#Marketers beware: Privacy Please: How the GDPR Can Elevate Marketing

The EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can be daunting, but it can have a positive impact on marketing. Here’s why.
— Read on insights.newscred.com/gdpr/

Marketing Transformation and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence and Marketing
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.

Marketing Transformation and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence and Marketing
Artificial Intelligence and Marketing

Here are seven 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.

Data Driven V. Predictive Marketing: BEWARE JETSON’S MARKETING!

The Big Willowby: Charlie Tarzian

My son came to me one day in early December and said:  ‘Hey, Dad, let’s get Mom one of those robotic vacuum cleaners.  You know, the ones you switch on and they vacuum your whole floor!’  He could not contain his enthusiasm – this was going to be great – no one would have to vacuum our floors ever again!!!

So we went to Amazon (of course) and two days later our round disc of a maid showed up via FEDEX.

Come Christmas Day, the robot fully charged, off we went to the kitchen to marvel at what was certain to be a life changing event.  We turned it on and put it down on the floor and the vacuum swung into action.  It crossed the floor, sensed it was coming to a wall, made a pivot, chugged in another direction…and got stuck on the slight incline by the fireplace…then stuck again on the floor mat by the stove…then got caught between a chair and a table and went into a break dance that would make R2D2 jealous.

I bring this up because a colleague sent me this little snippet from the website of a Predictive Marketing vendor:

“Predictive Marketing doesn’t need to be a services heavy engagement to get you up and running. With CompanyX (name of company withheld) and our push button integration, we can integrate with your existing systems and build your predictive model in under a day. – See more at: http://www.companyx.com/what-we-offer/#sthash.vBzkU18n.dpuf

There you have it: Jetson’s Marketing – just push our one little button and off you go:  great leads, great meetings, great website experiences – in fact all your marketing/sales problems solved in ‘under a day’.  All that is left to do is fire your staff, except for that one person in charge of pushing the button when you run out of leads, meetings and website visitors.

Look, I know what I don’t know, but I can tell you this: whatever you’re thinking the new generation of transformative marketing is – one thing it isn’t is automated bliss.  It takes a fair sized village to make things happen.  And herein lies the huge disconnect between data driven marketers and the shiny new object called Predictive Marketing.  Data driven marketers know that data can and should be utilized across the marketing/sales continuum – but it is more about data orchestration than anything else.  Therefore, one button, add water and stir does not take into consideration any of the cause and effect across all the communications and transactive channels that marketers rely on.

Marketing is services heavy (sorry, Company X) because at the nexus of MarTech, AdTech and Sales Enablement sits quite a bit of cause and effect.  And unless you aspire and build towards using predictive data to positively impact all channels aligning as one – then what you are predicting is a very small sliver of what could be.  In other words, if the connectivity and synapsis among outward facing channels are not orchestrated and optimized using predictive data and you are not feeling good that all channels are working in sync – then how can you predict a scaled outcome?  The predictions you are making will reflect a small percentage of the whole – and so instead of widening your funnel and increasing your opportunities along every step in a buying journey, you are narrowing that funnel based on a flawed assumption that you are predicting against a full boat of reliable data.

On the other hand, Data Driven Marketing  sets up to be based on solving for the cause and effect of what is less than optimized (can anyone say, broken?)  It attempts to determine (not predict) what works and doesn’t and then – as a village – cohesively knits together a response to results that can be repeatable but certainly is not a just add water, one button pushed result.

So – are we starting to see a difference:  Predictive Marketing – a push button approach to a complicated set of executional events and response, or, Data Driven Marketing – a human driven (sorry robots!) approach to the cause and effect of humans communicating to other humans about things that may or may not be important to the recipient (we always hope for the former)?

What do you think?  We would love to know.  Have any stories to share – we would love to hear from you.

by: Charlie Tarzian, Founder, The Big Willow

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 common barriers include:

  1. Success in the sales and marketing departments is being measured differently.
  2. Sales and marketing have a different vision of the ideal target customer.
  3. Actionable customer insight sits in disconnected databases.
  4. There is a lack of view of customers and their buying preferences.
  5. Broken processes make it impossible to track what is working.
  6. The technology is too hard to use so that there is limited adoption.

 

These barriers lead to the disconnect and are making it difficult for organizations to make the most of their sales opportunities and go to market investments. As an example, companies are unable to provide the right offers to the right people, at the right time, because customer insights live in disparate locations and the company’s go-to-market strategies are uncoordinated and inefficient.

