Havas Media lance DBi en Belgique – The League of Data Gentlemen !

Déjà présent dans certains pays d’Europe (comme la France, le Royaume-Uni, l’Allemagne, l’Espagne et l’Italie) et d’Amérique (Aux Etats-Unis, en Argentine, au Mexique, au Brésil) DBi, acronyme de Data Business Intelligence, poursuit son développement et s’implante en Belgique.

L’objectif de DBi est clair: auditer et accompagner ses clients dans l’implémentation des technologies proposées afin de maximiser le potentiel de la data et la placer au centre des décisions de marketing et de communication.

Avec à sa tête un trio d’experts disposant d’expériences significatives dans les domaines des médias et de la data : Olivier Wérion, responsable AdTech ; Nicolas Magain, Digital Partner et Clément David, Data Expert ; DBi maitrise la bonne combinaison entre expertise humaine et technologie.

C’est d’ailleurs dans le but d’augmenter sa palette de compétences que l’agence vient de recruiter un nouveau data analyst: Dylan Greenfield (ex-AIR) spécialiste des analytics et de la visualisation de données.

Organisé autour de trois axes majeurs que sont la stratégie, la technologie et la visualisation, DBi est déjà actif au travers de l’implémentation de DMP chez nos clients, mais aussi au travers du déploiement de Tag Management System, de DCO, d’AdFraud, de Drive to Web, d’analyses SEO et de gestion des Analytics.

Hugues Rey, CEO Havas Media Belgium: “A peine lancé, DBi n’a pas tardé à trouver son sens auprès de nos clients, dans la mesure où de nombreux projets data étaient déjà entrepris . DBi vient renforcer notre expertise en matière de maîtrise des données et permet à nos clients de poursuivre leur développement digital.”

About Havas Group

Group Havas is one of the world’s largest global communications groups. Founded in 1835 in Paris, the Group now employs 20,000 people in over 100 countries.

Havas Group is committed to being the world’s best company at creating meaningful connections between people and brands through creativity, media and innovation.

Havas is also the most integrated Group in its sector:  the #Together Strategy is implemented through Havas Villages where most creative and media teams share the same premises which increases synergies for clients and better serve their needs.

Havas Group is organized into two divisions: Havas Creative Group and Havas Media Group. Havas Creative Group incorporates the Havas Worldwide network (havas.com), present in 75 countries, the Arnold micro-network (arn.com), 10 agencies in 9 countries, as well as several leading agencies including BETC and the Fullsix Group.

Havas Media Group (havasmediagroup.com) is made up of three media brands, Havas Media (havasmedia.com), Arena Media (arenamedia.com) and Fullsix Media all of which work alongside Havas Sports & Entertainment (havas-se.com), the industry’s largest global brand engagement network. Further information about Havas Group is available on the company’s website: http://www.havasgroup.com



AI in storytelling: Machines as cocreators… Computers don’t cry during sad stories, but they can tell when we will. (Source: MC Kinsey)

By Eric Chu, Jonathan Dunn, Deb Roy, Geoffrey Sands, and Russell Stevens

source: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/media-and-entertainment/our-insights/ai-in-storytelling?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck-oth-1712

Sunspring debuted at the SCI-FI LONDON film festival in 2016. Set in a dystopian world with mass unemployment, the movie attracted many fans, with one viewer describing it as amusing but strange. But the most notable aspect of the film involves its creation: an artificial-intelligence (AI) bot wrote Sunspring’s screenplay.

“Wow,” you think. “Maybe machines will replace human storytellers, just like self-driving cars could take over the roads.” A closer look at Sunspringmight raise some doubts, however. One character in the film inexplicably coughs up an eyeball, and a critic noted that the dialogue often sounds like “a random series of unrelated sentences.” Until the technology advances, we still need rumpled screenwriters bent over keyboards. So let’s envision a less extreme scenario: could machines work alongside humans to improve the storytelling process?

Imagine how this collaboration might unfold in the rich medium of video. As always, human storytellers would create a screenplay with clever plot twists and realistic dialogue. AI would enhance their work by providing insights that increase a story’s emotional pull—for instance, identifying a musical score or visual image that helps engender feelings of hope. This breakthrough technology would supercharge storytellers, helping them thrive in a world of seemingly infinite audience demand.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab recently investigated the potential for such machine–human collaboration in video storytelling. Was it possible, our team asked, that machines could identify common emotional arcs in video stories—the typical swings of fortune that have characters struggling through difficult times, triumphing over hardship, falling from grace, or declaring victory over evil? If so, could storytellers use this information to predict how audiences might respond? These questions have resonance for anyone involved in video storytelling, from amateurs posting on YouTube to studio executives.

Emotional arcs: The backbone of stories

Before getting into the research, let’s talk about emotional arcs. Master storytellers—from Sendak to Spielberg to Proust to Pixar—are skilled at eliciting our emotions. With an instinctive read of our pulse, they tune their story to provoke joy, sadness, and anger at crucial moments. But even the best storytellers can deliver uneven results, with some Shakespeare plays leaving audience members feeling indifferent or disconnected. (There aren’t many big fans of Cymbeline out there.) What accounts for this variability? We theorize that a story’s emotional arc largely explains why some movies earn accolades and others fall flat.

