Session Spotlight: Learn How Brands Can Take Advantage of CDPs at FUSE Summit

In a few short years, customer data platforms (CPDs) have made a big splash on the marketing technology scene. Gartner named them one of six marketing technologies to watch in 2018 and the category is expected to reach $1 billion in revenue by 2019. Adoption is expected to grow based on marketers’ growing interest in permission-based marketing, first-party data, and providing unified cross-platform customer experiences.

CDPs are expected to be a hot topic at the FUSE Digital Marketing Summit this November. During a session led by Customer Data Platform Institute founder David Raab will explore how CDPs can enable marketers to better gather and act on customer data, how CDPs fit into the martech stack, tips for sizing up potential vendors, and examples of how marketers are growing sales with CDPs.

Check out the video below to learn how CDPs differ from other customer data solutions and whether a CDP might be a fit for your martech toolbox.

Learn more about the agenda for FUSE Digital Marketing here.

http://players.brightcove.net/2045965075001/SJJ40dyKg_default/index.html?videoId=5787739316001

 

Video Q&A: How Will AI Help Marketers Improve Retargeting & Conversion?

There’s a lot of loose talk around the potential for AI to change the nature of the marketing game, but beyond the buzz it can be hard to tell exactly how marketers will be using it to improve their businesses. In a series of video Q&A’s, marketing AI practitioner and Trust Insights co-founder Christopher Penn will explain how marketers can actually use AI.

Penn will be leading the keynote session on AI applications in marketing at the FUSE Digital Marketing Summit this November. Learn more about attending here.

Check out Penn’s previous videos:
Q: How Will AI Help Marketers Tap Their Data Wells?
Q: What Marketing Processes or Tasks Will AI Eliminate?

Q: How will AI help marketers with retargeting and sales conversion?

This is a really interesting question because one of the things that marketers struggle with is what causes a conversion. What factors, what measures, what metrics, what learners, what dimensions lead to conversion or contribute to conversion? A big part of this is the foundation of attribution analysis. What pieces of data have driven conversions in the past? And then, with things like retargeting, you’re trying to focus on predicting what things are likely to cause conversions in the future. The way AI and machine learning help with this is dealing with what are called “weak learners.”

A weak learner is any dimension or metric whose predictive power is just barely above random chance. It’s called a weak learner because it’s a weak signal. It’s not a signal that by itself is a very strong signal. So for example, the number of times someone has retweeted your tweets, right? For a fair number of businesses, that’s going to be a really weak learner. In fact, it may or may not even be statistically relevant. But at the very least that is probably going to be a weak learner.

There are also things like how many times someone has opened an email, the number of social channels someone follows you on, the pages they visited on a website, the amount of time they spent on a page.

When you think about all the data that we have access to as marketers and then we consider that most of these metrics are pretty weak, you get to start getting a sense of the scope of the problem.

We have all this data and none of it is the one answer that we’re looking for. The answer that says, “This is the thing we need to do more of.” It would be nice if it didn’t work that way. It would be nice to know you should always send email on Tuesdays, that’s going to cause all your conversions. Doesn’t happen.

So how does AI help with this? Through techniques that aggregate weak learners together and make them function as a stronger learner, we can get a sense of what combinations of dimensions and metrics matter most.

Hear Penn’s full answer to the question of how AI will enhance marketers’ ability to convert sales and retarget customers in the above video.

See Christopher Penn present the keynote session Using AI & Deep Learning to Generate Marketing Results at the FUSE Digital marketing Summit.

 

Video Q&A: What Marketing Processes or Tasks Will AI Eliminate?

There’s a lot of loose talk around the potential for AI to change the nature of the marketing game, but beyond the buzz it can be hard to tell exactly how marketers will be using it to improve their businesses.

There’s a lot of loose talk around the potential for AI to change the nature of the marketing game, but beyond the buzz it can be hard to tell exactly how marketers will be using it to improve their businesses. In a series of video Q&A’s, marketing AI practitioner and BrainTrust Insights co-founder Christopher Penn will explain how marketers can actually use AI.

Penn will be leading the keynote session at the FUSE Digital Marketing Summit this November.

