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August 7, 2015

9 Must-Read Mobile Strategy Posts: E-commerce Link Digest

August 7, 2015 | By | No Comments

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9 Must-Read Mobile Strategy PostsZOMG, Big Thinkers! It’s gorgeous outside! No, seriously. I don’t know about where you are, but here in the Northeast, we’re enjoying some of the most beautiful weather of the year. So, do me a favor: Go outside. Soak up a little sun and fun with your friends and family. And once you’ve done that, then c’mon back and check out these 9 must-read mobile strategy posts. Enjoy:

  1. First off, you simply cannot miss this astute analysis from Benedict Evans on why the smartphone is the new sun. Thought-provoking read. Providing just one example of what Benedict is getting at, Mobile Commerce Daily explains how mobile payments will help us become more mobile. I’ve often said we’re still in the early days of digital transformation. These posts help underscore why.
  2. Along those same lines, Brian Solis offers up a great presentation on SlideShare about “The Inevitability of a Mobile-Only Customer Experience” that’s well-worth checking out.
  3. And as yet more evidence of where we’re heading, Marketing Charts points out that mobile is now more than three-quarters of Facebook’s ad revenues. Yep.
  4. Skift, a regular contributor to our Hospitality Marketing Link Digests, makes the Friday list with these 8 charts that show the state of mobile video around the world.
  5. BuzzFeed New reports that Target is rolling out a new pilot program to track customers in stores.
  6. Despite all these changes — or maybe because of them — you really want to check out Andrew Schulkind’s recent Biznology webinar, “Why Your Website Matters and How to Make It Matter More” that I helped host. Great stuff.
  7. Mike Moran highlights the content marketing book you should not miss in his review of Mark Schaefer’s “The Content Code: Six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business.”
    I completely agree with Mike; you simply should not miss this book.
  8. Continuing this week’s theme, I rounded-up the 7 key digital marketing trends this summer, the top posts of July, for you.
  9. And given the massive disruption enabled by digital generally, and mobile specifically, it’s entirely fair to ask, “Is Your Business Screwed?” which is just what I did in a recent episode of Thinks Out Loud, our weekly e-commerce and digital marketing podcast. Definitely worth checking out.

If you’re interested in learning more, make sure to check out these “6 Major Stories About Millennials and Mobile Commerce” these “9 Marvelous Mobile Marketing and E-Commerce Columns: The Top Posts of May” and other entries from our E-commerce Link Digest series, including these “8 Amazing E-Commerce Posts Winning this Week”, these “10 Damn-Good Digital Marketing Posts,” another “10 Spectacular Mobile Marketing and E-Commerce Essays”, and this set of “6 Major Stories About Millennials and Mobile Commerce” too.

And if you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

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August 3, 2015

7 Key Digital Marketing Trends this Summer: The Top Posts of July

August 3, 2015 | By | No Comments

Key digital marketing trends for summer

Every month, we flip through your favorite posts from the past 30 days to see what we showed that you shared, liked, linked, and loved. We cheated a little bit this time ’round by including posts from both June and July due to our round-up of the top 15 posts of 2015 (so far) at the end of last month (and that you’ll find at the #2 spot below). What we noticed while putting together the list, though, is that this month’s collection focuses heavily on key digital marketing trends that you can put to work for your business right now. So, without further ado, let’s get to the list. Enjoy:

  1. Leading off, we’ve got these “9 Killer Posts Featuring This Year’s Key Digital Marketing Trends”, part of our regular E-commerce Link Digest series, which highlights key trends around the visual web, mobile and mobile search, and using reviews to improve your search marketing. Be sure to check out the whole list though for the complete set.
  2. You also want to check out this amazing list containing killer digital marketing ideas, a round-up of the “Top 15 Digital Marketing and E-commerce Posts of 2015 (So Far).” Hugely popular. Hugely helpful.
  3. You can gain a ton of great ideas from this recent episode of Thinks Out Loud, our weekly e-commerce and digital marketing podcast, “Breaking Down the Mary Meeker 2015 Internet Trends Report.” Just like it says in the title, we broke down the key trends and offered insights into how you can apply them to your business this year—and beyond.
  4. Yet another article from the E-commerce Link Digest series, “11 Excellent E-Commerce Entries from the Past Week,” focuses mostly on e-commerce, including ideas around visual search, using social to help customers, and how your customers are likely to use mobile wallets, among others.
  5. Our next entry uncovers “Facebook’s Big Beacon Secret” and how that will impact your marketing going forward.
  6. Of course, if your marketing works, you should expect to see more traffic to your website, in which case you’ll want to check out these “5 Warning Signs That Your Website Sucks.” Because traffic that doesn’t convert is rarely helpful traffic.
  7. Finally, we’re seeing a huge shift towards visuals on the web generally (as noted in the first item in this month’s list), and video specifically. To make the most of this, give a listen to Thinks Out Loud Episode 127, “2015’s Top Digital Trend: Online Video Arrives,” for some great advice on how to make that work for you.

Well, Big Thinkers, I hope you’ve enjoyed these 7 killer digital marketing trends for summer and come away with a few that will work for your business. If you’re interested in learning still more, make sure to check out these “9 Marvelous Mobile Marketing and E-Commerce Columns: The Top Posts of May” and other entries from our E-commerce Link Digest series, including these “8 Amazing E-Commerce Posts Winning this Week”, these “10 Damn-Good Digital Marketing Posts,” another “10 Spectacular Mobile Marketing and E-Commerce Essays”, and this set of “6 Major Stories About Millennials and Mobile Commerce” too.

And if you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

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July 16, 2015

Three Quick Business-Building Tips That Don’t Involve Google

July 16, 2015 | By | No Comments

Three tips to grow your business that don't involve GoogleWhat do email, social, and channel partner apps all have in common? They’re among the best ways you can grow your traffic—and your business— without Google, as I point out in my latest Biznology post. Here’s a quick excerpt:

“I debated whether to include channel partners in this list at all. For one thing, you use search, social, and email specifically to avoid using channel partners. And, let’s be fair, not all “partners” always actively work in your best interest.

That said, many channel partners have had great success in driving app adoption amongst customers, and may prove a valuable way to drive revenues and sales for your business. Just be sure that the ones you’re choosing work as a true partner and not in competition with your own direct efforts.

The best way to distribute your products or services via a channel partners’ app is an exceedingly complicated topic, well beyond the scope of this simple post. However, there are a few questions you should consider to help select appropriate partners to work with. Ask yourself:

  1. Can this partner reach a customer I can’t?
  2. Can they do that at a reasonable cost?
  3. Do they provide access to the end-consumer’s data? (So you can continue to build your list and decrease your dependence on partners overall)”

I think you’ll really enjoy the whole post, including entries on email and social—as well as a special bonus tip, too—so be sure to check it out on Biznology today.

And if you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

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July 8, 2015

15 Key Travel Marketing Posts of 2015 (So Far). – Travel Tuesday

July 8, 2015 | By | No Comments

15 Key Travel Marketing Posts of 2015 (So Far). Well, Big Thinkers, we’ve reached roughly the mid-way point in the year. Seems as good a time as any to take a moment and assess where we are and where we’re going. To help you do just that I’ve gathered these 15 key travel marketing posts of 2015 (so far), so you can take a look at the top trends in travel marketing among your fellow Thinks readers. Enjoy:

  1. The biggest travel marketing post of the year rounded-up these “5 Key Facts About Mobile, Millennials, and Hotel Marketing.” It seems like a pretty solid set of trends to watch as we enter the second half of the year, too.
  2. Another hugely popular post collected a “Huge List of Lessons Learned at HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Strategy Conference.” You’ll love it. It’s huge. And great. Seriously. Did I mention it was huge?
  3. This next post explored
    “The Big Myth About Digital Strategy”
    and explained what that myth means for hotel marketers.
  4. The ever-popular Hospitality Marketing Link Digest series offered up these “4 Key Posts About 2015 Travel Marketing Trends” for you.
  5. Mobile represents a huge opportunity for most hotel marketers. And the #5 post explains precisely “Why Mobile Matters for Hotel Marketing.” Good stuff, well worth your time.
  6. With the rapid changes in the distribution and digital marketing landscape, it seems like a great time to ask “Are Hotel Brands Doomed?” The answer might surprise you.
  7. And the next post operates among similar lines, asking “How Safe Are Independent Hotels from Airbnb?” While I hate saying this, it really depends. Be sure to check out the whole article to see why.
  8. Posts providing insights from industry leaders almost always capture the hearts and minds of your fellow Thinks readers, which helps explain why this post, “CEO Darren Huston from Priceline Explains Why Driving Brand Value Matters” proved so popular.
  9. This collection of “5 Hotel Marketing Trends for 2015″ from a Hotel News Now profile gained lots of looks, likes, links, and love from Big Thinkers all across the globe. Check it out to see why.
  10. Another Hospitality Marketing Link Digest featuring “7 Hot Hotel Marketing Insights” enters the list at #10. Good stuff.
  11. This review of “3 Keys to Compete with OTA’s in 2015 and Beyond” thrilled readers way back in January… and still gets plenty of action today.
  12. As a matter of fact, my round-up of “The Top 14 Hotel Marketing Posts of 2014″ also got plenty of attention all year long. Well, y’know. So far, anyway.
  13. Our next entry celebrated “3 Mobile Milestones for Travel Marketing,” highlighting a trend that shows no signs of slowing down.
  14. For instance, these “5 Amazing Mobile Hotel Marketing Stories” from the Hospitality Marketing Link Digest series serve to illustrate exactly how big a deal mobile remains to your fellow hotel and travel marketers.
  15. And, finally, we’ll close out this recap of these 15 key travel marketing posts of 2015 (so far) with this look at “How the Best Hotels Own the Guest.” Nothing like learning from the best, eh?

I hope you enjoyed this look back at the top travel marketing posts of 2015 (so far), and that you stay tuned for even more hotel marketing, distribution, and e-commerce goodness all throughout the year. Thanks for reading and for making this all worthwhile. Don’t forget that you can sign up for our free newsletter to stay in touch with the latest e-commerce and digital strategy information and insights we provide here on Thinks every day.

And, if you’re looking to learn even more about how changing guest behavior shapes hospitality marketing, e-commerce, and distribution, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also want to take a moment to review the slides from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2015: Three Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:


(And, yes… you can hire me to speak at your next event, too).

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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July 7, 2015

The Top 15 Digital Marketing and E-commerce Posts of 2015 (So Far)

July 7, 2015 | By | No Comments

The Top 15 Digital Marketing and E-commerce Posts of 2015 (So Far)Um… have you checked your calendar lately? Somehow, we’ve made it halfway through 2015. That happened quickly, didn’t it? Before we head into the back half of the year, how about we take a moment to review the top 15 digital marketing and e-commerce posts of 2015 (so far) and get ready for the rest of the best year ever? Enjoy:

