Making the Transformation: Marketing for the New Digital Landscape

By Kevin Lindsay
Director of Conversion Product Marketing, Adobe



It’s a simple question: do you know what your marketing is doing? As we experience what’s become a full-on evolution from digital marketing to marketing in a digital world, the answer should always be a resounding “yes,” no matter your role in the organization. And, likewise, you should always have your marketer hat on. Why? Because at the end of the day, no matter who you are and what specific role you play, you’ve got one task: to deliver the best experience exactly when and where that consumer wants it.

That delivery starts from the first click—the consumer’s first action within your space—and continues through their last millisecond on the site. It’s that final moment—that customer experience—that users are going to remember. And it’s one that’s got to count.

I love the example of the Omega Watch augmented reality ad. Yes, it had Daniel Craig—AKA James Bond—so that’s a win. But beyond its star power, the ad leveraged Blippar’s increasingly popular augmented reality integration to enable readers to try on and purchase the featured watches directly from their smart phone. From the first interaction—seeing a traditional newspaper ad—to the last moment of the experience in the form of a full mobile commerce engagement and experience, Omega had their consumers locked and loaded. But more importantly, it was a great example of what many are touting a full-scale digital transformation. And 2014 seems to be their poster child.

So examples aside, what’s it all about? At its very core, this digital marketing transformation is all about organizations taking strategy all the way, embedding clever tactics, data-driven decision-making and cohesive alignments across all channels of media, business, commerce and consumer engagement. There’s so much going on in the digital marketing space, and everyone’s seemingly committed to all of it: social, mobile, display, tablet. Consumers exist in countless virtual spaces, and brands are there, right beside them, aligning with every whim and wish. Everyone from the bottom up is engaged—but the marketing transformation is about more than that. It’s about harnessing that buy-in and unparalleled momentum to launch businesses big and small into the next stratosphere of digital maturity, integration and, of course, ROI.

To be an agent of change and transformation, consider these five points that, together, can elevate you as a marketer from productive to prolific. What’s more, they’ll put you in the driver’s seat, steering yourself and your organization towards what’s shaping up to be a truly exhilarating industry transformation.


1. Be a data guru

Love thy numbers—and, more so, obey thy numbers. It’s that simple. You’re no doubt testing and tapping into those metrics to make smart, data-driven decisions. But the transformation of marketing goes a step further. You need to dive into those numbers every single time. And what about big data? It’s up to you to do something with it—to make it more than hype and, instead, figure out how to harvest it and tap into the critical metrics that make the difference—an FYI can only take you so far, but a KPI can provide the groundwork for virtually anything.

2. Always be testing

Test, test, then test some more. Not only will test results drive decision-making across your entire organization, but they serve to immobilize a classic hurdle: the HiPPO (the High Paid Person’s Opinion). Leading European travel group TUI is a great example. Each year they spend millions discounting, but testing tells them which offers could just as effective—or more—in converting would-be cruise-takers, without leaving money on the table.

By continuously testing they were able to identify content as their most powerful conversion driver, creating more personalized, customer-focused experiences on their site. What did they test? On the simple end, a larger, more strategically-placed mobile banner ad that aligned with the screen size on which a visitor was viewing the site—which yielded a 10% increase in conversion and three-times higher click-thru rate than their standard campaign. Want more juicy details? I’m going to save those juicy details for Conversion Conference…

3. Go digital. Everywhere.

Your customers have already made the leap—they’re online, they’re in social networks and they’re on every platform, every day. They’re pinning, Tweeting, posting and sharing, and they’re doing it from their desktop, laptop, work computer, home computer, smart phone, tablet, e-reader…

So now that you’ve embraced every digital extension and alignment, you’re left with another challenge: the “splinternet.” We’re in agreement that your customers are everywhere, every minute, and that you and your brand have to be there, too. But think about that customer. Maybe she’s coming to you via two channels—Facebook and your website—on three devices, possibly a desktop computer at the office, her smart phone on the go and her tablet at home. That’s six experiences—and six experiences from which she expects unique, relevant and personalized engagements.

This is especially critical to tablet and mobile integration. Device, location, time, profile and activity are just part of the laundry list of what you can unearth and tap in to for every on-the-move consumer. They want it fast and they want it optimized—even better if you can anticipate their needs and get there before they do. Look to contextual targeting to start, and ensure your brand is wholly aligned cross-channel, but with seamless integrations and concessions for these often couch-based users who come in through these alternative devices.

