My friend and colleague Mark Demeny wrote a great blog post discussing the demands of the marketplace on software vendors and how those demands – and the direction those vendors take as a result – affects you, the buyer.

Here’s the money quote:

“…in addition to looking at a simple technology purchase decision, you also need to consider overall company strategy and plan appropriately. Vendors in different financial positions have varying pressures which may or may not align with your software purchase strategy. Some vendors may prioritize growth and new features over supporting existing clients.”

– Mark Demeny

I can tell you from experience, these “pressures” have been a challenge for just about any company seeking growth through outside investment. Some manage the pressures better than others. 

However, as Mark rightly says, in their handling of these demands, some vendors may prioritize growth and new features over supporting existing clients. In some cases, it can be a choice between growth OR new features. That’s where your pressures begin.

Empowering the marketing team

Chief Marketing Officers and their teams are always looking for better ways to keep pace with a customer who moves faster than the brand. They also need strategies to empower their marketing teams to do more with less and do it more quickly than ever before. 

To achieve these goals, marketers typically turn to marketing technology. Moreover, when we do, we’re usually in a hurry to solve some marketing problem du jour, so proper due diligence takes a backseat to expedient procurement.

In my 30 years working in the business, marketing and technology space, I’ve observed countless examples of the organizational and career wreckage that occurs when you skip the required up-front work.

Strategic considerations to avoid a martech #Fail

Mark offers a solid list of strategic considerations to help you avoid any potholes on your marketing problem-solving journey:

  • Understand your long-term priorities and those of your chosen vendor(s) – For example, are they focusing on innovation, growth and new customers or are they focusing on keeping existing customers happy and prosperous?
  • Consider your bundles carefully – Just because the products come bundled together doesn’t mean all of them are right for you and your business and marketing needs.
  • De-couple software from services – Sure, the vendor offers hosting or implementation/consulting services, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best fit to deliver those services for your organization.
  • Always be thinking about a migration strategy – You’re not doing this to change vendors (in case of technology or licensing changes), but even upgrades can require a lot of planning, consideration and cost. 

To add to those gems, I offer a few more proven strategies to help you make better decisions when it comes to choosing and using marketing technologies:

  • Organizational fit – It’s never been more important to accurately define and map the features, benefits and risks inherent in the components of your marketing technology stack against the needs and capabilities of the organization. Buying tools your team can’t or won’t use is a waste of time and budget. Considering organizational fit is critical not only during the planning and implementation stages but throughout the life cycle of your marketing technology stack.
  • Appropriate technology – This is about choosing and using the marketing technology tools that meet a given application most efficiently and effectively. For example, you might deploy an integrated content management system with marketing automation capabilities instead of multiple stand-alone components. The best-of-breed approach often requires manual integration of independent components, which comes at a high cost of time, people and money.
  • Usable design – I believe this to be one of the most critical keys to help you make better decisions when it comes to choosing and using marketing technologies. Make sure you select martech software and hardware that fits the needs of your team. Whether it’s software or hardware, considering user-centered design and implementation as a primary driver can help determine the usefulness of the technology. Remember, bigger is not necessarily better, nor is the most powerful, feature-rich system or application the best choice in all situations.
  • Manageable and supportable technology – You’ve spent your hard-earned budget on some great martech tools. Now what? Have you chosen hardware and software that can be managed and supported by the people using the technology? Consider robust software management features, vendor support, and the advantages of technology that embraces open and published standards as the drivers of a successful martech selection and implementation process.

Choose your marketing technology vendors wisely

We all know that marketing technology vendors are a dime a dozen, but having the right marketing technology partner(s) who understands (at the very least) your business, brand, and marketing needs are critical to your success. 

One of the tips above suggests that you should always be thinking about a migration strategy. It becomes much harder to migrate from a vendor’s platform, system, or tool should you need to when you’ve allowed yourself suffering from the horrible (but avoidable) “vendor lock-in” situation.

