Tag: Digital Transformation

  • 7 ways to get to know your audience better

    7 ways to get to know your audience better

    With the great diversity of marketing styles and strategies out there, it’s easy to lose sight of some of the fundamentals inherent to every strategy. Realistically, only a handful of principles are necessary for success in literally every marketing strategy out there. One of the most important is this: You have to know your audience, inside and out. If you don’t know your audience, you won’t even know what strategies or media to choose, let alone what messages to give them or how to treat them once they become full-fledged customers. So let’s take a look at some of the actionable, practical ways you can better understand your audience. Do your research in advance First, do your market research, and make sure the demographics you’ve selected are the right ones for your brand and product. A number of modern tools are available to help you here, some of which are free — like American FactFinder, which uses United States census information to help you find out key pieces of information about specific demographics. Don’t just look at the one demographic you’ve assumed from the beginning; branch out to learn about related niches, and gauge interest in your product from other areas. Walk away with enough information to make at least a handful of conclusive statements about your target audience.

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  • How AI can recession-proof your business by Fluency

    How AI can recession-proof your business by Fluency

    Companies are currently bracing for a potential economic downturn, and many are searching for a solution to their current woes. Increases in labor costs over the past few years, an abrupt churn of employees and clients, looming difficult business decisions and keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of new and emerging technology solutions are all compiling realities in today’s climate—causing further complexities for businesses today. So where do you turn? AI tools like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can mitigate many of these fears and create real efficiency and opportunity for your business. Creative solutions like ChatGPT are already a reality for digital advertisers. So what’s next for AI in the industry—and more importantly, how can the industry leverage them to reap their direct benefits, such as increased efficiency, productivity and efficiency? Using AI to create new business opportunities Savvy digital advertisers are already using AI tools—like ChatGPT—to support creative tasks like writing content (email copy, outlines for long-form content, etc.), generating keywords and code, and creating images with just a few simple prompts. And this is only the beginning. As variations of ChatGPT and similar AI chatbots continue to advance, users will be able to ease on the prompts they give and, in turn, have to modify even less. Where else will we see AI in digital advertising? Customer support is one area where AI can learn from unique data points of your customers like commonly asked questions, and reply to them as they arise again. Generative language is also emerging in videos; users can quickly generate and deliver important messages via web portals, email and the like—at scale—to unlock critical time savings. Consider the multi-family industry: with this form of AI, users can quickly upload a few images which AI can use to create a video of their available properties in seconds. It’s these types of forward-thinking solutions that will drive efficiency throughout the industry. Why it’s time to get on board with automation What do emerging AI technologies have in common with navigating economic headwinds? It’s simple: automation can create vast efficiencies within your organization. The need to hire 20 additional strategists to support the grunt work is no longer a necessity; instead, you can automate those repetitive—yet critical tasks—and focus the staff you have