Diggen Attends the Small Business Web Summit

As an entrepreneur, my time is limited and divided between many tasks. Making the time to attend conferences, let alone choosing which conferences to attend is a daunting task. My good friend Dina Moskowitz, the founder of SaaSMax, told me about the Small Business Web Summit and their organization where she is also a board member. I knew this was one conference I couldn’t miss primarily for two reasons.

First, our missions were aligned, since the Small Business Web Organization and Summit’s mission is to help small businesses with technology. At Diggen we believe access to data shouldn’t be complicated, nor expensive. We are building a platform allowing any size business the ability to source and integrate marketing data, so businesses can better understand their audience and leverage the data to improve their marketing initiatives.

Second, the right people were attending. If you’re speaking to the wrong audience, it doesn’t matter how great your mission statement sounds. Before attending any conference, it’s good to know who else will be flying in. Conferences are the ideal way to connect with many individuals you would normally spend weeks trying to reach. When doing my conference due diligence, I discovered many of the companies on my target list were attending, but also the right person to connect and discuss opportunities. It was a blend of technology startups and large software companies, but the people were the Founders, CEOs, Heads of Partnerships, Alliances, and Product.

So I booked my trip to the Bay Area and off I went!

Evening Before The Summit

I arrived earlier than expected and was excited to make the pre-conference dinner scheduled for attendees. It was held at the Tied House in Mountain View and I was very pleased with the evening.

It was a long table with about 15 people and it immediately felt like a group of coworkers getting together after work. My end of the table was Josh Sanderson from Lightspeed Capital, Alex Fong from Microsoft, and Sunir Shah from Olark. Josh and I instantly hit it off and connected over our GE background.  Apparently he was involved in the proposal to acquire GE Information Service at the exact time I was a program manager there.

After eating my dinner, drinking some cider, and chatting with this side of the table, I moved over to the other side to meet more attendees. Ironically, I recognized Mike Montano from ReviewBuzz, since we were on the same flight from San Diego and we were also in the same Uber riding sharing from the airport.

After an hour, Sunir moved over to this side of the table and I got a chance to talk in more detail with him. He asked me very specific questions about my business and seemed fascinated with the overall challenges of SaaS companies to grow. In addition, Sunir is a board member of the Summit and he also MC most of the Summit. We discussed running an event and creative approaches to increase ticket sales since I am on the board of Startup San Diego and we run San Diego Startup Week coming up in June.

Summit Day 1

The conference was hosted at the Google Quad Campus. Armies of dedicated engineers trotted all around and I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a surreal science fiction film. I’m familiar with the Googleplex main campus since they were a partner at the last company and I visited every so often. However, it was amazing to visit yet another Google campus just a mile away.

I attended the track format sessions in the afternoon with Anand Kulkarni from Lead Genius and Chris Campbell from Review Tracker, and Jon Ferrara from Nimble as speakers. All were informative and entertaining presentations, which were also relevant to my business. When I connected with Anand and Chris afterward at happy hour, we chatted about our mutual background in local search. They were familiar with my former company Localeze. It really is a small world in the data industry!

I finally got to connect in person with Lou Salfi and Hannah Shain from Cloud Elements.  After many phone conversations, it was a pleasure to put faces to the names and voices. Cloud Elements is a company I found researching potential partners to integrate as a key component of our platform, so I’m excited to integrate in the future as part of our offering.

I ended day 1 with meeting Cody Jones from Zapier. Zapier is another integration for Diggen, since we make it easier for Zapier’s customers to source marketing data into their ecosystem. Cody is just establishing the business development initiatives at Zapier and we are excited to watch their fast pace growth!

The night ended with another brewery event  at Steins Beer Garden in Mountain View sponsored by Microsoft. It’s nice to see the micro brewery scene booming in other California cities! San Diego still holds the title of the most microbreweries, so let me know if you come visit and need a tour guide.

The two people that stood out in my research in deciding to attend the Summit were Richard Gilbert from Infusionsoft and Pamela O’Hara from Batchbooks. Not only are they board members of the Summit and focused on software for small business, but I was also interested in sharing Diggen’s embedded service for CRM platforms and get their thoughts.

Summit Day 2

The beginning of the day was focused on speakers, which were statistically and number driven. Started with Dawn Poulos from Mattermark. I follow the founder Danielle Morrill online, so it was nice to hear a bit of their story. Dina Moskowitz from SaaSMAX had a panel next to discuss the missed opportunity and value of building a reseller program to grow your software business. SaaSMAX is a growth engine for SaaS companies and their resellers, so it was an interesting discussion to identify a viable growth channel.

