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By Hal Koss

Some think we’ve already reached peak newsletter, but signing up for a few more couldn’t possibly hurt, right? Especially if they help you save time or do your job better.

So we rounded up some of the best newsletters that marketers should consider subscribing to right now — whether they want to get inspired, stay on top of industry news or gain actionable insights from colleagues in the trenches.

The best part? All of them are free (or have a free version, at least).

This list is by no means exhaustive — and not every entry is applicable to every kind of marketer — but it should offer a solid starting point.

2PM

About: 2PM’s newsletter provides curation, summary and analysis of the most important stories at the intersection of media and commerce. It also includes original essays and data insights by Web Smith, an investor and advisor of several companies.

Audience: 2PM says it’s for “deep generalists and the intellectually curious.” Start-up founders (especially those in e-commerce), brand marketers and brand strategists would like it.

Frequency: Once a week for regular subscribers, three times a week for paying members.

Sample: No. 390: Enter MrBeast

The B2B Bite

About: Jason Bradwell is on a mission to change the way people think about B2B marketing. It doesn’t have to be boring or buttoned-up, declares his newsletter’s about page. He proves it by curating and breaking down a few stories each week meant to inspire B2B marketers.

Audience: B2B marketers and startup leaders.

Frequency: Weekly.

Sample: Why Every B2B Org Should Be Selling T-Shirts

BrandStreet

About: If you’re trying to grow your brand into a household name, BrandStreet offers a community to guide you on that path. Readers can subscribe to its weekly email, which rounds up several items “to help you build smarter and better,” along with its two additional newsletters, one from each of its co-founders, communications veterans Ari Lewis and Chris Berry.

Audience: Anyone building a brand through earned media, content marketing and social media.

Frequency: Weekly.

Sample: The articles on BrandStreet’s site provide a taste of its point of view.

The Brief

About: The Brief provides a quick-to-read digest of the day’s most essential stories about digital marketing, strategy and social media. It’s written by Junction, a digital strategy agency, and hits inboxes every Monday to help readers start their weeks up to date with industry news.

Audience: Marketers who want to keep up with news and trends.

Frequency: Weekly.

Sample: Subscribe to read.

Chantelle’s Marketing Newsletter

About: Written by marketing strategist Chantelle Marcelle, this newsletter spotlights emerging ideas and trends, curates interesting marketing articles and surfaces research and case studies that marketers should be paying attention to.

Audience: Brand marketers.

Frequency: Weekly.

Sample: Subscribe to read.

The Daily Carnage

About: If you want to start each morning with a quick read that curates a handful of the biggest marketing headlines of the day, you’ll want to check out The Daily Carnage. It also includes a shot of analysis and fun stuff, like a vintage ad and a quote of the day.

Audience: Marketing leaders, people who open too many browser tabs.

Frequency: Daily.

Sample: One Condiment to Rule Them All

First 1000

About: This one’s niche. Each issue explains how a different tech start-up got its first thousand customers, providing a quick history lesson on companies like Snapchat, Doordash and Etsy, and the various marketing strategies they employed to grow into success stories. Much more fun than Wikipedia.

Audience: Startup founders, growth marketers, brand builders.

Frequency: Weekly.

Sample: Spotify

Geekout

About: Whether you run your company’s social media strategy or just want to keep up with the latest Facebook or Twitter news, Geekout provides a weekly digest to keep you in the know. It’s written by Matt Navara, a social media strategist, and he provides original, succinct analysis in every issue.

Audience: Social media marketers.

Frequency: Weekly.

Sample: TikTok Needs to Stop Doing This

ReadShould Your B2B Company Start a Podcast?

The Growth Newsletter by Demand Curve

About: This newsletter curates marketing insights and growth tactics from members of the Demand Curve community, which is made up of growth marketers and start-up founders. Each issue is bite-sized, actionable and features new voices from people in the trenches.

Audience: Startup founders and growth marketers.

Frequency: Twice a month.

Sample: The Growth Newsletter — #010

Lenny’s Newsletter

About: Lenny Rachitsky, previously a growth product manager at Airbnb, writes a weekly advice column for leaders in tech. He addresses reader questions and shares his perspective on topics like growth, product and people management.

Audience: Growth marketers, product managers, start-up founders.

Frequency: Weekly (paid) or monthly (free).

Sample: How to Kickstart and Scale a Marketplace Business

Market Mix

About: If you’re a current — or aspiring — marketer in the cryptocurrency space, Market Mix is aimed squarely at you. Brad Michelson’s newsletter tackles subjects such as brand building, performance marketing and influencer strategy — all written by someone who’s helped build fintech and crypto brands.

Audience: Marketers in crypto and fintech.

Frequency: Weekly.

Sample: Referrals Are the Ultimate Growth Hack for Crypto Marketers

Marketing Brew

About: Written with the trademark smirk of its parent newsletter, Morning Brew, this thrice-weekly newsletter highlights the biggest news items in the advertising and marketing world — along with fly-by commentary and big-picture context — to help busy marketers stay oriented in a fast-moving industry.

