Tag Archives: data-driven marketing

Segment of One: A Glimpse into the Future of Digital Marketing

At Modern Customer Experience in Las Vegas, Shashi Seth, SVP of Oracle Marketing Cloud, described how the future of marketing is basically looking at a segment of one (in a panel called "The Future of Digital Marketing). 

It all started with mobile, which has impacted digital marketing in a huge way. Seth pointed out that consumer behavior has changed with the times, too. Customers now expect more from their brands,  and micromoments count. What is a micromoment? It involves a consumer interacting with a brand at the touch of a button and in real time. The challenge for digital marketers now lies in intersecting people at micromoments with relevant marketing messaging that adds to their lives rather than disrupting them. 

The Changing Landscape of Marketing

According to Seth, customers now expect a unique, connected, and seamless experience across all channels and instant gratification. You only have a micromoment to capture their attention and hold it with a strong message and delightful and engaging experience. If you don’t, they will move on to the next offer. This has made the old methods of marketing obsolete.

Thus, modern marketers must adopt a mobile-first approach with their global audiences. You must keep in in mind that customers:

  • Desire to all be treated uniquely.
  • Are in charge. They decide when, where, and how they’ll interact with your brand. They want a frictionless experience and to be able to start a conversation on any channel, which can carry seamlessly onto another channel if they choose.
  • Wish to be served in the least amount of time possible but with the most convenience.
  • The walls between B2C and B2B are breaking down. The delightful experiences people have had with B2C are making them expect more of the same from B2B, but really, you are always marketing to people, regardless of whether it is B2B or B2C. You could say that it is now B2ME.

Traditional segmentation is vanishing, and every customer wants the most relevant and personalized experience possible tailored to them. How can you connect and engage with them? They are basically asking for not just personalization but hyper-personalization. They want to be treated as a segment of one.

Get Ahead of the Curve

This might be the future, but the future is now. It is happening right in front of everyone’s eyes. You cannot afford to be left behind. In fact, you best get ahead of the curve.

But how can a smart, savvy digital marketer do so? Seth feels that these are important actions to take:

  • Adopt a data-first mindset. More data fluidity and making better use of the data you have will allow you to better understand customers and anticipate their needs and not waste even an iota of their time.
  • Push automation and intelligence to the max. The huge amount of data you will need to capture and process along with and customers expecting to be served in real time requires marketing automation to help you. You have to be able to do more with what you have, and marketing automation will allow you to save precious time, effort, and money.
  • You must treat every customer uniquely, differently, and appropriately. You need to take the intelligence you derive from micromoments and stitch them together for a fuller picture of your customer and to create a more connected experience.
  • Embrace omnichannel fluidity. You have to be ready to engage with customers across any channel and in real time and keep up with them if they go from channel to channel.

Data Versus Intelligence

To create the right marketing message, Seth thinks that you need both data and intelligence. What is the difference between the two? Intelligence is data put together with the right and most proper context to put it to work. The right context provides a deeper understanding of customer needs, behaviors, values, and preferences.

Intelligence helps you hyper-personalize and craft better and more effective marketing. It helps you anticipate customer needs and get right to the point when addressing them to engage with them and pique and hold their interest. It will allow you to create content that takes into account where a customer is when they receive it and speaks more directly to them.


Find out more about data and how to craft effective marketing based off of it with “Getting the Digital Handshake Right.”


The Importance of Data to Social Media Marketing

More than ever before, data is driving marketing strategy, tactics, and messaging, and that includes social media marketing. The proliferation of data is only set to rise as more people and businesses continue to share information about themselves on channels like social media.

It’s in this information that a business can learn more about their audience, especially on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram where there is more sharing than on other channels. Social data metrics include information like the number of likes and shares and changes in followers as well as hashtag use and engagement rates.

Besides the fact that your audience is using these social media sites, there are other reasons why you should incorporate data and analytics in your social media marketing strategy:

Create More Engaging Social Content

The data you collect from social media sites will let you know what type of content your audience responds to in terms of liking, sharing, and commenting. When they do, that’s when you know they are interested and attracted to your brand.

The findings from your own posts and the ability to assess how other content ranks on social media can help you optimize your social media content strategy. This includes identifying the topics your audience is searching for online or what type of questions they are asking in social media conversations.

Determine Ideal Platforms and Timing

Social media data also tells you which platforms your target audience uses the most and when they like to read content. Analytics provides a way to track the day of the week and time of day that posts are most read. That way, you can plan and schedule your social media content to align with these preferred viewing locations and time.

Improve Your SEO Tactics

SEO tactics should not just be guided by your search marketing strategy; it’s social media data that can also be leveraged to make improvements in other aspects of your marketing efforts. Rather than using a generic list of keywords that may fit your industry but don’t get to your targets, the social media data you collect includes the keywords that your customers are using to search on social media for specific content.