Last speaker before lunch was Tomasz Tunguz from Redpoint and I also follow him online, since we have similar backgrounds as mechanical engineers and entrepreneurs. I was the first person to welcome him when he walked in, so I got the opportunity to chat with him. Always great to talk with a former founder and current investor in your space.

Rarely do you attend a conference and you look forward to the food. However, the Google campus will spoil you and yet another reason employees are hooked. Being gluten free, I’ve been spoiled with the health conscious options in San Diego, so I want to take a moment to thank Christina Hug from The Makers Nation. She also manages the Summit and it was thoughtful of her to request from the Google Chefs gluten free options for meals.

Both days in the afternoon were structured as separate group conversations to have interactive sessions around a specific topic. It was called “Birds of a Feather” and it was a new format being tested by the Summit. Personally, I liked the idea and I hope it continues to develop. I also greatly appreciate when organizers listen to their customer’s feedback from previous events and adapt to continually improve the value.

Later I attended a growth session with Vasil Azarov from StartupSocials since we had talked many times before based on our passion for helping startup founders to grow their business. He was interviewing Zach Onisko from Hired and my friend Neal Bloom is launching the San Diego business for Hired.

The last session was from Bob Ogdon from Swiftpage and Sam Laber from Datanyze. I was entertained listening to Bob since I remember the history of Act! And using the shrink wrap software years ago. It’s rare for a company to continue to innovate, especially with the transition to the cloud. I had already chatted with Sam and their goals at Datanyze, so it was nice to check out his presentation about marketing technology and analytics supporting their growth success.

The Summit ended in a happy hour outside with plenty of drinks. In fact I was literally the only person left and it was entertaining to observe random people walk by. They would walk back, check out the table, and then load up their arms with bottles of wine and beer. The employment incentives from Google will hinder innovation for the rest of us.

In Summary

From the facility to the amenities, the attendees, and food, the organizers did an absolutely amazing job! What I enjoyed most, was it wasn’t a typical mass appeal event, but much more targeted. I felt that I was able to harness the full value of connecting with others at a conference by making genuine business relationships that will ultimately focus in on helping each other grow. I felt more like a group of friends in the same industry getting together and welcoming the opportunity to figure out whether we could collaborate. I was surprised to learn the conference is 7 years old and I can’t wait to be part of it again next year. Or possibly attend the east coast version when visiting my hometown!

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz! Marketing Technology Terminology Explained

With so many new tech terms floating around these days, it can be hard to keep up with what’s going on in the tech world. With big data and cloud computing becoming so pervasive, it’s more important than ever to stay on the up and up with new terminology. Here’s a breakdown of some of the buzzwords you’re bound to encounter from general to more specific technology needs in data..

SaaS

SaaS (Software as a Service) is the biggest market in cloud computing and is growing at the fastest rate. This type of service uses the Web to deliver applications, but the apps are managed by a third-party vendor. Then, you access this party’s interface on your own side, but the apps don’t need to be installed and run on individual computers, which is why it’s so convenient and appealing to users. Remember when you actually had to buy shrink wrap software, install it, maintain it, and upgrade it to the new versions? Examples of this are apps from Google, Salesforce and Cisco WebEx.

PaaS

PaaS (Platform as a Service) is used for apps and other types of development while providing cloud components to software. It’s a service that offers developers different hooks and tools to develop the platform. Microsoft Windows Azure is an example of this type of platform–it gives you tools to develop mobile apps, social apps, websites, games and more. You build them on your own but the APIs hook them into Azure and run them through the platform.

IaaS

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) is a self-service model that allows you to access, monitor and manage remote data center infrastructures. A system like this negates the need to purchase hardware because you can access it all remotely through the cloud. Users have an infrastructure on top of which they can install any required platform. Amazon Web Services and Google Compute Engine are examples.

iPaaS

iPaas (Integration Platform as a Service) is a cloud-based integration solution. It’s a platform for building and deploying integration within the cloud and between the cloud and enterprise. Users can develop integration flows that connect apps that live in the cloud or locally and deploy them without having to install or manage hardware. This is still in its early stages and will likely be built out further.

DaaS

Data as a Service!

Don’t get overwhelmed yet–we’re not quite done! DaaS (Data as a Service) is a cousin of SaaS because it’s the information that’s delivered on-demand through the software. Data equates to deep insights, and the more we know the better decisions we can make! Between consumer data, operational data, and more- the more we understand how our day-to-day business works, the better prepared we are for future growth and scale!

