All media and marketing is performance-based, and needs to be quantified.   Panelists at the opening keynote session at SES-Chicago, put on by ClickZ and where I am a speaker this week, vehemently agreed that the shift is already over:  All marketing is participatory and performance driven.

Session moderator and ClickZ publisher Mike Grehan noted that many of the rules have already changed with the advance of programmatic media, as well as the sophisticated technology to automate content and campaign management.   “Know who your users are, and where they interact with you, especially in mobile and across the web, and you will be able to adjust to their needs,” said Google analytics speaker and blogger Adam Singer.

Constantly adjust campaigns based on what is happening in real time, the panelists advised.  “Today’s real time marketing is more like gardening – nurturing, leave things out that are not growing,  harvesting what is producing results.  This is the new environment,” said Dana Middleton, Global CEO of performance marketing firm Performics.

If you have all your eggs in one basket that is also bad, Adam of Google countered.  It’s less a farming analogy than a stock portfolio analogy – to balance out your exposure and commitments, he said.

“The most important thing is to understand how people are interacting with  your brand and experiences, ” Adam said.  “No technology in the world makes up for a bad content or marketing strategy.”   He noted that one of his customers waited until they optimized conversion on the website, before they started going out to external marketing.  “It’s not about what channels, it’s about making sure all your processes work well, and then generating demand,” he said.

Not so much how you start, but if you have a plan and visibility so that you can see what is working. Make sure that everything you do is measurement – so do them with enough emphasis and commitment to make sure they can be measured, Kevin of Didit said.

Reaching people is increasingly about your mobile strategy.  Mobile is not just another channel, it’s a driver of experience, Dana said.   “Marketers need some sort of value proposition for each channel so that they can understand the experience across channels – otherwise, we are beholden to data that comes out of third parties,” Kevin said.

“When you have a mobile app, your users are automatically logged in. You can stitch sessions together across the PC and device experiences, and Google is taking a look at providing that analytics data because we recognize how important it is, Adam said.

The most valuable conversation when it comes to metrics is not about traditional reach and frequency, Dana advised,  but instead ask yourself, “What actions do I want my customers to take?”  Ask this in the beginning and set it up so that you can measure it. Even if it’s not something you’ve done before, you can prove or disprove this as you go. “Don’t wait until the very end to consider the measurement,” she said.

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