Accomplished SaaS product leader with deep experience in digital advertising & marketing.
Author: Bridget Bidlack
Bridget Bidlackhttps://bridgetbidlack.wordpress.comThanks for stopping by! I’m passionate about programmatic marketing and happy to share my views with you. I started working in online advertising back in the very early days. I experienced the evolution of rich media, 3rd party ad servers, ad networks, audience based buying, real-time bidding, data management platforms, mobile, video, private marketplaces and programmatic marketing. In some ways the industry has made dramatic leaps forward. In other ways, the best practices I learned back in 2000 still hold true today.
I’m a product gal with a customer centric view on solving complex problems. I relish in roles where I interact with a variety of internal stakeholders and customers. Getting into the weeds with end users and discussing strategic long term vision with executives are equally fun for me. I’m extremely process oriented but not in a way that slows me down. I’m agile and love collaborative, iterative approaches.
I look forward to sharing some of the things I’ve learned along the way and look forward to hearing from you.
Authors: Bridget Bidlack, Senior Vice President, Product, Lucid and Jun Clarke, Vice President, APAC, Lucid.
If you’ve been part of a global software company, then you’ve probably been faced with similar challenges as us: How do you allocate resources to build features for emerging markets without jeopardizing your core markets?
Product folks love to use frameworks for prioritization, and revenue generation is often in the criteria set. However, revenue should not be the single input into tradeoff decisions; if it is, your emerging markets will never get off the ground. With this challenge in mind, we created a working model to ensure Lucid’s Asia Pacific (APAC) team is represented in product prioritization discussions, that the APAC team stays well informed of product updates and launches, and that we have a mechanism to give features in an emerging market a fighting chance.
We put these processes in place several months ago, and they are more relevant than ever – particularly in an environment where most workplaces are operating with 100% remote employees and priority decisions are more critical to survival and growth. In case others can learn from us, we’d like to share some of our best practices with you.
Lucid has a variety of features on our roadmap that are beneficial to all customers – for example, providing more accurate predictability on survey feasibility, applying machine learning to automate project pacing, eliminating fraud in the marketplace, and surfacing actionable insights through our APIs and in our platform UI. While there is global demand for these features, and they will be built to be consumed by all markets, we may introduce the features differently in each market. When introducing new changes, we take into consideration:
The appetite for customers and partners to adopt the change
The risk to existing workflows and performance
The environmental factors required to make the features successful (such as whether there is enough data in a market to power the feature).
Once we get feedback and traction in a market, we’ll build off that experience to launch the feature in additional markets. When launching a new feature, we usually follow one of the following approaches: launch a feature in an emerging market that has more appetite for the change, launch the feature in a more mature market where there is more data to support the feature, and sometimes it’s a group of customers across many markets to ensure we have true global product market fit.
Tip: The key is determining the success criteria for product launch and finding the market with the best fit.
It’s important to understand the nuances of different markets and the additional requirements for product market fit. For example, if your platform mostly operates in a handful of currencies or languages, you may hit a roadblock in a country or region that operates in a different language or needs to transact in local currency only. This then becomes a decision of product strategy.
Is the company committed to launching the product line in a new region? If so, then the tradeoff of spending a couple development cycles to build a feature unique to that region might be the right call. This is the area that becomes most challenging for country and region leaders. If their feature is ranked strictly on revenue for that feature, they will never be prioritized over features needed in mature markets.
Tip: The product team must carve out investment for the emerging markets to ensure success in those regions.
One of the biggest challenges with a global company is trying to find meeting times that work for everyone. Lucid is headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA with the bulk of employees in the Central Time Zone. Trying to find meetings with key stakeholders from the West Coast and East Coast of the US all the way to India, Australia, Singapore (and more) is challenging.
We established a buddy system to help with this. Each person in APAC is paired up with a person in a similar role in America. That buddy is their eyes, ears and sometimes mouth in meetings they may have missed. In turn, the US buddy develops a deep understanding of the APAC buddy’s needs and can represent them in meetings or at least flag that someone from the APAC team needs to be brought into the discussion.
Tip: Buddies form a close connection and raise global awareness across the company.
For any standing meetings, if they are important enough, consider repeating the meetings during normal working hours of different time zones. This might mean you are holding the same meeting 2 or 3 times. For meetings that can’t be repeated, always record. Additionally, setting agendas ahead of time informs all teams about what will be discussed and allows team members to contribute, even if they can’t attend the meeting when held. Lastly, be sure to distribute meeting notes, key decisions and action items.
