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Date posted: June 25, 2013

In a recent post, I looked at the need for new measures of assessing the performance of digital marketing. A recent post on business2community.com lists a number of metrics regarding the use of digital marketing— what’s working, what isn’t, where the challenges lie, from both marketer and consumer perspectives. It’s worth considering these numbers and what they say about the current landscape of digital marketing:

1. 72% of marketers see the importance of online personalization but don’t know how to incorporate it.

2. 66% of marketers say, as a marketing channel, email delivers “excellent” or “good” ROI.

3. 60% of B2B marketers cite lead generation as their biggest challenge.

4. 57% of marketers believe that the biggest benefit of big data is greater conversion rates.

5. 57% of U.S. smartphone users see at least one mobile ad a day.

6. 54% of marketers who have implemented Web personalization generated positive ROI within months of implementation.

7. 50% of businesses will use marketing automation by 2015.

8. 40.5% of consumers said they would rather see targeted ads that reflect their interests rather than random ads.

9. 30% of marketers blame disparate data sources as the primary reason they struggle to gain insight from customer data.

10. 19.5% of global advertising expenditure in 2012 came from online ad spending.

Consumers with multiple digital devices spent twice as much time following event coverage than consumers with one device.

Mobility, big data, and unified data— all the hot topics in enterprise communications are having an impact on digital marketing. Which of them are having the greatest impact on your digital marketing efforts?

Date posted: June 19, 2013

In a thought-provoking post on saydaily.com, the assertion is made that “page views are dead.” For advertisers with a history of evaluating digital media by unique page views— as well as publishers who continue to sell this way— the news must be a little disconcerting.

The blogger outlines the problem:

Advertisers are still, despite all the research into online habits, buying into supposed impact strategies. The worst of these are homepage takeovers (often found on content site homepages – the traditional portals and media properties). Never mind that the average time spent on these content pages can be fractions of a second. If you go to MSN’s homepages, you’re probably there to go to Outlook (formerly Hotmail), similarly with Yahoo! or AOL. If you’re on a showbiz gossip site… you’re busy scanning down the page for headlines or images that catch your eye. And this is where the false logic of numbers comes into play. The unique visitor scores for these kinds of home pages will look reassuringly high, even though there’s little quality time spent with the content. Advertisers like the idea of a campaign that’s “impactful” (even if it isn’t a real word), and by “impactful’ they mean big.

Big numbers, but maybe meaningless ones. An interesting question arises from this numbers fixation: why is so little value attached to how long people spend with the content? The post points to the value of premium content, the reason SAY Media has made a strong emphasis on point-of-view publishing.

An earlier post on the site lists the tenets of this publishing orientation:

People want stories.

They also want a strong and compelling point of view.

No one likes a one-sided conversation.

There needs to be great writing or production quality for readers to feel good about sharing stories.

For publishers, this means being human, creating compelling content, and investing in distributing the content. “Finding a way to get people to invest the time required to move from considering a relationship with a brand to being an advocate is one of the biggest challenges advertisers face,” says Daniel Tokheim, senior vice president of media solutions at SAY Media. “The best way to do it? Create content they’ll treasure— and have a distribution plan that takes in account media consumption habits.”

I agree with this more engaged orientation, but it still demands new metrics to validate it for advertisers. If you have any ideas about this, or know of someone that does, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Date posted: June 11, 2013

A recent post by Christopher Penn on the Shift Communications blog got me thinking about the phrase “top-of-mind.” In today’s frenetic, information-sated, continually distracting world, it seems that the mere pace and quantity of things addressed at us makes the top-of-mind a rather tenuous place. So many things are aimed at the top of our minds that we’ve developed a habit of brushing them off as soon as they land. It’s somewhere deeper that things take hold.

Penn points out the futility of top-of-mind bombardment, noting that daily press releases or e-mail blasts are quite successful in getting yourself ignored, and that what really takes hold in the mind is something of value.

I agree.

Embedding yourself in the minds of customers is less a matter of frequency than fit: if, when you speak, you say something worth retaining, something that the reader or listener finds valuable, they’ll remember the source of that information and in all likelihood continue to check that source for more of the same.

It’s hard to resist the urge to communicate constantly in an age where messages come from every imaginable angle, but it might be good to do so. Speak when you have something valuable to say. Or pass along something valuable that’s established itself deep in your mind.

This is what friends do, and having your customers reach that status is what everyone is hoping to achieve.

Date posted: June 5, 2013

No ideas but in things…

— William Carlos Williams

Poets are usually ahead of the game. When ol’ Doc Williams penned the above line in Patterson, he was speaking to poetic imagination. One wonders what he would have thought of the Internet of Things, where virtually everything speaks to us via transmission of data. So much depends upon a world of things well beyond the red wheelbarrow.

Kevin Ashton at MIT’s Auto-ID Lab first coined “The Internet of Things” in 1999. Now you hear it talked about everywhere. A recent article on Information
Week underscores the importance of this development: “Organizations need to plan for the new generation of Internet-enabled devices that may be located
anywhere in the world.”

The pace of development has been dramatic. In a little over a decade, The Internet of Things has gone from a concept in Cambridge to a business reality spanning the globe. The Cambridge Auto-ID lab explains how companies can benefit from this technology:

Put a tag— a microchip with an antenna— on a can of Coke or a car axle, and suddenly a computer can ‘see’ it. Put tags on every can of Coke and every car axle, and suddenly the world changes. No more inventory counts. No more lost or misdirected shipments. No more guessing how much material is in the supply chain— or how much product is on the store shelves.

The fact is The Internet of Things may be more transformative than the Internet itself, changing the fabric (literally, in the case of clothing with chips) of daily life.

Date posted: June 3, 2013

A new inventory management system at Nature’s Best’s fulfillment operations is the focus of a case study that I wrote for Inbound Logistics. The article appeare in May 2013 issue of the magazine.