Track Brand Reputation

Since most conversations occur on social media platforms, it’s the place you need to track if you want to know if there is anything good or bad being said that could impact your brand image. Having the ability to receive this real-time social media data that includes praise and complaints is an opportunity to engage and converse with your audience directly.  

Locate Influencers

Influencer marketing plays a critical role in today’s marketing due to the fact that so many within your target audience look to others to help shape their opinions and purchase decisions. While you can engage and make inroads as a brand, it’s these influencers that tend to make the most headway. Again, social media data can help by helping you identify the most influential people on social media for your particular audience so you can get to know them.

Keep an Eye on the Competition

Because social media platforms collect so much data, it makes keeping tabs on your competition so much easier and less time-consuming. You’ll be able to see their likes, followers, influencers, and content strategy to determine what you can do differently -- and better.

How to Create a Data-Driven Social Media Marketing Strategy

To achieve these benefits from collecting social media data, you’ll need to create a social media marketing strategy to direct your efforts.

First, start with what you want to accomplish with social media marketing: Is it increase your brand awareness and reach? Do you want to enhance your brand image? Or, do you want to grow web traffic? These goals guide the type of social media data you gather and analyze.

Once you know your goals and the metrics from the social data to collect, then it’s on to assessing which data analytics tools work for those goals and metrics. Many tools offer free trials so you can try them out, see what they do, and determine if the insights from them align with your objectives.

From there, the results should direct the changes you may need to make to your social media marketing strategy, tactics, and messaging. It will be an ongoing process of refinement in terms of the metrics, target audience, and content alignment, but, over time, it should further the level of benefits you receive from social media data.

Take another deep dive into how to craft a winning social media marketing strategy with “6 Steps to Becoming a Social Business.”

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Modern Marketing Influencer Blog Series: 3 Costly Mistakes to Avoid when Measuring Performance

“The Modern Marketing Influencer Blog Series asked top influencers from across the marketing spectrum what’s on their minds and what topics and pressing issues in their fields are begging for more insight. Here they share their thoughts on making the best use of research, planning, testing and data.”

In our increasingly data-led world, high-performing marketers are not successful simply because they are fortunate. They achieve success because they:

  • Heavily research concepts before acting on them
  • Plan, test, and improve their marketing methods
  • Measure what matters (using only relevant metrics to suit business objectives)

High performers apply these elements equally. They know that even a slight imbalance can result in wasted time and money. If this happens to be your experience, you aren’t alone.

According to CoSchedule’s 2018 survey of 1,597 pro marketers across 83 countries, only 58% of marketers say they are often successful in achieving their marketing goals. Additionally, 92% of marketers recognize the need for tangible reporting, but more than 50% say their efforts need improvement, according to a Dun & Bradstreet survey of more than 300 companies across the globe.

These somewhat dire figures illustrate a need to focus on improving measurement. How can we be satisfied with outcomes if our analysis is flawed and ROI not correctly attributed? This need becomes more urgent as more is spent on marketing, and 57% of enterprise CEOs expect to increase their marketing spend in 2019.

Is it wise to spend more money without fixing measurement? Probably not. Ensure results are worthy of your budget by avoiding these three mistakes:

Mistake No. 1: Misalignment with Your CMO’s Needs

Likes, shares, impressions, traffic, leads, click-through rates, micro conversions—these metrics may bring you a superficial sense of accomplishment, but are they really catering to the expectations of senior executives?

“No” is a safe bet because your CMO must report back to his/her counterparts, who will want to see actionable results. Marketing all boils down to the level of money in, weighed against money out. Without this key insight, the business is going to be leaking marketing dollars everywhere.

So, give your CMO metrics that actually help them wow executives:

  • Return on investment (high-level ROI, then broken down by campaign performance)
  • Channel attribution (the bigger picture, crediting marketing channels with revenue)
  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • Customer lifetime value (CLTV)
  • CLTV/CAC (a ratio that indicates how much you’re spending to acquire each customer)
  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT), which is closely associated with referral rate and value of referrals (as a percentage of total revenue)

Mistake No. 2: Trying to Impress with Selective Reporting

According to Deloitte’s 2018 CMO Survey, 60% of marketers feel pressured to prove ROI. But sweeping under-performance under the carpet isn’t going to help anybody in the long run. Metric manipulation is one of the most damaging mistakes any marketer can make in their career. It hurts the business, and digital paper trails will always lead back to you.

If something isn’t working, transparently report it, gather feedback and ideas, then improve it. An accurate “bad” report is infinitely better than an incorrect “great” report.

Structure reports in alignment with pre-agreed KPIs that match wider business goals and decisively communicate the need for any adjustments if required.

Mistake No. 3: Failing to Credit the Right Channels

Channel attribution is probably one of the most difficult areas of marketing analysis to grasp, as it is a complex. The customer journey is becoming incredibly advanced, often stretching across considerable time and many influencers. Buyers also are using more devices and channels than ever before.

