Another 3rd-party cookie replacement, and about going digital-first: Wednesday’s daily brief

Good morning, marketers, I guess we should start taking Clubhouse seriously. I’ve seen an influx of stories about opportunities on the new audio networking app Clubhouse. Not to advertise, but to promote brand reputation by offering valuable content. That content, as I understand it, comes in the form of live spoken word. No recordings, no […]

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Good morning, marketers, I guess we should start taking Clubhouse seriously.

I’ve seen an influx of stories about opportunities on the new audio networking app Clubhouse. Not to advertise, but to promote brand reputation by offering valuable content. That content, as I understand it, comes in the form of live spoken word. No recordings, no texts, no private messages — just conversation. So a brand better have something of value to talk about.

Brands are starting to sponsor rooms, individual brand representatives are building followings and influencers are doing their usual thing — talking about brands. Of course, all this is hearsay, as I’ve never been on Clubhouse. Right now, it’s invitation (and iPhone) only — something which is likely to change.

I am tempted to ask around for an invite, but where am I going to find those extra few hours every day to hang out and get noticed?

Kim Davis
Editorial Director

LiveRamp’s alternative to third-party cookies

LiveRamp’s alternative to third-party cookies is its Authenticated Traffic Solution, or ATS. “We’ve been investing substantially over the past four years in…ATS, which enables publishers to connect their first-party identities (a user login on the New York Times, for example, or the Washington Post) to our people-based platform,” said Travis Clinger, SVP, addressability and ecosystem. “As we see the end of the third-party cookie looming, and the changes to the IDFA happening this spring, we expect to continue to scale ATS. Already we have about one in five people logging in on the ATS network, and we expect to continue scaling that over the coming months, allowing marketers to continue to connect with their consumers across any channel without the need for a third-party cookie.”

Anonymous traffic, consisting of users who don’t log in to websites, eludes the grasp of ATS. “Exactly,” Clinger agreed, “but a login can be a variety of events. For example, it could be clicking a newsletter link, signing up for text alerts, or using a widget on the site to engage in comments or discussion.”

LiveRamp has also announced a partnership with Media.net, the international contextual advertising business, allowing marketers to leverage contextual and addressable advertising together, rather than in separate siloes. Contextual is not, in itself, the future of the ecosystem, Clinger emphasized. “But we’ve always believed there’s an opportunity to pair contextual with addressability.

Read more here.

Vevo is targeting ads by mood  

The music video network Vevo is using AI to facilitate more effective targeting by zeroing in on the emotional connection.

The global network this week launched Moods, an AI-powered product that groups videos by emotional category — so far, options are empowered, heartfelt, fun, and impassioned — allowing users to design their listening experience and advertisers to place campaigns in an emotionally congruent environment. The rationale is that aligning ad theme and tone with relevant content will boost consumers’ ad recall and brand favorability.

From a scientific standpoint, the case for Moods is well documented in cognitive science research. When music elicits the emotional responses so familiar to us, a chemical chain reaction takes place that reinforces those musical-emotional connections, which in turn are associated with enhanced memory. In brief: We hear music → we feel an emotion → we’re more likely to remember whatever we’re looking at in the moment. 

From a brand perspective, it’s a no-brainer: Users get the ease and novelty of a mood-based playlist, enhancing Vevo’s brand affinity while advertisers potentially strengthen connections with hyper-targeted messaging.  

Vevo worked with the music data company Musixmatch to identify and tag videos based on various musical features of the songs in its catalog. A proprietary model built by Musixmatch then assigns a mood to each Vevo video’s metadata tag for seamless contextual targeting.

Why We Care: For several years now, companies have been wondering how to use AI to unlock the potential treasure hiding inside the huge amounts of data particular to their consumers and products. This is an example of how applied AI can deliver on the promises of seamlessness and personalization in a way that also benefits marketers. 

How many martech companies will go digital-first

Drift, the conversational B2B marketing and sales platform has announced it’s going digital first, meaning that staff will work remotely — permanently. Explaining the decision, CEO and cofounder David Cancel began from the premise that the world has changed indefinitely.

This presented three possibilities: insist on going back to the old ways of doing things; go fully remote; or create a hybrid of the two. He rejected the hybrid option as “inequitable” — from experience, he knew that remote workers would feel left out of onsite workplace interactions.

