Most Important Martech Features [Report]

Most Important Martech Features [Report]

As companies continue to increase their investment in martech, especially in North America, making use of all these technologies as well as having them work together efficiently is a hurdle many firms are still working on. Two-fifths (39%) of the 265 marketing professionals surveyed for a Ascend2 report say they are currently working on implementing a martech stack strategy, while 1 in 5 (19%) are still developing such a strategy.

Most Important Martech Features

When creating a martech stack optimization strategy, improving marketing efficiency is a key priority for more than half (55%) of those surveyed. Marketers are also hoping that optimizing their martech stack will help with improving customer experience (51%), which is an area for which more than one-third (35%) of retail marketers feel their marketing technology is currently doing “very well.”

Although many marketers set increasing marketing ROI (45%) as a martech optimization priority, fewer cite improving marketing personalization (29%), improving attribution of revenue (27%) and improving data management & security (26%).

Notably, improving marketing efficiency is not only the biggest priority for marketers when it comes to martech stack optimization; it’s also their most challenging barrier.

Important Martech Stack Features

Beyond the priorities and challenges of optimizing their martech stack, what features are marketers looking for in their suite of tools? One of the most important features for implementing a martech stack is data insights and analysis (51%). At the same time, finding people with skills to properly analyze the data provided has been an issue for companies for some time.

Marketers also place importance on features such as real-time processing (40%), data centralization (34%), scalability/flexibility (31%), multi-channel experience (30%) and, to a much lesser extent, artificial intelligence (14%).

Systems integration was cited as one of the most important features for implementing a martech stack by 46% of respondents. That said, integration of disparate systems was low on their list of priorities, with only one-fifth (19%) citing it as a key priority to be achieved by a martech stack optimization strategy. It is also considered to be a challenging barrier for more than one-third (36%) of those surveyed.

In fact, many marketers feel that to optimize their marketing, the technologies in the stack need to improve ease of use (52%) and integration with other technologies (38%).

Martech Investment

Only 14% of marketers say they are not planning to invest in their martech stack this year. Conversely, 7 in 10 say they will continue to invest moderately (49%) or significantly (22%). This comes after earlier data from Ascend2 found that 2 in 5 marketers are investing in more martech on a quarterly basis.

Separately, research from Merkle has found that larger companies (those making at least $200 million in pre-tax annual revenues) are outsourcing about 43% of their marketing technology operations. In this latest study close to two-thirds (62% share) of marketers said that a combination of outsourced and in-house resources is the most effective for implementing martech optimization tactics, with few (24%) preferring to rely on in-house resources alone.

Downloaded the full report.

About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 265 marketing professionals from B2B, B2C and B2B/B2C equally companies. The survey was fielded in January 2020.


Is your martech investment delivering what you need? For assistance with your tech stack, schedule a call or email Lori Berson at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.

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BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years, including over a decade in Marketing Automation. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.

 

Marketing Campaign Priorities [Report]

Marketing Campaign Priorities [Report]

In their push towards digital marketing and advertising, marketers’ priorities seem to be more digital than traditional forms of media, according to the new Nielsen report. For example, respondents cited audience targeting – for which digital is highly touted – as their top campaign priority this year.

Marketing Campaign Priorities

Ad creative is the second-most prominent priority for the more than 350 brand and agency executives surveyed. This is followed by audience reach – one of the traditional benefits of legacy mass media.

MarketingCharts’ latest US Media Audience Demographics report shows that radio and TV continue to have the widest weekly reach among US adults.

Surprisingly, data quality is only a marketing campaign priority for 28% of respondents. That’s despite companies relying more and more on data to help with various business decisions as well as to assist in other priorities like audience targeting and personalization.

Paid Media Effectiveness vs ROI Confidence

Nielsen’s survey found that search was perceived to be the most effective paid digital channel. This may relate to the priority being placed on audience targeting, search engine marketing strategies are often informed by such tools.

Other paid digital media perceived to be effective include video (online/mobile) and social media, while emerging channels such as streaming audio and podcasts are perceived to be less effective for now, potentially due to lower adoption or time with which to prove themselves.

Nielsen’s report does point out that the perceived effectiveness of a channel does not necessarily mean that marketers are confident that they are able to measure its ROI. For example, marketers are more confident in their ability to measure the ROI of email than of video or social media, yet they show less confidence in email’s effectiveness than in those other channels.

As such, businesses appear willing to continue investing in digital channels that may not be performing up to snuff or at least that they cannot necessarily prove are as effective as they think. Budgets may be following perceptions rather than reality: even though marketers are not very confident that they know how to measure ROI for many digital channels, most still expect to see their budget increase for the media they believe to be effective.

On the other hand, budgets for what may be considered tried and true traditional channels are expected to either remain the same or decrease in the next 12 months. Per the report, channels such as linear TV, radio or print have been around for much longer, and their effectiveness is not a guarantee that budgets will increase. Consciously or not, marketers seem to hold traditional channels to a higher standard.

Download the full report.