Tip: Hold meetings during business hours as often as you can. For those you can’t, be sure to take good notes and record the meeting.
We hope these tips will help you at your company. And we’d love to hear what tips and tricks you use to prioritize resources for emerging markets, what you’ve learned from remote employees, and how you incorporate their feedback into priorities.
This week on AdExchanger Talks, product veteran Bridget Bidlack tackles big questions: Is ad tech mature? How do creative types tap into programmatic? And is the industry moving fast enough on gender equality?
On the maturity of ad tech, the SVP of product at Lucid says, “The pipes are there. I don’t know that all the business models are there yet. There’s a few areas I think still need to emerge. Definitely around branded campaigns – making sure there is a way to programmatically measure those campaigns – we have some work to do there.”
On creativity: “Most of us have spent our entire careers focusing on images, maybe sprinkled with a little rich media. But those just don’t get consumer attention. And we’ve built entire campaigns, advertising careers, companies around these. I think as video really emerges and the internet gets faster and devices can continue to ingest more ‘heavy’ creative, that’s going to create a real difference.”
On gender equality: “A lot of men get mentored on, how do you run a business? How do you look at a P&L? A lot of women get mentored on communicating, getting along with others, how do you present yourself? I would say, let the women kind of figure that out, and talk to them more about running a business just like you would a man.”
Since 2000, Bidlack has developed ad and marketing technologies for IBM, Bluestreak, Microsoft, Turn, [x+1], Rocket Fuel, Experian and others. Today, at Lucid, she’s trying to bring programmatic-like capabilities to the survey and research industries.
“If you think about programmatic and ad tech, we were not the first industry that had to solve this problem – bringing buyers and suppliers together in a programmatic way,” she says. Finance and travel created similar automated, programmatic-like connections.
Lucid connects a network of 70 million people globally to researchers from academia, marketing and other fields, using the principles of programmatic to solve a different problem.
“What we’ve done is created a platform that has APIs that basically connects the supply and the demand side together,” Bidlack says. “We also have a UI that people can come in directly. And it really opens up the opportunity to ask anyone any question.”
The company is also extending into the programmatic area. Specifically, it scores audiences that are widely sold, but weakly vetted, via ad tech platforms.
“We’ve had an entire industry focused on one to one advertising and one to one marketing and there’s been no accountability around it,” she says. “Data has been a black box up until now and that’s what we’re trying to open up and give exposure to … What our system does is allows people to validate that those are truly the people they want to reach.”
Lucid, the leading global programmatic platform for buying and selling sample, announced Bridget Bidlack as its new SVP, Product. Bidlack will oversee Lucid’s product team, bringing a wealth of experience in product development and organizational leadership.
In her new role, Bidlack will drive Lucid toward continued growth and innovation in its product suite. She will focus on optimizing Lucid’s existing solutions, while developing new offerings for the company’s global platform.
Lucid CTO, Rick Pittenger, said, “As a strong leader with deep expertise building software-as-a-service products that have advanced digital marketing, AdTech, and MarTech, Bridget brings talent and experience that aligns with our vision for Lucid’s future.”
Bidlack’s experience in scaling and building high-performance teams will be a significant asset to Lucid, as the company continues its substantial growth.
“I’m thrilled to join Lucid,” said Bidlack. “Having spent the bulk of my career building data driven products, I’m excited for the opportunity to deliver quality data that informs not just advertising and marketing initiatives but also corporate strategies.”
The current pace of Lucid’s expansion is expected to continue unlocking new growth opportunities for its customers.
“With Bridget’s experience in product development and organizational design, I’m confident that she will lead Lucid’s product team into the next phase of market research innovation,” said Patrick Comer, Lucid Founder and CEO.
Bidlack has driven product vision, evolution, and innovation for more than 20 years. Prior to joining Lucid, she held leadership roles at companies such as IBM, Microsoft, and Experian.
“Marketers have made progress over the years in sharing data among various teams,” says Bridget Bidlack, SVP of Product at Movable Ink, an email marketing technology company. “The next step is to be able to organize and analyze their data more efficiently so it can be applied to all channels and activated in the key moments of consumer intent.”