Check out Penn’s previous videos:
Q: Early on, what data-related problems will AI solve for marketers?

Q: What marketing processes or tasks do you expect AI to help speed up or eliminate?

A: “The answer to this question is maddeningly vague, yet incredibly specific — and that is anything that is repetitive. Artificial intelligence, machine learning specifically with all of its categories (deep learning, reinforcement, learning, etc.) is really good at learning repetitive processes. So anything that you do in marketing is a candidate for replacement by AI if it’s a repetitive task.”

“Consider the process of, for example, scheduling social media posts. This is a very repetitive thing. At BrainTrust Insights, we use code that I wrote to help with a lot of the analysis of what content to share and the creation of the files to batch upload for the framework of social posts.”

“I have worked at other firms where there’s some poor person, usually the most entry level person, who is copying and pasting between spreadsheets for clients or customers for their social media, which is a soul crushing job. That is 100% up for grabs for machines to take over. And rightfully so — it’s really not work that helps leverage the true power of the human mind. Reporting is another candidate for AI. Have you done this job before” Sure, have: copy paste, copy paste, copy paste. That’s a candidate for AI to speed up or eliminate entirely.”

Hear Penn’s full answer to the question of what tasks AI will speed up or eliminate for marketers in the video above.

See Christopher Penn present the keynote session Using AI & Deep Learning to Generate Marketing Results at the FUSE Digital marketing Summit.

How Optimum Healthcare IT Is Building a Tech Stack on a Budget

No matter the size of their company, every marketer charged with building out a technology stack is inevitably limited by their allocated tech budget. No one can buy all the new shiny tools all at one time, so marketers need to make savvy tech choices – the right technology at the right time and right price.

Over the past couple of years, Larry Kaiser, VP of Marketing for Optimum Healthcare IT, has put together a martech stack using a budget-conscious approach to serve his company’s marketing efforts. Kaiser and his team created a website that could act as the focal point of Optimum’s content marketing strategy, acting as the engine for serving up content that demonstrates thought leadership in the market and attracts and converts leads.

Below Kaiser talks about the starting point for his martech strategy and aspirations for evolving his toolset in the future.

Larry Kaiser, VP of Marketing, Optimum Healthcare IT

Kaiser will be speaking at the upcoming FUSE Digital Marketing Summit, presenting on “How Optimum Healthcare IT Built A Scalable Tech Stack on A Budget.” Learn about other session at the summit here.  

What have been some of the mission-critical objectives that have guided your technology strategy?

It comes down to the vision that you have put in place and the steps that will get you there. When I started at Optimum Healthcare IT, we had a very old website built on an out-of-date platform. Our online presence was not built for content or to market our organization. Optimum is a healthcare IT services firm and the best way to promote your services, your knowledge, and your people is through thought leadership. We needed to build a website that would support a blog, gated content, etc. This was our first step towards the vision that I was laying out. From there, almost everything we do begins with our website and how we deliver our content.

Can you give examples of some technology upgrades you’ve made that you think have been smart moves?

Going back to our website, originally it was built on an extremely outdated version of Drupal. The smartest move we made was moving to WordPress. I did not have the budget to go out and hire a professional firm to build the website, so it was a DIY project. My very skilled creative director designed it, and we had to find someone to build it. We ended up utilizing a designer based in Croatia that came recommended from a close contact of mine. He built our site with a custom theme, which in hindsight, was not the best move as it caused issues as we grew.  But we came through it and now have a fantastic public facing website.

How do you anticipate your tech stack evolving as your company grows and marketing team advances?

As Optimum continues to grow, I see our tech stack moving to more advanced applications with additional functionality. We currently do not utilize a true CRM, and I would love for us to move to one. I was really impressed with a customer data platform vendor about a year ago, and I would love to incorporate that technology. Moving from Mailchimp to a more advanced marketing automation system would also be high on my list. To justify these costs, my team and I continue to build and deliver content and work hard to increase the consumption of our content. As we continue to show the value that is gained from what we are delivering, I hope that we can build a more advanced tech stack.

Q&A: How Will AI Help Marketers Tap Their Data Wells?

