Marketing Technology

The App Argument – The One Thing You Can’t Afford to Leave Out of Your Marketing Strategy This Year

by

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 1.26.02 PM

Assuming recent trends continue, by 2019 we should expect to see nearly 75% of digital ad spending spent on mobile. Why? While it’s more complex than just a few statistics, the following make a strong case. In 2015, marketers began to wise up to the fact that people are spending more time on mobile phones than on their laptops/desktops. So, they matched eyeballs for marketing dollars, and, they did this even though mobile conversions are still lower than other devices.

 

So -  in essence, this is a cautionary tale.

 

Here are some statistics to demonstrate why you need to pay attention to this trend right now.

If you haven’t already, you need to start (read: continue - because at this rate of change, it will be hard to play catch up) optimizing your marketing plan for mobile.

In 2014, a report by KPCB showed that marketers were not spending ad dollars relative to the amount of time spent on mobile. In other words  - mobile phones (tied for second place with the internet/desktop), were where people spent most of their screen time (mobile has since surpassed internet/desktop). And yet, advertisers were not spending money to market there.
Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 9.30.55 AM

It is important not to overlook this very important fact. That this surge of mobile activity could be largely in part due to the fact that 86% of time spent on mobile - is time spent in mobile apps.

Enter 2015 - looks like a very different story. According to a 2015 study by eMarketer, marketers got the hint. The percentage of digital mobile as spending skyrocketed to 49%, nearly mirroring people’s behaviors. The study also made some future projections - that by 2019 nearly 75% of ad budgets will be spent on mobile.

So - these marketers are running after the trend, reactively marketing and playing catch up with buyers behavioral changes. Still, I’d say they caught up pretty quickly.

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 10.41.19 AM

 

So if everyone’s doing it, should you be?

 

Here is one big reason you don’t need to sound the alarm right away.

One, conversions rates on mobile devices are still relatively lower than on desktop and tablets. According to this 2014 Q4 report from monetate desktop, tablets, and Kindle Fire conversions outpace others at about 3% while smartphones and iphones converted at .8% and .85% respectively.

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 11.25.42 AM

Here monetate updated this data showing conversion rates by platform further into the future, through Q3 2015. It looks like, while iPhone conversions are still converting a lower rates, conversion rates across desktop, tablets and iphones are coming closer and closer together.

 

(Interesting aside to note iphone conversions increasing at a much faster rate than other smartphones - something to keep in mind when digging deeper into your mobile plan)
Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 5.52.07 PM

 

So - what have we learned?

 

People are spending more and more time on mobile (duh!), marketers are catching up and spending money to get these people’s attention, but conversion rates on mobile still have a little catching up to do.

Conversion rates on tablets, desktop and mobile are trending to cross paths. Trends point to conversions on mobile behaving in the same way most mobile trends have gone … up.

Importantly -  of all the time spent on mobile devices, most of this time is spent in mobile applications. So, if you’re poised to do just one thing this quarter (or year, if you’re a small business with limited budget) in regards to your mobile plans - focus on the app. 

If you don’t have the in house resources, check out this post on the 16 best app tools to make your own app - without a bit of code!

 

 


Someone please tell me the difference between retargeting and remarketing already!?

by

Do you know? If you’re reading this, chances are you’re not sure. While the jury seems to still be out, here is the latest consensus.

Retargeting and remarketing focus on totally different prospects.

Remarketing focuses on people who are incredibly motivated. These people have either added something to their cart, or done something else to express clearly they are interested in buying your product. They’ve made it way down a buying funnel, and fell off somewhere near the end of the buying process. Remarketing efforts take the form of e-mails, and focus on finding out why the person fell off, what else the provider can do or what other information they can offer, to help nudge the individual in the direction of completing their purchase.

According to a survey done by AgilOne on, dedicated to finding out which kinds of marketing initiatives people appreciated most, e-mail came out on top. And, of the e-mail messages, the most well received were 1) an alert to when a product was on sale 2) VIP customer appreciation emails and 3) cart abandonment email reminders. So, if you are considering adding, or testing, to your email strategy, consider framing some new messages to align with one of the above three categories.

Retargeting (read: ad stalking) on the other hand focuses on people who are slightly or moderately interested. We call them slightly or moderately interested because they’ve visited your site, but have not taken any other actions to express their interest in actually purchasing anything. Retargeting efforts focus on keeping your brand top of mind, to help remind people that they visited your site, and that you’re still there. This happens, mainly, in the form of ads served to the visitor. The hope is that, once they’re ready to buy, you’ll be top of mind.

stalking3_zpsc7af660d

So  - pro’s of retargeting? Since this is done via a third party like AdBrite, AdRoll and Google google display network, you can set it and forget it. You can reach people anywhere they happen to go on the world wide web. According to an InkSkin Media recent survey of 1600 adults, 53% find online ads useful. That number goes up to 60% when you look at a slightly younger population (ages 20-29) .