MDM

MDM (Master Data Management) is a method of letting an enterprise link all of its critical data to one master database in order to have a common point of reference. It helps you be more consistent about reporting and regulatory compliance. You decide for yourself what information is considered master data and then use a software to manage it all in one place. Also minimizes future projects, since necessary data is readily available to integrate into future systems.

ESB

ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) is a software architecture model that is used to design and implement communication between mutually interacting software apps. All of this occurs in a service-oriented architecture (SOA). It’s helpful to think of an ESB as a mechanism that manages access to apps and services via a single, simple interface for the end users. IBM states that ESB is not a new product per se. Rather, it’s a new way of looking at how to integrate apps and coordinate resources.

EAI

EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) refers to the plans, methods and tools that help to modernize and coordinate computer applications. The enterprise can keep using their existing apps and databases and add new apps and technology without disrupting service. It involves coming up with new ways to reuse what you already have and add additional apps and data.

 

Good Start On Terminology

Anything you think should be included to make a more comprehensive list? Wondering how it applies to your enterprise?

http://searchvirtualdesktop.techtarget.com/definition/desktop-as-a-service-DaaS

https://www.mulesoft.com/resources/cloudhub/what-is-ipaas-gartner-provides-reference-model

http://www.networkworld.com/article/2182527/virtualization/iaas-vs–paas-vs–saas.html

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb190163.aspx

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_service_bus

http://searchsoa.techtarget.com/definition/enterprise-service-bus

http://searchsoa.techtarget.com/definition/EAI

Service as a Service

First came PaaS then came Saas. But if we told you there is an additional SaaS in town? Service as a Service. That’s right! You might already be investing in software to enhance your business model and create new service revenue streams but do you know if you’re fully optimizing the use of that software? Are you aware that your teams may lack knowledge or aptitude for understanding the nuances of that software? This is where Service as a Service enters:

Filling the Gap

There’s a big gap between companies integrating technology to streamline business processes, spark collaboration, and fuel growth both internally and externally and the internal capabilities to execute these tools. For example, there are a variety of CRM tools, inbound marketing tools, link tracking tools, social listening tools, internal communication tools and the list goes on and on. The problem? Most these tools are all integrative and we end up on this never ending hamster wheel constantly trying to figure out which combination will help us be more productive and increase overall margins. The bigger problem? Most internal teams aren’t adept for understanding a vast majority of complicated tech tools and end up ‘throwing them away’ so they can ‘get back to work’.

This is where Service as a Service comes in. Let’s say your business is trying to increase productivity by integrating a CRM tool with an internal project management tool. (ie. Hubspot + Slack or Greenrope + Wrike). The challenges are you’re relying on your team to:

  1. Be able to quickly adjust to new internal company policy, and changes of current habitual communication processes
  2. Relying on individual aptitude for understanding the array of features provided by these tools and to optimize them.

Service as a Service helps companies

  1. Construct a plan of success to meet the company’s goals
  2. Implement the tools that will actually help them achieve their business goals
  3. Train employees how to use these tools effectively
  4. Be ‘on-call’ when there is a problem, and to consult on the nuances of the tech

The key to filling the gap is the expertise of an outsider to understand the ‘nitty gritty’, and recognize when the company isn’t optimizing tools, and will help them get the most value out of the tools they are using.

Automation isn’t always the Answer

Automation is seen in email marketing, social media, prospect nurturing and much more. However automation isn’t always the answer. Before you automate, it’s crucial to understand the in’s and out’s of the manual process. For example, do you remember the Coca-Cola automated tweet campaign during the Superbowl that went horribly awry? Here’s what happened: in an attempt to engage with negative tweeters during the superbowl by automatically retweeting and turning it into #MakeitHappy, Gawker recognized the automation and exploited it.

The lesson to be learned: automation isn’t always the answer. So how does this fit in with the Service as a Service scenario? Simple. Most social media teams aren’t technology experts and most technology experts don’t understand the behavior taken place on social media. Having a middle man that can offer insight into both worlds, could save a company from a campaign that could backfire by understanding all the loopholes and nuances of ‘where it could go wrong’.

Ultimately, if you’re going to spend time investing in technology, make sure to invest in optimizing the process and the people with the expertise as well.

 

Sources

http://www.networkworld.com/article/2293084/software/12-issues-you-need-to-know-about-software-as-a-service.html

http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/definition/Software-as-a-Service

http://www.computerworld.com/article/2516032/enterprise-applications/5-problems-with-saas-security.html

https://www.rickscloud.com/most-common-problems-with-the-adoption-of-saas-and-how-to-overcome-them/

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7838-choosing-crm-software.html

http://www.superoffice.com/blog/crm-software-statistics/

Agile Marketing

Agile methodology is commonly seen in software development and some project management styles. The method is gaining ground in marketing due to the changes that digital channels and new technology are bringing to the table. Agile marketing utilizes real-time data analytics and feedback, empowered teams and collaboration to drive a more responsive marketing strategy. An agile methodology is more than a way to speed up your reaction times to a changing marketing world. The Agile Alliance reports that companies have used agile methods to improve profits by up to 30 percent.