Audience: Marketing and advertising professionals, especially those who are Millennials or Gen Z.

Frequency: Three times a week.

Sample: The Driest January

The Marketing Mind Meld

About: Marketing is really all about tapping into human psychology, which is why The Marketing Mind Meld explores the relationship between human behavior and successful marketing. Written by growth marketer Kushaan Shah, the newsletter answers questions like what makes memes sticky, and how scents can influence what we buy.

Audience: Brand marketers, curious people.

Frequency: About every week or so.

Sample: #21: What Can Pollination Teach Us About Branding?

Raisin Bread

About: This newsletter, “baked” by freelance marketer network MarketerHire, curates relevant news, discusses up-and-coming trends and features exclusive Q&As and interviews with some of marketing’s top leaders, such as Cameo’s Greg Caplan and ShipBob’s Casey Armstrong.

Audience: Brand marketers.

Frequency: Weekly.

Sample: Mafia Marketing

#SEOFOMO

About: Whether you’re a newcomer to SEO or a veteran who likes to keep up with ever-evolving best practices, this newsletter offers resources and tools designed to help build out your skills. It also includes an SEO job board if you’re looking for a change of scenery or trying to break into the industry.

Audience: SEOs and digital marketers.

Frequency: Weekly.

Sample: Subscribe to read.

The Sociology of Business

About: Written by executive strategist Ana Andjelic, the Sociology of Business is intended to help marketers see the big picture over time, rather than give them tips and tricks to start using today. Each issue explores new consumer trends and evolving tastes, and how brands can keep up and position themselves for success.

Audience: Brand strategists, culture observers.

Frequency: About three times a month.

Sample: The Taste Map

This Week in AdTech

About: Adtech is a notoriously confusing and rapidly changing industry. This newsletter, from Canadian adtech consultancy AdProfs, attempts to make it just a little bit easier to keep up. Each week, it rounds up and summarizes relevant articles.

Audience: The busy ad tech professional.

Frequency: Weekly.

Sample: Subscribe to read.

Total Annarchy

About: This newsletter, written by Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, is written in the style of an old-fashioned, snail-mail letter: It’s personal, voicey and reads like it’s actually addressed to you. It’s also full of marketing and writing insights from someone with decades of experience.

Audience: Brand storytellers and copywriters.

Frequency: Every other week.

Sample: Brand Storytelling Template; My 2 Proven Ways to Increase Open, Click Rates

VeryGoodCopy

About: Leave it to a copywriting newsletter to be extremely compact yet still effective enough that you learn something every time you read it. VeryGoodCopy provides short articles dispensing nuggets of copywriting wisdom and occasional interviews with successful marketers and writers.

Audience: Copywriters and content marketers.

Frequency: Weekly.

Sample: Subscribe to read.

Feature Image Credit: Shutterstock

By Hal Koss

Sourced from builtin

By Erika Wheless

In November of last year, Tushy, the DTC bidet attachment company, debuted an ad on Reddit where it agreed to make a limited edition bidet that changed the “Bum Wash” label to “A** Blast” if the ad was upvoted 10,000 times.

Andy Stone, director of growth marketing at Tushy, says the company took a closer look at advertising on Reddit after being approached by Joe Federer, the former head of brand strategy at Reddit who founded [An Internet Reference], which specializes in advertising on the platform.

According to Stone, Tushy saw an average of 4.5x return on ad spend looking at the full scope of the customer journey. They plan to have Reddit as part of their regular ad strategy this year.

As e-commerce has boomed, Reddit has started to become a player in the consumer buying funnel. The site’s honest, in-depth reviews make it attractive to high-intent customers. “The path to purchase is changing and we’re seeing that Reddit is more front and centre in the e-commerce experience,” said Jen Wong, COO of Reddit.

Late last year, Reddit rolled out three ad inventory tiers with a focus on targeting and brand safety, which has been an issue. Marketers didn’t want to risk brand safety on the opinionated site. Despite these updates, Reddit is still an experimental space for marketers and requires a more nuanced approach than repurposing an ad from Facebook. But there are some brands who have managed to strike the right tone and have seen successful conversions.

Breaking into these communities can be a challenge for marketing teams. It’s particularly important to have thoughtful targeting and creative, and to be ready to engage with users’ questions and comments. Reddit users are notoriously opinionated.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Stone.

Reddit’s ad platform is still relatively new. “Advertisers can’t yet expect the bells and whistles they might expect elsewhere,” said Alex Young, director of paid social at Carat. “There are only a few ad formats, buying methods, and optimization functionalities.”

Redditors are not shy about downvoting brands who don’t engage in the spirit of the site. Electronics Arts ended up with a world-record, most-downvoted comment after a poor response to a Redditor’s question.

“A brand’s success is more to do with the demeanour of the brand than the brand itself,” said Federer. “They have to come correct and take time to get those community nuances.”

Federer says he would love to see Reddit’s ad offerings lean into their unique communities. “Right now it feels pretty in line with other social media platforms,” he said. “I wish there was a clearer way to ad value, like adding a filter or widget in the sidebar for r/adobe.”

