Webinar Recording on Sustainable Data-Driven Marketing

Spending more and more on paid advertisements isn’t sustainable. Neither from a financial perspective nor a data perspective. That’s why the time has come when we as leaders consider new ways of reaching our target audience and escape the dependency trap set by these mammoths.

Attila Tóth

Digital Strategist

Take a look at our webinar, where we reveal a path we can step on to fill in the data gaps by ourselves: the path of sustainable digital marketing through mindful use of data. You can also scroll through the webinar transcript that you'll find under the video. Enjoy!

Webinar transcript:

Hello everyone!

Before diving in I would like to inform you of a few things:

  1. All attendees are on a listen-only mode.
  2. We are recording this webinar, and we'll send you the recording after the session.
  3. You can type in your questions anytime in the chat, and I'll try to address them all at the end in the Q&A section.

Hello, everyone. My name is Attila Tóth, and I'm a digital strategist at Cognitive Creators. I started working in digital 14 years ago as a 17-year-old teenager, in charge of setting up a webshop for my father. Since then, I've tried, failed, and learned an awful lot… and still do.

All this learning has led me to hands-on experience in today’s topic: how to create the framework of sustainable digital marketing with mindful use of data.

They say advertisement is The Evil itself. But how bad is it really?

For decades, the idea that "Advertisement is evil" has been a hot topic circling conversations, blogs, conferences, reports, you name it. Living in a consumer society means that the presence of ads in our lives is unquestionable. So instead of simply scratching the surface and looking at advertising like it's the villain from the action movies, let's get into the more profound questions.

Advertising doesn't have to be evil.

This webinar aims to broaden your consciousness about the way we look at data and how we use it. Some of you might be familiar with the term data centralisation, but for those who aren’t, stay tuned, as I will explain it in the digital marketing context. And before you would say this is another webinar on Business Intelligence wrapped in something fancy, let me be clear on one thing: 

data centralisation is related to BI, but it takes it to the next level. While BI solutions provide quick, easy-to-digest access to insights about an organisation’s current state, based on available data, data centralisation has an additional layer, an engine that aims to convert these insights into actions minimising the human factor.

In this context, we will look at the practices we have that can make a difference in the way we think about data. Practices that have the power to change the face of digital marketing as we know it today. We’ll uncover the first building blocks of a digital future that is smart, sustainable, and not so far away.

Let's take a look at the key learning points of this webinar:

  • How can you readjust the digital marketing practices to create true value instead of catching a train leaving for infinite spending, driven by the tech mammoths?
  • Also, you will learn about the urgency of creating relevant ads for building trust in the long-term while avoiding waste - from the perspective of digital personas and hyper-personalisation 
  • What is the legacy we, as leaders, want to leave behind where the customer-centric mindset unfolds?

Let’s begin.

First, let's see how good ads can add value to the customer and benefit the business as well.

The other day I realised I needed a new set of tyres. I am a customer of Michelin Tyres: I have a 19-inch rim and use 250/35 tyres, so I Googled 19 inch 250/35 tyres. After looking at the offers, I often give myself some time to think – so I closed the browser. Later, when I opened Instagram, I saw a tyre ad.

Smart, right? Although it may seem like that, it wasn't – by far. Why? Because when I clicked on the ad, I found out that neither the size nor the brand was relevant to me.

The company that buys ads on Instagram just lost some of their money because I clicked on an ad that turned out useless to me. Moreover, they lost brand value because, in my mind, I tagged them as a brand that doesn’t really care. I didn’t do that consciously, it all happened instantly in a glimpse of a service.

They thought they were wise to use remarketing data. But without the right type of granularity and the right type of data, that’s not enough. On the contrary, it only enhances the noise that's pretty loud already.

Their ad was almost relevant. And that's a problem.

Many strategists think that almost is enough. Instead of solving the relevancy challenge, they are hoping to reach the most people by spending more, communicating more, and marketing more. But where does it end?

More, and more is not an intelligent marketing strategy for companies to stay in the game. Neither on the business nor on the human side. We don't want to see more and more ads.

What we want to see instead are more relevant ads. I would happily share my data related to my interests, hobbies, preferred movie genres, writers, and so on to receive relevant offers. As for me, my hobby is cycling; I would be more than content if, instead of searching for a new pair of bicycle shoes, the ad would find me with the preferred brand in my size. It would save me a lot of time, which is most valuable to me. But today, it’s more likely that I will see a football shoe ad, as most companies don’t know how to use data in a new way. The current way makes advertising evil. But there is a better way.

Before we dive in, let’s do a short exercise.

I want to invite you to a short exercise: open Facebook or Instagram. You can use either the mobile or the desktop version. I’ll wait a bit for everyone to be ready. So, here is what I ask you to do:

Scroll through your newsfeed for 1 minute, looking for sponsored posts only. Only look at ads that appear in your feed. You should pay attention to two numbers:

  • how many ads do you see – and
  • how many of them are relevant to you, to your particular needs, that you would tap on to see more?

