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Five Minutes With: Matt Seeley, Experian Marketing Services Group president

What are your biggest opportunities & challenges for next 12-24 months?

As an industry I think we’re only beginning to realize the full potential of the data-driven economy, which is bringing about remarkable business and societal breakthroughs. 

The explosion of the Internet of Things movement is one such example, which promises to deliver many opportunities and challenges ahead.  As our physical space and everyday lives become more digitized, there’s tremendous opportunity for marketers and tech companies to take advantage of this proliferation of devices and vast amounts of data to more effectively reach the connected consumer.  

At the same time – on the challenges front – it’s now more critical than ever for marketers to have the capability to sift through large amounts of data, uncover patterns, and make better marketing decisions about how, when, and where to interact with their customers. This requires a flexible and comprehensive end-to-end marketing solution, one that enables brands to create and deliver relevant and authentic customer experiences across all channels…with the right message, at the right time.

What are some unmet needs in marketing technology landscape?

We predict this will be a big year for marketing technology. Many organizations are still undertaking multi-channel marketing programs using disparate and stand-along marketing products and services. As consumers become more connected, and the path to purchase becomes increasingly complex, marketers need to turn to technologies that more effectively automate and measure customer  interactions. This includes a nimble delivery platform (with accurate revenue attribution built-in) to execute successful marketing campaigns. 

Equally important is the right partnership to help maximize the data, consumer insights and technology tools. All these pieces working together can result in increased customer loyalty and improved return on marketing investment. We like to think we’re meeting these needs with our Experian Marketing Suite, and are excited about working with our clients on continuing to align around the customer, rather than the channel.

What keeps your clients up at night?

We recently conducted a global survey of leading marketers and found that the top three barriers to successful cross-channel marketing include; the lack of a single customer view; not having the right technology platform; and, the impairment of organizational silos.

But working with our clients, we’re approaching all three of these as opportunities for brands to evolve their entire way of doing business toward a customer-centric approach.  The key is being able to fully understand the customer and translate that knowledge into relevant and meaningful interactions. Also important is having the right technology in place to automate these interactions, measure their effectiveness, and successfully optimize every touch point.

What social network do you anticipate accelerating growth in the next year?

Social media went through a significant transformation this past year, with prolific smartphone adoption changing the industry in many ways. For example, photo-sharing apps such as Instagram and Snapchat grew in popularity, and video-based social networks such as YouTube and Vimeo are evolving into video-content delivery systems allowing for ad-supported content and the rise of influential social media personalities.

Based on our research, Facebook and Google (including YouTube and Google+) continue to dominate social-media usage.  Additionally, the biggest trend we’re seeing is growth in viral-content sites that facilitate social sharing of news, entertainment and other stories, such as BuzzFeed, Reddit, Upworthy and Dose.

What’s the hardest thing to educate clients about?

This really goes back to what I mentioned above — the importance of rallying around the customer, rather than the channel. This can be challenging for marketers, and in many cases requires breaking down departmental silos. Today’s customer expects relevant and seamless interactions, and the brands with fully-integrated marketing teams will have the competitive advantage on this front.

Additionally, the proliferation of mobile devices is requiring marketers to innovate and think differently about the impact of emerging technology and trends, including wearable technology and connected devices.

2015 will be all about:

The bulk of the world’s data has been created in the last two years. Astonishingly, on average, companies use less than 5% of the data available to them. We expect this to change in the year ahead. We’re working with numerous clients to help guide their organization’s data management strategy, putting insights into action to create improved and more meaningful customer interactions.

We also expect to see a shift in 2015 from a reliance on third-party providers, with more dependence on full-scale, end-to-end marketing platforms. Having a platform where every campaign and reporting function plays well together in real time will be a pre-requisite for brand leadership and business success in the coming year. 

Matt Seeley, Experian Marketing Services Group President, North America.

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