A buyer may experience dozens of touchpoints before making a purchase. So, how exactly do you know which channels are working best and/or worst so that you can sufficiently allocate resources and enhance both your analysis and the customer journey?

This feat is impossible without first obtaining suitable tools and tracking capabilities. You may have heard the terms multi-channel and cross-channel, but what you should actually be aiming for is a true omni-channel experience, seamlessly delivered to your visitors and customers.

Omnichannel refers to all channels working together to create a connected journey, rather than independent channels functioning as disjointed silos (which can lead to unimpressed customers).

Relatively basic tools like Google Analytics provide a degree of omnichannel reporting, although journey visualization and integration with other platforms can be limited, dependent on needs. Premium tools, such as Oracle Analytics Cloud, allow a comprehensive, all-in-one approach to your analysis — with a deeper panoramic view of customer journeys and behaviors, including their relationships with your brand.

Within these tools, attribution modeling plays a vital role in determining the performance of each channel by rewarding credit based on contribution to revenue.

Here’s a simplistic example of the “newcomer to customer” transformation to illustrate attribution modeling:

1. Person clicks your Facebook ad, and briefly views your blog post.
2. Visitor returns via Google organic search 24 hours later, and signs up to your newsletter.
3. Subscriber receives a series of emails that they open and engage with.
4. On the final email (after seven days), the subscriber decides to download a case study.
5. Now the subscriber is a Marketing-Qualified Lead (MQL) and requests a free trial.
6. Now the MQL is a Sales-Qualified Lead (SQL) and uses your free trial, but goes quiet thereafter.
7. The SQL eventually returns to your website via a guest blog post on another website.
8. The SQL now buys your product, becoming a new customer.

Your initial question might be: Which channel receives credit for this acquisition? The ideal question would be: How much credit does each channel receive? They all played a part, so overlooking any of these channels could be a costly mistake. Focus your efforts on aligning resources to channel contribution.

Tell the Whole Story

The pressure to show performance for marketing programs is intense, but taking any of these three routes is going to result in a bad trip. Instead, align your measurements and metrics to what matters most to the executive suite, use meaningful measures instead of “vanity” metrics and take a holistic view when assessing channel contribution.

The bottom line is you need to tell a compelling story about the value of your marketing efforts to the organizations, so choose the metrics and tools that enable you to do that.


Find out about the omni-channel fluidity of Oracle Marketing Cloud and how it can help you use the right data to create connected customer experiences with “A Perfect Circle: How to Connect to the Buyer of Now.”


Looking at Martech: The Intersection of Marketing and Technology

When it comes to company roadmaps for marketing, part of the journey to engage with customers still relies on the art of marketing. In reality, it’s still emotions and human connections that drive much of the impact marketing efforts have on an audience.

Yet, marketing needs technology to reach the right audience at the right time. That’s the intersection between the two where companies need to drive toward to meet their goals for 2019 and beyond.

From Good to Better

One way to think about it is to think about any road trip you’ve ever taken. In the days before GPS in our vehicles and preceding our dependence on smartphones, foldable maps were used to determine direction and guide us on journey. While they were good, they didn’t tell us much except for roads.

Now, fast forward to GPS, which not only gives us specific directions, but it also can reroute us for a quicker, more efficient trip. We can use these navigation devices to personalize the journey with places of interest along the way. Overall, technology enhances the experience and gets us where we want to go.

Marketing’s Technology Makeover

Like our physical journeys, technology has done something similar for marketing in terms of improving the process for higher levels of engagement. Marketers have a much more direct route to their intended audience with significantly more information about each segment. The result is a faster, more efficient, and accurate marketing journey, including the ability to deliver cross-channel marketing strategies. Less effort and time are spent to get a significantly higher level of results.

This marketing makeover includes a digital transformation with technology like analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, chatbots, geolocation, augmented and virtual reality, automation and more. All this technology is yielding results in terms of personalized marketing and engaged audiences. It’s become so important that there is even a term for it now: Martech.

It sounds so promising, but many marketers are frozen like a deer in the headlights unsure of what to do with all this technology. They are at a crossroads between the traditional marketing that’s served them fairly well until recently and the road ahead which appears to be complex and crowded with all types of technology.

Which Way to Go?

At this point, companies need to move forward with their digital transformations, adopting their marketing strategies to new channels and changing audience expectations.

Although there is a significant amount of technology now available for marketing, it does not mean you have to pick up all of it along the journey. Instead, you should be focused on the destination and understand what is necessary for reaching that destination.

