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Gartner: Three Tips for Building an Agile Marketing Culture

The landscape for marketers is changing more rapidly than ever. And for marketing leaders who feel like their teams and resources are already stretched thin, this can be a daunting reality. But, one of the best ways to plan for this reality, and to prepare your organization to maximize marketing resources is to develop a marketing culture around agile thinking.

That’s according to Marc Brown at Gartner, who explains that today’s marketing leaders can cultivate an agile culture – and agile thinking – by focusing their attention on three key areas: Skills, Data, and Operations. So, what does that actually look like for real CMOs and marketing directors?

Let’s dive in.

professional meeting - a woman presenting

Build Your Team with the Skills to Match Your Vision

Nearly every member of your marketing team probably has different skills. From copywriters to designers to marketing automation experts, your marketing department is more than the sum of its parts. But just as each member of your team has different skills, so too does each marketing department have a different overall vision for success. And that vision should shape the skills makeup of your team.

Marketing visions can vary vastly from team to team,” Brown explains. “Assembling a team with a unified vision all starts with the recruiting process.” To this end, Brown recommends taking the time to put down on paper exactly what your team’s vision is – what metrics success will be judged by, what key goals you will hope to achieve, etc. Then, Brown recommends recruiting “T-shaped” team members, or team members who possess a broad breadth of skills while also demonstrating deep expertise in a single specific area. According to Gartner’s 2017 Marketing Organization Survey, 53% of modern marketers are already “T-shaped,” so developing your perfect team is mostly a matter of mapping everyone’s skills to your larger team vision.

Data is the Foundation of Agility

As Brown explains, one of the fundamental characteristics of an agile marketing approach is constant iteration and analysis. What’s working, what isn’t, and how closely are you measuring it? “For a marketing team to break the norm and boost engagement, they must first understand exactly what ‘the norm’ is,” Brown says. “Agile marketing’s iterative approach enables you to incorporate data and insights into your planning on an ongoing basis.”

Gartner specifically recommends using your customer data to create a multichannel 360-degree of your customer’s journey, from Buy to Own to Advocate. “Using this data is key to understanding pain points. You can’t find innovative solutions if you don’t understand the common snags in your systems, customer behavior, and shopping trends,” says Brown. If you want to build an agile marketing team that can respond to new trends at a moment’s notice, you must first establish the data practices to discover them.

Agile Operations Are Not Always Linear

Part of shifting to an agile marketing mindset is adjusting your expectations for your operational workflows. Traditional marketing operations tend to conceptualize these processes as flowing naturally, step-by-step, from something like Strategy to Research, Design, Deploy, and finally, Measure. But as Brown explains, agile marketing operations look very different.

“It’s better to view the process as a loop to continuously facilitate collaboration, ideation, development, execution, and measurement.” This, Brown says, is to account for the fact that no team can ever predict all the ways and areas where optimization has opportunities to improve the process. “Although it may seem like these processes naturally flow from one stage to the next, there’s never a one-size-fits-all formula. Certain stages may be conducted simultaneously in order to view the situation from all angles, or to reevaluate a plan or to pivot and adjust direction.”

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An agile marketing mindset helps marketing teams position themselves for future success in a quickly-changing landscape. But to put themselves in a position to respond with agility, marketing leaders must take steps now to build and establish an agile mindset. By focusing on Skills, Data, and Operations, smart CMOs can do just that, today.

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Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

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How Blockchain Will Revolutionize
Marketing in 2019

With 2018 coming to a close, brands and organizations around the country are shifting their focus to 2019. Rapidly changing customer demands have left many marketing teams scrambling to capitalize on every advantage, while also making sure they can deliver the experiences customers want; convenience, flexibility, and affordability. For marketers, that’s where blockchain comes in.

What Is Blockchain?

If you’re not a mathematics or computer science Ph.D., the specifics of blockchain will be challenging to follow. But that’s okay – just about anyone can grasp the basics.

Put simply; blockchain is a digital record of ownership that cannot be altered or modified.