The idea of emotional arcs isn’t new. Every storytelling master is familiar with them, and some have tried to identify the most common patterns. Consider Kurt Vonnegut’s explanation of arcs. The most popular arc, he claims, follows the pattern found in Cinderella. As the story begins, the main character is in a desperate situation. That’s followed by a sudden improvement in fortune—in Cinderella’s case provided by a fairy godmother—before further troubles ensue. No matter what happens, Cinderella-type stories end on a triumphant note, with the hero or heroine living happily ever after.

There’s evidence that a story’s emotional arc can influence audience engagement—how much people comment on a video on social media, for example, or praise it to their friends. In a University of Pennsylvania study, researchers reviewed New York Times articles to see if particular types were more likely to make the publication’s most emailed list. They found that readers most commonly shared stories that elicited a strong emotional response, especially those that encouraged positive feelings. It’s logical to think that moviegoers might respond the same way.

Machines as moviegoers: MIT’s radical experiment

Some researchers have already used machine learning to identify emotional arcs in stories. One method, developed at the University of Vermont, involved having computers scan text—video scripts or book content—to construct arcs.

We decided to go a step further. Working as part of a broader collaboration between MIT’s Lab for Social Machines and McKinsey’s Consumer Tech and Media team, we developed machine-learning models that rely on deep neural networks to “watch” small slices of video—movies, TV, and short online features—and estimate their positive or negative emotional content by the second.

These models consider all aspects of a video—not just the plot, characters, and dialogue but also more subtle touches, like a close-up of a person’s face or a snippet of music that plays during a car-chase scene. When the content of each slice is considered in total, the story’s emotional arc emerges.

Think about this for a moment: machines can view an untagged video and create an emotional arc for the story based on all of its audio and visual elements. That’s something we’ve never seen before.

Consider the famous opening sequence of Up—a 3-D computer-animated film that was a critical and popular hit. The movie focuses on Carl Fredricksen, a grumpy senior citizen who attaches thousands of balloons to his house in a quest to fly to South America after his wife, Ellie, dies. Wanting to devote most of the movie to Carl’s adventure, the screenwriters had to come up with a quick way to provide the complicated back story behind his trip. That’s where the opening sequence comes in. It’s silent, except for the movie’s score, and an emotional arc emerges as scenes of Carl’s life play on the screen. (We also looked at the arc for the movie as a whole, but this is a good way to view one in miniature.)

You can see the high and low points of the montage in the graph (Exhibit 1). The x-axis is time, measured in minutes, and the y-axis is visual valence, or the extent to which images elicit positive or negative emotions at that particular time, as scored by the machine. The higher the score, the more positive the emotion. As with all our analyses, we also created similar graphs for a machine’s responses to audio and to the video as a whole. We’re focusing on the visual graphs, here and elsewhere, since that was the focus of our later analyses of emotional engagement.

The emotional arc in Up's opening sequence, as scored by a machine, shows highs and lows in line with positive or negative moments.

Visual valence is measured on a scale of 0 to 1, but not every film has images that span the entire spectrum. What’s important is the relative valence—how positive or negative a scene is compared with other points in the movie—as well as the overall shape of the emotional arc. As in many video stories, the arc in Up’s opening montage contains a series of mood shifts, rather than a clear upward or downward trajectory. One of the highest peaks corresponds to images of Carl as a happy child, for instance, but there’s a big drop shortly after, when young Ellie scares him in the middle of the night. The machine’s negative response reflects Carl’s fright. Other peaks emerge much later, when the newlyweds are planning to have children, or when the elderly couple embraces. The valence plummets near the end, when Carl returns home alone after Ellie dies.

MIT’s machine-learning models have already reviewed thousands of videos and constructed emotional arcs for each one. To measure their accuracy, we asked volunteers to annotate movie clips with various emotional labels. What’s more, the volunteers had to identify which video element—such as dialogue, music, or images—triggered their response. We used these insights to refine our models.

Finding ‘families’: Common emotional arcs

After sifting through data from the video analyses, we developed a method for classifying stories into families of arcs—in other words, videos that share the same emotional trajectory. Our approach combines a clustering technique, called k-medoids, with dynamic time warping—a process that can detect similarities between two video sequences that vary in speed.

We looked for arc families in two separate data sets—one with more than 500 Hollywood movies and another with almost 1,500 short films found on Vimeo. Our preliminary analysis of visual valence revealed that most stories could be classified into a relatively small number of groups, just as Vonnegut and other storytellers suspected. Exhibit 2 shows that the arcs that emerge with the videos in the Vimeo data set are clustered into five families.1For the family designated by the yellow line, for instance, there’s a surge in negative emotion fairly early in the video, followed by sustained positive emotion near the finale. (All movies tend to score low at the beginning and the end, as the machine snores through the credits.)

Some families of stories generate more comments than others.

Computers as crystal balls: Predicting audience engagement

Seeing how stories take shape is interesting, but it’s more important to understand how we can use these findings. Does a story’s arc, or the family of arcs to which it belongs, determine how audiences will respond to a video? Do stories with certain arcs predictably stimulate greater engagement?

