Smart Marketers Move Beyond the Transaction

Hessie Jones

I was blown away by an article I read the other week: “When advertising no longer works, It’s time to reinvent.”

The author of that statement was S Yesudas, founder of a new agency called Trigger Bridge and a 20-year ad veteran with experience in top media agencies like Vizeum and its parent, Aegis Media.

This struck a chord with me:

I have been part of the advertising industry for over two decades. Have sat in seminars and conferences pointing towards the need for redefining the practice. The only change I witnessed is the influx of super specialised verticals set up by most agencies, resulting in incremental noise by marketers to sell their products/service to consumers and agencies upselling and cross-selling those specialisations to clients…

New-age companies are replacing fundamentally strong long-running companies, largely based on two factors: Their investors’ willingness to wait for long-term returns, and brand love by consumers.

While the shareholder mindset on returns from the already profitable companies cannot be changed overnight, brand love and a possible impact of the same on the balance sheets can surely be a reality.

Companies fundamentally know this. They understand that protocols and processes that have worked for decades may need some serious adjustment.

Then there are others who blindly feel they are emerging into an increasingly agile environment, willing to try the “new digital” frameworks. However, when all is said and done, the “new” just sits on an archaic platform that has been deemed as the tried and true. The “new” succumbs to the complacency and the tradition of the company and eventually fails to meet its true potential.

Call it what you like. That is not evolution. It’s this:

lipstick on a pig

Agency performance models are broken

Campaigns. Clicks. Views. Performance. Agencies are only as good as their last campaign. Their goals have always been short-term performance-based. It’s never really been about the customers as much as it’s been about the numbers. Scalability on views and awareness has been the name of the game. Accountability from a revenue standpoint is another layer that puts further pressure on agency performance.

The main issue is that the focus on performance negates the need to really understand customers. I’ve witnessed agencies today continuing to reference PMB (Print Measurement Bureau) as part of their targeting research. The data they find continues to be based on demographics and psychographics to find customers (who may be unwilling to buy). Nobody understands the customer anymore — inside and outside of the company relationship. What matters to them? What do they need? Who influences them? What are their interests?

… NOT how can I influence them to buy my product?

S Yesudas put this nicely:

How can there ever be “love” if transaction is the only motive in an interaction?

The incessant media noise demands a need for relevance

Advertising dollars are being wasted today. We know that media fragmentation is now a reality. Consumers are bombarded with messages, ads, communications (email, text, chats, social networks). Consumers have created our own filters for sorting through this daily clutter.

In reality, we can’t possibly consume everything that is thrown at us. Consider this:info

This number has been debated, and the latest article suggests we consume about 5,000 messages per day. This assumes the following:

  • 8 hours of sleep each day leaves 57,600 awake seconds per day.
  • To see 5,000 ads/branding messages per day, we would need to see one every 11.52 seconds.

Chalk it up to science to determine what our brains really absorb in a given day.

“Even if those ads/brands are within eyesight, the reality is our brains see very few of them. Our senses are bombarded with over 11 million bits of data every SECOND. The average person’s working memory can handle 40-50 bits, max. That means we ignore 10,999,950 bits of data every second we are awake.”

This author asserts that 300-700 marketing messages per day is a more reasonable estimate. This fragmentation makes it increasingly difficult to battle for the customer’s attention.

My colleague Susan Silver referenced the success of BuzzFeed:

BuzzFeed has flipped the model of engagement on its head, and discovered the key to connecting with audiences that many brands haven’t figured out: Great content isn’t about the content itself, but the emotion it can evoke from its audience.

By analyzing the interactions readers have with their content, BuzzFeed realized what people really care about. They tapped into many cultural trends and were able to connect with users on a deep level. Jonah Peretti, founder of Buzzfeed, acknowledged this:

We think of media as something people use to help them in their lives.

Advertising simply isn’t working… as well anymore

We’ve seen the rise of ad blocking and its current impact on consumers, especially on mobile. I referenced the declining average click-through performance of .06%.

