26 April 2017

Extremely precise audience modelling opens vast new possibilities for digital marketers.

DMP – Data Management Platform – is a special data warehouse used for classifying, analyzing and processing audience data collected from innumerable sources. The top level data classes in a DMP are:

  • First party data: Collected or created by a company itself, owned data. Data sources include visitor data from web pages or social media, items viewed or purchased in online stores, as well as customer data from marketing automation, CRM or ERP systems. Data is organized using a self-defined hierarchic taxonomy of classes.
  • Second party data: Another company’s first party data you have permission to use.
  • Third party data: Anonymized data collected by a large number of DMP data partners (business registers, media, credit card companies, online stores etc.) from millions of websites. Contains information on media usage, hobbies, interests, occupations, purchases intended or completed, demographics etc., classified into a deep taxonomy of tens of thousands of nodes.

Anonymization of all data in DMP enables audience building over class boundaries. For example:

  • C-level managers of all Finnish companies employing more than 500, with your own existing customers, prospects and leads excluded. The audience is updated constantly with members flowing in and out, meaning the data is always up-to-date and no “become a customer” ads are shown to members already in the sales pipeline.
  • All property owners over 40 years of age with Android devices, who have purchased your product A but not product B.

Additionally, look-alike modelling can be used in audience building, e.g. to identify the most likely buyers from third party data using your own existing customers as seed. This may be the easiest way to target the competitor’s customers.

Programmatic advertising finds its audience, wherever they are

Data collected and classified with care can be used in many ways. DMP’s best pal, Demand Side Platform or DSP, is used for programmatic buying of display, social or search advertising. The central benefit of programmatic buying is that the ad is not placed on pre-defined locations. Instead, it always finds its audience wherever they surf. When a member of the targeted audience enters e.g. a news site where programmatic ads are shown, DSP participates in an auction. The highest bidder’s ad will be shown.

The use of DMP as an aid in programmatic buying enables targeting ads to precisely defined audiences, which in turn saves money. For a big global advertiser, the savings may be vast. DMP-based targeting also enables you to switch ad versions on the fly or to terminate the campaign after a verified purchase. Programmatic cross-selling is also a common scenario. Even if it is now becoming more and more common that every DSP has a built-in mini DMP, running an independent DMP of your own enables platform agnostic use of any number of DSPs and enhances first party data gathering and analysis.

For the first time it is now possible to automate the whole advertising and business communications funnel with all its channels by using a DMP in tandem with an integrated marketing automation system. This is a historic change offering unique, new possibilities for even the most modern of marketers. Use of real-time data opens unforeseen possibilities for dialogue, creative storytelling and meeting the customer.

Markku Alikoski


29 March 2017

Has there been no change to your website’s structure over the past three years? Are you not managing to post regular updates? And have you no idea how to translate your analysis data into better web content? Then each day you’re missing out on a lot of visitors and potential customers. The solution is Growth Driven Design: continually analysing and adjusting your website.

Bad news, in other words, for (expensive) static websites: they don’t last long. If nothing happens after a website is launched, then it becomes obsolete within 18 months to 2 years – not just in terms of design and technical facilities but also in terms of numbers of visitors. Do you want to attract a lot of people? Then your website has to live. That means continuously measuring, adjusting and keying into the behaviour of your visitors. The good news: Growth Driven Design makes it possible

What is Growth Driven Design? 

Growth Driven Design is the new way of building websites: not a one-off, static, short-term project but a long-term process of continual analysis and updating. This enables you to gear your website and business optimally to the behaviour and requirements of each (potential) user.

The result: your website always looks fresh and up to date, because even after the launch, design, copy and ease-of-use are strategically fine tuned on the basis of concrete data and analyses. No more guessing at what might work; with Growth Driven Design we can measure and know what does and what doesn’t work. This gives you an intuitive website to which visitors enjoy surfing and keep coming back.

  • Continuous analysis and updating
  • Geared to visitor behaviour
  • Measuring and knowing what works

The steps within Growth Driven Design

A strategic thought process is swiftly followed by a launchpad website. This basic version of your website incorporates all the core priorities. And how are they determined? On the basis of a website wish list: here you collect all the elements that solve your visitors’ problems and meet their requirements. You then filter the must-haves (some 20%) from the nice-to-haves – after all, those must-haves account for 80 percent of the impact.

  1. Deciding strategy and structure
  • Goals: what you want to achieve?
  • Buyer personas: who do you want to address?
  • Content: what do you want to say?
  • Structure, design and copy: how do you gear all this optimally to the visitor?
  1. Launchpad website
  • The ‘quick’ starter version of your website
  • Includes all functionalities and priorities
  • The basis for continual analyses and upgrades based on marketing automation
  1. Continual analysis and adjustment of website
  • Audience: is the website attracting enough new visitors?
  • Usability: does the website work easily and intuitively?
  • Personalisation: is each visitor getting a unique, good feeling?


