14 Ways The Rise Of Account-Based Marketing Will Impact Agency Work

Account-based marketing has become a big priority for B2B companies. It allows businesses to better understand and target consumers by personalizing outreach to their specific needs and priorities.

While the concept of ABM is not new, today’s emerging technologies allow businesses to gather richer data to improve their customer outreach efforts. Below, a panel of Forbes Agency Council members share ways they foresee the increase in ABM impacting their work and how agencies can stay ahead of the curve.

Forbes Agency Council

 

1. More Sophisticated Competition

The rise of ABM is predicated on deep audience and account insight, which can result in significant commercial gains. The race to obtain, manage and analyze data to drive commercially valuable insights, and then crucially, to turn those insights into clear marketing and sales actions will determine the winners and losers in the agency world. – Greg Salmon, Agent3

2. More Dedicated Resources

ABM is critical for companies wanting to create truly personalized buying experiences and deeper connections with customers and clients. Personalized marketing helps build trust and greatly improves the customer journey. The need for dedicated resources for ABM is here to stay because of the impact it has on engagement. – Seth Winterer, Digital Logic

3. More Tech-Enabled Results And Complexity

ABM is not new, but there has recently been a proliferation of supporting technology that provides more insight, personalization, efficiency and, in some cases, unnecessary complexity. Establish your goals first, then research where technology can (and should) be applied. Consider conducting ABM pilots where more work is manual. Then, if successful, onboard technology to scale. – Wendy Covey, TREW Marketing

4. A More Philosophical Approach

I’d say don’t rely on it as a tool that will solve all of your problems. In fact, you might need more than one tool to make ABM work, so treat it as a philosophy. ABM is understanding who you are targeting, who those key accounts are, the personas within those accounts and what will be the most effective way to get in front of them, explain to them your value and get them to become your customers. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

5. More Personalized Content To Lead Prospects

It’s critical that your business audits your content and marketing initiatives to ensure that you have developed effective and personalized content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, including problem identification, solution exploration, requirements building, supplier selection, validation and consensus. The journey is predominantly self-service nowadays, so you must lead your prospects. – Douglas Karr, DK New Media

6. More Specialized Niches

Have a specialty and market openly for only that specialty. You can have multiple websites targeting different niches, but brands want to work with agencies that speak directly to their niche. – Kelly Samuel, Snack Toronto

7. More Investment In Data And Research

For SEO, we do a good amount of ABM already in our work. An increase would be as simple as further tailoring the services we offer to account for a more narrow field of interest, depending on the accounts in question. If agencies want to stay ahead, invest in research. Data collection is going to be more reliable than anything else, as long as you keep collecting and updating your research methods. – Dmitrii Kustov, Regex SEO

8. More Individualized Points Of Contact

ABM takes into account the long sales cycle of certain products or services. It focuses on individualized marketing for each account with the understanding that the client will reap the benefits of individualization and will see an increase in closed sales because of the increase in points of contact with consumers. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

9. More Strategic And Data-Driven Targeting

Thanks to Covid-19 and the new norm of working remotely, marketers should use platforms such as LinkedIn to understand the composition of first-party datasets and target key decision makers, rather than a blanket, all-employee approach. Update your customer experience to collect first- and zero-party data frequently, and make sure both the marketing and sales teams keep an updated CRM to maximize potential. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

10. More Granular Understanding Of Customers

ABM has been around for a long time and known by many different terms. I don’t think it changes the keys to success for an agency: Know your client’s customers really well. Know your client’s business. Find ways to help them win in the marketplace. ABM is a fancy way of breaking down groups, divisions, etc. inside the client’s organization. It works, but don’t let that distract you from the core. – Michael McFadden, eAccountable

11. More Effective Audience Segmentation

With the rise of advanced targeting tools, ABM has become more popular because it focuses on the highest-value customers first. Utilizing custom audiences and building intent funnels with Facebook advertising is one of the easiest ways for businesses to begin. Build ads for each segment and bid accordingly so that your key messages are seen by your audience first. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

12. More Customized Social Media Posts

ABM will change how we approach social media. What was previously posted for all types of audiences will need to be more customized for limited audiences, meeting prospects where they are in their buying journeys. This way, social media can lead to deeper conversations and successful sales conversions with a one-to-one approach, as opposed to a one-to-thousands approach. – Jodi Amendola, Amendola Communications

13. More Effective One-To-One Marketing

ABM isn’t new. It’s what previous generations of advertisers were waiting for: one-to-one marketing. Its biggest impact will be on effectiveness. If you aren’t already, start thinking of your campaigns and sales efforts on an individual level. Harness the power of technology to connect with your ideal prospects on an individual level and have targeted conversations with them. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

14. More Interactive Microtargeting

ABM strategies vary from prospect to prospect. The trend in marketing is microtargeting prospects as though they are your only prospect. It’s evolving rapidly and becoming the industry standard, as it offers a collaborative, cooperative and experiential approach to connecting with real people on the other end of your pipeline. It simulates real-world interactions through a sophisticated tech stack. – Terry Tateossian, Socialfix Media

15 Ways To Show Marketing ROI Beyond Sales Revenue

Some agency clients may think that an immediate bump in sales revenue is the only way to gauge the ROI of a marketing campaign. Of course, measuring the results of any campaign is more complex than simply tracking conversions.

While agency professionals might be focused on other positive aspects and developments, the real key to success lies in making sure the client understands the value of these less obvious metrics. But aside from increasing sales, what’s one method agencies can use to show clients the ROI of their work when it’s not apparent to the client?

Here, members of Forbes Agency Council discuss 15 unique methods of showing ROI to marketing and advertising clients that illuminate a far bigger picture than the number of sales.

