The end of the year is a natural time to reflect on what happened during the previous 12 months. For marketers in 2014, that reflection includes the rise of programmatic. A bigger commitment, industrywide, to collecting, disseminating, and acting on data. Digital transformation. The CMO's more-recognized role in the C-suite. We could go on.
This is also a time to identify bad habits to break in the upcoming year. Losing weight or quitting smoking aside, CMO.com asked for input from more than two dozen marketing professionals about the bad habits marketers need to resolve to break in 2015. Are you guilty of any of these?
Jen Gray, VP Marketing and Creative Services, HelloWorld:
Gone are the days of setting a marketing plan in stone to follow the course for the year. With the world of marketing technology, social and mobile channels, and consumer behavior changing at light speed, marketers need to resolve to be a tad flexible. Absolutely set your road map, but allow for certain amount of experimentation in your budget, whether it be 1 percent, 3 percent, or 15 percent or more, to try new marketing tactics without a set expectation of ROI. You may win some and lose some, but stick to this experimental attitude as it will drive valuable learnings and shape your marketing plans in new ways for the future.
Laney Lewis, Senior Director of Marketing, Clearleap:
It's no secret that mobile plays a huge role in our lives. Consumers are increasingly turning to the mobile device as their screen of choice, and if marketers haven't already adapted to this change, 2015 is the year to do it. There's a lot of catching up to do in terms of effectively monetizing across available screens and platforms, and marketers should be focusing on closing the gap–because if it isn't on mobile, it doesn't exist.
Brad Mattick, VP Marketing and Products, BrightEdge:
Marketers should resolve to make 2015 the year of "performance." That means measuring the bottom-line impact of every piece of content and investing in what pays off; resolve to run content by the numbers, and not by the feel. It may sound like common sense, but marketers are still pouring huge amounts of money into tactics that simply fall short of what it takes to move the needle in terms of business results.
Marketers should also make a concerted effort in 2015 to commit to become savvier tech buyers. Regardless of industry, marketers need to tighten up their use of RFPs, clear decision criteria, security audits to protect their company’s data, and background checks on vendors. This includes investing internally in their own network by setting aside time for connecting with and learning from peers.
David Malpass, VP of Marketing, InVision:
Marketers must resolve to treat every interaction with their customers as if it could be their last. In other words, they need to show immediate value and make every touch point undeniably useful. It only takes one unnecessary, forced, or clumsy interaction to alienate a customer forever, so take the time to find out what your audience cares about, and then give that to them.
Ray Pun, Strategic Marketing Director for Mobile Solutions, Adobe
My three resolutions: I will commit to delivering mobile experiences that provide value and delight to my customers. I will commit to running at least one A/B test to improve the user experience in my mobile app(s). If I choose to deploy and test location technology, such as beacons, I will commit to measuring user engagement and conversions via mobile analytics.
Carin van Vuuren, CMO, Usablenet:
The one thing marketers must resolve in 2015 is to think about how to evolve their customer experience across digital touch points, shifting their attention to mobile in particular. The rise of new technologies like microlocation and mobile payments, along with the promise of wearables and ever-more-personalized experiences, will continue to drive the shift to mobile. Marketers must respond to the sea change that is mobile and get ahead of how consumers prefer to connect in 2015.
Oren Harnevo, CEO and Co-Founder, Eyeview:
Personalization has risen to the top of marketers' goals for 2015. Data has given marketers the ability to personalize messaging to consumers in ways only dreamed about a few years ago. The true driver behind this is that every marketer today very much wants efficiency in their media investment. Can I tie this exposure to sales? Do I know this made me a sale? To get there, advertisers need to embrace a more individualized approach to their video content by fusing the effectiveness of television branding with the efficiencies of digital personalization. Ultimately, content that is hyperpersonalized for one specific person at their specific time of need improves the consumer engagement and enables marketers to connect marketing investment to a company's bottom line.
