Bringing Clarity to the Digital Marketing Landscape

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1 Bringing Clarity to the Digital Marketing Landscape Why the biggest digital innovation since your website could be your website. Learn what s possible with today s sites, who s in charge, and why dynamic brands are putting their sites at the center of their digital marketing strategy.

2 Bringing Clarity to the Digital Marketing Landscape Why the biggest digital innovation since your website could be your website. At Avanade, we are proud to be a global leader in implementing complete digital marketing solutions based on the latest Microsoft technologies. This white paper offers guidance to marketing and IT professionals as they co-pilot their organizations through today s dynamic and uncertain marketing landscape a landscape filled with opportunities and challenges. Challenge: How to Keep Pace with Changing Consumer Preferences Online Consumers have fundamentally changed the game online and industry trends reflect a dramatic shift as marketers innovate to stay in touch with their audiences. Consider the following research findings: Digital marketing campaigns follow consumers shift to online channels. According to a July 2009 report by Forrester Research Inc., U.S. interactive marketing spend will increase from $25.5 billion in 2009 to nearly $55 billion by 2014 as marketers shift dollars away from traditional media and toward search marketing, display advertising, marketing, social media, and mobile marketing. 1 Most companies are not prepared to succeed online. Just 4 percent of marketing executives and 7 percent of IT executives said their companies are prepared to exploit digital marketing channels according to a report from the CMO Council and Accenture. 2 That is cause for concern in view of the forecasted explosive growth in digital marketing. Social marketing adoption and marketing investment continues to rise. The rapid ramp up of social media campaigns, primarily through Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and viral videos, is likely to continue. In 2011, 80 percent of companies with more than 100 employees are expected to use social media tools for marketing, nearly double the usage rate in 2008 according to emarketer. 3 Measuring the value of social channels remains elusive. In another study, 84 percent of marketers said they don t currently measure the ROI (return on investment) of their social media programs, while more than 40% said they didn t even know whether they could track ROI from their social tools. 4 Too many choices and too fast to measure. Fast-paced digital growth is making it difficult for marketers to judge the merit of individual media channels as they mount multi-channel efforts. However, according to a January 2010 report by Forrester Research Inc, siloed search marketing, marketing, or online advertising strategies will give way to customer-centric strategies. 5 In order for this to happen, marketing teams will need improved analytics capabilities that span the entire digital spectrum. After reviewing this white paper, you should have a greater understanding of how your internet sites can: 1. Empower your IT and Marketing organizations to come together to develop a digital marketing strategy and business plan. 2. Drive clarity, direction, and business results for your many other digital marketing channels. 3. Deliver your digital marketing strategy via a unified platform with pre-integrated capabilities Avanade Inc. All Rights Reserved. 2

3 Today s Hyper-Fragmented Digital World At Avanade, we see our own customers struggling with marketing in today s hyper-fragmented digital world. One consumer products company, for example, launches new web sites each season for its hundreds of brands around the world. In addition to the complexity of language and localization, the sites are built on a myriad of technologies, each requiring different technical skill sets and partners in order to operate effectively. With so many digital channels, companies often don t know where to begin, and will start somewhere just to avoid being left out of the discussion. Meanwhile, marketing and IT executives do not believe they are highly effective partners as they struggle to keep pace with rapidly evolving digital marketing capabilities. Misaligned timing and inadequate resources are key constraints to a more collaborative and profitable IT-marketing relationship. 2 This operational model is further complicated by the fact that customer data is locked in organizational silos, creating a barrier to understanding which media channels are most productive, and where it makes the most sense to invest scarce marketing dollars. In a fragmented media environment such as this, an organization s ability to get new messages out to target audiences can often take months at a time when speed to market is critical to gaining a competitive advantage. (See Figure 1) Fragmented Digital Channels Figure 1: Disparate customer data locked in organizational silos marketing specialists focus only on their own areas 2011 Avanade Inc. All Rights Reserved. 3

4 Bringing Clarity to the Digital Marketing Landscape The swift adoption of new digital channels has left some people questioning the value of the brand website. Why bother maintaining a company website when the marketing focus is shifting to social media and mobile marketing? The truth is that your company and brand website is more important than ever; however, it serves a different purpose today. In today s socially driven digital world, the brand website serves as the foundation for establishing a brand strategy and setting the tone for reaching consumers with your message. The brand website is the critical component that ties other marketing efforts together and provides the best opportunity to improve conversion rates, speed time to market, and reduce operating costs. Justin Calvo Global Digital Marketing Solution Manager, Avanade Because of this and because it offers so many opportunities to influence consumer behavior, the brand website should be the cornerstone of the digital marketing strategy. Think of your brand website as the centerpiece of a digital marketing platform from which social media, mobile, e-commerce, and other digital channels are managed and measured. (See Figure 2) Integrated Digital Strategy Figure 2: The brand website is at the center of your digital marketing strategy 2011 Avanade Inc. All Rights Reserved. 4

