Welcome to the Metaverse: Friday’s Daily Brief
Facebook survives the re-branding, but as just one subsidiary, alongside Instragram and WhatsApp, of the new company Meta.
MarTech’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s digital marketing leader. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.
Good morning, Marketers, and we’re talking about Facebook yet again.
Or rather, we’re all going to be talking about Meta. That’s the new name for the overarching brand, although Facebook itself will have an after-life as just one of the sub-brands, alongside Instagram, Whatsapp and the rest of the brood.
So, Facebook and IG will carry on under the serious scrutiny they’ve gained in recent weeks and months. But does this also mean that the metaverse will get a boost as the next big marketing channel? I think, at the very least, the new name will make it easier for marketers to check off the box. When a hype-chasing executive asks you to build a metaverse presence, you can easily find it by searching Meta. But you should have some questions ready.
Is your company prepared to share, or flat-out give up, even more customer data within a walled garden when you interact with customers in a new way that generates fresh behavior data and improves Meta’s performance for your competitors? If you’re a consumer brand, do you even know if consumers are actually there, or if the metaverse is only populated by other marketers checking off the box for their bosses?
Email marketing M&A is seeing a surge
In the age of GDPR and CCPA, you might think privacy and consent would be occupying the attention of email marketers. Indeed they are, but there’s a good chance they’re also paying attention to the remarkable flurry of mergers and acquisitions in the space. According to contributor Ryan Phelan, it feels like 2013 all over again — the year Oracle scooped up Responsys and Salesforce picked up Exact Target.
Among the high profile moves have been Intuit acquiring Mailchimp, the CM Group merging with Cheetah Digital and MessageBird acquiring Sparkpost.
“My general advice is to stay away from newly acquired companies,” writes Ryan. “You can’t accurately gauge any instability that results from consolidation, and that could put you at a disadvantage for your company. With this latest round of mergers and acquisitions, I don’t see the potential for instability in most of these deals. There’s not this instant queasy feeling that the combined companies will fall down on their commitments. Yet some may.”
Dennis Publishing’s CDP journey
“You need to understand who your audience is and you’ve got to leverage that data to fulfill whatever your objectives are as a business,” said Pete Wootton, Chief Product and Data Officer for U.K. and U.S.-based Dennis Publishing, at our recent MarTech conference.
To meet increasing competition in the publishing industry, publishers are boosting their data strategy to maximize reader engagement, as well as ad performance and revenue. Dennis Publishing, known for The Week, implemented a CDP from BlueConic. “It’s really an instrumental part of our product strategy,” said Wootton, “making sure that we understand audiences and know how to translate those audiences into the business.”
Dennis Publishing’s goals included improving advertising, affiliate programs, subscriptions and e-commerce plays. Wootton was responsible for getting the entire company on board with the data transformation, and for meeting the demands of readers and advertisers with the new technology.
“We have a big ad business and, increasingly, advertisers want to have relationships on a deeper basis with audiences and want to understand your audience better,” said Wootton.
The company also intended to increase subscriptions and revenue from e-commerce.
Understanding buyer intent
“Basically, intent data allows marketing and sales teams to focus on the accounts that are in the market for a product or solution,” said Dan Tabaran, CMO of account-based advertising company N.Rich, in his recent MarTech presentation. “That is incredibly valuable for companies that have a huge target account list, as it helps prioritize companies that are ready to buy.”
Not all customers have the same level of intent when they enter your business sales funnel. That’s why marketing and sales teams must determine buyer intent and generate interest so you can divide resources accordingly. Targeting consumers without considering their level of interest means missing out on low-hanging fruit — accounts with high buying intent signals. It’s in marketers’ best interests to use their account-based marketing resources to better understand their customers.
According to Tabaran, buyer intent is calculated through an aggregation of multiple data sources. This helps marketing and sales teams identify whether or not a customer is looking for more information. “If the user would reach your website while researching a topic, we would then map this topic to a first-party intent belonging to that specific account,” said Tabaran.
He added, “Once you have a good amount of data, you can draw a conclusion about where that account is in their buyer journey.
Pandemic-era consumer behavior likely permanent
Most consumers are planning to spend the same on holiday gifts as last year while only 15% plan to spend more. Based on a survey of 6,000 consumers from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Australia, and Canada, Bazaarvoice finds more consumers shopping online than pre-pandemic, but consumer behavior otherwise returning to normal.
The UGC-for-e-commerce platform does report that shopping is happening earlier, perhaps signifying consumer concern about timely deliveries. 38% say they plan to shop earlier and 27% say they have started shopping already. Only 11% plan to put shopping off until December.
The number of consumers planning to visit brick and mortar locations for shopping has dropped by about 8% from pre-pandemic levels, while the number planning to shop online has increased by 9%. Given the lifting of lockdowns across many locations, this is a further indication that the boost to online shopping is likely to be permanent.
Why we care. Following the massive changes in all kinds of behavior we saw in 2020, with record-breaking online shopping during the holiday season, we’re watching closely to see whether things level off in 2021.
Quote of the day
“By integrating and deploying marketing operations, you gain efficiency — and this is how some companies regularly get to market faster, respond to opportunities and avoid calamities.” James Delande, Director of Product Marketing for BrandMaker, in his MarTech conference talk (free registration required)