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What marketers need to know to prepare for 2023



What marketers need to know to prepare for 2023

Well, friends, it’s that time of year again. If you’re a retailer, I hope you’re hanging in there, all your campaigns are going according to plan, and the screaming-down-the-hall moments are few and far between.

This also is the season when anyone with a blog, a column or a webinar will start predicting what will happen in marketing in 2023. I’m not immune to that, but I’m also honest enough to admit nobody really has a clue right now. 

There’s so much we don’t know about what will happen in the next 12 months. One thing is for sure: We definitely can look forward to many twists and turns in the online space and the real world — again. 

So, instead of predicting, I’m going to look at what marketers should remember as they plan for 2023. I hope my insights will give you some direction, help you set some goals and put you in the right frame of mind in the next five minutes before somebody comes down the hall to request another Black Friday email campaign.

A global recession is coming

No matter what American politicians say, a recession isn’t just a U.S. concern. It’s happening everywhere. It poses another challenge for email. But email can rise to meet it, just as it emerged as a winner in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

I’m a big believer in staying informed whether it means reading marketing, economic and political news or keeping an eye on the five screens in my office, each of which streams different information. So I’ve been on top of news stories reporting that some companies are already pulling back some ad spend. Others are investing in processes now to get ahead should we hit recessionary headwinds. 

Because email proved its value in the pandemic, I don’t expect email budgets will get eviscerated to fund other channels. But we’ll test the concept that email is still recession-proof. 

That doesn’t mean email will emerge unscathed. But we email marketers should get ready for a different kind of challenge. Companies could go back to their pandemic tactics, in which they invested in email to keep customers informed and build authentic relationships. Or they could revert to their business practices in the 2008 recession and just discount everything in a mission to save revenue targets.

We’re dealing with a lot of uncertainty right now. We could be in a recession that in some parts of the world doesn’t even look like a recession because of high job growth, even with a higher-than-normal inflation rate.

So now we have to look at how email can live up to its recession-proof reputation. Our twin challenges will be the evolving state of the global economy and how we can adapt email to survive. 

The email channel itself will survive. What remains to be seen is whether we can retain the primacy email has gained.

Dig deeper: 5 email marketing lessons learned in the pandemic

Segmentation will help increase revenue from inflation-weary customers

Consumers pulled back on spending during the pandemic. Now, inflation is driving similar cutbacks. Reduced consumer spending puts even greater pressure on email marketers to perform.

Retailers are responding to their bargain-hunting customers by launching holiday campaigns even earlier this year. I saw many campaigns in early October that I would normally expect to see closer to November. 

Consumer spending predictions are all over the board this year, too. The most optimistic say holiday spending will rise 4% to 6% over 2021, while others expect consumers will either hold the line or spend less. 

I expect retailers will pull the usual levers to capture more holiday spending — heavier discounting, higher email frequency or some other tactics. But instead of pulling on those levers indiscriminately, marketers should rethink and revise their list segmentation to keep revenue flowing reliably. 

Segmentation represents an untapped market across the board for motivating and incentivizing consumers to spend their money with you instead of your competitors.

Segmentation comes into play with the customer data platforms (CDPs) and advanced analytical tools. Email marketers can use these tools to fight both recession-driven budget cutbacks and reduced consumer spending.

Use what you learn about your customers — what works and what doesn’t — to support requests for resources to support segmentation and win higher priority in the marketing tech stack. 

Although marketers worldwide might encounter a global recession in 2023, lower consumer spending could finally force us to become smarter marketers, not just “more” marketers.

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The pressure will be on CDPs to prove value

Customer data platforms, or CDPs, have been around for a while, but they’re just now moving into the reach of middle-level brands and full implementation at the enterprise level. But we still don’t know whether they’re the savior for data-driving marketing or the latest shiny object.

In 2023, I expect we’ll see the proof point for CDPs and whether we as email marketers can use them to transform our email campaigns into messages that elevate the customer conversation. 

