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Opportunities are coming as third-party cookies are phased out

30-second summary:

  • Individuals crave more transparency and control and struggle with a perceived lack of consent. Consumers don’t always appreciate hyper-targeted ads.
  • The end of third-party cookies is potentially the reset the industry needs to reconnect with its target consumers. When brands obtain permission and consent from consumers, they will be able to better address their needs and wants.
  • Almost every brand today can benefit from an investment in the ownership and mastery of their first-party customer data. It will not only address the immediate need sparked by the end of third-party cookies but can also help brands stay ahead of evolving privacy concerns.
  • Walled gardens offer exceptionally strong machine learning algorithms for digital ad performance optimization. The level of personalization they provide, when vast stores of consumer data are layered alongside their own first-party data, is incomparable.
  • Without insight into targeting, media buying and analytics, brands lack transparency into how these processes and decisions connect back to consumers.

We are in the midst of a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the marketing and advertising industry. Despite a primarily alarmist narrative and a lot of uncertainty, the end of third-party cookies is also a cause for professionals across the industry to feel excited and optimistic.

Since its invention in 1994, advertisers have come to rely on, and even love, third-party cookies. For many, they can’t imagine how to live without it. But, it’s important to remember who is at the center of the shift: the consumer.

Individuals crave more transparency and control and struggle with a perceived lack of consent. Consumers don’t always appreciate hyper-targeted ads.

In fact, they can see them as invasive and concerning if they did not grant permission for access to their information, or were not told how the brand was to use the data they may have previously consented to share.

This can greatly impact a brand’s relationship with its customers. Deloitte research indicates that consumers look for trustworthiness (83%), integrity (79%) and honesty (77%) when they are selecting their favorite brands.

The end of third-party cookies is potentially the reset the industry needs to reconnect with its target consumers. When brands obtain permission and consent from consumers, they will be able to better address their needs and wants.

These new guardrails can inspire brands to find new and unique ways to connect with consumers – ideas that we have yet to even consider. We expect to see brands use these changes to their advantage, cultivating better online experiences and effective advertising while also strengthening the overall relationship with each consumer.

Consumers are demanding this shift already. By taking proactive steps to block ads and clear cookies, consumers are already impacting current marketing activities.

A power struggle may be underway and we’re just getting started. There is more change to come, and brands should think logically about how they move forward – beginning with their data collection processes.

There isn’t a universal answer for addressing this change, as every industry and company is a little bit different. However, when it comes to new data collection processes, brands should consider focusing on:

  1. Owning and understanding first-party customer data
  2. Strengthening capabilities in social and other walled-gardens ecosystems
  3. Expanding in-house capabilities for a more holistic view of the customer experience

Asserting ownership over first-party data

Almost every brand today can benefit from an investment in the ownership and mastery of their first-party customer data. It will not only address the immediate need sparked by the end of third-party cookies but can also help brands stay ahead of evolving privacy concerns.

Start by constructing a repository of customer data, with their consent. Doing so may require collaborating with a third-party, like Hux by Deloitte Digital, to help the business adopt a consent management solution or advanced customer data platform.

These technologies work together to provide a fully contextualized and connected understanding of customer data. Quality connected customer data can become a brand’s most important asset in making data actionable for elevating the human experience through personalization.

Taking advantage of the walled gardens

Ownership of first-party data can enable targeted, measured and advanced analytics within social media platforms and walled-gardens of the major search and ecommerce players.

These closed ecosystems are more progressive compared to ad tech platforms and publishers, serving as an example for consumer consent and data tracking for marketing.

What does this mean for brands? Closed ecosystems likely will remain relatively constant when third-party cookies are gone, which means brands can use them alongside their own first-party data systems – something many enterprises aren’t doing much of today.

Walled gardens also offer exceptionally strong machine learning algorithms for digital ad performance optimization. The level of personalization they provide, when vast stores of consumer data are layered alongside their own first-party data, is incomparable.

Expanding in-house capabilities

Once brands link their first and third-party data from within walled gardens, it creates more efficiencies and streamlines processes. It also helps provide a more holistic view of a brand’s consumer base, allowing them to deliver better experiences.

Without insight into targeting, media buying and analytics, brands lack transparency into how these processes and decisions connect back to consumers.

To make this possible, brands should start expanding their marketing teams to bring media strategy and buying in-house as leaving these in the hands of outside vendors or agencies may be an obstacle.

But there is no reason for agencies to be fearful: Brands should instead become better-informed about viable solutions and strategies, cleaning the house of the layers of intermediaries and poor technologies they do not need or that are inefficient.

Getting ahead of changes to come

Many brands are still assessing how the landscape is going to shift with the phase-out of third-party cookies and what matters for their business. Now is an optimal time to begin having these conversations and preparing for how to move forward.

Brands aren’t the only ones who can benefit, consumers can too. New digital marketing strategies can help create deeper bonds between brands and consumers, sparking rapid growth and consistent brand experiences.

Ken Nelson is managing director in Deloitte Investments LLC, and Ecosystem Lead in the Advertising, Marketing and Commerce Practice at Deloitte Digital. Alex Kelleher is managing director in Deloitte Consulting LLP and CMO of Hux by Deloitte Digital.

The post Opportunities are coming as third-party cookies are phased out appeared first on ClickZ.

Reblogged 5 days ago from www.clickz.com

CMO confession #1: Who cares about MQLs?

