1st Marketing Trend: Innovative Digital Research-Part B
Posted on: March 26, 2015 by: Thomas Rozof
- 5 Marketing Trends Competitors Will Use to Crush You-Introduction
- 1st Marketing Trend: Innovative Digital Research-Part A
- 1st Marketing Trend: Innovative Digital Research-Part B
- 2nd MARKETING TREND: Your Digital Infrastructure Determines Marketing Success
- 3rd Marketing Trend-Taylor Swift Like Support Equals Superior Marketing
In this second part of the post on RESEARCH we pick up by continuing to dig deeper into some of the more important expressions coming out of the digital research revolution. We begin by looking at Big Data…a term you probably hear a lot…and for good reason.
Why Big Data Is Producing Big Results
The term “Big Data” has become extremely popular over the last few years, but what exactly does it mean? It really has little to do with large clusters of data, as one would expect the term to logically connote. Instead, it relates more to the collection of unique sets of data and specifically how these data sets are analyzed and interpreted, along with the insights and analysis that can be used to a form specific business goal. Therefore, Big Data is more about ANALYTICS. To better understand how much DATA is available for analysis, let’s look at how much is currently being amassed.
More DATA Than We Ever Thought Possible
Below I’ve included a helpful infographic that shows examples of how much data is generated every minute. Keep in mind that as soon as this information was compiled it was already out of date. Regardless, I think you will still find it helpful.
Business Intelligence (BI) and Big Data
Most company executives who investigate the value of Big Data and Analytic Applications for their organizations quickly learn that an entire industry has existed for some time under the label of Business Intelligence software (BI). Some of the largest players in this market are companies like SAS, IBM and Microsoft. By employing one of these you will quickly discover that implementing Big Data projects with any one of these BI leaders is EXTREMELY expensive. In a 2010 blog post Forrester’s Boris Evelson estimated that the average BI software deal per department was $150,000 and a single BI report cost between $15,000 and $20,000. It goes without saying that this type of research is being used mainly by Fortune 5000 companies who have the financial reserves to support BI and research based Big Data projects.
However, a new day is dawning and new digital research software is being developed to meet the needs of just about any size company. In fact, I’m fully expecting to see a great deal of morphing and intertwining of BI and digital research applications at a variety of price points in the near future. Like all things digital, the prices will come down…even as the features increase. I expect to see many new startups enter this filed as more companies discover the absolute necessity of data rich research.
Additionally, the advent of CLOUD technology has consistently driven down the prices associated with the collection and storage of business data. Already there are over 100 different BI research software alternatives available. If you desire to learn more about the many new types of research technology capable of producing valuable BI insights for your company…the kind that gives it a competitive edge, then you should visit this site: http://www.softwareadvice.com/bi/. Again I must stress that Big Data projects with their emphasis on analytic outcomes are still but one digital research alternative. In fact, there are so many new types of digital based research emerging that I can only focus on a few of the more significant alternatives available to the business community in this first blog post.
If you remember, successful marketing strategies of the past tended to remain constant and had a much longer life span then the ones we are observing today…and the data on this is clear. Because there are so many new types of marketing, what worked last month may not be AS viable this month. For example, today’s popular social networks represent a completely new field for marketing and many companies have found great success within these environments. However, even over the last 12 months sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest and others have made structural changes significant enough to fundamentally change what is required for success. If a company is not based on scientific tracking, objective testing, conversion monitoring, nor is capable of executing a wide range of research protocols based on the best data, then it will remain vulnerable to the shifting changes and newly emerging opportunities that are now the status quo for modern business. Without contemporary research based on the best data sources, a company could easily invest in a marketing strategy that was a gold mine one week…yet discover it to be quicksand the next. Companies without an intelligent research game plan will soon be at the mercy of the markets capricious elements…or to say it another way: dead in the water.
ANALYTICS: Is Your Marketing Automation Software Producing The Most Important Big Data?
While we are on the topic of Big Data, I was reminded recently about one source of data that will continue to grow in significance. As you saw from the infographic above, software designed to assist with automating some of the more laborious tasks associated with marketing is a huge industry…and, with close to 2000 applications already in the pipeline, it’s one that will continue to experience dramatic growth. Many of you reading this post are probably users of such software. However, before you select ANY marketing automation to assist you be sure that your selection can generate what I consider to be the most important data you will ever collect. It’s the data that tells you how your marketing actually performed, along with the specific results it generated. Does your software produce those metrics? Can it tell you how many people clicked on your Facebook post, where they came from, or if they signed up for your free trial? Can you track which marketing effort led to the most sales? These, and a host of other outcomes, are essential for optimizing and fine tuning your marketing efforts…and without these you are missing out on the true value that BIG data or ANY data has to offer.
If you want to learn more about the world of Big Data then the one book I recommend is Data Crush: How the Information Tidal Wave Is Driving New Business Opportunities, by Christopher Surdak. I am particularly fond of a statement that Mr. Surdak made, when he said: “In a digitally dependent world, data is the new currency of business.” I could not agree more.
