If there was a theme to Econsultancy’s session at the Online Marketing Summit in San Diego, it may have been marketer versus machine. 

We looked at recent research studies that explore some of the major trends in marketing and technology and often, success has more to do with people and priorities than the technologies they use. 

The session began with a preview of the findings of our upcoming study of marketing attribution, in partnership with Google Analytics. Attribution is a hot topic at OMS and any other marketing conference you’re likely to attend, with good reason. Done properly, attribution can greatly expand marketers’ knowledge of how channels work, how they work together and how different customer segments interact with marketing.

Key takeaways from the research show that organizations need to:

  • Prepare for change
    Organizations have to be prepared for the changes that attribution should cause to media mix and budget. If compensation packages are still tied to siloed spending, there will be resistance to adopting an attribution-based model.
  • Be aware of the effect of change on customers
    Marketing automation is another set of practices and technologies that can have a profound effect on the customer relationship. At its best it decreases the sales cycle, increases lead quality and boosts retention. It also saves marketers from busy-work.Successful automation takes people, ironically.It requires the technical resources at the front end to ensure that the technology fits with and talks to existing systems, as well as the people with the creativity and commitment to making automation work. The strongest play is to attach compensation elements to automation goals; with so many priorities, marketers have an easy time prioritizing against their personal bottom lines.
  • Commit to the customer experience
    Customer experience is an exploding area of interest for marketers and the many vendors serving the space. There are many facets to the ‘customer experience’ and marketers can choose from a wide set of methods and technologies for observing, collecting data and evaluating how customers interact with marketing assets.The big question for organizations is how far they’re committed to going in their orientation around the customer. Are they willing to reorganize around customer segments, or are they looking at measures like cross-disciplinary teams to spread the lessons of customer analysis? For those that commit deeply, the benefits include higher dollar values per customer, easier retention, and improved products/services.

We also touched on a few specific channels where we have recently conducted research including:

  • Mobile
    The key takeaway is simple; no company has the luxury of ignoring their mobile visitors. The growth rate of visits from mobile devices is through the roof, regardless of sector. One place where companies are failing to capitalize on this growth is mobile behavior.Only 27% of companies have some awareness of how mobile visitors’ behavior differs from web visitors. They’re ignoring vital information that should be informing their mobile strategy, sites and/or apps.
  • Email
    Recently, we completed a study of email practice in conjunction with the Email Experience Council of the DMA.  The interplay between social and email is on everyone’s mind, but few are trying to cross pollinate between the channels.Even though a channel like Twitter delivers a very different value and experience from email, companies aren’t trying to use the content that’s unique to each channel to encourage multi-channel opt-in from their subscribers. Nor are they likely to have a strategy for how social and email programs work in tandem.
  • Social
    Social engagement ranks as the top priority for marketers responding to our Quarterly Digital Intelligence Survey conducted in partnership with Adobe. Yet, social measurement lags far behind on the list. This is especially ironic because marketers are likely to agree with the statement that social has produced more goals and programs, without generating the revenue to support them.Our conversations with attribution marketers often turned up insight on how social was a ‘helping’ tactic for the sale, but without measurement, social will remain caught in a limbo between promise and performance.