To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the demise of the live event have been greatly exaggerated. There are more conferences than ever, and for good reason: All that meaty content—from speakers and attendees alike—gets you thinking; it inspires you to test something new or rethink your current approaches.
Over the past few months I’ve attended our own Marketing&Tech Partnership Summit, the MeritDirect 2013 CO-OP, eTail, Responsys Interact, Integrated Marketing Week, and more. I’ve shared insights from them all, but not all the juicy bits had fit in. Here, thoughts from across those conferences to ponder, inspire you, and make you think twice about whether there’s something new you should be trying.
The most important thing about email marketing is customers’ email addresses, which is PII data—it links to customers’ names, addresses, etc., and is also a bridge to customers’ online data. So email will not go away; it will grow in importance. Businesses need to get customers’ email addresses to bring together that online and offline data, and as a result, get the customer conversations going. It’s the bridge to omnichannel marketing success.
–Bruce Biegel, senior managing director, Winterberry Group
If you can’t retain customers, you’re deadline the water. You need to make it easy for customers to shop with you in any channel they prefer. One way to do so: Use analytics to predict the next logical purchase and then make that recommendation; it’s a way to surprise and delight customers. Inbound is there to expedite orders and make it effortless for the customers so they can get on with their day.
–Tom Slavin, director of data integrity, print marketing, customer insight, Staples
We realize the value of data and digital body language, but yet don’t have the infrastructure to harness it all. But we do use data to analyze the “next logical product” and then the sales team uses it for sales calls. We’re going to test this approach with direct mail and email, as well. In terms of testing, we’re using fax for first time since 2003 and it’s like having a license to print money.
–Robert Cameron, director of corporate marketing, New Pig
Mobile is the catalyst that will bring digital and tradition marketing together through messaging, browsing, downloading, and calling. According to Deloitte, mobile influence will reach 17% to 21% of all commerce over the next four years. Currently, 38% of customers read email first on a smartphone—and will delete a message within 30 seconds if they can’t read it there. Oh, and Google will hammer you in SEO if your site isn’t optimized for mobile.
–Michael Becker, marketing development & strategic advisor for North America, Somo
Digital disruption is better, stronger, and faster than ever: Innovation can happen in moments or days instead of months or years. You have to keep in mind when innovating in your business. Consider: Retailers such as Nordstrom, Walmart, and Target now have innovation labs. Marketing innovation, however, is getting harder and can be complex due to digital disruption, being always connected, the evolving customer lifecycle (the purchase funnel has been blown up), the need to get actionable data from the glut of Big Data, customer experience (what should it look like), and ever-changing customer behavior accelerated by mobile technology. The path to success in this environment is through cultural change in your organization. Do you have the right talent for innovation? You need to hire digital practitioners who are great communicators. And then set an audacious goal for your organization. And remember: Innovation can come from anywhere in your organization, and often swells from the ground up.
–Bert DuMars, VP and principal analyst, Forrester Research
There’s analytics chaos right now. Most analyses are incomplete. Marketers usually analyze activity and results by channel, but customers are multichannel, so analysis should be, as well. Often analysis is focused on tactical and operation insights versus having strategic value. They’re also often dominated by behavioral data, so they’re not predictive enough. The best approach is behavioral data plus attitudinal analytics like customer feedback plus voice-of-the-customer measures.
–Eric Feinberg, senior director of mobile, media, and entertainment, Foresee
My approach is about to ask a question. You have those who are going to actively seek out your brand to solve their problem. They’ll tell you about themselves to help solve their problems, you need to listen and learn. We record that and then get permission and engagement. I call it breadcrumbs. Learn more about the customer, like why they want to learn a language: travel, work, history with that culture, moving there. And once we ask why, we can focus the messaging there.
–T.J. Hunter, senior database marketing manager, Rosetta Stone
Today, instead of marketing to similarities, we can market to differences. But most marketers still cling to blast campaigns. Smart marketers focus on digital and addressable; they personalize for each consumer each time. This is the relationship era; the personalized experiences of the past at mass scale. Customers expect both personalization and choice/value. Why? It’s here. Consider Amazon. It offers scale, choice, value, and deep relationships. It’s good for the customer and good for Amazon. Companies like Amazon now are delivering on personalized promises made 10 years ago.
–Scott Olrich, president, marketing and platform, Responsys
“No matter how assiduous you marketing you don’t get to dictate your image, customers do that for you.”
–Bob Garfield, author, Can’t Buy Me Like
Our customer is bombarded with information; not just by brands, but by channels: ads, PR, events, brochures, etc. So you can’t treat social as a silo. At American Airlines, social is connected to 29 business units behind the scenes so we can get feedback to the point of delivery, whether food and beverage, reservations, etc. Also, you need to realize that social is personal. A brand has to share content that will connect with customers to stand out. You need to tell a deeper, more authentic story to do so. Give the in-depth character behind the brand. The role of social in the enterprise may include customer service, reputation management, HR, branding, marketing and PR, even SEO. But customers see one brand. Your social presence is your brand character.
–Jonathan Pierce, director, social media communications, American Airlines