Whenever ownership or possession of something is transferred, both parties leave a sort of encrypted digital signature in the blockchain, like signing a ledger, that is verifiable by every other user in the world and cannot be altered or modified. So, why should marketers care about blockchain? Campbell R. Harvey and Christine Moorman at Harvard Business Review examine a few good reasons.

marketing-brainstorming

Blockchain Will Make Email Marketing More Effective

“Fraud verification via blockchain will also help verify the origin and methodology of marketers,” as HBR explains. *135 billion spam emails are sent every day, making up approximately 48% of all emails sent. Varying in sophistication, this tidal wave of fraudulent and unwanted emails has led to catch-all spam filters that dilute the effectiveness of email marketing for everyone.

But with blockchain, brands and marketers can verify their authenticity with an extremely small microtransaction (thousandths of a cent), thus proving their identity and eliminating the need for overreaching spam filters. And this will make email a more effective part of a multichannel engagement strategy for marketers everywhere.

Blockchain Will Make Real Marketing Revenue Attribution Possible

“By using blockchain technology to track their ads, marketing teams can retain control over their automation practices, ensure that marketing spend is focused on ROI-generating activities, and directly measure the impact of marketing down to a per-user, per-mail matric,” HBR predicts. And that has real upshot for marketers.

“By tying user behavior and micropayments together, blockchain could solve the attribution problem that has bedeviled marketers for decades.”

Indeed, given that blockchain works by keeping a record of a sort of transactional handshake, it could present the ultimate answer to attribution – a granular, user-by-user record of every single interaction of every single customer with your brand. That’s powerful marketing revenue attribution and opens up a world of possibilities into ROI accountability and analysis.

woman working on her laptop in the office

Blockchain Will Offer Better Customer Experiences by Making Personalization More Effective

Unlike credit card companies who charge a 3 percent fee to process payments, blockchain enables nearly zero-cost transactions. As a result, blockchain eliminates the need for “minimum purchases” to ensure profitability for brands. And marketers can use that to boost the effectiveness of personalized customer experiences and loyalty programs.

As HBR explains, “Blockchain could allow merchants to use micropayments to motivate consumers to share personal information – directly, without going through an intermediary [like paying Facebook or Google].” This means that brands can offer their customers a small reward for, say, allowing location tracking on their app, or even just opening the app for a minute at a time. “During that time, they push deals and special offers to the user. Indeed, user-tailored deals open a legitimate mechanism to deliver personalized prices that are a function of the consumer’s profile.”

With blockchain, marketers can deliver the granular personalization that not only builds brand loyalty but delivers superior customer experiences.

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Blockchain is more than just the latest buzzword. It’s a technological revolution, and the shortcuts to efficiency, security, and personalization. What it offers marketers are a big reason why brands will be leveraging it more in 2019. From customer experiences to email conversion rates, blockchain has a lot to offer marketing teams.

*Referenced source: The Statistics Portal

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Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

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How Print Production Enables Direct Mail Success for 2018

commercial print-sustainability

When it comes to marketing, there’s nothing like a personal touch. And while digital may be rising, print is still king.

That’s why it’s so important, when it comes to your direct mail marketing efforts, to choose print materials that are engaging, eye-catching, and leave a lasting impression in the minds of your customers and prospects.

Print materials, and the quality of your partner in producing them, remain a difference-maker for CMOs everywhere. That’s according to EdgeMark Partners, who have laid out some of the top direct mail trends for 2018, and how an agile print production partner can empower you to capitalize on them.

Let’s take a look!

Stand Out With Color

According to Pantone, the Color of the Year for 2018 is “Ultra Violet,” an eye-catching purple shade. We expect to see a rise in the usage of bright, vibrant colors as CMOs look for ways to use print to help their direct mail materials stand out from the other junk mail and bills in customers’ mailboxes.

So go ahead: create your vision in Ultra Violet!

Textures: Feel the Difference

The average customer spends fewer than eight seconds looking at an advertisement. And that is precisely the power of print materials and direct mail: they provide a tangible, palpable item that customers can hold in their hands and imprint on their memory.

Touch, after all, is one of the senses most closely tied to memory in the human brain.

By working with a partner that offers many different textures, stocks, weights, and shapes in their print production lines, you can create powerful, lasting impressions with your direct mailers.

AR QR code to digital

Think Outside the Box With 3D

Thanks to advanced laser-cutting techniques now widely available, fold-out and pop-up mailers are now an affordable option at scale for many CMOs.

