In our series “Inside a Digital Marketer’s Mind”, marketing experts from various industries tell us their thoughts on the current state of Digital Marketing, including trends, developments and predictions for 2018.
This week Christopher Gutknecht, Head of Online Marketing at ecommerce agency norisk GmbH, shares his insight, tips and thoughts.
Digital marketing today
*__"Don’t just hire more interns to do your day-to-day manual labor. Worst case is you’ll be dependent on them some day or regularly have to jump in for them."__*
What developments in digital marketing are you most excited about?
I'm most excited about the infrastructure and tools that are becoming available for tech-driven marketers - be it APIs, cloud platform components, or script execution environments. This opens up endless opportunities of connecting data points across different systems and putting data into action. Productsup is a great example of an open system or hub to rearrange data sets for all kinds of uses.
What are the biggest challenges for digital marketers today?
- __Fragmentation.__ There are so many tools, data sources, and principles that marketers should adhere to in theory, yet there's no simple, scalable solution to implement them. Think of multi-channel attribution, cross-device tracking, offline touchpoints, merchant-specific data sets, all-cost data, return data and margins. In theory, all data should flow into one intelligent management system. This is impossible, unless you’re Amazon, Otto, or Zalando.
- __Amazon.__ Building a compelling case and strategy to stay relevant alongside Amazon and its positive network effects for the consumer, without having to linearly increase the Google Shopping spend to compensate, is certainly a challenge. Direct customer access built on proprietary customer data will be key.
- __Moving more management tasks from rule sets to algorithmic approaches.__ Many marketers have set up large rule sets to handle their edge cases and outliers for important KPIs. New approaches like machine learning, however, are offering "self-trained" management systems. This approach is scary. Not only is it error-prone in the early learning stages, but it's also likely to be more complex, more expensive, and you have a lower level of control. It will be interesting to see which best practices emerge to leverage a machine learning approach without making everything significantly more expensive and complex.
Digital marketing tomorrow
Where is online shopping heading in the next 3 years’ time?
More and more repeat purchases will be handled by voice search. Research intensive purchases will still follow the same path, including multiple devices, search, content, and a bit of social. In addition, Amazon will most likely try to offer even more arguments for “shopper lock-in,” i.e. no need to leave the Amazon ecosystem.
*__"Direct customer access built on proprietary customer data will be key."__*
What would be your main advice to digital marketers to stay relevant?
What marketing tools or software can you not work without?
- The happily married couple of __Google Analytics__ and __Tag Manager.__ These are incredibly powerful and flexible when combined correctly as they allow you to quickly pull different data sets into your reporting.
- __JIRA__. Originally used for ecommerce projects only, we adapted the approach to our performance marketing too. This has really helped keep a solid overview and management of tasks.
- __Productsup__. Our hub to load and recombine data of all sorts – the efficient workflow experience is what sets it apart from cheaper tools.
Is there new marketing software out that you plan to evaluate?
We plan to invest more time in our own technology, tools and machine learning APIs, mainly to understand and structure search queries for PPC/SEO, determine anomalies in performance monitoring and many other ideas.
Are there any marketing tools that you'd like to see developed?
There are two areas where I would see more tool assistance as helpful:
- __Anomaly detection__based on a large data set such as AdWords, Analytics, or Google Search Console in order to pull in daily data of important KPIs and alert noteworthy KPI changes on every level. Finding the right level of alerting is important here. If the right level could be learnt without having to manually determine each instance that would be great. In effect, as opposed to 30 emails per day you'd get an alerting level that matches actual business impact.
- __Promotion automation assistance__. A solution that provides or extracts promotion data, such as “30% off on all Nike running shoes: Only today with code ‘RUN30’,” to make it easier for marketers to transfer the promotion data into systems like AdWords, Facebook, etc. This still requires a huge amount of time and very often is not worth the trouble when it comes to short-term promotions.
Open source vs. paid: Where do you use free software
We only use free software to automate lots of small monitoring and reporting tasks, such as if the tag manager snippet was accidentaly removed from a website. Here I'm taking about the use of Google Sheets, AdWords, and Google app scripts. Combined with Google Data Studio, or Presentations, and different data sources in the background, we saved a lot of time not needing to review client presentations anymore.
What you didn't know about Christopher
What are your top 3 favorite industry news publications?
- For web analytics: I really enjoyed __Avinahsh Kaushik__’s thought leadership in the area of digital analytics, especially his “Marketing & Analytics Intersect” Newsletter.
- For SEO: __DeepCrawl__ has a great summary newsletter on the latest Google webmaster hangouts with John Mueller.
- For PPC: __PPCHero__ is a great resource for in-depth tactical PPC advice with an above-average posting frequency.
Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I’d say I’m extremely rational and focused at work but play the most childish games with my little 1.5 year old daughter. I suppose it’s a natural balance.
Since its inception in 2010, norisk GmbH has grown to become one of the leading (e)commerce agencies in southern Germany. With 35 employees, the Munich-based agency aims to maximize synergies between online store development and performance marketing. norisk manages more than 15 client accounts on Productsup and leverages the platform for various data transformation purposes beyond product feeds, such as onsite search and automated AdWords campaigns.
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