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’Tis the Season…to Be Planning

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 21:40:57 +0000

I don’t know about you, but I’m completely in the spirit of the season—the planning season, that is. At the end of the year, it’s great to look back on all of our successes, but it can be even more exciting to turn toward what’s ahead. Hopefully, you’ve already started planning for 2018, and now you’re refining strategies, messages, plans and tactics. If you’re still in the early planning stages: STOP! Read no further. Because what I have for you is a list of challenging questions to ask yourself once you have a tentative plan in place. So if you’re ready, check out these five things to ask as you complete your marketing plan to ensure you’re on the right track as you enter the new year. Have I thought about the entire demand unit? Are you familiar with the new SiriusDecisions Demand Unit Waterfall™? Have you thought about experimenting with it? Switching completely over? Planning gives us the opportunity to bring in new methods of thinking and organizing our processes. Did your strategy and plan take some new basics into consideration? If yes, great! Make sure they made it all the way down the plan. If no, take a step back and ask yourself if a different perspective could yield some valuable insights into how to move forward with more impact. When and where can I change things? Having a strong North Star is critical to any plan’s success. But at a tactical level, you need to ensure you have some flexibility. Are there any big projects that will affect other projects? What happens if they are delayed or can’t be done? What if something doesn’t yield results? Can you add or subtract items from the plan? You can’t plan for the unknown, but you can plan on unknowns always popping up. Taking some time early on to identify risks and items that may change will ease stress if and when they do occur. Have I thought about new competitors? We always have our eye on the standard competition. But new, nontraditional competitors are entering the market all the time. How do you track these? How would you modify your plans to include them? Think about these now to help minimize surprises during the year. What am I testing and learning this year? I’m a big proponent of constantly learning—even with marketing campaigns. Have you worked new tactics, programs and/or optimization into your marketing plan? What does success look like? Whether you’re working on a large test project or small optimizations, make sure new information is accounted for in your plan, and that the team is up to speed on both what they’re learning and how to implement it. An easy example of why this is important: If you learn questions always work in subject lines but don’t create a new email campaign that uses them, what’s the point? Is it human? We’re business-to-business marketers, but guess who makes decisions about, and spends money for, those businesses? PEOPLE. Does your marketing plan focus on human behaviors and your audience’s struggles? Or is it focused on you, you, you? Being conscious of your audience and developing engaging creative will boost results. Challenge yourself on this to ensure your plan will yield maximum benefits. I hope these questions help guide your planning season, wherever you are in the process. And if you want to continue the discussion, please feel free to get in touch! Happy planning! Client Relationships, Inbound Marketing, Marketing Agency, Marketing Campaigns, Marketing Planning, Organization Design, Project Management, Sales and Marketing Operations[...]

