Marketing Stack

Understanding the type of DAM that is right for your team can be a challenge. Over the past few years, I have taken on a new role as a consultant. With my creative, marketing/communications, and project management experience, I have a fresh perspective when aiding clients in finding the right tools for their marketing and creative stacks.

Each client I have worked with endures similar challenges when evaluating their tools in their stack. Enterprises face difficulties with having too many tools and creating tools that are too proprietary – limiting growth and integration. They also struggle with user adoption. Picking a new tool for your marketing solution stack is not an easy feat. It is easy to get caught up in the details such as features of the tool while trying to balance buy-in from stakeholders (IT, security, VPs, and end-users), and balancing a budget. So how do you know where to start when you are evaluating Digital Asset Management tools?

 

THE 4 P’S

I have found that the 4 P’s are crucial to not only selecting a tool, but configuring it properly, and ensuring user adoption for long term success.

Understand the PROBLEM you are trying to solve, the PRODUCT you are selecting to solve that problem, the PROCESS for which the organization works, and the PEOPLE that are using the new tool.

Problem

Tools should never be sold – they should always solve. From my experiences in both marketing and creative industries, I have understood the struggles first-hand that users encounter when trying to complete work. The first step to tool selection is establishing the problem you are trying to solve. Are you bogged down by spending time constantly trying to distribute files? Are you struggling to keep the most current files at your fingertips? Do you have too many places where files are stored? By clearly establishing the problem, it will remain a strong focus on selecting a tool that will be adopted long-term.

Product

Selecting a product is not easy. There is a lot to take into consideration when choosing the right product for your team. Keep in mind the identified problems to resolve, without setting technical limitations. While the DAM you select should have all the right features and functions, also consider what other tools you already have in your stack. What integrations are available for the DAM you are selecting? What other groups or teams may want to leverage the DAM in the future?

Considerations of cost are equally as important. Time is money, and the DAM you select should help reduce the overhead hours your team is spending searching, delivering, and modifying assets. Will other teams benefit from the addition of a DAM? Teams should be selecting a tool that can grow with the organization, and that can meet their needs. The bottom line is that the DAM you choose should work for you and your team, not the other way around.

Process

Often the problem comes, not only with a need for a tool but the need for understanding of where in the process each tool should sit. After recently attending a DAM conference with a room full of tools, I could see how attendees were overwhelmed. The challenge with “pitching a solution” is that you need to understand the organization and process first. Organizational assessments are vital in selecting the right DAM. It is essential to first understanding workflows and internal organizational structure to provide an educated recommendation that will meet your organization’s needs. Consider scalability. Selecting a solution that works not only for today but also for growth tomorrow. Naturally, organizations shift and change over time, so the tool implementation must be completed with a full understanding of the potential growth of organization and integration.

People

Understanding the organization from high-level executives, IT, and end-users is key to a successful roll-out. Top-down leadership and messaging is key when rolling out a new tool and will help drive user adoption. The most successful clients I have worked with understand that getting key stakeholders involved from the start will help drive success. However, the other side of the coin is involving end-users at all levels. Involving these users will help create champions among the team to ensure the new tool is well adopted. Get your teams involved upfront in part of the tool selection process, develop clear communication, and have a roll-out plan in place.

 

We would love to learn about where you are in your DAM journey and discover ways we can ensure your continued success. Contact our team of DAM experts today – email us at info@leappoint.com

DAM New York 2019 is now in our rear view mirror and it’s taken some time to fully process the experience. Attending as a sponsor requires a lot of preparation. It’s as if you’re throwing a party, cooking dinner, singing and greeting guests all at the same time. Still, we were excited to learn and collaborate with other DAM enthusiasts. Librarians, archivists, designers and more- we had a great time, met interesting people, learned lots and were absolutely ready to hit the ground running (after a weekend to rest). There’s a lot to unpack but here are a few observations after this event.

Useful AI in DAM is right around the corner

Artificial Intelligence is at the forefront of just about every technology gathering today. Gatherings such as the Henry Stewart DAM event are integral for the development of this cutting edge capability. We heard ups and downs of allowing AI to identify objects and tag content. In my experience, the most successful application is with a touch of machine learning (ML) and a hint of human intervention. The balance between AI/ML and human intervention is going to be a delicate one. A slight error can take the AI into a tailspin of poorly tagged content. Too much human intervention becomes counterproductive. We’re seeing machine learning take large strides to close the gap between what has to be trained and what’s ready ‘out of the box’. I’m excited to see how this technology develops. For now, I see digital workers playing a big role in augmenting the ‘human’ intervention as this application of AI is fine-tuned.

It’s not about the feature, it’s about the result

Yes, I realize my last observation was about a technology feature. At the end of the day, the technology we use is a tool to enable results. It’s a tough idea to completely embrace. Most people who attend a conference on Digital Asset Management are genuinely excited about where the industry is going. We get fixated on every new feature and all of the shiny new objects. This is the kind of passion that makes these events so much fun to attend. It can also be a barrier to adoption. Our users haven’t spent their professional lives understanding the impact of governance on scaling across the enterprise or why metadata matters in your archiving strategy and measuring campaign performance. Instead, our users have their own work to do and their own goals to accomplish. Unless we can show how it impacts the results, each feature is just a button that may end up skipped or worked around.