Decoding the Secret To Why People Buy
In the midst of all the recent emphasis on DATA and ANALYTICS there is one central research goal that professional marketers often miss: the essential task of understanding what actually causes people to make a purchase. The truth is, you could dig through piles of DATA and analytic results and still miss this critical intelligence…and sadly, the majority of marketers do. For the first ever I have found someone who has put his finger on the unique chain of events that are involved in the magical process that humans go through as they come to the point of making a purchase. If you do nothing else from reading this post, the one thing you must do is to read the book entitled: Decoded: The Science Behind Why People Buy, by Phil Barden. This book unlocked for me some of the most important secrets about what motivates buyer behavior. It cleared up several of the paradoxes that I could never fully explain.
Every now and then a truly smart person manages to solve a highly complex problem…and does so in a way that makes it accessible to the average person. This is what Phil Barden does in Decoded, as he puts his 25 years of experience to work to insure that all marketers are finally able to decode the nature of buyer conversion. Miss this and you may spend the remainder of your years marketing in the fog.
Agile Marketing: The Most Effective Way of Collecting and Responding To Data
Agile Marketing has its roots in both software development and management. But I think its real birth happened long before these historic markers were assigned to it. It takes place every time anyone chooses to think practically and logically about the best way of getting things done, on time, on budget and on target. Applying agile principles to marketing can unfold in numerous ways, but the agile philosophy is always behind each expression. For example:
• You are constantly responding to and seeking to understand the elements of CHANGE as they unfold in your business. Interpreting change is a higher value than following a plan. Agile leaders call this, “Collaboration over silos and hierarchy,” and, “Individuals and interactions over target markets.”
• You break down and identify each presupposition in your marketing strategy first. Then, instead of running the whole campaign all at once (with only the HOPE you will reach your goal), you take smaller, bite sized elements and test those first, to insure that each part will work as you assume. Agile leaders call this, “Rapid iterations over Big-Bang campaigns.”
• When data suggests that something may be true it is tested in smaller projects to insure that the assumption implied in the data is indeed correct. Agile leaders call this, “Testing and data over opinions and conventions.”
• Small, less costly testing means you can afford to fail…but the goal is that you never fail in the same way twice. Functioning this way has proven to save both money and time, and to produce more successes, more often.
• The ultimate driving motivation behind agile marketing is the desire to please the customer by responding early and often to problems and opportunities, so as to create greater value through constant product and service optimizations.
• With agile the marketing endeavor is not isolated into a department but instead looks to the entire company for points of connection, insight, innovation, and constant improvements, all functioning around the belief that “The Company is the marketing message.”
But no matter how you explain or apply agile marketing, at the heart of it resides the value and ongoing process of applied digital research. It’s another example of how research is transforming marketing.
The Effective Use Of The Human Sciences As A Research Methodology
As I bring this first post to a close I cannot leave without bringing a new method of research to your attention, one that I predict will grow into one of the most helpful and effective solutions, especially for companies that have found little or no relief from other research alternatives. This compelling and highly nuanced research method is outlined in a new book entitled: The Moment Of Clarity: Using The Human Sciences To Solve Your Toughest Business Problems, by Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel B. Rasmussen. It’s the kind of book you will read from beginning to end, mainly because it presents such new and compelling designs for modern research. One of the reasons I’m drawn so strongly to the techniques outlined in this book is probably because the recommendations espoused by the authors are so thoroughly critical of the methods employed by traditional Market Research companies. Anyone entrenched in conventional Market Research will find it hard to maintain confidence in their industry after reading this book. In fact, their insights are so fascinating that I believe ALL research methods can learn a great deal from the unconventional approaches that are taught by the authors.
Throughout the pages of this book the writers describe how the tools typically used within modern business can often truncate and distort the purely human inspiration that originally gave birth to the company. It’s why so many organizations today have lost their way. Instead of being real, humble and human they focus on “strategies,” “objectives” and “regimented training” that are often divorced from the very ideals, as well as the people they intend to serve. Gradually these canned business solutions wind up taking them further from the core values that once excited them about building a company with the capability to meet real needs. By teaching a new method called “sensemaking” the authors guide leaders to a place where they can finally tune into the real behavioral factors that are often the source of their failure to advance the company or to solve persistent problems.
By using tools from the human sciences, such as anthropology, sociology, philosophy and psychology the book is filled with inspiring examples of how companies like Lego, Samsung, Adidas, Coloplast and Intel used these new research protocols to solve problems as diverse and conventional as finding their way in new markets, improving sales, driving growth, setting the right company direction, and discovering again the true culture that ought to under-gird their organization.
While my description of the books content might initially seem far afield from the other research methods I discussed above, I assure you they are not. This was one of the most inspiring and thought provoking studies I’ve read in some time. I feel as if my research capabilities have been greatly expanded and it has caused me to value and approach both business and life in a profound new way.