How to Avoid Face Planting with Personalized Video

Sun, 29 Oct 2017 21:32:30 +0000

I was recently discussing a video campaign idea with a B2B marketer who asked me, “Before we move ahead, what’s the ROI of doing this video?” I presume she was hoping I’d say “$1 million!” or “500% return!”—but, as we all know, that’s impossible to predict. There are videos that outperform every possible expectation, and there are videos that completely flop. In my work with enterprise B2B brands on video strategies over the last decade, I’ve seen my share of both. Then, last year, my team won the Killer Content Award for Best B2B Video Series. So apparently we’re doing something right. One trend I’ve really enjoyed has been our increased use of personalized video (PV) to introduce huge new opportunities for brands. If you haven’t already seen Vidyard’s guide, How B2B Marketers Can Drive More Pipeline with Personalized Video, check it out. Considering how impressive the results can be, the temptation to take the plunge and create a personalized video of your own is huge. But as a seasoned PV pro, I can tell you rushing is a mistake. Assuming you want to make the biggest splash possible, here are five tips to help you avoid #videofailure:   Start with the Storyline, Not the Personalization When you’re working with a new media like personalized video, it’s easy to let the tool become the show. Don’t. Force yourself to develop a strong concept first—a solid message and a unique way to tell the story. Then, and only then, begin thinking about interesting ways to incorporate personalized data into the story. You’ll likely adapt the storyline as your personalized scenes take shape—and that’s OK. But if you lead with the gimmick and make the narrative an afterthought, personalization may be the only redeeming quality of your video. When that happens, your video will feel campy (in a bad way). The fact is, a personalized piece of crap is still a piece of crap. In short, personalization can make a great video epic, but it’s not a panacea.   Live Action Trumps Animation Ask yourself: What’s the secret behind the appeal of personalized video? It’s the perception that this video was filmed just for you. If you see an animated video that has your name in it, it’s obvious how that was done. It was created digitally using animation software, just like the rest of the video. No one is baffled at how you put their name at the top of a mass email either. But when you open up that email and see a live-action video frame with your name in the scene and it looks real, you wonder, “Did they really create this for me?” That curiosity is why personalized video can deliver click-through rates upwards of 19 times higher than non-personalized video. Will a personalized animated video outperform a non-personalized animated video? Yes. But I’m willing to bet that a personalized live action video will outperform a personalized animated video. Don’t underestimate the power of realism.   Go Beyond the Obvious If you’re creating a personalized video, you’re already in a category of advanced video marketers. Now you’ve got to earn it. Many of the obvious opportunities involve a scene where your audience’s name shows up printed on a sheet of paper. That’s fine, but try to dig a little deeper. Consider textures, unconventional canvases and other ways to make your personalization a little less overt. As noted above, the more natural the better. In a recent customer appreciation video, we created a comfy space for clients, complete with personalized coffee mugs. Here, we used a magic eight ball to reveal a customer’s name.   Plan for Inbound Audiences As you plan the personalized scenes throughout the video, consider your inbound/anonymous audience. Ideally, the video shouldn’t be awkward without the personalization. Think through what will become if you don’t know the viewer’s first name. Will you serve up an alternative video file with subtly altered scenes or display a generic text replacement where the perso[...]

Becoming Irresistible

Mon, 28 Aug 2017 17:29:31 +0000

“When people love their work and their workplace, when they trust each other, when they have pride not only in what they’re doing but also in what everyone is doing together, you have a workplace that is productive, effective, efficient, successful and irresistibly great.” —Lolly Daskal, President and CEO, Lead From Within Last summer, a group of Bulldogs attended the Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work award luncheon. When we saw all the cool things companies like WP Engine, Kasasa and Spiceworks were doing to stand out, our leadership team started to think—how can we be among the best? How can Bulldog Solutions become a more irresistible place to work? And so began the process of zeroing in on a clear intention for how we would create a better workplace. From then to now, we’ve researched, built a committee, created new policies and set up an infrastructure to get there. We started by gathering research from Deloitte and other consulting firms as well as highlights from The Great Workplace. We learned what it takes to attract, retain, build and develop an organization that naturally keeps everyone motivated, engaged and satisfied. Deloitte University Press | We believe healthy growth in our employees will promote healthy growth in our company. So, we pulled it all together in a way that focuses on each employee and their overall well-being. We call it the Irresistible Workplace, and it consists of five pillars: Meaningful work. Empower people with autonomy, and they will not sit still. People are not inherently lazy, as Daniel Pink, who gave the now infamous Ted Talk and wrote the best-selling book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, so expertly pointed out. According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow, the goal is to cultivate an environment that “stretch[es] our limits…to accomplish something difficult and [at the same time] worthwhile.” Autonomy: The desire to direct our own lives—where, when and how people get work done Mastery: The urge to always get better Purpose: The wish to work in service of something larger than ourselves Hands-on management (without micromanaging). We hire great people and give them both the space and attention they need through coaching, mentoring and one-on-one discussions. Modern performance management, the traditional and dreaded annual review process, is broken, outdated and ineffective—both for the organization and in creating employee engagement. Therefore, we’ve redefined what this means for us, and it includes:Making organizational goals everyone’s goals: By aligning companywide goals to departmental and individual goals, each person can make an impact on Bulldog getting to where it wants to go. Providing regular feedback: Biweekly one-on-one meetings between managers and employees to discuss progress help us stay focused and on track, as opposed to bringing it up months later to ask, “Did you grow over the course of the year?” Developing employee leadership: Through coaching, feedback, clear and transparent goals, and access to learning and training opportunities, employees can grow in their leadership skills.   Positive work environment. A healthy work-life balance is key to the Irresistible Workplace. If employees spend almost as much time at work as they do at home, we want to make the time spent at work as enjoyable as possible. That’s why we celebrate all wins, big and small. With our employee recognition system (YouEarnedIt, annual employee awards (voted on by employees), a new bring your dog to work policy, a guilt-free time off policy with unlimited PTO, yearly events like our famed Golden Mic, volunteer days and a kitchen stocked with HEALTHY foods and snacks, we’re hoping to provide an environment that’s fun and inclusive. Growth opportunities. Since we work in an industry that’s constantly changing, we embrace a culture of learning. Whether that’s attending conferences, like Oracle MCE or Marketo Marketing Nation Summ[...]

