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Big data, analyze, get personal and win

Big Data is the magic word now-a-days in marketing and sales. Gather everything you can and benefit from all the knowledge we gain about our customers. But do we? How do we manage the avalanche of information we gather? According to a recent survey by SAS and SourceMedia 21 percent of the respondents say they didn’t know enough about it, 15 percent don’t understand the benefits of big data and 9 percent say they lack data quality in existing systems. Some believe that the more intel you gather the greater the benefits, but it’s not how much you gather, but it matters what you gather, says MultiChannel Merchant (MCM)  in their executive summary about Big Data and Database marketing.

The meaning of big data can be tough to decipher. You need to start to remember that data is not about numbers but about customers, says MCM. Your customer is supplying you with huge amounts of very useful information, so called first grade information. Think of email addresses order histories, click rates etc.

When this information is integrated with inventory information, revenue management systems and buying history, you will be able to create  customer-specific offers that will not only create a personalized message that reflects shopping habits and preference, but can also help business goals and increase revenue.

The road to the big data success is not about shifting through piles and piles of data. The focus should be on returning customers, the frequency of their purchases and their behavior patterns.

Get to know your customer

Once that is set, look at that data to uncover new insights about these specific visitors. This can help you generate ideas that will increase engagement about your brand, the products you sell and your website as a whole.

The best thing to do with the enormous amount of data, is to figure out what matters most to your organization. With all that information, create an aggregate data source that is fed by your best analytics. Decide also whether it’s best to use technology or a person to compile all this data sets.

Another important thing is to store all the data in one place. So everyone has access to the same source and uses the most up-to-date data. It needs to become the one true data source.

Take a small piece

And look at just a small piece of the pie. When homing in on a specific aspect of big data it might produce it’s best results. For example: big data might reveal that for some reason visitors in a specific region could be more prone to abandon their cart. But by examining the data further, you could learn that it could be because they live in a closer proximity to a traditional brick-and-mortar store than the rest of your visitors, or they prefer different payment options or generally do not hit the free shipping threshold offered.

It’s also important to get data in real time, so quick decisions can be made. You can easily identify what is working and what not. It makes it easy to tweak your operations.

Big data is important for the entire organization. Not only can it be used to boost sales, but your marketing department can use it to identify and engage your customers on specific grounds. Big data makes it possible to personal address your customer.

Big data is not just about harnessing information to boost an online sales experience; it can be used for catalogs and in store. A detailed understanding of what’s going on in your company can help managers forecast staffing needs, address customer service issues and evaluate how things like merchandising, promotions and product placement impact sales conversions. This intelligence not only leads to better and more profitable decisions in individual stores; it can also help merchants measure brick-and-mortar performance within the context of broader multichannel strategies.

Marketing advantage

With big data technology, marketers now have the tools to identify every visitor to an ecommerce site, as well as the ability to see exactly which mouse click got them there. This new tactic is also allowing marketers to deploy their messages in a much more personalized manner.

And people like that. A recent survey has found that customer-centric marketing—the ability to  engage consumers in one-to-one conversations across the customer lifecycle and all touch points—increases buyer readiness, engagement and sales activity.

According to the research study of 1,100 consumers, 40% of respondents claim they buy more from retailers that comprehensively personalize the shopping experience across channels. Results revealed that consumers increasingly reward customer-obsessed retailers. Nearly 60% of  consumers indicated that personalized product recommendations make it easier to find the products they are most interested in and provide a valuable service. More than half of consumers state website recommendations and emails personalized based on their past browsing and  shopping behavior is desirable to receive.

Simply put, concludes MCM, when big data is implemented across the channels, retailers realize 100% increase in purchase frequency, a 50% increase in average order value and a 25% increase in conversion of cart abandoners to buyers.

This Executive Summary was published before on MultiChannel Merchant

 

The evolution of marketing

In an ever changing world, marketing changes too. But marketers need the right tools. So it’s time that marketingtools change too, says Jive Software in their whitepaper ‘Marketing Transformed’. Most marketers still depend on the same tools and methods they used 20 years ago: email, meetings, phone calls and desktop apps, leading to a lot of disconnects, inefficiency and pain. But change is finally at hand. New social business technology has the ability to knit cross functional teams together and empower marketing productivity in ways never possible before.

