Tag Archives: Marketing

Increase Sales and Customer Engagement with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing

CRM Blog Increase Sales and Customer Engagement with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing

It has been a long time coming, but Microsoft’s marketing automation solution, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing, is now available, providing organizations with all the tools they need to automate campaigns, obtain better customer insights, and help drive their sales team.

Built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement platform (previously known as Microsoft Dynamics CRM), Dynamics 365 for Marketing leverages its intuitive, familiar interface to make it easier than ever to manage your marketing activities, increase customer engagement and facilitate the handoff to the sales team. As such, it allows users to:

  • Obtain a true 360° view of customers and prospects. Access all information regarding contacts, leads and customers to ensure that you have everything on hand to tailor your marketing campaigns and activities to their needs and better track them throughout the sales cycle.
  • Nurture leads with automated campaigns. Create campaigns, emails and landing pages with a simple, intuitive interface to attract potential customers. You can configure and personalize templates, manage events, and create online forms to gather data and keep leads engaged throughout the entire sales cycle.
  • Obtain better customer insights for better decisions. Create online forms and store the information to better identify customer interests and market trends, and to generate scores based on your own specific criteria. When a lead is hot, the handoff to the sales team can be done seamlessly and at the right time during the sales cycle.

Moreover, since the Dynamics 365 for Marketing solution is built on Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement, it provides the same adaptability and flexibility that this platform has come to be known for, ensuring that you can adapt to market trends and stay on top of technological developments to always reach customers through the appropriate channels.

This allows you to connect with them whenever, wherever, retaining their engagement to increase your chances of closing sales and providing the outstanding, personalized service that today’s customers have come to expect. For more information, read our article 5 Steps to Starting a Marketing Automation Practice Within Your Organization to nurture your leads in the long term.

By JOVACO Solutions, Microsoft Dynamics 365 marketing specialist in Quebec

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

GET READY, GET SET, GET MARKETING WITH DYNAMICS 365 FOR MARKETING WEBINAR!

CRM Blog GET READY, GET SET, GET MARKETING WITH DYNAMICS 365 FOR MARKETING WEBINAR!

GET READY, GET SET, GET MARKETING WITH DYNAMICS 365 FOR MARKETING!

Have you heard the buzz that Microsoft has launched a new marketing application, Dynamics 365 for Marketing?! The target market for this solution is small to medium-sized organizations who require an end to end marketing solution. Join us for this session which will serve as an introduction to one of the newest Microsoft product offerings.

• Dynamics 365 Out-of-the-Box Marketing vs Dynamics 365 for Marketing
• What comes with Dynamics 365 for Marketing
• Navigating the Application
• Standout Elements of the Application


Date: Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Time: 11:00AM EST – 11:30AM EST

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE WEBINAR TODAY!

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions, an initial comparison. Microsoft has released their Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing module, this article is an initial review of the module and high-level comparison to ClickDimensions (the other mainstream marketing automation option for Dynamics 365).

Availability – There are a few different subscription options for the Marketing module. Let’s first compare the pricing models between Dynamics Marketing and ClickDimensions.

Dynamics Marketing is priced based on the number of contacts. There has been a lot of um let’s say feedback on this model. As a partner we work with many Dynamics 365 clients, we see even small businesses that have lots of leads/contacts in their Dynamics database. Often times there is a large number of leads/contacts that will never be marketed to, under Microsoft’s pricing model you are paying for these leads/contacts even if you don’t market to them. The upside to Microsoft’s pricing is that there are no upcharges for functionality, you get all the goodies with any subscription level.

ClickDimensions has two pricing/subscription levels, Basic and Advanced/Business, different levels of functionality. Also, the levels include certain numbers of email sends, Basic includes 50,000/year and 200,000 with Advanced/Business. An email send is each copy of an email you send, for example, if you have the contact Bob Smith in your database and you send 4 different email campaigns that include Bob that is 4 email sends. Basic is priced at $ 499/month, Advanced/Business is $ 699 per month. You can purchase additional email sends ($ 100 for 100,000, $ 200 for 200,000 etc.)

The Advanced/Business subscription level adds functionality – Automation, Landing Pages, Lead/Contact Scoring, Event Management, Surveys and Subscription Management. For a fair comparison with Dynamics Marketing you should use the ClickDimensions Advanced/Business subscription level.

ClickDimensions also offers Social Engagement that is an add-on, $ 250/month for Basic and $ 600/month for Business. Microsoft includes their Social Engagement tool in the base price of Dynamics Marketing. The Social components of each solution are different so look at each closely to determine which solution meets your Social needs.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Pricing/Packaging

Standalone – The Marketing module is offered as a standalone option. This is a differentiator, ClickDimensions is only available as an add-on to Dynamics 365. The standalone marketing module also includes Microsoft Social Engagement, Voice of the Customer for Microsoft Dynamics 365, 1 Portal, Non-Production/Production Instance, and Storage. Pricing is $ 1500 for the base package with 10,000 contacts. You can add more contacts for $ 250/month for 5000 contacts.

