tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/performance-marketing Latest Performance marketing content from Econsultancy 2017-10-17T10:00:00+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69491 2017-10-17T10:00:00+01:00 2017-10-17T10:00:00+01:00 Why digital out-of-home advertising is not really digital (yet) Nick Hammond <p>With this investment comes greater impact (e.g. increasing use of video), flexibility and of course income for the vendors. Alongside this burgeoning focus on digital creative delivery, there is attention on how the medium could be sold more efficiently – more like other digital channels and less like traditional out of home. </p> <p>Moving from a cost-per-panel approach and with access to more detailed, real time audience information on the horizon (rather than periodic panel data) the ability to trade on an audience model isn’t far off. For example, in Canada Outfront Media has launched its own real-time analytics platform, having agreed a partnership with mobile network Cellint.</p> <p>By tapping into available data, the platform will allow tracking of hourly impression numbers, including the proportion of those that are unique views. In the UK Transport for London has a considerable amount of data garnered from 5.6m mobile phones connected to Wi-Fi on the Tube. This mobile data can be used to track interchanges, and even walking routes and platform use within a station.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9753/dooh.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="353"></p> <p>Whilst these developments provide considerable opportunities for advertisers and OOH vendors alike, a recent piece <a href="http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/jcdecaux-we-ensure-outdoor-doesnt-fall-pitfalls-digital-media/1446445?bulletin=campaign_breakfast_briefing&amp;utm_medium=EMAIL&amp;utm_campaign=eNews%20Bulletin&amp;utm_source=20171005&amp;utm_content=Campaign%20Breakfast%20">in Campaign</a> highlights how out of home’s convergence with the digital world could have its downsides. </p> <p>OOH vendor JCDecaux has launched a brand charter which is seeking to avoid problems that have been plaguing the mainstream digital sector. These include accountability, viewability, measurability, transparency and brand safety. JCDecaux commented at launch, 'we must ensure outdoor doesn't fall into the pitfalls of digital media'.</p> <p>This charter aims to set a gold standard of best practice across the digital out-of-home industry and in this brave new world JCDecaux will ensure its metrics and measurements are independently verified by Price Waterhouse Coopers; who will provide a quarterly compliance report to ensure transparency.</p> <p>This is an interesting development as out of home has a history of being one of the more opaque advertising channels in terms of the buying process, audience measurement and invoicing.</p> <h3>OOH automation </h3> <p>In the UK, digital buying practices are moving into the OOH sector in the shape of increased automation. </p> <p>From the Campaign piece – ‘Also mirroring the wider digital market, JCDecaux has launched a new external smartsuite platform, SmartBRICS, which allows advertisers and agencies to place their own DOOH campaigns for the first time. The platform has been used internally for the past two years but (now).. will be available to external users through an API. Users will now be able to plan, budget and create their own campaigns based on the platforms in-depth rules and filters on its dashboard.’ </p> <p>So, what are the challenges and opportunities for digital practitioners? We are already seeing digital experts’ influence spreading across traditional channels such as TV, which is increasingly being bought <a href="http://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2017/06/13/get-ready-programmatic-tv-advertising">in an automated fashion</a> (see <a href="https://www.skyadsmart.co.uk/">Sky AdSmart</a>), and this is beginning to happen with OOH as well, as observed above.</p> <p>Clever recent activational examples in DOOH were featured in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69100-six-clever-examples-of-what-dynamic-outdoor-advertising-can-do">this Econsultancy piece</a>. I particularly liked the FT’s use of digital billboards at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 to target passengers travelling to six pre-selected US cities. It was achieved by tapping into Heathrow's flight data via an API.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9752/FT_heathrow.jpg" alt="" width="568" height="400"></p> <p>Guinness devised a dynamic campaign in London that allowed posters to direct RBS 6 Nations fans to nearby pubs to watch the games. </p> <h3>Is DOOH digital?</h3> <p>So, just how digital is digital out of home? For DOOH to become fully digital in terms of trading (as well as delivery of creative), the key area will be around improved audience assessment. It is achieving this, which will allow a mainstream programmatic digital approach including real-time bidding, behavioural and contextual targeting.</p> <p>Because of the size of the OOH medium, the variety of locations and the challenge and cost of quantifying and assessing audience behaviour, the measurement of OOH has traditionally been restricted to periodic panel research – OSCAR, then <a href="https://www.research-live.com/article/news/postar-to-measure-90-of-outdoor-media/id/2000079">POSTAR</a>, and now <a href="http://route.org.uk/research/">ROUTE</a>.</p> <p>The resultant audience information is therefore nowhere as detailed and current as that available across other digital channels. JCDecaux’s charter is well timed, especially in terms of brand safety, but from an audience perspective the PWC verification is only happening on a quarterly basis.  </p> <p>For DOOH to really align with digital media, it will need to achieve accurate, real time, detailed consumption data that can fuel truly digital trading methodologies.</p> <p><strong><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68051-six-case-studies-that-show-how-digital-out-of-home-advertising-is-changing"><em>Six case studies that show how digital out-of-home advertising is changing</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67414-is-this-the-next-step-in-programmatic-out-of-home"><em>Is this the next step in programmatic out-of-home?</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69424 2017-09-20T11:47:17+01:00 2017-09-20T11:47:17+01:00 Marketers have more data than ever, so why aren’t they better at experimentation? Frederic Kalinke <p>As marketing is being transformed by advances in our ability to collect and manage data, the industry is becoming more ‘scientific’. This is why every day it becomes more important for marketers to heed Feyerabend’s advice.</p> <h3>A hypothesis about data</h3> <p>The crucial element in the recent evolution of marketing has been data. The collection of comprehensive data about customers and their behaviour promised marketers unprecedented insight into the effectiveness of their efforts, including of course <a title="How retail marketers can ensure they deliver the ‘right’ customer experience" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67526-how-retail-marketers-can-ensure-they-deliver-the-right-customer-experience/" target="_blank">where they should spend more</a> and where they had been wasting their budget.</p> <p>Consequently, marketing began to worship at the altar of data, eventually giving rise to the fascination with the nebulous “<a title="Ten Ways Big Data is Revolutionizing Marketing and Sales" href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2016/05/09/ten-ways-big-data-is-revolutionizing-marketing-and-sales/1" target="_blank">big data</a>.” Marketers now have the ability to collect data on almost anything they want.</p> <p>The fact that the underlying principles of marketing have remained much the same throughout this process (sell more stuff by putting what you’re selling in front of the right people in the right way) therefore begs the question: <strong>Why aren’t marketers doing better?</strong></p> <h3>How not to do things with data</h3> <p>Marketers have been getting their relationship with data the wrong way round. Simply, the answer is never in the data. In fact, the best way to get answers is to forget about the data.</p> <p>In scientific inquiry, trawling through existing data is rarely conducive to innovation. Trying to piece new things together from the mass of what you already know is an aimless, hopeless endeavour. You become a prisoner of conventional wisdom, reaching ever narrower, less original conclusions, with an increasing likelihood of being wrong.</p> <p>Scientific research shares at least this much in common with marketing. For example, we have data on the most shared headlines for content marketing. (<a title="We Analyzed 100 Million Headlines. Here's What We Learned." href="http://buzzsumo.com/blog/most-shared-headlines-study" target="_blank">Buzzsumo collated 100 million of them</a>.)</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9053/buzzsumo.jpg" alt="" width="750" height="900"></p> <p>According to the data the top three-word phrases to use in article headlines for maximum shares are “will make you,” “this is why,” and “can we guess.” Widely-shared articles also begin with “X reasons why” or “X things you,” and very frequently include appeals to emotion.</p> <p>However, as Marketing Profs’ Ann Handley correctly noted in response, marketers should not “take this information and conclude that the best headline to use forever and always is something like 10 Ways That Will Make You a Better Headline Writer (and You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!).”</p> <p>What this demonstrates is a problem with attempting to draw useful conclusions from data alone. While there are many things we can conclude from Buzzsumo’s impressively comprehensive analysis, not many of them are useful for content marketers attempting to come up with headlines.</p> <p>In fact, Handley gets it absolutely right when she urges marketers to “get a little creative with headlines.” Not only will different types of headlines work differently in different contexts (we cannot all be Buzzfeed, and we definitely should not try to be) but it is only by being creative that we actually end up writing better headlines.</p> <p>Simply mimicking the headline formats that currently work well will create not only an artificial ceiling over how successful content can be, but suffers inevitably from <a title="Regression towards the mean" href="https://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/regrmean.php" target="_blank">regression towards the mean</a>. This is what happens when marketers limit themselves according to convention.</p> <p>If the answer is clickbait, you asked the wrong question.</p> <h3>How to do things with data</h3> <p>A marketer trying to come up with more effective headlines for her content does not need an answer to the question, “what are the most popular phrases in headlines?”, she needs an answer to a specific question, “is my content going to perform better if I use this phrase or that phrase?”</p> <p>These questions are easy to confuse. The crucial difference is that our hypothetical marketer cannot use the answer to the first question to make any sort of conclusion about how to act. She will simply learn more about what has worked for others and be restricted to coming up with derivative ideas.</p> <p>Just because something worked for somebody else, it does not mean it will work for you. And when it comes to the over-saturated world of online content, the fact that something worked for somebody else means precisely that it is less likely to work for you.