Building Digital Strategy with a Mobile-First Approach

Posted by: liftpoint | On November 19, 2015

businessman drawing conceptIt’s official!! We’ve passed the tipping point in the consumer’s shift toward Mobile device usage. Comscore (2015_US_Mobile_App_Report from comscore) reports that the number of global users of Mobile devices now exceeds those using Desktops. Earlier this year, eMarketer reported that time spent with Mobile devices now represents 51% of all digital media consumption, and represents about three hours a day, up from less than one hour a day just five years ago.

So it stands to reason that more Marketers are shifting their media spend to accommodate this shift. Also according to eMarketer, both Mobile search and Mobile display advertising spend will exceed Desktop for the first time in 2015.

But while Marketers are rushing to find consumers on Mobile devices through their marketing plans, are business strategies keeping up? We don’t think so!!

Mobile marketing is just one element of a broader, more cohesive enterprise Mobile strategy.  Yet, many organizations approach Mobile as only a marketing channel. Not enough companies fully leverage the channel to fundamentally change the way they do business.

Here are some simple ways to ensure that your Mobile strategy is a key driver in your organization’s overall business plan and strategy.

Understand the Customer’s Needs – And Where You’re Not Meeting Them

An organization’s Mobile strategy should be grounded first and foremost in customer needs, and how a Mobile experience can enhance the overall customer experience. Consumers are on their Mobile phones constantly, and just about everywhere. The numbers are eye-opening (if not a little strange).

We know most people research products via Mobile devices while standing in a retail store – 45% performed a shopping-related task in the last three months alone (Loyalty360). And that people watch TV with their Mobile phone in hand to follow social media interactions or exclusive, Mobile-only companion content.

But it goes beyond that. A Verizon Wireless survey found that 52% of people use their phone before getting out of bed in the morning. And in a stat you probably can’t forget now – even if you want to – 90% report using it in the bathroom.

The point is, there are opportunities like never before to expand the customer experience into ways we couldn’t have conceived a decade ago. Understanding what your customer is doing, and how they’re using their Mobile device, is essential to unlocking those business-building opportunities.

Document the Customer Experience – Particularly Those Places You Don’t Currently Connect With Them

Once you know how customers use their Mobile device, organizations must fully document the customer experience to know where they’re using their devices. No longer is that experience limited to time spent with a call center agent on the phone, or a static desktop session on your Web site.

Success in Mobile will be defined by organizations’ ability to recognize these “Mobile Moments” and deliver experiences that capitalize on them. Mobile Moments are those specific points in time consumers turn to their device in the customer journey.

The online deal site and Mobile App RetailMeNot lets Marketers serve customers coupons when they’re in a specific distance of a retail store. And 27% of shoppers now get offers on their Mobile device, up from just 6% three years ago. Mobile enables interactions to happen at the right time, and with the right context – if organizations understand the journey and fill in any gaps they find.

Mobile App Versus Mobile Web

It’s true that most Mobile media consumption happens via Mobile apps. In the 2015_US_Mobile_App_Report from comscore, Comscore reports that 71% of smart phone time is spent on apps, and that apps contribute 77% of the total increase in digital media time spent on Mobile devices.

But be careful. That’s a bit misleading, and could send your strategy down a black hole. The fact is, most of consumers’ app time is spent on a very small number of heavily used Social Media and Gaming apps. In fact, a user’s Top 3 Apps constitute 78% of their Mobile App time.

When deciding whether to build an app, consider the role your brand or product plays in the lives of your customer. How often do they interact with you? What added value does your app bring to the experience?

Remember that breaking through with an App is difficult. While the reward is significant, so is the risk. Remember that Mobile-enabled Web sites reach more users every month, and that usage is growing faster than App usage (42% v. 21%, per Comscore).

Customers expect a seamless experience. Therefore, we recommend not taking a tool-first approach to Mobile strategy (e.g., start with “We need an app.”). Rather, consider how to drive the across devices and touch-points through the entire customer experience.

Implement a Mobile-Only Analytics Capability

The industry has suggested creating a “Mobile-First” customer experience for a couple of years. That is, since more consumers are using the Mobile device, design first for the Mobile device and let the Desktop support it, rather than the other way around. We agree. But it’s not enough. Organizations must also implement the same strategy for their analytics.

