Whether you’re settling into your first business role or you’re a seasoned pro, chances are you’ve come across the term “CRM.” CRM, which stands for customer relationship management, is the process by which organizations analyze and manage their interactions with current and potential customers.

A CRM system refers to the technology used to aid customer relationship management. Businesses use CRM systems to collect and store customer data in a central database. With this data, businesses can gain a better understanding of customer journeys to improve customer service, make more informed marketing decisions, and drive sales.

Why is a CRM system so important?

A well-built CRM system helps different functions across an organization stay aligned with each other. As the sole point of truth that different teams can access, a CRM system aids transparency, communication, and productivity. This in turn lends itself to more efficient project management.

In contrast, having customer data and other information stored across multiple places increases the risk of data discrepancies and makes it harder for functions to work together. It can also make it trickier to gain the big-picture view needed to properly plan and manage projects.

With that being said, let’s explore some best practices for implementing a new CRM system.

1. Identify your reasons, both short-and long-term

You should always make a note of current pain points and processes within your business that could be improved. Though a CRM system may not be able to instantly address every challenge, being able to prioritize any fixes and changes will bring added focus to its implementation.

It’s equally important to reflect on your organization’s goals to determine if a CRM system can support them. By doing so, you can better assess what key functionalities a CRM needs to have, along with what metrics your business will need to track in order to measure progress.

2. Introduce automation wherever you can

Cohesiveness isn’t the only benefit that a CRM system can bring to your business. The automation offered by most systems can significantly aid the productivity of different teams by minimizing redundant or time-consuming tasks.

For example, time spent on data entry can be eliminated by setting up real-time database updates. Automated reminders reduce the need for manual checks. Automated email routing can enable faster response times – for both internal and external requests!

By making automation a focus point of your CRM implementation, you can establish consistency while providing a more streamlined workflow for current employees, which will also encourage more people to adopt the CRM system for their daily work.

3. Prepare customized training and support

A CRM system can be a significant aid to a business, but that doesn’t mitigate the fact that it involves a change in how your teams operate. In order to support this transition, training is essential.
This education can be offered in a multitude of forms. Live group walkthroughs, 1:1 hands-on sessions, and even online courses. Different functions might need to master different features as well. You’ll need to provide relevant training for each major specialism.

Remember that employees may still need additional support after training, even if just a quick refresher. New starters will also need a way to be introduced to the system. Consider how regularly you can run training events, and what other learning resources can be made readily available.

4. Always think ahead, even after adoption

When implementing a CRM system, it’s crucial to explore whether it will be able to adapt alongside your business. A scalable CRM system should be able to handle most changes in data volume, user numbers, and functionalities without having to sacrifice performance or significant internal resources.

Think about how you’d like to handle requests for system changes as well. Are you willing to enlist outside support to facilitate these? Or is your goal to manage most changes internally?

A forward-thinking approach will not only influence how you build out workflows but is a useful best practice for each team to keep in mind when setting up their own processes. Assessing a process’s feasibility at a larger scale can save time and effort in the long run.

In conclusion: commit, don’t quit!

Implementing a CRM system can seem like a challenging process, but it’s one that’s well worth the effort for businesses ready to take the next step in their development.

From selecting the right platform to supporting change management, it’s vital to put the proper care into your CRM implementation process. In return, this will help ensure that your investment will be returned with increased productivity, greater scalability, and a more successful business.

If you’ve been on the internet recently, chances are you’ve heard about OpenAI’s ChatGPT. This AI tool has seen a massive rise in popularity following its release in November 2022, with over 100 million users and counting.

This is, in part, thanks to its ease of access. ChatGPT is free to use, though you might not always get instant access when the site is at capacity. A paid subscription plan currently being rolled out promises constant availability, faster response times, and priority access to new features.

However, the main attraction of ChatGPT is in its capabilities.

What impact could ChatGPT have on marketing?

ChatGPT’s ability to interpret questions and carry out natural conversations is a far cry from the awkward, limited chatbots with which most people have experience. Additionally, its ability to generate content – from copy to code snippets – can make it seem like a miracle solution for departments with skill gaps and other resourcing issues.

This newly-invigorated interest in AI from businesses has raised concerns about the threat that technologies such as ChatGPT pose to working professionals, particularly those within creative fields. This isn’t without justification—Image-generation tools such as DALL·E 2 face heavy scrutiny about the legality of using existing art to inform their creations.

Can ChatGPT really replace creative roles?

The creation of engaging content needs to be informed, driven, and reviewed by humans. ChatGPT can only draw from existing data—this means it’s always pulling from the past. Relying on such a tool to create something unfamiliar or exciting isn’t likely to work out, as it will steer towards tried and true, resulting in an output that plays it too safe to stand out. Fresh and innovative approaches will still require the human element.

