New Research Demonstrates the Value of Video Content

It’s now abundantly clear that the use and consumption of online video content has exploded.

  • Earlier this year, comScore, Inc. reported that 183.5 million Americans watched online content videos in May 2014.
  • Last year, comScore reported that over 1.3 billion people worldwide watch online videos on a monthly basis.
  • Over 90% of consumers globally now watch online video content, according to the 2013 Accenture Video-Over-Internet Consumer Survey. This survey also revealed that 25% of consumers watch video content on a desktop or laptop computer every day, and another 22% do so at least 3 times per week.

A recent report by the Aberdeen Group (Analyzing the ROI of Video Marketing) provides more evidence regarding the importance of video content in the content marketing mix and includes insights about how high-performing companies are deriving significant value from video content.

As with many of its research studies, Aberdeen divided the survey respondents in its content marketing study into three tiers – Best-in-Class (the top 20% of aggregate performers), Industry Average (the middle 50%), and Laggards (the bottom 30%). Aberdeen used four performance criteria to place survey respondents into one of these categories – website conversion rate, year-over-year increase in unique website traffic, year-over-year growth in marketing’s contribution to revenue, and growth in company revenue.

The Aberdeen research found that Best-in-Class companies are only slightly more likely than Industry Average and Laggard companies to use video content. However, Best-in-Class companies are 24% more likely than Laggards to have the ability to generate (and use) original video content (68% vs. 55%).

The Aberdeen study also found significant advantages of using video content.

  • Companies that use video content achieve an average website conversion rate of 4.8%, compared to only 2.9% for companies that don’t use video content. The higher conversion rate means that companies using video content require 37% fewer unique website visits to produce a marketing response than companies that don’t use video content.
  • Companies that use video content have an average cost per marketing-generated lead of $93, while the comparable cost for companies that don’t use video content is $115.
  • To maximize the potential of video content, enterprises need an effective way to manage, localize, and publish videos. Historically, most enterprises have managed videos in an ad hoc fashion using specialized personnel or outsourced services and stand-alone software applications. As a result, video content is not typically catalogued, stored, and managed like other enterprise content assets. As the use of video content continues to grow, and as videos become integral to an organization’s marketing and communications efforts, this lack of a common management system can create significant issues.

The Rise of Contextual Marketing

In the July 2014  issue of CRM Magazine, the lead article was “The Road to Omnichannel Marketing Success” by Maria Minsker. Ms. Minsker’s article is thoughtful and well-written, and she opened the article with the following statement:

“Welcome to the Age of the Customer, where consumers are more skeptical than ever and traditional marketing campaigns are on their way to becoming obsolete.”

The article asserts that potential buyers are increasingly choosing to do business with brands that “. . . can deliver customized experiences and facilitate meaningful interactions across all relevant channels.”

To successfully meet the expectations of today’s customers, Ms. Minsker says than an enterprise must build a “context marketing engine,” which the article defines as “. . .a brand-specific platform that exploits customer context to deliver utility and guides the customer into the next best interaction.”

Contextual marketing has recently become a hot buzzword in the marketing community. The definition of contextual marketing is still evolving, but the term usually refers to the delivery of advertisements and other marketing messages that are customized based on the recipient’s current (or very recent) behavior and delivered to the recipient on a real-time (or near real-time) basis. For obvious reasons, contextual marketing is primarily an online marketing phenomenon, where communications are essentially instantaneous.

In one sense, contextual marketing is simply the current incarnation of the age-old marketing goal of delivering the right message to the right person at the right time and place. In another sense, however, contextual marketing represents a fundamental transformation in how marketing is managed and practiced. One core feature of this transformation is a shift away from channel-focused, campaign-driven marketing communications to (a) marketing content that is customized based on the recipient’s attributes and behaviors and (b) marketing content delivery that is always available on all relevant channels.

Marketing thought leaders now agree that two technologies are required to provide the foundation for a successful onmichannel, contextual marketing effort.