Matt Rosenberg, SVP of Marketing, 140 Proof:
End the experiments with “real-time marketing.” Getting in on the conversation other people are having is like crashing a party and only talking about yourself. It’s awkward at best, damaging at worst, and it’s never sold a single incremental cookie.
Amanda Chin, Vice President of Marketing, ShopKeep:
Marketers should resolve to get back to the basics and become more human. To gain customer insights, what's more novel than actually asking their customers? People are now interacting with brands in places where they share photos and life experiences, and a product review and a status update are becoming interchangeable. There is no amount of data modeling that can take the place of engaging with customers on a one-to-one basis and the opportunities to do so are readily available.
Lisa Hu, VP and General Manager North America, Blippar:
Look at your actual product and make it "talk" to your consumer. You've invested millions in other channels to get them to ultimately purchase the product--why should it stop there? By maximizing the potential of today's platforms, technologies and innovations, you can make your product truly come to life.
Bill Sussman, CEO, Collective Bias:
In 2015, marketers need to incorporate user generated content into their omnichannel marketing efforts. Today’s Millennials are huge marketing targets but are influenced by user generated content 50 percent more than other types of media. This means two things: engaging audiences with original, personal content, and reaching them through the channels they are already spending most of their time: social media. Brands can no longer rely on one hero channel to share content. Marketers who embrace cross-channel social storytelling will be poised to stand out in the increasingly crowded sea of content.
David Pemsel, Deputy CEO, Guardian News & Media:
Many CMOs think they have all their marketing channels accounted for–especially digital–but I think 2015 will see more brands investing in off-platform and “in-person” initiatives. At the Guardian, we’re in the early stages of this with our readers. We launched Guardian Membership; a program that provides a free-exchange of ideas and opinions, which, in turn, form the agenda for a series of live events where we can truly interact with readers. This is a cohesive strategy that blends in the digital and physical parts of our marketing strategy while remaining true to the Guardian brand. In 2015, marketers will need to quickly identify, leverage, and promote these points of cohesion in order for a marketing program to be truly holistic.
Harish Abbott, Co-Founder and CEO, Symphony Commerce:
Ecommerce marketing professionals should make it their priority in 2015 to have a strong handle on the impact of their customer acquisition tactics. Marketers utilize a variety of channels, such as paid advertisements on social media, search engine marketing, and marketing emails, to reach prospective and existing customers. Marketers should resolve to utilize applications that are able to do multilevel attribution analysis to understand a prospect’s journey to becoming a customer. This level of information on the touch points that convert customers will ensure that marketers are maximizing their resources and efforts.
Mark Gambill, Executive Vice President, Product Marketing, MicroStrategy:
In 2015, marketers need to resolve to be more data-driven. Collecting data is no longer enough–now companies have to give their individual marketers the power to leverage that data to make more strategic decisions. Expanding their capabilities through the use of self-service analytics will allow marketers to more quickly measure the effectiveness of real-time campaigns, and then change their approach based on what is working, what isn’t, and what may work in the future.
Patrick Salyer, CEO, Gigya:
Customer identity will become integral to the success of marketing. According to a recent Experian survey, only 24 percent of businesses claim to have a single view of their customers across channels. As consumers create an increasing volume of data across a growing breadth of touch points and devices, a clear understanding of identity will become imperative to building meaningful customer journeys and relationships. Consumer-facing businesses will need to reconstruct the way they collect and manage customer identities, and marketing and IT will have to work together to put a comprehensive external identity management strategy in place.
Kathleen Schneider, VP of Marketing and Communications, Criteo
2015 will truly be a breakout year for mobile sales. We’re seeing about one-third of online transactions completed on a mobile device, and that number is expected to continue growing exponentially. Conversion rates and average order values on mobile devices, which have lagged those on desktops, are catching up. Marketers who resolve to optimize their Web sites, purchase paths, and marketing plans for mobile will have a prosperous New Year.