Imagine the lasting impact and powerful impression that comes from watching one of your products physically take shape in your customer’s hands. Add to that dynamic and eye-catching stamping options like foil and leaf, and you can create a direct mail marketing campaign unlike anything your competition is offering.

Personalization, Because Each Customer Matters

It’s absolutely critical that brands stand out from their competition by offering a superior customer experience. And that starts with personalized direct mail campaigns.

Not only do customers have a higher response rate to personalized mailers versus generic ones, but thanks to new tracking methods, CMOs can now send out mailers that speak exactly to a customer’s previous activities. If they’ve shown interest in a particular product, or tend to buy at a specific time of year, send them mailers that speak to the things you know they’re interested in.

What’s more, CMOs can and should include personalized coupons in their direct mailers. Discounts on specific items you know the customer is shopping for can be the final tool in your arsenal you need to close that deal and get them to convert.

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Modern print marketing materials are still the lifeblood of the modern CMO. And when you partner with a trusted supply chain expert who is responsive and agile, a whole world of ways to leverage them in direct mail activities is opened.

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Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

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Print is Winning Millennials’ Trust: Here’s How You Can Maximize Engagement With Print

Millennials are set to become the single largest demographic of American consumers by the end of the decade. It means that within just a few short years, they will also be the largest audience that marketers will need to engage to maintain their market share, keep profits high, and establish lasting brand loyalty.

And despite the image many marketers have of millennials as a digitally-obsessed, online-only audience, print marketing is a surprisingly, especially effective means of engagement for a number of reasons. That’s according to Heather Fletcher of Target Marketing, who explains the hows and whys of engaging millennials with print marketing materials.

colorful printed books - print strikes back

Print Marketing Builds Trust with Millennials

Millennials are a transactional demographic. They believe that their relationship with a brand should be far more quid pro quo than blindly accepting the only available option. Put simply: millennials expect more value from brands than other demographics, and print marketing is an effective way to deliver value to them. “When markets provide useful content – and millennials value branded print ads more than other generations – consumers will remember it and turn to the print marketing when they’re ready to buy,” Fletcher explains. Unlike digital touchpoints like banner ads and emails, print marketing materials are far more memorable.

Fletcher suggests the following strategies for print marketing to millennials:

      1. Educational Content. Whether these are product how-tos or informative infographics, your print marketing materials should provide real educational value to your millennial audience that goes beyond just telling them where to buy your products.
      2. Use and Idea Suggestion Guides. Like the fashion “look books” that have become so popular with millennials, think of these as a type of recipe book for your product or solution. Show millennials exactly how your product can be used in their lives. Help them envision it with your print materials.
      3. Value-Adding Promotions. Things like personalized coupons or discount flyers add a real, tangible dollar value to your print materials that resonate with millennials.
female frustrated - digital fatigue

Print Marketing Overcomes Millennial Digital Fatigue

Millennials may be the most digitally-connected demographic, but that doesn’t mean that digital is the only way to engage them. As Daniel Dejan explains, “With all of these devices (most people own at least three), we reach the point of monitor fatigue. It is an actual physiological symptom where between looking at a computer, constantly checking your phone, possibly having your tablet on at the same time, going home and turning on the TV, playing games, etc… The brain reaches a point of saturation.

And when it does, it can no longer take in any more.” And that, Dejan says, is why even younger demographics seek out printed materials. In fact, a recent study found that 92% of college students surveyed prefer reading in print over any form of digital media. As a marketer, if you’re concerned about a heavily saturated market and finding a way to stand out above the noise, print materials are a clever, cost-effective, and popular channel to engage millennials.

Print Marketing to Millennials Boosts the Effectiveness and Attribution of Other Channels

Most millennials live on their devices. It’s where they’re comfortable. So many savvy brands are using print marketing to improve their digital attribution by leveraging direct mail with custom product URLs and discount codes printed on the mailers. When a shopper visits that tracked URL, or enters that specific discount code, the marketing teams knows for a fact that it was the print marketing material that drove them there. 

“So in an industry that’s become addicted to attributing sales to the ‘last click’ – even if that’s an in-store transaction – marketing professionals may gain insight into touchpoints via consumer engagement from print marketing,” Fletcher explains. What’s more, many CMOs are using print marketing to engage the portions of their millennial audience that digital channels are failing to reach.