CONCLUSION: Embrace Research…But Be Careful
This first trend focused on RESEARCH is already too long for a blog post…none the less, as I submit it I still feel as if I’m short changing my readers by leaving out so many other critical research expressions. For example, we have not covered any of the following:
• Developing On Target Buyer Persona’s
• The Role of CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)
• How To Find Traffic Acceleration Partners
• How To Assess Optimal Social Media Networks
• Uncovering Mobile Optimization Factors
• Rightly Anticipating The Next Big Innovation In An Industry
• Using Video Metrics To Find High Converting Content
• Identifying Superior Traffic Sources For Specific Markets
• Locating The Best Countries For Global Expansion
• How To Discover The Best Affiliates For Specific Products
• Using Customer Feedback To Test New Products
• Locating The Right Merger & Acquisition Partners
• Using Research To Determine Optimal Topics For Content Creation
• Verifying Superior Paid Traffic Sources
• Employing Monitoring To Stay Ahead of Competitors
• Authenticating A Superior Sales Funnel
Even the above list doesn’t begin to tell the whole story. Digitization and automation has expanded the capabilities of research to such an extent that it’s now nearly impossible to keep tract of the most recent innovations or to catalog the latest expressions of this new FORCE shaping every aspect of modern business…especially marketing. Research is now the single most strategic investment a company can make in their effort to insure success. The competitive advantages derived from this one endeavor alone are so potentially monumental that I predict over the next 15 years that it, in conjunction with the larger Digital Revolution, will account for the largest disruption in corporate profits, fostering the most wide-scale transfer of monetary wealth ever witnessed…making the Industrial Revolution feel more like the migration from Middle school to High School by comparison. Above I shared some examples of how this predicted ethos is already unfolding through a group of leading digital companies that quickly became the first Trillion Dollar Club…demonstrating that this massive transfer of wealth has already begun.
If your company is not already intently focused on integrating the most essential, core research functions into the heart of your business operations, especially marketing, then you have left a gaping hole for competitors to exploit…if they haven’t already. If nothing else, you should at least investigate where you stand among known and unknown rivals. Many of the companies we worked with were shocked to discover the degree to which recently formed start-ups were already eating away at their market share. Just as you would install video security cameras around and within a physical business location to protect it against unwanted intruders…the same should also be true regarding your digital assets and competitive advantages. Have you set up monitoring research so that you are alerted the very second a competitor protrudes into your space? Why wouldn’t you?
But Be Careful
There is however, one important CAUTION that you should know about before you prepare to embrace research. Over the last six years our company has tested a multitude of different types of digital tools, software, and technology systems related to research. Most of these were not included in the list of tools mentioned in above discussions. We evaluated only those products that promised to deliver critical and unique research intelligence. However, while testing these applications we made a critical discovery that warrants your attention: Many of these systems were riddled with bugs, poor data sources, confusing interfaces, and other problems that wound up producing inherently flawed results. Over time we discovered that we could not depend on the outcomes of over half of the software we tested. While this still leaves a large number of extremely proficient research tools that are capable of delivering powerful results, the user must always be aware that it’s possible to invest a great deal of time and money only to have it produce either worthless or dangerously misleading outcomes. However, with the right tools the time, effort and costs involved in executing research pays off handsomely, and every hour spent in the quest for new insights become very easy to justify. Without the insights and intelligence derived from the right application of research, no company should expect to compete successfully in modern business…let alone feel safe. After all, it won’t be long before your competitors wind up reading similar reports like this one and quickly employ research to gain an advantage. My hope is that YOU are the first in your industry to begin exploring and implementing the power of digital based research.
RESOURCE: PixxFly’s Unique Connection to Research?
Since you are reading this blog post from PixxFly.com perhaps you already realize that PixxFly is marketing software that streamlines and automates all the main tasks associated with Content Marketing. Early on in the design of this software we intentionally developed both a RESEARCH as well as an ANALYTIC feature…mainly because our own investigations revealed how essential these two components are for generating useful marketing data. In fact, research became so important to us that we decided to link the research tool we created inside the software directly to YouTube. We discovered that video was not only one of the fastest growing sources of content, but that it also revealed more essential marketing insights than any other source available, since video converts better than any other content. With PixxFly you can do investigative research right in the application and discover what themes and topics are dominating your market before you create a single piece of content. Then, once your content is distributed through PixxFly (it supports 14 of the top social and marketing networks) you can also monitor the results of your marketing efforts through PixxFly’s insightful analytic data reports. It’s what we call vital BIG data…and PixxFly manages this better than any application we know of (even considering that we are a bit biased). But don’t take our word for it. Right now you can enjoy the power of PixxFly at no cost by signing up for our 30 day free trial. Just go to PixxFly.com.
DIGITAL RESEARCH is the first of our five “trends” and you will soon learn how it, along with each of the other four trends fit together to make a cohesive and complete marketing ecosystem. Any company that manages to assemble and to rightly utilize this collection of marketing trends is going to enjoy a unique advantage. Don’t get me wrong; even with these proven protocols nothing is automatic. A company still needs to execute, by delivering great products and/or services, displaying quality leadership willing to make courageous decisions, employing a committed work force to support customers, and constant innovation to stay ahead of competition. My hope is that all the potential that resides within digital research will quickly find a place within your organization.
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