Your 7-Step Checklist to Creating Content That Works

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 21:21:45 +0000

In our previous blog, we wrote about “naked content,” our theory that high-quality content cannot stand on its own. We, as content creators, also need to look at how that content functions as part of the digital landscape. In this installment, we will give you a practical “before, during and after” guide to make sure you don’t leave your content exposed. Define your channel. Before you make your newest, “awesomest” piece of content, know where you want to promote it and ensure that your co-workers are not all planning the same thing. If everyone else is making an infographic to promote via Facebook, yours will just get lost in the noise. If you create a new amazing video for your website, first make sure that there is room on your site on a page that makes strategic sense, and is also highly trafficked with a history of good engagement. Even Game of Thrones might have risked obscurity if it had appeared below the fold. Create an SEO strategy. Always, always, always consult with an SEO expert. If you don’t have an expert handy, start doing some research yourself. You don’t need to be a front-end developer to use Google Trends, plan for backlinks or make some simple usability recommendations.   Use your budget wisely. Don’t use up all your budget creating the asset. If any of us truly knew what our customers wanted, we would be billionaires. But we can’t predict, so leave resources to optimize the asset based on your visitors’ behavior. Small changes can add up to big wins.   Consider consumability. Build your content with the consumer in mind. Make your articles scannable. At the beginning of a video, add a timestamp. We are inundated with content and messaging all day, and even a few minutes is a lot to ask. Give your visitors opportunities to decide if they want to offer you that time. If you don’t, they won’t.   Review for usability. After you have created your new asset, don’t just review it for edits—test how easy it is to read, watch and/or interact with it. Create a test group and get their feedback. Did they stop hearing the information after a certain point in the video? Did they try to scan your article but couldn’t find what they needed?   Plan the journey. Before posting, find a place for the content to live. If you have a hard time navigating your website, your visitors will most likely have trouble, too.   Marinate in the numbers. Once the asset is live, take a look at the numbers and think through how to allocate your optimization budget. Here are some suggestions: If your bounce rate is high, check the page load times. We often attribute bounce to market fit, but according to Kissmetrics, high load times can be one of the biggest detriments to getting a visitor to consume your content. If your unique visitors are low, check your last touch channels. Did that SEO consultation work? A knee-jerk reaction might be to throw money at a promotion or to blast your social followers, but nurturing an SEO program will have a longer-term payoff. If your content is not on the homepage, then look at what the navigation to your page is, or consider the role of the microsite and digital journey. How many clicks and scrolls does it take a visitor to find you? Remember, the first rule in usability is “don’t make me think.” We like to add “or work.” Take a look at your clicks/visits and the click tags to see if users who come to your page are clicking where you want them to. If not, work with your agency partners to deploy a  “heatmapping” tool that can let you see how and where people are accessing your content and messages. This way, you can see if visitors are reaching your content where it lives. If they aren’t, it’s time to talk to your usability expert. Don’t have one on site? Then go to the page yourself and figure out how much work you need to do to find your content. For example, if you live below the fold on a page, is it easy for a first-time visitor to reali[...]

Elizabeth Sener: Unleashed

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 18:59:02 +0000

Have you ever wondered about the wildly creative, totally geek individuals behind Bulldog’s industry know-how, marketing savvy and lush fur? You’re not alone! So, we’ve asked our dogs some questions about themselves and life in the Dog House to help you get to know us better.

This week, we’re featuring our outstanding media coordinator, Elizabeth Sener, who brings years of media buying and planning experience to the Bulldog pack.


Now, let us tell you a little more about what makes Liz tick…

Where did you come from? Please give us a brief background.

I've lived in nine different states, the longest stay in a state being six years in Maine where my parents currently reside. I associate myself mostly as a Northeasterner because Maine is where I spent my middle school and high school years.