About the Data: Results are based on data collected via newsletter and follow-up emails in 2019 for a sample of 363 respondents; 247 brand executives and 116 agency executives. The majority of respondents (74%) were based in the US.


Are your campaigns delivering ROI? Schedule a call or email Lori Berson at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.

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BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years, including over a decade in Marketing Automation. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.

 

The Future of Content Marketing [Research]

The Future of Content Marketing [Research]

Marketers predicted that they will use more content-driven campaigns and audio and emerging formats in 2020, according to new research from World Media Group.

About 80% of marketing professionals worldwide surveyed in October 2019 said they expect content-led campaigns to grow over the next two years, with 19% saying they expect they would stabilize. Only 2% of respondents said there would be a decline.

Nine in 10 respondents said they planned to use audio/podcasts in 2020, and a similar percentage said they would use emerging technology like augmented reality and voice. This indicates that marketers are experimenting with formats beyond traditional social media posts and editorial-style content.

As content marketing becomes increasingly nuanced and evolves away from merely being a lead-generation tool, a holistic content strategy becomes key to brands engaging with their audiences. A holistic content strategy includes not only content creation—which can include white papers, podcasts, webinars—but also mapping of dissemination, which shows how content gets distributed through the various channels, reaching people at various stages of the customer journey.

Brands are looking to establish themselves as trusted experts and give customers a reason to come back to their websites. That allows them to convert more visitors into leads down the line. A robust content marketing strategy encompasses both content creation and a plan for multichannel dissemination.

And many executives agree that it’s an important strategy to invest in: According to an August 2019 report from The CMO Club, 86% of US CMOs surveyed said that content marketing is the most important area to invest marketing dollars.

About half of US local advertisers surveyed by Borrell Associates between April and July 2019 said they planned to increase ad spend in content marketing, though a larger majority indicated they would increase ad spending on traditional venues like digital video, social media and search.

“Content, when produced strategically and with regularity, can be the backbone of a marketing and advertising plan,” said Jillian Ryan, principal analyst at eMarketer. “It should be created for a specific audience and shared in the most relevant channel to reach the intended audience. Brands are starting to realize that content strategies can inform and provide fuel for most of their other marketing and advertising initiatives.”


Need help with your content marketing? Schedule a call or email Lori Berson at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.

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BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years, including over a decade in Marketing Automation. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.

 

Email Marketing Priorities for 2020 [Report]

Email Marketing Priorities for 2020 [Report]

Email Marketing

Two of the key email marketing strategy priorities marketers hope to achieve are to increase sales revenue (59%) and to boost the number of leads generated (49%). But these are only two factors in marketers’ quest to make email marketing more effective, according to the latest Ascend2 report.

Email Marketing Priorities for 2020

3 Key Takeaways:

1. Marketers Are More Focused on Improving Engagement Than Boosting List Size

Increasing sales revenue and generating more leads aren’t the only goals marketers are looking to accomplish with this year’s email marketing strategy. About 39% say they will work on improving email engagement, which makes sense given increasing competition for attention in the inbox. Moreover, it appears that more marketers will be focused on engaging their current subscribers as opposed to adding to their email list, with only 21% of respondents saying increasing their email list size is a key goal for the year.

This isn’t to say that respondents think that improving engagement will be simple. 45% say it is also a challenging barrier to the success of their email marketing strategy – making it the biggest obstacle cited in the survey. This challenge is nothing new to marketers as increasing email engagement has been a challengethey have faced for several years.

2. Almost 1 in 3 Marketers Say That Email’s Effectiveness is Declining

Last year Ascend2 found that email marketing campaigns were considered less effective than other tactics such as social media marketing, content marketing, and search engine optimization. When respondents of this most recent survey were asked to what extent effectiveness is changing for email marketing, slightly fewer than one-third said that effectiveness is actually decreasing, either marginally (24%) or significantly (7%).

Other data from DemandMetric and Return Path from Validity has found that more than 43%of marketers believe their email effectiveness remained unchanged last year, with only 28% seeing a slight improvement. Combined with that result, the relatively large number of marketers who report a decrease in effectiveness in this latest survey is significant as the majority of marketers still consider email to be one of their most important marketing channels.

3. Marketers Focus More on Response Rates Than Conversions

When looking at the metrics used to measure the health of their email programs, respondents emphasized click-through-rate (CTR, 55%) and open rate (48%) first among all. This is understandable considering marketers’ wish to increase engagement, especially at a time when open rates and CTR are declining.

With the majority of respondents setting increasing sales revenue as a key priority this year, it is somewhat surprising that fewer (43%) say that one of the most effective metrics used to measure their email marketing strategy’s success is post-email conversions.

Other Findings

  • Better content (66%) and more personalization (65%) are considered the best tactics for improving the effectiveness of email programs.
  • Relatively few marketers feel they can improve effectiveness with more video and animation (22%) and more testing (12%).
  • Almost three-quarters (73%) of marketers plan to continue their investment in email marketing either moderately or significantly, while 16% say they have no plans to invest at all.
  • About half (49%) of organizations use a combination of outsourced and in-house resources to implement their email strategy, with more than one-third (37%) saying they keep it all in-house.

