The modern marketing landscape is not what it used to be. Creative thinkers and innovative “ideas people” are still at the heart of the department, but it has become a measurable, monitorable and data-driven discipline. To the most creative marketers this may sound like a negative thing; but in reality, it just means all of their ideas and innovations can be tracked, tweaked, improved and proven, making a real return on investment (ROI) demonstrable internally to the broader business (and especially up the food chain of decision makers).
To better understand the impact and opportunities of this marketing evolution, let’s explore two key developments that I think will impact marketing’s future.
For decades marketers have had to find ways to prove the need for their campaigns. The new methods they use, and the huge uplift in the volume of data available, makes this much easier than ever before. With so much data there are always new ways to grow, adapt, and change, to deliver the best possible results and answer executive concerns.
Marketing is no longer just about how creative you are. As customer experience becomes a key brand differentiator, marketers have to harness the data available to them to succeed. Part of the modern marketer’s role is knowing their customer—inside and out, personalizing their experience, and ensuring they come back for more.
Careers in marketing have never been more exciting, now they require a blend of creative skill backed by analytics expertise, data-driven research, and the ability to produce provable results. To make this shift, it’s critical that marketers understand and utilize the latest technologies, designed to aid marketer in every stage of their process, from targeting customers and analyzing their data, to automating content and engagements to suit the customer’s needs.
Data cannot be ignored. It has always played a role in marketing campaigns and decisions, but as we are now able to access more data more of the time it is a waste to not utilize it to deliver better customer experiences. Streamlining marketing strategies and processes in a way that embraces both data and technology falls under the coverall term ‘marketing operations‘.
Marketing operations is where all aspects of any marketing campaign come together and are organized effectively for success. Technology is a key driver of marketing operations. Why? MarTech has become so sophisticated that it is essential for marketers to incorporate the right applications and software into their marketing stack. The change in modern marketing is driven by technology, so while creativity is essential to such aspects as campaign planning or content creation, it should be controlled and informed by the insights found through their MarTech solutions, ideally with a foundation of an Engagement Platform that serves as the system of record.
87% of modern marketers already accept that technology is improving performance at their companies, and the scientific edge to their roles has meant a shift in expectation and the nature of their work. However, this shift is for the better as the right MarTech solutions and processes ensure that all work (creative or not) is measured and tested, allowing for more precise and targeted campaigns. In turn, this means the modern marketer can be even more creative as they deliver more ROI and tangible business value. It’s a win-win.
Spending on big data technology is set to exceed $57 billion this year, which shows just how committed companies are to getting the most out of every aspect of data. Marketers need to take note—data is driving their careers: Used well, data can accelerate career paths; badly interpreted data can stunt career progression. Both real-time and historical data can be used to inform and develop effective campaigns.
Data makes tracking every marketing campaign easier and more convenient. Harnessing real-time data allows for adjustments in-campaign at any time, or even in the planning stage of the next campaign by leveraging the learnings and trends identified from previous campaigns. And as mentioned, proving the success of a marketing campaign to those at the top of a company is so much easier when you have hard evidence backing up your claims.
Alongside big data and data-driven marketing is the concept of The Internet of Things (IoT), which further proves the essential and integral nature of technology in the marketing world. The more IoT technology is integrated, wearables become more common, and beacon technology is used, the more data marketers have to feed on, making it increasingly important to not only have an Engagement Platform to orchestrate all these touchpoints, but one that has a robust ecosystem of complementary technology integrations (so your technology is ‘speaking the same language’).
The typical marketer of ten years ago, or even five years ago, may not have been able to predict how different their jobs would look in 2017. However, marketing has always been an evolving discipline, with the move from print to online, text to video, and now with the incorporation of data and in-depth analysis as key to their roles.
There is nothing ‘fluffy’ and ambiguous about the modern marketer’s role. Yes, creativity is used to push forward and capture the audience attention, but it should be measured, tested and released once it is sure to succeed according to the data and research available.