  • First, identify differences in how consumers use your Mobile experience. Many of the traditional Desktop “funnel” KPIs organizations monitor on their Desktop analytics simply may not apply to how customers use your Mobile experience. Because customers use their Mobile devices differently, Mobile analytics has the potential for far more “contextual” insights (Forrester).
  • Next, evaluate different analytics tools to support your Mobile efforts. According to the Win Mobile Moments with Digtial Intelligence Forrester report, 77% of organizations measure their Mobile Web sites using a traditional Web analytics solution, compared with just 23% who use a solution designed for Mobile. Most importantly, testing and optimization techniques so common in the Digital space, lag significantly behind in Mobile. The same Forrester survey suggested that only 19% of Marketers apply online testing tools and techniques for their Mobile experience, and only 9% apply any Mobile behavioral targeting.

Free Mobile from the Marketing Department 

Mobile is not just a media channel. It’s a platform that crosses organizational siloes and enables new ways of doing business. Too many organizations hide “Mobile” in the Marketing Department. Mobile too often resides with mid-level employees who lack senior-level support, or the power to broadly transform the customer experience. As a result, only 7% of organizations have been able to drive a “Mobile transformation” in their business (Forrester Predictions 2015- Most Brands Will Underinvest In Mobie).

Also according to Forrester Research, just 19% of companies have a cross-functional Mobile steering committee with the authority to determine what Mobile services or experiences to build out. Companies need Mobile to permeate the entire enterprise, and be part of the daily discussion in all departments – from finance and IT to supply chain, marketing and customer service. Doing that will change old habits and enable a much broader opportunity to improve the customer experience through Mobile.

Look for Inspiration Outside Your Company

Organizations have the choice to disrupt how they interact with customers and support the relationship with Mobile, or risk being disrupted. Consider the warranty industry. Often seen as high-pressure, confusing and complicated, no business is as ripe for change as the warranty category. Along comes Minneapolis-based Upsie. Upsie is a Mobile application that lets shoppers scan a bar code anywhere and get the cost of an extended service plan for that product. And, shoppers can manage all the warranties in one place – regardless of product, category, or place they purchased the item. Upsie empowers shoppers and simplifies a traditionally confusing, frustrating experience.

Considering how important warranties are for retailer and manufacture margins, Upsie presents huge risk for established brands by intercepting the customer at a critical “Mobile Moment” in the journey and putting the power in their hands. Upsie has now expanded into home warranties, a very logical extension that only increases consumer value.

As a Marketer, what should you do?

It’s clear that while consumers have hit a Mobile tipping point, many of the organizations with whom they have relationships haven’t kept pace. 35% of Marketers still say they lack the budget to achieve their Mobile objectives (Forrester Predictions 2015- Most Brands Will Underinvest In Mobie). Organizations who recognized the opportunity to enhance the customer experience, and design a strategy that supports the organization’s business goals will be best positioned to succeed.

Remember to focus on the fundamentals – A documented understanding of the customers interaction points, well-developed analytics solution and an organization with the right staffing and senior commitment to hold teams accountable for delivering.

The time for Mobile is NOW!

Listen to our podcast on Mobile Strategy




Mobile-driven Strategy

Posted by: liftpoint | On November 11, 2015

Highlights: Have you considered your mobile sales and marketing strategy? Is there something holding you back from initiating goals? Discover how the market is quickly changing, how you can make small steps in your strategy to garner big results, and more. Listen today!

Building an overall business strategy needs to incorporate, if not start with, a mobile strategy. It’s one of the most critical issues for marketers today, with not nearly enough of them taking advantage. With mobile media consumption counting for 62% of all media consumption, there is great opportunity in the mobile and tablet marketing world.

With mobile devices being an extension of consumers now, 84% of people are researching on their mobile device before purchasing anything. They do this not only in the store, but also before they even head out to the store.

How consumers are shopping, researching, and purchasing is changing and changing quickly. They key is understanding the customer’s journey with your brand/product/service and to look for “mobile moments” to connect with them. What exactly is a “mobile moment”? According to Forrester Research “mobile moments” are those instances in the customer journey where mobile marketing can add value to your relationship.

Listen to hear Mark and Brad’s tips of how to meet your customer where they are: their mobile device.

