Information you need to make informed decisions about marketing technology and mobile marketing

Building Dragons vs. Chasing Unicorns

By Luke Jones

We’ve all heard the story of the unicorn, the upstart company that came out of nowhere and went on to be the star of its industry through dazzling technological innovations: Google, Netflix, Uber, to name a few. The temptation is to ask: “How did they do that, and how do I replicate it?” But is that even the right question? Daniel Newman gave a presentation for AMA Chicago that argues it is not the right question at all. He pits what he calls dragons against the unicorns – companies that take pragmatic steps to equip themselves to handle technological change.

Newman’s talk at AMA Chicago’s Evening with an Expert, Futureproof: 7 Key Pillars for Digital Transformation Success, left me with some great takeaways for what companies can do to be more like dragons in order to “futureproof” themselves and adapt to challenges, change and technology.

Create Meaningful Experiences

One of the ways companies can futureproof is by focusing on crafting excellent customer experiences and by using technology and data as a means to this end.

“Experiences are one of the most powerful ways to create a brand,” Newman explained. He cited Disney as an example of a company that focuses on magical experiences, so much so that employees who work at their parks are called “cast members.” Disney understands that keeping its amusement parks clean and pristine is a key aspect of the experience. Before there were even digital analytics, Disney asked crew members to count the average number of steps guests would take before discarding food they had bought, so they could place trashcans in the right spots to minimize litter.

Newman reminded us that “behind every like, click, and experience is a person,” a concept that we too often lose in the era of big data. I found this particularly resonant. I’m guilty of checking reports throughout the day to see how many leads my company has generated or how many sales were closed. It’s easy to forget that these numbers represent real people with wants and needs, but a futureproofed company doesn’t lose sight of that.

Embrace Change

Change may seem like a simple concept, but resistance to change can be an incredibly difficult obstacle for a company to overcome. Who hasn’t experienced that moment of excitement over a new software solution or management structure, only to find that no one in his or her company was willing to take the time to learn to use it? But it’s more than that. Change can be necessary on a large scale in order for a company to survive.

Newman mentioned Target’s credit card breach fiasco a few years ago, which I, along with most of the audience had forgotten about. It certainly created a moment of panic for me when I first heard about it, but I haven’t thought about it once in probably the last forty times I’ve set foot in one of their stores. Target understood that they had to rebuild trust with their customers, first and foremost. One of the ways it accomplished this was by paying exceptional attention to the wants of each store’s local audience, lining shelves with items specific to the shopping preferences of customers within a tight radius of their stores. Newman mentioned how hard it is to find anything Hanukkah related in Naperville, Il, but when he travels to the north of Chicago to Skokie, Hanukkah items seem to dominate the store.

In the 21st century, when we talk about change, we’re often talking about the adaptation of new technology. “If the company doesn’t get behind the technology, the technology will fail,” Newman said. Change is possible in a culture of openness, one where from top down employees see new technology as a way of improving customer happiness. In a company with this attitude, employees understand that change has an important value proposition.

Build a Culture of Innovation

Like technology, innovation is a word that is particularly buzzy, but it’s a little more nebulous of a term. I have to admit, the way I think about it is quite different than the way he talked about it. While innovation is often associated with the invention of something completely new (my idea of what innovation is), Newman noted that it can apply to smaller, more mundane, but still vital changes.

This is where the dragon most visibly breaks away from the unicorn. A dragon may not invent something that comes from out of left field and changes everything, in fact it probably won’t. But the dragon sees that technology can be adopted and developed incrementally, with the desire to meet the wants and needs of the customer as the agent of this transformation.

More than anything, Newman’s presentation encouraged me to think about how all these terms and ideas, technology, innovation, experience, aren’t just trendy words, but critical concepts that work in harmony as a road map for where a company should go. It’s important to remind ourselves that, with these concepts, we really can futureproof our businesses and build dragons.

View a full gallery of photos from the event, courtesy of Organic Headshots.

Luke Jones has been an AMA member since 2017. He currently serves on the communications committee for the Chicago chapter. The marketing manager at EON Clinics, a dental implants company, Jones uses aspirational lifestyle branding to engage audiences and drive growth. Previously at Emerson College where he earned his MFA, Jones created buzz through email marketing for professional theater performances headlined by John Malkovich, Cicely Tyson, and other big names.

Christine Moorman reveals the latest CMO Survey at CMO Smart

How often do you get a chance to interact with the creator of an industry-standard survey 24 hours after its most recent results are published?

That’s what happened at CMO Smart on August 29, when Christine Moorman, Founder and Managing Director of The CMO Survey, spoke with members of AMA Chicago 24 hours after the release of the latest survey.

Moorman said the CMO Survey “reflects trends and data, but it certainly doesn’t have all the answers.” So several times during her presentation, she made a point of stopping to let audience groups discuss the data and share their observations with the room.

It was an evening full of insight and “a-ha” moments. Here are some questions that were posed and pondered during the session.

Why is The CMO Survey essential?

While anyone in marketing has access to any number of surveys, The CMO Survey is different. Its only participants are top marketers—Chief Marketing Officers, VPs of Marketing, etc.—in for-profit U.S. companies, so its results truly reflect marketing decision-making at the highest level.

Plus, the survey compiles results gathered every six months over the past 10 years, giving marketing leaders a rare chronological glimpse at trends as they develop and mature.

Moorman said, “It’s a forward looking survey that tracks marketing excellence and helps establish benchmarks. It’s important that it’s non-commercial, so it can be an objective source of info about the field. It can take a critical look at the industry, because it’s not selling people with results.”

And just as Moorman—who is also T. Austin Finch, Sr. Professor of Business Administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business— says, “I never discount the fact that my students collectively know more than I do,” there’s little question that the CMO Survey reveals more about the future of our industry than any single marketing executive could ever foretell.