Our team attempted to answer these questions by analyzing visual data for the Vimeo short-film data set. (We chose to focus on visual arcs in the analysis discussed here because they were more closely linked to video content than audio, and the combined arcs present some analytical challenges.) For each story, we used a regression model to consider arc features while controlling for various metadata that can affect online reaction, such as the video length and upload date.

The goal was to predict the number of comments a video would receive on Twitter and other social media. In most cases, a large volume of comments signals strong audience engagement, although there can be some caveats. If a movie bombs—think Gigli and Ishtar—it could also generate lots of online commentary, but not in a good way.

In the Vimeo analysis, visual arcs indeed predicted audience engagement, with movies in several families generating more viewer comments. (We ran several analyses, each with a different number of families, to ensure that we didn’t overlook any trends). In one analysis, the family that stood out—shown in red in Exhibit 2—follows a rise-and-fall pattern, with the characters achieving early success and happiness before a steady decline into misfortune. Of all the story families, this one has the most negative ending. Although these tales end bleakly, they leave an impact on viewers.

Other analyses of the Vimeo videos revealed similar findings, with two story families attracting significantly more comments than others (Exhibit 3). These stories both culminate with a positive emotional bang, indicated by the large spike near the end of the arcs. The main difference is that stories in the graph on the left involve more mood swings from negative to positive before the big finale. Stories from these two families tend to receive more comments than those that end negatively, perhaps echoing the University of Pennsylvania finding that positive emotions generate the greatest engagement.

The families where stories had a large positive spike toward the end tended to generate most comments.

Our team read the comments for all the Vimeo shorts, rating the types of emotions expressed, and ran a program to measure their length. This analysis confirmed that stories in the three families just described tend to generate longer, more passionate responses. Instead of just saying, “great work,” a comment might read, “Superb … so, so powerful … it hits you like a wrecking ball.” What’s equally striking is that the comments didn’t focus on particular visual images but on a video’s overall emotional impact, or how the story changed over time.

These insights will not necessarily send screenwriters back to the drawing board—that would be like asking George Orwell to tack a happy ending onto 1984 to cheer things up. But they could inspire video storytellers to look at their content objectively and make edits to increase engagement. That could mean a new musical score or a different image at crucial moments, as well as tweaks to plot, dialogue, and characters. As storytellers increasingly realize the value of AI, and as these tools become more readily available, we could see a major change in the way video stories are created. In the same way directors can now integrate motion capture in their work, writers and storyboarders might work alongside machines, using AI capabilities to sharpen stories and amplify the emotional pull.

For more information on emotional arcs, see MIT’s page on the story learning project or the thesis by Eric Chu on which this research is based. Our next article in this series will examine whether a story’s emotional arc can predict the speed, breadth, and depth of its discussion on Twitter.

About the author(s)

Jonathan Dunn is a partner in McKinsey’s New York office, and Geoffrey Sands is a director emeritus in the Stamford office. Eric Chuis a PhD candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and conducts research at the Lab for Social Machines, part of MIT’s Media Lab, where Deb Roy is the director and Russell Stevens is the industry deployment lead.

Audience Data: Where Marketers Are Investing Their Spending ? US companies will invest more than $20 billion this year on outside data, solutions

Marketers continue to face a challenge when it comes to managing data. Taking a seemingly inexhaustible supply of information, separating out signal from noise and then distilling that into actionable insight is enough to overwhelm pretty much anyone.

Source: https://www.emarketer.com/content/this-is-where-marketers-are-spending-on-us-audience-data?ecid=NL1002

But data from Winterberry Group, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) showed that US companies are not shying away from the task.

In 2017, the trio projected, US companies will spend $10.05 billion on third-party data intended to provide insight into audiences, and a further $10.13 billion on data activation efforts designed to put those insights into practice.

Out of all types of audience data, the most money—$3.53 billion—will go toward audience data related to omnichannel. That category includes personally identifiable information like name, address and email, along with more general data such as interests and behavior. This type of data, in theory, would allow companies to target audiences across a range of traditional and digital media channels.

Transactional audience data will draw the second largest pool of funds, at about $3.0 billion. This type of data is related to purchase history by audience groupings that is intended to aid with market segment targeting.

Another big draw for US companies is digital data, which Winterberry Group, IAB and DMA estimated will haul in a little more than $2 billion. That category includes information like IP addresses and device IDs that provide insight into how users behave on digital devices and channels.

While companies are certainly taking steps to integrate third-party data into their business strategies, there appears to be a limit on just how much they want to rely on outside data.

A recent study from Digiday and Factual found that among US publishers who use third-party data, about six in 10 only use one data providing partner, while just 14% use three or more. The study noted that one reason publishers might be hesitant to use a multiplicity of third-party data providers was perhaps an obvious one—cost.

How To Optimize Omnichannel Customer Journeys With Customer Journey Analytics

by Swati Sahai


Source: https://www.pointillist.com/blog/optimize-omnichannel-customer-journeys/

You walk into a store to buy a toy for your kid. Facial technology at the door identifies you as a repeat customer and alerts the staff on your preferences and past purchases. Once you have selected a toy, you take it to a kiosk in the store where scanning the barcode on the product package tells you exactly what the toy will look like when assembled. You pull out your mobile and scan the barcode of the product to read all the online reviews. Satisfied with your decision, you make the payment through the app, eliminating the need to stand in line to checkout.