According to a recent study of over 1700 chief marketing officers, four out of five CMO’s anticipate a high or very high level of marketing complexity over the next five years, but only half feel ready to handle it. Those CMO’s have every reason to be concerned, according to Jive. The sheer size of the task has grown, with a more diverse market landscape to master, more communication channels to leverage, and a lot more data to take account of. The expectations have grown, too. Marketing departments are under greater pressure to develop more agile and precision targeted campaigns, generate more leads and ultimately contribute more to companies’ bottom lines.

Unfortunately, Jives states, marketing methods and tools haven’t kept pace with the demands. When it comes to the human interactions and collaboration at the heart of so many marketing activities – like planning and executing campaigns, creating collateral, enabling channel partners and nurturing customer relationships – marketers have been stuck using tools from an earlier age: email, phone, face-to-face meetings, on-site events, content management systems and desktop apps. A few newer collaborative tools have entered the picture, but have tended to be piecemeal and limited-purpose.

All this causes that knowledge-workers need a lot of time to do things they aren’t supposed to do. Just think of all the effort and frustration that goes into fruitlessly searching for information, sorting through email, managing disjointed document revision cycles, struggling to keep all team members on the same page etc. etc Jive states. According to McKinsey Global Institute the average knowledge worker spends 19 percent of the day searching for information and expertise and another 28 percent of the day processing email.

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Is your marketing ready to go ‘glocal’?

In today’s world you don’t have to travel to conquer the world. All you need is a computer and the world is at your feet. Local businesses are just as capable to go global as large multinationals.” In today’s digitized business ecosystem, the local business can convert into a successful venture with customers and operations all over the world, and the global business can grow into a larger-reaching enterprise with efficient logistics and a strong brand”, says consultingfirm Frost & Sullivan in their whitepaper on ‘Glocal Marketing’.

To a business with an engaging product, geographic boundaries are no longer an obstacle in identifying and reaching prospects and closing sales. Increasing global access to the Internet; online social media networks; and multiple device types such as smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles, are offering customers new means to collect information and make purchases, and providing companies large and small with more developed channels to bring their product to market. Yet the benefits of these technological advancements afford the globalizing company with unique marketing challenges and unforeseen process pitfalls. Marketers must be prepared to address increased workflow complexity, campaign management across multiple borders and channels, and variations in multicultural communication.

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Customers may test you, EMM helps you

Enterprise Marketing Management, or EMM, is a software technology solution for marketing organizations that provides a comprehensive marketing platform for managing customer and prospect interactions throughout the customer lifecycle.

The practice of marketing is challenging these days because of the rise of the “empowered customer.” Today’s customers are well-informed, use other people as their primary information source, interact with companies through multiple channels, touch points and media, and want (but rarely get) a superior customer experience—and have outlets for venting frustration when they don’t get what they want.

Your customers are truly empowered. To serve these empowered customers, marketers must—now more than ever—put customers at the center of everything they do. In the whitepaper ‘Today’s empowered customer puts businesses to the test—Enterprise Marketing Management empowers marketers’ IBM tells you how to do so.

The results of IBM’s groundbreaking Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) study, released in 2011, reinforce the observation that marketing is a challenging practice these days. IBM interviewed over 1,700 CMOs from around the world to create this study. The data reveals some of the most important challenges facing CMO’s and their marketing organizations today.

The top four challenges are data explosion, social media, growth of channel and device choices, and shifting consumer demographics. It’s easy to see why CMO’s are facing a “complexity gap,” because all of these challenges make marketing much more complicated today that it has ever been before. And it’s only going to get more complicated in the future.

You might think this “underpreparedness” exists only at companies that are  underperforming, in terms of their overall business performance. But in fact, the problem is universal.  Even marketers who work for the most successful organizations—the “outperformers”—are struggling. IBM’s CMO study shows that outperforming organizations are slightly better prepared to manage the most critical challenges—but only slightly. And less than half of these outperformers feel completely ready. Those in underperforming organizations are even more uncertain of their ability to cope.

