The New Marketing: Why Marketers Are the New Scientists and How the Scientific Method is Key to Their Success

DNA Strand

I came to marketing by happy accident. I followed my heart and walked away from being a technologist and towards being a marketing technologist. At the time, the word ‘marketing’ was an odd fit for someone who majored in applied physics, as I did. Today, it makes plenty of sense. In the almost twenty years that have elapsed since I became a marketing technologist, marketing has changed significantly. It has become one of the most technology dependent disciplines in which one can engage.

It’s not just that marketing has become technology driven. Marketers also find themselves at a place where accountability is paramount, where they must rely on data and analytics to extract insights and deliver results more quickly, where technologies like personalization and programmatic advertising are upending even modern approaches to engagement. Saying simply that marketing has changed is an understatement. Marketing is experiencing an evolutionary moment.

Any article you read identifying the qualifications for the “new” marketer lists characteristics like “digital-savvy” and “data driven”. There’s no argument from me on those. It can only help for marketers to be technologic ally and data savvy. More skills are needed, however.

There’s an old Saturday Night Live sketch where Chevy Chase, as a presidential candidate in a debate, remarks, “It was my understanding that there wouldn’t be any math.” Truthfully, marketing has always required some math. What’s different is, in many ways – with its growing reliance on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) – marketing no longer simply needs marketers. To achieve maximum effectiveness, marketing needs marketing scientists.

Marketers and scientists do very different things. Marketers live to reach customers, to drive them to some action and, ultimately, to get them to purchase. Scientists’ goals usually revolve around experimentation that leads to incremental advances and discoveries. There is an understanding that even small steps forward can ultimately result in disruptive achievements. As is clear from concepts like A/B testing, marketing has been adapting some of the experimental approach to achieve goals. Still, more is needed.

What’s missing is an adherence to scientifically thinking about the processes involved in marketing. In the evolutionary metamorphosis being witnessed, marketing is transforming from a primordial business discipline to a 21st century, science driven iteration of itself that requires the approach of a scientist. Read more

Marketing Technology Strategy: Know Your Customer

In our whitepaper, Creating a Customer Focused Marketing Technology Strategy, we recommend the steps marketers should go through to create an effective marketing technology strategy.  Part of the process involves an assessment using our Marketnology Assessment Plan (MAP).  In successive blog entries, we’ll share some of the whitepaper’s content based on the MAP.  You can start with the first post in the series here.

Customer Framework Section Subway Boxes-C

Marketnology Assessment Planning System - webIn response to the rapid pace of technology change, there can be a tendency to reflexively want to utilize a technology because others are using it successfully. That one’s peers are finding success with a technology certainly might be a strong endorsement. It is important, however, to consider your own customers’ behaviors. This is especially critical when creating the marketing technology strategy.

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Want a New Marketing Technology Strategy? First, Know Where You Are Now.

In our whitepaper, Creating a Customer Focused Marketing Technology Strategy, we recommend the steps marketers should go through to create an effective marketing technology strategy.  Part of the process involves an assessment using our Marketnology Assessment Plan (MAP).  In successive blog entries, we’ll share some of the whitepaper’s content based on the MAP.  We’ll start with understanding your Current Situation.

The Current State Framework Section Subway Boxes-CS

When using the GPS to guide your driving route, the navigation system always needs to know your starting point. After all, just knowing your desired destination doesn’t support a dynamic, turn-by-turn plan for reaching the destination. The same is true for the marketing technology strategy. A close assessment of your current situation is vital to understanding the path necessary to achieve your marketing technology goals. Additionally, the Current Situation is an ideal time to contrast the future state you would like to see. Read more

A Guide to Developing a Marketing Technology Strategy That Delivers!

More than a few sources have suggested that marketers who are investing in technology should have a well-defined marketing technology strategy. That’s great advice. The key to building a cohesive technology stack that can serve as a platform for customer focused marketing is having a marketing technology strategy that details your optimal future state and how you plan to get there.

The thing is, that’s hard to do. There are lots of technologies, lots of vendors and, most importantly, marketing organizations are complex entities where change is not always welcome. Still, optimally using marketing technologies necessitates a plan for achieving your goals.

CustomerCorporateAccountability - Intentional SuccessIn Actuan Global’s whitepaper, Creating a Customer Marketing Technology Strategy, I’ve outlined precisely what’s necessary to create a marketing technology strategy that works for your organization. It starts with realizing that your customers, your business and accountability are the primary drivers of your strategy.  Additionally, it is important to understand that the creating marketing technology strategy is not a technical undertaking. Rather, it’s an operational one that defines how marketing technologies will impact your your company. To that end, it requires understanding multiple facets of your organization and the entities with which you work. Read more

Mobile and the B2B Buyer

B2B Mobile Infographic Thumbnail

For B2C marketers, it’s clear that mobile has to be a high priority. Smartphones are so prevalent that to negate the presence of mobile as an important channel would be like ignoring any web browser that launched after Internet Explorer 8.