If you think this is futuristic, I’m here to tell you that the future has arrived.

Google’s research reveals that over 75% of adults start a task on one device and complete it on another. The average consumer uses as many as three to five channels or devices in the course of making their buying decision and completing a purchase.

In this post, I’ll lay out why optimizing omnichannel customer journeys is critically important, the constraints in doing so, and how customer journey analytics can help in this endeavor.

Why is Optimizing Omnichannel Customer Journeys So Important?

A typical shopper today may first come across a product through a social media ad, check it out on the company website and purchase it in a physical store. But are you equipped to see this customer as a single person and not three different shoppers? A large majority of companies still see each device and each interaction as a separate customer, fracturing the customer journey into disparate fragments.

Nowhere is this problem more acute, or important, than in retail.

PwC’s 2017 Total Retail Survey found that a majority of retailers are either struggling to implement a strategy to get a single view of the customer or have room for improvement.

The proclivity of customers to hop from channel to channel during the purchase process significantly increases the risk of an incomplete or abandoned purchase. If marketers want to maintain customer engagement even as customers hop across channels and devices, they must have a complete, unified view of the customer journey across all their touchpoints.

Traditionally, marketing channel performance was measured by ‘last click’—a flawed and largely outdated method that only takes into account the last step of the journey. Collecting and analyzing data across millions of touchpoints and different channels improves marketers’ understanding of the role that each channel plays in customer decision making and provides key information on relative channel ROI.

Challenges for Optimizing Omnichannel Customer Journeys

Budget Constraints

The simplest and biggest challenge for effectively optimizing omnichannel customer journeys is the budget constraints most marketing and CX teams face.

Businesses face increased complexities and customer expectations today. Budgets aren’t unlimited and optimizing a multichannel journey competes with investments in other areas such as strengthening digital infrastructure, building retail network, communication strategies, overall analytics capabilities and retaining talent.

Data & Analytics Constraints

In most companies, data exists in silos across a variety of new and legacy systems. This makes it difficult or impossible to glean meaningful and timely insights from all the data that an organization collects and stores. Moreover, the analytics approach used by most companies is channel-specific, preventing them from getting a complete picture of the end-to-end customer journey.

Skills Constraints

In a recent Dun & Bradstreet and Forbes Insights Analytics survey, more than a quarter of top executives surveyed identified skills gap as a major obstacle to their data and analytics efforts. Analyzing customer data in a practical and actionable way involves mastering advanced technical, statistical and analytical concepts. To query and extract data out of datasets, for example, users need to be conversant with programming languages like SQL, R or Python, and know how to manipulate data.

These are not skills the average marketer or CX professional has acquired.

How to Optimize Omnichannel Customer Journeys Using Journey Analytics

Optimizing all of your customers’ omnichannel journeys is an ongoing activity. Here are four ways to get started:

Create a Unified View of Customer Behavior Across Channels

Consumers are constantly producing data about their likes and dislikes, channel preferences, product choices, and more. This customer behavior data is spread across website visits, email opens, social interactions, forms completed, purchases, etc.

Looking at this data in channel-specific silos of social, mobile, email, etc. can be misleading. For instance, a retailer may find that limited sales are happening on social channels and wrongly conclude them as ineffective. But looking at the entire journey across channels, the retailer may discover that social channels are in fact a critical influencer of eCommerce sales.

Customer journey analytics platforms enable you to get a single, unified view of the customer as she interacts with your brand across touchpoints, by quickly integrating data across a variety of systems and channels.

In addition to simply integrating data across touchpoints and internal systems, customer journey analytics tools use identity matching to determine which events in each system are actually being performed by the same individual.

Create single, unified view of customer journey

Focus On the Important Journeys and Not the Trivial

Companies need to differentiate the important from the trivial, so they can focus on problems and opportunities that have the most potential to impact business results. Customer journey analytics enables you to do just that by identifying the costliest failure points along the customer journey, so you can decide where to invest your dollars.

Optimizing a multichannel customer journey involves analyzing millions or even billions of data points. But with so much data to track, it is easy to become overwhelmed by volume. It is key to have a clear idea of the important metrics to track and the customer journeys that relate to hard, quantitative metrics.

USE CASE: How a Major Retail Bank Increased Credit Card Offer Conversions

A major retail bank identified improving credit card opening rates among millennials as a key goal. To understand the role that different channels played in credit card offers and their respective efficiencies, the bank employed customer journey analytics.

After integrating data from different online and offline channels such as branch visits, website browsing, mobile data, email data and in-app interactions, they mapped the customer journeys that were leading to credit card offers being viewed.

Manage omnichannel customer journey

Within minutes they discovered, after an offer was viewed, how many customers went on to apply for the card online versus how many rejected or ignored the offer. With one click, they were able to see how many customers moved forward at each step, how many dropped out and how many were still present at that step.

Manage omnichannel customer journeys with customer journey analytics

Using customer journey analytics, they determined that the offer was converting better for people who had seen it as an email than as a text message or within the bank’s mobile app. Based this information, they decided to send a personalized email offer to those who had viewed the credit card offer and then abandoned their journey.