Here’s what can guide you as a marketing profession when you are stuck at the intersection of marketing and technology:

  • Attending Martech conferences provide a way to better understand this intersection and hear from experts on strategies for integrating the right technology that aligns with your marketing objectives. Industry leaders in marketing and technology converge to provide the best information and updates, which can shape how you invest in Martech.
  • Testing apps, tools, and platforms gives you and your marketing team a better understanding of what marketing and technology can do when they partner on processes and tactics. For example, it may be worth trying voice-assisted marketing or experiential marketing to determine if it would address customer expectations about their experience with your brand.  It’s also worth spending the time to read the material that each Martech company develops because this information details the value proposition and how you might use it.
  • Putting yourself in the shoes of the target prospects and existing customers by shopping online and using mobile platforms can give you a better perspective on what they want and why. You’ll be more likely to understand how to deliver that for them, including through mobile marketing, as well as have a better basis for the type of Martech you need to integrate into your marketing strategy.
  • Evaluating your overall marketing goals should also direct what technology you use. For example, it may be that you want to combine marketing efforts to be consistent and efficient with messaging across channels or you are focused on personalizing the experience and need to collect and analyze more data to achieve that.
Challenges to Overcome

Even with these actions, there can still be roadblocks that are standing in the way of a truly integrated Martech environment. You’ll need to know how to overcome the lack of an effective Martech strategy by spending more time building out a detailed plan that aligns each marketing objective with a particular technology.

Removing inefficiencies, increasing the ROI, and driving greater consistency in data and messaging through Martech investments will also address the challenge of limited buy-in from executives who may not understand how or why to undertake this digital transformation.

Between testing, researching, and aligning, you’ll be able to move past the intersection of marketing and technology, driving a clear path toward a digital marketing strategy that gets you to the right audience destination.

Learn more about Oracle Marketing Cloud and how the right Martech can better connect you to the data you need and the customers you are targeting with “A Perfect Circle: How to Connect to the Buyer of Now.”

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Evolving Your CX: How to Differentiate from DTC Brands

When’s the last time you noticed an alluring product in a store display, or on your favorite store’s website — and then went to buy directly from that brand?

There’s no shame in admitting that you do this. From time to time, everyone has “swum upstream” and bought an item from a brand’s direct-to-consumer (DTC) website or store, rather than at the multi-brand retailer where they first saw it.

In fact, why shouldn't customers shop directly with the brands they love when price, product availability, and delivery are almost always comparable with a multi-brand retailer? What would drive customers to choose the multi-brand retail shopping experience, instead of buying direct from a wholesaler?

Two words: added value. Multi-brand retailers can inspire and delight customers by introducing them to new categories and brands — a unique experience that can’t be found at a DTC brand.

How can you capture this feeling in your email campaign? By using data to introduce each customer to a wider universe of categories and brands as their tastes evolve, your email campaign will replicate the discovery experience your shoppers love.

Rethink Your Value Proposition in Light of What DTC Wholesalers Offer

The rise of DTC wholesalers has upended the traditional retail value proposition. A full 57 percent of brands are now embracing DTC sales. Wholesalers no longer have to sell to retailers to gain access to the consumer market. Thus, customers no longer rely exclusively on retailers to expose them to wholesalers’ product catalogs.

This means retailers are no longer just competing against one another but also against the brands that supply the products on their shelves. One core challenge for today’s retailers is to keep customers from “swimming upstream” and buying directly from those brands — or from third-party facilitators like Amazon, which alone now accounts for 49 percent of all e-commerce.

How can you keep your customers engaged in this midst of this competition? The first step is to rethink the value you propose to offer. Trying to compete on price undervalues your brand. Competing on sheer convenience is also risky, because DTC brands can ship directly to customers’ doorsteps as fast as you can.

But there’s one area in which DTC wholesalers can’t out-compete you: the area of curated, personalized product expertise. That’s where your value prop can really shine.

Do Not Reinforce Past Purchases; Start Curating New Recommendations

It’s easy to understand why many retailers stick with the reinforcement model of personalization: it feels safe. If you keep showing customers products similar to ones they’ve already bought (the thinking goes), then you run less risk of showing them products they’re not interested in.

The problem with this reasoning? If you keep showing your customers recommendations for a narrow assortment of brands, shoppers will come to perceive you as no more than a supplier for those brands’ products. As a result, your customers will head straight for those brands’ DTC portals next time they want to purchase those products.

For example, if you’re a fashion retailer recommending nothing but Eileen Fisher pieces to customers who’ve bought her clothes in the past, then those customers will begin to see you solely as “a retailer who sells Eileen Fisher.” Next time they want to purchase an Eileen Fisher piece, where do you think they’ll go — to you or directly to the brand?

To keep your customers engaged, you’ve got to think beyond reinforcement, and use your data to hyper-personalize the categories, products, and brands you show to your customers.

Add Value for Your Customers — Anticipate and Speak to Their Evolving Tastes.]

The only way to rise above the wave of DTC wholesalers is to put the magic back into e-commerce. That means staying ahead of your customers’ ever-changing tastes and recommending products they’ll love, but don’t even know that they want yet.

In fact, your brand already has one huge advantage over DTC wholesalers: a wealth of first-party data that’s just waiting to be transformed into meaningful truths about your customers’ desires.

