James Green Discusses the Keys to Omnichannel Marketing Success

 

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Originally featured in DM News, July 2, 2014

 

Magnetic’s CEO James Green talks omnichannel marketing and audience targeting with DM News. Read his advice below to learn about what might be blocking you from marketing success.

Hard Habits to Break: What’s Blocking Omnichannel Marketing Success? Sometimes marketers themselves.

There are a few reasons why marketers aren’t reaping all of the benefits of omnichannel marketing. To start, as some organizations evolve and grow, once-unified goals and messages can get blurred. In many larger organizations, departments are siloed (TV, social, programmatic, search, etc.), and siloed departments tend to develop their own objectives. Also, many marketers are stuck with the conundrum that half of their budget is spent based on audience targeting (online) and the other half is spent on content targeting to help you reach that audience (offline). The metrics used for these two strategies are entirely different and often conflicting.

To break these habits, marketers should create one analytics department that oversees all strategies and constantly brings them together to make sure they’re all delivering the same message. Even better, you should create strategies that can be implemented seamlessly across media channels so that they support one another naturally.

The Flight Path: The New Cross-Device Customer Purchase Journey

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by Soo Jin Oh
SVP, Data Business and Ad Operations, Magnetic

 

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Featured on Marketing Land’s Mobile Marketing Column, June 19, 2014

 

Father’s Day has just passed, and that means many consumers were scrambling last week to ensure their father’s gift arrived in time for the holiday.

While many may have begun their path to purchase on a desktop during work, others may have started on a mobile device during their commute home, ultimately completing their purchase journey on another device.

Marketers that were aiming to target consumers during their path-to-purchase journey were most successful if they adapted their messaging to fit into any device context — from mobile to desktop, apps to display ads.

As reported in DM News, recent Forrester research unveiled at the Tapad Unify conference in April said that consumers are becoming so device agnostic that 51% of their path to purchase begins on whatever device is handy at the time the thought of purchasing something entered their mind.

The variety of devices available today creates a multitude of challenges for marketers, so those that stay the most savvy about their marketing delivery will succeed in this cross-device world.

Relevance, points of engagement and creative delivery are all key elements to be considered when aiming to drive conversions across devices for marketing in the digital world. Channels simply cannot be measured equally, and the purchase funnel can no longer be considered a linear path — it’s now like a flight map with many potential routes and destinations.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you work to conquer the cross-device world and make your marketing a more seamless experience for consumers.

Engagement Levels Change Based On Device In Use

In the example of the Father’s Day gift, engagement could have happened on multiple devices depending on timing and accessibility of the device; it could even have happened concurrently across multiple devices.

Users are doing more with various devices and will engage with the most user-friendly features and most-trusted devices.

Other examples lend to the point that users engage with smartphones when they are on the go and look for features like a store locator or click-to-call function to assist them. Connected consumers are also coming to expect spot-on personalization — no matter where they are.

The Forrester research revealed that 71% of consumers don’t take well to inconsistent cross-channel messaging — and one in ten even went so far as to say that inconsistencies in the brand experience from device-to-device would make them stop interacting with a brand altogether.

Marketers must ensure that their advertising across devices is consistent to help push the consumer along the purchase path at various levels of engagement points.

The Multiplicity Of Devices Has Made The Purchase Cycle More Personal

Given the fact that the beginning and end of a purchase can happen across different devices, the purchase funnel is becoming more and more difficult to predict. Users are engaging with multiple devices during their exploration and discovery phase and are using the devices in closest proximity to them.

Consumers are first learning about and exploring brands in coffee lines, while waiting for a friend to arrive at dinner, or while working on other tasks. However, consumers are more likely to actually purchase via desktops.

Cross-Device Attribution Is Imperative For Market Planning

It’s important to see where credit is due outside of cookies; and mobile doesn’t track 100% of cookies. If you’re only measuring conversions across one device, you’ll miss out on the credit other device environments play in your consumer’s path to purchase.

Many attribution measurement companies have already adopted cross-device partners or solutions to solve this, and it’s important that marketers do the same.

A consumer’s world now mirrors a flight map — interweaving across the web on TVs, desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets.

