#NimbleReads: Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers | The Nimble Blog

The first book that we are featuring on our blog this year is “Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers” by Tim Hughes and Matt Reynolds

Source: #NimbleReads: Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers | The Nimble Blog

Your perfect customer journey is based on balanced expectations | Content Loop

Fake news has been a hot topic with the recent US presidential elections and several European elections coming up. It’s the perfect example of how clickbait is used to drive traffic. But what’s in it for the users? Fairly little actually. Best case scenario? They waste their time clicking on a link that wasn’t worth visiting. The worst case scenario is that they assume the story is true and share it with their friends. But what’s in it for the publisher? A bit more, given that the click drives traffic to their landing page, generating money for their advertisers and perhaps shifting public opinion as well.

Source: Your perfect customer journey is based on balanced expectations | Content Loop

IBM launches $200m centre to double down on Watson and IoT – TechRepublic

The new centre in Munich will see IBM collaborate with BMW and others on how to use cognitive computing to extract useful insights from IoT data.

Source: IBM launches $200m centre to double down on Watson and IoT – TechRepublic

The rise of the chief marketing technologist | IBM THINK Marketing

marketingtechnologist

Source: The rise of the chief marketing technologist – IBM THINK Marketing

This article was written by Marco Antonio Cavallo from CIO and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Whenever we hear the word “digitalization,” we must understand that it is the sound of inevitability and irreversibility. The digital economy isn’t on the horizon anymore, it′s here and it is here to stay. It’s no longer a secret that the digital economy is changing the world at an unprecedented rate. Companies that are looking to succeed in this fast emerging new economy must transform themselves by reinventing their business models, strategies, processes, and practices, and that impacts on the roles of all of its employees, as well as bringing departments to work together, once everyone is more and more dependent of technology to function.

It’s no surprise that marketing is rapidly becoming one of the most technology-dependent functions across all businesses. Gartner has predicted that by 2017, a company’s chief marketing officer (CMO) would be spending more on technology than its CIO, and that is becoming more credible every day, as many CMOs have adopted technology in their everyday activities, showing that technology became the core of marketing nowadays. Every year, CMOs are globally directing their budgets to the usage of technology or software in many different marketing areas.

IDC Research has released a few predictions on how marketing will strategically use technology to accelerate client acquisition, brand awareness, to gather and analyze market and customer information and even to optimize its operational efficiency in order to generate more revenue for companies and be more accurate when directing resources, mainly by enhancing customer experience.

1. In 2017, CMOs will spend more on content marketing assets than on product marketing assets: For decades, the product launch has reigned as the kingpin content event. With a “bill of materials” stretching through multiple Excel pages, product marketing assets suck up a major portion of the marketing budget – and much of that content is wasted. The days of product content dominance are numbered. Product content will remain important, but it will take its place behind the content marketing assets matched to decision-journey stages.

  1. By 2020, 50 percent of companies will use cognitive computing to automate marketing and sales interactions with customers: A few leads go right to sales. But the majority need further qualification and extended nurturing. Companies will increasingly turn to smart systems that automatically assess and respond to buyers at the point of need. IBM recently added Watson to its marketing cloud offerings. The question is not when cognitive marketing will become mainstream – but rather, will anyone notice?
  2. In 2017, 20 percent of large enterprise CMOs will consolidate their marketing technology infrastructure: Marketing has been absorbing marketing technology a bite at a time for more than a decade. Many organizations now manage dozens (if not hundreds) of point solutions. Just as marketing environments are hitting the wall of this operational complexity, marketing tech vendors are building solid integrated platforms – able to be tailored through a partner eco-system. A fortuitous convergence of supply and demand.

  3. By 2018, predictive analytics will be a standard tool for marketers, but only a third will get optimal benefit: Early adopters of predictive analytics for buyer behavior report amazing results. The benefits come from the ability to discover hidden segments that have a high propensity to buy. Marketers can also better serve these segments with behavioral targeting. However, the majority of marketers face big challenges to achieving the benefits. Chief inhibitors? Lack of statistical skills, stubborn organizational silos that won’t integrate data, and a culture that resists truth when it goes against tradition.