Forbes Agency Council

1. Set Micro-Goals For SEO Campaigns

SEO inevitably becomes the least expensive acquisition channel for all businesses, but those results don’t come until you put in strong efforts early on and accept that you’ll see little return on those investments for weeks, or even months. It’s important to set micro-goals in these scenarios. We look at how many times a ranking occurs before we look at how many times a ranking gets clicked on. – Brent Payne, Loud Interactive, LLC

2. Track Clicks To Show Activity And Interest

Long-term partnerships often take time and don’t garner immediate growth for a client, but the revenue driven in the end is worth the wait. Setting expectations and early KPIs (other than ROI) can help the client focus on what’s important at the launch of a campaign. A good example of this is tracking clicks to show activity and interest before jumping into revenue. – Abby Campbell, Perform[cb] Agency

3. Study Customer Journey Analytics To Set Expected Timelines

Study the customer journey analytics closely for time dependencies to set client expectations. For example, unknown brands with high price points will see a much longer customer journey across a variety of touchpoints and devices. Pro tip: In Google Analytics, you can see this clearly in the Multi-Channel Funnels and Path Length reports to set a baseline for when to expect ROI on campaigns. – Jacob Cook, Tadpull

4. Measure Inbound Traffic, Queries And Social Media Engagement

It is unlikely that clients will see an immediate increase in sales. A better way to measure the success of your marketing or communications campaign is to look at your analytics for an increase in inbound website traffic, queries and social media engagement. If you don’t see these increases within the first quarter, it’s time to reassess your tactics. – Valerie Chan, Plat4orm PR

5. Use Different Metrics Across Different Time Horizons

There are many metrics used to gauge the ROI of a campaign, and it’s important to look at these metrics across different time horizons. For instance, sales, engagement and impressions are great metrics to measure across both the short term and the long term; repeat purchases and increased LTV are great metrics for the medium and long term. – Michael McFadden, eAccountable

6. Focus On Upper And Mid-Funnel Outcomes

Focus on measurable outcomes throughout the upper and middle parts of the funnel. This could be video completions, PDF downloads/content consumption or lead/contact form submits. Measuring these actions and optimizing toward an efficient cost per action allows us to prove that our marketing efforts are working while also collecting an audience that can be retargeted for future, lower-funnel efforts. – Russ Williams, Archer Malmo

7. Show Clients Metric Tracking Data

Showing clients metric tracking data does the trick. Numbers are harder to argue with than vague ideas of what successful sales goals should be. One method we use is to show exactly where and how marketing efforts are impacting visibility, increasing traffic and spurring growth. Set up a comparison of industry standards for perspective, and then you can say, “Look here—these are your dollars at work.” – Dmitrii Kustov, Regex SEO

8. Review How Boosting Longer-Term Indicators Also Lifts Revenue

ROI in terms of increased sales or revenue is usually a key indicator of a successful campaign. Other, longer-term indicators of a successful campaign include increases in activity, engagement with consumers, responsiveness, impressions and overall brand sentiment lift. These metrics should eventually lead to revenue lift as well. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

9. Think About Lifetime Value

In many instances, it actually makes sense to take a loss on a new customer or first-time purchase if you know the long-term value will be profitable for the business. Think of your loss leaders as “gateway” products that can bring you loyal customers willing to buy big-ticket items. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

10. Report Both Returns On Investment And Returns On Influence

There are two methods of reporting ROI to a client: as a return on investment and as a return on influence. Influence focuses on visibility, engagement and audience numbers. Investment is specifically targeting conversion-based metrics that you can track and tying them to the investment. Together, they tell the full story. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

11. Prove Aspirational ROI With A Quarterly Survey

ROI can only exist in two categories; it’s either part of an objective or part of an aspiration. Objective measurement is easy because it’s tangible. An aspirational ROI is far more difficult to measure, as it requires understanding what behaviors need to happen over time that will lead you to that goal. One way to do that is to create a baseline survey and distribute it every quarter. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

12. Use Distinct Metrics Based On The Client’s Biggest Goals

It depends on what the client’s biggest issues and goals are. For example, if there is a negative brand perception, do pre- and post-campaign surveys to measure the change. If the goal is more leads, measure website traffic to landing pages used in email campaigns and paid digital. Sales cycles vary; in healthcare tech, for instance, they can often last 12 to 18 months, so ROI should be measured in other ways too. – Jodi Amendola, Amendola Communications

13. Measure The Incrementality Of Advertising

One important metric that clients overlook is incrementality, which is defined as the lift in your chosen KPI that can be attributed to advertising. Your true advertising ROI should reflect the amount spent on those who need it to convince them to buy, not what was spent on people who were already shoo-ins. That number might be lower, but it is a better indicator of how well your advertising is performing. – Jeremy Fain, Cognitiv

14. Give Clients Data They Can Use To Target More Specific Audiences

Not all ROI has to be measured with sales increases. Show clients consumer data such as page views, demographics, location, gender, age, interests, clicks and more. This is valuable information that companies can use to market to a more specific audience that already likes their brand. Data is a measurable ROI that may not necessarily be an increase in sales, but which can lead to it. – Tony Pec, Y Not You Media

15. Show The ROI Of Clients Maximizing Value For Their Customers

Many brands measure value gained from customers, but few put the same effort into maximizing value. As such, most organizations meet a fraction of customer needs and values. By exploring the link between customer performance indicators and customer lifetime value, companies can optimize how their brands help customers function and succeed while ultimately growing their bottom line. – Camille Nicita, Gongos, Inc.

14 Expert Tips For Infusing Viral Elements Into A Campaign

The study of what makes something go viral online has been some of the most diligent research done in the early 21st century. Virality basically guarantees success when it comes to digital advertising and marketing, as it leads to more organic shares, deeper engagement and a wider reach.

Key to creating viral elements in campaigns is the fact that consumers gravitate toward unique, highly creative ads and marketing. Some companies use unexpected elements to go viral; others prefer to stir up controversy to grab attention and move their brand forward, which can carry significant risk.

Below, 14 experts from Forbes Agency Council explore how companies can safely attempt to go viral by infusing unconventional messaging and highly creative elements into their campaigns.

Forbes Agency Council

1. Make Sure It’s Grounded In Strategy

It must be grounded in strategy and brand-authentic. You owe it to the client who wants something big or provocative to ensure there’s a strong business case for doing so, or you waste your time and their money. Don’t be tone-deaf in a sad, scary time for many. Make sure your message is genuine and not opportunistic, or you will alienate customers and activate “cancel culture.” – Stephen Rosa, (add)ventures

2. Root It In The Core Message

The bold approach has to be rooted in the core message of the organization. Whether through controversy, crazy tactics, engaging a celebrity, etc., it has to drive home the point of the campaign and be meaningful, interesting and exciting for the target audience. – Nathan Miller, Miller Ink, Inc.