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Although there are challenges and complexities with the number of devices consumers are using today, there are many solutions that marketers can build into their overall branding strategy while still incorporating attribution measurement.

These include solutions that use first-party data (if scale is not a concern), device matching, or measuring mobile-specific engagements such as click-to call, click-to-locate and click-to engage.

As a result, consistent brand messaging is more important than ever before. The Forrester research revealed that there are nearly one billion smartphones and nearly two-thirds of consumers owning three or more connected devices. Therefore, marketers must provide a unified user experience or they risk losing their customers to brands that do.

Digital Is Digital Wherever It Appears: The Road To Total Convergence

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by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

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Featured on Marketing Land’s Display Advertising Column, June 16, 2014

 

Believe it or not, there are many people who don’t consume digital advertising in silos.

While digital marketers are continuously trying to identify how and when an action on a certain device will turn into a conversion, consumers are jumping back and forth between mobile, desktop and tablet, taking their purchase path in different directions daily.

Over the past year or so, digital marketers have been obsessed with the rise of mobile and the increase in purchase power of the mobile device. However, this tunnel vision thinking has quieted a powerful media trend: the rise of total media convergence. 

When describing “digital advertising” to someone not in the marketing field, the type of platform one refers to doesn’t matter. While some may think of digital advertising as those ads only delivered on a desktop or laptop, others view digital advertising as those that are delivered across all platforms — including mobile.

I recently explained to a cab driver that I’m in the digital advertising field. He then took out his mobile phone, pointed to an ad, and asked if that’s what I meant. So, while this may be the year of mobile to some, I believe that the year of mobile has already passed. Today, it’s about convergence.

Are Devices Cannibalistic To One Another?

While there may be technical differences between how tablets, desktops and smartphones target consumers, consumers are increasingly using devices for related information, which might include product research or information consumption.

For example, I’m an avid reader of The Economist. While I candidly stopped reading the print version a few years back, I now mostly consume the content on my tablet, my phone and sometimes even my desktop if I’m looking for something specific.

Needless to say, when I read the article on one device, I don’t read it on another. In other words, are mobile, tablet and desktop cannibalistic to one another? And, is mobile and tablet consumption mostly incremental to desktop because more time means more searches, more consumption, etc.?

There are two schools of thought here: on one hand I would argue that if I read an article on my tablet, I probably wouldn’t read it on my phone or laptop. In this case, media cannibalism holds true. My time is up for grabs, and the medium that gets it, wins.

On the other hand, different devices may also mean different roles. Google released a studyshowing that 90% of consumers switch across screens to complete a task.

Another study from Facebook and market research agency GfK suggested that tablets are considered to be the entertainment hubs, whereas laptops/desktops are used for more important tasks such as managing finances.

The convergence of media means that there will be a stronger emphasis on the value proposition to the consumer at that specific moment. In the example of me reading my article onThe Economist, I only need one screen to complete my task.

Yet, for shopping-oriented activities, you may conduct research on the desktop to learn more about a product, but choose to locate the nearest store on your smartphone.

Mobile Is A Key Contributor To Media Consumption

There’s no denying that mobile has made an impact on the consumer purchase funnel.According to comScore, the total U.S. internet usage in minutes has dramatically increased from June 2010 to June 2013, more than doubling the amount of time spent due to rise of tablets and smartphones.

ComScore also reported that today, more than half of the minutes spent online are happening on mobile devices. Sure, mobile is rising and quickly claiming more consumer’s time than desktop. However, all contribute to the sales cycle, and sometimes it might come down to what device is closest in mere proximity to consumers.

While Google reports that purchasing might begin on a smartphone, 61% of those will be continued on a PC or laptop and 4% will continue on a tablet. And even though more purchases may start on mobile, comScore reports that buyer penetration is still highest on desktops.

What this means is that a bigger screen can often lead to a higher conversion rate. To move customers along the decision-making process, you must have all screens covered.

ComScore Buyer Penetration By Platform

For the marketing industry, integrating desktop and mobile is still a challenge, but companies are getting closer to connecting their digital efforts through login information and device-matching technology.