Marketers need to respond to all these challenges by better integrating all their marketing efforts, across all media types, into one cohesive, coordinated marketing program. Marketing effectively to empowered customers requires building one relationship between customers and the companies that serve them, no matter what media, communication channel or touch point the customers are using at a given moment to interact with that company.

The problem is that most marketing organizations still have their marketing efforts siloed by media type. Some groups manage “paid” media—the advertising that is bought externally. Other groups manage “owned” media—that is, the company’s own website, emails, direct mails and other owned touch points such as call centers, stores, and branches. Yet other groups manage “earned media,” which today is thought of mostly as social media, that powerful force which is impacting all marketing, but which also includes things such as PR.

In addition to organizational siloes, marketers lack two things:

  1. They lack a platform to manage all of marketing, to help them coordinate and integrate everything that is going on in
  2. Most marketing organizations can’t even get close to creating a complete profile of their customers that captures each customer’s interactions with all marketing efforts across all media types.

EMM serves as the marketing optimization platform marketers need to unite marketing across paid, earned and owned media. EMM does this by supporting five key marketing processes across all media types: collect, analyze, decide, deliver and manage.

EMM works. Many have realized significant  improvements in the effectiveness of their marketing efforts, including an increase in online marketing ROI by a factor of 15-20, a 15-30% increase in campaign ROI, and a 10-50% increase in response rates. Customers also report impressive efficiency improvements, including the ability to execute 2-5 times more campaigns with the same resources, a 20-40% reduction in marketing costs, and a 25-75% reduction in customer acquisition costs.

Read the full whitepaper here

How optimizing marketing saves money and increases sales

Optimizing the marketing infrastructure can save up to 20% of the total marketing budget, and achieve an additional 15% sales increase, according to a survey conducted by MRMLOGIQ among 99 marketing professionals in 22 countries.

Key steps to improving the marketing infrastructure are consolidating and standardizing marketing materials and automating campaign management and production processes. The infographic below contains a brief summary of the survey results. The whitepaper is available for download here.

How marketers profit from technology in a multi-channel world

Teradata Corporation (NYSE: TDC) has released the results of its pan-European marketing study, “The Data Driven Marketing Survey 2013, Europe”. The study reveals that a shift to digital channels and the increasing importance of data have led to a “class structure” in marketing technology investments among companies using these solutions. Telco and IT companies invest almost 20% of their marketing budget on improving their marketing infrastructure, whilst retail (17%) and finance (13%) are close followers. Overall, however, 50% of marketing departments across all industries surveyed spend less than 5% to improve their marketing with technology investments.

In creating the report, Teradata eCircle surveyed more than 1,100 marketing professionals ranging from CMOs and key decision makers to marketing managers and technology users, from 19 European countries and across nine major industries, to uncover the challenges and trends in data-driven marketing adoption by European businesses and how marketers use technology to master them.

The study shows that despite the current, uncertain economic climate, the shift to digital is significant. Marketers still plan to increase their spending in digital channels, especially in social media (79%), mobile marketing (79%) and online display advertising (70%) within the next 12 months. What’s more, the first seven channels marketers plan to invest in are digital, with call centers being the first non-digital investment priority in 8th place.

The research also highlighted marketers’ desire to embrace data, citing it as a key driver of marketing success, with data-driven marketers more than twice as satisfied with their marketing programs than their counterparts who are not basing their decisions on data.

With two-thirds of marketers claiming a lack of simple metrics and the short-term view of their marketing departments as their biggest obstacles to success, the findings provide an eye-opening insight into the struggles facing the modern multi-channel marketer. In fact, the single biggest challenge facing marketers in 2013 was revealed to be the pressure to increase revenue.

Out of the more than 50% of marketers utilizing seven or more channels, the research also found that only 33% currently have Campaign Management technology to monitor their activity, whilst a mere 17% use a Marketing Resource Management solution. Notably only 10% use both.

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Why MAM is a core piece of your EMM strategy

“Marketing Asset Management (MAM) should be at the foundation of an organization’s over arching Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) strategy”, says John Thomson, president and CEO at Saepio Technologies, in  the whitepaper ‘MAM, Making Assets Actionable and Engaging’.

And why is that?

