Storytelling and CRM are great, but numbers deliver the right story to the right people. And real-time lets a marketer correct the narrative rapidly. "We are about connecting people to things they need and love," said Jody Ford, head of U.S. relationship marketing at eBay, speaking onstage at MediaPost’s OMMA Global panel of marketers. "But we have to look at what we can bring into the moment in real time. We want to do anything that can make customer experience more relevant."
1-800-Flowers is inherently social with a reputation resting on real-time, said the company's president Chris McCann, adding that the company is powering that core model with a unified customer data base across all its brands, using it for dynamic re-targeting. "If someone is looking for, say, a basket, we can offer them a basket or an offer for one of our food lines.”
Autos are fundamentally different, however, as the purchase cycle averages seven years. Tom Salkowsky, head of North American marketing for Mini, notes that data can be customer-driven. With an effort to keep tabs on dealership sales and service quality and to motivate dealers, Mini created a new platform wherein customers can rate their dealership. The company allows owners to score dealers via a one-to-five star rating for sales and service with the ability to vote and comment on dealers' Web sites.
"At first dealers said, 'Are you crazy?,' until they understood the value, that it could be a productive model. So if someone's not happy with a car-buying experience, everyone notices it." He says that across the dealer body the average rating is 4.7, and 4.9 for sales. "It's transparency to consumers and listening to what they are asking for. And we focus on heavy community engagement," he says.
Adobe is obviously in the digital media business and creativity world, but it’s also in digital marketing with a lot of clients who use its cloud service. "About five years ago we made the decision to really make a right-hand turn to digital with 75% of global marketing," said John Travis, VP Worldwide Brand Marketing. "First, we created a single-source of truth across the company because people had different sets of data and interpretation. We needed one dashboard, and one set of insights. Another change was bringing marketing capability in-house so we could react very, very quickly."
The company also began a weekly metrics meeting. The attendees' makeup reflected the extent to which the company is trying to break down organizational silos. "We met more last year than in the last 10 years," he says. "Marketers are the team of people who need to see it and take action." The in-house group is focused on operations day to day, he said, adding that the relationship with the agency has also changed because of that. "I look at them to think about longer-term planning. It's a reversal of roles."
McCann also pushed for frequent -- in 1-800-Flowers' case, daily meetings. "At the end of day great stories trump," said McCann. "But without a process behind it it gets lost. We make sure there's daily meetings for each brand to review the prior day's results. We want to be a very analytically driven marketing team.”