We’d like to welcome Rand Schulman, who will be writing a regular column in this section – we trust you’ll find his insights valuable.
During the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to meet lots of marketing executives during my travels. I hear the same story over and over and a pattern is emerging that I’ve tried to address in this post.
The marketing profession is always changing and we know that the “Mad Men”-style era of advertising that favored creativity over analytics is gone. Some see this move from creativity to data-driven actionabilty as two distinct and separate disciplines. I don’t, and they’re not. It’s critical that we learn these new rules.
Rule No. 1: Merge Your Left and Right Lobes
The new marketer needs to be multi-talented, using both left and right brain functions. Those who can shift seamlessly between these two lobes will give their products the best chance for success. These days we need to be part artist and part data scientist to excel. We need to be both analytical and creative – truly a content engineer.
Rule No. 2: Creativity Without Conversion Equals Zero
It’s the same both online and offline. We need to sell products, and to do that we need to communicate and convert, both with micro and macro conversions. Today it’s critical that we create compelling content for a pre-defined business purpose. And if you don’t agree with me, you’re really only writing for yourself, so save it for your diary.
Rule No. 3: Learn the New Marketing Four Ps
Remember the old marketing Four Ps: product, promotion, place, and price? Well, there’s a new set of Four Ps today, driven by mobile: people, process, purpose, and platform.
It’s not about Math Men, Mad Men, or Sexy Data Scientists. As we know, roles and responsibilities across the business need to realign and meet the needs of our new paradigm. There’s now a direct line between, and often a single person who owns acquisition marketing, conversion marketing or “on-boarding,” and product user engagement, as volumes of data drive outcomes very quickly – sometimes in less than a day.
“Gamers” drove much of our notion of app engagement around user experience in the mobile world. Apps just had to be good and a crappy app would die a quick death. Fast fail. And since so many users at any given time were using a game, we could let the “law of large numbers” drive our decisions and we learned a lot about user behavior and retention rates in mobile applications. Zynga is, after all, an analytics company masquerading as a gaming company, and it clearly taught us a lot about app engagement over time.
As we are moving toward one person owning all three levels of responsibility for acquisition, conversion, and retention (more like a producer in the game world), we now need to evolve our processes about what messages and media we use, by segment. We have to look at retention rates over lifetime value (LTV), so the message, content, and media can be A/B tested against app performance goals, cost, and ROI.
We need to define our process about what data we collect, how we collect it, and who is responsible for the optimization. Some say, “In the right time.” New roles, like chief data officer, will replace the old notion of CMO and champion new process.
Today, the identification of purpose is missing from many mobile applications, just like during the earliest days of the website deployment. I hear the excuse, “We’re doing it because our competition is doing it.” That’s not enough.
The understanding of purpose was key to building online business. And, like in the late ’90s, mobile is now in a very early stage of accelerating adoption, yet few organizations have much discipline around definition of goals. Analytics then and today is key.
And once you have your people on board, have identified your purpose, and have addressed the process, it’s time to think about the platform. Or, what tools and applications do you need to reach your goals? I’ve seen too many companies do this in reverse, usually falling prey to vendor hype compounded by not having the first three Ps set.
Then, when you have all of your Four Ps in place, start with a small and measureable project. If you don’t, your platform will likely become shelfware.
Rule No. 4: ABC – Always Be Clear!
We need to define our terms/words, as too many people are trying to measure everything, across every channel in real time, when few seem clear on the definition of much of anything. I’ve recently coauthored a report on convergence analytics, with Incisive Media, which included our survey about the definition of common terms like “real-time” and “multi-channel.” And it’s not surprising that there’s no clear definition of what the terms mean. Some think real-time is sub-second, while others think it is hours. Sometimes multi-channel means online and offline channels, while other times it means only digital channels or cross-enterprise silos – more marketing operations-like. Be careful and make sure you’re on the same page. Few are.
We need new hybrid skills to help drive mobile and online business – people who create process and apply numbers to words that convert, and who understand new engagement and conversion models. We need agile product developers schooled in both mobile-first design and the latest ways to take advantage of the underlying technology, both in hardware and software, and who are analytical. They will know about how augmented reality creates brand engagement; how the phone’s multiple signals can be tapped for conversion data; and where artificial intelligence works, and where it doesn’t. Next time I’ll write about the new marketing roles and how “big data” is making a big difference.