What Keeps Digital Publishing Execs up at Night? Conversations from the Digiday Publishers Summit, Part 1

Was it night-time skiing? Or partaking of certain vision-enhancing activities that happen to be legal in Colorado?

No! That’s not what’s keeping publishers up at night – it’s the  top business challenges that they grapple with, and that the executives attending the Digiday Publishers Summit 2015 in Vail, Colorado almost unanimously lamented:

  • Monetizing mobile
  • Fighting or friending Facebook, Google, and other platforms
  • Over-relying on advertising
  • Content is not king
  • Maximizing existing investment in technology partners

The Lyris team including myself were at the Summit listening, sharing, and learning alongside the larger numbers of digital publishing execs there. We’ll explore each of their top challenges in a five-part blog series, starting with this one:

Challenge #1: How to better monetize the mobile channel

By far the biggest challenge that came to light is how to better monetize publishers’ mobile channels (e.g. apps) since display advertising CPM fees are just one third that of the fees that publishers can charge for their regular website.

Brian Morrissey, editor-in-chief at Digiday, dubbed it, “Mobile is eating the world.” Just about every publisher listed it as one of their top two challenges.

No wonder. For most publishers, the majority of their audience has shifted to using mobile devices. So the low CPMs threaten to decimate publishers’ incomes. Yet, the call for how to get the CPMs raised remained unanswered.

How Lyris helps publishers address the challenge

Publishers, you are looking in the wrong places! Guess what is the number one activity that consumers engage in on their smartphones? It’s checking email!

Marketing Land: Email is Top Activity on Smartphones, Ahead of Web Browsing & Facebook

Publishers in-the-know take advantage of email to engage their audiences while they are on their mobile devices. These publishers drive additional advertising revenue both within the emails and on their regular, mobile-first websites when more readers click through from the emails.

Lyris recommended DOs and DONTs:

  • DO take advantage of email – the channel that marketers every year consistently rate as the top channel for driving marketing ROI, far above social media.
  • DON’T merely blast email newsletters at your audience – nobody likes to read static newsletters.
  • DO partner with your email marketing provider and request their assistance to optimize audience engagement for you with the help of best practice audience messaging programs, e.g. welcome programs, preference centers, triggered updates, retention offers, and win-back.
  • DO maximize the relevancy of messages to each individual recipient by taking advantage of automated content personalization that intelligently assembles and delivers the exact content for each recipient that he or she is most likely to engage with.



Cross posted from the Lyris Connections Blog

Digital marketing lessons learned from IBM’s annual customer conference

IBM’s Smarter Commerce Global Summit Nashville just completed May 21-23. Hundreds of speakers shared their best practices and lessons learned.

What were some of the key takeaways for digital marketers and analysts? Surprise lessons? The hot trends of the times?

I asked a few of the digital marketing thought leaders that were in attendance. Here is what they observed.

Bryan Eisenberg – Author and “Use the Data” Expert

The biggest takeaway for me was how one of the large department store customers of IBM’s has expanded their use of data and integrated analytics across the physical and digital channels. It was great to see how stores can begin to leverage the insights that the online team has and vice versa to create better experiences cross-channel for their customers.

Sameer Khan, Rackspace Senior Digital Marketing Manager and Blogger at Keywebmetrics.com

My biggest takeaway was how IBM is making cross-channel marketing a reality with its marketing solutions. It also was interesting to learn about the cutting edge digital personalization campaigns possible using Tealeaf’s revolutionary behavioral analytics. Last but not least, the transformation of marketing attribution to statistically-significant outcomes leads us one step closer to real time budgeting by knowing which efforts truly deserve credit for downstream sales.

Mike Niemann, IBM Digital Marketing Optimization, Product Management

The predominance of omni-channel as not just a buzzword but a concept that many are really beginning to embrace and tackle was something I saw again and again. Moving from the concept of multi-channel, where the emphasis was more focused on simply getting a brand’s presence extended to various new and emerging channels, toward omni-channel, where a true understanding of customer experiences across mobile devices, interaction channels, and social networks, can really begin to allow marketers to offer a consistent and personalized experience. The business goal is to get to marketing that feels like a service, i.e. is a “youtility” as keynote speaker Jay Baer put it.