Your true value lies not in any single brand you sell, but in the full experience you offer your customers: a journey of discovery, in which their next favorite brands and products lie just around every corner. Deliver that, and you’ll keep your customers for life.

Learn how to optimize further with “Be the Guide of the Retail Customer Journey.”

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Leveraging Loyalty Data to Optimize Personalization

It’s no secret in the marketing world that the goal of a loyalty program is two-fold: to improve customer acquisition and retention while collecting customer data. The idea was that the latter would contribute to the former by allowing a business to gain a better understanding of their best customers’ buying habits and preferences in order to keep them and attract more like them. That has been accomplished primarily by marketing to a set of personas based on patterns identified in the data collected.

Those generalized personas were a boon for businesses when loyalty programs were in their infancy, but in today’s data-rich age, an evolved loyalty program will put that data to work in order to hyper-personalize individual customer experiences. And that’s what customers have come to expect. Recent research found that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize and remember them well enough to provide relevant offers and recommendations. If your business has a loyalty program, you have the data that will allow you to provide exactly that, to the nth degree.

The first step is to integrate loyalty data with all the other customer data you collect, from all sources. This includes purchase history (both online and in-store), app usage, browsing behavior, and social interactions. Once you have all that data in one place, you can optimize personalized content based on that data across all touchpoints.

Here are just a few examples:

Connect Loyalty Data and Purchase History

Loyalty programs have traditionally been based primarily on spend amounts, i.e. spend $1.00 to earn 10 loyalty points. But how much a customer spends fails to take into account what they’re spending their money on. Imagine a long-term Designer Shoe Warehouse loyalty member who is repeatedly presented with loyalty deals on high heeled pumps and dress boots, despite the fact that data shows years worth of past purchases for casual flats exclusively. That’s a bad customer experience. But it’s one that can easily be improved simply by connecting what the user buys with the rest of their loyalty data.

Connected data will allow you to tailor loyalty offers to each individual customer’s purchase patterns — no matter how loyal a customer might be, there’s simply no point in offering them a deal on something they’ll never buy. When you customize your loyalty offers based on purchase history, your customers are far more likely to both appreciate and take advantage of them, solidifying their loyalty and positively impacting your bottom line.

Surface Loyalty Status Online and In-App

If you connect your loyalty program to your app (if you have one) and/or your website, and encourage your customers to browse while signed in, you will be able to present loyalty offers while the customer is shopping. A customer browsing a particular product line will be more likely to purchase if they are aware of things like, “Purchase this item to receive xxx bonus rewards points,” or, “Your Gold status entitles you to receive xx% off at checkout.”

Connecting your loyalty program with your website/app experience will also allow you to surface program benefits available to a user while they’re actively making a purchase decision. For example, a customer shopping for airline tickets would appreciate being reminded that, “Your gold status allows one checked bag per passenger at no extra charge.” Or a traveler booking a hotel room might book an extra night if you remind them that, “You’re just xx points away from Premier Loyalty status. Book three nights to qualify for a free upgrade and complimentary WiFi.

Tying it All Together in Emails

The perfect place to tie all that data together is in your emails. Promote your loyalty program in your marketing emails but if you already know the customer’s loyalty status — and ideally, you should — then use that real estate for personalized offers based on loyalty status, purchase history, or both.

Beyond marketing emails, you should also be encouraging loyalty program sign-ups in your transactional emails. Avoid annoying people who are already loyalty members by making that sign-up offer dynamic, to display an alternate offer to existing members.

Once your loyalty program data is sufficiently integrated, you’ll also be able to go a step further to personalize the content and offers presented in digital receipts and shipping confirmations based on both the customer’s purchase history and their loyalty status.

For example, if a customer buys an item online, a typical receipt email might include a selection of related products, such as ‘You might also like…’  But those recommendations are usually based on the product, not on the customer, which means the list can potentially include items already purchased. And let’s face it, no one likes being offered something that’s already hanging in their closet.

But if you have your user’s purchase history and their loyalty status combined, imagine how specifically personal those offers can be?

  • You already have [product A] and [product B] - buy [product C, D, or E] for 50% off by redeeming xx rewards points.”
  • “Exclusive to Platinum Loyalty Members! Buy [accessory A, B, or C] for [previously purchased product] and get [accessory D] free!”

Transactional emails are also the perfect place to surface loyalty status and upcoming rewards. For example, “You earned XXX points on this purchase. You’re just XX points away from Super Loyal status!.”

You might be thinking you already do this in your loyalty program emails. But loyalty emails are almost never personalized based on purchase history, just as transactional and marketing emails are rarely personalized based on loyalty status. Personalizing both types of emails, based on both sources of data, can put you that much closer to true, one-to-one personalization.

See how more personalization and better use of data can make all the difference with “Accelerate Your Marketing Efforts.”

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Data Rules the World

It has become second nature. You probably don’t even realize that you’re doing it. However, you are always offering up some information about yourself in exchange for goods and services. Need a few examples?