Additionally, ChatGPT isn’t actually an expert in the subjects it covers. It’s a tool trained to recognize patterns in data and present probable answers. It can present you with two completely different “solutions” to a question posed – and both could be completely off the mark.

This is something that Sam Altman, OpenAI’s CEO, has stated plainly himself:

ChatGPT is incredibly limited, but good enough at some things to create a misleading impression of greatness. it’s a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now. it’s a preview of progress; we have lots of work to do on robustness and truthfulness.”

“fun creative inspiration; great! reliance for factual queries; not such a good idea. we will work hard to improve!

So, how can ChatGPT benefit creative talent?

Sam Altman’s second point is also excellent guidance for how ChatGPT should be viewed as an asset to be given to creatives, not a system for replacing them. By understanding the tool’s limitations and strengths, marketing functions can use it to support creativity, conversations, and collaboration.
For example, ChatGPT can generate creative prompts for graphic designers, or even automate repetitive tasks such as resizing images, freeing up designers to focus on other tasks.

Similarly, copywriters can turn to ChatGPT for inspiration with paraphrasing points or analyzing conciseness. Video editors can use the tool to help with restructuring scripts. Community managers can get assistance with proofreading posts and responses.

Ironically, some of the most exciting possibilities of ChatGPT only emerge when it’s approached with creativity. Tedious tasks that demand a disproportionate amount of time for their overall impact can be alleviated (or at least partially automated) when the tool is led by experts who understand the oddities and complexities of their field.

A forward-thinking future

Ultimately, ChatGPT has helped fuel necessary conversations about the role that technology will play in the workforce. And while it’s important to recognize the challenges it could introduce if implemented carelessly, it’s equally crucial to consider its positives.

As an industry, we all stand to benefit from an improved understanding of the many professions and areas of expertise that come together to make outstanding work. With tools such as ChatGPT, we have an opportunity to highlight how many skills can’t be replaced, but can certainly do with a bit more support.

And on that note, ChatGPT, care to close out this post?

“When ChatGPT’s sophisticated technology is combined with the vision and imagination of creative professionals, they can push the boundaries of their work and achieve truly exceptional outcomes.”

Not too bad, right?

This article was originally posted on The Drum on October 27, 2022.

As we head into 2023, brands are planning how to grow and engage their audiences. Matterkind’s Nancy Hall, CEO US, lays out four strategies for building connections not just effectively but ethically.

As someone who is frequently invited to attend and speak at industry events, I have a confession to make: networking doesn’t come entirely naturally to me. By which I mean I kind of hate it.

But this “networkophobia” actually helped me out recently. I was planning a talk about audience strategy for an upcoming event, while simultaneously psyching myself up for the networking portion of the day, and I had a mini eureka moment.

Building connections and establishing trust

It struck me that networking is actually a pretty good analogy for what marketers have to do every day when they’re trying to build and engage audiences. They need to make connections, establish trust, and build credibility with people.

The trouble is, they can’t just walk up and ask questions like an enthusiastic (or in my case slightly reluctant) networker. What do you do for a living? What do you do for fun? Do you like to keep fit? Getting away for a vacation any time soon?

These are exactly the kinds of insight some brands spend millions trying to gather and use at scale. The kinds that drive personalization and inform media and messaging.

So, whether it’s small talk or big data, the similarities between networking and audience building hit me. That same spirit of connection-making is fundamental to the whole business of building audiences.

And it helped me recognize how that same spirit of connection-building is at play in some of the most successful audience strategies I’ve seen brands adopt – strategies I believe every marketer could benefit from as we head into 2023.

Action Based Data

Data must inform every audience interaction – but there are a few must-haves that even now are still often overlooked. The data must be informative, useful, accurate, and different.

In the context of action-based data, that means it must tell us something about audience interest and intent. Whether they’ve made a purchase or if they’re in the market to do so. About where they work or shop.

It must be accurate, so that it can inform messaging with specific attributes. It must be unique, or we risk serving our audience repeatedly (because the perfect interaction can be the worst the second time round).

Without these must-have attributes, action-based data won’t lead to better outcomes for the audience or your business.

Digital Responsibility

Another must-have that’s completely non-negotiable is that the data, as well as the technology and media that brands invest in, must be used ethically.

In the context of data, this kind of digital responsibility is about making sure information is sourced and used only in ways that are fair and just — that everything is properly permissioned and compliant with all laws, including the relevant individual rights. And as we go into 2023, with all the privacy laws (existing and new) that will be in effect, brands have to take digital responsibility seriously as they build out their first-party databases.