Chris Hogan’s quote from Margaret Getchell (one of, if not the, first women executives in retail) from back in the late 1800′s really stands out as being totally relevant in the digital age we live in today: “Be everywhere, do everything, and never fail to astonish the customer”

Bill Bruno, CEO, Stratigent

My #1 take away from the event is that IBM is very focused on building a product suite that truly is integrated and that can provide incredible power to the marketers looking to build customized and unique experiences for their customers. If you think further about how the capabilities from IBM Watson can expand the possibilities, you’re talking about a game-changing ability to make sense of data to identify key personas/segments for optimization efforts.

Aubrey Rupp, IBM Digital Marketing Optimization, Product Management

Own the customer experience. We need to stop thinking about digital and physical as two separate things and capitalize on the magic that happens when we can combine them. We can use this knowledge to maximize the moments with customers, creating a personal experience for each customer and treat them as the unique individuals that they are.

“Sri” Viswanath Srikanth, IBM Standards and chair of the W3C Customer Experience Digital Data Community Group

My top takeaways were that enterprise marketers are continuing to look for ease of use for their solutions, best-of-breed technologies (as opposed to becoming a single vendor or single platform house), are intrigued by the possibilities around open technologies (open source/open standards), and continue to see a convergence of mobile, social, cloud and analytics worlds impacting their space.

Blair Reeves, IBM Digital Marketing Optimization, Product Marketing Management

The emphasis has shifted from channel-specific, or even context-specific, strategies to a broader view – the omni-channel view. Or, in other words, we are going “from digital marketing to customer intelligence.” I think the term “customer intelligence” really captures what we mean by both omni-channel and Smarter Commerce – connected customers engaging via channels they choose, and expecting a compelling experience.

Leah Paschall, IBM Digital Marketing Optimization, Product Marketing Management

I couldn’t say it any better than the journalists at Forbes who described the biggest challenges facing marketers in a recent article. The article is based on the recent IBM State of Marketing 2013 survey of which a sneak preview was shared with customers in Nashville.

Michelle Kiss and John Lovett, Web Analytics Demystified

And finally, this Blogger

What do all the brilliant digital marketers and analysts that I got a chance to learn about in Nashville have in common, for example Chris HoganEric HooverEwald HoppenInna DrutLisa LanganJennifer StinchcombMichael LaHueNancy FlintSameer KhanVenkata Duvvuri? When they speak, you hear the love for data in their voices. You hear the passion of turning data into better customer experiences. It reminds me of how the owner of a small corner store truly wants to take care of his or her customers and make them better off while looking out for business at the same time.


This article is cross posted from the Smarter Commerce blog.

Moneyball Meets Marketing: How the best-in-class actually use big data to increase digital marketing results

The movie Moneyball isn’t really about baseball. It’s not even about statistics. It’s about the way data can be used to challenge conventional wisdom, and its something those of us in the field of marketing metrics have known for a long time. And yet, too many businesses are missing out—for example they know that there’s a lot of buzz around big data, but instead of seizing the opportunity they ignore it.

That is to say almost all use data for creating nice dashboards by now, i.e. small data.

But many aren’t yet using the underlying big data and analytics to make the transition from one-size-fits-all marketing to behavior-based, personalized marketing programs. That is despite the fact that both marketers and customers stand to gain when interactions are more relevant, helpful, and real-time.

Why is it that many marketers aren’t yet taking advantage of big data analytics, especially in digital channels that are a natural fit, such as the web, mobile and social media? An answer to this question (and many more) is to be found in the results of the 2013 Big Data for Marketing survey from Trip Kucera, at the Aberdeen Group. Here’s what they found:

  1. There’s too much information in too many places: 35% of organizations say that integrating multiple data sources is a challenge.
  2. They don’t understand the benefits: 30% are having a hard time understanding how marketing analytics could be used in their companies.
  3. They lack the talent: 30% are having problems finding the right people with the right kind of knowledge of marketing analytics.

