In this post, David Edelman tackles the issue of data collection for marketers and why the customer experience will lead the way forward.
With the much publicized rollout of Apple’s app transparency tracking framework, and the elimination of third-party cookies on Chrome, marketers are about to lose cherished sources of data that have long powered their targeting and attribution initiatives. When you look at most of the advice popping up on what to do though, it tends to focus on broad recommendations to “build up your first party data,” “look at results in a more aggregate way and refine your media mix modeling capability,” or even “build products with broader appeal so they don’t have to be so finely targeted.” I am not going to argue with any of that. Of course, it makes sense, but it is so vague. There are other, specific, tactical imperatives marketers need to consider as we enter a new world where data is still the currency of the realm.
Not the end of third-party data
Even with all of the pressures to protect privacy and security of individuals, consumers still want experiences that use the power of data to make life easier, faster, more entertaining, and more empowering. Know me when I call in. Let me go seamlessly from my home to my vacation hideaway without paper or talking to a person. Let me know what I should be doing next to improve my health. Give me ample warning to prepare for a storm. The list is endless, and the bar is now at a height where this is all expected. Brands will compete based on how the experiences they offer use information for the benefit of the customer.
Doing this will likely require more information than most companies have within their own walls. Information to improve targeting models, attribution models, next best action models. Information to enrich your understanding of a customer’s context — their location, surrounding conditions, competitor engagement, demographics. Information for modeling changing conditions that should drive parallel changes in how you allocate spending across channels, on keywords, on promotions. Even without third-party online tracking data, there are still rich troves of data for marketers to tap. The better ones have full transparency of how they are captured, what degree of privacy they protect, what permissions they manage, and how timely they are.
Key points include:
- Third party data
- Data Supply-Chain Management as a Core Competency
- The “Open Data Marketplace”
Read the full article, Hey, Where Is My Data??, on LinkedIn.
The future of work, agriculture, education, and even relationships are all areas facing change thanks to AI technology. David Edelman extols the benefits of AI in this post.
The digital explosion, accelerated by Covid, has not made life on the front lines of sales and customer service any easier. In fact, when customers are able to do more research on their own, salespeople face tougher unanswered questions, and more of an inquisition about competitive differences, granular product details, or use cases they’ve never considered. Service reps have to handle the calls of customers facing challenges they could not resolve online, likely meaning customers who are more frustrated or who have very complex situations, often demanding special treatment or deeper investigation. And if they cannot work in a call center setting, getting help from colleagues or managers is simply more challenging logistically.
No matter what prognosticators say about AI automating away jobs, there will always be a need for front line roles (even if fewer people can handle many more calls) and AI can supercharge them by augmenting the capabilities available at the rock face of customer interaction. Reps will be more effective, and as their efficiency in “handling the difficult” goes up, they will become more scalable. The business cases are getting powerful.
Key points include:
- The new powers of augmentation
- It’s a brand issue
- But the tools are not enough
Read the full article, AI to the Rescue, as Call Centers Struggle
David Edelman explains how having an AI strategy can provide a wide range of new variables that can be personalized to the customer journey, helping to speed and scale and make the concept of agile a reality.
Champion versus challenger has been the basis for finding lift and proving marketing value for decades. But we are way past the slower, high-cost operations needed to test direct mail pieces or even direct response TV. To find the right offer, message, or call center interaction on an increasingly personalized basis for digital channels requires multi-variate testing on a massive scale. Even the fastest “war rooms” for rapid test and learn, operations I’ve helped many companies build, suffer if you need analytic experts to create every test matrix, copywriters to draft every word for every variation, and operations managers to coordinate layers of simultaneous tests. And would you even be able to find all the talent you need at an affordable cost?
New optimization tools, powered by artificial intelligence, have already infiltrated the media buying process. And there is an overwhelming range of tools to turn first- and third-party data into targeting plans. But now we can use AI to optimize the personalization of the CONTENT of an interaction. Offer design, words, pictures, conversational interactions, tonality, and hundreds of other descriptors become data that can be measured, matched, and modelled.
Key points include:
- AI as a growth engine
- Enhancing the emotional connection
- Driving a rethink of operations
Read the full article, What’s your AI strategy for scaling Segment-of-One Marketing? on LinkedIn.
David Edelman explains how the foundations of Theater provide powerful tools for leaders to connect, motivate, and deliver during times of constant dramatic change.
When a theater is empty, the tradition is to keep a lone bulb lit on the stage — a ghost light — really for safety, but superstitiously to keep away the bad spirits lurking in the building. Sadly, most theaters right now are lit merely by their ghost bulb, but in the absence of action on stage, I prefer to think of those bulbs as beacons to the rest of us about all that Theater provides, even when performances are temporarily suspended.
We are in a time when the “audiences,” or customers and stakeholders, of businesses are going through constant, dramatic change, and teamwork needs to dynamically adjust, every single day, to the new realities we face. In such a climate, the foundations of Theater provide powerful tools for leaders needing to connect, motivate, and deliver under the spotlight as never before.
In the past, I have talked about the importance of thinking about great business leaders embracing a view more akin to a jazz combo leader than a classical music conductor, inspired by a seminal article by John Clarkeson, the late former CEO of the Boston Consulting Group. Set the structure, assemble great talent, keep the core rhythm going, listen constantly to each other, but let each other innovate in new directions, which if successful, the team will sense and follow. This view is a clear contrast to formally planned, rigorous planning, and leadership through the force of hierarchy.
Key points include:
- Igniting passion
- Investigating the context
- Invite a relationship through a fitting demand
Read the full article, Guided by the “Ghost” Light: Tapping into Theater’s Lessons during its Absence, on LinkedIn.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome David Edelman. After 30 years as a Chief Marketing Officer (at Aetna/CVS) and building consultancy businesses in Digital and Marketing Transformation (with McKinsey, Digitas, and the Boston Consulting Group), I would love to work with others on helping companies in healthcare, fin services, consumer services, and marketing tech/svcs shape their strategic direction, build their teams’ capabilities, and become more digitally agile. I know what it takes from the top strategic level down to the nitty gritty of tech, ops, and creative to get great marketing done.
I am also open to appropriate opportunities on boards, and am currently on two non-profit boards — The Walnut Hill School for the Arts, and the Boston Ad Club — where I serve on the strategy committees, building a future direction for both institutions to expand their impact.
I’ve published in HBR, speak frequently at industry conferences and events, and blog on topics ranging from digital marketing to the Customer Decision Journey. But most importantly, I am also a music fanatic and play saxophone.