Before you move on to actioning the strategies you’ve read about above, here are three vendor lock-in scenarios to avoid:

  • Two-Guys-in-a-Garage Lock-in – I once worked with a global organization with many digital properties. For one of their U.S. web sites, they’d connected with a small company owned by a friend of one of the executives (see “Friend-of-the-Family Lock-in” below) that offered a proprietary content management system (CMS). Even though the CMS lacked the features and benefits the organization required, the media company execs were reluctant to move away from the platform because of the time and cost associated with a switch.
  • Staff-Augmentation Lock-in – Your budget is limited, and there’s no room for new hires. However, you need the staff, and when the vendor team offers to help cover some of your gaps in human capital to get some of those mounting tasks done, you gladly accept. It’s easier to wean yourself off a relationship like this when the projects are one-off, but once your vendor is embedded in a mission-critical project or more extensive program, you’re locked in.
  • Friend-of-the-Family Lock-in – How many times have you seen yourself (or someone you know) in this situation? The CEO has a buddy (or worse, a relative) who owns or is somehow part of a vendor organization. Unless something incredibly wrong happens where the only alternative is to move to a new vendor, welcome to one of the most painful types of vendor lock-in.

So choose wisely, because choosing and using the right marketing technology, and marketing technology partner, can be the difference between creating customer experiences that delight your customers or turning them off completely. It can also mean the difference between your marketing team’s success or failure.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

GeekHive, a New York-based marketing technology consultancy helping clients maximize their investments in martech. He’s also a digital marketing adjunct at New York University’s School of Professional Studies for 20 years, and the founder of How Digital Marketing Works.


It was surprising to learn that more than two in five financial services customers say they rarely or never receive relevant marketing communications from financial services companies they’ve used before or are currently using, according to a new Yes Marketing study.

Additionally, nearly a quarter (22%) of consumers say they hear from companies across channels including email, SMS, push notifications, social media and display ads too frequently, while 8% say they do not hear from companies on those same channels often enough. In the “too frequent” group, the GenZers (18-21 year-olds) were most likely across almost all channels to report brands communicated with them too frequently.

As fintech brands like Venmo, Stripe, Square, CashApp, etc. grow more popular with consumers and niche institutions (e.g., investment firms, credit unions, etc.) expand their services and offerings, the pressure is on for all financial services companies to improve communications strategies with current customers.

How financial institutions can use email marketing to improve customer retention

Across industries, leading companies recognize the importance of customer retention and continue to invest heavily and the financial services sector this is no different. However, retention in the space is now tougher to maintain as customers encounter more options than ever in the financial marketplace.

On the plus side, the same Yes Marketing study found that 72% of customers say they are not considering switching to a new financial services company — a number that seems high on face value. However, when you consider the significant amount of research and processes that go into switching banks or other financial services companies, it’s shocking that 27% of consumers are considering jumping ship.

Brands that leverage email marketing properly will continue to build lasting customer relationships while thwarting the new fintech players from capturing market share. Here are four ways top brands are improving customer retention with email today. 

1. Incorporate educational content

You’re probably already using email marketing to communicate with customers, but be careful about using email to self-promote. Instead, create educational content that indirectly relates to your offerings and positions your company as a valuable resource for financial advice.

For instance, you could offer budget tips, guides to paying off student loans, or timelines for saving for retirement. Fidelity, for example, provides customers with an interactive timeline that projects how much money they would save by adjusting their 401k contributions. Also, Capital One provides a “Learning Center” with answers to common questions customers may have.

2. Personalize email messages based on age

In the financial services industry, a consumer’s age significantly influences the services and information he or she needs. Use smart tools and dynamic content modules to deliver the right content to your customers as they reach certain ages. For instance, a 30-year-old might be interested in content about how to save for buying his or her first home. Relevant content based on age builds trust among customers and keeps them coming back for more content and services. 

It’s also important to remember that consumers’ financial situations change significantly as they age. Life changes, such as a new job, a marriage or a changing family situation, directly impact the offerings a consumer needs from his or her financial services provider. Companies should embrace customer lifecycle and journey mapping strategies to ensure they understand when consumers are likely to change institutions and use that as an opportunity to re-engage.