There is a lot of potential upside for brands that get it right. Last October, the site said it averaged 52 million daily viewers. (Facebook said it had 1.82 billion daily users last September.) In December, Wong told the Wall Street Journal that Reddit’s ad revenue totalled more than $100 million in 2019 and was on track to rise by more than 70% in 2020. Reddit declined to breakdown or share revenue details.

Oh and Tushy’s limited edition bidet? “OP will make good on the actual product,” assures Stone

By Erika Wheless

Sourced from DIGIDAY

By

Although 86% of marketers feel they are adequately trained and skilled, nearly all report that they want a new skill in order to advance their careers. The most frequently reported skills are data analytics, performance marketing, social media, and SEO.

Sidecar surveyed 146 marketing professionals in the retail industry. The majority of respondents were based in the U.S., with the remainder in Canada. All reported that they contribute to ecommerce marketing efforts at their company.

  • C-Level executives want skills in data analytics, social media, and performance marketing.
  • SEO directors or vice presidents want data analytics, performance marketing, and leadership skills.
  • Associated and managers want data analytics, SEO, social media, and performance marketing.

Job titles including associate, manager, director, vice president, chief marketing officer (CMO), and chief executive officer (CEO). The analysis groups these titles into associates and managers, directors and vice presidents, and C-level. Responses were fielded between September and October 2020.

Some responses were not discrete skills marketers want, but rather strategic knowledge and big-picture capabilities they hope to acquire. One CEO cited the ability to create the perfect balance between digital marketing spend and great content. A director asked for strategic thinking on how to lead a brand through the changing environment.

The top five functions that have had the greatest focus in hiring during the past 12 months include social media, content marketing, SEO, email marketing, and graphic design.

This differs from the functions that marketing professionals plan to hire for during the next 12 months. Social media marketing tops the list, followed by email marketing, content marketing, digital strategy, data analytics, and graphic design.

Survey participants were asked what platforms they would like to spend more time on. Some 42% cited Google paid search, while 41% cited Facebook, 40%, Amazon; 40%, Instagram; 37%, Google Shopping; 32%, Pinterest; 20%, TikTok; 15%, Snapchat; 13%, Walmart; and 10% cited Microsoft.

Participants in the survey were asked which tasks they want to devote more time to. Brand building and data analysis were tied for the top response, with about 45% saying they want more time to do each, followed by 43% who cited competitive analysis, while 36% cited customer experience; 34% cited creative; 33% cited multichannel strategy; 32% cited customer shopping trends; 32% cited marketing attribution; 20% cited more time to devote to improving their company’s mobile experience; and 14%, more time to set goals.

  • C-Level executives cited that they want more time for brand building
  • Directors and VP levels want more time for brand building
  • Associate directors and managers want more time for competitive and data analysis.

Marketers at small businesses want more time for data analysis, creative, brand building, multichannel marketing, and customer experience.

When asked to cite the number one goal for the company’s marketing team rather than an individual goal, 38% of marketers cited the acquisition of new customers, while 29% cited driving profitability; 9% cited increasing customer lifetime value; 9% cited retaining existing customers; 6% cited growing brand awareness; 3% cited growing website traffic; 3% cited SEO; 2% cited developing quality content; and 1% cited improving the customer experience.

When asked to cite the top challenges for this year, (multiple choice) 51% of respondents cited limited time, followed by 40% who cited limited budget, while 32% cited competing priorities, 26% cited brand recognition, 24% cited achieving scale, and 23% cited manual processes, among many more such as competition, lack of skills in-house, lack of data-driven decisions, insufficient marketing attribution, and lack of collaboration.

By

Sourced from MediaPost

By

Want to improve organic engagement on LinkedIn? Wondering if LinkedIn Stories and Live could work for you?

To explore organic LinkedIn marketing strategies that work today, I interview Michaela Alexis on the Social Media Marketing Podcast.

Michaela is a LinkedIn expert and an official LinkedIn Learning trainer, coach, and consultant who helps businesses master their LinkedIn organic presence. She co-authored Think Video: Smart Video Marketing and Influencing.

You’ll learn what kind of content works best in the LinkedIn feed and how best to use LinkedIn Stories and Live video to engage the people in your network.

Listen to the Podcast Now

This article is sourced from the Social Media Marketing Podcast, a top marketing podcast. Listen or subscribe below.

Where to subscribe: Apple Podcast | Google Podcasts | Spotify | RSS

Scroll to the end of the article for links to important resources mentioned in this episode.

The reason LinkedIn is important to professionals, especially marketers, comes down to user intent. Michaela notes that while most people spend time on Facebook and Instagram to reconnect with friends and family or to escape, people come to LinkedIn to grow, connect, learn, and meet new people. As a result of the current pandemic and a rise in remote working, people are also turning to LinkedIn to stay in touch and engaged with their colleagues and teams.

When you pair that strong user intent with the platform’s growth over the past year, its place as a global, professional networking space is unquestionable. Almost 700 million people are on LinkedIn, and 45% of internet users who make more than $75,000 a year annually use LinkedIn.

