We now have smarter ways of improving customer experience with technology.
Here Jarther Taylor, our CEO, explains five major tech-driven tactics marketers should have on their radar in 2018.
Getting the best of advertising and marketing intelligence
The fact we have separate terms for adtech and martech indicates we still have a chasm between acquisition and customer marketing. Most organisations have separate acquisition and customer marketing teams, with separate budgets and objectives – and often the tech stack is stuck in silos. Often the agencies working with those separate teams and their technologies are kept apart too.
This isn’t an argument about who bills for what: it’s about drawing on the best of advertising and marketing intelligence and expertise to attract, convert and keep customers.
If you have the people and resources to bring the management of these technologies in-house, go for it: the creators of customer engagement platforms like Salesforce.com have already built-in technologies to help you manage an end-to-end customer journey.
Given adtech/martech are already unified on some platforms, CMOs that haven’t caught up with the tech, who don’t understand technology strategy and how it will deliver results,will fail faster. Not in an interesting way.
Creating fluid multi-channel and multi-platform experiences
Mobile customer experience can definitely improve, and it’s easy (unambitious perhaps) to predict mobile-first will be pervasive. But our prediction is that rather than focusing in on mobile (or other single channel) experiences, we need to create better, more fluid multi-channel and multi-platform experiences. The experience from desktop to mobile to wearable to voice-activation to in-store will need to feel consistent.
This is probably most relevant for retail, with the very real threat that Amazon brings of ‘customer obsession’ and having the tech stack to deliver it. Organisations that want to win will leverage technology to deliver experiences that genuinely feel integrated.
Integrating customised brand messages to enhance the customer experience
Authenticity in customer experience is driven by congruence of the brand promise and the experience that the customer actually enjoys or endures. You need deep insights into the needs of the individual to achieve this.
As CMOs are increasingly responsible for the full customer experience and the tech stack supporting it, they will make decisions to adjust their brand pitch to their product and service experience. Brand messages will be better customised to the individual when they’re integrated in each customer experience. That’s not to say brand messages must appear at every point, though it needs to be reinforced along critical points of the digital customer journey, and digital advertising spend should be more directly correlated with an individual’s journey. It won’t matter how slick your TV spots are if the CX doesn’t meet the promise.
From talking about to implementing AI
AI was absolutely the hot topic for 2017. Now that it’s embedded on some of the major customer engagement platforms like Salesforce, AI is already helping some marketers deliver richer, more timely communications. One important way AI can add value is to engage when engagement is wanted, not when a campaign calendar dictates it.
AI will also allow marketers to adjust customer journey marketing on the fly – not just based on known behaviours or post-analysis. This will be particularly important in social and content marketing, where localised trends or issues might suddenly alter how our customers think about and respond to our messages. Having the ability to monitor and analyse the zeitgeist can help us adjust our content before distributing it, so we can avoid getting caught in our own filter bubbles.
So in 2018, AI will be an ongoing experiment that delivers deeper consumer engagement for the few marketers that have started experimenting in 2017.
The end of the Adtech and Martech battle
Martech has already consumed Adtech. Some people like to say that Adtech is about anonymous audiences and Martech is about known customers, though there’s a fair bit of crossover when you’re targeting individuals.
Advertising has always been a subset of marketing, and we already know any kind of marketing is more effective (including cost) when it targets the right audience with the right message at the right time in the right place. So different business models for different technologies – such as SaaS vs. Commission – shouldn’t determine our definitions. We’ll probably continue to hear arguments over who owns what data, and when and how it should be used. I’d love to predict a date for when we’ll stop drawing battle lines between adtech and martech in our industry echo chamber so we can all get on with improving the value and effectiveness of our work, but I doubt it’ll be in 2018.