Governance without adoption is just a bunch of rules

During a panel session, someone asked me about how to actually get your users to buy into your governance model. In fact, this question was asked many different ways throughout the conference. The usual formula for implementing DAM is Scale = Structure + Governance. You figure out how it works on one team, document it and use those steps to bring on the next team. Rinse and repeat until you’ve taken reached every team and it’s instant scale, right? Well, that’s how governance grows. That’s how you grow the rule book. We need people to use the DAM to say we’ve really achieved scale. My response to gaining buy-in was simple: try to avoid saying “you have to”. To some extent, it’s really that simple. In practice, however, it’s much easier said than done. The reasons we face resistance vary greatly between groups and individuals. Sometimes it’s about understanding the bigger picture, other times it’s about enablement or awareness. There’s no hard and fast rule for making sure adoption happen smoothly. It’s a matter of understanding people and managing change. We’ll be exploring this topic in greater depth during a roundtable discussion at DAM Europe next month. I encourage you to stop by and listen to others’ experiences with this very topic.

 

If you won’t be in London or have comments/questions, reach out via LinkedIn or email me at nrashid@leappoint.com

Marketing has dramatically evolved in the last 20 years. The rise of digital marketing and the exponential growth in marketing technology solutions are just a couple of things that have brought a new level of complexity—and power—into the hands of marketers. But, as the saying goes, “With more power comes more responsibility.”

Chief marketing officers and their teams are facing greater expectations to demonstrate results across their organization. Marketing investments are under continued scrutiny and organizations are being tasked to perform at higher levels with the same or fewer resources. The bottom line:  today, marketing organizations must demonstrate steadily increasing ROI while achieving higher levels of innovation, and team and client engagement.

So what?

 

Marketing organizations need to bring their A-Game. They must take steps to evolve their stack, processes, and strategy to keep ahead of the curve – and the competition. Wherever you are in your digital transformation, you should ask yourself:

  • Can you demonstrate how your marketing organization is aligned to the company’s strategy and driving real, measurable value for the enterprise?
  • Do you have the means to communicate full cost and ROI transparency to the CMO and business lines, and drive informed marketing decisions?

 

If you’re not confidently answering “yes” to these questions, here are the six steps you can take to build and bring your marketing A-Game:

 

1. Thoughtfully create your marketing stack

The number of marketing platforms has grown at an exponential rate, and it can be hard to know what the right strategy and tools are for your organization. Assess your current stack with these questions:

  • Can you qualify the value you get from each of your platforms and tools?
  • Are there gaps you can identify within your existing stack?
  • Could you possibly consolidate the number of tools you are using?

 

2. Build integrations

Like most companies, you likely have multiple systems of record. But it’s not effective to plan in one system, execute work in another, and host assets and deploy in others. Your holistic marketing story and accurate ROI reporting are critically important. Power your organization’s collaboration with integrations that seamlessly connect your stack to unlock and unify the data that enables these stories.

 

3. Organize your data & insights

Your stack is creating ever more data to manage. But the problem isn’t the data itself; it’s how to organize it in a way that leads to actionable insights. Define a best-fit data strategy for your stack. And with the right visualizations, your organization will be empowered with the ideas to make smarter marketing, business, and operational decisions.

 

4. Examine your existing processes – and do it often

Organizations and your marketing needs will continually evolve. Being comfortable may lead to a miss on an important technological advance that your competitors are employing.

  • Review your processes regularly to re-engineer and optimize them and to ensure they’re as efficient as possible.
  • Refine your organizational roles to maximize new capabilities.
  • Look into custom development options to create new automation opportunities within your organization.

 

5. Make change personal

Tools are only effective if you know how to use them and know why you’re using them. Equip your team with proven approaches and tools that affect lasting change. Discover methods that will influence behavior and allow your staff to understand the value of new capabilities. By encouraging your team to embrace change, you’ll drive operational excellence and create a model for the rest of the enterprise to follow.

 

6. Recruit an expert or find a reputable partner

Ultimately, bringing your marketing A-Game is complicated. It takes time, strategy, investment, and the right guidance to ensure you will have an ecosystem that positions your organization to win. In this process, don’t be afraid to recruit an expert for that industry or employ a technology partner to make strategic recommendations. Create a roadmap that aligns with your objectives, prioritize your specific initiatives and create the ideal marketing ecosystem for your organization. Your team will be able to focus on creativity and innovation, and you’ll watch your ROI (and credibility as a leader) soar.

 

Are you ready to bring your A-Game?

Through multi-city workshops, LeapPoint will provide senior marketing professionals a solution set that enables their organizations to align with corporate strategy and effectively and efficiently deliver value to the enterprise. We’ll showcase how to achieve these outcomes via a robust, intelligently integrated, set of best-of-breed cloud applications that holistically provide for this capability with effective governance.  All with the added benefit of actually making the end-user experience more efficient and effective.

Learn more about the marketing A-Game and register for an A-Game Workshop in a city near you at leappoint.com.

 

 

Digital asset management (DAM) software gives businesses a platform for storing, retrieving, and sharing digital content such as videos, photos, audio files, presentations, and images. Instead of keeping files on different computers, businesses can use DAM software to create a centralized library that gives everyone access to the content they may need.

 

How DAM Software Can Benefit Your Business

Before you purchase DAM software, you should learn about some of the ways it can help your business. You should also learn about some of the most popular software options and the features they offer.