3. Be convenient

Convenience is a major factor in consumers’ decisions to engage with any brand or organization —  and financial services companies are no exception. Using a bank or financial institution should be an easy part of everyday life for consumers. If it’s not, they’ll switch to a provider that offers greater convenience. 

What does this have to do with email? Financial brands can use email to not only communicate convenient offerings (e.g., easy cash transfers using PayPal or Zelle) but also to keep customers up to date with the status of their accounts so they don’t have to log in elsewhere, switch apps or call their bank for updates. Venmo, for instance, sends emails after a customer sends or receives money, with a link to easily access the transaction within the app.

4. Show you care about their preferences

One way to keep customers around is by showing that you truly care about what they want from your company when it comes to marketing communications. Consumers don’t want to feel like a number, and asking about their individual preferences gives them the VIP treatment.

Use preference centers to directly ask customers how frequently they want to hear from you, their interests, financial goals, upcoming life events, and/or on which channels they want to interact with your company — whether by email, text messages, your app or through other channels.

As new financial services and fintech brands capture the attention of consumers and reshape their expectations for financial organizations, it’s time to rethink your strategies for improving retention. Email can be a great way to form lasting relationships with customers that keep them engaged as they navigate new and exciting life moments.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author


Over the past few years in my role as digital marketing evangelist for a customer experience management company, I have had the opportunity to attend dozens of marketing and technology conferences each year.

I attended most of those conferences as a speaker and made it a point to try and learn something new each time I walked into a conference hall. That said, as Scott Brinker says when speaking about his experience at the MarTech conferences, it’s “…always a whirlwind of insights and ideas. It usually takes me a couple of weeks after the event to synthesize what my key takeaways were from the event.”

Scott’s right-on. While I’ve had the best intentions, the volume of people, content and insights have been overwhelming. Unfortunately, in some cases, I came away with less than spectacular returns. It’s not that the topics or presenters weren’t excellent; they were. I asked friends and colleagues about their conference-going experiences over the years, and many of them encountered the same less-than-stellar outcomes. 

Based on lessons learned from those conversations and my own experiences, here’s my advice to help you get the most value from any marketing conference.

Prepare – First, you’ve got to do your homework. I’m not talking about preparation like when you head to the in-laws for the holidays. On the conference website, you’ll find some helpful links. This is where your value planning begins. Since I’m attending the MarTech Conference East soon, let’s use that site as an example. The links you’ll find there are similar to other conference sites.

Agenda – Before you plunk down your hard-earned cash, consult the agenda. Most conferences offer several “tracks” loaded with topical sessions. With each session designed to ladder up to the main track topic, you can select the sessions (and speakers) that meet your learning, career, networking or other desired outcomes you have for the conference.

Grab your favorite beverage, a note pad (for old school note-takers like me) then get comfortable and dig-in. Start with a solid list of challenges you need help with and add to the list topics about which you’d like to learn more. Find the sessions that are most relevant and note them. The agenda is usually broken down by day, so plan each day separately and make sure there’s no overlap of topics in your schedule. Ideally, one day’s content should build on the next.

If you’re struggling to find sessions that meet your needs, it’s probably not the right conference for you. Finish your drink and head over to your favorite search engine, because there are likely plenty of other events for you to consider. One theme that comes up repeatedly in conversations was registering for a conference before consulting the agenda. Don’t do that.

People – Once you’ve decided to register, the first place to start is with your network. If you’re a LinkedIn member, you can reach out to your first-level contacts via the mass message feature. 

The details regarding how to accomplish mass messaging are available via LinkedIn help or a simple search engine query so I won’t get into the details here (except for one crucial detail, below). Suffice it to say, using this approach to let your connections know you’ll be attending a particular event, and asking if they’ll be attending as well, is a great way to get the networking ball rolling.

I know I said I’d leave it to you to get the details of LinkedIn mass messaging on your own, but I’d be negligent if I didn’t tell you that it’s an absolute must when mass messaging to be sure you uncheck the box that reads, “Allow recipients to see each other’s names and email addresses.” Deselecting this box ensures that your message is blind copied to your LinkedIn connections. The default is for this box to be selected, so make sure you uncheck it.