For other marketers out there, what does total platform convergence mean for you? For one, you must understand your customer’s path to purchase. Research that screens what your constantly-connected customer uses at various stages can help ensure that your digital marketing strategy across platforms aligns.

Keep in mind, for example, that a majority of the consumer population is only sitting behind a desktop from 9-5, so mobile becomes the prime channel to reach a massive population of the consumer market outside of those hours.

Also, understand the challenges of cross-device targeting, but understand the opportunities that strategies such as retargeting can bring.

And finally, constantly test and make mobile an important part of your strategy — but not your full strategy.

In a world where new technologies and data are being tested and where consumer habits are constantly evolving, nothing is perfect or even simple. Yet, the opportunities are endless.

This is the year of convergence, and the year we stop thinking about a tablet as separate from a smartphone or desktop. As far as I’m concerned, mobile is dead. Long live digital media.

The Value Of Creative Messaging In Our Real-Time World

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by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

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Featured on MediaPost’s RTB Insider, June 8, 2014

 

Real-time buying (RTB) has enabled many of us to become masters of the data-driven universe, making advertising decisions based on the massive amounts of audience data in milliseconds. We’ve seen data become an essential part of media strategies over the last few years, particularly when it comes to RTB. According to the October 2013 report from  Magna Global,  it’s estimated that worldwide programmatic ad spending and RTB will hit $12 billion this year. The growth in RTB is mostly driven by the ability for marketers to segment their audiences and target them effectively using all types of data from site visits to CRM and search dataWhen you apply automated buying and data to the actual creative, the message becomes extremely relevant to the end user, and, in many cases, will differ from consumer to consumer. Changing the creative elements of an ad is most commonly referred to as dynamic creative.

Brands use dynamic creative to show highly personalized ad content based on audience attributes related to their interests, environment, and purchasing patterns. While RTB provides marketers with the ability to target down to the individual level, dynamic creative provides the ability to dynamically change ad elements based on personal attributes and interests in real time. Dynamic creative solves a massive problem for brands across a variety of verticals from retail, to auto, to consumer tech and electronics: the massive numbers of products and services available for purchase. In fact, it’s difficult to find a brand that sells one single product – the majority are selling hundreds to thousands of products, and that number rises when you look at the SKU-level.

With that said, the ability to assemble thousands of individual elements based on product feeds, keywords, audience intent or environmental factors such as weather or location is a critical tool in the real-time marketing world. For example, take a store that sells hundreds of thousands of products for homeowners — Home Depot, which changes 10,000 SKUs every month. How can the company efficiently create thousands of different ads to help it sell products from lawn mowers to patio furniture? Or, how can an airline serve up an ad in real-time, based on your recent search for flights to San Francisco? The world of real-time marketing, and even retargeting, is becoming increasingly reliant on creative assets and the opportunity afforded by personalized ad experiences.

The days of marketers and agencies outsourcing their dynamic creative to a “dynamic creative provider” are dwindling. Today, dynamic creative is another element of a brand’s data-driven strategy, and a key contributor to the overall success of ad campaigns. Whether you are targeting the middle, upper or bottom of the funnel, or looking to acquire new customers or re-engage site visitors, a portion of your creative should be driven by data, just like media buying.

The future of media is headed into a personalized world, where ads will be tailored at the individual level across all media channels. The ability to buy audiences based on intent and tie that intent into your creative messages will only improve as brands find ways to deliver personalized ads at scale.

 

Magnetic Acquires Cognitive Match

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Written by Alex Kelleher, Founder of Cognitive Match: 

Since the inception of Cognitive Match in 2009, dynamic creative optimization (DCO) has enabled our customers to transform generic advertising into relevant messages by changing the creative elements of an ad. Cognitive Match has always been focused on using data to create the most relevant, appealing ads, and we are excited about combining our technology with Magnetic’s rich source of intent data and real-time programmatic buying platform.

With Cognitive Match now part of Magnetic’s technology, media, real-time bidding and creative optimization strategies work seamlessly together, in a single platform, to target, acquire customers, and re-engage site visitors with personalized messages based on search and onsite behaviors.

