This is the year of digital personalization

personalization-guys-meAs the first quarter of 2015 closes, a big theme has emerged in digital marketing: personalization. Personalization isn’t necessarily new — digital giants like Amazon, Netflix and Facebook aggregate historical data to suggest products, movies and friends — but digital personalization is now accessible to all. Marketers and brands are pursuing personalization for three reason:

1) The consumer is more elusive than ever. Back in 2010, Forrester’s Josh Bernoff spoke about the emergence of digital consumption on mobile. At that point, 25% of consumers were using mobile only once a week (PDF). Fast forward to 2014, mobile accounts for 25% of every day. Beyond mobile, consumers are spending 40 minutes a day on social so their attention is further divided by other screens.

2) Consumers expects brands to contextualize their content. According to a new report from IBM/Econsultancy, 4 out of every 5 consumers say that brands don’t behave as if they really know them—the translation is the marketers aren’t marketing effectively to consumers. As a marketer, this last point actually stings the most.

3) Consumers have more choices than ever before. According to an article by Consumer Reports on retail, there are 27 varieties of Crest and 25 varieties of Colgate at the supermarket. Brands have a difficult time differentiating their products.

Marketers are also looking for an edge. Research from Adobe of 1,000+ US marketers showed that personalization is the most important priority for companies (PDF). And the payoff for personalization is big. Brands that focus on customers outperform their peers by 2X the revenue and see a 15% reduction in expenses.

In the subsequent posts, I’ll discuss what are the different levels of personalization (hint — are 4 handful), the process to follow to successfully personalize your website and the technologies and platform that enable personalization.

Top Marketing Agencies in Atlanta for Q3 2014

Late yesterday I published the an updated Top Marketing Agencies in Atlanta slide for Q3 2014, which represents the most current network and independent agencies in our market. The slide includes a few changes:

  • Omnicom and Publicis were split apart due to their failed merger.
  • Nurun moved under the Publicis banner; they were acquired in September.
  • MaxMedia was added to the independent agencies category.

The following is the agency selection process:

A) Criteria:
For member agencies of the major networks (e.g.: WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, IPG, Dentsu, MDC Partners), I simply consolidated public information. For independent agencies, I used the following qualifications:

  • Number of employees (15+)
  • Annual revenue ($3M+)
  • Prior history of digital marketing campaigns
  • News regarding new clients/engagements

The objective is to consolidate this list to 100 agencies. Additional criteria may/will be used reach this objective.

B) Corrections/Updates:
If find an error or would like to be considered, please contact me at my work email address (ttishgarten at arke dot com). You may also want to subscribe to my Agency Digest email list to receive noteworthy news about Atlanta agencies and updates regarding this slide. NOTE: This is a low volume list:

If you have any other feedback, please leave it below in the comments. I hope that you find this slide to be as valuable as I have.

I never thought this could happen to me, again!

in_hospital_on_iphoneThis is a picture of me in the hospital on a Sunday afternoon more than four weeks ago, after I ran the Georgia Half Marathon. I learned just a few hours earlier that I tore my retina — an injury that I previously had when I was in my early 20’s that left me with 20/30 vision in one eye. Seeing that I’m in my early 40’s and that the first injury was deemed a complete fluke, I thought that I was set for life but apparently I was not. I now had to undergo emergency eye surgery on my other eye — the one that I considered to be “good” — to repair the retina and save my vision again.

With my wife by my side, I sat in the bed frantically typing on my iPhone canceling appointments and delaying others. When I finished, I handed my phone back to her and was about to relax when it buzzed with a text message from one of the partners at my firm. My wife said that he wished me good luck and asked what he could do to help. I asked her to let him know that he should temporarily take over everything that I wasn’t able to push out (and thankfully he did without missing a beat). Shortly after sending that message, I realized just how quickly everything in life can change!

That evening, the doctor spent an hour (or so) repairing my retina. He essentially reattached a wet tissue paper inside of an elongated golf ball. To say that was impressive procedure is a complete understatement but he did it! The next day I was sent home to start of my recovery, which included no strenuous activity — nothing that could raise my blood pressure. Next to the pain, that was the toughest change that I had to make!

Fast forward to my last visit, the only visible marks of the procedure is redness in the outer corner of my eye. It kind of resembles pink eye, except I’m not infectious! At that appointment, I discovered that my vision drastically improved from 20/200 to 20/30 — basically going from blindness to near normal vision. The profound change happened because the gas bubble, which was used to push down on my repaired retina, finally began dissapating. It still isn’t gone but it will in a few more weeks. The speedy recovery is truly exceptional — I am incredibly lucky considering the size of the tear! And I am learning to adjust to not running hard at my normal pace.

I am incredibly thankful for my family, friends and colleagues and the overall outcome of this situation. And my wife has been my rock through it all — something that I am grateful for! While I am not out of the woods yet, I am hopeful I’ll regain my vision and resume full, normal activity by the middle to end of May. It is great to see the light at the end of the tunnel — literally!