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Posts Tagged ‘data’

Live from MarketingSherpa Summit 2017: Jeff Ma on harnessing the power of analytics to better understand customers

April 12th, 2017
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As a member of the famous MIT Blackjack Team and the inspiration for the main character in the book Bringing Down the House and the Kevin Spacey film 21, Jeff Ma knows a thing or two about gambling.

Scratch that — Jeff Ma isn’t a gambler. That’s because every move in blackjack has one correct decision. It’s just about understanding basic strategy, and implementing it. Remove human instincts, or “gut feelings,” and you will stack the odds in your favor.

Currently the senior director of analytics at Twitter (after selling his startup to the social network) and a former predictive analytics expert for ESPN, Jeff spoke to the MarketingSherpa Summit audience about how to use data and analytics to come out on top with customers.

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By using data to overcome emotional biases, Ma said, not only can marketers win big with customers, but they’ll also build influence within their organizations.

Learning to make better decisions

It all begins with increasing your odds by using basic strategy.

“A lot of people don’t use basic strategy, which is why we’re so bad at making decisions as a people,” Jeff said. “Decisions are best when you have data behind them.”

One common mistake people fall prey to is omission bias. Basically, people don’t want to be perceived as the agent for harm to themselves — or their company. As Jeff put it, people would rather make a decision with a lower chance of success if the “dealer” or “fate” beats them, rather than going with a higher chance of success that, if it fails, will mean they’ve made a “bad” decision.

Or to put it in Vegas terms: big risk, big reward.

There are no bad decisions — only ones informed by data

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Customer-First Marketing: Use data to make sure the customer always wins

March 17th, 2017
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Every year when I’m in Las Vegas for MarketingSherpa Summit, I find myself on the casino floor at some point. All roads in Vegas lead through the casino.

There’s bright flashing lights and sounds. Lively chatter. General bacchanalia.

Gambling looks like a lot of fun, and many people enjoy it. But other than a few bucks here or there, I don’t partake. Because, as someone who has written about evidence-based marketing for these many years, I suspect the odds are not in my favor.

The house always wins. In the gambler-casino relationship, the casino has the slight edge that, over billions of transactions, generates positive cash flow. This is a business after all, and revenue for the fountains, the curved glass and steel towers, the futuristic trams — it has to come from somewhere.

So when I had a chance to interview Jeff Ma, I wanted his opinion on the customer-marketer relationship. Who has the edge?

The customer and the marketer shouldn’t be opposed

“I think ultimately it’s not a similar thing because the difference . . . this is like honestly one of the things I don’t think people realize — the customer and the marketer shouldn’t be opposed. There’s not a contentious relationship. This should actually be a very positive relationship,” Jeff told me.

“If I were a customer, as long as the marketer had my best intentions, I wouldn’t give a s%&@ if they knew everything about me and all the data about me. As long as they’re not going to harm or use that against me, I want them to have as much information as they can.”

Jeff Ma is currently the senior director of analytics for Twitter, was previously ESPN’s predictive analytics expert, and is perhaps best known for his role on the infamous MIT Blackjack Team. Using creativity, math and teamwork, Ma created a card-counting method that helped the group win millions in Las Vegas. He was the inspiration for the book Bringing Down the House and the Kevin Spacey movie 21.

I was interviewing Jeff because he is a featured speaker at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 in Las Vegas, and his response was right in line with discoveries from MarketingSherpa’s recent research.

For example, “showing personalized ads based on data about me is invasive” was not a major factor in why consumers blocked online ads.

However, that part Jeff mentioned about “as long as the marketer had my best intentions” was huge. Customer-first marketing was the key difference between how satisfied and unsatisfied customers described a company’s marketing, showing that the intentions behind the marketing play a critical role in the relationship with a customer.

Here are a few more quick takeaways from my conversation with Jeff to help you look at your data through a new lens.

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Maximizing Multiple Marketing Platforms for Success

May 20th, 2016
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After 35 years in the industry, Chinese Laundry, a privately held women’s footwear company, continues to expand its influence season after season.

During Internet Retailer Conference Exhibition (IRCE) 2015, MarketingSherpa’s Courtney Eckerle spoke at the MarketingSherpa Media Center with Scott Cohn, Vice President of Ecommerce, Chinese Laundry.

Scott spoke about how marketers tend to establish processes or utilize platforms that work for specific projects or campaigns, but don’t always think about how it affects our customers.

“The biggest challenge we had is that they [platforms] were perpetually out of sync. So our inventory, pricing and a whole variety of other things that a customer expects to be consistent across channels, just weren’t consistent,” he said.

Whether you are looking to condense your blog platforms to update your content strategy or want to build product awareness, Cohn shared two key takeaways on maximizing multiple marketing platforms:

 

Be on the lookout

When undertaking a technology innovation, how do you begin to think about where you pain points lie?