“Attach” Plan – If you already have Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement plan licenses you can attach Dynamics Marketing to your subscription for $ 750/month, 2000 contacts included. Additional contacts cost $ 600 for 1st 8000, then $ 250 for each additional 5000. If you already have Dynamics 365 application licenses (like Sales Enterprise vs the full Customer Engagement Plan licensing) you can attach Marketing for $ 750/month, includes 10,000 contacts and $ 250/month for each additional 5000 contacts.

If you license the Marketing module standalone you get Microsoft Social Engagement, Voice of the Customer for Microsoft Dynamics 365, 1 Portal, Non-Production/Production Instance, and Storage. If you are a Customer Engagement Plan customer you get portals, Social Engagement with your Customer Engagement subscription. If you have the Sales app. licenses you don’t get Social or Voice of the Customer, they can be added on to your subscription.

Dynamics Marketing limits the number of emails you can send monthly, 10 times the number of contacts in your database each month. You can also have up to 100 active customer journeys.

To truly compare pricing you will need to know the number of leads/contacts in your database and the number of emails you plan to send annually.

Confused? We can help you determine the proper solution and subscription level.

Functional Differences

ClickDimensions leverages standard Dynamics 365 functionality (Marketing Lists for example). ClickDimensions looks and feels like any other area of Dynamics 365.

Dynamics 365 Marketing is deployed in the new Unified Client (if you try to access the functionality via the standard browser interface you will be confused as all the functionality is not there(at least not that we could see). There is no clear instruction on this, to access the Marketing functionality log into your portal – login.microsoftonline.com, click on Dynamics 365, then find the tile for Marketing, this will get you to the unified client.

MDM Capabilities 625x327 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Capabilities

ClickDimensions Capabilities 625x555 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions

ClickDimensions Capabilities

I have used Microsoft CRM/Dynamics 365 for over 14 years, the Marketing module is different. Yes, it looks very new and fresh but that comes with a learning curve. When I first logged into the Marketing tool I could not easily perform simple tasks (like building a segment, more on that later). I had to revert to the documentation.

Things are different and the standard Dynamics 365 entities are not used in some areas. For example, Marketing Lists. If you have put a lot of time and effort into building Marketing Lists and try to use them in Dynamics Marketing you will likely be upset as you cannot use them unless they are set as a “subscription list” (not that we could see anyway). Here comes the new “fresh” functionality… lists in Dynamics Marketing are called Segments. Ok, no problem I go over to the Segments. You would think that Segments are built using Advanced Find right? Nope… whole new system for querying and adding Leads/Contacts to a segment. Again if you spent a lot of time and effort building Advanced Find queries you cannot use them (again not that we could find). Going to a Segment and then clicking on Definition will let you build a segment:

MDM Segment Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions

Dynamics Marketing Segment

You can build your query one of 3 ways, Designer (point and click), Flow or Query. I cannot understand why the standard entities like Marketing Lists and Advanced finds are not used. Now users need to learn multiple ways of querying.

ALSO – I found the Marketing module not to work with Microsoft Edge…. I had to open it in Google Chrome.

You cannot just pull together a list and send an email, you must build a Journey even for one-off emails. The Journey functionality is nice and I think will ultimately prove to be a good tool. ClickDimensions has very similar functionality in their campaign automation (very similar UI for building Journeys/campaign automation).

MDM Journey Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing Journey

Pages, Forms and Websites are pretty nice in Dynamics 365 Marketing. Very visual and drag/drop based editing. LinkedIn lead generation is also built-in allowing you to create forms on LinkedIn to collect leads. There are some advantages in these areas over ClickDimensions in our opinion.

Reporting in Dynamics Marketing is good with some builtin dashboards. There is a PowerBI content pack also available however we could not get it to connect to our Dynamics Marketing instance. ClickDimensions also has builtin dashboards available as well as a PowerBI content pack, builtin views.

MDM Dashboard Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing vs ClickDimensions

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Dashboard

All-in-all we are impressed with the Microsoft Marketing offering, especially for a V1 release. I like that it is available as a standalone application for businesses that are not ready for full CRM or just need a marketing application. I am not thrilled about the pricing model (based on leads/contacts), that will limit sales in a lot of accounts who are smaller but with large databases.

I admit I am biased having used ClickDimensions for a lot of years. I try not to let that sway my opinions. I am a Microsoft and Dynamics 365 evangelist, I love what Microsoft is doing with the Dynamics 365 platform but our job and first loyalty is to our clients and to help guide them to the best solution for their needs/requirements. From where I sit today we will need to spend more time with the new Marketing module and will be writing additional reviews on the solution.

If you would like guidance on selecting the best marketing automation platform for your business, a demo of Dynamics Marketing or ClickDimensions please reach out to us – 844.8.STRAVA (844.8.7282) or email me at [email protected]

About the Author: David Buggy is a veteran of the CRM industry with 18 years of experience helping businesses transform by leveraging Customer Relationship Management technology. He has over 14 years experience with Microsoft CRM and has helped hundreds of businesses plan, implement and support CRM initiatives. In 2017 he founded Strava Technology Group, a firm that is focused on helping businesses achieve success with Microsoft CRM and Dynamics 365. To reach David connect with him on LinkedIn. To learn more about Strava Technology Group visit www.stravatechgroup.com

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Demandbase Debuts ABM Analytics for Optimal Marketing Performance

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Demandbase officially announced ABM Analytics during its annual ABM Innovation Summit. The new tech, part of the company’s account-based marketing platform, leverages its account identification technology to help marketers analyze performance from advertising to pipeline and revenue figures. “AI gives B2B marketers a clear view into the behavior of their target accounts,” said CMO Peter Isaacson.
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How to automate ALL your sales & marketing reports – No more digging through data!