There’s a lot of loose talk around the potential for AI to change the nature of the marketing game, but beyond the buzz it can be hard to tell exactly how marketers will be using it to improve their businesses. In a series of video Q&A’s, marketing AI practitioner and BrainTrust Insights co-founder Christopher Penn will explain how marketers can actually use AI.

Penn will be leading the keynote session at the FUSE Digital Marketing Summit this November.

Q: Early on, what data-related problems will AI solve for marketers?

A: Christopher Penn thinks one of the biggest advances that AI promises when it comes to marketing data is to capitalize on the mountain of data that is going unutilized by many organizations. Penn cites a recent statistic from IBM that up to 90% of data within a corporation goes unused.

Of course, many marketers collect a lot of data, but how many are taking full advantage of the data collected by a tool like Google Analytics? Not many, says Penn, and the overwhelming amount of data means that marketers are not able to effectively use it to drive decisions, change behavior, and ultimately improve marketing.

This is where AI comes. Penn points to the “Data Science Lifecycle” (define, ingest, analyze, repair, clean, prepare, augment, explore, compare, predict, prescribe, model, validate, refine, deploy, observe) and says that a significant portion of the tasks in data lifecycle are repetitive work. “Anytime you’ve got repetitive work, you’ve got a candidate for robotic process automation, or machine learning, or potentially deep learning, depending on how complex the problem is and the technologies that are available to you. The early wins for marketers are going to be in that first third of the lifecycle, when you’re looking at ingesting data from multiple sources.”  See an illustration of the Data Science Lifecycle below.

Tools exist that “will essentially do digital sniffing around and pull helping you pull data out of heterogeneous, incompatible systems and get it at least in one place. The same is true for analysis, repair, and cleaning of data.”

Once the data is collected and prepared, marketers are in a position to start building solutions with that data or applying third-party tools that can take advantage of many organizations’ mountains of data.

“If we’ve got the data and we’re not using it, we’re missing a massive opportunity. It would be like owning an oil field and never drilling a well, or if you drilled one well with a spoon and you have a drinking straw. It’s not going to go very well.”

Hear Penn’s full answer to the question of how AI will enhance marketers’ use of data in the video above.

See Christopher Penn present the keynote session Using AI & Deep Learning to Generate Marketing Results at the FUSE Digital marketing Summit.

The BrainTrust Insights Data Science Lifecycle | Credit: BrainTrustInsights.com by Christopher Penn

 

How Neurodata Might Help Remove Marketing’s Emotional Blindspot

Perhaps the most sought after but elusive component of marketing is understanding the emotional impact that a brand’s messaging has on its target audience. Yet emotion is a fundamental factor for driving brand engagement.

Centiment, a neuro-powered marketing and advertising technology, aims to remove the emotional blind spot for businesses. By collecting data about how people feel about a brand and analyzing this “emotional data” through the application of machine learning and AI, Centiment wants to help marketers better affect consumer emotions.

Micah Ainsley Patrick Brown is the CEO and Founder of Centiment, the first brain powered analytics firm in the advertising & marketing industries.

“Simply put, what we do is power or enhance a brand’s emotional intelligence,” says Micah Ainsley Patrick Brown, CEO and founder of Centiment. “We define emotional intelligence as a brand’s ability to manage the emotions it invokes in people to shape optimal outcomes.”

Brown says the insights revealed through Centiment’s neurodata tool are “key to core marketing processes like segmentation, positioning, customer insights, message delivery, as well as the entire creative process.”

In the following interview Centiment CEO and founder Micah Ainsley Patrick Brown explains the company’s plans to disrupt how brands understand and connect with people.

Who are you and what does your technology do?

Centiment’s core focus is to power a brand’s emotional intelligence. We define emotional intelligence as a brand’s ability to manage the emotions it invokes in people to shape optimal outcomes. We collect and analyze neurodata to better understand how people feel about a brand and how to best affect these emotions. We like to think of ourselves as a brand’s emotional GPS.

We are laser focused on becoming masters of the language being used by people to express their personality and describe their feelings about brands. Emotions, and the words that affect emotions, are the basic building blocks of Centiment’s strategy.

Explain your existence: What problem are you solving?

