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As we head into a new decade, we look back on how marketing has become more digital and more difficult to navigate than ever before. As words like “artificial intelligence” and “big data” enter the conversation, it can be hard to know how these concepts fit into your own marketing strategy. Lucky for us, we have Danny Flamberg, a marketing consultant who specializes in leading businesses into the new, digital age. His book, Dancing Through the Digital Revolution: A Marketing Playbook, serves as a guide for marketers looking to take advantage of the digital marketing wave. In this episode of J&See: Views on Marketing, Meg Goodman talks to Danny about the balance of personalization versus privacy, how data is more than a magic word and the impact of AI on our future. Read on for a few excerpts from their insightful conversation. And of course, make sure to subscribe to J&See: Views on Marketing to hear a compelling interview like this once a month.
Q: Tell me about your role now as a private marketing consultant and how is it different than the role of a corporate or agency marketer.
A: It’s similar in the sense that I’m expected to understand the brand, the market, the customers, the competitive scene and be able to help a company negotiate through it. More often than not, I am asked to come into a company because they want somebody that has a broad range of experiences that they may not have had and they want to tap my knowledge base and my experience base. Number two, they sometimes want an outsider … a breath of fresh air … Unlike working on the agency side or the client side, the aperture for a consultant is a little bit narrower because you’re zeroing in on a particular issue or problem … You come in from the outside — you analyze, you look, you see, you make recommendations — but often times the political landscape or the infrastructure or the personalities don’t get analyzed enough so that there’s a doability question. So, you say, “Here’s our recommendation, you guys do X, Y and Z,” but then the question is can they actually do X, Y and Z to achieve the result that you prescribed.
Q: Talk about how marketers can walk that fine line between appreciated personalization and not cross boundaries into privacy and getting a little creepy.
A: I think of personalization as a state of mind and as an aspirational goal. The idea being that you want to connect one-on-one with a customer base in a way that’s relevant, useful and interesting. There’s a spectrum of ways to do it ... from very simple things like sorting your customer base by sex. For example, sending me an email for a sports bra isn’t really efficient. But that’s one simple form of personalization. The other end of the spectrum is a massive data base where you know everything about me, you know my demographic stuff, you know my psychographic stuff, you have purchase history, you have mobile data, you have social data and you can plot my customer journey on any particular pathway toward a particular brand or a particular category.
Q: Talk about the Golden Record and how marketers can use that to their advantage.
A: The real value of data is to reduce the waste and increase the relevance of marketing communications. There are mountains of data available and this troubles a lot of people … The idea of the Golden Record is that you can aggregate all this information about somebody: demographic information, psychographic information, purchase histories, things they’ve signed up for, brands they get information from, their mobile use and social use. If you go to data brokers like Experian, Acxiom or Epsilon, you can get massive amounts of data about people that can help shape your marketing communication. One of the issues is that you need to understand how they got it, when they got it. Did they have permission to use it? And are they mixing and matching these pieces of data in ways that make sense?
The other, not-so-secret part about data is that data is an element, not an answer. Data has to be processed, which is very complex and requires a significant investment in technology and data science people. The other is that it has to be analyzed. It’s not magical in the sense that a piece of data spits out an answer. A piece of data contributes to an understanding, to a hypothesis, to a proven theory about a particular situation or a particular segment.
Q: Share with us what you consider to be the most important aspects of a YouTube video that helps its success and then talk about how businesses can utilize YouTube in their own marketing plans.
A: Originally, we were taught, in order to optimize search and rank highly on YouTube, that you had to do the same kind of keywords, tags, titles and descriptions. They all had to synchronize, they all had to be coded properly … We’ve moved to a different level where we’re looking at different criteria for search rankings. The biggest set of criteria … is that the elements that indicate engagement, so things like comments, shares, likes and subscriptions, impact the rating of videos on YouTube much greater than the mechanical elements.
Listen to the whole episode to hear what else Danny has to say about digital marketing. Download J&See: Views on Marketing on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Or you can listen to the episode on Google Podcasts and Simplecast. And make sure you subscribe to get a new episode every month.