December 06, 2011

Data And Strategy And Transformationals

Back in 2008, I hosted a session at the Merit Direct Co-Op (a very good B2B event, by the way) about using the business intelligence you learn from business-related social media to grow your business.

The talk would have been better if presented like this one (click here for the video).

Now, I hear you, it is easy to pick one success story, and label that as a "best practice".

But there is a deeper layer, here, folks.

When you are marketing to Traditionals, you get to have a lot more flexibility than you get to have when marketing to Transformationals.  Classic analysis systems (square inch analysis, RFM) allow you to run a reasonably healthy business.  You can plan catalogs six months or nine months in advance, you don't have to analyze results in real time.

That works when marketing to Traditionals.

When marketing to Transformationals, you face a different set of challenges.  Businesses scale rapidly, and they evolve sooooooo fast.  You don't have the luxury of planning nine months in advance, then waiting to analyze results six weeks after a campaign ends.  So data becomes integral to the strategy of the business.

This blog, for instance, is nearly six years old.  I analyze the performance of the blog daily.  Every so often, readership dynamics change.

  • 2006: Marketing opinions.
  • 2007: Execs using search to discover strategies surrounding channels..
  • 2008: Leaders looking for easy tips for success.
  • 2009: Surviving a downturn.
  • 2010: CEOs/VPs/Directors looking for breakthrough methodologies.
  • 2011: Strategies to deal with a changing customer base.
In each case, readership changed subtly.  I had to respond to changes in readership by offering different content, which was then easily measured for effectiveness ... the most popular articles only generated pageviews ... moderately viewed articles embraced by a recent audience generated business and led to booklets ... poorly viewed articles were abandoned.  I had to respond to these changes daily/weekly.  If you look at my content today, it's a heck of a lot different than it was in 2006/2007, driven by a fusion of data and strategy.

Too often in e-commerce, we miss subtle trends ... we either focus on conversion, or we focus on engagement, we miss everything in between hard science and fluff.  This is ok if we're focusing on Traditionals, this becomes an issue with Transitionals.  With Transformationals, data and strategy and social and mobile and viral and selling and commerce all have to be fused together, data and strategy become one.

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