The Long Trail of Digital’s Long Tail

For the last couple of months I have been researching the digital marketing automation market – speaking with vendors, watching demos, listening to customers and analysing features, statistics and case studies. It’s a crowded market with a wide variety of feature sets and capabilities.

But if there is one thing that is obvious in all the noise, it is this: while the technology has matured, digital marketing skills, capabilities and processes are comparatively immature.

Marketing automation software delivers impressive outcomes:

  • ROI: Identifying, nurturing and delivering warm leads into your sales funnel gives your marketing a direct line to ROI. This path to revenue provides marketers with the confidence and knowledge to understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to digital marketing investment
  • Accelerate marketing maturity: marketing automation requires a certain level of process maturity in your marketing. For businesses where process has been lacking or alignment with sales has been ambivalent, marketing automation can deliver a relatively quick win
  • Generate uplift through omni-channel integration: many marketers focus on “last click attribution”. But we rarely make single click decisions – especially on more expensive purchases or when we are in a B2B situation. Integrated or omni-channel marketing has been shown to significantly impact revenue and pipeline.

The presentation below is a case study of one of Marketo’s own omni-channel campaigns. It reveals that the digital long tail is indeed, a very long trail. But careful planning and management can, with targeted content, deliver value across your marketing programs – not only for your digital work.

Interested in marketing automation? If you are interested in my upcoming marketing automation report, contact me here or sign-up for access to the Constellation Research Library.


Trend: I’m Fricken Michaelangelo

I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of trend announcements and insights for 2013 that are circulating the web at the moment. It seems that we have an abundance of opinion yet live in the desert of insight.

Almost everyone says the same thing in a different way. Or with a quirky direction. Almost always there is an angle that reflects positively on the writer’s own work or business.

Now, there is nothing wrong with all this. In fact, I am working on my own trends document which I am sure you will gasp and coo about. But it’s not trends that we are talking about really. It’s marketing. We are spruiking our opinions based on an understanding of our markets and our business ecosystems.

It’s not rocket science (unless you are writing about trends in space exploration) but it is hard work. It requires effort, time to think and an ability to articulate a point of view.

And while there are many shifts and changes in our business landscape on their way. There is one that is paramount. I’m fricken Michaelangelo.

We all have opinions and share them for the “5 likes” that they are worth. Just watch this video from College Humor and you will observe all the trends that are taking place in front of our very eyes. Scary but true.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

It seems that we are accelerating towards the end of the year – not winding down. And while last week I focused on posts that kept away from trends and predictions, this week it’s been hard to avoid them. Here are some top quality reads to get your brain in gear:

  1. There is a reason that Seth Godin is one of the web’s most popular and oft-quoted bloggers. This post on the industrialists vs the rest of us really helped me this week. Hopefully it will help you too
  2. Neil Perkin has pulled together a fantastic presentation on digital content trends for 2013. Worth reading, absorbing and acting on
  3. Ever wondered why disruptive technology is so disruptive? R “Ray” Wang provides a great framework for understanding the organisational personas found across the enterprise landscape
  4. We all crave “engagement” … but what does that really mean? Valeria Maltoni explains that there are certain kinds of stories that drive engagement
  5. I loved this provocative rant from Dan Lyons on startups that can’t raise money. Let’s all shed some tears

A Little Joy to Start Your Week

Flashmobs tend to feel too smug to be joyous. But this one produced for Spanish bank, Banco Sabadell works wonderfully. As explained:

Earlier this summer, the bank brought together 100 musicians and singers from the Orchestra Simfonica del Valles, Amics de l’Opera de Sabadell, Coral Belles Arts, and Cor Lieder Camera to perform the anthem of the European Union — Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” from his Symphony No. 9. It all happens in the Plaça de Sant Roc in Sabadell, Spain, a little north of Barcelona. Perhaps this will put a smile on your face. Maybe you’ll even shed a tear. One way or another, make sure you turn up your speakers….

Via Open Culture with thanks to Steve Woodruff.

