What Future-Forward Marketers Know – And You Should Too

Guest post by Steve Zisk, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, RedPoint

As today’s consumers take the lead in designing their own customer journeys, smart marketers need to understand three core issues to survive and thrive in today’s marketplace. Below I outline these areas that you need to understand and deliver on the expectations of modern consumers.

Constant Balance Between Personalization and Privacy – Personalization is now table stakes for marketers because it drives customer loyalty, which is why according to research from a Harris Poll survey sponsored by RedPoint Global, 37 percent of consumers will stop doing business with a brand that fails to offer a personalized experience. Data also shows two-thirds of customers expect transparency and control over collection, use, and sharing of their personal data. While transparency is a top priority, most consumers also understand that data drives personalization in a modern, omnichannel world and 54 percent will willingly share personal data in exchange for a more relevant experience.

Continued Need to Break Down Silos – While more marketers understand the risk of siloed data, the recent CDP Report from The Relevancy Group shows that 56 percent of marketers have yet to implement a comprehensive data solution and 14 percent are not yet convinced of the need. Marketers stymied by siloed customer data have little insight into potential opportunities or problems that customers’ seemingly disconnected interactions may signal. It is necessary to integrate this data to create a single point of control for customer data, processes, insights and orchestration if marketers expect to meet the requirements of today’s omnichannel consumer.

Rationalize Approach to MarTech & AdTech – Marketers continue to look for a “silver bullet” solution that will meet all their marketing goals, but they may chase solutions that meet only specific and current short-term needs, often as adjuncts to marketing cloud promises to simplify marketer workflow and control the technology stack. Instead of depending on a (someday) unified stack from a single vendor, marketers should consider CDPs to help their organizations abstract, analyze, control, optimize and orchestrate their data. CDPs can be a smart investment to best drive revenue today, while providing a base for harmonizing existing and emerging technologies in designing new customer experiences.

Key Priorities for Leading Marketing Organizations

Guest post by Ryan Greene, ActionIQ

Leading marketing organizations prioritize these three principles:

  1. Integrate one’s technology stack. Research shows nearly 7 of 10 consumers will transact with another brand due to a disconnected experience (source). Leaders should prioritize establishing a single customer view that contains all of their customers’ historical interactions, while making it available to all customer facing solutions across marketing, service, and commerce channels. Leaders should also prioritize connecting their non-customer systems for efficiencies too (e.g. content management solution, workflow management solution, etc.). Manual processes and incomplete customer intelligence consistently undermine innovation.
  2. Enable data democracy. There’s no faster way to scale customer intelligence and employee productivity than to put the power of data in your workforce’s hands. In fact, McKinsey says personalization is impossible if marketers don’t have the means to understand the needs of customers on an ongoing basis (source). Leading organizations fully democratize access to data, insights, and analytics.
  3. Activate, measure, and iterate. No matter how super one’s intuition is, it should never be considered a substitute for ideation, testing, and iteration. For example, McKinsey research finds it typically takes four to five refinements of a personalized trigger to capture the first 80 percent of its potential value (source), underscoring the value of testing and iteration. Leaders should instill a culture of testing by gaining executive sponsorship, creating performance goals, and following testing best practices.

Three Things Smart Marketers Need to Know for the Future of Marketing

Sam Ngo-M5D43078 (4)Guest post by Sam Ngo, Director of Product Marketing at BlueConic

Smart marketing leaders are putting the customer at the center of their marketing infrastructure. With new privacy regulations and an ever-changing data landscape, brands need to own their relationships with customers and customers need to have transparency and control over their data. While many marketers fear new privacy regulations, companies should embrace it. It’s an opportunity to rethink the data they currently collect and decide what data is actually helping them build mutually beneficial experiences for the customer and the business.

Companies must build out their first-party data assets now. As third-party data becomes less reliable, companies need to leverage a customer data platform (CDP) to empower their marketing team with their own customer database; or risk falling behind competitors who are already evolving their practices and infrastructure. While many brands collect first-party data today, some struggle to free that data from disparate systems and channel-specific silos. With the right CDP, you can consolidate all of the data from your CRM, ESP, and other online and offline data sources into one, centralized location and use that data for real-time marketing efforts. Companies that have first-party data at their fingertips can leverage a single view of the customer to create valuable 1:1 experiences for their customers and prospects at every touchpoint.

