Evolve as a digital marketer today or perish as a marketing professional

Web Analytics 2.0 takes a very practical and business friendly approach to deciphering the spiel behind Digital marketing. The author has successfully removed the layers of “technical expertise” behind Digital marketing and created a DIY kit for the Digital marketer.

The clearly explained examples and other references in the book, bust the myth that the enterprise has to set up a cost head in order to manage its Digital marketing initiatives. The book however does suggest that in order to be successful at Digital marketing, the marketer needs to invest in understanding the very basic tools on the trade and consciously accept this craft as an important “must have” in his armory.

Through the detailed explanations in this book, it becomes amply clear that no more will traditional marketers lack for specific metrics that are clearly able to track every US Dollar spent on marketing activities. Digital marketing, as explained in the book, will ensure that the marketing departments will have their work cut out if they are not able to put their knowledge of bricks and mortar marketing to the digital world, where the consumers of the future will migrate in large numbers in years to come, and where traction is already being seen today. Successful management of the digital marketing programs will be key to a good bottom line or a poor one, with consequences for all stakeholders in the business.

It was insightful to note that the author was able to drill down to the digital marketing consumer by using a simple model (Paradigm for Web Analytics 2.0) and explaining the what, the how much, the why and the what else road map. Through his book he was also able to clearly differentiate between reports and analysis, and establish the competitive advantage to the digital marketer while using critical analysis of reports to formulate strategic initiatives in both online marketing as well as off line marketing programs.

He clearly brought out the competitive advantage of digital marketing by highlighting the economics (opportunity cost, up- front cost, Total cost), the flexibility (Experimentation and testing, customized reports) and the quality ( real time data, updated data on demand) of this platform. The analyses provided by the author certainly provides food for thought to the CMO in taking a decision to launch new products in the market- should the product first be launched online to test its acceptance in the market, or should it be launched through the traditional off line route? The numbers I would say , would favor the former!!

The book provides a strategic framework to the Digital marketer to develop a marketing road map , keeping in mind contemporary business environment and changing consumer habits. The author dispels the power of the click, and suggests a balance of qualitative and quantitative data driven analyses, comparative and competitive analyses, automated decision making using the power of digital marketing tools and continuous engagement to get to your online consumer. This is the biggest tactical shift in contemporary digital marketing according to the author and it holds good in the face of recent events.

Best Buy, Target and other major retailers are struggling to acquire talented digital marketing professionals who could make a difference to their top line and bottom line with consumer insights that they currently lack. This initiative is laced with desperate urgency because as the internet matures and penetrates, and the economy flags, the consumer will naturally move away from brick and mortar to the online marketplace, and it is here that the retail battles are being fought today.

The author mentions the need for top class analytical talent with knowledge of traditional marketing, who can bring his marketing expertise and knowledge to the digital marketing platform and make that competitive difference to the enterprise. He calls this the 10/90 rule, where the enterprise should ideally look at investing only 10% of their digital marketing budget on acquiring the digital marketing tools (based on a comprehensive understating of their exact business needs) and use 90% of the marketing budget to acquire a top notch bunch of digital savvy marketing professionals with good analytical capability and keen consumer insights.

TCO (total cost of ownership) becomes very important for the digital marketer to defend his investment in this initiative in order to create a comprehended buy in with the stakeholders who matter, as is, the detailing of the RFP with the vendor who will deliver the digital marketing tools.

The “predictive” in the analytics, was explained through the Neil Mason model and it was clear to see the power of this model to decipher consumer behavior and thus formulate digital marketing strategies. A connection could immediately be drawn with the buzz about predictive analytics in the market place and all the talk about BIG DATA. The issues raised in the book clarify that BIG DATA will be a reality that the marketer will have to live with- what will differentiate a successful marketer from the confused marketer will be the marketers capability to discern which data points to use for which specific report, using which digital marketing, reporting and analytical tools, leading to which insightful analysis, culminating in strategic decisions that deliver expected business results!

Consumer segmentation through the use of the digital analytical tools and marketing initiatives was the cornerstone of the insights provided by the author. It is quite easy to understand that this is no mean feat considering that the internet cannot replace a face to face interaction where the marketer can see and interact directly with his consumer- here on the internet, you are interacting with a consumer who is faceless, aside from his online avatar or his personal information that he may or may not want to share with you, or the contents of which may be falsified by the consumer for one reason or the other.