Excerpt from Ignition One’s “The Key to True Omnichannel Personalization – Learn how customer intelleignece helps mareketers build lasting cuztomer relationships.” booklet
Movable Ink, the visual experience platform provider for digital marketing leaders, today announced at its third annual Think Summit, a major platform expansion that enables the creation of unique and relevant visual experiences across email, web, and display ads. This move into new channels builds upon Movable Ink’s market-proven email marketing solutions that are relied upon by 600+ innovative global brands to drive revenue through enhanced performance, increase marketing team productivity through automation, and differentiate through compelling consumer experiences.
With the power of Movable Ink, digital marketers can free their data from silos to generate intelligent creative with millions of unique variations based on consumer context and behavior, third-party insights, and business logic. This intelligent creative is automatically generated in real-time to provide consumers with the most consistent, relevant, and on-brand experience at the moment of engagement across email, web, and display.
By automating the creation of unique visuals for every consumer, Movable Ink removes the creative production bottleneck that has historically prevented marketers from creating personalized images at scale. The Movable Ink platform also ensures campaign creative adheres to brand guidelines and is optimized to maximize performance.
Movable Ink’s intuitive and easy-to-use visual experience platform empowers digital marketers with the following capabilities:
Cross-Channel Visual Experiences: Orchestrate real-time, data-driven experiences that advance the conversation with consistent visuals as consumers move across email, web, and display
Progressive Profiles: Build known and unknown consumer profiles from interactions and poll results to continue the story as consumers re-engage across email and web
Behavioral Targeting: Leverage consumer profiles to target visual experiences based on past behavior
Creative Optimization: Determine the top-performing creative and automatically select the winning visual experience to maximize engagement
Reporting and Analytics: Achieve faster time-to-insight with intuitive analytics and dashboards
Extending Intelligent Creative from Email to Web and Display Movable Ink pioneered the technology for generating personalized email experiences for every consumer at the moment of open. With Movable Ink, email marketers have been able to automate the production of personalized creative based on any type of data, including CRM (name, loyalty, account history), contextual (location, device, weather) and behavioral (browsing, purchases). Now, for the first time, the power of Movable Ink’s enterprise platform is available for web and display to ensure experiences carry over from channel to channel, giving brands better control over the entire consumer experience.
Movable Ink’s platform complements and amplifies existing martech platforms such as ESPs, marketing clouds, CRM, and more. Instead of requiring brands to rip and replace existing systems, Movable Ink works seamlessly into any tech stack without disrupting current tools and workflows. Movable Ink’s visual experience platform improves the ROI of existing martech solutions by bringing them into the visual era.
Movable Ink has always prided itself on providing marketers with a way to deliver highly customized emails, but today the company decided to take that one step further. It announced an SDK that enables developers to build custom applets to add their own unique information to any email.
The company has always seen itself as a platform on which marketers can build these highly customized email marketing campaigns, says Bridget Bidlack SVP of product at Movable Ink .
“We built our business on making it easier for marketers to add intelligent content into any email campaign through a library of hundreds of apps. With our [latest] launch, we’re really opening up our development framework to agencies and system integrators so that they can create those apps on their own,” Bidlack explained.
This means companies are free to create any type of data integration they wish and not simply rely on Movable Ink to supply it for them. Bidlack says that could be anything from the current weather to accurate inventory levels, loyalty point scores and recent purchase activity.
What’s more, Movable Ink doesn’t really care about the source of the data. It could come from the company CRM system, internal database or offer management tool. Bidlack says Movable Ink can incorporate that data into an email regardless of where it’s stored.
This all matters because the company’s whole raison d’etre is about providing a customized email experience for every user. Instead of getting a generic email marketing campaign, you would get something that pulls in details from a variety of sources inside the company to build a custom email aimed directly at the individual recipient.
Company co-founder and CEO Vivek Sharma says that when they launched in 2010, service providers at the time were focused on how many people they could reach and open rate, but nobody was really thinking about the content. His company wanted to fill that gap by focusing specifically on building emails with customized content.
As Sharma said, they didn’t try to take on the email service providers. Instead they wanted to build this intelligent customization layer on top. They have grown increasingly sophisticated with their approach in the last 8 years and count companies like Dunkin’ Donuts, Bloomingdale’s, Comcast and Delta among their 500+ customers. They also have strategic partnerships with companies in the space like Salesforce, Oracle, IBM, Cheetah Digital, Epsilon and many others.