Ed Haslam, SVP of Marketing, PlaceIQ:
Marketers should resolve to use mobile as a branding platform in 2015. We’ve heard a lot about its potential for direct response, which is definitely a major selling point, but marketers need to take a more holistic approach to mobile. Mobile can be used to boost brand image within apps and mobile browsers, and by leveraging location data and analytics, can also provide incredible insight into target consumers and the impact of campaigns. As the number of mobile-first consumers continues to grow, marketers should look beyond using mobile simply for activation. Mobile should be embraced as a means to truly understand consumers and make smarter marketing decisions with brand image in mind.
Mark Josephson, CEO, Bitly:
Take social media seriously. Social media has progressed from a tool for engagement to one that proves vital to marketing efforts and ROI. Few channels provide such valuable audience insights across devices, and marketing platforms exist that make this data actionable. In 2015, marketers must leverage data to optimize the influence of each and every social activity, maximizing the full power of their brand's content. It's time to hold social media accountable for the business results that matter most–and we can because data doesn't lie.
Mark Strecker, CEO, Amobee:
We are hearing many big brands talking about moving more of their TV budget into digital because it’s measurable, targeted, and scalable. In some cases, we’re seeing brands transition up to 50 percent of their TV investment to digital, which is a substantial shift, and we expect to see it continue to increase in 2015, with mobile advertising at center stage. Consumers are doing much more on mobile, from email and social to videos and collaborative tasks, and it’s this growing dependency on mobile platforms that’s driving the migration of media dollars in the market.
Nelson Rodriguez, Vice President, Global Marketing, Aquent:
I will commit myself to creating a great customer experience. The once-siloed subdiscipline of "UX" has become the leading edge of the customer-centric enterprise. Marketers need to embrace this shift and look at all the ways they can apply design thinking across the customer journey and life cycle.
Alexi Venneri, Co-Founder and CEO, Digital Air Strike:
Concentrate on online review sites and social media review features. The influence of other consumers’ experiences with brands that they share online will continue to grow rapidly, thanks to the growth of the number, importance, and reputation of online review sites and review features across existing social media platforms. The fact is, consumers trust other consumers more than they trust retailers or businesses. Digital Air Strike recently discovered that 74 percent of in-market consumers looking to purchase a car would drive between 20 to 60 miles to do business with a dealership with good reviews. The propensity for consumers to follow their peers’ leads when it comes to what brands and products to support is undeniable, and marketers who ignore this in 2015 will put their businesses at risk.
You Mon Tsang, CEO, OutMarket:
Marketers need to resolve and take advantage of their opportunity to own more of the buying cycle. Buyers are educating themselves on your products and services, and you need to give them timely and informative content and offers. By taking advantage of data that is generated by marketing campaigns, marketers are uniquely positioned to own more and more of the customer’s journey, making them the driving force of an organization’s bottom line.
Kim Riedell, SVP of Product and Marketing, Digilant:
In the midst of an industrywide conversation on the issue of fraud, tech providers and marketers alike should resolve to address transparency. While fraud and other forms of deceptive activities are known issues in the advertising technology space, it’s hard for marketers to understand the extent to which they’re directly affected without insight into performance and reporting. Likewise, tech providers who don’t provide transparent results risk guilt by association, even if their own products are fraud-free. In 2015, both marketers and technology providers will benefit from demanding and supplying additional transparency.
Chris Powell, CMO, CommVault:
My New Year’s resolution for 2015 is to commit to smarter marketing. Smarter marketing, a term I’ve come to use frequently this year, equals smarter content, smarter targeting, and smarter execution. However, it’s a lot easier said than done. To accomplish this, a data and fact-driven outcome model is the price of admission for true marketing effectiveness.
Christopher Penn, VP of Marketing Technology, SHIFT Communications:
The New Year's resolution that marketers must make in 2015 is a commitment to segmentation of your database and taking action on those segmentations. The amount of digital noise is greater than ever, and the tools that allow you to tailor content, advertising, and analytics for segments of your audience have never been more accessible. It's irresponsible to waste time and money just spamming the world. Segment your audiencemor watch your competitors steal your best customers right out from under you.