Ethically sourced data must be compiled from publicly available data, self-reported data, or from companies that inform people about data use and disclosure. In fact, all brands must work harder to educate and demonstrate that data is being used to create value for the individual and society.

Conscious Marketing

Audience strategies shouldn’t stop at the ethical use of data. Instead, brands should strive to adopt conscious marketing strategies that represent deliberate and respectful approaches to audience engagement.

Yes, this is about treating people kindly and with empathy, but there’s nothing soft and fuzzy about it. It means marketing to people based on what matters most to them, like social responsibility and diversity, equity and inclusion – achieved through population-representative audiences and media. It means creating a positive experience for people, through frequency management and cross-channel storytelling. It means vetting partners thoroughly – in media, tech, and data. And perhaps most importantly, it means making addressable media relevant, with messaging focused on real people and their unique wants and needs.

Delivering and Defining Outcomes

Some people think performance marketing is about focusing on conversions and sales at all costs. If brands learn anything in 2023, I hope it’s the ability to look beyond lower-funnel tactics to the breadth of outcomes they’re now able to optimize for.

Yes, you can do performance marketing across the entire marketing funnel. Whether you’re looking for reach, connecting with an incremental audience at scale or leading indicators like store visits, video completion rates, and time spent in a store or on a website. You can even consider efficiency drivers like cost per action, cost savings, reinvestments, or more working media.

Finally, there are conversions like landing page visits, bookings, store visits and leads – and, of course, the increased sales you can measure now that you’re able to quantify and optimize so much more than just sales.

Focus on What Matters to People

These audience strategies, like any good in-person networking event, boil down to focusing on what matters to people. It’s timeless advice, but it feels like a critical time to act on it as 2023 approaches.

I’ve already mentioned the heightened pressure from privacy legislation that brands will face in 2023 and beyond. Not to mention the macroeconomic pressures that mean marketers have to prove the value of every dollar invested to their CFOs.

It also comes down to the people in those audiences we’re so determined to build and engage. They’re savvy. They expect you to give them a great experience, tailored to their previous interactions, or they will leave you for another brand who can. And they are demanding more transparency and greater education about how their data is being collected and used by brands.

This has to be the priority of any brand (read: every brand) looking to build its audience in 2023.

Connected TV has become a powerful performance channel for brands looking to achieve specific outcomes with greater attribution. As connected TV viewership has increased, and advancements in ad tech allow for better, more unique experiences, marketers need to incorporate CTV more thoroughly into their marketing strategy. Through CTV, brands can connect directly to business results, feed the brand funnel with new, fresh prospects, drive retention and acquisition rates, and allow brands to diversify from search, social, and display. There are many ways in which retailers can best capitalize on connected TV and drive successful results.

During the pandemic, the growth of connected TV viewership and new advertising technologies gave rise to this powerful performance channel, not to mention it is immune to the depreciation of third-party cookies. Now, brands see that CTV can drive acquisition and help deliver on sales goals. Research shows that CTV is…

With recent advancements in CTV technology, there are more emerging T-commerce shoppable formats than ever before. With the ability to switch between devices using QR technology, on-screen browsing options, and send-to-phone from device capabilities, more brands are harnessing the power of these valuable CTV advertising tools. The benefits of these tech advancements are clear to see.

CTV advertising also allows for real-time measurement that shows the immediate impact of CTV campaigns with a cross-device graph that ties TV exposure to online action. Real-time tracking also means brands can better conduct real-time optimization, such as budget fluidity to shift top performing partners and remove poor performers, adjust advanced bidding strategies on audience and brand value, manage frequency, and increase reach. Brands can then accurately score each impression in order to deliver highest ROAS.

Capitalizing on the CTV wave means following best practices, like:

CTV is a powerful channel to help deliver business goals. Marketers are reallocating budgets into CTV from linear TV, Social, and Web Display—don’t let your brand fall behind the curve.

Making Advertising Better

In a data-driven world, we all expect to interact with the brands we love on our own terms.

Wherever and however we choose to engage, the brands that stand out are those which align with our personal values, serve relevant, respectful experiences, and recognize us as individuals in the moment.

And, going beyond recognition alone, the brands we truly trust are those that act in good faith, using their influence and voice in an authentic, ethical and socially aware manner.

So, as the advertising world shifts – to adapt to third-party cookie deprecation and adopt stronger data privacy strategies – isn’t it time advertisers did better, to break bias, and transcend people’s expectations?

Aligning a company’s mission with the values and principles of its customers; that’s exactly what conscious marketing works to achieve. Bringing a people-first approach to marketing, advertising, process, and ethos across a business, conscious marketing helps brands to embrace a more respectful, relevant, and kind way of reaching people.

