Despite  overwhelming evidence, marketers are slow to fully embrace visual tech. A report we publish last week shows that CMO’s and their teams are poorly equipped to take advantage of the public insatiable thirst for visual content. Not all is bleak, however. Figures show that as a huge majority, marketers plan to substantially increase their reliance on visual content marketing. Already almost half spend a quarter of their day on visual content.

And why shouldn’t they? Instagram has the highest engagement rates ( 4.21 % per followers, 120 times more than Twitter), Pinterest brings 4 times more revenue per click than Facebook, using UGC lift sales 6% and 77% of in-image ads delivered are seen.  With such overwhelming data, it would be self-defeating to ignore.

Part of the issue is that most don’t know how to proceed. Not everyone has the firepower of a Red Bull nor the creative reflexes of a Nike. While most realize that platforms like Instagram, Olapic, Znaptag, GumGum, Ditto and others offer massive underused potential, few understand how to profit from it without wasting time and resources. Part of the responsibility falls on startup’s inability to produce convincing analytics – Instagram and Pinterest are just getting around to it – and their weakness of their message.
The disconnect lies mostly the gap that has historically separated engineers from creatives. One doesn’t understand why the other doesn’t understand and while they might offer brilliant solutions, the language they use falls in uneducated and, therefore, deaf ears. Add that each one offers “the ultimate solution” and you have a cacophony of what seems  snake oil salesmen knocking relentlessly on marketers doors. Visual tech startups, in a sense, are their own worse enemies.

The marketing tech space. Imagine all these companies knocking at your door to tell you their solution is the best. A marketer's daily life...and nightmare
The marketing tech space. Imagine all these companies knocking at your door to tell you their solution is the best. A marketer’s daily life…and nightmare

A few things need to happen for this to change. First, an industry consolidation. Too many startups are one-trick ponies forcing marketers to patch and glue various solutions to make it a comprehensive tool. Very often, they bring one tool, however brilliant, which does little to push the brand overall reach. Combined with others, however, they could be lethal. For example, a HootsuiteOlapicLibris solution fed by Ditto’s data would be the ultimate visual content management tool. From UGC curation ( Olapic) to social media posting ( HootSuite) and intelligence ( Ditto), all encompassed in a central asset management like Libris would offer marketers a 360 control center from which they could centralize all their visual content initiatives.

Second, an industry-wide educational program offering non-techie marketers the possibility to understand the tools and solutions being offered. Currently, each company has their set of sales/biz dev team reaching out to each individual marketers, all with their own set of terms, metrics, and dashboards. In a month, an investigative marketer will have heard hundreds of pitches, each flashier than the other, with little to remember other than a set of confusing numbers. Instead, these companies should organize combined group demo days,  where marketers could learn about the different companies in parallel. These organized events would build the foundations for startups to implement language and metrics standards so that on top of the technology, marketers would no longer be confused by the large variety of terms and meanings. Once a month, city by city, these events would go a long way to ease adoption.

Pixlee's Dashboard: Metrics should be actionable
Pixlee’s Dashboard: Metrics should be actionable.

Third, strong actionable analytics to supply marketers clear-cut ROI numbers. A promise is only truly delivered when the results are actionable. Marketers, like any other business department, need to deliver successful results back to their management. For every dollar spent, they need to show a beneficial result. Too many startups (this is not unique to the visual tech space) deliver useless data or worse, none at all. What is useless data? results that you cannot do anything with. For example, knowing that  an image has been shared more than another one is cute, but useless. Knowing the reasons why and you have actionable data that will help marketers refine their visual strategy.  Every piece of analytics delivered back to the user should:

1) Reaffirm their conviction that your product/service is worth the money spent

2) Empower them in making educated decisions on how to even better maximize your tool.

In other words, metrics should transform  users into active successful addicts of  the service. Each time they use the service, they should want to use it more. Every data returned should be actionable.

Combining these three suggestions would greatly help in promoting visual tech into the prominent position it deserves to be, considering the firepower it can deliver. Startups  need to be smarter about how they deliver their message by  elevating their pitches to a language that marketers can truly understand.


Photo by JD Hancock

Author: Paul Melcher

Paul Melcher is the founder of Kaptur and Managing Director of Melcher System, a consultancy for visual technology firms. He is an entrepreneur, advisor, and consultant with a rich background in visual tech, content licensing, business strategy, and technology with more than 20 years experience in developing world-renowned photo-based companies with already two successful exits.


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