Jim Sterne is the founder of the Marketing Analytics Summit (former eMetrics Summit) and co-founder and Board Chair of the Digital Analytics Association. An internationally known speaker and consultant, he is the author of numerous books, including Artificial Intelligence for Marketing, 101 Things You Should Know About Marketing Optimization Analysis, Social Media Metrics, and The Devil's Data Dictionary. He has spent more than 35 years selling and marketing technical products and has devoted all his attention to the Internet as a marketing medium since 1994.
J.S.: Marketing clarity is essential for anyone leveraging digital marketing It can be found in two different directions:
The first direction is going back to basics: who is my target audience and why should they buy from me? What value am I providing? What problem am I solving for them? What are the stages that they go through in the buying process of awareness, research, desire, acquisition, implementation? Even if it’s a candy bar, how do they know which one they want? How do they find out that you have one for sale in the first place? How do you get them to want what you have? When did they get to make that decision, and could you find them exactly at the right time? And how do you get them to come back?
We tend to forget how to do that because we do all this work in the middle. We forget to get back to the basics and see what it is what people are buying. And I don’t mean buying a car or a pencil, but buying means of transportation and communication at its fundamental stage.
I just did that myself. My major source of producing income is business conferences. My revenue stream just halted suddenly, for some 'unknown reason'. So, I had to rethink what do I do for a living: do I produce business conferences? No, where I make most of my money is on the one hand providing education to people, which is now free on YouTube, online events, and blogs, so the value of that has dropped. On the other hand, I also provide access to leads to my sponsors. So, ok, that means that I am in the lead generation business. Well, if my specialty is online marketing and online analytics specifically, and knowing something about artificial intelligence in marketing, how do I use that specialty to generate leads for vendors? It is not about business conferences, it is about having interesting enough content to attract the people that vendors would want.
The other side of the coin of marketing clarity is the technology. We are so busy doing the things we do as marketers, that we don’t have a chance to stop and look at what are the latest technologies, and how do I get them to help me do my job better. In this case, I am referring to machine learning, the newest one. It is a shiny object at the moment and that is fun, but not necessarily useful. So, how do I make it useful? Where should I be using machine learning?
Understanding new technology helps me understand the marketplace better, understand my customers better, understand the sales process better, and above all, spend my marketing dollars better.
D.D.: Investing in understanding first principles and new technologies is very relevant for marketing clarity indeed. These are most certainly issues that professionals think about, but maybe forget about when they are caught up in daily processes.
J.S.: I think we have this problem in management, as well. We got senior executives who are looking at strategy, vision, and direction. And then we have the people in the field who are doing the work and trying to solve the problem, use the tools, and answer the questions. And then these people in the middle whose job is to run the organization. They don’t necessarily understand the vision and they cannot relate to the people at the coal face who are with the pick and shovel doing the work, their job is to just do administration and they are a problem. Can we be fundamental about what is our strategy and can we be tactical to avoid this middle part?
D.D.: So, creating a synergy between these stakeholders that does not require all these backward processes is the essence.