  • A solid big data analytics solution with broad and deep capabilities that will enable marketers to determine what marketing content should be delivered to a recipient
  • A marketing execution platform that enables the delivery of rich, context-based content on a real-time (or near real-time) basis

At present, few software providers, if any, offer solutions that excel at both analytics and marketing execution. In fact, a best-of-breed approach is often still required to create a highly-effective marketing execution platform. Therefore when enterprise marketing and IT leaders are evaluating prospective marketing technology solutions, ease of integration should be a primary selection requirement.

How DAM Supports Global and Localized Digital Experiences

Delivering outstanding customer experiences is a critical component of competitive success for virtually all kinds of business enterprises. In a recent report, Walker Information wrote that by 2020, customer experience will surpass product and pricing as the key business differentiator. (Customers 2020:  The Future of B-to-B Customer Experience, Walker Information, Inc., 2014)

The reality is that providing great customer experiences has already become a vital source of competitive advantage for most types of companies. In a recent newspaper interview, Sir Richard Broadbent, the Chairman of Tesco, echoed the feelings of many business leaders when he said, “The company that provides the best relationship with the customer will win – not through product, but through the best experience.”

Delivering great customer experiences has become more complex and demanding because brands must be prepared to provide marketing content via multiple interaction channels, and most of these channels are now digital. Today, both consumers and business buyers are accessing information via conventional websites, social networking sites, “content sharing” sites like YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest, mobile websites, and mobile shopping apps.

These empowered and always-connected customers and prospects have high expectations:

  • They expect to have access to rich, detailed, informative, and entertaining content.
  • They expect to be able to access rich and detailed content via the interaction channels of their choice.
  • They expect content that is current, accurate, and consistent across all interaction channels.

Enterprises that operate internationally face an additional challenge:  They must be prepared to produce, manage, and deliver marketing messages and materials in the primary languages of multiple target audiences. The importance of “speaking the language of your customer” cannot be overstated. In a 2011 study conducted for the European Commission, 42% of Internet users said they never purchase products or services in any language but their own.

In addition to the language challenge, global enterprises must also be able to deliver rich media content – images, video, etc. –  that reflects the cultural preferences and sensitivities of multiple target audiences.

To meet the growing need for localized, multilingual, and multi-cultural marketing content, global enterprises need the right technology tools. On October 21, 2014, ADAM will present a webinar that explores how a robust digital asset management solution supports global and localized digital customer experiences. This webinar will explain why it’s important for a DAM solution to:

  • Support integration with translation solutions and workflows
  • Support broad and extensive content localization (language, images, video, and audio)
  • Support localized content taxonomies

Please join us for this important and informative webinar.

Does Your Business Need a Dedicated DAM Solution?

The pace of growth and change in the marketing software space has been nothing short of explosive over the past several years. As a result, the marketing technology landscape has become increasingly complex, and it is becoming more challenging for enterprise marketing and IT leaders to determine what specific marketing technology tools are right for their organization.

In the marketing software space, each vendor determines what specific features and capabilities will be included in its applications and how those applications are categorized in the marketplace. Therefore, the boundaries between software applications have become blurred, and several types of marketing applications can appear to provide the same (or very similar) capabilities.

For example, some vendors that provide software solutions for web content management (WCM), e-commerce, product information management, marketing campaign management, and marketing resource management are now claiming that their applications provide “built-in” capabilities for managing rich content assets. Some of these vendors also claim that their embedded asset management capabilities make it unnecessary for most companies to implement a separate, dedicated digital asset management solution.

So, how can you determine whether you need a dedicated DAM solution or whether the asset management capabilities provided by other marketing software applications will be adequate to satisfy your company’s requirements? In a recent report by Forrester Research, Anjali Yakkundi provided a framework for making this important decision. Ms. Yakkundi contends that three business requirements and five functionality requirements typically characterize the enterprises that need a dedicated, best-of-breed DAM solution.