Click HERE to read the remainder of the article.

By

Sourced from Social Media Examiner

Sourced from AdAge

TikTok tops our annual list of the top performing brands of the year

The 10 brands that comprise Ad Age’s 2020 Marketers of the Year list didn’t just survive the pandemic, they thrived.

The list is topped by TikTok, which emerged as a major pop culture force and must-stop for an increasing number of brands, including several on our list. That includes cosmetics upstart e.l.f., which had the foresight to jump on the platform back in late 2019 with its 15-second “Eyes Lips Face” song, and has since amassed 10 billion views for its TikTok content. Other new economy brands making the list include meditation app Calm, whose Election Day marketing set a new standard for timely product placement. Online marketplace Etsy smartly tapped into trends like DIY and customizable goods, including, yes, masks.

But breakthrough marketing in 2020 was not confined to plucky start-ups. Stalwarts like State Farm, which is nearly 100-years-old,also cracked the list, thanks to a reinvention strategy that included putting a new spin on its iconic “Like a good neighbour” tagline. McDonald’s, No. 2 on our list, found ways to reach new audiences, including with its wildly successful Travis Scott collaboration.

The list—chosen by a team of Ad Age reporters and editors based on factors that include business results driven by breakthrough advertising and smart strategic thinking–is full of brand marketing lessons, including from an unlikely source: Conservative anti-Trump PAC The Lincoln Project, whose go-for-broke attitude shows that fearlessness is a key ingredient for great creative. “We’re not unemotional about this stuff,” TLP cofounder Rick Wilson told us. “We’re passionate about this stuff.”

No. 1: TikTok

No. 2: McDonald’s

No. 3: Lowe’s

No. 4: The Lincoln Project

No. 5: Etsy

No. 6: Calm

No. 7: e.l.f.

No. 8: Lego

No. 9: Adobe

No. 10: State Farm

Sourced from AdAge

By Dr. Augustine Fou

Early Saturday morning, November 7, 2020 – “Biden Wins!” After days of agony waiting for final ballots to be counted, the race for the President of the United States is called, by one network, then another, then another, then all of them. Cheering and people rejoicing in New York City could be heard through open windows, as people breathed a sigh of collective relief. The thunderstorm is over; a ray of sunlight broke through. And a rainbow marks the beginning of better days ahead, as we rebuild kindness and decency towards every fellow human.

Tom Denford jokingly suggested in a tweet “Super excited to learn “5 things marketers can take from Biden’s victory” on Monday morning. I could not wait till Monday, so I wrote it today. Indeed marketers could learn some things from Biden’s victory, perhaps 5, perhaps more. Here are the five that come to my mind, having been in and observed marketing for 25 years. What follows is not political commentary, but commentary on marketing.

Slow, wins.

Everyone knows Aesop’s fable of the tortoise and the hare. And “slow and steady wins the race” is a phrase repeated regularly. This is particularly true for marketing, but sadly it has been particularly forgotten in the headlong rush into digital. Too many marketers try to buy success by showing more ads to more people more often. They push their agencies to buy ever more vast quantities of digital ads, at ever lower unit prices. This has led to a prolonged deterioration of actual business outcomes and marketing efficacy, a veritable “lost decade” of digital marketing.

The headlong plunge into digital and the unchecked spending in programmatic channels led to dramatic increases in the number of ads purchased, and a concomitant increase in ad fraud. The number of humans on earth didn’t suddenly multiply many times over; and their time spent online, on social, and on mobile didn’t multiply many times over either. But the number of digital ads did multiply, reaching into unfathomable territory – half a quadrillion ads per year. The vast majority of these ads were created out of thin air by bots, not by humans visiting sites, using social media, or using mobile apps. So while marketers are spending $350 billion every year on digital ads, their business outcomes don’t reflect the spending. And the marketing efficacy is lower and lower due to more and more fraudulent activity.

You can’t buy your way to “wins” quickly. Slow and steady does indeed win out, long term.

Right, wins.

When marketers are spending so many billions of dollars in digital, someone’s going to ask if it’s worth it. So the marketers that are doing the most spending (ahem, CPG companies with too much money to spend) look for ways to justify it. The metrics they and their media agencies conveniently chose were quantity metrics like number of ad impressions purchased, the average unit price, and the number of clicks, traffic to their sites, and click through rates. But just because these metrics were easy to measure doesn’t mean they were the right metrics to use to prove marketing value.

In fact, these vanity metrics, oops “quantity metrics,” were easy to think about, because more meant better. But if the marketer didn’t know about bots and fraud, they wouldn’t know that these are also the easiest metrics for bots to fake. Bots can generate more ad impressions, and drive higher click through rates, and create more traffic to advertisers’ websites all to make the campaigns appear to be performing better than they really are. Despite drastic increases in these quantity metrics, business outcomes remained flat to down. Some business outcomes may have gone up, but the rise was entirely unrelated to digital marketing activities (more people wanted to buy toilet paper for some reason, not because of advertising). And remember when P&G cut $200 million from digital ad spending and saw no change in business outcomes?

