I recently signed up for a seven-day free trial to an OTT service with, admittedly, very low intention of becoming a paying subscriber. I had the cancellation deadline on my calendar.
I was surprised to receive an email from the service two days before I had to cancel, notifying me that the trial was soon to expire, and offering me a link to actually change my subscription status and to avoid paying them a dime. When I was done watching the sports event for which I’d taken on the trial, I simply went back to the email and clicked on the link.
This was no typical sales hook. By making it easier for me to do what I’d intended, the business never became an adversary. They’d gained some first-party data from me as a customer. And in the evolving TV landscape, where cord-cutting streamers are constantly shuffling their app subscriptions, they remained a possibility for my future consideration.
And, yes, the service looked top-of-the-line in 4K high-def. But it was a simple old-school email that delivered the customer experience.
Getting value from your data requires testing
Data isn’t free. It has to be gathered, stored and analyzed. That means storage, apps and IT. For the digital marketer, data produces no revenue until it is activated, and even then, the payoff may not be immediate. Yet data is more valuable than gold. It can find customers, tease out their preferences, and convert those wants into sales. Data enables action. Marketing is impossible without it.
That’s what we heard from a number of agency representatives and practitioners, although they each had slightly different spins on strategy. For example, James Fedolfi, VP for Product Development at OMI, the B2B business intelligence platform, said: ““If something is not working, interpret and re-engage…Many [campaigns] start with the wrong question.” Alex Melen, co-CEO at SmartSites, a web design and digital marketing agency, had a slightly different approach: “I think ‘asking the right question’ is pretty much a shot in the dark,” he said. “The approach is to try, experiment and test everything. With the correct metrics in place, the correct data analysis, you will then zero-in on what will be most successful.”
But all were agreed on one thing: Test constantly. Start with defined success metrics, ensure you’re collecting the right data to monitor those metrics and analyze it on an ongoing basis. “There is a lot of building out of data management internally,” Fedolfi noted. “The technical resource requirements [have to be] large scale to be competitive. It’s putting a lot of stress on IT departments.” But those efforts are means to an end, as it allows a digital marketer to quickly move into a market space and quickly understand it, Fedolfi said. “That is the foundation of data.”
What DAMs can do for your stack
Digital asset management platforms, DAMs for short, are marketing software that store, organize and make useful an organization’s entire library of digital assets. A DAM is the “single source of truth” where marketers can find every relevant version of the media assets that have been created for the brand — images, PDFs, photographs, audio, video and even virtual reality or other cutting-edge formats.
The further benefit of a DAM is that these assets are appended with metadata that can provide information on anything the marketer might want to know before using the asset, such as whether the company owns the perpetual rights to use a photograph (and in what markets), whether the legal team has approved a video, and that an infographic or whitepaper has been checked to ensure it complies with the brand’s design standards.
Today, enterprises are using DAMs in a variety of ways. Marketing agencies might leverage DAM technology to help their customers maintain consistency across in-house content and creative developed by partners. B2B businesses might use DAMs differently, drawing on the benefits of a centralized hub for sales collateral and event marketing materials.
The 2021 CDP marketplace is diverse
Real Story Group says that the CDP marketplace in 2021 is far from homogeneous. “While most vendors will claim to do everything, the fact is they can’t,” writes RSG VP, Research & Advisory, and MarTech contributor Apoorv Durga.
The other two categories are process-oriented and engagement-oriented solutions. The former (in which RSG includes ActionIQ and mParticle, for instance) are primarily focused on data management and cleansing, identity resolution and the creation of profiles. The latter emphasize activation of profiles — engagement, orchestration, personalization and so on.
Why we care. The CDP marketplace is not static. On the one hand, we’ve seen a steady picking off of independent CDPs by marketing suites which don’t have that capability natively. On the other hand, we’ve indeed seen enterprises using CDPs for their own specific needs rather than according to what the CDP offers. We heard from Oracle, for example, that many customers use the Oracle Unity CDP by loading in data needed for a specific purpose — they don’t attempt to load all their data and create a single source of truth.
Interesting times. Let’s see what the CDP space looks like a year from now.