Everybody Wants to Rule the World: Challenges in Managing Global Marketing Programs



With the progress in digital technologies and access to audiences across the globe, the potential to grow market share in new regions and expand reach is easier than ever…in theory. The opportunity to launch global marketing campaigns that consistently communicate a company’s messages and differentiation is available but global programs are not without challenges. For the purposes of this article, I will focus on three main challenge areas – organizational, cultural/regional and tactical.

Continue reading “Everybody Wants to Rule the World: Challenges in Managing Global Marketing Programs” »

More! More! More! Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Culture

One of my favorite shows is Showtime’s House of Lies, which, sadly, has just wrapped its final season (all five seasons are available to stream which I highly recommend!) It is a satirical look at corporate management consultants and their win-at-all-costs, hedonistic lifestyles. While it is fiction and the situations they get themselves into are amplified for entertainment purposes, the underlying motivators for these characters are very real – it is all about results. In the show’s case, it is about getting the deal, increasing valuation and lining pockets. But watching it made me think a lot about how marketing and communications teams are motivated to succeed and how the growth of big data can contribute to a culture based on performance.

Mobile applications funnel

Creating a performance-based culture using data can lead to better decision-making, provide support for ideas with measurable outcomes and help adjust and fine-tune strategies while ultimately, increasing share or revenue. According to McKinsey, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to win new customers and six times more likely to retain the ones they already have. Those stats alone should be pretty big motivators for driving a cultural focus or, in some cases, a cultural change.

Continue reading “More! More! More! Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Culture” »

Don’t Let the Challenges of Data Get Your Digital Marketing Down

The top four digital priorities for 2016 among companies, according to the EConsultancy Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2016 Digital Trends report, are targeting and personalization, content optimization, social media engagement and multi-campaign management. Among these priorities, there is one point of focus: customer experience. The element that joins them all together: data.

The value of data is increasing exponentially, as it is proven to create a competitive advantage and become a crucial element of decision-making. While data currently has value in demonstrating what happened for a given campaign and sales effort, the goal is ultimately to increase the value of data from the “what” to the “why,” “when” and “how.”

Isometric data analysis infographic

For most companies, data via raw numbers and standard and ad hoc reports are used to report what happened with a campaign or marketing effort. It’s valuable when optimizing future campaigns and creative and making long-term decisions based on trends. Once data is analyzed, there is a level of business intelligence that comes into play and knowledge about “why” something happened can influence decisions. Next, the goal is to develop predictive models that can help determine what is likely to happen. Lastly, the ultimate goal is to develop prescriptive models to provide insight on how to make it happen. These stages help a marketing organization start with data and end with action on the part of the customer.

These stages are essential in addressing the four priorities mentioned above. If we look at personalization as an example, data can help marketing evolve from the basic personalization of adding a “Hello, Bob” or “Welcome, Amy” to a Web page based on data from a form to delivering content in real-time based on a customer’s actions, previous websites visits and other interactions. When this happens, new content can be served based on the path the customer takes, providing information that is most relevant at the customer’s current decision-making stage.

But getting to that point is tough. And allowing data to drive digital marketing is not without its challenges.  The sheer volume of data generated can be overwhelming and create obstacles to using it effectively. At the same time, internal challenges also can thwart success and efficacy. Let’s review a few of the potential challenges:

  1. Time

According to Accenture and Peerview Data, “not enough time” was one of the top two issues sited when companies were asked what their challenges were with data analysis (Cost was the other.) With data coming from multiple sources, the ability to review, analyze and then make actionable decisions quickly is critical to having a competitive edge. Data integration can be a solution to help offset the time crunch. Integration quickly visualizes data from multiple sources to assists with making decisions. For companies that do not have large technology budgets, there are low-cost tools available such as Tap Analytics.

  1. Processes and cultural change

With digital marketing, collaboration is essential to a campaign’s success. But all too often, distance between the data organization and marketing communications creates siloes that make it difficult to leverage the analysis generated and use it for campaign promotion and support. Analysts and marketers need to work together to make real-time decisions and generate effective campaigns. C-suite approval and support also is critical to the success of using data as one of the main drivers for marketing. The idea that roles and thought processes have to change comes from the top down. Flexibility is another cultural change. Decisions need to be made faster, content is needed faster and more abundantly to support trends and user behavior, and people need to be willing to change direction quickly based on what customers want. For many large organizations, change can be difficult, but it’s essential for long-term success.

  1. The right people

Really looking at your organization and making sure you have the right people to drive and leverage opportunities are important. Marketing roles need to change as the people that occupy these jobs need to become proficient in data – understanding what it means and how to use it.  Jim Terry recently wrote a blog about human expertise in the world of automation that touches on the importance of the human role in using tools and the data that comes from them. These changes are leading companies to hire more data analysts, data scientists and marketing people that have a background in analytics, in addition to establishing new senior roles, such as chief marketing technologist – a role that combines data analytics, business intelligence and marketing.  Often the ability to hire for these roles is much harder than it sounds, so companies are becoming more open to outside help. According to research from the CMO Council and Ebiquity, nearly three-fourths of marketers plan to seek outside help to deal with their data needs.

So what kind of results should you expect if you embrace data as a key driver of your digital marketing efforts? According to Bain & Co. and Salesforce, companies that use analytics are two times more likely to have top-quartile performance, five times more likely to make faster decisions and eight times more likely to improve operational outcomes. These results are clearly desirable for any company, but getting infrastructure, people and processes in place to really reach them is the hard part before data can truly be the panacea that we are all looking for.

