Adjacent silos, or 360 degree view of a customer?

June 30, 2010

Marketing silos harm customer experience and marketing optimizationSilos… good for grain, bad for customer experience, bad for marketing optimization.

Technology spurs innovation and options but over the last decade and a half has also created silos – technologically, organizationally and experientially. In a non-trivial manner, the creation of new technologies has actually flipped core marketing principles on their head – While we should start with an audience and then wrap an offering with its’ promotion, pricing and delivery, today, we start with a media channel and determine how to acquire, retain and cross/up sell within it.

I’m not trying to cure world peace here, just trying to point out some easy ways to start leveraging what you know in one case to use in another.

Stephen Powers of Forrester had an interesting example in a recent blog entry, “planes, pains and multichannel engagement“… During a recent flight he struggled to meet the expectations of a flight attendant who asked him what he wanted for lunch. Struggling to look at the in flight magazine to see what was available, it dawned on him that the airline could have included the selection on the boarding ticket. For that matter, they could have also included the in flight movie and the current weather at each passengers’ final destination. Wouldn’t that be helpful?

Myself, I have struggled for years with my bank. Note, the only bank I’ve had for more than twenty years. Every time I use one of their ATM’s, the first thing the system does is ask me what language I want to use. Seriously? I’ve answered that question hundreds, maybe thousands of times.

This subject reminds me of the movie, “50 first dates”… an Adam Sandler movie where his love interest, Drew Barrymore, has a memory disorder and wakes up each morning without recognition of anything that’s happened since a car accident years earlier. Adam Sandler is then found spending a lifetime of effort convincing her that they love each other, starting each morning and working diligently throughout each day.

When we think about marketing in terms of silos we create this daily “win-back” mentality, similar to Adam Sandler. I guess I’m arguing that an investment in resources and focus to start collapsing some of our silos might actually make our life easier, our relationships more fulfilling and our ability to optimize the relationship capable under and new, mutually beneficial reality.

These are the type of simple cross silo thinking is where marketers can start to distill the situation and prioritize bit sized chunks of opportunity rather than trying to swallow the entire Atlantic Ocean… or in the case of 50 First Dates, the South Pacific. Design a relevant customer experience.

Love to hear your thoughts!

Mark


Innovation – I heard an interesting quote today…

June 29, 2010

Henry Ford – “If I asked people what they needed they would have told me faster horses”

OK, call me slow. Everyone else has probably taken note of this quote before. Today, it hit me while I was pondering the gravity of change in and to the marketing and advertising community.

Are we solving the right problems? I question whether we are. In the advertising community I hear a lot about innovation around the dis-intermediation of the big players, like DSP capabilities. Why don’t we hear more about the efficacy and efficiency / relevance of advertising?

When you put the objective in the center of your strategy you begin to ask the right questions. Is your target customer in the center of your strategy?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Mark


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.


Data is the new “Black”

August 8, 2009

I had the distinct priveledge of participating in the hosting of a truly engaging event in New York this week. The objective was to provide professional value to attendees through the delivery of provocative presentations by recognized thought leaders in the marketing space, quality networking and let’s not forget the cocktails!

Dave Frankland from Forrester Research and Tim Suther were the featured speakers. The topic – the value of customer insight in the search for improvements to the performance of marketing investment.

Dave started out the evening by featuring compelling research on the struggle of the relationship between marketers and consumers:

  • In a competitive world many marketers have decided to turn up the “volume” of marketing messages because they sense a reduction in performance – causing a sever problem, driving approximately 50% of consumers to “strongly agree” that they get too many messages.

consumers are overwhelmed

  • Why is it that consumers feel so strongly about the “volume”? It’s because they also believe that they’re recieving irrelevant garbage – 50% to 75% of consumers believe the messages they receive are irrelevant. As a result, a vast majority of consumers have signed up to the do not call registry and have installed spam and popup blocking software. A large portion are even viewing TV timeshifted so they can fast forward through commercials – I do this myself, saves as much as 20 minutes in a 60 minute show and I can watch a NFL football game in about 45 minutes without missing a thing!

consumer marketing is largely irrelevant

Tim followed up by making the following points:

Acxiom High Performance Data is the New Black

diffvaluecustomer

databuildingblockinsight

  • Identify customer value
  • Invest proportionally
  • Find/recognize & engage accordingly
  • Measure acquired value
  • Institutional memory
  • Take the Easy Money
  • Learn more about the Acxiom Global Marketing Performance Series.

    To read what attendees had to say about the event, I’d encourage you to view some of these articles:

    logo_1to1media logo_dmnews


    DMDays ’09 – new digital marketing committee announced – iDirect

    June 24, 2009

    The Direct Marketing AssociationDuring the opening keynote at DMDays John Greco, president of The DMA, announced a new committee designed to help mentor his organization into a transformative era, bridging their legacy as a primary thought leader in direct mail into the new digital and multichannel world – iDirect.

    Fundamentally, this is an incredibly interesting issue and worthy of commentary. What role does the industry establishment play in the current and future evolution of marketing?

    The first dimension that comes to mind for me is the communication between online and offline constituents within a company. In this case The DMA has a superior chain of relationships with large brands, and their ability to influence direction is substantial. Time will tell how this will shake out.

    My greatest impression is that the marketing world is neither digital nor direct… it’s both. The beauty of digital media channels is that they typically possess a deep level of addressability… a quicker, more accurate form of the same measurement that underlies traditional direct marketing principles.

    Noted by industry icon, Stan Rapp, “iDirect Marketing is the new Direct Marketing empowered by interactive insights and multi-channel involvement brought to life with new digital technologies.  It is a fresh approach to marketing directly, driven by a remarkable degree of innovation and information shared via the infinite internet and other digital media.  It’s what’s missing today when you simply say “Direct Marketing” or “Interactive Marketing.”


    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?


    Behavior, algorithms, consumer relevance and the advertiser

    February 19, 2009

    Can a single algorithm deliver relevance… across seasons, different web properties, between global cultures and among differing offering categories? Personally, I have troubles trying to predict behavior in the people I’ve known for many years. The human heart and mind act in sometimes strangely unpredictable ways. Isn’t that the part of humanity that’s really great? I think so!

    Algorithms to deliver relevance need to accurately reflect consumer information – behavior, demo / psycho-graphics, and other.  The difficulty with this model is that only the smallest of slivers of a consumers life revolves around any single brand – though we would all like to believe differently:-)  Also, until you get reams of data surrounding an individual, how do you actually recommend. In the on line world this is particularly debilitating because over half of website traffic bounces from good sites right away and only a small sliver (used the word twice) of traffic actually makes it to a conversion… and an even smaller sliver (gotta stop using that word) comes back and makes it to a second second conversion. So, algorithmic personalization or recommendations really are only capable of helping a small portion of your consumers, after you get to know them.

    An actuary can build statistical models that deal with vast population samples, telling the breakdown of what will proportionally happen in certain events. That’s interesting but it also deals with averages across large groups of people. Not necessarily valid to the point of algorithmically driven recommendations or optimization of an individual and their purchase potential or drivers.

    I don’t intend to close the door on the subject, I do believe these approaches are helpful when other data is not available or when you have A LOT of information and you want to solve a retention / lifetime value issue… which are both great issues to solve. From my experience though, many brands believe they can use these technologies, in particular recommendation engines, to help solve an acquisition problem. Hmmm.

    Love to hear your thoughts!

    Mark


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