Ted Shergalis is chief product officer and founder of [x+1], and he contributed Marketing Groups: Closing the Great Divide to iMediaConnection this morning.
Ted’s experience in working with marketers should be significant and therefore I would guess has relevance to the topic. What concerns me, however, is the generalization with which he describes the silo organizational structure between his clients’ external marketing (media buying and advertising) and customer marketing (web site management, etc.). Not only does Ted confirm that the teams working on these two functions are usually physically separated but so too are the technologies they use.
External online efforts – media planning, buying, ad serving, email marketing, mobile, search and analytics – are all operating independently from site-side efforts – like landing page optimization, content management, eCRM, site analytics.
First, let’s gain a little perspective here. Ted is from [X+1]. Their whole gig is about optimizing conversions and customer penetration within a site. Furthermore, they also tout their skills at connecting these two silos together. Their Media+1 and Site+1 products connect Ad Serving and Site-Side optimization together like an adhesive to offer marketers a cohesive view from the external efforts through to the internal efforts.
I am not going to dive into those two products here much. Media+1 is basically the former Poindexter ad server, a tier-two player with a couple of marquee clients that has been folded into their primary core competency which is what the Site+1 product is all about. The rebranding of the company from Poindexter to [x+1] has enabled them to carve this great niche in the industry and now they partner with tier-1 ad servers like DoubleClick when strong ad serving is required or when major clients are on the table.
Anyway, I know I bitch and moan when people get on iMediaConnection and self-promote, so I can’t criticize ted here for not mentioning [x+1], but I like it when people also give us some direction. In other words my narrow rules say its okay to mention your company so long as you do it in context with other companies as well. Serve as a resource and not a self-promotional artist. In this case, however, maybe Ted didn’t feel he could come up with anyone else that could do it like [x+1] J
One thing that comes to mind, however, when I read his characterization of the outward and inward marketing silos is how the head of marketing in those organizations must be failing. Online is a component of marketing. If the org is big enough to have a head of interactive – s/he is failing. If it is not that big and it has a head of marketing alone, then s/he must be failing. I say this because in this day and age there are too many different ways to pull these two efforts together and if they are not talking to each other the problems are obvious, the tension will be thick as butter and the questions that can’t be answered about the performance of the organization will be more significant than the performance that can be measured. Intelligence will recognize that there is a major problem. So I wonder either, (a) if Ted has really screwed-up clients or (b) he is using his worst clients as examples in his articles or, (c) the type of opportunities that I am encountering represent more of what is out there than what is not.
Is it really that screwed up on the back end of the curve?
External online marketing needs to tag web sites and calculate data. So internal marketing has to get curious about what is going on. Internal marketing is using analytics to track internal behavioral and CMS to maximize conversions. A Director-level person who oversees these two units has to be gathering data from both groups and must begin to get curious about the relationships between the two – this would represent common sense intelligence. If not, then stupid people are running a lot of marketing organizations. Maybe that is a truth. But I am meeting a lot of intelligent people. I work on the front of the curve too … so maybe I work with smarter people … but I think our industry as a whole is comprised of people on the top and front-end of the curve. I think that a lot of people struggle with these problems, but I also think that the technologies are in place or are being put in place to take maximize. As always, time is the limited resource.
Anyway, placing these two efforts together is just common sense. This is why behavioral targeting has become so popular. This is why lead generation advertising is becoming so popular. This is why landing-page A/B testing with companies like CoreMetrics is gaining so much attention. None of these initiatives can happen without internal marketing being at least engaged.
First party ad serving requires the marriage of internal and external marketing. Maybe that is part of what is so unique about where my projects have taken me. I sit in meetings with people who know each other, and look at each other and we work together to figure out ownership. eCRM or site-side analytics will set first party cookies for external marketing to target with the ad server. Media Planning and buying will set strategy based on the customer profiles that internal marketing establishes. Creative is built accordingly. Ad serving targets new and existing customers in real-time. Leads and prospects and existing customers are all driven back to the site(s). Internal web site management receives users and pushes them into different directions based on cookie variables and eCRM records transactional patterns while site analytics records behavioral patterns and sets new cookies for future targeting. New customer profiles are created and new segments are built for future re-targeting and the cycle continues. With first party ad serving and the marriage of first party ad serving and site side analytics, you have the integration of internal and external marketing within an advertiser. Everyone works together with a product like DirectServe™ and WebSideStory.
But there are other ways to do this too. If internal and external are coordinated by a single leadership role, they should be made aware of the benefits of each other’s efforts. And in my experience they usually are. Ted could have shed some light on how different technologies can be used to do this in his article, because I think he did a good job at challenging us to question whether our organizations are functioning properly or not. If you are falling prey to the problems ted describes, what do you do about it? I guess you can call Ted. But first you should have some idea as to how you should diagnose your problems. Then you should have some directive as to who you should call, in addition to Ted, for some insight. You can’t get all of that from one article I know. But I’ve given you some thoughts.
Evaluate your chain of command. If you are the head of the organization, challenge your people to construct an information flow chart to see what they each can capture and then line the two groups up and see where they connect. Ultimately this is about the acquisition of new leads, conversions and the growth of customers.
Your external marketing team needs to be empowered to attack the market with tools that will enable them to generate new leads and re-target existing customers simultaneously, since both will exist within any pool (website) upon which they advertise.
Internal marketing needs to have the capacity to capture both audiences when they come in, continue the messaging strategy, leverage CMS to position the appropriate content and leverage the knowledge gained by the ad serving process (what worked and what did not work) to maximize the conversion rates on prospects and the recurring revenue opportunities on existing customers.
Finally internal marketing needs to convert the knowledge it gains through its conversion processes into media decision-making recommendations for external marketing so that the cycle can continue specifically with regard to re-targeting existing customers.
Reactionary with insight
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