In short, it’s a promise to make advertising better.

And, for future-thinking organizations, this is a no-brainer – it means stepping away from poorly segmented, biased, or irrelevant advertising, and towards behavior-based, first-party, data-driven marketing that engages and builds relationships with the people who matter most.

Key benefits of conscious marketing

So, what does ‘conscious’ really mean for a brand?

Choosing to follow a conscious approach goes far beyond a single act of positivity or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Founded in inclusivity and respect, conscious marketing ingrains honesty, accountability, and transparency throughout a business – from its ethos to its actions.

As a result, those who prioritize it, not only build a more ethical business, but enable greater loyalty, more relevant customer relationships, and form a ‘virtuous loop’ across all activities.

Remembering that conscious marketing takes a people-first mindset—for your customers, conscious marketing enables:

From your brand’s perspective, conscious marketing enables:

So, what does a conscious approach to advertising look like in practice?

Examples of Conscious Marketing in Practice

Championing a conscious approach, below are a series of Matterkind and Kinesso case examples to illustrate conscious marketing in action.

Removing bias and increasing audience relevance for a retailer

Part of a conscious approach may include reviewing audience bias, to ensure an advertiser takes a diverse, inclusive approach – and therefore reach a more relevant, yet wider customer base than with previous campaigns.

The case: When onboarding a beauty retailer’s CRM, the Matterkind/Kinesso team evaluated the CRM’s composition, based on the general category shopper population.

The result: The CRM skewed lower in composition for the diverse populations that the beauty retailer was actively seeking, within multi-cultural and generational groups.

As a result, Matterkind created a High-Value Audience (HVA), informed with additional audience composition to enhance areas that the CRM was lacking; to consciously bring messaging to the right, diverse shoppers that the brand was invested in reaching.

Increased performance, and optimized spend for professional services

Serving respectful messaging that’s mindful of frequency and relevant in the moment, rather than interruptive, is another element of conscious marketing.

The case: A professional services company wanted to improve media performance and optimize its digital ad spend; taking a conscious approach to analyze audience overlap, increase relevance, and reduce ad frequency helped it to enhance campaign efficiency.

Results: Using Audience Hub to unify audience data measurement, not only across digital media channels, but also partners, vendors, audiences and tactics, and to highlight audience duplication across campaigns, the business was able to:

Increased impression distribution, frequency management and addressable TV inclusion for CPG and pharmaceuticals

Following an addressable approach that’s based on behavior, and which is mindful not to fatigue, but to support audiences, is one way that this brand used conscious marketing to great effect.

The case: A pharmaceutical leader wanted to reduce linear TV campaign overexposure to households, through addressable TV. A conscious approach helped to enable this consideration of messaging, to attract more relevant viewership, and suppress fatigue.

The results: The integration of addressable TV with national TV viewership, enabled an increased audience reach from 80% to 92%.

Running a national TV reach extension and frequency management analysis, based on viewership, also helped to identify unexposed and Light TV viewership – which in turn increased relevant impressions.

Making Conscious Marketing Work for Your Brand

Beneficial and considerate to your business and your customers, adopting a conscious approach is a wise choice for forward-thinking organizations.

Of course, as with any new approach, making the move can take time to fully activate; so, now is the time to start considering how conscious marketing can work for your brand!

To help you plot your route:

Remember, it’s OK to start small – and test!
Shifting an organization’s mindset, process and technology toward a conscious process takes time! Because of that, it can help to start small – run a test or pilot first to determine what works for your brand. A conscious addressable advertising partner can help you to assess and optimize, as well as support and advise you on where best to begin.

Build the case for your business stakeholders
Securing substantial change sits with your Executives and Board. Again, a conscious addressable advertising partner can help you to build that business case, and advise on what practical results a conscious ethos, process and tech stack will deliver.

Adopt addressable advertising
No matter how a person chooses to engage with you, following an addressable advertising approach (which uses first and third–party data, rather than third-party cookies to display content) ensures behavior-based relevance, flexibility, and that campaigns are always conscious of an individual’s preferences and context.

As the advertising ecosystem moves ever-closer to supporting marketing that’s relevant, recognizes people as individuals, and thoughtfully adapts to their needs, adopting a conscious approach means taking a step towards transformed relevance for your customers – and greater long-term results for your brand. It’s time to create marketing that matters!

Your brand might be thinking about internalizing some aspects of media management for a variety of reasons. Maybe you want to take more control of your customer data? Or perhaps you want more transparency into media activation? And there’s a good chance you also want to reduce costs.

These are all valid goals, and your agency partners should be there to support you in achieving them. Whatever portion of your operation you want to internalize, there will always be a role for agencies to play in supporting you with complementary services, technologies and teams, as well as offsetting any pain points you encounter along the way. You can learn more about how this hybrid approach to media operations might work in our recent post.