Having the right metrics in place, and using them, means you know when you are driving real outcomes, rather than just getting “more of” various vanity metrics.

Detailed, wins.

With the right metrics and analytics in place, it “pays” to be detailed oriented and actually check the details yourself. Too often, these duties are passed off to agency partners. While some agency partners have the right-skilled analytics folks to look at the data for you, most don’t have the desire to do more work than they are paid for. Sadly, if the client (the advertiser) appears to be happy with campaign performance and doesn’t ask for more details, why make the effort and show them analytics? So advertisers must look more closely at analytics for their own campaigns.

With detailed data, they can see if campaigns are actually performing — not the clicks and traffic stuff — but actually driving incremental business outcomes. If the campaigns are not, and if there is ad fraud observed, marketers can make tweaks themselves to optimize the campaigns while they are still running. It’s much like making small course corrections with tiny movements of the steering wheel when driving down the highway. You don’t make large turns. Having detailed analytics enables you to see whether there is any fraud impacting your campaigns — common send and your gut will tell you something needs to be further investigated. And it will tell you what is working or not working so you can make the small course corrections as you go.

Detail-oriented wins out over handing off your analytics and duties to someone else.

Good, wins.

While fraudsters “clean up well” and are the slickest of the slick salesmen, ad tech companies can only dupe clients into paying for their snake oil for so long. Sooner or later, when advertisers start looking at the right data in more detail, like we said above, they will realize the snake oil didn’t “cure the cancer” as it claimed. In fact, it WAS the cancer that was draining ad budgets — directly into the fraudsters’ pockets (as opposed to showing ads or doing better digital marketing). The fraudsters make a quick buck, sometimes gobs and gobs of it, “by hook or by crook.” They can fool enough advertisers enough of the time to take money off of them. And even when the are outed, they just change the name of the company or start another company and go back to doing what they do best. Yes, this has happened, A LOT, in ad tech. And we’re not even talking about the cases where fraud detection companies shake down clients and prospects — if you don’t pay us, we’ll lower your score, mark you as fraudulent, or remove you from lists.

In the long run, extortion, crime, and even petty theft, are not sustainable ways to do business. Doing good, and doing good business, are good for the long run, not to mention you sleep better at nights, not having to worry when you will be found out. Good, doing the right thing, is often harder and definitely takes more time and effort than stealing a quick buck. But good wins.

Trust, wins.

One you get good at doing good business for your clients, you also do good business for your business. You earn trust over time; you build real bridges with your clients, so they stick with you through good times and bad. They trust you to be stewards of their ad budgets, and to invest it wisely in marketing activities that drive real business outcomes for them, not vanity metrics reported on monthly spreadsheets.

Trust wins in the long term; and this brings us full circle to the first point – slow, wins. Trust is slow to build, but can be lost in an instant. If you invest in trust with your clients and partners, the pay off is over time; it’s not a lump sum pay-out, like one of the choices on a lottery ticket. Trust wins, and slow wins more. Earn it over time by building real relationships, even if short term metrics, and profits, are not as high.

Together, Everyone wins.

And finally, today, Democracy wins and decency wins. Hope and faith have hope again. Onward and upward for the United States of America, and for all citizens of humankind.

Feature Image Credit: STRF/STAR MAX/IPx

By Dr. Augustine Fou

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I am a digital marketer of 25 years. Now I help marketers audit their digital campaigns for ad fraud that isn’t caught by widely used ad verification services.

I have witnessed the entire arc of the evolution of digital marketing, since the mid-90’s. I taught classes in digital strategy at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and Rutgers University’s Center for Management Development.

I have worked on the “client side” for American Express, and on the “agency side” as Group Chief Digital Officer of Omnicom’s Healthcare Consultancy Group and SVP Digital Strategy Lead at McCann Worldgroup/MRM Worldwide. I started my career in New York City with McKinsey & Company.

Sourced from Forbes

By Heather Fletcher

Marketers should first determine why they’re optimizing ads at all

Everyone loves a sure thing, especially someone who’s paying for an ad.

In a world where many business leaders waste money on ads by going with their gut feelings or worse—collecting as much data as possible on ad audiences and inevitably targeting them with irrelevant advertisements—what are the best ways for performance marketers to use predictive analytics to optimize ads?

Performance marketers need to start by figuring out why they’re optimizing their ads at all.

Do they want to increase sales? Acquire customers? Accomplish some other goal? This seemingly simple step is where a lot of performance marketers go wrong. They collect all of the data they can instead of the data they should.

Imagine if Karen Heath from Teradata hadn’t wanted to help a retailer increase diaper sales in 1992. She may never have sought out the data showing that when men bought the high-margin item, they also bought beer. By placing beer and diapers together, the retailer’s sales rose.

This one finding for one retailer that resulted in product placement changes in 1992 eventually evolved into the more advanced predictive analytics that optimized multichannel marketing in 2011.

Now, in 2020, the practice is so advanced the basic definition of predictive analytics says it incorporates machine learning techniques.

