March 6, 2017

Chasing Personalization: The Marketer’s Guide to Technology in the Age of the Customer

If you’re a marketer, you probably have tons of material coming across your desk around the ‘Age of the Customer’ right now. According to Forrester Research only those companies that embrace a customer-centric viewpoint and actually do something about it will succeed in this new age. Why? Because now, more than ever, consumers are empowered to engage with your brand whenever and wherever they want to. Furthermore, they expect a seamless and consistent customer experience as they move from channel to channel.

Marketers are now challenged to present a consistent customer experience across all channels. To make matters worse, within some organizations, each channel may be run by totally different teams – each driven by their own goals and priorities.

Increasingly, it’s the marketing department that must lead organizational change to master an omni-channel strategy and break down silos across the organization. Marketers find themselves chasing solutions and sifting through an ever-growing pile of mar-tech to operationalize their vision for a unified strategy that spans platforms and achieves true omni-personalization. And while there are literally thousands of marketing technologies offered on the market today, trudging through them can be time consuming and confusing. It’s overwhelming on a good day.

Sifting through mar-tech

Just figuring out where to start can be troubling. To help you take that first step, let’s look at some ways technology is solving marketers’ top obstacles and a few of the solutions you can check out in each category.

Here are some of the top challenges marketers face, along with information about some of the technology options available to help solve them:

1) Marketers are challenged with old, inefficient processes that impede speed to market. Marketing Resource Management (MRM) is a category of software that helps organizations get their people and processes aligned to make marketing operations more effective. Common features include digital asset management, creative process management, budgeting, planning and performance. Depending on which of these items you’re trying to solve, some of the providers you can check out include: Allocadia, Aprimo, IBM Marketing Operations and Workfront.

2) Marketers are challenged to bring customer journey maps to life. As such, there’s a growing appetite for Customer Journey Management software to help marketers operationalize the different user experiences that you want your customers to take. This type of software helps you get out of the weeds of marketing execution so you can analyze consumer touchpoints and behaviors to deliver relevant interactions. Common features include cross channel visibility and cross-department collaboration tools. Some of the solutions worth checking out include: Salesforce Marketing Cloud – Journey Builder and Watson Campaign Automation – Journey Designer.

3) Marketers are challenged to deliver meaningful, relevant messages at the right time. Campaign Management Software can help organizations shift away from being driven by generic, corporately driven campaigns and toward a personalized, customer driven offer-centric approach that tracks horizontally across channels. Common features include the ability to perform deep audience segmentation, offer management, and response (i.e. disposition) tracking. Two mainstay solutions in this field are: Adobe Campaign and IBM Campaign.

4) Marketers are constantly challenged to present each customer with the most valuable offer – valuable to them and valuable to you. Offer Personalization software can help marketers capitalize on every opportunity to leverage customer-initiated (i.e. inbound) activity and personalize offers and content. Common features include a rules based decision engine and/or machine learning model that can customize offers in real time. Depending on what channels you’re leveraging, and how you conduct your marketing, you should check out: Adobe Target, IBM Interact, IBM Watson Campaign Automation, Salesforce Personalization Builder, and Teradata RTIM.

Clearly there are many software infrastructure options available for many different use cases to help marketers address ‘Age of the Customer’ related demands. However, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully this is enough of one to get your research started down the path toward achieving smarter marketing!

If you’re interested in taking a deeper look at the technologies helping markters today, download the whitepaper, Chasing Personalization.