The approach seems to be working. The company has raised a modest $14 million since it launched in 2010, but today it boasts $40 million in annual recurring revenue, according to Sharma.
Intelligent Content remains the final frontier for content marketers in 2018. According to the recent Forrester Research report, titled, “Vendor Landscape: Personalization Solution Providers, Q3 2017”, 78 percent of US online adults have chosen, recommended or paid more for a brand that has personalized an experience or service. To enable marketers with intelligent content, Movable Ink provides personalized email content solution that drives performance, increases productivity and deliver compelling consumer experiences. Bridget Bidlack, Movable Ink’s SVP of Product, speaks to us about her company’s role in pioneering a cutting-edge martech product for intelligent content.
Tell us about your role in Movable Ink and the team you handle.
Movable Ink’s product team is focused on understanding larger digital marketing trends and our clients’ specific needs. We integrate these insights into products that enable marketers to generate engaging and powerful consumer experiences that drive revenue and loyalty. Movable Ink is a very product-focused organization. While brand image and company culture are important, we believe the value of our products is what ultimately attracts clients and partners.
Being involved in enterprise product leadership with leading martech and adtech companies my entire career has kept me attuned to the true needs and challenges of digital marketers based on rapid technology advancements, customer needs, and market shifts. As SVP of Product, it’s my role to drive Movable Ink’s product vision, as well as define and develop a clear roadmap for products capabilities that transform and promote innovation in email marketing.
The product team, including product management, UX and design, and data science, partner with engineers and product marketing to execute our product vision and ensure that the products we develop make it as easy as possible for marketers to innovate creative experiences. Movable Ink pioneered the application of intelligent content into email and provides the world’s first platform that automatically activates data within content to generate personalized experiences in real-time.
Our product strategy has been very successful. We’ve created a strong, yet flexible roadmap and also regularly conduct user research, test our ideas, and communicate transparently both internally and externally. Today, 500+ of the world’s most iconic brands are using our products to personalize content with data at the moment of open. We have revealed many new product capabilities over the past year and have lots of exciting developments planned for the rest of 2018 and beyond.
What are your predictions for marketing technology for the rest of 2018?
With recent data breaches at big enterprises and new regulations coming like GDPR in May, there’s going to continue to be a heightened awareness this year in the industry around data privacy and security. At the same time, there’s more desire than ever among brands to use available consumer data to inform their marketing decisions.
This is the big challenge that Movable Ink is helping brands solve. We built our platform with an eye towards marketers from the very start. When building a product, we always first ask what problem are we trying to solve and for whom are we trying to solve it for. Based on that, our goal is to always use technology to make innovation easier for marketers, not more complex.
Our platform has a very lightweight integration framework – meaning it’s easy for marketers to use data in real time to personalize content – all without having to store the data. Today, it’s great that we can do this with business rules, but another marketing technology trend I see that will continue this year is a further push into machine learning and AI. In email specifically, machine learning will increasingly be used to figure out the best way to construct and present content for more meaningful experiences.
Why? Modern marketing communication – in email or really any channel – is the end result of hundreds or thousands of decisions. Which audience, what frequency, timing, channel, offer, layout, image, colors, fonts, etc. Today we think of machine learning as primarily applicable to distribution (whether and when) and message (which product and offer). We don’t think of it as playing much of a role in marketing content production. But the creative experience is the end result and how the consumer interacts with the brand. If the creative isn’t compelling, the rest doesn’t matter.
As AI continues to evolve, it will also grow to support layout, language, visual identity, voice, and tone. This doesn’t mean AI will replace human creativity. Instead, it will augment and multiply the capabilities of marketers.
What are the core tenets of delivering personalized customer experience via email?
The core tenets of delivering personalized consumer experiences are speed, scale, automation, and relevance (all related to content). Marketers need to get campaigns out faster than ever, need to personalize content at scale and make sure that the content is the most relevant to each individual consumer based on multiple factors. This creates big challenges for email marketers because it’s extremely time-consuming and resource intensive to generate personalized content at scale.
Traditionally, the challenge with email is that content is created at send time. Once you send it, that’s it. The value of Movable Ink is that marketers can look at things like the most recent touchpoint with the customer and tailor the content to what that customer is most interested in at that specific moment. This allows our clients to provide their customers with the most relevant content when it matters (when the customer is actually looking at content vs. when it’s sent). By automating this process, marketers can execute this kind of personalization at mass scale – something impossible to do manually.
