Monday, April 29, 2013

Federated Marketing

How do you architect a solution in the face of complexity?

One of the most memorable ads I've seen is for Kohler when a couple meets an obviously successful architect and puts a faucet on the desk and says "Design around this."    Designing a marketing environment for a company with a lot of different business units presents the need to find that faucet - the central idea around which all else revolves.

To me, that idea is the 'segment' - a group of consumers with whom we'd like to communicate.   A segment can be large, as in 'women 18-49' for lifestyle magazines, or a size of one, as in a CEO looking for information on manufacturing facilities.

Reaching the same audience from several different points of view ( the story of the 7 blind men and the elephant comes to mind) requires not only coordination across the various styles of marketing governance involved - editorial calendars, media buys, and campaign management to name just three - but the sharing of appropriate information.

Things that should be shared:
  • Knowledge about the segment - who are they, what have they done, what do they respond to?  Managing segments across the enterprise should be the first objective.
  • Any available context about current or previous interactions; this requires establishing a set of  standards about what we mean about common terms like location.
  • A common view of content as a set of assets that are tagged in such a way that we can begin to analyze how it works (which in turn means linking it to sales data).
It begins to look like this...a federated collection of business units sitting between the external world of Audience & Context and the internal service world of Content & Information.

And unlike the Kohler ad, I've purposely left technology examples off of this picture, I find that they tend to a) predefine an architecture or at least a biased point of view and b) confuse the business stakeholders with terms they don't really need to know like SSAS and SSRS.

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