3. Always Stay On-Brand

Always be on-brand and stay consistent with your promise and values. Don’t use viral opportunities to establish your brand reputation. Instead, think of these agile tactics as a way to strengthen and reinforce what is already in action and evident in your products, services, company culture and social responsibility programs. – Carey Kirkpatrick, CKP

4. Study The Market’s Behavior

Going viral isn’t that simple. You have to study the market’s behavior and map out the customer journey so that you can target that moment when something can be effectively shared. “Attention-grabbing” content or “shock” content can only go so far if you want to ride the wave of a certain content trend. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

5. Make Sure It Aligns With Company Goals

Producing a campaign with unexpected or controversial elements just for the sake of grabbing attention will often work against a long-term brand position. My advice to companies wishing to engage in that would be to only attempt it if it would help their customers achieve their goals. More often than not, misalignment of an organization’s campaign with its brand promise will backfire. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

6. Ask About Their Risk Appetite First

Be careful what you ask for. Out of millions of clips on YouTube, only about one of them will go viral. At the same time, too many campaigns go viral for the wrong reasons, either for being badly executed or for being too controversial. So if your client asks you to make them go viral, ask them about their risk appetite first. Anyone can get famous, but not always for the right reasons. – Lars Voedisch, PRecious Communications

7. Make A Single And Simple Point

If you try hard to make something go viral, it never will. Tell an amazing story, frame it around a tight niche, tap into existing conversations with an interesting angle or play on “folk-isms.” Most important of all: Keep your message to a single, simple point. Do that, and there’s a good chance it will resonate with the audience and be shared (and possibly go viral). – Mike Boogaard, MOI Global

8. Play It Safe With Controversy

My No. 1 piece of advice would be that advertisers need to play it safe when attempting to be controversial. We live in a time when “cancel culture” is everywhere, and one wrong move can end a legacy of great moves. Remember, it takes years to build trust, but only moments to lose it. – Garrett Atkins, VIE Media

9. Lead With The Attention-Grabbing Elements

Make sure that the attention-grabbing and unexpected elements happen within the first five to seven seconds of a video because you may not get longer than that to grab someone’s attention and hold it. You can’t build up to it; you need to jump right in. – Spencer Hadelman, Advantage Marketing

10. Consider The Current Social Climate

Consider the current social climate and weigh the risks of your campaign. My top advice would be to avoid chasing viral content, as it is rarely engineered successfully. But if your client insists, make sure you don’t shoot yourself or your client in the foot with something that sends the wrong message. Trying too hard reeks of insincerity, which consumers will definitely pick up on. – Dmitrii Kustov, Regex SEO

11. Develop Talking Points And Responses

If you’re going to use marketing that is edgy or controversial, develop talking points and responses to potential objections in advance. Your take on the issue might not satisfy everyone, but it will show that the idea was considered from multiple perspectives and perhaps help clarify your intentions. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

12. Look At What Worked In The Past

Before you execute this type of disruptive strategy, look at what was successful in the past so that you don’t water down or blow the client’s old methods (which were proven to be successful) completely out of the water. You need to know where they came from before you can show them where they can go. Aiming to go viral can be a shortsighted campaign strategy. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

13. Ensure It Supports The Brand’s Future

Does this approach support the creed, mission and values of your company today as well as the future of your brand? Going viral, especially today, is a double-edged sword. If it works, it will likely be a “flash in the pan” in terms of attention. If it doesn’t work, the impact can linger for years. So don’t simply be controversial without weighing the risks. – Bernard May, National Positions

14. Keep It Above Board

Unexpected and attention-grabbing elements can be incorporated into a campaign to attract user attention, but this can be done above board without having to resort to any controversial or gray areas that might be risky for a brand to enter. If you question the controversial nature of a tactic or campaign, the viewer most certainly will, and it will be amplified. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

How To Keep Teams Communicating: 11 Proven Strategies

In addition to trust, clear communication is foundational to any professional team’s success. If its members have problems communicating with each other, it will not only reduce the team’s overall effectiveness, but could also damage morale, individual performance and even the bottom line.

As their manager, you can help pinpoint issues with a team’s communication, but it is up to the team members themselves to fix those problems. To ensure that the process of identifying and solving a team’s communication problems won’t devolve into a blame game or result in further miscommunication, focus on strengthening practical communication skills.

Below, 11 professionals from Forbes Agency Council look at the most effective ways to locate and fix the issues hindering communication between team members before they cause a ripple effect.

Forbes Agency Council

1. Get To The Root Issue

Communication challenges are not usually not personal in nature; they are just misunderstandings. So take the time to get to the root issue (e.g., missed deadlines and deliverables, misallocated timelines, etc.) and have each of the parties express their viewpoints. Then, put an accountability plan in place to resolve any challenges that might have risen to the surface. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

2. Be Consistent With Your Own Communication

Always be the first person to do a status check on each of your employees. There is definitely an inefficiency problem when people aren’t communicating. You have to look at the pain points of each person first, and then piece them all together to create a sustainable solution. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

3. Create A Safe And Trusting Environment

The foundation of company culture is trust and transparency. Without a safe environment, people will not open up. And opening up is crucial, as only addressing problems head-on will lead to productive solutions. There needs to be frequent communication, and we encourage non-task based conversations in an effort to strengthen team bonding. – Christoph Kastenholz, Pulse Advertising

4. Observe And Listen To Your Team

Observing and listening to your team is a great way to uncover areas that need improvement in their communication and determine preferred channels for communicating. Providing your team with a channel in which they feel comfortable openly communicating helps avoid a breakdown and promotes open communication. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

5. Align The Team’s Goals With Leadership’s

Poor communication means that team members are not aligned with leadership. Leaders must publish four to five annual goals for the team with key performance indicators and milestones to meet. They must get alignment from each team member at the start, and they need to check in each week to measure actual versus planned results. Direct discussions must occur when deliverables are dropped. A good leader will never accept low performance. – Michael Fox, Corberry Digital

6. Create And Share A Survey Or ‘Feedback Form’

Create a standard survey or a “feedback form,” and then share it with all members of your team. Make sure that the questions focus on perceived and witnessed issues (or ones that were reported in confidence), then do one-on-ones with all relevant team members over a short period of time. Pull people in quietly; don’t make a huge interoffice announcement. Show grace. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