  • Whenever you download a movie
  • Whenever you buy an ebook
  • Whenever you call for a driveshare service

You’ve already given away your contact information, but these services also have data on your location, preferences, interests, and more.

Lyft and Netflix and similar big-name businesses have not only become huge brands, but they are a part of our daily lives. No one thinks twice about the information they offer up in exchange for a ride, an evening’s entertainment, or a meal ordered in.

This is the new world that we live. It’s different than things were only a few years ago, and there’s no going back. Data now sits at the heart of everything. Every business is collecting it and using it to create marketing strategies and customer experiences designed to win over their customers and keep them coming back again and again.

How can you compete? How can you thrive?

First, you have to realize it’s not so much about brand building. You need to focus on generating revenue. This means you put out the best and most convenient services possible tailored to your audiences. Data helps you accomplish this. With it, you can create a connected, consistent, and comfortable experience for customers across all channels. They have expectations that you meet with your services and the rate at which you innovate and expand.

How do you make data work for you for you?

Well, you might have an awful amount of it, but data is useless is you can’t properly utilize it. You have to strive to connect and fit your data together so that you can take action with it. You can tie your marketing and sales strategies to what the numbers say and build a customer experience that reflects the vivid picture the metrics you have available has painted.

If you have too much data and don’t know how to use it and where it all connects together, you have what’s called a “data island.” You don’t want to end up trapped on one.

Therefore, you need actionable, real-time data and teams that can properly use it to your advantage. With it, you can generate new customer segments to target and possibly bring down your sales cycle. For instance, going from a four-week to a three-week cycle can save money, time, and have you responding quicker and more urgently to customer needs, which helps you stay on the ball.

You should have different specialized teams working in different areas, such as email, apps, the customer experience, sales, marketing, and more. However, your teams should not operate in silos. You should have access to the data and work together using it. Proper data sharing is the key to your teams coming together to craft a better experience that better excites and interests customers and allows them to grow comfortable in providing you more data and returning for more service again and again.

Learn how to put your customer data to good use with “Lead Scoring for Modern Marketers.”

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B2B Marketing Trends to Address in 2019

Spring is arriving, and 2019 is in full gear. It’s time to focus how you will address this year’s B2B marketing trends as part of your own strategy. While some trends may be a holdover from the previous year or are taking on a bigger role, there are also new B2B marketing trends that need your attention in order to attract and maintain your customer base.

Here’s what I’ve observed based on my own interaction with our B2B customers in the last six months and through my ongoing research on the overall marketing environment:

B2B Marketing Trends That Continue

It’s important to know the trends that continue to impact B2B marketing despite being part of the environment for so long:

  • SEM/SEO: Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization will always be a critical B2B marketing trend because businesses conduct ongoing research to understand their own environment as well as look for other companies to help them achieve strategic objectives. Although you may have focused your effort on title tags and headers -- and these will continue to be important -- you will also need to look at other tactics to build search traffic on other channels and through additional content strategies. This is because search algorithms will change yet again this year so you will need to stay up-to-date on how those changes impact your SEM/SEO tactics.
  • Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC): This is a traditional marketing concept that has been around for decades, but it is gaining new ground in 2019 and beyond as companies realize that they can apply the benefits of IMC to the digital environment as they reach out to companies across channels. The overall purpose of IMC is to help create a unified and consistent brand image and message no matter where you engage with your audience.
B2B Marketing Trends Set to Grow

Here’s what’s been around in the world of B2B marketing but will grow further as a key area for results:

  • Content Marketing: Business customers seek information for decisions just as much as consumers and sometimes more, especially if they are looking to invest in equipment or a software platform. Or, they might be desperate to address a key business challenge that is impacting their profitability. That’s when you can offer them niche-specific content that addresses those needs rather than focusing on selling to your prospects. And, as always, remember that your content marketing needs to be as relevant and useful as possible
  • Retargeting: The ability to locate where your visitors go in terms of other sites will become more critical as you fight to keep your audience prospects engaged with what you have to offer. More effort will be put into understanding their behavior as they move to other sites so you can create advertisements that speak directly to their interests and browsing history.
  • Social Media and Video Marketing: Certain social media channels are growing within the B2B arena, particularly Instagram where businesses are seeking out other businesses on this channel to see their brand in action, including videos and visual content. Although LinkedIn continues to lead the way in terms of B2B social media interaction, other channels like YouTube are starting to gain more traction in the B2B environment for the ability to share information they want in a much more digestible and engaging way. This is leading channels like LinkedIn to consider how it can offer similar features.
  • Data-Driven Marketing: Data will become increasingly important in the B2B world like it has done with consumers because companies will also want personalized experiences with brands. And, with the ongoing use of social media and content marketing, more metrics will need to be analyzed in order to core to understand what resonates with these businesses, when they are engaging with the content, and what the competition is doing to win your customers.
  • Account-Based Marketing (ABM): Although already in use, ABM will continue to grow because of the number of stakeholders and the complexity of transactions and investments in the business environment. Rather than taking an inbound approach to lead generation, ABM provides a way to hone in on specific types of clients and build out those relationships through value-added delivery and achieve return business over time.  
New B2B Marketing Trends on the Horizon

