In our series of articles titled INsider Questions, we have sought out some of the industry’s top figureheads to see what they think advertisers should be asking performance marketers to eke more out of their campaigns. 

Each feature will cover a different topic and for today’s piece, Björn Köster, vice president of global business development at iCrossing, has provided the most important questions that he feels advertisers should be asking when it comes to digital marketing. 

How do you handle the increased complexity of digital marketing?

Today’s consumers have tremendously high expectations of a brand. At the same time, the digital marketing landscape, which has historically grown and worked in siloes, has been torpedoed by technological innovation and advances. CMOs have been forced to rethink traditional organisational structures.

As a result, focusing on media channels is outdated.  Instead, brands that put their audience at the centre of their marketing strategy excel. These businesses build agile teams that plan marketing activities based on customer lifecycles, habits and people’s intent.

Tools, technology, customer insight and analytics as well as brand management work alongside dedicated media channel specialists to support these teams, drive efficiency and guarantee that everyone’s experience of the brand is consistent. 

How do you handle the increasing complexity of today’s consumer?

It’s not just the digital industry that is changing quickly. People are too. Today our customers are more empowered than ever, more informed and savvy. They can switch between products and brands by simply checking their phone in store or carrying out a quick Google search. It’s more important now than ever that brands use data to inform and sculpt their strategies – placing the customer at the heart.  Brands must combine their own first party data from CRM systems and onsite analytics with second party data sharing across brands for group level companies and third party data such as Google and Forrester.  This is the only way to gain a holistic view of their audience and create targeted campaigns that resonate.

What are the benefits of one team leading the global campaign?

Every business is different and will make an individual decision around the best setup for them.  But we’ve found that when a global cross-channel campaign has local markets with their own budgets and running campaigns with local agencies it still benefits from centralised, strategic planning.  A kind of global HQ.  And there are four key areas that the HQ should own:

Innovation testing. Not every market will have the ability or resource to test the latest digital marketing trends. The global HQ can; executing them where suitable and distributing best practice recommendations to all teams.

Education. Centralised training is the key to the success of a campaign. This can be achieved through training sessions, frameworks or educational materials and should be driven by the global team.

Driving efficiency. Centralised campaign management helps in the understanding and execution of campaigns. Local teams can adapt these to specific languages or cultural needs.

Executing strategic campaigns. Key campaigns sometimes need additional media budgets from the standard business as usual activities and can be measured or reported in different ways from local activities. A global team can support local markets in these campaigns without interfering with the day-to-day business.

What is the key to a successful global digital marketing campaign?

Communication. With the digital industry changing so quickly, it is vital that local teams are kept up-to-date with the campaign’s latest developments. Knowledge frameworks are a great way of achieving this globally. They usually consist of three basic elements; training material, training sessions and ad-hoc support. These documents and sessions should cover the basics, be specific about how media channels are executed within the company and most importantly help the local marketers to solve daily business problems. They can initially introduced by the global HQ, but ideally, training will encourage the local markets to discuss and share best practices directly with each other.

Single agency or multiple agencies per channel?

The answer to this question depends on an array of variables. Company structure, process maturity, products and target audiences all play a part in making that final decision. As an agency we see an increased demand for hybrid models, in which a digital lead agency supports the company in setting up the right internal structure and planning multi-country campaigns. The big advantage of the hybrid scenario? Flexibility. In an age when digital marketing expertise is precious and resource heavy, it’s important to find a solution that suits the brand, the audience and the business problem.