So what’s keeping your organization from leveraging big data in your marketing?  I’ll be taking part in a webcast featuring more results from the survey, along with Trip Kucera and Graeme Noseworthy, Big Data for Marketing, Media & Entertainment. Register for the webcast to join us and find out how the best in class in the survey incorporate data analytics into marketing programs—and how you can, too.


Announced today: IBM Marketing Center

IBM today announced the new IBM Marketing Center — an all-in-one solution that combines digital analytics data with real-time marketing execution. Marketing Center provides A/B testing, website personalization, email marketing, and more.

For more information and to download the data sheet see the product’s web page at ibm.com/marketing-solutions.

What I find most exciting here is that digital analytics and marketing are glued together in a single application: i.e. there is no room for a chasm between analytics and action anymore!

So, what is Digital Analytics then?

The WAA renamed itself to DAA (which was announced at eMetrics in San Francisco last Monday) to reflect the reality of how the profession/industry has grown since its website centric origins. That brings up the question what Digital Analytics should stand for?

No doubt,  every vendor (including me) and consultant will bellow now that digital analytics are exactly what he/she said all along that companies should be doing with analytics. And it is of course exactly what his/her/my company happens to be offering. 😎

We’ll also see the more mundane proposition that Digital Analytics is the combination of web, mobile, and social analytics and also includes VOC, benchmarking, email analytics, search analytics, performance, replay, etc.

Nothing wrong with the above.

It’s just that I think Digital Analytics has greater potential than all that.

Namely, as the digital and physical worlds are increasingly intertwined, digital analytics are becoming a key intelligence for business decisions and CRM, not just channel optimization or making page content/layout better.

For example, already in 2009 Macy’s CEO went on record saying that every dollar spent on Macys.com led to $5.77 influenced in stores within the next 10 days. This reflects the well known “research shopper” phenomenon. Since then, Smartphone ownership in the US has crossed 30% of cell phone users and 4 out of 10 have said in surveys they used their phone to get more information on items while in a store.

Likewise, 33% of retailers said in a survey that equipping their store staff with mobile POS capabilities is a key investment coming now. So both buyers and sellers are going to be even more digitally intertwined than they have been in past years.

As a result we should see that an increasing portion of data used in data warehouses, business intelligence, and CRM is digital data.

To be more specific, we are talking about behavioral data and customer , not just transactional data because the latter has been integrated some time ago already.

New cycle of continuous improvement

To bring this to the point, until here the profession of web analytics has often been identified with a continuous cycle of improvement as seen below. We set goals, measure where we stand, test/experiment with alternative content, pick the best design, rinse and repeat.

As all interactions with a business are becoming increasingly intertwined with digital, it is time to embrace the more strategic potential of digital analytics by moving to the cycle below. Here the insights are used either for business decisions or to identify the next most relevant content or product/service/promo offer for each customer based on their current interests.

For example, at emetrics Steve Petitpas from Microsoft shared their analysis that led to the decision to discontinue the Cash incentives program for Bing. Or in Eric Peterson’s whitepaper Dashboards are not a Strategy, the work of The North Face’s Mike Mayfield is described where Mike identified demand for certain products via digital behavioral data and worked with their merchandise buyers to match supply to that demand. Or Freshdirect is using analytics to identify customers’ willingness to pay for different kinds of their 4-minute meals so that they can provide the right price for the market.

Additional analytics skills

More analytical skills are needed than page and ad and conversion optimizers will have employed in our daily work. Good examples would be:

Yay, lots to do and learn.

Analytics is fun again!


Strategic Roadmap for Digital Marketing in 2011: eBook for Marketing Execs

15 authors, 15 articles. Free, yet with priceless insights.

Learn from marketing thought leaders how to engage with customers and create value for stakeholders in a complex digital world. Covers digital channels, marketing techniques, accountability and technology. Truly a must-read resource for every CMO!

One-click Download from CustomerThink.com (no registration required)

With many thanks to our producer, publisher, and my co-editor, Bob Thompson at DigitalMarketingOne.com and CustomerThink.com

And, of course, all my gratitude to our 15 authors, bloggers, consultants whose insights into digital marketing strategy make up this ebook.