Embracing marketing technology is absolutely essential for the modern marketer. Building an effective marketing stack for each individual business takes time and energy. But, once in place, it can push the business in the right direction and increase marketing success. That’s not to even mention the benefits it can offer in terms of time and capital saving.
Marketing operations cannot function effectively without MarTech, and the modern marketer cannot perform their role properly without embracing both. A blend of creative talent and a technologist’s knowledge must be combined to effectively market for growth.
Marketing is not going to go backward. There won’t be a return to the idea that the marketing department is ‘winging it’ and just trying out any creative idea. Modern marketing will become more entrenched and driven by data and technology, and it is essential the professionals involved embrace and utilize the resources available to them. The data and technology are there, it comes down to marketers ability to make the most of them. This way, marketers will not just safe-guard their jobs, but maintain their seat at the table.
When making a grocery shopping list online, do you ever get frustrated with your grocer’s online sales flyer — the one that’s simply a digital image of the printed version that arrives in your mail each week? Then, even when your online list is complete, depending on which app you use, it can be hard to share it with another family member who has offered to do the shopping. And once you are in the store, there is no way to organize your list in order of where items are stocked — unless you have the store layout memorized.
Grocery shopping is a retail experience ready for improvement. Customers often visit the physical space, but frequently do their planning ahead of time on digital devices — whether reviewing recipes for meal planning, finding sale items, gathering coupons, or making shopping lists. In an attempt to show how current technology can help bridge the divide between online and offline retail experiences, Adobe partnered with global digital agency Valtech to create a proof-of-concept demo.
For shoppers, mobile is a massive part of the retail experience. People check mobile devices, on average, 85 times per day, but desktops still boast 75 percent of online revenue. Further, while retailers still struggle to convert mobile views or interactions to sales, physical retail locations struggle to maintain foot traffic due to the success of online shopping. Given this scenario, mobile interaction becomes a critical component for boosting loyalty and enhancing the overall customer experience, as it allows shoppers to move seamlessly back and forth between digital and physical experiences.
Mobile Devices Help Deliver the Complete Experience.
The grocery example looks at many small ways to change the relationships between customers and grocers so loyalty can be built. This loyalty comes from the value customers receive when grocers or brands help them make the best decisions through various interactions throughout their entire shopping journeys.
“If marketers don’t offer a fluid shopping experience across digital and physical worlds, their customers will go to competitors that do,” says Michael Klein, director of industry strategy for retail at Adobe.
Consider these additional mobile experiences that are helping retailers provide fluidity and value, as customers move between online and offline spaces.
1. Help Customers Locate Items.
Finding specific items in a grocery store can become a very long, drawn-out process for novice and veteran shoppers alike. Similarly, finding just the right pipe-fitting in a big-box store like The Home Depot can be a frustrating experience. Basic digital features can help direct in-store shoppers to items they are searching for as well as suggest related additional items they may overlook — whether for a new recipe, a weekend DIY project, or anything in between.
With The Home Depot’s mobile app, shoppers will notice a subtle, automatic switch once they enter a store. The “in-store” mode helps customers quickly identify items they need and then provides the exact aisles and bays in which they can be found among 35,000 other items. Because no two stores have the exact same layout, the mobile app uses location services to identify which store a customer is in and then access that store’s layout.
2. Provide Consumers With Consulting Services.
The Home Depot also uses mobile technology to provide consumers with input regarding purchase decisions. According to The Home Depot, about three-fourths of customers decide to forgo a paint project and purchase, because they can’t decide on a color. By leveraging mobile devices and their cameras, the retailer created an app that lets people take pictures of hopeful painting projects and then change the colors to see how different colors will actually look. The app uses mobile technology to connect customers’ homes with the paint selections found in-store, taking some of the guesswork and anxiety out of a basic decision with a major obstacle.