To address this disconnect, businesses are turning to applications and new technology to help build cohesive sales and marketing alliances. The common mistake businesses have been making in their rush to technology is that they forget to address their people and process challenges first.

The promises of the digital revolution and emerging technologies are often not in line with management’s expectations. Many mid to large sized companies have rushed to replace older systems that worked, to new and unproven cloud based technologies that are not living up to expectations. Many of these decisions were based on unrealistic, pie-in the sky, cloud in the sky promises (no pun intended) and the pain is just beginning to be felt by customers.

The reality is that many companies launched into cloud based technologies without a good business plan. So perhaps 2015 will be the year many companies awaken to a reality check.

The pendulum is about to swing in another direction. Brace yourselves.

Good times ahead.

Cheers,

rvargas@solomonconsult.com

How More Accessible Information Is Forcing B2B Sales to Adapt

jan16-05-563960997by: Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer

Over the past 20 years, information technology and digital channels have changed the way consumers shop for products ranging from cars to homes to electronics. Those forces are dramatically changing the way B2B companies and their customers approach buying and selling, too.

Business buyers are more connected and informed than ever before. Sellers must respond. For buyers and sellers alike, this creates complexity, anxiety, and opportunity all at the same time.

From the buyer’s perspective, information technology and digital channels provide access to information and enable self-sufficiency. When a buyer wants to learn about virtually any product or service, an internet search yields thousands (if not millions) of results, including online articles, videos, white papers, blogs, and social media posts. In addition to supplier websites that showcase specific solutions, there are likely to be online sources (ranging from the self-serving to the unbiased) to help buyers learn and compare solution alternatives. Buyers can also use self-service digital channels for new or repeat purchases and for training and support. Using information technology and digital channels, buyers can take over many steps of buying that salespeople once cherished as their source of value.

Buyers are at different levels of self-sufficiency: any single buyer can be at one level for some purchases and at a different level for others. Sometimes buyers prefer to eliminate the salesperson completely. According to one corporate technology buyer: “Our supplier’s customized self-service purchasing portal makes it easy to place reorders, track shipping, and return products hassle-free.” Other times buyers seek help from salespeople. The same corporate buyer relies on salespeople when evaluating new technologies: “It’s more efficient to work with a few trusted salespeople, compared to spending hours on my own sifting through all the information and misinformation that’s out there.”

Because of the diversity of buyer self-sufficiency, the traditional methods sellers use to customize their selling approach for customers are no longer enough. Considering factors such as customer potential and needs is still relevant. But today, customer knowledge/self-sufficiency is a growing driver of how customers want to buy. At one end of the spectrum are the “super-expert” customers, skilled in gathering information from many sources and self-sufficient in using that information to make purchase decisions. At the other end of the spectrum are the “information-seeking” customers, who want help with examining and evaluating the plethora of information. Many customers are in between these two extremes, or are at different points at different times or for different purchases.

Smart sellers match their selling approach to the customer’s level of buying knowledge and self-sufficiency. For example, when leaders at Dow Corning observed in the early 2000s that some customers wanted an easier, more affordable way to buy standard silicone products, they created Xiameter, a brand that includes thousands of less-differentiated products sold exclusively through a low-cost, no-frills, self-service online sales channel. Customers who desired a higher-touch approach could still purchase products under the Dow Corning brand name, which also includes specialty silicones backed by research and technical services.

As sellers need a more customized approach to reaching customers, they have a big arsenal of data and technology at their disposal. Systems (e.g., CRM), tools (e.g., data management, analytics), infrastructures (e.g., mobile, cloud), and information (e.g., big data) give sellers knowledge about buyers and enable sales force members to make smarter decisions. And sellers who once connected with customers primarily through personal selling can now use an array of digital communication channels to supplement or supplant face-to-face sales efforts.

Consider the impact of information technology and digital channels from the seller’s perspective. Here are examples from several industries.

  • Finding banking customers: “Social media allows us to cost-effectively reach out to more prospects and showcase our services.
  • Understanding specialty chemicals customers: “Big data and analytics help us improve customer targeting and achieve more cost-effective deployment.”
  • Acquiring advertising customers: “We now have richer demographic information to help us create more powerful sales messages, resulting in more sales.”
  • Serving and growing business logistics customers: “Our salespeople use a business review app to guide quarterly account reviews with major customers. By sharing data about performance and cost savings, these discussions enhance customer value and retention.

Information technology and digital channels can help sellers become more effective and efficient, but they can also be a source of disharmony and confusion if implemented without thought. Too many sellers have wasted millions of dollars on sales technologies such as CRM systems and data warehouses that never lived up to their potential.

