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The 6 Symptoms of Hidden Marketing Factories

Posted By: SGK December 05, 2019

This blog post has been contributed by Francois Estellon, Chief Technology Officer, SGK.

As long as marketing operations remain siloed, it’s impossible for marketers to develop a universal strategy and point of view that is capable of driving the transformation required to create a truly cohesive omnichannel experience for consumers.

If technology solutions like Content Management Systems, DAMs, Labeling Artwork Management Systems, PIMs, PXMs and ETLs are applied in a channel-centric way, then they will just contribute to the noise.

READ: Competing in a State of Content Entropy

Moreover, it prevents the organization from moving forward and ultimately compromises the success of every new product launch and every campaign.

Below, we walk through the symptoms of hidden marketing factories and outline steps brands can take to address them.

1. Parallel Operations

At the most fundamental level, you have multiple groups internally operating in parallel — often using multiple external agencies — disconnected and misaligned with little to no visibility of what each is doing on behalf of the brand. Right from the start, the brand’s voice and integrity begins to dilute.

2. Unclear Decision Making

Because there are numerous silos with numerous owners and limited visibility across marketing operations, there is no reliable source of metrics to quantify the performance of content and the marketing operations supply chain itself.

This significantly hinders the ability to launch new products quickly — to pivot swiftly in response to marketplace changes…to improve campaign results — to protect the brand’s equity which has been built from millions upon millions of dollars invested over many years, and to create a seamless experience for the consumer.

Essentially, limited data results in limited insight which leads to sub-optimal decision-making.

3. Too Many Cooks

With too many people involved in too many disparate processes, with little to no oversight of the entire marketing ecosystem, yes indeed, too many cooks “spoil the broth.” everyone wants to be informed, everyone wants a piece of everything and yet no single authority is accountable.

4. Turf Wars

Hidden factories have poorly defined boundaries which leads to gaps, missed opportunities, pockets of resistance, building of fiefdoms, and ultimately waste. Guardians with hidden (or unhidden) agendas will emerge to protect or extend boundaries in ways that don’t serve the broader interest of marketing.

Self-preservation rules and a culture of internal competition is constantly at war negatively impacting the investment in marketing a brand.

5. A Race to Nowhere

When the brand becomes subordinate to the egos of individuals, marketing the brand becomes a race to nowhere. This is quite a high price to pay which organizations simply can no longer afford.

It’s almost impossible to create a connected experience outside an organization’s walls, when everything inside it is disconnected. Where does this leave the brand? Subordinate to the interests of many.

6. Organizational Inertia

All of this leads to an immobility or paralysis of an organization’s ability to perform with agility. Transforming a marketing operations ecosystem to serve the brand requires knocking down marketing silos across the enterprise.

Rooting out hidden marketing factories requires a deep audit by marketing operations experts, an executive commitment to a change management initiative, and a phased implementation plan.

Here’s what we recommend:

Don’t try to address everything at once. Before you start digging into technologies, get your house in order first, meaning, set yourself up for success by developing a single vision and strategy for centralizing your marketing operations. This must be unique to every company.

WATCH: In Today’s Content Environment: “Hidden Factories” Undermine Success

Then, spend the right amount of time understanding the ins and outs of your current marketing supply chain. Assuming you are clear about where you are now and where you want to be in 12-24 months, get it on paper.

Build and empower a core team to prioritize change, remove obstacles and manage change. Make all change owners accountable to the core team and ensure that they can clearly articulate the journey.

Next, work on restructuring your marketing operations to be channel-agnostic. A properly designed ecosystem will remove barriers to change — from implementing basic marketing technologies to enabling you to maximize the value of progressive innovations.

Can technology help with this?

From a technology standpoint, companies must form their own point of view on the evolution of the marketing technology landscape. A myriad of narrow tech solutions is not the answer. Companies must think more broadly in two senses:

- The solution must be aligned with the organization’s vision for its own evolving marketing ecosystem. We’re not all in the same place as far as digital maturity goes, nor are we all headed in the same direction.

- The solution must evolve marketing operations, not just the technology. Ultimately, it must improve marketing’s ability to seamlessly deliver the right content at the right time to the right audience in the right way, while maximizing value to the organization. It must unify the thinking and behaviors of people and processes and the flow of work.

What can companies expect from transforming their marketing ecosystem?

We’ve seen companies unlock close to $10 million in hidden value. Some have been able to reduce process steps by 25%, content syndication time by 35%, project cycle times by 50% and production artwork corrections by 38%.

While the results are different for each company, these kinds of results demonstrate that there’s a lot of value in a company cleaning up its share of the trillion-dollar marketing mess.

The time has come. The balance has shifted for marketing. Historically, it has always been more art than science. While art will always be important, technology has made marketing more science than art today.