Today, at Centiment.io, we are focused on helping usher in a new era of marketing and advertising—one that’s informed by human emotion, free from bias and driven by a larger purpose.

We’ve combined our own neurodata sentiment tools with AI and machine learning, which allows us to better understand the way people feel about a brand and how to best influence those emotions. At Centiment, we view emotion as data too.

Building on the learnings from the renowned Huth study done at UC Berkley, we built a neural network of 125 brains to determine how clusters of voxels allow for a high degree of predictability into how a person’s emotions will move and where, based on the introduction of new language. The result of our research created a living database of replicable neurodata.

Our technology can identify 25 different emotions on any given topic—far more nuanced than the positive/negative/neutral analysis that most sentiment tools produce. These insights are key to core marketing processes like segmentation, positioning, customer insights, message delivery as well as the entire creative process. Obviously this all has widespread implications for the advertising supply chain.

How did you come up with the idea of using neurodata and machine learning to understand the emotional impact of brand messaging?

I used to work in media and became very frustrated at how the media industry stereotyped people, particularly people of color, both publicly in the news and via advertising platforms. I also recognized early on how emotion was the fundamental lever required for driving true engagement in our experience economy and saw an opportunity to fill that gap in ways that were fair and equitable, and derived of a deeper sense of purpose.

What are you doing to improve marketing and advertising?

Our vision for reimagining marketing and advertising has impact for every industry in our view. This comes from the fundamental notion that if you view emotion as a critical currency of business, you will be able to exponentially increase your chances of delivering desired outcomes.

Our model for delivering results is built on a three step process which revolves around:

  1. Assessing Emotion
  2. Affecting Emotion
  3. Aligning Emotion

Simply put, what we do is power or enhance a brand’s emotional intelligence. We define emotional intelligence as a brand’s ability to manage the emotions it invokes in people to shape optimal outcomes. At Centiment, we believe emotion is data, too.

Using our proprietary neurodata, algorithms and machine learning, we have developed a map of emotion that allows us to determine a brands current and optimal emotional address. This leads to increased engagement, conversions and long-term improvements in profitability.

What big changes do you see impacting the media and advertising industries?

Content was king and still is, but without contextual relevance, personalization and an emotional through line it becomes a valueless property that doesn’t deliver ROI and/or improved performance. The future is all about hyper personalization and an ability to leverage creativity + technology in ways that humanize a brand and heighten its ability to be accessible. Anything that doesn’t contribute to those goals is not really worth the time.  At Centiment, our core focus is on delivering innovations derived from emotion that can help brands best turn today’s market challenges into brand opportunities.

 How do you plan on taking Centiment to the next level?

As we continue to build out our technology and neurodata platforms, we’ll be able to push ourselves toward being a more broad neurodata driven “ingredient brand” that can help power different functions within the marketing function (i.e. loyalty platforms) and beyond to other areas of an organization such as research, R+D, customer service etc. that could also benefit exponentially from the power of emotional intelligence.

The 3 Big Challenges Marketers Face When Building a Marketing Tech Arsenal

It’s household knowledge that digital technology is continuously disrupting the practice of marketing. New tools mean new capabilities to reach and engage with potential customers in new ways. An expanding number of platforms and devices makes the prospect of providing seamless customer experiences an ever more difficult task. Meanwhile more technologies dictate that marketing tech stack integrations are becoming more complex. Yet nimble and savvy marketing tech adoption is one of the key factors for staying competitive in any market, today and in the foreseeable future.

That’s not all to scare anyone. But it’s worth taking stock of the fact that marketers have a tall order in front of them when it comes to evaluating and implementing new digital marketing technologies.

There are a combination of factors that make marketing tech adoption difficult. The sheer volume of potential solutions means that sorting through the noise and finding those tools that are relevant to your business objectives is a time suck. That’s certainly a big one, but an undue amount of time has been spent in blog posts and at industry conferences shocking marketers with intricate vendor-scapes while other challenges may go overlooked.

In this post, we’ll evaluate some of the common hurdles marketers face when it comes to adopting and implementing new technologies and consider some ways they can overcome those hurdles. With a better understanding of exactly what the challenges are, in future posts we’ll dig further into developing a process for optimizing your tech stack and explore some of the key business objectives marketers are trying to address with technology in 2018.

