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Author Archives: Mark Cameron

About Mark Cameron

Mark Cameron is CEO and lead strategist of social media conversion and commercialization agency Working Three. While his agency is based in Melbourne, Australia, he works for some of the world’s most innovative and forward-thinking brands. As a regular speaker and writer on social media and digital strategy, Mark stays focused on customers and outcomes, not the technology, leading to simple strategic conclusions.

How will you focus your digital marketing efforts throughout 2014?


How will you focus your digital marketing efforts throughout 2014?
By Marc Cameron

The ever-expanding digital landscape is continuing to alter consumers’ behaviors and disrupt a broad range of industries. Some, such as retail and consumer products, are being particularly affected. Today’s customers are expecting a lot from the brands they engage with. In a recent Booz & Company report entitled How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Model, explained it this way: “Consumers today expect to browse, research, solicit feedback, evaluate, and push the ‘buy’ button at their own pace, and at the time and place—and via the platform—of their choosing. Consumers also continue to engage with brands online after a purchase and to share experiences with one another.”


Those of us involved in marketing and dealing with the complexity of digital advertising and customer engagement, experience the environment Booz describes every day.

Although there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to digital marketing, a limited number of  models are now emerging and becoming more widely accepted. The Booz report identified four models: Digital Branding, Demand Generators, Product Innovators and Customer Experience Designers. I describe and discuss these models below and draw some conclusions for marketers.

Digital Branders are often consumer products companies, retailers or other marketers that focus on building brand equity and deeper consumer engagement. These companies are moving away from traditional linear advertising and investing in digital experiences that connect with their customers. They are focused on recruiting new consumers to the brand, increasing advocacy and driving loyalty.

Demand Generators, such as retailers, play the numbers game. They are focused on driving traffic and converting leads in the fewest steps possible. To quote the report again, “All elements of the digital marketing strategy: website design, search engine optimization, mobile connected apps, and engagement in social communities, are tailored to boost sales and increase loyalty. Although Demand Generators also need to leverage content to drive engagement, they are more focused on driving volume and efficiency…”

Product Innovators are organizations who use digital marketing to help identify, develop, and roll out new digital products and services. Booz explains that “…these companies employ digital interactions with consumers primarily to rapidly gather insights that can help shape the innovation pipeline.”

The fourth and final model Booz identified is Customer Experience Designers. The report states that these companies focus on “reinventing how they interact with customers, and wowing them at multiple touch points; these companies hope to create an ongoing dialogue and build a loyal customer base.”

I agree with the overall premise of the report that the digitally influenced  consumer environment is leading to the emergence of new digital marketing models, and I like the first three models they describe, although they are not necessarily mutually exclusive models. For instance a “digital brander” could also choose to adopt the approach of a “product innovator” in its marketing strategy.

But I would argue that “customer experience design” is not a fourth model but rather a discipline that should be applied across all three digital marketing models. It creates the focus for the digital interactions involved in implementing these models.

For example, using the Booz model classification, a large retail client that my company is working with would be classified as a Digital Brander. However we are using customer experience frameworks and data points to mature and evolve their activity across mobile, e-commerce, social and in-store.

The fact is that online marketing needs to be relevant, timely and, most importantly, derived from a position directed at the value to the customer. Brands can no longer rely on interruption marketing. They must focus on value creation. They need to develop experiences and messages that connect with their customers. Going one step further and delivering valuable experiences creates a sustainable dialogue, and ultimately costs savings. Brands who adopt this approach are thinking beyond “spray and pray” marketing techniques and see customers as more than just database entries.

Customer experience disciplines allow brands to understand the “jobs to be done” – what their customers are trying to achieve – and innovate around that. All the best brands relentlessly focus on the needs of their customers in this way, understand what they are really trying to do and provide a solution. That is what allows products like the iPod to come into existence.

So as you develop your marketing plans for 2014, identify your marketing model, define your objectives and then take a disciplined approach to using customer experience techniques to carve out your unique position in the market. Listen, learn, innovate and succeed.

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Mark Cameron

Mark Cameron is CEO and lead strategist of social media conversion and commercialization agency Working Three. While his agency is based in Melbourne, Australia, he works for some of the world’s most innovative and forward-thinking brands. As a regular speaker and writer on social media and digital strategy, Mark stays focused on customers and outcomes, not the technology, leading to simple strategic conclusions.
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Become a Confident Digital Marketer

Become a Confident Digital Marketer
By Mark Cameron

Digital marketing has become a big headache for most marketing professionals. A recent study of over 1000 marketers conducted over August and September of 2013 claims that only 9% of total respondents said that they ‘know their digital marketing is working.’ Even worse, ‘66% of marketers feel digital is critical to their company’s success and yet less than half feel highly proficient in digital marketing.’

Commissioned by software company Adobe and produced by Edelman Berland, the report is called Digital Distress: What Keeps Marketers up at Night. The reports states that the majority of marketers lack confidence in their digital proficiency and don’t believe their company’s marketing programs are effective.

If you can identify with the statistics above and know that digital marketing is important to your organization, but go into a cold sweat when someone mentions social media or big data, then the following simple ideas are for you:


It’s not about where your customers are—it’s about what they want

Your customers no longer have loyalty to a channel. This sounds obvious, and it is, but it’s amazing how many times it gets overlooked. Marketing used to be simple. Everyone read the paper and watched TV, so that’s where you put your messages. But today that has all changed. Your customers have endless choices when it comes to media consumption. Sure there are a billion people on Facebook, but that is in no way comparable to a billion people watching the Olympics on TV.

