Marketing Technology

Excuse Me, Your Data is Showing


You don’t want to be caught with your data exposed.

If your organization is still struggling with data management, you are at risk of drowning in it and missing out on critical customer insights. The goal this year for digital marketers should be to make all of that “big data” compact, through an increased investment in analytics.

Excuse Me, Your Data is Showing Digital Marketing

Why? A new year brings new opportunities for digital marketers of all levels to expand their marketing strategies. But to truly be successful in 2015, brands have to adopt a data-driven philosophy, specifically to understand their customers. Forrester Research doesn’t lie, and "The Age of The Customer" is real.

Prioritizing your analytics means prioritizing your customer and that should be the #1 focus for businesses, regardless of size, scale, or scope/maturity.

Related Class: Web Analytics Fundamentals for a Data-Driven World

The year 2014 was plagued with the term “big data.”

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how you label it--big, small or in between. No matter the size, the ability to put it into action is what will differentiate successful brands. Gartner, a leading information technology research company, found that this year alone, “big data demand” will reach 4.4 million jobs globally, but only one-third of those jobs will be filled. These numbers are a reflection of companies recognizing the need for these skills in their organizations to collect and interpret the rich amount of data available, but there is not enough supply in the market to keep pace. Make it a top priority and beat your competitor to the punch.

While it may sound scary, the steps to improving and building your analytics practice can be broken down into two simple categories: infrastructure and insights.

Excuse Me, Your Data is Showing Digital Marketing - Brad Messinger
Infrastructure is pretty self explanatory, you’ve got to invest in the people, process, and technology. Does your organization have a commitment to understanding its customers better?

Have you invested in building your analytics practice?

Is it informing your marketing decisions and creating better experiences for customers?

These skills are not typically native to marketing and there is a big shift taking place from the "Mad Men" of old to the "Math Men" of new. You want to make sure you have “data masters” that are comfortable living and breathing in information, the process to activate against it, and the technology to do it at scale.

Related Class: Big Data Driven Strategies for Analytics

Insights go hand-in-hand with infrastructure.

Now that you have the plumbing in place, you need to be able to take action. Things like testing and conversion rate optimization, cross-functional intelligence, and attribution are all done on the insights side.

This allows you to constantly focus on using the data to guide your marketing investments and continuously optimizing to maximize the impact. With appropriate investments in both areas, digital marketers will be well on their way to a successful, data-driven 2015.


3 Macro Trends Driving Massive Growth for Digital Coaches


Here are the Top 3 Macro Trends that are creating incredible opportunities for digital coaches around the world. Following that are my 4 proven tactics that top experts are using to accelerate their personal brands and launch powerful businesses.

Trend 1: Business Economics Work aka Proliferation of the Collaborative Economy

Giving consumers direct access to products and expertise is where it’s at. By skipping the big corporations and going right to the person selling the service or product is the way of the future. From eBay to Kickstarter, PopExpert to Craigslist, this is evident. The emergence of great Business-to-Business-to-Consumer platforms like Uber, Kickstarter, and even Amazon further sets the tone for this paradigm shift.

These are all lining the path to giving an outlet for those with great products/services to reach the masses. And this will only accelerate in 2015.

Related Class: Social Collaboration: Turning Loyalty into Demand


Trend 2: Video Above All Other Content

It’s clear. Video is where most everyone spends their time. 70% of online time is spent viewing video. Not even Facebook can match that. Consumers are ready, willing, and able (to pay) to engage with either live video or on-demand in a massively adopted way.

3 Macro Trends Driving Massive Growth for Digital Coaches Video Coaching


Trend 3: The Mass Movement of Entrepreneurial Empowerment

The need to run your own business, control your own destiny and just have the gumption to do it is here .. and in a big way.  So with so many offering their knowledge as service on it’s own, the market has just gotten a lot bigger and critical mass of options for consumers is now in place.


The question then becomes… How do I take advantage of these macro trends and grow my business?

As an expert in any discipline, from Digital Marketing to Mindful-Life Coach, Yoga Instructor, and Nutritionist, it’s simply the cost of doing business to have a good plan to capture and ride this big wave of change.

