Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Agencies Still Struggling With Marketing Technology

In a recent report entitled "Help Wanted: 21st Century Agency" Forrester analyst Peter Kim comments on ad agencies' role in the delivery of marketing technology:
Today, agencies must deliver technology — in addition to creative — expertise, and many traditional agencies struggle to adapt. In fact, marketers view advertising agencies as least competent among service providers to deliver marketing technology.
Marketing services companies - such as mine - are the best placed to deliver these tools to our clients - who better understands the challenges, has the broadest experience of the different tools and can identify best practices from across industries ? If all that is true (and I think it is), then what is going wrong? The report points out that a bigger share of the overall marketing budget is being allocated to marketing technology and that agencies are competing with internal groups, system integrators and consultants for the right to provide these services.

Technology used to be at the service of marketing, today it increasingly defines it, if agencies are to retain their place - they must accept and embrace this.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Targeting Takes Centre Stage

Two big players in the on-line marketing/search arena announced acquisitions of smaller marketing technology companies to enhance their ability to target their online offers. Fox Interactive Media (a division of News Corp) acquired Strategic Data Corporation with the intention of being able to provide better segmentation of the MySpace data it controls and thus offering better targeting capabilities. In December last year MySpace surpassed Yahoo in visits for the first time becoming the most visited site in the US.
Omniture purchased TouchClarity a behavioural targeting firm. TouchClarity’s technology platform allows advertisers to present relevant offers to site visitors based on their on-site behaviour. Couple that data with the things we already use to target offers – source, location and perhaps keyword and failure to engage (apparently) anonymous visitors with a relevant message, offer or other call to action is no longer an option.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Listening Tools

Listening attentively to customer interactions to gain early insight into potential customer issues, up and cross-sell opportunities and other insights is not really new. Using powerful speach analytics bots to detect specific keywords (competitors' names...), emotions or even intonation such as sarcasm provides an important edge.

As Forrester Research puts it "Insight gained from data available today, sitting unused in contact center data warehouses, can supplement (or replace) expensive surveys and customer focus groups to find out what customers think about the company, its products, and its services." I would add its competitors....

Gartner predicts that such approaches will not become mainstream until 2009. Any business that depends heavily on a contact centre must get ahead of the curve. Key movers in this space are: Autonomy, CallMiner, Nexidia, Nuance Communications and Utopy.

Monday, 19 February 2007

Fun 'n' Games

Google has made a significant step in pushing towards presenting ads in on-line games. The deal to acquire Adscape Media for 23 Million USD was announced last week. This follows hot on the heels of Microsoft's acquisition of Massive in 2006. Massive provides similar services specifically in Microsoft's MSN Games and on Xbox Live. Adscape's key product allows developers to place dynamic ads inside the game.

Why? A recent Forrester study indicates that in-game advertising is the single best way for marketers to reach teens.



From World of Warcraft - The largest commercial multi-player on-line game

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Mobile in Barcelona

Lots of fun stuff going on at the 3GSM get together in Barcelona this week. Much movement around online advertising from Yahoo and moves in mobile search from Microsoft.

Yahoo has begun offering its brand advertising to reach mobile phone users across 19 markets in Western Europe, South Asia and the Americas. The company has signed up major advertisers including Hilton's Embassy Suites, Infiniti, Intel, Nissan, Pepsi and P&G.

By expanding onto mobile phones, Yahoo aims to offer coordinated campaigns that reach both online and mobile audiences, this builds on an exclusive partnership deal it struck in November with Vodafone to provide corporate brand ads in Britain.

In the mobile search space, Microsoft announced Live Search for Windows Mobile and Live Search for Java providing advanced local search and mapping capabilities on a compatible mobile device.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Personalised Billboards

Richard from Enprecis brought this to my attention... Mini continues to deliver innovative communications. (full disclosure, I have one and love it). They have recently launched an RFID pilot in 4 cities in the US where selected drivers will be given a keyfob cunningly disguised as an RFID tag (or vice versa). Every time the car passes by the active billboard, the driver's personal message will be displayed in lights. Sadly NY is not one of the pilot cities so I will have to wait for mine.... The campaign is from Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in Sausalito, CA.



