Posted by Kristin Ham­bel­ton, Head of Mar­ket­ing, Adobe Campaign

Last week, many mem­bers of the Adobe team headed to DMA 2013 in Chicago, IL. For those who aren’t famil­iar, DMA (Direct Mar­ket­ing Asso­ci­a­tion) is the pre­mier trade asso­ci­a­tion for mar­ket­ing lead­ers who want to advance and pro­tect respon­si­ble data-driven marketing.

Dur­ing the show, we met a ton of great peo­ple at our booth, sev­eral of our team mem­bers spoke on pan­els or held indi­vid­ual guru ses­sions, and we were even able to catch some of the other pre­sen­ta­tions.

While there was a lot of infor­ma­tion to take in, here are a few take­aways that we thought were impor­tant enough to share:
Big Data + Small Data = Bet­ter Results

Big data has been a big theme for a cou­ple years now, but this year it was dis­cussed more than ever before. The con­sen­sus among mar­ket­ing lead­ers is that to effec­tively under­stand big data and to effec­tively reach cus­tomers, mar­keters have to use both big data AND small data.

What does this mean for mar­keters? Dur­ing Nate Silver’s keynote, he addressed the fact that hav­ing more data gives us more pos­si­bil­i­ties for bias. While hav­ing large amounts of cus­tomer data can be ben­e­fi­cial for mar­keters, it’s also impor­tant that we under­stand what that data really means. By using big data com­bined with smaller data like web ana­lyt­ics, we get a clearer pic­ture of our cus­tomers and make bet­ter mar­ket­ing decisions.

Go Beyond Last-Click Attribution

One of the biggest chal­lenges mar­keters are fac­ing in today’s dig­i­tal world is under­stand­ing how to attribute sales to spe­cific chan­nels. With cus­tomers requir­ing 7–13+ touches to deliver a qual­i­fied lead, how do you know exactly which touch to attribute the sale to?

There is no sim­ple answer but accord­ing to the four peo­ple who sat on the panel “Attri­bu­tion: Who Gets Credit for Online Pur­chases,” the tough­est part is actu­ally get­ting your orga­ni­za­tion to move from last-click attri­bu­tion to multi-channel attribution.

Accord­ing to pan­elist Mark Hughes, the key is to spend six months edu­cat­ing the exec­u­tive team on the value of multi-channel attri­bu­tion, show­ing last-click and multi-channel num­bers side by side in report­ing. It’ll get the team used to the new type of report­ing and help them under­stand why multi-channel attri­bu­tion is impor­tant in this new dig­i­tal world.

What were some of the other pan­elists take­aways when it comes to last-click attri­bu­tion? John Bates of Adobe noted that com­pa­nies shouldn’t dis­count social media sim­ply because it’s not always an acqui­si­tion chan­nel, while Paul Pell­man of Adom­e­try noted that for com­pa­nies to even think about multi-attribution they have to have a big enough pres­ence and stream of media or content.

Multi-channel attri­bu­tion is dif­fi­cult. How­ever, last-click attri­bu­tion is becom­ing a thing of the past as mar­ket­ing automa­tion plat­forms con­tinue to evolve and mar­keters are able to bet­ter track and under­stand the cus­tomer path.

Break Down Channel-Based Silos

For com­pa­nies to cre­ate suc­cess­ful mar­ket­ing strate­gies, mar­ket­ing and IT must work together to cre­ate cohe­sive cross-channel strate­gies. This includes how com­pa­nies make hir­ing deci­sions. Accord­ing to Gart­ner, Inc., the role of the “hybrid” marketer/technologist is on the rise with 80% of com­pa­nies in a recent sur­vey stat­ing that they have a Chief Mar­ket­ing Technologist.

Accord­ing to Lisa Arthur dur­ing the keynote “The Glass is Bro­ken,” break­ing down silos starts with man­age­r­ial ini­tia­tive.  Start becom­ing a change agent for your organization.

DMA 2013 was a suc­cess­ful event and we are already look­ing for­ward to next year!

Did you attend? What were your top takeaways?