As a vital part of the advertising process, MAM combines digital asset management, collateral customization and marketing automation technologies into a single, seamless process that:

  • improves brand compliance;
  • advances measurable return on marketing investment (ROMI);
  • eliminates repetitive tasks;
  • enables speed-to-market; and
  • engages distributed marketers.

In the white paper Thomson first defines where MAM fits in the Enterprise Marketing Management strategy. “There are many models that depict the component of an EMM system”, according to Thompson.”But this document focuses on CRM, business intelligence/analytics, MRM, MAM and customer nurturing as key components.”

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ROI of Marketing Automation

A fast, steady and predictable growth, that is what companies these days want. The fastest growing companies of today use repeatable marketing and sales 2.0 techniques to grow revenue predictably and reliably. They are embracing the shift from the selling process to the buying process, moving marketing from a cost center to a revenue generator. By replacing the old linear sales model with a new holistic approach, companies are redefining the way marketing and sales teams work together.

The new buying landscape has changed marketing’s approach to lead generation and management. This tectonic shift has created a need to improve upon outdated systems that can no longer keep up with the demand to increase lead flow, ensure lead quality, and prove program effectiveness and ROI.

Companies that implement a marketing automation system to support their marketing and sales efforts are better equipped to manage lead flow and process leads more efficiently. A whitepaper by Marketo outlines how marketing automation optimizes marketing programs and can help companies:

  • Create a faster and more predictable revenue cycle
  • Increase profitability with tactics that result in higher conversion rates
  • Align the efforts of marketing and sales teams to substantially increase topline revenue growth

Source: Marketo Benchmark on Revenue Performance as of Sept 15, 2012

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Do marketers need a plan B?

In the last decade thousands of papers and presentations, have been written to instruct marketing and IT practitioners in how to improve the way they execute marketing campaigns. “We believe that the body of conventional wisdom amassed over the years is missing the point”, say Eric Rotkow and Thomas Manders from Coffee + Dunn Inc in their whitepaper ‘Marketing is different’. “What’s more, we believe there is a better approach to building sustainable marketing operations, and it is not rocket science.”

The two start their paper with a bold statement. “From a marketing operations point of view marketers are no better of than they were a decade ago and their conventional thinking persists”, they state in the first paragraph of the first chapter.

There are three common views on marketing which don’t work:

Not traditional

Traditional approaches to marketing do not work the way marketing works. The approaches do not account for marketers’ natural iterative human relationships and their fundamental task to enrich and deploy their ideas as late in the process as possible. Managing global decision-making, reporting relationships, incentives, processes and technologies are wildly complex and making sweeping improvements is nearly impossible.

Technology

The technology available today is mature, does what it must do: supporting customer interactions and providing data to inform the next interaction. However, according tot Rotkow and Manders, a view on the full ecosystem of technologies that help marketers get the work done – think back office – and those that interact with customers- think front office – reveals there is a significant incongruence. Front-office tools are increasingly utilized to manage customer interactions across channels. While back-office solutions haven’t been fully executed by the softwarevendors who have instead responded with incomplete solutions which are serviceable but further isolate marketing, rather than connecting it to the enterprise.

Advisors

Advisor don’t know it all. The gaps left across agencies, consultants, and technology vendors, results in a disconnection between a marketer’s operational capabilities and the customers it is trying to influence. Who is designated to build marketing – people, process, and technology – to drive the capabilities needed to deliver the world-class programming? “No one, in our view”, Rotkow and Manders say.

Marketing is unique

That is because marketing is a different kind of cookie. Marketing is unique because:

  • Marketers must navigate unprecedented technological advances and a new regulatory standard (think of, for example, all the new channels coming up)
  • Marketers must navigate increasingly complex internal relationships
  • Marketing process is critical to success, though linear approaches don’t meet the challenge
  • Marketers depend on a network of resources to successfully collaborate

The depth and complexity of the issues discussed by Rotkow and Manders cannot be addressed in a simple checklist of action items to be owned by the CMO’s direct reports. The best path forward is not a new buzz, but rather that marketers may realize operational improvements by applying the marketing-specific design principles to tried-and-true business design frameworks. Sustainable improvements require a mix of methodical top-down study and design, and practical bottom-up initiatives.