When brands set off along the path to internal media management, most of them quickly encounter operational obstacles, and almost all discover the investment in capital and resources is far greater than they expect. From hiring teams to integrating systems, internalizing media is a big undertaking. Timelines are inevitably pushed out and budgets have to increase.

For these reasons it’s vital to level set expectations before you begin the journey of internalizing media management. And we’re here to assist you with that.

Matterkind’s Advisory Services team is well positioned to work with brands that are considering internalizing media management. We can help you understand what you really want to achieve, what is possible and what it will take to get there. We take a holistic approach to evaluate where you are currently and where the gaps are, so we can recommend a path forward. This helps you to be realistic about resource, time, and budget requirements, and prevents your brand biting off more than it can chew.

Level setting expectations is a two-part process:

Stage 1: Getting everyone on the same page

The first, and arguably most important step in setting expectations is making sure everyone across the organization agrees on what they want to achieve.

Most brands with the resources to consider internalizing media will be large organizations with many different lines of business, each with its own operating principles. It’s likely each team will work to its own KPIs, whether that’s pushing brand metrics, generating leads, or driving sales, so creating a single in-house team to support all of these is challenging to say the least.

Resolving internal conflict is a key part of this initial phase. There are likely to be some teams or individuals that are committed to the idea of internalizing media, while others aren’t convinced of the benefits. Some may doubt the brand’s capacity to support the shift from a financial or operational viewpoint. It’s very rare to find a brand where every team is in total agreement on how they want to manage media internally.

To make sure everyone is on the same page at this critical, early stage, Matterkind performs an audit known as the Maturity Canvas. This combines stakeholder interviews and in-depth questionnaires across multiple functions to find out what different teams are looking for. From the results of this audit we’ll put together a mission statement, around which everyone can be mobilized. This mission statement is continually refined until your entire organization is in agreement about what it is working towards.

Stage 2: Auditing the tech and the team

Once the entire organization is aligned around a mission statement, the next phase is to explore what advertising and marketing technology the brand already has internally and determine what else is needed to support the plan.

In addition to looking at which platforms are present, this also means determining whether systems are already integrated or whether they are managed in silos. It includes checking whether the brand has relationships with multiple inventory suppliers with different specialties. It involves looking at how business intelligence is managed, how data flows across the brand’s systems, who has access to that data, and how it is being modeled. And it means finding out whether the brand has capabilities around optimization, consent management, brand safety, verification, and audience value analysis, to name but a few.

This evaluation is designed to reveal any gaps in your brand’s tech stack, determine what additional tools or platforms are needed, and explore how best to deploy them.

Alongside the technology audit, we can also help brands with a people assessment to understand whether they have internal talent capable of carrying out their media management plans. If so, we can help integrate these teams and ensure they are rowing in the same direction, rather than competing against one another to meet the goals of different marketing departments.

If internal talent does not exist we can help brands determine what an operating structure might look like, and the new roles they might need. This could include ad ops and campaign managers and strategists, as well as data scientists and analysts.

Hiring the team required to internalize media management can have a big impact on the organization, which isn’t always obvious at the outset. We can support by creating job descriptions and helping with the recruitment process. We can also deliver custom training and seminars, both for new and existing team members.

Working towards a hybrid approach

The two stages outlined above are vital to help you understand what internalizing media management really means to your brand and what is involved in achieving it. It also reveals ‘in-housing’ is not an all-or-nothing proposition.

With a better understanding of what they want, the vast majority of brands opt for a hybrid approach to media management rather than trying to build an entire internal operation. The ideal model varies greatly depending on your brand’s goals, resources and capabilities. But overall the hybrid approach enables you to focus on the things that really matter to you, while still enjoying complementary support from your agency partners in the form of managed services, technology platforms and experienced people.

By level-setting expectations, we can make internal media management work to meet your brand’s goals, while still maintaining valuable agency-client relationships.

The trend for brands to internalize media management is one that waxes and wanes, oftentimes becoming a hot-button operations issue before returning to the back burner.

If your brand does consider making this move, the somewhat misleading phrase ‘in-housing’ will inevitably be mentioned, sending internal stakeholders and agency partners alike into a spin. There’ll be visions of having to develop an internal mini agency to manage everything from audience and data through to activation, optimization and analytics. Which is a tremendous investment.

The reality is very few brands actually want this level of internal media management. Even fewer have the resources and expertise to make it work. Most are looking for a hybrid situation, where they take a more hands-on role in the specific aspects of media that are really important to them, while leaning on managed support from agency partners for the bulk of their operations.