I've also been a resident of Florida, Alaska, Wisconsin, Maine, Virginia, Iowa, Illinois (Chicago), Maryland and now Texas, where I hope to stay.

Name one thing that has surprised you about Bulldog.

The people! I knew coming in that the people would be a good fit, but not to the extent that it turned out. I really like the diversity in characters. I'm really enjoying both the work and the people. It can be intense at times, but I receive fulfillment from what gets accomplished.

What’s your favorite thing about Austin?

The atmosphere. The collection of people with different backgrounds, the music, the landscape—it all creates a wonderful atmosphere to call home. Austin is one of the best places I've ever lived!

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

People tend to be surprised by how independent and rowdy I can be, since my first impressions don’t usually present those traits. I frequently attend concerts and festivals of all sorts and, if I lose my group, I just take it as an opportunity for a solo adventure. Next thing you know, I'm crowd surfing to the front or making new friends.

Provide a quotable quote from someone in our industry that inspires you. Or one that rings true to you and explain why.

"Most marketers create good enough and then quit. Greatest beats good enough every time." —Seth Godin

This quote is not even just for marketers; this is how I try to live my life. Just “good enough” is never enough; there needs to be a constant striving for better.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

"Liz out" *mic drop* is about as far into karaoke as I get. 

Working at Bulldog

Naked Content? Consider the Bigger Mix.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 21:36:18 +0000

“Content marketing” is one of the most important, yet overused, B2B marketing terms in the last 5–7 years. On one hand, it is a term that has been so overused that it is almost meaningless. It isn’t difficult to find stories about hundreds of influencers who have little practical experience yet seem to keep their calendars filled with consulting gigs and panels where they say profound things like “be customer-centric” or “tell a good story.” On the other hand, the very fact that content marketing is in vogue and surging in terms of popularity over the last few years speaks to the reality that marketing needed (and needs) to evolve. Years of spam, impersonal mass distribution and mass media lacked authenticity and connection. The power always resides with the customer. Content marketing done well is creating narratives and experiences that connect with people where they are—the tried and true adage of “right person, right place and right time.” Vulnerable (and Alone) Often, however, what we observe is what resembles the first generation of content marketing. The gold rush to editorial calendars, newsrooms and rich media ushered in a renaissance of improved and even great content and assets. Storytellers, journalists and wickedly smart, rich content are sought after and considered integral to most B2B campaigns. Yet, the rush to content marketing has often caused B2B organizations and their agencies to over-rotate on content quality and to get excited about that aspect without thinking about content as a part of a conversation supported by insights, technology, data, media, etc. Great content that’s been vetted, tested and creatively delivered can be left vulnerable and at times be judged unsuccessful if it’s asked to do all the work. Before your customers dive into your titillating article/Tumblr/video/cinemagraph, they must be 1) able to find it and 2) convinced that they should give that content their time that might otherwise be used on valuable activities, like watching that video where the baby panda sneezes.  Enter Team Content Great content requires a team of sorts—a team where each player has a position and a role to play.  They include (but aren’t limited to): Search Platform UX Story/message Form factor Media Each of these works in support of content’s success. Each should be measured to help inform how marketing teams can adjust these dials to test, observe and see when and where the content performs best—to see where in the buyer’s journey it resonates most and to see how rich media and assets can be adjusted to better engage and drive demand. In practice, this means your CTA, your page design, your SEO and your promotional channels are just as important as the quality of your content. Take CTAs, for example. If you can’t convince your customers to click on your content, then you have already lost. BuzzFeed boasts that it spends longer on writing its titles than it does on the actual articles. That’s second-generation content marketing. Or look at UX; if your customers land on a page but don’t realize there are incredible things waiting for them below the fold, they won’t ever get there. All those dollars spent on creating “The. Best. Video. Ever.” will go to waste if Marketing does not stop to first consider whether users can find the video and will be sufficiently enticed to give it their time. Forget the 10-second, three-second or whichever second version you have heard to grab your customer’s attention; the battle is getting them there first. Advertising & Media, Demand Creation, Inbound Marketing, Marketing Agency, Marketing Automation, Marketing Campaigns, Marketing Planning, Marketing Technology, Outbound Marketing, Reporting and Analytics, Sales and Marketing Operations, Sales Enablement, Social Media, Web Design[...]

