The mantra for any marketer is attract-acquire-retain. With twenty years of large scale internet advertising and marketing behind us, we are still trying to figure out the best use of content and channel to convert window shoppers into actual customers. As new marketing technologies and platforms emerge to help businesses manage and optimize their shrinking marketing budgets, these same businesses are challenged to figure out which tools can help them manage websites, manage digital assets, optimize content and its use, validate context, measure reach, and analyze the ever increasing volume of data.
The good news for marketers is an expectation of increased digital marketing budgets. Gartner’s 2013 marketing spend survey indicated planned increases in 2013 to marketing spend on e-commerce experience, social marketing, content creation & management and mobile marketing. Perhaps more interesting is the rise of what Gartner calls the Chief Marketing Technologist. This is acknowledgement that marketing has become more science than fluff. The accessibility to and the analysis of data from internal and external sources is changing the face of marketing.
Web content management, marketing automation, social media monitoring, inbound marketing platforms – they’ve all emerged and become increasingly sophisticated to address a company’s need to make fast, smart decisions about what content to create, where to place it and how to respond to customer needs – now clearly and eagerly shared via social networks. The choice of technology is overwhelming, with solutions from small niche solutions to large integrated marketing platforms.
And now there is a new player, but are they really new? Yes, that’s Hewlett-Packard the IT behemoth best known for printers, PCs, servers and various enterprise solutions. They announced the HP Digital Marketing Hub last week. It's based on the rather amazing assets that HP acquired via Autonomy, in 2011.When combined with HP’s existing technologies for real-time big data analytics, the HP Digital Marketing Hub provides marketers with a unique capability to create a personalized customer experience. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a former HP employee. While we all agree that HP overpaid in its acquisition of Autonomy, they did actually acquire some very smart technology that delivers actionable data to marketing teams.
Marketing craves any data related to a customer’s interaction with a vendor. These volumes of structured data are found in CRM, customer support, trade show and other databases. However, unstructured data derived from online and social interactions, is equally if not more important. This unstructured data provides context to the structured data, revealing sentiment, influence, velocity and preference. When combined, marketers can make intelligent decisions about what channel (web, mobile), what content (banner ad, microsite, webinar) or what device (PC, tablet, smartphone) should be used to improve conversion rates.
HP’s Digital Marketing Hub which integrates and exchanges data from HP Teamsite (content management), HP MediaBin (digital asset management), HP Optimost (multichannel analytics), HP Explore (multichannel discovery) with data from partners (e.g., BlueKai, Kenshoo, ExactTarget). The data analytics capabilities of HP IDOL and HP Vertica to determine how to best engage with customers. The Digital Marketing Hub uncovers the behavior, attributes and positioning of customers, using customer specific data, to make recommendations for marketers to best target and engage with them. The ability to combine structured and unstructured data, provide real-time analysis and tangible recommendations requires heavy lifting and is, of course, technology dependent. This is why HP is in this space. They "get" technology, own the required intellectual property, deliver the relevant infrastructure in the cloud and know how to apply solutions to solve customer challenges. It's interesting, HP has never been know for it's marketing prowess, yet they may actually have the integrated marketing solution that will provide game changing insight.
Marketing has always been data driven. However, the challenge has always been what to do with all that data. It’s not enough to generate reports. It’s about what, how, when where and why to use content to attract, acquire and retain customers. The HP Digital Marketing Hub addresses some of the biggest problems facing marketers - analyzing all that data, figuring out where, when & how to engage, and converting browsers into shoppers. To paraphrase HP's catch phrase, it will be interesting to see how the HP Digital Marketing Hub creates better outcomes for businesses.
What’s your perspective?