The formula is simple:

1.)   Have a powerful digital presence that creates opportunities to discover and engage with new clients.

2.)   Create a strong reputation for yourself and back that up with credibility online.

3.)   Provide compelling ways to engage with your knowledge.


Here are the top 4 tactics that successful digital coaches are using to drive more customer acquisition in 2015.


1. Capture Google - Blog

Creating high quality, meaningful blog content is the most important component to being great. It's a simple, easy, and highly achievable tactic. Having the discipline to write every week and build a great series of posts that demonstrates your knowledge and thought leadership will go miles for building your online reputation.

The key is doing research to the topical pain points you want to help people with, and then build a content publishing calendar for yourself that you stick to.


2. Capture Apple - Podcast

An incredible amount of traffic comes through iTunes. If you can create a good podcast series that aligns with your blog calendar, you will build a set of subscribers and followers that engage with multiple content mediums from within your arsenal. Good audio equipment is a must. 

3 Macro Trends Driving Massive Growth for Digital Coaches

3. Online Video

This is the secret sauce. Once you have great written content, video is the next logical step, and it gives you an opportunity to connect with your audience on a much deeper level. Your personality, your passion, your energy. Only video captures that completely.

Creating a series of high quality videos (consider renting a nice camera or partner with someone willing to co-create quality video that has a crew) goes much further to demonstrate your knowledge. You can utilize the existing presentations you already give at conferences or clients, and turn it into a video series that someone can actually purchase. This will show that you can provide a high amount of value for your clients.

There are 4 general types of video formats to consider:

  • On-Demand eLearning
  • Studio Quality Video Teasers
  • Good Ole Webinar (screen share video)
  • Live Video Coaching

Be careful to not to get lulled into thinking Google Hangouts or Skype is the answer to doing live video coaching well. It's now scalable and isn't very professional. Scheduling, payment systems, and a great user interface (my favorite example is PopExpert’s video coaching platform), will make you stand out from all that say “let’s just get on Skype” chatter and will save you an awkward ask for their credit card information.

Related Class: How to Engage Top Experts Using Video


4. Third Party Validation (the Online Referral)

Getting customers and other reputable experts to talk about you and share their great experiences with the world is the final leg in the stool. You need to get people to rate, review, and write about you & your work. Not just on Facebook and Twitter but across all web domains.

Third party credit building sites that drive good ratings and reviews are imperative. LinkedIn for the B2B side is critical. Yelps style platforms like the aforementioned PopExpert, will get you listed and allow you to host some good client ratings and testimonial style reviews.

Socially Shareable content is a must. The social proof of people sharing your content, retweeting it, and doing it all on your own profile, blog, or website is key. When folks see a blog post and notice that 100 other people have already tweeted it and 30 more shared it on facebook, your reputation will instantly jump. More importantly, Google SERPs love social validation, and this will push you up dramatically in the rankings.

In summary, get on the front end and top of these macro-societal trends. Build a great online presence with the Content Marketing tactics above, and you'll be on the fast track to growing your digital coaching business.


The NASCAR Parallel: 3 Ways that Wearable Technology Will Change Advertising


What do NASCAR drivers, Little League ball players, and smart watch owners all have in common? They wear advertisements.

Maybe not in quite the same way – but as smart watches start to become popular, ads for smart watches will also start to become commonplace. Wearable ads may not just be targeted at the wearer, and that is something wearable owners will have in common with NASCAR.

wearable advertising

Google Glass doesn’t have a display that others can easily read, so any ads that appear on it will likely have to be for the user, but watches are another story. It is pretty common for me to have someone comment on my Omega Ladymatic (I don’t pick the names), and if you assume that a lot of people look, but don’t comment, you can guess that display ads could be a juicy market for watch faces. With multiple companies entering the smart watch market, the way ads are purchased will change, for sure – and while display ads will be one of those changes, there will be also be several others.

1.  Contextual Advertising

First, ads are going to be far more contextual. All of that data that we collect from phones is interesting, but a phone has more privacy restrictions than a watch will. This is because people expect more privacy from a phone. You lock your phone, you don’t keep the screen on for everyone to see at all times, and you have things stored on your phone that you think of as private.

