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Marketing technology creates customer experiences

18 Mar 2014

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Marketing technology integration

Marketing managers are striving more than ever to create targeted, robust and more agile marketing campaigns. To do this well, we’re seeing an increasing reliance on technology, digital channels and the integration of the two.

The Marketing Budgets Report by Econsultancy and Responsys, found that more than two-thirds of businesses are planning to increase their digital marketing technology budgets this year, which isn’t a huge surprise, given the results have remained consistent since their first digital marketing technology study in 2011. According to Econsultancy: “This highlights the fact that marketers need to maintain a high level of investment in order to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in digital technologies.”

Advertising and marketing investment

Of the 600 companies that took part, 49% of businesses said they will be spending more on CRM, 47% on business and web analytics software, 40% on email and 40% on CMS.

1 advertising and marketing spend.png

Less spending on social

Surprisingly, there has been a “significant” drop in plans to spend on social media, with the figure dropping 12% year on year. Businesses are also predicting a drop in spending in:

  • Video advertising
  • paid search marketing
  • Cross and multi-channel marketing

Why CRM?

Businesses use CRM software to manage their customer data, merging of a number of business and marketing processes. The software integrates with existing business systems (including your CMS) to create a single view of the customer.

Gartner predicts that those that don’t also add social media into the mix will be missing out, as they are veering away from an important aspect of the marketing process, which is developing relationships.

Meeting the challenge

The challenge for marketing managers is how they can successfully integrate the plethora of tools and channels available to them, into their strategy and existing technology. This more “centralised approach” brings companies closer to that “single customer view”.

However, businesses have a limit to the resource and budget they can invest in technology. Particularly with the velocity at which new technologies are entering the market. Hence we are seeing large investment in core technology such as CRM, CMS, and marketing automation, with less significant investment in tools that help get the job done, but importantly, have integration points with a business’ core technology.

This isn’t something that’s especially difficult to do. Modern, enterprise level CMS’ often allow for additional modules or plugins to be added to give extra functionality or even provide developer frameworks so that larger enterprises can build their own.

Technology working together – a use case

A CMS facilitates content creation and distribution, therefore providing a platform to track your target market interests – looking through the prism of the world of “big data”, a CMS is transformed into a data gathering tool. When integrated with a CRM and/or marketing automation tool, the power to deliver personalised and targeted content to your market is exponential.

Your CRM/automation tool stores information on individuals and then uses the CMS capability to deliver more relevant content to the end user. Using and analysing the data to create better user experience through personalisation tactics, ultimately leads to better brand /market relationships and more effective sales targeting.

What’s changed?

A 2012 Gartner report, Recognize the Importance of Digital Marketing, showed that when considering their digital marketing strategies, managers and CEOs considered brand building and differentiation to be the most important aspect to their activities, closely followed by consumer communication and understanding consumer satisfaction.

So whilst the focus has shifted slightly, the spotlight is still on the customer. Marketing managers realise that it’s not enough to just integrate the technology, but in the ever growing channels available (e.g. YouTube, instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, email, event, experiential, print and digital advertising, etc) an integrated marketing campaign means leveraging customer insights to understand which channels our market play in, and are also happy to interact with brands through.

Personalising the customer experience

Business intelligence products, alongside a well-functioning CMS with integrated CRM, email and content delivery, give the marketer not only the opportunity to understand the customer, but the tools to deliver what they want, when they want it.

Automating this process with email and social campaigns, which are based on the data that analytics provides, allows marketers to create personalised, targeted campaigns that prove more effective. Think Amazon recommendations. This process of getting to know the customer is of course based in everything we’re discussing here – and it works. To maximise the digital space, marketers have to find ways to ensure that customers believe that the company cares. This provokes feelings of loyalty and improves customer retention, as well as WOM (word of mouth) marketing.

Email is not dead

Email remains a very valid marketing technique that continues to evolve with more agile functionality such as dynamic content and personalisation tokens. Email is preferred by 74% of online adults for “commercial communication”, although as a means of personal communication it’s being eclipsed by social media and smartphones.

2 acquisition channel growth.png
image courtesy of: www.mainstreetroi.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/custora_1.png

As you can see from the graph, email in 2013 was second only to CPC (click per cost) as the most successful means of acquisition growth, with email generated sales quadrupling since 2009.

This means that email has to make up a part of the overall marketing strategy and become integrated, and most importantly, personalised. Bearing this in mind, it’s no surprise that investment in email came out on top as an acquisition channel.

Bringing it all Together

An article by DeSantis Breindel puts forward the idea that it’s not integration that’s the point, as much as synchronisation. This, the post says, means that it allows “the voice of the brand to speak to every target, through every relevant discipline (advertising, public relations, promotion, marketing literature, sales force presentations, outdoor, event marketing, design, etc.) at every touch point.”

This somewhat relates back to what we discussed earlier, that technology and the marketer both should take an integrated approach and this should be based on a strong brand persona and message. This “allows the marketing plan to be continually fine-tuned based on real-time customer feedback and customer buzz from microsites, mobile technology and social networks”. It seems that however you want to label it, ‘synchronised’ or old school ‘integrated marketing campaigns’, it’s an approach that every marketing manager should be implementing.

3 brand voice circle.gif

image courtesy of: http://www.desantisbreindel.com/integrated-marketing-is-no-longer-enough/


The tools are already in the market

When it comes to integration, there are solutions already available that can ensure that CRM, CMS, email, social and analytics can come together seamlessly to allow for a powerful marketing strategy that works. It does so in such a way that a brand can really communicate with customers like never before and those that take advantage of this, will essentially be the winners. The beauty of this, is that it’s not just for the big brands anymore! Check out the Elcom Platform integration points...

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