ICYMI: Collective Measures’ ninth annual Digital Breakfast
Marketers joined us from near and far for our ninth annual Digital Breakfast event. Couldn’t join us? We have you covered. Check out the key takeaways from our keynote presentation and generative AI panel below:
Keynote presentation by Collective Measures
Today, marketing problems have become business problems, and business problems have marketing solutions. Marketers are natural problem solvers, but in the face of external pressures — recession jitters, platform changes, and more — many are told “no” more often than not when bringing creative solutions to cross-functional teammates. So, marketers must leverage their strong storytelling skills to turn the “no’s” they receive into a yes. To provide an example of a framework that can be used to share both the problems and proposed solutions with these teammates, we shared an analogy focused on being lost at sea to help marketers navigate today’s volatile marketing landscape successfully:
Patch the hull | Overcome data loss
When lost at sea, the goal is to get back on course. But, if there are holes in that boat, that is the more immediate problem to solve. For marketers, this may be a similar feeling to data deprecation. With Google setting their sights on a cookieless future and iOS 17 paving a similar path, platform data are disappearing and unlikely to reverse. What can marketers do? We shared two short-term solutions to consider:
- Implement conversion APIs and enhanced conversions. While not replacing the data being lost, these solutions supply as much information to the platforms and fuel AI and machine learning. Conversion APIs are a complex technical solution that combine first-party data with platform data to overcome platform data loss due to iOS 14. While implementing these solutions won’t help marketers get back the data that are lost, instead it does provide platforms with more data, which will help the AI and machine learning make more informed decisions to enhance campaign performance in the short term.
- Utilize first-party data. Gathering first-party data is a great short-term solution to gain rich audience insights. And when integrated with your brand’s CRM, it can help enhance your media efforts. However, we don’t see first-party data as the long-term solution. Instead, we think it’s actually an anti-solution. Why? While these data can help marketers gain audience insights that will be lost from cookie deprecation, they dramatically shrink your audience size, too. While this plugs that data hole for now, it’s not going to help brands future-proof campaigns in the long run.
Weather the storm | Changing user behavior
Change has been constant over the last decade and marketing leaders have been forced to regularly adjust tactics to meet the businesses’ immediate needs. But as we look at the current headwinds affecting the industry — including behavioral changes, technological advancements, and data privacy regulation — it’s clear that we’ll soon be navigating rougher seas than ever before. Where SEO and content marketing have helped marketing leaders fight back threats to visibility in the past, emerging digital behaviors could seriously erode organic performance. When thinking about the biggest changes to user behavior that threaten to capsize organic visibility, we see two primary obstacles to overcome: (1) generative AI and (2) maturation of younger generations and growing media platforms.
The brand leaders who will be best prepared for these changes are those who can be where their consumers are and speak the same language as their target audiences. Visibility will depend on a cross-channel approach that embraces the fundamentals of content strategy and considers SEO, paid search, media relations, influencer marketing, and social advocacy. While we don’t know all of what the future holds in terms of evolving technologies and consumer behaviors, a holistic, future-proof content strategy will ensure positive visibility no matter where and how consumers gather information. Here’s how to get started:
- Optimize your branded content and shore up your website’s technical SEO
- Plan and develop helpful content that supports your audiences and consumers along their journey
- Take a holistic approach to search by co-optimizing your communications, paid media, media relations, and social media strategies
- Integrate non-traditional search channels into your SEO efforts
- And finally, invest in awareness and brand media to grow the audiences interested in your brand
Keep sights on the horizon | Focus on long-term strategies
In addition to paying attention to the here and now, marketers must also set their sights on what lies ahead. One of the biggest problems marketers face today is being overinvested in the bottom of the funnel. This hyper-focus is detrimental to marketers. Why? Well, 58% of marketers said their biggest growth-related challenge is generating leads. That is likely because these campaigns have simply been harvesting leads for so long instead of generating demand. This is where upper funnel tactics can work in tandem with lower funnel tactics. By filling the funnel with potential leads, lower funnel tactics can capture and convert these consumers — and more of them! With data depreciation becoming a reality and campaign results disappearing, marketers will be able to prove the value of top-of-the-funnel channels as all tactics will be measured in similar ways. This will allow marketers to prove the value of a holistic marketing strategy in a way that’s historically been difficult.
To craft this story of full-funnel marketing with less data, there are three key elements to keep at the forefront:
- Value accuracy over precision: With precise data depreciating in measurement, it doesn’t mean we can’t measure anything. If marketers lose the ability to say with 100% certainty the cause of every conversion, they don’t have to feel discouraged. There are other tried-and-true measurement analyses like media mix modeling and correlation analyses that identify the most likely causes for conversions.
- Allow meaningful time to validate insights: Identifying new timelines for measurement will enable performance indicators to fully prove value. One great way to frame this new timeline of measurement is under the lens of the purchase cycle. If consumers take several weeks from first exposure to purchase, that’s a great rationale for moving away from monthly or weekly reporting.
- Desire to drive scale: First-party data are a treasure trove of information that uncover more information than historical third-party data. The insights garnered in these data can help marketers understand targeting at a deeper level, which will allow marketing efforts to achieve greater scale.
Docking back on land
Our experts outlined a number of strategies to sail toward success. But, how can marketers take these points and package them up in a compelling way? By leveraging data as a supporting point to powerful narratives, marketing experts can highlight how your organizations can use marketing solutions to solve business problems.
Generative AI panel
Following Collective Measures’ keynote presentation, senior marketing leaders across a variety of industries shared their own insights and experiences with generative AI in a panel moderated by Collective Measures’ VP of Media and Connection Strategy, Matt Larson. The biggest takeaways they shared? Here are what each of our panelists noted about how AI can strengthen a brand’s marketing efforts:
“Outsource the boring stuff. When we think about how AI can expand our own creativity, these innovations will allow us to broaden our ability to do more with what we have. It’s a fantastic tool to unlock even more potential from marketers.” — Erika Dale, Head of Strategy at Article Group
“From a growth perspective and being anchored from a brand’s mission standpoint, marketers will be able to expand their reach to serve really niche communities in an authentic way through the power of AI. This will level the playing field and enable marketers to compete more successfully with large national brands.” — Jay Sivasailam, Chief Growth Officer at UCare
“Across the business landscape, pretty much every company is beginning to utilize AI in one way or another. This will be key for brands that want to improve their visibility and efforts — they need to be a part of this movement. So, put yourself out there to try and test new applications of generative AI to see how it can assist the brand.” — Bill Roehl, Senior Director of Data Engineering at Collective Measures
“There are already so many use cases for generative AI. And if we were to have this conversation in six months from now, there will be even more possibilities that we haven’t even thought of. By being creative in applications of this technology, the sky is truly the limit for how this can strengthen a brand’s efforts.” — Steve Helland, Shareholder at Fredrikson
The leaders featured on our panel all agreed: generative AI will unlock a new level of success for businesses who have a strategic vision to use as their generative AI north star. With many opportunities, applications, and unknowns ahead, marketers should lean into this technology to fuel their businesses in a way that is both ethical and in alignment with their company’s missions.
Collective Measures’ ninth annual Digital Breakfast focused on providing actionable strategies and recommendations for marketers to more confidently navigate through disruptions and opportunities. Our key takeaway? Marketing in today’s landscape is hard, and success will be felt by those that collaborate across teams to ensure marketing efforts remain prioritized.