Before launching into the summary, we’d like to tell you about two events coming up in Australia in November 2015. Behavioural Marketing: Leveraging the Behaviours of Customers for Optimal Engagement will be held in

The event is free, but is by invitation only so please request yours at the appropriate link.

Digital Cream Sydney, 2015: part two

On Thursday, September 17 dozens of brand marketers came together in Sydney for a full-day discussion of the issues that we all face as we drive digital change.

As with every Digital Cream event, the Chatham House Rule applied, so what was said cannot be attributed to any one marketer.

But at the end of the event, the hosts of each table helpfully provided a summary of the day’s discussions.

The first half of summaries are here, and below are the remaining summaries.

Marketing attribution management

Our own Ashley Friedlein, President of Centaur Marketing & Founder of Econsultancy hosted the Marketing Attribution Management roundtable and highlighted a few key discussion points from the day.

Should attribution be outsourced?

The first point noted throughout the day was that among Australian brands, most rely on their media agencies for attribution modeling.

Ashley noted that in other parts of the world, larger companies are taking attribution modeling in-house or using specialist independent agencies.

Participants noted that with good attribution modeling, the media budget will drop by 10-30% in year one alone. This helps justify the spend required for outsourcing.

Uniquely identifying customers is a challenge

The roundtables also agreed that the biggest problem with attribution modeling is that uniquely identifying customers is getting trickier. This is important as being able to identify the journey of individual customers is key to understanding what clicks led to conversion.

Knowing the conversion rates for individual touchpoints isn’t good enough any more.

In order to do identify individuals and their buyer’s journey, marketers agreed that you cannot rely on cookies any more because mobile devices typically block cookies. So if a customer visits your site on their browser and then converts on mobile, you will not be able to track that user.

To solve this problem, some marketers were trying out some very sophisticated techniques. One involved delivering a sequence of ads which helped them understand where the user was on the buyer’s journey.

A click on one particular ad would show that they were just gathering information, whereas a click on another would demonstrate that they had already finished their researched and were ready to buy.

Then by looking at which ad they clicked last before conversion they could infer where they were on their journey at that point.

How attribution leads to the ‘holy grail’ of marketing

And the final key point discussed that day was that creating a decent attribution model meant acquiring the right data to get the right customer view so that you could deliver the right creative.

In essence, this would give you a single customer view, a legendary ‘holy grail’ of marketing.

And once you had a single customer view, you can optimize your marketing spend and media mix to a great extent. But, Ashley noted, you can also use the same data to drive segmentation models and your on-site personalization as well.

Data driven marketing – making big data actionable

Next up, Willem Paling, Head of Online Performance & Analytics at Foxtel, spoke about the data-driven marketing discussions that he had hosted on the day.

Big data

The first notable point was that most participants felt that the term ‘big data’ is losing its currency and has now been relegated to a buzzword. They felt it was more meaningful to talk about the small, real data sources that marketers have to use to improve their performance.

Technical Challenges

One of the reasons for moving away from ‘big data’ is that the participants felt that there were significant technical challenges with large data sources. And trying to overcome those, as well as trying to use the data effectively, meant ‘biting off too much’ and setting yourself up for failure.

Instead they suggested that smaller data-drive projects which provided incremental improvements was a much better idea.

Another technical challenge the marketers faced was working with existing internal systems. That is, most brands have a lot of data in a variety of legacy databases and trying to combine them into one ‘big’ data source was simply too difficult.

And some marketers felt that their companies bought data products too quickly. They felt this was short-sighted and demonstrated wishful thinking from senior management that technology could magically solve their data issues.

Instead they suggested that data-driven marketing should start by investing in the team so that they could devise a more holistic strategy themselves.

Personalization is an opportunity

Finally, the roundtable participants said that personalization was perhaps the most important parts of data-driven marketing. Some brands felt they were doing it well, whereas others said they were just starting out.

Those that had experience said that personalization works best when used to target content, especially offers.

Everyone agreed that, like the main point above, that marketers should focus on using ‘small data’ for personalization before worrying about on ‘big data’.

Cross device – reach, re-engage and convert customers over multiple screens

Paola Piccinno, National Digital Strategy Manager of News Corp Australia hosted the table which discussed how marketers are handling the new, multi-screen world.

New Technologies

First off, the tables discussed how with a new, cross-device media landscape comes new technologies.  Things such as iBeacons and geo-fenced advertising become critical to link what’s happening in the offline world with what the customer is online.

That is, if we can use location-based sensors in order to deliver the right content to the right person on the right screen, we may be able to also get them just at the right time to influence their decision.

It sounds futuristic, but it won’t be long before marketers know when opted-in online customers have turned up at their physical stores – and then be able to beam them a message on their mobile device.

Improving cross-device marketing

Another question which the roundtable discussed was how do we actually know that we are serving the right content, to the right person, on the right screen?

Marketers said that they did use A/B tests for performance, but many others used traditional methods, such as surveys and focus groups, to qualitatively measure the effectiveness of their cross-device marketing.

Getting buy-in from senior stakeholders

And finally, cross-device marketing can require significant investment so the participants discussed how they were able to get buy-in for projects.

Many mentioned that e-payment projects was one way to get management to look carefully about cross-device strategies. Everyone is always interested when revenue is at stake.

Others said using videos for marketing, especially livestreaming and other user-generated content, was key to demonstrating the value of cross-device marketing.

Regardless of the approach though, it was crucial to convince management that we now live in a multi-screen world and that marketing needed to change to maintain high-quality customer experience with the brand.

Online advertising and affiliate marketing – best practices & maximising ROI

Finishing off the summaries for the day was Andrew J. Moore, Multichannel Manager of AbbVie. He summarized the discussions about online advertising and affiliate marketing.

Industry overview

Participants talked about different online advertising channels and felt that they were all fairly well understood. Everyone was pretty much using social display, search engine marketing and remarketing effectively.

But where they differed is that each marketer felt their brand was at a different point of technical capability and buy-in from the business.

They did agree that data-driven marketing was key and that they all experienced the best conversion rates using data to target display advertising.

Issues faced

It was mentioned that display viewability has dropped significantly over the past year and so buying impressions was not seen as an effective strategy.

Cross-device UID is becoming more relevant as we enter a multi-screen screen world.

And for affiliates, they felt that finding the right ones were important and many used an agency to help. And once you are working with an affiliate, it was necessary to keep in regular contact with them to ensure your goals remain aligned.

Suggested ways to improve

For brands who are working with an agency, participants considered it very important for brands to define a few important metrics or KPIs.

Brands should also be transparent with their agencies, even letting them know what their cost per customer acquisition (CPA) is so that agencies can plan accordingly.

And whether you’re working with an agency or not, brand marketers should be given time to learn about what’s possible in digital. In some cases, it even means understanding the whole technology stack behind marketing so that the marketing team can share concerns with the IT department.

Final shots from this group were that good tag management was key, first-party data should be well-integrated into marketing and that we all need to think beyond last-click attribution.

In conclusion…

So from this year’s Digital Cream, Sydney it seems we are entering a data-driven, multi-screen, and multi-touch attribution world.

Brand marketers agree that changes need to be made in order to keep up and that both learning about what is possible and getting buy-in from senior management were key to doing so.

We look forward to the upcoming events – and Digital Cream Sydney 2016!