What is also clear is that increasing consumer control over which messages they see and which ones they’ll eventually respond to is making marketers question the value of their ad dollars. A recent article, Advertising’s Promised Land has become a Digital Desert, states the impending doom of digital media – however prematurely – as it references the softening in ad revenue for the giant Daily Mail:

We were told to expect £80m in digital revenues. In fact only £73m transpired. Hopes of £100m next year duly expire. Some 41% growth last year has slowed to 18% – and though that sounds good by most standards, it is also signals a grinding halt to vaulting expectation…

“We think we’re beginning to skate on thin ice in terms of the relationships we have with advertisers and audiences,” Tim Gentry, the Guardian’s global revenue director, told an industry meeting recently. “Five to six years on, we have to look at ourselves with a bit of a harsh yardstick and say we’ve not really delivered on that promise.”

Compounding this is the move to retreat to more conservative ad spending estimates for 2016, Firms Trim Ad Spending Growth Forecasts for 2016. Media forecasters indicate much of this can be attributed to the decrease in TV advertising spend in favor of less expensive digital media. Let’s not forget that while there will be modest expenditure gains in the coming year(s), marketers have become much wiser to the issues of ad fraud, ad blocking, and viewability of online ads.

The move to focus on relevance and the right audience vs. scalability

Here are the things I know: Developing customer relationships goes beyond clicks, campaigns, or ROI. It takes time. Today’s increasingly fragmented environment means we need to take the time to understand the holistic view of consumer, not simply whether they are ripe for purchase. Because that customer is no longer clicking, we must vie for his/her attention by appealing to things that matter to him/her.

This needs to go beyond demographics… beyond psychographics… beyond retargeting… something will eventually give. As S Yesudas contends:

Transactional advertising can never build bridges of relevance.

I believe in the Pareto Principle: Things are not distributed evenly. Those customers who love you the most may only be 20% of the total targeted audience. But they may very well impact 80% of your business.

I am in an industry where these types of insights are readily available. I am vigilant in my belief that the knowledge that we have access to today will profoundly change the way we communicate to customers. It allows us all to abandon the crutches we’ve held on to – practices that will continue to limit our ability to gain and keep customers.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Are marketers willing to shed old practices to embrace the value of truly understanding customer?

Want more insight to boost your marketing success? See Top 10 Left-Brian Skills Marketers Need In 2016.

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Amazing Digital Marketing Trends And Tips To Expand Your Business In 2015

Sunny Popali

Amazing Digital Marketing Trends & Tips To Expand Your Business In 2015The fast-paced world of digital marketing is changing too quickly for most companies to adapt. But staying up to date with the latest industry trends is imperative for anyone involved with expanding a business.

Here are five trends that have shaped the industry this year and that will become more important as we move forward:

  1. Email marketing will need to become smarter

Whether you like it or not, email is the most ubiquitous tool online. Everyone has it, and utilizing it properly can push your marketing ahead of your rivals. Because business use of email is still very widespread, you need to get smarter about email marketing in order to fully realize your business’s marketing strategy. Luckily, there are a number of tools that can help you market more effectively, such as Mailchimp.

  1. Content marketing will become integrated and more valuable

Content is king, and it seems to be getting more important every day. Google and other search engines are focusing more on the content you create as the potential of the online world as marketing tool becomes apparent. Now there seems to be a push for current, relevant content that you can use for your services and promote your business.

Staying fresh with the content you provide is almost as important as ensuring high-quality content. Customers will pay more attention if your content is relevant and timely.

  1. Mobile assets and paid social media are more important than ever

It’s no secret that mobile is key to your marketing efforts. More mobile devices are sold and more people are reading content on mobile screens than ever before, so it is crucial to your overall strategy to have mobile marketing expertise on your team. London-based Abacus Marketing agrees that mobile marketing could overtake desktop website marketing in just a few years.

