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


    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


    Opening day at Forrester’s Marketing Forum – the keynotes

    April 8, 2008

    Engagement. Not only is it the theme of the forum, it’s a solid description of the participants and our hosts… Engaged.

    Recap of the keynote presentations…
    Brian Haven kicked things off with a great presentation…

    Engagement = fundamentally a different view of customers. Engagement is about relevance. It’s about developing strategies to find, monitor, measure and leverage the opinions and behaviors of a brands’ interaction with their market influencers.

    Engagement model:

     

    The emphasis of this model is to change the marketers view of the customer and the company’s relationship with them. The new view is a dialog. A dialog that involve motivated customers and gain their interaction with an organizations brand. The inner circle describes the process from the consumers perspective.

    Mark


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