As one of the largest aggregators of intent, Magnetic delivers powerful signals of what consumers are actually in the market for. By assembling thousands of individual intent-based elements specific to product feeds and keywords, Magnetic creates and serves multiple ad variations that speak to customers’ interests and needs. Dynamic creative that uses the right intent data to fuel marketing programs is a key contributor to campaign success.

Together, using rules-based logic and automated optimization technologies, Cognitive Match and Magnetic have created multiple ways to personalize ads at scale:

PRODUCT-LEVEL: Automatically feature relevant products by pulling custom product images and text into creative.

INTEREST-BASED: Personalize ads programmatically, based on real-time audience keyword segments and site-level data.

GEO-CENTRIC: Customize creative elements, such as text and images, based on consumer location/ geographic area.

This combined solution enhances marketers’ ability to personalize ads across the entire consumer funnel – serving the most relevant ads based on everything from location to interest and intent. We’re excited to join forces with Magnetic and create the world’s most powerful platform for intent-driven advertising.

Cheers! – Alex Kelleher

Learn more about the acquisition on the official press announcement or visit our FAQ. You can also reach out to us directly at info@magnetic.com.

Effective Mobile Marketing Across Retail, Travel, Automotive & Financial Services

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by Soo Jin Oh
SVP, Data Business and Ad Operations, Magnetic

 

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Featured on Marketing Land’s Mobile Marketing Column, May 22, 2014

 

A recent eMarketer report, “U.S. Tablet Users: Q1 2014 Forecast and Comparative Estimates,” predicts that the number of dual tablet and smartphone users will reach 140 million U.S. internet users by 2018.

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Because of this growth, marketers across industries are working to identify the most effective digital practices for engaging users, driving app downloads and increasing conversion rates.

While marketers across verticals are generally working toward the goal of creating more engaging brand experiences across all platforms, mobile marketing strategies can differ by industry.

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Retail Industry

Today’s consumers move between retail channels, from in-store to e-commerce and now, m-commerce. According to Mark2Media, 52% of Americans use mobile devices to research products while browsing in-store, and comScore reports that 4 out of 5 consumers use smartphones to shop.

To capitalize on this behavior, a cross-device strategy is key to increasing the time consumers spend with a brand. Not only does mobile sit at an interesting intersection between offline and online activity, but it provides an interactive platform that allows immediate ways for brands to engage users and view products through tools like mobile apps and functions like click-to-call and click-to locate.

Target has been incentivizing consumers to make spur-of-the-moment purchases using hyper-local targeting and providing discounts and coupons to mobile users while in-store.

Adding location-based elements is a key component and differentiator for the mobile channel. Measurement is quite effective for this strategy, as each coupon has a unique ID tied to the source of the ad campaign that ensures proper attribution is given when redeemed.

Another tactic is to add gaming and social media share functionality to campaigns. Old Navy recently launched a rewards-based campaign where users earn points to redeem in-store for interacting with a “call-to-action” function on the app and sharing content on social media.

Automotive Industry

According to a presentation at last year’s J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable, auto brands are currently testing a combination of vehicle registration data, data from auto researchers and location data from personal mobile devices to track car shoppers and serve them relevant ads.

Ken Bracht, Communications Manager at Land Rover, told eMarketer, “With mobile, our audience is there, time spent is there and we’re continuing to experiment with the platform. At this point, probably measurability and creativity still need to evolve, but we think that mobile will become more important and make up a large percentage of our media mix.”

A 2013 consumer survey issued by Google, Millward Brown Digital and Polk, showed that the 34% of new vehicle buyers started their purchase path because of mobile, tablet and video ads. Additionally, the video completion rate for mobile banner ads was recognized at 79.8%, the highest of any vertical in 2013.

Although purchasing a car via a mobile device is unlikely, online and mobile are gaining traction for big-ticket items, making it imperative for auto brands to have a strong presence across devices and utilize strategies such as dealer-locators, click-to-call functions, and cross device targeting.

Precision targeting is generally less effective for auto and other big-ticket items, so using effective ad units that make most use of screen space is key (e.g., a mobile rich-media unit with different tabs).

