Big Data, Customer Experience, Customer Intelligence, Data Driven Marketing, Digital Marketing, Marketing Trends

Why Now Is The Time for CMOs To Build Digital Relationships

postcard2The life of a CMO can be unpredictable at times. Markets change, goals change, trends change, channels change .

But no matter what, as the CMO, your core task remains the same: communicating the value of your company, both externally and internally. How do you keep from losing sight of that goal when everything is up in the air?

Focus on your customers.

It’s just that simple —and just that complicated.

In today’s marketing environment, creating a strong digital presence is one of the most powerful ways to engage your customer base and connect with prospects. There are multiple platforms to choose from, depending on where your audience spends time, and there’s a digital strategy to fit every organization.

But even so, I still meet CMOs who say they’re not ready to “go digital.”

That’s a mistake because, rest assured, today’s consumers are ready. You may choose to hang back. But, they aren’t … and they won’t hesitate to talk about you (for better or for worse).

Why is NOW the time to make digital marketing a priority? For starters:

It’s never too late to plan and implement a smart digital strategy—but the more time you spend putting it off, the more opportunities you’re missing out on. Digital marketing can make your customers happier, your employees more efficient, your budgets less scary and your job easier.

So what are you waiting for?

Big Data, Customer Intelligence, Data Driven Marketing, Digital Marketing, Facebook, Marketing Analytics, Marketing Trends, Social Media Marketing

Facebook Hearts Hashtags…Finally

facebookhashtagsFor a long time after hashtags became the de rigeur way to link conversations on Twitter, their presence on Facebook proved to be impossibly irritating to social media junkies. Why would anyone use a hashtag in a place where it served no purpose? Shouldn’t all status updates be customized to the channel where they’re posted?

But perhaps hashtag lovers had the bigger picture in mind all along. Perhaps they somehow just knew Facebook would eventually see the light and make hashtags a searchable part of its data, too. And finally, that time has come. Continue reading

Big Data, Branding, Customer Intelligence, Data Driven Marketing, Digital Marketing, Facebook, Marketing Analytics, Marketing Trends

The Race to Affinity


I was in London a few weeks ago and attended Forrester’s EMEA Forum for Marketing Leaders. A thought-provoking event! One of the ideas which got people buzzing the most, was Nate Elliott’s ‘Database of Affinity’. I’ve been thinking about this idea alot in the last few weeks.

What Is The Database Of Affinity?

Affinity is the way that people express their preference for things for example by ‘Liking’ something on Facebook. And affinity data can be collected to observe people’s preferences mainly through their social behavior.

How Can Affinity Data Be Used?

Elliott compared ‘Affinity data’ with another type of user data marketers are very familiar with – data they capture via online search or ‘Intention data’. Intention data collects information on people’s needs and desires by observing search behaviors.

AffinityTimeline_SnapseedIt shows user exploration in the short term because intent usually happens just before a purchase e.g. “What product should I purchase?

But the great thing about the layer of ‘Affinity data’ is that it gives us deeper insight into how users are engaging, what emotions they are feeling, and is relevant over the long-term e.g. “I purchased product X and now I love it.

The big idea here is that brand marketing will be transformed by harnessing Affinity data, and the race is on as to who will get there first.

The picture on the right above shows Elliott’s stages of affinity, which started in 2010, and goes through until 2016/17. We are at the beginning of the wave here, with companies just starting to put together the potential here.

How Marketers Can Capture Affinity Data

Ok, so you’re convinced you need to start harnessing your customers’ Affinities to leverage in your brand marketing. What next? Elliott says there are three things you need to build a usable Database of Affinity:

  1. Data from across the social world
  2. Analysis tools that bring meaning to data
  3. Ad formats that create brand impact

And here’s where Elliott fired a shot across the bow of Facebook: Facebook has been slow to expand its data set, struggles to provide meaning to data, and is still pushing basic ad units which can’t create brand impact.

On the flipside Google collects data from multiple sources, is highly advanced at extracting meaning from user behavior, and offers sophisticated brand ad units including rich media in the form of video.

Elliot predicts Google will win at building affinity data into something marketers can extract real value from.

The Database of Affinity finally brings meaning to the age old question “What’s the value in social marketing?”. It’s not marketing or advertising via the social channels themselves — its the data and sentiment of the data we can extract that provides value.

In other words, those ads that have been clogging up my Facebook feed may go away as Facebook starts to monetize the affinity associated with the data set to marketers. It can’t happen soon enough…

Note: This post was modified from a post I wrote for iJento’s blog, originally titled, “The Database of Affinity.” I will be reposting my iJento blog posts here from time to time.