Together, we set out to puzzle together the silo’d niches of digital marketing into one coherent strategic roadmap. The resulting strategy advice could maybe be summarized as follows (and I hope I am doing justice to all my co-authors):

  1. Derive digital strategy from your overall marketing mission and the role that you want digital to play in it
  2. Pay attention to the special nuances of each digital channel but also fuse the channels together into a cross-channel approach
  3. Do the opportunity with digital marketing justice by making appropriate use of its biggest strength: intelligent interactivity
  4. Consider the additional contribution that digital channels and analytics can have on your online-offline customer sales and marketing programs
  5. Get more of what you want (e.g. revenue, budget, etc.) by investing in marketing accountability and ROI optimization
  6. Derive technology strategy from your overall digital strategy



News today: IBM announced the new IBM Coremetrics Digital Marketing Optimization Suite

The following is cross-posted from the original at the IBM Unica blog.


Exciting news for our IBM Unica NetInsight OnDemand customers and really all marketers: IBM today announced the new IBM Digital Marketing Optimization Suite which accomplishes three great “coming-togethers”. Namely, the following:

1. Combines the Best of IBM Coremetrics and IBM Unica NetInsight OnDemand

Since IBM’s acquisition of Coremetrics and Unica our web analytics teams have been merged together like a deck of cards to make the best use of the combined development and best practices expertise. Our combined team now takes care of both IBM’s on demand and on-premises offerings and customers for web analytics.

And as previous competitors, it was much to my surprise that we had been very like minded in the decade leading up to this merger. Both Unica and Coremetrics had been working in parallel to make sure web analytics delivered not just reports for optimization but also provided individual customer insights for refining relevancy of marketing messages.

2. Fuses together: Customer Profiles, Analytics, and Digital Marketing Execution

The next great coming together I see for our customers in the IBM Coremetrics Digital Marketing Optimization Suite is the tight integration between LIVE Profiles, Web Analytics, and the IBM Coremetrics Digital Marketing Applications such as IBM Coremetrics LIVEmail and IBM Coremetrics Intelligent Offer. This tight integration is the secret sauce that enables our users to execute more relevant digital marketing campaigns driven by analytics. The IBM Coremetrics suite inherits this product design from the Coremetrics side where this combo had been available for years while other vendors were merely talking about it in Powerpoint presentations.

3. Adds a More Flexible and Open Data Architecture for Multichannel Analytics

Now, like D’Artagnan teaming up with the three musketeers, the new IBM Coremetrics Suite adds increased flexibility and openness to the trio of LIVE Profiles, analytics, and digital marketing applications. This is being achieved thanks to experience and technology assets coming from Unica NetInsight OnDemand. And it is a true 1+1 = 3 situation. Not only can marketers extend their analytical lens by combining online and offline insights (using the new IBM Coremetrics Multichannel Analytics add-on), but now they can also target digital marketing execution programs, e.g. through IBM Coremetrics LIVEmail, using the cross-channel picture of an individual’s interests.

The Result: Two Great Growth Paths for our Customers

All marketers have web metrics available to them. Competing on analytics requires us to be cleverer with our use of analytics than the next marketer.

Technology needs to be our “power arm” that helps get things done quickly that would be very tedious, expensive, and time consuming otherwise. The new IBM Coremetrics Digital Marketing Optimization Suite provides IBM customers with a “power arm” that helps them go beyond commodity web metrics and move towards digital analytics where discovering new opportunities with segments or individual prospects and customers means more strategic opportunities.

Our customers also have another growth path to go from analytics to digital marketing execution, and from there to integrations with their enterprise (e.g. to their Netezza data warehouse or their IBM Unica Enterprise Marketing Management system), and with the rest of their digital marketing eco-system, e.g. through the eco-systems of IBM Coremetrics LIVEmail (i.e. Email service providers), and IBM Coremetrics AdTarget (i.e. display ad networks).

Now the ball is in your court. How are you going to put all these multichannel analytics and digital marketing opportunities into the race for beating out your competition?

