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Bridging The Digital Divide – Two Underlying Factors Will Reshape The Digital Marketing Landscape
In my last article, I wrote about getting back to the core of digital marketing effectiveness by focusing on the consumer. That article was focused on the “why” of this issue — namely, the massive digital divide between consumers engaging in real-time across channels and the marketers who are trying to reach and engage them, but often using digital marketing practices that are largely siloed and not executing in real-time.
Today, we move past the problem and focus in on the “how” — how to bridge that divide and reshape the current digital landscape. First, a short recap of the core problem as revealed in the recently completed study, “Bridging the Digital Divide.”
Across all groups of senior executives (i.e. Marketers, Agencies & Publishers), the multi-channel approach to digital marketing is what best defines most firms’ current digital marketing capabilities, which is the lowest of the three progressively more challenging broad execution capabilities presented in our assessment framework:
- Multi-channel: Executing campaigns in two or more channels
- Cross-channel: Applying lessons from one to other channels
- Real-time Interactive Marketing: Executing real-time dynamic interactions across channels and programs
While marketers’ goals are largely aimed at reaching and engaging the right consumer, at the right time in the right context, their efforts are largely currently focused on executing across a plethora of point-solutions and siloed channel-centric teams.
Managing Point Solutions Creates Complexity
Managing all these various point-solutions and siloed teams is creating overwhelming complexity, which is a key challenge to digital marketing effectiveness. It’s also clearly creating siloed seas of data that often fail to provide unified consumer views or actionable insights.
Marketers are literally being robbed of their “bandwidths” and drowning in disparate seas of data, which is, in turn, negatively impacting performance in a number of fundamental marketing areas, not the least of which is gleaning and maintaining a solid “outside-in” consumer-perspective.
“We need customer-focused, integrated media mix plans.” — Marketing Executive
“It’s about user focus, not data focus.” — Marketing Executive
Evolutionary Forces: Reshaping The Digital Landscape
The research, “Bridging the Digital Divide,” revealed two underlying factors that largely account for how senior executives assess their firms’ digital marketing effectiveness (Chart 1), namely:
• Real-time intelligence: The ability to apply real-time intelligence of “digital interactions” to enhance relevance and performance.
• Unified automation: The ability to seamlessly execute with unified customer views, and attribute results across channels and programs.
Further, our gap analysis revealed the following specific capabilities that most differentiate those characterizing their firms as primarily multi-channel digital marketers versus those who believe that they are effectively executing at the level of real-time interactive marketing (Chart 2):
• Real-time measurement and optimization and dynamically serving ads and content are two specific capabilities related to the real-time intelligence factor.
• A unified customer view is a key component for unified automation.
“We need a unified view with real-time optimization and real-time buying models.” — Agency Executive
These two factors appear to be core enabling capabilities necessary for “customized” real-time interactive marketing, and for evolving from a “push-marketing” campaign mindset to 360-degree customer strategy based on connected interactive experiences.
Meeting The Escalating “Relevance Mark”
As such, real-time intelligence and unified automation are two evolutionary forces that, in union, provide the basis to enhance digital marketing execution by enabling real-time interactive marketing, which, in turn, will help bridge the current digital divide. These two forces will help our industry meet the escalating “relevance mark” set by their digitally-empowered consumers, and evolve from channel-data specialists to consumer-engagement specialists.
Finally, we believe these two forces are reshaping the digital landscape and, over time, will enable the industry to consolidate around “smart” end-to-end solutions that provide sell-side and demand-side value.
This will help us evolve towards more real-time adaptive markets, with real-time relevancy, audience-buying efficiencies and transparency, as well as “fair value” discovery — where publishers apply real-time audience intelligence to avoid commodity pricing even with RTB media buying, and marketers and their agencies will have the transparency required for differential bidding.
The “Bridging the Digital Divide” study presents an analysis of the input provided from close to 400 senior executives from February 20-March 11, 2012, and is a result of collaboration between PulsePoint, a global digital media technology company; The CMO Club, a CMO peer-to-peer network with over 800 members; and Digiday, a publisher with survey access to more than 22,000 publishing and agency decision makers. Download the full research results here.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.