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Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dia&Co Chief Answers 4 Questions For Marketing Innovators

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CMO.com
Nadia Boujarwah is the co-founder and CEO of Dia&Co, an in-home shopping experience for women who wear sizes 14 and up. A lifelong fashionista, Boujarwah founded the company on the belief that style can act as a catalyst for self-love. Prior, she worked as an investment banker at Perella Weinberg Partners, and most recently served as COO and CFO of New York-based jewelry brand Frieda and Nellie.
Also of note, Boujarwah was the first Kuwaiti woman to graduate from Harvard Business School; she also holds a BSc in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Boujarwah 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?
I’m obsessed with the importance of a strong brand promise. Before setting any marketing strategy, you must have a crystal-clear articulation of your commitment to the customer—and I highly recommend putting it in writing. At Dia&Co, ours is: “We promise to understand her better than anyone else will. We put her first, always.”
By codifying your commitment, you not only clarify the most foundational elements of your strategy for yourself, you also clarify it for your team. Put your brand promise at the end of every internal email. Put it on a sticky note on your laptop. Put it on your office walls. At the end of the day, upholding the brand promise is each employee’s most important job responsibility, and teams become much more aligned when that’s made explicitly clear.
Moreover, in my experience, teams also become more invested when they know that they’re part of a collective promise to the customer. It creates a powerful bond and a true sense of accountability. It becomes a part of the culture. “Earn the trust you are given” is one of our core values at Dia&Co—and it’s one that was suggested by our employees.
This core value has also become an intrinsic part of our hiring process. The one non-negotiable trait that all prospective employees must have is a commitment to our customer. We screen for that qualification explicitly; it’s built into our interview rubrics. Protecting and nurturing that internal culture is an imperative.
2. Why is this so important?
Our goal is to be the beloved brand in the lives of our customers. In a world with more and more options, only a singular focus on her makes this possible.
You earn loyalty from a customer the same way you earn loyalty from a friend: by building trust. To build trust with your customer, you must understand her better than anyone else will, you must clearly communicate the value that you will bring to her, and you must consistently exceed her expectations.
3. How can this improve the customer experience?
The process of defining your brand promise requires you to go beyond the data and to connect with your customer on a human level. I believe it’s critical for any B2C business to stay focused on the human need they serve. What sometimes gets lost in personalization is the person. It’s important to remember your customers are humans, driven by deep needs and desires, as we all are. To create successful personas, you need more than observations of behaviors. Your personas should be supported in data, yes, but more importantly, they should be rooted in the psychographics of your customer and the emotional benefit you are providing.
It may sound obvious, but it’s worth stating: To connect with your customers on a human level, you have to actually meet them. One way our team committed to this was by embarking on a six-city listening tour, where we traveled around the country to meet our customers and hear what they wanted from us, what was providing value, and where they thought we could improve. Listening is at the core of our business and the secret to providing unparalleled service. When a brand takes the time to understand you and treat you like a cherished friend, it creates a meaningful and positive connection.
This approach acknowledges that the most powerful customer experiences are rarely functional. The products we love most are products that have a real emotional benefit that we come to depend on.
4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
Focus begets success. Ultimately, the power of knowing your customer deeply and putting a fine point on the value you are committed to delivering is twofold: It allows you to make better decisions, and it allows you to move more quickly.
We all make dozens of judgment calls a day. Take some of the guesswork out of success by doing the most valuable work with your customer up front.
Bonus Question: What is your favorite activity outside of work?
In my free time, I love catching a spin class and cooking. My current dish of choice is a cauliflower rice risotto. It’s so delicious you won’t miss the real stuff!
For additional Marketing Innovator stories, click here.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Stop (ONLY) Marketing To Millennials

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CustomerThink.com
“There’s both ageism in our culture and ageism in our profession of marketing. But some of it’s not even malicious ageism. Some of it is just, ‘I want my brand to feel young and modern and youthful, and the only way to do that is to be targeting it to the young and modern and youthful.’ But that’s simplistic thinking.” This according to Denise Fedewa, Executive Vice President/Strategy Director, Leo Burnett.”