For Our Customers …

Existing NetInsight OnDemand and Coremetrics customers, please keep your eyes peeled for further information by email. Please register for the upcoming customer-only launch webinars. There is no requirement to move to the combined solution immediately. IBM plans on continuing support of the existing Unica NetInsight OnDemand and Coremetrics versions into the future, accompanied by the same industry leading service and support you have come to expect. IBM believes there are compelling components in the combined release that are meaningful and important to your business. In the launch webinars, you will learn about all the great business benefits that our Unica NetInsight OnDemand customers that upgrade will have available. For example, all customers can use their current and new release in parallel during their upgrade process.

For More Information …

Please keep an eye on Unica.com and Coremetrics.com as we will progressively publish more details in the next 10 days of about the new capabilities that our customers can expect. For now, see:



Fascinating New Marketing Automation Technology: Whatsnexx’s Customer State Marketing

For friends of analytics and interactive marketing, it is always a delight to find new technology vendors that take a fresh look at solving the problems in the market.

So, I was fascinated to learn about Whatsnexx’ and their paradigm for marketing automation: Customer State Marketing.

You will probably say that the idea of treating customers in different situations/states with different next best actions is common to all campaign management and marketing automation solutions.


But the degree to which Whatsnexx elevated “Customer State” to the central paradigm is unique, I believe. And, it is one of those mental images that immediately clicks!

So, I was curious to ask Jacques Spilka from Whatsnexx’  a few questions about Customer State Marketing and their approach to marketing automation.

Did Whatsnexx’ define the term Customer State Marketing?

Jacques: Customer State Marketing is a paradigm that we have coined, and our graphic interface and approach are patented. “State” is the key differentiator between what we do and what B2C MA solution providers offer.

Did you build Whatsnexx more for certain industries than others (e.g. B2B, B2C, etc)?

Jacques: No. Whatsnexx grew out of a need to tie various applications together without the need to create a centralized database first. One of the problems that we faced at Komunik, an email marketing service provider, was the need to build a synchronization bridge with the various databases that contained the data the client required to send 1-to-1 communications. Another problem was that whenever we wanted to do various trigger-based campaigns, we always had delays imposed by the I.T. department’s existing backlog. We set out to resolve both of these problems by designing an application that allows the marketer to define their rule set (e.g. when this happens then take these actions) without regards as to where the data resides, and without having to involve I.T. to codify the rules in the local or target application.

How does the paradigm extend to the next level of detail, e.g. a regular customer browses product X on the website but doesn’t purchase it. If company sells 20 different products will they have to build 20 states to do remarketing campaigns relevant to each abandoned product? (i assume not)

Jacques: The marketer defines the granularity of the program they are designing. We have one customer who allows their members to download various white papers. Each white paper can have up to 50 “topic” tags associated with it. Currently the marketer has defined two different scenarios as they are only interested in doing an upsell for two different topics. Ultimately they could define 50 scenarios, one for each topic tag. The scenarios work as follows: each time a member downloads a white paper (a download “event”) the scenario tests to see if the tags contain the upsell topic. If so then an upsell email is sent (i.e. the action) to the member. There is then a 7 day waiting period where no more emails for that specific topic are sent (i.e. the member is in a Wait state). After the 7 days are up the member is returned to a Solicitable state.

If I may, here is a more complete explanation:

A subject ecosystem can consist of multiple scenarios. Each scenario can address a different aspect of the marketing program (e.g. acquisition, retention, cross-sell…). A scenario can contain multiple states. A subject (e.g. a client) is always in one state in each scenario, though not necessarily the same state in every scenario. This allows the marketer to create the granularity they need to enact their marketing programs. You could view the scenario states as sub-states. In the example above, a member could be in a solicitable state in one scenario (e.g. Topic 1) and be in a wait state in another scenario (e.g. Topic 2).

How does Whatsnexx connect to customers’ transactions and other behavioral data?

Jacques: Whatsnexx receives events from other systems in the form of simple XML tickets that contain the attributes (i.e. data) required to run the scenario. For example, a newsletter sign-up form would provide Whatsnexx an XML ticket that contains an email, first name, and last name field. If a customer purchases an item then the XML ticket could contain the item number, the quantity and the transaction value. The only constraint on events is the ability to detect them.

The key to this approach is to identify all of the detectable events that the marketer wishes to respond to. They then have the relevant systems create an XML ticket whenever one of these events occurs, regardless of the subject’s current state. Whatsnexx receives the event and then implements the marketers rule set according to the subject’s current state in the ecosystem.