Vendors have sold CDPs as the gateway to customer intent, purchase propensity and data orchestration. Next year, we will see whether CDPs bridge the gaps between data lakes and CRMs, resulting in more intelligent marketing and boosting messaging automation, targeting and personalization.

But this move also could end up shifting priorities away from email. Historically, email has been stuck at the far end of the investment dinner table, waiting to see what’s left on the platter when it finally reaches us. 

We might learn that CDPs do give us easier access to data for segmentation and personalization. Or we could find out that the money companies spend on installing them is wasted without the data, technical structure or know-how to manage them.

Dig deeper: How to manage email addresses in a customer data platform

Martech stacks will get a lot more scrutiny

This year, my agency was insanely busy working with both long-term and new clients on their tech stacks. Not just their email platforms, but all of their adjacent and connected systems.

Many of these clients were unhappy with their technology and asked us to find new vendors or move to new ones. 

We all know how the pandemic accelerated digital transformation. Your tech stack might be a casualty if it hasn’t kept up with the changes. I heard clients say, “We aren’t agile enough.” 

Or, “This platform doesn’t help make us smarter.” 

Even, “This platform isn’t complex enough for all of our needs now.”

Some companies outgrew their systems, too. The pandemic forced them to react faster and communicate better with customers, employees and stakeholders and forced many to push their systems beyond their limits. 

Today, many of our clients want technology that’s better, faster, more complex and more capable to meet their needs because they have evolved and need support that can meet them where they are now.

I expect more companies will examine whether they have the right technology and look to see what else is out here and what they can get to meet their new demands.

As part of this re-examination, we also will see companies using more of the technology they’re already paying for.

Maybe you saw Gartner’s study that found companies use only an average of 42% of their tech stack capabilities, a figure that’s actually down from a slightly less dismal 58% in 2020. 

When I worked at Responsys, we found platform usage was actually closer to 10%. Back then (I’m older — “then” was 2007), marketers didn’t know how to use all the advanced features, many of which are standard equipment today.

If you’re dissatisfied with your tech stack, figure out whether it truly doesn’t meet your needs anymore or you just haven’t used all of its capabilities.

Before you start looking for new tech providers, go to your vendors and ask them to show you their latest demos. They’ll be happy to do it. Challenge your providers to show you what you should be using but aren’t yet. You’ll understand your tech capabilities and limits much better.

Dig deeper: The secret to building a useful martech stack

Looking to the future

As usual, I could be full of crap. Not about asking your vendors to audit your tech use — that’s always good advice — but for everything else, it’s what I’m seeing in my work, in the news and in talking with other marketers. 

Plus, I’ve been through a recession, COVID, the birth and evolution of the internet, the Amazon wave, consolidation in the email space and so much more. That also informs my views about what will happen. 

My focus is always on marketers and what they need to think about when planning for the coming year. 

So let’s get back to it and knock out the rest of our 2022 plans. Don’t forget to celebrate with your team, whether by taking them out for drinks and dinner or supporting your remote staffers. 

Tune in next month for my annual December motivation and year-end reviews!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Ryan Phelan

As the co-founder of, Ryan Phelan’s two decades of global marketing leadership has resulted in innovative strategies for high-growth SaaS and Fortune 250 companies. His experience and history in digital marketing have shaped his perspective on creating innovative orchestrations of data, technology and customer activation for Adestra, Acxiom, Responsys, Sears & Kmart, BlueHornet and infoUSA. Working with peers to advance digital marketing and mentoring young marketers and entrepreneurs are two of Ryan’s passions. Ryan is the Chairman Emeritus of the Email Experience Council Advisory Board and a member of numerous business community groups. He is also an in-demand keynote speaker and thought leader on digital marketing.

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Take back your ROI by owning your data



Treasure Data 800x450

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Other brands can copy your style, tone and strategy — but they can’t copy your data.

Your data is your competitive advantage in an environment where enterprises are working to grab market share by designing can’t-miss, always-on customer experiences. Your marketing tech stack enables those experiences. 

