Merkle raises its commerce game: Tuesday’s daily brief
Plus a recommended read: Google's Sundar Pichai in conversation.
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Good morning, Marketers, and what’s your number one marketing metric?
See if you agree with the pundits in Chatter below. There’s a clear consensus on what the number one metric should be, but room for disagreement too.
My suggestion, which might not be so palatable to CFOs is this. If a marketing organization has done what it takes to help a brand survive the last 16 months, then it should proclaim the number one metric as ”Are we still here? Yes, we are.” Puts all the other metrics in the shadow, I’d say.
Or as Derek Jeter once said about stats — and I paraphrase here — if you do a little bit every day to help your team win, the numbers will look after themselves.
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Driscoll’s pandemic-driven pivot
Think about shopping for fresh produce. Didn’t you usually shop in-store so you could inspect the goods before buying? But that changed in 2020, right? In addition to buying non-perishable groceries online, you started looking at fresh meat and fish, vegetables and fruit.
And yes, that meant a COVID-19-accelerated pivot for traditional fresh produce companies that previously just had to get the goods into stores, prominently displayed, and make sure consumers knew their name. One of those companies was Driscoll’s, the “only the finest berries” brand.
“Across the board, beyond millennials, the digital age is right now exploding for us,” said Frances Dillard, VP of Brand and Product Marketing. She recently restructured her organization to reflect a more formal omnichannel approach and to ensure a consistent brand experience across pre-purchase, digital engagement and shopper marketing, and post-purchase behavior.
In the early days of the pandemic, supply chains were challenged — a real problem for a proffer based on freshness of product. “We pivoted and started to learn more about third-party services. Instacart and Shipt were two that we trialed. We also doubled down with our retailers direct in understanding click-and-collect and their online process.”
In the past, Driscoll’s approach to digital had been based on storytelling and loyalty. What’s now important is earning the click to get into the virtual shopping basket. Instacart reported in April of this year that fresh produce was the fastest-growing among its top 10 categories, showing an increase of over 300% YoY.
Merkle to acquire CX agency LiveArea
In an acquisition costing around $250 million, Merkle, the data and technology-led CX management company will bring onboard LiveArea, the global B2B, B2C and D2C CX and commerce agency. LiveArea’s client base includes high profile commerce brands like Crocs, L’Oréal and Lancombe.
The move is likely to strengthen Merkle’s presence in U.S. commerce, but also in EMEA where LiveArea has a significant presence. In turn, Merkle is expected to support an accelerated development roadmap at LiveArea.
Merkle is part of Dentsu Group, which has set itself the target of reaching 50% of revenue generated by CX management, marketing technology, commerce and related domains.
Why we care. Commerce is a hot space right now and LiveArea’s e-commerce capabilities are likely to complement Merkle’s established role as a technology and CX partner to leading brands.
Crowdsourcing the most important metric in marketing
Almost one week ago, Sangram Vajre, co-founder of Terminus and host of the #FlipMyFunnel podcast, posed a very simple question: “What’s the one most important metric in marketing?”
He received over 160 responses and counting, and there was a big consensus behind revenue. Other answers included “connection to your brand and business” (Karen Steele, CMO, Near), but most respondents were heavily focused on what would once have looked like sales goals. “Marketing-sourced revenue and pipeline velocity,” said Chris Walker, CEO, Refine Labs.
Indeed, Ashwin Vasudevan, Director of Marketing at KBX, went a step further: “Marketers need to take on sales job before doing marketing jobs — pipeline growth trajectory and ultimately closed pipeline deals (i.e. revenue in the door) should be the key metrics.”
Some, of course, couldn’t resist naming more than one. Prem K., Head of Marketing at Vasil Search, selected revenue, but also conversions and “a quantified Customer Satisfaction Score — NPS, CSAT, CES, Trustpilot scores, whatever. Heck, even Playstore reviews could count :)”
And he couldn’t resist adding: “The one your CEO likes the most.”
Why we care. Marketers talk about metrics all the time, especially as demonstrating ROI becomes ever more important. You might think there’s disagreement about what the most important metric is, as there’s so much debate around the topic. But when asked the straight question, there’s a consensus. It’s all about revenue.
“Not many people in history could say they’ve created a trillion dollars of value as CEO”
When it comes to big tech CEOs, there are two camps: the outspoken Zuckerberg/Musk/Bezos-types who build rocket ships and ride electric surfboards, and the Pichai/Nadella/Cook-types who like to keep a lower profile. Both types can be unpredictable, but for very different reasons. The former seems to be fond of surprising the public (sometimes for no obvious reason, like when Elon Musk sold “Not-a-Flamethrowers”), while the latter is simply more enigmatic because they like to keep to themselves.
The BBC’s Amol Rajan interviewed Google’s Sundar Pichai, and while we found the title of the article, “Google boss Sundar Pichai warns of threats to internet freedom,” to be pretty misleading, the piece concisely summarizes a lot of Pichai’s past, his influences and his character.
“From the old rotary phone that they were on a waiting list for, to the scooter they all piled on to for a monthly dinner,” — in interviews, Pichai often discusses the impact that technology has had on his own life. That seems to go hand-in-hand with many of Google’s initiatives to tackle humanity’s biggest issues, but those initiatives seem to have become fewer and further between as of late: “With the biggest concentration of computer science PhDs in the world in one tiny strip of land south of San Francisco, goes this argument, shouldn’t Google be reversing climate change, or solving cancer?” Rajan wrote.
Why we care. Regardless of how you feel about Google, it’s an enlightening read and can help you appreciate the monumental task of running one of the most important, impactful companies of all time.
Quote of the day
“Well, I’m jealous, a bit,” he said. “I would love to look at Earth from space.” Sundar Pichai on Jeff Bezos’s space plans