Friday’s Famous Tweets

Each Monday I write up a summary of the best five articles that from the previous week. This curated “Five Must Read Posts” series serves a series of purposes:

  • Improves the signal to noise ratio: I only post the most useful and interesting of articles that I have read or noticed over the previous seven days
  • Stokes creativity through diversity: I am a great believer in the power of random ideas to drive the creative process. Hopefully these posts add to the diversity of content you read or are exposed to
  • Share the link love: Links are the currency of the web. By linking to quality content, I hope to share traffic but also shine a little reputational love on sites and authors who deserve it

However, there is a lot of action that doesn’t happen on blogs each week. Twitter is where the conversational action takes place … so with that in mind, I thought I’d match Monday’s must-reads with Friday’s famous tweets.

Accordingly, here are the five most clicked tweets from the past week:

From Big Data Science to Big Data Action image
The Shift from Mobile First to Mobile Only image
The Many Colours of Digital Disruption image
Instagram Co-Founder Mike Krieger’s 8 Principles For Building Products People Want #flearn image
uh oh! 5 Signs You’re Not As Smart As You Think image

Light Up Someone’s Life This Holiday with Moore’s Cloud

Admit it. You’re more than a little geeky. There is a drawer somewhere in your house with old mobile phones, cameras, and pieces of technology. For all I know, you probably have a Newton gathering dust under your desk.

Support the Moore's Cloud Light project on Kickstarter

If this sounds like you, then you may just want to add Light to your Holiday wishlist this year. The Kickstarter project turns a stylish 52 LED light into a Linux powered, web-connected device that can be controlled by your iPhone or iPad or from the other side of the world via the web interface.

It’s “illumination as a service” – or the “internet of things” come to life. There’s only 15 days in the Kickstarter campaign to go – and it needs your support. Choose a pledge package and get behind this innovative startup. It’s even been named CNET’s Kickstarter project of the week. Sign up for a package – you’ll be glad you did.

And while I like this video, I reckon they should have gone with a different soundtrack. More like this one!

Dell Launches Social Business Services

Much lauded for its own social business transformation, Dell is now taking its social media expertise to market, launching a new range of offerings through a collaboration between its marketing and services teams.

Targeting enterprise and medium sized business customers, the first offerings provide:

  • Education – best practice seminars for a range of industries
  • Advisory – strategy and optimisation
  • Listening and insights – social media monitoring and reporting
  • Listening Command Center – on-premise build out of a social media listening command center

Dell Social Media Services

Responding to the chaotic social media space, Maribel Sierra, Director Social Media Services at Dell explained that Dell’s customers are struggling to go beyond Facebook and Twitter. Customers are asking for Dell’s expertise in choosing tools, building training and scaling social media within the enterprise.

But it is not all about social media maturity. Customers are also wanting to understand how and where to get started with enterprise social media and how to gain executive support for social programs.

Pilot customers like Kraft Foods, Clemson University and Aetna have helped prove out the Dell model over the last year – and the range of services are expected to grow with demand. Right now, there are over 20 courses available through the Dell Social Media University – and they’re delivered either face to face or virtually.

These new offerings mark a decisive shift for Dell, providing a strategic services offering at the pointy end of customer experience for their customers. Working in this trusted space will keep Dell top of mind across their customers executive ranks. This will bring Dell into direct competition with organisations like IBM, Salesforce and the big consulting firms.

As 2013 begins to take shape, the future of social media innovation looks set to play out within the enterprise. On the customer side, expect more services firms to flood in as enterprises begin to transform social engagement into business value.

Reduce Marketing Risk with ADMA’s Compliance Hub

With recent changes to Australia’s privacy legislation, marketers now face a slew of regulatory responsibilities or risk significant fines of up to $1.1 million. Marketers and advertisers have been given 15 months to comply with the recent changes – and the Association for data-driven marketing and advertising (ADMA) has launched the ADMA Compliance Hub to assist in the process.