The Agile Manifesto

An agile marketing strategy following the principles of the Agile Manifesto and revolves around being able to react quickly to market disruptions. The biggest priority is to build the plan with change in mind. You don’t solely rely on a plan to guide your team’s actions. You adopt a flexible framework that can accommodate quick project shifts. You’re controlling planned chaos, in a way. You use real-time data analytics and other feedback sources to adjust your marketing efforts to optimize your competitive advantage. Finally, you adopt a strong focus on collaboration among the marketing team and throughout other departments, such as sales and customer service.

Trial and Error in Modern Marketing

Software development uses an agile methodology for iterative and incremental development. In modern marketing, you use this model for the trial-and-error process. You have the resources and support to test out marketing methods and gauge your successes and failures. An example of this, is A/B testing. If you’re developing a campaign, you can use an A/B test to see how the market responds to a variety of combinations of text and images. By using an A/B test you can quickly see how well campaign A is doing as compared to campaign B. Once determined, you can adjust quickly and continue with the stronger campaign to optimize your budget.

This concept of trial and error with agile marketing, enables instant feedback so your marketing can quickly adapt to your audience and deliver marketing messages that resonate with your audience and drive conversions.

How Agile Marketing is the Way of the Future

In traditional marketing, you follow a plan created months in advance. You have little, if any, leeway to change the plan to react to current events or other market disruptions. Your team has set duties without cross-functionality, and the marketing team may lack the ability to collaborate with other departments.

Agile marketing has recently formed the Agile Marketing Manifesto and utilizes collaboration, technology, and flexibility to create a marketing strategy capable of surviving in a world with constant market disruptions. Instead of falling behind on the latest social media trends, you can take advantage with agile marketing and fuel your modern marketing efforts. This new methodology is also known as empirical testing. Empirical means that you have a hypothesis based on observation or actual experiment and then you have tangible results derived through testing. Agile marketing creates opportunity to test marketing intuition and derive empirical results to support or counter those hypothesis. Because Agile marketing shortens the time span between the planning and execution stages, it’s now much easier to adapt on-the-fly and be able to continuously improve campaigns moving towards content personalization.

About Diggen, Inc.

Diggen is a data marketplace to help marketers become and manage data driven enterprises. Data driven marketing initiatives accelerate growth, since it improves key performance indicator (KPI) metrics and increases revenue over 19%. However, marketers have monumental technical challenges accessing data assets, sourcing data providers, and integrating into their marketing technology stack.

Our platform uniquely combines a data marketplace to source all marketing data with middleware to integrate into all marketing technology stacks. For example use our intuitive web interface to append gender, age, location to email addresses and integrate into an email service provider. Therefore, marketers segment their audience for newsletter emails, which creates relevancy, more engagement, and increases conversions.

The Modern Customer Funnel

Originally, businesses created a traditional sales funnel where the company was in control and got to push the prospect through the sales grinder. That original model is dead now that a new model has emerged. The main difference in the new model is that instead of businesses working toward a “close,” both customers and businesses alike are starting to see the funnel as the beginning of a deep and valuable relationship with each other. The new model was coined Pirate Metrics by Dave McClure because of its infamous acronym: AARRR! This stands for the five key metrics that McClure believes map out the lifecycle of the customer: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue.

AIDA vs. AARRR

The original AIDA model has been around in the marketing world for ages. The lifecycle went like this:

A is for Awareness, or attracting the customers’ attention.

I is for getting the Interest of the customer.

D is for getting the customer to Desire your product and convincing them it will satisfy their needs.

A is for Action, which is leading customers toward the actual purchase.

While its principles still have some value, it is now pretty out of date. The main difference between AIDA and AARRR is that McClure’s followers start with acquisition of customers instead of Awareness building, according to Sean Ellis. From there, it goes on to extend the life of the client-relationship with the retention phase.

Data Driven Analysis and The Funnel

Consumers don’t follow a linear path through the funnel any longer. Much of the journey relies on digital engagement. For instance, consumers often check out product reviews on websites and across platforms, look at their social media accounts and then make purchases online. All of this information is tracked and available for us to analyze. The split-funnel attribution model takes advantage of this data-driven insight into how each part of the funnel boosts conversions by tracking impressions, clicks and conversion info. In turn, this data-driven analysis helps you to create more personalized content that drives acquisitions, leads and revenue as well.