Three Steps to Creating a Culture That Embraces Metrics That Suck

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 23:04:30 +0000

 “WHEN YOU TAKE RISKS, YOU LEARN THAT THERE WILL BE TIMES WHEN YOU SUCCEED AND THERE WILL BE TIMES WHEN YOU FAIL, AND BOTH ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT.” —Ellen Degeneres “SUCCESS IS NOT FINAL, FAILURE IS NOT FATAL: IT IS THE COURAGE TO CONTINUE THAT COUNTS.” —Winston Churchill There’s a disconnect between what we say as B2B executives and marketing leaders and how we lead and act on the metrics we ask for and celebrate. We love to use inspirational quotes, like the ones above, as we talk about topics like agile, digital marketing or being customer-led. Yet, do those words of wisdom connect to actions? Are we asking how we can be doing better? Are we looking at our content and being honest about what’s not working and then seeking to understand why before we abandon it altogether? Do we spend more time touting media impressions than digging into where our digital journeys are broken or could be improved? Our teams are talking and they’re watching. They are talking about how they’re often asked to deliver “bright and shiny” activities that produce “vanity metrics” that are the infamous hockey sticks (up and to the right) or that can be manipulated. Everyone knows that the sexy and the sizzle feed into overall awareness and positivity, but they also want to really dig into what’s not working and learn if the campaigns and activities are connecting with the right audiences—without fear. In fact, a recent TrackMaven study shows that nearly 51% of marketers are still focused on metrics that aren’t tied to leads or Sales.  And, agencies? Agencies are notorious for touting reach, eyeballs and inflated social metrics without offering up or asking for permission to dig deeper. This odd dynamic exists for a variety of reasons: quarterly earnings and sales cycles, old-school agency thinking, the inability of many organizations and agencies to think about marketing investment like a portfolio with near-term and long-term investments, and the reality that we didn’t always have the tools we have today. Mostly, I think it’s that executives are fearful of what the “not so good” might unleash. It’s time. It’s time to follow through on what we say we believe and embrace metrics that suck—or that just don’t seem quite right. Here are three actions to take today to change the way we look at metrics. Change the narrative. Increase the frequency that your team looks at metrics and engagement scores. Don’t wait for quarterly reviews. Refuse to have any report or discussion that hides metrics that aren’t performing well or that shows they aren’t reaching the right audiences. Boldly start reporting up the good (and not so good) as it’s important to coach leadership to become accustomed to you being a marketing leader that shows data-driven insights that are real and authentic. Change the narrative and the way you, your team and your agency speak about ROI and metrics so people start to get excited about how you can always improve and use your money more efficiently.  Look for, and demand, to understand cause and effect. Deploy the “power of 3” and ask “Why?” three times as your team looks to understand why you aren’t getting the right Business Decision Maker (BDM) to engage with your content. It could be as simple as your UX being wrong. Executives can ask more of their teams and agencies by not just requesting vague “performance” analysis but asking for their organizations to link how the content and campaigns being developed help solve for “x” business problem. Or, maybe your media is too focused on a persona versus those who are actively searching for you. Ask for/demand recommendations on how to measure better or how to continuously improve. Every metric or indicator that seems off should be followed by an active discussion and/or reasoned thought about how to improve. Constantly monitor and test. What is grea[...]