The next step is reviewing the speaker list to see if there’s anyone you’d like to connect with at the conference. On the MarTech Conference website, there are dozens of speakers listed with a short bio and a link to their Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. I love meeting new people, and some of the most refreshing people I’ve met have been those who’ve engaged me at a conference where I was speaking.

Keep in mind, conference speakers can be busy. They’re prepping for their session and often have meetings and duties to tend to, especially if their company is a sponsor. Make sure you’ve done your homework. Research the speakers you’d like to meet and craft a short note about a topic you’d like to discuss. Sending the note as an InMail on LinkedIn is perfect.

Exhibitors – Regardless of the conference you attend, you’ll likely have the opportunity to explore an exhibitor area. Exhibitors have also paid a fee to attend, and their goal is to attract your attention. They often do this by offering up the coolest schwag you absolutely must have, but will inexplicably leave behind in your hotel room or throw away upon returning home. 

As a geek and a marketer, I enjoy the opportunity to meet face-to-face with product and service vendors whenever I can. I believe every marketer should be doing a demo with one new martech vendor each week. It’s a great way to feed your brain about new marketing technologies and stay current. In the case of the Martech Conference that has over 100 marketing technology solutions planned, there are more martech vendors for me to meet with than there are hours in a day, so planning is critical at events as well.

Review the exhibitor list and choose no more than six exhibitors whose products or services you would like to know better. Then, add those exhibitors to your schedule and make sure you meet them when the exhibitor area opens. Once you’ve checked the six primary exhibitors off your list, wander the exhibition area to see if any other offerings that didn’t make your list look interesting.

There you have it – my best advice for getting the most value from any marketing conference, based on lessons learned from colleagues, friends and my own experiences.

If you’re heading to the Martech Conference in Boston next week, I’d love to meet you. Connect with me on Linkedin or use the MarTech Conference app from Third Door Media, Inc. in the Apple App Store or on Google Play.

More about the MarTech Conference

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

GeekHive, a New York-based marketing technology consultancy helping clients maximize their investments in martech. He’s also a digital marketing adjunct at New York University’s School of Professional Studies for 20 years, and the founder of How Digital Marketing Works.

B2B Marketing Automation Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide” examines the market for B2B marketing automation platforms and the considerations involved in implementing this software in your business.

This 48-page report includes profiles of 14 leading B2B marketing automation vendors, capabilities comparisons and recommended steps for evaluating and purchasing. If you are a marketer looking to adopt a marketing automation software platform, you need to read this report. Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download your copy.

About The Author

Digital Marketing Depot is a resource center for digital marketing strategies and tactics. We feature hosted white papers and E-Books, original research, and webcasts on digital marketing topics — from advertising to analytics, SEO and PPC campaign management tools to social media management software, e-commerce to e-mail marketing, and much more about internet marketing. Digital Marketing Depot is a division of Third Door Media, publisher of Search Engine Land and Marketing Land, and producer of the conference series Search Marketing Expo and MarTech. Visit us at


70 market-defining vendors. From analytics to content marketing to marketing automation, you’re sure to find the ideal tool for your organization’s needs and budget. (Ahem… and the swag’s pretty great, too.)

