It’s not October, but for marketers there is still plenty to fear, as there’s much going ‘bump in the night.’ It can certainly be scary out there, as Hive9 CEO Darin Hicks outlined during his breakout session at Workfront’s Leap, “Stop Marketing in the Dark.” Food for thought: per Gartner, advertising spend is on the rise, but marketers don’t have all the data.
It’s easy for marketers to get lost. There are too many data silos, complexity and customer expectations are on the rise, throw in a disconnected executive team and we have a perfect storm for frightening campaign results.
Hicks posed an interesting question, “How can it be that we don’t have all the data to fully manage our potential as marketers? We plan and plan, but yet, like records these plans are seemingly meant to be broken.” Hicks continued to illustrate three of the monsters that can thrash the most exceptional of intended plans.
There’s no doubt about the growing popularity of the zombie phenomenon; while they may serve The Walking Dead and its viewership well, “zombies” can seriously throw a wrench in your marketing efforts. Hicks asked, “Do you have visibility into your plans?” and two-thirds of the room responded “no.” He continued, it’s important to know how “my” efforts integrate into the rest of the marketing plan. “How clear is your plan from the customer’s point of view?” And from a top level view, are there gaps, is there duplication, is this campaign in alignment with our goals and strategies? Offering Thompson Reuters as a case study, Hicks noted how visibility doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
By implementing connected marketing activities to objectives, Thompson Reuters is moving in a direction of active decision making based on program insights. This comes from developing a consistent framework coupled with the orchestration and integration of the stack. In addition, marketing calendaring offers a, “comprehensive view of all marketing activities across segments, but also supports focus on specific programs.” Hicks continued to note that this makes it possible to predict future revenue based on real time data.
Have a silver bullet handy? The next monster lurking in the shadows is the Werewolf. Do you have visibility into your spending? This includes
questions like: How much budget do I have left? Is our spending truly aligned with our strategy? How do I justify spending with the CFO? Hicks offered another case study of a company – that remained nameless – that was suffering from a Werewolf infestation. Said company still utilized countless spreadsheets and manual processes, which across operations resulted in errors, and surprises. Hive9 had to get the firm to look at things in a new way to cause that “aha moment.” The solution: a detailed budget view that makes it easy to see where the budget is actually going.
The third and final monster to your plans, the “X-files Nightmare Monster,” is the scariest of all according to Hicks. Do you have visibility into your performance? Asking this question gave impetus for others like: Where should the next marketing dollar go? What are the highest performing activities at this stage in the buyer’s journey? What about goal setting and business impact? Is the data there to make optimal changes to your plan? How am I being measured? Is it consistent? Hicks circled back to the Reuters case study, explaining that the firm wasn’t bringing in enough leads to its sales funnel to meet goals. Once buyers reached a certain stage, Reuters “fundamentally didn’t have content to move them into the funnel.” Hicks highlighted, once you put content in the market, you can start watching and measuring, and from there future revenue is predictable based on real time marketing data.
The solution to marketing in the dark is much simpler than many realize: data. There is a cornucopia of ways to track, analyze and collect data. Shame on marketers not utilizing the tools available; stop throwing you-know-what against the wall hoping it will stick. Let data-driven decision making guide the journey. There are no monsters on the sunny side of the street.