If there’s one thing that’s critical for modern sales and marketing professionals, it’s data. Not just for everyday decision making, but for upper management, as well.

After all, it’s not easy to secure a sufficient marketing budget if you have trouble piecing together the numbers to back it up.

Anyone who works in the field can tell you about the challenges of not just fully utilizing different types of data, but getting it into the hands of the right audiences. And while CRM systems come loaded with sales and marketing reporting capabilities, they often lack the flexibility to design, interact with and distribute them the way a dedicated solution can.

Now, imagine a scenario where, instead of routinely pulling together reports from CRM, social media, your website, etc., you’re able to have that information always up-to-date, structured and displayed on a highly customizable dashboard. Imagine that dashboard being accessible, whenever, wherever and to whomever needs to see it.

That’s the scenario with Microsoft Power BI.

Leader in Business Intelligence for 11 years running

Gartner has rated Microsoft a leader in self-service analytics for 11 years running and ranks top place for “Completeness of Vision”. Putting rich, interactive insights in the hands of everyday users, Power BI makes it easy to integrate data from nearly any source into a single solution and keep that data up-to-date with persistent refreshes.

Connect ALL your data sources

The modern marketing war is fought on many battlefields – websites, social media, search engines, email and beyond. By providing this data all in one place, and always refreshed, you can stop hopping between different applications and platforms to build reports, and start viewing your data on-demand.

Design interactive, all-in-one dashboards with ease

Power BI enables you to present data in ways your CRM can’t. Beyond any chart or graph format, Power BI provides interactive and engaging data visualizations. You can even animate your data over timelines, such as month-over-month, and other data ranges.

Visualize your data anywhere, on any glass

Power BI Mobile enables you to access all your data virtually anywhere, anytime, keeping you in the loop no matter where your job takes you.

If you’re interested in Power BI, but not sure how to present it to your boss, download this free guide from Microsoft.

By Turnkey Technologies, Inc. – Microsoft Dynamics Gold Partner for CRM, ERP and Application Integration, based in St. Louis, Missouri.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Best Practices To Guide Your Journey To Modern Marketing

For nerds, the weeks right before finals are a Cinderella moment. Suddenly they’re stars. Pocket protectors are fashionable; people find their jokes a whole lot funnier; Dungeons & Dragons sounds cool.

Many CIOs are enjoying this kind of moment now, as companies everywhere face the business equivalent of a final exam for a vital class they have managed to mostly avoid so far: digital transformation.

But as always, there is a limit to nerdy magic. No matter how helpful CIOs try to be, their classmates still won’t pass if they don’t learn the material. With IT increasingly central to every business—from the customer experience to the offering to the business model itself—we all need to start thinking like CIOs.

Pass the digital transformation exam, and you probably have a bright future ahead. A recent SAP-Oxford Economics study of 3,100 organizations in a variety of industries across 17 countries found that the companies that have taken the lead in digital transformation earn higher profits and revenues and have more competitive differentiation than their peers. They also expect 23% more revenue growth from their digital initiatives over the next two years—an estimate 2.5 to 4 times larger than the average company’s.

But the market is grading on a steep curve: this same SAP-Oxford study found that only 3% have completed some degree of digital transformation across their organization. Other surveys also suggest that most companies won’t be graduating anytime soon: in one recent survey of 450 heads of digital transformation for enterprises in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany by technology company Couchbase, 90% agreed that most digital projects fail to meet expectations and deliver only incremental improvements. Worse: over half (54%) believe that organizations that don’t succeed with their transformation project will fail or be absorbed by a savvier competitor within four years.

Companies that are making the grade understand that unlike earlier technical advances, digital transformation doesn’t just support the business, it’s the future of the business. That’s why 60% of digital leading companies have entrusted the leadership of their transformation to their CIO, and that’s why experts say businesspeople must do more than have a vague understanding of the technology. They must also master a way of thinking and looking at business challenges that is unfamiliar to most people outside the IT department.

In other words, if you don’t think like a CIO yet, now is a very good time to learn.

However, given that you probably don’t have a spare 15 years to learn what your CIO knows, we asked the experts what makes CIO thinking distinctive. Here are the top eight mind hacks.

1. Think in Systems

Q118 Feature3 img1 Jump Best Practices To Guide Your Journey To Modern MarketingA lot of businesspeople are used to seeing their organization as a series of loosely joined silos. But in the world of digital business, everything is part of a larger system.

CIOs have known for a long time that smart processes win. Whether they were installing enterprise resource planning systems or working with the business to imagine the customer’s journey, they always had to think in holistic ways that crossed traditional departmental, functional, and operational boundaries.

