One set of truths for B2B and D2C marketing: Wednesday’s daily brief
CMOs for a beauty brand and a business intelligence veteran both talk about the importance of data all in one place.
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Good morning, Marketers. A digital transformation should improve all areas of marketing.
That might be a high bar to clear, but it’s what the popular cosmetics brand e.l.f. Beauty was shooting for through careful planning and implementation. As you’ll see in our first piece below, it’s a work-in-progress. But they have centralized the majority of their customer data into a CDP, and hope to connect it through an integration with their social media platform, Sprinklr.
Social media is everything for an e-commerce brand, as social commerce and the influencer economy merge. Marketers get to weigh the advantages of working with new affiliate offerings natively through Instagram, for instance, or look to third-party solutions from the likes of Vungle.
Maybe it all comes down to ROI. Also below, Dun & Bradstreet CMO Stacy Greiner talks about the Rev.Up platform, and the kind of big decisions companies can make when they have access to all the right data.
E.l.f.’s four pillars of transformation
For cosmetics company e.l.f. Beauty, digital transformation began pre-pandemic, about two-and-a-half years ago. “Sometimes the brand awareness wasn’t there, people didn’t know what e.l.f. stood for, explained Chief Digital Officer Ekta Chopra.” (It’s eye, lip, face.) “We wanted to be declarative about what the brand is.” The decision was taken to close down physical stores e.l.f. had opened, and invest the funds in digital instead.
There were four key pillars to e.l.f.’s digital transformation. The first pillar was creating a fully connected digital ecosystem. “From the time the consumer is doing discovery to the time they get into purchasing it, and advocacy and so forth, how do we make sure we create a frictionless consumer journey?” The second pillar was data collection: “How do you harness consumer data and bring it together in one consumer profile?”
Having collected the data, Chopra explained, the third pillar was to offer the consumer a valuable experience in exchange. “Make sure you’re offering an experience that meets their needs, wants and desires.” The fourth pillar, she said, was bringing the experience to life: “So, augmented reality, live selling, engaging in different ways where you can bridge this gap of physical and digital; and ultimately you do this to grow your commerce business.”
The time came when the connected digital ecosystem was in place, large volumes of data were being gathered, and e.l.f. faced the challenge of pulling the data together and activating it in a range of channels. “All this information was here, but it was not stitched with a single consumer ID,” said Chopra. “That’s when we set out to get a customer data platform, and we selected ActionIQ.” Chopra set about implementing ActionIQ incrementally, a process which is not yet complete. “We finished phase one which brought in almost 75% of our data and stitched it into single user IDs.”
e.l.f. extends itself beyond the more traditional social media platforms. An e.l.f. challenge campaign was the most viral ever on TikTok with 7 billion views. Currently e.l.f. uses Sprinklr for social media management, and has an integration with ActionIQ underway.
Dun & Bradstreet CMO talks big changes
Historic business intelligence vendor Dun & Bradstreet, with a database of information on some 300 million business worldwide, is making itself over with the launch last month of the Rev.Up ABX platform, a single B2B hub for marketing and sales teams with the Lattice Engines CDP (acquired in 2019) at its core.
We asked D&B CMO Stacy Greiner if the impression that D&B is making some big changes is correct. “Your impression is correct,” she confirmed. “This is building on our historic strength and our customers trusting us for contact and account data. As we look at how we can continue to provide more value and be a better partner for our customers, there’s a focus on making it easier for teams to make data-driven decisions.”
Rev.Up, of course, calls to mind RevOps, the strategy of combining sales, marketing and often customer success ops into one team. “Once these teams are all working as one team, and from one set of truths about accounts and contacts, whether they’re customers or prospects, that’s truly when teams can deliver that personalized buying experience through all the different digital channels.”
Why we care. The pendulum is swinging away from point solutions and towards broader offerings that can orchestrate these critical digital journeys — but not necessarily towards the big, comprehensive CX suites. D&B’s Rev.Up ABX platform (and Demandbase started using the term “ABX” very recently) presents itself as more of a hub that can integrate existing activation solutions as well as integrating data from a wide range of sources. And it’s a logical step in many ways for a business steeped in account and contact data.
Creator economy gold rush
The creator economy has taken another few steps forward. For starters, Facebook and Instagram debuted a new set of features set to roll out over the next several months that appear to empower IG creators by helping them sell products and earn commissions. For instance, a native affiliate tool on IG will allow creators to surface products available for checkout that their followers can then purchase, earning the creator a cut.
On the third-party side, mobile performance marketing platform Vungle today announced that it will acquire influencer marketing platform JetFuel. JetFuel boasts a network of over 15,000 fully-verified influencers, and a combined reach of 4 billion Instagram followers, 1.5 billion TikTok followers, and 100 million daily Snapchat views.
Vungle charges on a cost-per-action (CPA) basis, meaning marketers are in the driver’s seat for calibrating a high ROI if they feel confident in their performance partner’s measurement of those actions. The emerging affiliate network directly within Instagram’s platform might be another place to look, but it remains to be seen whether Facebook charges too much. They, of course, have direct access to all the campaign-related behavioral data.
Only time will tell which avenue marketers prefer. The global influencer marketing pot is expected to reach $13.8 billion this year, ballooning from $1.7 billion in 2016.
Why we care. The e-commerce potential on social networks is without question. The casual, authentic word-of-mouth culture provides a superior soft sell for the platform’s users. The real question is how best to harness this potential for marketers.
The platforms themselves have been somewhat slow in building out their own native capabilities to execute affiliate campaigns through their creators, in part because they want to support a creative culture that aspires to more than simply an online mall filled with salespeople pitching their wares. Facebook loses ad spend, however, when influencer campaigns are brokered and managed through third parties. What matters is how marketers achieve the best ROI, through performance solutions like Vungle’s, or directly through Facebook, minus FB’s slice and their creators’ commissions.
MarTech takes place on September 14-15, 2021 with a focus on data. Submit your session ideas now.
The theme for MarTech taking place virtually on September 14-15 is Data. Decisions. Results.
Modern marketing presents a complex web of interconnected themes: customer experience, management and strategy, marketing technologies and the operations that run them. But at the center, and threading through all of those facets, is the collection, storage, management and activation of data.
Nobody today would think of driving customer experience without data. All strategy – if it’s worth anything – is data-based, and technologies ingest and create data at growing scale and speed.
We’d love to hear from you, marketing practitioners, who are at the forefront of managing data in all areas of marketing. If you have an interesting story to tell, a case study to share or tips and techniques on how you are successfully collecting, managing or using data in the following areas please consider submitting a session pitch.
- Marketing automation
- Managing customer data
- Digital asset management
- Marketing attribution and predictive analytics
- Content management
- Account based marketing
- Identity resolution
- Customer journey analytics
- Marketing project management
If you haven’t submitted a pitch in the past year, you’ll need to first create an account, then fill out your profile. Once you do that, click on Pitch a Session, select MarTech fall in the dropdown menu and to enter your specific session pitch details. Feel free to reach out to me with questions: [email protected]