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Email Marketing: Establishing a process to organize thoughtful campaigns

September 25th, 2015
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As an Operations Manager, I believe it is vital to establish processes that ultimately work for you and benefit your team. So I get very excited when I find a new process that could help my team with their workloads.

The challenge I often face is, how do I implement and make this development a success?

As a marketer, have you ever found yourself passionate about showcasing the best practices you’ve learned in order to achieve your goal, only to realize there are countless steps and paths to take? Don’t worry. Take a deep breath; it happens to all of us.

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 in Las Vegas, Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, sat down with Tink Taylor, Founder and Chief Operating Officer, dotmailer, to discuss how email marketers can overcome the underlying challenges they may face by establishing processes to deal with the mountains of information at their disposal.

For instance, when outlining and creating email marketing campaigns, how can you condense the valuable content into something that will benefit customers?

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Digital Marketing: Content marketing, social media and SEO predictions for 2015

February 20th, 2015
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Every year at Email Summit, we ask marketers for their predictions.

Before MarketingSherpa reporter Courtney Eckerle interviews you about your marketing predictions in the Email Summit Media Center, I figured it was only fair to put a stake in the ground and make some predictions you could hold me to as well.

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Prediction #1: Convergence is the watchword for digital marketing this year

You’ve already seen (and will continue to see) convergence among marketing and business software platforms, and this trend will continue to grow as the line blurs between publishers, brands and marketing agencies.

Curve by Getty Images. Verizon’s experiment with Sugarstring. And, of course, The Red Bulletin. More and more brands are learning the power of building this kind of one-to-one connection with their audiences, building an owned audienc, and not having to borrow interest from television or other content creators.

At the same time, publishers are creating content for brands with their own agency arms, as well (a bit of a blast from the past when newspapers used to help create ads to sell media space).

Tribune Publishing (which owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other dailies) bought a stake in Contend, a content agency that creates branded campaigns. Onion Labs, The Onion’s in-house ad agency, has made some seriously cool campaigns. Condé Nast, publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ recently hired a director of branded content and launched a branded content shop which blurs the line between editorial and promotion.

Advertising and marketing agencies, more threatened than ever by brands and publishers, will try to get an ownership stake in the ideas they help create, like Anomaly did with EOS cosmetics or how 37signals went from being a website redesign shop to a software company selling Basecamp.

Data, will of course, be huge. This will be of benefit to content creators of all stripes listed above. Since they have the traffic and relationship with the audience, they have the ability to learn the audience’s preferences based on their behavior, and then engage in A/B testing with these audiences to build a strong understanding of the products, services and offers that these customers will most respond to.

But behind it all, let’s not overlook the people with the knowhow to make it happen, which can be a scarce resource — brilliant, brilliant marketers, writers, designers and data scientists.

Being able to navigate this land of data and convergence, networking and real relationships will be critical for the marketer to build cross-functional teams that understand all the elements it will take to be successful — content, technology, data and strategy. That’s one reason we pay so much attention to the audience experience and foster interactions and networking at Email Summit.

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Big Data: No longer a big buzzword

December 16th, 2014
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This week in the MarketingSherpa Book Giveaway, we’re giving out five free copies of The Big Data-Driven Business: How to use big data to win customers, beat competitors and boost profits.

In this MarketingSherpa Blog post, we interviewed one of the co-authors, Russell Glass, for his insights on leveraging big data and what’s on the horizon for this much-discussed topic.

Russell currently serves as Head of B2B Marketing Products at LinkedIn and previously served as Founder, President and CEO of Bizo, acquired by LinkedIn this year for $175 million.

Sean Callahan, Senior Manager of Content Marketing, LinkedIn, and former Marketing Director of Bizo, served as co-author of The Big Data-Driven Business.

Read on to discover how big data has brought Marketing and Sales closer than ever and what marketers can do to use big data effectively and ethically.

 

What really is big data?

“One of the reasons we wrote the book is that we saw a big discrepancy between those who understand big data and those who were either skeptical of it or didn’t know what to think about it,” Russell said.

For a marketer just getting started in understanding and leveraging big data, Russell explained that it’s all about knowing your customers much better than you know them today through technology.

 

Why is big data so valuable?

For CMOs and marketers driving success for their company and achieving huge gains by using big data, they are putting a culture in place that is asking deep and insightful questions about their customers.

“They are understanding what makes a customer tick, what their customer is looking for and how can marketers create more relevant experiences for that customer,” Russell said.

Then, these marketers using big data are putting the systems in place to answer those questions as well as using all of those increases in processing power, storage and technology to create a better experience for their customers.