Traditional web design vs Growth Driven Design

Building or redesigning a traditional website is often time-consuming and stressful. You have to make important decisions – often based on assumptions. You have to have endless meetings on strategy, structure, layout and content – and you may well change your mind in the meantime. Moreover, you have to reserve a sizeable budget for a one-off project, after which the follow-up often comes to a complete halt.

With Growth Driven Design, everything is spread comfortably over time: not just the decision-making phases and the building of the website but also the costs and results. Your website gives a better return in the long term, because it is continually analysed and adjusted on the basis of objective, measurable data.

blog_growth-driven-design_tabel_EN Why opt for Growth Driven Design?

Is your website more than a static calling card? Do you want to generate extra customers and sales online? And do you want your site to continually score better on the basis of objective analyses? Then choose Growth Driven Design. You are guaranteed to achieve the best results in the long term.

  • Limited start-up cost
  • Faster launch
  • Continual analyses and updates
  • More satisfied users

Want to know more about the future of marketing?

Read our white paper on Inbound Marketing.


01 February 2017

The rules of the game for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are continually changing. Want to get more out of your SEO campaign in 2017? Then start with these six tips. Or call in an expert partner, because SEO is a specialised discipline.

Testing, analysis and persistence are the message with SEO. These ideas will give you a head start on Google and other search engines.

  1. Determine your keyword strategy
    At one time it was popular search words, or keywords, in particular, that drew visitors to your site. These days, SEO functions in a far more complex manner: you need a complete keyword strategy. Because with some 500 updates a year, the search algorithm is getting smarter by the day. There is therefore little point in cramming your site with relevant and not so relevant search words. If you are writing about SEO, for example, then the keywords have to be related. It no longer helps to add popular, irrelevant keywords such as ‘naked photos Jennifer Lawrence’ at random, for instance.So how do you score high in the search results? You have to know your (potential) visitors well: make sure that you understand every step in their customer journey and that you know how they pose questions and search for information. That way, you will automatically arrive at the right content and keywords. The better you match these, the higher your website will score in Google.
  2. Analyse your competitors
    Have you taken a look at your competitors’ SEO? You can learn a lot from it. See how your competitors’ keywords as scoring, using Google’s keyword planner. This insight will help you define your own keyword strategy.

    • Choose your keyword (group) carefully.
    • Rank them in terms of search volume.
    • Select the keywords that generate you the most results.


  3. Score higher through social media
    Social media campaigns can boost your SEO. Although Google is unwilling to confirm that social likes, followers and shared messages play a role in SEO ranking, that may shortly change. After all, search engines may well soon be linking your website to your social channels. So make sure your brand is present in the social media, preferably actively.
  4. Optimise your site behind the scenes
    A responsive design, which adapts to the device on which it is being viewed, is a must. Your site must support at least four standard screen sizes: wide screen, standard laptop, tablet and smartphone. Devote attention to these issues, too:

    • Make sure that search engines and robots can easily crawl through your site – lead them straight to exactly what they are looking for by means of robot.txt file.
    • Make the content on your website attractive and instantly shareable on social media.
    • Provide relevant metadata – data on information such as language, author and alt tags for images. This helps you score better in searches, because of the strong relationship between content and search words.


  5. Write interesting content
    Create unique, distinctive content. This will automatically generate you faithful followers. Because if visitors like your content then they will like your brand or company. And that, ultimately, is the goal: to communicate with your target audience. You tell them who you are and what makes your business unique; they listen and see you as a specialist in that area.
  6. Measure, analyse and evaluate
    If you want to make progress, then make regular reviews and draw conclusions from well-founded insight.

    • Analyse thoughtfully: test, measure, study and evaluate.
    • Experiment to see what works best using A/B tests, for example, in which two groups are shown two different versions. Find out why visitors respond in a particular way. And adjust your marketing strategy on the basis of concrete data.



Can’t wait to put these tips to the test? Then the future holds lots of hits, visitors and high rankings in search engines. Would you rather put your precious SEO strategy in the hands of specialists? Then GROW will deploy its best SEO players for you.


Want to find out more about marketing?
Download our white papers


12 January 2017

Christmas trees are no longer lighting up our houses nor the streets. Time to throw some light on the marketing trends for 2017. On which branches should you, as a company, be focusing? What do your clients have on their wish lists? And how can you bag a prospect? We present three interesting ideas.