A day later they reviewed the results and were delighted to see a large number of those email offers had been converted into new credit card applications. Since the customer journey analytics platform they chose was integrated with the rest of their martech stack, they set up an automated trigger within the platform to add anyone abandoning this journey in the future to the new email campaign.

Customer journey analytics platforms integrate with martech stacks

By isolating the path across discrete customer experience events, the customer journey analytics platform helped them zero in and focus on customer journeys they needed to analyze, even if myriad steps existed between two events.

This multichannel analysis, which would have taken days and consumed high-level data science resources to accomplish using traditional analytics approaches, was competed by the marketing team in minutes using customer journey analytics.

Real-time Tracking and Analysis of Multichannel Journeys

Customers today expect personalized, relevant information and offers driven by their preferences, recent interactions and latest experiences. To deliver, companies need to connect millions of data points and analyze customer journeys in real time, so that they can provide each customer with a personalized experience based on their own unique preferences and personal journey.

Customer journey analytics gives you the power to identify at-risk customers before you lose their business. It lets you connect the dots between customer interactions and business outcomes in seconds, rather than weeks and months.

When you implement a change that affects the customer experience, you need immediate and constant feedback to determine the impact of the change. Customer journey analytics platforms can spot meaningful behavioral patterns and interactions in real-time, even among anonymous visitors, so you can engage each customer with a timely, personalized offer.

Trigger Real-Time Engagement

Customer journey analytics enables marketing and CX teams to automatically engage with each customer at the best time, through their preferred channel and in a relevant, personalized way.

Trigger engagement through customer journey analytics

By embedding triggers at any event along the journey, you can activate engagement (such as an email send) to your target customer group within a specific event—customers who converted, those who moved forward or even those who dropped out at a particular point in their journey.

Advanced customer journey analytics platforms integrate with commonly used marketing tools, so you can engage with your customers using your existing marketing technology stack. The result is a new level of performance for marketing and CX campaigns through significantly better precision, targeting and timing.

Uncover Buying Intentions Early

Analyzing thousands of omnichannel customer journeys through customer journey analytics helps companies uncover customer behavior that signals buying intentions. There is evidence to suggest that customers often exhibit these signals early in their journey. Having visibility to the entire customer journey therefore enables marketers to track and capitalize on the buying intention much sooner than waiting, for example, until the sale has already been lost or the customer has already churned.

Ahead of the Curve: Companies that are Optimizing Omnichannel Customer Journey

Rebecca Minkoff Sets the Bar High

Fashion retailer Rebecca Minkoff has invested in evolving digital platforms and new technologies. By looking at the customer journey in detail, they realized that their target segment of millennial shoppers was combining an in-store visit with the mobile app to read reviews and compare prices before making a purchase.

This led them to create a sophisticated ‘connected store’ that provides the best of the online world with a physical location. A ‘connected wall’ (huge touchscreen in the store) allows customers to swipe through new collections, runway shows and available products. When something catches your eye on the connected wall, you tap ‘Add items to my room’ and an associate places those items in a fitting room. When the fitting room is ready, you get a text message. If you like the item, tapping in the changing room mirror will ENABLE checkout of the product.

Says Emily Culp, SVP eCommerce & Omni-channel Marketing, Rebecca Minkoff, “We look at the entire customer journey to see how are consumers engaging with us, not only in our mobile app, but in our fitting room and also on our website. We are using all of this data across the ecosystem to inform everything that we’re doing and make it a better experience for our consumer. As a result, we’ve seen a 6-7 times increase in our ready-to-wear line in a short period of 6 months.”

This video explains it well:

Lowe’s Gets It Right

Long before Oculus Rift became popular, Lowe’s had been incorporating augmented reality to deliver omnichannel experiences to its customers. To make sure the process is rigorous, Lowe’s even collaborated with science fiction writers and illustrators to turn emerging trends gleaned from marketing research into narratives and graphics. This led to Lowe’s breakthrough app ‘Vision’ that allows customers to visualize how new furniture would look inside their own homes. It can take accurate measurements through the app, so that you can go from visualizing your room to browsing Lowe’s products without ever having to pick up a measuring tape.

Putting It All Together

As technology gets ever more integrated into our daily lives, the lines between channels continue to blur. Instead of reacting to changes in customer behavior, marketers and CX teams will need to start anticipating it proactively. You need to quit thinking of channels as silos and design seamless omnichannel experiences. Customers think of their interactions with your company as one experience, whether online, in-store or on a mobile—and so must you.

Customer journey analytics platforms can help you effectively optimize omnichannel customer journeys by integrating, analyzing and presenting data with lightning speed, making the discovery of important journeys dynamic and accessible.

18 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018 (source: Entrepreneur.com)

Marketing is becoming more analytical and more focused on digital marketing through organic search, voice and social media.

source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/305047

This year saw the release of new technologies like Google Home and the iPhone X. Digital advertising expanded gains made last year over television advertising, and markets rewarded brands that bet big on innovation and customer service (think Tesla and Amazon).

As 2018 approaches, there are a number of new marketing trends poised to make a significant impact on go-to-market strategy. Here are 18 of the most important trends to look for in the coming year.