</p> <p>It is the second question, a specific one about some actual ideas, that represents the best way to go about dealing with this problem. It is a practical question that makes data useful and this is because it puts new ideas ahead of old conventions.</p> <h3>What does genuinely experimental marketing look like?</h3> <p>A particularly clear recent example of this is <a title="Why AS Roma revel in being the weirdest football club on social media" href="http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/08/31/why-roma-revel-being-the-weirdest-football-club-social-media" target="_blank">AS Roma’s successful approach to social media video</a>. In an industry where <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68696-digital-transformation-in-the-premier-league-southampton-fc-s-fan-first-strategy/">all the major football clubs</a> (and a lot of the minor ones) are stepping up their digital marketing and where almost every player transfer is announced with slick professional video on social media, Roma succeeded by doing something different.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Schick?src=hash">#Schick</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ASRoma?src=hash">#ASRoma</a> <a href="https://t.co/JAIvKGYS7P">pic.twitter.com/JAIvKGYS7P</a></p> — AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) <a href="https://twitter.com/ASRomaEN/status/902546975681388544">August 29, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>These idiosyncratic videos embody Feyerabend’s “only principle that doesn’t inhibit progress.” Where their competitors acted like sheep, <a title="Roma fan explains latest transfer announcement video on Twitter" href="http://www.asroma.com/en/news/2017/8/roma-fan-explains-latest-transfer-announcement-video-on-twitter-" target="_blank">Roma chose goats</a>. They forgot about the data on what worked for their competitors and instead asked “what if we do something else?” They chose to experiment.</p> <p>As the categories of data available to marketers have multiplied, the possibilities for experimentation have grown exponentially. However, in practice this has not led to the proliferation of a diverse range of experimental approaches to marketing. Instead, there has been a succession of “next big things” (such as <a title="How AI will impact marketing and the customer experience" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68722-how-ai-will-impact-marketing-and-the-customer-experience" target="_blank">AI</a>), which seem to sweep the industry each year. The prospective benefits of each of these potential innovations and the specific uses for them end up being submerged by the hype. Brands frantically attempt to emulate their competitors to avoid being seen as technological laggards. The appearance of innovation trumps real experimentation.</p> <p>This is because too much marketing data is not collected with a specific purpose, it is simply collected in a way that encourages marketers to emulate their competitors and reinforce the status quo. A successfully experimental approach to marketing therefore requires marketers to put their own creativity first.</p> <h3>How to experiment in marketing</h3> <p>Professor Byron Sharp recently mentioned how important it is for marketers to learn how to run “<a title="Ritson and Sharp reveal their marketing heroes and the biggest challenges facing the industry" href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2017/09/04/ritson-sharp/" target="_blank">proper controlled experiments</a>,” something which most formal business educations dearly lack. He is correct that experiments are only useful if they are carried out according to rigorous scientific principles (with control variables and so on).</p> <p>This emphasises the connection between the scientific and creative aspects of experimentation; marketers cannot truly have one without the other. They therefore require a consistent experimental method that can be applied repeatedly and which maintains a complementary relationship between data and innovation.</p> <p>First, an experimental method requires marketers to come up with hypotheses, i.e. “I think our content might perform better with this sort of headline” or “I think our social media engagement would be improved with this sort of video.”</p> <p>It then requires marketers to collect data for the specific purpose of testing a hypothesis. Generally this is done through A/B testing (and specifically with <a title="Using data science with A/B tests: Bayesian analysis" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65755-using-data-science-with-a-b-tests-bayesian-analysis/" target="_blank">Bayesian statistical inference</a> rather than frequentist statistical inference, given that it is <a title="What is Bayesian A/B Testing and Why is it the Best Choice for Marketers?" href="https://amigotechnology.com/blog/what-is-bayesian-ab-testing-for-marketing?ast=C8zHl9" target="_blank">better suited to getting answers quickly</a>). This approach to data allows it to inform marketers’ hypotheses in a way that complements their creativity rather than inhibits it.</p> <p>This process of testing hypotheses can then be repeated in an iterative cycle that allows marketers to try out as many new ideas as possible in order to increase the chances of a major breakthrough. This process aligns neatly with the concept of <a title="What is Agile Marketing?" href="https://amigotechnology.com/what-is-agile-marketing" target="_blank">agile marketing</a>, which perhaps goes some way towards explaining the current vogue for that term.</p> <h3>The balance of power</h3> <p>Technological advance has given marketers access to invaluable quantities of information and as a result marketing and data have become intensely-linked. However the outstanding question about this relationship is simple. Who is in charge?</p> <p>Is marketing led by the hackneyed conventional wisdom represented by existing data or is it led by marketers’ own creativity and critical thinking? Where the balance of power leans towards the data, marketers are inhibited. Where it lies with the marketers, the data can yield genuinely useful conclusions and help marketers to come up with their next great idea.</p> <p><strong><em>Need to improve your own content marketing efforts? Book yourself onto one of Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">upcoming training courses</a>.</em></strong></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69392 2017-09-04T15:00:00+01:00 2017-09-04T15:00:00+01:00 Amazon turns Twitch into an influencer sales platform Patricio Robles <p>Even to this day, there are still <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2014/8/25/6066509/why-it-makes-sense-for-amazon-to-buy-twitch">different</a> <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/amazons-970-million-purchase-of-twitch-makes-so-much-sense-now-its-all-about-the-cloud-2016-3">theories</a>, but whatever Amazon was thinking at the time, it is now aiming to use Twitch to drive sales for its retail empire.</p> <p>On Thursday, in the lead up to the PAX West video game conference, Twitch announced a new program under which users who stream through Twitch will be able to feature products they like and receive a commission from Amazon for sales they refer. As Bloomberg's Spencer Soper <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-31/amazon-turns-thousands-of-twitch-streamers-into-product-pitchmen">detailed</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The Gear on Amazon feature will let Twitch streamers showcase their favorite products as a widget on their page. Viewers who click the widget are routed to Amazon, where they can buy the streamer’s favorite items. The streamer gets a commission of as much as 10 percent on each sale, Amazon said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Currently, Twitch has over 100m monthly visitors and claims to reach more than half of all millennial males in the U.S. More than 2m of its 10m daily active users actually broadcast their own streams and nearly half of Twitch users consume more than 20 hours of content on the service weekly.</p> <p>Put simply, even though Twitch is niche, it boasts a ton of highly-engaged users and now Amazon is going to try to turn some of the most prolific into salespeople.</p> <p>According to Tobias Sherman, who used to head the esports division of entertainment agency giant WME-IMG, Twitch's influencers "are a massive market."</p> <p>"They are the same as sports figures in being able to convert eyeballs and fans into dollars and cents. Everyone plays games and it tethers everyone together," he explained.</p> <p>Twitch's Gear on Amazon program will be open to tens of thousands of Twitch users who are members of its partner and affiliate programs. These, like the YouTube Partner Program, are designed to reward popular content producers with the ability to earn money for publishing their content on Twitch.</p> <p>Gear on Amazon could make participation in these programs far more lucrative. After all, popular Twitch streamers who are able to take advantage of their influence to help sell physical products for which they receive commissions of up to 10% could find that affiliate commissions add up a lot more quickly than ad revenue shares do.</p> <h3>Amazon's influence on influencer marketing</h3> <p>It seems there are few markets that Amazon doesn't have a hand in, and the ecommerce giant is clearly interested in putting its imprint on the influencer marketing space.</p> <p>Gear on Amazon is the second program Amazon has launched this year that seeks to turn influencers into affiliates. In April, the company <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68961-amazon-tries-its-hand-at-influencer-affiliate-marketing/">launched a beta of an invite-only Amazon Influencer Program</a> "exclusively designed for social media influencers with large followings and a high frequency of posts with shoppable content." </p> <p>Influencers who participate in the Amazon Influencer Program get the opportunity to curate their favorite products on an Amazon-hosted page that has a vanity URL. As TechCrunch's Sarah Perez described it at the time, "Basically, it's a more exclusive step up from Amazon Affiliate linking, and offers a better browsing experience."</p> <p>While it remains to be seen whether or not Amazon will actually find success trying to merge influencer and performance marketing, there are a growing number of reasons to believe that performance marketing will indeed become a more prominent part of influencer marketing. These reasons include:</p> <ul> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/measuring-roi-on-influencer-marketing">Measuring the ROI of influencer marketing</a> continues to be a challenge for many marketers.</li> <li>Fees charged by top influencers have been skyrocketing, causing some marketers <a href="https://digiday.com/marketing/confessions-social-media-exec-no-idea-pay-influencers/">to question</a> whether the costs can be justified.</li> <li>Emerging threats <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69343-are-marketers-underestimating-the-fraud-threat-to-influencer-marketing">such as fraud</a> could undermine the market.</li> <li>Big platform owners like Facebook <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69355-is-facebook-preparing-to-tax-influencer-marketing-campaigns">could seek to tax</a> influencer marketing campaigns on their platforms, increasing costs. </li> </ul> <p>Tying influencer compensation to sales could help address many of the challenges the influencer marketing ecosystem is facing and if any company is capable of pushing the ecosystem in this direction at scale, it's Amazon.