By Ian Matthews, Data Evangelist at NGDATA
Every year there seems to be a new ‘silver bullet’ technology that can revolutionise working, transform campaigns and accelerate conversion appears. However, this is leading to the development of sprawling and complex IT systems which organisations are struggling to control and fully leverage. As expectations for agile campaigns with instantaneous execution grow, it’s understandable that some marketing teams feel technology is hindering rather than helping them.
To deliver contextually relevant customer experiences, you must be able to capture and synthesize customer data on the individual customer-level, and that’s what the martech stack is really missing today. In order to leverage knowledge on the customer context, you must move to a process which combines long-term historical insights with up-to-the-minute processing of real-time behavioral data. This allows you to relate actions to the actual context of the customer hence increasing relevancy. On top of that for B2C marketeers the true impact comes from generating insight and personalised customer experiences in real-time.
So, why not just go to IT? As a marketer, you’re collecting this data, and IT is storing it somewhere, after all. Well, marketers get frustrated when they can’t even get two data sources integrated in a timely manner, no less an entire individual customer view! As younger, digital-native employees enter the workforce, this is being further compounded by their confidence to bypass IT teams and use software and platforms without their help. You should have access to customer insights in order to be on top of every micro-moment with your customers, so you can deliver only relevant and seamless experiences.
So where’s the problem? Well, these functions have so much potential to accelerate each other’s’ development. Both departments can work together to make data flow better within the organisation. To achieve maximum value from business data, it is essential to take a coherent strategy which scales as the organisation grows and changes to keep pace with market evolution. Businesses are starting to see that data science skills cannot make the desired impact if siloed away in an R&D department with no way of testing new solutions with real customers. Indeed, vital to the success of such projects is to understand the working process and goals of the teams executing campaigns.
The proof of any martech digital transformation project is the impact for the customer. Besides having a great product or service, marketers must be able to engage with customers on their terms. And as customers become ever more digitally minded, marketers need to keep up. This means interacting with the right experience, at the right time, through the right channel. The promise of treating each customer the way they want to be treated is an imperative customer experience goal, but it’s still a struggle for many to achieve. A report from the eConsultancy Group found that: “47% of brands say they have a “strong capability” for providing relevant communications, while only 35% of consumers say communications from their favourite brands are usually relevant.
Today, we have so many marketing and customer engagement tools and technologies, and a plethora of customer data. But, what is often missing is the brain. The brain is the central nervous system that delivers greater value to all the tools and technologies in the martech stack, and provides your brand the critical component it needs to truly deliver on the promise of smarter customer engagement through greater customer knowledge.
Your entire martech stack needs to be by the marketer, for the marketer. Access and control of customer data and orchestration tools by the marketer is key to accelerating time to value and getting the best return (ROMI). Make sure that you measure and communicate success, and think about that up front before you start to build out your brain: What does success look like? What actual KPI or metric are we going to use to measure success? Marketers shouldn’t be afraid to get your hands dirty because, in the end, it will be worth the effort.