Are CMOs less optimistic than investors?

The first chart Moorman shared was a 10-year plot of marketer optimism, answering the question How optimistic are you about the overall U.S. economy on a scale with 0 being least optimistic and 100 most optimistic?

With the dip in the last six months, marketing leaders’ optimism has essentially been flat for the last five years—a period during which the U.S. stock market has risen 77 percent.

“Marketers are the outward-looking part of an organization,” Moorman said. “This chart displays some real uncertainty.”

What’s the most important factor for growth?

We marketers spend so much time collecting, managing and interpreting data, it must be the single most important factor for growth, right?

Wrong! According to CMOs, “Having the right data” is the least important factor for organic growth. The most important? “Having the right talent”—by a nearly 4-to-1 ratio over data.

Later, discussing talent, Moorman observed that more companies cited creativity as the top skill they prioritized when hiring marketing talent. “I was pleasantly surprised,” she said. “I expected ‘martech platform experience’ or ‘data science background’ to dominate.”

Do we get our money’s worth from digital marketing?

It should surprise no one that marketing leaders predict substantial growth in digital and social media marketing. What may be surprising is that they still have trouble demonstrating these strategies’ effectiveness.

“Marketers are very bullish in this kind of spending,” Moorman said. “But getting performance from spending is more challenging. There’s not as much clarity about what works and what doesn’t.”

The percentage of marketers unable to show a quantitative impact remains far higher than that of those who can. That said, Moorman said she was encouraged by a sharp uptick in the lower number, suggesting that the gap may be closing.

Should marketers be politically active?

While discussions were lively about other topics, the noise level in the room reached its peak when Moorman opened the floor to questions about marketing leadership.

The percentage of marketing leaders who say it’s appropriate for their brands to take a stance on politically charged issues dropped since the February, 2018 CMO Survey, but more than three-quarters still say “yes.”

Moorman pointed out that the number dips sharply for companies with annual revenues between a half billion and one billion dollars, suggesting that bigger companies may have less to fear from political backlash. Meanwhile, for niche players, “if you want to attract millennials, as customers or employees, you have to stand for something.”

It was a charged ending to a fascinating, insightful presentation.

If you’re a top marketer in a for-profit U.S. company, you should participate in the next CMO survey. Your outlook is invaluable!

Is your brand keeping up with the platform world?

By: Vivaldi

Last month, Vivaldi, the growth, innovation and brand strategy consultancy, hosted on October 4th the first “Breakfast of (Brand) Champions,” a workshop series specially organized for the Branding Special Interest Group of AMA Chicago. We focused the inaugural workshop on how to build strong brands in today’s rapidly changing world. With platforms seemingly poised to take over our business landscape, we discussed how platform thinking can benefit even incumbent brands as they evaluate their own path forward.

The workshop kicked off by defining platform thinking as the ultimate source of value creation for modern business success – where value is created not by means of optimizing production and traditional value chains but by facilitating interactions and linking data sources for greater impact.  Platform companies attract a wide range of participants, and involve them in the creation of products, services, and experiences that help solve real problems and meet real goals, and that enable the participants to collaborate and interact with each other, and thus increase the value of the products and create exponential growth.

Using Vivaldi client LEGO as a case study, we explored how the modern advantage of facilitating interactions could be adopted by other brands – and how a thoughtful approach to understanding how to create value could leverage the global infrastructure of connectivity and collaboration, shifting power instead of struggling to control it.

We had a fantastic time and participants left the workshop energized by the conversation and the new thinking that emerged. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, here are three questions that were asked of participants, as they identified the best platform approach for their own brand and gathered into breakout groups where the Vivaldi team helped outline key steps that brands can take to navigate today’s world of platforms.

1. What is your brand’s source of strength?

As an incumbent player, two of your key advantages in building a platform are your existing customer base and an established network of suppliers, partners and intermediaries. You can begin the business of building a platform with a selected set of existing customers, and then grow the platform from there. But in order to do so, there needs to be some basis for which existing customers would want to bet on you. And that’s where your brand comes into play. It’s important to understand your brand’s source of strength as it will influence what type of platform you can most easily and credibly build and how to communicate the value it brings to participants.

2. What enabling processes and technologies can you take advantage of?

Are you, like John Deere whose sophisticated tractors can be equipped with sensors to collect and communicate data, able to bring the IoT to each of your products in order to offer a new data infrastructure to partners? Do you, like Amazon who put its warehousing and fulfillment capabilities at the service of small businesses globally, excel at certain activities along the value chain and can you offer these to participants in exchange for gathering data about participants on the platform? Or are you, like GoPro who has become a media powerhouse, at the center of user generated content that can be shared and amplified, leading to network effects?

There are many ways to build the processes and technologies that will enable your platform, but before you plan a new digital transformation project, take a look at the initiatives already in place within your organization. You may be surprised at how forward-thinking they are when looked at in the right light.

3. What interactions can you facilitate?

The final question that we addressed in the workshop was that of knowing how to uniquely respond to the market’s needs. Using a series of probes, we explored the long list of possible stakeholders who could interact on our platforms, the goals they were pursuing, the data each of them would need to meet their goals, but also what data they had or could generate easily for others to meet their goals. This led to some insightful ideas regarding how some of the companies present could create new connections between stakeholders, play a different role than today, and create value in the process.

We wrapped up the workshop by discussing how this platform exploration could help expand a brand’s vision, shared some examples and introduced our next session. Join us in Q1 of 2018 for the second “Breakfast of (Brand) Champions.” We’re partnering with Barry Calpino, VP Innovation at ConAgra to talk about brand innovations and share some tips and tools to consider as you look ahead to 2020.