Read More:

Forrester Predictions 2015- Most Brands Will Underinvest In Mobile

Win Mobile Moments with Digital Intelligence Forrester

2015_US_Mobile_App_Report from comscore


Check out Mark’s bio and Brad’s bio

Read the  transcript of this podcast- #9 Mobile Driven Strategy Podcast Transcription

Clienteling with Mobile Tech

Posted by: liftpoint | On October 17, 2015

Highlights: What exactly is “clienteling”? How does it fit in your marketing plans? Learn how to treat your customers more like Mom and Pop did in their corner store with new clienteling software inovations.

In the age of digital media, online shopping, and constant advertising, it’s becoming more and more difficult to connect one-on-one with your customer. It’s true we might have more data about them and their shopping trends than ever before, but we’ve lost some of the personal touch of it all. Is there a way to harness your big data and actually connect with your customers?

When you would walk into a Mom and Pop store years ago, the owner would know your name, ask about your children, and often remind you of something you’d purchased before or make a suggestion of something that would benefit you greatly. What if this same kind of information could be accessed by major retailers to connect with their customers on a personal level and treat them less like a nameless customer and more like a valued client.

Listen to this week’s episode to hear about the exciting technological developments that have helped create “clienteling” and how it could positively affect your business in the near future.

Read more:

John DiJulius Books:


The Customer Service Revolution


What’s the Secret to Providing a World-Class Customer Experience


Secret Service: Hidden Systems that Deliver Unforgettable Customer Service


Retail TouchPoints’ Study: The New Age of Store Operations


Mobile Devices Account for more than 50% of Media Consumption


White Paper: Point of Sale moving to Cloud


Retailers See Benefits from Beacons


Burberry Drives Revenue and Loyalty with iPads


Retailers mentioned in this podcast: Home Depot, Maplewood Toyota, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Burberry, Apple Store

Check out Mark’s bio and Brad’s bio

Read the transcript here.

What’s the Big Deal About Ad Blocking, Anyway?

Posted by: liftpoint | On October 14, 2015

Apple’s new iOS9 is released.  Twitter “ad blocking” commentary explodes!  Almost overnight, social media was filled with both:

  • Potential doomsday scenarios for publishers and
  • Audible cheers from consumers looking for a cleaner, faster Internet experience.

But what’s really going on here? And what does it mean for both marketers and consumers?

Ad Blocking 101

First, let’s start at its core: what is ad blocking and what triggered the recent avalanche of news? Ad blocking has been around for a while. Very simply, it is software that allows users to prevent ads from appearing on Web pages they are visiting.Ad-Blocking

Most ad blockers work like a proxy server. A proxy server sits between the user’s Web browser and the Web server which delivers content (and advertising) when a Web page is “called” by the browser. If you work in a corporate environment, you’re likely using one already, even if you don’t realize it. Proxy servers are in use to help security/privacy and cache content for faster load times. In the case of an ad blocker, this type of proxy server simply blocks content from recognized ad server addresses from being passed to the browser and, hence, prevents it from being displayed on a Web site.

But why is it such a hot topic right now? There are two reasons:

  • Abundant news coverage about the new features in Apple’s iOS9 release late last month.
  • Rush of developers now building ad-blocking technology specifically for Apple’s iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices. Within two days of iOs9’s release, ad blockers represented two of the top four paid apps in Apple’s app store.

Things are different in Android world.  Android ad blockers have been ubiquitous for years. Android owns a majority share of the Mobile device market (according to TechCrunch, Safari represents 24% of the browser market). Ad blockers are gaining popularity, particularly in Europe, with rapidly growing adoption in the U.S. According to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), ad blockers are currently used by 34% of U.S. Internet users, with a 41% increase over last year.

Ad Blocking & Mobile 

The larger story here is the growing shift toward media consumption on mobile devices. Mobile phones already capture more than half of consumers’ media time (51% to 42% for desktop, per KPCB), and growing. Therefore it’s imperative that marketers adjust their strategies to reach consumers as their shift-to-mobile continues.

So the battle begins between advertisers and what consumers want. Yes, consumers with ad blockers get a better experience, thanks to faster load times and less cluttered pages. But at what price?

There’s a lot at stake here. First, the democratization nature of the Internet has always made information available to all. It has grown up as an ad-supported media, with consumers getting free access to content in exchange for accepting (or being annoyed by) advertising — the same bargain we made with television and radio. And there is no question that these advertising dollars fueled unprecedented growth, as digital media hit a critical mass in much less time than any other media before it.   Would the widespread us of ad blockers slow the growth of the Internet?

