Bryan Kennedy

The complex marketing landscape

On one hand, marketers have never had more choices than they do today. Just look at the latest Lumascape or review the recently released Ad Age Agency Report. Traditional and non-traditional players are crowding the marketplace and fueling a rise in marketing complexity. Industries are being disrupted by new players and new models and brands are in varying states of maturity. On the other hand, as players like Google and Facebook command a growing percentage of digital marketing spend, marketers are beginning to feel the squeeze of having to play by a set of ever-changing rules as these major consumer-facing platforms “raise their walls.”

Meanwhile, consumers are consistent in their demands. Their expectations for rich experiences and to be known in real-time across channels have never been higher. As CMOs try and meet these customer expectations, they must simplify their marketing investments with a keen eye toward proving measurable returns.

Amidst all this chaos, CMOs are grappling with prickly issues, like whether or not machines will ultimately outweigh the value of breakthrough creative and are asking themselves “should I build it or should I buy it?”

For most companies, with the clock ticking on results, more than ever CMOs need to make a decision, make a difference and they need to be able to clearly measure that difference.

Our focus

This context shapes our strategic thinking at Epsilon and Conversant. We firmly believe that our role is to understand consumers, connect them to brands and drive growth for our clients. We help CMOs create efficiencies, eliminate waste and deliver on our promise to produce growth.

Where do CMOs begin?

As CMOs try to find success through simplicity there are four areas we think they should focus on: data, identity, platforms and attribution.

Data

Marketing planning starts with understanding business goals and using data to focus decision making. Data is a primary asset and we believe that all brands will become data companies at some level. Understanding first party customer data and making investments to activate that data is fundamental. But it’s only the start. Most brands are able to understand only a fraction of consumers’ lives. It’s also important to consider ways to amplify that understanding. We believe that digital behaviors combined with transactional behaviors provide the key to predicting future behavior.

Identity

When first-party data is effectively coupled with transactional data and digital behavior across devices, marketers can begin to paint a clear picture of customer identity. This must be done at scale to achieve the goal of maintaining a persistent, stable identity that enables marketers to reduce duplicate conversations and marketing spend waste.

Platforms

The best data and cleanest identity is worth very little without an ability to activate that data nimbly in marketing channels. Leveraging data and persistent identity across powerful platforms enables brands to connect directly with their customers and prospects with deep personalization at scale. For example, our digital messaging platform, Agility Harmony, executes tens of millions of real-time 1:1 messages while maintaining deliverability scores as high as 10 percentage points above the industry average. Additionally, we help brands leverage transactional behavior and power emotional connections through Agility Loyalty and the more than 600 million loyalty memberships managed. Across digital media, Conversant’s matching accuracy rate—which measures the company’s ability to match individual customers to their devices – is well above competitive offerings; and its persistency rate – the company’s ability to maintain those connections after one year – is 80 percent. Most importantly, our platforms achieve a reach rate of 96 percent.

Attribution

However, it doesn’t end there. Marketers then need to measure in a reliable and transparent way to understand what’s working and what’s not, to shift investment and strategy and to grow their business. The ability to let the power of machine learning drive specific outcomes and reach marketing metrics is a powerful ally. Our digital platforms make as many as one trillion decisions a day at a scale that humans could never imitate, and we provide transparency for our clients to measure those results themselves.

Simple Truth

At Epsilon, our goal is to drive toward simple truth.

We aim to be the opposite of everything this market is: complicated.

PT Barnum once said, “no one ever made a difference by being like everyone else”. We aren’t a consultancy, a holding company or in the business of software as a service. We sit uniquely in the center of all of these choices.

We invest in ways that simplify things for our clients: data to know consumers better than anyone; industry-leading platforms that automate, integrate and activate those insights; and the right people who understand the needs of the CMO and have the deep orchestration expertise to make it all work. And we bring truth through transparency by helping brands reach real people, measuring results on real transactions that drive our clients’ businesses.

During a time where CMOs are facing enough challenges, we pride ourselves on performance and helping our clients get more out of their marketing investments.

In the sea of sameness, the idea of simple truth sets us apart.

 

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