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Use Data to Select Your Marketing Software Platform

One of my favorite quotes regarding data comes from Sherlock Holmes, and is as follows; “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

This quote is applicable when considering your social & mobile software platform. Often times a company will select a software platform without properly evaluating their own internal data around true needs, capabilities and goals. As a marketer, one regret I have first hand experience with is selecting the wrong software vendor for search a number of years ago. During the evaluation process, I focused too much on price, how soon we could be live with the software or how “easy” the user interface was to use. What I found was pre-contractual satisfaction followed by a cancelling of that very contract six months later as the software didn’t address what I truly needed; something I would have known had I focused on the right data rather than the easy data.

So what do you truly need from your ad tech software platform vendor?

First, define yourself:

1.  Company size & scale

Are you an SMB, larger mid-market or enterprise company? Would you like to spend $50k, $500k or $1M+ per month on Facebook for example (which represents 65% of all spend across social media marketing)

2.  Vertical & marketing channel definition

E-commerce, travel, lead generation, pure play digital (online only)? Social, mobile, search, display?

3.  Internal capabilities

Do you have an in-house performance marketing team (or plans to build one) that will use the software or do you need managed service?

4.  Technology & optimization

Many software platforms offer “bells and whistles” such as integrations with social listening platforms for instance, but is that what’s going to drive ROI? Not in the world of performance marketing. For ROI and lifetime value based campaigns, focus on platforms with the best technology and optimization. Keep in mind that these types of software platforms will have a steeper learning curve, however, the long-term performance benefits significantly outweigh the growing pains.

5.  Predictive analytics

A lot of marketing campaigns focus around what’s happening now or what happened last week/month. But what about the future? What’s going to happen next? Is applying predictive trends to current and future campaigns and strategies important to you?

6.  Price

Do you need a simplistic tool at a low cost or are you looking for deep data integration to run ROI based performance marketing campaigns at scale? When considering price, first think about value over time. Time is one luxury none of us as marketers can afford to waste, and one of the most frustrating ways to waste time as a marketer is canceling contracts. Think about what you’re going to need 6-12 months down the road for data integration, optimization and analytics. You’ll find in the end that you would gladly spend 4 weeks (instead of 1 or 2 weeks) getting set up if that means long-term success (rather than canceling after 6 months and having to go through the platform evaluation process again).

7.  Data ownership and transparency

Do you need/want to own your data? Be able to access it whenever and however you want? Do you want to be able to access the details behind your campaign optimizations?

8.  Success (vision)

How do you define success? What are your 2014 marketing goals? Can you hit them with your current platform or strategy? Should your data and pixel integration be deeper? Should you be more focused on establishing predictable daily/weekly/monthly revenue from your marketing efforts that you can accurately track?

Now that you see some of the core pieces of data to identify internally before selecting a software platform, you might wonder how we at Nanigans define ourselves, let’s review:

1. Company size & scale?

Nanigans typically works with global enterprise companies. We run over $350M of ad spend through our software annualized, with multiple clients running over $1M per month on Facebook alone.

2. Vertical & marketing channel definition

Our core vertical is E-commerce, followed by pure play digital (online only), lead gen, gaming and travel. Marketing channels consist of social and mobile. 

3. Internal capabilities

We’re a software company with over 150 employees, 70+ of which are dedicated to our tech and the rest to customer training & success. The majority of our advertisers use our software in-house and those that need managed or consulting service leverage our in-house team or exclusive certified partner program.

4. Technology & optimization

Our software is built around four pillars:

1

These four pillars allow our marketers to go to market with a comprehensive strategy focused around ROI and predictive customer behavior.

5. Predictive analytics

We value present and historical data at Nanigans in order to aptly apply those learnings to future campaigns and predict (using automated bidding strategies) the next wave of your best customers. Combining maturity curves, affinity models and cohort analysis reporting allows us to use revenue data to scale campaigns and identify new market opportunities with justifiable confidence levels.

6. Price

Since we believe we’re putting the most powerful tool in the hands of the best marketers around the globe, it’s understandable that we’re not the cheapest software in the industry (but as you know from reading Nanigans marketing materials, we don’t focus on up-front costs but rather ROI over time by making the right investments). Nanigans is pioneering the next generation of media buying, one that doesn’t focus on cost but rather the value of media spend. This is a dynamic shift in the market, moving marketers away from buying on a cost basis and buying on a lifetime value and return basis.

7. Data ownership and transparency

Nanigans gives marketers ownership of all data, exportable at any step along the way. The software is 100% transparent and you can even examine the algorithmic change log step-by-step if helpful to you!

8. Success (vision)

Nanigans’ vision is being the first SaaS platform for in-house marketers across social and mobile that allows marketers to maximize return on ad spend by utilizing predictive lifetime value. Focused on ROI performance marketing at scale, Nanigans is applying machine learning algorithms and analytics that predict and project how audiences will behave and purchase over time to programmatic media buying. This is the only comprehensive market strategy in the industry to apply maturity curves, cohort analysis, layered data and affinity modeling.

So remember, there are seemingly endless options for marketers looking to select a marketing software platform these days. Before seriously considering any, first look inward and identify your own company and what needs you have based on internal data. Once you have a good understanding of what you need, then take the next step as a marketer and read the marketing materials (which will be an initial sign of product quality and vision) of considered vendors. Which vendor would you consider the thought leader? Who relates best to you? Who speaks to you and your brand? Do you consider the quality of marketing material to be genuine?  Once you’ve gone through these steps, the right vendor for you will illuminate like a light bulb switching from off to on. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us at marketing@nanigans.com.

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