Many marketers have invested significant portions of their budget chasing the millennial consumer. But, here’s a fact that might make some rethink that strategy. According to DataMentors, while Millennials do make up the largest generation today (86 Million), Baby Boomers still take second place (77 Million.)
If marketers are putting all their chips on Millennials, they could be in for a surprising loss when they realize just how much they are leaving on the table by excluding other demographic groups in their marketing mix and messaging.
But marketers are just not marketing to this lucrative “older” consumer: “[Baby Boomers] can sustain and be a strong driver of the consumer economy over the next five to ten years especially the upper-income households. They have the money to spend. It’s a different mindset …now saying, I’ve got to spend it while I’m here,” says Doug Hermanson, principal economist at Kantar Retail.
  • The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) calculates that less than 15% of firms have developed a business strategy focused on the elderly.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit found that only 31% of firms took increased longevity into account when making plans for sales and marketing.
  • A report by the McKinsey Global Institute points out that older consumers are one of the few engines of growth in an otherwise sluggish global economy.
  • According to DMN3, online research shows an overwhelming 82.3% of Boomers belong to at least once social networking site and over half of Boomers who use social networking sites will visit a company website or continue their search on a search engine as a result of seeing something on social media
According to Morgan Stanley, “As consumers age, their spending increases, with the U.S. consumer’s peak earnings, spending, and investing years between ages 35 and 55. Boomer generation will still maintain enormous spending muscle. In the next two decades, spending by Americans over 50 is projected to increase by 58%, whereas spending by Americans 25-50 will grow by 24%…”
In learnings from 15,000+ hours of VoC research interviews, consumers have told us again and again that they want needs-based personalization that connects with them at a human and genuine level. To develop relationships with all consumers, marketers need to devise personalization that drives engagement by increasing conversion rates and return visits because the consumer feels that the brand understands them. But unfortunately for many age brackets, this is not the case.
“Most of the female baby boomers feel as if marketers don’t really understand them, and they’re not making a really strong, concerted effort to speak to them as an individual,” says Dave Austin, managing director of marketing agency Influent50 “There’s this misnomer that boomers are not… digital-savvy, which is just not true. They’re one of the first generations to use technology in every portion of their life.”
However, a savvy few companies have tapped into the digital-loving Baby Boomer market, such as Stitch, an online dating, activity and travel community for those over 50. According to founder, Marcie Rogo, “[Boomers are] brand loyal. This is what I love about them. They like the real talk. If they trust you as a brand, they will stay with you. They’re not going to hop around like millennials.”
L’Oreal has recently announced that it has added 69 year old actress, Susan Sarandon, to its roster of over 50 brand ambassadors for its beauty product line, which has made a choice to have a representative from each generation to portray their message that beauty ‘transcends age’. In their “senior marketing” the company notes that their new brand ambassadors, “embody the new kind of radiant 60-something women.”
TakeAways:
1. Millennials represent significant buying power, but they are not the only ones. When marketers put most of their marketing eggs in one demographic basket they are missing opportunities and revenue from other segments that feel the brand does not want their business.
2. Marketers must make the effort to understand the needs, actions, and buying patterns of every demographic group.
3. Marketing needs to “speak” to consumers in a voice that is both authentic and genuine. If the message is stereotypical, consumers have no reason to identify with a brand they feel does not accurately understand their needs or lifestyle.
One of the key lines from Madonna’s Billboard “Woman of the Year” acceptance speech was, “The most controversial thing I’ve done is stick around.” Marketers have fallen in love with the pursuit of a digital demographic at the exclusion of other demographic age groups. Now, the key is for marketers to see past the obvious to gain a deeper understanding that all age groups are digital—and have big buying power.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Your Data Is Your Strategic Firewall Against Competition

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CMO.com
“Rivals cannot unlock or simulate your data. Data is the defensible barrier—not algorithms.” These are the words of Andrew Ng of Chinese search giant Baidu in a recent New York Times article.
