How marketing needs an enterprise’s-worth of data to personalize
Over the last ten years or so, the biggest and best way to differentiate your products & services from those of the competition is by providing better and better customer experiences. Positive customer experience depends on multiple factors, but the critical element is that of personalization. In brief, personalized customer interaction is one that’s consistent across channels, consistent with the customer’s history, and an experience that leads to specific goals in the future.
That sounds simple, but the reality is very much more complex because of the need to collate enormous amounts of data, produce an intelligent customer journey, and make sure that publishing messages is coherent, personalized, and down the correct channels at the right time. The multiple elements involved create the complexity, and for a company to get a significant competitive edge, mastering those elements is necessary. But here at Tech Wire Asia, we’re pleased to present two vendors that have the type of technological solutions capable of doing just that. But before we consider each offering in turn, let’s consider some of the elements at play in today’s marketing technology stack and the internal processes necessary to achieve the perfect customer experience at scale.
Gather the raw materials
Gone are the days when the Marketing Department existed in a bubble of creativity on the periphery of the organization. Today, the marketing function needs access to the entire IT stack in order to drive the business. That requires a more strategic approach and one that can’t be achieved by technology alone!
But in the organization exist the types of systems in which there’s information of significant value to the marketer. This article would be ten times its current length if we were to discuss every aspect of the enterprise’s potential involvement in this stage of the customer experience creation process, so we can only touch on just a few of the critical areas (we’re ignoring, for the sake of brevity, apps, existing CMS systems, and legacy software and hardware systems):
The CRM (customer relationship management) system contains crucial information on each customer, each potential customer-to-be, and often, historical data on those that used to be customers, but whose activity has lapsed. There are significant amounts of history for each, plus metrics and demographics that can change the way the pro-active marketer thinks about market segmentation, potential new business campaigns, cross-selling, up-selling, and re-invigorating activity for lapsed, dormant and less active customers.
Social platforms are the ways that most consumers express their opinions of the company, of their purchase habits, likes, preferences, and lifestyles. Social channel use differs according to geography and demographics, and pulling together aggregated data from these is where technology can excel – normalizing the data interchange between the marketing management systems and the individual social channels’ APIs.
The e-commerce facilities across the business are not just about sales. Customers’ progress through the e-commerce site, reasons for cart abandonment, browsing behavior – all this and more is a goldmine for marketers, but again, needs parsing to make the information insightful & coherent.
POS & Retail systems are incredibly useful as the type of data that can be captured in-store (for example) is highly analogous with e-Commerce data in terms of its richness. As data feeds back to POS (see below), the power of these systems will become especially relevant.
From that collation of information can come the real hard work of the marketing function – but now at least, teams have enough information at their disposal (given the right customer experience management platform) to be able to create original, relevant content for each segment or target group. Highly personalized campaigns can therefore be created, delivered across all channels.
Of course, there’s no such thing yet as a magic wand that teams can wave, but the packages featured below will help businesses plan campaigns collaboratively, using the expertise and insight available from right across the enterprise. The collaborative process mirrors where the ideas are drawn from – every function, from operations to logistics, sales, marketing, and finance, with the Marketing Department providing the central point of reference for carefully constructed content, suitable for every step of the customer journey.
What remains is then the disseminate the company’s messages, in a managed and monitored manner, to many of the channels from which the insights were drawn: back to the correct social channel, to POS ready for an in-store visit, to the call center, the customer care department, the Sales teams and the various marketing specialists, too.
What began just a few years ago as the internet started to allow companies to monetize the (as was then, new) medium — the website CRM — has transformed into a fully-fledged platform that powers the digital experience. The days of the “brochure” website are by no means over, but instead of being the figurehead of the organization’s online presence, it is now just one element of a much larger digital marketing strategy. Read more about the two companies we feature below to see how you can transform your marketing department digitally, and make that process the centerpiece to an enterprise-wide digital transformation.
The Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) is an end to end content management and digital experience platform. It provides a single place for companies to build and manage content, deliver relevant personalized messages across multiple touchpoints, measure the effectiveness of those messages and drive online sales.
Creating the kind of hyper-personalized, cross-channel customer experiences that today’s consumers (and businesses) expect is a highly complex task. Most organizations have a complicated technology stack made up of disparate platforms and solutions that do not speak to each other making it hard to have a single view of the customer and offer a seamless experience.
The Sitecore XP is the first end-to-end solution that collates, organizes and publishes content across channels — at scale.
Sitecore has built a platform that offers an end-to-end view of the customer journey and helps organizations deliver a customer experience with personalized content across channels.
At the core of the Sitecore Experience Cloud is the Sitecore Content Hub, which can be used by enterprises to manage the complete content lifecycle from plan to publish across channels. It helps envision content creation and delivery as a supply chain and provides a platform to execute this process.
You can read more about the Sitecore Content Hub, the critical basis for the Sitecore Experience Cloud in a more in-depth feature, here on the pages of Tech Wire Asia.
As the commercial arm (for want of a better term) of the Drupal project, Acquia helps companies build their entire marketing stack on the open-source platform. Drupal was known initially as a CMS, probably as a quick way to describe it, but to place it alongside WordPress and Joomla, for example, is to massively underestimate the platform’s capabilities.
Because many think of Drupal as a development platform that happens to specialize in marketing assets like websites, Acquia offers several offerings designed to present a user-friendly, easy-to-access interface to the powerhouse underneath. The most recent of these is a fully-featured, low-code interface called Acquia Lift intended for marketers to optimize customer experiences.
However, there are many more options available, from cloud-based mass deployment mechanisms for multiple, multilingual micro-sites to be spun up, to full digital asset management, and much in between.
Acquia is the type of company that sits nicely as the go-between the marketing department, and the robust code base that will be second nature to IT development professionals, allowing the sort of power to be used in personalized campaign creation that’s often abstracted away from end-users on lesser platforms.
*Some of the companies featured on this article are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia
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