Ad Blockers & Consumers

If the worst-case scenario plays out – ad blocker penetration approaching anything close to 100% — users could be looking at an entirely different experience. We could see a toll-based Internet that requires users to “pay as you go” for content. Imagine Facebook without ads. Are you willing to pay $12 per year for Facebook (the New York Times’ estimated cost to replace Facebook’s advertising revenue per customer)?

While that might not sound expensive to you, it also doesn’t account for the fact that not all users would be willing to pay for Facebook. A quarter of Facebook’s members are in less developed countries where $12 may represent a very steep price. If membership declines, that annual fee could reach $20 or more.

And what about news sites, or streaming video and entertainment sites? They already charge a premium – and that’s often with ads! Imagine being nickeled-and-dimed at every site you visit for “small” subscription fees. Those individual small fees add up quickly.

An “absolute” paid Web is highly unlikely, but it certainly could limit consumer access to content access for many.

Ad Blockers & publishers/advertisers

Ad Blocking has the potential to be a transformative and disruptive event – publisher business models would have to evolve to recapture lost advertising dollars. Advertisers would have to find more creative ways to reach consumers unwilling to be served ads on their device of choice. Digital advertising in the US is a $60 Billion annual business (eMarketer). Taking such a huge chunk out of the economy could all have an untold impact.

But the most likely scenario is that today’s ad blocking is likely to serve as a wake-up call to publishers who overload their pages with more and more ads, and advertisers who push irrelevant messages at anonymous consumers. It may also help address the growing number of sites who exist only as “click bait,” or those who produce content only to sell advertising, and tease users with provocative headlines only so they’ll click and get served an ad. It could help legitimize publishers again. 

As a marketer, what should you do?

  1. Respect your customers’ privacy. While this debate is about advertising, it’s clearly being fueled at least in part due to ongoing privacy concerns, particularly as ad targeting technologies follow consumers around to collect more data used to serve advertising. Post clear privacy policies on your site and in your ads – and honor them! In a recent poll conducted by the ad blocking app Crystal, 71% of consumers would “white list” (allow ads) from sites that maintain transparent privacy policies and serve ads that meet “acceptable” criteria.
  2. Be relevant and leverage your data the right way. While consumers are increasingly concerned about privacy, they’re also willing to engage with marketers who respect their privacy and use information to improve the relevance of the ads they see. In fact, more than 40% of consumers are comfortable with marketers using multiple points of personal data to increase ad relevance (eMarketer)
  3. Use HTML5. Begin immediately moving away from Flash banners and build creative using HTML 5, as most mobile devices don’t have native Flash support. HTML5 allows for responsiveness in design, meaning the ad will expand or contract automatically to fit the screen on which it’s being displayed. This language allows creative to be tailored to the Mobile environment, delivering much better experiences for the user.
  4. Design Mobile-first strategies when developing marketing plans and advertising creative. Only 38% of marketers actually design campaigns specifically for the Mobile channel (eMarketer). If half of your customers are getting their content via Mobile, shouldn’t that justify designing campaigns accordingly?
  5. Pay attention to the debate and engage in the discussion. The Internet Advertising Bureau standardized ad formats and technologies more than a decade ago. They’re all over this one too, and the discussion will lead to changes that marketers need to understand.

It’s clear we’re just beginning to think about the long-term implications of ad blocking, and what the technology will mean. What’s equally clear is that marketers must also overhaul our marketing and media efforts to keep pace with consumers’ continued shift to Mobile, and emphasize their demands for privacy in our application of Mobile technologies.

Listen to our podcast on Mobile Ad Blocking



Mobile Ads and Ad Blockers

Posted by: liftpoint | On October 14, 2015

Highlights: More than half of online media is consumed on a mobile device. Have you noticed pop-ups and ads beginning to work their way into your mobile web experience? With total media consumption increasing on a yearly basis, mobile ads will be increasing as well, but what happens if consumers start blocking those ads?  Apple with their new release of iOS9 has made ad blocking easier than ever.  The implications for marketers can be far-reaching.

Check out this episode to see what Mark and Brad have to say about what you should be concerned about and how to adapt to this fast-changing mobile environment.

Read more:

Read our blog post on Mobile Ad Blocking


Read the transcript here

Check out Mark’s bio and Brad’s bio



6 Best Practices to Kick-Start A/B Testing

Posted by: liftpoint | On October 12, 2015

What marketing approach offers efficiency and potential for immediate payback?  A well-executed A/B testing program!