Leads Are Dead…and Other Pithy Thoughts from #SDSummit17

Fri, 26 May 2017 05:06:08 +0000

This blog is about the next-generation demand waterfall presented at SiriusDecisions Summit 2017. If you are unfamiliar with this, click here for some background details. A theme will always emerge from SDSummit, and this year was no different. From the moment Terry Flaherty, SiriusDecisions Analyst, presented the next-generation demand waterfall and declared, “Leads are dead,” the theme for the year was in place. While the new model replaces leads, it’s not a new name for the same old thing. The next-gen demand waterfall is a needed advancement for marketing strategy – it is not simply a re-labeling of the old funnel. And, here’s why: Teams make large purchasing decisions The next-gen demand waterfall recognizes the reality that complex B2B sales, with high-average selling prices, are executed by teams of buyers. This is the Demand Unit. And with the Demand Unit comes the extinction of leads. According to Flaherty, this environment requires that we organize all potential buyers from an account by need/solution and buying team. This also means that we need to organize Sales and Marketing by buying team; and by extension, Product must also be aligned. And just to add a little complexity to the equation, we also know that in the enterprise space, organizations sell multiple solutions and there will be multiple buying teams. Nobody said it was going to simple. Building the Demand Unit and tracking it through the waterfall is the next pursuit of modern marketers. TAM versus active demand In 2017, intent and predictive data went from being a good idea to a sustained part of the demand ecosystem. The addition to the next-gen demand waterfall of total addressable market (TAM) and those in your TAM actively seeking a solution (active demand) has created a permanent and sustainable place for all data providers. This is huge! Intent data and predictive analytics have officially been awarded a home in the new demand waterfall, and you are no longer allowed to be a skeptic about these concepts or the companies that provide them. If you want to know who in your TAM is potentially seeking a solution, then the official answer from SiriusDecisions is to utilize intent and predictive to make that determination. In 2018, we should also expect to see a clear stratification with winners, losers and consolidation in this space. If you’ve been reluctant to adopt intent or predictive solutions, now is the time to dip your toe into the water. There will never be a better time than this to learn how to leverage this type of data into your marketing mix. Tracking the Demand Unit in your reporting So, the flip side of the next-gen demand waterfall is that you still need to track and report everything you tracked and reported in the old demand waterfall. Wut? The tracking and conversion of individuals is still required. Ensuring that all of this behavior is tracked and recorded will still be important for measuring progress through the funnel. However, there is now the added burden of being able to roll up this activity within an account and within the buying team to report on the Demand Unit. How this happens is not clear for everyone, but at the very least, there will need to be some type of Demand Unit ID assigned to members of a buying team. Without this, you will not be able to reconcile the activities of individuals into the Demand Unit. This will be an ongoing and important sidebar to the roll out of the next-gen demand waterfall. Reporting and analytics companies could be caught flat if they do not react to the new Demand Unit. Tracking multiple individuals against a single account and opportunity requires new capabilities for reporting, and this potentially means adding custom data objects. The Demand Unit ID will need to be tracked just like Campaign ID and Asset ID – and no one is really ready for that. Do we still care about ABM? Acco[...]

MarTech 2017: Managed Machines, ABM and Other Tech Trends

Thu, 25 May 2017 03:21:00 +0000

A couple of weeks ago, we attended the third annual MarTech Conference in San Francisco. Scott Brinker kicked off the event by showing the 2017 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic, a staple in the martech space. Brinker enlisted the help of Anand Thaker, and together, they reviewed the growing landscape that now includes 5,000+ technologies. The 2017 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic, which grew 40% since last year. Aside from reviewing the 40 percent martech growth from last year, Brinker and Thaker also segmented the data to get a glimpse of the individual players based on company size and maturity. As it turns out, 48 percent of the technologies are startups compared to roughly only 7 percent that are enterprise platforms. What does this mean for our industry? Well for starters, things are changing fast. You’ll need to be quick and agile if you want to keep up. And, you’ll have to stay on top of trends. That’s why we’ve taken the top five trends from MarTech 2017 and distilled them here: Tech Suites vs. Point Solutions Recent trends show that companies are opting to utilize both technology suites and point solutions. Organizations are leveraging marketing technology suites like Adobe Marketing Cloud and Oracle Marketing Cloud while continuing to leverage specialized solutions (predictive, social, work management) to fill in the gaps. During Wednesday’s keynote session, Meagen Eisenberg, MongoDB’s CMO, advised against adopting any new technology unless someone on your marketing team is going to champion it—reminding us that technology without a need or owner is not a recipe for success. MarTech Meets AI While MarTech isn’t intended to be an artificial intelligence (AI) conference, AI proved to be a hot topic. Even as long-time technologists, we were still a bit jolted hearing how prevalent AI already is. The current AI connection between marketing and customer experience is primarily seen with software applications like chatbots and customer data platforms that power truly data-driven approaches and experiences. In his session, How AI Will Change Marketing Forever, Christopher Penn noted that marketing agencies are constantly faced with requests for fast, cheap and good. According to Penn, marketing won’t ever be able to hit that trifecta with the current required human element. In order to get there, we’ll need to leverage machines. Penn walked us through how marketing uses AI today, the maturity model of AI and the impact it will have on the future of marketing. Today’s repetitive (more than 3 times) or templated tasks should (and will) become automated. As marketers, we’ll need to diversify our skillsets as replacing a human with multiple skillsets is harder than replacing someone with just one skillset. He noted that the more creative and valuable the work, the more machine prone it will be. And then, Penn closed with a chilling final message, “Either you will manage the machines, or the machines will manage you.”  Data-Driven Customer Experience Another common theme over the course of the conference was the importance of focusing on customers to drive marketing strategy and technology. While this isn’t a new insight, it’s important to be reminded that creating a valuable customer experience should determine the tools and tactics marketers deploy. In one session, Kyle Duford talked about how Dr. Martens is using Lytics to power “authentic, personalized marketing.” Lytics, a customer data platform, acts as a hub where marketing and sales platforms (MAP, CRM, web analytics and social media management) integrate. The AI-powered Lytics engine then analyzes that incoming data to return insights on your customer database, such as affinity for certain types of products, likelihood to engage with specific marketing channels and propensity to buy. Duford[...]

