By leveraging the intelligence and innovative technology available today, marketers can transform their teams into agile organisations, at least according to a new Kenshoo marketing guide.
That’s the recommendation of a new paper called the “Kenshoo Guide to Agile Marketing: How to get ahead and stay ahead in an ever-evolving digital landscape.” (Download here.) We will be examining the key points in the guide over the next week as part of a three part series.
According to the authors, predictive marketing solutions provide opportunities for marketers to improve plans and programs across the following five areas:
- Forecasting and planning;
- Audience creation and management;
- Channel management and optimization;
- Measurement and reporting;
- Attribution and analytics.
Let’s explore each of these in a little detail;
Forecasting & Planning
In 2013, McKinsey & Company analysis suggested that 46 percent of organizations who deployed big data/analytics tools did so to improve budgeting, forecasting, or planning processes. That represented a significant increase over the year before where the result was closer to one third of companies.
According to Kenshoo’s researchers, while this growth is encouraging the fact remains that the clear majority of organisations still rely on more manual strategies to make budgeting and forecasting decisions.
“Most likely, these marketers base planning on past performance and historical campaign data and don’t frequently evaluate (and re-evaluate) allocations. This approach can be problematic as the dynamic market requires a certain extent of fluidity.”
As the authors note, trends changes, competitors shift strategies, and consumer demand ebbs and flows.
“Without the foresight to account for these changes within the plan, you might be halfway through the year and realise your plans are inadequate and it’ll be too late to reach your goals.”
It is important to develop an integrated team that shares goals, performance, and insights, they say, and to avoid a siloed view of individual channels that limits the opportunity to maximise the portfolio of investments across channels.
Audience Creation & Management
Given the importance of reaching key audiences in real-time, agile marketers leverage behavioral and other audience data to serve more relevant ads and reach their desired audience according to the paper.
Yet, many marketers struggle with incomplete data and a fragmented view of their customers. For instance a study by Experian Marketing Services revealed that only 21 percent of marketers feel like they link offline and online identities “very well.” The other way to think of that is that almost 80 percent of marketers suffer from a lack of confidence with their customer data.
There are many challenges with customer data collection and cohesion, but the two key things that agile marketers need to do is ensure they pursue cross-channel targeting with intent and interaction data and that they retarget based on site/purchase/search/offline history.
Channel Management & Optimisation
To a certain extent, it’s feasible for humans to look at performance data, analyse it, and make optimisation decisions, and indeed this is the way marketers operated for decades. However, as Kenshoo’s paper notes, predictive marketing brings into play many more variables that are invisible to the human eye that in turn offers the opportunity to apply that knowledge in an integrated, cross-channel manner.
“In the era of data-driven analytics, algorithmic decisioning processes have the ability to scale the millions of calculations needed to determine the proper bids while considering cross-channel factors in a seamless manner.”
Measurement & Reporting
Overwhelmingly, reporting and measurement are key capabilities of a marketer’s strategy and the majority of Kenshoo’s clients agree that reporting is the most pressing task that would benefit from automation. “The ability to holistically track and analyze performance in a more automated and actionable fashion is the crux of improving marketing performance. Comprehensive data, delivered with recommendations and transparency, fuels more actionable analysis,” say the authors.
The report identifies two priorities for measurement and reporting including cross-device and cross-channel measurement, and the automated reporting with business application whereby marketers can pull data from various systems, to customise real-time dashboards.
Attribution & Analytics
Finally, it is clear that too many marketers still rely too heavily of last click attribution. But technology now offers far better alternatives. “With the amount of activity that can be tracked and analysed, an entire customer life cycle must be evaluated, rather than merely the scope of a single interaction.”
The authors of Kenshoo’s Agile Marketing guide say that accurate measurement should serve not just as a barometer of success during the span of a campaign but also act as the unifying force to activate insights across your digital programs.
“Many marketers are shifting to a multi-touch approach where all, not just the final, touch points are valued as influencers to action. Even still, attribution that is not connected to bidding misses the mark.”