  4. By 2018, 50 percent of CMOs will make significant structural changes to their “intelligence” operations and organizations: “Intelligence” as a capability is growing in importance in modern marketing organizations. Intelligence includes market intelligence (MI), business intelligence (BI), competitive intelligence (CI), and social intelligence (SI). In the past, these four functions were spread around the enterprise. Now, IDC sees more companies consolidating into a larger, single, intelligence group – often combining with intelligence functions from other areas like sales. The elimination of silos in this important area is a positive sign.

With that perspective, it is clear that technology has turned a black art into hard science. Marketing now must be well versed in customer data, analytics, mobile, social and marketing automation tools, and that requires new type of executive. The Chief Marketing Technologist is emerging at the center of this transformation as a part strategist, part creative director, part technology leader, and part teacher professional. Its mission is very clear: align marketing technology with business goals, serving as a liaison to IT, and evaluating and choosing technology providers. About half are charged with helping craft new digital business models as well.

The best CMTs are able to set a technology vision for marketing in the digital age. They champion greater experimentation and more agile management of that function’s capabilities, as well as act as transformation agents, working within the function and across the company to create competitive advantage and collaboration. It is not difficult to enlist some of the main reasons why this new executive has emerged:

  • Software became the chief means of engaging prospects and customers: A marketing team’s choice of software and how to configure and operate it, along with how creatively the team applies it, materially affects how the firm perceives and influences its audience and how the audience sees the firm.
  • Digital marketing and e-commerce skills: once those two methodologies increasingly augment or replace traditional touch points, the importance of mastering those capabilities grows. Digital marketing budgets are expanding annually at double-digit rates, and CEOs say that digital marketing is now the most important technology-powered investment their firms can make.
  • The rise in digital budgets: it is not merely a migration of spending from traditional to digital media. A growing portion of marketing’s budget is now allocated to technology itself. A recent Gartner study found that 67% of marketing departments plan to increase their spending on technology-related activities over the next two years. In addition, 61% are increasing capital expenditures on technology, and 65% are increasing budgets for service providers that have technology-related offerings.
  • Efficiently manage all this technology: there are now well over 1,000 marketing software providers worldwide, with offerings ranging from major platforms for CRM, content management, and marketing automation to specialized solutions for social media management, content marketing, and customer-facing apps. Relationships with agencies and service providers now include technical interfaces for the exchange and integration of code and data. And bespoke software projects to develop unique customer experiences and new sources of advantage are proliferating under marketing’s umbrella.

The reason why this is a growing role within companies is very simple. In this new digital economy environment, the CMO and the CIO must collaborate closely, although this executive-level cooperation isn’t just enough. A supporting organizational structure is also needed and vital for this collaboration to work properly. A company can’t simply split marketing technology down the middle and declare that the CMO gets the marketing half and the CIO gets the technology half. Such division might look good on paper, but it leaves yawning knowledge gaps in practice.

Marketing might not understand how to fully leverage what IT can offer, and IT might not understand how to accurately translate marketing requirements into technical capabilities. Instead, marketing technology must be managed holistically. In a virtuous cycle, what’s possible with technology should inspire what’s desirable for marketing, and vice versa. The right structure will help marketing become proficient with the array of software it must use to attract, acquire, and retain customers. It will help marketing leadership recognize how new technologies can open up new opportunities and allow marketing to deftly handle the technical facets of agency and service provider relationships in both contract negotiations and day-to-day operations.

The chief marketing technologist role itself is already an acknowledgement of just how important the marketing group is to driving revenue within the organization and, when properly resourced, how today’s marketing information systems are driving the current and future growth of the business. Only by bringing the CIO and the CMO together can the CEO have a complete picture of what insights must be acted upon quickly in order to establish or maintain the top market position. In a nutshell, the power comes from the intersection between marketing and IT.

Today, companies can no longer afford separate silos between marketing and IT. The rapid collapse of these silos means that one person must be able to converse seamlessly between both groups. While many CMOs are getting their arms around the technology side of their business, the natural evolution of this role is for the CIO to improve its marketing skills in order to grow into the Chief Marketing Technologist role. The faster we embrace these trends, the bigger the impact we will have on our bottom line. This is the imminent future of the industry, and it’s the reason chief marketing technologists will be in high demand within 2017 and in the years to come.