Far from being a choice of extremes between a fully agency-managed model or a fully brand-managed model, you can find a sweet spot that works for your brand on the vast spectrum between the two.

The Hybrid Approach Explained

A hybrid approach to media management can take a variety of forms. And it looks different for each brand, depending on goals and priorities as well as internal capabilities. You may want to just take on a small portion of the operation, such as segmentation, or you may want to internalize activation while your agency focuses more on education and strategy.

One of the more common hybrid models is to split the audience component and the activation piece, with the brand managing one and the agency managing the other. But even this model takes a variety of forms.

Some brands prefer to internalize intelligence and manage their own data, with the goal of taking ownership of the customer relationship. They may want to build and model audiences themselves, but then still push those out to their agency partner to activate. These brands don’t necessarily have the teams or core functionality to activate media internally, and often have no wish to do so.

On the flip side, other brands want to do the activation component themselves, with agency support for the data and intelligence piece. This is because brands often struggle with how to operationalize intelligence. They might get a seat on DV360 and hire an activation team, but still leverage their agency partner’s interconnected suite of applications to analyze audiences, derive insights, create segments, and syndicate these out to all the different channels and platforms.

A hybrid approach to media management is most effective when it takes workload off your brand’s internal team, allowing it to focus on the aspects you see as most important. Agency partners deliver valuable services and functionality to complement your efforts and support your goals.

There are several reasons why hybrid is a sensible approach to internalizing media operations. These include:

Ensuring Innovation Not Stagnation

Media and marketing move quickly, and agencies are set up to keep pace with new ideas and trends. But that isn’t necessarily the case with internal brand teams. When brands have a small, tight team working a particular way it’s easy to stagnate—with an immediate impact on performance.

If your brand does internalize some of its media management, there is still an important role for agencies in preventing stagnation and driving innovation. Agency partners can bring expertise around new and emerging trends or channels, provide ongoing training and support, or help with onboarding new technologies.

Internalizing some aspects of media rarely means an end to agency relationships as you’ll need to tap into those partnerships to stay fresh and relevant.

Reducing Financial Investment

One thing that is often overlooked when brands consider internalizing operations is the sheer cost involved. Particularly the amount they will need to spend on technology platforms.

Assuming you don’t already have demand-side platforms (DSPs), ad servers, audience management platforms, and customer data platforms (CDPs) in place, you’re going to have to either build these capabilities from scratch or spend a great deal with third-party providers to access them. Entering into costly bi-annual contracts and onboarding a huge range of platforms is often far less appealing from a financial perspective than making use of the technology suites your agency partners bring to the table. A hybrid approach, where you can still use your agency’s tech platforms, can offset a lot of the expense.

Getting the Right People for the Job

Of course, it’s not just technology that contributes to the cost of internalizing media management. There’s also the investment required to hire a whole team of people to support these activities.

These are highly specialized roles so your talent acquisition team will have to learn how to recruit for ad ops, campaign management and strategy, and data science and analytics roles. Attracting the right talent and keeping it can be a real challenge. Your internal team is a great environment for people to get trained up but, with a potential lack of upward mobility and opportunity, there’s no guarantee they’ll stay for the long haul.

A hybrid approach means your internal team still benefits from agency support and expertise. This could mean help with recruitment and training, or it could mean providing an overflow facility to ensure operations run smoothly if you have resourcing issues or team disruptions. And of course, the agency is also on hand to help with strategy.

The Many Faces of In-Housing

When the term ‘in-housing’ is used to describe internalizing media, it suggests an all-or-nothing proposition, but this simply isn’t the case. There are many ways for brands and agencies to share the workload.

A hybrid approach allows you to focus on the specific elements that are most important to you, while your agency supports and complements your efforts through a combination of managed services, people, or technology. It is a far stronger proposition than a fully ‘in-house’ model and allows brands and agencies to maintain productive, mutually beneficial relationships.

Marketing has changed dramatically in the last two years, especially when it comes to where and how budgets are utilized. Many businesses felt the financial squeeze of the pandemic, where tight budgets created limited advertising options. Additionally, the needs of the average person were changing—from in-store shopping to homebound online shoppers. We saw that what marketers needed during this time, and going forward, was flexibility above all.

With this shift in habits, we knew marketers needed more options, and we were happy to provide them. As everyone spent more time at home, marketing efforts and technologies were shifted to reflect that. Dotcom marketing, streaming video-CTV, YouTube ads, and QR codes transitioning from TV to mobile became the focus, all while still adhering to an audience-first approach. Rather than pushing struggling businesses into a fixed payment schedule, we encouraged marketers to explore our Outcome Based Marketing solution. With this measure, teams were able to feel at ease knowing they were only paying a single CPA, instead of separated CPM for display and CPC for search.