on the more strategic side of your business. One of the most straightforward ways to understand how automation can create these efficiencies within your organization is to look at the salary of one of your digital advertising strategists. On average, strategists bring in around $80-$85,000 annually. So imagine if they’re spending half of their time each day on tasks that could be automated, like account launches and budget management. That’s virtually $40-$45,000 per year per strategist you’re spending on taskwork. Multiply that by a team of 10 strategists, and at the very least, that’s $400,000 a year you’re spending on tasks that simply could have been automated. Automating task work also transforms the time it takes to do it—think days down to seconds. Once you start reducing the time your employees spend on taskwork, you can put them on more forward-thinking efforts. Creating more productive hours for your team also decreases the number of strategists needed to complete taskwork. That’s the power of automation: It creates benefits for both the business from a revenue perspective and employees from a sentiment standpoint. Both outcomes are important— and both parties come out on top. Don’t take your hand off the wheel AI is taking form in the industry, whether organizations are ready or not. The question is, will you adopt it and stay afloat, or better yet, get ahead? Or will you continue to resist it and get left behind by an organization that can cater to the rising demands of this technology? If you don’t know where to start, begin by thinking of AI as an assistant or alternative solution to hiring. Despite the promises of automation, AI in digital advertising is still very much like the notion of a self-driving car. Sure, it’s extremely convenient and impressive, but it shouldn’t be left to its own devices. The same rings true for automation. You can’t eliminate the need for creatives—to do it right, you’ll still need a team of strategists pulling the levers and supporting the more strategic side of the business, but the need to fully staff a team for the grunt work is in the rearview mirror. How fluency leverages AI to create opportunities for scale One of the ways Fluency—an enterprise-level ad automation platform—creates opportunities for scale is through Blueprints—a Fluency-exclusive benefit of the platform. Think of Blueprints as an advertising strategy plan that uses data to build and apply changes to advertising accounts at scale. Why is this important to your advertising strategy? Blueprints offers the ability to create the backbone of your advertising strategy and launch against it with selected accounts for large-scale control. Where it used to take your staff countless hours to launch accounts, Blueprints use dynamic data points, like inventory feeds, to inform advertising account structures and all of the elements contained in them, like campaigns, settings, targeting, keywords, creative and pretty much everything else. The result? Quality increases, capacity is limitless, and success is sustainable. These are just a few of the many ways partners of Fluency can take advantage of automation to create a meaningful ripple effect across the organization where the work is strategic and engaging. Explore Fluency’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA) platform. Add MarTech to your Google News feed.     Related stories New on MarTech About the author Fluency is the premier provider of enterprise-level campaign software to the advertising industry. The company’s platform is built around Robotic Process Automation—a technology application unique in advertising—that delivers unparalleled efficiency, accuracy and quantity capabilities for digital marketers working in both agencies and brands. Based in Burlington, Vermont, with team members in 11 states, Fluency’s founders and staff leverage a singular combination of expertise, talent and inventiveness in their efforts to sustainably, collaboratively and enjoyably transform their clients’—and their own—businesses.