30-second summary:

  • For marketers, setting your sights on opportunities, pipeline and revenue ensures better alignment with your revenue team peers in sales and customer success. That shifts us away from MQLs, which are still the lifeblood of many marketing teams.
  • MQLs typically require a hand raise or website form fill in order to provide enough information to qualify the lead.
  • MQLs keep marketers stuck thinking about leads or contacts, not buying teams. This creates a split between sales and marketing and is a missed opportunity for marketing to surround and engage all the buying team’s members to build REAL pipeline.
  • With an ABM platform measuring account engagement, we get a clearer picture of who’s ready to buy and then can send them the most tightly-honed campaigns to move leads into our pipeline and beat our goals.

I was recently asked to participate in a webinar called “True Confessions of a CMO,” and the topic was MQLs.

Well, here’s my true confession: I’ve never cared about MQLs.

It’s not that I don’t care about MQLs because I’m some kind of marketing genius. Honestly, it was quite the opposite: I stepped into a marketing role from sales, and because MQLs never did anything for us in sales, I just fundamentally didn’t get the hype around them. But not caring about MQLs has proven to be a huge advantage for me as a CMO.

I’ve always wired my marketing teams to look at the revenue plan and then convert it into pipeline targets. This requires knowing things like cycle time, win rates and average deal size in order to build “pipeline quotas.”

For marketers, setting your sights on opportunities, pipeline and revenue ensures better alignment with your revenue team peers in sales and customer success.

That shifts us away from MQLs, which are still the lifeblood of many marketing teams. While MQLs can still be a possible leading indicator, they’re fraught with issues:

The 3 scenarios of MQLs

A good portion of the B2B buying journey happens in the dark. What I mean is most B2B buyers tend to remain anonymous — preferring to do their own research — until very late in the sales cycle. MQLs typically require a hand raise or website form fill in order to provide enough information to qualify the lead.

This creates three likely scenarios:

Scenario 1

Buyers from target accounts don’t fill out our form because they know exactly what will happen next, and they’re just trying to do some independent research.

Our “content gate” sends them right into the arms of the next site listed in their Google search results, where they can gather plenty of content without the hassle. For some reason, we’re fine letting them be educated by our competitor.

Scenario 2

We get a form fill on our gated content and it’s a consultant, job seeker, company in Slovakia we can’t support, or [email protected] These “leads” get routed and answered, and then clog up the system with junk or — heaven forbid — slip through to sales. It becomes a colossal waste of time and possibly damages our credibility.

Scenario 3

We get a form fill from an actual buyer at an actual target account. Blessed by the MQL gods, we anoint it a “hot inbound.” That’s when we discover we’re just one of several vendors under consideration. Or, the buyer has already done most of their research and are finalizing their “list.”

This is WAY TOO LATE to properly educate the buyer and meaningfully influence the opportunity. We missed the ideal time to engage, all in the name of the elusive MQL.

Subjective MQLs miss the mark

We know B2B buyers buy in teams, often involving six to 10 people in a complex B2B purchase decision. But MQLs keep marketers stuck thinking about leads or contacts, not buying teams.

This creates a split between sales and marketing and is a missed opportunity for marketing to surround and engage all the buying team’s members to build REAL pipeline.

Add the subjective nature of MQLs (and SQLs for that matter). The slightest change in criteria can create a windfall or pipeline gap and further divide your sales and marketing teams.

Despite our best efforts to make “lead scoring” a scientific process, it remains a largely rules-based exercise built upon subjective human judgment.

At this point, I hope many of you are nodding along. I’m also guessing you might be rather anxious. After all, how can you understand the impact of what marketing is doing if you’re not tracking MQLs? How in the world are you going to measure the top of the funnel? How can you ensure appropriate leads are followed up on and “worked” properly?

Transitioning to an account based strategy

ABM

Good marketing has always been about segmentation and targeting; we’ve always known and strived for this. Today’s ABM platforms, however, give us the means to measure our effectiveness — not for credit or as an end goal, but as a way to optimize campaigns and budget.

Measurement is taken not in the number of leads but rather in account engagement, and more specifically account engagement of your ideal customer segments. If you have great segmentation capabilities, you can segment your ICP for a given product line, a certain industry or current customers.

Then it’s all about running campaigns that drive great engagement against those segments. Some campaigns are large and target hundreds of accounts, while others may only have 10 accounts.

But EVERY program ties out to a campaign, and we measure cost versus increasing or decreasing account engagement, open opportunities and pipeline on the campaign.

This lets us adjust when things don’t perform, benchmark our overall performance over time, and evaluate the top programs.

My team applies the Jack Welch method to our adjustment model: every six months, we stack rank our programs and cut the bottom-performing 10%. It helps us make sure everything we do is directed toward making campaigns better.

Transparency builds trust within our teams, too. We give our sales and customer success teams full access to our results.

For each account, they can see which marketing campaigns have increased engagement and the exact programs we’re using to warm accounts or nurture deals. It prevents bad blood between sales and marketing and replaces a subjective MQL with a data-backed decision.

Instead of depending on the handraise an MQL requires, we can play offense and go after leads where they are. With an ABM platform measuring account engagement, we get a clearer picture of who’s ready to buy and then can send them the most tightly-honed campaigns to move leads into our pipeline and beat our goals.

The post CMO confession #1: Who cares about MQLs? appeared first on ClickZ.

Reblogged 5 days ago from www.clickz.com

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