 

Organize Your Digital Media

Without DAM, your business doesn’t have an easy way to organize digital media. At best, you can try to keep certain files in one folder. Given enough time, though, people will forget where they saved files. When they need to retrieve them, they end up wasting a lot of time searching for the files they want.

DAM organizes your files in a central location, so you can quickly find the items you need. You can even add metadata to help you find content. Instead of losing your assets, you organize them in a convenient place that the whole team can access.

Improve Workflow

Since everyone involved in a project has access to the files stored in your DAM software, you can reduce redundancies that slow your workflow. The best DAM software has built-in workflow management features that let you track a project from beginning to end. The smoother your workflow gets, the faster you can bring your projects to market.

Manage Rights and License Agreements

You may not own all of the digital media that your company uses, so you need to keep track of each asset’s rights or license agreements. It’s very difficult to manage rights and license agreements when you store media in folders.

When you use DAM, though, the software remembers all of the rights and license agreements for you. That way, you never mistakenly use content that could get you sued for copyright infringement.

DAM Software Scales to Your Needs

Digital media files can take up a lot of space on your computer, especially when you work with audio and video. Cloud-based DAM software can scale to meet your current needs. If you need more memory today because you’re working on three videos, then the software can accommodate that. Tomorrow, when you work on one video, the software automatically scales down.

Once you find the right DAM, you have all of the memory and processing power that you need to finish your projects.

 

The Top 3 Digital Asset Management Platforms

Make sure you review some of the most popular DAM software options so you can choose one with the features that matter most to you.

Bynder

Bynder excels at giving users access to templates that make it easier for designers to complete projects. Since Bynder uses the AWS cloud, the software can scale to your immediate needs. As your business grows, the software will grow with you. Finally, Bynder has a built-in, customizable workflow feature that lets you improve efficiency and track each step in a project’s progress.

Aprimo

In addition to storing digital media, Aprimo can automatically approve each step of a project. Assuming that the software approves terrific content, you should see your efficiency improve significantly. Aprimo also benefits from its ability to connect to other systems, including Adobe Creative Cloud, eCommerce, and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Adobe Experience Manager Assets

Adobe Experience Manager Assets makes it easier for colleagues to collaborate. The collaboration feature should help improve your office’s efficiency. Adobe Experience Manager Assets also stands out for its AI insights. The software will review your content and tell you where you get the best ROI.

Many DAMs will let you try a demo before you purchase. Explore your options, find one that works well for you, and get your DAM life in order.

Recently, Adobe announced its 4.75 billion dollar purchase of Marketo – an investment that should move Adobe into a B2B marketing leadership position. Already a powerhouse in the marketing industry, Adobe Experience Cloud is setting the stage for domination with this purchase, but the real question remains – will you benefit?

Adobe Experience Cloud

Adobe’s Experience Cloud was launched in 2017, with the company rebranding its Marketing Cloud as one of three sub-clouds – the other two being Adobe’s Analytics Cloud and Advertising Cloud. Some of the most impressive features of Adobe Experience include the Visitor ID service, which is vital to core operations and integration ability, Dynamic Tag Manager, which supports tools for Adobe functions as well as Nielsen and Google, and Device Co-op, which is a device graph that promotes understanding of customer behavior. Adobe Experience Cloud is relatively new but has already established itself as a competitive player in cloud computing.

Marketo

Marketo is a SaaS marketing automation platform that B2B marketers find essential in building campaigns and making sales strategies operational. Sales reps use the system to understand business prospects’ behavior, while marketing executives use it to link marketing investments to the sales process and revenue generation. Marketo offers software features that allow lead management, lead scoring, mobile marketing, and website personalization, among other features. Marketo has positioned itself as a leader in B2B marketing automation, a position that Adobe Experience Cloud can only enhance.

What’s in it for you?

Since Adobe acquired Marketo rather than a company with their own CRM to push, you will continue to be able to connect any significant CRM to the platform. This means that users will benefit from having all the Adobe tools at hand without being forced to make a major, and possibly disruptive, CRM switch. Joining the Adobe Experience Cloud adds powerful, advanced capabilities to Marketo. Leveraging the market-leading platform allows Marketo to enhance its strengths in mobile marketing and personalization while taking advantage of industry-leading analytics- an area in which Marketo customers have felt frustration in the past. Marketo’s B2B users will also benefit in several ways, including through its personalization engine. These Adobe tools will particularly help B2B shops that have some B2C features in their business. Marketo was already working to strengthen this aspect of their business, the Adobe purchase immediately sends them to the head of the class, leapfrogging over their competitors.

The purchase of Marketo by Adobe Experience Cloud promises better service for users of both services. Adobe Experience has the B2C market handled with numerous easy-to-use tools that can only enhance Marketo’s B2B prowess. The combination of these marketing powerhouses means that you can have the best of both worlds, keeping your favorite functions while gaining even more effective marketing features for your clients’ use.

Only time will tell the exact impact of this purchase, but you and other people in the industry have every reason to expect better service all around. The combination of these two industry leaders promises to give you groundbreaking platform power.

1. Add a billing record to safeguard project

Although Workfront has recently added a recycling bin feature, deleting a project can cause panic, confusion, and loss of productivity, especially if the project you just deleted was a request queue. Prevent any worry around losing key projects by adding a zero dollar billing record to them.

