"Remember the term ‘information superhighway'? Today you will find that highway is starting to be littered with user-generated content that's not very helpful to consumers. As companies experiment with social networks and different forms of UGC, the online experience can become very confusing — and distracting — for the average consumer who has a task to accomplish. In response, smart marketers are taking a step back and looking at how they can normalize and structure UGC to be more helpful to the large majority of online shoppers — and find the best ways to amplify this content in their advertising efforts."
— Sam Decker, chief marketing officer, Bazaarvoice
"Perhaps the most interesting information that we cull is the counterintuitive results that today's top brands are driving online. Over the past six months, Datran Media has launched dozens of inbox and Web advertising campaigns in which the results of the campaigns, although wildly successful, counter-predicted response. While generalizing to protect our clients, we see things like travel category marketers who discover they've missed an entire coast of male buyers, to consumer product brand gurus who suddenly realize that their online buyers are older and more diverse than once assumed. These are good findings because they point the brands to entirely new revenue segments that they hadn't previously considered. No one gets upset about those new understandings!"
— Lana McGilvray, vice president of marketing, Datran Media
"Managing the marketing department with hard-nosed analytics, KPIs, dashboards and data mining is de rigueur in today's challenging environment. Quantitative management is a noble cause that is endorsed by many marketing authorities. However, like any transition, we run the risk of creating imbalanced priorities and dropping the ball on marketing fundamentals. Analytics is crucial to a well-run marketing department, but this must be balanced with the content. Analytics and content are intrinsically linked and cannot function properly without one another, yet they are often siloed by organizational and technical obstacles. Analytics provides the segmentation, targeting and validation for marketing strategies, and content is the face of marketing to customers and prospects. Each of these is a potential point of failure that marketers vigilantly guard against."
— Joe Stanhope, director of global product marketing, Alterian