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Data & Analytics

Marketers react to Gartner finding: Martech spending now exceeds staff costs



Marketers are now spending more on marketing technology than on salaries for internal staff.

That’s a key finding in the recent Gartner CMO Spend Survey 2018-2019, which surveyed UK- and U.S.-based senior marketing executives.

Marketers spent 29 percent of their budgets (not including media spend or agency fees) on martech last year, while allocating 24 percent of their resources to paying staff. In 2017, the percentages stood at 22 and 27 percent, respectively.

‘No surprise’

The main beneficiaries of this spending were digital analytics, content management and email marketing tools, making martech what Gartner called the “single largest area of investment when it comes to marketing resources and programs.” The top three marketing capabilities cited in the survey were marketing/customer analytics, marketing technology acquisition and use, and customer experience.

“Marketing leads are focused on building their analytics and martech capabilities because they’re the muscle groups that need the most development,” HubSpot VP and MarTech Conference program chair Scott Brinker posted about the report. But, he added, the whole purpose of this development is to move toward the objectives of customer acquisition and retention.

“It’s no surprise,” Acquia CMO Lynne Capozzi told me via email. She noted that a study by her company, which serves companies using open source content management software Drupal, found that 62 percent of global marketers plan to spend more on martech over the next 12 months, in part to simplify the current complexity of connecting systems and data to deliver good customer experiences.

‘Tremendous race to understand data’

Phil Ahad, EVP of Strategy and Products at online survey provider Toluna, said that enterprises — such as those favored in the Gartner report — have “a lot more room to reduce costs” of staff salaries through marketing technology than do smaller companies, which are leaner.

“I’m not at all surprised” at the Gartner finding, David Frankel, managing partner of sales and marketing consultancy Slingstone Group, told me. He’s the former CMO of financial data firm Edgar Online and of alternative lending company Tapify.

Both from his personal experience and from observing the marketplace, he said, it’s clear there’s a “tremendous race to understand the data around customer experience.”

In 2011 and 2012, he said, marketers started talking about Big Data, but efforts were mostly focused on harnessing and structuring it.

“People didn’t fully understand what you could do with the data,” he added, noting that we’ve since begun to focus on using data to support customer experience through the targeting of individuals with messages, best offers and streamlined processes.

‘A game of catch up’

Now, there is a greater understanding among marketers that they need analytical and implementation tools to improve experience through a better understanding of customer data, he said.

“It’s a game of catch up” based around data, he added.

Frankel said that he didn’t believe this increased spending on martech will fall off over the next year. “We’re seeing a new status quo,” he said, especially since AI needs a growing infrastructure to capture, clean, manage and feed quality data, and since SaaS services involve ongoing subscriptions.

Bayer VP of Media Strategy and Platforms Josh Palau agreed that this emphasis on martech spending “is probably where the industry is going,” in large part because many marketing services are purchased in the cloud, through software as a service offerings.

In his previous stint at Johnson & Johnson, he recalled, obtaining a social listening service subscription added a substantial capacity that required very little commitment in terms of internal staffing. Palau said “maybe two people” were involved in using the subscription at the brand.

Much of his internal staff these days is focused on strategy and management, he noted, since cloud-based services are used to meet needs that once would have required significant internal personnel. Even though Bayer is working to bring all digital media in house, he said, there will still be an ongoing need for the outside cloud-based services.

“It’s a lot easier to change platforms than to change staff,” he pointed out.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today. For more on marketing technology, click here.

The post Marketers react to Gartner finding: Martech spending now exceeds staff costs appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Data & Analytics

When it comes to customer analytics, you need to be all-in



One would be hard-pressed to find anyone in a company that didn’t believe that customers are critical to success. But at the same time, you might find that the same customer-focused people don’t really know much about their own customers in the first place, or that their understanding is limited to their specific domain. In a data-rich world, this lack of holistic insight is not only unforgivable – it’s unprofitable.

Go big or go home

McKinsey published a study a few years ago looking at the value of customer analytics. At the time, they raised concern around the fact that the perceived value of customer analytics was “declining, rather than growing.” Paradoxically, companies that relied heavily on customer analytics were twice as likely to perform better when measured on metrics ranging from profit and sales to ROI.

The catch? It was the heavy users of customer analytics, those that deployed tools extensively through their organization that reaped the benefits. Just dabbling in the analytics or deploying tools to a few departments was akin to not even trying. It seems that there is a minimum threshold, or perhaps critical mass before the effect of customer analytics can be felt. Also, the research discovered that having tools alone was not enough. A data-driven culture that can incorporate these insights is necessary to benefit from analytics in the first place.

