I’ve met a lot of mar­keters in my career, and I’ve seen first­hand the cam­paigns they’ve man­aged and the x-factors that sep­a­rate smooth, sophis­ti­cated oper­a­tions from ones that strug­gle to fly. These boil down to a num­ber of prin­ci­ples truly foun­da­tional to cre­at­ing a suc­cess­ful mar­ket­ing envi­ron­ment, a few of which we’ll talk about here (and more in the future). As the tools and tech­nolo­gies avail­able to mar­keters con­tinue to grow, the most effec­tive habits are changing—and with change comes oppor­tu­nity. A big part of what this blog is about is expand­ing the way we think about dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and show­ing how Adobe’s dynamic tag man­age­ment (DTM) opens the door to just this kind of inno­va­tion. So let’s get started!

1. Lever­ag­ing Work

The arch neme­sis of mar­keters has always been scal­a­bil­ity of effort. The more a mar­keter wants to know across an ever-broadening set of chan­nels, the more tech­ni­cal and process-oriented excel­lence plays a role in deter­min­ing the fate of that mar­keter. The more mar­ket­ing cam­paigns a com­pany needs to run across these chan­nels, the more mar­keters there are vying for input and data from those pages. You can see how the prob­lem expands expo­nen­tially very, very quickly. One of the most com­mon flaws I’ve encoun­tered in my expe­ri­ence with large-scale dig­i­tal ana­lyt­ics cam­paigns is redun­dancy. Too often, mar­ket­ing work becomes com­part­men­tal­ized, despite the fact that the raw data each team is work­ing with indi­vid­u­ally is often valu­able to them col­lec­tively. A good mar­keter, and by exten­sion a good man­ager, is capa­ble of lever­ag­ing work across mul­ti­ple plat­forms so that when one team suc­ceeds the knowl­edge gained is use­ful to everyone.

The impor­tance of this qual­ity has had a sig­nif­i­cant impact on the design of Adobe DTM (for­merly Satel­lite). Busi­ness events, data, seg­ments, and processes can be shared, redesigned, and reused with com­plete flu­id­ity between your ana­lysts, opti­miza­tion spe­cial­ists, search, dis­play, email, social, and other teams. This means your dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing depart­ment can act in sync—united in pur­pose, rely­ing on a tech­no­log­i­cal plat­form that makes true lever­aga­bil­ity of work pos­si­ble. And of course, this opens up new oppor­tu­ni­ties for the improve­ment of process and infor­ma­tion shar­ing dur­ing and after the cam­paign too.

2. Pierc­ing the Surface

The beauty of dig­i­tal ana­lyt­ics is that the pres­ence of such robust data shat­ters the bound­aries we per­ceive in tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing. Case in point: over-focus on ROI alone. ROI has been the judge, jury, and exe­cu­tioner of mar­ket­ing strate­gies for as long as it’s been mea­sur­able. Every mar­keter in this cen­tury and the last has been asked to con­cretely con­nect the dots from a dol­lar of invest­ment to two of income at the macro level. But robust dig­i­tal ana­lyt­ics offers the poten­tial for more.

The dif­fer­ence is in speci­ficity; his­tor­i­cally, we’ve been able to exam­ine the results of cus­tomer inter­ac­tion in the black-and-white lan­guage of closed sales and missed oppor­tu­ni­ties. Now we can ana­lyze behav­ior at deep lev­els. We can under­stand the way that con­sumers act as indi­vid­u­als and pop­u­la­tions by div­ing deeply into where our busi­ness is strong or weak for spe­cific seg­ments and audi­ences and through­out spe­cific points in time across the customer’s con­sid­er­a­tion and pur­chase process. We can know defin­i­tively how our approach, cam­paigns, assets, con­tent, and atti­tude toward cus­tomers affects that behavior.

Good mar­ket­ing makes busi­nesses much more than it costs. Respon­sive mar­ket­ing helps busi­nesses under­stand where that rev­enue is com­ing from. The mar­ket­ing of the future—and the mar­keters behind it—does both by iden­ti­fy­ing the dri­vers of long-term growth and help­ing to stim­u­late them with tar­geted, real-time respon­sive­ness, often at the micro level. This is “the last mil­lisec­ond,” some­thing you’ve heard of if you’ve been to our Adobe Sum­mit, and it’s some­thing I’m truly pas­sion­ate about. Noth­ing I’ve seen has been a big­ger fac­tor in deter­min­ing whether a busi­ness knows exactly what to do next to bring cus­tomer inter­ac­tion and con­ver­sion to the next level. It’s been reward­ing to watch this approach catch on at the elite lev­els of dig­i­tal marketing.

3. See­ing the Lit­tle Picture

Of course, the pri­mary pur­pose of ana­lyt­ics is to pro­vide us with infor­ma­tion about cus­tomers and their habits. But the tools of ana­lyt­ics can also sup­port us in the equally impor­tant task of fill­ing in the gaps between the data. Say you’re a paid search mar­keter, and a cam­paign or group of key­words has per­formed excel­lently one week and mis­er­ably the next. Click-through rates (CTRs) are down, and for those that par­tic­i­pate, com­ple­tion has tanked.

Okay, that’s data. But the data that mat­ters is why? Was there a fea­ture change or added bar­rier that turned away vis­i­tors? Is a com­peti­tor run­ning a price-matching cam­paign? Was there an A/B test turned on or off that week? This is the lit­tle pic­ture, and it’s been neglected by too many mar­keters for too long. In sim­pler words, this is a hybrid of the above two.

Most mar­keters have tools that match their role and needs well, but the data that can only be sur­faced in their peers’ tools is often more valu­able than the data in a marketer’s own tool. The mar­keter of the future has this “periph­eral vision” into other par­al­lel ini­tia­tives that allows them to more seam­lessly detect influ­ences and col­lab­o­rate with their peers. This is why an effec­tive mar­ket­ing cloud offer­ing allows your tools to talk to each other and sur­face infor­ma­tion that is out­side of the direct, obvi­ous con­text of your day-to-day job.

The big pic­ture tells us how our entire oper­a­tions are doing (or how a spe­cific practitioner’s efforts work in a silo), but the lit­tle pic­ture tells us how those met­rics are shaped in the first place. Great mar­keters strive to develop a periph­eral vision that allows them to make con­nec­tions in a shift­ing envi­ron­ment and to answer the lit­tle ques­tions, know when they need to walk over to a peer’s desk and have a chat about com­ple­men­tary or con­flict­ing efforts, and ulti­mately drive a huge delta in growth potential.

This is all just a broad overview of the qual­i­ties of stel­lar mar­keters. In the future, we’ll be div­ing into the specifics of how to move through the stages of improv­ing these facets and how to max­i­mize the poten­tial of the tools at hand and the mar­keters wield­ing them.