Editor’s Note: This blog post marks the launch of FUSE Digital Marketing, a weekly newsletter (subscribe here) and annual VIP executive summit (learn more here) that explore the strategic adoption of marketing technologies. Both aim to dissect the modern martech stack and explore how the right technologies can enable marketers to achieve business objectives.

Challenge #1: Omnichannel Customer Experiences Are Complicated by Content, Data & Technology

The vast array of devices and platforms where customer touchpoints occur mean that the need for marketers to provide seamless, omnichannel customer experiences is both more important and more challenging than ever. Doing so requires a well-oiled technology stack optimized for cross-platform data integration, 360° customer views, and AI-based automation that drives engaging content and offers.

But let’s dig a little deeper and uncover what’s at play when it comes to omnichannel marketing. Just how important is omnichannel marketing to marketers and what’s holding them back?

In the research report Omnichannel Marketing: The Key to Unlocking a Powerful Customer Experience, Target Marketing asked marketers how important providing an omnichannel experience is in their industry. 74% of marketers said it was important, fairly important or very important. The research also revealed that most marketers are not confident in their ability to deliver omnichannel experiences: 48% feel their company provides customers and prospects an “average” omnichannel experience, while only 33% say it’s “good” or “very good.”

Beyond lack of budget, which is considered the number one challenge, marketers see omnichannel marketing as fundamentally a technology problem, with “accessing data across channels” and “recognizing a customer on different channels or devices” as high-ranking challenges they face in this effort. When asked what they are doing to improve omnichannel customer experience, marketers’ top two priorities are “improving integration of existing technology systems” and “investing in new tools and technology.”

 

To address omnichannel challenges, marketers are “improving integration of existing technology systems” and “investing in new tools and technology.”

 

To be fair, the quote-unquote “omnichannel customer experience” is not just a marketing objective — it’s the objective of anyone trying to provide consistent experiences across digital platforms and understand how audiences move and behave across those platforms. For years it’s been an objective (and thorn in the side) of publishing and media companies, which have large-scale audience and butter their bread by cultivating very granular information about these audiences.

The comparison to the media business can also be useful because it speaks to why omnichannel customer experiences have become simultaneously more difficult and more of an imperative. If omnichannel can be boiled down to two fundamental principles, those are experience and data.

First let’s look at experience: With content as a major form of currency in the brand-customer relationship, the customer experience extends much further up the funnel today than in days past. It’s the reason why content marketing expert Robert Rose argues that marketers should be focusing on audience, and not customer conversion, when developing a content marketing strategy and supporting technologies.

Sticking with publisher analogy, the introduction of content can be both a gift and a curse: A gift because “audience” interactions with content reveal valuable granular data about buying interests and intentions, which can drive coveted personalization efforts that yield higher conversions. A curse because connecting behavioral data to an individual across platforms is no easy task.

It’s no surprise then that we’re seeing a lot of interest in identity management, journey tracking, and anti-journey-hijacking solutions to keep track of users, as well as tools like CDPs that enable a 360-degree view of known users and the ability to develop user profiles enriched by behavioral data. Analytics tools that extract further insights, especially AI-driven predictive capabilities, will continue their growth in popularity.

Of course, limitations on data-driven marketing like GDPR will alter the data exchange between brands and consumers, namely by raising the threshold for that exchange. GDPR will simply accelerate the need for “owned” audiences that marketers have permission to communicate with (often earned by providing content), some of which will become your customers. And though painful at first, GDPR will actually play in favor of some marketers’ high-level concerns about brand safety and ad fraud when the brand-consumer relationship is much more transparent and explicit for all parties.

Challenge #2: Organizational Bureaucracy & Shadow MarTech

Unfortunately, developing a 360-degree view of customers from the topmost part of the funnel down to the purchase and onward isn’t just a technological challenge. It’s a deeply organizational challenge.

Marketers face a couple internal headwinds when it comes to technology adoption — such as the lack of understanding by senior management or lack of talent to apply martech — but perhaps the strongest is bureaucracy.