Even if your company or group isn’t using the billing record feature for its native purpose, it can be used here as an extra layer of protection against project deletion. Simply go to the project, create a new billing record, and set the status to Billed”. Then, if someone attempts to delete the project this error message will display and the project will stay out of the recycling bin:

 

2. Make a placeholder job role to prevent assigning users to parent tasks

By default parent tasks can’t be updated or completed independently from their child tasks. The one task detail that can be independently edited on a parent task is the assignment; however, when users are assigned to parent tasks we find that it often leads to frustration when they receive the inevitable error message for trying update the status or completion percentage. To help prevent project managers and other users from accidentally assigning workers to parent tasks, create a job role titled “Do not assign – Parent Task”. Assign this to all of the parent tasks on your project templates and it will serve as a reminder/safeguard that these tasks are a summary of their child tasks and shouldn’t have a user assigned to them.

 

3. As a plan license user, view the resource planner by user

(Note: this assumes your Workfront instance has completed the prerequisites needed for Resource Planning) The Resource Planner is a helpful widget in Workfront to manage the allocation of resources to projects and forecast their availability for future work. Formerly, this was limited to only users who were listed as Resource Managers on projects. With recent updates, however, any user with a plan license can get valuable information from the Resource Planner by setting the view to “View by User”. If the view is set to View by Project or View by Role, results will only be returned for projects where the user is listed as a Resource Manager, putting you right back at square one. View by User doesn’t have that prerequisite and allows other plan license users to see the allocation of all users, regardless if they’re listed as a resource manager.

 

4. Change ID to name in text mode

(Note: this only works for details tab) When creating views and reports in Workfront, there will be instances where the information you want to display is too many levels away from the object you’re working on. This will limit the display options from the field explorer. For example, when adding a column to a task report or task view for the name of the project sponsor, you will find the only option is “SponsorID”. While this makes sense to the Workfront database, this doesn’t provide much value to users viewing the report. Luckily this can be changed with a quick text mode edit.

While in the report or view editor, click on the column for the ID field and switch to Text Mode.

  • On every line where you see “fieldnameID” change the “ID” to “:name”
  • For example change project:sponsorID to project:sponsor:name
  • Click “Save” in the text mode window, then save the view or report.
displayname=Documents
valuefield=project:sponsor:name
querysort=project:sponsor:name
valueformat=HTML
displayname=
linkedname=project
namekey=view.relatedcolumn
namekeyargkey.0=project
namekeyargkey.1=sponsor
namekeyargkey.2=name

 

5. Flag task commit dates greater than planned completion dates

Commit dates are set by task assignees and can’t be changed by the project owner. While the project manager is notified when commit dates affect the project timeline, it can be hard to quickly review a project and see which task commit dates are later than their planned completion dates. With some text mode code, the commit date field can be added to a task view with conditional formatting to display in red when later than the planned completion date.

This can be done by adding a blank column to a task view and switching to text mode, and pasting in the code below:

displayname= Commit Date
linkedname=direct
namekey=commitDate
querysort=commitDate
styledef.case.0.comparison.icon=false
styledef.case.0.comparison.leftmethod=commitDate
styledef.case.0.comparison.lefttext=commitDate
styledef.case.0.comparison.operator=gt
styledef.case.0.comparison.operatortype=date
styledef.case.0.comparison.rightmethod=plannedCompletionDate
styledef.case.0.comparison.righttext=plannedCompletionDate
styledef.case.0.comparison.trueproperty.0.name=fontstyle
styledef.case.0.comparison.trueproperty.0.value=bold
styledef.case.0.comparison.trueproperty.1.name=textcolor
styledef.case.0.comparison.trueproperty.1.value=d30519
styledef.case.0.comparison.truetext=

Click “Save” in the text mode window then save the view you’re editing. Now when viewing a task list, any user commit dates that are later than the planned completion dates will be displayed in red.

 

6. Link directly to queue topics

Have you ever instructed someone to submit a Workfront request and found yourself listing off the steps of selecting the proper request queue, topic group, then queue topic? Theses directions can be eliminated and the end user experience enhanced by sending them a link directly to the queue topic. Instead of sending the URL “domain.workfront.com/requests” with instructions on which drop downs to select, if you select the request queue & specific queue topic, the URL in your browser grows with each selection. This enables the URL to take the user to the specific queue topic without having to manually make any selections. This is incredibly handy when posting Workfront URLs on intranet sites for users to submit work requests.

 

7. Link directly to a sub-tab on an object

In similar vein to tip #6, URLs can also be built to take users to specific tabs on a project, task, issue, etc. To land a user on a specific sub-tab of an object, Workfront allows for a parameter to be added to the URL with the structure below:

https://<domain>.my.workfront.com/project/view?ID=5b6c7eb5003d2022cea3a135cca33ac1&activeTab=tab-project-updates

Normally when viewing a project (or task, or issue), the URL stops after the object ID regardless of which tab is being viewed. By adding the parameter “&activeTab” the URLs will navigate directly to the project tab of your choosing. Some more examples:

 

URL modifier Landing tab
&activeTab=tab-project-details-forms Project Details
&activeTab=tab-project-approvals Project Approvals
&activeTab=list-project-documents Project Documents
&activeTab=tab-project-updates Project Updates
&activeTab=tab-project-optasks Project Issues

 

The same concept and URL structure works on other Workfront objects such as tasks, issues, programs, portfolios, etc. For other objects, simply change the object reference in the URL examples above from ‘project’ to the object you’re referencing.