Getting Started with Artificial Intelligence Today | Digital Marketing Blog

This week, an Econsultancy article examined five ways that artificial intelligence (AI) can help marketers enhance the customer experience, according to it

Source: Getting Started with Artificial Intelligence Today | Digital Marketing Blog

Marketing and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence and Marketing

7 examples where artificial intelligence is transforming marketing:

1. Content curation

Predictive analytics allows Netflix to optimize its recommendations. This kind of clustering algorithm is continually improving suggestions, allowing users to make the most of their subscription.

Uniting information from diverse datasets is a common use of AI.

Under Armour is one of the many companies to have worked with IBM’s Watson. The sports apparel company combines user data from its Record app with third-party data and research on fitness, nutrition etc.

The result is the ability for the brand to offer up relevant (personalized) training and lifecycle advice based on aggregated wisdom.

2. Search

In 2015, Google admitted it was using RankBrain, an AI system, to interpret a ‘very large fraction’ of search queries. RankBrain utilizes natural language processing (NLP) to help find relevance in content and queries, as well as better interpretation of voice search and user context (e.g. Google Now).

3. Predictive customer service

Knowing how a customer might get in touch and for what reason is obviously valuable information.

Not only does it allow for planning of resource (do we have enough people on the phones?) but also allows personalization of communications.

Another project being tested at USAA uses this technique. It involves an AI technology built by Saffron, now a division of Intel.

Analyzing thousands of factors allows the matching of broad patterns of customer behavior to those of individual members.

4. Ad targeting

As Andrew Ng, Chief Scientist at Baidu Research, tells Wired, “Deep learning [is] able to handle more signal for better detection of trends in user behavior. Serving ads is basically running a recommendation engine, which deep learning does well.”

Optimizing bids for advertisers, algorithms will achieve the best cost per acquisition (CPA) from the available inventory.

When it comes to targeting of programmatic ads, machine learning helps to increase the likelihood a user will click. This might be optimizing what product mix to display when retargeting, or what ad copy to use for what demographics.

5. Customer segmentation

Plugging first- and third-party data into a clustering algorithm, then using the results in a CRM or customer experience system is a burgeoning use of machine learning.

Companies such as AgilOne are allowing marketers to optimize email and website communications, continually learning from user behavior.

6. Sales forecasting

Conversion management again, but this time using inbound communication.

Much like predictive customer service, inbound emails can be analyzed and appropriate action taken based on past behaviors and conversions.

Should a response be sent, a meeting invite, an alert created, or the lead disqualified altogether? Machine learning can help with this filtering process.

7. Image recognition

Google Photos allows you to search your photos for ‘cats’. Facebook recognizes faces, as does Snapchat Face Swap.

Perhaps the most exciting implementation of image recognition is DuLight from Baidu…Designed for the visually impaired, this early prototype recognizes what is in front of the wearer and then describes it back to them.

The Sales and Marketing Promance (technology not included)

Many businesses lack strong alignment between their sales and marketing organizations. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s important to understand the barriers that prevent alignment. Six com…

Source: The Sales and Marketing Promance (technology not included)

The Skills The World Will Need In The Future (+infographics) – Innovation for Development – Social2Direct

The Fourth Industrial Revolution was the topic for the 2016 World Economic Forum. Developments in areas such as robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and others, are driving fast-paced change that will radically affect the way we work and live.

There are many unknowns about the future, but what we do know for sure is that reality as we know it today will be very different. Jobs will disappear (the WEF has calculated that about 5 million jobs will be lost), new jobs will be created and some skills will become obsolete, whereas others will be highly demanded.

The report from the World Economic Forum lists the ten critical skills that will be needed in the workforce in 2020: 1) Complex problem saving; 2) Critical thinking; 3) Creativity; 4) People management; 5) Coordinating with others; 6) Emotional intelligence; 7) Judgment and decision-making; 8) Service orientation; 9) Negotiation; and 10) Cognitive flexibility.

Between today and 2020, we have a little bit more than 1400 days. Most of us are trying to live a fulfilling life, exploring and discovering our potential, and thriving in an environment in which we opportunities to maximize that potential. But 1400 days is not much time, and we need to plan and act upon our professional and career future starting right now. I can’t stress enough the urgency of my words.