For B2B marketers, the importance of mobile hasn’t been as clear. After all, in the B2B space, people generally perform their research and other due diligence during working hours – frequently from their desk computers. They’re exchanging information with their colleagues via email and internal collaboration tools. Plus, the nature of corporate purchases doesn’t necessarily lend itself to seeming to be a good fit for mobile. The truth is, if you are a B2B marketer who doesn’t have a mobile strategy, you’re missing the boat and are already behind. Download the Mobile and the B2B Buyer infographic. [PDF] [PNG] Read more

Whose Job Is It Anyway? Solving the Marketing vs IT Challenge

Happy smiling multi ethnic business team in officeThe Need for Partnership – the CMO and the CIO

Marketing technology is everyone’s job. Delivering effective marketing technology solutions dictates that both the CMO and the CIO take ownership for getting them deployed. While the CIO is responsible for building and maintaining technology infrastructure, the CMO must define her needs and work with the right vendors to choose the right solutions. Some CMOs have long been involved in choosing software vendors. Many others, however, are much more proficient at choosing agencies than selecting technology vendors. That is changing.

Without question, a new reality exists. It is not enough for senior marketing leaders to be astute strategists. Between the leader and her team, there is now a necessity to have deep technical bench strength simply to maintain acceptable levels of competitiveness with other companies. Innovating requires yet another degree of technological understanding. Read more

10 Tips to a Great User Experience – Part 2

User-Experience-List-(Web)In part 1, I addressed how user-centered design (UCD), personas and customer journey maps play a significant role in successfully completing the analysis phase of a user experience project.  There are lots of steps, however, between finishing the analysis phase of the UCD process and actually realizing a design. I won’t go through them here. The resources at the end of this post can help elucidate the fuller user centered design process. Rather, I’d like to touch design practices that can result in UX success. Read more

10 Tips to a Great User Experience – Part 1

bigstock-Web-design-concept-43604968I was having lunch with a colleague and the conversation turned to Amazon Web Services, the shopping site’s cloud servers offering.  Many of the most well-regarded web focused companies (e.g., Dropbox, Expedia, Yelp and others) rely on the infrastructure of Amazon Web Services.  We wondered how it came to pass that a company known for selling books and tangible goods was so successful at selling server offerings so rock-solid that it supports some of the best companies in the business.  The answer, we determined, is the customer experience.  The key to Amazon’s success is their commitment to a great customer experience and, as a result of the web being their entry point to their customers, the user experience.

User experience (UX) typically refers to what users “see” when they engage with your web site.  This includes everything they experience from content layout, imagery, navigation and colors to the speed of the site, how easy it is to transact and how it renders on mobile devices.  UX is a vast and comprehensive discipline that relies on research, psychology, creative design, and analysis skills for success.

For web projects, the user experience is often overlooked in the name of delivering functionality and reaching the finish line.  While functionality and getting to market are important, also high on the list of most marketers’ goals with new projects is program success.  Research has shown over and over again that a strong user experience improves program performance and customer loyalty.  A commitment to great user experiences may be optional but it can be the difference between an okay execution and a great one. Read more

The Actuan Global Blog – Delivering Great Customer Experiences

CustomerWhen I started Actuan Global (just Actuan, then), I began it with the idea that the company should be doing what I always did in my career – help marketers make sense of digital to build web sites. Today, it is the entire digital ecosystem – much more than just a web site – that beckons company’s and my own attention.

If I could draw attention to any one idea to differentiate Actuan Global of today from Actuan of 2006 (when I founded the company), it’s the idea of customer experience management. When building web sites, the focus is on usability – are users able to find the information they need so they can do what they came to the site for. Today, digital touches every facet of enterprise organizations. As a result, effectively providing services means being customer-focused and delivering integrated, cross-channel customer experiences that are centered around customer behavior. This goes beyond just making it easy for customers to get what they need. It’s about being mindful that modern customers interact with the organization on multiple touchpoints – often simultaneously. The company should provide its services in a way that minimizes the impediments customers face in interacting with the company and cross-channel engagement should be as seamless as possible. This can’t be done without technology.

This motor on this blog, which I stopped writing a few years ago, is being warmed up because I believe the transition from usability to customer experience management is a transformational one. Technology’s role in helping companies deliver exceptional customer experiences is more important than ever. Moreover, customer experience management can lead to both reduced costs and greater profits – when done well. The hope is that the ideas expressed in this blog help readers find increased value in the ideas of marketing technologies and their impact on customer experiences.