 

8. Make sure your browser zoom setting is at 100%

Occasionally, when selecting a request queue or an option from a drop down field in older browsers, the drop down option menu appears on a random part of the screen or, in some cases, doesn’t appear at all. Although this seems like a major issue, 99% it’s not a bug and can be fixed very quickly. Double check the zoom on your browser and make sure it is set to 100%. In certain browsers, if the zoom is set to a value other than 100%, it can cause issues with drop downs appearing.

 

9. Link to documents in a project or task view

Use this text mode trick to create hyperlinks to documents from a project view. When creating a project/task view or report, add a blank column and switch into text mode. Copy and paste in the text mode code below, and be sure to update the <domain> section of the URL with the domain of your Workfront instance.

displayname=Documents
listdelimiter=
listmethod=nested(documents).lists
textmode=true
type=iterate
valueexpression=CONCAT({name}, - "https://&lt;domain&gt;.my.workfront.com/document/view?ID=",{ID},"; ")
valueformat=HTML

Click “Save” the text mode window, then save the view or report. Now, when viewing the results, the names of any attached documents will be listed along with a URL to navigate directly to the document.

 

10. Find projects with no tasks, issues, or documents

After Workfront has been implemented, there will inevitably be projects in your system that were either created by mistake or abandoned shortly after creation. While many of these can be cleaned up by searching your instance for “Untitled Project” and deleting any results, this doesn’t work for projects that have had a name change. To assist in system maintenance, use this text mode to find projects with no tasks, issues, or documents. Creating a project report, go to the filter page, switch into text mode, and paste in the code below:

EXISTS:a:$$EXISTSMOD=NOTEXISTS
EXISTS:a:$$OBJCODE=OPTASK
EXISTS:a:projectID=FIELD:ID
EXISTS:b:$$EXISTSMOD=NOTEXISTS
EXISTS:b:$$OBJCODE=TASK
EXISTS:b:projectID=FIELD:ID
EXISTS:c:$$EXISTSMOD=NOTEXISTS
EXISTS:c:$$OBJCODE=DOCU
EXISTS:c:projectID=FIELD:ID[/CSS]

 

Your audience is distracted by the constant noise of the daily routine. Every moment of every day is filled with information that is loud, boisterous, and consuming. In the constant battle for attention, screaming ads and neon visuals saturate your audience’s gaze for the sole purpose of transforming that brief attention to sales conversions. The marketplace is thirsty for any sort of competitive advantage and, right or wrong, the loudest voice is typically the most common marketing instrument.

So how do you create consistency, boost your brand recognition, and prevent your story from becoming just another face in the crowd? A cohesive, well-organized approach to your marketing is the best way to achieve those goals. One that leverages the insights and power of integrated technology platforms to understand target consumer segments better, implement a personalized approach that speaks to individual affinities, and forms enduring bonds between the brand and customer.

Integrated Platforms Create Consistency

An integrated marketing platform is a streamlined technology solution that caters to every stage of the marketing process, from strategizing and design to implementation and metric analysis. It’s an end-to-end, one-stop-shop that maximizes efficiency and effectiveness through seamless integration of data, innovation, and thought. In simpler terms, think of an integrated platform as a car that carries all the stages of the marketing process in a single vehicle. That vehicle is tasked with transporting those marketing components along the customer’s journey to arrive at the same destination — an impactful, successful campaign. If each of those passengers were to take separate vehicles, the likelihood of latencies in the process dramatically increase.

Traditionally, marketers have relied on different components from independent vendors, each of which might have done a tremendous job at their specific tasks but, as is often the case with segmented technology, those components don’t communicate well with one another. In the digital landscape, where margins for error shrink by the day, those traditional models are prone to information silos and communication gaps — detours and potholes forming along the customer’s journey. Naturally, such inefficiencies don’t lend themselves to the flexibility and foresight demanded by a modern, digitally-driven campaign. The segmented, disparate components of those traditional marketing pipelines can lack the free-flowing data and ideas needed for an agile campaign that can pivot on a moment’s notice and continually gauge impact. Integrated platforms, however, afford brands that seamless marketing required to successfully engage the modern consumer, creating a smooth, consistent, unified approach to the entire breadth of a marketing campaign.

The Bigger Picture

While each stage of the marketing process — strategy, testing, bidding, distribution, metric analysis — benefit individually from an integrated platform by shared data and effective communication, it’s the bigger picture that gains the most impact. It’s not the loudest voice that will provide the most significant engagement, conversions, and ROI for an enterprise. Instead, it’s the personalized touch running throughout a brand’s message that forms connections with the audience. In fact, 71% of customers now prefer customized ads and campaigns that speak to their unique interests and passions.

An integrated marketing platform gives brands and agencies the tools needed to create and maintain that personalization. With so many audience segments, each with unique and widely-varying affinities, information silos can be the death knell for companies wanting to engage at the individual level. Thankfully, as powerful as the particular components of an integrated platform is with their designated responsibilities, the platforms themselves are greater than the sum of their parts. In such a crowded and competitive environment, use integrated technology to tell a compelling story rather than the loudest one. Your campaign ROI and bottom line will thank you.

