Does your marketing need a customer graph?

The relentless rise of social networks in recent years has made many marketers familiar with the concept of the social graph—data about how people are connected to one another—and its power in a marketing context.

Facebook’s social graph has propelled it to a projected annual revenue of around $40B for 2017, driven primarily by advertising sales. Advertisers are prepared to pay a premium for the advanced targeting capabilities that the graph enables, especially when combined with their own customer data; these capabilities will enable Facebook to snag over 20% of digital ad spend in the US this year.

Partly as a result of this, many marketers are thinking about how they can exploit the connectedness of their own customer base, beyond simple “refer a friend” campaigns. Additionally, it’s very common to hear marketing services outfits tack the term graph onto any discussion of user or customer data, leading one to conclude that any marketing organization worth its salt simply must have a graph database.

But what is a graph, and how is it different from a plain old customer database? And if you don’t have a customer graph in your organization, should you get one?

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AI and The Electrification of Marketing

At the end of the nineteenth century, electricity was starting to have a profound effect on the world. As dramatized in the excellent novel The Last Days of Night, Thomas Edison battled with George Westinghouse (the latter aided by Croatian genius/madman Nikola Tesla) for control over the burgeoning market for electricity generation and supply. The popular symbol of the electrical revolution is of course Edison’s famous light bulb, but almost more important was the humble electric motor.

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Is Digital Marketing having its ‘Deep Blue’ moment?

Garry Kasparov will forever be remembered as perhaps the greatest chess player of all time, dominating the game for almost twenty years until his retirement in 2005. But ironically he may be best remembered for the match he failed to win twenty years ago in 1997 against IBM’s Deep Blue chess computer. That watershed moment – marking the point at which computers effectively surpassed humans in chess-playing ability – prompted much speculation and hand-wringing about the coming obsolescence of the human brain, now that a mere computer had been able to beat the best chess grandmaster in the world.

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Building the Perfect Display Ad Performance Dashboard, Part I – creating a measurement framework

There is no shortage of pontification available about how to measure your online marketing campaigns: how to integrate social media measurement, landing page optimization, ensuring your site has the right feng shui to deliver optimal conversions, etc. But there is very little writing about the other side of the coin: if you’re the one selling … Read more