Expert Tips and Key Takeaways From MarketingTech Smart 2017

By Brittany Tepper

Over 100 marketing professionals attended MarketingTech Smart on September 27, 2017 at the Loyola University Chicago Quinlan School of Business. Through multiple sessions with industry experts, attendees were able to learn how to navigate the crossroads of marketing and technology, and network with other engaged marketers in the community.

Here are a few tips from our experts and takeaways from our American Marketing Association Chicago members:

Expert Tip #1: “Reporting isn’t analysis” – Andy Crestodina, Strategic Director at Orbit Media

We all know that data analytics are an important part of the marketing technology stack. However, too often marketers solely report on key metrics (click through rates, bounce rate, etc.) and don’t use data to inform their marketing strategy. Andy Crestodina, Strategic Director of Orbit Media, discussed several quick and easy ways marketers can use Google Analytics to create data-driven business decisions.

Before jumping into the session, Andy emphasized that the two most important factors for your website are traffic and conversion rate — Traffic X Conversion Rate = Money/Success. Anything that doesn’t support either of these two factors is irrelevant.

While there are hundreds of different ways to optimize for increased traffic and conversions, and you can find many of them on Andy’s blog, these two tips stood out:

A. How to understand the likelihood of a conversion based on referral traffic.

Knowing where your audience was before they got to your website is important, but knowing how likely they are to convert based on where they came from is even more valuable. To see your website’s sources of referral traffic with its corresponding conversion rates in Google Analytics go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels.

*If you don’t already have your Google Analytics set up, here is a great article from Orbit Media.

B. How to look at your on-site search queries to understand your audience and their needs.

Congratulations, you have gotten a great lead to your website! But they can’t seem to find what they’re looking for. Hopefully, they will search directly on your website without going elsewhere. Your internal search queries tell you a lot about your audience’s needs and your website’s content gaps. To view your search queries in Google Analytics go to: Behavior> Site Search>Search Terms. Here is another great article on how to set this up from Orbit Media.

Key Takeaways from AMA Chicago Members:

“I got the most out of Andy’s session on data analytics. I do a lot of B2B marketing, and being able to translate data into something that is truly functional, goes beyond reporting, and offers profitable solutions gives our clients, and my agency an advantage.” – Amanda Zidel, Account Executive at Plan B Advertising.

Expert Tip #2: “Brands need to be just as human as you and me.” – Kim Brown, Head of Global Product Marketing at GE Renewable Energy Digital

In the age of the ever-evolving newsfeed, creating authentic human-based connections with customers has never been more important. Kim Brown, Head of Global Product Marketing at GE Renewable Energy Digital, discussed the importance of building out brands as human as their customers.

Kim encouraged attendees to think about today’s top brands. The most successful brands have taken a “360-degree approach” to their own personas, along with their customers. By knowing both themselves and their customers, these brands present themselves as authentic, simple and highly transparent. These brands are also able to develop more impactful value propositions and create powerful content that is valuable for both parties.

Key Takeaways from AMA Chicago Members:

“Kim’s presentation on content marketing provided valuable insights into how brands can be more authentic in their content creation. There is nothing worse than clicking on an article, and instead of finding a solution, finding a sales pitch. I’ll be applying a lot of these “human- based” methods to my own content marketing.”

Expert Tip #3: “Marketing automation is a journey, not a destination.” – Kim Dazey, Marketing Manager at Morningstar and Emilie Kraft, Marketing Manager at Morningstar

Implementing marketing automation into a business can be a long and cumbersome process. Kim Dazey and Emilie Kraft, Marketing Managers at Morningstar, walked attendees through the three-year long process of implementing Eloqua into their organization. They compared the process to building a house through the analogy of involving multiple stakeholders within their organization to contractors. Their largest piece of advice was that everyone must be involved throughout the whole process in order to produce a quality finished product.

Key Takeaways from AMA Chicago Members:

“The marketing automation case study helped reinforce the process. We have struggled to get some of our technology to work together, and hearing others say it’s doable helps us reevaluate some of our current processes. – Marcel Manzano, E-Commerce Manager at Ryerson.

While conference-goers may have attended different sessions, their key takeaways all followed a common theme — implementing what they learned to advance their company and career. For more information on future events or AMA Membership, visit

Pivot Points from Scott Brinker, Looking Past the Hype and Theory of Marketing Technology

Back in 1988 Howard Haas joined the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business as an adjunct professor. He struggled in his new role to find a curriculum that supported what he learned and experienced during his tenure as CEO at Sealy. Shortly after joining the university he developed a new curriculum that essentially changed leadership courses at Booth School of Business as well as impacting university curriculum around the country.

Haas’s revolution began when he introduced a new leadership course in 1989. The course shifted students training and understanding regarding leadership from theory to practice.  The course was aptly named “Leadership in Practice” filled a big gap know known as the “Knowing to Doing Gap.”

Similar to what Howard Haas did for MBA Leadership courses during the early 90s, Scott Brinker is striving to take hype and theory out of Marketing Technology. Scott leads ION Interactive, MarTech Events and a think tank that looks at the MarTech sector. His book “Hacking Marketing”, MarTech seminars and events are designed to help you and I grasp the importance of martech. His straightforward practical approach looks past the hype and theory to uncover the most effective use of technology offerings in our industry, organizations, and systems.

At this year’s MarketingTech Smart Conference, Scott presented on “Hacking Marketing: The Amazing Convergence of Marketing & Software.” During Scott’s presentation, he challenged us to look at our martech stack of tools and platforms. We were asked to consider what’s in and how we use our martech stack. Then, he shared some astounding statistics that indicate that we are not leveraging our martech stacks effectively and in most cases improperly.  A few reasons range from rapid change with a focus on “the latest and greatest” to being overwhelmed and slow to change. Whatever the reason, we need to rethink how to leverage technology for marketing our businesses more effectively.