  1. Leading off is the biggest post of the year, by far (so far), “The Big Lie About Mobile Commerce Everyone’s Telling Right Now.” Great read. Well worth your time.
  2. These “5 Key E-commerce Ideas to Kick Off the New Year Right” from our regular E-commerce Link Digest series kicks off an impressive run for the Link Digest series — 3 of the top 5, and 4 of the top 15 overall.
  3. Given that I just mentioned the popularity of the Link Digest series, these “8 Amazing Social, Mobile, Millennial Marketing and E-Commerce Posts” shouldn’t come as a surprise here at #3.
  4. These “8 Must-Read Posts Connecting Content, Search and Mobile Commerce” — again, from the E-commerce Link Digest series — offers terrific insights here at #4.
  5. Rounding out the first five is this post, “Mobile Will Disrupt Your Industry: 3 Ways to Protect Your Business.” Definitely worth a read.
  6. Another Link Digest entry, this one a collection of “10 Must-Read E-Commerce, Search, and Mobile Posts” kicks off the next set of five posts here in the Top 15 of 2015 (so far, anyway).
  7. A really important post from very early in the year asks, “How Big Will E-commerce Be in 2015?” As you probably guessed: Big. But read the whole post all the same.
  8. Another key question enters the list here at #8 and asks, “Are You Still Making This Major Email Marketing Mistake?” Curious what that mistake is? Check out the post to find out.
  9. Want to hear a secret? Be sure to check out “The Big Secret About E-commerce” for yourself.
  10. Payments — especially mobile payments — play a huge role in the future of e-commerce. This post, “What’s Up With Google’s Latest Mobile Wallet Move?” (along with companion pieces, “What Amazon’s Mobile Wallet Failure Can Teach You” and “Google’s Mobile Buy Button: Should You Buy In?”) help illustrate the reasons you need to pay attention to this important topic.
  11. Our weekly e-commerce and digital strategy podcast, Thinks Out Loud, examines a wide array of topics. Episode 116, for instance, looked at “Why Millennials Matter” and is definitely worth a listen.
  12. OK, we’re in the home stretch now, with just five more posts to go. So you won’t want to miss this post that explores “Why Mobile Changes Everything—and Nothing At All.” Great stuff
  13. Building on that theme, a post from earlier this year says, “We’ve Reached Another Mobile and Millennial Milestone” and, more importantly, explains what that milestone means to your business.
  14. This post, which breaks down “The Coming Massive Mobile Disruption,” rounds-out the mini-run of mobile commerce focused entries.
  15. And, last — but by no means least — comes another Thinks Out Loud episode. This one asks, “Is Customer Experience the Future of E-commerce?” Spoiler alert: Yes. But the devil is in the details, so be sure to check out the whole episode, as well as all our past episodes of Thinks Out Loud too.

As ever, folks, thanks for reading. I really appreciate it. While you’re catching up on these past posts, you might also enjoy these 4 Keys to Executing On Digital and this presentation on Putting Digital to Work: 4 Key Actions to Drive Digital Transformation. Don’t forget that you can sign up for our free newsletter to stay in touch with the latest e-commerce and digital strategy information and insights every day.

And if you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

Finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

By

July 2, 2015

2015’s Top Digital Trend: Online Video Arrives: Thinks Out Loud Episode 127

July 2, 2015 | By | No Comments

2015's top trend: Digital video arrives

2015’s Top Digital Marketing Trend: Online Video Arrives – Headlines and Show Notes

As promised, here are the slides from the Mary Meeker 2015 Internet Trends Report:

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 16m 06s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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June 17, 2015

What Disruption Means: Thinks Out Loud Episode 126

June 17, 2015 | By | No Comments

What does disruption really mean for your business?

What Disruption Means – Headlines and Show Notes

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 17m 32s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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February 26, 2015

How Customer Data Drives Satisfaction and Increased Revenues

February 26, 2015 | By | No Comments

Customer data leads to customer satisfaction and increased conversionOver the last few days, we’ve spent a bunch of time looking at who owns your customer, how great hotels use customer data to own their guests’ experience, and why you need to own the data to own the customer, too. Here’s even more good news: eMarketer research shows that collecting customer data can seriously help drive satisfaction and, ultimately, increased revenue for you. Money quote:

“October 2014 research by Forbes Insights, in association with Turn, identified something else retailers could do on their end to boost customer satisfaction: data collection. Among US retail marketing executives, 50% said data-driven marketing had helped them achieve a competitive advantage in customer satisfaction.”

