This post is by Anton Buchner, a senior consultant with TrinityP3. Anton is a lateral and innovative thinker with a passion for refocusing business teams and strategies; creating visionary, data driven communication plans; and making sense of a more complex digital marketing environment.
It seems that every agency and technology provider is an expert. Yet why are so many ‘experts’ pulling marketers in dramatically different directions? Maybe for their self interest?
Some agencies and technology vendors advise marketers to focus on marketing automation to target consumers based on behaviour.
Others say programmatic buying is the solution to automate and optimise media spend and ultimately become more efficient.
Others say focus on getting a single customer view with all the mass of available data.
And others say publish socially relevant content to build thought leadership and engage best consumers.
What’s the right path to focus on for your business? Who are the right agencies and suppliers to have on your side?
There are plenty of great providers in the Australian market and offshore, however it is proving more and more difficult to get beyond the hype and promises to discover the real value that they can add to a business.
Should you have a strategic digital marketing agency on your roster? Should you appoint a technology agency and utilise open source platforms and applications? Or should you actually own the intellectual property and insource expertise?
And how much data should you really be collecting when other CMOs are saying that their organisation is ‘customer centric?
Helping find the answers
These are questions that more and more open-minded marketers are turning to TrinityP3 to help answer.
Over the past 12 months the team of digital consultants at TrinityP3 have worked on projects that can be summarised under 5 key areas:
1. Aligning digital activity to marketing strategy and KPIs
A CEO was questioning the value of their digital marketing activity, and wanted to challenge line managers to work more cohesively.
TrinityP3 was engaged to help conduct a ‘Health Check’ as to the current state of their digital marketing.
After interviewing 13 senior stakeholders, and reviewing 47 documents covering strategy, current data use, churn and other predictive models, dashboards and reports, lifecycle and trigger activity, as well as data flows and the technical architecture, we highlighted that there was no alignment to the marketing strategy.
In particular there were was no overarching governance or common KPIs in place to keep the activity on track.
Learning: There was no silver bullet, however without alignment of digital activity to your overall marketing and business goals, then all digital and data-driven activity will be underperforming.
We see this time and time again when we are engaged with marketers. Digital teams full steam ahead with activity, without aligning to the key business priorities and wider marketing department goals. The digital left hand doesn’t know what the marketing right hand is doing. Sound familiar?
2. Aligning digital team structures to your marketing department
We helped one of Australia’s leading content publishers assess their digital team resources, skillsets, processes and systems in order to identify areas of non-performance.
Unfortunately for the marketer, the digital team comprising of SEO, paid performance, data analytics, and social content marketers, was acting like a rogue unit. They were forging ahead without any alignment to the overall marketing department. It’s also fair to say that they were totally unaccountable.
People were pulling the wool over their colleagues eyes by blinding them with buzzwords. They were trying to sound more important, rather than actually working together to make the business and content experiences more important in their customer’s eyes.
We helped the CMO restructure the division, change team leadership, set up a programmatic media buying team in-house, focus on identifying consumer insights, and most importantly standardize language and vernacular to ensure that everyone was on the same page in terms of understanding.
Learning: Gone are the days of having digital teams operating in a silo. It is critical to work with knowledgeable people to craft clear roles, responsibilities and accountabilities in order to maximize overall marketing team performance.
3. Assessing the value and prioritization of customer data in driving business growth
A marketer for a challenger brand initially briefed us to help assess email vendors. However discussion quickly turned to help identify and prioritise internal data sources prior to looking at external solutions.
We assessed all data sources throughout the business, identified data that wasn’t previously being utilised in any customer modeling or marketing, and worked with internal stakeholders across their contact centre, IT, data services, insights and branded communication divisions to establish a performance matrix to focus on valuable customers.
Learning: Big data = big bullshit. Yes it’s great for marketers and business leaders to now have so much data available, however most of it is meaningless. The real challenge for improving performance through data-driven marketing is to focus on data that helps identify profitable and future profitable customers and then implement insightful strategies that meaningfully connect. Often this means doing less activity, not more.
4. Assessing third party technology solutions and vendors
We also handle projects to scan the market and search for most relevant technology vendors, digital agencies and other suppliers.
You may or may not be aware that TrinityP3 has a proprietary agency register that is free for agencies to join. This allows us to keep up to date with all relevant agencies, as well as understand their positioning, service offering, personnel and latest campaign activity and results.
Our consultants also visit agencies to assess them first hand. It’s a key differentiator for us that sets us apart from our competitors. And marketing and procurement managers praise the due diligence in scouring the market for ‘best fit’ suppliers rather than a laundry list or short list of hopefuls.
One client in particular was looking for Drupal developers, and agencies with specialist expertise in website / landing page conversion rate optimisation, paid performance search, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Digital / social advertising / remarketing, and Paid eDM list acquisition.
The market search revealed a variety of options for the client including:
- Onshore (with interstate impact considerations)
- Offshore (with process, quality assurance and management implications)
- All in one agency network structure (with central team structure and service efficiency implications)
- Full service digital agency (with deep specialist skillset versus general implications)
- Specialist skill-set agency (with multi-agency roster management implications)
Learning: It’s a constantly changing landscape with new technologies and service providers popping up everywhere. It is critical to get past the bells and whistles in order to match the right suppliers to a client’s level of digital marketing maturity.
In the last few weeks I have personally visited 3 digital and technology agencies that have great offerings, yet are relatively unknown in the Australian market. Maybe they’re right for your business?
5. Assessing your digital agency roster
It’s one thing to scan the market for new suppliers, yet maybe what you need is to actually assess your current roster to determine duplication, and wastage, and to re-invest in areas of high performance.
We worked on a major project with a leading property group to assess their agency roster.
They had over 100 external suppliers being utilized for individual capability across:
- Creative development
- High end graphic design
- Low end graphic design
- Digital strategy
- Front end web design
- Back end development
- Paid performance
- Data analytics
- Promotions, displays and signage
- Specialist copy writing
Our job was to reduce the roster to around 20 key suppliers, and work with the CMO to help create a strategic construct that would allow them to significantly save money, as well as focus on improving performance.
Learning: From a digital perspective it was critical to identify strategic partners versus implementation partners. As well as dig deep into the service offering to unearth true expertise versus claimed or little experience.
The client also had to go back to point one of this post and agree an overall digital strategy that mapped to the marketing and business strategies.
No silver bullet, but plenty of help if you are a progressive marketer with an open mind
Need some help to improve your digital and data-driven marketing performance? It’s not an easy ecosystem to navigate. However, at TrinityP3, we live and breathe helping marketers make smarter choices to improve their performance.
If you’re striving to be more successful, then talk to us about the challenges you are facing and how you are planning to solve them by clicking here.