“These CMOs, because they are so close to the customer, they become the person in the organization that’s most likely able to move shareholder value,” he explained.

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Marketing: Science versus art

November 25th, 2014
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The discoveries of science can never fully bridge the mystery of the human mind. We need art to discern the difference. The effective marketer converts experiments and metrics into elegant forms of communication. For the marketing organization to be truly successful, it must respect both the science and the art. Indeed, marketing translates science into art.

-Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS Institute

 

As the FlintsNotes.com curator, I often come across profound observations like this one.

I try to have Flint elaborate on them, or at least jot down some notes of other lectures or observations that pertain to it. Flint sometimes says jokingly that he has been “accused of being a scientist,” the scientific approach to marketing being sometimes seen as a means to an end.

In a perfect world, we would instinctively know what our customers want, and the best way to communicate our message.

 

The science of marketing

The science behind online marketing today is a fairly new tool in which we can use to learn a great deal about our prospects.

This tool, the Internet, enables us to track how prospects react to our various offers or messaging. One of the reasons why this method of testing is superior is because it is a record of how your customers have already performed. It is far more powerful than a focus group – for example, where a person may believe they will act one way, but in reality, behave a in a completely different manner.

The art of marketing has been around for arguably much longer.

Since the dawn of man, we have been convincing each other to purchase or accept food, weapons, goods or even religious beliefs. The ability to connect with another human being, to innately know what the other person is seeking, becomes one of the sharpest weapons in the marketer’s arsenal.

Metrics and data analytics can begin to paint the picture of what your prospects are truly interested in.

Even when prospects do not accept an offer or click the desired button, the choices they do not make tell a great deal about what they want.

By interpreting these results, the marketer can glean discoveries about their customers’ behavior that can be implemented across various other channels.

When the marketer can be sure an offer is being communicated effectively online through testing, that same messaging is likely to be just as effective in other channels like direct mail, or in-person at a store.

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6 Tips for Creating an Effective Survey

September 2nd, 2014
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As marketers, we see lots of benchmark data and statistics that we base our business decisions on.

At MarketingSherpa, we recently conducted a nine-month study on the state of ecommerce.

You’ll see the results of our research conducted with 4,346 marketers across 95 in-depth charts.

Obviously, this data didn’t come out of thin air. There was a survey that our MECLABS research team carefully constructed to gather those insights.

Crafting effective surveys is potentially the most important part of collecting useful data, whether you’re fielding research for a report or simply gaining customer feedback.

Diana Sindicich, Senior Manager, Data Sciences, MECLABS (parent company of MarketingSherpa), played an integral part in the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study and provided some tips on how to produce the most effective survey for your needs.

 

Survey Tip #1. Evaluate your situation

There’s a good time, and a not-so-good time, for everything. This rule of life applies to surveys as well.

In surveys, situations may exist for you that make it a good idea to field a survey, Diana explained.

This could include scenarios of when you want to understand your customers’ motivations or characteristics. Maybe you’re looking to expand your product lines and want to know what your customers would like to see offered.

On the other hand, there are times when a survey may not be the best idea for what you want to accomplish. Perhaps you have a very personalized service with a small group of customers. Surveys can be perceived as impersonal — conversely, an interview would make the customer feel special and valued.

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Email Marketing: E-commerce company’s behavior-based marketing tactics increase CLTV 416% in 14 months

November 8th, 2013
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For Jermaine Griggs, Founder, Hear and Play Music, communicating with customers through email was a critical part of his marketing efforts. By embracing behavior-based marketing tactics, Jermaine achieved an increase in customer lifetime value (CLTV) of 416% in 14 months simply by harnessing the power of personalized marketing strategies.

At Email Summit 2013, Jermaine explained how he accomplished these results in his presentation, “How an Online Music Teaching Company Harnessed the Power of Email Automation & Behavior-based Marketing to Increase Conversions.”

In this video excerpt, learn about behavior-based marketing, and how Jermaine applied it to Hear and Play’s CRM system.

 

“Personalized marketing is about authentically altering the user experience based on data and behavior,” Jermaine explained

In this short clip, watch how Hear and Play captures and uses internal and external data to increase the effectiveness of campaigns. Also, understand how to let what your customers and prospects do dictate what you do in return.

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Marketing Analytics: Why you need to hire an analyst

March 6th, 2012
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A steady diet of fresh data helps marketing teams invest wisely and reach the right person, with the right offer, at the right time. It’s almost like food for your strategy, giving it strength.

But like food, data needs skilled hands to process it. You cannot pull a potato out of the ground and call it dinner, and you cannot track unique visitors and call it marketing.

You need a data chef, better known as an analyst. This person will help you take the unprocessed fields of grain in your database and turn them into Fettuccini Alfredo. Big companies have been doing this for years.

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