July 12, 2017

Creating a Connected Data Ecosystem

The number of marketing technology tools is rising at a staggering rate, having nearly doubled YOY in 2016. On average, 51% of organizations use 21 or more digital marketing solutions. While having the ability to access all this new information provides unprecedented insight, it frequently results in an overload of data siloed in disparate systems. Marketers are buried under a landslide of fragmented campaign metrics, products, customers, purchases, and more. And there’s seemingly no end in sight; Gartner reports that 50-65% of marketing executives plan to spend more on marketing technology in the coming year.

To make meaningful use of all this data, metrics need to be reviewed cohesively. Without a full holistic view, it’s impossible to get a complete understanding of the real story. Only analyze existing customer behavior and you may miss out on opportunities to attract new audiences. Only review site traffic from media placements, and you lack an understanding of why your customers are loyal to your brand, or how to create more of them.

The problem is that most marketing teams don’t operate with systems that talk to each other. They end up trying to manually analyze disparate data points to uncover insights, a practice that is neither scalable nor responsive in real-time. This data fragmentation is costing marketers real dollars as they lose the ability to effectively optimize campaigns and fold learnings into future plans.

An example of how some marketing departments utilize data today:

The solution begins with creating a connected data ecosystem. The concept is simple—collect all data points into a centralized system able to analyze them en masse and surface actionable insights in real-time. Using those insights, marketers can then start to roll out personalized content, translate strategies across all channels, and efficiently improve customers’ experiences.  While the initial creation of the connected data ecosystem can be time-consuming, it pays off. One example: Annuitas Group reports that businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects report a 451% increase in qualified leads.

 

Based on our experience with building ecosystems for clients, we have created a four-step process that we follow:

  • Discovery: we assess all the various systems that are collecting data around your organization. We also identify areas where the data returned may be less than perfect in quality–a very common occurrence. During this period we also outline the shared objectives and definitions of success across all the stakeholders.
  • Solution design: using our learnings from the Discovery period, we design a customized solution that aligns to your business objectives. We build a roadmap using multiple analytic approaches across our four service categories: Performance analytics, marketing sciences, research, and business intelligence.
  • Analyze: This is where the magic happens. Now that we’ve designed your ideal system, we begin to collect the data and review the outputs using our team of data analysts, statisticians, and social scientists to uncover those insights that will truly give your business the competitive edge.
  • Insights: This is when our team works with marketers and other members of your organization to communicate our findings and share recommended actions to meet your KPIs. Once the initial foundation is built, this process can be repeated multiple times over the course of the year, ensuring your teams are always up to date on the latest findings and fully able to use fresh data to inform future plans.

The creation of a connected data ecosystem takes some effort but pays off almost immediately by making teams run more efficiently with a full understanding of the current state of their business and what levers they have to achieve their goals.

July 15, 2009

I'll Take 'Vegan Dessert Puddings' for $1000, Alex

by Allison Bloom, Senior Copywriter

If I'm ever a contestant on Jeopardy, I hope the categories are as follows:
Meal Plans
All Natural Lip Balms
'Cellular'? Phones (note the 'Cellular'? in quotation marks)
Ecologically-friendly Alcohol
Condoms

I'd ring in on everything. I'd make them all true daily doubles. And, for the record, I'd regale the audience with a very entertaining story during the contestant interviews about the time I almost hit Billy Joel with my car.

As a copywriter, you become an expert on a range of different clients, brands and products. I've studied up on meal plans, makeup, and moldable compounds. My head is filled with random facts, such as how much it costs for a student to subscribe to a newspaper (about $100 a year) and what it means for a beauty product to be considered all-natural (made with at least 95% all-natural ingredients). I fall asleep thinking about why certain condoms are so effective (polyisoprene) and how the world's greenest vodka is made (quadruple distilled).

At the end of the day, my brain is more jam-packed than the trunk of my car on a week-long vacation with my family. It's all part of being a copywriter. We have to immerse ourselves in the brand and really become temporary experts ' whether it's about dairy-free appetizer wraps or how to backup your cell phone. Ultimately, the copywriter is the one writing the copy that reaches the consumer, so if we're not knowledgeable about a product, how can the consumer be persuaded?

How does a copywriter go about building such a robust arsenal of information? At AMP, it starts with our Consumer Insights team. Insights researches, qualifies and quantifies hoards of information to paint a picture of the brand. Then it's my turn to start investigating. I read. I talk. I google. I drag the Designer or Art Director down the street to CVS so we can spend the walk dissecting nuances of the brand. I do everything possible to soak myself in the brand. My goal is to seamlessly create a voice for the brand that sounds close enough to its existing personality to be viable but fresh enough that it meets the current objective.