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69164 2017-06-22T14:13:00+01:00 2017-06-22T14:13:00+01:00 Should sales be used to measure the ROI of influencer marketing? James Collins <p>According to research from Linqia, marketers are predicted to spend $50,000 - $100,000 per influencer marketing programme this year (doubled from 2016’s $25,000 - $50,000). If you’re spending big budgets, you need to know why you’re considering influencer marketing as part of your marketing mix, and how you’re going to measure it.</p> <p>This is something many marketers have been aware of for a long time: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/measuring-roi-on-influencer-marketing/">a recent Econsultancy report</a> revealed that measuring ROI on their influencer initiatives is the biggest challenge for 65% of marketers.</p> <p>So what’s stopping marketers understanding the value their influencer marketing activity is driving? There’s already a wealth of research out there on this fiercely debated topic – and there’s one question that comes up time and again: should influencers be judged on sales?</p> <p>The short answer is yes – if that’s what your objective is. To clarify:</p> <ol> <li>It depends on what you want to get out of your campaign. Marketing basics: start with your objectives and determine how you’re going to measure performance from there.</li> <li>As consumers are often exposed to brands and products through influencer marketing at the earlier stages of the buying cycle, measuring the impact on sales across the whole user journey – not just at the last click – is essential.</li> </ol> <h3>What do you want to achieve with your influencer marketing?</h3> <p>Understanding what you want your influencer marketing to achieve will not only shape the tactics used but also how it will be measured. </p> <h3>Raising awareness and reaching new customers</h3> <p>Many influencer campaigns are about awareness and brand positioning. Here, working with brand-relevant influencers that offer the potential of long-term partnerships and ambassadorship is key. Awareness has always been tricky to measure but things are getting more sophisticated. Tools now exist to help brands measure KPIs such as sentiment and share of voice, taking the understanding of performance beyond simple ‘reach’. </p> <p>Logically, brands want to raise awareness among their target audiences – those people who are likely to go on to become customers. One way to measure this is to look at how much new customer web traffic is driven by your influencer campaigns. Rakuten Marketing data shows that 84% of the revenue driven by content publishers (including influencer bloggers) is from new customers, indicating that they are effective at reaching new audiences.</p> <p>This data can then be used to generate positive KPIs, such as cost per new user. These stats can help build a stronger case for influencer activity as an effective means for new customer lead generation. </p> <h3>Engagement</h3> <p>Web traffic in general – whether that’s from new or existing customers – is still a common indicator of success for influencer marketing, with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">The Rise of Influencers report </a>showing that 79% choose it as their most important metric. </p> <p>But how much can just looking at amounts of web traffic really tell you? Not a lot. It’s the action that consumers take once they visit your site that’s truly important. How long do they spend on your website? How many different pages do they visit? Are they visiting high value areas of your site, or did they just bounce and disappear? Measuring the onsite activity of those people referred by influencers gives more meaningful engagement metrics.</p> <p>Measuring engagement is about measuring the impact of your influencer marketing beyond sales and comparing it to other types of marketing. This type of measurement is particularly pertinent for retailers that don’t rely on ecommerce – for example, household brands stocked by supermarkets.</p> <h3>Sales and conversions</h3> <p>All that said, let’s not forget the importance of sales and revenue. Trying to get budget for campaigns that may not have a provable ROI is a huge pain point for marketers. According to another Econsultancy report – <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/the-new-face-of-luxury-maintaining-exclusivity-in-the-world-of-social-influence">The New Face of Luxury</a> – the biggest challenge to implementing influencer marketing for luxury brands (a key sector taking advantage of influencer marketing) is budget.</p> <p>When budgets become constrained, the activity that can’t be linked to revenue generation is commonly the first to be cut. But, as we’ve discussed, influencer marketing is often about raising awareness through aspirational content, with a view to generating purchases further down the line, rather than pushing immediate sales. </p> <p>Rakuten Marketing data backs up this hypothesis: it shows that content publishers, including influencers, start more converting customer journeys than any other affiliate publisher type. As well as this, of all the revenue driven by content publishers, 54% sits in the first position in the user journey.</p> <p>The visualisation below, based on aggregated data from Rakuten Marketing affiliate clients, shows that social networking and content publishers (two key channels for influencer marketers) commonly appear at the beginning of the user journey.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6666/affiliate-category-sales-funnel-small.jpg" alt="Affiliate category sales funnel" width="800" height="411"></p> <p>This demonstrates that if you are going to measure influencer marketing using revenue, analysing and reporting on data across the whole user journey, rather than just at the last click, is essential. </p> <h3>Understanding the multi-channel view and seeing incremental value</h3> <p>The need for better attribution to measure influencer marketing was cited as the most common request in eMarketer’s recent Measuring Influencer Marketing guide. This demand is only going to increase in line with the demand for better measurement of the ROI of influencer marketing.</p> <p>Using attribution and analytical tools that provide a multi-channel view across the whole user journey is essential to demonstrating the impact influencers have on sales. Having this view enables performance marketers to understand the value of influencers in the context of their other marketing channels, wherever they appear in the user journey.</p> <p>Even if the objective of your influencer campaigns is to increase brand awareness or engagement, being able to tie those newly engaged visitors back to sales further down the line will help give you the power you need to secure your influencer budget.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68983 2017-04-11T13:05:00+01:00 2017-04-11T13:05:00+01:00 You're (still) not tracking CPA properly and here’s why Depesh Mandalia <p>Every business for decades has struggled with two common things: which channels to focus marketing spend on and how much return every dollar spent returns. This isn’t as simple a question as it may initially look.</p> <p>Marketing channels have evolved hugely since television, radio and print ads were key ways to reach a mainstream audience. Despite the advancement in tracking technology and ad platforms, the question of how best to utilise each marketing dollar remains a challenge, even for the most advanced marketing operations and platforms (despite what they tell you) and here’s why.</p> <h4>Scenario 1 - a customer sees an ad in a single channel and purchases there and then</h4> <p><strong>CPA challenge:</strong> ensuring there is tracking in place, which for digital is usually in the form of digital analytics and for offline is primarily in the form of promotion code.</p> <p>How often does this scenario occur? There will be a good percentage of your acquisitions that only ever see your one ad on one platform or through a single medium and decide to buy all within the same ‘session’. For clarity we define a session here as a stream of events all happening one after the other.</p> <p>For simplicity I'm focussing on a visit to a website as the journey to complete a transaction (as opposed to a shop visit or app download via an app store). So:</p> <ol> <li>Customer sees ad</li> <li>Customer clicks/responds to ad</li> <li>Customer visits website and adds item to cart</li> <li>Customer buys item</li> </ol> <p>In this scenario, the customer does this without a break to browse other sites or coming back later. For a business with limited brand and product awareness, it is less likely that someone will see an ad for the first time, click <em>and</em> buy in one go.</p> <p>Of course, we marketers would love to think our ads are spot on <em>and</em> the target audience have been reached in one hit <em>and</em> that audience is in the mindset to buy <em>and</em> they visit your website <em>and</em> buy without even thinking about other important things in their day like what's for dinner or the latest cat gif on Facebook.</p> <p>There are also factors around trust which affect consumer behaviour - trusting how legit the company and website is, whether the product quality can be trusted, whether the product price is going to be the best you can get etc.</p> <p>What kind of company has enough <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66013-brand-activation-and-its-role-in-driving-consumer-engagement-and-awareness/">brand awareness</a> and product range association that seeing a single ad will prompt you to both trust the business and purchase in one go? Amazon comes to mind as a company that can do this, as may other well established businesses, where the consumer is fully trusting of the brand and broadly aware of the product range. But how quickly do you need to increase sales? And how long have Amazon taken to establish themselves?</p> <p>Trusting that a company like Amazon aren't going to defraud you, are going to deliver your product, and are going to deliver a known quality - these are questions which for most people are answered on the Amazon site or through strong brand association. You, the smaller brand, simply can't match that.</p> <p>Chances are that if your data suggests that a given transaction occurred from the first ad the customer saw in the same session, there's something else at play. Let's look at scenario 2.</p> <h4>Scenario 2 - a customer sees an ad, doesn’t interact, but comes back later to buy from you via the website directly <em>or</em> via another marketing channel.</h4> <p><strong>CPA challenge:</strong> tracking the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-state-of-marketing-attribution/">attribution</a> of the source channel due to the lack of connection to the final conversion channel. </p> <p>This is a very common (if not the most common) scenario and essentially how brand-led campaigns make their mark by creating an uplift on trackable channels. In this scenario a customer will see an ad, for example on TV, outdoor display, a leaflet, print ad or even digitally such as Facebook or Youtube as follows:</p> <ol> <li>Customer sees ad</li> <li>Customer doesn’t interact with ad</li> <li>Customer visits website directly at a later time/date and adds item to cart</li> <li>Customer buys item. Ka-ching! </li> </ol> <p>If you’ve ever run or been involved in a brand campaign you’ll know what a struggle it can be to truly measure the impact of the campaign on bottom line numbers. As a performance marketer you’ll know how fluffy ‘brand awareness’ can seem as a metric.</p> <p>To fully measure brand impact requires many more tools such as a brand impact test which measures trackable channel performance with and without the brand campaign, baselining your organic/non-paid channels to measure uplift and things like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-search-marketing-ppc-best-practice-guide/">paid search</a> brand keyword uplift in particular.