7. Take Emotions Out Of It And Look At The Data

First things first: Take emotions out of it and look at the digital paper trail. Review emails, logged tasks, timestamps, etc. to see where things are actually slipping through the cracks according to the data. Then, have an honest heart-to-heart with all team members aimed at finding solutions, not pointing fingers. Show your team an example of the type of communication you expect. – Bernard May, National Positions

8. Have One-On-One Conversations To Identify Issues

Before you make assumptions, have a conversation with each of them individually and see if they can identify what the issues are. Often, if you ask them first, they can give you a clear picture of what’s going on from their perspective. Then, you can piece it all together and address it as you see fit. Regular team meetings will also help minimize communication breakdowns. – Skye Suttenfield, Seen Media Group

9. Understand What Motivates Each Individual

Effective managers provide their teams with all of the resources required to win in their roles. This includes the manager’s leadership, which can take many forms, including listening. Assuming that everyone wants to do a good job, understanding what motivates each individual may be vital to cultivating a team that’s motivated to work together. – Patrick Nycz, NewPoint Marketing

10. Determine What, Who And When For Accountability

What, who, when—those are the absolute keys to every action plan and discussion within my organization. What is the issue? Who is responsible for it? And when is it going to be taken care of? When you get to that level of accountability, you’ll find that things get completed. If everything is done in a gray area, it won’t. – Douglas Karr, Highbridge

11. Look For Signs Of Competing Goals

Poor communication among team members is often a sign of competing goals. Establishing a clear desired outcome and identifying each person’s part in getting to that outcome is critical. That needs to be followed up with a communication and process structure that clarifies the appropriate ways and times team members should contribute to and weigh in on the project. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

How 14 Agency Pros Measure ROI For Their Own Marketing Activities

Marketing is essential for promoting and expanding all businesses, including agencies. While these firms execute plenty of marketing campaigns and measure ROI for their clients, it can be tricky to devote enough time and resources to determining their own.

Nonetheless, as with any client, it’s critical to measure your agency’s own efforts and initiatives to ensure that you’re seeing a return on those investments.

The members of Forbes Agency Council know how important it is to track the results of internal marketing activities. Here, they share 14 strategies and metrics they use to measure the ROI for their own campaigns.
Forbes Agency Council

1. Urchin Tracking Module Parameters

Set up proper UTM parameters for each campaign, both organic and paid, create events and goals in Google Analytics, integrate your contact form with your CRM and use plugins to track UTMs for each lead that reaches out. If you have everything under control, you will be able to calculate CPC, CPI, CTR and average contract size by acquisition channel. – Alessandro Bogliari, The Influencer Marketing Factory

2. Facebook Ads Manager

We measure and track ROI for our internal marketing activities directly inside the Facebook Ads Manager, just as we do for our clients. We measure cost per lead and overall sales to ensure that we have an ROI with all of our efforts. – Jonathan Durante, Expandify Marketing Inc

3. Non-Revenue Metrics

When ROI is measured solely by revenue, you can miss measuring and tweaking some of the KPIs that indicate progress through the sales funnel. By measuring and analyzing web traffic, social media engagements and qualified leads generated (versus a one-dimensional revenue number), you have the opportunity to tweak and improve throughout the process, which leads to continuously improving ROI. – Carey Kirkpatrick, CKP

4. Qualitative And Quantitative Leads

It’s about qualitative and quantitative leads. Does your inbound pick up? Do you have those out-of-the-blue requests, or is it one of those Google Ads-based campaigns where you spent tons of money, got (unqualified) leads and your website’s bounce rate went sky-high? Rather than being about an absolute ROI, it’s about being clear on your objectives (top/middle/lower funnel) and focusing on that! – Lars Voedisch, PRecious Communications

5. Brand Awareness

There are easily tangible KPIs to track for marketing, including the number of inbound leads generated and, even better, how much revenue is generated from those inbound leads. But we also need to keep brand awareness in mind, which is more difficult to quantify, but can be measured through things such as overall site traffic or page views per month. – Jason Wulfsohn, AUDIENCEX

6. Customer Lifetime Value To Customer Acquisition Cost Ratio

Our agency assesses the customer lifetime value to customer acquisition cost ratio (LTV to CAC) to determine our ROI. The LTV to CAC ratio measures the value of a customer over time compared to their acquisition cost. The ideal LTV to CAC ratio is around 3 to 1, where a customer’s lifetime value is three times the cost of acquiring them. Anything less than 3 to 1 means your investment is higher than your return. – Adam Binder, Creative Click Media

7. Money Spent Versus Money Made Per Campaign

We measure ROI for ourselves the same way we measure ROI for our clients: how much money is spent versus how much money is made on an individual campaign. For example, if we’re doing PPC (pay-per-click) for ourselves, we take into account the budget and the revenue generated from said PPC campaign to measure its effectiveness. – Garrett Atkins, VIE Media

8. Sales Leads

What’s great about digital marketing is that everything is measurable if you have the right tools for tracking it. You can measure the value of the digital traffic that you received; however, the real ROI still comes through your sales. See if your marketing efforts still lead you to the next sales lead. It doesn’t matter if it’s just one. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

9. New Client Acquisition And Yearly Revenue

ROI is measured from new client acquisition and revenue for the calendar year against the number of resources invested in the activities, both time and financial. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

10. Web Traffic Value

We’ve been blessed to be ranked No. 1 on Google for “Facebook advertising agency.” This came from years of hard work, blogging and PR. We track the estimated costs for that keyword and the amount of traffic we receive each month. Since we know the value of the traffic, we know what to invest to ensure that we remain in that top position. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

11. Return On Influence

We focus on return on influence as well as return on investment. So we are tracking engagement and growth on social channels, email marketing metrics, website traffic and visitation metrics, as well as referrals and inquiries. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

12. Cost Per Key Performance Indicator

We measure ROI for ourselves exactly the same way we do for our clients: We define our goals beforehand (impressions, engagement, clicks, leads, etc.), and then assess what we’ve spent, what we got and what it cost per KPI (CPC, CPI, CTR, etc.). We look at the analytics to assess what was strong and where we can improve next time. – Christoph Kastenholz, Pulse Advertising

13. Revenue Versus Ad Spend

You can only put profit in your pocket, so we measure revenue versus ad spend, also known as ROAS (return on advertising spend). Generating site traffic, brand awareness and inbound leads is meaningless if they don’t turn into paying clients. Those KPIs simply give us direction to help keep the business on a plan. Deals are always in the sales funnel. – Michael Fox, Corberry Digital

14. The Same Metrics And Tools Used For Clients

We measure our agency’s performance with the same metrics and tracking tools we use to track ROI for our clients. If I, as a small-business owner, wouldn’t be satisfied with the metrics being provided, then I shouldn’t ask my clients to accept them. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

15 Overlooked Best Practices For Managing A Small-Business Website

In today’s digital age, it’s vital for your small business to have a fully functional website to attract and retain customers. While larger businesses are able to hand website development to their team or outsource it, small-business owners may have only themselves or a small group of people to work with.

