The following is a guest contributed post by Matt Langie, CMO at Mapp Digital.
Digital marketing continues to transform how brands interact with customers, and it’s safe to say every industry changed for the better. Sure, this is a pretty grandiose statement, but think about it. Marketers have more data-driven insights than before, and in turn, they use those insights to better engage with key demographics.
While there are many new avenues for consumer interaction and data-driven strategies to increase conversions, there’s still crippling challenges the industry needs solve. Here are three major challenges sweeping the industry, and how solve for them.
Too Complex, Expensive and Time Consuming
According to Ascend2 “Marketing Technology Trends Survey” (Jan 2017), for nearly half of B2C marketing influencers, inadequate technology integration is a significant barrier to marketing technology success. Additionally, the survey stated 50% of companies indicate technology integration is a significant barrier to success, where only 37% have extensively integrated their marketing systems, and 4% have not integrated their marketing technologies at all.
Solving for digital marketing complexities is not as difficult as many people think, and it doesn’t need to be expensive. Also, companies don’t need an army of digital experts to achieve success/results/KPIs. With the easy-to-integrate and open digital marketing platforms available today, the challenges of unifying new technology with legacy or in-house built systems are greatly simplified, if not by the in-house IT team then by the digital marketing partner or agency.
The entire customer experience is shaped by technology, data, analytics and design. Information technology is not only pervasive, it is a primary driver of market differentiation, business growth and profitability. As consumers head full speed into a world where brand and technological experiences are indistinguishable, revamped marketing and IT teams need to be jointly responsible for owning the design of the customer experience.
A recent report by Accenture highlights this. It states chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) must work closer together than ever before. New data management platforms are now available that bring together siloed data to provide a 360° view of customers across multiple channels and systems. Through these new simplified tools, CIOs and CMOs have a new-found ability to orchestrate their organization’s messages and ultimately enhance customer experiences.
Trouble Identifying customers
Another major challenge is customer identification across channels. It’s necessary to identify a successful connected customer path, but it can be hard to achieve. Oftentimes, the information collected in customer databases is “dirty,” with multiple profiles for each customer and lots of missing or incorrect information. When customers make online purchases, they provide a lot of personal data, both actively (via payment forms) and passively (via cookies), which ensure companies can identify them quickly. But in brick-and-mortar stores, often the only data collected is an anonymous, encrypted credit card number — not nearly enough information to build an accurate customer profile.
Also, some brands have access to data, but do not wish to risk upsetting customers through potential privacy questions. This will become even more prominent with the new GDPR data protection regulations coming into play.
Today’s digitally-savvy customers expect a consistent experience across every channel. They want to be treated as individuals, feel like brands know them and that organizations understand their needs. To succeed, companies need to offer the ultimate digital experience from initial browsing right through to arrival at the chosen destination. To stand out from the crowd, it’s time to embrace technology and techniques to be relevant, offer personalized messages and impact the customer’s brand affinity.