With the advent of digital channels, marketing and technology have almost become inseparable. Marketers are using technology at each step of the marketing value chain from product planning & media buying to customer engagement to sale and after sales. No part of marketing function has remained untouched by the technology, businesses technology investments can be broadly segregated across 5 key themes:
- Customer centricity – Today, customers are at the center of all marketing initiatives. Digital marketing has brought brands closer to the consumers and marketers are striving to enhance individual customer experience at all touch points. Business are investing significantly to have a continuous and relevant engagement with consumers, which has led to increasing technology deployment for hyper personalization, zero moment marketing, building online communities and making interactions interesting through gamification and virtualization.
- Personalization – Marketers are increasingly investing in advanced and sophisticated analytics solutions to gain customer insights and provide most relevant content to the consumer. Personalization is also being delivered through solutions such as Ad targeting, content targeting, recommendation engines, Search Personalization etc.
- Zero moment/ Real time marketing - Real time marketing involves processing consumer information in real time to deliver actionable insights and using these insights to provide instant gratification to the consumers.
- Gamification - Gamification provides an interesting and fun interface to engage with consumers by using gaming elements and leveraging insight of user behavior and motivations. Many B2C businesses have used gamification to boost their loyalty program
- Online communities - Online communities allow marketers to continuously engage with customers at different stages of their lifecycle. The interactive nature of these communities give firsthand and invaluable window to customer’s needs, preferences, and perception about the brand to the businesses
- Analytics – Analytics is not new to the marketers, in fact the marketing function has been one of the first adopters of analytics among all business functions. However, the complexity and scope of analytics has increased significantly in the era of digital marketing as digital platforms have allowed marketers to capture customer data at various touch points. Marketers have been able to run sophisticated and smart analytics on this data to achieve audience, content, channel and product optimization. The key solutions around analytics are:
- Predictive analytics - Predictive analytics use online and offline data to predict customer behavior, operational activities, threats and risks. It uses predetermined rules and techniques to forecasting, to reduce the level of guessing in forecasting future state.
- Social listening – Globally, marketers are investing heavily to engage with customers on social networks, and respond to the trending sentiments and disseminate information. Social Listening helps brands to know what people think of their brand and provides an opportunity to allay negative sentiments
- Single view of customers - Single View of customer forms a unified view of customer by integrating customer’s data from various online and offline platforms. A consolidated view of customers enable marketers to ensure consistent messaging to the customers across channels leading to better content and offer targeting
- Campaign performance evaluation – Marketers have limited resources in hand and therefore are often concerned about ROIs. They closely monitor the performance of marketing campaigns and assets. Businesses are using analytics enabled campaign management solution to understand what campaign is working and how to adapt the campaign strategies to identify unmet needs and sweet spots.
- Multi-Channel marketing - Brands are responding to consumers demand by embracing multichannel strategy. Marketers have followed the customers to digital channels and are increasingly using a mix of both traditional and new channels strategies. The essence of multichannel marketing is to reach the right customer with the right content thru the right channel. Among all channels of communication, mobile is the fastest emerging. Catching customer attention has become extremely important for brands, especially when the customer is on the move. The power of mobility can truly be unfolded when businesses use mobile devices to build two way communications with the customers. Location based marketing is a step towards greater personalization where marketers aim to provide right content to right customer at right time in right Place. Marketers are increasingly allocating more ad spend to mobile, as brands are going beyond basic apps and sites to prominently play up location.
- Operations - The expansion of digital ecosystem has compelled marketers to invest in marketing operations and backend integrations. Marketing plan or a campaign delivery is largely dependent on operational efficiency of the function i.e. people, processes, structure and technology involved in implement. Process automations – Marketers are automating both marketing and advertising operations to bring efficiencies and reducing cost arising from duplication or loss of opportunities. Most of the marketing functions have introduced formal processes and high degree of automation around content delivery across channel, digital asset management and lead management
- Design - Besides adopting core technology solutions in the marketing function, marketers are also engaging with IT service providers for design development. This involves not just digital production and content testing and adaptation but also conceptualization and design prototype development
Undisputedly, CMO’s role has moved significantly beyond communication and branding towards technology. CMOs are getting more and more involved in technology selection and deployment as the organizations are moving up the digital maturity curve. Going forward CIO - CMO dynamics will also change significantly as CMO role will graduate to CMTO (Chief Marketing Technology Officer), while IT teams will act more like a gatekeeper.
Increasing digitization in marketing function has changed the business model of companies and have severely impacted other functions such as product development, sales, customer service, supply chain, IT etc. This has led to considerable changes in organizational dynamics and emergence of new positions in the c-level suites.
CMOs are redesigning the organizations and adopting new capabilities to fully tap the digital opportunities. However, their strategy around technology, talent and organizational design is largely dependent on the overall digital maturity of the organization.
Today, CMOs are moving beyond the conventions while selecting their partners and exploring potential strategic associations. They are essentially looking for collaborations that provide end to end solutions to them along with holistic digital advisory.
The perception of global CMOs about Indian IT providers is of strong technology providers with expertise in operations, system integration and infrastructural services. Marketers are progressively looking at Indian players for outsourcing analytics, market research and downstream creative work or digital solution implementation. However, they are considered to be in the infancy stage with regard to upstream digital solutions such as solutions around customer interaction and engagement and experience design.
To know more about how marketers are using technology- a) download NASSCOM's latest research- Martech- Transforming Marketing Through Technology b) attend the2016 NASSCOM Martech Confluence in Mumbai and c) join the NASSCOM Sales & Marketing SIG online community!