Creating and maintaining a website while wearing all of the hats in your business can be overwhelming, and you may not be aware of some of the best practices your more established competitors are following.

Forbes Agency Council

To help, 15 Forbes Agency Council members shared some commonly overlooked best practices for small-business owners who are managing their own company website.

1. Consider A Static Website

Depending on the cadence of posting content to your site, you may not actually need a CMS (e.g., WordPress) and all the hassle that comes with maintaining it. For many small businesses, a static website based on a Bootstrap theme is sufficient, and also lightning fast, which is great for SEO. To add a dynamic “gallery,” simply integrate your Instagram feed and, voilà, no maintenance is required! – Justin Cook, 9thCO Inc.

2. Get An Outside Opinion

Small-business owners view their own companies through different eyes than their clients. Even if you have the in-house skills to build your own site, you’re too close to the business to make objective decisions, and you’re too busy to make timely updates, optimize SEO and create fresh content. We are an agency, yet we outsource our own site development and management. Best thing we ever did! – Bruce McMeekin, BKM Marketing Associates, Inc.

3. Measure Your Site Performance With Analytics

Optimize web analytics to measure and benchmark your site performance. You can connect your site to analytics even if you do not have a roadmap or specific strategy regarding how you want to use this data. Let your analytics start accruing information from your website that will be there when you’re ready to evaluate key performance indicators that will drive your business. – Ana Miller, A2 Communications Group

4. Optimize Content For Voice Search

Less than 5% of companies have optimized their online content for voice search. Not only does this mean that businesses are missing out on valuable searches, but it also indicates there is a huge market to capture. By servicing consumers who use voice search queries to find products, your business can be one of the first entrants to this budding digital advertising channel. – Laura Cole, Vivial

5. Think Like Your End-User

This suggestion might get a few eye rolls, but our clients always have a hard time thinking like users when they’re internal at organizations. This user-centric approach will make you stop and ask, “Do users need this?” and then go from there. Horrific PDF menus with QR codes are a good example of a bad user experience. No one wants to pinch and zoom. – Lee Salisbury, UnitOneNine

6. Strive For Continuous Improvement

Pay attention to analytics and maintain a discipline of continuous improvement. Know your audience as well as you know what you want them to do when they arrive at your site. From navigation and page flow to view times and clicks times, how your audience is engaging is key to managing websites that successfully convert. – Patrick Nycz, NewPoint Marketing

7. Keep Your Site Regularly Updated

Your website is a living organism. Keep it healthy by updating it regularly. Set up a spreadsheet with checks to perform on an annual, quarterly and monthly basis. Some things, such as updating the year in your footer or performing a thorough content and SEO audit, can be done every January. Other tasks, such as updating company and leadership data, should be done monthly. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

8. Ensure Seamless Desktop And Mobile Experiences

A small-business owner should always make sure that both the desktop and the mobile experience have the same ease of use and user experience. The mobile experience can sometimes be overlooked in development, which can be a critical mistake when the majority of users are browsing via mobile. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

9. Provide A Good Experience For Consumers

Many businesses focus on the marketing activities that generate traffic to the website and often forgo the most important element: Does the website provide a good experience for the consumer? Websites don’t need lots of bells and whistles to be effective. Instead, focus on a digital storefront that looks good, is easy to use and clearly communicates your expertise. – Carey Kirkpatrick, CKP

10. Prioritize Local Search

Make landing pages for your local customers, which are easily searchable on Google. Work on your local presence with good reviews on platforms such as Google My Business, Yelp or Google Maps to give your brand good visibility. – Mandeep Singh, SEO Discovery Pvt Ltd.

11. Check Your Site Content Monthly

Many marketers take months to build the “perfect” website, and then think the job is done. But site content must be refreshed and reworked on an ongoing basis in order to stay fresh and have a positive impact on your Google site ranking. Make a calendar reminder to check through your site content at least once a month and make any required updates. – Jason Wulfsohn, AUDIENCEX

12. Hire The Right Developer

Stop reinventing the wheel or overpaying for custom backend development. Small businesses can easily build massively successful websites using open-source software such as WordPress. I’ve seen $80,000 “custom builds” recreated for $10,000 in WordPress. Do you have concerns about WordPress? The build is as good or as bad as the developer. – Damon Burton, SEO National

13. Think Of Your Site As A Library

Does your site have all of the “books” you need to properly educate, inform and assist your prospects and customers? If it doesn’t, work to create them. Move away from the assembly line and, instead, build and optimize the library so that your customers can easily consume it. – Douglas Karr, Highbridge

14. Outsource Your Web Design

My best piece of advice for a business owner regarding the management of your company’s website would be to delegate it to someone that specializes in web page design as soon as possible. Web design is a full-time job in and of itself. That factor coupled with the fact they need to be updated on a regular basis to stay effective is a great reason to get it off your plate. – Garrett Atkins, VIE Media

15. Optimize Your Blog Pages For SEO

You might easily overlook the structure of your headers, the number of keywords you include in the content and what you place in the meta tags. Each page has to be made with the intention of improving SEO. If you do this, I guarantee your website is going to get more visitors than before. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

15 Ways To Develop A Customer-Centric Content Strategy

Content marketing is a great way to get in front of and bring value to consumers without going overboard on your sales pitch. However, it can be tough to strike a balance. Your content shouldn’t completely ignore your offerings, but you want to make sure it adds value for your customer first.

Forbes Agency Council

That’s why developing a strategy focused on your target customer is the key to executing successful content marketing initiatives. To help you achieve this, 15 members of Forbes Agency Council gave their best advice on how brands can develop effective, customer-centric content.

