Are you connecting the digital dots?
Umang Bedi, Managing Director – Adobe, South Asia LinkedIn
The marketing world is undergoing a tsunami of change. This rate of change is compounded by the sheer quantum of data being generated from multiple sources be it CRM data, third party data, user preference data or the massive deluge of social data . The main struggle that marketers’ today face is how to get meaningful insights from this vast quantity of data. Additionally, today marketing is a boardroom conversation where marketers have added pressure to justify the ROI on marketing budgets which itself is just the tip of the ice berg. An effective marketing organization needs to keep pace with these changes. How does a marketer surface insight from the vast quantity of data and decide what step to take next? Marketers need to understand how campaigns are performing, which creative to use and how to deliver those campaigns and across which devices. Additionally, this must happen whether the campaign is a search ad, mobile app, on a social platform, email, landing page or the entire web site which adds to the complexity of data mining to gather the right insights.
The Digital Self
This vast quantum of data, in all its forms, paints a picture of who your customer really is – the ‘Digital Self’ which is a whole new source of intelligence and influence. Within this, lie the smaller, critical insights that will drive success for the marketer. It is this tremendous idea that whether you are an advertiser, marketer or publisher – it’s the small things that bring meaning to every digital interaction and experience. It is this that lets us rethink what’s possible; taking signals and creating something magical transforming it into an expression of a brand connecting with real people. Not people who reside in rows and columns of a database but real people who have wants, desires and needs. It is about taking the countless signals, the self-defining choices, and turning them into meaningful experiences. Not just for the 1.5 billion individuals who are online everyday but also for the next billion who are coming. The Digital Self reflects how individuals are represented online – their likes, friends, purchases, comments, and everything that is shared through digital channels. If we can learn how to take these signals and map the patterns in a way that helps create more meaningful digital experiences it will change the way we advertise, market and publish and the way we reach each other.
Data and Content – Two sides of the same coin
Data is at the very core of digital marketing. However, data isn’t actionable alone – it is simply the left hand of digital marketers. The right hand is content. Content is elemental, it is beautiful, expressive and what brings experiences to life. It is content that provides the substance and drives people to take action – knowing what you want, seeing what you want and getting what you want. As marketers, we are creating more content than ever before; it is exploding just as much as data is. While content drives people to action, data is the enabler that helps amplify the content in small yet profound ways. We have often relied on cumbersome and time-consuming processes that require crunching large quantities of data over months to identify high-value audiences. As marketers, we need information that paints a full picture of the business- creative designs, advertising and analytics in one easy-to-access spot. There is a huge need in the market to help sort through terabytes of data quickly, to uncover valuable audiences and in a timeframe that allows them to promptly identify audiences based on shared characteristics and to also predict the probability of them converting. Digital marketers that get this are ripping out antiquated systems that simply do not scale and re-platforming their digital infrastructure. But, the real payoff is the optimization that brings together data and content. It is the intelligence that allows us to deliver unique experiences to consumers that speak to them and inspire them to act. Everyone who engages with digital is exposed to a message, and if those aren’t just generic messages but connections that are relevant and meaningful to one’s interests and life – that’s even better.
The Last Millisecond
Marketers are tasked with delivering experiences to consumers in a fractional space of time: between the action – every swipe, tag, drag and click – and the decision – to buy, to subscribe, to join, or to leave the page. This is a concept which we at Adobe define at the last millisecond. To deliver a quality, engaging, in-context experience in that last millisecond, marketers need to overcome not only technology barriers but also organizational ones. It is not only about the right tools but how to work better with them. It is about understanding your customer. What do you know about this visitor? Where has he come from – banner ads, facebook posts, mobile app; is he an existing customer or is he a new visitor? What are his interests? What is the value that I can offer him? The system must be able to track his behavior, preempt his need and give him something relevant. This involves assimilating all the information I have, filtering it as per the interests of the visitor, understanding his requirement and delivering that onto an omni channel environment including mobile devices, tablets, kiosks and smart TV has to happen in the last millisecond. For example, the CMO of a car rental company would like to maximize revenue from car rentals during the holiday season. To accomplish this, she needs to know which potential audiences would be most likely to respond to a holiday car rental campaign. Today using advanced analytical tools this is a reality that will help the CMO analyze terabytes of multichannel data to uncover previously unidentified, high-value audiences, perhaps families of five or more and retired couples etc. These audiences are then ranked by their likelihood of converting, which in this case is defined as the customer actually picking up the car they reserve. Going even deeper, solutions today empower marketers to tailor match the interests of the potential customers. For instance, a six-person family would be offered a minivan while the retired couple would be offered a comfortable sedan. It is this kind of optimization in the last millisecond that activates ROI. It drives a better experience for the customer, allows for media dollars to be spent more wisely and makes the delivery of content as effective as possible.
Getting access to the data that will deliver the information we need to build the right experiences can itself be a big challenge. Marketers need to be empowered to access their data at any time in a simple and efficient manner. Where marketers can connect the digital dots to deliver in that last millisecond, is where the big results start to happen.