Big data is not a big deal, attribution relies on a collective basket of inputs, and customer centricity is only possible when the company leadership and culture support you.

These and other truths were discussed and when it comes to practical applications of multi-channel marketing, you can’t find a more knowledgeable, experienced (and fun!) panel than the one I was privileged to lead as part of the Thought Leadership Series of DMA13.    Panelists were:

  • Dwight Sholes, Senior Director, Cross Channel Innovation, Travel Impressions
  • Christopher Butler, Senior Director, Equifax Personal Information Solutions
  • Andrew (Drew) Bailey, Marketing Principal, Corporate Marketing, FedEx
  • Sal Tripi, AVP, Digital Operations & Compliance, Publishers Clearinghouse.

Some highlights:

  1. Big data promises to erase the conflict between causality and correction, but you still need to understand the cause, said Dwight and Drew.  The “why” is what help marketers move the needle on experience, although automated triggers off the “what” can be very powerful, too.  Christopher recommends a hybrid – the analysis from all data, big or little, is dependent on asking the right questions.
  2. Test everything, and test again,  Sal recommended.  “We have 150+ dynamic audience segments per campaign for most of our outreach,” he said.   PCH also tests everything from subject lines to time of day to color to content composition.  Never rely on the force of historical “truths” as your audience profile and needs always evolve.
  3. Attribution that singles out a particular channel will always cause friction internally and never gain traction, said Christopher.  “We do a collective model that allows contribution from across channels to sum up into a value for each customer.” By transitioning the attribution challenge from channel based to customer based, Equifax can better judge the impact of various demand gen strategies for their highest value customers.
  4. Alignment of cross-functional goals is essential to getting anything done. “We do everything as a Proof of Concept to demonstrate value before we scale out,”  Drew said.   FedEx also ensures that IT and other department employees understand how their work creates a better experience for customers.  “We let them see the direct impact of their work, and that makes a difference.”





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