#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.

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Survey – Is Facebook the next Apple or the next MySpace?

August 13, 2012

In a blog entry last March, Is Social Media a Consumer Haven or Marketing Channel?, I discussed the disconnect in value exchange between social properties and their consumers. I went so far as to identify the pressure Facebook will feel when they become subject to quarterly earnings expectations after their IPO, and hypothesized the situation where they will increase the exposure of personal information to encourage marketers to spend with them. Well… the game is getting started…

Today, Digiday featured the article “Brand View: Facebook’s New Targeting Options” and identified new elements of consumer data that will be available for marketers to leverage. I’m a firm believer in data driven marketing, this blog entry is not a comment about that. Rather, I point back to my initial conjecture that Facebook will do this and emphasize that this action will end up making no sense to consumers. Opposed to content rich sites like Yahoo or Microsoft properties, Facebook has no content, consumers create all of it but don’t yet recognize that it is their content and their profile are being monetized.

Mark my words… within three years, we’ll either see a Facebook with a dramatically new approach to monetizing their platform or a dramatically smaller company. Maybe both.


Do you have a #digitalmarketing #strategy” or a marketing strategy for the digital world?

July 20, 2012

I’ll admit it… I’m in my 15th year of digital marketing, wrapped inside a 28 year career of marketing. While this can make me sound like an old fart, I realized quite a while ago that I no longer think in digital terms… I apply digital concepts, tactics and measurement to marketing strategy.

More than parsing words too closely, this goes to the core of all multichannel marketing and consumer centric strategies. Thinking in terms of channel based strategies, a.k.a. digital marketing strategies, is antithetical to success. Your target audience IS your target audience, regardless of where they come upon you.

Consider the rage of discussion around data management platforms, real time bidding and web recommendation tools. Across the board, all value the input of digital signals to try to deliver better or more efficient digital media. Is this the right answer? Last time I researched the area of media consumption, I found that consumers amass about 42% of their media impressions through digital channels.

If you still believe in the “digital marketing strategy”, today’s best practice, consider that you’re looking at less than half of your cutsomer engagement to deliver less than half of their impression of your brand. How does that align to the other 58% of media impressions? How do you control consistency between those impressions?

Hope you get the point. Start thinking about your marketing strategy, and how digital signals and media can help achieve your objectives. The world is turning increasingly digital, but until you make this shift, or until 100% of your audiences impressions are digital we’ll never see an alignment between the digital marketing strategy and overall marketing stratetgy… we’ll never see true consumer centric marketing or true customer engagement.


#QuoteOfTheDay – “Don’t confuse confidence with competence or education with experience”

June 11, 2012

A departure today… this is actually a quote I came up with many years ago. I bring it up because I just read a quote from Steve Jobs and thought it similar…

“A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem.”  

He is speaking to the second half of what I point to in my quote, and does an excellent job of describing the impact of a lack of experience… too few dots to connect, end up with very linear solutions. Frankly, I don’t really see myself as an intellect but secretly hope that people reflect on my interactions with them as being smart. Connecting dots, innovating outside of the normal bounds.

I’ve always found competent people with a wealth of experience to be a breath of fresh air. Recently, I had the great fortune of meeting a person who epitomizes this, oddly enough he also has a PhD from MIT… proving a limited number of great people also have confidence and education:-)


With every season… turn, turn, turn

March 18, 2008

A marketers’ world has typically changed with the turn of generations. However, the past 10 years have produced a chasm of change that have left many marketers reeling in their attempt to adapt.

Early on in the Internet era, people used to joke about “Internet years”, implying that time moved even faster than dog years.

The issue at hand is that online marketers built organizational structures and strategy that were built upon a premise that did not include learned marketing principle, even beyond the “dot bomb” days. Rather than focusing on targeting consumers and their needs, they focused on the optimization and development of technology or communication channels, such as email, banner ads or website.

Today, most online marketers are trying to manage systems that are not designed to address the problems of the day. The issue at hand is a massive shift in the needs and intellect of a consuming public, the developed systems view consumers as a more or less homogeneous group, leveraging the relationship with each across numerous silos. None of which can effectively leverage the learning of the other, or extend the relationship with customers beyond individual transactions.

I have to imagine that any CMO or CEO reading this blog entry would be hard pressed to support their current organizational, technology or budgetary systems as being sufficient. Hind sight is almost always 20/20. However, I wouldn’t necessarily suggest that the solution be a completely disruptive innovation.

As with most things in life, the 80/20 rule is a good approach to leading change. Start with the areas of your business that are most valuable from the perspective of the end recipient, the prospect or customer. Decompose your processes and high-value communication threads, across communication channels, and find the appropriate opportunities to continue a dialog. The solution doesn’t need to be end-to-end, especially from the beginning. Focus on the areas that are high-value and build your approach over time.

In the end, the leading issue to solve is strategic approach. Most companies have an organizational investment in channel based communications, while the solution lies in consumer based needs – acquisition, retention/up-sell.

I’d love to hear your thoughts –

Mark


Personalization versus Targeting

March 10, 2008

website personalization, dynamic targeting

I’ve read articles and blog replies where others try to distinguish between the terms personalization and targeting, referring to personalization as one-to-one and targeting as one-to-many. As a person who has actually created terms and pioneered strategy in this marketplace, I see the two as more or less synonymous with far fewer distinguishing dimensions than others see.

While trying to create a communications strategy for Kefta’s multi-channel personalization solutions, we determined early on that we wanted to distance ourselves from the failed software based personalization solutions of the late ’90s. They were an expensive, IT driven failure. The key failure was that they were too “heavy” a solution to ever get off of the ground. From a marketing strategy perspective, they were a failure because they relied upon users to self express differences before they could start targeting content, and they simply served a different message, as if that was supposed to be better than the original message.

Targeting became a term that was descriptive yet avoided a reference to the prior perceived failures of what was called personalization in the late ’90s. Using this learning as a guidepost, we landed on “dynamic targeting”. Prior to our use of this term, little was used with reference to targeting and no one in the online marketing space had ever used the combined term “dynamic targeting”.

Today, few people use the term personalization as a description of a type of technology. It’s more frequently used as describing a type of experience, leveraging the term personal. Beyond that, personalization has been a dead term and trying to describe it beyond it’s prior history is futile.

Love to hear your thoughts –

 Mark


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