With its popular in-person Hypergrowth events (pre-pandemic) and emphasis on conversation, Drift has always emphasized human connections. If Drift can go digital first, how many martech companies — which should have a head start in terms of virtual infrastructure — will follow? Full disclosure: Third Door Media, publishers of MarTech Today, is a natively remote business. 

Read David Cancel’s reasoning here.

Quote of the day

“You get to send one MOPs-related post to alert people you are in trouble. What do you post?I’ll start — You should score email opens as part of your lead-scoring model.” Jason Raisleger, Sr. Marketing Automation Consultant, Perkuto.

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Please don’t fill new channels with bad creative

TechStyle Fashion Group’s pandemic pivot might be considered rare in a world when marketers say most ads are lackluster and repetitive.

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For nearly a year, marketers have operated in a pandemic world where digital channels are all they’ve got. But saying you’re going to tap new channels and then actually delivering results there depends on just how strong your content game is. But just how quickly must you get strong?

“Almost overnight,” said Aubrie Richey, vice president of customer acquisition and media at TechStyle Fashion Group. “We had to rapidly adapt to understand how to get the perfect photo, social media ad or commercial from home, all with the added challenge of developing relatable marketing content for a consumer base experiencing altered life experiences in response to the pandemic.”

TechStyle,  which manages fashion brands like JustFab, FabKids and Savage X Fenty, the inclusive lingerie line designed by music icon Rihanna, had already invested in five in-house production studios. Each was staffed by professional photographers and creatives that drove out content across more than 20 channels and networks, developed TV and social media campaigns and supported their flagship web destinations.

But now the company found itself sending production equipment to influencers and brand ambassadors so they could build their own “mini-studios” at home. This way, they could keep up with campaign imagery for monthly new product drops and other promotions, Richey said.

“Our brands began leaning into our vast libraries of influencer-generated content, and ensuring that our influencers had the equipment needed to develop their own content,” Richey stated.

She added, “Our brands rethought core campaigns and key holidays, shifting messaging to be more resonant to consumers who may be adopting a Zoom holiday celebration or more low-key family gatherings. We found that these shifts in strategy resonated with consumers across brands, and that by developing relatable marketing content we were actually strengthening our consumer base.”

Can we be more … creative?

The downside of the sudden influx of channels to consider during COVID-19 is just how much content is needed to fill those gaps. But many marketers say the demand has not been met with worthy creative. In fact, you might say the opposite is happening.

Nearly 69% of the 250 marketers recently surveyed by creative automation provider Celtra say ads are far too repetitive. In fact, 63% concluded that “very few brands are doing creative ads right now.” 

But TechStyle has committed itself to being one of those few.

For its JustFab brand, Richey said the company adapted to consumers dwindling interest in workplace and street styles in favor of more quarantine-appropriate athletic wear and loungewear. Its FabKids brands focused on the adjustments parents and children were making for remote learning.

“Each of our brands had to take a reflective look at how to adopt their various marketing strategies to their respective ‘new’ consumers,” she said.

The FabKids content team began recruiting parents to shoot the content of their children in home environments, reflecting the changes to everyday life that families were experiencing. As a direct result of these new strategies, TechStyle launched 25% more ads in 2020 than the preceding year.

And not only were there more ads, but they resonated with consumers’ lives, Richey said.

Nurturing what’s next

Relevance isn’t just about the content, though. It’s also about where the content is seen.

Celtra’s survey found 73% of marketers use Facebook and/or Instagram “the most to engage with their customers.” This was followed by email, at 55%, and 35% through Twitter.

Only 12% of marketers said they use TikTok the most, which is at least an indication that brands with similar audiences are seeing opportunities to expand through that channel. The main takeaway is that brands should keep looking and be ready to pounce if there’s a good match.

For TechStyle, they have made TikTok a priority this year by launching an initiative they call the “#techtokstyle challenge.”

“Our teams saw a gap in TechStyle’s social media presence, and have created a new virtual challenge to grow and scale our presence on TikTok,” said Richey. The challenge asks employees “to express their brand pride and get involved with the content creation process, all while creating relatable ads for our members.”

Here’s hoping they can pack that all in to 15 seconds or less.

 

This story first appeared on MarTech Today.

 

 

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Getting off on the right foot with DAM

Taking the first steps to kick off, or refine, your digital asset management program.