The Kia Motors mobile rich-media ad campaign for the Kia Cee’d by InMobi (2012) was tremendously successful in these areas. The campaign resulted in a viral video distribution in 14 languages and in 16 countries along with participation in the Euro 2012 soccer tournament  — all of which helped drive significant traffic to Kia’s mobile site.

The mobile approach meshes well with Kia’s in-car media system called UVO, which is tied to a smartphone app providing drivers with navigation, diagnostics capabilities and other convenience features.

Travel Industry

A recent PhoCusWright report noted that mobile travel bookings would more than triple over the next two years, reaching $39.5 billion by 2015, which is about 25% of the total online travel market. This growth is in part due to an increasing trust of mobile apps and websites, combined with the improved mobile user-friendly interfaces.

The Priceline-owned Booking.com has a successful mobile app – the transaction value of Booking.com went from one billion to three billion between 2011-2013 through a combination of advertising and improvements to its mobile platform.

Consumers use mobile phones for planning, booking travel and looking up local information such as maps, weather and restaurants. For this reason, it’s important for brands to have a mobile-friendly website and app for their users. Brands with a high volume of app users can use push functions to send free messages to their customer base about their upcoming travel schedule, deals, etc.

Financial Services Industry

eMarketer estimates that the financial industry will spend more than $2.2 billion on mobile advertising in 2014, which would make financial marketers the second biggest spenders in mobile advertising.

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This is all directly related to consumer behavior. A recent Celent study notes that 94% of users in all age groups use online banking and approximately 71% of respondents ages 18-60+ have signed up for mobile banking.

Mobile provides real-time marketing elements for an array of financial services including insurance, banking, brokerage, lending and credit cards, which are not as easy for customers to experience on the desktop.

Financial marketers can release relevant information about their investment portfolio or real-time economic data within an app, providing geographically-relevant information to consumers including the nearest ATMs, stores, etc.

Conclusion

Regardless of your vertical, mobile has become an important part of your consumer’s everyday life; in order to stay relevant and top of mind, you need to become part of the cross-device journey.

How To Sell Your CEO On Investing More In Search. Hint: It’s About Insights

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by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

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Featured on Marketing Land’s Search Marketing Column, May 19, 2014

 

If you’re the CMO of any business, you’re likely aware of popular search strategies and how search can take consumers along the purchase journey from intent to action.

According to Fleishman-Hillard and Harris Interactive’s 2012 Digital Influence Survey, 96% of consumers worldwide indicated that they searched for information about brands or products on the internet, with 89% relying on search engines to help make purchase decisions.

comScore has also released data showing that there are billions of searches every month, with 65% happening on search engines.

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Despite these statistics, convincing your C-Suite to invest heavily in search and other strategies fueled by data can be challenging, especially for those of you in long sales-cycle industries.

In a presentation at MediaPost’s recent Search Insider Summit, Chris Moloney, CMO of Wells Fargo Advisors, discussed the hurdles he’s had to overcome as the CMO of a finance-based company and the positive impact search data has had on his business. “There’s a real power to take search data and influence corporate strategy.” Guess what? He’s right.

Moloney even went on to give an example of how search data informed the company strategy for Scottrade, revealing that what people searched for online informed the change in their positioning from a “discount brokerage” to “online investment.”

The value of search today goes beyond a search ad, character limits and a data-driven display ad served on your PC. While these media strategies will continue to play a role in the consumer funnel and serve as effective marketing strategies, there’s more to the story.

The underlying role of search lies within the intent and insights gleaned from what your audience is searching for as they move across the web. In this new role, search becomes a key informant for a brand’s marketing strategy, influencing everything from your website content to audience buying, media strategy and product launches.

The challenge is that search is not “new.” It has been around for nearly 25 years, so convincing marketers to look at search in a different light, and even use it in other ways, is no easy task. There is a learning curve that marketers are experiencing as they consider search today and how it will evolve.

Make Search Data Part Of Your Acquisition Strategy

Acquiring new customers is challenging for a couple of reasons. First, the decision process varies – retail is often a shorter cycle, whereas the purchasing path for a car is much longer.

Understanding the initial point of interest (many times it starts in search engines) all the way through the conversion (could end on your website, refined product search within the search engine, or even offline) is important because it helps to guide your customer strategy.