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  • Why CMOs must be the company’s biggest advocates for digitalization

    Why CMOs must be the company’s biggest advocates for digitalization

    Marketers play a glass-half-full role in business. We’re expected to see a product or service as it is and create a compelling, transformative message no matter the type of offering. It’s a strategic process for connecting a target audience to the company’s products and services. There’s no sleight of hand. In other words, the company provides the steak, and marketing offers the sizzle.  But there’s a disconnect between corporate expectations and real, measurable marketing goals from digital transformation. Across industries, companies must bring business into the modern world by offering their customers positive digital experiences. But many have struggled to accept this, and some are still “making due” with outdated tech to their detriment. Take, for example, Southwest Airlines and its recent systems failure. The company’s IT breakdown is infamous around the world and affected thousands of customers. The numerous delayed and canceled flights left many people stranded, causing some to miss out on holiday plans. Marketers and PR professionals are still dealing with the airline’s soiled reputation and terrible customer experience fallout.  So, what should marketers do when the company fails to deliver the service they promised?  To win customer trust the brand’s offerings meet consumer expectations. And consumers expect the companies they purchase from to be digitally advanced and relevant. This is why we marketers must be our companies’ advocates for modernization and innovation.  Tech sets the tone for modern business experiences No matter the product or service offered, every company is digital. Marketers should drive the adoption of this digital-first identity and tie it to both the employee and customer experience.  Customers expect a frictionless digital experience. They will not accept computer problems as a valid reason for a company’s failure to deliver. Tech stacks of outdated legacy systems cannot offer the experiences customers expect. This disconnect between prioritizing digital experiences while sticking with legacy platforms is felt across industries. Ramesh Ramani CEO of ExpertusONE which helps brands deliver digital learning experiences for employees and customers, says breakdowns like Southwest’s systems failure come from a faulty core belief. (Disclosure: ExpertusONE is a client of Zen Media.) “Corporate leaders continue to operate under the mindset that advanced technology is nice to have — that it’s nonessential — and therefore, an investment in the tech stack can be delayed,” said Ramani said. “But tech is not a nice-to-have feature. It’s the only way companies can build relationships with stakeholders and remain competitive in their markets. Neglecting the tech stack is detrimental.” Tech is a critical link in the customer experience chain. In this time of Google and Yelp reviews, tech is also a marketer’s chief concern. But all business leaders, marketing and otherwise, need to be on board with digital acceleration because technology breakdowns have a ripple effect.  Downtime is costly for production and business operations. Poor internal digital experiences reduce employee engagement and negatively affect morale. And the loss of customer trust due to a systems failure, like the one that Southwest experienced, can ruin a brand’s reputation and disperse its customer base.  If your company cannot meet the standard customers expect when it comes to digital experiences, you risk losing their interest and watching them flee to other, more innovative competitors.  A strong tech stack is essential to preserve customer trust A strong tech stack is the first step in preventing a breach of customer trust. This is why marketers must be advocates for a digital-first brand identity.  Southwest’s failure proves how internal tech problems can significantly damage brand reputation.  As marketers, we need to see the value of technology from a higher level, beyond marketing-specific technology. We must understand how our organization’s entire tech stack — from operational workflow tools to L&D software to IT management and HR tools — can impact the customer experience. The digital experience is part of the “steak” companies must provide so that marketing can deliver the sizzle. If your marketing efforts are successful, but your customer experience isn’t, the strategy will be a wash.  Let’s say you reach your target audience through social media content marketing, but your website is frequently down due to back-end IT issues. The customer will swiftly move on to another brand, likely one of your competitors. After all, if your website isn’t reliable, why should they trust that your brand is?  It’s non-negotiable. Updated tech is now the expectation. Companies failing to meet this expectation will lose customer trust, which is not quickly recovered.  Marketers cannot be solely reactive. Brands won’t successfully reach customers if their primary message is damage control. To succeed, you need the support of a tech stack that always delivers on customer expectations.  Our ability to connect brand identity to customers’ digital experiences when interacting with our company gives us the power to create a compelling case for tech innovation. We must hold our organizations to a higher standard and ensure the products we’re marketing hold up in today’s modern marketplace. 

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  • Digital advertising automation is here: Are you ready? by Fluency