3. Simplify the Checkout Process.
While most retailers have adopted mobile payment systems, others are pushing the boundaries by eliminating the checkout process altogether. Amazon — which has a handful of brick-and-mortar stores, despite the decreased-foot-traffic trend — is testing its system at Amazon Go, Amazon’s grocery store in Seattle. Shoppers, currently limited to Amazon employees, scan their phones upon entering the store, do their shopping, and then walk right out without needing to stop to pay at registers or kiosks. Each shopper’s Amazon account is simply charged for the items taken, which are identified through a combination of artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision, and data pulled from multiple sensors.
Another retailer, Walmart, is rolling out its Scan & Go app, which will allow you to scan items with your smartphone as you put them into your cart, total the purchase on your phone, and generate a receipt. Ultimately, shoppers can bypass the checkout line and exit the store hassle-free.
Says Michael, “When the items to be purchased are charged to an app on the shopper’s phone — through a variety of technologies — this is a great example of bridging the mobile, the digital, the online, and the offline into a seamless customer experience.”
Retailers Gain Big Benefits, Too.
The retail examples above are designed to provide fluid, exceptional experiences for retail customers. However, retailers should also be careful not to miss out on the benefits they stand to gain. Following are a few ways to do that.
1. Attract Customers to Stores.
Joshua Young, vice president of global partner alliance and strategies for Valtech, explains that their ideas for the grocery app aren’t designed to keep people away from grocery stores, but rather, to drive them into them, while also easing their experiences as they walk through the aisles. “We want to leverage mobile technology that shoppers are already using, to help them easily find all the products in the store that they want to receive,” Joshua says.
Other retailers are focusing on the benefits of merging online and offline experiences too. Nordstrom, for example, has a variety of online and offline brands, including HauteLook and Trunk Club, which allow the cross-branding of services. For example, if a customer makes an online purchase with HauteLook, he or she can return that item to a Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack store. Michael explains the benefits, “This is an online to offline experience that is positive because it allows shoppers to have instant gratification in terms of getting a return back to the retailer and then getting the credit. When I made a return in this way, I actually purchased additional items while I was in the physical store. It was a win-win for both the brand and me.”
Nordstrom is also connecting digital and physical experiences with value-add services. Michael explains that Trunk Club directs customers to take selected purchases to a Nordstrom store for desired alterations. The cost for alterations is based on Nordstrom’s rewards program — and it’s complimentary for the most-loyal customers.
2. Sell More Items.
Getting customers into stores is a great opportunity for additional sales. However, Valtech’s grocery app also gives retailers chances to increase total purchases by upselling in ways that are relevant and personalized, given the contexts of their experiences at any given time.
“We want to improve the opportunity for grocers to suggest additional products in a very logical way, based on things that we know about the shopper,” says Joshua. “By using the context of their experience — past purchase history, dietary preferences, planned meals, health concerns, and even where they are in the store — we can personalize product suggestions in a helpful, non-intrusive way.”
3. Capture Data From Physical — Not Just Digital — Experiences.
It can be difficult to capture data from shoppers during in-store interactions, but with mobile, you have a way to deliver better information for both of you. Grocery loyalty programs already store a wealth of historical data that is necessary for providing the context needed for relevant and personalized experiences as mentioned above. But mobile interactions can continue to feed those databases new and expanded information for richer customer profiles that will only lead to better understandings of what customers want.
Another mobile technology with the ability to capture data is Bluetooth low energy (BLE). It was quite the rage a few years ago but never really took off as a tool for push marketing. “Apparently, shoppers weren’t interested in getting pinged endlessly as they walked through stores,” says Michael. “However, we are seeing the value of BLE in collecting data and other more operational items like understanding traffic patterns and dwell time in certain locations.”
Holistic Retail Experiences Generate Win-Win Situations.
In an industry that has long been fractured by competition between the online and offline worlds, mobile devices are proving to be the technology that can connect the two for holistic, fluid shopper experiences and valuable feedback and contextual marketing opportunities for retailers.
For more insights into the ways in which retailers are adopting new technologies for more personal customer experiences, read more from our digital marketing retail series.