</p> <p>That being said, not every 'brand campaign' is big budget, massive exposure stuff. Every supermarket carrier bag shows branding at play. Every time you read a newspaper with the logo facing outward branding is at play. Branding plays a big part in our everyday interactions with companies, whether we notice it or not. And as a marketer, the impact of brand awareness is often neglected when calculating the ROI of your dollar spend.</p> <p>If you’ve scaled a business, you’ll know the importance brand plays in creating the foundation for sustainable growth. Sustainable growth is that which doesn’t rely on any single marketing channel (eg Facebook ads) and has a good blend of non-paid acquisition acquisition channels.</p> <p>Scaling a business solely focussed on the hard metrics of spend, sales and CPA will hide the subliminal impact your marketing is having, like how <a href="https://www.simplypsychology.org/pavlov.html">Pavlov had his dogs salivating</a> at the sound of a bell, or how those that have dined there, have an instinctive, <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-illuminated/201108/7-reasons-we-cant-turn-down-fast-food">uncontrollable reaction to seeing the Golden Arches</a> through the release of dopamine.</p> <p>Find me a direct response ad that can release dopamine better than a well placed brand campaign. Are you tracking the DU (Dopamine Uplift) of your marketing campaigns? Surely this will trim your CPA by a percentage or two, yet we're often having to make budgeting decisions based on the reaction of the rational brain when neuroscience studies confirm the unconscious, deep thinking part of your brain as being a key driver to decision making, including what and where we buy.</p> <p>The brand funnel is about creating awareness in defining your <a href="https://www.startwithwhy.com/LearnYourWhy.aspx">‘who’ and ‘why’</a> - who you are and who you are relevant is what creates meaning and connection to your target audience. Too often, businesses focus on what they do, completely bypassing the customer need. This is a typical sales-led approach to growth and not a customer-centric view.</p> <p>It is the channel CPA-centric view that drives marketers and businesses to focus heavily on what they do and this isn't what your target audience will primarily care about. Give them a reason to not just be interested, or to like you, but to love you as a brand and watch those CPAs fall. </p> <h4>Branding 101</h4> <p>Below is a good illustration of the brand journey and impact on your acquisition funnel - moving from a wide audience, some of which are not your target consumer, and funneling those that are toward your business.</p> <p>As a business, if your audience is everyone, then whilst your product may well cater for every single person you can market to, until you create relevance for that person you’ll struggle to help them determine how your product improves or complements their life. This is the role of brand marketing, to sift out non-consumers and attract potential consumers from a wide funnel of prospects.</p> <p>The ‘indifference’ stage noted in the diagram refers to the fact these people have no positive or negative opinion on the business.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5367/1.jpg" alt="brand funnel" width="400" height="295"> </p> <p><em>Via <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/demystifying-brand-funnel-sean-kelley">Sean Kelly on LinkedIn</a></em> </p> <p>The relevance of this user journey scenario is this: whilst you may measure and try to improve acquisitions that come through to the website or through brand searches, do you really know what the first interaction for that customer was? If not, then deciding where to place that next dollar is not going to be entirely fact or numeric based.</p> <p>As a Chief Marketing Officer your growth decisions need to rely on a variety of datasets to analyse impact, performance and future actions.  </p> <h4>Using multi-data points for indirect attribution analysis</h4> <p>An important and often used piece of attribution analysis is a question asked to customers after the point of purchase: "how did you hear about your us?".</p> <p>Don't underestimate the importance of this simple question. Although we have the ability online to track the channel from which a visitor landed on a website (eg search engine, facebook, youtube, affiliate etc through web analytics), this question gives us a valuable first-touch data-source for channels which we can’t track so well such as TV and print media.</p> <p>In the case of ecommerce companies, many rely on promotion codes in order to track the marketing source but in this scenario, where a customer has seen an ad in one source and purchased via another source, you’ve lost the originator marketing channel.</p> <p>For example if you distribute leaflets and a customer sees one, then goes online and purchases through an affiliate code, you have no concept of the performance of the leaflet and may make the incorrect decision to stop distribution of inserts due to low uptake. </p> <p>At toucanBox we use a post-transaction survey to ask customers how they heard about us at the point at which we are front of mind. The reason to have this in the checkout confirmation page and not in the confirmation email or later is because it would otherwise only serve to dilute the quality of response.</p> <p>The positive impact brand awareness has is best demonstrated when we look at TV advertising performance. We have a certain CPA target we are aiming for and use a promotion code on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMy9bFitXBM">the TV ad</a> to help us track customers coming directly via the TV ad. However, if we follow scenario 1 above and assume all customers that see the TV ad, will come <em>directly</em> to the website, our CPA looks quite astronomical and unprofitable. Decision? Let’s trash TV it clearly doesn’t work! Ah but if you add additional data points, it tells a very different story. </p> <p>If we look at just one of our many paid search keywords related to brand searches (see below), we see that there was a rise and fall of searches on that particular keyword when we ran TV advertising in February, denoted by the rise, peak and fall which correlates with TV spot timings. This gives as an additional attribution back to TV because the increase in paid search hits for this one keyword can be directly matched back.</p> <p>We analysed all brand keywords that we could track, alongside those people directly visiting the website and those coming through non-paid search and found similar patterns. The uplift in visits also correlates with an uplift in transactions confirming both volume and quality of TV impact for this keyword.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5374/2.png" alt="keyword uplift from tv" width="800">  </p> <p>Now if you tally up the additional sales TV brought in as the originator channel into the trackable channels (brand paid search, organic search and direct visits) the combined CPA comes in within target. The correct decision therefore based on this data is to continue with TV advertising. I may not know the complete, numerical positive impact TV has across all channels but I can be convinced with this data that it is worthwhile. </p> <p>Another data point we used was the post-transaction survey mentioned earlier. In response to ‘how did you hear about us’ we gave some relevant options such as TV, print, search etc. When analysing the data for the same period, the majority selected ‘TV’, which was of course great news but unsurprising.</p> <p>However where this was even more interesting was matching this back into Google Analytics as an event and analysing those that said they heard of toucanBox via TV and the final channel they converted on. Through this we also found TV impacted sign ups that came via Facebook ads, online partnerships and affiliates.</p> <p>Essentially we added a layer that analytics tools cannot yet add - where did they remember seeing or hearing about the brand first? This is important because we're looking for the trigger ad that prompted them to move from the indifferent stage to the like stage for the brand.</p> <p>TV for toucanBox had played an even bigger part in uplifting the entire marketing mix. Without the additional data points, a singular view of CPA and attribution would have led us to making the wrong decision and hindered growth. </p> <h4>No surprise, CPA tracking is still an issue </h4> <p>Despite this level of insight and understanding, can we answer how best to place every single marketing dollar?</p> <p>No we can’t, because the true CPA of every channel, considering what percentage of the customer journey each channel contributed, is a thing of data science beyond the scope of this article. You can search for and sift through <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&amp;ion=1&amp;espv=2&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=multi+channel+attribution">tens of thousands of articles</a> written on this subject in the last 5-10 years yet we’re still not able to 100% define a true CPA.</p> <p>The challenge is that typical tracking of budget and transactions, from channel to channel, device to device, across web analytics and crucially your customer database rarely match up. This occurs because of how each tracking system sees the view of a single transaction.</p> <p>If a customer visits the site from a Facebook ad, based on the attribution window you are looking at Facebook will record it as a transaction via Facebook, regardless of whether that person converts subsequently via another channel or not. Analytics tools such as Google Analytics register the last channel the customer came through and although GA offers a way of <a href="https://www.kaushik.net/avinash/multi-channel-attribution-modeling-good-bad-ugly-models/">viewing multi-channel attribution</a>, at best some marketers and analysts are still inexperienced with how to use it for budget decision making and at worst are not even aware it exists.</p> <p>GA will also often under report against what your customer database shows due to cookie/tracking issues and so as a marketer it is a constant struggle to optimise channels, marketing-mix and internal KPI reporting. The screengrab below is a typical view of what our customer journey might look like from first click to last. Quite the journey. And if last click was all we went on, we might ditch email or organic search from our marketing mix.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5375/3.png" alt="attribution" width="800"></p> <p>Whilst at toucanBox we are highly data-driven in our marketing analysis and decision making, we’re also in fast-growth stage and so require a balance between data accuracy and growth agility which often increase inversely. Making decisions on hard, measurable data points isn't enough to make a fully qualified decision to assigning the true CPA for a given campaign or a channel.</p> <h4>So after all of that, how exactly do you evaluate the return on your dollar spend? </h4> <p>The simple answer is through complex data modelling, tracking and attribution. Well no, actually the simpler answer is you don’t.</p> <p>Instead marketers will often take stock of a blended view of marketing in order to determine the success of a campaign. If tracking and accounting the return from every dollar is your priority (and there's no reason it shouldn't be) then you will need to have the time and resource available to create a system which at best, will get you close to answering this.