Digital marketers need to see the big picture

If there’s one thing that comes through very clearly in this edition of Digital Strategy, it’s that a siloed approach to media channels is no longer tenable.

This has been apparent in digital marketing for some time, and though many organisations have yet to recognise it, things are gradually changing. This is shown by our email survey on page 49, with over half the respondents saying they measure the effect of email campaigns on their overall marketing, and 62% saying they share data from their email campaigns with the rest of the marketing department. Both numbers are up from last year’s survey.

The driving force behind the breaking down of digital silos is the desire to better understand the impact of advertising throughout the customer journey. As Quantcast’s Phil Macauley says in his Viewpoint, attribution modelling allows advertisers to move away from assessing the success of a complete campaign on the basis of the effect of the last ad the customer saw before transacting. Instead, it promises to let advertisers evaluate the effectiveness of every aspect of a campaign and optimise their spending accordingly.

But to do this, advertisers have to be able to pull data from all their marketing channels. Marin Software European MD Ed Stevenson advises in his Viewpoint that marketers should have a dashboard enabling them to see the performance of all their digital channels side-by-side.

Beyond this, there are further challenges for marketers. The first is to extend attribution out into social media, which means measuring the value of friends and fans, ’likes’ and ’+1’s.

Our cover story on two-screening shows that some brands, such as Yeo Valley and Lipton Iced Tea, are already seeing significant improvements in results from tying together their activity in TV advertising and social media, taking advantage of the way people are increasingly watching TV while browsing the internet on a laptop, tablet computer or smartphone.

But as Domino’s Pizza sales and marketing director Simon Wallis explains, this introduces a whole new set of metrics into the equation. Domino’s previous TV sponsorships were measured on sales, audience and brand metrics; now Wallis is adding engagement into the mix. Likewise, Psion is looking for ways to evaluate the benefits delivered in customer support by unpaid contributors to its IngenuityWorking social platform.

Our feature on social search shows another way in which social media activity is starting to impact on other channels, in this case search engine optimisation, as the major search engines start to include personalisation and recommendation in the factors that drive position in the search results.

And lurking behind all this is another problem one of speed. Aggregating all this data is only the first step. In a world where a cookie can go stale in an hour and the biggest factor in the success of a retargeting email is immediacy, the real value comes from being able to use your aggregated data in close to real time.

Making that happen will be the challenge for forward-thinking marketers over the coming months and years.

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