5 The fact is most public-facing websites are ill prepared to deliver a relevant and personalized experience that customers have come to expect from new digital technologies. To close this gap and avoid being left-behind companies have had little choice but to assemble makeshift solutions, using disparate technologies to meet customer expectations. Not until after piecing together various technology components do marketers realize that custom-integrating so many independent technologies has limited their ability to quickly adapt to everchanging customer needs. Managing multiple digital marketing platforms quickly becomes costly to maintain and provides diminishing returns to the business. The problem is magnified by the fact that as consumer digital preferences quickly change, marketing investments shift in an effort to chase them, and this vicious cycle continues. While marketing organizations hurry to deliver digital campaigns that meet rapidly evolving customer expectations, consider the impact on the IT department. Rushing to adopt third-party digital marketing technologies leaves IT in the position of having to fix, patch, and repair point-solutions that have little impact on the strategic goals of the IT department or the broader organization. Having to deal with unplanned solutions such as this can also detract from senior management s up-time and security directives. II It has become increasingly clear that companies have adopted a set of Internet technologies that prevent them from operating effectively in the new digital world. What marketers are left with is a host of hastily assembled ad hoc campaigns that make it hard to compare the ROI of various media channels, and lack the brand consistency needed to effectively engage consumers. Even with these shortcomings, one-off efforts seem to be a necessary evil of the digital age. But it doesn t have to be this way. What marketers and IT professionals need today is a complete rethink of their core marketing infrastructure. The Way Forward: A Flexible Digital Marketing Platform Avanade offers an alternative to disconnected and costly investments in ad hoc solutions. We lay the foundation of a flexible digital marketing platform that will help you understand and engage customers across their increasingly digital lifestyles. Creating a platform for delivering brand sites allows marketers to stay focused on customers and drive business results. Marketing organizations gain a complete suite of easy-to-use, pre-integrated capabilities on an agile platform that the IT team can easily support and scale. Moreover, empowering organizations with a versatile digital marketing platform helps them rapidly deploy new sites, and improve existing ones. With this new level of flexibility and agility, your organization will be able to: Speed time to market for digital marketing campaigns. Empower business users while reducing reliance on IT support. Improve IT s ability to serve marketing, while lowering costs. Optimize your social media, search, online advertising, and other digital investments. Analyze information about your customers behavior and preferences in real-time. Personalize the consumer experience to improve conversion rates and loyalty. Adjust the online experience quickly to produce the desired business results. Do you want to see some examples of websites running on Microsoft SharePoint? Visit Top Share- Point Internet Sites around the world Avanade Inc. All Rights Reserved. 5

6 Build Next Generation Brand Websites To deliver these capabilities, Avanade and Microsoft have teamed together to build the next generation of brand websites using Microsoft SharePoint 2010 for Internet Sites. Most companies have relied on SharePoint for internal document sharing and team collaboration on their own Intranet sites. It is a natural evolution for those companies and their IT organizations to use this same technology platform for external, public websites. Michael Topanjinin Managing Director, Digital Marketing Platform Group, Microsoft Avanade delivers value on top of the SharePoint platform, bridging the gap between infrastructure capabilities and marketing requirements. Our proprietary solutions and services help dynamic brands accelerate their time to value by providing an agile foundation that reduces costs while streamlining efforts, actionable insights that inform smart digital marketing practices and measure success, and personalized experiences that improve your ability to influence and optimize conversion. Smart Data Brings Actionable Insights You can t measure what you don t understand. And if you don t know what you re measuring and its impact on your business, you can t make smart and actionable decisions that will move your digital campaigns in the right direction. Avanade s advanced tools transform the avalanche of data coming from your sites into actionable insights. These insights help you continuously improve content, messaging, and customer journeys as you move audiences towards engagement and conversion. This approach makes it possible for you to weigh the impact of each digital channel that drives traffic to your site both in terms of volume and customer preferences. In addition to continuously optimizing your digital channel mix, Avanade solutions and services allow you to look beyond the clicks and identify your audiences in terms you care about. Aligning visitors to your core customer segments for example allows you to take prescriptive actions to engage those audiences across the Internet. (See Figure 3) Improve Insight and Understanding Figure 3: Understanding where key audiences come from helps marketers improve their digital spend 2011 Avanade Inc. All Rights Reserved. 6