The Acquisition Phase

In the new marketing funnel, you place a lot of emphasis on your first contact point with your customer. Your initial marketing efforts worked and you have their attention. They’ve probably visited your website and some of them have even taken an interest in your content. These numbers serve as the starting point for analyzing which of your marketing channels are working. You can see which types of content are holding people on your site and which ones are trickling down and out. Breaking this into stages helps, such as who signed up for your mailing list, who signed up for your Beta list and how long their engagement with certain aspects of your site was. The ones who are subscribing are the ones in an advanced stage of acquisition – these are the ones you want to push forward with your Activation steps.

Retention Phase

In today’s connected world, the conversation doesn’t end when the sale is ‘closed’. For example, Halloween is confined to sales during September and October. However, the conversation doesn’t abruptly stop after the 31st. Technology allows for companies to have a continuous conversation with customers, make them continuously feel appreciated, and increase their lifetime value as a customer.

Traditionally, it was hard to monitor when customers were talking about a brand and required more resources to focus on retention vs. customer acquisition. In the modern era, we have technology such as Oracle’s new image recognition software designed for brands to ‘listen’ for when customer post photos including recognizable brand attributes. These tools make it easier to focus on increasing the lifetime value of customers through engagement with the intention of increasing their individual net promoter score as well.

 

Sources

https://www.ensighten.com/company/newsroom/lets-split-funnel/

https://www.convertwithcontent.com/the-content-marketing-sales-funnel/

https://twitter.com/seanellis/status/629699744097439745

http://www.samuelhulick.com/life-inside-dave-mcclures-pirate-metrics-funnel/

People Data

Data driven companies look at a broad range of information to optimize everything from their business processes to their digital marketing. They use people data to gain an understanding of their audience and how best to segment them in a digital age. When you use this data in your digital marketing efforts, you create a more relevant and personalized experience. Janrain found 85 percent of companies used personalization techniques to improve the customer experience. You can use people data to differentiate yourself from your competitors, but you need to understand how to effectively implement this data into your digital marketing campaigns.

Context from Identity vs. Attributes

Context matters significantly in your marketing efforts, and you gain many contextual clues from a person’s identity versus their attributes. Someone’s identity is who they are, and this remains consistent throughout the marketing process. The person’s identity never changes, but their attributes change based on context, such as going from the office to their home or switching from a desktop channel to a mobile channel. When you know the buyer’s context, you can optimize your marketing strategies.

Difference Between B2B and B2C Data

People data in B2B and B2C marketing display several differences. Buyer motivation is one significant area where B2C and B2B data differs. Hubspot found B2B buyers focus on efficiency and company expertise, while B2C buyers are on the lookout for deals. You have a longer buying cycle for most B2B purchasing decisions, and you’re rarely dealing with only one decision maker. Your B2C and B2B marketing efforts both benefit from people data, but you approach each market in very different ways.

Personas and Audience Segments

People data helps you identify audience segments and create buyer personas. While these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they represent two distinct concepts. An audience segment describes a group of potential customers you focus on, such as Chief Information Officers at technology startup companies. You identify broad characteristics of this market, such as their general demographics and pain points. You create buyer personas to make an in depth profile of people or groups that are close to making a purchase decision. You look at the challenges they face, the customer’s story and pain points unique to that persona. Typically, you lean on audience segments for your top of funnel marketing efforts and deploy buyer personas for the middle and end stages.

When you effectively implement people data into your marketing efforts, you can use a data driven approach to pinpoint what your customers want. As content personalization becomes the default expectation for buyers, you need to put your people data to good use in order to better serve your clients and your competitive positioning.

Sources:

http://www1.janrain.com/rs/janrain/images/Industry-Research-Unlock-Customer-Data.pdf

http://blog.hubspot.com/agency/differences-b2c-b2b-marketing

Unstructured, Structured and Standardized Data

Have you ever accidentally put an object in the wrong place and get frustrated when you can’t find the object later on? The function of data repositories and information systems, are to store large quantities of data in the right place, so it can be easily accessed at a later date. The aim is to make the formatting consistent across systems so that different types of data are compatible with each other. Usually, systems will have data models in place that lay out the structure, manipulation and other aspects of the stored data in order to define and format the data to make it more accessible. These types of data are usually separated into three categories: structured, unstructured and standardized.

Structured Data

Structured data is the easiest type to capture and organize in a data model. This is data that lives in a fixed field within a file, like information you would find in a spreadsheet. In order to store structured data, you have to define which fields of data you are planning to store and organize it into rows and columns. An example of this is keeping a database of clients along with names, dates, addresses, currency and so forth. It also may involve restricting the data input in certain ways, such as number of characters or drop-down menus.