Although you may have heard about these trends, this is the year that they are set to become part of the B2B environment even if they’ve been part of the B2C marketing landscape for the past few years:

  • AI and Machine Learning: Now that companies see how this technology can work with a consumer audience, there is growing acceptance that these tools could help with B2B marketing in a similar way. For example, more analytics is incorporating artificial intelligence to understand the audience and results from B2B marketing efforts. Also, more B2B bot applications are appearing, such as chatbots for websites and social media channels as well as meta bots for customer interaction and analysis to address the aforementioned trend toward data-driven marketing.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): Now that businesses are starting to adopt more IoT devices and see the benefits of such connectivity for their own operations, they are more amenable to receiving marketing messages via such devices. This means more content marketing and engagement through devices like virtual assistants, including ads, promotions, relevant information, and access to further content that helps them deploy and use IoT devices in their businesses.
  • Data Protection: Businesses are showing an increasing focus on their desire to have their personal information protected, which means brands will have to find more ways to protect the data they are gathering on their clients. This means paying more attention to technology that secures this sensitive data and to how privacy policies are written and shared with clients.
A Forever Changing Landscape

While it doesn’t feel as volatile as the consumer landscape, the B2B marketing environment continues to change as companies experience more demands on their own operations to satisfy their audiences.

Find out more about how data, personalizing your communications, and email programs can come together in “Discover the Right Marketing Solution.”

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The 2019 Markie Awards Winners

On March 20, 2019, the 13th Annual Markie Awards took place in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For more than a decade, Markie Awards have celebrated the art and science of digital marketing for more than a decade. However, this year, the Markies evolved and broadened their scope to applaud brilliance beyond just marketing. Therefore, the 2019 Markies honored the creators of standout customer experiences across marketing, sales, service, and commerce.

The 2019 Markies included:

The Apex Award for Best Overall Customer Experience

Honoring companies that created a standout customer experience that turns customers into brand advocates.  

The winner – Panasonic (Computer Products Europe)


The Borderless Award for Best International Marketing Campaign

Recognizing those who put together a national marketing campaign that eventually went international. 

The winner – Movember Foundaton


The Cultivator Award for Best Lead Management Program

For marketers who crafted a lead management program with smart lead and account scoring that nurtures prospects, delivers dynamic results, and better aligns marketing and sales. 

The winner – Samsung Business


The Heartstrings People’s Choice Award

Featuring project submission videos enhanced by unusual creativity, humor, or human-interest touches. 

The winner – Health Resources in Action


The Nexus Award for Best CX Ecosystem

Recognizing those who masterfully built a connected CX ecosystem with CRM, third-party cloud apps, or API integration. 

The winner- Indian Hotels Company Limited


The Insight Award for Best Use of Data

For those who use data as their superpower to target, personalize, or pivot, and have seen impressive ROI as a result. 

The winner – Cisco 


The Omni Award for Best Omnichannel Experience (Marketing, Service, & Sales)

Recognizing organizations that deliver the hyper-relevant, omni-channel experiences buyers demand. 

The winner – Things Remembered


The Pinpoint Award for Best Account-Based Marketing Strategy

Honoring those who use account-based marketing and marketing automation for precision and hyper-personalization. 

The winner – Hewlett Packard Enterprise


The Thinker Awards for Best Innovation in CX

Recognizing those organizations that leverage technology and tools in a way that they have never done before.


The Thinker Award for Best Innovation in Sales

The winner – Aon


The Thinker Award for Best Innovation in Marketing

The winner – Snap Tech


The Thinker Award for Best in Innovation in Service

The winner – City of Albuquerque, New Mexico 


The Upshot Awards

Recognizing the professionals who find opportunities where others see obstacles and capitalize on them without hesitation.


The Upshot Award for Best Demonstrated ROI in Marketing

The winner – Bonnier News


The Upshot Award for Best Demonstrated ROI in Service and Sales

The winner – Kenya Revenue Authority 


The Convert Award for Best Commerce Experience

Recognizing the enlightened commerce team that uses inspirational experiences to convert transactional customers into brand-loyal enthusiasts. 

The winner – Livelo


Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you to everyone who participated.

For information about digital marketing and marketing automation, visit Oracle Marketing Cloud (OMC).




Modern Marketing Blog Influencer Series: 3 Areas Marketers Must Focus on in the Age of the …

“The Modern Marketing Influencer Blog Series asked top influencers from across the marketing spectrum what’s on their minds and what topics and pressing issues in their fields they feel are begging for more insight. Here they share their thoughts on the customer experience, data, the ever-changing field of marketing, and how it all comes together.