  1. Big Data for personalization plays a key role

Marketers are increasingly using Big Data to get their brand message out to the public in a more personalized format. One obvious example is Google Trend analysis, a highly useful tool that marketing experts use to obtain the latest on what is trending around the world. You can — and should — use it in your business marketing efforts. Big Data will also let you offer specific content to buyers who are more likely to look for certain items, for example, and offer personalized deals to specific groups of within your customer base. Other tools, which until recently were the stuff of science fiction, are also available that let you do things like use predictive analysis to score leads.

  1. Visual media matters

A picture really is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes, and nobody can deny the effectiveness of a well-designed infographic. In fact, some studies suggest that Millennials are particularly attracted to content with great visuals. Animated gifs and colorful bar graphs have even found their way into heavy-duty financial reports, so why not give them a try in your business marketing efforts?

A few more tips:

  • Always keep your content relevant and current to attract the attention of your target audience.
  • Always keep all your social media and public accounts fresh. Don’t use old content or outdated pictures in any public forum.
  • Your reviews are a proxy for your online reputation, so pay careful attention to them.
  • Much online content is being consumed on mobile now, so focus specifically on the design and usability of your mobile apps.
  • Online marketing is essentially geared towards getting more traffic onto your site. The more people visit, the better your chances of increasing sales.

Want more insight on how digital marketing is evolving? See Shutterstock Report: The Face Of Marketing Is Changing — And It Doesn’t Include Vince Vaughn.

Learn more about marketing Analytics.

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About Sunny Popali

Sunny Popali is SEO Director at www.tempocreative.com. Tempo Creative is a Phoenix inbound marketing company that has served over 700 clients since 2001. Tempos team specializes in digital and internet marketing services including web design, SEO, social media and strategy.

Social Media Matters: 6 Content And Social Media Trend Predictions For 2016 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Julie Ellis

As 2015 winds down, it’s time to look forward to 2016 and explore the social media and content marketing trends that will impact marketing strategies over the next 15 months or so.

Some of the upcoming trends simply indicate an intensification of current trends, however others indicate that there are new things that will have a big impact in 2016.

Take a look at a few trends that should definitely factor in your planning for 2016.

1. SEO will focus more on social media platforms and less on search engines

Clearly Google is going nowhere. In fact, in 2016 Google’s word will still essentially be law when it comes to search engine optimization.

However, in 2016 there will be some changes in SEO. Many of these changes will be due to the fact that users are increasingly searching for products and services directly from websites such as Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

There are two reasons for this shift in customer habits:

  • Customers are relying more and more on customer comments, feedback, and reviews before making purchasing decisions. This means that they are most likely to search directly on platforms where they can find that information.
  • Customers who are seeking information about products and services feel that video- and image-based content is more trustworthy.

2. The need to optimize for mobile and touchscreens will intensify

Consumers are using their mobile devices and tablets for the following tasks at a sharply increasing rate:

  • Sending and receiving emails and messages
  • Making purchases
  • Researching products and services
  • Watching videos
  • Reading or writing reviews and comments
  • Obtaining driving directions and using navigation apps
  • Visiting news and entertainment websites
  • Using social media

Most marketers would be hard-pressed to look at this list and see any case for continuing to avoid mobile and touchscreen optimization. Yet, for some reason many companies still see mobile optimization as something that is nice to do, but not urgent.

This lack of a sense of urgency seemingly ignores the fact that more than 80% of the highest growing group of consumers indicate that it is highly important that retailers provide mobile apps that work well. According to the same study, nearly 90% of Millennials believe that there are a large number of websites that have not done a very good job of optimizing for mobile.

3. Content marketing will move to edgier social media platforms

Platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat weren’t considered to be valid targets for mainstream content marketing efforts until now.

This is because they were considered to be too unproven and too “on the fringe” to warrant the time and marketing budget investments, when platforms such as Facebook and YouTube were so popular and had proven track records when it came to content marketing opportunity and success.

However, now that Instagram is enjoying such tremendous growth, and is opening up advertising opportunities to businesses beyond its brand partners, it (along with other platforms) will be seen as more and more viable in 2016.