Authentication, consent, and value exchange are core to customer identity. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen privacy and compliance regulations evolve at a rapid clip. Customer expectations are rising, and new privacy regulations are being passed – creating a new normal for marketers. Marketers will have to explicitly ask for permission to gather customer data and use it to inform marketing and customer experiences. To operate in this new normal, marketers must anchor customer identity with:

  • Authentication: As cookie data becomes less reliable thanks to ITP and other browser tracking changes, companies must ask explicitly ask individuals to identify themselves in order for companies to accurately recognize them across channels – including offline ones. Create experiences where customers want to identify themselves quickly so you can understand their behaviors and offer personalized experiences and specific value exchanges.
  • Consent: New privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA require you to ask for consent for what you can do with an individual’s data. How you present these requests, however, is up to you.
  • Value exchange: Customers are willing to give you data – but only if they get something in return. In fact, it’s not that different from the idea of building loyalty programs. Brands will need to find creative ways to collect data and give customers something of value in return.

AI for marketing. A truly effective individualized marketing approach requires not just a complete understanding of who each prospect or customer is now, but also the ability to predict how those individuals are likely to engage with you in the future. As a CDP that embeds Jupyter notebooks for the purposes of predictive modeling within the platform, BlueConic makes it possible for marketers to use the outcome of these models for segmentation, analytics, and real-time customer scoring. Not only does this eliminate operational inefficiencies by reducing the number of hand-offs between marketing and data science & BI teams, it also allows marketers to design experiences based on a combination of customer attributes including predictive customer scores and various behavioral, transactional, or preferential data.


Einstein Says: Send Smart!

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Last week, David blogged about our upcoming webinar with Zeta Global during which we’ll be digging into our 2018 consumer survey data and highlighting buying patterns, attitudes, and behaviors. It’s going to be an excellent session – we’ll go deep and wide – but I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a single data point that all marketers need to be mindful of, especially during the holidays: message frequency.

Many consumers do not appreciate the increased volumes of irrelevant email they receive over the holidays, especially as more consumers engage with their email predominantly through their mobile device. Over half the consumers we surveyed reported that they received messages from brands at too fast a cadence and 36% said that the messages they received were not relevant and thus irritating. Twenty-three percent reported that messages they received on their phones weren’t formatted optimally for the small screen, which is surprising to me and concerning, to say the least.

Tune in next week to get the full picture and our take, but until then, send smart: manage your message cadence carefully and ensure the content you share is engaging and driving positive customer experiences – this holiday more users are going to be on devices and reaching for wallets after they’ve reached for their phone.

A Big Week in The Big Easy for Tableau

tableau_marketo_starter_0Nearly twenty thousand data lovers have been letting the good times roll this week in New Orleans and getting the latest from Tableau, one of the stalwarts of the data visualization space. Those who made it to the big easy have been treated to some big news as they took in over three hundred and fifty sessions totaling over six hundred hours of educational content and several significant product announcements.

Some of the highlights from NOLA have included:

  • Ask Data – a new way to engage with the platform that leverages natural language processing to enable customers to ask questions and engage with the platform in a conversational manner. Users can now type in queries such as “what are top performing SKU’s?” and get interactive visualizations that are driven by user intent not merely keywords.
  • Tableau Prep Conductor – is a separately licensed add-on that is available as part of the most recent beta release which allows users to centralize the administration, scheduling, and monitoring of data prep flows in a scalable environment.
  • Amazon Web Services Initiative – the initiative expands on the existing relationship and integrations between Tableau and AWS Services including Amazon Redshift, Amazon Athena, Amazon EMR, and more.
  • $100 Million Granted to Address Global Challenges – the company announced that between now and 2025 they will grant $100 million in software, training, and financial support to address issues such as combating diseases globally, bringing clean water to kids living in developing countries, and reducing veteran homelessness across the United States.

