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Esri Debunks Three Common Digital Marketing Myths

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Esri Debunks Three Common Digital Marketing Myths image New esri logo

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Esri is a company that develops mapping and geographic information systems to help businesses easily visualize and share spatial information. To some, geographic information systems (GIS) are all about technology. But to ESRI, a GIS solution is about building a better future, improving quality of life and making better decisions. The company has maintained this vision for over 40 years and now enables its clients to use GIS every day to better equip Public Safety personnel, examine political leanings, manage risk, increase productivity and perform countless other vital tasks.

 

Without question, Esri is on the cutting edge of using data to gain insights, and so it’s no surprise that I always enjoy talking about “what’s new” with Esri’s Head of Marketing Operations Kevin Jaskowiak. Kevin and I first met when we shared a stage at Aprimo’s user conference in February, and it has been tremendously exciting to see how Esri is taking hi-tech innovation and discovery to new levels, debunking common digital marketing myths all along the way. Here are a few highlights from a conversation with Kevin earlier this month, during which he revealed that:

  • Tuesday is not always the optimal day to send emails.
  • Your CMO’s favorite vacation spot is not necessarily the best location for your next event.
  • Big data will not drown you . . . and more.

LA: More and more, it seems marketing is governed by buzz words. Right now, “send time optimization” is getting lots of attention. Is this a priority for you?

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KJ: In the past, marketers sent out one message, with one look, to their entire database, something like “Buy our product” or “Attend our event.” But, we believe that not every customer is the same, and so it only makes sense that the message can’t be the same, either. In our case, we need to appeal to a general manager in a different way than a CxO, to a developer in a different way than an analyst, etc. Most marketers today seem to get that. But, now marketing teams have to recognize that not only are recipients different, how and when they interact with messaging is different, too.

LA: I agree. For years now, marketers have relied on study results that suggested specific engagement behaviors. However, in our increasingly mobile, increasingly connected society, the old rules don’t apply.

KJ: Exactly. As I like to say, not only has the page turned; these days, it’s a brand new book. Unfortunately, though, lots of digital marketing today is still guided by those old “myths,” like the one says you’ll get the most opens if you send your emails on Tuesdays. These days that just doesn’t hold true. At Esri, we do our best to talk to people when they want us to talk to them –whether that’s on Tuesday or some other day. Of course, the only way you can determine that optimal time is to test. The data will tell you when there’s the highest probability of open rates for certain segments of your database. And don’t forget, opening doesn’t always equate with engagement, so you have to look at that, too. Attendance at our international user conference is climbing 10 to 20 percent per year because we create relevant messaging and we send it at the right time.

LA: Have you found that spatial information factors into engagement, as well?

KJ: Absolutely. Today’s marketers can look at multiple layers of data, and the power of GIS and Spatial Information really becomes apparent for us when we begin to overlay disparate data sets. For example, we can create a base map showing income levels for Census Block Groups. This information alone is very interesting, but when we add the location of our customers on top, we can start to get an idea of what economic considerations may be in place for our clients. And when we add points of interest, such as convention centers, hotels, or airports on top of the same map, we can use this information to prospect potential locations for events. (See a map illustrating how drive times around hotel locations can impact site location for events here.) We also nurture our relationship with customers and prospects by referencing each contact’s history regarding past campaigns in order to drive attendance at events. Our goal is to know our customers and therefore be able to provide relevant offers and information.

LA: With so many factors to consider, how do know how to direct your focus?

KJ: Here’s another myth: Big data will drown you. Sure, if you’re not careful, the deluge can be overwhelming. But, you can mine to find the nuggets . . . and then you have to test the nuggets. At Esri, we’re hyper-sensitive to the customer experience –but that only comes from testing and keeping pace with changing customer wants and needs.

LA: How do you rise to that challenge?

KJ: The answer is part technology and part teamwork. I wake up looking at a dashboard, and I go to sleep after looking at a dashboard. The only reason I don’t mind that routine is because I’ve made sure I’m looking at data with relevance. I know it’s meaningful, and I’ll be able to see right away if there’s something we need to tweak. On top of that, our team has established weekly analytics meeting on every product and event campaign. We look at basic marketing data points, like open rates for emails, time on our website, page views, etc. , as well as engagement metrics and specific customer response profiles. In addition, we analyze the marketing funnel to see how prospects are customers are responding to our messaging. We also always include time for a “free for all,” when we can discuss new ideas, new insights. This meeting has become a great time for us to innovate.

Many thanks to Kevin for sharing his insights. You can learn more from Kevin by following him on Twitter at @kevin_jaskowiak. What digital marketing myths have you debunked?

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