What does fully-committed really mean?

Obviously, companies work hard to ensure that their departments have the customer information they need to do their job. For example, a customer service rep is taught to deal with irate customers who have issues with their products. Marketers build up customer models often populated by tracking and monitoring web activity in the hope of uncovering purchase intent. And so on.

There is a subtle problem here. In the same way that companies can’t just dabble in customer analytics, they also can’t afford to create isolated pockets of customer analytics within each department. For starters, each team will be limited by the customer data that it collects. Even the advanced data analytics capabilities of modern marketing tools are effectively limited to web data that they can collect from potential customers interacting with blogs, advertisements and emails.

To truly develop a holistic customer model, companies must integrate many different data sources. A richer model should at a minimum include data the following sources:

  • Sales (CRM)
  • Billing
  • Finance
  • Marketing (social, blogs, campaigns, etc.)
  • Customer support
  • Operations

By separating customers into fully distinct groups that rely on multi-dimensional considerations, a company can define unique strategies to target these customers. For example, it makes sense to go after high-revenue customers. Layering in profitability might split these high-revenue customers into high-profitability and low-profitability groups. Layering in sales funnel data to the high-revenue / high-profitability group might further expose customers that take a long time to close vs. those that close within weeks. And so on… The point here is that the addition of a new data source from each department leads to a much more useful understanding of the customer that can in turn be deployed across all teams. This is the essence of being fully-committed to customer analytics.

What next?

To really benefit from customer analytics, first develop a holistic model of your customer that integrates data from as many sources as possible. But insight alone is not enough. Each department within your company must be willing and capable to act on this insight. This involves leadership in incubating and maintaining a data-driven culture. It also involves efforts to ensure that you have appropriate data infrastructure in place to get insights to your employees when they need it.

It’s not easy – without a full commitment to customer analytics you risk wasted effort. But the rewards are worth it.

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Data & Analytics

Mind the GDPR Generational Gap!




A new study by data specialists Wilmington Millennium reveals that Millennials and Generation Z are the most empowered age groups when it comes to protecting their personal information. Sixteen to thirty-four year olds are the most likely to act on the powers afforded to them by GDPR.

Almost half (48 per cent) of Generation Y and Z have taken some action since GDPR was introduced last May, including requesting their personal information is deleted by an organisation, finding out what personal data is held on them by an organisation or contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to make a complaint. By comparison only a quarter of Generation X and a third of Boomers have taken similar steps.

Millennials are most likely to ask for their information to be deleted, with one in three saying that they have already done this. This rises to one in five for the rest of the population. Generation Z are the most likely to both request a data audit (15 per cent compared to an average of nine per cent) and complain to the ICO with 18 per cent saying they had contacted the Information Commissioner to register a data breach or data processing concern. This compares to just 7.5 per cent for the remainder of the population.

Boomers were the least likely to take any action with only one per cent saying that post GDPR they had contacted the ICO, three per cent claiming that they had contacted a business to find out what information is held on them and 15 per cent requesting that their information was removed from a marketing database.

Comments Karen Pritchard, Director, Wilmington Millennium:

“It is interesting that it is the younger generations that are actively protecting their personal information, rather than the older age groups who have been campaigning for greater control over their data rights for years. The discrepancy between the ages groups is significant – for instance 18 per cent of Generation X versus one per cent of Boomers making a complaint to the ICO. Despite this, it shows that GDPR is having a positive impact with consumers becoming increasingly data savvy. This is a good thing as our research shows that the majority of people now believe that marketing communications are better than they were prior to the 25thMay 2018.”

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Data & Analytics

Here’s why a disciplined story is so vital to digital transformation success



You must feed digital transformation or it dies. Once you’ve gone through the Herculean work of integrating the tech stack, designing and developing great new experiences, and shifting the processes and culture of the organization, it’s time to make that sleek new high-performance machine move as the salesperson promised.

So, you’ve got to fuel it, and that fuel is content. After all, how do you create a continuum of experience across all customer touchpoints without the content to fill that continuum? Where do you get the data to create a detailed picture of your customer if not through the content they access (or the content they ignore)? How do you maintain relevancy in the two most important digital channels, search and social, without content?