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“It’s critically important to start the process before you even look at a piece of technology.” Advice on getting started with digital asset management from founder of The Codified DAM Consultant, Mark Davey.

He was speaking on a recent episode of MarTech Live about getting started on the DAM journey the right way. The data model and the information architecture needs to be right — or as right as possible: “It’s an iterative process,” he said, “like mowing the grass. You’ve got to keep doing it, keep refining it, keep looking at the people, the processes and the systems to make those things work.

Call for librarians. There’s a role in enterprise DAM systems for librarians, Davey said. “The thing about librarians is, they love to share to knowledge in a way that’s understandable, a bit like a teacher. Sadly, there aren’t enough librarians doing the taxonomy and vocabulary work. They tend to end up being keyword taggers. Keywords are an important part of this, but we’re talking about information, knowledge and information being distributed in a format that everybody can understand — and then serve up curated experiences using that knowledge.

“For me,” he went on, “librarians and information architects are a must have.”

Watch all the 2020 episodes of MarTech Live here.

Best practices. Davey went on to talk about best practices for getting started. “Step one is gap analysis, using people, process, information and systems. Where are your people? What are the technical capabilities of your people? Is [your DAM] ad hoc, is it incipient, is it formative, is it operational, is it optimal? You can do a self-assessment on that.”

Davey referred to the DAM Maturity Model, something he had some past involvement with. “It helps you gauge where you are on that spectrum.”

As an enterprise consultant, he tries to identify pain-points. “How long are they searching for content, how many different systems do they have to use, how frustrated are they, and when do they just give it to the agency?” Metrics like these can form a basis for understanding ROI on a DAM investment.

Davey’s consultancy recently performed an assessment for a large pharmaceutical organization which involved surveying some 12,000 people about gaps in the business about gaps in the content lifecycle. After the assessment and gap analysis comes a resource audit: “How many tools, systems and processes are in effect for the lifecycle of content; and at the same time you’re starting to think about the governance around the data model. Then you start to build use-case scenarios.” If a vendor is not able to fulfill requirements identified in use-case scenarios, “they’re not going to help you for the long journey.”

Why we care. All marketing is essentially content marketing, and content marketing can’t be done efficiently if content assets (which today means primarily digital assets) aren’t effectively managed.

 

This story first appeared on MarTech Today.

 

 

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One view of the future of events: niche and hybrid

There are still many questions to be answered about the events landscape post-COVID.

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We’re all still trying to work out virtual events, as well as looking forward to next year when the COVID vaccine might ultimately herald a return of in-person engagement, perhaps in tandem with virtual content. Everyone has an opinion, not least Ben Hindman, CEO at event marketing platform Splash.

Earlier this month, he raised some hackles on LinkedIn by predicting that COVID would break the addiction to massive events, and that the shift to “bite size” is underway. Splash followed up Hindman’s opinion piece with some supporting data in their report “Online, Shorter, and Here to Stay: An Outlook on Virtual and Hybrid Events in 2021.”

Here’s the data. Based on a survey of 270 U.S. events professionals, and over 3,000 attendees from various industries, Splash reported, among other things, that:

  • 43% of companies moved all events to virtual and are hosting more virtual events than originally planned;
  • 79% of companies now expect to host events that include an online component even once in-person events resume; and
  • Fewer than 7% of event attendees believe virtual events should be longer than an hour.

That last message seemed already to have reached the ears of Salesforce, with the drastic restructuring of this year’s Dreamforce as a long series of short sessions.

We caught up with Splash’s Chief Revenue Officer Eric Holmen to dive deeper into the findings. “The future seems to be changing day by day,” he said. “We have a very active user group globally, and what we’ve heard from them is that the nature and definition of events is changing in pretty fundamental ways. COVID may have accelerated the digital transformation of events by five years.”

Because so much of event planning and management had traditionally taken place offline, and because much value at events had been derived from face-to-face contacts — by definition not digital — the digital transformation of events had been lagging pre-pandemic. “When you suddenly need to take everything online, you start to apply some rigor.”

The question of scale. The report includes some data which seems to underline the value of smaller, shorter events, with almost twice the attendance rate at events with fewer than 10 RSVPs as at event with 100-plus RSVPs, and 55% of respondents believing that virtual events should last 30 minutes or less.