</p> <p>However if you’re a fast-growth company looking to make the the next best decision to that, on how your marketing performance stacks up, then a combination of in-channel optimisation to get the best from your macro metrics such as cost per click (CPC) and clickthrough rate (CTR) on top of a blended view of marketing performance might just get your growth machine whirring that much faster.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68961 2017-04-06T14:07:52+01:00 2017-04-06T14:07:52+01:00 Amazon tries its hand at influencer affiliate marketing Patricio Robles <p><a href="https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/31/amazon-quietly-launches-its-own-social-media-influencer-program-into-beta/">According to</a> TechCrunch's Sarah Perez, the program functions like the company's affiliate program in that participants are paid a commission for product sales that they drive. It is not known if the commission structure differs from Amazon's affiliate program.</p> <p>Unlike Amazon's affiliate program, which requires that affiliates link to Amazon products from their own websites, Amazon is offering influencers vanity URLs, such as <em>https://www.amazon.com/shop/whatsupmoms</em>, on which lists of products they curate are displayed. As Perez notes, "Basically, it's a more exclusive step up from Amazon Affiliate linking, and offers a better browsing experience."</p> <p>One of the early participants in the Amazon Influencer Program is WhatsUpMoms, which claims to be the top parenting network on YouTube. Its president and COO, Liane Mullin, says that the program was a natural fit. "We are constantly asked by our community for product recommendations and about the products used in our videos. Now that we have our own Amazon store it makes it much easier to have a curated collection all in one spot," she told TechCrunch.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5232/amazoninfluencer.jpg" alt="" width="878" height="322"></p> <h3>The appeal of performance marketing for influencers</h3> <p>Amazon's desire to team up with influencers isn't at all surprising. After all, influential social media entities like WhatsUpMoms, which counts more than 1.5m subscribers to its YouTube channel, have the ability to promote products to broad and often loyal audiences. And there's <a href="http://www.latimes.com/fashion/la-ig-bloggers-20160809-snap-story.html">strong evidence that influencers <em>can </em>convert their followings into<em> </em>sales</a>.</p> <p>For that reason, it's reportedly not uncommon for brands to pay the most prominent of influencers – those with millions of subscribers on popular social platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat – well into the five figures, and in some cases even six figures, for each promotional post.</p> <p>Given the large sums being paid in the upper echelons of the market, brands tapping influencers to promote their wares will increasingly seek to justify the spend <a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/measuring-roi-on-influencer-marketing/">by tracking ROI</a> and ensuring that their deals make financial sense. Performance marketing payment structures, which align compensation directly to customer acquisition or sales, could help them do just that in a very straightforward manner.</p> <h3>But will influencers embrace performance marketing?</h3> <p>For those earning thousands of dollars or more for sponsored posts, the prospect of giving up a guaranteed payment for a percentage of sales generated or a set fee for each customer acquisition might not be all that appealing. While some arrangements could theoretically offer significant upside, the truly influential influencers aren't likely to see the benefits of taking on increased risk unless the market dynamic changes completely and they are forced to.</p> <p>Instead, so long as their sway is growing and bringing with it negotiating leverage, expect to see more top influencers focus on long-term <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/09/16/loreal-on-why-other-brands-are-using-influencers-the-wrong-way/">partnerships</a> in which they might even work with brands to co-create product lines that they have a real ownership stake in. And expect to see the most ambitious influencers try to follow in the footsteps of social media stars like Michelle Phan, <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/natalierobehmed/2015/10/05/how-michelle-phan-built-a-500-million-company/">who has built</a> her own business empire on the back of her YouTube popularity.</p> <p>Of course, none of this means that the Amazon Influencer Program is destined to fail. But absent a bigger hook than an Amazon page on which influencers can curate lists of products that are sold on Amazon, it seems unlikely that the influencers with "large followings" Amazon is courting would have good reason to give their Amazon Influencer Program links top billing.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68916 2017-03-30T15:15:00+01:00 2017-03-30T15:15:00+01:00 Is cost-per-offline-visit the future of mobile advertising? Patricio Robles <p>Location-based adtech firm xAd thinks so. xAd, which uses a proprietary platform to "[automate] geo-boundaries around key places and points of interest" and says it delivers ads to 500m users each month, recently <a href="http://www.xad.com/press-releases/xad-pushes-industry-forward-introducing-first-market-cost-per-visit-model-guaranteeing-offline-visits/">announced</a> a new pay-per-visit ad offering in the US that will allow advertisers to pay for ads only when they drive consumers through the doors of their stores.</p> <p>According to the company, "This new model represents a major shift in accountability from the buyer to partner solution, bringing improved transparency and accountability to the advertising industry.</p> <p>"With the advent of fake news and some of the industry's most plaguing questions surrounding 'the quality and efficacy of served impressions,' xAd's move toward a more advanced performance-based model takes the complexity out of having to navigate industry pitfalls like viewability and ad fraud."</p> <p>The pay-per-visit offering features third-party verification of visits through Placed, a location measurement firm, and xAd says that The Home Depot and Applebee's have signed on as launch partners. xAd isn't revealing how much advertisers will pay for each visit; its website states that pricing "varies by industry."</p> <h3>Is the location marketing era finally upon us?</h3> <p>Some, like UM Worldwide's US digital head Joshua Lowcock, thinks pay-per-visit could be as important a development as pay per click was. "The difference is, there are no accidental clicks when it comes to foot traffic. If a brand's focus is to drive store visits, you should be able to pay for those visits. Now you can align strategy directly to investment, creating an efficient, powerful buying model, one I believe can really cement location as a strategic must for marketers," he said.</p> <p>Indeed, location looks like it will soon be a strategic must for marketers as more and more companies decide to offer up the location technologies they've developed to marketers.</p> <p>For example, Foursquare, which now describes itself as a "technology company that uses location intelligence to build meaningful consumer experiences and business solutions," <a href="https://medium.com/foursquare-direct/on-announcing-foursquares-pilgrim-sdk-cb3f6ab9cfa8#.3wadm7oau">just announced</a> that it is opening up a software development kit that will allow developers to incorporate Pilgrim, its core technology platform behind its Places database, stop detection, and snap-to-place awareness, into their apps.</p> <p>And <a href="https://medium.com/foursquare-direct/introducing-foursquare-analytics-a-dynamic-foot-traffic-dashboard-for-brands-9ce60aa93b42#.acdd9c2r7">it's launching</a> Foursquare Analytics, a "dynamic foot traffic dashboard for brands" that is currently being used by brands including Taco Bell, TGI Fridays, H&amp;M, Lowe's and Equinox.</p> <p>The timing for a golden era of location marketing couldn't come soon enough for retailers with physical locations. Thanks in large part to changing consumer behavior driven by the Amazonification of commerce, <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/03/22/retailers-closing-stores-sears-kmart-jcpenney-macys-mcsports-gandermountian/99492180/">a growing number of retailers</a> are downsizing and fighting for survival.</p> <p>While solutions like xAd Cost Per Visit and Foursquare Analytics alone won't save them, having better insights into consumer behavior, the ability to target consumers at the right place and time when they're on the go, and the option to pay for ads only when they drive visits to their stores could help give retailers that jump on the location marketing bandwagon quickly enough a fighting chance.</p> <p><em><strong>For more on this topic, read:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67418-what-is-location-based-advertising-why-is-it-the-next-big-thing/"><em>What is location-based advertising &amp; why is it the next big thing?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66171-six-useful-mobile-marketing-case-studies/"><em>Six useful mobile marketing case studies</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68731 2017-01-26T15:15:00+00:00 2017-01-26T15:15:00+00:00 Your 2017 marketing plan should be defined by change and transformation Stephanie Miller <p>If you are placing all your hopes for digital transformation <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68356-what-is-an-innovation-lab-and-how-do-they-work/">into a 'lab'</a>, you are missing a huge opportunity to keep up with customers and their ever-evolving digital lifestyles and workplaces. </p> <p>Instead, invest in making adapting to change part of your culture. Every marketer needs to challenge the status quo as part of their regular job. Sequestering innovation into a separate group may be great for ideation, but it will never actually transform your business.</p> <p>Transformation requires the proverbial thousand points of light - every pair of hands, drawing new insights from data by asking different questions, and testing out new campaigns.</p> <p>This year, engage every marketer in the work of keeping ahead of customer need, and taking advantage of the right set of new platforms and digital tools. Not just marketers, actually, but also everyone in all those cross-functional teams on whom we rely so heavily to create great customer experience - from sales to customer service to IT.</p> <h3>People power</h3> <p>This time of year, lots of columnists predict what the future will hold - <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68706-ashley-friedlein-s-marketing-and-digital-trends-for-2017/" target="_blank">including our own Chairman</a> Ashley Friedlein who urges every marketing organization to adopt the "F" word (Focus). (Anyone who doubled down last year with <a href="https://blog.medium.com/renewing-mediums-focus-98f374a960be#.jsiaquiy2" target="_blank">advertising on Medium</a> can attest to the worth of this advice. What seemed like an obvious opportunity based on traditional rules of business, just isn't.)  </p> <p>Ashley also talks about the increasing attention on "marketing transformation", which refers to the internal marketing organization transformation which complements the customer-journey focused <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">digital transformation</a> work that is already underway at so many Econsultancy clients.</p> <p>Scott Brinker, author of the popular ChiefMarTec blog <a href="http://chiefmartec.com/2017/01/marketing-prediction-need-2017/" target="_blank">predicted</a> that change is the only trend you need to watch in 2017.