Last week, 4C sponsored Merkle’s 2016 Performance Marketing Executive Summit, which this year focused on the topic of people-based marketing. Held in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee, the summit brought together Merkle executives, clients, and partners. This event helped our team “im-Merkle” (read “immerse”) ourselves in trends, strategy, client success stories, and networking.

Interestingly, Merkle’s people-based marketing consists of 3 Cs, though we’re trying to talk Merkle into adding a 4th C: context, content, and connectivity. These 3 Cs help industry players move from targeting blinded generic users to engaging with people whose preferences and interests are known.

People-Based Marketing

To achieve people-based marketing, Merkle addressed three things a company must get right: enablement, activation, and transformation.

Three Things to Get Right

1. Enablement

During the Enablement stage, Merkle and clients spoke about the five key enablers for the people-based marketing:

  • Leverage data as a strategic asset
  • Create a centralized data hub
  • Establish your first-party addressable audience platform ecosystem
  • Create an enterprise measurement framework
  • Focus on data integration

Merkle speakers noted that a fully connected and integrated tech stack is needed to implement people-based marketing successfully.

The spend on marketing technology will continue rapid growth into the next decade.

Marketing Technology Trend

2. Activation

The theme of Programmatic emerged during the Activation stage. One key development is Programmatic no longer signifies the automation of biddable advertising marketplaces only.

Gerry Bavaro, SVP of Enterprise Solutions and Strategy at Merkle, expanded the term Programmatic to include Planning.

Planning and buying of media and delivery of content leveraging technology, data and automation to drive increased advertiser and publisher value.

Redefining Programmatic

Even with emerging technology, data, and media solutions, when it comes to Activation, creative is still king.

It is not a secret to digital industry players that consumer messaging is of critical importance for effective creative. However, the Summit went beyond repeating the same already-known best practices. Rather, Merkle shared they have built over 340 rules for successful testing and optimization of creative across each stage of the marketing funnel.

Here are some of their rules for driving Conversion and Engagement:

Rules of Conversion

Rules of Engagement

3. Transformation

While instituting transformation was at the hearts of the Summit’s participants, Merkle shared well-researched facts about the realities of transformation. Being data-driven geeks at 4C, we loved the formulas throughout this section of the presentation.

Transformation is tough. Stats show 70% of transformation initiatives fail. As demonstrated by physics through Newton’s Law of Inertia, everything prefers to continue as is.

Newtons Law of Inertia

On the other hand is Gleicher’s Formula for Change which provides the conditions required for transformation – it also explains what drives your author.

Gleichers Formula

To put theory into action, Margie Chiu, Partner at Merkle, masterfully covered four steps we can take to enact transformation:

Transformation Steps

In short, Merkle left us these words of wisdom for the people-based marketing era: “Think big. Start small. Move fast.”

In addition to stellar content, the Summit itinerary was outstanding. The Peabody hotel with its “world-famous duck march” was an excellent venue for the event and one of the Summit’s attendees lucked out to serve as an honorary grand marshal for the duck march. Merkle delighted the attendees with exciting afternoon activities, including a visit to Elvis Presley’s Graceland, delicious dinners, and a summer party at the Columns, a Roman-inspired venue. Be sure to check out the wrap-up video!

Thanks, Merkle, for the great Summit 2016 and we will see you again next year.