“There’s going to be a place for the big events,” said Holmen. Splash, after all, does support both large and small events. “But it’s when big events have small moments that they have the most value; when you’re able to have a special VIP session or dinner, not when you have these big rooms full of people. They’re okay, they’re good for learning, but that super-niche experience within the big event is where most of the value comes from.” It’s possible to have that kind of super-niche experience, and have it be engaging and interactive, without having to travel halfway across the country, Holmen observed.

Holmen also wonders about the future of webinars, which of course are essentially online seminars. “Virtual events can have some chat, some interesting experiences, some engagement, and I think that’s why a virtual event is different from a webinar. I question both the big events and the webinars: are they going to survive in the same way a year from now?”

Certainly, lengthy online events test the audience’s attention span. “Try to keep your sessions down to 20 minute or less if you can, and if you have a really big keynote then you’ve got to go the extra mile to make it extra special.”

The hybrid future. “The lifecycle went from in-person events, to webinars, to virtual events that slowly improved, and the next chapter is — how do we do these hybrid things, when we can return to in-person, but have a really interesting digital experience?”

Hybrid means different things to different people: we asked him for his perspective. “We, along with others, are trying to fix a definition around hybrid. By default, we imagine hybrid as a live event which is also being streamed — which has been happening in the past. I think that’s going to continue, but it’s more like a telecast version of a live event. The ideal hybrid event combines some digital interactions, along with optional in-real-life.” Some clients, said Holmen, envision a virtual package, plus an in-person event, on the same topic, but probably not running at the same time — “They feed off each other,” he said.

Why we care. The Splash report characterizes the events landscape as “resilient, but unrecognizable from a year ago” — which is almost an understatement. The future may be uncertain, but there will certainly be a future. We’re all trying to figure out what it will look like.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today.

https://martechtoday.com/one-view-of-the-future-of-events-niche-and-hybrid-245768

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The importance of governance for digital asset management

A taxonomy, and governance to ensure its proper use, are foundational for DAM.

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Central to digital asset management, or DAM, is the tagging of assets so that they can be readily retrieved — something of critical importance for extensive libraries of text, images and video.

But random tagging by a multiplicity of users doesn’t get the job done: tagging needs to be done consistently, and according to a taxonomy, a hierarchical classification scheme. If you’re a library user, think of the Dewey Decimal System; but unlike public libraries, there’s no one-size-fits-all taxonomy which will serve the needs of retailers, healthcare, finance, scientific organizations, or sport associations.

What is digital asset management?

In a recent episode of MarTech Live, Paul Murphy, digital image expert at UEFA (the Union of European Football Associations) explained how he brought order to a vast collection of soccer images from different sources. “For the Euro 2016 tournament, we had a variety of photographers shooting editorial, commercial and operational content,” he explained. So, different suppliers, different sources of content, different styles of photography — but the end users were going to have access to a mix of this, depending on their asset rights.”

Murphy’s team mapped keywords being used by the photographers onto tags in UEFA’s controlled vocabulary to make the tags filterable for the end users. The controlled vocabulary was also circulated tio the photographers for reference. “We had a photo editing team working with all content throughout that tournament to make sure everything was coming through our business rules correctly, and following tagging rules, and then we could just do a quality control on top of that.”

It was actually a bigger challenge, said Murphy, to apply governance to matches held throughout the regular season, where an individual photographer might be creating editorial images, as well as working for a sponsor to take photos with stadium ads in the background. “We can find we’re over-stretching the supplier, and we then get several hundred images in.”

Download our Marketer’s Guide to DAM Platforms.

Those images need to be correctly tagged, but the photographer may not known that, in UEFA’s controlled vocabulary, a certain camera in a certain position goes by a specific name. It’s then up to Murphy’s team to improve the quality of the tagging. “For a major tournament we’re almost seamless,” he said. “We’re trying to improve on the other aspects.”

Mark Davey is a leading DAM consultant, founder of IQ Equity, responded to Murphy’s comments: “The key word around getting this right is ‘governance,'” he said, “around the taxonomy, the vocabularies, and the meta-data standards that you use — specifically in larger enterprises as well, because you’ll have different divisions using different names. Cory Doctorow coined the phrase ‘meta-crap’: this is when people don’t take the taxonomy, the meta-data and the governance around those things seriously.” That can impact the user experience across the enterprise, he said.