At many large companies, web technologies are part of gigantic enterprise systems that tend to be rigid and/or slowed by bureaucracy. Getting a WordPress site approved through corporate IT can be a nightmare. Especially when it comes to providing cutting edge customer experiences, marketers need to be super agile — able to stand up a blog, digital magazine, or microsite in short order — to respond the market or experiment with ideas without huge investments and long lead times.

Many marketers are forced to rely on their organization’s IT system and watch the nimble upstarts pass them by. Or they’re going rogue and creating what is often called a “shadow IT stack” or “shadow martech stack.”

Whether by design or by necessity, we know that martech purchasing happens across organizations. Target Marketing’s 2017 report The Marketing Tech Buying Process revealed that although brands are buying more marketing technology than ever, it’s often with minimal input from other departments. 64% of marketing technology purchases are made by individuals or single teams. Fewer than 50% of purchasers conduct formal requirements assessments. And the IT department is only involved in the marketing technology purchasing process 53% of the time.

One of the downsides of this fragmented martech buying approach is that the organization doesn’t reap the full benefit it would if the marketing stack and all its rich data was fully integrated with enterprise systems. Think of all the data points revealed through social media interactions, behavioral website data, email preferences – all of which can be used to track and cultivate consumers through the sales funnel and then continue engagement. And the existence of shadow martech stacks means companies aren’t seeing the optimal ROI, and as a result more likely to stifle future martech investments.

The Layered Approach to Marketing Tech Adoption

The layered approach to your content marketing tecnology stack.
Robert Rose advises a “layered approach” to the technology that powers content marketing in order to prioritize flexibility in the piece that must be more responsive to the customers, and formal input in the pieces that must integrate with other IT systems.

 

First off, marketers need to make the case and executives outside the marketing function need to recognize that marketing tech should be better integrated into enterprise systems without stifling the agility and flexibility that martech requires. Cross departmental communication and collaboration that might not have previously occurred are a necessity, but even more important, is a joined mission and strategy between marketing and IT.

To this end, Robert Rose suggests a “layered approach” to martech adoption. First, consider which parts of the tech stack need to be most flexible and require less dependability. These are the technologies that shouldn’t require as rigorous vetting nor be considered long-term, foundational technologies. “Content-driven experiences are today’s media buys: Flexible, lightweight and even disposable,” said Rose in his keynote at the FUSE Digital Marketing summit (then called FUSE Enterprise).

On the other hand, consider which parts of the tech stack need to be more thoroughly thought-out and approved, such as core data management technology that needs to be scalable, dependable and standardized, and fit into your company’s IT infrastructure. These need to be done methodically, involve all the stakeholders, and will likely be picked by the IT department, not marketers (though hopefully with apt input).

Challenge #3: Developing Tech Expertise

Another core challenge to martech adoption, and the closest to home, is that marketers themselves need a great understanding of the many technologies they could use and how they work together. However, being a technology expert is a relatively new competency for marketers and one that many may not have or are working to develop.  At the very least, marketers haven’t been preparing to be technologists their entire careers. “Being current on technology and able to put it into place with the right business processes to use effectively is now as important to the marketer as it is to someone in the IT department,” says Target Marketing editor-in-chief Thorin McGee. Or if not being a technology expert themselves, knowing enough to understand the underlying business objectives of a given tech tool and having a collaborative relationship with the technology department is a must for marketing executives today.

Once a technology is purchased, the common lament is that the tool is grossly underused. The Target Marketing Omnichannel report found that not enough marketers are investing in personnel or training to support their tech acquisitions. According to McGee, “This is evident both in the quantifiable questions, as well as the open response queries.  Marketers repeatedly cite lack of skilled personnel as an issue. Without proper training and know-how, the tools are not going to help. Invest in your people.”

Marketers should build more training into their martech strategies as well as implement more formalized processes (like Rose’s layered approach above), to ensure greater collaboration among key stakeholders and greater ROI for their tech investments.

In subsequent posts we’ll further explore processes for focusing your martech adoption strategy and look at specific business objectives marketers are keen to address with technology. Sign up for the weekly FUSE Digital Marketing newsletter to keep up on the latest martech insights.