TechBytes with Michelle Engle, SVP of Marketing at Valassis

TechBytes with Michelle Engle, SVP of Marketing at Valassis

Tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at Valassis.

At Valassis, I lead our Marketing organization including brand, product and vertical marketing, events, design/UX, and PR/communications. With everything we do, we are hyper-focused on driving amazing experiences for our clients. Our Marketing approach takes a holistic view of the consumer and our brand, which is driven by the tight connection between visuals, words, and other mediums we utilize.

 At Valassis, how do you evaluate the impact of your MarTech and AdTech tools on Customer Experience, Engagement, and Conversions?

Valassis aims to drive revenue for our clients. We measure ourselves based on the ROI we provide to the brands and retailers we serve. We strive to influence consumer behavior which in turn drives demand for products. The ultimate sign of engagement and conversion is Sales; we provide our clients with both foot traffic measurement and Sales lift measurement. Our technology’s deep understanding of consumer behavior drives excellence in customer experience as consumers interact with ads that ultimately drives unit Sales.

What is the current definition of Marketing Analytics for Digital Campaigns?

Marketing Analytics is fundamentally about understanding the success of your Marketing efforts. Marketers are becoming more sophisticated and we see the advent of Marketing Science as a discipline that represents this. Digital tools are used to measure things like click rate or viewability but, marketers fundamentally know it is much more important to understand the true ROI as well as the drivers behind that success. Marketing Analytics is as much about understanding the “what” behind what happened as the “why” to create Deep Learning and insights to power future activities. This means that the Science component requires technology that is built for today’s Marketing challenges and utilizes the latest techniques to measure the changing landscape of tomorrow.

What’s your opinion about the future of Email Marketing for Retail? Are subscribers flooded with too much of non-relevant emails?

As someone who worked in Email Marketing for the past decade, the phrase “email is dead” continues to be proven false year after year. As individuals change how they consume information and the technologies they utilize, it has become harder and harder to gain mindshare and attention; Flooded inboxes don’t help. However, opted-in retailer email is still a strong mechanism for retailers to reach their consumers. Like with any Marketing channel, email success is about relevant, compelling content. Retailers succeed when they know the consumer and tailor content to their interests and offer compelling calls to action to drive Engagement and Sales.

Which industries have been the fastest to adopting Customer Intelligence tools for their Engagement campaigns?

Industries that own the relationship with the consumer have been the fastest to evolve – including restaurants and retailers. CPG has been handicapped by the role the retailer plays in between the Sale of the product and the end consumer.  However, savvy restaurants and retailers have quickly adapted loyalty programs and other sources to engage with the customer to drive smarter and more informed campaigns.

How can brands build successful Consumer Engagement using Consumer Graph and Influencer Marketing?

The Valassis Consumer Graph is about understanding the customer in an actionable way to drive results. Not every consumer is a target for every brand and nor would they respond to messaging from that brand. The technology narrows the field of potential consumers to ensure the message is getting to the right potential buyers and learns and adapts based on engagement results. Using Data Science technology, the consumer graph finds the responders and allows insight into who is engaging. Influencer Marketing allows the consumer behavior patterns to be matched with the right influencer for the brand to use the power of Influencers to amplify the brand.

How are Publishers evolving with MarTech and SalesTech tools?

Publishers want to be able to monetize in multiple different revenue streams and need to be able to adapt to the changing market that has created new digital mediums of consumption and a changing atmosphere for content delivery. The publisher is similar to the retailer as they own the relationship with the consumer and many have implemented tools to better understand their audience and utilize that information to offer more compelling products to advertisers.

What are the challenges in fully maximizing media performance across digital platforms?

The largest impediment in maximizing media performance today is the existence of walled gardens and the ability to use learnings across digital platforms. Finding and understanding a target audience is a great start but, today there is a hunger to find that audience across multiple platforms. Furthermore, to be efficient in this task, a holistic Omnichannel approach needs to be cohesive in a very disjointed world. Technology is key here to help manage frequency, conversion, and ROI.

What are your predictions about your market/customer base in the next 3 years?

In three years, consumers will still want to have an authentic, relevant relationship with the brands they trust. Not only that, this relationship will be expected to be highly-personalized and unique. The mechanisms and channels to drive this relationship will continue to evolve and with new media and changing consumer patterns on the horizon, the retail and MarTech space will inevitably change as well.

Michelle leads marketing at Valassis. She is a seasoned veteran of the startup and technology space with more than 20 years of experience building products at iContact, Channel Advisor, and JP Morgan. Michelle holds a BA in Economics and International Relations from Bucknell University and an MA in Economics from New York University.

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A leader in marketing technology, Valassis transforms the way brands connect with their ideal consumers using unparalleled predictive intelligence. We turn intent into action by converting billions of signals into meaningful engagement across all channels to drive exponential growth for thousands of local and national brands.

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