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.

Announcing Speakers at IBM’s 2013 USA Customer Summit, May 21-23

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:

 

 

Guiding Digital Marketing Spend: by Tom Manning, Ninah Consulting

Our mini series at Digital Marketing One on marketing performance measurement and accountability continues with a contribution by Tom Manning on management techniques.

Very noteworthy is the following take on measuring returns with new media:

“progressive marketers rely on ROI directed funding for traditional channels and media, and they rely on return on objectives (ROO) for non-traditional, “new territory” funding (ex. parity in search ad exposure)”, from Tom Manning’s article

I think what we have here is another reminder that returns in the short term aren’t always financial but can be strategic. Eventually, though the financial returns have to start shaping up (assuming a for-profit business) so that the initiative can be called successful.

 

Tom is a partner with Ninah Consulting, who specialize in quantifying and helping increase marketing effectiveness and profitable business growth. They do this with analytical rigor and by producing models that lead to actionable recommendations.

This concludes our mini series on accountability and performance measurement from following authors:

 

Should you Measure Brand Awareness?

 

“I often describe the value of brand awareness as the equivalent of half of a $100 bill. Unless you know where to find the other half, there really is no value.”, Jim Lenskold on CustomerThink

What’s the ROI on ROI Measurement? – by Jim Lenskold

Something rarely seen appears in Jim’s article on five key principles for improving marketing ROI within the Digital Marketing One series for CMOs.

Namely, an ROI calculator for ROI measurement. Click the image and see the “Measurement ROI” tab on this calculator by the Lenskold Group.

ROI calculator for ROI measurement

I have been loving how the authors in our Digital Marketing One series have packed pearls of wisdom from long years of front lines experience into tight paragraphs. Almost taking for granted the hard work that has to happen in order to follow the best practice recommendation.

Nothing comes easy.

Two gems in Jim’s article I’d like to quote. Here comes the first:

“measurements must be prioritized based on the expected improvement to effectiveness, the strategic benefit of gaining insights that can influence many marketing initiatives, and the cost.”

In other words a metrics based approach to metrics!

Here one more gem:

“Key measurements to improve digital marketing include: … Capturing incremental sales conversions and customer value to optimize the digital marketing spend. …”

Advice like this tends to be written out in long, long blog posts or entire books when us web analytics people try to write about it.

Notice the little word “incremental”. Don’t care whether you use first touch or last touch or hold out groups. But the key to useful measurement is to get to that incremental contribution. Otherwise we are just wasting time on numbers games.

Easier said than done, of course.

So Jim article’s hsa advice on five best practices.

Jim is the author of Marketing ROI and an international speaker on the topic. At his firm, Lenskold Group,  his team produces and publishes many articles and research on the topics of marketing ROI, marketing strategies and business growth strategies.

 

Marketing ROI

 

See Lenksold.com for additional free ROI measurement resources.

5 Steps for better Marketing Accountability – from Laura Patterson, VisionEdge Marketing

Marketing budgets have a chance to grow in 2011, writes Laura Patterson in her article in our Digital Marketing One series for the CMO.

But – not  to steal Laura’s punchline – but there is a catch:

Accountability!

I.e. marketers’ ability to prove the returns on the moneys spent.

So, what is meant by accountability?

Laura’s article is a great to read executive summary on that and includes 5 recommendations for getting it right.

Something that I liked especially well in her article is that Laura doesn’t equate accountability with just short term financial ROI. Instead, read how she emphasizes accountability “to the financial and strategic initiatives of the organization”.

Very well taken even if the strategic initiatives must of course in the long term also lead to financial ROI, unless we are talking about a socially oriented organization.

Laura’s article kicks of a mini series on articles about accountability in digital marketing. Her company, VisionEdge Marketing, specializes in enabling organizations to leverage data and analytics towards accountability and operations, and better marketing performance. You may have seen Laura speak at various conferences. She is also the author of three books including Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance Driven Marketing Organization (Racom, 29).


(click to see on Amazon)

See also VisionEdgeMarketing.com for free resources.

Maturity Model for Digital Marketing Strategy

It makes sense to have a maturity model as a companion to the new digital-marketing strategy framework . (See the thumbnail of the framework below.)

Digital-marketing-strategy-framework

What’s a maturity model?

Maturity models are well established today. Their purpose is to be a roadmap to marketers. You find your personal “You are Here” point on the map. Then you see what next steps you may wish to consider for further growth.

How does this model (below) relate to the framework (above)?

The framework proposed five major components for digital-marketing strategy:

  1. Setting Digital’s mission
  2. Deriving the digital strategy
  3. Deriving the interaction strategy
  4. ROI measurement and improvement
  5. Technology strategy

The job of the maturity model below is to score different levels of maturity with each of these 5 different areas.