Scott recommended that we rework our marketing strategy. He challenged us to consider a new way of designing our strategy. Large enterprise IT organizations have found that bimodal strategies are more conducive to the management of technology.  Gartner Explains Bimodal

Scott also shared that our current strategies are likely responsive, agile and tactical so we can fail fast, learn quickly and course correct.  On the other hand, our strategy can be focused on scalability, standardization, and fail-not approach to marketing. Either way, money is left on the table. Marketing costs are high and companies lose out on opportunities and revenue.

Pivot Point #1 – Bimodal Marketing Strategy
Scott recommends that we restructure our marketing strategies into a bimodal fashion.

Fail-Fast: 30 % of our efforts, budgets and plan should be structured on experimental and up and coming marketing opportunities and technologies.

Fail-Not: 70 % of our efforts, budgets and plan should be focused on areas where we can optimize, standardize and automate to reduce costs and errors while increasing effectiveness and scalability.


Scott emphasized that software magnifies marketing effectiveness but only if talent adopts the martech stack and leverages it to seize the opportunity for the company. Scott recommends that marketers (like you and I) learn about the pace-layered approach to cataloging, selecting and leveraging technology within an organization.

Pivot Point #2 – Incorporate Pace-Layered Approach
Scott recommends that we incorporate pace-layered approach to managing our MarTech stack.

By incorporating a pace-layered approach into our marketing strategies, we can increase adoption of our martech stack. Increased adoption will essentially decrease our costs and increase our marketing effectiveness.

As a result of attending the MarketingTech Smart 2016 event, I learned from Scott, that for in order to succeed in future marketing efforts, I need to take a page out of IT’s playbook regarding my implementation of marketing technology.  This is exactly why Scott Brinker wrote “Hacking Marketing” and hosts events like MarTech 2017 to prepare marketers.  This also why he feels AMA events like MarketingTech Smart  2016 and MarTech 2017 are important to marketers. Scott Brinker said,

“It is important for marketers to come together and learn from each other on how technology is impacting their world.”

Can you imagine how effective tools like automation, digital wallets, and user behavior mapping can increase customer satisfaction, organizational goals, and ultimately your career? At events like MarketingTech Smart 2016 and MarTech 2017, the convergence of knowledge, best practices, experience and strategy prepares marketers to do just that; happier customers and healthier ROIs naturally push your career in an upward trajectory.



About the Author: Nick Rich is an Enterprise Architect and Thought Leader on web, social, and mobile based technologies. Nick currently consults and advises clients on content, collaboration, communication technology, and how to foster corporate adoption.


Pivot Points: Matt Bailey, Leveraging a Sales Mindset

Did you hear the joke about the toothbrush salesman? I recently came across this joke and it speaks volumes about the importance of a sales mindset.  The joke goes something like this:


A boss asked it’s company’s top toothbrush salesman how he managed to sell so many brushes. The toothbrush salesman replied, “It’s easy” and pulled out a card table, setting his display of brushes on top.

He told his boss “I lay the brushes out like this, and then I put out some potato chips and dip to draw in the customers.”

After the chips and dip were laid out the boss said, “That’s a very innovative approach” and took one of the chips, dipped it, and stuck it in his mouth.

“Yuck, this tastes terrible!” his boss yelled.

The toothbrush salesman replied, “It is? Want to buy a toothbrush?”


If we all took a moment and considered the primary responsibility of marketing, we should all arrive at the same conclusion – sales. This joke illustrates the four points of sales: plan, setup, execution, and results.


At the recent 2016 Chicago AMA MarketingTech Smart event, Matt Bailey presented as one of the expert speakers with his session: “Six Steps to Marketing Automation.” In his session, Bailey alluded that marketers tend to structure their strategies and plans around the tactical use of technology for the purpose of generating likes, follows, friends and building lists. This might not be the right approach. Consider Matt’s critical points on marketing automation: human factor, redefine success metrics, get sales training, define and refine process, and develop customers for life.


#1 – The Human Factor

Matt recommended that we consider “The Human Factor” when we build strategies. The convergence of a mature martech, we now have access to 10,000+ sites, platforms and tools to possibly leverage. To compound the situation, Matt suspects that the current success metrics may be focused on the wrong data points.


#2 – Redefine Success Metrics

Redefining your metrics requires research and the first action item is to listen to your customers. Matt suggests that you start with your internal sales team as they deal with customers on daily basis and have a healthy perspective on the sales funnel and the customer’s journey from lead to advocate.

With your newly gained customer-focused insight, you will likely have an opportunity to redefine your success metrics. With marketing automation tools, you can take the newly defined metrics and start crafting workflows, triggers and responders which can gauge and assist in customer engagement.

#3 – Get Sales Training

To marketers like you and I, sales training may seem unnecessary. However, to truly understand what customers are looking for and how to encourage them to purchase your products, services or information, you will need sales training. Sales training from your sales team will provide you with crucial insights that have the potential to redefine your marketing strategy, plans and tactics. By learning from your sales team, you will have new data points to test out.

#4 – Define and Refine Process (Marketing Automation)
Four steps to identify, define and refine your marketing process:

  • Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up
    Engage customers and subscribers via Automated Drip Campaigns (ADC). ADCs can be designed to trigger automated emails, texts and direct mail pieces customized to the recipient.

Example: If a customer has not visited the site in 30 days, the system can send a reminder of what they previously browsed and ask if they are still interested in completing a purchase.

Key Fact: 80% of sales happen after the 5th contact with the customer. *

  • Ask the Right Questions
    Each time your reach out to customers and subscribers, ask questions to learn more about them. Segment your audience and measure their responses.