The article also stated: “For decades, dominance in the technology industry was based on software or hardware. Now it is increasingly based on who owns the best data.”
Data Is A Competitive Advantage—If Used To Improve Customer Experience
Data is the competitive differentiator in terms of preference-driven customer experience and personalization. It is also a strategic firewall against competition.
Your competition cannot duplicate or simulate your data. But data sitting idly in your servers or used only for sales messaging will not catapult your company to the next level. It is the customer insights in your data that are your competitive uniqueness. Success will be based not only on the quality of data, but its creative utilization.
In an Infosys whitepaper, “Transforming Big Data Analytics into a Competitive Advantage for Insurers,” it was noted: “Having access to rich sources of data and using that data to enable effective decision-making are two separate aspects.”
Per VoC research conducted by our firm, today’s personalization is broken. It relies on implicit data, i.e., web browsing behavior, data mined from social media, data modeling, and purchase-based behaviors. These are not providing the necessary depth of information to drive relevant communications and offers. As a result, most attempts at personalization simply do not drive the expected increases in response.
Marketers must now make a profound shift and move to human data, which is based on explicit, self-profiled, opt-in preference data. Human data personalization is unique in that it lends itself to segmentation based on self-described personality types, attitudes, and life stages. Human data-based personalization is consistently driving double-digit response rates.
New Data Collaboration Partnerships Are Essential
The acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft was an innovative strategic data-based move. With the acquisition, Microsoft can now leverage the approximately 467 million names in LinkedIn’s database to market its products, such as Office 365. According to Bill Phillips, vice president business applications at Microsoft, the LinkedIn database along with other sources “will power a set of insights that we think is unprecedented.”
Realizing the importance of the data it has mined, Progressive Insurance joined forces with European insurance company The Generali Group to enter into a research and development collaboration to improve their individual data analytics capabilities.
“Collaborating internationally with Generali allows us to further expand and deepen our customer insights,“ said Pat Callahan, personal lines president of Progressive Insurance. And Valter Trevisani, chief insurance officer of Generali, said: “The collaboration with Progressive allows Generali to accelerate the execution of the strategy in regards to connected insurance and advanced analytics.”
Advanced Human Data: The Ultimate Tool For Preference And Customization
In a McKinsey & Company report, the following points were noted:
  • “Advanced data analytics is a means to an end. It’s a discriminating tool to identify, and then implement, a value-driving answer. And you’re much likelier to land on a meaningful [answer] if you’re clear on the purpose of your data.”
  • “The impact of big data analytics is often manifested by ... incrementally small improvements. If an organization can atomize a single process into its smallest parts and implement advances where possible, the payoffs can be profound.”
There is a consumer expectation gap between what consumers want delivered and what is actually being presented to them. In findings from our own VoC research, we have identified the following requirements:
  • Marketers must rethink data strategies to provide “smart” personalization that goes past short-term implicit data to long-term, relationship-building human data.
  • Every department and channel must respect customer preferences.
  • B2B and B2C customers are willing to provide trusted brands with deep business and personal information in exchange for more personalized offers and communications.
Sportswear manufacturer Adidas has committed to improving customer relationships by merging previously siloed data to enable the company to move away from atomistic bits of data to an interconnected 360-degree approach. Per senior project manager Sokratis Kartelias, the data overhaul uses “shared metadata service to deliver the most compelling, relevant, and relatable content to the right consumers. The company plans to do this by processing their consumers’ responses database to continually update personalization to be as relevant as possible.”
For years, data was something collected and used primarily for outbound sales. Recently, marketers are expanding the vast possibilities that human data provides for customer insights, product development, new channels of engagement, deep-level personalization, and so much more. This high-value data will help propel your business to the next level and serve as a formidable firewall against competition.