Predictive analytics practitioner Helen Xiaoqin Yi, a data scientist at a major electronics retailer, suggested performance marketers use “predictive tools to create audience segments or explore new potential audiences” with algorithms like SVM, logistic regression or neural networks.

“Then we can analyse their preferences from the comments, reviews, social media, interactions with ads, events or any relevant campaigns, and design several plans for different segments,” Yi said.

Stephen H. Yu, president and chief consultant at Willow Data Strategy, advised that performance marketers figure out who should be targeted with which ad and through which channel before personalizing ads.

“A series of personas based on propensity modelling can be useful in determining the most optimal offer and creative for each target,” Yu said.

Devyani Sadh, CEO and chief data officer of Data Square, provided three possible segments:

  • Prospects: Identify top-performing prospect ad audience segments based on demographic and psychographic similarities, content preferences, and interests of known high-value customer “clones.”
  • Active customers: Model customers’ prior history along with a “similarity index” of others with similar purchase patterns to optimize ad content. Examples include cross-sell or the next logical product (concurrent or sequential)
  • At-risk or lapsed customers: Stage 1 is identifying those who are staged to attrition or already lapsed, but are likely to respond to an offer. Stage 2 is optimizing ad messaging for retargeting or other initiatives by predicting special offers and promotions most likely to resonate with this group, based on history.

Yi suggested launching a small test of several ad designs using different times of day, durations of exposure and placements in order to prove that the optimization worked.

Then, give credit where credit is due. Yu added that performance marketers need to make note of how well each element and channel worked. In other words, don’t default to blanket attribution.

For example, performance marketers will want to keep track of more than just ad placement. Within this one area alone, Sadh said performance marketers can “optimize ad placement by ranking top-performing platforms, affiliates, social media sites, websites, search engines and regions by extrapolating from navigation patterns, search, browsing behaviour and digital identities of known converters.”

But even a sure thing won’t be a sure thing forever. Just like how search engines regularly update algorithms, performance marketers will need to revisit the predictive analytics process to continue optimizing their ads. Sometimes, marketers will have to start from scratch.

Yi said program or campaign dashboards will tell performance marketers if they need to update the models they build based on the process.

“No matter what the results are, we should always summarize and learn from them to prepare for the next campaigns,” she said.

Feature Image Credit: Predictive tools can help brands form audience segments and gain new consumers. iStock

By Heather Fletcher

Sourced from ADWEEK

Personalization is one area of optimization that’s continuously addressed on blogs or at conferences. Each year, marketers gather more data, and have more tools and opportunities to ensure their emails allow the subscriber to feel more connected to the brand. Some brands have been able to leverage the data and the tools to become more relevant to the subscriber, having done so with diligence, testing, resilience and taking risks.

However, many brands have overlooked a key component to relevancy bliss at some point in time: the pre-send experience. This refers to anything that could impact the email program before the email is sent to the subscriber.

It’s not about a beautiful piece of creative, captivating copy and irresistible calls to action with hyper-personalization sent at the right time to subscribers. The optimization of the pre-send experience is sometimes put last on the list of things to do because it’s not sexy, takes time and requires patience.

Inception and administration

There are two equally weighted areas of the pre-send experience that marketers need to focus on: inception and administration.

Inception is tied to what a person goes through to sign up for the email program on a site or on another channel. In many organizations, the website and UX are owned by different groups, which often means that the email department is left out of the optimization discussion even though the objective of list growth is technically shared.

For example, brands like to play hide and seek with the email sign up and place it toward the footer of the site in a small font, because the notion of making it more prominent is often frowned upon by designers. The idea of making a pop-up banner to capture email addresses is too intrusive to the experience. Yet if done right and tested, it can be a stable and sustainable source of email list growth.

A critical part of inception is the experience you provide on getting data, preferences or choices that people have around your email program. If you have 15 newsletters and capture 11 pieces of geographic and psychographic data points, is that too much for the subscriber to handle the first time they interact with your email program? While the goal is to provide choice, too much choice can overwhelm and turn people off.

As an email marketer for more than 21 years, I encourage clients to go through the sign-up experience at least twice a year with an unbiased group of people to see how easy or painful it was to get on the email list. As marketers, we understand our brand’s process on the site, but often overlook the things that could annoy or frustrate the typical site visitor who wants to sign up for your email program.

A great test to execute this is watching people navigate the front page and looking at the process they go through. After, you should ask the following questions:

  • Did you find the process to sign up for email easy or challenging?
  • Do you understand what our email program is about and what to expect?
  • Do you feel special or do you feel like a number?

The goal is to create an experience your customer can benefit from, rather than what your marketing department wants.

Administration is the ongoing experience your subscriber has during specific points of their email lifecycle with your brand. These things include a preference or subscription centre, cadence or frequency caps, opt-out or opt-down options, and the use or misuse of the data you have on each one of them.

If you have data, use it. But use it sparingly as not to raise the red flag of creepiness.

For example, if you have invested resources and budget into a preference or subscription centre and only leverage or promote it for the inception experience, you could be missing out on critical lifecycle points from the subscriber because things change in their lives.