1. AI takes over website messaging.

Thanks to tools like Intercom and Drift, marketers can already use artificial-intelligence-powered live-chat tools to communicate with customers. As this technology gets ironed out, it is likely that more brands will embrace AI live chat to better service website visitors.

Related: Top 10 Best Chatbot Platform Tools to Build Chatbots for Your Business

2. Personalization goes to the next level.

A key tenet of account-based marketing (ABM) is providing content tailored to specific accounts or account types. As ABM principles go mainstream, look for content personalization to proliferate. Platforms provided by Adobe and Optimizely make it possible for marketers to recommend specific pieces of content similar to the way Netflix suggests shows.

3. Quant marketing goes mainstream.

The rise of quantitative-based marketing is upon us. Organizations like Unilever and Kraft, which previously relied on marketing “soft skills,” are now taking a playbook out of the tech world by building data-science teams to work hand-in-hand with marketers. Next year, quantitative-based marketing will continue to surge as organizations that focus on the data find it easier to grow.

Related: Want Big Data to Help Your Marketing Team? Hire a Data Scientist.

4. Marketers begin developing augmented-reality content.

With the release of the iPhone eight and iPhone X, Apple has made it clear that they are betting on augmented reality (AR). As these new devices go mainstream, brands will begin experimenting with AR-sponsored and -branded content.

5. In-car ads become a new marketing channel for some.

Self-driving cars are on the horizon. The Waymo fleet of self-driving cars has driven three million autonomous miles and simulated over one billion miles. Uber recently ordered 24,000 Volvo SUVs to be outfitted with the latest self-driving tech. The Tesla Models S, X and 3, the Audi A8 and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class are all self-driving to some degree.

What will happen when drivers no longer need to pay attention to the road? They’ll consume content, of course, and with that content will come in-car ads. Watch for some brands to begin experimenting with this new marketing channel in the coming year.

Related: Volvo’s Self-Driving Cars Confused by Kangaroos in Australia

6. Brands start to develop voice-optimized content.

Last year 20 percent of online searches were conducted through voice search. By 2020, that number is expected to increase to 50 percent. Just as marketers have optimized content for web 2.0 and mobile, they will start optimizing content for voice search as well.

For example, because voice search is easier than typing, searches tend to surface more long-tail content. By comparison, text search tends to surface sorter phrases.

Related: Voice Search Is Exploding and Digital Strategy Will Never Be the Same

7. Privacy protection becomes a major selling point.

There have been a number of high-profile data breaches in 2017. From the DNC email hack to the Equifax breach, cyber security has had a considerable impact on many aspects of our world. Moving forward, consumers will begin to favor products that protect their privacy.

If consumers don’t prioritize privacy, some government associations will, and many are already doing so. For example, a new law passed by the European Union called GDPR will have a major impact on what businesses must do to protect user data. Because of a confluence of factors, marketers will begin using privacy protection and data security as a value proposition across industries.

8. Instagram becomes a more valuable channel than Facebook.

Instagram is growing at an incredible clip. In 2017, Instagram announced that approximately 800 million people use the platform each month. Their latest tool, Instagram Stories, became more popular than Snapchat just one year after going live.

Since brands tend to see better engagement on Instagram than any other social media platform, and because of great advertising controls, Instagram is poised to become the go-to channel for brands interested in social media marketing.

9. Leading brands invest in live events.

Approximately two-thirds of marketers say that they will increase the number of live events they host in 2018. This is because marketers recognize that live events are one of the most effective marketing channels.

There is a reason that some of the world’s most successful organizations, including Salesforce, Airbnb and Google, host an annual event designed to bring existing customers, prospective customers and the press together under one roof.

Related: How to Market Your Brand Through Live Events

10. B2B marketers create multichannel cold-outreach campaigns.

The average cold email response rate is low, and it will continue to decline as email clients get better at filtering out junk mail. The best marketers develop integrated marketing campaigns that use a combination of email, digital ads and other channels to engage prospects in new and exciting ways.

For example, by using Twilio marketers can send text messages in addition to email. They can then retarget highly qualified prospects with custom audience ads offered by platforms like Facebook and Google AdWords.

Related: 10 Marketing Influencers That Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From

11. Twitter dies a quiet death.

Twitter has been unable to grow users in 2017. The platform has focused on user acquisition rather than on making improvements to their ad platform. As a result, marketers are already using other social media platforms to connect with prospects. This trend will continue in 2018 as Twitter continues to struggle.

12. LinkedIn sees new life among B2B marketers.

While Twitter struggles, LinkedIn has made a number of great improvements to their platform. A site-wide revamp refreshed the LinkedIn user interface in 2017. The platform also saw good improvements to the LinkedIn ad platform. Thanks to these and other changes, B2B marketers will utilize LinkedIn more in the coming year.

Related: This 14-Year-Old Founder Explains How to Market to Teenagers on Social Media

13. Machine learning changes how marketers manage ads.

Why pay a digital marketing agency thousands to manage ads when a machine-learningplatform can do it better? New platforms like Acquisio and Trapica promise to optimize ad spend through advanced machine-learning algorithms. Marketers simply need to set basic campaign parameters, and the platforms then do the work of identifying ideal audiences and effective creatives.

