Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices

Monday, January 2, 2017

DMA CEO Tom Benton Answers 4 Questions For Marketing Innovators

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CMO.com
Tom Benton is CEO of the Data & Marketing Association (DMA). Since becoming CEO in 2014, Benton has led a three-year transformation and rebranding of the organization (formerly the Direct Marketing Association), with an organizational and resource alignment focused on advocacy, innovation, education, and connections.
The rebranding comes on the eve of DMA’s 100th anniversary.
With an extensive career across a variety of data-driven marketing environments, including time as SVP of marketing analysis for AOL, Benton is steeped in industry knowledge.
He recently participated in our "4 Questions for Marketing Innovators" series.
1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
Two things: one, the rapidly increasing rate at which data isbeing generated, and, two, the rate at which disruptive technological capabilities are being developed that enable marketers to transform data into actionable insight.
With those capabilities come tremendous responsibility that all DMA marketers take very seriously. Marketing, like most things in life, is all about relationships—relationships with a purpose beyond profit. A responsible and successful marketer believes that what he or she brings to market fundamentally improves lives.
This fundamental marketing principle of relationships is not always understood or appreciated by all legislators and regulators—that marketers’ actions are guided by that commitment to a mutually beneficial relationship over time. Many legislators and regulators feel that the use of data and data technology is invasive and should be significantly constrained.
Yet without data-driven insight, value to consumers is diminished. And without data science, innovation is suppressed. I continue to be surprised that many executives, even rising young executives in our industry, either are unaware of or choose to ignore the importance of strong data and marketing advocacy and government relations. Without those relationships, our ability to transform data into actionable customer insight and nurture lasting relationships with our customers is at high risk.
Several DMA members, many from major brands, are working with DMA’s attorneys on Data Standards 2.0, an industrywide initiative to develop the standards that will govern the marketing industry’s accountability in this new era of data-driven marketing. Despite our community’s vigilant self-regulation efforts, our responsible use of data and innovative data technology is at risk. At any moment, with the stroke of a pen, a single state or a federal agency could suppress innovation and eliminate marketers’ ability to responsibly access, exchange, and use data and data technology. DMA is the association that stands between marketers and that real risk.
The role of data in marketing has always been present, but it is more pronounced today. Data and data technology are the strategic center of marketing—identifying needs, informing design, creativity, channels, messaging, and more. These are just a few of the reasons that DMA rebranded.
2. Why is this so important?
Foremost, the data and marketing community’s access to data and innovative data technology increases value to consumers. It makes consumers’ lives more efficient and more convenient. Additionally, the data and marketing community drives our economy by increasing efficiency and adding hundreds of thousands of jobs, as reported in DMA’s "Value of Data 2015" report. The data that fuels marketing enables a free internet with all its resources available to consumers.
3. How can this improve the customer experience?
The responsible use of data enables marketers to deliver higher value and more timely and relevant information to their customers, more seamlessly across their customers’ devices. This empowers their customers to more efficiently and conveniently fulfill their needs and interests.
4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
Today’s successful data-driven marketing and technology not only benefits consumers, it funds more innovation, which, in turn, will benefit consumers in new ways. It’s a virtuous, upward spiral all based on the fact that data-driven marketers continually strive to maximize efficiency and value for their customers and prospects. To fuel this upward spiral, DMA recently launched its Structured Innovation Program, where we bring together the entire marketing ecosystem of marketers, agencies, technology innovators, and data scientists to remove the barriers to innovation.
Bonus Question: What is your favorite activity outside of work?
It should be no surprise that, for me, it’s all about relationships. Making memories by spending quality time with my wife and two daughters, my friends, and my extended family is what I treasure most.
For additional Marketing Innovator stories, click here.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Don’t Let Irrelevant Messaging Cause Your Customers to Leave. Learn What ULTA Is Doing.

