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.