Money, People, Time & Technology

Each time we decide to achieve a new project in business, it requires resources. Here at Accubase, we define resources as Money, People, Time and Technology (MPTT). Whether it is a marketing, technology or another type of initiative, a given effort may require one or more of these resources to make it proceed from concept to solution.

More specifically, marketing initiatives rely upon these same resources in addition to Creativity and the 4P’s of marketing. This formula has shown results many times during the course of its existence. While many other considerations are necessary for a marketing program to experience success, these represent the blocking and tackling of marketing.

Each of these resources may take multiple forms, but ultimately, they create a currency for marketing programs to be executed. While money sounds simple, it may be gathered in its traditional form, or another currency that is of value to a particular team. Examples include raising funds for a non-profit program to occur, paying in an alternative currency such as bitcoin or loyalty points to get value from a program partner.

When discussing People or Human Resources (this label sounds even more appropriate as we take a new step in the era of robotics), there are many forms as well. This may include teams of people within your company or from the many companies with whom you have structured strategic alliances. I have seen many instances of the clever usage of people and their time from many a marketer.

This brings us to Time. How could we create time for an initiative aside from traveling to another time zone? Most of us rely upon adding people to accomplish more in the same amount of time. Others will hire people in other time zones to increase the number of productive hours in a day. These are tried and true tactics to making more happen in less time, but each has its limits.

Finally, what about technology? It doesn’t tend to play a major role in creating money, other than with governments, the lottery and gambling. By the way, I don’t recommend the latter two as reliable funding techniques for your marketing programs. However, marketing technology may play a significant role in creating the equivalent of more People and Time.

Let’s talk about Social Marketing as our example in this case. Every social media marketer realizes quickly that social marketing tools will drastically reduce the time required to disseminate their social marketing content across multiple sites. Even the free versions have this much functionality. Sending content to 5 sites took 5 minutes per site per post. If done with a social marketing tool, it may be done in 10 minutes, a reduction of 60% from 25 minutes. Alternatively, it allows a marketer to distribute content to many more sites than without the technology, creating better reach. Imagine a social marketing program that generates 3 posts per day for 250 days per year. Most businesses within this volume of social marketing simply couldn’t afford not to have this technology. However, it provides many other benefits that accomplish similar decreases in the use of limited resources within most organizations. As a marketing team climbs the maturity curve for social marketing, the efficiencies increase at least linearly, but are counterbalanced by larger audiences, additional content needs and more sophisticated segmentation.

As you begin to plan and regularly adjust the social marketing component of your annual marketing plan, be sure to consider what technologies could create this type of efficiency with your marketing programs. Optimizing your resources is crucial for any size budget and will usually have a material, if not game changing effect on your use of limited resources.

Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield

As of December 2015, the European Parliament, Council and Commission have approved the rules associated with the General Data Protection Regulation to replace the 1995 Data Protection Directive within the European Union (EU). This becomes an important consideration for companies based in the United States and other countries due to a fundamental change with regard to the regulation. The EU-US Privacy Shield complements this to set expectations for how data will be treated when it flows across the atlantic.

What has Changed? – Specifically, any company doing business with a citizen of the EU while the person is on its soil, will be held accountable to these rules defined by the EU Commission. However, each company’s accountability will be to their respective country’s Supervisory Authority. This of course requires the country to have this Authority in place and enforceable laws for businesses to understand. This applies to personal data as documented by the EU, which is defined as follows:

“Personal data is any information relating to an individual, whether it relates to his or her private, professional or public life. It can be anything from a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, your posts on social networking websites, your medical information, or your computer’s IP address. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights says that everyone has the right to personal data protection in all aspects of life: at home, at work, whilst shopping, when receiving medical treatment, at a police station or on the Internet.”

Other key changes for businesses are:

  • Simplified transactions for companies doing business in the EU due to a consistent set of data protection rules across all EU countries
  • One Supervisory Authority for each country for accountability purposes
  • Consistent rules will be built into products to promote privacy-friendly innovation

Additionally, this changes the world for consumers, such that it provides:

  • Accessibility to a person’s own data in a clear and understandable way
  • The right to data portability from one service provider to another

Assuming this is finalized as scheduled in the spring of 2016, it will become law at the same time in 2018. The GDPR has many more aspects to it as defined in the full document, but this highlights a few considerations for US companies that have a presence in the EU or do business with EU citizens. Ultimately, it will cause the US to consider what role its corporations will play in the protection of data associated with EU citizens.

Lastly, the EU-US Privacy Shield was constructed to regulate trans-atlantic data flows between EU and US companies and protect the rights of EU citizens when their data are being processed by US companies. The Privacy Shield replaces Safe Harbor and provides new parameters for US companies processing data containing information about EU citizens.

A Marketer’s Perspective – While these changes mostly affect companies and consumers located in the EU, the subtleties affecting the US are important for selected businesses. Professionals will be able to guide your company as to how these changes affect your company and whether changes are required to prepare for compliance with the regulation. However, a few questions to consider are:

  • Does my company sell or market to companies or citizens within the EU?
  • Does my company transact business with citizens within the EU?
  • Does my company share data with entities where EU citizen data are being exchanged?