14. Predictive lead scoring makes marketers rethink lead routing.

Using predictive lead scoring, marketers can identify the prospects that are most likely to convert to customers. All that’s needed is an email address, and tools like Infer crawl the web looking for buying signals. Leads are then scored and sorted, so that only the most qualified people are passed to sales.

Related: Use These 5 Steps to Create a Marketing Plan

15. Virtual reality is called into question.

A few years ago, virtual reality was predicted to be the next big thing in content. While VR is popular in the videogame community, it has not gone mainstream. This is probably for the best, as it can be difficult for brands to produce content with a controlled point of view. Instead of virtual reality, augmented reality is slated to make waves next year. Look no further than Apple’s rumored AR glasses.

16. Consumers expect more from brands.

Thanks to a confluence of services, consumers will have increased expectations from brands of all kinds. Voice assistants, same-day delivery and on-demand content will mean that both B2C and B2B marketers must find innovative new ways to delight prospects and customers with nearly instant service.

Related: 4 Ways to Market Your Business for Free

17. Influencer marketing remains a useful strategy.

Nearly 95 percent of marketers who use an influencer marketing strategy believe it is effective. Brands interested in connecting with prospects via social media will continue to turn to influencer marketing. Influencers create compelling content that appears to be organic in many cases.

Consumers, especially younger ones, prefer content that feels less “staged” and more natural. The world of advertising is changing. It is moving toward subtle sponsored content promoted by influencers or micro-influencers.

18. Gated content falls out of vogue.

In the B2B world, gated content is how many marketers generate leads. But, some of the best brands, including Hubspot and Zendesk, are un-gating content in order to develop a stronger organic search presence in an increasingly crowded content landscape.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing


Unknown marketing surprises await in 2018, and some of these predictions will probably fail to come to fruition as technology and the expectations of consumers change. Nevertheless, many of the trends outlined here are likely to come to pass.

Based on current trends, marketing is likely to become more analytical, and more focused on digital marketing through organic search, voice and social media. In addition, new content formats like augmented reality and in-car ads will probably go mainstream.

The big debate: Are the ‘4Ps of marketing’ still relevant? (Source: Marketing Week)

The relevance of the ‘4Ps of marketing’ in today’s digital world is a topic that continues to cause much discussion. Should marketers relinquish responsibility or retake control?

source: https://www.marketingweek.com/2017/02/09/big-debate-4ps-marketing-still-relevant/?cmpid=em~onboarding~activate_newsletters~n~n&utm_medium=em&utm_source=onboarding&utm_campaign=activate_newsletters

The famous ‘4Ps of marketing’ are revered by some members of the profession, and scoffed at by others. Some see these fundamental tenets of classical marketing theory – referring to product, price, promotion and place – as the foundations upon which all sound marketing strategies are built. For others, they represent dusty old concepts that have failed to update to the modern, digital age.

Marketing Week was drawn to reconsider the 4Ps recently when analysing the impact of post-Brexit inflationary pressures in the UK and the role that marketers should play in setting prices. With inflation forecast to hit nearly 3% this year, marketers need to display leadership on pricing strategy and work collaboratively with other business stakeholders to offset the effects of price hikes on customers. Marketers who have bypassed more formal routes to training may lack this essential skill.

If anything, the attributes required of marketers are growing all the time. In 2015, the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) published a report on the ‘7Ps’, adding people, process and physical evidence to the list. But at a time when marketing channels and consumer behaviours are changing at speed, should brands continue to pay heed to these formal concepts, or instead rewrite the rules of marketing for themselves?

No ‘one size fits all’ approach

Startup brands are often less likely to stick rigidly to the 4Ps. As they attempt to build an audience in a new or emerging consumer market, these companies may prefer improvisation and experimentation over carefully defined marketing theories.

Louise Pegg, head of marketing at peer-to-peer mortgage lender Landbay, says she is mindful of the 4Ps, but also keen to “follow what we believe to be the right thing for the right stage in our business development”. The company, founded in 2014, is conscious that it is operating in a relatively new industry and wants to evolve and adapt as the market does.

“This means that there is not necessarily a tried and tested method for what we are looking to achieve,” explains Pegg. “Every business is different and so strategies should be aligned with business goals, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.”

It is increasingly hard to separate price and promotion. It is more appropriate to talk about value.

Matt Barwell, Britvic

She adds that while the fundamental principles of marketing have not necessarily changed, the way that marketers perform their jobs has altered drastically as a result of technological change. “These evolutions allow the customer to have a voice and a platform to share it,” she says.

“Marketing is no longer about what businesses want to tell their customers, it is about businesses listening to their customers and responding in a way that offers a meaningful solution to them.”

But it is not just small businesses that are reimagining the fundamentals of marketing. Matt Barwell, CMO at drinks group Britvic, which owns brands such as Robinsons, J2O and Tango, says the 4Ps have “evolved” and are “only relevant within an over-arching marketing strategy”. As a result, Britvic is redefining how it talks about the 4Ps by combining some with others and by adding new principles of its own.

“It is increasingly hard to separate price and promotion. It is more appropriate to talk about value, asking ourselves how we deliver amazing value to consumers through product, through experience and through a combination of price and promotion,” says Barwell.

“We have also added a ‘C’ for communication as we feel that the communications lever is critical to unlocking growth and developing mental availability.”