4. Facebook will remain a strong player, but the demographic of the average user will age

In 2016, Facebook will likely remain the flagship social media website when it comes to sharing and promoting content, engaging with customers, and increasing Internet recognition.

However, it will become less and less possible to ignore the fact that younger consumers are moving away from the platform as their primary source of online social interaction and content consumption. Some companies may be able to maintain status quo for 2016 without feeling any negative impacts.

However, others may need to rethink their content marketing strategies for 2016 to take these shifts into account. Depending on their branding and the products or services that they offer, some companies may be able to profit from these changes by customizing the content that they promote on Facebook for an older demographic.

5. Content production must reflect quality and variety

  • Both B2B and B2C buyers value video based content over text based content.
  • While some curated content is a good thing, consumers believe that custom content is an indication that a company wishes to create a relationship with them.
  • The great majority of these same consumers report that customized content is useful for them.
  • B2B customers prefer learning about products and services through content as opposed to paid advertising.
  • Consumers believe that videos are more trustworthy forms of content than text.

Here is a great infographic depicting the importance of video in content marketing efforts:
Small Business Video infographic

A final, very important thing to note when considering content trends for 2016 is the decreasing value of the keyword as a way of optimizing content. In fact, in an effort to crack down on keyword stuffing, Google’s optimization rules have been updated to to kick offending sites out of prime SERP positions.

6. Oculus Rift will create significant changes in customer engagement

Oculus Rift is not likely to offer much to marketers in 2016. After all, it isn’t expected to ship to consumers until the first quarter. However, what Oculus Rift will do is influence the decisions that marketers make when it comes to creating customer interaction.

For example, companies that have not yet embraced storytelling may want to make 2016 the year that they do just that, because later in 2016 Oculus Rift may be the platform that their competitors will be using to tell stories while giving consumers a 360-degree vantage point.

For a deeper dive on engaging with customers through storytelling, see Brand Storytelling: Where Humanity Takes Center Stage.

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About Julie Ellis

Julie Ellis – marketer and professional blogger, writes about social media, education, self-improvement, marketing and psychology. To contact Julie follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Human Skills for the Digital Future

Dan Wellers and Kai Goerlich

Technology Evolves.
So Must We.


Technology replacing human effort is as old as the first stone axe, and so is the disruption it creates.
Thanks to deep learning and other advances in AI, machine learning is catching up to the human mind faster than expected.
How do we maintain our value in a world in which AI can perform many high-value tasks?


Uniquely Human Abilities

AI is excellent at automating routine knowledge work and generating new insights from existing data — but humans know what they don’t know.

We’re driven to explore, try new and risky things, and make a difference.
 
 
 
We deduce the existence of information we don’t yet know about.
 
 
 
We imagine radical new business models, products, and opportunities.
 
 
 
We have creativity, imagination, humor, ethics, persistence, and critical thinking.


There’s Nothing Soft About “Soft Skills”

To stay ahead of AI in an increasingly automated world, we need to start cultivating our most human abilities on a societal level. There’s nothing soft about these skills, and we can’t afford to leave them to chance.

We must revamp how and what we teach to nurture the critical skills of passion, curiosity, imagination, creativity, critical thinking, and persistence. In the era of AI, no one will be able to thrive without these abilities, and most people will need help acquiring and improving them.

Anything artificial intelligence does has to fit into a human-centered value system that takes our unique abilities into account. While we help AI get more powerful, we need to get better at being human.


Download the executive brief Human Skills for the Digital Future.


Read the full article The Human Factor in an AI Future.


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About Dan Wellers

Dan Wellers is founder and leader of Digital Futures at SAP, a strategic insights and thought leadership discipline that explores how digital technologies drive exponential change in business and society.

Kai Goerlich

About Kai Goerlich

Kai Goerlich is the Chief Futurist at SAP Innovation Center network His specialties include Competitive Intelligence, Market Intelligence, Corporate Foresight, Trends, Futuring and ideation.