1. Create Outcome-Based Content

People today are focused on issues, personal and social outcomes and ways that products and product providers can positively affect their lives and the lives of others. Content should be visual, interactive, emotive and outcome-based. Pick the right channel. TikTok is delivering huge numbers. – Peter Prodromou, Boston Digital

2. Implement Persona Identifiers On Your Website

Implement persona identifiers (via “tags”) into the data layer of your website. Push those identifiers into audiences within your analytics tool. This will enable you to understand which audiences are interacting with existing content, selectively build out additional content based on audience priority and run “lookalike” campaigns to promote the new content to only that audience type. – Justin Cook, 9thCO Inc.

3. Engage In Non-Commerce Dialogue With Customers

We find that most marketing plans emphasize methods for pushing content to consumers while giving little thought to methods for customers to engage in “non-commerce dialogue.” Companies that have effective customer-centric marketing have built these methods, not just “product reviews,” for engaging in these conversations. Focusing on those channels is essential to crafting better outbound content. – James Cioban, Cierant Corporation

4. Focus On Benefits Over Features

Focus on product benefits over features. Use “you” over “we.” And most importantly, do key phrase research and understand the searcher intent behind your phrases. Truly customer-centric content ties the searcher’s intent to the product on the page. It doesn’t rely on brand terms. Instead, it includes non-branded terms that speak to the product’s universe. – Brian Rutledge, GPO

5. Answer Consumer Questions

Create content that provides high-value information, answers consumer questions and guides them toward making the best purchase decision. Within your content, showcase the benefits, uses and value of your products and services as examples and case studies. This tactic will build trust with the consumer and drive them to come to you when they are ready to purchase. – Laura Cole, Vivial

6. Interview Your Customers

Start with interviewing your customers. Find a small number that best represents each audience persona you intend to target. During a brief interview, listen closely to the words each customer uses to describe why they choose your company’s solutions and how it has impacted their business and professional success. – Wendy Covey, TREW Marketing

7. Tap Into Their Existing Motivations

For content that is truly customer-centric, campaigns should tap into the customer’s existing motivations. The reason being, you can’t motivate someone to action, but you can align your content with what that customer already is motivated to do. Once that is done, the content can prompt them to take action. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

8. Talk About Things They Love

A company’s story is nice, but if you want to engage someone, talk about things they care about or love. Take a page from the big boys: Know what you sell and why people are buying. It is always about the consumer. Apple does not sell computers; it sells a set of beliefs or a way of thinking. Starbucks does not sell coffee; its sells status quo. Even Toms Shoes sold the concept of giving back. – Patrick Nycz, NewPoint Marketing

9. Practice Inbound Marketing

Develop customer personas that identify the needs, concerns, dreams and opportunities of your ideal audiences. Find intersection points and create content that speaks to your personas at every point of the buyer journey. Then, make every communication, from award wins to case studies to blog posts, speak to them about their needs rather than your capabilities. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

10. Ask Customers For Video Content

Customer-generated videos where customers record themselves with the brand and showcase its benefits offer an authentic way to show true excitement and endorsement of the brand from the customer’s individual perspective, which will appeal to others too. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

11. Make It Easy To Find Relevant Content

Make it easy for web visitors to find content suitable for their stage in the buying process. Think of your blog as a hub for insights that educate about your industry. Place evergreen content in static pages to inform about you and your capabilities. Find organic links between the two so that when prospects are ready to work themselves down the funnel, they can do so without friction. – Carey Kirkpatrick, CKP

12. Emphasize The Problem You Solve

There’s that old saying that nobody will care about your solution before they recognize there’s a massive problem—and it applies to them. So think about your customers’ context, situation and problems, and pick them up where they are by emphasizing that they all have a common problem that you figured out how to solve! – Lars Voedisch, PRecious Communications

13. Frame Your Message Around Their Needs

Customers largely see interactions with companies as transactional, while companies yearn for so much more. Content can help you build closer connections with customers, but only if it conveys your deep understanding of them. Always start with the emotional, social and functional outcomes they value as human beings. Then, frame your messages around the needs your offerings can deliver on. – Camille Nicita, Gongos, Inc.

14. Align Your Brand Ethos With Their Values

Newer generations care less about products’ USPs and more about how the brand’s ethos aligns with their values. To create a customer-centric content strategy, you have to understand what values are important for your audience and authentically align not only your brand message, but also your actions with those values. Brands that can create content around that will see the benefits of a customer-centric approach. – Emilie Tabor, IMA – Influencer Marketing Agency

15. Showcase Your Solution Through Testimonials

True customer-centric content needs to answer the questions your audience is asking. Rather than touting how great your products or services are, you need to provide a solution to their problems. Some of the best customer-centric content actually includes customer testimonials. This is especially helpful as video content: Let your customers speak to how you helped them solve a problem. – Jason Wulfsohn, AUDIENCEX

Midsize companies: Avoid these 15 sales-stifling marketing mistakes

Middle-market companies are in a unique position when it comes to seeking growth. While these companies may not have the immediate brand recognition of an industry giant, they often have the resources to run a multichannel marketing campaign. However, all the ad money in the world won’t drive growth if a company isn’t using the right strategies.

The Business Journals

Below, the members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share 15 common marketing mistakes midsize companies make that might be inhibiting their sales and growth — and what they should be doing instead.

1. Talking about what you do rather than the problem you solve
A common mistake is creating marketing content that sells what you do versus talking about the problems you solve for your customers. It’s easy to write content that details the services you provide. It requires much more time and research to understand how your clients experience your service and the impact that it has on their day-to-day operations. – Tim Tiller, MyTek Technology Solutions

2. Cutting the marketing budget too soon
One big mistake is to cut back on marketing spending when positive results appear. I would argue that a growth-oriented company needs to let its marketing budget grow with revenue rather than thinking, “It worked!” at the first small result. – Beth Waterfall, Beth Waterfall Creative

3. Not being bold about your story
Many middle-market brands are afraid to present their stories in a bold, differentiated way. They are humble — sometimes even deferential — to the behemoths in their category. Own your story and stand out! – Lauren Parker, FrazierHeiby

4. Being too focused on short-term goals
Middle-market companies tend to prioritize short-term objectives, which often results in paid advertising campaigns. The mistake is a failure to invest in long-term marketing strategies such as search engine optimization. Companies that can balance short-term objectives with long-term marketing investments can build a strong and sustainable sales and growth engine. – Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

