Issues Impacting Marketing Technology
To get a better perspective on the issues impacting marketing capability, we need to look at the role that Marketing needs to play in organizations today.
"It is critical to link marketing technology to the customer’s journey for the product, service and brand. These are not separate functions"
Now and for the foreseeable future, organizations will be in a continual state of reflection. They’re battling against a market in near-constant disruption. They’re looking for new ways to inspire, lead and shape the right team members to bring strategy to life. In this context, Marketing, with its foundation of customer insight, has the opportunity to provide true value to the business.
The four things marketing has always handled haven’t changed:
■ Know the customers, industries and markets the organizations serves
■ Define what to market and how to market it
■ Protect the brand promise
■ Measure and act upon insights
What’s new is Marketing’s broader role: shaping conversations inside and outside of the organization to strengthen relationships, increase revenue and elevate the brand.
Today’s audiences -- both internal and external -- are pressed for time and overloaded with data. In short, they’re demanding less talk and more quality – and therefore companies need to pay close attention to the quality of the conversations they’re having with these audiences. This is where Marketing can truly shine – first, by bringing the brand and business strategy to life, and then by enabling the right conversations with all stakeholders.
To accomplish this, Marketing needs to promote and prioritize investments enabling market conversations and the customer’s journey.
Implementing Marketing Initiatives
Today, the overriding principle for organizing Marketing work is what I call the Editorial Mindset. In short, a marketer needs to think and act like a managing editor – programmatically shaping the flow of content to the organization’s audiences over time. The Editorial Mindset requires marketers to measure both outcomes and outputs…
■ Output metrics for understanding and tuning marketing efficiency and effectiveness
■ Outcome metrics related to the strategy set in place by the business, and the market at large
Modern Marketing Is Critical
■ Understanding Your Market, Industry and Customers is paramount to the competitiveness and success of the organization. True understanding requires marketing to build capabilities in two non-traditional domains: marketing technology and data analysis. It is all in the preparation – understanding the dimensions of the market as well as how success will be defined creates focus. Without focus, marketing programs are reduced to “random acts of marketing”.
■ CRM Mindset- CRM is putting your customer at the heart of your business. CRM has historically been considered as a technology, but it is about much more than just that.
Consider: our goal as marketers is to acquire, grow and retain relationships with clients and future clients to create sustainable value. How our clients define and value those relationships will vary. Today, with the support of CRM process and technology, marketers can now have a 360-degree view of the client. This will give us insights to improve the quality and satisfaction of each client interaction – and the client relationship as a whole.
The CRM Mindset requires a strong partnership between Marketing and IT. Both functions share accountability for strengthening the client’s perceived value of the relationship with our brand.
■ Shaping the Client Experience- What conversations are you creating to break through the haze of content? Today, our clients and future clients have more choices than ever, and are more frugal. This affords them the luxury of demanding more. The goal is to help shape the experience by elevating engagement and conversations with relevant content across all company touch points.
To “shape the client experience”, marketers also need to understand brand’s offline dynamism -- that sense of discovery, inspiration and entertainment -- and recreate it in the digital realm. Over the next few years the client’s mobile and online experiences will evolve and rival the client’s offline experience.
Meeting Technology Challenges
■ Education- demonstrate knowledge and share with marketers. The opportunity to create brand advocates starts with advancing the knowledge and application of the system or software. It’s not just about features and functionality. To distinguish themselves, vendors need to be agile and responsive in providing use cases, change management applications and adoption strategies.
■ Partnership- we keep stating that relationships rule the marketing paradigm. Technology providers are part of an organization’s extended team. There is a reciprocity in the relationship and Marketing expects a different level of service than just the transaction.
■ Measurement and value– vendors need to demonstrate the full value of the technology and software procured to effectively communicate the impact on ROI and qualitative feedback on outcomes.
Marketing Landscape is Not Devoid of Painpoints
Breakthrough Experiences- Organizations need to break through the clutter and captivate consumers of products and services. We have four different generations in the workforce today and they all consume content very differently – organizations have to share internal communications and conversations to mirror what they want to create in the external customer experience. Breaking through the ordinary experiences to create extraordinary requires collaboration across, marketing, technology and the business.
Proliferation of Big Data- The proliferation of big data creates new opportunities and threats in the market. If you do not keep your eye on your customers, competitors and market shifts, your organization will not be prepared to make near real-time decisions. Ironically big data isn't big at all -- it is about identifying the small anomalies, trends and patterns that intersect customers, competitors and the markets we serve. Because this field is changing so rapidly, the ability to stay "agile" is especially important. The technology and capabilities needed to create insights from data are significant, and require investment.
Content Tsunami– Marketers need a focused strategy for the conversations with key customers, buyers and influencers of the organization and its services and products. To deliver that strategy they must continuously create content – and over time this brings the risk of a “content tsunami” that overwhelms their audiences. To manage this risk, marketers need to understand the application of marketing technologies across content, platforms and channels. Equally critical is marketing program governance: without it, unchecked use of technology can sub-optimize the impact of marketing initiatives.
Role of Technology in Marketing
With any organization the goal is to build brand advocacy – that is no different for a software company. Partnership and education is a fundamental opportunity for software companies. If you want to make marketers successful, you need to invest in education and deepen their knowledge and value of the software application for their specific products, services and industry. With every interaction, your goal is to create connections across the organization.
Vendors need to focus on simplifying user interface and design. The recommendation is to make the investments in user experience design. Marketers can be your best advocates – but they can also be your biggest detractors inside the organization if the user experience is not easily understood.
Evolving Role of CMOs
Every company needs to assess the marketing strategies and tasks in tandem with enabling technologies. The relationship and role of both CMO and CIO will continue to evolve as the speed of technology increases.