The post Why Mobile May Be the Best Technology for Your Retail Stores appeared first on Digital Marketing Blog by Adobe.Read More
The industry characterized by constant invention, rampant competition, and rapid obsolescence cycles also leads the way in digital adoption. A report recently released by Adobe and Econsultancy reveals that, perhaps fittingly, companies in the technology industry are leaders in both becoming digital first and digital integration. The “2017 Digital Trends in Technology” report is based on a sample of over 900 respondents working in the technology sector who were among more than 14,000 digital professionals taking part in the annual Digital Trends survey.
In this report, we highlight differences between industries, specifically profiling the technology industry. More importantly, we were able to tease out some of the nuances underlying the differences in the technology industry such as the motives, dynamics, and disruptions that are driving behavior. The report offers a wealth of valuable information — not just for practitioners in the technology industry, but for anyone who deals with the technology industry. Following is a summary of some of our key findings.
Companies in the Technology Industry Are Digital Leaders.
Our research revealed that organizations in the technology sector are, in many ways, digital leaders. For example, technology organizations are nearly twice as likely as their peers to classify themselves as digital first (19 percent vs. 10 percent), putting the sector in third place (after gaming, gambling, and media) out of the 15 key sectors we analyzed. This eagerness for digital may, perhaps, be explained by the drastic changes in purchasing behaviors that have driven a shift toward hybrid, agile product offerings, and ‘as-a-service’ models of payment. This has created the need for tech organizations to foster an ongoing, high-touch relationship with their customers, which is more easily accomplished using digital technologies.
Shifting Customer Demands Mean That One Size No Longer Fits All.
The technology sector experiences rapid innovation that translates into relentless competition. As a result, companies place increased emphasis on providing value for their customers, differentiating through customer experiences. The vast majority (81 percent) of technology companies are putting customers at the heart of all their initiatives. Almost one-third (32 percent) of respondents said their highest customer experience (CX) emphases were being placed on value.
Customer journey management is the second-most-important priority for 2017. Ensuring a consistent CX is especially challenging in this industry due to the complex ecosystem of players — partners, resellers, field representatives, and others — that touch or play a role in delivering the customer experience. This challenge is being met internally through hiring skilled staff members to engineer good experiences. Encouragingly, the proportion of companies that have the CX skills they need has increased by 9 percent in the last two years.
New Technologies Will Enable New Levels of Customer Relationships.
Although differentiation is top of mind, differentiation strategies vary greatly even within the technology industry. Again, almost one-third (29 percent) of respondents plan to use product or service innovation to differentiate themselves from competitors over the next year. However, digital-first organizations are 52 percent more likely than the others to see customer experience as a key differentiator, highlighting the inseparability of digital maturity and customer experience delivery.
The Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and augmented and virtual realities have been introduced to the industry over the past couple of years but are yet to see integration into business-as-usual strategies. The technology industry is likely to be the first to see this integration, either through internal-innovation labs, collaborations with other technology providers, or even companies from other sectors. Technology respondents see this opportunity and are three times as likely as their peers in other sectors to regard the IoT as an exciting opportunity to connect with customers. Accordingly, technology respondents are also more likely to acknowledge the future potential of AI and bots.
The full report contains many more insights with much more depth and detail than can be described in a blog post. For a comprehensive discussion on all the technology-industry insights, download the full report today.Read More
MarTech is different in a couple of key ways that make it a must-attend experience for marketing leaders. MarTech is independent and not owned by a vendor. We don’t have axes to grind (or sales targets to meet) when it comes to any technology or platform. Speakers are selected based on their…
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As far as being an investable business goes, news is horrible.
And it is getting worse by the day.
Look at these top performers.
The above chart looks ugly, but in reality it puts an optimistic spin on things…
Almost all the solutions to the problems faced by the mainstream media are incomplete and ultimately will fail.
That doesn’t stop the market from selling magic push button solutions. The worse the fundamentals get, the more incentive (need) there is to sell the dream.
Video will save us.
No it won’t.
Video is expensive to do well and almost nobody at any sort of scale on YouTube has an enviable profit margin. Even the successful individuals who are held up as the examples of success are being squeezed out and Google is trying to push to make the site more like TV. As they get buy in from big players they’ll further squeeze out the indy players – just like general web search.