Between constantly segmenting audiences and affinities, finite ad spend, a crowded marketplace, and distracted consumers inundated with a wall of advertising noise, marketers have their work cut out for them. Establishing and maintaining robust engagement and conversions levels — as well as the accompanying ROI — can be a daunting task if a brand doesn’t have a deliberate, well-organized strategy steeped in analytics. Fortunately, the very same digital technologies that have helped create such a fickle, segmented, and congested marketplace also provide marketers effective solutions to cut through the clutter, identify their target audience, and deliver an impactful message that generates the ROI they crave. With these analytics-driven best practices and tools, marketers have a variety of solutions at their disposal to inform and refine their marketing strategies, realize that ROI, and gain an enduring competitive advantage that can be budget-friendly and effective.

 

Find the Right Stack

Much of marketing is a repetitive series of steps that, while beneficial when conducted thoroughly, can also drain already limited supplies of time and resources. Of course, every dollar spent on such routines, no matter how integral they are to the process, has a direct impact on your ROI. Therefore, virtually any source of gained efficiency will lift those metrics and have a cascading positive effect on your campaign. Ad stacks that streamline everything from ad bidding and A/B testing to analytics and retargeting give marketers compelling solutions that can enhance performance and lower overall costs if adopted appropriately. Once implemented, these tools can free team members to work on more value-added responsibilities that would otherwise mire them in vital but arduous, time-consuming tasks. Ad stacks lend convenience to your efforts, giving your marketing process a focused and precise sense of direction that eliminates inefficiencies and, thus, boosts your ROI.

 

Use Insightful, Focused Metrics

In the age of big data and predictive analytics, marketers don’t lack for information to propel their message. The problem, however, is the volume of information itself. Just because a wide variety of metrics can be automatically created, tracked, and analyzed doesn’t mean that they necessarily should. Despite the significant boost to overall efficiencies afforded by automated technologies, an overindulgence in metrics that don’t ultimately add value to a campaign can hamper ROI through diluted efforts, a lack of focus, and failure to keep an eye on the proverbial prize. Marketers should be especially cautious against such overindulgence, avoiding vanity metrics that don’t contribute true meaning and insight into a marketing message. Instead, they should concentrate on analytics that positively affects a campaign and increases ROI. While any particular brand and agency might have different key metrics given their unique market position, industry, or goals, certain metrics tend to be more ubiquitous than others — aside from ROI itself, of course — including PPC, lead ratios, conversion rates, and a handful of others. Likewise, use the proper metrics in the most insightful context possible to keep a campaign on track and maximize ROI. While campaign results are essential to measure in gauging total effectiveness, metrics add the most value when they are used to steer a message throughout a campaign, not merely provide data points in hindsight. Integrating real-time performance data into key metrics will inform a campaign and reveal necessary changes to be made as the campaign evolves.

 

Experiment With Your Approach

Extending the previous best practice a bit further, utilizing your analytics platform and the key metrics it generates can be extremely beneficial to tailor your message in the most advantageous way possible. Thankfully, analytics in the digital age has rendered the traditional, laborious process of A/B testing antiquated and nearly extinct with the prescient insights of real-time data and a robust ad stack with an abundance of analytical capabilities. As your campaign progresses and evolves, continue to measure for impact using a variety of combinations of creative, copy, distribution channels, and any other critical components. In doing so, your analytics platform will reveal which particular combinations yield the most significant results, allowing you to pivot your campaign towards any direction that will maximize engagement, conversion, and the resulting ROI.

Workfront reporting is great. But you’re pretty much limited to either basic visualizations or tables. If you find yourself using tables a lot, chances are you’re trying to display a whole bunch of information associated with a single record. And while you can easily just tack on additional columns to accommodate this information, sometimes doing so becomes more of a hindrance than a help.

So let’s look at some advanced formatting options you can employ to help consolidate information (and pretty things up a bit too!). Take a look at the screenshot below. This is pulled from our user directory where we found ourselves wanting to display more information than was feasible in a table. So we broke it out into things we need to more closely monitor and/or sort on such as groups and teams. We then collapsed what I’ll call “secondary” information into a single column and applied some fancy formatting to help make it all a bit more legible.

 

 

So what’s going on behind the curtain. It’s really just two main tricks:

  1. Shared columns; and
  2. HTML formatting

 

Shared columns

Let’s look at the shared column function first. The second column in the report–“Name”–is technically two columns combined into one which, oddly enough, actually requires three columns. In the code below you’ll see a reference to column.1, column.2, and column.3. Column.1 is really just pulling in the username, but it uses the default field code which comes with some additional features beyond just the first and last name–most notably the status of the user profile (i.e., registered/unregistered)–so it’s a good idea to pull this directly from the text mode of the username field (or just copy it below!).