The advantage of structured data is that it can be easily entered, stored, searched and analyzed. Data like this is usually managed using a Structured Query Language (SQL). When data isn’t properly structured, it can mean that you’re missing out on some big marketing and advertising opportunities – which we’ll get to in a minute.

Unstructured Data

Unstructured data refers to the information that doesn’t live in straightforward rows and columns. This information is a little more complex and can’t usually be stored in tidy fields. It includes things like email messages, text documents, social posts, photos, videos, web pages and other kinds of documents. The information within these files might be organized, but the data still doesn’t fit into a database in a logical way. Studies have shown that between 80 to 90 percent of data in any company is unstructured – and this number is continuing to grow!

Because so much of every company’s data tends to be unstructured, it makes sense that businesses want to find ways to use this information to make better decisions. The issue is that it’s hard to analyze unstructured data. That’s why a number of different software solutions have been developed in order to try to sort through unstructured data in order to find important information that businesses can use in order to stay competitive.

Standardized Data

Standardized data is data that has been received in various formats and then transformed to a common format that makes it easier to compare the two. This helps make many types of data crisp, clear and easily accessible. For instance, if you have a field for street names, and some people write North Main Street while others write N. Main St., you could standardize the fields to be N. or S. and Street or St. It’s a way of making the data fit more neatly into fields so that search queries can be run more effectively.

Why Are They Important?

Businesses in every industry are scrambling to compile and measure more and more data every day. Structured data can offer vital information about customer interactions and consumer behavior that can help translate into increased sales if dealt with in the right way. Processing unstructured data is, arguably, even more important, but it does present some challenges. Text-based information sources like email, social media interactions and mobile data can often go completely ignored because it’s difficult to compile and analyze. However, this unstructured data can tell us a lot about the customer journey and give us powerful insights into buying habits.

How to Analyze Unstructured Data

There are a number of different, non-traditional ways to analyze unstructured data. Companies can review conversations on social media and analyze customer interactions in call centers or in-house, and then find ways to record them in a structured format. You can also set up automated processes to capture data, such as tools that monitor social media sites or RSS feeds. Figure out which areas are of interest to your customers, and organize this information into relevant categories. In this way, you can work toward standardizing the data to make it easy to compare it with structured data to identify trends and patterns.

What Does This Mean for Marketing?

Social data is powerful for driving your content marketing strategy, as it helps you understand what content to create and how much weight to give each type of content within your plan. You can use metrics from Facebook Insights, for example, to see how well different types of posts are performing. Other tools, like Optimal Social, can offer structured data on what types of content your readers are engaging with.

Another important use of structured data is to boost your search engine rankings. Web crawlers are now trolling sites to look for specific items and keywords, and also to verify that you have high-quality content on your site and are a company that deserves to pop up in user searches. This kind of rich data markup helps Google understand what your content means, not just what it is saying. Google analytics and other site analytics can help you optimize your site and your online content so that Google picks it up first.

About Diggen, Inc.

Diggen is a data marketplace to help marketers become and manage data driven enterprises. Data driven marketing initiatives accelerate growth, since it improves key performance indicator (KPI) metrics and increases revenue over 19%. However, marketers have monumental technical challenges accessing data assets, sourcing data providers, and integrating into their marketing technology stack.

 

Our platform uniquely combines a data marketplace to source all marketing data with middleware to integrate into all marketing technology stacks. For example use our intuitive web interface to append gender, age, location to email addresses and integrate into an email service provider. Therefore, marketers segment their audience for newsletter emails, which creates relevancy, more engagement, and increases conversions.

 

Visit Diggen at http://www.diggen.com.

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.innovatingstuff.com/2012/12/03/structured-and-standardized-data-sources/

  2. http://acumenmd.com/blog/human-condition-structured-unstructured-data/

  3. http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/S/structured_data.html

  4. http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/U/unstructured_data.html

  5. http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/digital-marketing-data/how-understanding-unstructured-data-is-useful-for-customer-insight/2198

http://www.npws.net/blog/how-structured-data-can-enhance-your-online-marketing

Better Data Drives Better Marketing- Importance of Master Repository

For the past few years, the term “big data” has been tossed around as cavalierly as the term “cloud”. Like actual clouds, the terms are more ethereal than substantial. Despite the imprecise use of the term big data, it is in fact quite real and of great importance. Because big data can be either structured or unstructured the need to organize it and integrate it are essential to capitalizing on it.