Unlike other business leaders, CIOs spend their careers looking across systems. Why did our supply chain go down? How can we support this new business initiative beyond a single department or function? Now supported by end-to-end process methodologies such as design thinking, good CIOs have developed a way of looking at the company that can lead to radical simplifications that can reduce cost and improve performance at the same time.

They are also used to thinking beyond temporal boundaries. “This idea that the power of technology doubles every two years means that as you’re planning ahead you can’t think in terms of a linear process, you have to think in terms of huge jumps,” says Jay Ferro, CIO of TransPerfect, a New York–based global translation firm.

No wonder the SAP-Oxford transformation study found that one of the values transformational leaders shared was a tendency to look beyond silos and view the digital transformation as a company-wide initiative.

This will come in handy because in digital transformation, not only do business processes evolve but the company’s entire value proposition changes, says Jeanne Ross, principal research scientist at the Center for Information Systems Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “It either already has or it’s going to, because digital technologies make things possible that weren’t possible before,” she explains.

2. Work in Diverse Teams

When it comes to large projects, CIOs have always needed input from a diverse collection of businesspeople to be successful. The best have developed ways to convince and cajole reluctant participants to come to the table. They seek out technology enthusiasts in the business and those who are respected by their peers to help build passion and commitment among the halfhearted.

Digital transformation amps up the urgency for building diverse teams even further. “A small, focused group simply won’t have the same breadth of perspective as a team that includes a salesperson and a service person and a development person, as well as an IT person,” says Ross.

At Lenovo, the global technology giant, many of these cross-functional teams become so used to working together that it’s hard to tell where each member originally belonged: “You can’t tell who is business or IT; you can’t tell who is product, IT, or design,” says the company’s CIO, Arthur Hu.

One interesting corollary of this trend toward broader teamwork is that talent is a priority among digital leaders: they spend more on training their employees and partners than ordinary companies, as well as on hiring the people they need, according to the SAP-Oxford Economics survey. They’re also already being rewarded for their faith in their teams: 71% of leaders say that their successful digital transformation has made it easier for them to attract and retain talent, and 64% say that their employees are now more engaged than they were before the transformation.

3. Become a Consultant

Good CIOs have long needed to be internal consultants to the business. Ever since technology moved out of the glasshouse and onto employees’ desks, CIOs have not only needed a deep understanding of the goals of a given project but also to make sure that the project didn’t stray from those goals, even after the businesspeople who had ordered the project went back to their day jobs. “Businesspeople didn’t really need to get into the details of what IT was really doing,” recalls Ferro. “They just had a set of demands and said, ‘Hey, IT, go do that.’”

But that was then. Now software has become so integral to the business that nobody can afford to walk away. Businesspeople must join the ranks of the IT consultants. “If you’re building a house, you don’t just disappear for six months and come back and go, ‘Oh, it looks pretty good,’” says Ferro. “You’re on that work site constantly and all of a sudden you’re looking at something, going, ‘Well, that looked really good on the blueprint, not sure it makes sense in reality. Let’s move that over six feet.’ Or, ‘I don’t know if I like that anymore.’ It’s really not much different in application development or for IT or technical projects, where on paper it looked really good and three weeks in, in that second sprint, you’re going, ‘Oh, now that I look at it, that’s really stupid.’”

4. Learn Horizontal Leadership

CIOs have always needed the ability to educate and influence other leaders that they don’t directly control. For major IT projects to be successful, they need other leaders to contribute budget, time, and resources from multiple areas of the business.

It’s a kind of horizontal leadership that will become critical for businesspeople to acquire in digital transformation. “The leadership role becomes one much more of coaching others across the organization—encouraging people to be creative, making sure everybody knows how to use data well,” Ross says.

In this team-based environment, having all the answers becomes less important. “It used to be that the best business executives and leaders had the best answers. Today that is no longer the case,” observes Gary Cokins, a technology consultant who focuses on analytics-based performance management. “Increasingly, it’s the executives and leaders who ask the best questions. There is too much volatility and uncertainty for them to rely on their intuition or past experiences.”

Many experts expect this trend to continue as the confluence of automation and data keeps chipping away at the organizational pyramid. “Hierarchical, command-and-control leadership will become obsolete,” says Edward Hess, professor of business administration and Batten executive-in-residence at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. “Flatter, distributive leadership via teams will become the dominant structure.”

Q118 Feature3 img3 rock Best Practices To Guide Your Journey To Modern Marketing5. Understand Process Design

When business processes were simpler, IT could analyze the process and improve it without input from the business. But today many processes are triggered on the fly by the customer, making a seamless customer experience more difficult to build without the benefit of a larger, multifunctional team. In a highly digitalized organization like Amazon, which releases thousands of new software programs each year, IT can no longer do it all.

While businesspeople aren’t expected to start coding, their involvement in process design is crucial. One of the techniques that many organizations have adopted to help IT and businesspeople visualize business processes together is design thinking (for more on design thinking techniques, see “A Cult of Creation“).

Customers aren’t the only ones who benefit from better processes. Among the 100 companies the SAP-Oxford Economics researchers have identified as digital leaders, two-thirds say that they are making their employees’ lives easier by eliminating process roadblocks that interfere with their ability to do their jobs. Ninety percent of leaders surveyed expect to see value from these projects in the next two years alone.