  • The Discover MarTech Theater. Interested in learning about marketing and marketing technology? Check out presentations from Real Story Group, The New York Times, MarTech Today, and more. The Discover MarTech Theater will also host in-depth demos, customer case studies, and insightful reports from market leaders including Pitney Bowes, VanillaSoft, REQ, Civis Analytics, OpenText, Synthesio, Lexia Learning, and Akamai Technologies. See the complete agenda! You’ll can also learn from our exhibitors, including MailChimp, Acoustic, Lytics, Blueconic, during lunchtime presentations and full-length Solutions Track sessions.complete lineup of networking events.
  • MarTech Connect. Looking to meet others who share a passion for marketing and marketing technology? Check out MarTech Connect, our new A.I.-powered networking app. Fill out your interests, see who you’re matched with, and set up as many in-person meetings as you like. You’ll skip the small talk and meet the people you actually want to meet.
  • Recharge & Refuel. Learning burns calories (I think), so fueling up in between sessions is essential. Thankfully, the Expo Hall is stocked during breaks with tasty snacks and delicious beverages. Visit the Recharge Lounge, sponsored by USAData, to power up your devices (because laptops and phones get hungry, too).
  • Book signing with Charlene Li. Senior Fellow at Altimeter, Charlene Li, is delivering the afternoon keynote on Tuesday, September 17. Receive a free copy of her new book, The Disruption Mindset: Why Some Organizations Transform While Others Fail (the subject of her keynote), and get it signed by the author herself during the Expo Hall Reception. First come, first served.
  • Pick your ideal pass and register now:

    • All Access: All conference sessions, keynotes, networking events, and amenities, including the Expo Hall, the official MarTech event app, our new MarTech Connect app, hot meals, WiFi, and more. Book now and save $150 off on-site rates!
    • All Access Workshop Combo (best value!): Add an expert-led workshop to your All Access pass for an immersive, intimate learning experience. Book now and save $300 off on-site rates!
    • Expo : Unlimited access to the Expo Hall, full-length Solution Track sessions and Discover MarTech Theater presentations, downloadable speaker PowerPoints, refreshments, free WiFi, the official MarTech mobile app, our new MarTech Connect app, a Session Sampler pass, and more. Book now and it’s… free!

    Don’t miss your chance to meet like-minded marketers, dozens of vendors, and trail-blazing experts in the MarTech Expo Hall!

    Register now and I’ll see you in Boston 🙂

    Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

    About The Author

    MarTech® Conference, a vendor-agnostic marketing technology conference and trade show series produced by MarTech Today’s parent company, Third Door Media. The MarTech event grew out of Brinker’s blog,, which has chronicled the rise of marketing technology and its changing marketing strategy, management and culture since 2008. In addition to his work on MarTech, Scott serves as the VP platform ecosystem at HubSpot. Previously, he was the co-founder and CTO of ion interactive.


    According to new research which surveyed over 1,000 creative and digital marketing decision-makers, video is the top priority for the remainder of 2019 and into 2020. The Mondo Creative & Digital Trends report revealed that 67% of digital marketers and creatives anticipate video marketing as their first priority. When it comes to search engine marketing, however, respondents indicated that visual and voice search are much lower on the priority list.

    Why we should care

    The types of video marketing that respondents expect to invest in most include Instagram stories (66%) and newsfeed videos (62%). Gifs (52%), cinemographs (31%), live streaming (28%) and IGTV (28%) were among other top-ranking video types respondents anticipate producing.

    Unsurprisingly, the prioritization of Instagram stories and newsfeed videos varied between B2B and B2C marketers; B2B marketers lean towards newsfeed videos, while B2C marketers rank Instagram stories higher.

    Beyond video, survey respondents indicated that experiential marketing (31%), micro-moments (28%), motion design (24%), visual search (21%) and voice search (10%) are important to their 2019-2020 marketing efforts.

    Voice search did not rank as a top priority for digital marketers, according to Mondo. Only 17% indicated their websites are already optimized for search or have plans to implement changes in the next 12 months. Thirty-five percent have or plan to optimize their websites for visual search.

    Digital marketers ranked audience targeting (86%) as the top component informing their paid search strategies in the next year, with keywords (83%) and remarketing (76%) also ranking high on the list of priorities.

    While more devices with voice activations continue to enter the market, marketers might not be fully prepared for a shift towards voice search. With video currently sitting at the top of the marketers’ wishlist, we can’t let emerging search trends fall by the wayside.

    More on the news

    • GDPR compliance is a high priority for 55% percent of those surveyed.
    • Fourty-one percent of respondents cited artificial intelligence or machine learning technologies
    • Reactive design was also ranked by 38% of respondents as a high priority in 2019-2020 marketing plans.
    • Earlier this year, the IAB and eMarketer reported that advertisers are expected to dedicate more than half of video budgets to original content this year.