In the future, either in 2020, 2030 or 2050, but definitely not too far from now, working class will be further divided into low-paying low-skilled jobs, and high-paying high-skilled jobs. An engineer of today, if he or she doesn’t increase the skills needed in the future, could potentially be placed in the low-skilled job band. On the other hand, a clerk of today, who is deciding to begin right now the learning process to strengthen the skills and capacities that match his or her potential, with the needs in the future, could potentially be placed in the high-skilled job band. The difference in both is not academic training or diplomas, but long term professional planning.

Below is how I see the extremes in the top five of these 10 skills needed for the future. Where are you standing? What do you need to do in order to navigate the path between a low extreme and a high one? What urgency will you consider in order to learn and move from one place to the other?

Source: The Skills The World Will Need In The Future (+infographics) – Innovation for Development

Retargetting is so Flintstones



By Charlie Tarzian, Founder, The Big Willow

So we’re at least 7 years into exchange based media and we’re still complaining about retargeting. Consumer complaints are that it is mindless or creepy. And on the professional side, clients want more control over who to retarget and when.

Meanwhile, back at the zombie ranch of retargeting there has been very little innovation or progress made on some basic requirements that would change the game.

The biggest issue is lack of integration into the enterprise. And by enterprise I mean those data repositories and systems that run any company. The fact that brands continue to chase us with acquisition based messaging even after we have purchased is clearly a missed opportunity. Which begs the question: Is retargeting that misunderstood that it falls to the bottom of the data integration wish list? Do brands understand the magnificent fail of not knowing who their new customers are and the state of play between any one consumer and their company?

Without question brands need to start paying attention to this continual consumer aggravation.

Recently, a B2B client said in a meeting: We are only really interested in investing in our targeted client list. We want to know when they come to our site, we want to know when we serve them ads, when they open and click through our ads, when they follow and share our social links, etc…

So why, she asked, are we retargeting everyone that comes to our site? Our targeted list represents less than 10% of everyone that comes – so why can’t we suppress retargeting to the other 90% of the audience we are not interested in at this time? And what about if we want to retarget based on which part of the site and which product they were engaged with?

Her company’s agency responded: That’s not how it works. There is no way to discriminate. Anyone that comes to the site becomes part of the retargeting pool.

So – indiscriminant retargeting is what it shall be!

Now, on the other side, retargeting relies on building sizable pools of audience to drive the cost of bidding down – meaning the more you have in the pool and the more you have to choose from the better chance you have of winning a certain percentage of your bids and of keeping the costs down. Retargeting buys can be two times the cost on a CPM basis when compared to straight CPM buys. We get that. But retargeting parameters should be no different than how you would set up any DSP-based campaign. You should be able to create whitelists with rules we use in any campaign: only these IP addresses, or these devices or cookies, or customers that have contracts coming up, etc… I only want to target those and with the right context.

If you think about it – instead of relying on the primitive, non-evolved way retargeting is done today, we should be thinking about moving the heavy lifting of retargeting to the same data-driven approach we take through our DMP’s-to-DSP’s-to-ad servers process. That’s how we operate the foundational aspects of our media stack today, so why can’t we use the same stack to inject logic, filtering and knowledge into retargeting.

I can tell you we are working on this issue and I have to imagine others are as well. We call it Filtered Retargeting and to be honest – it is not retargeting as much as it is sequencing messaging based on using historical data. Historical can mean 10 minutes, 10 days or 10 weeks – but the strategy relies on being up to date with previous interactions across data sets and systems. But that is just one dimension.

The other is getting client organizations to architect how key customer data gets into the marketing stack with the aforementioned frequency. When someone makes their first purchase, reactivates, buys a new service, upgrades, etc… the marketing operations world must be updated and rules put in place to allow a change in how we communicate to that individual and/or company. This is the promise of both DMP’s and of an ALWAYS ON marketing stack.

All to say, retargeting has withered on the vine for so long and yet could be so much more effective in enhancing relationships.

Let’s put some of that great thinking that has created so many innovations and breakthroughs into this issue so we can stop talking about it. Selfish as it is, I am tired of retargeting being the subject of dinner party conversations!

What are your thoughts? And who do you think is and/or should be solving for this lack of progress?