B2B and D2C marketing

B2B and D2C marketing: A cosmetics brand CEO and a veteran business analyst talk about the importance of keeping data in one place.

Good morning, marketers. Digital transformation should improve all areas of marketing.

It may be a high bar, but that’s exactly what popular cosmetics brand e.l.f. Beauty through careful planning and implementation. As you’ll see in our first piece below, the work isn’t over yet. But they have centralized most of their customer data in CDP and hope to connect it through integration with social media platform Sprinklr.

Social media is everything to an e-commerce brand as social commerce and the economics of influence merge. Marketers will have to weigh the benefits of working with new affiliate offerings, such as through Instagram, or turning to third-party solutions from companies like Vungle.

Perhaps it all comes down to ROI. Also below, Dun & Bradstreet CEO Stacey Greiner talks about the Rev.Up platform and what important decisions companies can make when they have access to all the data they need.

The four pillars of e.l.f.’s transformation

For cosmetics company e.l.f. Beauty’s digital transformation began before the pandemic, about two and a half years ago. “Sometimes there was no brand awareness, people didn’t know what e.l.f. meant,” explains Ekta Chopra, chief digital officer. (It’s eyes, lips, face.) “We wanted to make a statement about what the brand represents.” The decision was made to close the physical e.l.f. stores that were open and invest in digital.

There were four main pillars in e.l.f.’s digital transformation. The first pillar was creating a fully connected digital ecosystem. “From the moment a consumer makes a discovery, to the moment they make a purchase, propaganda, etc., how can we make sure we’re creating a frictionless consumer journey?” The second focus was data collection: “How do we collect consumer data and aggregate it into a single consumer profile?”

After collecting the data, Chopra explained, the third pillar is to offer the consumer a valuable experience in exchange. “Make sure you offer an experience that meets their needs, wants and demands.” The fourth pillar, she says, is bringing the experience to life, “So, augmented reality, live sales, participation in different forms where you can bridge that gap between physical and digital; and ultimately you do that to grow your commercial business.”

The time came when a connected digital ecosystem was in place, large amounts of data were being collected, and the e.l.f. was tasked with pulling that data together and activating it across channels. “All this information was there, but it wasn’t stitched together with a single consumer identifier,” Chopra says. “Then we decided to find a platform to work with consumer data and chose ActionIQ.” Chopra embarked on a phased implementation of ActionIQ, a process that has yet to be completed. “We’ve completed the first phase, where we’ve collected almost 75% of our data and stitched it into single user identifiers.”

e.l.f. goes beyond traditional social media platforms. The e.l.f. challenge campaign became the most viral in history on TikTok, garnering 7 billion views. The e.l.f. is currently using Sprinklr for social media management, and integration with ActionIQ is underway.

Dun & Bradstreet CEO talks about big changes

Historic business intelligence provider Dun & Bradstreet, which has a database of about 300 million businesses worldwide, is rebuilding with the launch last month of its Rev.Up ABX platform, a unified B2B hub for marketing and sales teams based on the Lattice Engines CDP (acquired in 2019).

We asked D&B CMO Stacey Greiner if the impression is correct that D&B is making big changes. “Your impression is correct,” she confirmed. “It’s based on our historical strength and our customers’ trust in us for contact and account data. As we look at how we can continue to provide more value and be a better partner to our clients, the focus is on making it easier for teams to make data-driven decisions.”

Rev.Up, of course, recalls RevOps, the strategy of combining sales, marketing and often the customer service department into one team. “When all of these teams work as one team, relying on one set of truths about accounts and contacts, whether customers or potential customers, then teams can really deliver a personalized buying experience across all the different digital channels.”

Why we care. The pendulum has swung away from point solutions to broader offerings that can orchestrate these critical digital journeys – but not necessarily to large, comprehensive CX packages. D&B’s Rev.Up ABX platform (and Demandbase began using the term “ABX” more recently) is more of a hub that can integrate existing activation solutions as well as aggregate data from a wide range of sources. And it’s a logical step in many ways for a business based on account and contact data.

The gold rush of the creator economy

The creator economy has taken a few more steps forward. For starters, Facebook and Instagram unveiled a new set of features to be rolled out over the next few months that seem to empower IG creators by helping them sell products and earn commissions. For example, a built-in affiliate tool on IG will allow creators to post products available for order that their subscribers can purchase, earning the creator’s share.

As for third-party companies, mobile performance marketing platform Vungle announced today that it has acquired influencer marketing platform JetFuel. JetFuel boasts a network of more than 15,000 fully vetted influencers and a combined reach of 4 billion Instagram followers, 1.5 billion TikTok followers and 100 million daily Snapchat views.

Vungle charges on a cost-per-action (CPA), which means that marketers determine a high ROI for themselves if they are confident that their affiliate values those actions. The emerging affiliate network directly on the Instagram platform could be another place to look, but it remains to be seen if Facebook charges too much. Of course, they have direct access to all the behavioral data associated with the campaign.

Only time will tell which way marketers will choose. Global influencer marketing is expected to reach $13.8 billion this year, up from $1.7 billion in 2016.

Why we care. The potential of e-commerce on social media is undeniable. The casual, authentic word-of-mouth culture provides an excellent soft sell to platform users. The question is how best to harness this potential for marketers.

The platforms themselves have been somewhat slow to create their own opportunities for affiliate campaigns through their creators, in part because they want to support a creative culture that strives for more than just an online mall filled with sellers offering their wares. But Facebook loses advertising spend when influencer campaigns are run through intermediaries and managed by third parties. What matters is how marketers achieve the best return on investment: through performance solutions such as Vungle, or directly through Facebook, minus FB share and creator commissions.

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