Check out the full report.

About the Data: Ascend2 surveyed 287 marketing professionals across B2B (37%), B2C (43%) and B2B/B2C equally (20%) sectors during the week of December 9, 2019.


Need help with your 2020 email marketing strategies? Schedule a call or email Lori Berson at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.

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BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years, including over a decade in Marketing Automation. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.

 

Email Marketing Priorities for 2020 [Report]

TikTok Ad Formats and Campaign Examples

It’s been one year since the Chinese-owned TikTok video app launched in the US, and the app has exploded into a cultural force.

Much of the app’s popularity in the beginning could be attributed to its hashtag challenges, in which users film themselves lip-syncing or dancing to short audio clips about trending hashtags. The short clips can originate from anywhere: it might be a snippet from a song (which can go on to live in a Spotify playlist of popular TikTok songs), the audio from a Vine (RIP), or a clip from a viral YouTube video. The best challenges might get edited into TikTok compilations on YouTube. It’s all part of a beautiful content circle of life.

Technically, TikTok has been around for longer than a year, just in different forms. Its creator, Chinese startup ByteDance, has been operating the short-form video app Douyin since 2016. There was also Musical.ly, an app with the same creative, silly energy that ByteDance purchased in 2017. But it wasn’t until last August that Musical.ly was relaunched as TikTok for the rest of the world. TikTok promoted the #posechallenge to get people started, writing, “OK, you got 15 seconds and 6 poses to make an impression,” and teens dove right in.

TikTok has capitalized on the viral nature of its platform by partnering with a number of brands and slowly unveiling several advertising capabilities.

To reach a a younger audience, TikTok announced a multiyear partnership in early September with the National Football League (NFL). Tom Brady, the six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the New England Patriots, posted for the first time on his TikTok account, sharing highlights from his first week of the season.

Brady and the NFL join other US brands that are hoping to reach younger consumers through TikTok. Below is an overview of TikTok’s current ad offerings and some of its biggest brand partnerships to date.

Ad Formats

Though the video app has yet to roll out all its ad capabilities—such as augmented reality lenses and full-screen video ads, as listed on its website—some early adopters are testing select formats.

Brands like Guess and Chipotle Mexican Grill have partnered with TikTok on sponsored “Hashtag Challenges,” which placed branded hashtags on the app’s Discover page. Food delivery app Grubhub was testing video ads on TikTok as early as January 2019, and fashion retailer Hollister Co. ran a series of in-feed video ads last spring. TikTok has also become a popular platform for influencer marketing, especially for brands looking to work with the platform’s up-and-coming video creators.

TikTok confirmed that its hashtag unit was still the only ad product officially available in the US, but it is conducting early experiments with other models. Last month, sponsored hashtags were expanded under the name Hashtag Challenge Plus and now include a shoppable component within the app.

NFL

TikTok announced a multiyear partnership with the NFL that will allow third-party brands to sponsor content on the NFL’s TikTok account. When the announcement was made prior to the 2019 season, the NFL began posting using the hashtag #WeReady. Although the NFL told AdAge that it did not pay to promote the hashtag, the organization plans to use the Hashtag Challenge feature in the future. The NFL also hopes to generate user engagement by inviting fans to create TikTok-centric content to support their favorite teams and players.

Ralph Lauren

As the official outfitter of the US Open Tennis Championships, Ralph Lauren was one of the first brands to use TikTok’s shoppable Hashtag Challenge Plus feature to show off its collection for the 2019 tournament. The challenge asked TikTok users to post a video wearing Ralph Lauren products using the hashtag #WinningRL. At the end of the contest, creators of the top three videos with the highest engagement were awarded free US Open gear.

Macy’s

The department store kicked off the back-to-school shopping season by bringing its omnichannel “All Brand New” campaign to TikTok using the platform’s Hashtag Challenge. The challenge encouraged students to post videos wearing back-to-school outfits, and if users tapped on the hashtag, a “Shop Now” prompt appeared above Macy’s official videos linking to its website.

Kroger

For its own back-to-school campaign, Kroger became the one of the first brands to use TikTok’s shoppable Hashtag Challenge Plus feature. The grocery chain promoted its #TransformUrDorm campaign, which encouraged college students to show off their decorated dorm rooms. Similar to Macy’s, the campaign allowed users to tap on the sponsored hashtag, which led to a separate Explore tab showcasing Kroger products and direct links to its ecommerce channel.

Chipotle

One of TikTok’s most notable US partnerships was with Chipotle, which worked with the video platform twice on hashtag challenges. For Cinco de Mayo, the restaurant chain asked fans to post their best “lid flip”—where users flipped an aluminum dish lid onto a Chipotle plate and then used the hashtag #ChipotleLidFlip—to promote its free delivery offer. The brand went viral on TikTok in August when it announced a new challenge, #GuacDance, which became TikTok’s highest-performing branded challenge in the US.

Ready to test TikTok? For help with all your social media marketing, schedule a free consultation or email Lori Berson at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.

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BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years, including over a decade in Marketing Automation. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.