6. Learn to Keep Learning

The ability to learn and keep learning has been a part of IT from the start. Since the first mainframes in the 1950s, technologists have understood that they need to keep reinventing themselves and their skills to adapt to the changes around them.

Now that’s starting to become part of other job descriptions too. Many companies are investing in teaching their employees new digital skills. One South American auto products company, for example, has created a custom-education institute that trained 20,000 employees and partner-employees in 2016. In addition to training current staff, many leading digital companies are also hiring new employees and creating new roles, such as a chief robotics officer, to support their digital transformation efforts.

Nicolas van Zeebroeck, professor of information systems and digital business innovation at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management at the Free University of Brussels, says that he expects the ability to learn quickly will remain crucial. “If I had to think of one critical skill,” he explains, “I would have to say it’s the ability to learn and keep learning—the ability to challenge the status quo and question what you take for granted.”

7. Fail Smarter

Traditionally, CIOs tended to be good at thinking through tests that would allow the company to experiment with new technology without risking the entire network.

This is another unfamiliar skill that smart managers are trying to pick up. “There’s a lot of trial and error in the best companies right now,” notes MIT’s Ross. But there’s a catch, she adds. “Most companies aren’t designed for trial and error—they’re trying to avoid an error,” she says.

Q118 Feature3 img4 fail Best Practices To Guide Your Journey To Modern MarketingTo learn how to do it better, take your lead from IT, where many people have already learned to work in small, innovative teams that use agile development principles, advises Ross.

For example, business managers must learn how to think in terms of a minimum viable product: build a simple version of what you have in mind, test it, and if it works start building. You don’t build the whole thing at once anymore.… It’s really important to build things incrementally,” Ross says.

Flexibility and the ability to capitalize on accidental discoveries during experimentation are more important than having a concrete project plan, says Ross. At Spotify, the music service, and CarMax, the used-car retailer, change is driven not from the center but from small teams that have developed something new. “The thing you have to get comfortable with is not having the formalized plan that we would have traditionally relied on, because as soon as you insist on that, you limit your ability to keep learning,” Ross warns.

8. Understand the True Cost—and Speed—of Data

Gut instincts have never had much to do with being a CIO; now they should have less to do with being an ordinary manager as well, as data becomes more important.

As part of that calculation, businesspeople must have the ability to analyze the value of the data that they seek. “You’ll need to apply a pinch of knowledge salt to your data,” advises Solvay’s van Zeebroeck. “What really matters is the ability not just to tap into data but to see what is behind the data. Is it a fair representation? Is it impartial?”

Increasingly, businesspeople will need to do their analysis in real time, just as CIOs have always had to manage live systems and processes. Moving toward real-time reports and away from paper-based decisions increases accuracy and effectiveness—and leaves less time for long meetings and PowerPoint presentations (let us all rejoice).

Not Every CIO Is Ready

Of course, not all CIOs are ready for these changes. Just as high school has a lot of false positives—genius nerds who turn out to be merely nearsighted—so there are many CIOs who aren’t good role models for transformation.

Success as a CIO these days requires more than delivering near-perfect uptime, says Lenovo’s Hu. You need to be able to understand the business as well. Some CIOs simply don’t have all the business skills that are needed to succeed in the transformation. Others lack the internal clout: a 2016 KPMG study found that only 34% of CIOs report directly to the CEO.

This lack of a strategic perspective is holding back digital transformation at many organizations. They approach digital transformation as a cool, one-off project: we’re going to put this new mobile app in place and we’re done. But that’s not a systematic approach; it’s an island of innovation that doesn’t join up with the other islands of innovation. In the longer term, this kind of development creates more problems than it fixes.

Such organizations are not building in the capacity for change; they’re trying to get away with just doing it once rather than thinking about how they’re going to use digitalization as a means to constantly experiment and become a better company over the long term.

Q118 Feature3 img6 CIOready Best Practices To Guide Your Journey To Modern MarketingAs a result, in some companies, the most interesting tech developments are happening despite IT, not because of it. “There’s an alarming digital divide within many companies. Marketers are developing nimble software to give customers an engaging, personalized experience, while IT departments remain focused on the legacy infrastructure. The front and back ends aren’t working together, resulting in appealing web sites and apps that don’t quite deliver,” writes George Colony, founder, chairman, and CEO of Forrester Research, in the MIT Sloan Management Review.

Thanks to cloud computing and easier development tools, many departments are developing on their own, without IT’s support. These days, anybody with a credit card can do it.

Traditionally, IT departments looked askance at these kinds of do-it-yourself shadow IT programs, but that’s changing. Ferro, for one, says that it’s better to look at those teams not as rogue groups but as people who are trying to help. “It’s less about ‘Hey, something’s escaped,’ and more about ‘No, we just actually grew our capacity and grew our ability to innovate,’” he explains.

“I don’t like the term ‘shadow IT,’” agrees Lenovo’s Hu. “I think it’s an artifact of a very traditional CIO team. If you think of it as shadow IT, you’re out of step with reality,” he says.