Finally, I collaborate. At the end of the day, the client is always the ultimate brand expert. They have a concentrated knowledgeable of the brand that can rarely be rivaled. They are the master. I am just the grasshopper. (I think that's the right analogy - I've never had a Kung Fu show as a client).

That's how copywriters go about becoming brand experts. It's not rocket science. It's just brand immersion. It's the first step in the creative process, and it makes for quite an interesting arsenal of knowledge.

Oh, and if the final Jeopardy category is Vegan Dessert Puddings, I'd risk it all.

June 29, 2009

America Needs a Tagline

I want to be the first to wish happy birthday to one of the most influential brands in the world. So here goes... 'Happy Birthday, America! You look fantastic for 233. It's like you haven't gained a state in over 50 years.'?

Let's face it, the United States is a brand. A pretty impressive one, too. It's red, white and blue palette has inspired thousands of copycats ' both large (Pepsi) and small (Liberia). It has a logo (See Fig. 1) to rival Nike and McDonald's. It even has a mighty, majestic mascot. (See Fig. 2).

Fig 1. Nearly as recognizable as the Swoosh and Golden Arches.

Fig 2. Now available for boat christenings.

What America doesn't have is a tagline.

'Land of the free, home of the brave'?? Iconic, yes. But lyrics, not a tag. And 'Uncle Sam Wants You!'? is more a slogan for an acquisition campaign (the draft).

A tagline would be an essential tool for America. It would sum up all the nation stands for in one tasty, snack-size phrase and mark every interaction between the brand and its consumers... tax returns, Air Force One, presidential pardons, commemorative plates, Michael Phelps' Speedo. The reach is endless.

With the big 233 fast approaching and our national brand managers engaging in a bit of rebranding, I can't think of a better time to give our nation a tagline. So let's get to it.

Sure, we could just sit in a room and spit out some random taglines...

America. Get Your Jonas Brothers Here!
America. We Google Ourselves Sometimes.
America. Mexico's Hat.

Fun? Yup. An embodiment of the brand? Nope. And as the written calling card for a brand, a tagline must epitomize the brand's promise and accurately reflect its image.

Let's start with the promise, which is an honest, meaningful outcome consumers can always expect from a brand experience. History has created many promises worthy of the American brand. But we gotta pick one. After ruling out One nation under God (inappropriate given the brand's many and diverse consumer segments) and Land of opportunity (a noble ideal but perhaps a bit of an overpromise in these unsure times), I landed on A nation of the people, by the people, for the people.

This promise ladders down perfectly to America's product (democracy) and is inclusive of all consumer segments. Just as important: it's a promise the brand can realistically fulfill. After all, everyone has the right to vote, the chance to pursue their dreams and over 178 channels to choose from. (Yes, I'm making broad strokes and grossly oversimplifying, but this is a marketing blog... so humor me.)

That takes us to image. How does the brand want to be perceived? How is it perceived? If America's recent rebranding efforts are any indication, America wants to shed the current market perception for a new 'smart-popular-guy-who-is-down-to-earth-enough-to-stick-up-for-drama-kids-and-rap-with-computer-geeks'? image. In short: Hip, accepting, smart.

Can the brand pull off this personality shift? Well, the new administration tweets (hip), initiates dialogue with sworn enemies (accepting) and hires one half of Harold and Kumar to work in the White House (smart). So, yes, it can.

Now that we have a promise (of the people, for the people, by the people), a product (democracy) and some brand personality (hip, accepting, smart), it's time to rally the brainstorming troops here at AMP. After a few sessions, some potential winners surfaced...

America. Putting the U back in the USA.
America. Talk to me, world.
America. Life, liberty and fist-bumps.

Some nail promise but miss on personality. Or vice versa. But none hit on all points.

Then someone (Hi, Kevin!) came up with this little nugget:
America. Not as _________ as you think.

We tried filling the blank for awhile but soon realized everyone had their own blank-filler, and no one was more right or wrong than the next. Then it hit us: Who are we to fill that blank?

American democracy empowers us to elect our own officials and create our own laws ... arguably the first examples of user-generated content in marketing history.

So why not apply that same spirit to America's tagline? Why not let people ' across the country and the world ' fill in the blank for themselves?

A tagline customized of/by/for the people hits the brand promise on the head. And in this YouTube and Twitter-ific age ' as consumers take more ownership of brands than ever ' this tagline doesn't just say 'hip, smart and accepting'?, it lives it, breathes it and gargles with it every morning. And it shows that the brand is changing, or at least trying to change perception, for the better.

The only tweak it needs is a flip from the negative to bring in some of the hope that got our President elected. So Happy B-day, America. Here's your new tagline:

America. More _________ than you think.

In celebration of the 4th, I'm going with: America. More fireworky than you think.

OK, your turn. It's your brand, your nation. Give it a tagline. We'd love to hear your take...

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