Watch the full conversation with Paul Murphy and Mark Davey here.

 

This story first appeared on MarTech Today.

 

 

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Sitecore announces headless CMS offering

Experience Edge offers hybrid headless capabilities.

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Sitecore, the CMS and e-commerce platform, has announced the launch of Sitecore Experience Edge, a new platform for headless content delivery at scale. The platform’s content creation capabilities will be accessible to marketers as well as developers. The headless content delivery will be available in early 2021.

Two options will be available initially, Experience Edge for Sitecore Content Hub and Experience Edge for Sitecore Experience Manager (XM). The former allows headless content delivery to any channel through APIs, with the content managed by marketers, and tools for content lifecycle management. The latter offers XM customers to publish static website content as well as deliver headless content. Content management is again accessible to marketers.

Headless and hybrid. Headless CMS — so-called because it lacks a content delivery component (the head) — allows the front-end (basically, any channel) to request content from a content hub through APIs. It’s viewed as advantageous to brands and organizations seeking to push content across many channels rather than just feed it to a website.

When headless capabilities are combined with user-friendly content management tools, the result is often called “hybrid headless.” Jose Santa Ana, Product Marketing Director for Sitecore AI and Content Hub, confirmed that it would be accurate to describe Experience Edge as a hybrid solution.

“First, it does offer coding-free content management (with the full content planning, collaboration, and management capabilities) for marketers, but requires front-end coding for publishing of the content and building the experience,” he told us. “Secondly, for Sitecore Experience Edge for Experience Manager (XM), it’s hybrid because the underlying XM content management solution can be deployed on-premises, while the delivery layer is deployed as SaaS.”

The two options. We asked Santa Ana why Sitecore was offering the two distinct Experience Edge services. ““he two offerings address two different use cases, which can translate to two different groups of customers,” he explained. “Sitecore Experience Edge for Sitecore Content Hub allows marketers and business users to manage the content while developers build the presentation/front-end separately.

“Sitecore Experience Edge for Sitecore Experience Manager (XM) allows marketers and business users to control both the content and the presentation/experience composition layers, while removing the burden of content deployment, infrastructure setup, and scaling.”

Why we care. As digital marketing evolves rapidly from the model of creating web-sites and web-pages and publishing content designed for them, headless CMS — and especially hybrid headless — will increasingly be seen as a route to delivering channel-agnostic content as channels continue to multiply.

 

This story first appeared on MarTech Today.

 

 

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Be a digital marketing winner with these 3 powerful video storytelling strategies

Video storytelling should be an integral part of any online marketing strategy. By following these three fundamentals, brands can build the foundation for a strong video campaign.

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In an increasingly digital world, video is becoming the new norm for visual storytelling. It’s no surprise, given that video is a highly visual and effective medium for communicating with a brand’s audience.

Going beyond static images, videos use sound and movement to create a compelling message, making it an integral part of any brand’s online marketing strategy. According to Databox, almost 60% of marketers said video ads tend to drive more engagement than images.

To create online experiences that resonate with customers, every business should consider emerging video technologies that mirror the in-person experience, such as 3D and 360-degree videos that we highlighted in our last article. These immersive tools will build strong customer engagement that push the boundaries of the digital experience. 

However, the key to using these tools effectively is to first get back to the basics and understand all of the fundamental strategies that can improve a brand’s video visual storytelling – one that reaches the right audience and generates strong ROI.  

Segment audiences for a personalized connection

Creating great video content is wasted if the wrong audience is watching it. As with anything, personalized communication that targets the right consumer will lead to the strongest results. Accenture’s study reveals that 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more personalized experience. It’s clear that consumers desire their favorite brands to truly understand them and their preferences.

Since one-to-one video personalization is not always possible, marketers can simply create one-to-small group outreach that segments customer data into specific categories, whether it be age, gender, location or behavior. A new restaurant opening in a New York neighborhood can target consumers who live in that specific region. A retailer with a new outdoor clothing line can segment their audience to target customers who have bought hiking gear in the past or have searched for camping items. These grouped segments can also inform the video’s message and storyboard, creating meaningful interactions that consumers will resonate with. 