The three business requirements identified by Ms. Yakkundi are:

  • Multiple delivery systems need access to content Most organizations use multiple systems for delivering content to customers and potential customers. These can include WCM, e-commerce, marketing campaign management, and e-mail marketing. In these situations, an enterprise can benefit by having a single repository for all customer-facing content.
  • A variety of business users access the system Some enterprises need to provide access to customer-facing content to a wide group of internal and external stakeholders, and it is usually easier and more efficient to manage this access via a standalone DAM solution.
  • Rich media is core to the business Enterprises with a large volume of rich media content will typically benefit from using a DAM solution that is specifically designed to manage rich content.

The five functionality requirements in Ms. Yakkundi’s framework are:

  1. Advanced metadata and taxonomy support Systems with built-in asset management functionality will usually provide the basic ability to tag content assets, but they don’t usually provide the ability to manage multiple metadata models, which can be important for enterprises with multiple business units.
  2. Advanced search capabilities Systems with embedded DAM functionality typically support basic keyword search, but not advanced search functions such as faceted search.
  3. Content creation workflow While many systems have functionality that supports channel-specific workflows, DAM solutions focus on managing the multiple steps involved in the content creation process.
  4. Globalization and localization An enterprise-level DAM solution is typically needed to efficiently manage global versions and multiple local versions of customer-facing content assets.
  5. Digital usage rights Systems with built-in asset management functionality may provide rights and usage restrictions via manual metadata entry. This means that usage rights will need to be specified in multiple systems. A dedicated DAM solution will provide a centralized mechanism for managing usage rights.

Determining whether you need a dedicated DAM solution is an important decision that can have a major impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of your marketing operations. The framework offered by Ms. Yakkundi provides a useful way to begin your analysis of this critical issue.

Adobe Survey Results Point the Way to High Performance

Earlier this year, Adobe published the results of its 2014 Digital Marketing Optimization Survey. The 2014 survey received over 1,000 responses from around the globe. Sixty percent (60%) of the respondents were from North America, 27% were from Europe, and 13% were from Asia.

A primary focus of the 2014 Adobe survey was to identify what “best in class” enterprises are doing differently to drive revenue growth and improved business results. For this survey, Adobe defined “best in class” as the top 20% of companies based on conversion rate, and it segmented survey results based on this definition. The Adobe survey revealed that the average conversion rate for all surveyed companies was 2.7%, while the best in class organizations had a conversion rate of 4.5% or higher. So, best in class enterprises are converting prospects to customers at 1.7 times the average rate.

The authors of the survey report contend that best in class organizations exhibit five characteristics that separate them from average companies and explain the performance gap.

  1. They test to make decisionsSeventy percent (70%) of best in class enterprises use testing in various ways to support marketing decision-making. Only 46% of other firms in the survey use testing in their decision-making processes. The Adobe survey results also show that enterprises that use testing to optimize their decision-making increase conversion rates by 100%.
  2. The spend more on optimization activitiesBest in class enterprises are 54% more likely than other firms to be devoting more than 5% of their budgets to optimization activities such as testing and the implementation of new technologies.
  3. They believe in (and use) targeted contentBest in class enterprises are 43% more likely than other firms to be using targeted content in some form. High-performing firms recognize that using targeted content enhances content relevance and enables them to deliver more engaging customer experiences.
  4. The democratize their effortsBest in class firms are 38% more likely than other firms to involve other departments or business functions in their marketing optimization efforts.
  5. They recognize that mobile is essentialEighty-three percent (83%) of best in class enterprises say that mobile is important to their 2014 marketing efforts, compared to only 67% of other firms.

In some ways, the results of the Adobe survey aren’t all that surprising. For example, most enterprise marketers recognize that it’s important to use data, analytics, and testing to make marketing decisions, and most understand the value of targeted content. However, these results do indicate that many firms still have work to do to maximize the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

New Accenture Research Points to Fundamental Changes in Marketing

Accenture published the findings of its 2013/14 CMO Insights survey, the fourth in a series of studies that are aimed at capturing the opinions, challenges, and points of view of senior marketing executives. The results of the 2013/14 survey are based on responses from 581 senior marketers from 11 countries and 10 distinct industries. The Accenture study primarily reflects the views of marketers in larger enterprises. Ninety-one percent (91%) of the survey respondents were from companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenues.

