Answers to Your Questions on Integrated Marketing Strategy and the Big Picture
After giving the keynote presentation at Integrated Marketing Virtual Conference & Expo 2012, Forrester Senior Analyst Robert Brosnan spent some time in the networking lounge answering attendee questions. The discussion touched on everything from, "How useful is it to have a single view of the customer?" to integration for small businesses and franchise marketing, and advice on findng the right vendors. Here is the full text of that Q&A, cleaned up so it's easier to follow.
Question: Doesn't condensing customer data into a "single view of the customer" defeat understanding at a deeper level? Xbox has 11 categories w/in 15 year-old male segment.
Robert Brosnan: Good question. I think that the reason Microsoft has such a good understanding of their gamers is because of their ability to integrate data across the gaming environment, Xbox live and other touchpoints. I think the deeper understanding only comes with integrating data across touchpoints. I think they certainly want to understand Xbox gamers not just, say, on their responses to emails, but on how they play games, download media and engage with other touch points.
Question: Any tips specifically geared toward small businesses with limited resources?
Robert Brosnan: Yes, it's even harder for SMBs. You have fewer resources, but you still have the same problems as the big guys. Look for a platform that can enable multiple groups inside the organization. Engage your peers in mapping the whole customer journey, then build consensus around technology and media decisions based on that journey.
Question: What do you suggest as a starting point for determining the best centralized data solution for an organization just starting to build a CRM system? Does this conference have a list of solution providers to suit various budget ranges?
Robert Brosnan: You might start with a survey of all the data sources you have and pair that against all the insights you'd like to generate. Having both an assessment of your abilities today and a map of where you'd like to go will help you in selecting appropriate vendors and technologies.
Question: Robert besides existing data points, what do you feel is the best way to gather additional customer insights? Surveys? Market research? I know it's a loaded question depending on the segment, but have you seen anything work very well that we may not be aware of? What's the best way to get specific and large volume customer insight?
Robert Brosnan: Yes, surveys are good if you can tie back to an individual customer id. You can also buy data off a third party to provide enhanced segmentation and insight. Many can match to individual customers. Think Experian, Acxiom, etc.
Question: What are some strategies to incorporate an integrated marketing approach with in a distributed model. For example how do you provide a overall marketing program for franchisees?
Robert Brosnan: Good question. Distributed marketing is an area we're seeing lots of innovation. Often we see the corporate office buying new technology platforms for this purpose and even providing coop funds to drive adoption within franchisees.
Question: Distributed Marketing-that is the exact situation I am dealing with. The biggest challenge I face is how to make it easy for franchisees who are running a business and are not marketers. What innovations are you seeing here?
Robert Brosnan: There are vendors offering "lightweight" campaign management for non-marketers, allowing them to customize or personalize brochures or email. These platforms also supply customer data back to users to send out those targeted campaigns. Look at Distribion, Direxxis, Balihoo, MarcommCentral, Sapient, etc.
Question: Can you talk more about how to get customer intelligence when you sell through dealerships? Dealerships often don't have great customer data-just anecdotal. Our end users are schools primarily ... many are not tech savvy although our website traffic is growing.
Robert Brosnan: What are the interactions you have with customers: sales and/or service events?
Question: Typically both sales and service are handled by the dealers in dealer territories. We interact with the dealer owners, sales reps and service personnel when they have issues. We also sell via our own sales reps in direct territories and have some information there, but we lack some control over how the dealers position and prioritize our products and interact with their customers.
Robert Brosnan: Often it comes down to making an explicit bargain: Use the corporate offers/positioning and drive higher response rates, revenue and ROI. Use your sales force/franchises to demo the higher performance they can obtain.
Question: What is the best way to get buy-in across everyone in a marketing organization with regards to the importance of an integrated marketing strategy? How do I get my employees to view the department outside of their roles and comfort zones?
Robert Brosnan: Often I begin in one of two places: 1) at the corporate values and show how current practices are inadequate; or 2) at a competitive assessment: showing how your competitors or those in other industries are gaining advantage by innovating across silos.
Robert Brosnan: Thanks everyone. Please feel free to tweet other questions to @brosnaro, and I'll follow up later. Many thanks for your time and attention today.