</p> <p>People empowerment is just as important as the right technology, where he advises, "For people, you need to carve out time, resources, and executive enthusiasm for learning and experimentation. Having people take courses, attend conferences, join local meet-ups, and voraciously read (or listen to podcasts) is good. But the real learning happens when they’re encouraged to apply new ideas in their work, through silo-busting collaborations with their peers."</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3417/iStock-528622704.jpg" alt="" width="724" height="483"></p> <p>No matter what your position on trend watching, there is one thing that is clear. Nothing will get done to meaningfully transform your business without people.</p> <p>And not just any people. People who are skilled in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/skills-of-the-modern-marketer/">modern marketing</a>, working collaboratively across functions with shared goals, in an organization that is structured to help them and the company succeed. People are inextricable from culture, process and strategy.</p> <p>It's a truth universally acknowledged that bottom-up ideas tend to be more practical and data-driven. Why not train your teams how to capture change and turn it into opportunity, while you give them the skills and tools they need to increase your digital marketing muscle?  </p> <p>Why not challenge marketers to talk to customers and solve their problems? Why not embrace change as a constant, and filter that "lab" mentality into every role? Really. Why not?</p> <p>It's a simple concept: Trust your teams to know their key audiences and to be committed to optimizing the customer experience. Help them master the concepts and foundational principles, show them what "good" looks like for your company, and teach them to how to evaluate new digital opportunities. </p> <p>The learning programs and ecosystem that you create to support your teams have to be as agile and open to change as the software you use. In the golden triangle of people, process and technology, transformation will only occur as fast as the slowest leg of the triangle allows. Don't isolate your people from their ability to innovate.</p> <p>What are your thoughts on transformation and change management in 2017 for marketing? We'd love to hear your challenges and what has worked for you already.</p> <p><em>If you’re planning a digital transformation project or want to find out more, visit Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">Digital Transformation Hub</a>.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68725 2017-01-23T15:05:47+00:00 2017-01-23T15:05:47+00:00 Pfizer lures consumers to text with Viagra discounts Patricio Robles <p>As FiercePharma's Beth Snyder Bulik <a href="http://www.fiercepharma.com/marketing/text-to-save-drugs-pfizer-s-latest-vaigra-ad-includes-text-promotion-for-discounts">describes</a>, "The ad opens with the now-familiar woman in a dark blue dress who asks, 'Guys, want to save 50% on a yearlong supply of Viagra for ED?' A mobile phone close-up then takes over the screen with the promotion and text keyword 'VSAVE,' and she explains in voice-over how to get the discount."</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/3288/viagracommercial-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="264"></p> <p>Before receiving the discount code, consumers must reply to a text message that opts them in to receiving multiple text messages from Pfizer every month.</p> <p>The opt-in also gives Pfizer the ability to collect additional information, such as names, phone numbers and birthdates. Consumers who opt in can opt out at any time via text.</p> <p>Obviously, to use the discount, consumers must have a valid prescription for Viagra from their doctor.</p> <h3>A smart investment?</h3> <p>Text messaging-based marketing programs like Pfizer's are common in the consumer marketing world, but as Bulik notes, the Viagra campaign "seems to be a first for a pharma company." It might not be the last, however. Indeed, there are a number of reasons why similar campaigns could be smart investments for pharma companies in 2017.</p> <p>First, pharma companies' <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67747-pharma-marketers-should-use-storytelling-to-improve-the-industry-s-reputation/">reputational woes</a> are <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68120-as-tv-ads-lose-their-sway-pharma-marketers-need-to-adapt/">reducing the sway of television ads</a>. While this will realistically require a multi-pronged response over the long term, an immediate tactic for making the most of television could be to develop campaigns that offer discounts in return for a meaningful exchange.</p> <p>Second, with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67227-ban-on-consumer-ads-could-make-pharma-s-digital-shortcomings-more-costly/">the specter of a ban on direct-to-consumer ads</a>, it behooves pharma companies to find ways to develop channels through which they can communicate directly with patients who use their drugs.</p> <p>Text messaging programs that are built off of discount offers are an especially practical means to do this, especially in light of the fact that pharma-owned and operated web properties have much lower usage than non-pharma owned and operated web properties, limiting pharma companies' ability to drive engagement through their websites.</p> <p>Finally, given the proliferation of generic drugs, anything pharma companies can do to establish direct relationships with patients who use their drugs might prove valuable in the future.</p> <p>While Viagra won't come off-patent in the US for several more years, Pfizer has struck deals that will see generics hitting the market this year, so having the ability to communicate with patients currently using Viagra could help the drug maker maintain the market for the brand name product.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68706 2017-01-17T10:00:00+00:00 2017-01-17T10:00:00+00:00 Ashley Friedlein's marketing and digital trends for 2017 Ashley Friedlein <p>You can <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67397-ashley-friedlein-s-10-digital-marketing-ecommerce-trends-for-2016/">read my 2016 post</a> to see whether I had any success in predicting the major trends from last year, and here are the trends that I think will have the biggest impact in 2017.</p> <h3>1. The F word </h3> <p>I believe the guiding star for marketing, and digital, for 2017 will be: Focus. </p> <p>In part, this is because the economic outlook is uncertain so there is less appetite for risk and instead a desire to focus on either fixing what is not working or doubling down on what is working and scaling that.</p> <p>Businesses want growth, brands want saliency in a cluttered landscape, but there is not the money to ‘throw a lot at the wall and see what sticks’ so focus has to be the answer. </p> <p>In part, it is also a reaction against the ever-increasing complexity and fragmentation within marketing. Both at the highest levels (What even is ‘marketing’ now? What is ‘digital’ really?) and at the tactical levels (Which new emerging platforms do we now also have to manage? Have we really nailed our responsive programmatic social video campaign? What are we doing about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67529-the-rise-of-dark-social-everything-you-need-to-know/">dark social</a> and messaging?). </p> <p>Focus is an antidote to ambiguity and complexity. In part, I think shareholders and boards are starting to lose patience with marketing and digital strategy and execution which lacks focus.</p> <p>There are only so many times you can say “for us digital is like changing the engines on the plane whilst still flying!” or cunningly pass off what is really indecision, lack of competence or lack of operational clarity as “agile”. </p> <p>In 2017 prioritisation is the top priority. Focus on the focus. So I expect to see:</p> <ul> <li>Brand portfolios being rationalised. This started in 2016 but I expect to continue this year. Weaker brands will be killed off so energies can be focused on the strongest. </li> <li>As well as cutting some brands completely we will see more ‘zero-based branding’ thinking (cf. “<a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/01/26/why-unilever-is-right-to-adopt-zero-based-budgeting/">zero-based budgeting</a>” from 2016) where marketers revisit a brand's purpose, promise, positioning and audience. Again, to ensure clarity of focus. </li> <li>Agency/supplier relationships being rationalised. Again, in the name of focus, I expect to see brands favouring fewer, deeper, supplier relationships. This will be a challenge for mid-sized agencies. I believe it will favour the big consultancies and systems integrators over the agencies too.</li> <li>Media partners being rationalised. There will be less appetite for continual experimentation and fragmented efforts. Rather marketers will want to do better what is already shown to work. In the digital space this is good news for Google and Facebook in particular.  </li> </ul> <p>2017 will be more about refinement than reinvention for most marketers. More about consolidation, embedding and stratification than diversity and fragmentation. Time to get better at ‘operationalising’ marketing in a digital age.</p> <p>Take a cue from Google which has been busy cutting back projects to focus on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing/">artificial intelligence</a>. In 2017 your hardest decisions will be about what <em>not</em> to do. </p> <h3>2. Macro trends impacting marketing in 2017</h3> <p>Following are some broader trends that are shaping marketing, and digital, through 2017 and beyond. </p> <h4>2.1 The democratisation of AI (artificial intelligence)</h4> <p>AI is <em>the</em> hot technology trend. But a bit like ‘big data’ I do not see it as a thing in isolation. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/marketing-in-the-age-of-artificial-intelligence/">AI will permeate all aspects of marketing</a> and beyond.</p> <p>From quite specific applications like AI-powered email subject line optimisation (like <a href="https://phrasee.co/">Phrasee</a>) through smart devices and right up to Samsung-acquired <a href="http://viv.ai/">Viv</a> the ‘global brain’ and ‘intelligent interface to everything’.  </p> <p>AI is already powerful: <a href="http://www.wired.co.uk/article/alphago-deepmind-google-wins-lee-sedol">Google’s Go-winning DeepMind technology</a>, Facebook’s <a href="https://research.fb.com/publications/deepface-closing-the-gap-to-human-level-performance-in-face-verification/">DeepFace</a> facial recognition is better than a human’s etc. But the exciting opportunity for us all is that AI is becoming democratised, becoming a utility, being made available as a service. </p> <p>In 2017 you should not ‘do AI’ but you should keep on top of how AI can help make smarter things that you are already doing and make sure your suppliers and vendors are using AI to improve their services to you. </p> <h4>2.2 Conversational interfaces</h4> <p>I could have gone with bots, chat, messaging, even the ‘conversation economy’. But let us focus on conversational interfaces for now.