Key Fact: Marketing to a segmented audience increases open rates by up to 57% and click-through rates by 25%.*

  • Build the Relationship
    Identify key relational objectives for your customers to meet. Help guide the potential customers from initial engagement to becoming advocates.

Key Fact: The process of building a relationship with your audience can drastically increase the health of your marketing effectiveness. However, the objective must clearly be communicated to your audience.*

Examples of call to action messages: Follow us on Twitter, Sign-up for the Webinar, Share the Blog Post, etc.

  • Ask for the Sale
    Marketing automation and drip campaigns make a difference.

Example: A known user abandons a shopping cart and an automated email to that user is sent asking for the sale. Or, a customer bought coffee 30 days ago; an email reminder is sent to them asking for the sale: “Your supply of coffee may be running low, click here to replenish.”

Key Fact: Asking for the sale is the #1 way to get individuals to buy online and in-store.*

#5 – Develop Customers for Life
Develop customers for life by leveraging lead scoring. As we become more efficient at closing sales, building healthy trusting relationships and having frequent and relevant conversations with our customers, we can develop lifelong customers. Start by collecting customers’ implicit and explicit data.

  • Implicit Data (dynamic action): An individual’s interests, status, interaction and responses
  • Explicit Data (static information): Name, Location, conversation details and basic facts
  • Define how individuals interact with your company and why.
  • Compare your collected data and defined interactions with engagement and sales figures. How do they match up? Are you able to segment and identify your company’s most profitable relationships?
  • In the process of developing your lead scoring, learn what makes relationships successful for your organization. Next, outline this information in a scoring matrix to compare to your prospects and customers.
  • Finally, design marketing messages and campaigns that enhance relationships to the level of lifetime advocates (your most profitable relationship).

The key to marketing success is not the number of likes, follows, friends and lists but rather, the key to marketing success is, and should always be linked to sales figures. Sales are the lifeblood of any organization. Without sales, organizations would cease to operate. We need to make marketing relevant, engaging and sales-focused.



*Key Facts: Presented at 2016 MarketingTech Smart Conference


Matt Bailey has taught Google employees how to use Google Analytics. He has shown Experian how to present data. And he has led workshops in digital marketing at Disney/ABC/ESPN, HP, P&G and IBM, to name a few.


A recognized digital marketing expert, Matt is an instructor for the Direct Marketing Assn., Market Motive, and the Online Marketing Certified Professional program. He is also founder and president of SiteCore, a marketing consultancy, and he has published three books.


The Direct Marketing Association said of him, “No one else has approached the plain-English demystification of building an effective online presence as cost-effectively and time-effectively as has Matt.”


Twitter: @sitelogic


About the Author: Nick Rich is an Enterprise Architect and Thought Leader on web, social, and mobile based technologies. Nick currently consults and advises clients on content, collaboration, communication technology, and how to foster corporate adoption.

Re-Shaping Your Customer’s Experience through Mobile – What’s Now & Next

It’s been nearly ten years since the iPhone debuted, and the opportunities to service, sell and create loyalty with your customers is now greater than it’s ever been before.  New iphone8 trends that are driving consumer mobile behavior now should be used as a filter for re-looking at your customer’s journey with your category and brand.  But the consumer mobile experienice is rapidly heading towards even more sophistication, and the challenges & opportunities that come with that powerful evolution will equally demand marketers to step up their game in order to remain relevant.
Without question, mobile is now the epicenter of digital life – people spend more time on their devices than any other channel, now eclipsing the desktop as primary access point.  The increase in time spent brings with it serious productivity expectations that are raising the bar for mobile experiences.
E-mail is mostly read on mobile devices – making subject lines, preview text, landing pages even more critical to get contextually right.  As you can see from some recent stats by Google – patience is thin, almost a third of folks will bail if you don’t provide a good mobile experience.  The rewards are worth it for those that get it right – with nearly two-thirds likely to buy more for smart contextualized experiences.
Another aspect to keep in mind is the domination of video consumption on mobile devices.
Half of YouTube’s viewership now takes place on mobile devices.  Interestingly, good weather spikes the amount of mobile video content consumption – 6x more according to Ericson’s 2016 Mobility report.  It’s not just short-form formats that garner interest – people are also willing to look at videos that are +5 min in length if it’s compelling, relevant and provided in the optimized vertical format.  Plus live streaming is becoming more popular and pervasive.


But, are we recognizing our customer’s mobile moments and meeting them there?  Not just in the obvious ways, but the less obvious ones as well?
Consumers are depending on their mobile to help them get more things done in any available spare moment according to a 2015 study by Pew Internet on mobile phone use in public.
You may be waiting to go through the security line at the airport or waiting for a flight to board – in those minutes realize that you need to get my bills paid – RIGHT NOW.  Sound familiar?  Mobile online banking has completely changed mine and many others productivity in exactly this manner.  Thanks to mobile, consumers are starting to interact with your brand in the less than typical places.
For those in the travel industry, we’re digging deeper into the traveler’s journey to identify and meet more of those mobile moments as seen here in this “Mobile Moments in Travel –Customer Journey Map”.