The book is a MUST HAVE for any marketer today, who is seriously considering a long term career in marketing from now on – traditional marketing will probably continue to evolve in the emerging markets, but in the middle income and mature markets of the west, there is a strong skew towards digital marketing and if marketers here do not evolve with the changing market and acquire skills in digital marketing, they are bound to fail as professionals sooner than later.

What’s after Solutions Marketing? If a company has mastered the concepts, methods and capabilities of solutions marketing, what should they do to take their company to the next level?

What’s after Solutions Marketing? If a company has mastered the concepts, methods and capabilities of solutions marketing, what should they do to take their company to the next level?.

What’s after Solutions Marketing? If a company has mastered the concepts, methods and capabilities of solutions marketing, what should they do to take their company to the next level?

Brief background

Global corporate are bracing for the deluge of data that they will have to deal with, over the next few months, years and decades.

There is incessant chatter over the internet, over the airwaves, in print and in corridors of corporate power that BIG DATA is here! A global eco-system of interconnected devices, that are becoming “smarter” and talkative (SIRI!) by the day, with the innate ability to communicate with each other, are creating a vast network where data is being created at every consumer node.

The value of this data is determined by the ability of the marketer to discern what specific components of that database are useful for him.

The specific components of the database that are used to make informed decisions by the marketer to deliver a customized marketing program to a specific consumer , and thus influence his buying decision, will cease to be a part of science fiction- because predictive analytics will be a reality in the coming days. It is these data components that will be most useful to the successful solutions marketer of the not so distant future- question is, will he be able to sieve this useful data from the heap that is before him? Obviously this task is not meant for the limited computing capacity of the human mind.

Enter the age of intelligent predictive analytics engines

Successful service and product companies have mastered the art of data collection and collation- some have taken tentative steps towards developing and deploying solutions marketing initiatives, while others have been successful in implementing solutions marketing programs in their organizations and their business eco-systems. One thing has remained constant in all of this – the final consumer, who consumes your product or service, and he continues to reign supreme.

After successful implementation of a solutions marketing program, in a product, or a service driven enterprise, the next frontier would be creating a continued succession of consumer “AHA” moments. This would be the long term sustainable, comparative and competitive advantage to the successful solutions marketer.

These “AHA” moments would be built on the capability of the marketer to surprise his target consumer with offers that will be tailor made for him, and produced to his desired specifications, at a price point which he had been contemplating. The marketer will be able to build this capability to predict his target consumers “hidden” need (one that he had been thinking of. NOT Talking of), by running predictive analytics on a series of data, gathered about his target consumer behavior, from multiple source points (networked devices). The intelligence component of the predictive analytics engine would be based on algorithms that will be able to generate possible alternatives on a set of customized offers for the target consumer, based on “cues” provided by the data generated by the target consumer- these cues could be descriptive and non-descriptive, and logically connected by the predictive analytics engine to alert the marketer to an impending impulse for potential purchase by the target consumer.

The ability of the intelligent predictive analytics engine is best described as akin to the “gut feel instinct” that a seasoned marketer has about a demand for his product- this “gut feel instinct” is built around years of practical application of management theory in the field, and a series of failures and many successes.

The synaptic networking of the human mind, mirroring the thinking capacity of the successful solutions marketer and translating his instinctive “gut feel” for a good pitch, would be replaced and enhanced by the parallel processing capability of the predictive analytics engine.

Why the need for of intelligent predictive analytics engines

Technology diffusion is proving to be very disruptive for product and service providers, who long believed that their turf was well protected. Consumers are communicating with each other in real time about products, services and solutions on offer and are able to share information on the features and value of their respective offers, thus creating peer evaluated benchmarks.

Therefore no solution on offer will be safe from cheap copycats and intellectual property marauders who will be able to pick on an original idea and quickly turn that into a commodity.

Relationships with consumers/clients will be fickle and prone to constant attack from these copycats.

The smart solution marketer will be one who can keep one step ahead of his competitor and creating a sustainable comparative and competitive strategic advantage- and this edge will be his by investing in a proprietary analytics tool that will enable him to custom design offers for his target consumers, before the consumer comes to him seeking that offer.

The ability to deliver a customized offer to your client, effectively preempting him, will be that crucial difference between success and failure for the solutions marketer of the future.