To drive new prospects, you should know the optimal time to reach them, and search data can help you determine that.

Secondly, finding these potential new customers is also a challenge. With search, it is easy to identify what a customer is interested in, and if you are using search retargeting, you should be able to find that user and reach them with relevant ad messages.

A typical consumer begins their search on a search engine, but then they move on to vertical, e-commerce and shopping comparison sites (often through organic search results). They might even take a break from their search and read and browse the web.

When you leverage search data to power your digital advertising, you have a greater chance to influence new customers before they make a decision. The ability to know what people are searching for as they cruise around the web is extremely powerful and can help to create a more complete picture of your audience, signaling when to reach them.

Search Data Is Your Best Consumer Research

There isn’t an industry that doesn’t benefit from the way in which consumers conduct research online. With all of the search engines they visit, and subsequent sites that contain search boxes, the number is in the billions of searches every month. As a result, there is a significant amount of intent-driven data flowing through our digital channels that should be used for customer research.

This data reveals how important various factors are in the decision-making process – e.g., did they search for pricing comparisons, customer reviews, or directly search for your competitors? All of these audience insights are available through searches conducted online (not just in the search engine). The best way to understand your customer is to look under the hood at search trends across your customer base.

Hint: The most powerful search data may actually live beyond core search engines.

Let Data Inform Your Brand

The biggest and greatest benefit of search is the way in which it impacts your brand and corporate strategy. Understanding the value of each channel will help you create a brand strategy that fuses all channels together. It isn’t about one over the other – display, mobile, search, TV, out of home, etc. It’s about the value that each channel brings to the consumer experience, — and ultimately, to your bottom line (revenue).

With search, it’s about the data and how it can be garnered for audience insights, seasonal consumer trends and targeted messages that extend to your website content, display ad creative and product strategies.

As an industry, we’re extremely lucky to have this wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. Using the power of search is essential in staying ahead of your competitive set and ensuring that you have a strong relationship between your brand and both current and potential customers.

Five Ways That Data Can Improve Your Digital Marketing

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by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

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Featured on iMedia Connection, May 15, 2014

 

Consumer behaviour has redefined the way in which advertisers engage with audiences, and marketers across the UK have taken note.

eMarketer recently reported that 77% of the UK’s population will be online this year, and nearly 55% of them are expected to be on mobile. Real-time buying (RTB) is also on the rise, as it’s the main driver behind the growth of data-driven advertising.

In November of last year, the International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that RTB display ad spending reached# $283.6 in the UK, and is forecasted to reach at least $409 million this year. This makes the UK the largest RTB display ad market in Europe.

While these innovations – intent data, ad technology and cross-channel marketing – are certainly exciting for the industry, it can be overwhelming for marketers to develop and implement data-driven strategies.

Advertisers know that customer data (e.g. search, site, purchase history) is of extreme value, yet a 2013 poll from SAP suggests there are challenges to making the best use of the data including lack of resources, de-centralised data, and the sheer volume of information.

Forrester Consulting also polled marketers in the US and UK in 2013 and revealed plans for technology-driven projects in 2014, indicating high interest in building out mobile and social strategies and integrating digital marketing technologies with strategic digital marketing partnerships.

Challenges aside, data will be the engine that powers your brand, and there are certain strategies across mobile, display and search that will lay the foundation for these efforts.

1. Strengthen your brand’s digital presence

When it comes to digital, the way you are currently selling your brand, product or service can be done more efficiently. Make sure that you are testing your conversion path and optimising your landing pages both online and on mobile.

If you have yet to establish a social presence, start devising creative social strategies across all major social platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc) to engage with your audiences that are likely waiting to hear from you.

2. Search strategies should come first

I think of organic search before paid search, but the truth is, they go hand-in-hand because they significantly affect one another. If your conversion path is working effectively, then the next place that you want to optimise is search.

There are two behaviours that every marketing effort you do should result in: more searches and more visits to your website or store.

3. Use site retargeting for customer retention

If consumers are searching for your product and visiting your website, use those website visits and your entire CRM database to improve site retargeting and provide your existing customers with relevant and personalised ads.