Starting with the “Dream” phase of inspiration triggers that come from social media and other sources – you might have ten minute on your morning commute to check out destination videos, message with your network on where to go for your weekend getaway or do quick flight, hotel search comparisons and see reviews.
Bookings are shifting from desktop to phones/tablets as consumers become more reliant and trust their mobile devices to handle everything from sharing an itinerary with one’s social network to working on pre-trip plans incrementally through messaging platforms.
Mobile is tailor made for travel in that it is the primary device travelers now depend on to learn, navigate and solve their needs across the entire travel customer experience journey.  Airlines and hotels are operationalizing through mobile – with things such as check-in, boarding pass, room key, upgrades and other guest service requests.
Besides the mobile responsive design and other basics, the travel industry is also going deeper to create unique mobile value in other areas:
Mobile Only Incentives – Orbitz was an early leader with their bonus incentives for booking exclusively in their mobile app;
We at Amadeus are curating relevant partner content for up-selling and cross-selling, and airlines like American, JetBlue, United and others are weaving more utility in their apps – Dynamic Terminal Maps that recommend dining options and help you navigate based on your gate location; JetBlue shows upgrade status and onboard flight entertainment content options.
But, like other industries – we have our work cut out for us in the travel industry in moving into the next phase of mobilizing the traveller’s experience, as you can see from recent stats depicting traveller frustrations that need to be addressed through mobile contained in the Slideshare presentation below.
Whether it’s simple flight delay notifications or more demanding complexity of re-booking during disruptions – these must be delivered with high-quality AT SCALE.  Remember the Ash iCloud from a few years ago, or more recent system outages by various airlines?  Human systems (call centers, websites and social media) couldn’t keep up with the overwhelming service demand, so we must turn to more automated and sophisticated mobile technology to address these growing demands.
Similarly, every industry can look at their customer’s journey map to identify, their mobile moments – from the basics to the exceptions and the sticky value creators that build long-term loyalty.  Some illustrative examples for the Insurance industry based on things the travel industry has adopted or is now actively exploring:


  • Health – encourage shoppers to share their daily steps and/or preventative check-ups with insurers for pricing incentives, curate providers that can improve their health levels
  • Home – take a page straight out of the travel playbook –parse itinerary confirmation e-mails and capture receipts for easy expense reporting – perhaps do the same to create property inventories for easier loss reporting later, same with disaster prevention checklists
  • Auto – bring real-time traffic and weather pattern together to help drivers avoid flood zones and other high accident prevalent areas
  • Life – use Facebook Check-In notifications to notify agents and other loved ones in disasters; calculators that ease scenario planning and tap into geofencing to keep an eye on special loved ones like children and the elderly.
    But the biggest challenge to marketers yet is speed – the world of mobile continues to rapidly evolve.  First, we’ll see smaller wearable devices like watches take off as people become more accustomed to micro experiences with high service value impact.  Images and video get a big definition quality boost from improved camera features, which will continue to push expectations for mind-blowing content.


But what’s really about to change the mobile game is the rise of Messenger Platforms and the emergence of Chatbots.


Facebook Messenger and its equivalents are rapidly topping the most popular apps and time spent thresholds.  Now, robotic chat entities are being developed to interact with consumers across shopping and customer service needs at scale.
Facebook Messenger recently opened up their API and within 2 months’ time, claiming 11K chatbots have been created by developers for a variety of brands, such as Sephora.  In travel, bots are exploding and KLM has led the way in exploring this next digital customer experience frontier.
For these reasons – I believe that mobile is now a much more complex channel – requiring us as marketers to think in a multi-dimensional way along a 24/7 social, micro-data visual and increasingly sentient environment.
As our industry moves up the innovation curve, there are challenges as well as opportunities we face as marketers.  Here are a couple that I think are important for marketers to chew on:

  1. Digital Brand Ambassadorship – first- we’re in the early days of bots…and they just like us have a learning curve.  IBM, Microsoft and others are working on their NLP capabilities but it will take a while for the machine learning to do its work.  Likewise, limited product / service options and incomplete check-out processes will need to be addressed for wider adoption. On the upside, this also presents an opportunity to turn Chatbots into true “digital brand ambassadors” – Rosie is my archetype – efficient, but her personality and caretaking of me is what will count in the end.  This is a two-way play – (1) Consumer to feel like their real-life agent has a virtual assistant to interact with and (2) Agent gets reciprocal benefit from having a virtual assistant to optimize their time and follow-up.
  2. Nomadic Branding – this new mobilized experience will also continue to push brands off of their “home turf” and into other platforms.  Essential to understand how your brand will need to translate into these micro-environments and not become a commodity / overshadowed by the platform brand.  On the flip side, entering into more distributed mobile platforms like messenger opens up even greater opportunities for brands to tap into an always on Focus Group audience.  Whether that’s getting location-based engagement patterns (moments where your brand is consumed), assessing category/brand sentiment based on messaging sentiment, emoticons or wearable sensors, being able to use images, video and live stream to solve frustrations (e.g. how to hurricane proof house or show effects during eye of storm) and further segment offers and trial them based on mobile behaviors and data.


As 21st century marketers, we’ve got a daunting, yet exciting task ahead.  Here are some starting points to help tackle the mobile customer experience evolution:

  1. Go through your customer’s experience with a purely mobile lens – try to do basic as well as the exception case tasks with your mobile web and app and see if it passes the test.  Go after quick win gaps and build your list of longer-term sticky value-adds that you can test.
  2. Start exploring the Messenger world – talk to your agents and other field representatives about what basics could be “messengerized” now and later – create a roadmap.
  3. Lastly, work with your creative teams to build a nomadic brand architecture – visual, text, audio presentation across your mobile footprint and continue to re-assess and update it.

It’s an exciting time to be in marketing.  I’d love to hear from anyone who is testing and learning with messenger platforms and chatbots – please reach out to me via @iMediaMichelle on Twitter.

Full slide presentation accompanying the above post also available on Slideshare:



Article originally posted by Michelle Batten on 


logo_MarketingTech Smart

Lessons from 4 marketing technology experts

We hand-picked a series of four articles on marketing technology and mobile marketing, by four leaders in their field. These are the same marketing experts—Scott Brinker, Jack Philbin, Matt Bailey and Steve Susina—who will be speaking in Chicago on Friday, Oct. 21 at the half-day MarketingTech Smart 2016 conference.

