Georgia is a hotbed for many technologies, but increasingly the state and the Atlanta metropolitan area, has been turning heads because of its digital marketing chops. In addition to building a very strong base of digital marketing technology successes, the area has also proven to have deep talent pools of digital marketing professions – inside agencies and corporations – that are helping to reshape today’s marketing landscape.
When TAG asked me to write about the topic I was somewhat overwhelmed. Then it hit me, the best way to dig into digital marketing, what it’s about, where it’s going, and why Atlanta is leading in this area, was to tap into some of the brightest marketers and marketing organizations here in Georgia.
Here’s what some of them had to say…about digital marketing:
Q1. How do you define digital marketing?
NCR | Corinne Cuthbertson, VP of Creative, Digital and Experiential Marketing
Digital marketing is the practice of delivering a company’s message to the right target audience through electronic means (computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.) using a variety of technology platforms. The tactics and approach chosen for digital marketing are grounded in a solid understanding of your target audience and that understanding drives you to choose the best mix of tactics.
VeriFone | Leah K. Roscoe, Vice President of Global Marketing
For us, it’s a very broad category. Our global team oversees web, social, email, and the use of new technology for marketing purposes. We’ve tried just about everything and continue to watch B-to-B marketing trends for what’s next. It’s really an exciting and fun part of our job.
Brightree | Terrie O’Hanlon, Chief Marketing Officer
I think that the promise of digital marketing makes possible on a mass scale one-to-one marketing. You make that promise real, and you can make your marketing more of a relationship – a service relationship – really understanding what somebody wants and then serving it up to them in a personalized but affordable way. And that’s not possible without digital technology.
Aptean | Todd Craig, Vice President of Marketing
I think a good marketing program combines both digital and traditional methods.
In today’s world you should have a strategy to market to prospects on as many platforms as possible, speaking the language and style of each individual vehicle, but maintaining the same branding and messaging.
Q2. How has technology changed your marketing department?
Craneware | Ann Marie Brown, Executive Vice President of Marketing
It has allowed us to measure and manage marketing tactics more effectively. This in turn has required us to learn new ways of thinking about implementing marketing tactics and to learn new software tools.
Piedmont Healthcare | Matt Gove, CMO and Senior Vice President of External Affairs
Everybody who works in my department has to have some level of digital expertise. Even areas that you might say are not digital natives – look at media relations or even events. Those still have digital execution and having a clear understanding of how digital has affected the way our customers consume content is critical in how we determine which media outlets to use, how we release stories, and what that process looks like.
VeriFone’s Roscoe: Digital and digital technology is a consideration in everything we do now. We still do a lot of traditional marketing, but where we can, we supplement traditional with digital or we replace it with digital for the economic benefit. Everyone on my teams has to stay abreast of technology and the impact on marketing. As a result the digital marketing team participates in everything from planning to execution. Finally, because we are in an expanding tech industry we have to track digital best practices to stay current.
NCR’s Cuthbertson: The role of a typical marketing manager is starting to look more like that of an IT manager. We need to hire people with more technical acumen than we have in the past so that they can do three important things:
- Partner with our IT organization to develop a marketing technology infrastructure to meet diverse company needs.
- Evaluate and purchase marketing technologies that are compatible and scalable.
- Operate these technologies at peak efficiency to speed adoption of digital best practices and save the company money while driving revenue.
We also need to hire people who are data oriented and have the skills to interpret the data we glean from the many different technologies we currently employ to help us test and learn.
Q3. Is there a digital marketing strategy, tactic, channel or technology that is most exciting to you today as a marketer?
Aderant | Ian Oxman, Vice President of Marketing
What excites me today is evolving the use of marketing automation platforms from tracking and conducting campaign level activity to now tracking and conducting activities at the individual contact level. Identifying prospects on our website, monitoring their interaction with our content, scoring their behavior, and immediately following up with marketing and sales activities that add benefit to the prospect’s experience is powerful. It’s certainly a new world of visibility and possibilities for marketers today.
Piedmont Healthcare’s Gove: Yes, and in healthcare particularly. I’m obsessed with two things: transparency and what that means in the context of consumer choice. And the connection of CRM or CRM-like tools with marketing automation.
Craneware’s Brown: It’s exciting how many of the tactics and technologies are being combined: for example, video, mobile and social media. You have to be careful not to get swept up in the excitement of the “coolness” of new media but remember to ask, “Will this help our company to better engage customers or prospects to want to purchase our solutions?” With that in mind, I wonder if people aren’t becoming overwhelmed by all the digital marketing and communications, and responding positively to the “traditional” marketing tactics like receiving a marketing piece in the mail or a phone call.
NCR’s Cuthbertson: I’m excited about a tool we are evaluating to visualize and report on all the data we have in a more meaningful way to the organization. NCR is a data driven company that is run by the numbers. The new tool we are evaluating and launching will help marketing be seen as more analytical and data oriented. I’m also excited about a tool we are implementing in social to help us listen to social conversations and understand the appropriate way to engage.
Brightree’s O’Hanlon: I am very enamored with video and animation – and the reason is you can passively consume that information and it makes people do things in a more creative way than simply writing a bunch of texts or sending emails or doing a brochure. It allows an organization to make its purpose come alive in a way that’s ‘edutainment’ – you know you’re educating and entertaining at the same time and then aspiring to action. It’s the digital form factor I like the best.
Q4. Does Georgia have the talent pool needed for digital marketing success?
Aderant’s Oxman: Definitely! UGA, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and Kennesaw State University are graduating a terrific pool of young potential marketers. However, most of these graduates don’t know that their skills are of great need in marketing departments. For the more senior, experienced marketing professional, Atlanta remains a hidden secret of technology industry talent.
Aptean’s Craig: Without question. Just having strong universities in the state that are also very active in our our technology community opens up students to the many different roles they can occupy within a technology company. It’s not uncommon these days to have someone in marketing that started out in industrial engineering and choose a different path.
Q5. Why do you think Georgia and Atlanta have such a strong digital marketing industry?
VeriFone’s Roscoe: Young people want to live in the Southeast, and we have a great mix of creative, marketing, business and technology programs in our state universities and colleges. With so many Fortune 500 brands and global companies, it’s also a great place to start a career client-side or agency-side.
Brightree’s O’Hanlon: We have a ton of great universities here and then we have a whole video, movie, music, and animation industry – a creative culture that’s growing here. We have the talent, and digital marketing is less confined to a particular physical location. In the old ad agency days, everyone had to gather and look at boards on the wall. Today everything is electronically shared, and people can easily communicate and collaborate regardless of location. That means the core group of people can really be anywhere. For those reasons I think we’re a hotbed of creative thinking.
Net Net…Georgia Gets Digital Marketing
These marketing executives have proven to me that we are currently in a state that is doing more than its part to lead a new renaissance in the marketing industry. Ignited by technology – much of which is Georgia grown – marketers are re-writing the rules of their industry.
It’s an exciting time for those of us in marketing and is exceptionally exciting if you live in Georgia.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2014 edition of Hub Magazine.For a digital or print version, visit: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/749861