Here is the Maturity Model

Click to expand

Maturity model for digital marketing strategy

How can we use this model?

Below are three examples of typical companies that you will find in the market place today.

1: Digital laggards

Typical laggards may look like the following spider chart when scored against the digital strategy maturity model. Usually there is no defined mission, or only a vague or basic definition for the contribution of the digital channel.

And everything goes downhill from there.

Sadly, many CPG, pharma, manufacturing, or book publishing companies find themselves in this boat. The reason is not ignorance at all. It is that these business models make it hardest to prove the contribution that their digital channel has on the business. They typically don’t sell directly, neither online nor offline.

Digital-marketing maturity model example - digital laggards

These companies will need very creative business and ROI measurement strategies to unlock their digital potential.

2: Digital leaders that lack cross-channel integration

Digital marketers can get very sophisticated within their silo without yet taking a look beyond their plates. So many web teams have grown up in isolation from the rest of marketing (or sit outside marketing alltogther) so that they slide into this one-way street.

Digital-marketing maturity model example - digital leader

Part of the reason for the online-only silos has also been that marketers have tried to avoid their IT departments at all cost. That locked them into SaaS only technologies and clicks & cookies only views of their customers.

Again, it wasn’t for ignorance. For many reasons, IT at most companies has been ill equipped to support digital marketing. So marketers that experienced this voted IT off the island and crossed to using SaaS technologies in the past 5-8 years.

3: Digital leaders including a true cross-channel view

While still the tip of the pyramid, you now increasingly enocunter digital marketers that have moved beyond the digital silo. They are typically building data warehouses that bring together customers’ online click behavior with the same customers’ offline transactions and other marketing data.

They prioritized these (not cheap) projects because they realized a true (i.e. cross-channel) view of ROI of digital strategies was necessary in order for company leadership to take the digital channel seriously. They also use this central data mart as the basis for cross-channel marketing integration, e.g. re-marketing, cross-sales, or retention marketing. 

Digital-marketing maturity model example - cross-channel leaders

Even these leaders don’t necessarily apply long term analytics yet. I am thinking of analytical methods such as Kevin Hillstrom’s Multichannel Forensics. He aims to predict longer term migrations of customers across channels or products to help companies decide where they should invest now based on that forecast.

Summary

There are many frameworks and maturity models. They each have their merrits, and their blind spots. See a few good ones below:

Take a look around and pick the models that best speak to your own business needs.

Digital-Marketing Framework (now revised and improved)

Here is a revised framework for digital marketing strategy.

Digital-marketing-strategy-framework

 

Why the revision?

This fixes a number of shortcomings in the first version that I had proposed 10 days ago.

  • For example, David Raab and Laura Patterson, members of the Founders Council of DigitalMarketingOne, caught a critical flaw in the earlier version. Namely, my placement of channels (e.g. Search, display, etc.) in the framework diagram was flawed. I placed them in specific locations of the customer lifecycle whereas they can play a role in many stages of the lifecycle.
  • Additionally, I was in round table discussions at the eConsultancy peer summit in NYC, and it was a good reminder that many companies still haven’t made explicit what mission their digital channel has, i.e. how it should be contributing to the business.

Elements of the new strategic framework for digital marketing

Informed by overall marketing strategy

First of all, before CMOs think about using this framework they still ought to start with a higher level framework such as Doug Goldstein’s briliant work at MindOfMarketing.net. That global strategy needs to be in place so that the CMO can now drill-down to define the contribution of digital within the bigger setting.

Define Digital’s mission

Job one is to define how digital is to contribute to the business and to the customer life cycle across multiple channels.

Select your overall digital strategy

Based on your digital mission your CMO can now derive the overall approach in terms of presences that you should prioritize (e.g. mobile, Facebook, website, etc.) and their related “site types” or business models, i.e.

  1. eCommerce,
  2. lead gen,
  3. customer service,
  4. content/publishing,
  5. or brand marketing.

Based on these decisions you can then derive the top five KPIs and targets that you should work towards. You can also form an initial opinion on the ad channels that suggest themselves for the audience that you wish to reach.

Interactivity

As pointed out in the last post, interactivity is what digital is really good at. So the new framework retains the prominent role for interactive marketing across the customer lifecycle. I removed the reference to channels (e.g. search, etc.) however since each channel can play a role in multiple lifecycle stages.

ROI measurement and optimization

The other strengths of digital are measurability and testing. This needs to be put to use towards continuous improvement. Using the insights marketers change their investments in the familiar cycle of continuous optimization.

Unlike the original web analytics cycle of continuous improvement however, the emphasis here is that the continuous improvement applies not just to web pages and advertising. But you want to apply it to your entire digital and interaction strategy.

Technology strategy and selection

Finally, your use of digital marketing technology should of course be determined by the digital and interactive marketing strategies that you are going after.