Yes, A/B testing has been a standard in direct marketing for decades.  So in today’s data-rich, multi-platform marketing environment, with consumers’ reliance on digital tools and easier-to-use-than-ever testing tools, the question is: why aren’t more marketers A/B testers?

Sadly, 56% of companies today report that they are NOT using any form of A/B testing to optimize their marketing efforts.  (

Why so few A/B testing marketers? Perhaps those companies feel resource-constrained. Maybe there’s too much pressure to simply get one campaign out the door, without the time to develop an alternate version. Still other marketers might be under the misconception that A/B testing is too complicated. Whatever the reason, below are some ways to kick-start testing and results-optimization efforts.

In case you’re not an A/B tester, let’s start with a definition: A/B testing involves producing two versions of a creative asset – the “A” version (Test) and the “B” version (Control). Consumers are split into two groups and each group is exposed to one version or the other.

You can execute an A/B test on a range of marketing vehicles, from direct mail to email, from Ecommerce sites to simple form fields/data capture.

We recommend the following Best Practices, regardless of the marketing vehicle you’re testing or your specific business goals.

  1. Assemble a team and get multiple points of view. For companies not doing much (or any) A/B testing, establishing a culture of testing is critical. This begins by engaging stakeholders from around the organization. I’ve always found the best ideas come from a variety of places, such as customer service. Your customer service agents or sales team are on the front lines. Since they are often closest to the customer, they’ll have great ideas on improving the experience.
  2. Define a clear business problem you’re trying to solve & its financial value. When getting input, remember that just because you can test something, it doesn’t mean you should. So you need to focus on a problem worth solving. For example, perhaps your email marketing campaign suffers from a stagnant open rate. Or the add-to-cart ratio on your Ecommerce site has declined. The business problem must be clear, singularly focused and measurable. Once you have a problem, create a baseline for the metric(s) used to track current performance and clearly define the financial value of solving the problem.
  3. Establish a hypothesis for your test. If you want to improve email campaign open rates, one hypothesis could be that subject lines don’t feature a strong enough call to action. Or that you’re not sending at the right time, or on the right day of the week. The hypothesis you define determines how to construct the test, what you’ll measure and how you’ll determine success.
  4. Set goals and plan for what’s next. To determine whether the test “worked,” it must be measured against a specific, pre-established goal. Communicate goals to the organization and evaluate based on them. Before starting the test, clearly identify what happens after. For example, if you’re testing a free shipping offer on your home page, will you extend this offer permanently to all consumers if it wins?
  5. Identify segments for each test beyond the general population. Rarely will A/B tests apply across your entire customer population. If your test is designed to improve click-through rates on your email marketing campaigns, your best customers may respond differently to certain creative assets than promotionally-driven customers. Best customers may prefer content and lifestyle images. Promotionally-driven customers might respond better to hard-hitting graphic copy touting a sale offer.
  6. Set up for proper reading of results. This sounds simple, but incorrect tagging on a Web site or setting up too many versions will compromise your A/B test.


Other considerations

You’ll want to take a systematic design to your test plan, working through every element of the conversion funnel. For example, increasing click-through on your email campaign doesn’t necessarily improve conversion rate on your Web site once they land. So once you’ve optimized click-through, consider testing different landing page concepts or on-site conversion elements. Improving every step in the journey will ultimately drive better overall performance for the business.

As you get some wins on the board and grow your A/B testing credibility, then start expanding beyond some of the immediate, often tactical, quick wins into more strategic territory. Build a test roadmap that prioritizes testing based on a combination of strategic value, and complexity of execution. This will organize your plan into those things which can be done immediately (high importance, low complexity), which should be tabled (low importance, high complexity) and those with more long-term requirements (high importance, high complexity). Those tests may involve impact on business processes, or require more significant investment. But the long-term opportunity may be far greater.

It’s important to remember that your test isn’t a failure if the test hypothesis doesn’t beat your control. It simply means you need to either adjust the hypothesis and test again, or alter the execution. And conversely, if your test hypothesis does win, it doesn’t mean you’re done. There’s always room to optimize. Look for another challenger to take on the new champion and see if the metrics you’re using can be further improved.

With the availability of free testing tools on the market (Optimizely, SiteSpect, Monetate, & Maxymiser) there’s no reason to sit on the A/B testing sidelines. It’s much easier and cheaper to increase performance from existing customers or visitors so get going to optimize their experiences through all their interactions with you.