The reality today is that a company needs both a strong IT department and strong digital capacities outside its IT department. If the relationship is good, the CIO and IT become valuable allies in helping businesspeople add digital capabilities without disrupting or duplicating existing IT infrastructure.

If a company already has strong digital capacities, it should be able to move forward quickly, according to Ross. But many companies are still playing catch-up and aren’t even ready to begin transforming, as the SAP-Oxford Economics survey shows.

For enterprises where business and IT are unable to get their collective act together, Ross predicts that the next few years will be rough. “I think these companies ought to panic,” she says. D!


About the Authors

Thomas Saueressig is Chief Information Officer at SAP.

Timo Elliott is an Innovation Evangelist at SAP.

Sam Yen is Chief Design Officer at SAP and Managing Director of SAP Labs.

Bennett Voyles is a Berlin-based business writer.

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Digitalist Magazine

AI-driven data could be the music industry’s best marketing instrument

 AI driven data could be the music industry’s best marketing instrument

The music industry is learning a new rhythm through the instrument of artificial intelligence. AI is revolutionizing insights and business strategies and fine-tuning the way we work, connect, learn, and play around the world. Expected to become a $ 70 billion market by 2020, AI is shifting traditional practices to more sustainable digital spheres.

In the music industry, emerging AI tools are helping reorchestrate the way audiences consume music content. One of the most effective marketing tools industry pros can utilize is the consumer data mined through AI’s machine learning.

In the future, AI-driven data can help the music industry fine-tune its marketing strategies, offering improved insights to maintain harmony between artists, the industry, and fans — all while maximizing profits.

AI is no stranger to the music industry. Since their apps launched, audio and music-facing tech companies like Shazam and SoundHound have utilized AI technologies that analyze a large catalog of songs using spectrograms to measure the various frequencies. But the access to AI-enabled data is starting to shift the music industry into more sophisticated arenas.

Major recording companies like Sony Music and Universal Music Group own most of the content, along with shares of consumer platforms such as streaming services and apps. While major recording companies are granted access to consumer data, it’s the streaming services, such as Spotify and YouTube, that control how people consume music and, thus, who has access to AI-driven data.

Independent artists own a small portion of all the music content available, but they gain data from direct-to-fan platforms like Hive or Pledge Music. Yet many recording industry professionals are just learning how to access and analyze emerging data tools to help maximize their profits.

Here are four machine learning metrics that music industry professionals should use.

Audience engagement metrics

Engagement data offers insight into how audiences respond to new music genres, trends, artists, and songs. It can show the number of collections, changes in followers, and the number of plays per payer, all calibrated by the number of saves or collections that include a specific song. Professionals from across the music industry can use this actionable engagement data to attract increased visibility for their signed artists, thereby reaching more fans. Music labels can target audiences and track patterns to make improved business decisions, all while stimulating revenue.

By 2030, Goldman Sachs reports, streaming services will create $ 34 billion in revenue for the music business. These services will simultaneously generate a consistent and credible source of data that improves insight and outreach to various audience demographics.

Data filters

Each niche of the music industry has a specific need for data. Streaming services like Spotify use filtered data to transition non-paying listeners into paying subscribers. A major label, on the other hand, operates differently.

A label’s goal is to create filtered data that can help them market songs and turn mediocre fans into dedicated superfans. Spotify tapped into this data by creating Found Them First, a microsite that allows users to see which musicians they listened to on Spotify before they became popular. For labels, this monetizes the idea of early fandom.

Ultimately, these insights are used to motivate subscriber growth, driving fans’ desire to explore artists earlier in their careers. Industry players can use filters to better design their outreach strategies and content to drive competition. Data filtering advancements in other sectors may help the music industry advance the analysis of its own data.

YouTube and recommendation engines

Along with other entertainment media, YouTube and recommendation engines improve matches between listeners and artists. Music industry pros are already grasping the AI technology that allows YouTube and other recommendation engines to promote artists through raw engagement data from streaming platforms in the form of “rate of collections” and the “rate of replays per user,” even segmented by ZIP code.

Fueled by Google Brain’s AI division, YouTube improved its recommendation capabilities with a series of micro targets. The company created an algorithm using the number of times users spent watching videos and the number of video clicks per person. Soon, higher quality videos that correlated with long watch times appeared first in search queues. For three years, viewership grew by 50 percent on YouTube each year.

Google Brain learns by picking up on subtle patterns at accelerated rates. The technique, called unsupervised learning, allows for more detailed, significant insights into viewership. As the technology identified varying video lengths for specific platforms, it helped spur higher watch times.

In the music industry, experts can utilize this tool to target advertising lengths based on different platforms. Hundreds of micro changes allowed YouTube to increase time spent on the site by 70 percent. This deep reinforcement learning technology will likely propel the music industry forward as companies learn how to advertise and market to high-potential superfans based on the learned streaming data.

Automated marketing tools

AI algorithms can also help music industry professionals assess the competition by examining the social and streaming patterns of artists and competing labels. By targeting the regular streaming habits of listeners, experts identify superfans who are guaranteed to spend money on an artist each year.

For example, music marketers can break down the demographics, age ranges, and typical search patterns of Rihanna superfans. By targeting the typical buying power of each artist’s listening demographic, they can correlate how, when, and who to market to during ad breaks.