Sadly, it ain’t all sunshine and rainbows:

“On the flipside, while half had seen success with data-driven marketing, this means that the other half of retailers still had to improve—or begin—their efforts… Few online retailers actually track customer satisfaction, though, based on Retention Science polling conducted in July 2014, indicating another area for improvement. Just 31.7% of US online retailers studied said they actively tracked customer satisfaction rate—the second-lowest response.”

What are they doing?

“…respondents were more focused on sales-related data, such as conversion rate (88.5%) and average order value (71.2%). While increased consumer shopping and spending is great, making sure shoppers are happy is also important—otherwise retailers risk losing them and their business.”

Now that’s not a bad thing, in and of itself. Hell, recent studies show far too many marketing leaders don’t use analytics near enough—or at all. There’s way too much “gut instinct” out there and not enough “cold, hard facts.” So, that’s good, I guess.

But, if you’re only measuring data about conversion and AOV, without understanding more about why your customers choose you, you run a very high risk of them not choosing you.

Ultimately, you can never truly “own” your customers. The decision to buy—or not—rests solely in their hands, their heads, and their hearts. All you can do is help them decide you’re the best choice. And any data that helps you interpret what “the best choice” means for them is a very, very good thing. Collecting customer data drives satisfaction among your customers—and can help drive revenues for you.

If you want to learn even more about how changing customer behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

By

February 20, 2015

8 Must-Read Marketing and E-Commerce Posts: E-commerce Link Digest

February 20, 2015 | By | No Comments

Must-read mobile and e-commerce postsNot much setup this week, Big Thinkers. Just a quick list of 8 must-read marketing and e-commerce posts to get your through the weekend. Enjoy:

  1. eMarketer says that mobile is still for upper-funnel shopping activities. Eh… maybe. By now you know that we’ve reached one mobile and millennial milestone after another and that mobile will disrupt your industry, so you need to protect your business. Because, even if it mobile’s “only” top of funnel, that’s only going to be true for a little while longer.
  2. One thing moving mobile deeper into your customers’ purchase path is how effectively it helps your customers solve their problems. For instance, Gigaom reports on an Nokia Here for Android, out of beta and in Google Play. With the addition of indoor mapping, it’s highly likely your customers will ask their phone where to find what they need in your stores, bypassing your staff altogether.
  3. Similarly, eMarketer reports that marketers spent $4 billion on click-to-call advertising in 2014. That’s another example where customers will use whatever tool is at hand to solve their problems, as well as an opportunity for you to get in front of those needs.
  4. Speaking of mobile for browsing, shopping, and buying, the latest episode of Thinks Out Loud explores the mobile commerce myth. Definitely worth a few moments of your time.
  5. eMarketer also talks about the trend of marketers increasing investment to provide customer experience makeovers. It’s about time. As we examined during last week’s Thinks Out Loud episode, “Is Customer Experience the Future of E-Commerce?” getting customer service right is going to play a huge role in shaping your brand’s future.
  6. According to Forbes, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer claims Tumblr is now the fastest-growing social network over Instagram. Whichever one is actually biggest, it surely suggests how much the web now revolves around images, not just text.
  7. While you’re considering which social network is indeed the biggest, you might want to review this post that considers another key debate: That of marketing vs. math. Insightful stuff about a sometimes-contentious—and entirely unnecessary—division.
  8. Finally, we kicked off this past week with a set of 20 terrific e-commerce insights for a long winter’s nap. Great round-up and worth checking out.

What? You want more? OK, I’ve got some more for you. For starters, you might want to check out last week’s link digest, “Freezing? 8 Fabulous Marketing and E-commerce Posts to Warm You Up.” Really solid stuff. You should also check out this round-up of 8 Great Mobile Marketing and E-commerce Reads for a Snowy Weekend, these 7+ Super E-commerce and Mobile Must-Reads to Enjoy Before the Big Game: E-commerce Link Digest, and the rest of our E-commerce Link Digest series.