Similarly, column.3 contains the default code for the avatar field. The magic happens in the code for column.2 (lines 13-17 below). There are two key things going on here. First, and most importantly, is the code “column.2.sharecol=true”.This is the code that tells Workfront to join the adjacent columns on either side. IMPORTANT! You ALSO have to include the sharecol code on what would be the column to the left in order for everything to work. In this case, that’s column.1. The other interesting piece of code worth mentioning is on line 16. The <hr> (horizontal rule) tag is what inserts that nifty line between the username and avatar. Now, in theory, you can leave “column.2.value=” blank. But in this case it’s a great formatting tool to help provide both visual interest and some boundaries between the two data elements. Alright! Grab the code below, drop in the second column of your report and let’s hop on to the next piece: HTML formatting (it’s worth pointing out, the column identifiers in text mode start at zero so column.1 technically refers to the second column of the report. If you wanted this to be the first column you’d need to subtract one from each of the column identifiers, i.e, column.0, column.1 and so on).

column.1.displayname=
column.1.linkedname=direct
column.1.namekey=name
column.1.querysort=name
column.1.sharecol=true
column.1.textmode=true
column.1.tile.name=component.user.name
column.1.usewidths=true
column.1.valuefield=name
column.1.valueformat=HTML
column.1.width=100
column.1.tile.template=/WEB-INF/jsp/lists/components/username.jsp
column.2.sharecol=true
column.2.shortview=false
column.2.textmode=true
column.2.value=<hr>
column.2.valueformat=HTML
column.3.displayname=
column.3.linkedname=direct
column.3.namekey=avatar
column.3.textmode=true
column.3.tile.name=component.avatar
column.3.usewidths=true
column.3.valueformat=HTML
column.3.width=100


HTML formatting

Ok the next part looks a lot more formidable but it’s actually pretty simple. Using the sharecol principles we just learned, this piece is really just creating unique columns for the formatted text (title, manager, access level, etc.) and the corresponding user data. So, for example, in column.4 you have the word “title” and in column.5 you have the actual user title data, all of which gets mushed together using the sharecol=true function.

The important lines to pay attention to are the ones that contain HTML formatting such as line 6 where you have <font color=000000><b>Title: </b></font>. Admittedly, this is all a bit easier if you’re already familiar with HTML and CSS, but technically this is just taking two simple HMTL attributes and wrapping the text “Title: ” in them. As you may have already guessed, the font color attribute allows you to change the native color of the text while <b> is making the font bold. A couple things I want to point out. First, the colors we’ve used are what’s known as hexadecimal or “hex”, colloquially. You may have seen them with the hash symbol in front. Ours, obviously, do not have them. Workfront text mode will accept either. Additionally, Workfront will also accept basic colors in word format (i.e., red, black, blue, green, etc.) so if you’re working with a very simple, primary color set, a lot of times that’s just easier. And finally, Workfront also accepts RGB values. In the example above, we would just change the hex code to an RGB value as well as the corresponding HTML attribute: <font color=rgb(0,0,0)><b>Title: </b></font>. A lot of options. Use what feels easiest.

So what are some of the other formatting tricks you can employ beyond bold and font color? There are certainly some limitations that you wouldn’t encounter if you were using traditional CSS but we’ve compiled as complete a list as we can think of at the end of this post.

One last thing I’ll point out about the columns that contain formatted text: since they’re not referencing any actual data, they all use value= as opposed to valuefield= or valueexpression=. As you start to adapt this to your own needs it’s an important thing to take note of.

column.4.displayname=User Information
column.4.sharecol=true 
column.4.shortview=false 
column.4.textmode=true 
column.4.usewidths=true 
column.4.value=<font color=000000><b>Title: </b></font> 
column.4.valueformat=HTML column.4.width=200 
column.5.descriptionkey=title 
column.5.linkedname=direct 
column.5.namekey=title.abbr 
column.5.sharecol=true 
column.5.shortview=false 
column.5.textmode=true 
column.5.usewidths=true 
column.5.valuefield=title 
column.5.valueformat=HTML 
column.5.width=200 
column.6.sharecol=true 
column.6.shortview=false 
column.6.textmode=true 
column.6.usewidths=true 
column.6.value= <font color=000000><b>Manager: </b></font> 
column.6.valueformat=HTML column.6.width=200 
column.7.descriptionkey=manager 
column.7.link.linkproperty.0.name=ID 
column.7.link.linkproperty.0.valuefield=manager:ID 
column.7.link.linkproperty.0.valueformat=int 
column.7.link.lookup=link.view 
column.7.link.valuefield=manager:objCode 
column.7.link.valueformat=val 
column.7.linkedname=manager 
column.7.namekey=manager 
column.7.querysort=manager:name 
column.7.sharecol=true 
column.7.shortview=false 
column.7.textmode=true 
column.7.usewidths=true 
column.7.valuefield=manager:name 
column.7.valueformat=HTML 
column.7.width=200 
column.8.sharecol=true 
column.8.shortview=false 
column.8.textmode=true 
column.8.usewidths=true 
column.8.value= <font color=000000><b>Access Level: </font><font color=CC0033> 
column.8.valueformat=HTML column.8.width=200 
column.9.descriptionkey=accesslevel 
column.9.linkedname=accessLevel 
column.9.namekey=accesslevel 
column.9.querysort=accessLevel:name 
column.9.sharecol=true 
column.9.shortview=false 
column.9.textmode=true 
column.9.usewidths=true 
column.9.valuefield=accessLevel:displayName 
column.9.valueformat=HTML 
column.9.width=200 
column.10.displayname=Primary Associated Fields 
column.10.sharecol=true 
column.10.shortview=false 
column.10.textmode=true 
column.10.usewidths=true 
column.10.value=</b></font><hr><font color=0000FF><b>Primary Job Role: </b></font> 
column.10.valueformat=HTML 
column.10.width=200 
column.11.descriptionkey=role 
column.11.displayname=Primary Job Role 
column.11.linkedname=role 
column.11.namekey=name 
column.11.sharecol=true 
column.11.shortview=false 
column.11.textmode=true 
column.11.usewidths=true 
column.11.valuefield=role:name 
column.11.valueformat=HTML 
column.11.width=200 
column.12.displayname=Primary Associated Fields 
column.12.sharecol=true 
column.12.shortview=false 
column.12.textmode=true 
column.12.usewidths=true 
column.12.value= <font color=0000FF><b>Home Group: </b></font> 
column.12.valueformat=HTML column.12.width=200 
column.13.descriptionkey=homegroup 
column.13.linkedname=homeGroup 
column.13.listsort=nested(homeGroup).string(name) 
column.13.namekey=homegroup 
column.13.sharecol=true 
column.13.shortview=false 
column.13.textmode=true 
column.13.usewidths=true 
column.13.valuefield=homeGroup:name 
column.13.valueformat=HTML 
column.13.width=200 
column.14.sharecol=true 
column.14.shortview=false 
column.14.textmode=true 
column.14.usewidths=true 
column.14.value= <font color=0000FF><b>Home Team: </b></font> 
column.14.valueformat=HTML 
column.14.width=200 
column.15.descriptionkey=hometeam 
column.15.linkedname=homeTeam 
column.15.namekey=hometeam 
column.15.shortview=false 
column.15.textmode=true 
column.15.valuefield=homeTeam:name 
column.15.valueformat=HTML



