A focus on maximizing engagement throughout the customer journey remains the foundational principle of every marketing model. Identifying the life time value of a customer is a steady path to marketing success. Data and analytics have never been as important to marketers as they are today. And conversely, never have they been rendered as obsolete as now, when marketing moves towards building intelligent, real-time, customer engagement platforms. What explains this dichotomy in modern marketing?
Enter Marketing Technology.
Image courtesy: IDC’s The Marketing Software Revolution: Strategies for Buyers and Sellers
Software technology is the quintessential element that drives every business today. Big Data and analytics are churning out mind-boggling volumes of data that are virtually impossible for human marketing teams to process themselves. The amalgamation of technology into digital marketing has enhanced the ability to collect, process, refine and employ meaningful data into various marketing channels with assured ROI.
With the introduction of new marketing technologies (martech), new, more marketable formats and saleable channels based on higher audience engagement and customer retention have developed. With Facebook/Twitter ads or Google’s Paid search results the edifice of the marketing stack has emerged — the old CRM system is no longer enough. Adopting contemporary martech helps build a solid foundation of data + infrastructure over which companies can adapt to the ever-transforming standards of marketing. Improving brand visibility and audience engagement is today, increasingly dependant on your ability to better integrate technology into modern marketing channels.
An Unprecedented Opportunity: Unicorns emerge from the Marketing Landscape
The marketing landscape has transformed dramatically since 2010. In fact, it is still a shifting sand scenario for marketers who find it tough to develop plans and strategies for devices, platforms and channels. There lies an opportunity for unicorns wanting to leap ahead of the competition as martech continues to take a larger share of the technology pie.
In 2016, CMOs spent more on digital martech than print and TV ad combined. According to Gartner 2016-2017 CMO Spend Survey, marketers are spending more on website, mobile apps and social media than ever. Most start-ups today are open to the idea of building business on purely digital marketing platforms.
Budget Allocation for Martech in 2016
Image courtesy: Gartner 2016-2017 CMO Spend Survey
While the traditional marketing models focused around TV, print, banner and radio continue to be the primary medium of advertising and brand campaigning, social media, mobile and video marketing too have grown leaps and bounds in recent years.
The crucial differentiator in digital commerce too, is fast becoming the application of martech. Backed by how well the marketers deploy marketing technologies, return on investment will be a crucial factor as far as their effectiveness is concerned.
The Starting Grid: Revamped Modern Marketing Based on Technology
Only 30% of companies today accept the value martech brings. The rest are yet to re-engineer their philosophy. Astute marketers acknowledge that integration of the marketing stack is the key to deliver a sublime customer experience. Marketing technologies can help get over the personality differences between the Chief Revenue Officer, CMO & CIO team by bringing in seamless collaboration across all touch points in the organization.
How does one start to bring about this marriage of sales, marketing and technology? Marketers can catch up with the marketing leaders by first differentiating which martech tools are relevant to build a customer-centric marketing strategy and focus on erasing traditional customer engagement barriers.
The starting grid of martech in modern marketing looks like this.
Image courtesy: IDC’s 2015 Marketing Technology Map
Key martech tools that readily available for adoption are:
- Monitoring and analytics tools
- Marketing automation tools
- Customer relationship management (CRM) tools
- Tag management tools
- Data management platforms (DMP)
- Content delivery networks (CDN)
- Conversion optimization tools
- Campaign management tools
- Email marketing platforms
- Mobile optimization tools
- Advertising networks
- Remarketing solutions
- Search engine marketing tools
All these marketing tools allow the marketers to take highest ownership of the customer data. They undeniably enhance 1:1 customer experience across all touch points bolstered by the competitive martech infrastructure.
Technology’s impact on marketing
Marketers are striving hard to catch up with the latest technology trends. Compared to the last decade, businesses have managed to adopt cutting-edge technology within 2-3 years. The trend of building martech infrastructure is now taking an accelerated path, which invariably means that we are going to see faster adoption in coming months and years. It’s the pace of adoption of marketing technologies that has opened up new opportunities in overall business.
