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VOL. 132 | NO. 5 | Friday, January 6, 2017

Data-Driven Marketing Will be King (Again) in 2017


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Ken Rohman

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to participate in a CMO Summit with over 100 senior-level brand marketers from around the country to discuss the looming issues we would all be facing in 2017, and how the use of data and analytics might be an integral part of the marketing solutions. 

During our discussions, two challenges continued to pop-up, regardless of customer focus (B2C vs. B2B) or industry:

Challenge #1: Create Advocacy. Pick your cliché about winning new customers versus keeping old ones, Carl Sewell’s “Customers for Life” mentality, etc. Trite as it may be, modern consumers rarely trust brands as much as they trust social groups and other “real” people. Creating advocates is a critical cornerstone for building trust with consumers and communicating a message that resonates with prospective customers. 

To start, create a preferred customer experience: Identify your most loyal customers and ensure they are feeling the love. Build for them an experience with your brand that conveys your gratitude and makes it easy for them to work with you and share the experience with others. Next, look outside of your own industry for inspiration; don’t get bogged down in simply doing incrementally better than your competitors – benchmark the best. Lastly, empower trusted advisers to engage across all of your customer touch points. Then begin measuring customer engagement (positive and negative) and work to connect ALL of your marketing channels to create a complete customer view.

Challenge #2: Scaling Intimacy and Personalization. In an era where consumers are leery of mass media and like to see how they are personally involved with a product or service, a marketing message must produce meaningful engagement. 

The first step is to build profiles of each customer to provide meaningful insight about who they are and what motivates each individual. Next, work across the traditional silos within an organization, including marketing, IT, sales, customer service and any others to get input for the profile. Finally, leverage content across all of your digital channels to meet your customer where they are with a message that is in context with the medium. 

When looking to quantify value, the key here will be to get beyond the ROI of an individual touchpoint and focus on the lifetime value of the customer.

Define the problem, identify the solution, and measure the results. If you’re not already thinking about advocacy, intimacy and personalization, now is a good time to start. If it seems like you’ve heard it all before, you’re not the only one. The ongoing challenges of connecting with customers are amplified. Focusing on the basics is more important than ever. What has changed is the number of tools and resources available to marketers to be relevant and make the one-to-one connections that are more important than ever with a modern consumer. The data is all around you; it’s just a matter of collecting the right parts of it and taking action on the insights that data can provide. 

Ken Rohman is the chief digital officer and a partner at Archer Malmo.

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