An example of this is the technology created by Syncspot. This company has created an automated, cross-promotional tool where two brands join forces. The music festival Coachella has already leveraged partnerships with brands to stimulate cash flow. Music industry marketers can rank each user in a point system that identifies people who are most engaged with an artist. More personalized content, like VIP concert ticket promotions, are offered to the most valuable fans.

Automated marketing proves beneficial in identifying true fans. However, marketing strategies will differ by a label’s artist or genre. Since fan activity and patterns vary by genre and engagement, music labels will have to identify how to cater to each artist’s fan base.

AI’s data-driven insights can enhance how the music industry connects with audiences. As the shift from traditional to digital continues, Al can power the production, search, delivery, and profitability in the digital music value chain.

As AI takes center stage, music industry professionals will need to evolve like tech companies to maximize profits that insiders enjoyed during music’s physical distribution era. In the near future, AI-enabled data will streamline our access to music and keep us dancing.

Enrique Cadena Marin (DJ ECM) is one of Latin America’s fastest rising EDM artists and producers.

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Big Data – VentureBeat

Why Email Marketing is More Important Than Ever: Adobe Campaign & Microsoft Dynamics 365

email 300x225 Why Email Marketing is More Important Than Ever: Adobe Campaign & Microsoft Dynamics 365

It’s hard to believe the first email ever sent was nearly 47 years ago on June 8, 1971. This channel of communication has undergone massive change over the years. Email marketing has exploded, ushering in an entirely new industry in digital marketing technology. Businesses continually look for ways to enhance their digital footprint and reach their customers with a personalized, compelling story, and the momentum behind email marketing shows no signs of slowing down. Adobe reported at the end of 2017, over 150 billion emails were sent with Adobe Campaign. For the fifth consecutive year, Adobe was recognized as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Campaign Management report. Needless to say, email is still king!

A marketing department’s mission is to engage prospects. Success of that objective is achieved by unlocking email marketing’s full potential. The key is great content. Great content sells better than a great deal in business-to-business selling. Analysis of email marketing campaigns consistently shows 90% of emails with call to action text “more info” wins over call to action text like “try me now” or “buy now.” What does this tell us? B2B buyers are seeking to be educated.

When businesses are shopping, they typically have problems, they need to fix those problems, and need to know if you can fix it. Effective email marketing messaging follows these powerful steps. To educate, provide the solution and the necessary credentials. This formula, when implemented in a timely fashion to individuals seeking to solve a problem, can be and is incredibly effective. However, messaging alone doesn’t close the loop. CEOs are looking for an ROI. Where are the dollars going and how can resources be fine-tuned? The allocation of marketing dollars needs to be a science not an art.

Enter Sandman – AKA Dynamics 365

A CRM platform plays a critical role in personalization and segmentation of the message as well as the prompt action from the individuals “reading the tea leaves” of data provided by marketing technology to close out the engagement. This is the secret sauce! The integration of the messaging with the master database and life blood of the sales organization, CRM. The integration of Adobe Campaign and Dynamics 365 makes this possible. The bi-directional sync of this information and mirroring each database was the first step to this end and empowers sales. This connection is the first step to true ROI.

Here we stand, a year later, Adobe Summit 2017 in the rear-view mirror, and Adobe Summit 2018 is just around the bend. Version 1.0 of the integration accomplished quite a bit. What improvements might we expect a year later? Well, Joe D365 has seen the Road Map and I’m here to tell you exciting developments are inbound! Stay tuned!

Series to return in April post-Summit 2018.

Headed to Adobe Summit 2018? Let us know – we’d love to connect! PowerObjects will be at the Microsoft and HCL booths showcasing the Dynamics 365 and Adobe Marketing solution.

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

The Magic Sauce to Account-Based Marketing is Experimentation

2017 AO RethinkMktgPodcast Featured ABM The Magic Sauce to Account Based Marketing is Experimentation

When an ABM Strategy Works For You

As we mentioned, account-based marketing can require extra time, money, and effort to pull off successfully. Bullard recommends ABM complement, not replace, the marketing you are already successfully doing.

“I think it’s all about how you resource it,” she said. “And so for us, doing ABM didn’t mean abandoning the highly efficient lead gen efforts that we were doing before. For us, we took about 20 percent of our resources and 20 percent of our target accounts, quite frankly that really top list of target accounts. And that’s the group that we do this really, highly personalized ABM efforts with. And we’re smart about the rest of our lead gen efforts, but we don’t abandon it.”

And ABM done well means that it is specific your business, your business goals, your prospects, and your industry. Charter School Capital, DiscoverOrg, and Act-On, would each approach account-based marketing differently.

“I think every company can do ABM. It’s really about the percentage of sales and marketing resources that are devoted to ABM that is dependent on the target market,” Bullard said. “The example that I always give us, I used to work for a company where the Fortune 1000 was our target market. That was it. We had a nine-month sales cycle and an average ASP of over half a million dollars. And so for us, we were 100 percent ABM. Because it was a small group, it was a tight group, we could devote all of our resources against those thousand companies.