“Direct mail has expanded many brands’ reach and relieved the pressure on email campaigns,” Fletcher says, citing a specific client case study. “Only 40 percent of customers subscribe [to their email newsletter] during the checkout process. Today, they are using print inserts and mailers to reach the remaining 60 percent, and it has made a big difference.” Whether they’re reviewing catalogs before purchasing online, applying discount codes from direct mailers to their online shopping carts, or recalling your brand from your unique print marketing materials, print marketing improves both the attribution and the effectiveness of all your customer channels.

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Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

LEARN MORE

Top Trends for Influencer Marketing: Are Your Audiences Under the Right Influence?

influencer marketing

“Why should I trust you?”

This is the question from customers that even the best marketing departments dread. Because after all, why should a prospect or a customer believe marketers are telling the truth when their clear intention is for their audience to spend money on their products.

Studies have shown that overall consumer confidence in the trustworthiness of corporate marketing is declining. According to some estimates, as much as 69% of consumers inherently distrust brand advertising, and 43% of respondents report that they trust brand advertising less than they used to.

Enter Influencer Marketing.

While consumer trust in brands has fallen off a cliff, trust in their fellow consumers has risen precipitously. 70% of shoppers state that they are influenced by recommendations from their peers and fellow “normal people.” In fact, consumers today are 30% more likely to purchase if it is recommended by a trusted influencer, rather than a celebrity. And 74% of consumers say that they do trust social media networks to guide them to purchase decisions.

This is where influencer marketing presents an enormous opportunity for smart companies. Let’s take a look at what Brandon Brown of Grin has identified as some of the biggest current trends in influencer marketing.

Retail Influencer Marketing Is Growing

From lifestyle to home décor to fashion, retail brands are embracing influencer marketing faster than any other segment. In fashion, for example, well-known brands like Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Zara, and Sephora are working with popular social media influencers to model their products and give audiences a taste of what they, too might look like in the featured clothes or cosmetics.

In fact, Lord & Taylor recently ran a successful campaign where they tapped 50 influencers to each post photos wearing the exact same dress and tagging it with a predetermined hashtag. The result? The dress sold out of every Lord & Taylor in America in three days. Retail brands should give influencer marketing heavy considering in their marketing plans.

people whiteboarding-marketing assessment

The Rise of B2B Influencer Marketing

The power and promise of influencer marketing isn’t just limited to retail and B2C brands, however. And one of the ingenious ways B2B brands are leveraging it is with employee advocacy programs. Over the last three years, employee advocacy programs among B2B brands have increased by 191%.

Employee advocacy programs offer the best of both worlds in influencer marketing. The brand, for its part, enjoys the trust, authenticity, and believability that only real social media advocacy from real employees can garner. The employees themselves, on the other hand, benefit from the increased “professionalism” that such content brings to their social media pages.

The fact is that B2B brands need to capture the attention of their audiences, and more so, they need to do it in a way that is authentic and lasting. Influencer marketing and employee advocacy programs are an efficient way to do both.

The Ability to Measure ROI Will Be Crucial

As with all marketing efforts, the ability to definitively prove the value and effect of influencer marketing programs will be critical to securing ongoing buy-in from key decision-makers within your organization.

Fortunately, many savvy brands are implementing clever ways to improve their ability to measure influencer marketing ROI. Just as many brands are linking their digital and print marketing channels with the use of custom URLs and promo codes, so too are they measuring influencer marketing ROI. On the simple end of the spectrum, fastidious use of one or two set hashtags for each campaign enables marketers to easily search the engagement of those hashtags.

Likewise, many brands are now distributing custom discount and coupon codes to their influencers, encouraging them to share them with their audiences. That way, whenever a customer enters that unique discount code, the brand can know for certain that they were referred by that particular influencer, and his or her promotional activities.

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As consumer trust in brands and marketing departments continues to plummet, B2B and B2C brands alike are turning to influencer marketing as a smart, cost-effective way to make their marketing budgets go further. If your brand is struggling with trust and authenticity, influencer marketing may be an excellent solution to consider.

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Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

LEARN MORE