Use AI to boost efficiency

Managing video assets for each segment and campaign can take hours of manual work. Delivering video content in today’s competitive world demands an intelligent approach that provides speed and performance. This is where AI steps in to boost efficiency and make it easier than ever for organizations to create and distribute videos, all at scale. 

With AI, teams can dynamically format, crop and resize video content, live crop to ensure the main subject is always the focus of the clip, automatically transcribe audio to produce subtitles, and generate short previews for visitors to click through and view more. This technology can also streamline workflows through AI-based auto-tagging, structured metadata and advanced search for real-time collaboration and on-the-fly content changes. 

By taking the complexity out of managing videos with AI, companies can be more efficient with video creation and distribution and focus on delivering more engaging visual experiences that convert.

Measure video performance with analytics

To determine success, brands must measure their video campaigns to evaluate what’s working and what’s not. Each data point will help inform the on-going creative and marketing strategy, ultimately improving video ROI. To start, marketers can evaluate the following key metrics:

  1. Who viewed the video?
  2. How does page placement impact play?
  3. How is performance impacted with auto-play?
  4. What cookies are associated with the viewer?
  5. Was there a call-to-action?
  6. Which part of the video was replayed or skipped?
  7. Was there a video abandonment event?
  8. When did the abandonment event take place?

Based on the results, brands can easily pivot their video content and distribution strategy. Over time, these metrics should be updated and refined as marketers gain a better experience and understanding of the different components of video storytelling. With measurable goals, brands can constantly track what is happening to the video content and continuously improve and optimize those metrics with a sound strategy. 

Brands can win with personalized, high-performance videos

The power of video visual storytelling cannot be underestimated. As we’ve seen from the pandemic, consumers have quickly adapted to all things video, making that medium even more central to a brand’s online marketing strategy in the coming years. Now more than ever, brands must understand where their audience is and create immersive and engaging videos that resonate. 

Implementing these three main pillars creates a strong foundation for delivering the great video storytelling that consumers crave. Once these are established, marketers can move towards new video trends that will take their video content to the next level. In the end, the winners are those brands that deliver more personalized, high-performance videos to customers across the buyer journey.

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Beyond the relaunch: Evolve your web strategy toward regular iteration

Pantheon’s Josh Koenig makes the case for a new product-oriented way to think about your web communications.

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In the early days of the pandemic, the University of Southern California, like many other educational institutions, had to do a swift pivot when it came to one of its most consequential activities of the year: commencement. 

Over the course of 3 weeks, the university designed and set up a virtual commencement experience, explained Josh Koenig, co-founder and head of product at WebOps platform Pantheon, which counts USC as a client. 

“They built out their own Twitch-stream-like experience, where they’d have an embedded video feed and chat and other messages,” Koenig said, speaking at the recent MarTech conference. “So they could have 27 different channels of this going on for different schools and niches and audiences.” 

When the big day arrived, USC got 77,000 people to engage in the experience, significantly more than could possibly come to a normal in-person commencement, said Koenig. 

“The first thing the team said to us when we did the recap was ‘We’re doing this again next year, for sure,'” he said. “Because their ability to reach into extended family networks and friend networks and open the experience of commencement to a much wider audience than they ever could have admitted into an auditorium is not something they every want to give up.” 

The new normal

Koenig cited the experience as one example of how the digital transformation spurred by the COVID-19 era is driving lasting change. 

At a time when so many people’s interactions with businesses are conducted solely online, Koenig urged the audience to step up to the challenge of delivering a great user experience. 

“This is the primary, if not only, channel by which you’re going to be able to reach people, certainly you don’t want them to have a poor experience,” he said. “I think we’re going to see many, many more organizations really stepping up, taking this seriously and striving for excellence.”

What that means, according to Koenig, is being able to respond to changes in circumstances quickly, so that your digital communications are always as effective as they can be. 

Structure your operations to enable agile marketing

“Can you can you respond in real time to social media? Can you evolve the experience of your website on a weekly basis, or potentially, if necessary, on a daily basis, because you’ve had to pivot a campaign or you’re sending out a new type of communication?,” he asked. “If the web experience component of your stack can’t move at that speed, it’s really a problem.”

“You want to be able to think strategically, you want to be able to act proactively, but a lot of marketing organizations, they’re frankly, just not there, even though they wish they would be, noted Koenig. 

Koenig said marketers need to get beyond the idea of the website relaunch — that this big-bang process that occurs maybe once a year is the way to manage your site. 