As marketers look at the rest of 2022 and beyond, there are three key technology trends that require special attention. These trends will shape the future of AdTech, MarTech, and marketing overall.

1. The Emergence of Retail Media Networks & Their Data

Most retailers are now offering media and purchase data to other brands. This data has now become “the gold standard”—opt in compliant, deterministic, new, active, and accurate. This kind of data is a goldmine for most marketers, and allows brands to engage with people in a meaningful way across channels to drive sales in store and online. In fact, more than 75% of brands have seen an increase in ROI thanks to retail media. Best of all, it is not reliant on cookies, allowing for a better method of compliant data collection to pave the way. Brands need data, and retailers have more than enough to spare. Read more about the shift to first-party data in blog post by Elizabeth Schwartz, VP of Commerce Solutions, here.

2. Total Convergence of TV and Digital
As people switch from watching on a TV, to reading on a tablet, to browsing on mobile devices, the transition between devices is becoming even more seamless. Newfound QR comfort following the pandemic has also made the shift from CTV to mobile even easier, as a unique QR code displayed on CTV provides a more streamlined jump that people are willing to make. As a result, single marketing strategies across TV and digital channels aren’t just possible, but thriving. This process also allows for more holistic, efficient marketing campaigns, as it dedupes the overlap between partners in the same channel, saving brands money and giving people a better experience.

3. Shift From Channel-Led Planning to Audience-Driven Planning
Leading with a people-first approach doesn’t seem like such a novel idea, yet many are only just starting to embrace it. This shift in planning has allowed for precise and consistent messaging across all channels, which allows for better personalization and reach of advertisements. Moreover, this provides people with a better overall experience and better brand perception This is one of the pillars of conscious marketing—brands must take a more respectful and people-led approach to communication, delivering the right message to the right person.

As we face a cookieless future, we know marketers will require increasing flexibility in their marketing tools. The ever-changing data and compliance landscape, evolving pandemic needs, and new technological advances, will continue to demand creative digital solutions. Observing and monitoring key industry trends like these will help marketers succeed and stay ahead of the curve.

Most brands accept they need to build out their first-party CRM database. But in the current climate, this is largely seen as a defensive move; a way to safeguard audience insight when third-party cookies make their much-discussed departure.

It’s true that first-party data does provide an effective safety net, and brands should certainly look at it that way. However, it also opens up a wealth of other possibilities and a chance to take ownership of the customer relationship, regardless of cookie deprecation. This opportunity is particularly exciting for CPG brands that have so far relied on retailers for customer insight, but really it’s something every brand should be doing.

The bottom line is, the world is changing and first-party data will help your brand change with it. An ongoing effort to maintain and grow first-party data won’t just protect your brand, it will also put you in a proactive position to stay ahead in the evolving landscape.

Connecting through an identity spine

In the past, there was a limit to what you could do with CRM data. You might be able to send emails to a customer, or potentially even an SMS, but that was about it. Now, in a world where ecommerce is exploding and everything is interconnected, the possibilities are limitless.

With first-party data, your brand can create a central identity spine, appended and enriched with second-party behavioral attributes. Every team within your organization can connect through this identity spine, enabling a more holistic media strategy. Your comprehensive media plan can encompass a wide range of channels, from social, search and digital advertising, to connected TV, email and direct mail—all built around CRM data.

Right now, distinct marketing teams like search and social are often disconnected, with their own tech partners, their own budgets and – most significantly – their own data sources. With first-party data you can address this disconnect. Everyone can operate under a standard key, such as a hashed email, so you can connect the dots between different departments—even outliers such as affiliate and direct mail. You can develop a cohesive plan where everything is trackable and data driven. It’s time to bring your marketing teams together and that means taking ownership of data.

Building out your own first-party data delivers:

Enhanced customer experience

If your teams work with distinct providers for individual marketing channels, and each one sources data from different places, it’s virtually impossible to control the customer experience. Valued customers and promising prospects are bombarded with repetitive, or even conflicting, messaging from multiple directions, quickly damaging their perception of the brand. When all parties can tap into a first-party identity spine, you have far more control over how many ads people are exposed to, as well as when and where they see them. First-party data puts you in control of communications to deliver more relevant customer experiences. When we talk about conscious marketing, these types of experiences are at its core.

Personalization opportunities

Unique messaging for each individual customer or prospect may not be a realistic goal, but marketing interactions do need to be as personalized as possible to forge strong connections and drive intended outcomes. First-party data gives you a far better understanding of your customers, enabling you to break out audiences into cohorts that can be pushed to activation platforms, so individuals receive more relevant and engaging experiences. This can be a gradual process, with your brand slowly building in a greater level of personalization over time.