And if you want to learn even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

By

February 19, 2015

Marketing vs. Math

February 19, 2015 | By | 2 Comments

Marketing vs. math

Too often, the data-driven marketing practices at the core of digital marketing get represented as a battle between “marketing” and “math.” “Traditional” marketers may sometimes perceive you as more akin to IT than marketing, assuming you’re attempting to substitute computers and calculations in place of creativity. But anyone who claims that “traditional” marketers don’t care about measurement and testing simply doesn’t know what traditional marketing is.

In fact, the most successful marketers in history created best practices—the traditions—that continue to this day. Traditions like understanding the power of word of mouth in creating a brand story, and the need to monitor, measure, and modify your marketing to reach exactly the right customer with exactly the right message.

The great Walter Landor (creator of the logo script for Coca-Cola), once said, “A brand is a promise,” a lesson that takes on heightened resonance in an age where failure to deliver on your promise usually leads to both scathing reviews in social media and significant damage to your brand overall. The legendary Mary Wells Lawrence—one of the creators of the “I ♥ NY” campaign that’s run for nearly 40 years, along with classic work for Alka-Seltzer, Midas, Ford, and P&G—recommended the need to learn about “…every kind of person… and endlessly stretch what you know,” using observation and data to drive that learning. And Claude Hopkins literally wrote the book on data-driven marketing, in a work titled, appropriately enough, “Scientific Advertising.” Hopkins pioneered the use of A/B tests for his headlines and copy, using coupon codes to track their effectiveness. Pretty creative, no?

These techniques should no longer represent a new concept for savvy marketers. To prevent the secrets behind his process from damaging his clients’ business, Hopkins waited to publish his masterpiece until after he retired—in 1923!

The point? Data-driven marketing is about as traditional as you can get.

What’s really different today is not the use of data. It’s the speed at which you’re expected to adapt to changing customer needs and the diversity of channels in which your customers connect to your brand. Landor, Lawrence, and Hopkins only needed to worry about print, outdoor, and (to varying degrees) broadcast. When Lawrence retired 25 years ago, the biggest media shift of the time was the rise of Fox Broadcasting as a fourth major television network. And even then Fox still only broadcast three nights per week.

Meanwhile, your customers today have slightly more available media options. They carry the entire Internet—and every possible print and broadcast channel, along with email, social, messaging, and more—in their pocket, connecting wherever and whenever they like, and using whatever device is at hand that allows them to accomplish their goals.

A big part of my work for clients and RBSEE revolves around how to create personalized digital experiences for targeted customer segments, how to integrate social into the overall marketing and customer outreach process, and how to use analytics most effectively to improve business results. A few examples of how those tie data and marketing together look like this:

  • Integrating social into your overall customer outreach depends on understanding lots about who you’re talking with, the channels that matter to them, and how they interact with their friends and family, fans and followers.
  • Creating highly relevant and deeply personalized digital experiences depends on understanding your customers’ specific interests in a variety of contexts, and providing relevant messages that support their objectives at any given time.
  • And both of these rely on having the right processes and tools to provide you the meaningful, actionable data necessary to really connect with your customers. Data represents the lifeblood driving each of these forward—and crucial to driving results.

Trusting your gut in a media environment this fragmented and dynamic is beyond silly—it’s career suicide. The largest, most innovative brands and businesses in the world have long since incorporated data-driven marketing into their best practices, reaching diverse sets of customers with well-crafted brand stories, brilliantly managed campaigns, and tightly targeted messaging.

Most importantly, these businesses ignore the debate around “marketing vs. math” and focus instead on following the finest tradition amongst marketing leaders: driving results. You should too.

If you want to learn even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Note: A version of this post originally appeared on the Rutgers Business School Executive Education blog, where Tim Peter teaches and writes regularly.