What challenges are facing companies when it comes to marketing? What are some companies getting wrong? Renae Olver answered some questions for SPARKS!, sharing her deep knowledge of all things marketing. In the past 30 years, Renae has gained extensive experience in her marketing career, working with clients such as Union Trust, SECU, Sandy Spring Bank, Hollander, Cohen & McBride, and First National Bank of Maryland. SPARKS! was thankful for the opportunity to speak with her.
1. What surprises popped up in 2014, regarding trends you thought might take off and trends you though might not, but did?
I think the biggest thing that surprised me was all the hype on “Big Data”—as if it is something new. The label may be recent, but the concept has been around for a long time. With all the technology available, it’s just easy to plow through data with a lot fewer resources. Years ago, companies were using SAS and programmers and today there are a lot more efficient ways to analyze data. Also, I see more personalization in marketing, as companies seek to identify with their customers. In lieu of personal information on prospects, they are using big data and predictive analytics.
2. What do you think companies get wrong in marketing?
Companies sometimes struggle with chasing the latest trends or the flavor of the day. It’s good to be able to react, be nimble, and be alert, but it’s also important to maintain the company objectives and not subvert the strategic plan. I’ve seen where sometimes a company’s leadership will react to something they’ve read or heard at a conference and then allocate resources that take away from their goal and negatively impact it.
3. Social media has changed marketing dramatically, but what are the drawbacks to social media?
Social media requires resources because it’s so real-time. I think companies who have been slow to embrace social media and those with limited experience underestimate the resources needed to monitor and update blogs, feedback, etc. Most companies market through multiple channels and media. They want to communicate the same brand/image and overall message through all channels, but it can be a challenge doing that online especially to younger segments.
4. How do you use data in your marketing strategy?
Data is key to any business, but it’s essential to be able to establish and use metrics that matter. As example, a company might measure customer satisfaction of various aspects of service, and it’s important to know which aspects are most important and key drivers in the overall satisfaction for retention and future purchases. Most companies don’t have the resources to chase every metric, so you have to know which ones are most critical to meet your goals.
5. How can big data and creatives work together in marketing?
Again, we are seeing where media partners are helping their clients as key strategic partners. They often have the resources to pare source information from the client with market data. Creatives are developed that use this attribute data (demographics, purchase behavior and attitudinal data). The media partner is also helpful in identifying where to find them in the marketplace or how attract them online
6. What marketing trends do you think are making small hints that might become larger?
I think we’ve been seeing a lot of co-marketing among companies in totally different sectors and that this is just the tip of the iceberg. As companies recognize the marketing opportunities and ways to reach prospects, they are going to seek more strategic relationships. This applies to online and in-store locations, as well.