Success for sellers requires many sales force changes beyond information technology and digital solutions. To start, salespeople need new competencies. Customers are no longer interested in meeting with “talking brochures,” so salespeople must do more than share product information. They must adapt to each customer’s level of knowledge and self-sufficiency. They must use email, social media, webinars, video conferencing, and other tools judiciously to maximize their own productivity and make things more efficient for buyers. They must help their companies coordinate customer outreach across multiple communication channels to ensure buyers get a well-orchestrated and consistent message.

For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, gone are the days when the majority of physician education occurred through face-to-face contact between salespeople and physicians. Companies are now tracking individual physician communication preferences and are reaching out with the combination of face-to-face visits and/or digital methods (e.g., websites, email, podcasts, virtual detailing, video conferencing, mobile apps) that best meets each physician’s needs. Salespeople need competencies as orchestrators who can ensure an effective and efficient connection.

Developing new sales force competencies is just a start. Sales leaders must also reengineer their sales forces by implementing changes across the entire range of sales force decisions: roles, size and structure, hiring, training, coaching, incentive compensation, performance management, and sales support systems.

Source: HBR: How More Accessible Information Is Forcing B2B Sales to Adapt

 

The Importance Of Asking Questions | Ogilvydo.com

“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever” – Chinese proverb.

What’s the one thing that the world’s leading innovators share with children? They both learn through asking questions. It’s the simplest and most effective way of learning. Yet somehow we have forgotten this lesson as we get older. We just don’t value questioning as much as we should.

Not asking good or even enough questions has a direct impact on the quality of choices you make. Habituating the art of asking questions enables you to gain deep insight, develop more innovative solutions and to arrive at better decision-making.

Brilliant thinkers and scientists never stop asking questions. “Asking questions is the single most important habit for innovative thinkers,” says Paul Sloane, the UK’s top leadership speaker on innovation.

  • Newton: “Why does an apple fall from a tree but, why does the moon not fall into the Earth?”
  • Darwin: “Why do the Galapagos Islands have so many species not found elsewhere?”
  • Einstein: “What would the universe look like if I rode through it on a beam of light?”


Asking these kinds of basic questions started the process that led to their great breakthroughs. And asking questions is as relevant today. Only by constantly asking why can you find better products. In his book “A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas”, Warren Berger cited the example of Edwin H. Land, who invented the Polaroid camera in response to his 3 year old daughter asking why the camera that they used couldn’t produce a photo immediately. There are plenty of other cases; Airbnb exists as a response to the question “why should you be stuck without a bed if I’ve got an extra air mattress?”

The list is endless, as many companies and even entire industries can be traced back to a single question.

How do we master the art and science of asking effective questions and how do we make it a habit?

  1. Create an environment where curiosity is welcomed and rewarded.
  2. Become a keen observer of everything you see, hear and experience.
  3. Look at the world with fresh eyes, question the familiar, assume nothing is obvious.
  4. Understand the power of different types of questions – how they should be used and when.
  5. Keep asking why till you can go no further.

“Good questioning should stimulate, provoke, inform and inspire” says Sloane, while Berger feels it can “help us learn, explore the unknown and adapt to change”. What could be a great question that could shift the way you or your organisation perceive or think about something that has the potential to act as a catalyst for change?

Source: The Importance Of Asking Questions | ogilvydo.com


Email Pre-Flight Checklist: What To Do Before You Send – Automational Blog

Source: blog.automational.com

email-marketing-automation-blogIt’s unfortunate when you send an email to a marketing list only to realize that you’ve misspelled a critical word or left off an important part of your message. It’s worse when your opens and click-throughs don’t live up to your expectations, and you don’t know why until someone informs you the email you sent them arrived with broken formatting, or wasn’t readable on their smartphone.

To help remedy this, we’ve created a short list of things to double-check before you send the email to your list.

PROOFREAD

It’s easy to skimp on proofing since Microsoft Word and iOS Pages have so many tools to help out. One example of why electronic checks aren’t enough: “two bee or not too bee” is a sentence that is comprised entirely of words that are spelled correctly, but clearly convey the wrong message. Until spellcheckers have a better grasp of context, be sure to check your email for spelling and grammar errors before you send. These errors can damage your organization’s professional reputation and distract your recipients from your message.