Watches have always been reasonably communal in the information you share from them. “Do you have the time?” is something you can ask of a random stranger who is clearly wearing a watch. “Can you take a picture of me for Instagram?” or “Can I call my mom?” is something you would not likely ask a random stranger holding a phone. As a result the ads are going to be creepier in how they follow your location and interests, and likely will not always be on a device.

Related Class: Targeting Millennials on Social & Mobile

Monetizing apps is much more likely to be about agreeing to be advertised to off-device, using data from the device. Think of it like a rewards card: you swipe your card at the grocery store, and then you get ads related to your purchases. The same will be true of data from your wearable. Get an app in exchange for letting Starbucks get access to your geo data, or get free iTunes credits when you opt to allow Bank Of America to know your pulse rate when you are making payments at stores. We are going to trade our info for better targeting, and this will bring changes to the way big companies do their marketing.

2.  Multi-Screened Ads

Second, ads are going to be dual screened. Your wearable sharing your data to the cloud on a regular basis will create a way for ads on screens near you to change what they advertise, or how they advertise it. Think about how you might receive an ad when you are stressed compared to when you are relaxed. Or what you would buy when you’re hungry vs. when you are not. As we start wearing things to share our heartbeat and blood sugar levels, it’s not far-fetched to expect ads on your desktop, or even your Hulu, that reflect your current bio-state.

mobile advertising

3.  Wearable Ad Feedback

Lastly, ads are going to be more emotive. Currently, most ads are relatively bland. This is because advertisers know that you can do as much harm with an ad as good, since it’s far too easy to advertise in a way that rubs a user the wrong way. Wearables are basically electronic mood rings, so for the first time, advertisers will have real time feedback loops about how a user reacted to an ad.

Related Class: Introduction to Retargeting (Remarketing) on Google

When you run an ad that is supposed to make people laugh, the sensors will confirm if you got the desired reaction. If your ad is intended to make users mad, like a political ad that criticizes a candidate for saying something offensive, the wearable can confirm that reaction as well. For example, if a company ran an ad featuring a gay family in a home with conservative values, the feedback would likely tell that company to consider a more mainstream ad. Running the same ad in the home of a progressive “modern family” would bring the company feedback showing how the ad resonates positively, and the company would then know that those types of ads will work in that household in the future.

Wearables will soon be a lot like NASCAR drivers in their advertising ways. And in another sense, NASCAR is all about data. The drivers log their own data, track all sorts of sensors, and wear indicators that follow the pulse of the car and the driver. That data is then used to achieve a successful outcome. In that way, wearables have even more parallels to NASCAR than you might think.

Thinking hard about how your ads are reaching people, and what the results are? Check out this class, Validating Campaign Delivery: Thrive in the Digital Economy, to learn more about how you can monitor data about the people you’re reaching, and the efficacy of your advertising efforts.



Managing Marketing Technology: 5 Questions with Scott Brinker


Scott BrinkerIf you're like most digital marketers today, you've gone through the process of selecting and managing a marketing technology solution. From email deployment to website testing and measurement, marketers are now empowered with more tools, knowledge, and capabilities than ever before.

With all of these exciting advancements and opportunities in marketing, there is a growing need for a new marketing function within organizations and agencies: the marketing technologist.

But what exactly does a marketing technologist do? And do you need one?

To learn more about this growing function and get some much needed advice on selecting marketing technology, I caught up with my favorite marketing technologist (and technology marketer), Scott Brinker, President and CTO at ion interactive and author of the popular blog, Chief Marketing Technologist. Here's what he had to say.


1. Who should be in charge of marketing technology within an organization?

That's like asking, "Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?" Who should be in charge of marketing technology? Well, marketing, of course.

Seriously, marketing technology today is more about "marketing" than it is about "technology." From the digital channels we use to reach customers, to the software we use to power internal marketing operations, technology has become a critical component of the modern marketing organization. It has a direct impact on marketing's capabilities, and by extension, the outcomes that marketing is able to deliver.

So if marketing technology is thoroughly entangled with marketing's ability to conceive and execute brilliant marketing programs, why shouldn't they be in charge of it?

