Welcome to our new blog series, Marketing Without Borders. Twice per month, we invite a leader from our global network of partners to share their experiences with their unique perspectives on marketing, technology, and business. The questions are ours, but the answers are theirs – every word, shared without edit, from their fingers to your eyes.
Today, we welcome Maurizio Di Mauro, Founder and Senior Consultant at LABeL. a digital marketing and design laboratory based in Italy. Over the last 20 years, Di Mauro has consulted on eBusiness strategy, technology, marketing and communication for some of the world’s top Fortune 1000 companies such as, Sony, Basf, NOKIA, Commerzbank, FIAT IVECO, Piaggio, Pininfarina, Merloni, Kodak, Liquigas, ITT Barge, Legrand, Tunnel Mont Blanc, and more. Di Mauro has focused his activity on assessing the ability of consolidated companies and emerging eBusiness to create new value through new products and services, strategic communication, ICT and digital marketing solutions. Much of his work has focused on the development of best-practices in the areas of marketing and communication, CRM, and overall strategies for business launches, acceleration and change management. Di Mauro has also won the Italian eCommerce Industrial Ministry Award, served as an assistant professor at IULM University and served as Director of the Master in Multimedia Communication program at the IED-ISC in Milan.
Tell us about Label, about the companies you work with, and the role marketing plays at those companies.
At LABEL we help companies develop concepts for digital marketing, hi-tech products and interactive applications. Over the last 20 years, LABEL has consulted on eBusiness strategy, technology, marketing and communication for some of the world’s top Fortune 1000 companies. At those companies, marketing plays a strategic role even if often digital marketing is treated as a tactic, ending up having to redirect its focus to support short-term campaign projects without an integrated business strategy.
What are the big marketing trends you are seeing currently? And do you see those trends changing in the next 3 years? How so?
Let me structure this around the 5 pillars formula we use to explain our digital marketing recommendations to customers.
The formula is simple: Revenue (or Growth) = (Reach x Conversion x Value) x Repetition
Revenue, or growth, is equal to the extent of audience we can reach with our value proposition, multiplied per the Conversation Rate we are able to generate, per the value for each transaction we can sell, all repeated and replicated as much as the level of engagement, loyalty and referral we can generate and manage.
Within each of the 5 formula pillars above there are trends which we believe give opportunities for all businesses to compete or disrupt markets. Strategic technology trends connect and enable formula pillars in the marketing stack, enabling and driving competitive advantage, setting the stage for open, connected and coordinated smart markets. I’m talking about AI, machine learning, Blockchain, quantum computing and augmented analytics that will drive disruption and new marketing business models in the next years.
Let’s see the trends divided by the formula framework pillars*:
* The following trends are based on my direct experience on the field merged with strategic planning assumptions and data from recent Gartner Inc. researches and papers.
Reach (demand generation and purchase intent of visitors and fans):
- The advent of new privacy regulations such as GDPR presents a significant challenge to the free flow of personal data on contemporary data exchanges
- Increased use of voice search and conversational agent UIs (chatbots, software and human-assisted support, voice controlled search assistants, voice controlled connected devices)
- Exponential smartphone adoption
- Mobile marketing and cross-device optimization
- Rise of Marketing Cloud or Digital Marketing Hub from lead to customer communications management, including mobile marketing and cross-device optimization
- Growth in Customer Data Platforms (CDP) and predictive analytics
- Increase over time of content and inbound marketing sophistication (rich content, personalization, marketing apps)
- Ad blocking
- Programmatic placement will put brands everywhere (programmatic TV advertising, programmatic direct advertising, etc.)
- Most frequent changes in digital marketing audiences today are on top-tier platforms like Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Snapchat and Twitter so businesses need a plan for these platform giants
- Prepare to market in the era of fake news
- Atomic content will make marketing more adaptive
- Privacy-friendly data exchange will augment the flow of data
- Decentralized apps will open up app markets while preserving security
- Digital products and the Internet of Things (IoT) will explode the number of digital touchpoints
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence:
- Smart content curation
- Programmatic media bidding
- AI generated content
- Propensity modeling
- Ad targeting
- Predictive analytics
- Lead scoring
- Web & app personalization
- Intelligent and autonomous chat bots
- Conversational agents will mediate transactions
- Rise of Marketing Cloud or Digital Marketing Hub for driving conversions
- Shopper bots will find the best bargains
- Smart contracts will create new virtual marketplaces
- Product concept optimization will create more diverse, dynamic markets
- Dynamic pricing
- Real-time pricing will bring AI and advanced analytics to the masses
- Rise of Marketing Cloud or Digital Marketing Hub for increased conversion value
- Smart contracts will create new virtual marketplaces
- Predictive customer service
- Marketing automation
- 1:1 dynamic content emails
- Rise of Marketing Cloud or Digital Marketing Hub to develop loyalty and repeat purchase
- Platform loyalty will challenge brands for consumer allegiance
About how I see those trends changing in the next 3 years, I think the “digital baby” is growing and evolving over the trends I described above, becoming more and more adaptable, intelligent, autonomous and collaborative.
