Welcome to CultivatED Marketer …

In this 13th episode of CultivatED Marketer, hosts Brent Bowen and Matt Tidwell, PhD, chat with Jessica Best, Vice President of Data-Driven Marketing at Barkley. She leads a team who drives customer-centric marketing through data-driven analytics and insights — with a spectrum of clients from Dairy Queen to Planet Fitness. Jessica is a world-renowned expert who has spoken about email marketing internationally, and she says she goes from “zero to maximum email marketing geek in less than 60 seconds.”

Jessica Best, VP of Data-Driven Marketing at Barkley

CultivatED Marketer Ep. 13 (Part 1) — Jessica Best

Brent and Matt talk with Jessica Best, VP of Data-Driven Marketing at Barkley. They’ll discuss data, doing good, and professional development.

  • Jessica Best, who is on community advisory board for KCUR, starts by sharing a fun fact: Her first job was doing radio ad sales for Mix 93.3. She even voiced some of her own ad spots for local vendors. Brent and Matt agree that it was a good first foray into the kind of work she’s doing now, knowing her audience, the market, and the challenges of her clients.
  • Brent asks what “data marketing” is, and what does it encompass? Jessica says that data-driven marketing is evolved from “CRM” marketing. The biggest use-case is email marketing, which she says almost everyone should be using. Data-driven marketing means starting with a database of information: the input (what do Matt and Brent order at Dairy Queen? They get this information through the app, if they order there) and output, meaning the sales they get and can attribute to their channels (Matt gets a push notification or coupon, and then goes to Dairy Queen two days later. Coincidence? Probably not).
  • What does the data-driven marketing environment look like for today’s marketer? Brent notes that he heard a statistic saying that a single customer’s email address is worth $40. Jessica says that it’s like “collecting a database of humans that you own,” which she admits sounds pretty weird. She compares that to the cost of paid media, where you’re begging for people’s “eyeballs,” but with data-driven marketing, you have a list of hand-raisers who have opted in and said they like your product.
  • Jessica talks about the difference between email marketing in 2003 compared to 2021. People sometimes ask her, “You still do email?” like they think it’s on its way out. And while she’s the first to admit that it can’t stand alone — email isn’t an acquisition channel — it has huge ROI and it’s an important part of any marketing strategy.
  • What’s next for data-driven marketing? Jessica says that it hasn’t changed a lot with different channels, even from back when it was direct mail in the 1960s. The only difference was it was faster and less expensive. The places they see data-driven marketing is growing is through very similar channels, especially those related to mobile. For example, loyalty programs and push notifications that know where you are and what you’re doing.
  • Jessica talks about how, from an AI perspective, marketing agencies were focused on collecting consumer data back in the early 2010s; as the decade went on, it became more about privacy. Even though our phones and smart speakers are listening to us right now. The data collection won’t go away, but people might be more aware of it and have a choice about it. Jessica says she foresees this changing significantly in the near future. Matt shares a quick anecdote about his wife’s mistrust of Alexa.
  • Matt asks Jessica about her work as a speaker. How did she get started? Jessica says she started at the nudge of her CEO when she worked at emfluence. The CEO was doing an education program for local marketers and teaching them how to use email marketing. Once, he wasn’t able to give his presentation, so Jessica did it in his place, and she loved it. The positive feedback got back to Dave, the CEO, and he said “Okay, you’re doing it from now on!”
  • Eventually, speaking became part of her job, and she even got to give her presentation at South by Southwest (SXSW). Before the pandemic, she got to speak in Dublin and Bucharest, and she even taught a semester in Barcelona.

Upcoming CultivatED Marketer Guests

  • Join us for part two with Jessica Best shortly.
  • Jessica Best — VP of Data-Driven Marketing at Barkley and previously worked at emfluence. Her specialty is email marketing — for anyone who thinks it isn’t effective, Jessica would beg to differ.
  • More to come … including a series on mentorship.

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