Meaningful measurement

When your brand’s entire media plan is built around a common identity spine with person-level data, measuring the true impact and effectiveness of marketing tactics becomes far easier. Data across all engagements with a particular person can be used to analyze performance in real time. The powerful insights this uncovers can enable you to shift budget to more effective channels and tactics and optimize towards your chosen outcomes. You’ll be positioned to understand the impact of emerging channels—such as connected TV—as part of a unified media plan, rather than trying to measure their performance in silos.

The resurgence of lead generation

While the value of building out first-party CRM data is clear, getting started is often easier said than done. In a privacy-first world, where there is increased scrutiny of consumer data use, brands need to establish a proper value exchange for people to consent to sharing their personal information.

But there are still ways your brand can get going with this process. The recent focus on privacy has spurred a resurgence in lead generation practices as a way to accumulate customer data ethically, with full consent and transparency into what it will be used for. Possible entry points might include newsletters, or inter-brand partnerships with co-branded sponsorships and sweepstakes.

Some channels provide easier wins than others. Platforms such as Facebook and YouTube are trusted by their users, and lead forms in these environments can be pre-populated, making users more likely to share information. Embedded lead forms are becoming more prevalent in these spaces as the necessity of first-party data is increasingly recognized, with Google Ads lead form extensions being a prime example.

Ongoing effort is required

It doesn’t really matter how or where you get started with building out first-party CRM data. For most brands, it will be a case of learning to crawl and then walk before you can run. What matters is that there is an ongoing, evergreen effort to grow and maintain first-party data in a privacy compliant manner. This means implementing not just the mechanisms to collect that data ethically, but also the right tech partners to safeguard information in a way that complies with the relevant regulations.

We all know the importance of first-party data will increase with third-party cookie deprecation, but it shouldn’t be seen as a mere safety net to protect brands at that point in time. Building your entire, multi-channel media plan around a single identity spine, based on first-party CRM data, can allow you to take ownership of the customer relationship and deliver personalized, measurable experiences designed to drive your brand’s desired outcomes, regardless of the cookie situation.

The travel and hospitality industry has seen dramatic changes in the last few years that impact how and when people interact with brands. Historically, the industry has leaned on traditional marketing channels like print publications, linear TV, and radio to reach current and prospective customers. But that marketing strategy is less measurable and requires audiences to move to a separate channel for further research and consideration, often resulting in lower engagement rates and minimal attribution.

With the convergence of TV, digital and other channels—not to mention the rising customer desire for a seamless experience—marketers are under enormous pressure to meet customer demands, stretch every dollar, and justify marketing investments. Many brands are incorporating more data-driven channels like digital display and search into their marketing mix where new opportunities for addressability and outcome-based performance marketing programs are emerging. This next generation of the AdTech ecosystem presents more options for creating integrated experiences, especially for those brands looking to reach audiences at scale and achieve less-risky, measurable returns on marketing investments.

One example is the use of QR codes and CTV. Matterkind recently worked with a client in the travel industry to employ a campaign using unique QR codes displayed on CTV ads to provide a more streamlined jump to mobile. After scanning the QR code on a mobile device, the person is taken to a webpage with more information, where interest can convert to a booking. In that same 30-second spot, viewers were able to engage directly with the creative, providing an aesthetic travel experience they’d been longing for after two years of no travel. By creating a truly integrated, engaging experience with the ads they were watching, viewers got much more than they would’ve from watching a commercial on linear TV. This strategy positioned our client to be a better resource in the search for vacation options.

Extending the use of these emerging capabilities, additional work with this client helped to combine typically distinct channels to optimize outcomes and lower costs. By integrating data across two different teams, addressable and SEM, we were able to drive a more holistic and efficient campaign. We identified placements that would drive the most bookings across those teams and executed a low-risk, fixed-cost-per-booking model. This increased bookings more than 20%! The approach created a more robust ROAS, because the client paid a single CPA instead of a separate CPM for display and CPC for search. It also deduped for the overlap between partners in the same channel, allowing the client to re-invest the otherwise wasted advertising dollars to realize even more bookings.

Our client was able to see that our unique, integrated approach was really working for them and offered a high return on ad spend. By diversifying strategies and streamlining the viewer experience, we were able to act strategically to drive bookings and prevent any wasted marketing investment. At a time when travel and vacation plans seemed to change based on the news cycle, these more predictable approaches to customer engagement brought in more bookings at a lower rate.

To learn a few more ways marketers can take advantage of these new outcome-based trends and techniques, click here to get a copy of our Six Outcomes of A New Generation of Performance Marketing POV paper.