Smart and Simple Equals Success

Josh GordonThe "2010 North American Interactive Marketing Predictions" report was published yesterday by Forrester Research's Shar VanBoskirk. The report costs money, but it's an interesting read packed with plenty of interesting predictions. Without giving anything away, two elements stuck out.
The first point of interest, that the report only briefly alluded to, is an overall shift in the industry of digital marketing toward simplification. The shift is certainly backed up by what Knotice has experienced in the market throughout 2009, and what we believe will continue occurring in 2010. Many SaaS tools for online and direct digital marketing come complete with costly bells and whistles that marketers are forced to pay for and seldom use either because of a lack of bandwidth or because the complexity of the tools are too much. With the complicated nature of some of the tools currently in the market some marketers feels as though they are opening a Diet Coke with a bulldozer. Simple is better not only because it cuts down on complexity but also because it is more effective.

Onsite targeting, specifically, is an area where the value of simple over complex is obvious. For example, if a marketer wants to improve the relevance and personalization of the content on a website two options are available. The first is a predictive, algorithmic approach for enhancing the site content, the second is a straightforward rules based approach. The complex algorithms that power predictive modeling certainly have a place, but the marketer does not have the same level of control over execution, or perhaps the time to research and tweak the algorithm on a frequent basis. Therefore, it becomes hard to make slight adjustments that promise better results.

The second, rules based approach is ideal. The predictive modeling is not in place in some cases, but straightforward business rules applied to the content displayed on the website is easy to control and adjust. It is also easier to balance business needs (too much inventory that needs to be moved quickly, for example) with content relevance and personalization goals.

Also, some are predicting an increase in the siloed approach to online, digital marketing. It seems marketing department silos have been a frequent topic of conversation in circles where the future of marketing is being discussed. Perpetuating the singular channel focus of divisions within marketing departments may be promising for the many software providers that comprise the various specialized channel delivery systems, but it is overall bad for business. Increasing silos destroys momentum and risks alienating consumers with fragmented messaging.

Even though the squeeze of the recession is lessening, marketers cannot abandon the quest for discipline and efficiency. Marketers have a direct digital marketing mandate to unify database and multi-channel content execution to gain efficiency and aggressively pursue improved consumer experiences… and the sales spoils that accompany them. The equation for modern marketing success has not changed: The more coordinated the multi-channel consumer experience is, the more loyalty is increased and sales improve.

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