In conclusion they state: “Marketers who wish to enjoy an advantage in the coming decade will adopt a view of their organization – an uncomfortable view perhaps – that is less about a hierarchical organizational design and more about collaborative human interactions set within a specific process context. They will use a smart mix of technologies to enable these collaborations made possible by even smarter information standards that allow open communication. To start, marketing and technology leaders should initiate a top down design of an optimum marketing function, while identifying high impact improvement opportunities from the bottom up. In time, the top down will meet the bottom up for an organization that has the capacity for dynamic operations.”

We all need a growth hacker

Marketing automation company Ifbyphone recently published their 2013 State of Marketing Measurement Survey. “It’s one of the most exciting research studies we have conducted in this rapidly changing sector”, says Ifbyphone CEO Irv Shapiro. “I am fascinated by many of the results that reflect the innovation that is occurring in marketing measurement.”

So, what are the results?

A primary trend from the 2013 research is the level of support, and scrutiny, that marketers are receiving from their CEO’s around marketing measurement as a growth engine. Two thirds of CEO’s surveyed have significant influence in marketing decisions and half receive regular marketing measurements. In fact, one in ten CEO’s seek marketing measurements daily (9.2 percent) while one in five (19.7 percent) are receiving updates weekly.

How often marketing metrics are reported

 (graph by Ifbyphone ’2013: State of Marketing Measurement Survey Report’)

What is being measured?

Marketing teams are being asked to measure a wider range of marketing metrics with a greater focus on revenue and tracking of customer interactions from both offline and online sources. Tracking new customer sources is the highest rated marketing metric utilized (by 49 percent of all respondents), with measuring increases in sales/revenue across marketing channels a very close second (48 percent).

Given the dominance of the sales-related metrics already being measured by the marketing team, it is not unreasonable to conclude that marketing measurement innovation, which enables marketers to better track and monetize engagements with customers and sales prospects, will be a high priority in coming years.

Use of marketing metrics

 (graph by Ifbyphone ’2013: State of Marketing Measurement Survey Report’)

Marketing enjoys budget growth

Investment in an emerging generation of marketing measurement tools is needed to satisfy the CEO’s increasing demand for tracking data. In order to facilitate this, budget growth and additional marketing resources are being provided.

Possibly as a result of the increased focus from the CEO and the growing role marketing has as a growth engine, almost half of respondents (45 percent) reported an increase in their marketing budgets in the past year while only 12 percent are working with a tighter marketing budget.

Respondents were asked what their marketing personnel priorities would be for 2013/14 and a significant majority were focused on proactive and growth related strategies. Almost a third (32 percent) plan to add more full-time marketing resources, one in five respondents (19 percent) plan to invest in more contingent marketing workers, while one in 10 (10 percent) will hire a new marketing agency.

One in 10 respondents (10 percent) will also share resources with other departments, such as IT, reflecting the highly technical nature of twenty-first century marketing analytics. A much smaller percentage of respondents are planning to downsize their investment in marketing personnel in 2013/14.

The emergence of the Growth Hacker

In line with increasing marketing budgets, more marketing people are being hired. Growth hackers, marketers who combine marketing knowledge with a strong technical background to drive growth, are having an impact on improvements in marketing measurement. One quarter of respondents (25 percent) now have a Growth Hacker on their marketing team, the same percentage that have Product Managers.

Marketing teams with Growth Hackers are prioritizing investments in emerging marketing measurement technology, across both online and offline channels. Almost three quarters of marketing teams with a Growth Hacker engaged (72 percent) are experimenting with Voice-Based Marketing Automation (VBMA), 19 percent more than marketing teams generally. Meanwhile, 44 percent of marketing teams with Growth Hackers are using marketing automation software compared to only 26 percent of marketing teams generally.

Over a third of Growth Hacker-backed marketing teams (34 percent) are utilizing heat map tools compared with only 20 percent of the average marketing teams. Almost twice as many marketing teams with Growth Hackers (28 percent) are experimenting with emerging workflow automation tools, compared to 15 percent generally.

Across every category of marketing measurement technology, it is the Growth Hackers who are leading the charge in experimenting and innovating with emerging tools that will give them, their CEO, and their marketing colleagues the edge in tracking where the best results are being achieved for marketing investments.

See the complete survey at Ifbyphone.com