Monday, February 20, 2017

TIAA CMO Connie Weaver Answers 4 Questions for Marketing Innovators

Connie Weaver is an expert in brand transformation, customer analytics, and digital strategy. Her approach combines the “art and science” of branding by establishing data and measurement as a key complement to on-going innovation. Currently the Chief Marketing Officer for investment giant TIAA, she has led marketing efforts for a range of Fortune 100 companies, start-ups, and non-profit organizations.
Connie 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?
Breaking down the barriers to innovation, no question. It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it’s too difficult to innovate in a complex environment. This is the kind of shackled thinking that drives innovators crazy! Not only is this constrained confidence bad for you as a leader, it’s terrible for your organization.
Look at TIAA. Look at financial services. We are a nearly 100-year-old company in an industry loaded with many more guardrails than you’ll find elsewhere. FINRA, banking regulations, insurance compliance standards – the list goes on.
Yet we were able to innovate beyond even our own expectations throughout all phases of our transformation. We placed the customer at the center of every decision and asked, “How does our brand make the customer feel? How can we enhance that emotional connection?” We dramatically streamlined our website and online experience. Our marketing function collaborated with our legal and compliance groups to make sure our new “radically simple” language still fit within industry regulations.
And yes, there were barriers along every step. One of the keys to overcoming the pain points is to remember that you can innovate anywhere, anytime. If you make the customer a priority and passionately stand behind your mission, there is always a path. Sure, you may need to test and learn, walk before you run. We all do. But stay resolute in your efforts to be innovative and you will move the needle.
2. Why is this so important?
The results that you can drive through innovation make all of the effort worth it. Since rebranding TIAA, we have seen major improvements not only in awareness of our brand, but deeper understanding of what our brand stands for and how it can support the customer’s needs. We’ve also seen great leaps in online traffic and doubled the time visitors spend on our site.
These are major wins. And they have all occurred because of our commitment to innovate with the customer in mind. We continue to meet customers where they are in their financial journeys and provide them with the tools they need to reach major milestones. If we hadn’t decided to set off on this quest for innovation and transformation, we could possibly be falling behind our customers and what they need from us.
3. How can this improve the customer experience?
The experiences we are fostering for our customers are always top of mind for us. And that comes out of trust, loyalty and total transparency. We sat in the living rooms of customers to talk about their financial fears and trepidations. We took our focus way “off Broadway” and traveled to cities across the country to uncover major insights.
If customers feel front and center – and that you’re willing to innovate to help them and not just yourselves – then they are more likely to engage with your brand. And, we can achieve our goal of making our customers feel more confident in their financial futures.
4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
If there is true buy-in, innovation can galvanize an organization. This TIAA transformation was not about one single person being an innovator or one single idea being innovative. This has been about driving change for our customers and getting a lot of people to help us along the way.
From the beginning, we thought outside of the financial services box and stoked up partnerships internally. We worked hand-in-hand with sales, legal and compliance, finance, and strategic agencies.
And this all-in engagement is what has made me the most proud. I have led many successful brand transformations in all sorts of crisis and change, but never before have I seen this type of impact in such a short period of time. Our entire organization has rallied behind our customers. Ninety-six percent of our employees now understand the TIAA brand and what it represents. And we are excited to continue delivering innovation for 100 more years.
Bonus Question: What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I love working with nonprofit organizations to help them rebrand and become more customer-relevant. Making a difference matters to me and I’m lucky enough to serve on the boards of the national Make-A-Wish Foundation, Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, and the University of Connecticut Foundation. Let’s not forget roller coasters, skiing and hiking – as if my professional life isn’t exciting enough!
For additional Marketing Innovator stories, click here.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Don't Take It Personally, But Innovators Are Done With Personas

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CMO.com
“The reason personas failed to achieve true personalization is that they were too simplistic to reflect the unique attributes that differentiate individual customers and prospects from the mass of other similar customers and prospects. And that is the essence of true personalization.”