The connected customer is always consuming information and leaving digital fingerprints, providing two data streams that modern marketers must access and then integrate into their planning. As the connected customer peruses apps and channels, posts content, and plans purchases, marketers need to meet customers on their terms with engaging content and messages that reflect where they have been and where they are going next.

But how? How can marketers ensure buyers have great experiences throughout the entire customer lifecycle?

Ultimately, we’re talking about customer experience (CX). The problem is that customers are more connected than ever before, but brands aren’t there yet, so customers can sometimes have disappointing experiences at the beginning or later on during their brand relationships. They might have great experiences in the onboarding phase but then have a bad experience with a product upgrade; or they love their first purchase but are regretting the second, and don’t know what to do.

To fix this and get in sync with the connected customer, marketers must focus on three key areas:

  • Customers
  • Data
  • Technology

CX is the sum of all the interactions that a customer has with an organization over the life of the relationship with that brand, and, more importantly, the feelings, emotions, and perceptions the customer experiences with those interactions. The growing number of touches and interactions connected customers participate in amplifies the need for brands to deliver consistently great experiences.

It was Roy H. Williams, the “wizard of ads,” who said, “The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.”

Today that means an experience that is personalized, consistent, relevant, timely, convenient, easy/frictionless — and seamless, regardless of touchpoint. And communications — a critical component of the customer experience — must be captivating, engaging, authentic, trustworthy, and in real time.

To become more connected, brands need to do more than think about channels and channel strategies. They need to first step back and understand their customers:

  • Who they are
  • The problems they’re trying to solve
  • The jobs they are trying to get done
  • Their channel preferences
  • Their expectations

It’s difficult to personalize an experience if you don’t know the who, the what, or the why.


The connected customer is seamlessly linked to brands, content, and support without much regard for channel. As a matter of fact, most of the time, it all happens on their cell phones. And more and more, they’re also connecting via their smart home devices. Their expectations are that brands know them, anticipate their next moves, and communicate in real-time with content that is relevant and timely for the journey they are on. In short, they want instant gratification.

Those expectations arise from the knowledge that brands track customers’ every click, so they should have the data to deliver desired experiences. Any deviance from this expectation leads to dissatisfaction and, ultimately, causes customers to defect.

To achieve the expected experience requires an enterprise-wide approach that includes the right culture, the right planning, the right people, and the right technology – not to mention the right data at the right time.

Marketers must have access to the data that customers are sharing as they interact with brands. The data is varied and vast, from customer feedback in surveys and on social media, to purchase and other interaction data, to website analytics and more. Marketers must be able to discern the right data from the rest of the data; since just because you have a lot of data doesn’t mean that it’s all useful or usable.

They must constantly and continuously use this data to learn about their customers, to understand their needs and expectations, and then to deliver that personalized and relevant messaging and experience in a way that is authentic and trustworthy.

More importantly, using this data to develop that single view of the customer is imperative. It is the end-to-end view of the customer’s journey — along various channels and touchpoints — with the organization, as well as her experience (e.g., doing, thinking, feeling, perceptions) along that journey. It’s important to note that this is a view of each individual customer’s journey; the view is not persona based or segment based. This is a single customer view; this is about the experience, one customer at a time. Once you have this view, you can then better deliver a personalized and even anticipatory experience.


Looking ahead, marketing leaders have their work cut out for them. Knowing the customer, generating a single view of the customer, and being able to deliver a personalized and simplified experience throughout the entire lifecycle is key. And they can’t go it alone.

Today and into the future, CMOs must partner closely with CIOs, who can enable marketers to understand both prospects and customers at a much more detailed level. They know the different data sources, know where they are, have access to the data, are knowledgeable about the various systems available to do this, and can recommend new platforms if legacy systems are lacking in functionality. This allows marketers to then message to the right customers with the right content on the right channel at the right time.

Obviously, the data and the technology are closely linked — and both are critical to facilitating and delivering that personalized and proactive experience.

Predictive and prescriptive analytics tools are a great example of a marriage of data and technology. Using existing customer data from a variety of sources, these tools can identify why, how, and where —from which action — marketers will get the biggest bang for their buck. And the analytics tools prescribe the next best action to take, moving marketers from insight to foresight quickly and accurately. Having these powerful tools at their disposal gives marketers what they need to deliver the experience their customers expect.

Final Thoughts

The connection is a two-way street. We cannot only have connected customers; companies must be connected, too. For that to happen, they must break down silos within their organizations — operational silos, channel silos, and data silos. To be where customers want brands to be when they need them, and to deliver a seamless experience, data and information must flow freely across the entire organization.

Marketers must understand the customer and her needs and expectations, use the breadcrumbs of data that customers leave behind to develop that single view of a customer, and have the right tools and technology in place to facilitate delivering the personalized and proactive experience customers desire.

Find out more about connecting with your customers by reading “A Perfect Circle: How to Connect to the Buyer of Now.”

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