Check out highlights and videos from the conference here.


(disclaimer: my wife works for Tableau)

Specialized Services: Email Marketing Agencies are Crushing It

MQ15_coverOver the past several weeks, we at TRG have been deep in the weeds researching our soon to be published 2018 Email Agency Buyer’s Guide, and this year’s participants include some of the absolute best and brightest in the space. Agencies in the guide this year include BrightWave, DEG, Inbox Marketer, Trendline Interactive, and Yes Marketing.

Our process includes detailed questionaries completed by each agency, ninety-minute demos during which agencies present their best work, and reference calls with a handful of clients which yield valuable customer satisfaction data. We are still working to synthesize and analyze the data, but what we’ve seen to date has been extremely impressive.

This year we invited agencies to show us their best stuff while maintaining a focus on three primary themes: strategy, data, and analysis/measurement. Like the competitors currently battling it out on the field for the pennant, these agencies have been going deep. The research will highlight how these agencies are driving home runs for their clients in the form of serious business value and positive customer experiences.

The research will be available for our Research Subscribers and direct purchase. Vendor profiles will be in the next issue of The Marketer Quarterly.

Kicking Off Dreamforce

df18-during-headerDreamforce kicked off in earnest yesterday, grinding traffic south of market down to a crawl, and ushering in a series of exciting announcements about Salesforce products and services.

At the top of the list was news about Salesforce Customer 360 which “comprises a set of powerful platform services that will enhance data management across Salesforce apps and provide instant access to consistent, reconciled customer data.” This sounds very much like functionality being offered by many of the Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) we reviewed in our recent CDP Buyer’s Guide, and I am very much looking forward to learning more.

Also on tap yesterday was big news about a new strategic partnership between Salesforce and Apple, with plans to redesign Salesforce mobile apps to more fully embrace iOS and plans for new tools that will allow Salesforce developers to build their own native apps with a new Salesforce Mobile SDK for iOS.

Today is all about Einstein, with the Einstein AI keynote, and a series of in-depth conversations focused on Artificial Intelligence. Addressing topics like “How AI Has Changed the Future of Work,” “How AI Will Drive Business Transformation,” and featuring an “AI Dreamtalk with will.i.am,” audiences today will hear a lot about how Einstein can help them drive business objectives.

If you couldn’t make it to SF this week for the conference, you can tune in to much of the content via live broadcast here, and I’ll be following up with another post after the conference that highlights the best stuff.


Kicking Off The Conference Season

13719563_10154600766338322_8207156853734719452_oIndustry analysts attend a lot of conferences. We participate in a wide range of industry events, vendor events, and trade shows of all sorts. Sometimes the travel and long days are rough, but the tradeoff is exposure to new technology and access to the people who built and use it, which is highly valuable no matter what business you’re in. As I work with David to plan our 2019 event schedule, here are a few upcoming conferences that are on our radar and may be worth considering for you.

  • Dreamforce – September 25-28 – If you haven’t already booked your hotel room for this year’s Dreamforce, you’ll likely be staying in Sacremento. The city of San Francisco will be overrun next week for the largest vendor event of its kind; if you’ve never been, you should consider it for next year.
  • Email Spotlight – October 10 – Hosted by BrightWave, this single evening event coming up in Atlanta will feature 15+ leading email vendors and is sure to be excellent [David will be participating].
  • Email Insider Summit – December 9-12 – Produced by MediaPost and hosted at the beautiful Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, Utah, this is a great place to connect [and re-connect] with many of the top minds in the space; always plenty of cocktail and chairlift time.
  • Email Evolution Conference – April 24 – 26 – David and I have been attending and participating in EEC since its inception and it has always been an excellent event. This year will be the first in Savannah.
  • EiQ – March 14 – Billed as ‘The Intelligent Email Gathering,” David and I have been in attendance and participated in previous years and the conference has been excellent. Certainly worth considering if you’re near Atlanta or hungry for great content.

I’ll be checking back in with a more complete list as we plan our schedules and you can always check our events page for up to date info on where we’ll be.