It is key to helping marketers make better decisions around investments and to globally scale solutions (which includes processes and people) that enable a company to be ready for the next wave of disruption, because it’s coming.

Over the next five years, the pace of disruptions will only accelerate. Wise organizations will prioritize getting their marketing houses in order now, so they can focus more on the activities that drive value for them.

By untangling omnichannel challenges and eliminating hidden marketing factories within their walls, wise companies will be setting themselves up for a future than enables them to pivot with ease whenever they want to — hereby taking much greater control of their future.

About Francois Estellon: As Chief Technology Officer for SGK, Francois Estellon is responsible for defining the vision of the role that technology plays in the development of our products and services, for enhancing the delivery of our current and future products and services with software solutions, and for leveraging the data in our business to create more value for our clients. Estellon studied industrial engineering at the Grenoble Institute of Technology in France and received a master’s in supply chain and manufacturing management from Linkoping University in Sweden.

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The Role of Technology in Content Delivery in APAC

Posted By: SGK March 11, 2019

This blog post has been contributed by Gilly Santos, IT Operations and Infrastructure Manager APAC, SGK.

Technology continually evolves with new research and development projects undertaken all over the world. Companies today need to adapt to stay ahead and indispensable in their industry.

How effective content delivery is in reaching consumers is closely related to how technologically inclined these companies have become at this stage. Leveraging technology for content delivery places companies in a stronger competitive position.

Two technologies that have yet to be fully explored by companies are Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). It is important to note the difference between AR and VR; though similar in many ways, they are not.

The most significant differentiation point between the two is the immersion capability they enable the user to experience. VR functions entirely on a computer-generated world, where the user encounters an immersive environment based on artificial scenarios and objects; losing contact with the real-world environment.

On the other hand, AR "adds-on" to reality by overlaying digital information to it while maintaining contact with the real-world environment during the experience. This technology allows users to interact with "AR created" objects while in contact with the real world.

How can we leverage such technological advances to improve content delivery?

Last Christmas, a retail complex in Singapore implemented immersive content interaction to provide a unique shopper experience to its customers. A Christmas themed land was created with VR installed to give the shoppers a 360 degree VR sleigh experience providing patrons with an unforgettable shopping experience — an innovative idea to increase seasonal sales that generated heavy traffic and positive feedback from customers.

Recently, an Australian winery launched bottles of wine with talking labels that was powered by an AR app. By hovering the app over the wine label, consumers could watch the characters featured on the label come to life to share a personal story about the brand. It was the first time such an Australian winery integrated an advanced technological application to its product, allowing the brand to have a competitive advantage over other brands in the market.

Above are some examples of how brands can include AR and VR to deliver content; but how about taking those examples to the next level?

Imagine being able to walk through the supermarket from your phone. Yes, it is easy to do grocery shopping online nowadays, however, scrolling through product after product may feel like a chore — which does not provide the satisfaction of taking a stroll through the retail store.

Instead, imagine leisurely walking through the aisles, picking up items on your list and the items that aren’t but still ends up in the trolley (even that irresistible pack of Tim Tams!) via a virtual environment. Sounds cool, right? The experience could be further enhanced because the possibilities to expose brands become limitless in a digitalised world.

READ: How Digital Virtual Experiences Reinforce the Physical Environment

There are two significant ways on how AR and VR can create business value. The first way is based on improving performance across the value chain which relates to product research, development, design, marketing and many other areas and second, by enhancing the products themselves.

AR and VR are redefining the concept of content delivery in various ways, evolving customer experience to another level, and adding that extra bit of oomph!

It also encourages companies to expand their conversation with clients on including experiential marketing by adding the right tech to bring their vision to life. A unique shopper experience is created where one walks away with a fond memory and connection (to some degree) with the product - every brands' ultimate goal!

Strategic implementation of these virtual platforms reveals the success rate of content delivery as well as how willing the company is to explore new technologies to be ahead of the competition.

About Gilly Santos: Gilly is an experienced Information Technology operations manager with demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. Skilled in commercial, servers, infrastructure, leadership, and security, Gilly earned his MBA with a focus in business/corporation communications from the University of Roehampton.

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The Connected Package: The Next Generation in Brand Efficiency, Interaction and Appeal

Since the beginning, the primary purpose of packaging has always been to create brand appeal. But in recent years, a secondary purpose has become just as important: Conveying information.

These two functions are increasingly at odds, as barcodes, QR codes and copy-heavy product details competing for space against package design. What if all that information could be linked from an easily scanned watermark embedded invisibly within the design itself?

Welcome to the new connected package. Learn about it in our latest issue of Patterns. 

For this and four more articles from SGK’s global marketing experts, read Making Connections: Brand Insights from Around the World. 