OK, I’m starting the timer now.

And the minute passed now.

So please write the two numbers in the chat. So again:

  • The first number: how many ads did you see
  • The second number: how many of them were relevant to you

I also completed the exercise. My numbers are 11 and 2. They are pretty close to what some of you just typed in. They nicely illustrate why we are sitting here today: the relevant ratio is just a fragment of the total number of ads.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly think the number of relevant ads should be maximised.

Both from a marketer’s and a user’s point of view. Because it can be.

To understand the nature of relevant ads, we need to take a closer look at the environment in which they are born, raised and sent to college. Joking aside: we need to understand the environment we have at our disposal where our ads perform.

Digital advertising had a massive year in 2021. 

  • Google: $257B (total revenue), 41% y/y
  • Youtube: ~$28B (total revenue), 30% y/y 
  • Meta: $118B (total revenue), 37% y/y
  • TikTok: $4,6B (total revenue), 142% y/y
  • Spotify: $9.6B (total revenue) 24%  y/y
  • LinkedIn: $11B (total revenue) 37% y/y
  • Twitter: $5B (total revenue) 37% y/y

What do these numbers show? Besides how tech corporations became richer? Well, it shows that people, brands, and companies spent more money on digital ads than ever before. Because the pressure on these companies and marketers is enormous, they are stepping on each other to keep up with the pace, to follow this fast train. Most of them use the "spray and pray technique": shooting out all their marketing arrows at once, the broadest possible, till the sky becomes dark. They have the illusion that spending more is a prerequisite for gaining more.

What isn’t visible, though, is that the return on ad spend is decreasing across multiple industries. Meaning: brands spend more and earn less. They communicate more and engage less. There is noise without result. Pollution instead of growth.

And yes, as a decision maker, you want your brand to flourish. That’s a no-brainer. But the question is: how can you get out of this rat race AND find alternatives to those advertising mammoths that keep raising the bar like there is no tomorrow?

For the sake of tomorrow, the change of our mindset has to happen on two fronts: 

first, we need to seriously consider how to use our arrows more effectively, recognizing the need for more relevant content and campaigns. Advertise only as much as you need to and to those who need it. Instead of catching a train leading nowhere, we should aim to create value with the data at our disposal.

Second, we need to reassess and consider the ways of reaching the target audience without complete dependency on the platforms provided by mammoths such as Google, Meta, or TikTok.

When a strategist looks at these platforms, they label each as distinct advertising platforms. While from a business perspective, this seems legitimate, technically speaking, it’s not. Because by the end of the day, these platforms all collect and provide data.

Let’s imagine that at some point these platforms will suddenly stop providing any data. Actually, there is no need to have a wild imagination because we are already driving in that lane if you think about Google’s third-party cookie ban. According to a recent study conducted by GetApp among 150 UK marketers on their views of Google’s new cookie policies:

  •  41% of marketers believe their biggest challenge will be their inability to track the right data.
  • 44% of marketers predict a need to increase their spending up to 25% in order to reach the same goals as 2021.

So, it’s high time we considered what we would do to replace the gaps ourselves. For example, through mindful data centralisation. In other words, we want to collect as much relevant information on our potential customers as needed.

You can start doing this by creating digital personas and hyper-personalising your marketing content.

I noticed that many marketers underestimate or even deprecate the value of customer personas and user personas. They see it like this. And they argue that personalisation is not efficient, third-party data is useless, and targeting individual buyers cannot be accurate enough. They presume that the one-size-fits-most approach, disregarding data and inclining to impersonalised content is the way to be effective.

But we are on the other side of the fence. We believe relevancy is the driver that gets us closer to our audience. The more detailed picture we have of our personas’ character, the better we can serve them with valuable and nonetheless converting content. 

Most of us are aware that hyper-personalised marketing is not flawless as it is today, and to make good use of data; we still have work to do. The good thing is that we are not alone in this boat. Even though there is still room for broadening this circle, recently, I am coming across more and more leaders who openly speak about the importance of relevancy.

For example, the other day, Tom Goodwin commented on a LinkedIn post. 

Let me just read this out loud: ….

You get the idea. Tom Godwin is just one of the many leaders who recognised that the mindset of focusing on relevancy could make life easier. And yes, relevancy is wonderful.

This is one of the reasons we are here today: to focus on the type of data that can make a difference in our decisions and the relationships we maintain with the customers.

Neglecting the customer and advertising to phantom profiles will further amplify the marketing noise that I already talked about.

Knowing your personas is critical for the success of your content marketing strategy, product development strategy, and even business growth. I believe that you and I are part of that 20% who keep on solving the challenges we face in pursuing true personalisation. Because it all comes down to how well you understand your buyer personas and reach them in a reasonable way. 

