In this opinion piece, Rory McNeil (pictured below), head of marketing for Australia and New Zealand at Squiz, explains how businesses can make the most of their marketing technology investment.
It’s promising to see more marketers and their organisations realising the power of marketing technology (martech) to drive business growth. Squiz’s most recent State of Marketing Technology Report found Australian respondents had been spending increasingly more on it in the past twelve months – with 78 per cent saying that there had been heavy investment, compared to their UK and US counterparts (64 per cent and 50 per cent respectively).
As spend goes up, it is essential that marketers ensure it’s used wisely.
Changes to the way customers expect to be treated and the new ways that they can access brands, products and services has created a need to automate complex and time-intensive work. Key to this is collecting increasing amounts of information about users and improving activity attribution, which has led to the explosion in the number of platforms now available. This is why the key to maximising martech investment is focusing on CX and becoming truly customer-centric.
According to the report, 62 per cent of respondents accredited martech investment to better understanding customers and prospects, and this is a positive indication that organisations are trying to get closer to their customers, not just explicitly, but implicitly as well. Getting a single view of the customer and improving personalisation is more important than ever, and senior marketers must lead the way as a matter of urgency.
Creating a single view of the customer to unlock greater CX
Before personalised experiences can be delivered, a holistic representation of the customer must be derived, and this can only occur through the accumulation of accurate data.
Organisations should invest time in building a single view of their customers at the beginning of their relationships with them, adding to it throughout their lifecycle. By doing this, you ensure that you can identify the right next steps in customers’ journeys and streamline future interactions with them, anticipating their needs and setting you apart from your competitors.
Achieving a single view doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel for each new customer, but it does require investment – integrating systems, doing research, and adjusting business processes to meet expectations. Any existing (or recently acquired) martech should therefore be taken advantage of accordingly.
Optimising martech expenditure in a way that aligns with a customer-centric focus will allow a more accurate and rounded understanding of customer data to be provided to organisations, thus enabling them to deliver the consistent, personalised experiences that customers are increasingly expecting.
By doing this, organisations put themselves in a position to create lifelong relationships with customers, and the better you are at doing this, the greater your reputation and levels of customer engagement will be.
Complementing technology with a correlating culture
It has been proven that creating a customer-centric organisation leads to better value and service for customers, but to holistically embrace customer-centricity, an organisation’s culture also needs to shift – a far more larger, complex task.
Martech’s role in an organisation is not simply to replace analogue tasks with digital ones. Martech should be onboarded with the intention to empower employees, including those tasked with operating the technology and those implementing the cross-organisational strategies that sit behind its use. With this must come an innate ability to empathise with customers – to truly understand them and their needs – in order to provide better value and service for them.
All organisations exist to deliver value to their customers, but internal structures can hamper a customer-centric culture from within and restrict martech’s full potential.
Siloing departments by function is no longer relevant nor constructive, with marketing’s role increasingly flowing into that of IT’s and beyond. Restructuring employees around customers and implementing human touch points to combat these silos will provide a nurturing environment for strategic martech optimisation.
The growth in the utilisation of martech is only going to continue. As customers increasingly expect better coordinated, and more tailored experiences across every channel, the only way to enable this will be via strategic martech investments. Through freeing up time by the use of automation technologies and truly understanding your customers (through data), your organisation will become an efficient, effective, customer-centric organisation.