As a consumer, you probably don’t pay much attention to the profound impact that technology is having on our behavior. For example, wearable tech like the Nike FuelBand is improving our awareness of daily activity. And the more we monitor, the more easily we are encouraged to remain on track. But technology is also having the opposite effect on marketing. According to Jay Baer’s book Youtility, technology is making top-of-mind awareness, or keeping a product or service in front of a consumer, ineffective. This shift is forcing marketers to become more creative in how do they connect with consumers. Baer stitches together several arguments that have resulted in this shift:
The media landscape has severely fragmented. Almost 40 years ago, a commercial airing alongside the #1 show Happy Days would capture the attention of 30 million viewer in the US. Nowadays, a “hot” show like The Walking Dead at best would have half that number of viewers. That number doesn’t seem so bad until one considers that in the US half of all cable/satellite subscribers have DVR’s and DVR users tend to skip half of all commercials. So the overall reach of TV has dropped by 75% over the past four decades.
Consumers’ distrust of brands continues to grow. According to Edelman’s Trust Index Barometer, trust in businesses continues to fall year annually.
Consumers are extremely diligent in making buying decisions. On average, consumers rely on 10.4 sources of information before buying. While that’s a lot of research, brands have to be one of the go-to sources or miss out on the buying opportunity.
The issue at hand is the new friction between brands and consumers: today’s consumers are more elusive. And given that they are also less loyal than ever before, it is not surprising that marketers today are desperately looking for ways to deliver the right message at the right time to the right audience. From Baer’s perspective, brands focus on being helpful have a fighting chance to connect with consumers. Brands can reach this goal by producing high-quality content. That requires more than an army of one — it requires brands to mobilize their entire team. One of the striking examples in the book is OpenView Venture Partners, a 30 person shop that publishes a tremendous amount of content:
Daily: 1 article, 1 video
Weekly: podcast, newsletter, interview with business or marketing expert
So does this strategy actually work? Beyond reading about the case studies in the book, I’ve successfully applied this strategy in growing awareness for my agency channel. In my line of work, I help deliver technology solutions to agencies so I need to know who’s who. Early last year, I created and published a slide to Slideshare that highlighted network and non-network agencies in Atlanta. And that version of the slide received over 3,000 views in just a month! Since then, I’ve updated the slide a few times based on feedback from the agency community. Collectively, the slide has received close to 6,000 views on Slideshare over the past year. That is why I think that Jay’s book is a must-have for anyone that’s serious about marketing! Thanks to Mathew Sweezey, a marketing strategy evangelist at Pardot, who suggested that I read this book!
Late yesterday I published the new Top Marketing Agencies in Atlanta slide. This version represents a current view of network and independent agencies in our market. Here are few highlights that I want to call to your attention:
Added 2 Networks: Dentsu and MDC Partners.
Removed Engauge. It was acquired last year by Zenith Optimedia Publicis (full disclosure: Engauge was my prior employer).
Added several PR firms to the Independent agency category.
I also want to clarify two things regarding this slide:
A) The selection process: For agencies that are a part 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 eventually consolidate the list to 100 agencies. Additional criteria may/will be used reach this objective.
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:
And finally, there are a couple of up and coming agencies that are rapidly growing that didn’t make the cut this round:
Sandbox. This agency started late last year and already built an impressive client portfolio. It is run by Donovan Panone and Carla Paschke, two former colleagues of mine.
FortyFour Digital. This agency started early last year. It is run by Adam Roe and Thomas Frank.
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.
Last week I visited with fellow technologist and Big Data evangelist Flavio Villanustre at LexisNexis. During the visit we discussed advances in data-driven marketing, a topic that I’ll be covering with a panel of experts at the upcoming OMMA Atlanta conference.
Here are some of the big takeways from our conversation:
The biggest challenge that marketers face today is having access to data. The more data one has, the better data models one can build. And better data models drive better predications. Marketers must take every opportunity that they are given to collect and share data.
The role of unstructured data (eg; photos, videos, audio) in data analysis will increase over time. For example, Google announced in 2012 that researchers used 1,000 computers to find cats in pictures. The impressive thing about this finding is the ability of computers to identify a particular object with accuracy without human intervention. This level of machine learning demonstrates that computer-enabled data analysis is something that we can take advantage of in the not-so-distant future!
We are recognizing the value of predictive analytics. While descriptive analytics, or the collection of basic metrics (eg: visitors, page views, leads, likes, +1’s, pins, etc.), is important to understand what’s happened in the past, companies want to leverage data to predict the future and drive more revenue/increase profit.
A very small number of companies worldwide (only 3%; according to Gartner Research) are beginning to use prescriptive analytics. Prescriptive analytics is a complex type of predictive analytics that allows one to test out multiple marketing models. It provides an optimal solution given a set of objectives, requirements and constraints. This is where say a company can test the impact of various promotions/discounts and shipping rates on a customer’s purchasing behavior.
Marketers have to accept the successes (and failures) of data-driven decisioning. We hate to turn decisions over to a computer because we believe that we’re smarter — we’re human after all! Unfortunately, computers typically beat our “gut feel” — our intuition is just inherently faulty (according to HBR). Marketers need to accept that we’re biased and that we must adopt a “test and optimize” processes where the answer from one set of marketing experiments inform the next set of experiments.
It is easy to see how these advances in marketing — whether it is through the introduction of marketing technology platforms, data collection practices or data analysis processes. While it is tough to predict the future (thanks Yogi Berra), I believe that marketers that ignore data-driven decisioning are poised to lose (in the long run).