Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights
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A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post discussing our recent paper that links Leading Marketers with financial outperformance. In our study, these Leading Marketers had 40% higher revenue growth and twice the gross profit growth. Naturally, the next question you’d ask is “how do I become a leading marketer?” And that’s exactly what I’m going to talk about over my next few posts.
To kick things off, we found that Leading Marketers engage with their customers across a variety of channels. These leading marketers are more likely to have integrated inbound, outbound and offline marketing programs in some or all channels. They are more likely to use interaction optimization technology in all of their channels. And they are also more likely to adjust offers in real-time across all channels. In short, they create a “System of Engagement” that allows them to engage each customer as an individual, across multiple channels.
So if leading marketers are creating a system of engagement to deliver targeted messaging across channels, what specific tactics are they using? To answer that, we looked closer at mobile and social channels.
Essentially, a number of tactics within these channels can be considered “table stakes.” Everybody has a mobile version of their website and delivers mobile e-mails. Everybody has a social networking page on a site like Facebook and most engage in micro-blogging (Twitter). But there are some specific, innovative tactics where we saw differences between leading marketers and others.
When it comes to mobile, we found that leading marketers were more likely to use mobile messaging campaigns, location based targeting, and mobile-specific ads. For social, leading marketers were more likely to develop apps for 3rd party networking sites (Facebook), leverage social/local group buying (Groupon), and participate in location-based games (Foursquare). All of this means that leading marketers are faster to begin leveraging emerging/trending technologies to see if they can enhance the system of engagement. Some of these tactics may or may not prove to be effective in the long run, but the leading marketers get there first… not unlike the adage “fail fast, fail often”. By being at the forefront with these tactics, they stand to benefit when they come across something that’s especially effective.
It’s also interesting to note that location-based tactics saw greater use by leading marketers in both mobile and social. When you think about a system of engagement that strives to deliver targeted, personalized, relevant offers in real-time, it makes perfect sense that location-data is a key component to enhancing that ability.
There are a number of ideas you can take away from our data, but there’s one over-riding principle that I think is worth taking to heart: Innovation. Leading marketers aren’t afraid of trying out new channel engagement technologies or tactics. They get there first and they find out what works. They don’t worry about whether a channel is completely mature… they jump in and get their hands dirty. This enables them to be proactive with their customers, rather than reactive.
I’ll be back next time to talk about the barriers that prevent many organizations from becoming Leading Marketers. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. And, if you haven’t read it yet, take a look at our executive report, How Leading Marketers Outperform: Effective Engagement and Intelligent Investment.