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Dimitri Maex has advised clients like UPS and IBM on data-driven marketing and is author of Sexy Little Numbers: How to Grow Your Business Using the Data You Already Have.

He spoke with us ahead of Integrated Marketing Week about digital transformation, good and bad approaches to integration, and the forefathers of analytical marketing.

Tell us a little about the history of OgilvyOne

OgilvyOne was founded by David Ogilvy in 1972 as Ogilvy & Mather Direct, a direct marketing arm that was set up at the request of American Express.

Then when computers started to get on the scene along with point of sale systems, this unit was by default the most technologically sophisticated when it came to direct marketing.

There are six units in the Ogilvy & Mather group: advertising, direct marketing, PR, shopper marketing, a health care vertical and delivery. OgilvyOne (direct marketing) became the biggest, driven by the growth of digital.

Then last year the company made the decision that really digital cannot be just the view of one unit within Ogilvy. I personally believe that very soon pure play digital agencies are going to cease to exist because it's inherent now...everything we do is digital.

Forrester confirmed this last year when they came out with a report on the digital agency landscape. They said digital agencies will need to make choices. They will either focus on niche specialties like search, affiliate marketing...etc. or they will specialize themselves based on what in particular they are using digital for.

This really established the framework for customer engagement agencies, agencies that use digital to create longer term and personal engagement with customers and prospects.

We look at it in the same way as Forrester. If our colleagues in the advertising department use digital to make brands famous, we look at how to use digital, in all it's channels, to drive customer engagement.

So what aspects from this experience will translate over into your talk at Integrated Marketing Week titled 'Educating the Client: How to Sell Integrated Marketing Campaigns'

Well we've been doing integrated marketing for quite some time, and really the way I see it is that there are good ways and bad ways. The bad way is by having everybody do everything because you are going to lose the specialties required to make the most out of all the instruments.

The good way is to have really deep specialist skills, but find a way that they can actually all work together. And the way that you actually make them work together is through collboration frameworks and the right tools, which we have spent a lot of time investing in.

The old model of integrated marketing was 360 where we would come up with an idea (often a TV idea) and then blast it out across as many channels as possible.  That never proved to be very effective.  

What we have come to learn is that rather than covering all possible channels out there it is much more important to find the 10 degrees that matter. This can only be done by taking a truly customer centric approach where you start from a very thorough and detailed understanding of the customer journey and where the headwinds and tailwinds are along that journey.  

This should be the starting point of every integrated idea.

Another thing you need to get right is the idea.  I mentioned before that in the old 360 world we would often come up with a channel specific idea (often TV).  What is different now is that ideas need to be developed regardless of the channel.  

We do this by splitting the creative brief in two separate briefs. An idea brief and an execution brief. The idea brief tries to get at ideas that are not necessarily expressed in a particular channel.  Once a real channel neutral idea gets born, various execution briefs can then translate that idea in the best way suited for each channel.  

It sounds like a small nuance but it’s actually a very different way of working.

When it comes to "big data" in marketing, where do you draw a line in the sand as far as a definition, or size of campaign?

Well that in itself could be a launching point for an hour's worth or more of discussion. Obviously data has become an incredible tool for marketers.

I actually wrote a book about data in the fall of last year called Sexy Little Numbers which is structured around the key questions marketers should answer: how do I know who to talk to, how do I know about what to offer them, where do I find my customers?

It's important to realize that an analytical approach to marketing  and the application of data is not new. If you look at some of the classics, one of the first books on the subject was written by Claude Hopkins and it's called Scientific Advertising.

What's funny if you read it now, is that he's bringing up the same trending themes that we hear today, but this was published in the 1920s!

What is new is the types of data available -- a lot of them come from social for example -- and the form it is in, mainly unstructured. We also obviously have more processing power and techniques to sort and process this unstructured data, and it's becoming a lot more affordable to people, not requiring large teams of statisticians.

What the term "big data" has done is put it on the map everywhere. The big data issue is the swimsuit issue of every magazine now, and that didn't always use to be the case. When I started fifteen years ago, there were not a whole lot of people interested I can tell you that.

When it comes to our multichannel and multi-device world, is the old model of search broken?

The core challenge and proposition that search addresses is still going to be there, and there is only going to be more content created, so the demand and ability to find that content will only increase.

This question depends a bit upon what you define the "old model" of search on, but search is continuously evolving and social is being aggressively molded into it. The basic premise will only continue to become more relevant.

Which platforms do you think will be big in the multichannel marketing?

I really like where Twitter is going. In fact there was just a recent Pew report last week noting that more and more young people are gravitating to Twitter over Facebook.

The more people begin to understand and get involved with Twitter as a medium, the more interesting in becomes as a source.  

And if you combine the potential of targeting tweeters based on their tweeted content with the new tools such as their recently launched Lead Gen application you can see how this will become one of the most powerful addressable channels in the future.

How can retailers of the future offer in-store digital experiences that integrates with their web/mobile presence?

Every retailer I speak with has omichannel at the top of their agenda. Whether that is "showrooming" or another part of the shopper experience. The work I like comes from the Neiman Marcus' of the world, a bit of what Macy's has done.  

Then there are independent apps like Shopkick that really capitalize on the ROBO behavior so prevalent among mobile shoppers today.  I have met quite a few micro geo location startups recently who will dramatically change the game in omni channel.

I’m surprised social shopping hasn't taken off more. I thought startups like Buyosphere were going to flourish but they are struggling to get traction.

If you look at the data these startups are collecting about shoppers and how powerful that data could be to drive customer engagement for retailers, it’s surprising the big retailers aren’t moving into this space much more aggressively themselves. They would be able to scale much faster than any of these startups.

Ryan Sommer

Published 4 June, 2013 by Ryan Sommer

Ryan Sommer is web veteran and recovering expat who contributes to Econsultancy on startups, content marketing and new media. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter, or add him to your circles on Google+

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Comments (1)

Doug Kessler

Doug Kessler, Director at VelocitySmall Business Multi-user

Excellent interview. Smart guy. Exciting company.

about 3 years ago

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