Over the past decade, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has been the prevailing term associated with companies that wish to manage their sales funnels and revenue streams. However, with the explosion of marketing technology, multichannel marketing, and new pressures on revenue generation, companies have realized that they need to look beyond their CRM systems. The current CRM systems do not allow these companies to effectively manage their “audience” - in real time.
Audience Relationship Management (ARM) is both a technical and strategic approach designed to maximize your audience engagement. ARM allows you to develop new ways to attract and grow your audience, unify the audience data, provide robust data governance and management and, of course, provide you with ways to activate the audience data to increase revenue, create new products, and provide long term value to your organization.
Industry Landscape Changes
The B2B media industry has experienced massive transformation over the past few years. Clients have started to focus extensively on account-based management (ABM) as the primary methodology for reaching B2B organizations and the key decision-makers within the organization. With this new strategic focus, media companies are realizing the need to develop even stronger strategies for audience engagement, audience management, and audience monetization. Audience Relationship Management (ARM) represents the most advanced management methodology of audience engagement data, behavioral analytics, content consumption and core account data.
One of the major factors affecting the media landscape today is the emergence of new competitors who are not based on the classic media model of audience, brand and content. Instead, these new companies are leveraging identity graphs, data scraping and numerous other data acquisition models that focus on getting advertisers to zero in on just the profile information, not on the methodology or content utilized to acquire the information.
For example, Microsoft with its acquisition of LinkedIn and its new partnership with Dun & Bradstreet, is making it clear that data is a critical part of integrating marketing and sales activities. Axiom, with the recent acquisition of Live Ramp, continues their activity of building consumer profiles by partnering with data exchanges, ad exchanges and private trading desks.
It is clear that the B2B media landscape has never been more competitive.
Audience Behavior Changes
Data has become the primary way for marketers and advertisers to build relevant and contextual marketing campaigns. It is estimated that 70-80% of the B2B buying cycle is now completed online without the interaction of a salesperson. This gives media companies the unique opportunity to not only be part of a company's revenue model, but it also opens them up to higher level of accountability and transparency. As B2B buyers continue to grow and become more sophisticated, and as ad blocking and other screening technologies continue to gain a foothold, delivering value beyond the norm will become imperative for the long-term survival of B2B marketing and media companies.
One major factor contributing to the need for Audience Relationship Management has been the massive investment that companies are making in big data and analytics. IDC estimates that revenues for big data and business analytics will grow from $130 billion in 2016 to more than $203 billion in 2020. We are also seeing significant investment from businesses in new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Forrester predicts that there will be a 300% increase in investment in artificial intelligence technologies in 2017 as compared with 2016. B2B marketers are using data and analytics to create accountable marketing programs and they are expecting their media partners to engage in a similar business evolution.
Media Revenue Model Changes
Traditional display ad revenues, in both digital and print environments will continue to face pricing pressure as ad inventory continues to explode. In order to respond to these pressures, media companies must build out robust top of funnel programs in order to be perceived as essential or strategic to their marketing partners. Deep audience data, comprehensive account profiles and contact data is the lifeblood of advanced lead generation, event and research programs. These programs tend to attract top dollar and have not faced the same pricing pressures as traditional media product offerings.
Audience Relationship Management is an effective and comprehensive way to look at your number one asset: your audience, and ensure that you are monetizing them in the most efficient and effective way for your long-term business goals.
Challenges in Implementation
The first-generation solutions for media partners usually required massive technology investment, expensive in-house expertise and was subject to high failure rates due to the complexity and lack of familiarity of solutions. The advent of cloud platforms’, pay-as-you-go financial models and advanced APIs for data migration has simplified the solution landscape. It is critical that internal media teams work to understand what data is most vital to their marketers and event sponsors. Many companies don't know what to measure in order to create maximum value, which is why it is essential that companies capture behavioral data, contextual data, purchasing intent and demographic profiles that can all collectively contribute to a marketer's perception of the audience. These are the core components of Audience Relationship Management.
Audience Relationship Management Consists of Four Key Functions
Acquiring new data from every key customer interaction including website browsing, content engagement, event attendance, research subscription and even publication delivery.
It is essential to unify acquired customer data with all content interactions, commerce transactions, and even third-party data. These days, the unification is the foundation for data-driven analytics and insights.
Active management and data governance of an audience takes into account multiple factors. One critical factor is to effectively manage communication fatigue ensuring that your audience is not bombarded with incessant offerings from multiple business units in your company. It is also essential to use advanced analytics to create efficiencies in marketing expenditures. This management will lengthen your relationship with your audience and improve long-term ROI.
An effectively managed audience can be activated to create multiple commerce opportunities. This can include event attendance, research opportunities, subscriptions, monetization of advertising, product development, lead generation and direct marketing activities. Audience activation is the fastest path to revenue growth and profitability.
Finding a Trusted Partner
4 key elements should be considered when selecting a trusted partner to implement Audience Relationship Management.
You need to work with a partner who has a complete understanding of the media and information services landscape. Given the complexity of the modern media company (including multiple revenue streams that range from data subscriptions, to continuing education, event attendance, event sponsorship and of course classic advertising), it is critical to work with a partner who understands which audiences are most applicable to which products and the business metrics for strong financial performance.
Data will always need to be migrated, managed, governed, and integrated with numerous systems. Working with a provider who has worked with data at scale across thousands of engagements is very important. This data is too critical to your long-term success to trust it to new entries into the market.
Quality is an obvious requirement for any new partner. However, it is important to look at several key areas. First, can the solution handle data at scale or on a large scale? Can they do it quickly? Are their systems high performance enough to deliver information in real time? Second, do they have a good support infrastructure in case you face issues or need implementation support? Third, do they have a quality road map that illustrates their continued commitment to innovation and evolution?
Does the company have long-term relationships and are they considered strategic to the delivery of quality experiences by their clients? The long-term relationships are possibly the number one indicator of a partner who will be committed to your success.