Part of the ADMA Knowledge Lab, the site contains:

  • News and updates
  • Video and whitepapers
  • Categorised forms, best practices
  • Webinars and guides

ADMA Compliance Hub

Covering a broad range of marketing compliance topics, the Compliance Hub is a welcome resource for time poor marketers. A quick review of the Online, Mobile & Social section revealed checklists for cloud computing, a group buying code of conduct and a model social media policy. And while the data and privacy section is top of mind for Australian marketers at present, sections on competitions, voice and email will come in handy as 2013 marketing activity shifts into high gear.

For companies new to the Australian marketplace, the Compliance Hub will be a welcome resource. Access is available to all advertisers and marketers until February 2013 – and then it will be closed off and available only to ADMA members.

The Many Colours of Digital Disruption

From almost any angle, businesses are under pressure. Connected customers are out-flanking business efforts to control the flow of goods and services and manage relationships in an increasingly connected economy. The global economy continues to struggle under the weight of misguided policies, sovereign debt and an entitled corporatocracy that aims to “maximize the status quo” . As Seth Godin points out, this industrial focus on our economy has a limited future:

Today’s industrialists define our economy, but they offer very little promise for tomorrow. They’ve long bought ads to polish their image, but mostly work to alter the culture in ways that will ensure they’ll get just a little bit more yield out of each of us.

But as Mary Meeker’s 2012 recap on the state of the internet suggests, disruption is the new normal. And when it comes to digital, disruption comes in many colours.

Five Impacts of Digital Media
Writing on the invention of the printing press, Elizabeth Eisenstein suggested there were five impacts that transformed society of the time. In 2012, we too can see these impacts playing out in our personal and professional lives (and all the spaces in-between):

  • Experts coming under pressure from new voices who are early adopters of new technology
  • New organisations emerging to deal with the social, cultural and political changes
  • There is a struggle to revise the social and legal norms — especially in relation to intellectual property
  • The concepts of identity and community are transformed
  • New forms of language come into being
  • Educators are pressured to prepare their students for the newly emerging world

Nielsen Social Media Report 2012 signals the end to the industrial age of marketing

Nielsen Social Media Attitudes

Showcasing each of these five impacts, the Nielsen Social Media Report for 2012 signals not only that “social media has come of age”, but that digital has truly arrived as a force that can no longer be ignored. Once, the staunchest defender of an analogue ratings system, Nielsen’s own transformation confirms that the industrial age of marketing is closing and that a new era has arrived.

Marketers are not only under pressure to respond to the mega trends outlined above – they must also address the five pillars of enterprise disruption which are playing havoc with business strategy and engagement tactics. These days marketers must consider:

  • A strategy of mobile only, not mobile first: Not only are mobile technologies different in form and shape. They are taking over our patterns of adoption and consumption. With mobile devices already outselling PCs in India and China, it is expected that this change will impact Australia, the US and Europe in 2014. With long lead times and a dearth of digital skills within organisations, marketers will need to move now to serve their connected consumers who prowl the digital landscape. And rather than thinking mobile first, marketers need to think mobile only
  • Social is mobile: Mobility is not only an issue for interruption – or even permission based marketing. It is an issue for social engagement platforms. App usage now accounts for more than a third of social networking time. There is still significant space for growth – and marketers will need to understand how this mobile+social dimension impacts the customer experience
  • Social TV is disrupting broadcast: While the focus is currently on Twitter as a social TV enablement platform, this is an area ripe for disruption. Just as publishers were slow to respond to digital and are now facing significant business model challenges, broadcast networks have also been slow to invest, experiment and learn from social technologies. This has opened the door to innovative startup who will continue to outpace the industrial age broadcasters
  • The buyer’s journey has changed forever: The marketing funnel as a concept is over 100 years old. In a digital world, its linear process is also a mark of the industrial marketing era. It’s time for marketers to re-cast the marketing funnel for consumer engagement.

Download the Nielsen report and let me know what you think. Will it change the way you plan and execute your marketing efforts in 2013?