From my own experience leading both marketing and sales teams, I have come to believe that a successful marketing technology strategy should always be focused on outcomes and led by use cases. Thoughtfully developed use cases deepen our understanding of how to deliver expected business outcomes and the martech tools needed to do it.
With the adoption of increasingly advanced digital technologies, brands are not only able to gather explicit customer data, including personally identifiable information, they can also collect a wealth of implicit customer information from different sources such as web logs, cookie data, session ids, click stream data, data from social media and mobile apps, device ID-related information and much more.
Brands today definitely know the value of that mass of the data they’ve collected over the years. And, they understand how it has the potential to drive transformation in every organization, large and small. Moreover, they know that if they capture the right kind of data and integrate it into all operational aspects of the enterprise, they can turbocharge business outcomes and have a shot at rising to the top of their category.
That last bit is where many brands still struggle. While tools and technology based in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are widely touted, most organization’s ability to use it can be painfully curtailed by poor quality and incomplete data.
Game-changing technology for marketers.
Throughout their interactions with a brand, customers leave multiple footprints across a wide range of channels, touchpoints, and devices. Unfortunately for marketers, they don’t necessarily reveal their identities at every interaction. They do, however, often leave definite preference, propensity, and affinity signals behand. It’s up to the brand to stitch together all these clues and establish the identity to deliver the individualized experiences those customers expect and want.
An automation platform allows you to consolidate all of your customer’s data across diverse systems within the organization, whether it’s your marketing systems, campaign management systems, website database, analytical systems, sales systems, POS systems, or others. It allows you to orchestrate and deliver your brand’s communication through multiple channels such as web, email, SMS push, in-app, social, paid campaigns, QR codes, and digital assistants including chat bots, and voice assistants.
The right platform also gathers and records crucial insights and analytics on a real-time basis to help measure and track performance across multiple campaigns at an individual customer level. This helps open up the biggest opportunity that automation offers—the ability to deliver superlative customer experiences and optimize return on marketing spend.
As all CMOs know, one of the marketers most daunting challenges is justifying marketing cost. A well-designed automation platform allows you to get the end-to-end metrics and attribution for every activity that marketing undertakes. Ultimately, it’s about delivering the best business results at the lowest possible cost and being able to prove it.
How it works in real life
Before Resulticks, one of our banking customers used to require two to three days to create segments on a database of 50 million after taking data from multiple systems and excel sheets. They’d spend a couple of more days to upload these segments into their campaign management tool and an additional week to get the analytics on the campaign.
With Resulticks, the same institution can now create segments within minutes, run the campaign, and get the analytics the same day all from the same platform. Another example involves targeting lookalike audiences/personas. Identifying such segments manually and reaching out to them is impossible without automation.
How automation fits in the marketing strategy
More than 75% of companies have implemented some type of marketing automation software. Nine out of ten marketers use more than one form of marketing automation software on a regular basis—not because it’s a fad, but because it opens up new opportunities for marketers and, according to some, can improve efficiency by 20 per cent.
Integrating your automation platforms into your marketing strategy is crucial to achieving your end objective, whether it’s growing your online presence, lead generation, customer acquisition, improved retention, improved website conversion, or increased sales/profit. All these focus on trying to bring prospects or customers to the end point you have defined.
Of course, the path to purchase/conversion is non-linear; customers usually take multiple steps before making a buying decision. These steps may include several visits to the brand's digital and non-digital assets across multiple devices and channels along with many micro moments of discovery before the purchase.
Success depends on purposefully guiding prospects down this path by offering the right cues and the right offer at the right time. An advanced marketing automation platform can take the guesswork out of that.
The essential sales/marketing integration
Just as success in any enterprise requires the close integration of marketing and the sales team efforts, marketing automation cannot work in isolation from sales processes. It is marketing’s job to deliver to the sales team well qualified leads with a high conversion potential.
Here, marketing automation shines by segmenting data into buckets and assigning a lead score—high value high potential, high value low potential, low value high potential, or low value low potential. Marketing automation enables you to nurture low potential leads till they are ready to convert before passing them on to sales.
In addition, an automation platform integrated with the contact center CRM can provide full visibility on the history of the lead including campaign data, number of times the customer visited the website, as well as lead score and potential.
Overcoming implementation challenges
Aside from getting the data right, one of the biggest challenges in executing a future-forward martech strategy is cultural adoption across the entire organization right from top to bottom. People at all levels across organization need to understand the impact of marketing automation on their roles and processes, especially those that have direct customer contact or impact.
For one of our financial service clients, the challenge was to resolve the identify of a single customer who had multiple products with the bank and was considered a different customer for each. Solving this, of course, was a pure data play.
A different set of marketing skills
A well-designed marketing automation platform will not require marketers to master any complex technical or coding skills. With an intuitive user interface, learning to use the platform should be about as easy as learning to use a smartphone.
What marketers will need is a deep understanding of what the platform can do. That requires a creative bent of mind to come up with relevant cases specific to your industry and your business objectives.
Optimizing the value of marketing technology requires the ability to apply design thinking to visualize what a seamless customer journey looks like and to build a communication strategy around it. It also requires an appetite for constant testing of as many campaigns, creatives, and customer journeys as you can to deliver optimal results.
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