  1. Customer experience and centricity
    We are living in the era of the customer. In 2017, the customer experience (CX) will be the decisive factor in brand choice rather than price or the product itself. Customers want targeted communication that caters to their personal wishes and requirements. That influences the way you, the company, market, sell and deliver services and products. The focus is often on the supply, while the client should actually be the central point of all communication. This is known as customer centricity. What is the added value of your services and products for them? Why promote that, in particular? And where, when and through which channels would they prefer to receive that information? This also applies to the B2B market, where the emphasis is increasingly on account-based marketing: specific campaigns for each account. In 2017, personas and customer journeys should form the basis of your marketing plan.
  1. Content, content, content!
    Consumers are thirsty for quantitative content – such as user-generated content (UGC) in which an authentic, plausible and convincing story is told. People are more likely to buy a product after reading a good blog about it and would rather hear something about your company from a customer than from an advertisement. Almost as important as the content itself are the underlying data: what works and what doesn’t and how do you gear your message to that? Base your marketing on these data analyses and work systematically on generating more leads and quality. This trend is also advancing in a B2B environment. Video and visual storytelling – from short corporate films, testimonials and video blogs to mini documentaries, virtual reality and live streaming – replace dull company presentations and constitute an important parameter in the ranking of your website. Short video messages are also increasingly being shared on channels such as LinkedIn.
  1. Silos are disappearing from the scene
    This trend is developing slowly but surely: The disappearance of the island within a company in which everyone does his own thing. With growing digitalisation, departments are obliged to work together and share data and platforms. Getting Sales, Marketing, IT, HR, Client Services and other departments to really work together, though, demands strong vision and a concrete plan from top management – which is where the stumbling block often lies. Concrete tips? Let marketing staff attend sales meetings with customers, put Sales and Marketing in the same office space and make sure that they share customer details and insight. The more kindred spirits, the better the results. Focus everything on the customer and the circle is complete.


Just three trends? Yes. Because the problem with trends is that everyone sets and shares them but few do anything with them. So let your New Year’s resolution for 2017 be: start with those three ideas. And, once you are ready, read on:



19 December 2016

Computers and software are taking over many of our core tasks in marketing. Gut feeling can’t be dictated to or coded, though. However important hard science and analyses might be, you need to mix them with a gentle dose of gut feeling to achieve successful campaigns.

To measure is to know

ROI and marketing automation, target groups and personas, user experience and marketing performance… marketing is steadily evolving into a science. An objectively measurable discipline, focusing on:

  • consumer behaviour and its analysis;
  • consumer requirements and how to understand and predict them;
  • the right moment, the right target group and message and how to arrive at a winning combo;
  • technology and software and how to use them to automate processes and measure results.

You have to analyse to learn. Digitalisation exposes the ‘secrets’ of your target groups: where they click, what they read, how long they stay on a page and what they share. You also gain insight into their buying behaviour, family situation and interests. In other words, technology helps you analyse requirements and compile personalised customer journey profiles, to whom you send the right communication at the right moment.

Don’t waste your time – and money

What are individual consumers’ movements? And where are they in the sales funnel? Marketing is no longer about the masses; it’s about individuals. In the past there was a tactic: push – pushing through one message for everyone. In those days, the media world was far simpler and customers and agencies asked themselves few questions. After all, it was impossible to measure success or waste – luckily.

Now, however, marketing’s rapid evolution into a science means the waste element is measurable. The result? Pull marketing: expertly transforming clear conclusions and analyses into well-thought-out applications and optimisations – and therefore attracting certain consumers with a targeted message. Thanks to marketing science, software and technology, nowadays we can gear our message more efficiently to potential and/or existing customers.


A message is gut feeling

Had you really connect with your target group? The data give you insight and knowledge into consumer behaviour, but marketing is more than that. Communication is about emotional perception. And that is what my question is about: are we, because of that science, losing the art of forging emotional bonds with our target group and responding to their values and requirements? My answer is simple: never let science get the upper hand.

Software is for analysing. But don’t let it dictate or distract at the cost of the consumer. Because even if each link is perfectly coordinated, it is ultimately the message that determines your success; the message has to touch and convince its recipient. In the end it all boils down to the consumer and his or her behaviour.

Emotion or science?

Is marketing emotion or science? It’s actually about the perfect mix; these days you can’t have one without the other. A campaign will only reap success if you go for the right blend of figures and feeling, measuring and emotion.

Copywriter Don Draper hits the nail on the head in this Mad Men clip: ride on the carousel of emotions… the last seven seconds are awesome!