Don’t overdo it, but remember that your customers are your brand ambassadors. Presumably, they already like your brand, so why not encourage that behaviour?

You know a great deal about your customers based on their site activity and other points of brand engagement. You should use that data to provide them with information specifically relevant to them.

Site retargeting increases their advertising experience and encourages them to continue to engage with your brand.

4. Search retargeting will help you acquire customers

If your website rocks, your search campaigns are converting, and you have a multi-faceted digital campaign targeted at existing customers and site visitors, you’ll now want to find new customers.

This is where search retargeting comes in: targeting people who have searched for what you sell, but didn’t click on your ad or didn’t visit your website. Search retargeting is the most effective digital marketing strategy to gain new customers, and the most intent-driven approach for growing your reach to qualified audiences.

When you activate search retargeting alongside other efforts, the opportunity to reach consumers at multiple stages of the consumer funnel – upper, middle and lower – greatly increases.

5. Use mobile to connect the dots

Mobile has strengthened brands’ ability to connect and reach consumers at any time of the day and on their various devices. However, advertising on the mobile channel goes beyond serving up an ad.

With mobile, it is critical to recognise the many marketing layers, including mobile optimised websites, apps, location-based information and an overall good experience within the mobile web. These mobile elements play an important role in the consumer journey and will become more data-driven overtime.

Extending your intent-data across the mobile channel will increase the opportunities to engage with your audience and influence their brand preference.

Using data to drive marketing strategies is the future of our industry. The data and consumer insights are at your disposal – you just have to figure out what data is the most valuable and how, and when, to use it.

The Age Of Automation

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by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

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Featured on MediaPost’s RTB Insider, May 8 2014

 

Automation is the name of the game. Just last year, eMarketer estimated that nearly one-fifth of display spending was automated. Additionally, one recent study by academics at Oxford University suggests that 47% of today’s jobs could be automated in the next two decades, and all signs indicate that even more industries and processes will move towards automated platforms.

For the marketing industry, automated technology has been illuminated through the recent rise of programmatic buying and RTB technology. As a result, everyone in the ecosystem — from marketers to ad agencies, publishers and ad tech companies — has experienced massive shifts in their products, whom they hire,  and how they buy media, value an impression, and reach an audience. While RTB technologies and programmatic buying continue to fuel the momentum behind marketing automation, common themes are being called into question.

Has automation created fewer jobs in the ad marketplace?

Automation has undoubtedly changed the roles within marketing and advertising. We’re at an inflection point — much like we were during in the machine age — where automation and machines are redefining the way we work. In digital, the human role has changed. It’s not that we’re hiring fewer people and replacing them with computers, but we’re hiring different types of people, most of whom have an appetite for data and analytics. In some cases, companies are building entirely new roles. For example, publishers such as Meredith and The New York Timeshave on the one hand been forced to let go of many of their “traditional employees” while on the other hand have hired a new wave of employees and executives to lead their programmatic strategies. And nearly all the large agencies have established their own trading desks, staffed with hundreds of people. In fact, the growth of automated buying has potentially created more roles within the ecosystem.

Have we made the leap to fully automated marketing?

Today, we rely on systems that power efficiency and qualified marketing decisions. However, we have only scratched the surface. Yes, buying in real time and programmatically has drastically improved the way marketers reach audiences, both in terms of relevance and time. But the age of automation should take us much further than better targeting and effective media buying. In theory, it should allow us to make the leap to modeling entire brand strategies based on systematic information collected across everything from targeted display campaigns to CRM databases, cross channel devices, in-store activity, online, and so forth. The key benefit for any brand is the ability to create efficiencies and allow systems to inform your brand strategy.

Can storytelling exist with automated technology?

Programmatic has come a long way in terms of timing and audience, but in the next phase of RTB we will see a larger focus on storytelling at scale. While there will always be big brand dollars spent on large ad placements and sponsorships, data can actually assist advertisers with storytelling through sequencing (i.e. powered by dynamic creative optimization), cross-device targeting, and through the ability to set frequency caps and combine data with innovative ad formats. Although automated buying can never replace the power of the creative mind, data is being used as an ingredient for storytelling that helps brands create deeper connections with their audiences in a more efficient manner. Without an automated data approach, you wouldn’t be able to marry the right creative with the right person.

