“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” Bill Gates
Ten years ago, the idea of a marketing technology platform for the enterprise would not have made much sense. Why would a marketer need an integrated marketing technology platform anyway?
Today, the need is becoming more obvious. Digital marketing has made platform thinking an absolute necessity. Fragmented channels and ad blocking consumers who use multiple devices dominate the modern marketing landscape. Brand-related content is no longer dominated by brands; it’s the socially-empowered set who are defining the brand conversation.
To thrive in this environment, marketing must be more targeted and contextually relevant than ever before. In many cases, marketing needs to be more ‘content’ then ‘advertising’, where the content is more shareable and valuable in its own right.
In addition, the entire user journey from awareness, engagement to adoption and advocacy has to be tracked and nurtured. And, all of the above needs detailed analytics so that it can be measured and optimised.
The permutations are mind-bending. Different messages for each potential consumer based on a series of variables including history, demographics and context.
Much like the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems that link every business process throughout the enterprise, it is likely that the many data points that exist in marketing are going to get stitched together to provide a more scientific view of the brand’s interactions with current and potential customers.
Make no mistake; this is big tech in its truest form. Just like SAP has connected enterprise data to provide an integrated view of manufacturing and finance, the enterprise marketing platforms will connect all consumers, content and analytics data, providing live and actionable insights.
So, what does a solution like this look like?
Here are five characteristics that need to be considered when discussing the concept of a marketing platform:
1. The ability to manage profiles: Marketers need to build profiles of ALL their prospects and customers. The anonymous need to become known so that engagement can deepen and relationships can be built. The ability to manage thousands of profiles of people who might one day be your customers, is fundamental.
2. The ability to manage content: The volume and variety of content organisations need to deal with is exploding. Blog posts, catalogues, videos, web content, social, and the list goes on … This means a marketing asset infrastructure to house the burgeoning content volumes is an essential part of the puzzle.
3. The ability to deliver across web and mobile devices: Cross device delivery is fundamental as users move from desktop to tablet to mobile and back. They expect their journey to continue seamlessly across these devices.
4. Personalised delivery of messages: Relevance and context demand the ability to provide highly-customised messages to audiences segmented to a single individual if required.
5. Predicative analytics: It is not enough to report on what has happened. The ultimate value lies in being able to predict what is going to happen, based on past behaviour and profiling.
Enterprise marketing platforms provide these capabilities, but like all tools, they need to be wielded with deft and precision to provide value to each of the brand’s customers. No doubt, there it will be a pain to implement, but in 10 years’ time, when the world has changed beyond recognition, you will be happy you did it.
By Kevin Lourens, Chief Growth Officer for NATIVE VML