4. Social is really about relationships

Social media, at the end of the day, isn’t about who “Likes” you and who doesn’t. It’s about building deep, meaningful relationships between customer and brand. Think about MasterCard now-ubiquitous “Priceless” campaign. It’s been around for close to 20 years, and it’s still as spectacular as it was the first time Dad and Son headed to the big game. And, like it or not, you have a relationship with MasterCard because of that enduring campaign. You know that, when it’s done, the moment they’re touting will be “priceless.” You know that it’s not always about the money but about the people—and the brand that can connect those people and forge memories that last a lifetime.

And you know that because you, to some extent, have a social relationship with MasterCard. Dubbed one of the first truly viral campaigns, “Priceless” leveraged emerged social media to create emotional moments emerging from something so simple and universally relatable. And, today, it continues to push the envelope with modern-day social media leading the charge and, time after time, taking MasterCard and its consumer relationships to the next level.

About those Likes: yes, they’re important. But they aren’t the be all, end all marketers have made them out to be. Make those deep, meaningful connections with your consumers first—the Like is simply the permission to make another leap into their lives. You’re mingling with their friends and family in the Newsfeeds, and greeting them with your insights and information when they sign in in the morning. They’re agreeing to take you with them on their phone, their tablet and any other device they pick up—but if you haven’t forged the bond, it could actually do more harm than good.

5. Think Super Channel

Consumers see one thing: your brand. Marketers see four screens: computer, tablet, mobile and TV. And within those screens there are six channels: web, social, email, search, display and apps, with paid, earned and owned trust.

And, of course, no two customer journeys are the same. Exhausted yet?

OK, remember the Omega Watch augmented reality example? Let’s revisit. What kind of campaign is that? Print? Digital? Mobile? Something else? That’s the power of digital and the beauty of thinking super channel. It’s all of those things. It transcends platform and blurs the lines between screens, channels and sources. It just is—and it’s powerful. Omega recognized the secret sauce is the audience and the meaningful engagement with that audience. It’s something that trumps budgets, channels and, when push comes to shove, just about anything else.

Final thought: YOU ARE A MARKETER (and so is everyone else)

Everything is about marketing and marketing strategy. These once-relegated best practices now have a seat at the grownup table where they’re free to take risks and push the envelope day in and day out. But, today, marketing doesn’t look like what it did yesterday. It’s a left brain AND a right brain task, a numbers games as much as it is a creative conquest. Art and science align and promotion rubs up against content and integration. Everything exists in this space, and everyone needs to be part of the mix, the conversation and the game. Make yourself part of the equation. If you’re already leading the charge, open your eyes and look around—who can contribute to the discourse? An engineer? The numbers guy? An optimization pro? Even creativity can be scored today, so marketing is 100% all hands on deck. Roll up your sleeves. 

The digital marketing transformation is here and you, whether you know it or not, are part of the goings-on. But now it’s time to dive in to the testing and optimization, socially-driven relationships and multi-channel—or, better, SUPER channel—extensions across every digital bucket. You are the marketer. You are standing on the precipice of what could very well be the most exciting time in this industry’s history. It’s time to align your resources, efforts and thinking, and position yourself and your organization at the transformation starting line. And…go!

About the Author

lindsay-vKevin Lindsay is responsible for conversion optimization go-to-market strategies and thought leadership within Adobe’s Digital Marketing Business Unit. In his current role, Kevin leads marketing efforts around solutions that help businesses optimize digital experiences for maximum customer engagement and conversion. Previously at Mercado, an eCommerce search & merchandising provider, Kevin oversaw product and strategic marketing and was a regular contributor to industry publications and blogs.

In prior roles, Kevin ran his own marketing consultancy, led marketing for a mobile startup and managed product marketing at Verity for several years where he had the opportunity to contribute to the development of search and navigation solutions for some of the pioneer commerce sites in the U.S. and Europe. Kevin speaks frequently at industry events on topics such as conversion strategies, customer experience and personalization.

See Kevin Live!

Join Kevin in his session on “The Transformation of Marketing” at Conversion Conference San Francisco 2014, March 17-19. Follow Kevin on Twitter and ask for a promo code to save more on your pass.

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