The New York times is cutting back on their operations in Paris.
What impact does it have on Marketwatch’s brand if you go there for stocks information and they advise you on weight loss tips?
And, once again, when everyone starts doing that it is no longer a competitive advantage.
There have also been cases where newspapers like The New York Times acquired About.com only to later sell it for a loss. And now even About.com is unbundling itself.
The more companies who do them & the more places they are seen, the lower the rates go, the less novel they will seem, and the greater the likelihood a high-spending advertiser decides to publish it on their own site & then drive the audience directly to their site.
When it is rare or unique it stands out and is special, justifying the extra incremental cost. But when it is a scaled process it is no longer unique enough to justify the vastly higher cost.
Further, as it gets more pervasive it will lead to questions of editorial integrity.
It won’t scale across all the big publishers. It only works well at scale in select verticals and as more entities test it they’ll fill up the search results and end up competing for a smaller slice of attention. Further, each new affiliate means every other affiliate’s cookie lasts for a shorter duration.
It is unlikely news companies will be able to create commercially oriented review content at scale while having the depth of Wirecutter.
“We move as much product as a place 10 times bigger than us in terms of audience,” Lam said in an interview. “That’s because people trust us. We earn that trust by having such deeply-researched articles.”
Further, as it gets more pervasive it will lead to questions of editorial integrity.
It won’t work, as it undermines the social proof of value the site would otherwise have from having many comments on it.
Absurd. And a sign of extreme desperation.
Here is Doug Edwards on Larry Page:
He wondered how Google could become like a better version of the RIAA – not just a mediator of digital music licensing – but a marketplace for fair distribution of all forms of digitized content. I left that meeting with a sense that Larry was thinking far more deeply about the future than I was, and I was convinced he would play a large role in shaping it.
If we just give Google or Facebook greater control, they will save us.
No they won’t.
You are probably better off selling meal kits.
As time passes, Google and Facebook keep getting a larger share of the pie, growing their rake faster than the pie is growing.
Here is the RIAA’s Cary Sherman on Google & Facebook:
Just look at Silicon Valley. They’ve done an extraordinary job, and their market cap is worth gazillions of dollars. Look at the creative industries — not just the music industry, but all of them. All of them have suffered.
Over time media sites are becoming more reliant on platforms for distribution, with visitors having fleeting interest: “bounce rates on media sites having gone from 20% of visitors in the early 2000s to well over 70% of visitors today.”
Accelerated Mobile Pages and Instant Articles?
These are not solutions. They are only a further acceleration of the problem.
How will giving greater control to monopolies that are displacing you (while investing in AI) lead to a more sustainable future for copyright holders? If they host your content and you are no longer even a destination, what is your point of differentiation?
If someone else hosts your content & you are depended on them for distribution you are competing against yourself with an entity that can arbitrarily shift the terms on you whenever they feel like it.
“The cracks are beginning to show, the dependence on platforms has meant they are losing their core identity,” said Rafat Ali “If you are just a brand in the feed, as opposed to a brand that users come to, that will catch up to you sometime.”
Do you think you gain leverage over time as they become more dominant in your vertical? Not likely. Look at how Google’s redesigned image search shunted traffic away from the photographers. Google’s remote rater guidelines even mentioned giving lower ratings to images with watermaks on them. So if you protect your works you are punished & if you don’t, good luck negotiating with a monopoly. You’ll probably need the EU to see any remedy there.
When something is an embarrassment to Google & can harm their PR fixing it becomes a priority, otherwise most the costs of rights management fall on the creative industry & Google will go out of their way to add cost to that process. Facebook is, of course, playing the same game with video freebooting.
As the platforms aim to expand into new verticals they create new opportunities, but those opportunities are temporal.
Whatever happened to Zynga?
Even Buzzfeed, the current example of success on Facebook, missed their revenue target badly, even as they become more dependent on the Facebook feed.