</p> <p>Messaging, bots and smart home devices, like Amazon’s Echo, are the main actors on the stage of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67767-will-conversational-marketing-become-a-reality-in-2016/">conversational UI</a>. This is an exciting area of development, possibly even a ‘<a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/4502/banned_words.png">paradigm shift</a>’? </p> <p>Conversational UIs can help remove friction in a process. Before long we will expect to say “Find me three of the best tents that sleep up to five people for under £300”, get a good answer, and then purchase, all by voice. Interfaces will have API access to marketplaces like eBay, Google Shopping, Amazon etc. </p> <p>From a brand point of view this conversational paradigm is also compelling. Perhaps we can have conversations like we used to with businesses and recapture some of the intimacy that technology to date has caused us to lose? Can conversational interfaces re-humanise technology? </p> <p>The big question for marketers and brands in 2017 is whether you choose to play directly in this space, by creating your own <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care/">chatbot</a> for example, or whether you figure out how best to integrate in the ecosystem of much larger players, e.g. building a ‘skill’ for Amazon’s Alexa platform <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/help/insideguardian/2016/sep/28/introducing-the-guardian-skill-for-alexa">like the Guardian</a>. </p> <h4>2.3 Realtime</h4> <p>Building on the conversational paradigm, we should also expect experiences to become more realtime.</p> <p>Whether that is messaging, live customer service, live location tracking or live video streaming, we can see expectations rising for experiences that are ‘in the moment’. Just recently Google updated its “Popular times and visit duration” information for destinations to include realtime information on how busy the place is. </p> <p>In 2017 and beyond we need to look at how we can deliver <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/customer-experience/">customer experiences</a> that are realtime which is a challenge across technology, people and process. </p> <h4>2.4 Google/Facebook duopoly unchallenged</h4> <p>I cannot see how Google and Facebook will not continue to gain momentum. This will be aided by the focus and consolidation I described earlier.</p> <p>For many marketers who need to get good at a few things that they know have scale and can work, it is much easier to concentrate on a few platforms than many. </p> <p>Over 2017 it will be interesting to see how the video wars play out between Google (YouTube) and Facebook and also the degree to which brands work more directly with Google and Facebook which threatens to relegate the importance of the agency relationship. </p> <h4>2.5 Consultancies and systems integrators steal share from agencies</h4> <p>Speaking of agency relationships... I fear agencies may increasingly lose out to the big consultancies in winning large <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">digital and marketing transformation</a> work.</p> <p>Creativity and media planning/buying may hold out best against the consultancy attack but, as media becomes more programmatically driven, it is access to (increasingly backend) data and smart business logic that is required.</p> <p>And ‘digital transformation’ is a lot about change management, business strategy, data architecture, process, systems integration, cultural transformation etc. This is home turf to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68570-consultancies-are-buying-agencies-what-does-it-mean-for-marketing/">consultancies who have also been aggressively acquiring</a> or hiring agency talent.   </p> <h4>2.6 Identity management and authentication</h4> <p>We know devices are proliferating, we know we want to deliver personalised experiences across channels, we know multichannel marketing and (re)targeting can work if well executed and we know we want to measure ROI in a properly attributed way across channels. But we also know the sensitivities around data control and privacy.</p> <p>At the root of these challenges is how, and if at all, we can reliably identify who someone is. And even if we can, what the legal and perception challenges are around what we then do with that knowledge.</p> <p>This is another reason for the rise and rise of Google and Facebook who can address these challenges at scale and whose users are pretty much logged in all the time wherever they go online. Not a luxury most of us have.  </p> <h4>2.7 Talent</h4> <p>Yes, there is still a war for that.</p> <h3>3. Marketing trends for 2017</h3> <p>And now the key trends in marketing. </p> <h4>3.1 Marketing transformation</h4> <p>The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68009-it-is-the-end-of-the-beginning-for-digital-but-is-it-the-beginning-of-the-end/">‘death of digital’ debate</a> rumbles on but certainly I have noticed brands talking not only about ‘digital transformation’ but also about ‘marketing transformation’.</p> <p>Usually the initial focus is a restructure of the marketing organisation, often with the (re)integration of digital marketing, and often with a new person at the top who is increasingly likely to be a CCO (Chief Customer Officer) rather than CMO. </p> <p><a href="http://theoystercatchers.com/">Oystercatchers</a> (a sister brand to Econsultancy and part of Centaur Media plc) note a trend towards clients bringing more marketing teams in house – maybe not permanently but building dream teams for specific tasks. </p> <p>Accompanying this internal transformation is a re-evaluation of supplier relationships, the likely outcome of which I address earlier, and zero-based budgeting has become more popular as another way to ‘reset the clock’. </p> <p>The area that I find most interesting is the idea of ‘marketing ops’: the operating system for marketing. This is one effective way of keeping focus but also dealing with complexity and delivering operational efficiency.</p> <p>Just as (enlightened) IT has ‘dev ops’ it makes absolute sense to me that marketing needs ‘marketing ops’. Marketing is adopting ‘agile’ from the world of technology (incorrectly in many cases, but still…) and could do well to adopt ‘ops’. </p> <p>If you want to get some insight into this emerging area of marketing I recommend you look at <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/MarTechConf/marketing-ops-is-a-philosophy-not-a-department-by-justin-dunham">this presentation on marketing ops by Justin Dunham</a> of Urban Airship.  </p> <h4>3.2 Customer experience still top of the agenda</h4> <p>Customer experience has been a hot topic for a few years now but it shows no sign of cooling in 2017. Every single piece of market research Econsultancy does into what topics marketers are prioritising, and indeed the equivalent data I have seen from other analysts, shows customer experience topping the charts. </p> <p>The drivers for this are partly just to meet customers’ rising expectations, i.e. improved experiences, particularly digital and multichannel ones, are something that you just have to do. Partly, of course, it is in an effort to improve ROI through better conversion and retention rates.  </p> <p>2017 will see more ‘<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68681-mapping-the-customer-journey-doesn-t-have-to-be-difficult/">customer journey mapping</a>’, more defining of personas and further efforts at personalisation. And, according to Econsultancy’s recent <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-cx-challenge/">Implementing a CX Strategy</a> research, it is the marketing function which is most likely to own CX within a business. Yet only 8% of companies view themselves as 'very advanced' in terms of customer experience maturity.</p> <p>Multichannel will remain a big focus for customer experience improvements. Amazon Go, which entirely automates the in-store experience using sensors and machine learning, shows what is possible when blending the digital and physical.</p> <p>Multichannel should not be about the distinction of physical and digital channels but about experience fulfilment: what works best for what experience and customer need.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NrmMk1Myrxc?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>In 2017 we will move away from channel execution to thinking more about touchpoints and brand (“omni-brand” anyone?) experience.</p> <p>Rarely is there a single linear customer journey; more usually customer journeys are pretzel-shaped. </p> <h4>3.3 Data lakes and data ops</h4> <p>The move towards brands taking greater, first-party, control of their data as a strategic asset will continue. Expect to hear more about ‘data lakes’ in 2017 and dedicated ‘data/analytics ops’ teams comprising data scientists, engineers and analysts.</p> <p>The focus will be on getting better access to the data that is already available and smarter reuse of analytics assets like algorithms and models. Perhaps this year more marketers will finally be able to get a universal view of cross-channel performance.  </p> <p>In 2017 we will also start to recognise the need to use data to market to machines. We already know the value of structuring our data properly through schematic language to enhance how we appear in search results. But as personal assistants and IoT (internet of things) devices increasingly intermediate between our offerings and our customers we will need to learn how to ‘teach’ these machines with data.</p> <h4>3.4 Measurement scrutiny</h4> <p>2016 saw a lot happening in the area of measurement, performance and metrics: <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/08/30/mark-ritson-mcdonalds-zero-margin-omnicom-deal-sets-welcome-precedents-for-agency-contracts/">McDonald’s zero-margin Omnicom deal</a> setting a new precedent for agency contracts; <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68332-should-marketers-be-more-concerned-about-facebook-s-video-metrics-faux-pas/">Facebook’s erroneous video metrics</a>; the <a href="http://www.ana.net/content/show/id/industry-initiative-media-transparency">ANA’s concerning report</a> into lack of transparency in media buying by agencies.</p> <p>As a result, there will be a lot of scrutiny from senior management around how marketing is being measured. Some may reach the nirvana promised by the aforementioned data lakes, assuming they can find the talent to realise them and harness their value, but for many this year’s focus will mean having fewer KPIs but being more rigorously held to account over those.</p> <p>Marketing attribution will still be challenging (less so for Google and Facebook): according to Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-state-of-marketing-attribution/">State of Marketing Attribution</a> research 76% of respondents are struggling to find the right staff to deal with attribution. </p> <h4>3.5 Rethinking segmentation and targeting</h4> <p>2016 saw a lot of debate around approaches to customer segmentation and targeting. How granular is too granular? Is ‘mass targeting’ the answer? How does programmatic work in the mix?</p> <p>In 2017 we need to focus on resolving this question. As ever, the answer will be ‘it depends’. It depends not just on your product and audience but on your business strategy e.g. if you are going after market share at any cost versus focusing on profits and margins. </p> <p>Approaches to targeting are interesting in as far as they expose the sometimes differing philosophies and approaches of ‘traditional’ and ‘digital’ marketing. The former typically has a higher degree of planning and research up front and the segmentation and targeting models often built on more prescribed geo-demographic data attributes. </p> <p>Digital, meanwhile, espouses a ‘test and learn’ approach to validate hypotheses, starting small and scaling what works, and using technology and data to optimise for successful outcomes.</p> <p>For example, using programmatic advertising to optimise for sales using lookalike targeting which may not care what geo-demographic segment a prospect belongs to.</p> <p>Digital focuses on assessing potential customer value based on realtime, dynamic and contextual data variables which might include the weather right now, your precise location right now, what device you are using, what transport you are currently in, what you have just searched for, just clicked on etc.