Britvic has also added two of its own ‘Ps’ in the form of purpose and penetration. The former helps the company ensure that all its activities are consistent, Barwell says, while the latter helps it to reach new customers. “Penetration is at the heart of all our strategies for growing our brands,” he adds.

Ultimately, Barwell argues that a brand must determine its own aims and strategy before turning its attention to broader marketing principles. “Only then do we look at the whether the traditional 4Ps can be used as levers for growth.”

Dangers of dismissing the 4Ps

Pete Markey, brand communications and marketing director at Aviva, is wary of attempts to dismiss the 4Ps or cast them as “unfashionable” in the digital age. He believes they remain “hugely relevant” because they show the extent to which marketing impacts on a business’s performance.

READ MORE: Russell Parsons – Marketers should take control of all ‘4Ps’

“In effect they say marketing isn’t just the job of the marketing department,” he notes. “You can have the best communications in the world but if your price or product is wrong, it’s not going to work. Too often I see marketing teams that are asked to take something rubbish to market with a good advert. That’s why the 4Ps are so relevant now, because they remind us that marketing is so much more than just advertising.”

Markey argues that many brands are struggling because they have ignored the 4Ps in favour of chasing digital audiences. “It becomes about trying to make something go viral but you have to ask yourself why you are doing that. Who needs it? What’s the point?” he says.

You have got to look at a lot of the really terrible marketing out there to see how much we have lost the plot on the 4Ps.

Pete Markey, Aviva

“I read an article recently about the fact that a lot of content that’s distributed online is just garbage, so you have got to look at a lot of the really terrible marketing out there to see how much we have lost the plot on the 4Ps – we’ve forgotten them.”

Despite his attachment to the 4Ps , Markey does not see much need to extend the list to seven, preferring instead the simplicity of a shorter set of principles. He argues that when all of the classical theory is stripped away, the 4Ps are essentially about understanding the wants and needs of customers, and how to extract value from that.

As a senior marketer with over 20 years of experience, Markey is concerned by what he sees as a lack of sufficient training in the 4Ps among the new generation of young marketers coming into the profession.

“I don’t think it’s their fault,” he says. “I see a lot of brands hiring now on a skill set – be it programmatic or [their knowledge of] Adobe systems. Tech and digital are more important than ever but you can’t forget the basics of marketing. We need to do more to raise the bar of marketing excellence and get the 4Ps back where they belong.”

READ MORE: Mark Ritson – Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t an ‘expert’ in marketing be trained in marketing?

Preparing for the future

So where do we go from here? Will the 4Ps endure as marketing leaders reassert these principles, or are they destined to disappear from boardroom conversations as ‘digital natives’ take over? A recent Marketing Week poll revealed that only 44% count one of the 4Ps – price – as part of their job mix. Meanwhile, 27% don’t have control but believe they should, and nearly a third (29%) don’t have primary responsibility for pricing and don’t want it.

Does marketing have primary responsibility for pricing in your organisation – and do you think it should?

37%Yes & I think it should
7%Yes but it should not
27%No but I think it should
29%No & it should not

Sarah Lawrence, marketing director at gym and private hospital operator Nuffield Health, is respectful of the 4Ps, but also keen to reframe the way that marketers think about customer engagement. “We have to think much more about how we influence consumers through communities rather than the traditional approach of ‘target audiences’,” she says.

“Consumers now interact and engage with products and services through multichannel, multi-platform searches and ‘real’ influencers such as ‘insta-influencers’.

By being transparent she says bloggers have the ability to expose the good and bad in brands and their products and services. “This creates real challenges but also massive opportunity as technology such as AI and customer engagement platforms become more able to engage with consumers in a meaningful way,” she adds.

READ MORE: 60% of content created by brands is ‘just clutter’

Lawrence argues that this new approach will help to ensure that marketing remains vital and relevant to businesses. “I do believe we have more influence and certainly a voice at the table that is heard [but only for] for those marketers that understand the complex nature of bringing companies and brands to the front of consumers’ mind in a relevant and meaningful way,” she says.

Similarly, wireless charging startup Chargifi – one of Marketing Week’s 100 Disruptive Brands – is mindful of the need to closely track new technology, while staying true to marketing best practice. Founded in 2013, the business provides technology that allows people to charge their phones in public places over wireless internet connections.

CEO and co-founder Dan Bladen says the business was recently encouraged by the launch of Dell’s first laptop incorporating wireless power, and is planning certain strategies on the basis that Apple may include wireless charging as a feature in the next iPhone. “Being responsive is one of our fundamental marketing principles,” he explains. “If we’re not up to date with advances in the industry and the wider news agenda, we can’t recognise opportunities for expansion or promotion.”

Despite this technology-oriented approach, Bladen believes the 4Ps “still offer a strong backbone to a marketing strategy”. Combining responsive activity with an ongoing attachment to the fundamentals of marketing is likely to be a strategy that many brands will pursue as they seek to balance innovation with profitability and growth in the years ahead.

“The two ‘Ps’ we focus on most are product and placement – both are vitally important to the service we provide,” says Bladen. “Chargifi spots bring free, convenient power to people where and when they need it most, so it’s important they are available in venues with high footfall like coffee shops and restaurants. Promotion and price ensure we compete effectively.”