What today's marketers can do, want to do and intend to do often doesn't match what they actually do in data-driven marketing.
In yesterday's CMSWire Webinar "How to Avoid Failing as an Always-On Marketer," Jack Lynch, vice president for data science at Razorfish, shared observations and advice based on his 20 years of experience with marketing technologies and analytics. The webinar was co-sponsored by Razorfish and Adobe.
Lynch defined always-on marketing as "data-driven, content-led experiences delivered across channels and devices in real time." Few marketers would take issue with that. But by a three-to-one margin, audience members responding to an instant poll admitted they're not strong in that area. Lynch explained why this is so important to marketers.
"When you visit me on the website, I want you to recognize the conversation we're having," he said. "And I should recognize the conversation we were having when you move to the email channel or to a paid media space."
In other words, as the customer journey moves across devices and stages of learning, there needs to be a seamless transition with the customer receiving well-targeted messages during each experience.
"When we talk about personalized experiences, it's about leveraging everything you know about a consumer," said Lynch. That data includes knowing if the visitors are existing customers, what products they purchased, when and how they made those purchases and what pages they've visited on your website." He continued:
I know what search terms you used. I know what browser you're using. I know if you're using a mobile device, a tablet or the desktop. I also can know what you've been exposed to in the media, particularly digital media. I know if you've seen a brand campaign, a retargeting campaign or if you've seen acquisition messages. I know which creatives they were. I know if you clicked on paid search. If I bring all of that together, that paints a very complete picture of you and our interactions in the past, which should lead to a very personalized experience in our next interaction."
Hits and Misses
When it all comes together, it's a beautiful thing. Lynch said Razorfish was able to generate a seven-fold improvement in results for one client by tapping into data and then delivering the right messages to prospects.
Of course, things don't always work out that well. Lynch said the digital agency tried a similar approach with another client, leveraging a database of 10 million addressable customers. Of that, the campaign only was able to reach only 1,000. While there was a three-fold increase for that one-tenth of one percent, "the inability to deliver that data back out to the channel significantly limited the effectiveness of that campaign," he said.
Razorfish has surveyed marketers to gauge their sophistication with always-on marketing and found 60 percent of them said they had the capability to deliver targeted experiences. But when the questions drilled down, the survey found less than a quarter actually had the templates, processes, ecosystems or targeting capabilities to do so.
"When you look at this as a while, the desire is there," said Lynch. "The ability to begin to define and measure what success looks like is there. But the ability to deliver, the ability to execute is what's lagging right now."
The slide above shows that most marketers are in the early stages of defining, targeting and developing proper metrics. A smaller number has the ability to recognize returning prospects or customers. And an even smaller percentage is using integrated behavioral data to segment their messages.
What's separating desire from reality comes down to five key challenges, according to Lynch: the lack of a formal roadmap that includes buy-in across the organization, gaps in technology, the inability to define customers through analytics, failure to deliver content to the proper channels and a lack of the content needed for truly personalized experiences.
On the last point, he noted "to really deliver personalized experiences, you need a lot of content." One Razorfish client has 1,000 segments. "How do you create content that's going to reach out to 1,000 segments?," Lynch asked rhetorically.
Razorfish has developed a five-point framework called PACES to help marketers accomplish their goals in digital marketing:
- Platform: "The digital marketing platform is the kernel that allows you to identify your customers and your prospects, and to reconize them in the interactions you've had across channels," he said. The platform also allows marketers to apply personalization rules and determine the next best message and the right channel.
- Analytics: This helps to define segments such as region, demographics, lifestyle and engagement.
- Channels: Channel considerations include marketing partners in networks, DSPs, social media, video and mobile. "You have to let all these partners know what message you want to deliver, because they're actually doing the final-stage delivery," he said.
- Experiences: Having the right content available is "critical," said Lynch. "This is where there's a lot of effort required."
- Strategy: This is the governance element that includes aligning an entire organization and its partners -- not just the marketing group -- to drive the digital marketing plan forward.
Evolution in Progress
While most of his presentation focused on present-day challenges, Lynch concluded on a somewhat optimistic forecast for marketers, likening today's digital marketing efforts to the early days of customer relationship management when there was a promise that technology would improve results at a lower cost.
"For those of us who went through CRM implementations, we found out there wasn't really a cost savings. There was a cost shift. I think we'll see the same sort of thing here," he said. "What happens is you'll see a reduction in the need for technical support, but you'll see an increase in the need for creative, branding and strategy support to drive these messages out."
Title image by Butsaya / Shutterstock.