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Big Data, CMO, Customer Experience, Customer Journey

Boost 2014 Performance with These Q2 Resolutions for B2B And B2C Marketers

Every January, there’s plenty of buzz about New Year’s resolutions. But the truth is, you can set new goals any time of the year, and I’ve even found that short-term quarterly resolutions can be much more effective than long-term annual ones. This is because you significantly increase your chances of success if you split big (read: intimidating) resolutions into smaller, more manageable chunks, and you increase the opportunity to course-correct as things change (as they inevitably do)

To help get you started, here are six marketing resolutions on which I feel you and your team can start working–and likely achieve –in Q2.

Rethink the customer journey. Buying behaviors have changed dramatically over the past decade, and it’s clear you’re really not selling business-to-business; you’re selling business-to-individual buyer. Use Q2 to start honing in on relationships with your customers, influencers and prospects. Make it a priority to create customer experiences that are ongoing, consistent, meaningful and mutually rewarding.

Focus on big small data. There’s no doubt about it: data is your most valuable asset . . . and you must use it to develop and nurture the business-to-buyer relationships described above. But don’t get overwhelmed by how vast your data can be. Instead, concentrate on the data that’s most relevant. Make sure your data sources – sales, marketing, accounting, press/analyst relations, executives – are consistently capturing information in the same format; it’s much easier to work on clean data up-front, than to stop and undertake a huge data cleanup effort down the road.  Start small and expand as you gain experience and produce results.

Worry less about channels, more about customers. Stop feeling flabbergasted by all of the available channels, platforms, devices . . .  Keep this top-of-mind: you don’t need to be in all places at once. You simply need to be where your customers are. Find them. Connect. Engage. Listen. (And then repeat that sequence over and over again.)

Assess your mobile capabilities. Forrester calls it a “mobile mind shift” and says that customers now expect that “any desired information or service is available on any appropriate device, in context, at their moment of need.” If you haven’t already done so, Q2 is the perfect time to determine customer preferences and evaluate your capabilities. Is your content mobile-friendly, consistent across screens, localized and relevant?

Use data to find an audience that’s fragmented across multiple channels and platforms. Your customers are telling you where they are, how they’re doing, what they like and what they don’t. All of that information is locked up in the data they’re generating. You need to ask the right questions, gather the right data and apply the right analytics to attain the insights you need to create more personalized and compelling customer experiences.

Call the CIO. Data is now the lifeblood of marketing, and that means you need to collaborate with IT –and across the enterprise, as well. Over the next few months, make a special effort to open up communication so you can start developing a comprehensive, shared data strategy. You can’t move forward unless everyone is pulling together.

Who needs New Year’s resolutions and all the fuss of noise-makers, party hats and confetti? (Some estimate that as many as 90% quit on their goals by the end of January, anyway.) Let’s celebrate the beginning of Q2 with a little less fanfare, and a little more determination now that spring is here.

So tell me, what resolutions will you be making in the coming months?

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Big Data, Customer Experience, Customer Intelligence, Data Driven Marketing, Digital Marketing, Marketing Trends

Why Now Is The Time for CMOs To Build Digital Relationships

postcard2The life of a CMO can be unpredictable at times. Markets change, goals change, trends change, channels change .

But no matter what, as the CMO, your core task remains the same: communicating the value of your company, both externally and internally. How do you keep from losing sight of that goal when everything is up in the air?

Focus on your customers.

It’s just that simple —and just that complicated.

In today’s marketing environment, creating a strong digital presence is one of the most powerful ways to engage your customer base and connect with prospects. There are multiple platforms to choose from, depending on where your audience spends time, and there’s a digital strategy to fit every organization.

But even so, I still meet CMOs who say they’re not ready to “go digital.”

That’s a mistake because, rest assured, today’s consumers are ready. You may choose to hang back. But, they aren’t … and they won’t hesitate to talk about you (for better or for worse).

Why is NOW the time to make digital marketing a priority? For starters:

It’s never too late to plan and implement a smart digital strategy—but the more time you spend putting it off, the more opportunities you’re missing out on. Digital marketing can make your customers happier, your employees more efficient, your budgets less scary and your job easier.

So what are you waiting for?

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Big Data, Branding, Customer Intelligence, Data Driven Marketing, Digital Marketing, Facebook, Marketing Analytics, Marketing Trends

The Race to Affinity

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I was in London a few weeks ago and attended Forrester’s EMEA Forum for Marketing Leaders. A thought-provoking event! One of the ideas which got people buzzing the most, was Nate Elliott’s ‘Database of Affinity’. I’ve been thinking about this idea alot in the last few weeks.

What Is The Database Of Affinity?

Affinity is the way that people express their preference for things for example by ‘Liking’ something on Facebook. And affinity data can be collected to observe people’s preferences mainly through their social behavior.

How Can Affinity Data Be Used?

Elliott compared ‘Affinity data’ with another type of user data marketers are very familiar with – data they capture via online search or ‘Intention data’. Intention data collects information on people’s needs and desires by observing search behaviors.

AffinityTimeline_SnapseedIt shows user exploration in the short term because intent usually happens just before a purchase e.g. “What product should I purchase?

But the great thing about the layer of ‘Affinity data’ is that it gives us deeper insight into how users are engaging, what emotions they are feeling, and is relevant over the long-term e.g. “I purchased product X and now I love it.

The big idea here is that brand marketing will be transformed by harnessing Affinity data, and the race is on as to who will get there first.

The picture on the right above shows Elliott’s stages of affinity, which started in 2010, and goes through until 2016/17. We are at the beginning of the wave here, with companies just starting to put together the potential here.

How Marketers Can Capture Affinity Data

Ok, so you’re convinced you need to start harnessing your customers’ Affinities to leverage in your brand marketing. What next? Elliott says there are three things you need to build a usable Database of Affinity:

  1. Data from across the social world
  2. Analysis tools that bring meaning to data
  3. Ad formats that create brand impact

And here’s where Elliott fired a shot across the bow of Facebook: Facebook has been slow to expand its data set, struggles to provide meaning to data, and is still pushing basic ad units which can’t create brand impact.

On the flipside Google collects data from multiple sources, is highly advanced at extracting meaning from user behavior, and offers sophisticated brand ad units including rich media in the form of video.

Elliot predicts Google will win at building affinity data into something marketers can extract real value from.

The Database of Affinity finally brings meaning to the age old question “What’s the value in social marketing?”. It’s not marketing or advertising via the social channels themselves — its the data and sentiment of the data we can extract that provides value.

In other words, those ads that have been clogging up my Facebook feed may go away as Facebook starts to monetize the affinity associated with the data set to marketers. It can’t happen soon enough…

Note: This post was modified from a post I wrote for iJento’s blog, originally titled, “The Database of Affinity.” I will be reposting my iJento blog posts here from time to time.

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