Cons? Data shows that consumers will get annoyed by you, especially if the ads are on a site completely unrelated to their search. Rule of thumb, after about the 3rd or 4th, you’ll have more people feeling annoyed, than helped, by your ad.

 

 


5 Digital Trends That Will Define 2016

by

1) High Customer Expectations Will Just Keep Getting Higher

Personalization, targeting, retargeting and seamless e-commerce experiences will be exponentially more important in 2016. An average customer experience will no longer fly. The ‘new normal’ in customer experience will trend towards tailoring the experience to each person’s behaviors, interest,  and on, and even off-line, activities. Companies must think about specific customer journeys, personalities and interests of their varied customers. They must seek out the appropriate tools to execute on those initiatives, and empower their employees to work together to bring the experience to life.

 

2) Powerful Tools (Read Data) For All:

Integrative software that felt out of reach for many small businesses will become more affordable. The market has become more saturated with copy cat, yet powerful, tools across numerous parts of any business making them more accessible.

Close-up of a modern business team using tablet computer to work with financial data

3) Data, Data, and More Data

With powerful, data driven software accessible to more companies, marketers will begin to focus on the data. You'll see marketers leaning heavily on metrics to help inform strategies and priorities.

 

4) Be Prepared to Spend More

While online ads are still relatively cheap, the increase in competition in the digital world should increase the cost of advertising quite a bit. Small companies with already limited budgets may find themselves struggling to make any sum of money go the distance when it comes to paid advertising.

 

5) Work With Siri, Not Against Her

Search Engine Optimization is going to change dramatically. This is in part due to social media beginning to be indexed by Google (aka your social presence will affect search results). This is also in part thanks to our favorite mobile friend Siri and her counterparts. Siri, the google app, etc., are now woven into our technology of choice - our phone. Now that mobile browsing has surpassed desktop, and these technologies have become less clunky, people will begin trending their way to find what they need. To ensure you don’t get left out of the mix, make sure you’re serving these bots with the information to find you.

 

Meet the real woman behind the voice of Siri 

 

 


Top 10 Digital Marketing Trends For 2016

by

 

Tis’ the season for lists! Christmas lists, lengthy grocery lists for holiday gatherings, itineraries for holiday travel. If you’re a marketer, surely you’re poised for the onslaught of ‘2016 trends to watch,’ lists, popping up all over our favorite blogs, periodicals, and websites; Top digital marketing trends to watch in 2016, 5 Marketing tactics that will make or break your company in 2016, 7 Digital marketing tactics you need to master in 2016. So, to ease your burden, we’ve read most of them for you - and prepared a snap-shot of the most popular from the list of lists. Here are the Top 10 digital trends and tactics to plan for in 2016.

 

1) Social Media - From Ugly Duckling to Swan

With a number of alliances between Google and big social media players (read: Facebook and Twitter) it’s no wonder marketers are starting to head the social call. The product of these marriages will increase the importance of a company's social media presence. Bloomberg was quoted saying, “[tweets] will start to be visible in Google’s search results as soon as they are posted.” It doesn’t seem likely that Google will slow down forging more partnerships with leading social platforms. The result? Allowing social results to influence search engine results!

Next, if you haven’t experienced the upgraded targeting ad features on Facebook, take the time to get acquainted now. The retargeting and integrations within Facebook Ad’s manager are powerful data driven features that have marketers excited. Serve ads based on retargeting, custom lists, actions, behaviors, page visits ... the list goes on.

Lastly, social media has become one of the number one place customers go to thank (or complain). The highly transparent and public nature of social media makes users feel like they’ve ‘cut to the front of the line’. If you’re not hearing their complaints (or accolades) and acting accordingly, you can be certain other people are.

So what should you do? Tweet. Be active, transparent, human and timely across social channels. Allow people to know what you’re up to - build brand trust and intrigue. Invest in your Facebook content and strategies, and get social listening tools so your customer service team can be a part of (and control of) the ‘social goings on’ of your company.

Recommended class: Using Social Media to Create Engagement by Kevin Popovic - Founder of Ideahaus

 

2) Now You See It, Now You Don’t - The Rise of Ephemeral Marketing

Sometimes termed ‘temporary social media’ - Snapchat is leading the way in ephemeral marketing. Snapchat is useful for generating excitement around a new product or feature, or driving specific marketing actions, such as promos or discounts. Many companies (Food Network, Vice, BuzzFeed, Mashable, Cosmo, ESPN, to name a few) are capitalizing on the younger generation, aka millennials, who flock to Snapchat where they can consume content that feels ‘straight to the point’ and, where they can access ‘limited access content’, that is content with an expiration date - read as: exclusive.

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 4.24.30 PM

 

Recommended class: Trending Social Apps: Pinterest, Vine and Snapchat  by Kelsey Jones owner of MoxieDot

 

3) Content Remains King

Think content is only used to strengthen SERs? While that is absolutely one of the key reasons you should be creating regular, original, relevant, brand enhancing and engaging quality content, check out these statistics that tell a compelling story about the other important roles content plays.