Opportunities to drive incremental revenue on a consistent basis are hard to find – don’t miss this one.  If you want more details, let us know and we can send you a summary of our learnings.

Click to listen to our podcast on A/B testing on ITunes.


More about A/B Testing In the News:


A/B Testing

Posted by: liftpoint | On October 5, 2015

Highlights: What is A/B testing? Is it as simple as it sounds? It’s one of the easiest things you can do as a marketer to increase customer interaction. With only 44% of companies utilizing this method, learn how to set up your own tests and measure your efforts.

The practice of A/B testing has been around for a while. Why is it such an important tool for marketers? While it works much like the scientific method, build a hypothesis, decide its outcome, and record your results, it’s often difficult to determine how to best test what you’re trying to improve in your digital marketing.

In this podcast, Mark and Brad discuss the methodology behind A/B testing, how to build a new A/B test, and what the benefits are of starting small, tracking your metrics, and building complexity as the data flows in. Less than half of marketers utilize this simple testing method. Is your team one of them?

Read More:

Read our recent blog post on A/B Test – 6 Best Practices to Kick Start A/B testing

Read the transcript here

Check out Mark’s bio and Brad’s bio.

Beacon Technology

Posted by: liftpoint | On October 2, 2015

Highlights: What is beacon technology? Which major companies are beginning to use it? What are the benefits to the customer? How does it benefit the companies that utilize it?

While Beacon technology has been around for several years, Target recently announced the implementation of this technology in a pilot program of 50 stores. Beacon technology permits the company to identify where a customer is within the store and provide a series of benefits and incentives based on that customer’s physical location.

This technology can either be very effective or very creepy; the key will be in the execution. In this podcast, Mark and Brad discuss the potential consumer benefits, including helping  customers optimize their routes through the store and providing location–based incentives. They also discuss some of the risks, including the perception that the company is spying on consumers, and operating only in the company’s best interest, not in the consumer’s at all. In addition, they discuss potential adoption issues, and finish with a look to the future at what this technology could bring to marketers.

Read More:

Target’s Beacon Experiment Announcement

85% of customers like personalized recommendations & exclusive coupons while in-store

The Famous JAM Study: The Paradox of Choice

Why Target’s Beacon Experiment will Fail

Read the transcript here

Check out Mark’s bio and Brad’s bio.


Don’t Let Your Marketing Analytics Project Fail – Part 3: Organizational Issues

Posted by: liftpoint | On September 4, 2015

Marketing and Data are an essential combination for today’s marketer.  Analytics have taken their place alongside market research as tools to understand customer behavior and predict marketing outcomes.  But because marketing analytics projects are rarely routine, they often face operational resistance.Modern office building

This month, we discuss how organizational issues can impede marketing analytics project success.  Two previous blogs focused on other common areas of potential difficulty: human interactions and technology/data.  All blogs in this series include a helping of all-important “how to solve it” practical advice for overcoming potential weak spots in marketing analytic project implementation. 

From our experience, 99.9% of marketing analytic projects are inter-departmental in nature.  These projects, and the marketing programs they spawn, create a web of involvement that spreads across and up/down the organization.  While marketing may own the mission, expertise needed to complete these efforts span the company.  This organizational complexity creates the opportunity for rough waters.

The following are some common “organizational issues” rough spots, along with practical advice on how to deal with these issues when you encounter them.


You can see this one coming.  No clearly defined project timeline.  No meeting summary and next steps. No one is holding the inter-department team accountable to move the effort along.  When the next meeting comes, team members haven’t completed their tasks from the previous meeting, and so the effort founders.  And so on.

Maybe it is culturally inappropriate for someone from one department to “manage” someone from another part of the company.  Or staffing constraints mean no one has bandwidth to take on a new project.  Perhaps it is as simple as no one thought a project manager was needed.  In any case, your marketing analytic project is a runaway train without a conductor without a project manager.

Alternative Approach:  

Gain agreement from the project sponsors that the project has some priority and that the project manager has authority to “prod” team members to complete their deliverables on time and with thought (someone can always slap a couple answers on a spreadsheet and distribute them, even though the answers make no common sense at all).  Select a project manager with an established reputation across the company and a broad understanding of the implications and potential roadblocks that the project could face.  Have project readouts to senior management and make sure that everyone knows their work will be shown.