These sentiments belong to TIAA CMO Connie Weaver. Indeed, over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a surge in the number of companies disappointed by the lack of a significant increase in response and engagement from their traditional persona-based segmentation. Whereas personas were once a good starting point to identify “buckets” of customers, the limitations of persona-based marketing have become apparent as the consumer decision-making journey veered from its predictable linear path and increased in complexity.
“Customer expectations for personalization have changed with astonishing velocity in the past year and will continue to transform rapidly,” said Paul Andrukonis, director of channel engagement and personalization at Citi Global Cards. “To keep pace in today’s highly personalized marketplace, it’s essential to empower customers with the ability to shape their individual marketing and service experience with your brand.”
Persona Research Findings
A consistent finding has emerged from thousands of hours of B2B and B2C Voice of Customer (VoC) research our firm has conducted for brands such as Microsoft, MassMutual, Gilt, and QVC: “It is essential for marketers to establish ‘human partnerships and relationships’ post-sale. Consumer relationships require authentic and relevant communications and interactions.”
Additional thoughts from our research regarding the impact of personas gone wrong include:
  • “When I receive generic emails, it is obvious that you do not care enough to understand my individual needs. Instead, you are trying distill my complex needs into simple generalities to make your email blast easier for you ... and useless to me!”
  • “You marketers don’t seem to understand that personalized engagement post-sale is valuable for the customer and ... it forges strong ties with your company that serve as a ‘grace account’ upon which to draw when there is the almost-certain problem or outreach from competition.”
A Fortune CMO summed up the damage caused by traditional personas this way: “We are using new CRM technology to automate old bad behaviors ... not guided by how customers define improved CX and personalization ... so the result is irritating and brand-damaging spray and pray.”
Going Forward: Human Data-Driven Personalization
Traditional personas based on implicit data (web browsing behavior, data mined from social media, and purchased-based behaviors) do not provide the necessary depth of information to drive relevant communications and offers. As a result, today’s personas are not generating the expected increases in response. Marketers must now make a profound shift toward “human data,” which is based on explicit, self-profiled, opt-in preference data. Human data personalization is unique in that it lends itself to segmentation based on self-described personality types, attitudes, and life stages.
“We are shifting focus from products we want to sell to truly understanding the financial needs and uncertainties of our individual customers and how they ‘feel’ about these complex issues,” TIAA’s Weaver said. “This is a profound shift and will impact every aspect of our personalization, CX, and problem-solving for each individual customer.”
Added Citi’s Andrukonis: “You will not transform your key metrics, such as conversion rates, engagement, ROI, or anything else, until your customers see their voice reflected in where, when, and how you sell your products. Moreover, by letting customers make you smarter about how, and how frequently, you market your products, you create more opportunities to heighten engagement with your brand.”
Another brand leader, GameStop, is initiating new strategies to gain deeper insights about who its customers are in order to develop more authentic and effective human data-based personalization and CX strategies.
“We recently analyzed the personas we had been using and found that the customer had changed dramatically,” said Darin Smith, senior director of PowerUp Rewards at GameStop. “We are now rethinking the real-world, human differences, versus just transactional differences, among our individual customers and formulating a plan to engage with them as individual gamers versus superficial aggregates of different gamer personas.”
Another exciting innovator is luxury design brand Shinola. “Traditional personas tell you very little because they are based on simplistic models and transactions,” said CMO Bridget Russo. “They cannot help understand why customers bought, what motivated them to buy, etc. Cookie-cutter persona-based marketing will not work for today’s savvy buyers.”
Dennis Kopitz, Shinola’s director of ecommerce, added: “To achieve and scale true personalization, we need to obtain deep human insights regarding who buys which category of our products, why they buy, what their needs and expectations are, and what they want next from us. This will take us to a far deeper level of understanding than traditional personas.”
