Digital Marketing

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Measure Your KPI Alignment

A new MIT SMR study measured the role of KPIs in aligning an organization toward its objectives. Three categories emerged: Measurement Leaders, Measurement Capable, and Measurement Challenged. Take this self-assessment to uncover challenges and opportunities based on your score — and find out what group you are in.

Your Customers May Be the Weakest Link in Your Data Privacy Defenses

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  • Read Time: 5 min 

Many ethical, lawfully managed businesses have consumer data they aren’t legally authorized to possess, obtained from a surprising source: their customers, who inadvertently share the personal data of family, friends, and colleagues. And in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the enactment of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, peer-dependent privacy is emerging as a critical consideration for businesses.

The Right Way to Market to Millennials

Hiring a celebrity to promote a brand is a standard marketing tactic. However, companies trying to reach social-media-savvy millennials are turning to an alternative option: connecting with “micro-influencers” whose Instagram or YouTube followers see them as more authentic advocates for specific products.

Pass the Word: Peer Influence Has Big Impact on Online Market Dynamics

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  • Read Time: 4 min 

A study of cryptocurrency markets provides some new insight into why people make the choices they do online. Crypto-currency traders used bots that executed over 100,000 small trades in 217 cryptocurrencies over the course of six months. Analysis reveals that traders are very susceptible to peer influences. The design of the online exchanges also appears to contribute to activity if functionality, graphical user interfaces, or application programming interfaces promote collective excitement.

From Winning Games to Winning Customers: How Data Is Changing the Business Side of Sports

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  • Read Time: 5 min 

Sports analytics first proved its case on the field and in the front office, but as the practice spreads into business operations, the industry is addressing adoption challenges found in many sectors. At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, speakers from teams and leagues discussed how they are using analytics to boost revenue, and how they’re managing transitions in culture and strategy.

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The Power of Product Recommendation Networks

Much as relationships in social networks have been analyzed to understand and influence how ideas flow among people, researchers wondered whether it might be possible to use the structure of product recommendation networks online to understand or influence how demand flows among products. The short answer is yes, and the implications for marketers are important.

Who Gets Caught in Online Echo Chambers?

Echo chambers — that is, exposure to information that closely mimics our own experiences and points of view — are burgeoning. In the online world, personalization algorithms lead to even more personalization over time. New research that looked at the way people navigate through videos of TED Talks highlights which types of people are most at risk for falling into extreme echo chambers. The research also suggests ways organizations can help content viewers navigate the noise.

Moving Sales With Trajectory-Based Mobile Advertising

Anindya Ghose, Heinz Riehl Chair Professor of Business at New York University’s Stern School of Business, is one of the pioneering explorers of the intersection of mobile and marketing. In his new book, Tap, he collects his findings and weaves them together into a set of nine forces that marketers can wield to drive sales via mobile technologies.

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Supply Chains Built for Speed and Customization

Thanks to emerging technologies like 3-D printing, manufacturers can offer consumers customized products and do so with unprecedented speed. Intrigued by a new product you saw in a YouTube video? Well, someday soon you may be able to personalize it, order it via the company’s website, and have it in your hands in a matter of days. But to enable this phenomenon at scale, an entirely new model of supply chain is required.

The Power of Consumer Stories in Digital Marketing

New research finds that stories about consumers’ positive experiences with a brand significantly increase users’ engagement with brand websites, and stories originating from consumers are especially powerful in shaping brand attitudes in social media. Indeed, companies that aren’t offering experiences that leverage consumer input in brand-related narratives are missing out on important opportunities to connect in a meaningful way with potential buyers.

Don’t Check Your Facts at the Door (We’ll Check Them for You)

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On March 21 and 22, MIT SMR is opening its website to one and all, offering free and unlimited access to its rich offering of management insight and advice. MIT SMR’s mission is to improve the practice of business by identifying the most important new ideas in management, vetting them for rigor, shaping them into practical wisdom, and delivering them in ways that are convenient and enjoyable to consume. For two days, MIT SMR aims to demonstrate the worth of that mission as broadly as possible.

Beyond Viral: Generating Sustainable Value From Social Media

Social media provides the fuel for unpredictable, temporary mobilization, rather than steady, sustainable change. To reverse this trend and reap more enduring benefits from social media requires a fundamental change in focus. Research shows that incentive networks are an important middle layer between ideologies and activity in online digital platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. So, too, is a focus on establishing loyalty and stickiness rather than just “likes” and retweets.

How We Sell Our Attention

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  • Read Time: 1 min 

Efforts by advertisers to attract attention are not new. What’s different with the web, author Tim Wu says, is the extent to which individuals are willing to open their lives to advertisers and trade away their time and private information for having the world at their fingertips. This creates unprecedented opportunities for manipulation.

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How Analytics and AI Are Driving the Subscription E-Commerce Phenomenon

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  • Read Time: 6 min 

Box subscription companies are growing dramatically, using a high level of personalization and artificial intelligence algorithms to keep customers satisfied and eager for more. Their astute use of social media and influence marketing has also contributed to their startling success.

When Employees Don’t ‘Like’ Their Employers on Social Media

When employees are not fans or supporters of the company’s products on social media, it sends an ambiguous message and could deprive the company of potential supporters. Employers can counter this by encouraging their “digital native” employees to become brand ambassadors for the company.

Are You Using the Return on Investment Metric Correctly?

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  • Read Time: 3 min 

The biggest challenge with ROI isn’t a technical deficiency but confusion over how it is used. “To calculate ROI accurately, you need to be able to estimate the fraction of profits attributable to the investment,” write Neil T. Bendle and Charan K. Bagga. “In order to calculate ROI, there must be a return (a profit associated with the investment) and an investment. Unless you have both, you cannot calculate ROI.”

How Should You Calculate Customer Lifetime Value?

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  • Read Time: 3 min 

Should marketers subtract the cost of acquiring a customer before assessing that customer’s lifetime value (CLV)? Most of the time, no. “CLV is easier to understand, and in our view more useful, if marketers don’t subtract the acquisition cost from their calculation of CLV before reporting it,” write Neil T. Bendle and Charan K. Bagga. “Imagine that a company is selling an old machine. In this scenario, the company’s managers would expect to receive the machine’s current value, not the current value less what the company paid to buy the machine when new.”

Should You Use the Value of a “Like” as a Metric?

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  • Read Time: 3 min 

Social media strategy shouldn’t be seen as the driver of value difference between a company’s fans and nonfans. Fans are often more favorable toward a brand to start with than nonfans are — indeed, this is probably what motivated them to affiliate in the first place. As well, social media spending should not be justified by an observed difference in customer value that may not have been caused by social media spending. Instead, to understand social media marketing’s impact, companies should run randomized experiments.

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