Top take outs from day one at Digital Marketing Planet

Data is highly valuable and is the new oil, but unlike the black stuff it is increasingly abundant. To mine it successfully, you need a data driven culture, right from the top to the bottom of your company says Marina Specht, CEO of MRM/McCann.

However, to extract the maximum value you need to turn data into knowledge by analysing and processing it in a systematic way that is relevant to your business and specific objectives. 

You must be clear about what you want to achieve says Monika Schulze, Global Head Customer & Digital Experience of Zurich Insurance Company.

Personalisation can drive up to 16% more revenue

Personalisation is about being able to anticipate what people want, by first understanding what they need and providing them with a better experience.

Rahaf Harfoush, Strategist & Digital Anthropologist and best selling author of ‘The Decoded Company’ talks about the way that our behaviour is changing as a result of using new technology and the fact that we are all data producers now as a result of our actions and that data is abundant, free and easily accessible and can be used to create personalised experiences. She gave an example of personalised headphones, 3D printed and delivered in three days to a customer, once they have taken a photo of their own ears. This creates perfectly fitting headphones which give a far better experience than standard ones that fall out.

She goes on to add that, “personalisation is also about driving up loyalty and revenue as some studies show that up to 16% more revenue can be generated by providing customers with a personalised experience”.

Influencers are far more influential than brands themselves

According to Guillaume Herbette, CEO of MSL Global (Publicis), 92% of consumers trust influencers more than a brand itself. So what is an influencer? These are people whose opinions your customers trust, whether it is a friend, a colleague or an expert in a particular subject. Somebody is not an influencer (in this sense), if they’re paid by your company, so that excludes you, your employees and rented celebrities. 

Guillaume maintains that millennials have driven the shift towards influencers becoming more influential because they trust their opinions rather than being told what to believe by brands. Hiring celebrities to endorse your brand is not the way forward any more as once the contract comes to an end so does the relationship.

The rising importance of influencers has undermined and disrupted journalism and the PR industry as they are no longer gatekeepers for news, information and gossip. Although, I would suggest that fake news is making people think a bit more carefully about the source of their information and what to believe.

This seismic shift is changing the way that brands reach the right audience at the right time and through the right channel. Brands need to grab attention and triggering emotions. By grab, I don’t mean shout. Content for content-sake no longer cuts it.

He goes on to add that, “your brand must behave ethically on-line to build trust and loyalty”. This last point seems obvious but is worth emphasising as it can easily be forgotten in the digital world where there are many ways to behave unethically. Beware if you misbehave.

Why your website should use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

I’ll keep this very simple as it is a little bit techy, but fascinating and epitomises why it is so important to stay up to date with new technologies. 

Bernhard Shultze of Brazilian digital agency, SEO Marketing explained that you may not have heard of AMP, but you will probably have experienced a website page using it. As they’re lightning fast to load on your mobile (hence the name), as well as quick and easy to use because of their simple, stripped back ‘go faster’ design. 

Research with Bernhard’s clients with e-commerce websites revealed that a 1% increase in the time it took to load a web page resulted in a 7% drop in sales because people are impatient and disappear off-page quickly.

It is critical to have a fast website, even if yours is a brochure-style one and not transactional, especially for mobile visitors as more people are browsing with their smart phones.

Having an AMP website will improve your ranking because Google is pushing this technology for three reasons. The first is to provide mobile visitors with a fast, smooth experience. The second is that they don’t want visitors to click-off a web page if it contains a Google Adwords banner, otherwise the website owner and Google miss out on revenue when nobody clicks through. Thirdly the way Google decides how to rank a page is by relevance, authority and usability and a slow load speed badly affects usability.

The current downside to AMP is that you have to rely on Google, which some people don’t like doing. The design or style is stripped out of pages in favour of increased speed. In the same way that wind tunnels help automotive designers reduce drag, improve performance and cut emissions. However it also means many car brands look more similar to each other. So your AMP website may look a bit similar to others unless some careful thought is applied beforehand. For the present, some functionality, analytics and reporting are also scarified on the alter of speed. However, this will change in the future.

Develop a single view of your customers

Companies of all sizes have been talking about being customer-focused for years. But many still work in silos and so analyse product, service and performance data along the same lines because this is the way they’re organised and report for accounting purposes. 

Data is often locked up in different systems throughout their organisations so they find it incredibly difficult to actually put their customer at the centre of everything they do – despite saying they do. The larger the company, the more difficult this appears to be. Therefore, it was a pleasant surprise to hear a number of experts talking about the importance of focusing on people (ie. customers and visitors) and not on data.

This stronger focus on people is also receiving a boost because the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is now law. Meaning that companies should have re-organised around their customers, as it gives people the right to know what personal data companies hold on them and have it amended or deleted. Companies can’t easily do this if bits of personal data are held in disconnected systems in different silos.

Next steps

Read my 2018 top take-outs from Day Two at the Digital Marketing Planet and my summary of the panel discussion I led entitled “Data Trail will Boost your Return On Investment”. Then read my top actions for you to take to focus your digital marketing. Find out why it is worth attending the Digital Business World Congress in Madrid in May 2019.