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A Few Fresh New Ways of Looking at Digital Marketing

I’m at the Argyle 2016 Leadership in Digital Marketing conference right now. This conference features speakers from Sallie Mae, Oracle, Dunkin’ Brands, State Street, Citizens Financial Group…the list goes on. Sophisticated digital marketers from a wide range of organizations are here to consume actionable content. I’m getting to see social and digital through their eyes–and I’m beginning to see things a little differently.

Listen to Your Latest Customers

In the keynote presentation, Kristyn Harmon, VP of Digital Strategy at Sallie Mae, talked about rebranding the 43-year-old company. First she needed to understand Sallie Mae’s customers, so she brought in high school juniors and seniors who had recently used Sallie Mae. Among other things, these customers were asked:

  • What did you learn?
  • What did you hate?
  • What did you hope was there (that wasn’t)?

Takeaway: Kristyn was struck by the lack of financial literacy among the high school students she brought in. When her team conducted competitive research in the next phase of the rebranding process, they found that their market share was being eaten away by easily navigable, glossy, mobile-friendly sites with less history but more appeal for the brand’s target persona.

This realization led to Sallie Mae’s total site overhaul, seriously enhancing usability and embracing simplicity–along with an a-ha! moment about the need to more directly target the millennial demographic. This realization manifested itself in a partnership with rapper Dee-1, whose “I Finished Paying Sallie Mae Back” video went viral organically:

Sallie Mae tweeted at Dee-1, and brought him on tour to speak to kids about college–a truly full-circle digital and offline effort.

If you’re looking to re-brand digitally, start by understanding the experiences of the people who last touched your brand, then take a look at your competitors to digest what they’re doing right and how you can translate these strategies into success for your own brand. Finally, be ready to react and embrace interactions which your brand might have previously veered away from, but which will resonate with your target audience.

“I’ll Do That Later” Is So Over

Jen Jones, the Director of Industry Product Marketing at Oracle, gave a presentation entitled “The Path to Adaptive Marketing: Creating Data-Driven, Individualized Customer Experiences.” Yes, that’s a mouthful. But the point is this: we are living in a post-“I’ll do that on my computer when I get home” era. For instance, if someone remembers that there is a video game they wanted to buy in the middle of their commute, they’re going to head right to Amazon on their mobile phone. They’re not willing to wait. They’re living in a series of micro-moments: mobile moments that require only a glance to identify and deliver quick information that you can either consume, or act on immediately.

The problem is, most marketers aren’t very good at leveraging these micro-moments.

2% of marketers have the ability to identify, deliver, and measure how effectively they serve customers in micro-moments.

-Forrester Research

Takeaway: More and more, people are making purchasing decisions in the here-and-now, on their phones. This was a common theme throughout the conference: the linear customer journeys we’ve grown accustomed to are overly simplistic and swiftly becoming irrelevant.

For instance, someone might Google “social marketing,” come upon this blog, read a blog post, tweet about the blog post, totally forget about this blog, get reminded about this blog months later over cocktails with a friend, then visit this blog again, then download a guide from a CTA in a blog post…you get the point. There is no one route to a goal completion anymore, so marketers are tasked with offering many appealing options for target customers, no matter where they are in the journey. Making content a first-class discipline, Jen said, is a huge part of meeting this challenge.

What else can you do? Build profiles that span anonymous and known prospects. There are three profile categories:

Anonymous: Searches for product, watches TV ad, clicks on display ad

Anonymous-Known: Adds to cart, purchases product

Known: Reads SMS message, clicks on email, receives push notifications

You should be building diverse content and content delivery mechanisms which can service each of these three categories, and intelligently orchestrating micro-moments for each category.

It’s Opti-channel, not Omnichannel

Lamont Young, Head of Digital and Multi-Channel Marketing at Citizens Financial Group, talked a lot about how important it was to make the banking process frictionless for customers. He also took issue with the term “omnichannel”:

I don’t believe in omnichannel, I believe in opti-channel. It’s about giving options to our customers. It is our responsibility to keep investing in all our channels to make them easier to use for customers.

Takeaway: You don’t have to be active on every channel, but you should start thinking about what you can change to give your customers more options and a better user experience. Offering multiple options (i.e. live chat, Twitter, easy email access, walk-in service, etc.) doesn’t mean offering every option. What it does mean is making brand interaction and discovery as easy as possible, so that your customers don’t go elsewhere, whether that’s tomorrow or next year.

Want more fresh ways to look at the digital marketing? Download our just-released guide below.

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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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