Data turns marketing specialties into strategies
With the digital marketing spectrum of individual channels converging and the focus moving to the consumer, Jill Brittlebank, director of strategy and analytics for e-Dialog, examines here how marketers can adapt by moving away from simply specialising and moving toward strategizing.
Digital marketers need to focus now on the consumer rather than the product and, in order to do this, they will need to invest heavily in technologies to help manage the overwhelming amount of data needed to create accurate customer profiles and produce relevant, engaging content.
If marketers can achieve this aim by starting to think in terms of digital platforms working together rather serving as separate channels, a positive return on investment should be forthcoming. With this in mind, there are five key changes and strategies that need to be considered without delay:
- Allow the channels to converge With the digital platforms becoming intertwined (for example, consumers accessing social media on mobiles, looking at mobile-optimised emails and using augmented reality to look at an email) marketers need to be building multichannel strategies to support integrated campaigns. The multichannel marketer needs to keep up with the multichannel consumer and create consistency across all outlets. Rather than specialised campaigns on specific channels, we will begin to see more campaigns that focus on the consumer designed for roll-out across the digital landscape.
- Aim for quality not quantity Consumers are reaching saturation point when it comes to marketing promotions and, in order to keep a loyal customer database and attract new customers, marketers must limit the number and frequency of their communications while making them more relevant and engaging. The age-old question in marketing of how to keep customers interested is being answered by increasingly sophisticated and data-rich technologies. At a basic level, marketers must personalise promotions, then they can add another layer of engagement by using technology to add interactive elements such as embedded videos, gamification, or direct contact with customer support teams when buying online. If these tools are implemented, marketers can increase 'dwell time' (the time spent on a website) as well as make the purchasing process more interactive and engaging, and drive additional sales.
- 'Big Data' - see the bigger picture Personalising campaigns requires customer data and marketers need to use the wealth of data that they are already sitting on to its full potential, while respecting that the handing over of personal data is a big step for many customers. Not only do marketers need to achieve acute customer segmentation to personalise marketing messages, promotions and rewards, but they also need to build up trust between the brand and the customer by ensuring that databases are well maintained and secured.
- Automate to communicate To get the full potential out of data, marketers need to invest in automation software for more detailed customer segmentation. CRM and analytics software can not only analyse millions or billions of customer interactions but it can combine the data from the online channel, social media, mobile, email opt-ins and transaction data from retail stores to create a complete customer/brand interaction profile. This includes not only quantitative data but also qualitative data, taking into account discussions about products, perceptions about the brand, and the overall shopping experience - all of which is vital knowledge for the construction of more profitable marketing campaigns. The software can generate relevant content for each customer and send out a personalised marketing message based on real-time mechanics.
- Increased take-up of targeting technology In addition to analytical software, one of the most important processes that marketers must now invest in is what's called 'attribution software'. Attribution is the process of identifying the touch points that drive sales conversion. With the increase in digital platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and blogs) the importance of tracking which marketing channels are resulting in sales is of paramount importance. Simple search engine optimisation and customer feedback alone are no longer complete or accurate enough methods to target the right audiences, or to form a realistic customer profile. Up until now, many marketers have been allocating budgets based on 'guestimations' but attribution technology can eliminate the guesswork and ensure a quicker ROI from marketing campaigns.