A preference or subscription centre shouldn’t just capture data points at one point in time and be promoted at the bottom of every email next to the unsubscribe link. It should be publicized at various time stages for each subscriber to update as their life and preference changes.

Finally, if you have data, use it. But use it sparingly as not to raise the red flag of creepiness. Today’s sensitivity of subscribers is at an all-time high and, as brands, you need to be a good steward of privacy.

The optimization of the pre-send experience should be an ongoing project for any organization. It’s time for email marketers to help influence and take ownership of things that have long been assigned to other departments. The email program has long influenced attribution, and marketers today need to un-silo themselves from single-channel expertise.

Feature Image Credit: iStock

By ANDREW KORDEK

Andrew Kordek is vp of customer engagement at iPost, an email marketing and automation platform.

Sourced from ADWEEK

By .

Confusion over the twin functions of digital advertising could lead marketers into flawed decision making, especially when ads used to signpost customer journeys are treated as if they can generate demand.

This year Facebook is 15 and Google is 21, but as advertising channels for big brands, neither has emerged from the troublesome teenage phase into a fully effective adulthood.

It’s because marketers are often not using these and other online channels appropriately. Online ads perform two distinct tasks that need two different decision-making processes, but many marketing departments only use one.

The first task is the one that marketers are most comfortable with because it is the same task that’s done by offline ads. If seeing a compelling picture on Facebook is similar to seeing a poster on the street, and watching a video on YouTube is similar to watching one on TV, then it’s clear, an online ad is just like an offline one. It’s an investment into generating demand and producing future sales.

The second task is less familiar to marketers, albeit equally important for sales. It’s the role of online ads as signposts for ecommerce businesses. This task is the online equivalent of the name above the high street front door, the lights that stay on inside, the shelf-space and even the entry in the Yellow Pages. The task is to help people who are already on their way to a website arrive safely. It isn’t an investment into future sales, but a cost of current transactions.

The two tasks can lead to flawed decision making when ads that mainly perform the second task are treated as if they perform the first. It can lead businesses to treat signposts as if they were substitutes for true investments into future sales and, in some cases, waste money shepherding sales that were going to arrive anyway.

Making sense of the macro data

The existence of the second task explains the matching trajectories in the chart below. In it, online advertising’s share of budgets (black line) and the ecommerce share of retail (grey bars) have been growing in parallel for as far back as the data is available.

At least part of the explanation is that some online advertising is a cost of carrying out ecommerce. Businesses that want to sell on the internet need to be visible there.

pic1 - Grace KiteAh, but correlation is not causation, a sceptic might argue. The chart fits other explanations too. For example, both ecommerce and online advertising rely on the same technologies, so of course they grow together. Or perhaps ecommerce and online advertising are both superior to their offline versions and people have simply begun to use them both more over time.

These alternative arguments break down in the reaction to Covid-19. So far this year, both ecommerce percent and online advertising percent have increased in lockstep at a time when decision making has clearly been about keeping businesses going rather than making bets on new technologies.

The reason is that during Covid-19, decisions about the two tasks of online advertising have been different. Offline budgets have fallen because, as is typical in a recession, businesses find it hard to invest into future sales when survival today is under threat. But, as the chart below shows, many types of online advertising are enjoying maintained or even increased budgets.

pic2 - Grace KiteSome of this change in the media mix is driven by lockdowns and reduced available reach from channels like out-of-home and events, but some is also because more and more people are shopping online, and that makes the second task more important.

In a recession, businesses cut down on advertising, but they don’t close the shop. They keep the lights on offline and they remain visible online too.

Counting everyone that walks past the signpost

More important for marketers’ day-to-day decision making is the way that the two tasks manifest in decision making tools. My team and I use charts, like the one below, to help make things clearer for clients. It shows the case of search engine marketing carried out by a semi-fictional, but typical advertiser.

pic3 - Grace KiteIn the chart, the proportion of total sales driven by search ads is around three times bigger in Google’s attribution tool than it is in our econometric modelling. The reason is that in two thirds of customer journeys that involve a search click, the ad didn’t actually generate the sale, it acted as a signpost, helping someone who had already made their decision to complete their purchase.

Some more sophisticated advertisers are aware of this distinction, but others treat all of the signposted sales as if they were generated by the signpost rather than the price cut, TV ad, or good weather day that prompted the customer decision. They calculate return on investment figures that are too high, and costs per acquisition that are too cheap, and they believe, sometimes wrongly, that switching off signposting would be disastrous.

Using signposts properly

We advise clients to make the comparison above for all online channels and test limited switch-offs. The test and learn should be focused on ads that mainly perform the signposting task rather than the demand building task, so that they don’t damage incremental sales, but do reveal how important each signpost actually is.

pic4 - Grace KiteThere is still a lot to learn in this area, but the above chart is typical of our limited experience. The online ads that are most often an investment into future sales are those that target new rather than existing customers and reach rather than engagement. They typically have richer creative, particularly video, and they highlight newer or less well-known products.