If you like what they have to say, then save your spot right now to hear them live and in-person, only in Chicago!

Odds are your marketing stack is way bigger than you think it is

By Scott Brinker


As a rule of thumb, people wildly underestimate the number of marketing technologies they have deployed in their organization — sometimes by a factor of 2X, sometimes by a factor of 10X or more. “We use 2-3 marketing technologies,” they might answer in a survey, when in truth, they use more like 20-30 products from the marketing technology landscape. It’s completely understandable, of course, as marketing technologies are not weighted equally.

Read the full article

Scott’s topic at MarketingTech Smart: Hacking Marketing: The Amazing Convergence of Marketing & Software 

The massive opportunity for mobile wallets

An interview with Jack Philbin

Jack provides some compelling reasons why we’re seeing a resurgence of consumer interest in using mobile wallets, and he shares some examples of large enterprises that are seeing strong ROI via mobile wallet offers.

Read the full article

Jack’s topic at MarketingTech Smart: Mobile Wallet Marketing: How Retailers Like Chipotle Are Succeeding In This Emerging Channel

Shiny things: What distracts you?

Matt Bailey’s Endless coffee cup podcast


Headlines dominate the early part of this podcast, which begins with a study revealing that the majority of Fortune 500 marketers are looking for the next “silver bullet” market-shifting technology. What is is that attracts us to the silver bullet mentality? Do we truly believe there is only a single “magic” thing that will radically grow our business?

Listen to the podcast

Matt’s topic at MarketingTech Smart: Six steps to marketing automation

Retail innovations that drive omnichannel commerce

By Steve Susina

Retail has been through a rough stretch. As we entered 2016, each day seemingly brought new announcements of physical store closings, poor retail performance, and even bankruptcies. … To help drive your 2016 planning, and satisfy consumers’ appetite for technology, there are four types of retail technology innovations you should pay attention to.

Read the full article

Steve’s topic at MarketingTech Smart: Marketing automation in today’s digital landscape

Learn from the masters, Oct. 21 at MarketingTech Smart 2016 in Chicago.

Reserve your seat today!

Three Social Media Tips for Building Your Network

By Wendy Lalli

Building a strong professional network is essential for every career. There are, of course, many ways to develop this essential career tool. Joining and actively participating in organizations like the Chicago AMA is one thing you can do. You can also go to business events and socialize with colleagues, vendors and even competitors out of the office.  Of course, you should do all of the above but social media provides you with another way to deepen the contacts you make face-to-face and connect with people you may never meet in person.

LinkedIn is the gold standard for professional networking.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are all useful networking venues but none of these channels has the reach or the power of LinkedIn. The fact is, having a fully functioning LinkedIn profile is as important as having an up-to-date resume. Moreover, when you meet new people at networking events, asking them to link in with you is the easiest and most effective way to connect with them immediately and in the future.

To take full advantage of LinkedIn, fill in all the sections of your profile and include a professional looking photo. Then make your profile as public as possible. Add updates to your profile several times a week including networking events, educational events, blogs posted, etc. Join appropriate LinkedIn groups and comment on discussions within these groups. Even better, initiate discussions of your own. Blog for Pulse on topics of general interest or personal insights and experiences that can help others with their careers. Post links to articles on your update section that will reflect your expertise in your industry and your willingness to share your knowledge.  LinkedIn isn’t about connecting with old school chums and family members but adding weight to your professional presence online.

Here are three tips to keep in mind to help achieve that goal:

  1. Networking is a numbers game. Play it to win. The more people you can connect with who are in your industry or in industries related to yours – the better. However, this is NOT the same as just adding more names to your LinkedIn contact list. For example, if you’re a copywriter, adding plumbers, waiters and insurance reps to your professional network probably won’t help you find a new job or learn more about the latest trends in your industry. On the other hand, connecting with art directors, media specialists, account executives and other writers will help you do all of the above.
  1. Help others to help yourself. The real secret to building a business network is proactively helping others whether or not you immediately get something back in return.  This assistance can take many forms. Telling someone about a job, passing on the contact information of an appropriate hiring manager, advising someone on their resume, writing a blog to share what you know or just giving moral support to a job hunter when they didn’t get the job.  If you have a solid social media presence, these interactions can take place even with people you’ve never met who live thousands of miles away!  Here are two examples of how to network via social media:

Example 1: One night about six years ago, I opened up my LinkedIn account to find an invitation from Henry B. I had never met Henry – he lives in Los Angeles and I’m in Chicago. When I looked at his LinkedIn profile, I discovered that, like me, he blogged frequently for Pulse. (In fact, I think that’s how he found me.) It turned out that Henry had held senior leadership positions at some of the biggest ad agencies in the country and now was a consultant to major corporations on new business development. I was extremely flattered that someone at his level of experience would be interested in connecting with me and accepted his invitation as soon as I could. A few months later Henry sent me a message via LinkedIn that Sally, his college-age daughter was coming to Chicago to start a career in marketing. Knowing from my profile that I taught copywriting at Columbia College and had previously been a recruiter, he asked if I would be willing to advise her about her resume and then pass it on to my contacts in the city.

After an email exchange with Sally, I suggested some changes to her resume and then gave her the names and contact information of about 15 recruiters in town. I also alerted these recruiters that she would be in touch with them shortly. A few weeks later I was pleasantly surprised to receive a check for $100 from one of these agencies as a finder’s fee. It seems that Henry’s daughter was a dynamite candidate and the recruiter had been able to place her immediately in a full time job.

Since then, Henry has coached me at various times via email on creating new business proposals and he also sent me a DVD of one of his speeches. (He’s a well-known motivational speaker on business presentations and networking for corporations and universities.) Although we’ve still never met or even talked on the phone, I am very proud to be connected to Henry and I think he feels the same way about me.