5. Not catering to each stage of the buying process
One mistake is not using the right resources for the unique stages of the customer’s buying process. This includes creating awareness about the firm’s very differentiated product, getting customers interested enough to try the product and then purchase it, and setting the repurchasing cycle. Depending on products and markets, firms need unique, effective resources for success in each stage as well as a way to hand off from one stage to another. – Pradeep Anand, Seeta Resources

6. Failing to identify and measure success metrics
Marketing needs to deliver a concrete return on investment. Many mid-market companies get tricked into expensive marketing programs without identifying the success metrics and return in advance. Any marketing program that doesn’t deliver results in 90 days should be scrutinized very carefully. – Kimberly Lucas, Goldstone Partners

7. Creating a too-short marketing communications plan
Sales cycles can stretch out for months. One common marketing mistake of mid-market companies is creating a tactical marketing communications plan that’s too short for the cycle. When the communication flow dries up before the lead is ready to take the next step, you miss opportunities. To fix it, look at the cycle length and your communication flow. If they are not in sync, adjust. – Linda Bishop, Thought Transformation

8. Thinking marketing is a waste of money
First and foremost, a middle-market company needs to understand the importance of marketing to know it’s a necessary expense to grow a brand. They should also understand that marketing can and should have ROI associated with it so they don’t think it will be wasted money — just part of the overall business investment. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

9. Turning efforts on and off
A common mistake is turning marketing on and off, whether that be a focus on SEO, advertising or anything else. Too often companies are reactionary and don’t stay the course. It’s important to react if something isn’t working or push further when something is working, but you also have to cultivate your marketing, just as you do any other part of your business. – Eric Moraczewski, NMBL Strategies

10. Not integrating sales and marketing efforts
The biggest growth-inhibiting mistake I’ve seen mid-market companies make is not integrating sales and marketing efforts. I’ve worked with more than a thousand clients over my career, and time and again I see sales and marketing teams that are siloed and do not talk. Even if the technology is shared or integrated, the company culture can create barriers to success. – Kent Lewis, Anvil Media, Inc.

11. Not keeping up with the times
Common mistakes in creating and deploying effective marketing strategies include failure to set and measure performance and return on investment targets and not keeping up with the times. Engagement, reactions and SEO-related analytics should be measured by channel and/or medium. Similarly, if your target audience is on TikTok or MeWe, you may need to add those channels. – Joey Johnsen, Zeevo Group LLC

12. Not concentrating resources
Some companies neglect to plan out their marketing efforts. Before investing money, you need to have clear goals for results. Don’t try to market to everyone, because your message could get lost. Concentrate your resources to have the greatest impact. Know your target customers’ needs, the way they consume information and how they make purchasing decisions. – Chris Friel, VoDaVi Technologies

13. Measuring ROI based on short-term results
A big mistake is to measure marketing investments based on immediate, short-term results. Yes, it’s important to monitor and adjust as needed, but often marketing investments are better measured over a longer horizon, which can be months or years. – Russell Harrell, SFB IDEAS – a Strategic Marketing firm

14. Assuming you don’t have to market yourself
Avoid the mistake of assuming you do not have to market yourself! The best thing to do for your business includes knowing how you will deal with excess business when you do not yet have the business or once you are in a slump. If you wait until you have an overabundance of business to begin considering this, you will be too late. – Wesleyne Greer, Transformed Sales

15. Not having the right partner
Just like buying a house or a car, when marketing it’s important to find the right partner who understands and has the reference to walk you through what you are trying to do. Let them provide their vision. This also means you need to let go of control and let the experts do it. – Gene Yoo, Resecurity, Inc.

11 Valuable Data Points To Be Gleaned From Clients’ Google Analytics

Some agency clients aren’t able to address important questions their marketing partners need answered in order to devise the best strategy to meet their needs. Luckily, analytics tools can help agencies uncover illuminating data points that clients can’t provide up front.

The key to informing a strategy that will achieve a client’s marketing goals is to identify which specific types of data you’re looking for before diving into the analysis. Below, experts from Forbes Agency Council share 11 of the most valuable pieces of information you can glean by analyzing your clients’ Google Analytics.

Forbes Agency Council

1. What Attracts Versus Repels

As communications experts, we love reviewing Google Analytics to better understand how customers are engaging with a brand and what’s attracting them versus repelling them. This establishes information that allows us to develop more compelling content strategies. You’re able to see the level of leads coming from media relations and placed articles, which is a strong indicator of campaign success. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications

2. The Client’s Audience

At the end of the day, the most valuable element of successful marketing is understanding the consumer. Google Analytics can provide some insight into a client’s audience. Combining this with other data sets and marrying the research with strategic analysis can inform an insight-driven marketing strategy. This can inspire consumer targeting, creative, media and more. – Marc Becker, The Tangent Agency

3. ROI On Marketing Investments

No matter what, you want to make sure that you are getting ROI on any marketing investment. Even if your Google Analytics are telling a positive story, if you aren’t getting actual ROI, there is data that either is not accurate or needs to be looked at holistically. There should always be a system of checks and balances, and all touch points should be telling the same story. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

4. Return On Ad Spend Performance

The most important piece of data you can glean from Google Analytics is the ROAS performance of your clients’ media buying across the various websites they are advertising on. By tracking where the users are coming from and tracking their activity on your clients’ sites, you can determine their ROAS. You can then shift media investment to the top-performing websites. – Dennis Cook, Gamut. Smart Media from Cox.