  • 90% of customers find custom content useful while 78% believe that companies with custom content are interested in building positive relationships
  • Content marketing costs less than traditional marketing, 62% less per lead, to be exact

Content builds brand trust and loyalty, and helps define you as an expert in your field. If you don’t yet have brand advocates upping your credibility, you’ll have to be the one to do that - and one of the best ways you can accomplish this is with content. In 2016, if you don’t have the budget or resources to create a robust brand advocacy strategy, think about getting influencers on board to help tell your story. It comes down to this, if you’re not doing it, your competitors are, and as content and consumption becomes a larger part of the buyer's journey, if you’re not making noise with your content, you’re getting drowned out by the noise of others.

Recommended class: Content Marketing for Social Media by Neal Schaffer, Founder of Maximize Social Business

 

4) Location Based Marketing Technology

Location based marketing is particularly important if your company regularly hosts events. Through the use of fancy tech (Radio Frequency Identification - RFID) marketers can utilize wearables, applications, or even cards with a unique RFID identifier, to amplify social sharing by creating a seamless and integrated consumption and sharing experience.

Although a lot of the freshest and coolest location based marketing is geared towards events, location based marketing isn’t just for event marketers. Other location based services and technologies have been created to locate nearby devices that can detect prospects at the time of engagement with a particular product or retail establishment.

 

Minority Report? Anyone?

 

5) Relationship Marketing

This boils down to creating loyalists (brand advocates) instead of focusing on quick, short-term sales and aquisition. The focus is on long lasting customer relationships. Those companies that do this well are the envy of many, having created an ecosystem where customers are creating brand awareness that feels organic, authentic and credible.

Coca-Cola kills it when it comes to relationship marketing. This is one of my favorites (of hundreds) of relationship campaigns they’ve run all over the world.

Coca-Cola caps as currency - genius. Not to mention, this one’s a real tear jerker.

Recommended class: Improve Relationship Marketing Using Social Media by Brian Basilico, owner of B2B Interactive Marketing, Inc.  

 

6) Marketing Automation

Marketing automation has become increasingly necessary as more and more companies are understanding the importance of content and leveraging content as a leading tactic for led gen. Automation tools make it easier to manage everything from blogging to the customer/prospect lifecycle. Curious about what tools are out there? Check out this list of The Top 50 Marketing Automation Tools and Apps.

Recommended Class: Marketing Automation Best Practices for Success by Carlos Hidalgo


7) Virtual Reality

Virtual reality will emerge, and has the potential to change the way we tell stories. Obviously we expect 3D to take off first in the game industry, however, the benefits this tech add to the customer journey are intriguing. Imagine taking your next car out for a test drive or taking a tour of a potential vacation home, without leaving the comfort of your own living room? As personalization continues to be top priority, savvy marketers will find ways to bring their products and stories to life. Whether this will be a massive game changer remains to be seen, but with billions of dollars of funding around, it surely will be entertaining to watch it all unfold.

 

8) Wearables and the Internet of Things

What has felt like a slow and steady burn for wearable tech popularity in 2015, will likely continue into 2016. What this means for marketers is even more opportunity for targeted marketing, data and behavior driven marketing. It also means you may be making marketing choices based on the day-to-day behaviors of your potential consumers. Wearables will also change the way people share content, so the whole social landscape will shift accordingly, plus more wearable tech means less dependence on RFID’s or ibeacons for geo-location marketing efforts.

 

9) Video or Bust

Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google? The number of searches on YouTube tops Bing, Y!, Ask.com, and AOL combined. YouTube also boasts an audience reach of more US adults ages 18-34 than any other cable network. Makes you squirm a little thinking about all the search you’re missing out on - doesn’t it? Live streaming takes video to a new level entirely. With ephemeral marketing gaining popularity, anyone with a smartphone can capture ‘exclusive’ content. In 2016 make sure you’re exploring snapchat, periscope, and Facebook and seeing where you can incorporate live streaming into your marketing strategies as well as planning for a YouTube presence if you don’t already have one. Check out this article for examples of these 8 brands live stream video for innovative marketing.

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 4.09.50 PM

10) Optimized for Mobile

At this point, mobile and responsive websites should be a no brainer. For the past few years, we’ve been sprinting towards mobile dominating desktop, and we’ve passed it. Mobile has officially passed desktop browsing. What does this mean for you? In 2016, a mobile-optimized site will be an acceptable placeholder for an app, but not for long. An app can (read: should) do everything your website can do, just in a more accessible, intuitive and convenient way. Not to mention, an app is both touch screen (read: less barriers to clicks) and is a advertisement/reminder of your product that goes with your user everywhere they go. Talk about location based marketing 😉 2016 is the year to create a plan and market strategy for your app, get familiar with the latest app indexing best practices, and get an app to market, that for all intents and purposes, could replace your website.

 

Which trends and strategies do you think will dominate 2016? We’d love to hear from you. Don’t forget to share!

 

Happy Holidays!

 

 


Excuse Me, Your Data is Showing

by

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

by

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

by

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

by

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.