THE AGE FOR AN ENTIRELY NEW TOOLBOX

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Last year Adobe issued its annual survey results on digital marketing. The report provides excellent insights into how businesses are continuing to respond to and capitalize on social media. I highly recommend the report.

Companies that choose to stay ahead of the competition are companies that have learned the value of digital marketing. It is another tool in the toolbox, but it is an incredibly powerful tool. The more you learn about it the more you realize it is a suite of tools that can fill your toolbox to overflowing. Their value derives from the targeted customer experience improvements, process efficiency gains, and people empowerment. The Adobe report describes it this way:

Organizations that take the planned approach to their digital maturity are not simply stacking tools on the shelf, they’re using them to make steady improvements and gain on their competitors.

Companies that choose to adopt this strategy manifest an ongoing refinement of their digital marketing proficiency. For example, companies that invest in digital marketing maturity are:

  • 200% more likely to have mobile app analytics.
  • 200% more likely to have automated behavioral targeting.
  • 250% more likely to do attribution modeling.
  • 330% more likely to be doing multivariate testing.

No one is a real carpenter without the right tools. Modern marketing carpenters today had better outfit themselves with the tools that a mature digital marketing strategy provides.


CONTINUOUS ATTENTION CALLS THE CUSTOMER

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Last year Adobe issued its annual survey results on digital marketing. The report provides some fascinating insights into how businesses are continuing to respond to and capitalize on social media. I highly recommend the report.

A particularly important point in the report involves how organizations think about their investment in digital marketing. Because digital marketing is itself a maturing market, optimization is achieved more through small steps as opposed to massive changes. This requires continuous attention to the customer experience. Will every business commit to that journey? Not necessarily, as Adobe reports:

The journey toward optimization is one that many start but few complete. By its very nature, digital optimization is ongoing, with no true end point. But as we enter this customer-focused marketing era, optimization should be seen as an organization-wide mindset that involves continuous, iterative improvement of digital experiences to achieve business goals.

Unlike some things in life, you cannot set it and forget it. However, what you can do is continuously keep your digital marketing at the top of its game by making regular small changes and measuring the results. Because the marketplace is changing constantly, you can never assume that your current optimization configuration is settled law. Rather, you must keep your finger on the pulse of your customers so that you know when changes to your approach are wise:

An organization with a culture of optimization uses data to identify areas for improvement on their digital properties, tests ways to make those improvements, and makes frequent and iterative changes based on what works and what doesn’t.

Therefore, as you commit to the ongoing refinement of your digital marketing strategy, you thereby enhance the quality of your customer experience. In today’s competitive marketplace, that is a goal worth achieving.


DIGITAL MARKETING PRIORITIZATION

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Last year Adobe issued its annual survey results on digital marketing. The report provides some fascinating insights into how businesses are continuing to respond to and capitalize on social media. I highly recommend the report.

One of the first insights that stood out to me are what the numbers say about how intensely (or how mildly) organizations are embracing all that digital marketing has to offer. A key question asked was “does your organization have initiatives in place to mature your digital marketing?” Note the interesting spread in the results:

  • 45%—My organization does not formalize plans.
  • 36%—There are priorities in place this year that will help.
  • 19%—We make specific plans and investments to mature.

For a long time, social media and digital marketing were on the cutting edge. Not every business seriously considered them. Many today still don’t. Be that as it may, the organizations that want to maximize their target audience influence are the organizations that make digital marketing a top priority.

And that is why the numbers are so interesting to me. Only 19% of the respondents were able to affirm that they make specific plans and investments to mature their digital marketing programs. There is a reason it is called the cutting edge. It appears that the cutting edge today is only 19%.

Repeatedly, I have seen this to be true: the organizations that make social media and digital marketing a top priority are the organizations that thrive. The ones that don’t always seem to have a good excuse, but good excuses don’t make payroll.


IN FROM THE OUTSIDE

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Arnold Donald is the relatively new CEO of Carnival, a leading travel and pleasure cruise company. In his effort to infuse new creativity throughout the organization, he capitalized on diversity principles. He understood how important it is to bring in fresh blood. Therefore he worked hard to bring in new-hires from other industries and simultaneously he worked to promote internal promising candidates from various backgrounds. His efforts so far have been successful.

Mark Conroy, an industry consultant, observed Carnival’s recent positive growth and expansion. His assessment links to a successful diversity strategy (Christopher Palmeri “Carnival Rocks the Boat” Bloomberg Businessweek, 11/16/15–11/22/15, pp. 22–23.):

‘Mr. Donald has kind of shaken up the place. . . . You had people who grew up in the business, and they’re always doing the same thing. People from the outside look at things differently.’” (p. 23)

Sometimes organizational leadership is hesitant to bring in someone “different.” Maybe they are worried about rocking the boat. Maybe they are worried about what new ideas might arise. Maybe they are worried that the future will not match their vision.

Sometimes, the best move a company can make is to bring in someone “different.” Rocking the boat with new ideas might be exactly what is needed to produce a future that blows everyone’s vision out of the water.


SEEING YOUR BLIND SPOTS

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Can you see your own blind spots? By definition of course, the answer is no. What is true for a person is true for a corporation. That is why diversity is so important to individuals and to corporations.

Jan Swarz is the president of Princess Cruises. One day in a corporate meeting, the discussions involved what should be done about bedding on the company’s 18 ships. After lots of talk about various aspects of mattress construction and fabrics, Jan exposed a blind spot by highlighting the menopause situation (Christopher Palmeri “Carnival Rocks the Boat” Bloomberg Businessweek, 11/16/15–11/22/15, pp. 22–23. 96):

That’s something few men would have brought up at a high-level corporate meeting. But the average Princess guest is 53 years old, Swartz says, and she’d gotten an earful from some of them about the night sweats and hot flashes associated with menopause. So she pushed her staff to find duvets that look plush without trapping too much heat and to design the bedding in layers that could easily be taken on and off.” (p. 22)

Another problem solved because someone on a team with a different viewpoint spoke! This is how diversity works. It doesn’t matter how smart you or your team might be. Even genius requires perspective for its wisest application. Diversity can bring that needed perspective.

As it turns out, Arnold Donald (the CEO) had appointed Swartz to her position with the specific purpose of stimulating diverse thinking. And it worked. And Donald has continued to look for ways to diversify his staff so that Princess Cruises will continue to benefit from diversity. He clearly understands its value as he affirms:

‘I guarantee if you get a diverse group of people aligned around a common objective with a process to work together, they will out-engineer, out-solution a homogeneous team 90 percent of the time and create things none of them alone would have created.’” (p. 22)

The next time your team has an important objective to achieve, remember that it will be even more important that you involve a diversity of people . . . unless of course, you are happy about all your blind spots.