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It’s Time to Be Data-Driven and Omnichannel in Marketing

The need to knock down silos to place omnichannel customers at the center of marketing strategies was a top theme at Adometry’s XCMO Summit 2013: Cross-Channel Marketing Optimization Conference. This includes both internal and external silos (and among software vendors, too, whose collective fragmentation has helped enable and sustained internal marketing silos, noted speaker Phil Mui, Acxiom’s chief product and technology officer).

“The old ways of marketing don’t work anymore,” Adometry CEO Paul Pellman said in his opening remarks. “Marketers who will win will leverage all the interactivity and data to understand what truly drives people to convert. The data is out there, and it will help us understand what that customer journey really is.”

Pellman acknowledged a need for greater data clarity, regarding both online and offline data. Offline data received plenty of attention at the conference. Winterberry Group Managing Director Jonathan Margulies, whose presentation provided some foundational context by tracing the concept of omnichannel marketing back to 1972 when Young & Rubicam launched an integrated marketing strategy called “The Whole Egg,” said television shall rise again as a major, but addressable advertising channel in the coming years.

In addition to developing a more holistic understanding of the customer journey, two other, related themes flowed though most presentations: the need for marketing to become more data-driven and more omnichannel.

Pellman noted that marketers have a “rich arsenal of tools at their disposal to create right message and guide [customers] through their journey so that they convert at a higher level.” The challenge, of course, is that the tool universe remains complex and dizzyingly dynamic thanks to some eye-popping technology and behavioral changes.

A non-marketing businessperson attending the event likely would have been staggered by the view of what’s coming down the marketing-capability funnel. Yet, many marketers are just as stunned by what it takes to keep pace at  what very much seems like an inflection point for the profession (as laid out in DMN‘s “Future Shock” article). As Pellman and several other speakers noted at the conference, most marketing functions still manage and measure their channels individually, even discreetly. Generally speaking, most marketing functions have significant progress to make.

That’s why NASCAR Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes’ presentation on his organization’s recent entry into the modern era of customer centricity and cross-channel marketing proved instructive. During the car-racing organization’s staggering growth from 1948 to 2008, it “had never been very good at using customer insights, or measuring them,” Jewkes said. “The only measurement we did was counting money.” After a comprehensive $7 million industry review and action plan, and enlisting Hewlett-Packard to build a state-of-the-art fan and media engagement center, NASCAR’s digital marketing is accelerating—demonstrating that even the most traditional and complexly structured organizations can quickly get their marketing optimization capabilities up to speed. “Our biggest frustration,” Jewkes said in reference to NASCAR’s desire to integrate social media listening with traditional-media listening, “was that we don’t move quickly enough.”

Jewkes’ candid account of NASCAR’s attempt to take its digital marketing capabilities from 0 to 160 provided a firsthand look at the marketing journey many other companies are just now revving up.

Freelance writer Eric Krell is a Spotlight contributor to dmnews.com and coauthors the monthly “Diary of a CMO

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