Depending upon your answers to these questions and formalization of the agreement by the US to comply, you may need to adjust marketing policies and procedures. More to the point, marketers may need to be cognizant of how data under the scope of this prospective law is captured, shared and exchanged.

Real Applications – Given the status of the GDPR and Privacy Shield for the US and EU, there is more to come. If finalized, the Federal Trade Commission will be responsible for enforcing the privacy statements made by US companies needing to process EU data. Stay tuned to what the future holds as the final result may be a minimal change or set the stage for more meaningful transformation well beyond the boundaries of the EU.

Sources:

Rita Heimes, Gabriel Maldoff & Anna Myers for, “Top 10 operational impacts of the GDPR”,  International Association of Privacy Professionals, January 28, 2016. Web. February 4, 2016.

“General Data Protection Regulation”, Wikipedia, January 25, 2016. Web. February 4, 2016.

“Agreement on Commission’s EU data protection reform will boost Digital Single Market”, European Commission, December 15, 2015. Web. February 4, 2016.

Stephen Dockery, “EU Data Law Shows Way Forward for Next Safe Harbor Agreement”, Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2015. Web. February 4, 2016.

“EU Commission and United States agree on new framework for transatlantic data flows: EU-US Privacy Shield”, European Commission, February 2, 2016. Web. February 4, 2016.

“Statement of FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez on the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Agreement”, Federal Trade Commission, February 2, 2016. Web. February 4, 2016.

“EU-U.S. Privacy Shield”, Federal Trade Commission, February 2, 2016. Web. February 4, 2016.

Marketing Performance Measurement

Anyone who compiles marketing performance results for the purpose of reporting or analysis understands the complexities that can exist. The reporting of marketing performance across marketing programs, disparate systems and companies that manage and store the data essential to understanding marketing results creates a need to aggregate multiple sources of data. This is a reality for advertising or public relations agencies, executives, marketers and consultants needing to understand the performance of marketing programs, identify meaningful data and ultimately take action. Historically speaking, many roadblocks exist when it comes to building marketing reporting solutions. Examples include:

  • Performance data existing within many systems
  • Limited connection points across data sets to create seamless reporting
  • Constantly changing business needs with respect to reporting
  • Lack of knowledge regarding the data buried deep within the various systems of a company


These issues more or less exist within most firms and present obstacles to tracking and reacting to the ebbs and flows of the marketplace. As an example, if your market research efforts allow for social listening and mapping the feedback from customers to their associated accounts within your company, then you are more advanced than many businesses. Only selected marketing technologies provide this type of connection between data captured or collected from their system and your internal data. However, going a step further, imagine an account-based marketing program. If this program were supported by a Social Analytics platform that was measuring input via social channels about your client’s products. And, your products and services enable your client’s products. Then an opportunity exists to map feedback about your client’s products from the marketplace to the features of your products. If done accurately and combined with traditional primary and secondary market research, this creates a powerful market research capability for brand managers, product managers and marketers alike. This could facilitate a better understanding of customer needs by account or by the channel from which they purchased. Today, the core elements of this functionality only exists within certain MarTech solutions. Alternatively, a Business Intelligence solution with data connections to these social channel data sets gives a company rapid access to the necessary data, paving the way for this type of analysis.

The Business Intelligence solution providers continue to add innovative features to their products to ease the ability for corporations to manage and report on their extensive data assets. However, these data resources continue to grow at an extraordinary rate. Hundreds of data sources exist to supply marketing, analytics and other marketing efforts with the required fuel to generate value in the form of brand awareness to revenue. Selected Business Intelligence solutions now have pre-built connections to the more commonly used data sources, such as CRM, Web Analytics, Advertising solutions and social channels. This combination provides significantly improved access to the mountains of data now available. Along these same lines, more pre-built integrations with various Core Operating Systems and MarTech solutions for the efficient exchange of data provides improved access to corporate data assets and creates better context for all analysis.
Once the data from these sources are manageable, the dramatically improved Visualizations are rather useful given the simplicity in building them as long as they lead to informative and actionable data analysis. This of course is a stepping stone to true analytics, defined not only as business analysis that enables further understanding of trends and opportunities, but also facilitates action or even makes the automation of action possible.
While hurdles still exist, today’s Business Intelligence is a much different animal than it was a decade or two ago. The core capabilities of Business Intelligence solutions have found their way into many individual applications often creating report overload. This is prevalent among the wealth of MarTech solutions due to the need and ability to measure marketing performance that is often as unique as the solution itself. However, there is risk of the previously mentioned issues. All of these changes have brought about more options for capturing, connecting and analyzing data in the world of Marketing Technology and performance, such as:

  • Major enhancements to existing MarTech solutions, including Business Intelligence
  • Information as a Service solutions
  • Analytics as a Service offerings
  • Companies and Consultancies specializing purely in Analytics and
  • The use of Data Scientists

Lastly, the leading edge of the future holds even more transformation for the measurement of marketing performance. The data generated and derived from the Internet of Things (IoT) will be spawned from mundane equipment we all know well to the most unworldly of devices as industry and consumers take ahold of concepts based upon virtual reality.

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