Integrated Digital Marketing: start with data and reach the heart of your audience

Interview with Francesco De Nobili, Digital Marketing Manager

Francesco De Nobili
Docente, ricercatore e consulente di Digital Marketing

A universe doesn’t seem enough if we think about all the communication, sales and customer care solutions that have appeared on the digital horizon. After all, only the companies that correctly master those tools which see new channels of business in the web, mobile, online sales platforms and social media understand their strategic value. We are talking about strategic value for growth, but also just to ensure survival in the medium to long term.

Francesco De Nobili, professor, researcher and consultant, who founded the Integrated Digital Marketing Observatory in 2015, is fully aware of this. Thanks to the observatory, he has been able to closely analyze both large companies and SMEs that make the most of digital marketing in the various business sectors.

The problem is that carrying out digital marketing is not that easy. Is it better to turn to external agencies or internal resources? Is it better to invest in traditional figures or look for new professionals? All this without considering the fact that often inefficiencies and misunderstandings occur in relationships between companies and digital agencies when monitoring results that are not correctly shared.


Towards a new integrated approach


To overcome this impasse, in his manual, “Digital Marketing Integrato” (Integrated Digital Marketing), De Nobili proposes the creation of a framework that is able to integrate the various marketing activities, starting out from data management.

With this working method, after an initial company fine-tuning, different elements that often remain uncoordinated can be managed. From the data, a strategy is created that sets in motion tactics, which in turn, are implemented through tools. Starting out from the choice of tool is a mistake because the starting line is made up of data. Let’s take a look at the various steps:

- data: all actions must be measured and channeled into a data collection tool (e.g., a CRM system). In fact, a flow must be created that turns unstructured data (emails, social media, videos, audio) into structured data, so that they can be used.

- strategies: first of all, the corporate strategy must be defined so that it can be integrated with the marketing strategy. Indeed, with support from the collected data, it is essential to understand the consumer’s purchase/use journey and adopt ad hoc strategies for each target.

- tactics: these must be a combination of organic and paid ones, and must be aimed at several environments (website, mobile first, SEO, content strategy, email, social media marketing, advertising, growth hacking, etc.). Among these, particular importance is given to content marketing, which is essential for attracting your target audience with relevant content, guiding them towards your final goal (conversion!).

- tools: detailed analysis platforms for the web and social media, neuromarketing analysis, marketing automation, engagement marketing, machine learning, business intelligence tools, etc.


The role of Content Marketing


A strategy that we believe should not be missing in a digital marketing manager’s “toolbox” is that of Content Intelligence (CI). This term is used to indicate those technologies that apply Artificial Intelligence to content, matching the brand’s digital assets, “understood” and classified with tags that identify their topics, with users who have viewed them, extracting data on their interests in real time. Among the various CI solutions in Scott Brinker’s martech report, we would like to highlight the very Italian THRON, a DAM system whose AI engines are able to extract insights on users from their use of content.

But what role will content marketing play in the age of AI? Let’s ask Francesco, author, amongst other things, of the “Strategie di Content Marketing” (Content Marketing Strategies) manual.


Q: Why do you think it is so important to let data guide you in editorial production?

A: The reason is that the real advantage of digital concerns the traceability of any action on the web, social networks and other digital channels.

Nowadays, knowing how to study the conveyed and hidden needs of our audience is becoming a truly fundamental aspect. This is also because we have a variety of tools that allow us to work on these aspects.

Personally, one of the activities that companies ask me for the most is precisely researching these needs through the analysis of internal searches on Google. In this way, we can study not only our audience but also our competitors.... And so, all this becomes decisive in our choice of content to be inserted into the editorial plan.


Q: Do you believe that Artificial Intelligence can be a valid support for digital marketing managers? What do you think the advantages are that come from the possibility to measure content performances?

A: I would say that today we are already beginning to see the first real applications: I am experimenting with a few projects where the data management part is making the difference for the application of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence.

This is precisely the problem: too often, Artificial Intelligence is simply considered a technology to be applied, when actually, to be truly effective, we need to first prepare ourselves in the most appropriate way.

I believe that nowadays, given “the level of maturity” of these activities, the preparation of content beforehand and its measurement afterwards is extremely important. This is even more important than the automatic creation of optimized content.

Also because, despite the high use of technology – or perhaps as a direct result of this – we are coming up against an ever-increasing demand for humanity and relationships. This leads to the creation of increasingly emotional content or content that starts out from real first-hand experiences in order to be truly effective.