Join ActionIQ and Snowplow to learn the value of composing your stack – decoupling the data collection and activation layers to drive more intelligent targeting.

Register and attend “Maximizing Marketing ROI With a Composable Stack: Separating Reality from Fallacy,” presented by Snowplow and ActionIQ.

Click here to view more MarTech webinars.

About the author

Cynthia RamsaranCynthia Ramsaran

Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries. She was a writer/producer for and produced thought leadership for KPMG. Cynthia hails from Queens, NY and earned her Bachelor’s and MBA from St. John’s University.

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Revolutionizing Auto Retail: The Game-Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai



Revolutionizing Auto Retail: The Game-Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

In a groundbreaking alliance, Amazon and Hyundai have joined forces to reshape the automotive landscape, promising a revolutionary shift in how we buy, drive, and experience cars.

Imagine browsing for your dream car on Amazon, with the option to seamlessly purchase, pick up, or have it delivered—all within the familiar confines of the world’s largest online marketplace. Buckle up as we explore the potential impact of this monumental partnership and the transformation it heralds for the future of auto retail.

Driving Change Through Amazon’s Auto Revolution

Consider “Josh”, a tech-savvy professional with an affinity for efficiency. Faced with the tedious process of purchasing a new car, he stumbled upon Amazon’s automotive section. Intrigued by the prospect of a one-stop shopping experience, Josh decided to explore the Amazon-Hyundai collaboration.

The result?

A hassle-free online car purchase, personalized to his preferences, and delivered to his doorstep. Josh’s story is just a glimpse into the real-world impact of this game-changing partnership.

Bridging the Gap Between Convenience and Complexity

Traditional car buying is often marred by complexities, from navigating dealership lots to negotiating prices. The disconnect between the convenience consumers seek and the cumbersome process they endure has long been a pain point in the automotive industry. The need for a streamlined, customer-centric solution has never been more pressing.

1701235578 44 Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai1701235578 44 Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

Ecommerce Partnership Reshaping Auto Retail Dynamics

Enter Amazon and Hyundai’s new strategic partnership coming in 2024—an innovative solution poised to redefine the car-buying experience. The trio of key developments—Amazon becoming a virtual showroom, Hyundai embracing AWS for a digital makeover, and the integration of Alexa into next-gen vehicles—addresses the pain points with a holistic approach.

In 2024, auto dealers for the first time will be able to sell vehicles in Amazon’s U.S. store, and Hyundai will be the first brand available for customers to purchase.

Amazon and Hyundai launch a broad, strategic partnership—including vehicle sales on in 2024 – Amazon Staff

This collaboration promises not just a transaction but a transformation in the way customers interact with, purchase, and engage with their vehicles.

Pedal to the Metal

Seamless Online Purchase:

  • Complete the entire transaction within the trusted Amazon platform.
  • Utilize familiar payment and financing options.
  • Opt for convenient pick-up or doorstep delivery.
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Hyundai’s Cloud-First Transformation:

  • Experience a data-driven organization powered by AWS.
  • Benefit from enhanced production optimization, cost reduction, and improved security.

Alexa Integration in Next-Gen Vehicles:

  • Enjoy a hands-free, voice-controlled experience in Hyundai vehicles.
  • Access music, podcasts, reminders, and smart home controls effortlessly.
  • Stay connected with up-to-date traffic and weather information.

Driving into the Future

The Amazon-Hyundai collaboration is not just a partnership; it’s a revolution in motion. As we witness the fusion of e-commerce giant Amazon with automotive prowess of Hyundai, the potential impact on customer behavior is staggering.

The age-old challenges of car buying are met with a forward-thinking, customer-centric solution, paving the way for a new era in auto retail. From the comfort of your home to the driver’s seat, this partnership is set to redefine every step of the journey, promising a future where buying a car is as easy as ordering a package online.

Embrace the change, and witness the evolution of auto retail unfold before your eyes.

Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

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How to Schedule Ad Customizers for Google RSAs [2024]



How to Schedule Ad Customizers for Google RSAs [2024]

It’s no wonder that responsive search ads have steadily grown in popularity in recent years. Through Google’s machine learning capabilities, RSAs provide a powerful way to automate the testing of multiple headlines and descriptions to ensure a closer match to user intent. The benefits are clear: RSAs mean broader reach, better engagement, and improved performance metrics.

However, all these benefits come at a significant (but reasonable) cost – they can be extremely difficult to manage, especially when it comes to updating ad copy to promote limited time offers.

I know this firsthand – I work with several ecommerce clients with promotions that constantly change. Not too long ago, I found myself going through the consistently tedious process of updating a client’s RSA headlines and copy. As I was making the changes, I thought to myself: “There must be a better way to update this ad copy. I shouldn’t have to use find and replace so many times while pausing and enabling my ad campaigns.”

After expressing this to my colleague, Jordan Stambaugh, the two of us agreed there must be a better way. But we’d have to make it happen. A few weeks later, we put that idea into action and created a more efficient process for updating RSA ad copy on a scheduled basis. If you want to try this process for yourself, just keep reading.

Responsive Search Ad Customizers 101: Basic Options & Execution

Before diving into the process of scheduling automatic updates for your RSA customizers, it’s essential to understand some key Responsive Search Ad fundamentals.

First, you can customize three main options within RSAs: the Attribute Name, the Data Type, and the Account Value. Each of these plays a vital role in personalizing your ads:

  • Attribute Name: This is essentially the identifier for the customizer. It is how you’ll reference the specific piece of information you’re customizing within the ad. For instance, if you’re running a promotion, you might name an attribute “Promotion.”
  • Data Type: This indicates the kind of data the attribute represents and it determines how the information can be formatted and used within the ad. Common data types include Text (for plain, non-numeric text), Percent (to represent percentage discounts), Price (to denote monetary values), and Number (for any numerical value).
  • Account Value: This is the default value for the attribute that you set at the account level. It acts as a fallback if more specific values aren’t provided at the campaign or ad group level.

For example, if you wanted to promote a 10% off discount using RSAs, you’d use the “Discount” attribute, a data type of “Percent,” and an account value of “10% off.” Then, when someone is searching for products, Google would test automatically inserting a copy regarding a 10% off promotion into your ad.

Once you’ve set up the right customization options, you can start to format your RSAs with customizers.

Here’s how:

  • Start by typing in {
  • Click on Ad Customizer then select your attribute
  • Google will populate your attributes that are already uploaded
  • For a simple offer, use the “Default text” attribute as a catch-all. This will ensure your ads run smoothly if Google can’t pull the right messaging from your RSA feed



How to Schedule Your Ad Customizers with a Feed

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s cover how to schedule your ad customizers.

Just follow this three step process:

1. Create the feed

Start by creating two sheets: The Parent sheet, and the Child sheet. The “Parent” sheet will act as the primary data source, while the child sheet will pull data from the parent sheet.

We’ll start by building the parent sheet. After opening the sheet, start by renaming the active tab to “Promotions.” Don’t skip this step, it’s crucial for referencing this range in formulas later on.

In your “Promotions” tab, head to the top row and label columns A, B, and C with the headers of your ad customizer attributes. For example, you might have “BrandSaleHeadline” as your attribute in column A, “text” as the Data Type in column B, and “Shop the Collection” as the Account Value in column C.

Once your headers are in place, move to cell C2. Here, you’ll input the expression =lookup(today(),F:G,E:E). This formula will play a key role in dynamically updating your RSA customizer based on the current date.

Next, go to columns E, F, and G, which will be used to manage your scheduling. In these columns, you’ll list out the different values your chosen attribute might take, alongside their corresponding start and end dates. For example, under the “BrandSaleHeadline” attribute, you might schedule various promotional headlines to appear during different sale periods throughout the year.

Here’s how your sheet might look:

Now look back at the first 3 columns on your sheet. They should look like this:

Now create a second sheet. We’ll call this sheet the Child sheet. It’s going to automatically pull in data from the parent sheet you just created, and will be the one you link to Google Ads later on.