To summarise briefly

  • Gear your marketing to individuals, rather than the masses
  • Use marketing science as a tool, not a rule
  • Create campaigns in which figures and feeling reinforce one another, not where one is ignored

Curious about the future of advertising?

Read our white paper on Inbound Marketing. And read more about:

  • The benefits of inbound strategy
  • The elements of a successful inbound procedure
  • The measurability of ROI

Ben Verleysen


28 November 2016

CX, or Customer Experience, is a term that has been bandied around a lot lately. A good thing in itself, but that is just the problem. As time goes by, CX means something different to everyone and, before long, it no longer means anything…

Globally, we can agree that CX is the customer’s accumulated experience of a brand. Brand perception, in other words.

We can then split that experience up into separate sections ranging from communication regarding product development and design to shop experience, customer service and so forth. Digital brand perception is often categorised under User Experience (UX). The better all these aspects fit together, the clearer the brand perception.

Is this anything new? Not by a long chalk.
What do we promise and how do we live up to that promise? These questions form the basis of every good brand strategy.

What is new is the number of contact points between brand and customer and the opportunities they present. After all, we have developed from a unidirectional (brand communicates to customer) to a bidirectional (brand communicates with customer) to an omnidirectional model in which customers, objects and brands continuously intercommunicate.


This last model entails three important factors: real-time, context and predictability.

Increased connectivity means that just about everyone is able to communicate with or about your brand at any time. Not just during and after but also before any interaction. This has changed the balance of power between brand and customer and left some brands feeling threatened. They do not like the fact that customers can decide for themselves when and how they want to communicate with the brand, clearly stating their requirements.

This is where personas and their buyer journey enter the scene. Modern marketers have long since realised that this situation also offers fantastic chances. We can integrate all kinds of parameters, such as time and location, to personalise messages, for example. Once we have enough data, we can even predict what a customer will or will not do. Context and predictability…

What was it that made – and still makes – local businesses successful? Knowing exactly who their customers are and where their preferences lie. A good village hairdresser knows her customer’s home situation, interests and style. The bar owner can perfectly predict who is going to drink what and when. And everyone enjoys being recognised in their favourite restaurant and having the waiter make personal suggestions.

Thanks to marketing technology, such intimate knowledge of customers, their needs and their wishes is within the reach of every brand.
These days, the old supermarket slogan ‘the customer comes first’, could be given a whole new interpretation. Sometimes you might wonder what marketers are waiting for.

But CX is not a programme that you can just implement briefly, even though there are tools that can help you improve the CX.
Anyone who is really serious about Customer Centricity has to dare question their entire market strategy.

What do we promise and how do we intend to deliver? Nothing new and yet something completely different. I find that fascinating.

Peter Foubert

Cyberage your marketing organisation

02 November 2016

Why does the most with-it collection of individuals inside corporations fall behind in their way of working? Marketing departments talk along the lines of new wave, hip culture, music and fashion. But when it comes down to really doing things – making change happen – they hide behind glowing apple laptops.

New research from such thought leaders as the Boston Consulting Group shows that companies do not have the digital marketing skills they need to engage their customers. The capabilities of the leaders are not shared by the followers.

It’s not just the tectonic BIG DATA issue holding comprehension hostage, but tiny tidbits. Pieces of everyday life like how best to use video in marketing; and testing and purchasing advertising in the digital age, otherwise known as programmatic buying.

One of the greatest obstacles to making the digital leap is the educational dinosaur stuck in the tar of convention. The reality around marketing academia seems to move at light speed.


Technology is inundating the marketing world like a tsunami. As with all revolutions, there’s a little structure we can hold onto. Ad hoc is the phrase of today. Spontaneous, trial and error – quick fixes and forward movement is the fast-changing paradigm of today’s winners.

But how do you create a culture that enables a test-and-learn approach and that demonstrates how calculated risk-taking is essential to closing the digital skills gap? Naturally it requires senior leadership, but what type? A senior leader with an agile mind, thorough knowledge about technology and how marketing and social behavioural changes relate to our new trans-information society. A fifty-seven-year-old millennial?

Boston Consulting Group research give senior leadership high marks for support, but the grades they assign for structure and talent are mostly quite low. Scores for investing in new capabilities that address a changing marketplace are especially low.

We have entered the era of a new type of leadership. The ship’s captain must have the feel of being in control without being so. Branding is a team initiative. A culture of collaboration is the new norm. The movies have always depicted temporary gatherings of talented production teams and in this sense they are correct: the modern marketing team has to clone this mentality. Companies that start the journey now have a huge opportunity of creating competitive advantage.