“One more implication of aggregation-based monopolies is that once competitors die the aggregators become monopsonies — i.e. the only buyer for modularized suppliers. And this, by extension, turns the virtuous cycle on its head: instead of more consumers leading to more suppliers, a dominant hold over suppliers means that consumers can never leave, rendering a superior user experience less important than a monopoly that looks an awful lot like the ones our antitrust laws were designed to eliminate.” – Ben Thompson
Long after benefit stops passing to the creative person the platform still gets to re-use the work. The Supreme Court only recentlyrefused to hear the ebook scanning case & Google is already running stories about using romance novels to train their AI. How long until Google places their own AI driven news rewrites in front of users?
Who then will fund journalism?
Remember how Panda was going to fix crap content for the web? eHow has removed literally millions of articles from their site & still has not recovered in Google. Demand Media’s bolt-on articles published on newspaper sites still rank great in Google, but that will at some point get saturated and stop being a growth opportunity, shifting from growth to zero sum to a negative sum market, particularly as Google keeps growing their knowledge scraper graph.
Now maybe if you dumb it down with celebrity garbage you get quick clicks from other channels and longterm SEO traffic doesn’t matter as much.
But if everyone is pumping the same crap into the feed it is hard to stand out. When everyone starts doing it the strategy is no longer a competitive advantage. Further, if you build a business that is algorithmically optimized for short-term clicks is also optimizing for its own longterm irrelevancy.
Yahoo’s journalists used to joke amongst themselves about the extensive variety of Kind bars provided, but now the snacks aren’t being replenished. Instead, employees frequently remind each other that there is little reason to bother creating quality work within Yahoo’s vast eco-system of middle-brow content. “You are competing against Kim Kardashian’s ass,” goes a common refrain.
Yahoo’s billion-person-a-month home page is run by an algorithm, with a spare editorial staff, that pulls in the best-performing content from across the site. Yahoo engineers generally believed that these big names should have been able to support themselves, garner their own large audiences, and shouldn’t have relied on placement on the home page to achieve large audiences. As a result, they were expected to sink or swim on their own.
“Yahoo is reverting to its natural form,” a former staffer told me, “a crap home page for the Midwest.”
That is why Yahoo! ultimately had to shut down almost all their verticals. They were optimized algorithmically for short term wins rather than building things with longterm resonance.
Death by bean counter.
The above also has an incredibly damaging knock on effect on society.
People miss the key news. “what articles got the most views, and thus “clicks.” Put bluntly, it was never the articles on my catching Bernanke pulling system liquidity into the maw of the collapse in 2008, while he maintained to Congress he had done the opposite.” – Karl Denninger
The other issue is PR is outright displacing journalism. As bad as that is at creating general disinformation, it gets worse when people presume diversity of coverage means a diversity of thought process, a diversity of work, and a diversity of sources. Even people inside the current presidential administration state how horrible this trend is on society:
“All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.” … “We created an echo chamber,” he told the magazine. “They [the seemingly independent experts] were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”
That is basically the government complaining to the press about it being “too easy” to manipulate the press.
Much of what “seems” like an algorithm on the tech platforms is actually a bunch of lowly paid humans pretending to be an algorithm.
This goes back to the problem of the limited diversity in original sources and rise of thin “take” pieces. Stories with an inconvenient truth can get suppressed, but “newsworthy” stories with multiple sources covering them may all use the same biased source.
After doing a tour in Facebook’s news trenches, almost all of them came to believe that they were there not to work, but to serve as training modules for Facebook’s algorithm. … A topic was often blacklisted if it didn’t have at least three traditional news sources covering it
As algorithms take over more aspects of our lives and eat more of the media ecosystem, the sources they feed upon will consistently lose quality until some sort of major reset happens.
The strategy to keep sacrificing the long term to hit the short term numbers can seem popular. And then, suddenly, death.
You can say the soul is gone
And the feeling is just not there
Not like it was so long ago.
– Neil Young, Stringman
It is getting cheap enough that just about anyone can run a paid membership site, but it is quite hard to create something worth paying for on a recurring basis.
There are a few big issues with paywalls:
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club