Example 2: A year and a half ago I posted a blog on Pulse offering advice on networking and Victor D., a project manager at Dell, wrote a nice comment about it. Checking out his LinkedIn profile before I responded to his comment, I saw that he worked in Austin, Texas. At that time, I was considering relocating to Austin if I found a suitable position. In thanking him for his kind remarks, I mentioned that I was considering relocating to Austin myself.

Within a few days, Victor sent me several job descriptions from his company’s internal job board along with the names and direct phone numbers of the department managers responsible for filling these positions. Of course, I thanked him for his efforts on my behalf but since the jobs were above my level of experience, I was reluctant to send off a resume. Victor responded to my reluctance by sending me two more job descriptions a little lower on the food chain that had not yet been posted publicly. As it turned out, due to family considerations I decided that relocation was just not an option. But if it had been, I’m sure Victor would have helped make it happen! It goes without saying that if Victor wants my help in the future, he’s got it!

  1. Stay in touch to get ahead. Networking, like any activity involving personal interaction, takes work and constant attention. To stay connected to your contacts you need to know where they are and what they’re doing, and then let them know the same about you. Fortunately, LinkedIn makes this relatively easy even if your contact list, like mine, is over 700 people. If someone is having an anniversary, congratulate them on it. If they’ve been promoted, send them a little LinkedIn message acknowledging their achievement. If someone endorses you, thank them for their recognition of your skill sets. Keep these messages short, cheerful and to the point, but send them as often as you can.

Is there someone you haven’t connected with for a while who you’d like to be closer to? Post a recommendation for them on LinkedIn based on your previous experience with them. Hopefully, they’ll return the favor and write a recommendation for you. But even if they don’t, you’ll have reminded them of your work together and why you’re worth staying in touch with.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful. Remember, networking is always about giving whatever and wherever and to whomever you can. Concern for others allows you to build bridges – making the world a smaller and much friendlier place.

Using Google Analytics in a Few Clicks

On March 22nd, Chicago AMA members and guests gathered at 1871 to hear from Google Analytics expert, Andy Crestodina. In addition to being the Co-Founder and Strategic Director at Orbit Media, he also serves as a mentor at 1871, an Adjunct Professor at Loyola; and was named in the “Top 10 Online Experts I’m Following in 2015” by Forbes Magazine. The night’s topic was “Applied Google Analytics: Insights and Actions,” a presentation that he will be giving as a keynote speaker at an upcoming conference–and we were lucky enough to hear it first!

A well-seasoned speaker, Crestodina breezed through his slides with the ease of a professor teaching his most passionate subject. In fact, he joked that if his soon-to-be-born child could learn one thing, he hoped it would be Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). His over-arching statement is this: Traffic times your Conversion Rate is what will equal success for your website.

Let’s take a look at how he illustrated this throughout the evening. The broad topics covered were:

  • Reporting vs. Analysis: How most marketers get Analytics wrong
  • Turning ideas into questions
  • Analytics Insights
  • Audience Insights: WHO is visiting?
  • Acquisition Insights: WHERE are they coming from?
  • Behavior Insights: WHAT are they doing here?
  • Conversion Insights: WHICH pieces of content are successful?

Before diving into the tips and tricks of Google Analytics, Crestodina ensured that the group was on the same playing field by quizzing the audience on the difference between data (pages of reports) and analytics (words written about those reports).

Analytics are KEY to your business, and he likened them to being the driving wheel of your company–you wouldn’t just hand that over to anyone, would you? He encouraged each of us to take the driver’s wheel and learn to run these reports, perform the analytics and cautioned against outsourcing the analytics 100% to an outside firm.

Additionally, once you have the analytics in front of you, he encouraged the asking of questions, putting the answers into actionable tasks and performing a series of tests to ensure the path taken was helpful, fruitful and profitable to your company.

The reports sections included and discussed in his presentation were: Audience, Aquisition, Behavior and Conversion. These four sections of Google Analytics contain reports that can unlock the mystery of who is visiting your website, where they are coming from, what they are doing once they are there, and which content is getting them to stay. Let’s take a look at a small sample of the reports discussed.

Audience & Acquisition – Mobile vs Not

Within three clicks in Google Analytics, you can discover what percentage of your website traffic is fed from mobile devices. That’s interesting. Take it a step further. Combine Traffic data with a CRO analysis and you can find out if your mobile audience is less or more engaged than your non-mobile audience. Now you have somewhere to start, questions to ask and answers to test.

Behavior – “The Report of Broken Dreams”

Again, with just a few clicks within Google Analytics, you can see the terms that users searched for and then the amount of people that left your website because they couldn’t find what they were searching for. The insight? Write about that topic! Crestodina says to think about your website as if it were a city.  Put your “Billboards” where your “Traffic” is. Know your most popular road (or paths, on your site) and load it up with your best and most searched for content.

Towards the end of his presentation, Crestodina quoted Barry Feldman: “Your website is a mouse trap, your content is the cheese.” He asked the audience: “Are you writing content that your audience desires?” And added, “Strong websites have a conversion rate of 1-3%. Below that, you aren’t going to make any money; over that, you’re going to be a millionaire.”

The message was clear: Traffic times Conversion Rate equals success. Crestodina provided clear steps on how to run a good set of reports that any business owner can start with to help he or she analyze why a piece or a side of that formula is not working for his or her business. The presentation ended a joyful applause and a few whispers of “I wish I could go work on these reports right NOW!”

About the Author

Ms. Ramsey is the owner of Besty Bash, LLC, a creative social media & digital marketing firm in Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys listening to live music and chatting about it on her blog,

Twitter: @TweetsByBetsy / @LaurenIgnited