5. The Source Of Relevant Traffic

Analyzing their clients’ Google Analytics allows agencies to see where relevant traffic is coming from, identify trends and target opportunities. Additionally, optimizing your campaigns based on the data feedback will lead to higher conversion rates. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC

6. Time On Page

Time on page is the most important Google Analytics statistic. Once you get traffic to your site, do they stay? What content do they consume? How much mindshare do they give you? What pages are sticky and not transactional? Time on page tells you what prospects value and where they give your ideas credence. Know this, and you’ll know your audience. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group

7. Where Viewers Leave The Website

The pages where viewers are leaving the client’s website at abnormally high rates is where to focus. By finding out what pages are causing website viewers to drop off the most, clients can analyze these pages and make necessary adjustments to better grab the attention of future visitors. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group

8. Behavior Flow

Behavior Flow is still my favorite feature offered by Google Analytics. Studying the flow of the visitors and the path they take while interacting with a website helps business owners understand what a page means to the customer. This information helps business owners understand how to prioritize and optimize pages to offer visitors a better user experience. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing

9. Goal Conversion Data

Google Analytics can be overwhelming, so a great place to start is by looking at a client’s goal conversions (the number of visitors that took the action your client intended for them to take). This one area can give quick insight into how and why a website was built, as well as whether or not the site is performing the way it’s meant to. If goals have not yet been set up, this is a great opportunity to start a conversation with your client about short- and long-term objectives. – Carey Kirkpatrick, CKP

10. The Most Popular Content

Simply looking at your website’s most popular content can tell you if that website really serves your target customer. All too often, content serves another purpose or user. My agency’s example is that the bio I wrote for our vice president was the most popular piece of content, which proved that web visitors came to copy that bio rather than to hire our agency. – Jim Caruso, M1PR, Inc. d/b/a MediaFirst PR – Atlanta

11. Device Usage

One often overlooked piece of data in Google Analytics is device usage. All clients basically have two websites: a desktop site and a mobile site. Understanding what visitors are doing on both sites is critical, especially when it comes to advertising and landing pages. – T. Maxwell, eMaximize

Using Consumer Data To Drive Marketing? 14 Risks To Be Aware Of

To make the best decisions about strategy, marketers today largely depend more on data than on their gut instincts. While data is valuable and can reveal important insights, there are risks involved in betting on consumer data alone.

What are some caveats that companies need to be aware of when using consumer data to inform their marketing initiatives? Here, members of Forbes Agency Council discuss 14 potential risks for businesses relying on consumer data to drive their marketing strategy.

Forbes Agency Council

1. Not Finding The ‘Why’

Data is an effective tool for finding out “what” consumers are doing. Where data falls short is in explaining “why” they are doing it. Smart marketers would be wise to take an “outside-in” approach by connecting with and listening to consumers to humanize the data and fully understand the motivations behind their behaviors. – Camille Nicita, Gongos, Inc.

2. Lacking Focus On Actual Buyers

Shopper insights are readily available and often tapped to inform marketing direction, messaging and overall strategy. I would argue that a more valuable group to tap would be the “purchasers” rather than the shoppers. Brands would be well-served by focusing on who is actually buying their items, then enhancing brand loyalty by targeting others who are of a similar mind and creating a dialogue with these purchasers. – Dave Wendland, Hamacher Resource Group

3. Relying On Hindsight

Too many times, people use data to look in the rearview mirror. This narrows action moving forward and leaves sales on the table. Instead, use data that helps predict what your target is looking for. Then, develop content that is valuable on their terms and start them down the consideration path. – Leonard Cercone, CerconeBrownCompany

4. Examining Numbers Rather Than Behaviors

The problem with consumer data is the way many brands analyze it. The data isn’t a bunch of numbers; it represents real people who are telling you something. Brands need to examine the behaviors behind the numbers. Only then can they maximize the data’s potential. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

5. Uncontrollable Variables Interfering With Collection

When relying on consumer data to help market, you’re relying heavily on pure online data. The data can lack quality due to many uncontrollable variables that could be interfering with its collection. To counteract these variables, research on the psychological data of consumers can be paired with online data to best market effectively. – Tony Pec, Y Not You Media

6. Failing To Consider The Data’s Context

You need to make sure that you’re thinking through the context of the data and any external factors that may cause shifts in consumer behaviors. For example, when planning for 2021, will you go off of 2019 consumer habits? Or will you look at 2020 and what happened during the pandemic? – Spencer Hadelman, Advantage Marketing

7. ‘Analysis Paralysis’ Leading To Indecision

When there is so much data, “analysis paralysis” can often cause advertisers to avoid making critical decisions. With Facebook ads, for example, we’ve actually seen an improvement recently with broad audiences versus highly targeted audiences because the AI and machine learning is processing and using that data at a faster and more efficient rate than an individual could. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

8. Being Misled By Self-Reported Data

There’s always a chance that consumer data, and especially self-reported data, is misleading. Ultimately, if you are relying on consumer data to fuel your marketing, make sure that the value exchange for them providing good data is substantial. In other words, if you can offer users something useful and/or improve their experience, the likelihood of accurate data collection increases. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

9. Not Accounting For Inherent Bias

Be sure to understand and account for any inherent bias in the respondents. For example, if the research data is generated by online panels, then you are likely to have respondents who skew younger in age and are more comfortable using technology. If you are not aware of this, unadjusted insights may misinform your strategies. – Brian Handrigan, Advocado

10. Data Quickly Becoming Obsolete

Relying on data rather than instinct helps marketers develop much more effective strategies and results. One factor to always keep in mind when relying on consumer data is that you have to make sure it’s up to date. With rapidly changing times, data can become obsolete rather quickly. One way to avoid this is to narrow down and combine several data points to ensure the highest quality audiences and results. – Jonathan Durante, Expandify Marketing Inc

11. Being Careless About Data Collection

One of the main risks is not being careful enough about the information you are collecting and how you are collecting it. Many new laws have been put in place recently, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR) in Europe, to ensure that standards of privacy are followed. These standards include things such as how long you can retain someone’s data as well as what you can do with it in the long term. – Jon James, Ignited Results

12. Being Misinformed By Imperfect Data

Consumer data should be used knowing that the data is not perfect. The collected data could come from another member of the household who was using the device the data was collected on instead of from the intended consumer. Keep the halo effect in mind because one person could influence the purchasing decisions of another member of the household. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

13. A Resulting Lack Of Innovation

Did people know they wanted an iPhone before Apple created it? All the consumer data in the world can’t replace innovative thinking when it comes to developing great ideas. If you take a color-by-numbers approach to marketing based on what customers say they want, you will never produce an original work of art that inspires them in ways they had never imagined possible. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove

14. Not Seeing The Full Picture

You need to understand that the data doesn’t always give the full picture. I watch a lot of people make decisions with the data they have, assuming that is all the information there could be. You need to take a step back and understand the ecosystem in which the data sits so that you can use it to make informed decisions—but don’t solely rely on it. – Erik Huberman, Hawke Media