And the ultimate advantage is that relevancy builds trust and loyalty within the target audience.

To help you set off on this road of creating personas for the sake of improving your marketing strategy, my team and I have prepared a guide. An in-depth Ebook with clear instructions, that is only available to you, the participants of this webinar. Check out the link in the chat section.  

The legacy we want to establish with our view on data centralisation

As you can see, the numbers don’t lie. We are living in the age of more and more, and slowly, it’s costing us more than we’d like to admit. 

This cannot be accepted. We can build a better future, a better legacy. Let me show you how.

In order to do this, we have to step out from our current perspective and look at data from a customer perspective.

More and more will people realize that relevancy is critical and will have the willingness to voluntarily share relevant information about themselves in order to receive relevant content.

Sounds idealistic? With blockchain technology, it’s not far-fetched at all.

It starts with a decentralised technology-driven, secure vault of data that contains relevant information about customers. 

Each of us could add to this vault the kind of data we choose to share and can also decide who to share it with. Think of it as your digital identity, consisting of data on your reading preferences, dietary regime, food allergies, clothing style, sports activities, the places you would like to see, and the list goes on. 

By sharing this information with the appropriate providers or brands, they would be able to get their carefully selected offers directly to you. Not sprayed all over the world, but addressed to you specifically. (This is how I would get my new bicycle touring shoes or my new tyres.)

So, in this way, if you have a gluten allergy and share it with Burger Kings, they will only promote gluten-free products. This is how we will get relevant offers, and businesses will get relevant customers.

Ok, I showed you the future, but let’s jump into what you can do today; how can you start preparing for this? Let’s get back to the business perspective.

I assume that you don’t have blockchain technology expertise, and neither you have someone in your team with such knowledge. So, I want to give you a strategic roadmap that you can start working on right away.

Step 1: Whether you work in a B2B or B2C business, there is already a very simple datapoint that you can expand on, and this is: email. You need to prioritise this datapoint strategically. This ties into

Step 2: Take a good look at your digital marketing processes and try to identify the touchpoints where data is (or can be easily) generated but not yet explored. For example, you are doing a webinar, and at the sign-up phase, you gather a few pieces of information, such as email addresses, position, country, industry, etc. Afterwards, a follow-up email calls out for further engagement of your participants, potential customers. Identify all opportunities where besides the email data, you already capture other information or you have the opportunity to capture more than you currently do. You will realise that you have more data collection possibilities than you imagined. And this ties into 

Step 3: Instead of leaving these data out to dry, and to be scattered in different places, you will need to centralise it. There are different tools to do this, what I personally recommend is an Email Management Engine that helps you automatise your data collection around emails.

Step 4: Use the captured data to fuel your campaigns to make your targeting, messaging, and timing relevant. (if you are not familiar with retargeting technologies, just let me know), again if you follow my recommendation and use an Email Management Engine, then you can automatically identify behaviour patterns related and generate actionable intelligence for your marketing activities.

Step 5: Measure & enrich. Measure relevancy performance and be continuously on the lookout for how to add more relevant data to your engine.

In case you need help placing this roadmap into your business strategy, let me know, and we’ll help you make sense of the data you have while creating the value you want to make in the world.

As we draw close to the end of this webinar, let’s recap our major topics.

How can we readjust the digital marketing practices to create true value with the data we have instead of catching a train that leads nowhere?

Focusing on more relevant ads and avoiding waste, considering the importance of digital personas and hyper-personalisation for building trust for the long-term.

The legacy we, as leaders, want to leave behind where the customer-centric mindset unfolds. How do we need to shape the future of personal data sharing in the context of digital marketing?

As digital leaders, it is our job to find sustainable ways of making our mark on the industry. It should be our mission to use data for the betterment of marketing and advertising.

I hope I could prove once again that advertising doesn’t have to be the villain. In fact, it can be our confidant if we keep in mind our responsibility to make a clutter-free and trustworthy digital environment. And hopefully, this webinar has given you the inspiration to take on this challenge.

It is not a question of IF, but WHEN. When are you:

  • getting started on the road of data collection,
  • deciding what data you need for your operations,
  • analysing your raw data to gain meaningful insights,
  • rethinking old strategies based on the data insights,
  • and ultimately, reaching business growth?

This journey can start NOW. 

Book a 60-minute long consultancy session where we can look at your business’ specifics and outline what you need most. 

This one-to-one consultation with me is only available for you, the participants of this webinar. It is free of charge and limited to 5 people on a first-come, first-served basis.

So if you choose to live with this opportunity, make sure to register by filling out this short form I’m sending in the chat section.

Let’s continue to the last part of this webinar: the Q&A. Let’s see if we have some questions in the chat to answer. Feel free to ask me anything.

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