Fewer and fewer companies are filling their marketing departments with people who have marketing degrees or branding backgrounds. The need for technically proficient and specialized staff is leading companies to new talent pools. Marketers are hiring more people who have worked in non-traditional roles in digital and branded content as well as in media companies.

The reason is pretty obvious. One third of global media spend—153 billion euros—is already in digital. When conversations across the table are knit together with programming terminology and integration syntax, there’s clearly a need for tech-enabled professionals. Gut feelings and personal opinions will be set aside when every marketing action is measured. This new reality is already coming into being. Demand is rising for data scientists, Ph.Ds, econometricians, mathematicians, agency managers, and media professionals.


Most marketers need to rebuild their learning and development capabilities. The first question a company should ask itself is ‘will their learning and development program help to close the digital marketing skills gap?’  Or are they just preparing to do more of the same?

Instituting a digital marketing skills framework is one way to tackle the issue. It divides skills into 3 pillars with 3 areas of competence in each, resulting in 9 fields of expertise.


To succeed at the top level – planning successful strategy – you have to have a good knowledge of the two bottom levels. You cannot plan something that you don’t know how to realise and measure.

Current training and development programs are either ineffective or insufficient. Companies need to foster an acceptance of and appreciation for self-learning, promoting ongoing learning as a basic responsibility of staff and executives at all levels.


As with other key initiatives, leadership plays a critical role. Increasingly, we need to see top management going through digital leadership programs with their entire teams in order to lead by example and seed a culture of continual learning.

Quarterly action plans fit perfectly with modern marketing. Customers are changing the marketplace with such speed that any plan that is longer is doomed to fail. The 110-metre hurdle race is the way to work today.

Timo Kruskopf


27 April 2015

Obviously, content is key for a successful inbound marketing process. Getting the right info to the right target groups at the right time can be a real challenge for even the most seasoned inbound marketer.

In my previous article I referred to the overwhelming amount of marketing software to help you manage these data flows. However, the content itself still needs to be created. And for that you need human talent! Now there’s a lot of discussion and even competition going on between copywriters and journalists when it comes to writing content.

Since they’re trained to relate to different target groups, I have always believed that good copywriters should be able to write just about anything for anyone. But then again, when I listen to some old school copywriters, I doubt they even understand what modern marketing is all about. Check out this funny film for example. It shows how dramatically the copywriting (and advertising) business has changed!

Personally, I think background doesn’t really matter, but I’m convinced that good content writers can make a difference. Just like good copywriters or good journalists. I believe that the era of inbound marketing has created many opportunities for people who love to write and want to make a living out of it. That’s good news right? So, forget the niches and focus on the content. Know who you write for and make it worth reading!

An ideal content management team contains journalists, copywriters, bloggers and social media experts who create, gather and promote your client’s content. The better you are at this, the more visitors you will attract and leads you will generate. And only then, you can bring on the software.

Copywriters or journalists? Read all the arguments here.

Peter Foubert


29 March 2015

In his 2015 marketing technology landscape, marketing technology blogger Scott Brinker has counted 1,876 vendors represented across 43 categories. And a 2014 Gartner report stated that by 2017 CMOs will have bigger technology budgets than CIOs.

Obviously marketing people are looking for digital tools that can help them collect and manage data from their customers. But they want them now, and tomorrow they might need something else.
So the IT guys try to keep up, creating these tailor-made solutions. Much against their nature, since they’re used to relatively long periods of development and execution. Marketing automation tools like Marketo, Eloqua and Marketing Cloud solutions created by Adobe, and Oracle are great, but still they’re having trouble explaining (in a non-technical way) where exactly they fit in the marketing process.

Clearly there is a cultural and work-style mismatch between engineering-focused IT and user experience-focused marketing. That’s when the marketing manager calls upon his advertising agency to help him. After all, they know everything, right? Thanks to those inbound marketing tools we have been able to bring sales and marketing closer together. But the merge with IT might be the real challenge for any modern agency in 2015. In today’s market, agencies have to interact with marketing, sales, AND IT managers and they need people who can think like any one of them.

Unless they want to be one of those vendors, a real marketing agency will need people who can create content, people who know where and how to use it and people who understand and interpret incoming data. All of this within their overall marketing plan, of course. That’s why half of all new marketing hires in the future will have technical backgrounds.

Schools must quickly adapt to those needs and prepare a whole new breed of marketers. For now, we’ll have to create our own ‘hybrid agencies’. We’re doing just that, but how about you? Feel free to share your thoughts on this and tell us how you cope with these new challenges. This is our Brand Journey Model, an effort to explain in a simple way how we create an integrated marketing plan. Again, feel free to download it here and comment or contact us.

Peter Foubert

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