Additional attributes

Italic
Attribute
<i></i>
Can you use it in a sentence?
<font color=0000FF><i>Home Group: </i></font>
Output
Home Group:

Bold
Attribute
<b></b>
Can you use it in a sentence?
<font color=0000FF><b>Home Group: </b></font>
Output
Home Group:

Font size
Attribute
<font size=></font>
Can you use it in a sentence?
<font size=18><Home Group: </font>
Output
Home Group:

Font color
Attribute
<font color=></font>
Can you use it in a sentence?
<font color=red><Home Group: </font>
Output
Home Group:

Font face
Attribute
<font face=></font>
Can you use it in a sentence?
<font face=comic sans><Home Group: </font>
Output
Home Group:
(side note: please don’t use comic sans!)

Organizations need agility to craft and distribute useful marketing messages that can convert in a highly segmented, fickle marketplace. With seemingly countless marketing solutions now available, the advent of the ad stack – both independent and platform-based – is in full swing. Of the many different options available, an innovative solution from one of the digital environment’s older and well-established names is leading the charge for comprehensive, flexible, vertically integrated marketing suites that is redefining the industry – Adobe.

Adobe’s Marketing Cloud at a Glance

Available on a subscription basis with several optional components that range in specialty from Adobe’s creative foundation to analytics platforms, campaign management tools, and social media integration, Marketing Cloud aims to be a one-stop shop for organizations needing a comprehensive solution without relying on different vendors.

Using the universal Adobe interface as the basis for most of the component UIs, Adobe takes full advantage of its popularity to create an immediate sense of familiarity between the user and the many different parts available within the platform. Perhaps more importantly, however, organizations can choose which of those components are necessary for their specific needs, not forced to subscribe to unneeded functions that would increase costs and complexity.

As a direct competitor to similar platforms from both digital titans like Google and Yahoo as well as ad stacks from specialized vendors, Adobe’s Marketing Cloud shines with its ability to seamlessly combine immersive, engaging, customized creative with the distribution channels most impactful in reaching a highly segmented audience with wide-ranging affinities. Its analytical tools allow organizations to track results in real time, measuring effectiveness through the ever-important metrics needed to inform and guide the campaign amongst a crowded and complicated marketplace.

Although a streamlined and efficient ad stack solution for any organization requiring a considerable degree of vertical integration, those that are unfamiliar with the classic Adobe UI face a steep learning curve that, while in no way too great of a barrier to prevent proper implementation and usage, can be somewhat overwhelming at first. With an abundance of training materials available as well as outstanding customer service, however, Adobe’s Marketing Cloud should always be on the short list of options for organizations in search of a potent ad stack that blends utility with convenience, power with flexibility.

Is Adobe’s Marketing Cloud Right for You?

As compelling a solution as Adobe’s Marketing Cloud can be for most organizations; it’s not the only solution available. In fact, when an organization is in need of a new ad stack platform, the decision should always begin with a choice between a comprehensive, unified platform and an independent ad stack built of several best-in-breed vendors that are market leaders in specific functions but don’t necessarily work well in conjunction with one another.

Simply put, organizations must choose between a high degree of convenience and efficiency versus maximum ability. For instance, if an organization needs a comprehensive analytical platform that specializes in isolating and analyzing nuanced metrics, they might be best served to build an independent ad stack built around a specialized analytics platform. In this case, while a vertically integrated solution like the Adobe Marketing Cloud is abundantly useful and more than adequate for the vast majority of organizations, it’s analytical abilities might fall short of this highly specialized need.

For organizations looking for a combination of power and convenience, the Adobe Marketing Cloud is writing a new ad stack narrative, one that effectively addresses nearly all of the marketing needs for the majority of companies within the marketplace. Organizations no longer have to choose between ability and efficiency.