How martech trends impact your business
The first impact of martech on the business is how well marketers now need to formulate data strategy. Marketing technologies affect each business differently. However, the visible influence of the changing marketing trends can be seen on how marketing platforms are converging into one. Account-based marketing for B2B marketers is gathering incredible momentum and pace thanks to the impact of social media, mobile and online video advertisements. Devices are getting smarter, and so are customers.
“Overnight the digital age had changed the course of history for our company. Everything that we thought was in our control no longer was. But within a year we had invested in social media and digital experts. Now Starbucks is the number one brand on Facebook.”
– Howard Schultz, Chairman/CEO, Starbucks
The adoption of marketing technologies depends on the way it will impact the data strategy. Best way to start thinking about your martech stack is by investigating the impact of selective marketing tools on each touch point.
Choose your first set of martech platform directed at improving the visibility of the brand in:
- Search engine results
- Social networks (paid and organic)
- Banner ads
- Sponsored online retail content
- Online blog reviews and ratings
- Online video content (paid and organic)
Proliferation of digital channels is accelerating the impact of martech on business.
Nearly 2.2 billion people have smartphones or tablets. This number is likely to reach 3 billion by 2020 (refer to figure). Marketers can tap into the smartphone user base by using marketing automation tools for smartphone and tablet ad formats. Marketers are getting more and savvier about identifying “micro-moments” – those all-important opportunities to be relevant to the customer.
Number of Smartphone users worldwide from 2014 to 2020 (in billions)
Image courtesy: STATISTA
How martech impacts the customer
Customers are more connected to one another like never before. One thing that connects them all is their vibrant, 24-hour bustling online life. Technology has improved the way customers view their preferred brands and products across different devices and online channels. Marketers are building emotional bridge with their customers based on omni-channel attribution, which tells them exactly where the customer interacted with the brand.
Technology goes a step ahead in empowering the customer to choose what kind of brand he/she wants to interact with. Customers are more responsive to hyper-personalized products as they typically resonate with their device usage, browsing pattern, brand preferences, mobile app downloads, social interactions, location and demography.
In short, customers are offered targeted set of products, services and content directed by micro-level data analysis. Each customer is a king, and the impact of martech is highest on the ones that are connected 24/7 online. Analysis of ad blocking or banner blindness is an example of what makes marketing technology so exciting and in a state of constant flux. With the advent of martech, marketers are challenged to serve more relevant, direct and non-intrusive ads and banners.
Why People Block Online Ads
Image courtesy: IAB UK/YouGov “Online Ad Blocking”
The Cost of Not Investing in Martech
The magnification of the martech domain is pushing the barriers of collaboration between marketing and sales teams. Without marketing technology, the gap of communication and efforts between the marketers and their sales counterparts will be wider. The immediate effect of missing out on a tech enabled opportunities in enterprise marketing strategies will be reflected in poor ROIs from customer touch points. Missing out on customer-centric data will lead to premature abandonment of even the most competitive marketing campaigns due to lack of insights and budgeting.
Failing to integrate marketing tech will create ambiguity in fully understanding the maturing of martech, and further disruptions to the marketing model; something no CMO would like to experience going into 2017 and beyond.
Timing and quality of interaction remains the secret of success. As long as marketers know exactly what customers want, enterprises can plan budgets, technology integrations and deliverables in advance. In addition to maximized ROI, marketers can also brace themselves up against any disruption planned in the future.
Marketing Technology Is Here To Stay
With marketing technology, it’s now or never for the marketers. Rightly so, the effectiveness of technology depends on its compatibility with the business, missions and objectives, team’s technical expertise and the scalability factors. There is no ubiquitous martech toolkit that can solve all marketing challenges right away.
At Martech Series, we believe that digital marketing is still just marketing – the art of creating a compelling narrative around your brand remains as relevant as ever. However, the modern CMO needs to add a solid martech strategy with a focus on reliable marketing data and customer engagement. Beyond that, all indications point toward predictive analytics, AI and machine learning as the way forward.