Share your thoughts with Kai on Twitter @KaiGoe.heif Futu

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Finance And HR: Friends Or Foes? Shifting To A Collaborative Mindset

Richard McLean

Part 1 in the 3-part “Finance and HR Collaboration” series

In my last blog, I challenged you to think of collaboration as the next killer app, citing a recent study by Oxford Economics sponsored by SAP. The study clearly explains how corporate performance improves when finance actively engages in collaboration with other business functions.

As a case in point, consider finance and HR. Both are being called on to work more collaboratively with each other – and the broader business – to help achieve a shared vision for the company. In most organizations, both have undergone a transformation to extend beyond operational tasks and adopt a more strategic focus, opening the door to more collaboration. As such, both have assumed three very important roles in the company – business partner, change agent, and steward. In this post, I’ll illustrate how collaboration can enable HR and finance to be more effective business partners.

Making the transition to focus on broader business objectives

My colleague Renata Janini Dohmen, senior vice president of HR for SAP Asia Pacific Japan, credits a changing mindset for both finance and HR as key to enabling the transition away from our traditional roles to be more collaborative. She says, “For a long time, people in HR and finance were seen as opponents. HR was focused on employees and how to motivate, encourage, and cheer on the workforce. Finance looked at the numbers and was a lot more cautious and possibly more skeptical in terms of making an investment. Today, both areas have made the transition to take on a more holistic perspective. We are pursuing strategies and approaching decisions based on what delivers the best return on investment for the company’s assets, whether those assets are monetary or non-monetary. This mindset shift plays a key role in how finance and HR execute the strategic imperatives of the company,” she notes.

Viewing joint decisions from a completely different lens

I agree with Renata. This mindset change has certainly impacted the way I make decisions. If I’m just focused on controlling costs and assessing expenditures, I’ll evaluate programs and ideas quite differently than if I’m thinking about the big picture.

For example, there’s an HR manager in our organization who runs Compensation and Benefits. She approaches me regularly with great ideas. But those ideas cost money. In the past, I was probably more inclined to look at those conversations from a tactical perspective. It was easy for me to simply say, “No, we can’t afford it.”

Now I look at her ideas from a more strategic perspective. I think, “What do we want our culture to be in the years ahead? Are the benefits packages she is proposing perhaps the right ones to get us there? Are they family friendly? Are they relevant for people in today’s world? Will they make us an employer of choice?” I quite enjoy the rich conversations we have about the impact of compensation and benefits design on the culture we want to create. Now, I see our relationship as much more collaborative and jointly invested in attracting and retaining the best people who will ultimately deliver on the company strategy. It’s a completely different lens.

Defining how finance and HR align to the company strategy

Renata and I believe that greater collaboration between finance and HR is a critical success factor. How can your organization achieve this shift? “Once the organization has clearly defined what role finance and HR must play and how they fundamentally align to the company strategy, then it’s more natural to structure them in a way to support such transformation,” Renata explains.

Technology plays an important role in our ability to successfully collaborate. Looking back, finance and HR were heavily focused on our own operational areas because everything we did tended to consume more time – just keeping the lights on and taking care of our basic responsibilities. Now, through a more efficient operating model with shared services, standard operating procedures, and automation, we can both be more business-focused and integrated. As a result, we’re able to collaborate in more meaningful ways to have a positive impact on business outcomes.

In our next blog, we’ll look at how finance and HR can work together as agents of change.

For a deeper dive, download the Oxford Economics study sponsored by SAP.

Follow SAP Finance online: @SAPFinance (Twitter)LinkedIn | FacebookYouTube

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Richard McLean

About Richard McLean

Richard McLean, regional CFO for SAP Asia Pacific Japan, oversees all key finance and administrative functions for field and regional headquarters, supporting more than 16,000 employees. He has more than 20 years of experience in senior finance roles with leading global companies across a range of industries, including financial services, investment banking, automotive, and IT. He joined SAP in 2008.