Technology is no longer a marketer's competitive advantage

Technology is no longer a marketer's competitive advantage

An increasingly fragmented media landscape, consolidation of online and mobility – much has been made of these trends. The marketing industry understands that the days of mapping customer behaviours through traditional outlets are a distant memory.

A mass exodus to the online world means a greater volume of traffic to monitor, capture and engage. To illustrate how fast the world of online shifts, shopping on a mobile was in its infancy in 2012 according to PwC. I would argue it is now becoming the norm. Consumers want to access products and services immediately; the web is their first port of call.

How do marketers ensure they capture customers’ intention and convert into ROI? We are using ‘traditional’ online marketing tools at a huge scale with greater sophistication. Interpreting swathes of data and insights requires data science and data management capabilities at scale – the technology and marketing teams have become best friends.

CMOs are expected to spend more money on technology than CIOs by 2017, according to research from Gartner analysts and this I can well believe.

Harnessing the power of online marketing tools in sophisticated ways costs money, but its ability to pinpoint customers makes it a sound investment. hipages Group spends more on Adwords campaigns than most companies spend on above the line advertising. Matching half a million customers with 40,000 tradies across 1,100 categories equals a dizzying number of keywords requiring 16 google accounts.

While google Adwords has become a standard marketing channel for brands to use, it is no longer enough to just optimise your campaigns in Adwords. Companies are now leveraging a plethora of tools to optimise landing pages, track online behaviours, interpret insights and remarket to high intention segments. If marketing departments are not doing this now then they are getting left behind. Those that are will be achieving better ROI and be able to outspend their competitors and dominate their market.

We now use Google developer tools to run scripts that use data from our website to pause and unpause campaigns in real time based on inventory. We use Optimizley to test hypotheses on landing pages, Clicktale helps us gain insights into users experience, Google analytics allows us to anticipate our customers’ future needs. Facebook and ad networks allows us to remarket to these customers that are segmented to have high intention. We are also running Cron jobs to pull the data from these tools into our CRM system as the central depository to allow us to create dashboards showing conversions, spend and most importantly ROI in real time. This allows the marketing team to notice changes in results straight away and react accordingly. Displaying this live data on plasma’s in the office leverages this data further by giving the whole company visibility into performance helping to get internal buy-in to the marketing effort.

These online marketing tools are there to be explored by marketers to create sophisticated and meaningful data to help businesses grow. This shift towards complex technology is a trend marketers are embracing to capture customer behaviours and evolve to deliver ROI. I would argue that we are almost at the point where this is no longer something that gives you a competitive advantage but rather what marketers have to embrace to simply compete. Marketing and technology are now intrinsically intertwined and the marketing team of today needs to reflect this. 

Stephen Keighery, chief marketing officer, hipages Group

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