The only excuse has been, up until recently, there weren't many people in the marketing department who understood enough about the technical aspects of technology to assert such leadership. But that's changing rapidly. A new breed of hybrid marketing technologists are blossoming, rapidly raising the "tech IQ" of the marketing department as a whole.


2. So what exactly is a marketing technologist?

The role is exactly what it sounds like: a technologist who works in marketing. It might be a tech-savvy marketer. Or a marketing-savvy technologist. It's someone who can configure and operate marketing software from analytics to automation. Someone who's comfortable lifting the hood and doing a little coding in Javascript, HTML, CSS on the web site. Someone who understand how to organize and analyze the vast amounts of data now swirling in marketing's domain. Someone whose ears perk up when they hear "API."

Marketing technologists help organizations apply marketing technology for strategic advantage. They help architect the technical infrastructure of modern marketing operations. They push the envelope with experimental ideas to win new customers. And, where necessary, they use the tech equivalent of duct tape and rubber bands to stitch together all the diverse pieces in marketing's digital ecosystem.


Scott Brinker at PivotCon3. Do you foresee the marketing technologist function growing in need and popularity? What skills should a marketing technologist have? 

The role is certainly growing in popularity, albeit with a wide variety of titles: marketing technologist, creative technologist, marketing developer, marketeer (marketing + engineer), growth hacker, etc. Regardless of the label, the need is clear. Marketing has moved beyond crafting images and language in print and TV -- it's now in the business of crafting digital experiences. Just as marketing relied on graphic designers and copywriters in its previous era, this new age requires a third pillar of the creative team: the technical architect.

Marketing technologists should obviously have strong technical skills, especially around web and mobile platforms. I believe that the ability to program software is important. Even if someone doesn't do a lot of pure software development in this role, having a native understanding of the dynamics of software and coding provides a grounded perspective for good technology management.

But it's not enough to just have technical chops -- it's necessary but not sufficient. A marketing technologist must combine those skills with insight and passion for marketing. They must be able to connect the dots between technical possibilities and market opportunities, collaborating with the rest of the marketing team to bring those ideas to life.


4. Should IT be part of the process of selecting marketing technology?

Since selecting marketing technology is a marketing decision more than a technology decision, the marketing team must take primary responsibility for choosing the right technologies and applying them smartly. While they can -- and should -- consult trusted advisors, which hopefully includes the CIO and the IT department, they can't turn over technology decisions wholesale to someone else without relinquishing a big piece of modern marketing leadership.

It's the 21st century, and technology is ubiquitous in the workplace. I think the old notion of the IT department as the gatekeeper for all things technology related in a company is anachronistic. IT still has an important role to play, especially in coordinating shared infrastructure technologies across an entire business. But every profession -- marketing, sales, human resources -- must directly embrace technological innovations in their own field to understand how to really leverage them. "We are the innovators we've been waiting for."


5. When purchasing marketing technology, is it better for organizations to select a software platform that does many things (for example: email marketing, website analytics, and social media), or select a solution that serves a single marketing function? Is the jack-of-all-trades really a master of none?

The concept of full-stack marketing suites is compelling -- everything in one place, all coordinated in the box. But the one-suite-to-rule-them-all strategy faces a number of challenges. The marketing technology universe is so large that for one package to try to do everything often spreads itself thinly across many features: as you say, a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. This is exacerbated by the fact that the marketing technology landscape is constantly changing and expanding rapidly, so it's easy for a suite to fall behind. Sometimes suite providers play catch up by acquiring new software start-ups, but the integration of those features back into their platform can get messy, which starts to erode the benefit of the all-in-one suite in the first place.

That being said, trying to piece everything together yourself, completely from scratch, is a lot of work.

I think one of the best strategies is a hybrid approach: choose a suite or two to be your primary systems of record, the backbone of your marketing operations. But choose suites that emphasize an open architecture, making it easy for you to share data and services with other more specialized solutions. This gives you a stable foundation, but also gives you the flexibility to adopt specialized products for key functions where you need better capabilities or greater competitive advantage. If something new comes out, really state-of-the-art, you have the freedom to leap on it.