    Digital advertising automation is here: Are you ready? by Fluency

    The benefits of automation are clear: replace the need to manually manage your digital advertising accounts with fulfilling work, such as strategic planning and forward-thinking conversations. Drastically reduce the stress related to a business exclusively powered by people—such as eroding salaries, mass churn and unbalanced account ratios. While it all sounds great in theory, executives often wonder where to even begin, and how the presumed benefits can become their organization’s reality. You may be ready to reap the benefits of automation today, but the simple truth is that automation requires dedication, alignment and strategic planning for how automation will be used before deployment. It also requires an understanding and buy-in of the following: Defining your strategy Documenting your processes Change management Strategy for success The first step in preparing for automation is to evaluate and document your overall organizational strategy prior to rolling out an automation solution: Identify your competitive differentiators in the market. Identify your client-facing value proposition. Document your approach from end to end. In short, it is what makes up your organization’s identity—from your services to your audience and the like. These considerations may seem very basic, but being able to articulate them to your future automation partner is important. In addition to getting granular, be open to change. Automation is an opportunity for exponential growth across your business. Being able to articulate your value proposition and then knowing it will ultimately change and evolve—for the better—will help your organization expand and diversify its value and bottom line. Documenting your processes Another part of readiness to consider is how your organization is currently operating. Documenting a digital ad agency’s processes means detailing all of its workflows from onboarding through execution. Doing this will create a centralized source for your future automation partner to refer to and streamline for operational efficiency and scalability across the business. Not sure where to begin? Here’s an easy way to think about this: Consider how you’d explain the workflow for launching ad accounts to a brand-new member of your team. How would you onboard this employee and share with them the critical, day-to-day details, such as: How to set ad spending limits How to enable notifications How to select your campaign’s objective How to choose your ad placement ….and so on. Now that you’ve made it to this step, you’re likely more prepared for automation than perhaps you thought you were. As you look at these details, you can start to uncover where your team can start saving time. For example, if automation will save 80% of your team’s time launching new accounts, where can you start applying this newfound bandwidth? This is where the fun part comes in, where you and your team can start dreaming up impactful strategy and innovation you once didn’t have time for. Change management Since automation can dramatically shift your business, it requires energy and buy-in from the top. The most successful agencies that chose automation also chose to embrace change. Trusting in the endless possibilities and benefits of automation and keeping its big vision at the forefront of implementation will put your business in a positive position. Once you have acceptance and buy-in from your executives, it’s time to move through the rest of the organization. This is where it’s important to share wins and opportunities with your team. Once teams start to see that they’re no longer consumed with low value task work (like building decks and getting bogged down with unrealistic account ratios,) the buy-in starts to increase. Enthusiasm for implementation and an increase in overall morale follows suit once they see that there’s finally time to breathe and dive into strategic planning. Despite some people’s perceptions, automation isn’t taking jobs away—it’s removing the low-value task work so your team can focus on high-cognitive work that not only excites them but contributes to your competitive advantage. As you move through the various phases of implementation and onboarding, keep sharing wins and future possibilities—it all adds up to embracing change. Agencies and enterprises choose to implement automation for different reasons, but one thing remains the same: gone are the days your organization used to operate. It’s not a matter of when, it’s how automation will shake up your processes and workflows based on your organization’s short- and long-term goals. But remember, the possibilities are always worth it. Fluency is your automation partner Although every digital ad agency faces its own unique challenges, having enough time—to do what you both need AND want to do—is a problem that unites them all together. Automation implementation is unique to every business—Fluency is an automation partner that will take the time to get to know your unique challenges and make the automation process feel natural. “Our platform is an invitation to take control back, to decide what you want to do with your time,” notes Tomy Szczypiorski, Fluency’s VP of client services. “But it’s also an invitation to change the paradigm of what clients can expect from your agency, and that can help you build and retain your customer base well into the foreseeable future.” Looking for a partner on your automation journey? We look forward to hearing from you about your own agency’s challenges, and discussing how Fluency can help solve them quickly, sustainably, and transformationally, today. Add MarTech to your Google News feed.     Related stories New on MarTech About the author Fluency is the premier provider of enterprise-level campaign software to the advertising industry. The company’s platform is built around Robotic Process Automation—a technology application unique in advertising—that delivers unparalleled efficiency, accuracy and quantity capabilities for digital marketers working in both agencies and brands. Based in Burlington, Vermont, with team members in 11 states, Fluency’s founders and staff leverage a singular combination of expertise, talent and inventiveness in their efforts to sustainably, collaboratively and enjoyably transform their clients’—and their own—businesses.

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  • So how is this Web3 supposed to work?

    So how is this Web3 supposed to work?