The consumer moves quickly through the digital space and only engages with what they deem to be valuable. So stop looking at audience numbers first. Relentlessly focus on what your customer wants. Design a reason for them to engage with your brand. Do more than just try to entertain them, provide real value.

If you start by saying, “I need to get a Facebook strategy because that’s where everybody is” then you have failed already. If you instead say, “I have a great value proposition for my market and now I need to work out how to make it work on Facebook,” then you are on the path to success.

Completely ignore technology

For the technologically terrified out there, this will come as a great relief. The best thing you can do to make sure your digital marketing efforts work for you is to ignore technology altogether and focus on what you do best and think about the customer.

There are hundreds of products on the market for you to spend your budget on, and some very talented sales people willing to help you spend on their product. The best advice I can give is to ignore them. There is no magic bullet, no piece of software that will fix your problems. The only thing that works is spending as much time as possible getting in sync with your customers.

Digital marketing isn’t about social media, big data or marketing automation. By themselves, they’re just smarter spam. It’s about how your customers interact with every digital touchpoint. So focus on your market. Understand what they want. And design experiences that will delight.


Mark Cameron is CEO and lead strategist of social media conversion and commercialization agency Working Three. While his agency is based in Melbourne, Australia, he works for some of the world’s most innovative and forward-thinking brands. As a regular speaker and writer on social media and digital strategy, Mark stays focused on customers and outcomes, not the technology, leading to simple strategic conclusions.

Your Personal Data Will Soon Be Yours

Your Personal Data Will Soon Be Yours
By Mark Cameron

Consumers’ desire and ability to aggregate and utilize their own data will come into focus in the year ahead. Businesses are experiencing the market backlash from the “downsides” to consumers of the heavy investment in online marketing, which makes them feel like they are being watched at every turn. And the media coverage of NSA contractor Edward Snowden throughout 2013 has further highlighted the issue about the nature of the data that is being collected and used.



Developing a customer focused strategy and evolving an entire digital customer experience journey is becoming essential for the profitability and even survival of many businesses. But they need to be aware of how public opinion is shifting in respect to online privacy and personal data utilization. This is why the developments in personal cloud technology and movements such as Vendor Relationship Management (VRM), championed by the legendary Internet commentator Doc Searls, are so interesting.

At the heart of the personal cloud movement is the concept that all of the data that you and I create as we go about our daily lives is actually our property. Currently, the consumer has no ownership and usually no visibility over this information. The personal cloud is a place where people can aggregate, curate and utilize that data. It is a place on the Internet they can truly call their own. Unlike cloud storage facilities such as DropBox, the personal cloud is more like a virtual computer created to manage an individual’s online life. I recently spoke to Joe Pine, the author of the Experience Economy and a TED presenter. We discussed the personal cloud movement and he commented that, “People no longer want ads targeted at them. Companies need to use the information they gain from individual consumers to benefit those same consumers.”

Sitting at the forefront of the personal cloud movement is Dr. Phil Windley, based out of Utah. He has developed a personal cloud operating system, CloudOS, that allows these concepts to come into existence. He has developed technology from the ground up to give consumers the ability to store and use their own data. It is the Internet of things with yourself at the center.

Personal clouds give the consumer autonomy and power in the “data exchange” relationship. And that is of vital importance for business leaders. Adopting this technology, understanding the philosophy behind it, and becoming comfortable with using the technology to develop a relationship with customers, changes the current paradigm. The customer’s data is no longer the source of value to businesses that adopt this paradigm. What matters instead is their willingness to allow a relationship to develop.

This is a very different world from the data driven marketing one, currently dominated by Google and Facebook. It redirects the investment that many brands have made into data driven “surveillance” style marketing (much of which had done more long term harm than good) towards customer relationships. In this world, commercial dominance is not gained through control and manipulation. Instead, the most valuable asset is the trust and respect of your market. In this environment, goodwill can be quantified and valued. It puts pressure on companies to spend less on “interruption” marketing and focus instead on delivering digital services that provide real value.

Technology naturally plays an important part in this market transformation, but while personal clouds seem like a likely catalyst for change, putting technology first is usually a mistake. It is more important to develop a strategic approach that will allow your business to innovate and take advantage of these technologies as they mature. To quote Joe Pine again, “Consumers are becoming orchestrators of their own experience, determining what to do when, and personal clouds are making that happen.” A well designed and managed customer experience builds trust. Getting this right will be a top strategic priority for many companies in the coming months.

Yet again, technology is generating a market shift and it is giving more power to the individual. Like every technology that has evolved to directly benefit consumers when the time is right, it will be adopted quickly. The rapid rise of social media saw some organizations taken by surprise. The same will happen in the case of personal clouds. Which camp will your company fall into?

Mark Cameron is CEO and lead strategist of social media conversion and commercialization agency Working Three. While his agency is based in Melbourne, Australia, he works for some of the world’s most innovative and forward-thinking brands. As a regular speaker and writer on social media and digital strategy, Mark stays focused on customers and outcomes, not the technology, leading to simple strategic conclusions.

Photo Credit: Chapendra via Photo Pin | Creative Commons