While automation is certainly here to stay, marketers that take advantage of the value of the human touch in concert with automation will have the biggest advantage as the age of automation evolves. And you humans – with your gut instinct, experience and personal interpretations of the plethora of data that exists – will be the only way that automated technology can be an advantage to marketers.

Should You Leave a Stable Job to Start Your Own Company?

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by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

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Featured on Mashable, April 21, 2014

 

Creating a company from the ground up while generating a successful revenue steam is the essence of the American Dream; but if this were an easy task, there would be a flood of employees quitting their “nine-to-fives” to found startups.

The autonomy that comes along with building a business around personal goals, talents and interests is compelling for many workers who are fed up with their daily grind. On the other hand, leaving a stable employment situation can be stressful — and it’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, even if you’re not entirely satisfied with one or more of the aspects of your current job.

As an experienced entrepreneur, I’ve learned a few pointers along the way that may help others looking to take the leap. Below are a few considerations to take into account when making the decision to start your own company.

Assess your current job status

Necessity is the mother of invention: I started my first company because no one would hire me to do exactly what I wanted. You should consider your current job status and assess whether it’s actually the right time to go off on your own. Ask yourself: Are you are happy and fulfilled, and are you making enough money?

Just because you are disappointed with your current job doesn’t necessarily mean that you should start your own company; it might simply mean that you should consider changing jobs. Attempting your own venture is something entirely different, and it can be a huge risk. Spend some time seriously thinking through all of the options before concluding that starting your own company is the right choice for you.

Take a hard look at your past experience

If a musician decides to revolutionize the medical industry, he’s likely to be met with skepticism. There are intricacies in any vertical or marketplace that one must understand. That said, an insider perspective is not always essential –- sometimes it takes an outsider to impact an industry.

If you can write code and are capable of creating a prototype of your idea on nights and weekends, this process may be helpful. Most, if not all, ideas can be prototyped (or pretotyped), and if you can do this while still working at your current position, a great deal of risk will dissipate. You might be able to go all the way to market without even quitting your job.

Consider your age, family and financial situations

As we mature, we naturally become more conservative (in the literal sense of the word): We want to conserve what we have. Young people aren’t necessarily foolish; they simply have had less time to accumulate knowledge (and wealth), and they often possess a bigger appetite for risk. Recognizing and understanding all of the challenges that lie ahead is very helpful when taking risks — and starting a company is a big one.

Regarding family and finances, the responsibility of looking after others requires time and attention, and many entrepreneurs don’t have kids when they first start out. That being said, having to provide for others can be a huge motivator. On a similar note, you need to make sure that you can pay the bills in the event that your business takes some time to get off the ground — or even if it fails to successfully launch altogether. Assessing your particular situation in-depth and keeping the channels of communication open among family members is crucial when embarking on a venture like starting a company from scratch.

Test your idea and be a good communicator

The number one reason most people don’t start their own companies is because they are unsure of what they want to accomplish — or they talk themselves out of it.

Talk to your friends, family and network, and beta test your idea. Get feedback and use it wisely. Testing the waters this way can be a good indicator of your business idea’s potential for success.

Many job descriptions require “excellent written and verbal communication skills” for a reason: Good communicators are often essential when establishing a business, product or company. You don’t necessarily have to be persuasive or an extrovert in order to be successful as a founder or CEO — but those qualities often make it easier to sell ideas. There’s nothing like an honest communicator to establish trust, and people are going to need to trust your vision. If you don’t have these skills, at some point you may need to hire someone or find a CEO with this skill set.

Be optimistic

It’s likely that you’re going to be told — many times — that whatever you are doing can’t be done. Smart people are going to tell you that you are wrong. People won’t want to invest in your idea, and you will be criticized. Use this criticism to work harder and prove the naysayers wrong. When it comes down to it, pessimists don’t start companies — optimists do. The odds are stacked against you, so you have to be able to look at the glass as half-full.

All in all, before quitting your stable job, think long and hard about the decision. Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Are you able to accept the possibility of defeat? If so, you may be at the start of a road to successful entrepreneurship.