For this week’s class, we read From Informaton To Audiences: The Emerging Marketing Data Use Cases, a Winterberry Group White Paper that surveyed marketers to see how they are “commonly deploying multichannel data to improve advertising and marketing effectiveness and efficiency.” By targeting four specific focuses, the Winterberry Group found not only a trends in the marketers they surveyed, but in U.S. marketing in general.
While advertising and marketing still attempt to increase sales, the avenues have changed dramatically as businesses comb the “digital ecosystem” for information. The four focuses are as follows:
- Audience Optimization — The case study featured in this section is one that I am very familiar with, and, in fact, is one that my husband was pushing as my research project. Catalina Marketing was a client of his when he was a business consultant with Arthur Anderson several years ago. They were one of the first to pilot the point-of-purchase coupons programs. Now evolving, they continue to track in-store purchases with online and offline sales data, which has generated up to 20 times the redemption rate of other coupon programs. They’ve effectively used their data to increase conversion.
- Channel Optimization — CO is geared toward using data to engage existing audiences at a richer level. Yes, blanketing the market with social media is nice, but drawing and keeping the audience on your website is a much more valuable in getting your message across.
- Advertising Yield Optimization — I can speak from experience on this one. The business my husband and I own, ForeverLawn of Tampa Bay, occasionally advertises in home product magazines. Our greatest concentration of clients currently are located in South Tampa, a predominantly wealthy area (our synthetic grass projects tend to be pricey). Firsthand, we have seen the rise in magazines specializing in high-end products. Circulation for these publications have increased (which is good for them) and response to the featured products has increased due to the targeted audience (which is good for us).
- Targeted Media Buying — Marketers are able to identify, “purchase” and target hig-value customers across channels, in rapid time frames.
Because the “ecosystem” is still so new and the depth of data still undetermined, there are some challenges to be met. Now, ad sales reps are going to need to be tech and media savvy in addition to skilled in sales techniques. Marketing data governance is going to become a priority in determining the “rules of the road”, especially in educating customers.
Data transparency is a critical component of the solution. Industry executives agree that consumers need to understand how their data is being used before they will begin to trust brand use of that data. The preferred response for most marketers is to allow consumers to opt out of some data use practices.
The new digital ecosystem is going to shift from solely focusing on broad advertising to drive the bottom line, to controlling the advertising and marketing process funnel from branding to conversion.
All of this information brings to mind several questions: To what extent will all businesses – large and small – be required to increase their tech and media savvy-ness in order to compete for customers’ attentions? Will small business owners lose out? What makes a good salesman now?