USE A CLEAR “FROM” NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS

Generic senders such as “info@company.com” or “Sales” often get ignored. Make sure that the values you use for your “From” name and email clearly indicate who you are in order to avoid confusing your recipients. If they don’t recognize who the email is from, they aren’t going to open or read your message. The “From” identity should be someone that the reader knows (their account manager), recognizes (the CEO or other notable person), or would be expecting an email from (Customer Support or Automational Newsletter).

HAVE BACKUP VALUES FOR DYNAMIC CONTENT

Include a default value if you incorporate dynamic text into your emails. If a recipient’s first name is blank, for example, and you’re using a first name personalization, you want to ensure that this field is filled with something like “Loyal Customer” rather than nothing at all, which would cause them to receive an email that started with, “Dear .”

When you add dynamic text to your template, it will look something like this: ${Recipient.contact.firstname[0]!””}. Including a default value with your dynamic text (just in case that data isn’t filled out for a recipient on your list) looks something like this: ${Recipient.contact.firstname[0]!”Customer”}.

TEST YOUR LINKS

Make sure all of your links work prior to sending your email. Broken links will prevent your recipients from accessing your content and may make them less likely to try again in future emails.

CHECK YOUR TEMPLATE ON MOBILE DEVICES

You already know that a huge percentage of emails are read on mobile devices, but do you know how your template will respond to the variety of devices and browsers with which it could be opened? Most marketing automation tools will allow you to preview your message on different sized screens and make sure everything appears as intended.

INCLUDE A TEXT VERSION OF YOUR HTML EMAIL TEMPLATE

The text version provides additional support for your template so anyone who doesn’t receive HTML emails (whether by choice or because their email client doesn’t support it) can still read your email. Including a text version will also decrease your spam score.

CHECK YOUR SUBJECT LINE

Your subject line is the first part of your email that your recipient will see, so it is vital that it grabs their attention and gives them a good idea of the purpose of your email. Sending out emails with an irrelevant subject line or with a subject line containing typos or grammatical errors can decrease your email open rate and harm your credibility. Include keywords that will resonate with or appeal to your audience, while avoiding key spam trigger words or phrases such as “free,” “earn money,” or “meet singles.”

KEEP IT SHORT

Regardless of the purpose of your email, remember that your email is just one of dozens (maybe even hundreds!) of emails that landed in your recipient’s inbox today. Consider this a “back to the basics” best practice: keep it as short as you can without losing the core message.

Break the content into sections for better readability. Ideally, your recipient would read every word of your email, but in truth, many readers will probably skim the message. As you’re writing, make it your goal that the reader should be able to determine the key elements of your message and the action you’d like them to take with only a 10-second scan through your email.

CREATE RESULTS WITH A CLEAR AND COMPELLING CALL-TO-ACTION

What are you hoping to achieve with this email? Generate registrations to an upcoming event? Drive downloads of your latest eBook? Include a very clear call-to-action that instructs the reader to do just that (“Register Here” or “Get the eBook”). Limit the number of links and options within the email to encourage the customer to act on your primary offer.

BUILD BRAND CONSISTENCY: TONE, VOICE, AND IMAGERY

The customer should be able to recognize your company identity immediately when they open and read the email. Always include your company name and logo to reinforce your brand. The tone of the content should match your company as well. An email from a pet sitter could be fun and playful, but imagine getting an email from a funeral home with the same tone.

Whether conversational or more conservative, make sure your tone is consistent across communication channels, speak to your audience in a simple, straightforward manner, and keep pushy sales lingo to a minimum.

BECOME A CONTENT CRITIC

Before your email is marked as spam, double-check your content for potentially problematic words and phrases. Words like “discount,” “pharmacy,” and even “spam,” as well as large numbers, dollar signs, or excessive exclamation points, can make your message seem less credible.

Providing relevant content, writing an appropriate subject line, and using professional language and punctuation will help boost the legitimacy of your communications.

| CRM & Marketing Automation Tips

Download a one pager of this list via: Email Pre-flight Checklist

 

LinkedIn Cheat Sheet | Improve your profile

Increasing your visibility and building your network LinkedIn may require a few tweaks to your profile…

From how to frame your LinkedIn profile photo, what words to avoid, and the ideal number of LinkedIn connections to have through to how you can get more recommendations, here is the cheat sheet that can help you build a profile that stands out…

LinkedIn Infographic Cheat Sheet.png

Bogus Web Traffic Continues to Plague the Ad Business – WSJ

Marketers continue to waste billions–an estimated $7 billion, at least, this year–on buying online ads that people do not see, according to the Association of National Advertisers.

Source: Bogus Web Traffic Continues to Plague the Ad Business – WSJ