How do you see contemporary data intelligence platforms impacting the performance of personalized content for email marketing?
Today, brands have many disparate data sets, and data intelligence platforms are helping to unify data and allow marketers to analyze and use data sets to create audience segments for targeting and personalization. It is also beneficial when marketers have access to raw, unstructured data, and apply data science and machine learning to tease out hidden customer signals and identify common attributes that are most meaningful to the customer.
This allows marketers to target customers in a given industry based on what’s most relevant. For example, for a customer very loyal to an airline, marketers can see what their normal preferences are (do they always buy coach or first class? What destination did they most recently search for?) and use this data to drive the content. In fact, one of our products called Signals addresses this. Customers reveal their buying intentions on websites everyday, yet email marketers still struggle to personalize messages using behavioral data. Signals enables marketers to activate and engage customers based on their website and mobile app behaviors and create relevant and persuasive content for each customer automatically.
How does Movable Ink enable email marketers to deliver real-time content and optimization? What’s the principal driving the content experience technology?
Movable Ink’s intelligent content platform is the first comprehensive enterprise solution that automates the creation, deployment, and measurement of personalized email content. The principal driving force behind our technology is the serious challenge marketers face today. It’s very difficult to produce highly personalized, on-brand content for their email programs. Email technologies have historically helped marketers send more emails, send emails to targeted customer segments, and send more emails based on triggers or customer journeys. Yet in most cases, marketers are stuck sending the same, few pieces of static content with very little personalization.
How have we tackled this? In the beginning, our content apps enabled marketers to integrate things like countdown clocks, local maps, social media feeds, and website content via APIs into their emails, as well as target consumers based on location and device. Automating the process of bringing in content from other channels – most popular content on social channels, favorited tweets, real-time pricing and inventory, and much more – was a formidable advancement for email content at that time, but the sophisticated marketers using Movable Ink had even great visions of where to take their marketing programs, we listened, collaborated and built the capabilities to enable their dreams.
Fast forward to today, Movable Ink ’s technology powers sophisticated personalization and targeting based on behavioral data and machine learning. With our easy to use platform, marketers can pull scattered content from websites, social media, CRM data, CSV files, APIs and other sources right into an email. They can then repurpose and reformat that content to drive the best possible experience. We’ve also taken big steps in empowering our clients to leverage our product themselves in an easy drag and drop graphics editor without the need for coding or access to developer resources.
How critical is it for modern email marketing platforms to leverage AI and machine learning capabilities for better performance and engagement?
AI and machine learning capabilities are becoming more important for better email performance and engagement. There’s been a lot of concern in the industry about the compatibility of AI and content. We believe that they can not only co-exist, but must work together to engage customers and help brands grow. At Movable Ink, we’re bullish on the long-term potential for machine learning in marketing, both within our platform and in conjunction with other technology providers.
Our intelligent content platform is helping bridge the gap between creative professionals and email marketers. It enables brands to automatically version campaign creative, using data to create millions of uniquely personalized images. It allows marketers to use contextual, behavioral, and customer information to adapt and and transform graphics, increasing engagement and conversions. Calls to action, product information, images, ratings, reviews, social content and more can all be combined to create optimized content at the moment of interaction with a customer.
Now, imagine how machine learning can be applied to email marketing. Since personalized content can now be automated, they can also be optimized in real time. Machine learning will help creative teams become more persuasive and personalized, more responsive and more relevant. It will help them respond to real-time events, and develop new brand experiences through graphic design. Machine learning will be the essential capability in generating optimized content for every customer at any moment.
What mistakes should email marketers avoid in 2018?
A big one is not taking advantage of data. CMOs at the biggest brands have spent years and massive budgets on compiling customer data across all channels and touchpoints. Unfortunately, much of this valuable data goes unused, and in fact is not even readily available to the email marketers in these organizations.
Obviously, not personalizing content is a big mistake, as personalized content is now table stakes for brand communications.
Not taking the time to experiment is also something email marketers should avoid. Part of optimizing is trying and testing different things. Email marketers shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with content and find new ways to push the boundaries of innovation. Trying something completely new could be the ticket to a campaign that performs better than anything in the past and opens doors to a whole line of future campaigns.