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CustomerThink.com
“…It’s worrying how many consumers feel misunderstood and [feel] that brands aren’t listening to them.”
These are the thoughts of Jeremy King, CEO of Attest, regarding his company’s consumer study, which revealed that over a third of UK consumers feel ‘misunderstood’ by brands. This could be why, according to Teradata, nearly all (90%) of marketers now believe individualized messaging is the future of marketing moving forward, “beyond segmentation to true one-to-one personalization.
If you don’t already have voice of consumer-driven relevancy at the top of your marketing priority list consider this; in a study by Janrain and Blue Research it was noted that 94% of survey respondents took at least one of these actions in response to irrelevant messaging:
  • Automatically deleted the emails (68%);
  • Unsubscribed from emails (54%);
  • Categorized emails as “junk” or “spam” (45%);
  • Became less likely to buy products (29%);
  • Visited the website less frequently (13%); and
  • Never visited the website again (10%).
The study also found that the irritation threshold is now so low that it takes only a few mistakes to turn off consumers: almost half said they automatically delete emails or categorize them as “junk” after being mis-targeted twice; 38% unsubscribe after receiving two mis-targeted emails.
One brand that has re-evaluated how they personalize the customer experience to ensure relevance is beauty retailer, ULTA, which has more than 16 million active loyalty members. And, Fortune recently selected ULTA’s CEO, Mary Dillon as one of the most powerful women for 2016.
One of the main reasons ULTA has grown so quickly was the realization that because their products are available through multiple channels, their differentiating factor had to be their consumer experience. To facilitate their omnichannel personalization strategies, they leveraged technology in a campaign they named “connected beauty,” which integrates in-store, mobile, social, online and app experiences. “Our concept of connected beauty is really about making sure that we connect with our guests across all touch-points in the same way,” says Diane Randolph, CIO at ULTA Beauty.
And according to Lockie Antonopoulos, IT director of mobility at ULTA Beauty, “Technology is giving ULTA the opportunity to strive toward its goals. By giving information at a quicker pace to both our executive team and our store associates, they are able to react in a more timely manner.”
Technology allows ULTA customers to get real-time inventory for their local store so they know whether their chosen product is available before they arrive. Consultants can use tablets in-store to access customer information such as shopping history, previous purchases, loyalty point balances, and previous loyalty program redemptions. “We’re thinking about the loyalty experience every day…We then attach the info we get from the [in store] consultation to our loyalty program, which enables further personalization,” Antonopoulos stated.
ULTA’s CMO Dave Kimbell goes on to state, “We’re trying to innovate to meet her needs and get ahead of her expectations to personalize the experience whenever she wants it in the store, online or on an app. It’s critical to our competitive success because that’s how she wants to shop and other retailers that are focused on one or the other can’t do that.”
1. Irrelevant marketing now has unprecedented consequences. It has become a reason to sever ties with a brand. If consumers feel their preferences aren’t requested or respected, they see little reason to buy from that brand, given the many other choices.
2. True relevancy is based on an omnichannel strategy which prioritizes getting to know your customer’s individual preferences.
3. Understand how your customer shops your brand and their preferred touchpoints. Build ways to connect these touchpoints so no matter how they engage, they are getting relevance and consistency.

Monday, November 28, 2016

How Dove Engages Customers with Sincere and Authentic Cause Marketing

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CustomerThink.com
According to Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction, consumers are increasingly skeptical about insincere cause marketing efforts which just push products. Almost half (41 percent) of the agency’s survey respondents said that insincere cause marketing was perceived as “just a spin” and 25 percent are annoyed by it. “Every brand has a corporate social responsibility … [but it shouldn’t] be furthered as a marketing opportunity,” said Kleinberg. “You have to put your money where your mouth is, and the consumers will see that.”
This is consistent with our ERDM Learnings from 15,000+ hours of VoC Interviews regarding innovation-based customer listening. Here’s what consumers said:
  • “With today’s technology, I expect brand communications to reflect my interests.”
  • “I don’t want marketing when it comes to major issues.”
Aligning your brand with a cause which is meaningful to your customers is an effective way to build long term relationships—if done authentically. According to statistics from the Cause Marketing Forum:
  • 72% of consumers have donated to charity at the register and 65% of consumers felt positively about the retailer after giving.
  • 80% of global consumers agree that business must play a role in addressing societal issues.
The “Dove Self Esteem Project” is a prime example of a brand listening to consumers and supporting their interests and concerns. The campaign offers resources for parents, educators, youth leaders and mentors to run their own “self esteem workshops.” Additionally, The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report demonstrated the brand’s sincere dedication to help its consumers by interviewing 10,500 women across 13 countries to get viewpoints and thoughts regarding body image.
According to Victoria Sjardin, Senior Global Director, Dove Masterbrand. “For over 50 years, Dove has been committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. With this new research, we hope to inspire women and girls everywhere to develop a positive relationship with the way they look.”
The company states that since its campaign launch, the “Self Esteem Project” has impacted the lives of more than 19 million young people across 128 countries. It now has a new goal to up its social reach by 2020 – committing to positively impact an additional 20 million over the next four years.
1. Aligning your brand authentically with a cause of importance to your customers is vital among all demographic groups, but especially significant with Millennials.
According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey, 87 percent of Millennials believe that a company should have a larger purpose than sales and profits. Additionally in the Cone Millennial Cause Study, 79 percent indicate they’re likely to purchase a product from a company they consider socially responsible.
2. Efforts in cause marketing need to be authentic or you run the risk of turning off consumers.
“There has been a shift in perception among customers of what an authentic expression of a brand is,” said Max Lenderman, CEO of cause-marketing specialist agency, School. “And jumping on a cause is increasingly being viewed as not authentic.”
“With every passing day, it’s getting harder and harder to pull the wool over people’s eyes … ” notes Jim Moriarty, director of Brand Citizenship. “We all crave authenticity. Brands can and should change the world. And the best way to do that is to initiate, support and amplify causes that are connected to the brand’s business and mission.”
3. For a cause campaign to be perceived as sincere, brands need to back up their commitment by providing resources, information, and opportunities for involvement rather than merely marketing messages.
The Harvard Business Review looked at top cause marketing campaigns and put together a list of key factors for success which included inspiring messaging; an element that people can experience in the real world and a big issue coupled with a request for a small personal action. Their bottom line recommendation? “[Create] public service engagement, not a public service announcement.”
While consumers are looking to brands to take action on matters of importance to them, insincere cause marketing is perceived as simply another sales opportunity, and consumers do not want blatant marketing on major issues. Listening to your consumers and developing innovative means of reacting sincerely to meet their needs is a key way to build long term relationships—but only if done authentically.