“At DiscoverOrg we have a target market between 50 and 100,000 accounts. I can’t personalize outreach to eight contacts at all 100,000 companies. So about 20 percent of our efforts are focused on that top, you know, the couple thousand that are at the top of the list. And the rest of the market we absolutely go after in a variety of different ways. And we look to secure a lot of inbound leads.”

Emphasizing the Account in ABM

According to CEB research, the average B2B decision making group includes 5.4 buyers. Each buyer can play a different role or represent a variety of teams and locations. They are very likely to have different needs, perspectives, and priorities. They may even have competing goals. Add in the influencers and you have a whole passel of people involved in a buying decision. As a result, in the sales process our marketing and sales teams will inevitably interact with multiple individuals who can make or influence a decision. Those individuals all contribute to what eventually is a company decision.

When we close a deal, it’s with an account, not a contact. That same goes for losing an opportunity or a renewal. We lose the account. ABM is not about forsaking the lead, it’s about understanding the lead’s context and the importance of the company the lead represents, and discovering and addressing the additional players in the mix. We found that at the beginning of the ABM process, there’s a whole lot of attention paid to choosing which account to focus on. That’s critically important as it drives priorities and identifies who we spend our key assets, time, and attention on. This is generally done manually with marketing automation providing good data to help in the decision-making process.

The biggest stumbling block in account-based marketing has always been what happens after those accounts are identified. The communication demands, both in communicating and keeping track of the communications, are staggering. By leveraging Act-On’s ABM module, marketers can precisely target all decision makers within an account, and deliver a unified experience across the organization, link individual buyer behaviors and data across a single account view, create account-based campaigns to improve nurturing and engagement, and automatically score accounts and trigger campaigns and workflows inside and outside of the inbox.

Want to see the process from start to finish? Check out the video series DiscoverOrg created to document their ABM efforts.

“I would just say what works for one company doesn’t work for another company,” Bullard said. “And so there’s never a magic secret sauce to ABM. The biggest advice I have is experiment, refine, don’t try to get it perfect the first time, but just keep getting better. And that’s really how you make it successful.”

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Act-On Blog

Evolving MarTech 2.0: The Adaptive Marketing Platform

20180313 bnr innovation evolution 351x200 Evolving MarTech 2.0: The Adaptive Marketing Platform

MarTech 1.0

Put yourself in their shoes, if you can. What would you do if you paid a website a visit and got back a generic email for your troubles? Something bland and impersonal that seemed to know nothing about you? Wouldn’t you delete it without a second thought and question whether that brand deserved your business?

It’s a conundrum we might’ve solved in eras past with segmentation and personas – identifying the characteristics common across a specific group (their habits, their preferences), adjusting our outreach accordingly – but trying to go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach, at the level expected by today’s buyers, is hard to scale. Customers engage with businesses across a variety of digital touch points (websites, social media, etc.), on multiple mobile devices. They expect a more customized experience throughout.

MarTech 2.0: The Adaptive Marketing Platform

That’s what makes artificial intelligence and machine learning so compelling to the modern marketer, and why we’re likely to only see more of it in the technologies marketers leverage.

We can already see glimmers of this zeitgeist in some of the consumer applications now on the market – in any number of offerings from Google, for instance: Google Lens, which gives consumers the ability to learn more about a business simply by snapping a picture; Google Assistant and GoogleHome, which account for and respond to trends in buyers’ daily habits.

The thinking behind these products is simple – consumers require solutions that can adjust to their real-time movements, and want individualized shopping experiences. It only makes sense for B2B marketing technologies to follow suit, enabling personalized, one-to-one interactions in real-time across the customer journey.

If anything, AI and machine learning mark natural evolutions in these technologies. Marketing automation, for instance, has always served as a particularly efficient engine for gathering and activating engagement data (details on buyers’ histories, behaviors, general shopping habits), and is uniquely positioned to transform how marketers approach the customer journey. AI will empower marketers to build Adaptive Journeys™ that adapt to each individual and their preferred channel and send time and delivers the most relevant message in real-time as the customer goes about their research and discovery process. The journeys that buyers travel don’t keep to the straight lines we think; there are twists, there are turns, and marketers must make every effort they can to accommodate these in real time – to be proactive, where they once were reactive. That’s why it’s important for marketers to embrace this Adaptive Journeys concept, and for brands as a whole to leverage technologies capable of supporting these fluid, real-time customer journeys.

We can look at the evolution of mapping technologies to explain the Adaptive Journeys concept, looking specifically at Waze technology that knows where the driver is on their route and can predict the best commute for them based on real-time traffic conditions and external factors; ultimately recommending the best path the driver should take to get to their destination most efficiently.

More importantly: this is the kind of continuous learning marketers require in order to deliver the customized experiences their buyers expect, and also the functionality they should prioritize in solutions they implement.

We need to be agile in how we respond to and care for our customers, and our customers, in turn, need to feel like more than just a number. AI and machine learning can allow for this, and make our lives easier in ways we don’t expect – serving, perhaps, as more of a recommendation engine for us than an outright replacement for the work we do; something that suggests the best path forward, which we then choose for ourselves, so that we’re freed up to be more creative, more strategic. The future of marketing is adaptive. Let’s greet it with open arms.

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Act-On Blog