Generally speaking, someone with a title like Chief Marketing Officer has a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience in all aspects of marketing. Because of this, a CMO is the perfect person to know what is more and less likely to work. So what are the top 5 tried and true marketing strategies that executives recommend to other business leaders? As part of this interview series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Megan McDonagh.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! To start, can you share a bit about what brought you to this specific career path?
What brought me to Amperity was its mission: To help every brand turn complex customer data into business success. Coming from a company who did not have good data or sophisticated tools to help measure marketing impact, I related to the company purpose and problem that Amperity helps brands solve every day. I also saw an opportunity to use both my 20+ years of marketing experience at a large tech company as well as a CMO at another startup to help Amperity continue to grow brand and pipeline impact.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person you're grateful for?
While at Intel, I had the privilege of working for Julie Coppernoll, the Corporate Vice President of Marketing Strategy. Prior to this role, she was the chief of staff for CEO and Chairman, Andy Grove. Julie took me under her wing and coached me on how to navigate a highly matrixed and competitive culture. She also shared valuable insights she gained from working under Grove, one of the greatest leaders in Silicon Valley.
Julie helped me develop critical skills to manage stakeholders and influence others by understanding their motivations and incentives. Lastly, she taught me the significance of personal brand and the impact it has on perception. She instilled in me to be mindful of how I present myself and to always strive to show up in the right way.
What do you think makes your company stand out?
Amperity helps large B2C brands build a unified, first-party customer data foundation, which helps unlock business value and improve customer brand experiences. This is incredibly rewarding for the team to watch brands transform their messy data into improved ROI.
People often associate Amperity and what we do with marketing activation, but our solutions are more diverse than that. For example, Brooks Running uses its unified customer profiles to power the entire customer journey from pre-purchase to post-purchase customer care. They were able to see and use these insights to provide a consistent and cohesive experience for the customer, from online purchases to its brick-and-mortar locations to customer service experience.
This not only benefits customers, but it also helps Brooks’ employees do their jobs better. Take for example, the customer service reps who deal with frustrated users every day. By making customer data accessible through Zendesk, customer support can access information about the customer’s recent purchases, purchase location and a potential reason for returning, turning what is usually a frustrating customer experience into a great one. Having a unified view of the customer is a win-win for everyone.
Are you working on any exciting projects now? Tell us about it!
We are working on developing a better understanding of our customer’s journey when they are purchasing a customer data platform. This includes exploring the pain points customers are experiencing and identifying how Amperity can help solve these challenges. To do this, we need to understand the inner workings of each of our customer segments and personas, including understanding their marketing tech stack and how it could look like with Amperity. By distilling this information, we can create a personalized marketing campaign that makes the consumer feel seen and understood, leading to increased brand loyalty, customer retention and a meaningful impact on the bottom line.
With so many different types of marketing out there, has any one area had a bigger impact on business over the rest? Have any of these changed over time?
Today, customers interact with brands through at least six touch points before making a purchase, so it’s important marketers understand and orchestrate customer journeys. To retain customers and cultivate loyalty after the initial purchase, marketers must maintain relationships across all channels and deliver relevant and timely content.
Creating an integrated marketing strategy that delivers consistent messaging across all touchpoints is critical to breaking through to new customers. In doing so, marketers will be able to deliver consistency wherever customers choose to interact with your brand.
How often do you try a new marketing strategy, and which ‘boxes’ does it need to tick before you’re willing to implement it?
The reality is there are tried and true marketing strategies that you will always lean into. However, new strategies come into play when you aren’t hitting your goals. The decision to explore new marketing activities is based on regularly evaluating existing campaigns and determining what is and isn’t working and why.
In your opinion, is it better to try out new marketing tactics or to stick with what you know works? How do you decide where to allocate your budget and resources?
From my experience, I generally focus 90% of my budget on tried and true tactics and utilize the remaining 10% to test new programs. Regularly measuring and optimizing campaigns that are in the market is key. If you don’t see the success you expected, then it is time to reevaluate your approach. If the tactics are successful in achieving your goals, then stick with them, but always find ways to test and learn to expand your overall marketing mix.
Based on your experience and success, what are your top five most successful marketing strategies?
Successfully implementing marketing strategies is both an art and a science, mostly because you'll have to tailor each marketing method to your business and marketing needs. I have consistently found that the following strategies are a great jumping off point for your marketing plan.
- Define who your target audience is and understand what makes them tick
Identifying your target audience allows your business to focus marketing efforts and dollars on the groups that are most likely to buy from you. That way, you can generate business leads in an efficient, affordable manner.
- Understand the customer journey and what the primary touchpoints are
Mapping the customer journey ensures that you can interact with your customer at every stage. This process also helps you gain insights into common customer pain points and enables you to deliver more optimized and personalized customer experiences.
- Personalization shows you know your customers and their pain points
As consumers’ expectations continue to increase, marketers must rise to meet those demands without sacrificing trust with their audiences. Proving to your customers that you ‘hear and see’ them with effective personalization will drive long-term customer lifetime value and brand loyalty.
- Maximize your owned properties (SEO, website and social media)
Your owned properties are vital to every brand's success because it gives you the opportunity to take control of your own message, establish a distinct voice in the market and create the narratives and/or thought-leadership you want to be attached to. If it is done well, the quality of the content can generate earned media opportunities as well.
- Analyze and optimize your marketing programs
Analyzing and optimizing your marketing programs is crucial to get the biggest bang for your buck. In addition, it will help you analyze and adjust various elements of your marketing mix to ensure you’re targeting the right people, with the right message, at the right time in the right place. This not only helps you save time and money, but it also helps deliver better customer experiences.
The most successful marketing strategies will vary depending on your business and product.The biggest success will be found if your team can stay agile and be willing to test various programs to find what works best and evolve as needed.
Can you share a time when a strategy didn’t deliver the results you expected and what you learned from the experience?
I’ve touched on the importance of knowing your audience and what their customer journey looks like—that is from experience. A strategy I was involved with didn’t perform as expected due to the lack of insight into our target audience. The marketing campaign was aimed at millennials, and we didn’t have a good handle on what makes them tick, what channels they prefer to receive content and the importance of personalization. Needless to say, the campaign wasn’t nearly as effective as it could have been.
However, after better understanding the audience and optimizing the messaging, we saw an increase in engagement and, ultimately, better business impact.
This brings me back to what excites me about Amperity and its ability to help brands use data to target lookalike audiences, deliver personalized messaging and activate new and existing customers.
What expert tips can you share with those who are just starting to build out their marketing strategy?
First and foremost, you have to ground yourself in customer insights before building your marketing strategy. I can’t stress enough the importance of understanding customer pain points and evaluating whether the product they purchased meets their expectations. Second, avoid blindly applying your previous marketing strategy blueprint and remain open to new ideas and challenges.
Lastly, if you could inspire a movement that would bring a great amount of good to the most people, what would that be?
I want to inspire the next generation of marketers by providing them with a foundation to kickstart their marketing careers, similar to how STEM education has supported countless young adults to acquire a strong understanding of science, tech, electronics and math. By creating and defining a program where experienced marketing professionals can pay it forward to mentor and guide young marketers, we can equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in their careers and drive their companies to success.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can find me on Linkedin or visit amperity.com.
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