At the other end of the scale we typically see text only ads for the advertiser’s own brand, social that targets clicks and generic search for well-known product lines.

Sometimes the test and learn reveals that the signposting task wasn’t necessary, as in the left panel of the chart below. This advertiser had strong SEO and competitors weren’t buying their own brand terms. Switching off core brand PPC didn’t affect sales at all.

pic5 - Grace KiteIn other cases, the signposting job is revealed to be critical. In the right panel, the switch-off revealed that without a presence in generic search for these keywords, even a customer who had already decided to buy could be diverted and fail to arrive safely.

In our past projects, this kind of guided test and learn has helped clients to use their online channels more effectively and avoid wastage in the performance budget. It’s also generated an additional return on investment benefit when advertisers re-invest the money saved into their best performing, demand generating channels.

It’s the best that current adtech and econometrics can do, but it’s still quite clumsy. Trial and error is rarely the best way to make plans.

The future is in collaboration between marketers, analysts and other departments in the advertiser’s organisation. Experts in sales channel management and merchandising have the skills to make decisions about spending on physical signposts, call centres and high street shops. Their expertise must be relevant here.

Time will tell, but my bet is that the fully mature, fully effective role for online advertising will be very different to the adolescent one we are familiar with today.

By 

Sourced from www.marketingweek.com

By Leah Pope,

As businesses work to reopen and adjust to the “new normal”—navigating changes across customer preferences and the economy—marketers continue to employ agile strategies to contend with the shifting environment. Marketers are working to stabilize their operations by becoming radically efficient with time, resources and budget while simultaneously planning for future growth and transformation.

With a marketing strategy founded in marketing intelligence, they are fully equipped to tackle this seemingly daunting journey. Yet each marketer and marketing team is at a different stage in establishing their marketing intelligence strategy. To best understand where to improve and shift focus, it is important to assess your maturity when it comes to the three main pillars of marketing intelligence:

1. Data integration

How connected are your data sources and how seamlessly and quickly can you access them?

Today’s marketers are using a vast number of channels and platforms to reach their customers, with high volumes of siloed data stemming from each. As a result, data integration—the process of unifying and connecting marketing data—is a challenge for many. In fact, 57 percent of marketers spend a week or more trying to unify their data.

Without accessible, consistent data and a holistic view, it’s difficult for marketers and their stakeholders to see which new tactics and campaigns are working and which are not. To fix this, marketers need to harmonize their data and structure their taxonomy. With these processes in place, marketers are able to see any data– such as social, search, display, programmatic, web, email and CRM data– all in one place.

2. Analytics and insights

Next, take a look at your insights—how are they being generated and what actions do they inspire?

With landscapes shifting faster than ever, marketers need to act more nimbly in order to keep up. Marketers need to gain insights from their data swiftly in order to engage customers with relevant and helpful content and ensure they are using valuable budget efficiently and effectively.

With all the information in one place, marketers can quickly gather insights at scale. The power of artificial intelligence (AI) can also provide marketers with always-on insights into important KPIs and suggested actions for optimizing campaigns. Currently, 80 percent of marketers don’t have access to daily or real-time reports, but marketers are keen to expand their use of AI tools, with 47 percent of marketers planning to do so in the next year.

With consistent reporting and insights across channels, marketers can identify where to spend and move budget across marketing campaigns and channels in real time. They can also adjust messages, content and tactics to account for any changes across customer behaviours to drive better customer experiences and impact long-term loyalty and brand health.

3. Alignment and collaboration

Marketers are constantly working across multiple brands, business units, teams and regions, and a majority of companies are now contending with remote working environments. Marketers need to understand whether they’re operating cross-functionally in a successful manner. Is the entire business aligned to a unified marketing strategy? Does everyone agree on KPIs, goals and benchmarks? Are key stakeholders receiving the information they need, when they need it?

With a single system of record, marketers can build customized data visualizations, personalized to different stakeholders. This way, each stakeholder will receive the exact data and insights they want to track, all in real time. With all teams working from the same set of facts, KPIs and taxonomies, the data-driven culture across the organization will become elevated, leading to smarter decision-making that impacts the customer experience and business success.

Marketing intelligence allows marketers to power true business transformation. But this doesn’t happen overnight. No matter where you are in your journey, now is the time to assess your maturity when it comes to current capabilities, progress and goals for the future. Marketers and their teams have the opportunity to reflect on these three key pillars and understand their marketing intelligence maturity—where they might be able to improve and rethink processes and maximize efficiency and impact.

Feature Image Credit: iStock

By Leah Pope

Leah Pope is a seasoned world traveller and marketing executive. Acting as chief marketing officer, Leah leads all strategic marketing activities at Salesforce Datorama, a global technology company that provides a marketing intelligence platform for enterprises, agencies and publishers. Leah has more than 15 years of executive experience successfully delivering software products and services to market, having held positions of worldwide marketing leadership at Synthesio, IBM, Lombardi Software and Inquisite. An accomplished writer, speaker and blogger, Leah also sits on the Forrester Marketing Leadership board. Leah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, Marketing and History from Boston University.

Sourced from AdAge