    About The Author


    Marketing operations are the driving force behind a company’s marketing technology implementations and processes. Successfully managing complex marketing operations efforts takes a capable, agile and tech-savvy team, which is difficult to build and maintain in today’s constantly evolving martech space.

    “There are so many different systems and processes happening concurrently that it’s easy for critical things to go undone or breaks in the systems to go unnoticed,” said Kimi Corrigan, head of marketing operations for Duo Security at Cisco, “There is no room for ambiguity around responsibilities or communications in this function.”

    Corrigan said she wants her team to always feel ownership over their work while, at the same time, knowing they have her full-support when needed. To keep her marketing ops team operating at full tilt, Corrigan centers her management style on coaching versus managing.

    Next month, Corrigan will do a deep dive into how she leads Duo’s marketing ops team during her “How to Organize and Coach Outstanding Marketing Operations Teams” talk at our MarTech Conference in Boston. In advance of her session, Corrigan offered insights into her managing style, how she onboards new employees and why radical candor is a must.

    Make everyone a coach

    “Marketing operations teams are tasked with a unique and vast set of responsibilities. People on my team have such a wide range of skills that they need to apply in many different ways,” said Corrigan, “Continually coaching alongside of them as they navigate this wide breadth of projects and interactions tends to yield great results rather than just managing in a traditional sense.”

    Corrigan makes sure everyone on her team shares coaching responsibilities.

    “I work to coach each person on my team as it relates to their responsibilities and skill-set, and encourage each of them to own coaching those on our team whenever they have an opportunity.”

    In addition to coaching other members of the marketing ops team, her staff is also encouraged to coach others they may be working with on cross-functional projects.

    “The more we all learn, the more we all win. When this coaching mindset is known to be in practice, these interactions don’t come off as telling others what to do, but as let me help you, and also, please help me.”

    Comprehensive onboarding for new employees

    As part of her coaching methodology, everyone on Corrigan’s team is involved with the onboarding process for new employees.

    “Our team uses a 12-week onboarding process with specific systems, tasks and goals laid out week-to-week. When we have a new team member, we clone our onboarding template and spend time customizing it based on the specific role and experience.”

    New staff members are introduced to different systems and meet with cross-functional teams and are also required to take initiative and schedule time with employees — both within marketing ops and external teams.

    “From the beginning, I believe it’s important for those new to the team to take ownership of their day-to-day and contributions to the organization,” said Corrigan.

    Leading with radical candor

    For Corrigan, a key to successfully managing a team is being able to give and receive honest feedback.

    “Radical candor can be hard to deliver sometimes, but the more you practice it, the safer it becomes,” said Corrigan, “The first few times you share this feedback, you may see fear or defensiveness. But once you coach them through why they are getting the feedback — what you and their teammates are going to do to help them work through it, and what the expectations are — you will see them begin to welcome open and honest conversations in both directions.”

    She said she practices this code of honesty with her team and encourages them to practice it as well — both with her and other staff.

    “Set the expectation that their team and work is a safe place to try, fail, succeed, try again, share and celebrate.”

    More about the MarTech Conference

    About The Author


    Facebook is adding the same Special Ad Category field it rolled out in Ads Manager in July to its Marketing API next month. The update, which is designed for marketers and developers running housing, employment and credit ads, limits the set of targeting options to keep marketers from running discriminatory ad campaigns.

    “All developers that want to create ads must implement the Special Ad Category flows by December 4, 2019, or their ads may be paused for non-compliance,” Facebook wrote.

    The Special Ad Category will be available within the Facebook Marketing API on September 16. Facebook said all new campaigns must comply with the Special Ads Category rule by December 4 or the campaigns will be terminated.

    Why we should care

    Facebook’s efforts to end discriminatory advertising practices impacts any marketer running housing, employment or credit related ad campaigns. Advertisers that don’t select the Special Ads Category run the risk of their campaigns being terminated on the platform.