The three Vs; volume, velocity and variety are regularly used to describe different aspects of big data.

  • Volume- refers to the amount of data to be analyzed.
  • Velocity- is the measure of how quickly raw data enters the system.
  • Variety – Thanks to both its diverse sources, unstructured nature, and varied end uses the mixture of data can be untidy.

The cost, in time, manpower, and in building an expertise in managing big data can be overwhelming for some enterprises to manage in-house. Fortunately, outsourcing and Software as a Service (SaaS) are also viable alternatives. Cloud-based solutions have gone a long way toward making big data easier to manage, more accessible, and more secure.

The fact of the matter is the cloud in the context of big data storage is a real brick and mortar place. It is equipped with state of the art infrastructure and software making it far more secure and reliable than most on-site solutions.

Outmoded Solutions

In the past, a business’ data might be arbitrarily split between b2b data stored in a CRM (customer relationship management) system and customer (b2c) data relegated to a data warehouse. A significant shortcoming of this practice is that the absence of a complete picture of all of an enterprise’ data.

Realigning resources and centralizing data in a master location with mechanisms to log data will make it readily available in the future. Even though the freshly organized data can not impact the past it can serve as an invaluable resource for analyzing the future. Centralized data repositories do this by having all of the data organized and ready to be transferred directly into the enterprise’s marketing tools.

Master Data Management

A better way to store and analyze disparate data is to maintain it in a single location. Master data management ( MDM) allows administrators to streamline standards and tools across data sets. Thereby reducing costs and improving accessibility. Another significant advantage comes from the ability to eliminate inconsistencies, incorrect data, and duplicate information.

A single authoritative master source of data can eliminate erroneous customer contacts that result from data segmentation. For example a bank customer who has a checking account and a mortgage with the same

 

institution. Segmented data can cause the customer to receive a solicitation for mortgages based on their presence on the checking account data set. An effective MDM would be able to identify the multiple points of contact the customer has with the bank and prevent unnecessary customer contact.

An often overlooked consideration for centralized data repositories is their enhanced security and reliability. Thanks in no small part to economies of scale MDM is able to provide substantially improved system redundancy that extends well beyond simple backups and include greater cyber-security and alternative power sources. These enhancements go a long way to ensuring that a data is ready and available when it is needed.

Big Data is Not a Cure-All

Big data alone will not fix all of an enterprise’s ills, but it can go a long way to helping identify and correct shortcomings. Francis Bacon summed up the importance of big data when he said; “knowledge is power.” The best way to harness the power of big data is with the equally large solution of master data management. By creating a single authoritative view of data unwieldy and costly duplications are eliminated. MDM reduces the risk of loss of key data components that can occur as the quantity of data collected increases because of the superior hardware and software architecture afforded by master data management.

MDM creates an agile information environment that is capable of exploiting the volume, velocity and variety of big data. It supports strategic decisions by providing a 360-degree view of data. By obtaining a fuller picture of relationships, enterprises can effectively deliver custom content. A master data management system can’t promise success, but it can guarantee an enterprise the ability to succeed.

 

What is a Marketing Technology Stack?

Let’s go on an adventure- a Digital Adventure! Let the data be our map and the marketing tools be our guide. As we journey through understanding the importance of a marketing technology stack, the tools picked in internal data architecture will be largely dependent on your final destination, and the journey you take to get there.

Choosing your Destination:

You never spontaneously jump on a plane without knocking out a few key details prior to flying. In an article written by Scott Brinker, the second largest obstacle for digital marketers, at 39%, is lack of an effective strategy for their marketing technology tools.

When planning a trip it all starts with the final destination. Once we know where we want to go, then we can start researching various modes of transportation, price, comfortability, ease of experience, etc. that will impact our journey upon arrival. If we look at planning your strategy for a marketing technology stack like planning a trip, it all starts with your goals and objectives. The decisions about the tools to use will all stem from having a clear vision of where you want to go.

In the first ever Stackie Awards- we now have the top 4 marketing technology stacks recommended for digital marketers: (Travel Channel has nothing on us!)

  • DataPipe
  • Intelligence Bank
  • UberFlip
  • John Wiley & Sons

(See Stacks)

These 4 stacks are determined by function, buyer journey, system architecture, and technology integration. What’s most important to analyze about these stacks, is every tool chosen keeps the central goal in mind. Every tool added into the marketing technology stack can be integrated and/or stacked together to help the marketer reach their final destination.

