While in San Francisco recently before the Webtrends Engage (#WTEngage) digital marketing measurement conference, I did some “touristy” things I’d never done despite countless visits there. I rode the cable cars (and marveled at the clever 100+-year-old technology), toured Alcatraz (who knew the most notorious prison was set among such wild beauty?), and even strolled to Fisherman’s Wharf (discovering on its fringe the one-of-a-kind Pier 23 Cafe). It was a good reminder that experience trumps assumption every time. Sure, I still think crooked Lombard Street is overrated, but it was exhilarating to walk up (up, up!) to it and see the city splayed out before me. Of course, I was reminded, doing is more rewarding than presuming!
This awareness perfectly frames the top three Aha! moments I had at the conference:
1. Data scientists rule the communications industry.
In a time when a surprise Super Bowl power outage lets brands’ tweets compete with $3.8-million-dollar commercials, we must continually reimagine customer engagement. Data — the right data, right now, analyzed right — is the Holy Grail for communicators. But it’s not easy:
2. Cross-platform strategies will determine the winning brands of the near future.
Tablet and smartphone usage is skyrocketing, and we’re using them to shop and broadcast these experiences (good and bad) ever more frequently. 25-40% of traffic to sites is mobile on average, but for many sites it tops 50%. A recent study found a 500% revenue increase realized from cross-platform customer engagement strategies. Consider:
3. Testing and optimization programs are nice to have today but mandatory tomorrow.
Amid the pressure of the “splinternet,” where paid, earned and owned channels are duking it out for precious marketing dollars, site testing and content optimization programs are springing up, but nearly half of them are under two years old. Companies that don’t implement and strategically expand testing and optimization programs soon will be left behind. The good news is quick wins pave the way for ongoing success:
One boon of repeat visits to a vibrant city like San Francisco is the chance to take in so many different experiences and discern the marvelous from the meh. As digital communicators, we must inspire our clients to attain the business value of a data-driven, cross-platform culture of digital content optimization that will boost the trust of potential customers throughout their ongoing journeys as well. (Even if they don’t include a perfect martini at the Top of the Mark, fish tacos on the waterfront, or a pineapple full of rum at the tiki paradise of the Tonga Room!)