The Other 1% - Are you in it or on the Endangered Species List?

If you’re not aware of all of the talk about the “1%”, you’ve most likely been sequestered in a jury pool for the past 12+ months. For those who’ve done jury duty lately, you’re not laughing. Actually, the 1% we’re referencing here is the exclusive group of marketers that represent the most effective, data-driven, performance-focused within the industry. Let’s stop here for a moment and take a step back. The AMA defines “marketing” as the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. This definition is incredibly broad, and yes, there’s plenty of disagreement regarding the functional role of marketing. Some of you will have an issue with this premise, agreeing that this correct. What’s missing in this definition includes:

  • Data
  • Insight
  • Relevance

Let’s get back to the 1%. Actually, let’s start with the other 99%. This is the group that views marketing as an “art” with a practical application of “science.” This is the group that still uses page views and click-through rates as key measures – OK, they may use a bit more, but not much. This goes back to the fact that nine out of ten global marketers aren’t trained to calculate ROI and eight out of ten struggle to demonstrate the effectiveness of their spending to leadership - Fournaise Marketing Group Study. There’s a bit of irony in this study. One in ten figured out how to demonstrate the effectiveness of their marketing, while not knowing how to measure the ROI. We’ll leave that item for another day. Here’s where the differentiation comes in. The 1% understand ROI and with that comes an appreciation for and understanding of the science and the art, effectively the role of the “alchemist.” Yes, the art is critical, but its value is defined when it’s applied to the science. Data is ubiquitous, so why do so many marketers fail to take advantage of the opportunity?

The answer: It requires a significant organizational change. Change that includes:

  • Investments in strategic planning
  • Investments in people (hiring, training, mentoring, etc.)
  • Organizational alignment (Shifts to a matrix model, yes – the loss of siloed management and “ownership)
  • Investment in technologies
  • Impacts to accounting (SaaS vs. On Premise, etc.)
  • Shifting of models that reflect “publishing” vs. traditional “linear” marketing
  • Requirements to listen and understand how to participate in the customer journey
  • Cross-functional accountability (Teams comprised of technologists, marketers, data scientists, finance, media, etc. working collaboratively, not within artificial org structures)

Those marketers that have taken on the challenge to focus their organizations on data-driven marketing – not database marketing, for clarification – have a significant advantage. Let’s take a look at a few categories within the market. If some of these platforms and solutions don’t look familiar, it’s time to assess the state of your marketing – and by the way, this is a very small subset.

Tag Management
Data Management Platform
Behavioral Attribution
Trend Intelligence
Campaign Management
A/B; Multivariate
User Experience Monitoring
Customer Communications Management
Identity Management
Offer Management

In Q2 ’18 the marketing technology (MarTech) category had 5,000 companies listed within it, compared to 1,876 in Q1 ’15.1

So, what does this all mean? We’ll skip the typical high-level jargon and platitudes, which leads to, “I didn’t learn anything from reading this.”

Introducing: The Human Interactions Officer:

We’ll start with the first of three insights. You’ll need to come back for the next two. Insight 1: Organizations need a “Human Interactions Officer”, not a Chief “Customer” Officer, but rather, someone that understands behavior tenets. The positive of technologies is that they provide incredible insights - the negative - they remove the “human” factor. One person needs to “own” the experience that humans have with a company. Why? Look at it this way – Marketing, Sales, Customer Support, Customer Care, Retention, etc., all have a different lens they use for determining success or failure relative to their role. They’re incentivized differently, which leads to discrepancies in the human experience. The organization model in and of itself is outdated and needs to change – again, that’s for a future discussion.

By structuring a company around an individual that’s responsible for each touch point in the human lifecycle, we can understand the relationship between needs, desires, and outcomes as they relate to a company’s products and services. In order to do this, an organization has to first understand their prospects. Second, it has to understand where in the life of a human their product or service is relevant and valuable. Third, it has to become part of the human story – not interruptive, which is the role of advertising (unfortunately). Fourth, it has to use data to understand motivations and objectives. And fifth, it needs to nurture the relationship once it’s established.

What are the takeaways?

  • Organizational design needs to mimic the desired human relationship
  • Technologies need to be deployed that provide a holistic view of human interactions, guided by a unified set of objectives
  • A master human record needs to exist that contains the “body of knowledge” collected from the prospect through the customer stage (old terms). Yes, this is critical to GDPR – if you don’t know what that is, you’re definitely in trouble at this point
  • The Human Interactions Officer should have a collective team that’s comprised of representatives from:
    • Product / Service Development
    • BI (within the marketing function)
    • IT
    • Legal, Risk, Compliance – wherever necessary
    • Economics
    • Customer Service
    • Merchandising
    • Marketing
    • Sales
    • Logistics

If you want to be in the 1%, understanding the key components of digital direct response (DDR) are critical in order to maximize the value of the human experience across digital channels.

The marketing ecosystem should live in a state of “perpetual beta”, constantly evolving, leveraging the potential of SaaS tools that deliver insights necessary to facilitate relevant, evolving human interactions.

Feel free to contact the author – Bob Morris, Group SVP, Integration, ICF Olson,

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