The photo above was taken during testing in NYC.

Friday, 9 February 2007

Online Marketing Effectiveness

Online marketers were asked by eMarketer what marketing tactics worked for them in 2006, and what they had planned for 2007.

Not surprisingly, paid search ads were reported as the most effective tactic by 49 percent of respondents - down from 52 percent response last year, but still the clear winner. House-list e-mail marketing came in second at 47 percent for both years. Search engine optimization (SEO) showed the biggest jump in reported effectiveness in 2006, moving up from 33 percent to 45 percent in 2006.

At the other end of the scale, the "worst performing" tactics were rented e-mail lists, at 56 percent, followed by pop-ups and pop-unders at 45 percent and e-mail newsletter ads at 42 percent.

With an average of 3.8%, I can't help feeling that increased focus on the conversion rates via optimisation should be up there somewhere.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

The Evolving Face of CRM

The last year has seen remarkable changes in the CRM software marketplace. The market has been characterised by the consolidation of the leading CRM vendors, witness, Epiphany/Infor Global Solutions, Onyx Software/M2M Holdings, Oracle/PeopleSoft/Siebel while the established business software players have started to turn up the heat. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) deployment options along with open source solutions will inevitably lead companies to rethink their approach to the problem

Forrester recently evaluated 13 applications in the enterprise CRM sector. Siebel and SAP came out on top, but Forrester named a long list of strong contenders, including Infor CRM, Epiphany, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Onyx CRM, Oracle's E-Business Suite CRM, PeopleSoft CRM and Siebel CRM OnDemand, RightNow, and Salesforce.com.

The firm predicts the market for software and services will reach $10.9 billion by 2010, up from $8.4 billion this year.

Several factors are driving spending. An Accenture survey of CEOs found that their top four priorities were acquiring new customers, increasing customer loyalty and retention, increasing revenue from current customers, and increasing customer service capabilities - sounds like CRM/CEM to me.

Monday, 5 February 2007

3 Seconds to Monetization

Speaking in a session on social networking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the founder of You Tube Chad Hurley revealed plans to share advertising revenue with contributors to the site. Whilst the details of exactly how this will be achieved have yet to be finalised, one of the options on the table is a 3 second pre-roll ad. Revenue sharing would apply only to those contributors who own the full copyright of their posting.... Great to see that You Tube have focused more on getting the delivery right (witness the UI) before looking at how to monetize the offering. In the video clip below Mr Hurley discusses monetization and audio fingerprinting techniques to protect content owners.

Friday, 2 February 2007

Web 2.0 & Direct Marketing

In the same way that email marketing added “opting in” to “selling” as a objective of direct marketing, the advent of Web 2.0 adds “engaging consumer interaction and participation” to the range of marketing interaction opportunities. The underlying idea is to build and maintain an awareness of your brand, product and service; allowing you to continue to engage with the consumer and leading to relevant and profitable relationships for both parties over time.
Indeed, what marketing discipline could be better prepared or better placed to take advantage of the primary elements of Web 2.0 than good old DM? Think about it, the opportunities presented by an increasingly participative and interactive Internet, such as social networks, feedback, engagement and advocacy are all central elements of customer centricity (The founder of my company, Lester Wunderman will be speaking on this topic at the Forrester Forum on Reinventing Marketing For Customer Centricity in April of this year). Who would know better how to identify your potential consumers, how and where to reach them, how to engage them in a relevant dialogue and, most vitally how to listen to them? The challenges too are familiar territory to the direct marketer, searching is central to web 2.0 but the rising costs and poor conversion rates of search engine marketing and generally poor performance of on-line advertising efforts, can be greatly improved by increasing the relevance of our marketing efforts by varying content (headline, copy, the call to interaction etc) to match the visitors source and their behaviour. How can you do this? By segmenting your visitors and testing/optimizing your content, easily recognizable as core elements of any well executed off-line direct marketing campaign over the last 40 years.