Columns A, B and C will be almost identical to the child sheet, but we will be using a special formula later so we can automatically populate this. So, start by labeling Row 1 Column A “Attribute,” then the next column as “Data type,” then column C as “Account value.” 

Then go to C2 and use this expression to populate the right account value from the parent document: =importrange(“[PARENT DOCUMENT URL HERE]”,”Promotions!C2″)

Your sheet should now look like this:

We recommend adding a date range with default text for any days you’re  not running a promotion. In the example above, we have “Shop Our Collection” appearing as default text.

2. Input attributes

Once you have your feed created, the next step involves inputting your attributes into the Google Ads platform. This can be done either manually or through a bulk upload.

For the manual approach, navigate to “Tools & Settings” in your Google Ads interface, then go to ‘Setup’ followed by “Business Data.” Here, you’ll find an option for “Ad Customizer Attributes.” Click the plus sign to add your attributes. It’s crucial to use the same attribute names that you’ve established in your Parent Google Sheet template to ensure consistency and proper data synchronization.



Alternatively, if you prefer the bulk upload method, again head to “Tools & Settings.” This time, select “Bulk Actions” and then “Uploads.” For this process, you only need to upload columns A to C from your template. 

Be aware that it might take some time for your uploaded attributes to be reflected in the business data section of Google Ads.

3. Set up an automatic schedule

At this point, you’ve almost finished scheduling your ad customizers. Navigate to Tools & Settings, then Bulk Actions, then Uploads, then click the Schedules tab at the top. Select your Child Google Sheet as the data source, and share your Google Sheet with the appropriate email.



And there you have it – Google will automatically pull in the data you populated in the sheets into your RSAs.

Common Challenges When Scheduling RSA Ad Customizers

When we test these sheets with our clients in the wild, we’ve uncovered five common challenges. Be on the lookout for these issues – solving them before they happen can save you a lot of trouble down the line.

Not scheduling your upload when the site changes 

The first and most significant hurdle is the mismatch between the scheduled data upload and website content updates. For instance, if the Google Sheet is set to upload at 11 am, but the website changes occur at 3 pm, there’s going to be a discrepancy where the wrong message could be displayed for several hours, or new messaging could appear prematurely. Conversely, if the website updates happen before the scheduled sheet upload, outdated promotions might linger until the new data is imported. Synchronizing these schedules is crucial; it’s best to align them so updates occur simultaneously.

Skipping QA during a message change

Another pitfall is neglecting quality assurance (QA) during message updates. It’s vital to regularly check the business data section to verify that the correct values are in place post-update.

Issues with the IMPORTRANGE function

Then there’s the technical aspect of setting up the IMPORTRANGE function correctly in the Google Sheets template. The ‘child’ template must reliably pull data from the ‘parent’ sheet. If this function isn’t configured correctly, data won’t be imported as needed.

Not sharing access of the Google template for automatic uploads

Pay attention to your access permissions for the Google Sheets template. Google will prompt you with the email address that needs permission to access the ‘child’ sheet for automatic uploads. Overlooking the sharing of your sheet with this address will prevent the system from working.

Having date range gaps in your parent sheet

Lastly, a common oversight is leaving date range gaps in the ‘parent’ sheet. Every single date must be accounted for without overlaps. A practical tip is to have an ‘evergreen’ backup message ready, scheduled to run continuously, ideally through the end of the year, to cover any potential gaps.


Leveraging Google Sheets in conjunction with Google Ads to schedule RSA ad customizers is a game-changer for managing dynamic promotional content. This process not only streamlines your workflows but also ensures that your ads remain relevant and up-to-date, reflecting current promotions without the need for constant manual intervention. 

By adopting this method, you’ll save significant time and effort, allowing you to focus more on strategy and less on the minutiae of ad copy updates. Give it a try and experience a more efficient way to manage your RSAs, keeping your campaigns fresh and engaging with minimal hassle.

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