Adapting and Reinventing: Oracle MCE2017 Recap

Wed, 17 May 2017 14:35:59 +0000

At this year’s Oracle Modern Customer Experience conference (MCE17), one theme prevailed (or at least buzzed in the background) throughout the sessions: adapt to survive and never stop reinventing and reassessing. How fitting for a conference that just went through its own rebranding—from the Modern Marketing Experience to the Modern Customer Experience! The event featured a fascinating mix of broad strokes keynotes from industry leaders and motivators, as well as some meticulous deep-dive sessions to satisfy the marketing nerds in all of us. The talks also challenged us to examine the unforgiving pace of innovation in marketing, and how some companies and individuals disrupted their old ways of thinking about marketing to be a force for positive change in their businesses. Some big questions were asked: What can we do as marketers to create memorable moments that resonate with customers, and how do you execute so these experiences are always fresh and relevant?  How do brands use technology to innovate customer interactions and roll up multiple marketing areas to create one holistic and adaptable customer experience?  What steps should we take to both optimize and innovate those experiences to delight our audience beyond their expectations? There were plenty of opportunities to get introspective around applying these ideas to our own projects here at Bulldog Solutions. We’ve compiled our top 5 favorite moments from the conference – hopefully these might inspire some innovation for you as well!  Rethink what you send to Sales. Defining a Modern Marketing Metric: the CoRe MQL (a Conversation Ready lead) #CoReMQLs #tweetchat #ModernCX — Dave Ewart (@clickbyclick) April 27, 2017 One of my favorite breakout sessions was done by Dave Ewart, Head of Digital Marketing at Oracle, and Vivek Venugopal, Enterprise Account Executive at LinkedIn. Ewart explained he has been transitioning from sending Sales all Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) to only sending Conversation Ready (CoRe) MQLs as defined in the slide shown above. Not only did their conversion rate and velocity data support Ewart’s move, but so did Oracle’s Sales team as they saw the quality of leads improve. Has the definition of an MQL been watered down over the years? Especially if marketing’s effectiveness is judged through quotas, or quantity, rather than revenue influence, or quality? If your Sales team is clamoring for better leads, Ewart and Venugopal challenged that it may be time to tighten your MQL threshold. Nurture individual needs.  Great quotable quote from a session with @lookbookhq and @heatherfoeh. #MME17 — Amy Griswold (@ACGrizz) April 26, 2017 LookBookHQ’s VP of Customer Experience, Heather Foeh, and ADP’s Lead Center Director, Maureen Tusim, suggested that we change the way we nurture. Instead of giving prospects a droplet of water once a week for five weeks and expecting that to meet each person’s thirst needs, why not give them the hose and let them decide how much or how little to drink and when? Many marketers have been nurturing with a one-size-fits-all approach, but Foeh and Tusim urged us to shift focus to meet the individual needs of each customer. Some companies are doing this through content hubs while others are turning to solutions like LookBookHQ’s, which was described as letting the individual partake in content when they are ready and to the extent they want it—even going on a content binge if they so desire—and then feeds the resulting data back into your marketing automation platform (MAP) for your use. Tame uncertainty with automation. Creating hand raisers using @OracleMktgCloud helps @ModCloth align demand says @Jaredstivers. #MME17 #ModernCX — Marketing Cloud (@OracleMktgClou[...]