A digitally transformed organization is a content organization. With that much content, telling a disciplined story that is clear and consistent is more important than ever because the alternative is a big, blatant mess of a brand and an incomplete pool of data.

Your story moves at the speed of digital

Keeping a story accurate and consistent across a sales force and an ever-growing array of marketing channels has always been difficult. But digital transformation drastically changes the scale of both delivery and consumption.

Now, your story is going out; not just at the rhythm of a campaign, but continually across your marketing channels. Your social feeds are voracious, thought leadership constantly sought after in complex and changing industries, and you’re launching new experiences to stay competitive. And just as fast as it’s being delivered, it’s being consumed. To be top of mind with a customer is to be on top of your content game.

As your story goes out across all those channels at velocity, it’s also going out in numerous forms, from the few characters of a tweet to the pervasive language of an interface (yes, even your interface is telling a story) to the conversational interaction of your talking head videos. You need to ensure that your story not only can be adapted to those forms but that it is being done so appropriately all the time.

Finally, while your story is everywhere and moving at the speed of digital, so is everybody else’s. Your story needs to cut across the cacophony of competitor noise and the general digital deluge of information and experiences that your clients always face. That takes the continual distribution of an exactingly created, consistent story.

Your story is getting personal

Not only is the story spreading across more channels faster and more often, that story will probably have multiple versions. Digitally transformed companies are now set up to deliver and capitalize on personalized content, so a story needs to be more than just broadly relevant to a market and a field. It needs to speak directly to an audience segment and, more often than not, to a specific individual.

And even though these individuals and segments often differ in their challenges and how your organization can solve these problems for them, those messages cannot be at odds with each other. Those messages all need to serve the same brand with those individuals and segments being characters in a bigger, unified story. Otherwise, there will be confusion about your goals and priorities both externally in the market and internally in your organization.

Your story is speaking for itself

Today, your customer is steps ahead of your sales force. They’ve Googled your company, they’ve checked your website, they’ve read your social media feeds, they’ve reached out to colleagues across their social networks.

They’re halfway through the book before your sales representative even has a chance to set up the story with them face-to-face.

Your story is going to be self-driven, so wherever it appears, it needs to be simple and clear, regardless of the complexity of your solution, the complexity of your organization, and the complexity of your market. Even as your story gets more complex internally, as it versions for different audiences and different media, the outcome of that story, the part that your audience sees and interacts with, still needs to be simple and clear.

Your story changes based on the data

You should be telling your story over and over and over until your audience is so familiar with it, they can pitch it back at you. However, there is one important exception: if your story isn’t working. The most disciplined, consistent, and clear story might be inherently flawed. It happens. Erroneous assumptions, bad generalizations, a misunderstanding of the customer challenges, a misreading of the data, a misprediction of the trends — all of that can innocently make it into a story.

But the beauty of storytelling for a digitally transformed organization is that you’re going to know relatively quickly if it’s not resonating. It’s the same principle of a digitally transformed company quickly launching and adapting a product. That’s because you have a complete picture of your customer from data aggregation across channels.

In the past, you had the digital metrics to know that your white paper wasn’t being downloaded. You also know what your audience is searching for on Google thanks to AdWords and what they’re saying on social and through their content engines. But now those feeds are connected. The fundamental mandate of story writing is to know your audience. Digital transformation means you know more than analytics. You know the human beings behind those analytics.

And when you see that your story isn’t resonating and, more importantly, why it’s not resonating, you can change it. However, if even your erroneous story is not disciplined and clear, changing that story will be hard to do. Rebuilding a house on a badly built foundation is extremely difficult.

You are competing on the content experience

Anywhere you release a single sentence into the market, you face an opportunity to either strengthen your story or degrade it in public. With digital transformation, that opportunity is coming at you scores of times a day. The digitally transformed company is competing on its experiences, and that includes the content experience. Releasing undisciplined content across all of those many opportunities piles up and creates costly problems for the brand.

To ensure a high-quality content experience, you need to make sure there’s a story behind it, and that the story is accurate, consistent, tightly adaptable to both media and audience, and continually delivered. Being able to do that takes a lot of discipline in the marketing organization. And I mean a lot. It takes a process for creating the story. It takes an official, almost sacred, documentation for housing that story. It takes somebody in charge of that story at all times.

You must feed digital transformation or it dies. But you also must be careful what you feed it, else it can turn on you.

The post Here’s why a disciplined story is so vital to digital transformation success appeared first on Marketing Land.

All copyrights for this article are reserved to their respective authors.

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