Tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at Blue Fountain Media.
I am Vice President and General Manager of Blue Fountain Media (BFM). I oversee all agency activities from Revenue Generation to Expense Management. BFM has a strong history of growth through our technology partnerships – as evidenced by being awarded Acquia Growth Partner of the Year in 2018. While we love Drupal on Acquia, we are also strong proponents of WP Engine, Sitecore and Adobe for CMS.
On the commerce front, BigCommerce has a great product that’s growing very quickly ever since Adobe acquired Magento. Salesforce Commerce Cloud has made key purchases in both B2B and B2C commerce – making them suddenly a player, as well. We tend to make recommendations based on the entirety of our clients MarTech stack and build integrations with many different Marketing Technologies.
Our parent company, Pactera, has a strong partnership with Microsoft and we have been implementing many Microsoft products both internally and for clients as a result of their special relationship.
What do you see as the biggest web trends moving forward?
Can I be the first to call the end of websites as a “thing people build”? It’s so much more evolved and complex than that. At BFM, we enable content to be delivered across many different devices – and Voice Technology is one area we see becoming bigger every day. For us, Voice Technology represents a paradigm shift in how consumers interact with content, as voice-enabled speakers become more deeply intertwined with day-to-day life. Being able to interact with your favorite brand using voice commands, simplifies and humanizes the user experience. It’s an area we see tremendous growth happening in.
Here’s another trend. Privacy regulation comes home. Remember last year’s scramble to comply with GDPR? Well, this EU import is coming to America in January 2020 – and anyone who’s ignored the privacy laws thus far must get in compliance with California’s pending laws or the enforcement will come from much closer to home. I’m sure this will become a more active topic of conversation as that bill becomes law in 6 months or so.
What are the key Advertising Analytics/Metrics that Digital Advertising and Marketing teams should be keenly following?
Brands are collecting more data than ever, but gleaning valuable, actionable insights out of all this data is what remains woefully out of reach for many. Return on Advertising Spend and the ability to attribute Ad Dollars to Revenue Dollars is the most relevant metric for many advertisers who concentrate on direct response advertising.
Other Advertisers are simply trying to win hearts-and-minds, and create brand recognition/affinity so that the next time someone is deciding between Pepsi and Coke, they choose that advertisers brand.
We do a lot of work in the CPG space where the goal is not only to collect useful consumer data (and not run afoul of GDPR) but most importantly, it’s about having the Data Scientists and Analytical tools that will help you fuel smarter strategic decisions across your enterprise.
How is Blue Fountain Media’s strategy transforming the way modern brands do their Marketing and Sales?
In a marketplace defined by Digital Disruption, established brands are continually faced with “what’s next?” moments. Established enterprises must essentially re-invent themselves to be Digital First while still performing their day-to-day functions in order to compete with Digital First competition. That’s not an easy task, especially when tackled from within an organization that’s always done things in an analog environment. We offer businesses solutions, from a fresh perspective, using technology that can essentially transform an enterprises way of working.
Why do brands fail to fully understand Digital Marketing Analytics? How do you train your customers to understand this Analytics better?
For most brands, collecting data isn’t as much of a problem as making sense of it in the context of today’s business environment. Too often, they limit themselves to one analysis tool, typically chosen because it churns out the dashboards their bosses want to see. This can leave out a lot of valuable insights unnoticed. This is why we work with our clients on the importance of understanding and building actionable metrics for each business. The purpose of this is not just to build pretty dashboards, but to impact both brand and business by offering a clearer view into all aspects of company operations of which Digital Marketing is only one component.
Where do you see AR and VR playing a part in the Website Experience?
We see these technologies fast becoming powerful Marketing tools for forward-thinking brands. Why? Not only do they create more engaging online user experiences, but they also alleviate an age-old e-commerce selling conundrum: making a customer comfortable buying a product they can’t “see or touch.” AR and VR promise to knock down that barrier by bringing the brick-and-mortar retail experience to the customer.
The advent of 5G mobile connectivity gives these nascent technologies a shot at going mainstream, as improved signal bandwidth will support their intensive bandwidth requirements. This is why, going forward, we recommend all brands should be considering ways to incorporate these evolving technologies as part of their comprehensive digital strategies.
What are the biggest challenges in measuring the ROI of Social Media Advertising?
Measuring ROI on social media campaigns has always been a challenge, even when specific measurements are incorporated in the activation itself. API’s can change rapidly. Social Media Advertising is part of a long-term Marketing strategy and has a much bigger impact when it comes to introducing customers to the brand and overall customer retention than direct sales. Coming up with engaging content is a huge challenge, but maybe more important is avoiding content that might turn a customer off – like deceptive promotions, a poor customer service experience or not responding to online communications, especially when those are public comments made on the company social media page.
What is your prediction on the disruptive application of AI in B2B and B2C Marketing initiatives?
AI, ML, and Personalization have been the disruptive technology for the last 10 years but they are yet to truly disrupt as they are very difficult to implement elegantly. While AI will certainly be the future, I don’t think it will be disruptive in the foreseeable future. The rollout of 5G technology will be the most disruptive technology to face Digital Marketers in the near future. It will trigger wave upon wave of Marketing Innovation that will spread far and wide, and that’s a very exciting prospect!
Brian Byer is a leading digital expert helping businesses navigate technology trends to create a competitive advantages and ultimately transform organizations. He has over 20 years of business and entrepreneurial experience and is currently the VP and General Manager at NYC’s leading Digital Agency, Blue Fountain Media.