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5 big questions on innovation

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Sean Shoffstall, Founder, Crave Metrics

Sean Shoffstall, Founder

Digital marketing entrepreneur and strategy innovator Sean Shoffstall is pioneering a more relevant and measurable approach to messaging in today’s multi-channel world of engagement. Shoffstall formerly delivered data-driven marketing strategies for Fortune 500 brands at Teradata. Now, he is a prominent speaker and thought leader who is widely credited for successfully leveraging the “Quantifiable Creativity”...
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1

How is your team changing the game within your industry sector?

I started Crave Metrics to focus on customer journey analytics. We are trying to solve misleading data with Crave Metrics by giving people a broader view of their campaign’s effectiveness across all their channels, because many marketers do not realize every campaign drives brand awareness and the end value that it creates.

Marketers look at a campaign and might see the click-through rate and the open rate, but they are not instantly able to see how it compares against other similar campaigns, or against their company's benchmarks.

Our platform will allow customers that review a campaign to not only see what their score is against the Crave Metrics key marketing measures, but also to see how it performs against the company benchmarks, and against similar campaign benchmarks. This answers the marketer’s question that many platforms miss today, I’ve got a metric but what does it mean?

2

What are some of the biggest impediments to innovation in your organization or industry sector?

There is an influx of so much new technology. Companies must constantly go from Paid Search, to Twitter, to Facebook, to Email, to Instagram, and be prepared to adapt and market to any and all other digital marketing technologies that develop popular user platforms. Current digital marketing technologies are complicated and ever changing: this leads to siloed information and messaging, and can lead to paralysis for marketing teams who get stuck with basic batch and blast marketing.

In spite of all this, universities and colleges are still primarily teaching traditional marketing strategies. Companies then hire young people simply because they know how to use certain media platforms or marketing tools, which can be problematic on its own. New educational and training systems will be vital to success in coming years to help bridge the talent gap. 

3

How has innovation become engrained in your organization's culture, and how is it being optimized?

The leadership of a given team drives its innovation. One thing I have always done with my teams whenever someone new joins us, is bring up the top three to five trends I am seeing succeed with our customers or elsewhere, and ask them questions about its success, which opens the door for them to bring their own ideas to the conversation. 

At the same time, I am willing to pilot certain ideas. I am willing to invest 8 percent, 10 percent, 12 percent of my team’s time to pilot one of these ideas. We cannot always go after the newest platforms, but we can test new platforms on campaigns. If a campaign fails, at least we learn something.  

I have also seen mid to large size companies create a sandbox marketing environment that allows a safe atmosphere to test the latest social platform or API integration, just to see if it breaks. If it works in the sandbox, we bring it in. You need a partnership between leadership, the IT group, and the marketing department to try something new.

4

What technologies, business models, and trends will drive the biggest changes in your industry over the next two years?

VR and augmented reality will change marketing. In-game marketing is another platform that is similar, these immersive environments is where we are going to see the most growth and change. Marketers will need to again focus on the message and make sure it fits in these environments without being obtrusive or obnoxious.

I believe another key business trend will be, I hope, a focus more on consumer data privacy. We protect financial and healthcare data and have seen the repercussions when it isn’t secured. Consumers give marketers their trust by accepting cookies, by signing up for our newsletters, by purchasing and registering their products. They entrust marketers with their data, so marketers have a responsibility to use the data for marketing without releasing potentially sensitive information. I think customers will start to demand more protections like other sensitive data. 

5

Can you share a specific innovation strategy you’ve recently encountered which you find compelling?

Amazon's Alexa. The simplicity of voice activation to access music at any time, to interact with different lists and calendars, to listen to podcasts or news sources, and to use fewer screens, is a game changer for the consumer marketplace. 

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