Content Isn’t Anything Without Good Data
Marketing to a segment of one can often feel like a speeding conveyor belt—a la that famous “I Love Lucy” skit—with content iterations and an increasing number of consumer segments quickly getting out of control. What many businesses don’t realize is that their speeding conveyor belt is akin to their marketing organizational construct.
Throughout my career as a technologist focused on data-driven marketing strategies, I have been constantly befuddled as to why marketers cannot execute on the aspirational dream of true one-to-one, or personalized, marketing. After all, we have more data and technology than ever before to help execute on this vision.
Then a big light bulb went off during a recent a client meeting.
One of my colleagues was describing how content is created, likening it to the “I Love Lucy” skit in which Lucy and Ethel were attempting to wrap chocolates as they came down a conveyer belt. At first, the chocolates—which, in this case, we’ll think of as consumer segments—came at a manageable rate, and Lucy and Ethel were able to apply the wraps—in our case, the content piece—to the chocolates with ease. Eventually, though, the conveyer belt sped up—more and more segments are created—overwhelming Lucy and Ethel to the point where they were eating and hiding more chocolate than they were wrapping. The conveyer belt finally stopped, and they hid everything that went wrong. Finally, the supervisor comes in, saw that the conveyor belt was empty, and loudly declared, “Speed it up.”
Marketing to a segment of one can often feel like a speeding conveyor belt, with content iterations and an increasing number of consumer segments quickly getting out of control. What many businesses don’t realize is that their speeding conveyor belt is akin to their marketing organizational construct.
Marketing organizational and process change is required to achieve personalized marketing with compelling content. But marketing organizational and process change is hard. The “Forrester/DMN Q4 2014 North American Digital Marketing Online Survey” noted that only 52% of organizations collaborate across functional areas to run effective digital marketing programs. Even more alarming is that only 39% have an aligned to-do list across roles for applying technology, systems, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers.
Further, according to the “Value of Services for the Omnichannel Marketer” report, which we issued in conjunction with The Relevancy Group in October, only 29% of marketers have centralized their data across channels. But for content creation to be embedded throughout marketing planning and execution, marketing technology, data, organizations, and processes must be aligned.
It’s time to take a step back. Defining the people, processes, technologies, and data needed to implement true personalized marketing requires thoughtful planning. Consider these action items:
• Outline specific marketing key performance indicators that will measure success against corporate objectives.
• Centralize data to enable one-to-one segmentation and content delivery.
• Envision new marketing processes needed to execute on one-to-one in an omnichannel environment.
• Decide whether organizational change is needed or just better collaboration across teams. Specific playbooks should be designed to help execute on a daily basis.
• Determine whether new technologies are needed to support people and process changes—either through workflow management or marketing automation.
• Define and prioritize skill sets required for transformation and decide how to educate staff or augment with outside resources.
• Outline governance needed to phase, control, and measure the changes.
Ideally, your organizational structure will be aligned to support marketing execution. Marketers not only need to plan for the data insights associated with personalized marketing, but they also need to ensure they engage their creative groups to have the appropriate content to deliver that same messaging.
A single line of accountability also is needed to ensure success and make the entire marketing organization accountable for the customer experience. This represents an evolution of the marketing planning process and marketing organizational design from the traditional model, but we can all agree that advancements make us more effective, efficient, and successful—like having the ability to watch the Lucy and Ethel scene on-demand and, perhaps, in color and high definition.