</p> <p>This year, as part of our marketing transformation (see earlier), we need to resolve these tensions between ‘traditional’ and ‘digital’. This will play out in organisational design but also in our processes, culture and capability development.  </p> <h3>4. Digital marketing trends for 2017</h3> <p>There is an increasingly blurred line between ‘digital marketing’ and ‘marketing’ but the following trends focus on the digital elements of marketing.</p> <h4>4.1 Digital Transformation</h4> <p>Econsultancy’s recent research on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-new-marketing-reality/">The New Marketing Reality</a> with IBM highlights the many challenges facing digital marketing:</p> <ul> <li>fragmentation and complexity.</li> <li>challenges in understanding the customer journey.</li> <li>challenges with organisational and data silos.</li> <li>confusion around metrics and what good looks like.</li> <li>managing both generalist and specialist agencies and vendors at the same time.</li> <li>lack of capability in areas like data and customer experience.</li> <li>lack of clarity in strategy and leadership. </li> </ul> <p>There is nothing particularly new here and there will not be for 2017. The challenges in becoming a digitally adept and mature organisation are many and will take years to work through.</p> <p>2017 will continue to see a mix of initiatives which, on the one hand, deliberately create ‘elite’ digital units (McKinsey talk about ‘<a href="http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/agile-marketing-a-step-by-step-guide">war-room teams</a>’) in an attempt to move at speed and, on the other hand, attempts to integrate and unify ‘digital’ and ‘traditional’ within a single marketing function. In practice most organisations will do both at the same time.</p> <p>Digital will also need better ‘ops’ (see the earlier section on marketing transformation), particularly in the area of data. Ops can help corral disjointed data and wrangle the complexity of channel silos.</p> <p>Digital will also be in the vanguard as organisations seek to become more agile and better at <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68503-what-is-design-thinking/">design thinking</a>, customer experience optimisation and product management. </p> <p>Non-Executive Directors with digital expertise will stay in great demand. There will be more Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) but the rate of growth in this job title may have peaked. </p> <h4>4.2 Data and marketing automation</h4> <p>2016 was a big year for marketing automation. Martech outshone adtech. Companies like Oracle, Adobe and IBM went on a spending spree to acquire capabilities to bolster their martech offerings across areas including programmatic, personalisation, video and social.</p> <p>Last year also saw a lot of talk about using data to optimise marketing including customer insight, personalisation, automation, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">conversion rate optimisation</a>, multichannel, and predictive analytics. </p> <p>2017 will primarily be about putting these things into action. For most, ‘marketing automation’ is, initially, just better <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-census/">email marketing</a>. Improved customer onboarding, retention or renewal sequences, more refined trigger-driven messaging, more personalisation, introducing lead scoring and lead nurturing.</p> <p>This practice is then extended into other channels as data becomes more joined up and the ‘direct marketing’ of email becomes joined to the ‘above the line’ of advertising with programmatic media. </p> <h4>4.3 Artificial intelligence </h4> <p>Earlier I noted that AI will permeate all areas of marketing so is not a discipline in itself. But it will be the digital experts within the marketing function who will be expected to take the lead in how AI is adopted by organisations.</p> <p>Indeed, Econsultancy researched our subscribers to ask who is responsible for defining the role of AI-powered marketing within their organisations and 61% stated it was the marketing function.</p> <p>The applications of AI in marketing for 2017 sit most obviously in the digital marketing disciplines: AI for content curation (e.g. smart recommendations); AI for customer service (particularly digital/social service); AI for content generation (e.g. email copy or video content); AI for sentiment analysis (e.g. social listening); AI for CRM (e.g. smarter loyalty or sales insights); AI for intelligent digital advertising optimisation; AI to power chatbots (e.g. for assistance in finding products or content). </p> <h4>4.4 Content marketing</h4> <p>As per <a href="http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/methodologies/hype-cycle.jsp">Gartner’s Hype Cycle</a>, 2017 sees content marketing moving through the slope of enlightenment and entering its plateau of productivity. There will be more focus on understanding return on investment, more refined approaches based on learnings to date, more focus on scaling the things that are working, more clarity on roles and capabilities.  </p> <p><em>Gartner's Hype Cycle</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3103/Gartner_hype_cycle.png" alt="" width="589" height="411"></em></p> <p>Scott Brinker has an interesting view on what he terms the <a href="http://marketingland.com/4th-wave-content-marketing-marketing-apps-84108">4th Wave of Content Marketing</a> and I agree that 2017 will see more focus on interactive experiences beyond static content or even rich content like video.  </p> <p>Video, as a form of content, will still be an active area of experimentation during 2017: vertical video, shorter and longer form video, video captioning and optimisation for stream viewing, live streaming, social video ads etc. </p> <h4>4.5 Social</h4> <p>“Social” is a very broad term these days. Plenty of activity to expect in 2017 across social:</p> <p><strong>Social care</strong> – deeper integration of social channels into customer service and care.</p> <p><strong>Social CRM</strong> – similarly to customer care, social data and touchpoints will become more closely integrated with backend CRM systems. </p> <p><strong>Dark social and messaging</strong> – more <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68695-how-brands-are-using-whatsapp-for-marketing/">brands running private social groups</a>, experiments with chatbots, greater usage of messaging as a medium both internally (e.g. Slack) and externally through integrations with Facebook Messenger or trials with WhatsApp groups and, for B2B, setting up messaging groups on LinkedIn. </p> <p><strong>Emerging platforms</strong> – social is at the forefront of experimentation with emerging platforms and formats. Last year it was Meerkat and Pinterest; this year I expect we will see more activity around Snap, Instagram and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67490-10-things-you-didn-t-know-about-wechat/">WeChat</a> (even in the West). </p> <p><strong>Social answering</strong> – I have not yet come up with a name I am happy with for this... but essentially it is about listening for relevant conversations, or questions, taking place online and then participating and answering in order to drive awareness, traffic and search rankings.</p> <p>In B2B this might be answering, or commenting on, content posted to LinkedIn; if you were targeting developers you would do this but on Stack Overflow; Quora, among others, has become a much bigger driver of traffic so it is worth answering relevant questions there. </p> <p><strong>Social amplification</strong> – thankfully there is less talk of ‘going viral’ as relates to social. But 2017 should see efforts in understanding how to use social to distribute, augment and amplify content and messaging.</p> <p>There is a skillset to optimising this: the best practitioners know how to orchestrate social channels to maximise amplification. In its simplest form this is about choreographing how, and when, content is published. Enterprise social management software now allows for more sophisticated scheduling and provides the analytical insights to optimise it.  </p> <p><strong>Influencer marketing</strong> – this is not just about ‘social’, of course, but 2017 will see continued efforts to identify and understand who the ‘new influencers’ might be for your brand and then engage with them, socially, commercially and through PR. </p> <p><strong>Social media advertising</strong> – driven largely by the emerging platforms as well as increasing experimentation by more traditional media owners, 2017 will offer a whole range of new ad formats, experiences and commercial models for agencies and their clients to experiment with. </p> <h3>5. Hot topics but still not significant in marketing for 2017</h3> <p>Our own Econsultancy research says that marketers are excited about VR, AR and IoT for 2017.</p> <p>So perhaps I will get some criticism for having the temerity to suggest these are not likely to form a significant part of an average marketer’s job this year. Unless you work for GAFA (Google Apple Facebook Amazon) that is. </p> <p>My thoughts on some of these topics:</p> <p><strong>AR (augmented reality)</strong> – sure <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68059-should-pokemon-go-give-marketers-hope-for-augmented-reality/">Pokémon Go was a great use of AR</a> but most of us are not gaming businesses. AR has many great applications but it still does not feel like it will go mainstream for marketers in 2017.</p> <p>That said, the iPhone 8 release this year could change that with ‘mixed reality’ getting a big boost. </p> <p><strong>VR (virtual reality)</strong> - there is huge hype and investment around VR including from GAFAM (I have added <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68442-microsoft-s-hololens-a-review-of-the-mixed-reality-headset/">Microsoft because of HoloLens</a>) so it should go large some time. But this year?</p> <p>The hardware requirements are still too onerous, the tech and apps too fragmented, the use cases mostly gaming or too niche, for most marketers to spend much time focusing on VR this year. As with AR, VR’s adoption could be turbocharged by the iPhone 8 release this year. </p> <p><strong>IoT (Internet of Things)</strong> – there are some fantastic examples of successful IoT services, a lot in B2B, and this will only grow. But I am less convinced there is an obvious opportunity for marketers yet.</p> <p>As more products and things become connected, however, there is a really interesting customer-product relationship marketing opportunity. We should see more early examples of that this year.  </p> <p><strong>Wearables</strong> – I am still not convinced there are enough use cases for most marketers to get excited about the wearables opportunity.</p> <p><strong>3D Printing</strong> – <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2014/08/14/3d-printing-whats-in-it-for-marketers/">I wrote about 3D printing</a> almost three years ago. The technology has improved, of course, but I’m still not clear how this is particularly relevant for marketers?</p> <p><strong>Blockchain</strong> – <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68693-the-importance-of-the-blockchain-the-second-generation-of-the-internet/">important, exciting, disruptive</a>, but not clear to me how marketing can <a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/4502/banned_words.png">leverage</a> this, unless perhaps for identity management and authentication.  </p> <p><strong>Beacons</strong> – still not doing it for me.</p> <p>But what do you think? Feel free to post any thoughts or links to your own digital/marketing trends and predictions for 2017. </p>