“What happens inevitably is the website’s unveiled, the relaunch happens. And it’s very exciting, it’s a big improvement, you fixed a lot of things, but it’s also incorrect in many ways,” he said. “There’s no way that you’re going to get it all right and stick the landing perfectly. So there’s this list of things that need to get fixed or adjusted.” 

Instead, marketers should invest resources in the ability to iterate early and often — this is achieved by using WebOps. “Rather than thinking of a relaunch that solves all the problems, think about applying a new way of managing and delivering through your web channels,” he said. 

It’s not all about technology

One important ingredient for achieving this is a technology stack that can support these iterative processes, but Koenig said you also need to develop clear-cut processes to empower content creators. 

“You’re going to figure out how to give people the authority to write something and publish it with minimal overhead or bureaucratic review,” he said. “How do we invest in kind of messaging guidelines and content strategy, so that you can… make content creators really accountable for the impact of what they’re creating, because they know how to be on brand.”

Accountability goes hand in hand with analytics, so that you can steer each iteration toward your big-picture business goals. 

“Ultimately, the purpose of all this is that you connect the web strategy with the business value. Your website has a job to do — you have to decide what that job is, ” Koenig said. “And there’s lots of stakeholders for a flagship website for the public face of your brand or your company. But you really got to figure out what’s the most important thing, and then start to measure that and and align your activities around driving that.”

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New GPT-3 solutions can help speed up PPC ad and landing page copy creation

AI-generated copy isn’t perfect, but these tools can churn out ideas and inspiration in a matter of seconds.

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Artificial intelligence-written articles and copy have been around for several years now, but GPT-3 promises to take AI-produced copy to the next level.

GPT-3 is Open AI’s powerful autoregressive language model that is capable of generating human-like natural language. What makes GPT-3 so much better than its predecessors is the size of its training data. GPT-3 has 175 billion parameters, “10x more than any previous non-sparse language model,” according to OpenAI researchers.

New GPT-3 powered solutions for marketers. One thing that makes GPT-3 particularly useful for marketers is that it doesn’t require complex coding to get results. You can feed it instructions in plain English.

Is GPT-3 ready to take over your marketing copy duties? No, but there is inspiration to be had. Several solutions have begun popping up to help marketers create ads, landing pages, blog posts and more within minutes, even seconds.

Snazzy, for example, uses the OpenAI API (which launched in beta in June) to generate copy via GPT-3 for Google Ads, landing pages and taglines. More options, including emails, blog posts, Facebook Ads, and product descriptions are in the works.

Copysmith and Copy.ai are other GPT-3 marketing content creators with various templates for ads, blog posts and more.

Getting started is simple. You feed in some training data such as company name, brand keywords, target audience and a description, and within seconds, you’ll get suggested copy back.

The Google Ads template in Snazzy, for example, will give you three to five standard text ad variations, each with three headlines and two descriptions. In the example below, the “Magic” button is enabled, meaning it will automatically generate ads based on the seed data you provided. When turned off, you can enter existing ad copy and it will generate new suggestions based on that copy and your seed data.

GPT-3 generated Google Ads for Nike from Snazzy. Click to enlarge.

Helpful assistance. With any of these solutions, don’t expect perfection. You’ll need to edit and finesse, and changing the inputs can also help refine the GPT-3 suggestions.

The models will continue to improve, and you can quickly see how refining your own inputs can influence the outputs. The machines aren’t going to take our jobs just yet, but these tools can produce some remarkable content, help speed up the creation process and inspire new creative angles you might have missed.

 

This story first appeared on Search Engine Land.

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Sitecore delivers product news against a shifting business landscape

Sitecore talks product at Symposium against a background of how brands must learn to survive.

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Product news released at the virtual Sitecore Symposium today recognized the need for brands to get started quickly and easily with personalization in this period where accelerated digital transformation meets increased consumer demand for relevant experiences.

As Sitecore CMO Paige O’Neill said in her keynote, “Customer expectations are shifting once again from under us.” She called for “moment to moment” customer experience, and a new mindset focused on empathy.

Product news. Sitecore AI Auto Personalization Standard will be available out-of-the-box in early 2021. It will allow Sitecore users to begin personalizing content without the need to manually define segments, and with no traffic minimum required. It will enable automated personalization around images, text and CTAs, and will offer real-time visibility into personalization peformance.