As one of our digital campaign team’s favorite topics, we would love to discuss it more with you.  Let us know what stage you are at and the value you see data providing. We can take it from there.

How to Establish Advertising ROI Baselines

what gets measured gets managedOne of my favorite proverbs, which continues to be proven on a daily basis, is “what gets measured gets done.” The quote, or its variation “what gets measured gets managed,” is often attributed to famous management consultant Peter Drucker; but its origin appears to date back to scientist William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, who specifically referenced that a lack of numbers leads to unsatisfactory knowledge during an 1833 lecture.

In an age of digital marketing decades since these quotes were made, the application of science to advertising has never been truer. Measuring your success, as Hannah Woodham covered in a recent blog post, is very important; but knowing what to measure against is critical to determining success. Enter advertising baselines for return on investment (ROI). Continue reading “How to Establish Advertising ROI Baselines” »

Digital Ad Fraud – What You May Not Know

Mobile Ad FraudIt is estimated that advertisers could lose more than $6 billion globally to ad fraud in 2015 according to a study conducted by the Association of National Advertisers and detection firm White Ops Inc. The combination of advanced technologies, programmatic buying and a large influx of spend on online and mobile advertising make this a lucrative target for sophisticated cybercriminals, particularly in two areas.

The bulk of digital ad dollars are spent on two types of ads: impression-based ads such as banners, videos or mobile ads; and click-based ads such as paid search or mobile paid search. Given this combined $50 billion segment comprises 30 percent of all U.S. digital ad spending industry-wide, it makes sense that those are the two areas the cybercriminals focus on most – the payout potential is the largest.

Impression-based fraud

Impression-based fraud is perpetrated by cyber criminals in a few ingenious ways. First, they create fake websites with an over saturation of ads spots – leaderboards, boomboxes and skyscrapers all over the place surrounding content that looks like editorial to give the appearance of legitimacy. Then the pages are loaded with hidden iframes with up to 72 layers all placed “above the fold” to maximize viewability for ads that are set to be transparent to the viewer. These pages are populated with auto refresh code so the banners load continuously when visited. Imagine 72 layers of ads multiplied by 10 ads per page refreshing every 30 seconds. It is the equivalent of approximately 1,500 impressions per minute from only one unique visitor.

The second part of this scheme is the employment of bots.

Continue reading “Digital Ad Fraud – What You May Not Know” »

Mapping B2B Decision-Making Cycles with Relevant Types of Content

B2B Decision Making ProcessWhen looking at a B2B environment, there are some significant differences in decision-making compared to a typical consumer purchase of something as simple as potato chips or as complex as a PC. A B2B decision-making cycle is typically much longer, ranging from months to sometimes years. The process is usually multi-step and involves many people within an organization ranging from technical experts to procurement to the C-level, depending on the scope and size of the decision. Often, a decision is built around the development of a personal relationship with a salesperson or can be influenced greatly by the level of support provided post-sale. Generally, B2B decision-making is more complex.

With 67 percent of the buyer’s journey now happening digitally (Source: SiriusDecisions), a thoughtful approach to content marketing at every step of the complex B2B decision-making process is critical, particularly online.Using the most relevant and valuable content within the broad spectrum of paid, earned or owned media during the appropriate phase can not only help increase traffic to your site but also help secure more customers.

The importance of aligning not only the right type of content to secure initial engagement but also developing compelling content to maintain interest during the three phases of decision making is illustrated by Marketing Sherpa. These diagrams demonstrate the impact of a 1 percent click-through rate (CTR) increase on customer growth.

Let’s look closely at the three phases:

Continue reading “Mapping B2B Decision-Making Cycles with Relevant Types of Content” »

Don’t forget about the media: the importance of structure in optimization

For most of us, the beginning of a new year usually brings resolutions for improvement – get more sleep, exercise more, do more with your kids, etc. Generally, we are looking to do and be better. However, sticking to resolutions beyond Jan. 8 or, for the more disciplined of you, Super Bowl weekend (Go Cowboys…never mind) when seven-layer dip and Buffalo wings come into play, is a challenge. Similarly, resolving to consistently optimize your paid media for better return has both good intentions and challenges in succeeding without some structure in place.

Continue reading “Don’t forget about the media: the importance of structure in optimization” »

What Marketing Vehicle Gets the Credit for Closing the Deal? Answer: Everything Should

Everyone wants credit for a job well done. However, it is often the person with the last word, the most recent idea, the more lofty title, etc., who gets the credit for success. However, most every success we have in life is influenced by the contributions of others. You know, the “it takes a village” idea. So, why is it in marketing, where we have the ability to give credit to the influence or the contribution, do most companies not attribute any credit at all or attribute it only to the most recent contributor?

The easy answer is because it is not easy. It takes technology, methodologies and expertise in both software implementation and analytics. But attribution – tracking user behavior allowing each marketing vehicle to receive credit for the desired action (sale, request for quotation (RFQ), meeting, etc.) – can provide a holistic view of your marketing efforts and allow you to make better decisions that can be game changers for your business.

Many companies who do practice marketing attribution focus on last click. This is a direct approach allowing you to see the most recent source of the engagement. It is one way to track engagement and action that is very effective. However, there are attribution models and systems that allow you to track all (or most) touch points with a user that led to the desired outcome.

Continue reading “What Marketing Vehicle Gets the Credit for Closing the Deal? Answer: Everything Should” »