7 For example, if the data shows a specific customer segment arriving mainly from organic search, you could choose to adjust marketing spend for that segment towards paid search ads. You could then repurpose content that resonates with the audience when they arrive from those paid search ads. Data used this way literally comes to life when it is no longer a collection of random clicks, bounces, and conversions, but a representation of your key audiences and their needs, desires, and interests related to your brand. Personalize Each Customer Experience Perhaps most importantly for demonstrating strong digital marketing ROI, Avanade powers highly relevant, highly personalized visitor experiences that foster meaningful engagement between brands and customers. Because most companies view their audiences through the lens of click-stream analytics, most websites today are little more than online sales brochures. While some sites have a higher degree of creative user engagement than others, visitors still get a one-sizefits-all experience. Avanade changes this by giving marketers context-aware tools that allow them to continuously listen, learn, and respond to each visitor s unique interests in realtime. (See Figure 4) According to a Gartner study, context-aware computing will drive $140 billion of new consumer demand by For the first time, these truly interactive technologies enable targeted, one-to-one discussions with each customer in a scalable manner. Delivering the right content at the right time to the right person helps you move from brand monologue to brand dialogue with customers, and deliver value for each unique visitor. Enterprises that want to remain competitive in e-commerce over the next five years should begin exploring these context-aware applications by YE11, says Gartner. 6 Consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, and financial services need to initiate or extend plans to leverage context as a game-changer to more effectively personalize product and service offerings. 6 Avanade s digital marketing solutions and services are based on the concept of context-aware computing. Our context-enriched services bring together critical customer data and behavioral information to anticipate an end user s immediate needs when they visit the brand website and respond to their evolving needs over time. Mark Munie Industry Director, Avanade Improve the Customer Experience Figure 4: Context-enriched services deliver the right content at the right time to the right person 2011 Avanade Inc. All Rights Reserved. 7

8 Unlike many of the most sophisticated multi-variant testing and targeting tools available, Avanade s approach is simple. We make personalization and targeting accessible to all enterprise marketers, and allow them to focus on their core competency of developing high-impact content and messaging that engages audiences and drives outcomes. According to a Gartner study, context-aware computing Conclusion With so many challenges standing in the way of digital marketing success, it is imperative that IT and marketing executives join forces to implement organizational change. The findings in this white paper can serve as a roadmap for savvy CIOs and CMOs who recognize the importance of working together to leverage the benefits of an agile digital marketing platform. Take the First Step If you are the CIO or CMO of an enterprise with dynamic brand requirements, we invite you to bring your marketing or IT counterpart to begin a digital marketing discussion with Avanade. Together, we can help you get on the path to agile and intelligent marketing. Contact us at: Every organization will have its own digital marketing journey. We suggest that IT and marketing executives focus on three simple steps. 1. IT and marketing leaders must work together to create a digital marketing strategy and business plan that meets the immediate and long-term needs of the entire organization. 2. Place your company s website and brand sites at the center of your company s digital transformation. Making them the cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy will drive clarity, direction, and business results for the rest of your digital marketing channels. 3. Move towards a unified platform with pre-integrated digital marketing capabilities Avanade Inc. All Rights Reserved. 8

9 Footnotes 1 US Interactive Marketing Forecast, 2009 To 2014, Forrester Research Inc., July 6, The CMO-CIO Alignment Imperative: Driving Revenue through Customer Relevance report from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Accenture, October 4, emarketer, November 1, 2010 About Avanade Avanade provides business technology services that connect insight, innovation and expertise in Microsoft technologies to help customers realize results. Avanade consultants apply unsurpassed expertise in the Microsoft platform to create innovative solutions that enable large organizations across all industries to improve performance, productivity and sales. 4 Social Software in Business, Mzinga and Babson Executive Education, September 8, North American Interactive Marketing Predictions, Forrester Research Inc., January 12, Gartner study, Predicts 2011: Context Aware Computing Brings Significant Shifts in Consumer Behavior and Privacy Regulations by William Clark, John Bace, Jay Heiser, Avivah Litan, Neil MacDonald, Gene Alvarez, November 23, 2010 About Avanade Avanade provides business technology services that connect insight, innovation and expertise in Microsoft technologies to help customers realize results. Avanade s services and solutions help improve performance, productivity and sales for organizations in all industries. Additional information can be found at Avanade Inc. All rights reserved. The Avanade name and logo are registered trademarks in the US and other countries. Americas Seattle Phone Sao Paulo Phone +55 (11) Asia-Pacific Singapore Phone Europe London Phone

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