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Keeping it Real: The Package is Your Front-Line Defense Against Counterfeiting

Technology is awesome. Technology can also be awful. Brand counterfeiters are using information technologies and tools to create counterfeit products that are sold into markets around the world as the real thing. Counterfeit products can seriously undermine the performance and reputation of your brand.

But there are ways to beat the counterfeiters at their own game. That means using product authentication technologies that are far beyond their reach. Read this article from Saueressig GmbH, a new member of the SGK family, for methods that are easy to implement but practically impossible to defeat.

For this and four more articles on improving brand performance from concept to consumer, read the complete Patterns report, Innovation Everywhere. Download Patterns, Issue 1, 2015.

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Technology For All: When Digital & Mobile Tech Transcends Age, Purpose and Place

Posted By: SGK January 20, 2014

While digital and mobile technology may have been considered a luxury and purely recreational a decade ago, it has become a cornerstone of lives everywhere at an astounding rate. Not just for the younger generations who have the disposable income to afford it, its beneficiaries now span from kids to Boomers and up and down the socioeconomic ladder. 

At the same time, its purpose in both developed and developing nations has been broadening, serving not just business and entertainment purposes, but also impacting education, healthcare, and social welfare. And finally, while the hubs of technology have largely rested in Silicon Valley, London, and Tel Aviv, advances in this space continue to bloom from more unexpected regions of the world that are finding new uses for technologies and developing solutions for their unique markets.

MARKETING TAKEAWAYS 
Expectations for whom technology serves and how it’s used are changing. How your brand leverages technology to interact with your consumers should be given more scrutiny than ever. 

Rethink your audience and what segment your brand can potentially target. Take a second look at what purpose your tech offering or campaign is serving and what your consumer may expect of it. While technology is spreading its wings across the globe, where it is being used at home is also being broadened—seek to understand how location is affecting how your consumer is interacting with technology and how you might leverage location to build a stronger brand engagement.

See how consumers’ expectations are changing as technology spreads its wings. Download Sightings from Anthem, part of our brand development group.

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A Measured Life: Technology & Data That Motivates

Posted By: SGK January 15, 2014
A Measured Life: Technology & Data That Motivates

Human behavior has always been difficult to change. It’s no wonder that we all seem to have similar new year’s resolutions: be more active, get more sleep, eat better food. We want to live healthier lives, but most of us lack the resources to keep us motivated and focused on achieving those goals. 

Cue technology and data. 

More and more it seems technology is filling this support structure gap, empowering us to act in ways that fundamentally change the way we live. Here are prime examples of how companies are leveraging technology and the power of data to improve lives.

•    Wearable technology like the FitbitShine, and Basis are designed to be paired with a simple mobile apps. Each helps you set weekly activity and sleep goals, track your progress, and score your daily effort. And if you’re naturally competitive, these applications also have a gamification element so you can compete with friends.

•    Need to take Rover for a walk more often? Fitbark actually tracks the activity of your canine companion, awarding you an overall BarkScore for your pet parenting ability. Want to improve your driving? Automatic plugs right into your car’s OBD port and will help you break the habit of sudden breaking and overly quick accelerations by awarding you a driving score after each trip. 

•    If you’re trying to initiate some new habits, these two apps are good examples of technology enablers. Full, an iPhone app, lets you track almost anything, while GreenApes is a social media app that educates and inspires users to lead more sustainable lives through their everyday decisions.

As a marketer, consider how can your brand can help consumers achieve personal goals. Perhaps you too can bring data or gamification to your products to deliver a more complete solution and experience that can positively impact consumers’ daily lives and behaviors. For more ideas and insight, download the latest issue of SIGHTINGS from Anthem, part of our brand development group.

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A Lesson for Marketers in the Demise of Flash

Posted By: SGK February 21, 2012

A recent Forbes guest column by a SAP executive on the demise of Flash as a programming platform made us think of the important decisions marketers make every day. The column points out that one pundit in 2007 branded the iPhone “a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks.”

At that time, observers were frustrated or skeptical of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ decision not to employ Flash as a development language for the iPhone, forcing developers to use Apple’s xCode. Flash was the dominant language then, and Jobs’ decision seemed dangerously stubborn.

But it was wise. As the column points out, xCode means its hard to design a bad-looking app (esthetics are core to Apple’s brand) and that Apple retains a business interest in every iPhone app that reaches the consumer. Today, Flash is on its way out.

Jobs and Apple saw into the future better than many others in the industry, but this foresight stemmed from something else: an understanding of what their brand stood for and what principles (such as control over platforms and assets) were the foundation of those brand values. If it had gone with Flash, Apple would have undervalued itself. With every decision a brand marketer makes today, these questions must be asked: Am I undervaluing my brand? Is it worth it in the long run?