    All other advertisers targeting users in the U.S. with ads that are not related to housing, employment or credit products or services must specify “NONE” in the Special Ads Category, “Or the campaign creation requests will fail,” said Facebook.

    Once the Special Ad Category is selected, some detailed targeting options will no longer be available, such as demographics, behaviors or interests. “Special Ad Category” advertisers will also not be allowed to exclude any targeting options.

    In March Facebook announced it was removing age, gender and ZIP code targeting filters for housing, employment and credit ads. The decision was part of a settlement Facebook reached with multiple civil rights groups that charged the company with allowing discriminatory ad campaigns to run on the platform. At the time, Facebook said it would be rolling out new tools to keep housing, employment and credit advertisers from running ads that discriminated against users. The Special Ad Category field is Facebook’s solution.

    More on the news

    • The Special Ad Category updates to the Marketing API include changes to the ad campaign, ad set and ad level and targeting and audience settings. Developers can review the Marketing API documentation to prepare for the coming updates.
    • Facebook said, starting in 2020, advertisers and developers will be required to update campaigns that launched before December 4 to comply with the Special Ad Category requirements.
    • Facebook released an audit report in June outlining the steps it had taken since December, 2019 to fight discriminatory practices on the platform, and plans to release a follow-up report during the first half of 2020.

    About The Author


    Long gone are the days of The Big Idea from The Big Ad Agencies. Successful marketing is based on ongoing customer experiences. Any well-respected company knows that now. But CX does not happen haphazardly. Every company, small to extra-large, has to be strategic about every facet of customer engagement and how it operates in order to have their marketing tactics to be successful.

    A strategic approach requires an inquisitive process. Tell me what you want to accomplish, not how. Major eye roll when our shiny creative white knights call out “wouldn’t it be cool if…” Sure, it would be, but how is that strategically aligned with our customers’ experience and will it drive engagement? If that question can be answered, then the next is how will we execute? Enter marketing ops in their suit of armor (to be discussed later).

    Companies are focused on trends and technology in marketing especially as it relates to social media, as I’m sure you’ve heard. And I would argue that trends and technology are synonyms at this point. Even strategic marketing roles boast that qualified candidates should be intune to said trends. But, it is really pointless to apply trends and technology for the sake of trends and technology if the strategy does not make meaningful connections to align with your products or services. Look at the influencer trends on the decline or VR stalling without proper strategy.

    A strategic approach to marketing tactics requires innovative and connected experiences as the cornerstone of today’s CX plan. Falling trees in empty forests do make sounds, but they are not heard. It’s a huge waste of marketing time to not strategically reach your audience. And the worst part is if your audience receives a bad strategy message… shame, regret, wasted money. So listen to your marketing strategist people!

    Shout out to all the marketing strategist out there who fight the good fight. And for you, the reader who does not have a dedicated person or team to run your marketing strategy, here is one big (loaded) question: Who is your customer and what do they do?

    Your customers may take on a lot of varying profiles which fractures into exponentially more aspects of their routine. Customer journey mapping is the manifesto of marketing strategy and operations. Laboring over the details of where your customer eats, shops, apps, visits (digitally or physically), etc. including their interactions with your potential competitors only shapes a solid strategy. But brace yourself, it’s an undertaking and a fluid process. Because just as you might find yourself finalizing a strategic approach to connecting with your customers, political, environmental, social, economical shifts happen and the connections need to adapt. Keeping up with the strategy of connecting with your customers is a strategy onto itself within your org. Strategic stall is real.

    And of course, marketing operations. How I love thee. Ever wonder how a lunch-break search of engagement rings turned into ads on your news feed for honeymoon destinations? Marketing ops. If the strategy is to target and retarget people in a certain point of a consideration set in their daily lives, then the marketing ops plan is to program your strategic marketing accordingly. Boom, Bora Bora booked.