Persona Takeaways
How can you evolve to the next level of personalization and achieve “human data-based partnerships and relationships” with customers? Here are three considerations:
  • Traditional segmentation based on modeled “generic” personas does not differentiate individual consumer interests, lifestyles, and connection with the brand/product. Rather, it limits the ability to demonstrate why a consumer should purchase from it versus competitors.
  • Human data, based on explicit, self-profiled, opt-in preference information, drives deeper levels of understanding and is therefore the key to developing more significant relationships.
  • Poorly executed personalization is viewed as irritating by consumers and not only wastes of marketer’s time and resources, it damages brands.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Think Experiences — Not Channels — to Connect with Customers

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CustomerThink.com
“You can’t have your channels competing against one another … The goal is to get your organization as a whole to work toward overall revenue optimization, regardless of channel,” says John Romney, global practice lead of Omnichannel at NTT DATA.
Marketers are talking “omnichannel” but are still stuck in fragmented silos with competing goals, metrics and compensation. Meanwhile, customers have increased their expectations of a buying journey with one integrated, cross-channel experience. For 2017, it will be life threatening if marketers do not embrace and deliver simultaneous all-channel customer engagement.
According to the “Driving Shopper Engagement through Digital Technology” study by Synchrony Financial, “Over half the population has researched a product, checked in at a retailer, tracked rewards points, or checked out while using a smartphone in the last three months alone.” Other key points of this study;
  • Shoppers expect the digital experience to not only be present, but also proactive and seamless.
  • No longer just a tool for younger generations, the growth in smartphones has extended to everyone…. [There is] a dramatic rise in digital shopping, with almost 70% of the U.S. taking part in this now mainstream activity.
Additionally, in the 2016 POS/Customer Engagement Survey, it was noted, “85% of respondents indicated that unified commerce is their top priority.” The report goes on to state, “As retailers navigate among this ‘new’ retail environment, they realize the need to not only allow, but also encourage, the transcending of channels and personalization of the customer’s shopping experience…”
Apparel brand Perry Ellis put information from this POS/Customer Engagement study into action via a cloud-based technology solution, to create a “connected store” that uses digital tools within what it calls “a retail hub.” “Our goal was to create a highly designed shop with functionality and a focus on technology incorporation,” says Jennifer Stone Williams, vice president of retail services for Perry Ellis. The high tech retail space enables shoppers to discover the brand, have a personal moment, and engage with interactive, floating mirrors embedded with proximity sensors that offer product recommendations and styling suggestions.
Additionally, the company utilized iPads to free up sales associates to engage with consumers. “These mobile devices allowed the store associate to engage the customer anywhere in the store and throughout the transaction… [It} empower[s] the store associate to provide a much higher level of service to the customer and a more consultative sale,” says Mark Colbert, director of retail systems at Perry Ellis International. Via the iPad, sales associates can help shoppers access product and price information, ratings and reviews, check inventory and fulfill out-of-stock orders by accessing cross-store and cross-channel data to locate and ship an item to the customer’s door or sent as a gift.
Takeaways:
1. Shoppers do not segment their journey into separate channels, they look at their experience as a united all-inclusive venture. Therefore, marketers need to realign procedures to deliver a new type of engagement that delivers simultaneous all channel integration.
2. Rather than fighting the concept of “showrooming” (in which shoppers use mobile devices in store to gain product details and competitive information,) marketers need to embrace this shopper practice and develop sales associate training and procedures that provide opportunities for actionable shopper help.
3. Use of mobile technology is no longer a Millennial pursuit. Shoppers of all ages are now heavily engaged with mobile. In the “Driving Shopper Engagement through Digital Technology” study by Synchrony Financial it was noted, “The data shows that all retailers, no matter which generation they are targeting, need to embrace the growth of digital technology and its role in shoppers’ everyday lives.”
Providing a simultaneous all channel shopping experience is now mandatory to remain competitive and relevant. Marketers must keep developing new ways to innovate and deliver simultaneous all-channel customer engagement.

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.