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All Marketers Are Geniuses: How to Leverage (and Streamline) Data for Marketing Success

All Marketers Are Geniuses: How to Leverage (and Streamline) Data for Marketing Success Josh Shatkin-Margolis
The first installment of “All Marketers Are Geniuses” features Harrison Magun, SVP of Paid Media & Analytics at Covario. Magun leads Covario’s team focused on service and software solutions, as well as analytics, for paid search, display advertising, video ads and paid social media.

1. When did you realize you wanted to be a marketer?

My focus in graduate school was not on marketing; it was on international business and finance. My first job out of grad school was at American Express, working on a team tasked with building out and monetizing a fleet of ATMs. As part of my role, I experimented with how to drive increased transactions and revenue, including adding bank and network logos to signage, advertising relevant ATM-dispensed coupons and increasing the size of the enclosure. I found that even small changes to the appearance of the ATM could double or triple the number of transactions and the volume of revenue. Ultimately, it was the cool blend of creative marketing and the science of analytics that sold me on the career I have now.

2. Complete this sentence: Marketers are geniuses because....

We tend to leverage metrics and data, all of which point to the fact that 94.5% of marketers are geniuses. Just ask one.

3. If I weren't a marketer, I would be...

Probably a scientist or a physician. Sick people everywhere should be very happy I did not pursue this path.

4. Where do you think marketers will be spending the largest amount of time, effort and money reaching out to their customers over the next ten years -- TV, print, digital, SEM or display advertising?

A few macro trends are at work here. Dollars follow eyeballs online. IAB reported a 23% year-over-year increase in online spending for the first quarter. We are experiencing the continuing trend of consumers wanting to live online, not just transact online. Another significant trend within digital marketing revenue growth is the increase in display advertising spend, which is expected by many (including eMarketer) to eclipse search in three years. So we’ll see more digital dollars, and, specifically, more display dollars.

But, don’t think this bodes ill for search engine marketing. The technologies responsible for helping advertisers win in search are precisely the same technologies that advertisers will need to win in the new display world. Hand-vended display ads sold with a dinner and a wink is not where the growth will come. As biddable display advertising is increasingly bought and sold on exchanges, display begins to look and smell a lot like the way search campaigns are executed – very data heavy, very complicated and very analytical. People and platforms that enable this kind of execution and optimization for display will receive increased investment from advertisers, so this is another area where dollars will flow.

5. How has search impacted today's digital display market?

With search we’ve created a population of analysts and a set of tools that are beginning to influence the display world, as I mentioned before. Another, more obvious influence is around search retargeting. Search retargeting gives advertisers a second chance to reach consumers who might have not been ready to transact during their search experience. Search retargeting is the gateway to display opportunities for search advertisers.

6. In your eMarketer interview, you mentioned that search and retargeting makes for a "one-two punch" - can you elaborate on this?

Some consumers buy right away after searching for a product or service. Some never buy. Most are somewhere in between. Retargeting, especially when combined with the right data – such as where consumers are in their consideration process and what their needs are at any given point in time – allows marketers to reach consumers with the right information at the right moment.

The best analogy I can think of is the following retail scenario. Since I am from Seattle, I’ll use REI, where I recently bought a pair of running shoes. Here is the first case: Suppose the salesperson at the front of the store just walked away after hearing me answer “No” to the question “Can I help you with anything?”

Now picture a second salesperson who sees me in the apparel department and asks “Is there anything particular in this department you are looking for?” and directs me to shoes. And then picture another salesperson in the shoe department asking me “What kind of running do you do? …oh ok, this one is on sale.”

This second case is search retargeting – finding the appropriate time and manner to help someone buy something (and help someone sell something).

7. Where is digital marketing falling short?

We have more data than we have ever had with search data, Web analytics data, ad server data, social data, CRM data, etc. And we have more levers to pull as marketers – it’s not just search and display anymore. As an industry, we seem to think that we can cram all of this stuff on a dashboard. If we did this kind of dashboard-cramming in today’s cars, my Subaru would look like the cockpit of a 747. We need to get better at understanding what marketing problems are solvable, which ones we want to solve (and in what order), and what data we don’t need. The industry has become so accustomed to trying to acquire more and more data that we’ve lost track of what we are trying to do with it.

8. Where do you think the largest opportunity exists for marketers to prove their genius?

I think we, as digital marketers, proved we are very smart by handling very complex tasks. To prove we are geniuses? Make them easier.

Josh Shatkin-Margolis is the founder and CEO of Purple Cloud, the world’s first digital communication platform designed for customers to communicate with the staff of brick-and-mortar stores. Prior to Purple Cloud he founded Magnetic, the...

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