Market Roadmaps build a market story for selected innovation trends. Today we look at the latest marketing and strategy tools that have emerged from the connected businesses and markets. We in particular learn how digital tools enable a higher definition of existing markets, newly defined stories and conversations with customers. If you’d like to share additional content with us on this theme, you can follow and comment this blog or join us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, SlideShare and Google+.
Markets, in higher definition
One of the promises of Big Data is to deliver a tailored customer experience driven by appropriate digital information rich marketing strategies and accurate data analytics. Some experts do question the current status of such a promise. Utpal M. Dholakia reminds for HBR: “Algorithms aren’t sensitive enough to context. Effective marketing relies on messages that are attuned to the customer. Customer response, even for the most mundane of products, is sensitive to a host of ever-changing factors.” We are indeed at a very early stage of using algorithm based marketing and we are far from including all of the factors that might influence or cause customer behaviors. But as Daniel Kehrer explains on Forbes, “The hardest part is creating crisp insights readily translatable into decisions and actions by a fully-aligned organization. Those insights must be based on a holistic (non-siloed; online/offline) view of marketing, imbibed with a data-driven mindset.” Noel Yuhanna and Mike Gualtieri remind on the Wall Street Journal “The key to success is implementing a multidimensional view that helps individualize and contextualize customer experiences, deliver new customer insights, and create new opportunities for businesses to deliver differentiated experiences.”
Efforts should be concentrated on shaping the right content for the right target audience. Aurora Partners reminds: “There are also the pitfalls of reading too much into data and drawing out factitious results. For example, the practice of commissioning studies in order to support a new policy, theory or solution which has already been decided upon. An approach which is of course flawed and likely to result in failure.” The objective is described by Douglas Karr on Marketing Tech Blog: “This provides incredible opportunities for both segmentation and personalization – the holy grail of marketing: placing the message at the right time and right place to your customer or prospect without annoying them.” Anuj Kumar adds another communication challenge between Data Science and Marketing. In his article for Data Informed, he explains that: “The disconnect is because analytics teams (in most cases) see the model outputs, machine algorithms, and data structures as the end objective. But the business wants the analytics teams to provide them answers to business questions, not the output of a mathematical equation.”
Stories with new dimensions
Marketers therefore need to develop or rely on new expertise. As reminded on Sugar Pine Realty Blog, “In a day and age when access to experts in any field are at our fingertips (via our computer keyboards), there really is no reason why we should continue on as novices especially in the area of advertising marketing.” As Firas Kittaneh explains on Entrepreneur, “Global brands spend 45-75 percent of their social media time on Facebook.” Brands are definitely giving it a try and as Hank Osltholtoff explains in Entrepreneur, “Marketers must get to the point as soon as humanly possible through highly relevant and deliberate diction. Spread through the right channels, the right content is the difference maker and can create an astounding impact, even with just a few words.”
Service providers have developed dedicated tools and solutions to help marketers succeed in the digital era. AIMS defines digital marketing services as the following: “Digital Marketing Services enable provision of tools and core processes that facilitate development of content and new initiatives across multiple digital channels. Thus, Digital Marketing Services help enterprises gain lasting competitive advantage with creation of smart and flexible digital marketing ecosystems.” Rachel Alt Simmons also explains for SAS that “Social listening technologies provide the capability to observe trends, monitor brand and reputation, and even find inspiration from consumers. Social media analysis helps marketers hear the conversation, understand what it means, and drive insights to action against.” At the same time, Matt Palmquist reminds for Strategy and Business: “Social media is the ultimate focus group — Twitter and Facebook users rarely hesitate to voice their opinions. But although these sites have reshaped the way people communicate, they have a long way to go before they can help companies design and perfect new products. In fact, a new study finds that input from social media is more distracting than beneficial during the product development process, reinforcing the Jobsian perspective that companies probably shouldn’t invite consumers to the drawing board.”
It is not just about building relationships. It is also about opening discussions. As Torben Rick mentions on his blog, “In the past, promotion consisted of brand-created messages, with every brand claiming its products were the best. But today, a brand is what consumers say about it.” Anuj Adhiya explains for Growth Hackers: “Businesses are turning to contextual marketing and data driven methods to help companies better understand their customers, new techniques like clustering and text analysis help identify influencers and non-obvious factors that can affect buying behavior. The most creative companies combine these techniques to improve customer engagement, and by contextualizing customer interactions, create more relevant product experiences.” Mégane Amico from Siècle Digital argues that the best communication strategy to go viral and create awareness is user generated content, rather than content targeted to users or influencers.
Digital Marketing needs a deeper understanding of interests and benefits shared by communities, on each platform, under what format, with what devices. As Tamas Torok explains for Social Media Today, “Social media is becoming more fragmented; users are concentrated in many different groups within each network.” According to Steve Olenski from Forbes, “The ability to remain in touch with the progression of marketing technology, and to capture it effectively through blogging initiatives, requires that agencies adapt their traditional content production methods to produce social engagement and social capital.” The key is to overcome some inherited communication habits that interfere with the digital era. Florian Salgue, from E-Marketing, points at “lack of coherence” in the use of social networks by marketers, which is probably due to remaining “silos” between business units and companies.
Etienne Garbugli has a straightforward approach to learning, which with no doubt is what marketers would gain from a higher defined market. As he says in his article for LifeHack, “The real goal with knowledge – and where you can out-learn your competitors – is to internalize learnings and let things you learn change you. After all, you can know the name of all the tools in the shed but, if you’ve never learned to use any of them, your knowledge isn’t worth very much.” Matthew Ingram reminds on Medium about what happens to an application that appears as misfit to a user: “There is a definite psychological impact, however small, every time a user gets an update — and if there are too many, or they aren’t properly targeted or relevant, then a user will ignore them or turn the feature off.”
There obviously need to be a strategy. Kristian Downer explains for DowSocial that “If a company is sending a tweet, making a post on Facebook or writing a blog then the question should be WHY are we sending this tweet? WHAT is it designed to achieve and HOW does it fit with the overall messaging and strategy.” Given that this is a new dimension, marketers need to think of more. As Jay Baer writes for INC, “All companies–and all their employees–are active on social media in some regard. As a result, staff members who once had absolutely no involvement with marketing are now standing front and center.” Jason Fried from INC argues that “We can talk to more customers, hire consultants, buy reports, and read white papers. But those kinds of research can’t replicate the direct input of having the experience yourself.” What if instead of just reading and listening to customers, we’d sit down next to them and ask: “what should I do for you?”. The answer is provided by Barry Libert, Yoram (Jerry) Wind and Megan Beck Fenley from HBR: “A significant shift happens when customers reach co-creation status with a brand. With Transactors, Supporters, and Promoters, the company is responsible for fulfilling the customers’ needs. However, when a company co-creates with its customers (usually by providing a technology platform which facilitates interactions and transactions), company and customers create shared value.”