As you might expect, an overwhelming majority of respondents to the Accenture survey believe that the marketing world is changing rapidly, largely because of the proliferation of digital technologies and communications channels. Over three-quarters (78%) of the respondents said that marketing will change in fundamental ways over the next five years.

Accenture also asked survey participants what specific changes they expect to see in marketing over the next five years, and the table below shows how respondents ranked 10 possible changes.

New Accenture Research Points to Fundamental Changes in Marketing

The top three changes shown in the above table should not be surprising to anyone. The growing importance of data analytics, digital marketing, and mobile marketing has been widely discussed over the past few years.

I suggest that the next three changes shown in the above table may be just as profound. The changes ranked 4 and 6 would involve a dramatic shift in the core practice and function of marketing. Marketers have long used campaigns as the basis for planning and organizing marketing efforts. Today, a growing number of marketing thought leaders are contending that the campaign paradigm is becoming obsolete, largely because both consumers and business buyers now control when and how they will interact with brands. The Accenture survey results indicate that many enterprise marketers are drawing the same conclusion.

The need for a clear alignment between marketing and sales has been a hot topic in B2B marketing circles for the past few years. Several marketing thought leaders have argued that alignment does not go far enough and that many B2B companies should integrate marketing and sales to create a unified demand generation function. As the above table shows, over one-third (34%) of the respondents to the Accenture survey believe that marketing, sales, and customer service will be merged into a single business function.

In many ways, the Accenture survey confirms what we already knew – that marketing is experiencing a period of dramatic and fundamental change. At ADAM, we believe that whatever changes occur in marketing over the next few years, one thing is certain – technology will play a larger and increasingly critical role in how marketing is done.

CMO Council Research Shows That Marketers are Confident and Focused on Digital

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council recently published the findings of its State of Marketing 2014 survey. The CMO Council’s annual “State of Marketing” assessment is designed to capture the attitudes and views of senior marketing executives around the world on a variety of issues, including marketing challenges and accomplishments, organizational priorities, plans for marketing technology investments, and the allocation of marketing budgets.

The 2014 survey generated responses from 525 CMO Council members, representing a broad range of industries, company sizes, and geographies. Forty-five percent (45%) of the respondents work at companies with more than $1 billion in annual sales, and 27% of the respondents were from companies with revenues between $101 million and $1 billion. Forty-one percent (41%) of the respondents were from B2B companies, while 23% worked at B2C companies, and 35% were from hybrid organizations. The CMO Council survey is heavily oriented toward senior marketing leaders, with more than 70% of the respondents having a vice president title or higher.

In general, the results of the 2014 survey indicate that the global marketing economy is robust and that marketing leaders are confident they can deliver expected results. Eighty-one percent (81%) of survey respondents believe that management objectives for revenue growth and market share are realistic and attainable over the next 12 months. Marketing leaders are also generally optimistic about marketing budgets. More than half (54%) of survey respondents expect their marketing budgets to increase, while 27% expect their marketing budgets to remain the same.

As might be expected, digital marketing and customer engagement were major focus areas for marketers in the CMO Council survey. More than half of the survey respondents believe they have been effective at improving their digital marketing capabilities and their engagement with customers online. The importance of digital marketing is also evidenced by where marketers are spending their marketing dollars. More than 70% of survey respondents said they are allocating between 10% and 30% of their budgets to digital marketing activities and programs.

Notwithstanding the focus on digital, marketing leaders still see significant room for improvement when it comes to digital marketing. For example, only 6% of survey respondents gave themselves an “A+” grade on digital marketing performance, while 54% said they are “getting better” at digital marketing by expanding capabilities and improving measurement.

Overall, the results of the CMO Council survey aren’t all that surprising, but the breadth and depth of the survey make it a worthwhile read for enterprise marketers.

You can download an executive summary of the survey report here, and the full report can be purchased from the CMO Council.