THE ELLA PROJECT WAS CREATED TO ENSURE THAT GIRLS HAVE A HERO TO WHICH THEY CAN IDENTIFY. A HERO WITH A BACKGROUND AND PASSION FOR SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, MATH, AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP.
WE BRING TOGETHER ALL THESE REMARKABLE WOMEN IN ONE PLACE. THEY SHARE THEIR INSPIRATION, A GLIMPSE OF HOW THEY’VE ACHIEVED SUCCESS, AND SOME ADVICE FOR OUR FUTURE LEADERS.
THESE ARE THERE STORIES.
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT PRODUCT @ MOVABLE INK
Bridget Bidlack is an accomplished product leader with deep expertise in digital marketing. She’s had a diverse career, holding technical and leadership roles at large corporations, including, IBM, Microsoft & Experian, as well as innovative startups such as Bluestreak, [x+1] & Movable Ink. Throughout her career, Bridget has delivered enterprise products with exceptional customer experiences and company value. She’s an enthusiastic leader accomplished in scaling and building high-performance teams through organizational design, recruiting and developing top talent. Bridget lives in Westport, Connecticut with her husband Jonathan and two sons, Stone and Keegan. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, hiking and traveling.
Bridget currently holds the position of senior vice president of product at Movable Ink in New York city where she leads the ongoing vision and development for Movable Ink’s Intelligent Content platform. Well recognized as both a technology and business leader, she was named one of the “Most Influential Women in the Bay Area” by the San Francisco Business Times in 2015, and one of “12 stars of ad tech who are building the future of the industry” by AdWeek in 2014. Bridget holds an MS in information systems science from Salve Regina University and a BBA in business computer information systems from Hofstra University.
WITH GROUPS CREATING PROGRAMS TO ENCOURAGE FEMALES TO CONSIDER STEM, WHAT IS THE BIGGEST BARRIER TO ENTRY THAT IS STILL PREVALENT TODAY?
Early in my career I was fortunate to have several female managers and leaders, and even worked at a small tech company with a female CEO. These women were great role models, gave me sound advice and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. These experiences served me well as more and more in my career I found myself working with male dominated teams and companies.
Fortunately, the companies I’ve worked for recognize the value in growing female representation in STEM roles and on the executive team. But, even the companies with the best of intentions weren’t able to pull this off. Often times the majority of candidates, especially for STEM roles, were often males and there were not many, if any, qualified females. This feeds into the cycle of continuing to have a male dominated STEM discipline. If more females saw other females in STEM roles and executive positions, much like I did early in my career, then they could more clearly envision themselves on a similar path. So while a lot of programs are encouraged STEM earlier in life, we have a real challenge today in corporate America to bring equality in gender for STEM roles today.
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU?
Disruptive companies that completely revolutionize industries fascinate me. Amazon started as an online bookstore and grew to lead cloud based computing, disrupted the retail industry, made consumer facing advancements with artificial intelligence, and more. Tesla completely disrupted the auto buying industry to move forward with their product vision. They are committed to sustainability and continue to deliver ground breaking technologies in this area. I’m inspired by the leaders of companies that make their vision a reality and find better ways of working and living, even when it’s against industry and society norms.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT/ACCOMPLISHMENT?
I still clearly remember, the day our CEO announced the sale of [x+1]. We were a small privately held company with state of the art technology. I worked with incredibly smart, passionate, dedicated and fun people at [x+1]. A lot of hard work and perseverance went into building the company and products. The sale was more than just a financial transaction; it was a testament to how valuable our ideas and talent were to the industry.
As a marketer, you can miss key customer moments, or even worse ignore them. Or you can embrace those moments and be your customer’s hero. Check out the innovation encounter to see how you can enhance your customer experience.
Originally presented at the Cheetah Digital Client Summit on June 8, 2017 at the Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas, NV.
The online marketing landscape is changing, again. The proliferation of mobile is providing consumers with access to your brand across multiple channels, the perpetual advancement in personal technology has created a culture of multiple device adoption, and the constant bombardment of digital engagements has increased the challenge of creating meaningful connections with consumers. The Relevancy Ring’s 2017 ESP Buyer’s Guide highlighted this evolution when it updated the criteria of what constitutes a leading Email Service Provider (ESP) to move beyond stand-alone email into more channels and to address newer technologies.