In the days before data-involvement, most marketing projects only required the approval of one level up the organizational food chain, with assurances/critiques from Legal.  Marketing analytic projects are different.  Because they tend to span the organization, senior-level sponsorship provides the necessary air cover when inter-department issues arise, and speeds up a satisfactory resolution.

If you’re a CMO, this sponsorship might be easy to secure.  If you’re a director or lower, this sponsorship is even more critical and possibly harder to gain.

Alternative Approach:  

“Enlist” your senior sponsors before the project is initiated.  Make sure each sponsor understands his/her role and the potential roadblocks they may be called upon to resolve.  Develop a rough estimation of the project impact if completed and make sure all the sponsors buy into the potential benefits.  Have them select the team members from their department for this assignment and let the sponsors inform the team members on their own.


This potential problem is closely linked to the senior-level sponsorship issue.  Misalignment of project and business goals most often happens when your marketing analytic project lacks senior-level support.

For instance, your marketing analytic project can be running full steam ahead to gain new customers, for a part of the business that is being divested.  Or the cost of your marketing analytic project could exceed the 5-year sales total for the product you are analyzing.  Or create your own misalignment nightmare scenario. Believe me, they happen.

Alternative Approach: 

For a marketing analytics project to succeed, the outcomes must be placed as part of one of the top priorities in the organization.  These projects will be unlikely to be a whole corporate priority in and of themselves, however they can be included as a critical part of the solution to a high corporate priority.  In this way, the project is less likely to be deprioritized due to its high-level visibility.


This last area of potential organizational project turbulence is the most common. The historical hierarchy, siloed structure of most companies doesn’t work in today’s multi-channel, multi-touchpoint marketplace.  Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Merchants, even HR must to work together – to share one view of the customer, for your marketing analytic project to run most efficiently.

The higher the walls of division in your organization, the harder it is to tear them down or poke holes in them, so members of your marketing analytics team can work together, across departments, with a common sense of purpose, resolve and view of the customer.

Alternative Approach:  

Silos, and the politics that accompany them, are the most common causes of failure for marketing analytics projects.  Departments with different metrics, priorities and compensation structure are difficult to lasso together to achieve a single objective.  In order for a marketing analytics project to succeed, the benefits for each department (benefits that match the metrics for that department in specific) must be enumerated, tracked and treated as important.  Even then, the project manager will have to be on the lookout for places where the benefit message may break down in communications (e.g. Divisional VPs of Sales commit to the goals, but the District Managers tell their people to ignore those goals and just focus on pure sales, anyway they can get them).

Now you can be on the lookout for these common organizational issues in your next marketing analytic project.  When you find one of these common areas of rough water, you’ll have some strategies for smooth sailing.

Start a conversation and let me know how these solutions to organizational issues worked for you.

The Importance of a Data Scientist

Posted by: liftpoint | On August 7, 2015

Highlights: What, exactly is a data scientist? How are they different from what you might traditionally call an “analyst”? What kind of knowledge do they possess, and how can their unique skill set help you solve challenging business problems? 

Everyone who is a part of a business is familiar with them: the number crunchers, the mathematicians who constantly churn out models and statistics that can be applied in the finance, or perhaps accounting, departments. The problem is, when it comes to dealing with marketers, who are inclined more and more to use data to answer their business questions and problems, there is no common marketing/analytic language. The analysts often fail to present their data to marketers in a way that can be easily understood, and the marketers often can’t grasp the nuances of the complex mathematics at work behind the scenes.

Enter the data scientist; a specialist with a unique skill set that satisfies both worlds. They are often trained in very high levels of applied mathematics, statistical modeling, and computer programing, but also have the ability to understand the business problems at hand. As such, they can help bridge the gap between these often-disparate “silos” of the business, bringing valuable insight that can help launch you into data-driven marketing like never before.

For a more in-depth look into the role of data scientists and the topic of data science, check out LiftPoint’s popular blog post, “Data Scientists’ Critical Role in Marketing Today”.

Read more:

Data Scientists’ Critical Role in Marketing Today” from the LiftPoint Consulting Blog

Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century” from the Harvard Business Review

A Very Short History of Data Science” from Forbes

For Big Data Scientists, ‘Janitor Work’ is Key Hurdle to Insights” from The New York Times

Why Managing Data Scientist is Different” from MIT Sloan Business Review

Check out Mark’s bio and Ben’s bio.

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