“The future will be characterized by smart devices delivering increasingly insightful digital services everywhere,” said David Cearley, Gartner Vice President and Fellow, at Gartner 2018 Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Florida.“ Gartner calls this the intelligent digital mesh.
- Intelligent: How AI is in virtually every existing technology, and creating entirely new categories.
- Digital: Blending the digital and physical worlds to create an immersive world.
- Mesh: Exploiting connections between expanding sets of people, businesses, devices, content and services.
“Trends under each of these three themes are a key ingredient in driving a continuous innovation process as part of the continuous next strategy,” Cearley said.
What are the biggest marketing challenge your clients are facing today? What’s keeping them up at night? And what kind of advice do you find yourself frequently offering to your clients?
From a strategic point of view, the biggest marketing challenge I see our customers are facing today is adapting their companies’ cultures and systems as they continue to embrace digital. Paraphrasing Marcus Blosh, Vice President of Research at Gartner, “To change an organization designed for a structured, hierarchical, ordered, process-oriented world to one designed for open systems, ecosystems, adaptation, learning and experimentation is hard. Some organizations will navigate that change, and others that can’t change will become outdated and be replaced.” We can’t forget also the advent of new privacy regulations such as GDPR that presents a significant challenge to the free flow, monitoring and analysis of personal data on contemporary data exchanges.
The advice I find myself frequently offering to our clients is, first, auditing the current marketing system: make a Gap Analysis, then adopt a continued innovation and experimentation methodology looking not only to short term objectives and/or campaigns (that is very important), but, at the same time, looking at long term business strategy. I want to stress the attention to always-on customer lifecycle marketing optimization. Defined as an integrated, data driven approach to improve customer interaction through the different communication channels and company digital properties. I’m looking to move them away from a non-integrated communication trough of individual touchpoints (landing pages, search adv, Facebook adv, email automation, etc.), and instead view them as a coordinated multi-channel, multi-properties system. The research shows that many businesses aren’t investing sufficiently in the automation, testing and optimization activities that are made possible through the technology. The mantra I repeat to my customers is: invest more on optimizing always-on marketing actions, through techniques and concepts like open innovation, fail fast, beta perpetual, AB testing and Conversion Rate Optimization.
What mistakes or incorrect assumptions are companies making today with regard to their marketing strategy?
As I said before, at those companies, marketing plays a strategic role even if digital marketing is often treated as a tactic, ending up having to redirect its focus to support short-term campaign projects only without an integrated business digital strategy.
What are some of your other favorite MarTech tools?
We use different MarTech tools across the customer lifecycle. For example: SEMRUSH, MOZ, Mailchimp, Google Analytics, Google Adwords, Google Search Control, Facebook Analytics, WordPress, Evernote, Magento, WooCommerce, Tawk.co, Hootsuite, SUMO, Zapier, IFTTT, etc.
What unique marketing challenges exist in your market/your clients’ markets that might surprise readers from other parts of the world?
In Italy, mobile is king. As indicated by COMSCORE research, we are 6th after India, Indonesia, Mexico, Spain and Brazil as mobile only users. 26% of people use only mobile. It suggests that in Italy most businesses need to manage a multichannel and multi-digital-properties strategy to engage consumers across mobile and desktop. Moreover, the introduction of big fines, even prison, for the use of mobile phones in cars, is favoring the trend of the use of voice tools for messaging, search and interaction with the various mobile apps.
At Mautic, we believe there are very real advantages to open, in marketing solutions/platforms as well as in business and operating philosophies in general. What does “open” mean to you in terms of marketing, business, and technology?
As I stated during all the interview, from a strategic point of view, the biggest marketing challenge our customers are facing today is the challenge to adapt their company culture and systems from a structured, ordered, process-oriented system to one designed for open ecosystems, adaptation, learning and experimentation. So, for me, “open” means adopting a new business culture, system and processes to adapt and afford this cultural and business change. I also highlighted that an open solution/platform is the answer to manage in the best way always-on customer lifecycle marketing optimization. Open solutions like Mautic help us support our customers and move them away from a non-integrated communication through individual touchpoint (landing pages, search adv, Facebook adv, email automation, etc.), to a coordinated multi-channel, multi-properties system. I reach the same conclusion thinking about the “micro-moments” concept defined by Google: that the whole consumer decision journey is a combination of the micro-moments across all channels and devices. So, in order to better cope with micro moments, we need to arm ourselves with open, multi-channel and multi-platform systems.