    With organizations running an average of 90 cloud-based marketing services, according to CMSWire, marketing ops has become essential to programming initiatives as well as conducting ongoing data analysis of the strategic effectiveness. I always default to marketing teams as “building a house” analogy – the strategist plan where to build, the operations team engineer how to build (and maintain), and the creatives design against the plan. Creating before strategy and operations is a futile exercise and does not yield a solid foundation for your marketing mansion.

    Underestimating the importance of both functions in your marketing organization is naive and even worse executing without strategy and operations will only be successful by accident. A former colleague coined it best that marketing strategy and marketing operations is the yin and yang of any marketing team.

    Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

    About The Author


    While summer can be a slower season for some retailers, the large success with massive summer shopping events like Amazon’s Prime Day for brands not named Amazon show there is opportunity in every season. Most importantly, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or event. Small changes and tweaks can make a world of difference to ensure you gain a competitive edge. As we approach the end summer, it’s never been a better time to refresh your marketing strategy through testing as you gear up for the holiday season.

    Here are a few ways to refresh your tactics to gain valuable customer data and drive sales to closeout summer.

    1. Change up the little things 

    If you’re a savvy marketer, you’re likely used to constant testing of your tactics as A/B testing in email marketing is a given. It’s easy to focus on the main creative pieces – headline copy, imagery, featured products – as they can increase ROI on your email marketing program. At the same time, you only have a few months left so be sure to experiment with the minute details you might otherwise overlook.

    For example, play around with global elements like the color and size of the text on your Call-to-Action elements. Or switch up your layouts on a consistent basis to keep the subscriber engaged. Maybe test removing your header or footer for certain emails to focus in on your message. Constantly fine-tune small factors to see what works for your customers. You could be surprised – factors you’d never consider to drive revenue could impact the conversion rates to take your emails to a whole new level.

    2. Incentivize customers to share data

    At this point, personalized targeting marketing is table stakes. In fact, more than six out of ten customers expect personalization as a standard of service, and they’ll spend more money with brands that can target them with the content most relevant to them. However, collecting the right data points from customers to effectively inform marketing content isn’t easy.

    Incentivize customers to share data – like content email frequency preferences, interests, clothing style and sizing information – with sweepstakes offers, loyalty points, exclusive access, cold cash discounts and more. If you can reward customers from the get-go for sharing their information, you’ll have more powerful data to work with direct from the source.

    3. Emphasize the cool factor 

    Loyalty programs are another effective way to gain customer data since your most loyal customers are more likely to engage more frequently and freely share preferences and feedback with brands. One way to make customers loyal: Make them feel special.

    Yes Marketing’s latest retail report (my employer) highlighted a key insight: exclusivity leads to loyalty. When asked what factors made customers feel most rewarded for their loyalty to a retailer, 23% said “early access to new products” and 18% said “exclusive promotions and discounts.”

    Offer exclusive access, discounts or special offers to loyal shoppers, and be sure to remind them throughout the process they’re getting the VIP treatment. Foot Locker, for example, gives loyalty members first dibs on new shoe releases, and Best Buy highlights exclusive member pricing on certain products across its website (if you’re not a member, you don’t see the price at all).

    4. Encourage customers to spread the word 

    Regardless of the effort you put into your marketing program, you’re less likely to win over customers if you can’t win over their family and friends.

    The report’s data also revealed that 45% of consumers said they first heard about the most recent new retailer they’ve purchased from through a recommendation from friends or family. That significantly outranks options like product review sites (8%), influencer recommendations (4%) and news sites like Business Insider or Buzzfeed (2%). Additionally, 69% of customers will not try a new retailer if their friends and family gave it a bad review.

    Use this network to your advantage. Nudge current customers to share the message about your brand by offering discounts for friends and family that purchase from your brand (using a customer’s exclusive code). That way, you make current customers happy by rewarding them for a low-effort share and you pull in new customers by word of mouth.

    Don’t let the slow seasons be an excuse to check out for a few months. Your strategy can always be improved, whether it’s a major rehaul or some minor tweaks. Close out your summer with fresh eyes on your tried-and-true marketing tactics and see what you can refresh before the holiday season sneaks up on us all. 

    Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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