Marketers need Everychannel Service Providers rather than the aging, clumsy, channel-by-channel solution still in use today. Brands will achieve success by creating a personal, valuable, and seamless experience with each consumer, across all their channels and devices. Three areas are critical to an effective Everychannel strategy: technology, data, and services.
Technology underpins efficiency
Marketing continues to increase in complexity. Staying ahead of the curve now means marketers strive to centralize their data, optimize engagements, and improve message relevancy. Most marketers are now working with multiple vendors to keep up with the constant industry transformation, and the introduction of new communication channels. The result: your data lives in different systems, channel execution happens on separate platforms, and insights and reporting must be bolted together, often in ad hoc and sub-optimal ways. Finding a partner with the technology to centralize and manage multiple sources of data, and simultaneously employ that data for campaign orchestration is essential to improving campaign effectiveness, insights, and operational efficiencies that drive ROI.
Big data generates big ROI
Wrestling critical insights out of data and creating a personalized cross-channel engagement strategy to improve return on investment may seem difficult with the massive advancements in our industry. Data is the keystone to getting personalization, true cross-channel marketing and actionable insights right.
Personalization via big data is quickly becoming the driver of the standard user experience. If marketers haven’t already adopted personalization and/or behaviorally triggered email it’s the next major change they are preparing to implement. Personalization will soon dominate digital marketing, and data is its nexus. That makes it critical for brands to centralize their diverse forms of data, so that they can in turn centralize their messaging and engagement triggers for continuous engagement across all marketing touch points.
Centralizing your data with an Everychannel service provider will give you a more informed view of your customer’s behavior. This ensures that customers have positive brand experiences by controlling the frequency of touch-points across channels, providing valuable and relevant messaging, and triggering behavior-based engagement — such as discontinuing a product-specific ad once that item has been purchased. Consumers loathe redundancy and demand a tailored experience: data delivers the solution.
Consumers don’t distinguish between channels – they expect a seamless experience wherever they interact with your brand. Their activity in one channel should be reflected in another. If a customer abandons a shopping cart on their laptop, the same items should be in-cart ready for purchase when they open their shopping cart on their phone, whether it’s via app or browser. It’s virtually impossible to execute this seamless cross-channel and cross-device experience without access to and use of your data in real time.
Marketers lose precious time and opportunities when valuable data is held by different vendors or in multiple databases where it’s not easily accessible. Marketers must have the critical information they need to tailor their messaging to each customer and set up real-time triggers to engage with consumers based on the consumer intent and relevant contextual signals. A cross-channel marketing platform that has data management at its core can enable marketers to make use of the all customer data to execute highly personalized and relevant campaigns.
Actionable insights are central to campaign deployment and performance. If marketers know how, where, and when their customers are interacting with their brand they can use that data to optimize engagements and deliver experiences that drive loyalty and revenue. Does an email campaign persuade a customer to open a brand’s website and then ultimately purchase through the brand’s app where they feel most comfortable buying? Is the customer more likely to research products on their tablet during the commute into work and then purchase those products late at night from their home? If the marketer knows this then they’ll be sure to remind the customer of their product at the right time. Actionable insights improve customer experiences and enable campaign optimization to get the highest return on investment.
Services will amplify your efforts
There is a lot to get right in the new era of marketing: getting the most out of your data, combining data sources, executing Everychannel campaigns, getting actionable insights, staying on top of trends and compliance issues and much more. Working with a technology partner that has its own advanced strategic services team will help marketers navigate these challenges and create strategies that deliver the desired results with data-driven, cross-channel marketing. A good strategic services team can, for example, reduce risk as marketers test new email strategies, ensuring brands stay on the good side of the inbox. They can also help marketers manage their data for better insights and campaign execution, utilize the data across more channels, set up APIs, create advanced triggers, improve execution strategies, provide advanced analytics, and foster more visually exciting creative that will help marketers target, convert, and retain more customers. Good customer service is invaluable as marketers navigate emerging trends and technologies
With the proliferation of data, and technology for marketers to put that data to use for them, the new Everychannel world provides endless opportunities for marketers to engage with their customers to deliver remarkable customer experiences and increase brand engagement. By choosing a partner with the right technology, data management capabilities, and services, marketers can stay on the leading edge of the ever-evolving future of marketing.
Learn more about the Email/Everychannel landscape and outlook in the full 2017 ESP Buyer’s Guide from The Relevancy Group.