brand message acceptance, 60% of respondents said they need to hear information about a company three to five times before they believe it[ii]. Correlating these two points, an advertiser would need to provide at least 351 60 second TV spots to provide sufficient TV exposure to satisfy 80% of one’s target audience need for message acceptance. This, all while nearly 40 million US households have DVR capabilities and 59% of them “currently use a DVR to skip through the commercials”.[iii]

Fast-forward to the current decade. Today’s teen has become a moving target. Nearly all are double or triple tasking while watching TV.   U.S. teenagers trust information from each other 5X more than adults and 10X more than ads[iv]. If you think about what this world looks like 5 to 10 years from now, this scenario will be even more complex as this demographic will be your future target.  It will pay to get on top of this challenge sooner than later.

Complicating this, pushing more “noise” at consumers who have become increasingly insensitive to the charms of marketers has proven to risk exacerbating the issue and drives negative long term brand impressions.

The above is an excerpt from an upcoming whitepaper I wrote. I’ll update this post when the final production is available.

Mark


[i] Tim Stengel, former CMO at P&G

[ii] Edelman Trust Barometer, 2009

[iii] eMarketer – Mintel, “Attitudes toward Traditional Media Advertising and Promotional marketing – US”, 2009

[iv] eMarketer – Deloitte, “State of the Media Democracy Fourth Edition: Select US Highlights”, 2009


Media spend is not following media consumption

November 7, 2009

Today, digital media accounts for nearly 35% of the average US consumers’ media consumption yet less than 15% of ad spend is directed toward these new channels.

I think the issue is non-trivial. Not only are the digital channels more addressable, more trackable and accountable by their nature, they also represent the direction consumers are taking. Also of interest, looking at the largest spend and media consuming traditional channel, TV, younger audiences are consuming an appreciable and increasing portion of their media through the Internet… while double and triple tasking with games, IM, text, etc. Oh, and don’t forget that nearly 20% of households have DVRs and habitually timeshift their favorite shows.

The world is changing, consumers are multichannel… are you?

Love to hear your thoughts.

Mark


The fit of independent variables to the personalization scenario

October 1, 2009

Regression analysis can determine the “fit” of independent variables to a dependent variable.

Not all independent variables are a good fit.

Relying upon a small set of independent variables may produce an incorrect fit -> destroy your chances of doing anything that’s successful in your personalization program.

Thought for the day:-)

Mark


Website personalization vs customization

September 26, 2009

Customization is derived through explicit, stated preferences, while personalization is driven by both the explicit and implied – behavioral, demographic and brand specific information. How did the user get to the site (referral information like URL or search keywords), prior purchases, and onsite activity are key to driving relevance on a website.

Consider this, your brands’ website probably constitutes less than 0.5% of a visitors life experience, if you’re wildly successful… there’s a world of insight necessary and available to the purview of  your personalization scenario. A world that requires integration with a more comprehensive data set: your marketing database, third party data and analytic models to decipher it.


Consumer-centricity starts at home

June 11, 2009

To effectively position a business as centered around a target audience the whole organization needs to deliver a resounding brand message that is consistent with the strategy intent. Leadership style and a connection to the organization are equally important as messaging and marketing strategies when it comes time to deploy customer centric marketing strategies.

Pulling from notes and other articles, I’ve found several points that describe the customer-centric leader and things that marketers need to consider as they develop marketing strategy:

  • They see their team is the face of the company. Beyond ads or collateral or a website, your employees are delivering a clear message to your customers and prospects… is that message in line with your customer-centric aspirations?
  • They see trust as the lever to bring their teams in line with their customers. When you deliver a message to your customers, do they hear what you tried to say or do they parse words and wonder what you “really” tried to say. Consistency and sincerity deliver the environment for team members to foster a trust relationship with clients, and visa-versa. Trust is hard to get a first time and nearly impossible to get a second time.
  • They use customer insight as the guiding light for the organization. Largely it’s a communication issue; beyond gathering information, they seek to spread that information into broad areas of the company. Ironically, in most companies, the team members closest to the customer are the most likely to know what is working yet least likely to have a communication channel to upper management and product teams. Conversely, many top management teams sponsors consultant research projects to learn about their customers and then they don’t share the learning deeply into the organization.
  • They get their hands dirty. They go to clients, they engage with teams at different levels and internal organizations. More than a decade ago I worked at a global technology distributor and asked that I spend a few days working in a warehouse… it was probably the single best learning experience I had. I “knew” what it took to make the business operate, how difficult the operations part of that business was, and all of that helped me greatly understand how to communicate shipping issues to clients in the ensuing years.

Have you factored internal organizational dynamics into your customer-centric marketing strategy?


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