How does Whatsnexx connect to executing marketing messages? e.g. does it spit out targeting lists?

Jacques: Whatsnexx executes actions through infogates (i.e. connectors) that conform to the target system’s API. The only constraint on actions is the targets systems API. In some cases, such as sending print messages where minimum run sizes are desired, it may be preferable to accumulate the action requests in a queue that the target system picks up on a periodic basis. The same applies if the target system is behind a firewall. In that case, the action requests can be placed on an FTP server that the target system can query on a scheduled basis.

Software or cloud based?

Whatsnexx is entirely cloud-based. There are two components to Whatsnexx: Whatsnexx Studio, the design tool that you saw in the how-to videos; Whatsnexx Gateway, the execution tool that works in the cloud.

Studio is free to download and runs locally on a Windows platform. Studio can be used to brainstorm, model scenarios and define state workflows.

Gateway is available to subscribers who can publish the ecosystems they build with Studio for execution on the Microsoft Azure cloud.


For more videos from Whatsnexx, see their resources page.


Maximizing Long-term Customer Value: By Naras Eechambadi of Quaero / CSG

After three posts on insights for the considered purchases sector, it is fun now to see now how different the discussion is for customer marketing amd B2C. For that, just tune into Naras Eechambadi’s’ article which is next in our Digital Marketing One series for CMOs.

It strikes you that the discussion within B2B (lead management) is all about nurturing clients in leading up to a sale. The discussion in customer marketing is about the long term relationship across many transactions and towards increasing customer value over time.

Though both camps might consider analytics driven marketing “the central hub”.

Read Naras’ article carefully though.

I am amazed how self-evidently Naras includes the ways in which customer marketing has adapted to the 2010s in his writing.

“The first step to decide whether to increase investment in your customer marketing is to measure the value of your customer base and to understand the elements that drive the value. Value can be defined in different ways in different businesses—it could be a revenue or sales measure, a profit or contribution measure or even loyalty or advocacy.”, from Naras’ article.

Hey, Naras says, it is 2011 and no longer do we need to explain nor go on and on that advocacy via social media could influence whether a client should be considered high value to the company or not.

Naras pairs these up with other statements that he takes for granted as a seasoned customer marketer but that make just about any web analyst look like an amateur and makes web analytics software look like a toy.

“Next, segment your customers based on current value as well as potential future value.

“The best way to measure the return and to conclusively prove the effectiveness of marketing is by holding out a sample (control group) of customers […] The deviation in values over time [between test vs control group], aggregated across the entire customer base, gives you a measure of the value created by customer marketing.”

Naras is of course not just “somebody” writing about customer marketing but has deep roots in the industry. He is the General Manager of Quaero, a CSG solution. Quaero (a Unica partner of many years) delivers multi-channel marketing solutions that help companies build long-lasting customer relationships and maximize return on investment. Naras is also the author of High Performance Marketing: Bringing Method to the Madness of Marketing (Kaplan Professional Press, 25).

Check out his contribution to the article series for digital CMOs and chime in with your own comments.

Mobile Marketing: Creating a Dialogue with Customers – by Kim Dushinski (Mobile Marketing Profits)

Kim Dushinski “Mobile Marketing is not about sending unwanted text messages to people or simply offering discounts via the mobile channel. It is about creating a meaningful exchange on mobile with your customers.” – from Kim Dushinski’s article

That quote from Kim’s article in our Digital Marketing One CMO eBook series sums up the biggest challenge with the mobile channel for marketers.

Yes, there are also lots of technical questions with mobile (e.g. security, analytics, display sizes, capabilities, etc.) that “make digital marketers work harder to make sure it works on these tiny devices.”

But don’t let those technical questions obstruct what marketers most need to think about for doing their mobile channel justice.

Kim’s company Mobile Marketing Profits helps local businesses use mobile marketing to get more customers. She helps people start their own mobile marketing business and become mobile marketing entrepreneurs. She is also the author of The Mobile Marketing Handbook.

Read Kim’s article and chime in with your own questions.