    Web3 is at that awkward moment when it is learning how to walk in a world that expects it to run. Like any new technology in its infancy, Web3 is babbling buzzwords—crypto, NFT, blockchain. The Web3 hype is tangible. This baby is growing up to be a doctor! The challenge for the digital marketer is to appreciate what the baby can do, when it grows up. Trying to understand what a technology can do, as opposed to what it promises to do, requires perception and discernment. Shlomi Ron, founder and CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute, first explained NFTs and crypto to MarTech almost two years ago. (See “A Guide to Visual Storytelling” Part I and Part II.) We thought it would be a good time to talk with him again to gain a better understanding of how NFTs, crypto and blockchain work together to propel Web3. Step 1: Crawl NFTs and crypto are each hard to understand when viewed in isolation. They must be taken together to see how they work. As Ron put it, “[They] are like the building blocks for Web3 technology.” “Think of NFTs as one-of-a-kind treasures, like rare collectible toys, that can’t be replicated or traded for anything else. They help keep track of who owns unique digital things like digital art and in-game items on the blockchain,” he said. “Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, are like digital wallets filled with virtual cash. They help make payments and transactions on the blockchain secure and trustworthy,” Ron continued. “Both NFTs and cryptocurrencies help Web3 work smoothly and securely, like puzzle pieces fitting together,” he said. “You can pay with crypto currency to buy NFTs in order to buy goods, services, and other digital assets.” Step 2: Walk Which leads to the tangible rewards Web3 must deliver. The whole point of this technology package is to engage customers in such a way as to increase brand loyalty. Just remember that the reward cannot be commonplace, like a coupon or a free pizza. The NFT/blockchain combination can be crafted to deliver a customer reward that cannot be copied or faked, Ron pointed out. “By offering exclusive rewards, brands can encourage customers to engage with them and develop a sense of loyalty as they receive rewards that are otherwise unavailable.” “Think of them as the evolution of the good ol’ loyalty points that airline companies offer but with a long-term ownership benefit,” Ron said. “[B]y using blockchain technology to track and reward customer engagement, brands can provide a sense of security and trust, which can further increase loyalty.” Step 3: Run Some brands are already trying out Web3 solutions, with varying degrees of success. Ron listed a few such efforts. The Gap used the Tezos blockchain platform to launch its own NFT program. NFT owners got a limited edition hoodie. Gucci turned to the Roblox platform to launch its “Gucci Garden” for a two-week period. “It attracted 20 million players despite being open for just 2 weeks,” Ron said. Gucci Town was the permanent follow-up, launched last year. “It sold one NFT accessory for over $4,000, exceeding the price tag of the physical version of the accessory,” Ron noted. A more extensive use case popped up last December, when The Art Basel Miami art show saw a number of brands tried out their Web3 offerings on the public. “Phygitals (Rtfkt’s Nike co-branded Space Drip sneakers), distributed NFTs as a reward for doing something, such as attending a fashion show (Altuzarra) or being a member of a special app (Adidas),” Ron said. “Token gated entrances allowed NFT collectors exclusive access to events by DressX or Bored Ape Yacht Club. “But it doesn’t end there. After people attended these exclusive events, they received NFTs called POAPs (Proof of Attendance Protocols) – paving the way for future rewards.” Ron added. Step 4: Fly Web3 is a promising start set against the dismal background of the “Crypto Winter”. “The key triggers include an overvalued market, with some coins like Bitcoin reaching all time high $65k in Nov 2021.”  Lack of regulation and rampant speculation fueled the chaos. Follow this with “the crash of the Luna and Terra stable coins, [and] the FTX’s crypto currency exchange bankruptcy. Last year’s volume of crypto abuse didn’t help,” Ron said. A few things must happen to build public confidence in NFT and crypto if Web3 is going to succeed. “The public needs to have better understanding of how these technologies work in lock step with better usability,” Ron said. Right now, these processes are disjointed. “People need to be sure that their transactions are secure and the NFTs they buy are authentic,” he said. “In short, to cross the chasm from the recent Early Adopters stage to Early and Late Majority, we need better usability, security, regulation and stronger utility,” Ron continued. “Embedding crypto and NFTs in everyday use cases that will drive perceived benefits.” Ron reminded us that we are still in the early days of Web3. That world is “still wide open for everybody to innovate in.” Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here. Add MarTech to your Google News feed.     Related stories New on MarTech @media screen and (min-width: 800px) { #div-gpt-ad-6013980-7 { display: flex !important; justify-content: center !important; align-items: center !important; min-width:770px; min-height:260px; } } @media screen and (min-width: 1279px) { #div-gpt-ad-6013980-7 { display: flex !important; justify-content: center !important; align-items: center !important; min-width:800px!important; min-height:440px!important; } }

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