Also available early next year, Sitecore Content as a Service, built on the Content Hub, will provide centralized planning and collaboration tools
and an ability to deliver content over APIs to any channel. “Content strategy is critical,” said O’Neill, “and becoming more so.”

Reinforcing the concepts of personalization and empathy, and how technology and a content strategy support them, may seem an obvious line to take. The stronger message, however, is that these are no longer nice to-haves, or options for growing revenue. They are critical to survival.

Brand resilience. That’s the message Vijayanta Gupta, Sitecore’s GVP, Product Marketing delivered in an in-depth conversation with MarTech Today (he also presented his research on brand resilience at Symposium today). “I’m passionate about how brands survive year over year,” he said, “and what we’re going through with COVID means that some brands we are familiar with are struggling financially, or are not going to survive.”

Brands don’t miss big changes, he explained. No brand, for example, has “missed” COVID; what they can miss are tectonic shifts — deeper trends that threaten to disrupt their business. Gupta’s historic example is Kodak, which understood the demand for small digital cameras, but didn’t recognize that consumers were evolving towards one device (phone/camera combined).

Gupta identifies five trends today which brands need to focus on if they are to remain resilient.

Purposeful capitalism. “There’s a groundswell of opinion around the world that capitalism has not served the purpose of every stakeholder,” he said. There is a move to change capitalism from the inside so that brands serve not only shareholders, but other stakeholders like customers, employees, society and the environment.

Consumers will now engage with brands that are environmentally and socially responsible. Gupta sees billions of dollars investment, just this year, shifting to ESG funds (funds which integrate environmental, social and governance factors into the investment process). Brands must show that they serve a purpose in society and are willing to invest back into it.

Non-linear lives. “We have all grown up thinking of life as being linear. You are born, you get educated, you join a job, you retire, you die,” said Gupta. The trend that has emerged in the last few years, and accelerated under COVID, is many people choosing a non-linear life: taking years off, moving between part-time and full-time employment, and moving into advisory roles or charity work, for example, rather than retiring.

The importance for brands is that traditional LTV models and customer life-cycle predictions become irrelevant when consumers switch to non-linear lifestyles — a trend which goes hand-in-hand with the subscription economy, and people no longer actually owning things like homes and cars.

Customer ubiquity. “Traditionally,” brands have looked at the world in a very myopic manner,” said Gupta, “dividing into developed and developing. They’ve chosen to serve the developed world in one way, and the developing world in another way.” Many, indeed, have chosen not to serve the latter.

This model is no longer valid. Today, the brands consumers engage with and aspire to vary based on income, not region, Guptga explained. “Customers do not think of themselves as living in developed or developing economies, and brands shouldn’t either. If they do, they miss out on a very large customer base.

Privacy. “We are surrounded by connected devices, 30 to 50 billion in the world today depending on which research you believe. We don’t need to be using these devices for these devices to be using us. For example, I’m not looking at my smartwatch, but it’s calculating my heart rate, my oxygen level, etc.” This environment, said Gupta, prompts a new paradigm of privacy: namely, that brands I engage with should not be using my information for things I haven’t been told about.”

Brands which don’t respect such limits fall into the bucket of “surveillance capitalism,” an “extremely damaging tag,” said Gupta. “It’s a matter of just one slip up.” Resilient brands will be those that understand that access to personal data comes with responsibility. Privacy has become a critical brand promise.

AI. “If you look at how digital engagement across channels is scaling, the question is not whether brands will use [AI] algorithms to scale engagement, but when they will start,” Gupta said. “Many of them are already using auto-personalization like Sitecore provides, but that comes with a challenge: sometimes algorithms have biases.”

People aren’t consciously creating biased algorithms, of course — the algorithms feed on data, and the data is itself biased. The bias is amplified when the algorithm operates at scale. Resilient brands will find a balance between using AI to scale digital experiences while putting the governance in place to ensure biases are detected early on.

Why we care. A scientist once remarked, “The map is not the territory.” In martech, product road-maps can no longer reflect just the vendor’s capabilities and key customers’ needs. It must respond to the territory — the terra incognita — we are all traversing; the tectonic shifts which are underway.

 

This story first appeared on MarTech Today.

 

 

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