Slavi Samardzija

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.

"Every single test we do arrives at a definitive insight, and it opens up a dozen more questions that you want to test," says Shawn Burns, the worldwide director of digital marketing for German enterprise software company SAP. "It makes you hungry to learn more." In the process of that testing, SAP has come away with many "definitive insights," principles that pretty much always work to improve conversions. Here are five of those insights that have had the biggest impact on how SAP does digital marketing.

"It was 24 months ago that Facebook was the social darling and Google was search marketing, right? Google was the quintessential paid media and Facebook was the quintessential earned media," says Shawn Burns, worldwide head of digital marketing for SAP. "Now, Facebook's all paid and Google's social. How do you make media investment decisions in that environment if you're not doing high-end analytics to contribute to attribution modeling?"

Direct marketers have been managing consumer data for decades. But as technology has increased the ways consumers interact with brands, marketers are confronting the prospect of "Big Data"—data sets that have grown so large and complex that they've become increasingly difficult to analyze, but offer greater rewards and competitive advantage for those who do.

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