Marketing Tech - A CIO Perspective
Consider examples of recent years start up’s be it Instacart or names like Swiggy or Byju’s in India – these companies have built a lasting brand in a matter of few years. The lead times between brand awareness (through Brand marketing) and conversions (Performance marketing) have crunched by months, if not for a few years in many cases.
Marketing Technology investments has been the beachhead for this accelerated growth for not just Digital native, but also those who have transformed their businesses. Digital disruptions have seeded new market spaces and its enabling business models and have created market shares in those models that did not even exist. True Disruptors!
These companies quintessentially think, plan and act on the customer relationship as a flywheel journey. Have considered Data at its fulcrum - metaphorically speaking Data is the Oil which accelerates this flywheel (read, Sales) without friction (read, Experience). And each “customer turn” is increasing sales throughput. This is well and truly the new paradigm.
Let’s look at how Technology and Data gets this flywheel rip roaring through its turns - Attract, Engage, Convert, Retain and Grow. The elements that drip feed “oil” to the “fulcrum” of the flywheel, so that friction is reduced and energy (resources/spends) converted to outcomes. I see this comprised of 2 large components.
Data Processes should deliver agile ingestion of data in Simplified, Secure and Scalable way – having a Data strategy that addresses Ownership, Orchestration and general Governance framework which is realistic and in line with the Organisation culture are critical to success. This does require extensive stakeholder change management.
Marketing big data is the most unstructured, with an exponential growth in the volume, velocity, and variety of data being piped in and out of organizations As per a research report by IDC 44% of all data.
Marketing Flywheel is an invigorating paradigm adopted by Brian Halligan founder of Hubspot in 2018, and an operating principle of his Inbound marketing and CRM company available to enterprises goes uncaptured, and out of the data that is captured, 43% remains unused, so in effect less than a third of the total marketing data is put to decision making today.
Tool frameworks to support processes across the spectrum of providers have evolved supporting Big Data with enabling Big Ops / Data Ops processes. Any Big Ops process should focus on the missing 67%, or “dark data”, as highlighted above, and shine light on that.
In a nutshell, enable Big ops processes with software-mediated tools is critical to harness your investments on the data platforms. That brings us to the next topic on Customer data platforms.
Brands are now owning their Customer Data Platforms (or first party data) rather than going for syndicated research data - newer streams of data that can be fetched with localisation, personalisation coupled with Machine Learning predictions gives an unprecedented opportunity. Sharpen context sensitive, locale sensitive, time sensitive marketing problem statements and solve for them to perfect your Brand performance management programs.
Connected marketing data ecosystems are going to redefine the digital data footprint of the customer significantly. With 5G and combination of Social, augmented capabilities, communication between devices etc, a big game changer is in the offing to the way we Attract and Engage customers.
Incorporating PII (Privileged Identity Information) (and I would now add Culture Identity Information (CII) based on recent marketing “mis-steps”), in your design of the solution is critical. Not being diligent about this has created nuisance for many brands. This is also critical to build Trust on the brand and probably going to be one of the biggest challenges in the coming years.
When it comes to “Conversion”, most big brands have taken advantage of excessive Digital consumptions over the last 18 months of stay at home work culture and invested heavily on paid searches, Social Ad platforms etc, but the results as per published reports is quite underwhelming - Paid Searches only get a marginal increment in conversions (1%) over organic searches. Besides, the overarching trend is that most customers are going directly to consumer platforms (Amazon, Flipkart etc) to research about the product. These type of inbound marketing insights needs to be integrated and curated into your Customer Data platform for maximising Returns on Ad spends (ROAS).
While we do this, lets no forget the basics of web experience - SEO (indexability, Meta words etc) , Page load times (requests, speed size), Mobility (Tap targets, fonts etc) and last but not the least Security.
Switching to retention and growth, the stakes get higher here and much closer to that Moment of truth. Today, the Brand promoter – detractor ratio is in multiples of 10’s or even 100’s as opposed to one detractor erodes 1 or <1 promoter world of the past. This is primarily because of low cost of switching and every marketing technology element has to harness this data into their data platforms in the most measurable way. Using NLP for Social listening data besides hard down trade / never returning customer data should very much be a PMM or (“predictive metric that matters”).
Ability to groom the customers’ ASK in quickest time possible with smallest amount of data to get the best fit in a frictionless manner is an absolute non-negotiable in any platform/ product.
To summarise, access to Digital Tools has been a great leveller for marketers to succeed irrespective of their size and provides competitive advantage to those who best adapt. Creating Process frameworks in tune with your organisation culture, Consumer centric Platforms and then choosing scalable Products would be critical to create the winning recipe for valued lifetime growth with your customers.