Building your Itinerary:

The experiences/activities you pick for your itinerary are largely defined by the objectives of your trip. Do you look to travel for common tourist destinations or do you travel for cultural immersion to gain unique memories that no one else will have? Like travel, your technology stack imparts similar goals. Do you want a simple set of tools that will scratch the surface with tracking data or do you want a full immersion into the depths of data that 25+ tools (when integrated properly) can provide?

Some of the experiences you can get from the tools are:

  • Lead Management
  • Sale Enablement & Automation
  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Data & Programs
  • Content & Social

When pairing your objectives and destination, the amount of tools chosen in your architecture could range anywhere from 5 to 35 and beyond.  

Culture Immersion:

Digital Culture is still relatively new. What’s the proper etiquette for gathering consumer data? Where should your data live? What are the most widely accepted platforms vs. the new platforms that one might consider trying?

When we immerse ourselves into the culture of the journey and the destination, the outcome is comprised of the 4 P’s of marketing- product, price, place and promotion. The technology stack that we use to collect consumer data, influences the external decisions that marketers make for product design, shelf placement, sales distribution models and more.

For example, an untrained shopper that’s never been immersed into the digital marketing realm doesn’t realize that the reason they’re being shown product A vs. product B has been predetermined by a series of algorithms that have studied their search history, buying habits, and other potentially influential data.

When you look at tools in your marketing technology stacks, it’s’ important to pick tools that will grow with you as the increasingly savvy consumers get more accustomed to relinquishing more access to their data.

Another critical factor to consider when selecting tools is the total cost of ownership (TCO). It is evident to determine initial project costs when setting up, but ensure complete success by encapsulating business needs for product maintenance, required people skills, and necessary support processes. Decisions should always be justified by forecasting a return on investments, but also delivering on actual business value.

Alright digital explorers! You’re now ready to begin your digital journey. Remember, the tools you pick in your marketing technology stack will determine the experiences that you create on your journey to marketing excellence.

references:

https://www.ensighten.com/blog/what-marketing-technology-stack-and-why-should-you-care/

http://chiefmartec.com/2015/06/21-marketing-technology-stacks-shared-stackies-awards/

http://chiefmartec.com/2015/10/integrating-marketing-technologies-thats-easy-part/

 

UX Marketing Competitive Advantage

Developing a user experience without consumer data is like trying to diagnose a patient without an examination. Gone are the simple days where marketing could push messaging to consumers with little insight into their responses. In today’s digital world, marketing has morphed into brand interactions and creating brand experiences. UX plays a significant role in the flow of communication, and luring consumers to engage in a buyer journey.

UX and flow of communication

Every interaction between mobile devices, is done through the flow of communication with data. The healthcare sector is the best example for us to breakdown to explain how strong UX is needed to improve systems, continue to collect data, and personalize!

The current challenge

Healthcare is enriched with data and many looming industries that would benefit from it. The challenge is that most of the data collected stays stagnant, and therefore keeps innovation in technology for healthcare stagnant as well. UX can help solve this problem by creating an intuitive and easy flow of data between primary physicians, public health sectors, and other adjacent industries that might benefit from the merging of data.

The solution

“One of the simplest things people want is intimacy with applications,” says Debra Lilley, vice president of cloud services at Certus Solutions. While this is a great quote, it’s not a simple one. Like a medical diagnosis, creating an individualized intimate user experience, has a brevity of variables and considerations; culture, environment, traditions, personal tastes, personalities are all influences on a potential UX strategy.

UX and the competitive advantage

Since healthcare is extremely slow to innovate, it’s creating huge opportunity for startups to enter the market and disrupt the industry:  “Oscar is a health insurance startup that hopes to change the way that people buy and interact with their health care coverage by using technology paired with simple and intuitive design”, Gigaom. Oscar’s competitive advantage is leveraging simple user interface, to make the flow of information and establish connections between providers, physicians and the user. This experience is vastly different from the headache of calling providers, and relying on outdated technology that’s inefficient.

By now you’re probably wondering what’s the tie-in to consumer data? Well, we are consumers of healthcare. Consumer data when it comes to healthcare, can help companies know when you moved, and recommend providers based on where you are now instead of where you were. Consumer data can help marketers know when it might be allergy season and to notify you that you might want to stock up on allergy medication because you’re sensitive to pollen. Consumer data can tell us a lot.

References:

https://www.enterpriseirregulars.com/102419/business-software-trends-update/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/oracle/2015/10/05/3-tech-must-dos-for-a-smoother-user-experience/

http://www.business2community.com/marketing/5-marketing-trends-you-should-be-tapping-01346271

http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2015/10/06/773908/10151831/en/Closing-the-Data-Divide.html  

https://gigaom.com/2015/09/16/why-google-is-taking-a-closer-look-at-disrupting-health-care/