Back to Basics: A Fresh Focus for 2017

Digital Marketing

It’s a lit­tle late in the year for me to wish you a hap­py new year—I do wish you a Hap­py Year of the Roost­er, though—but as this is my first post of 2017, I want­ed to catch up on a cou­ple of things that occurred to me over the Christ­mas and New Year peri­od.

This is a time for reflec­tion for many of us, and I’ve been resolv­ing to fol­low more of the ideas laid out by the guys behind the Min­i­mal­ists blog after receiv­ing one of their books as a present. If you’re not famil­iar with their writ­ing (and new film), then I high­ly rec­om­mend check­ing them out here.

The Min­i­mal­ists blog wel­comed the new year with a res­o­lu­tion to get “back to basics” in 2017. And this got me think­ing about work (I didn’t switch off com­plete­ly over the hol­i­day!) because I think it’s time that as mar­keters, we strip back all the buzz­words and unnec­es­sary tech­nol­o­gy, and focus on the foun­da­tion­al skills and tools that help us do our jobs well.

This idea got me think­ing about our pri­or­i­ties for dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing this year, espe­cial­ly in light of a recent sur­vey of near­ly 200 dig­i­tal pro­fes­sion­als released by mar­ket research firm ClickZ Intel­li­gence. This sur­vey con­firms the “back to basics” con­cept, find­ing that great cus­tomer expe­ri­ences sit at the cen­tre of dig­i­tal matu­ri­ty.

Accord­ing to the report, 52 per­cent of organ­i­sa­tions now use some form of mar­ket­ing cloud tech­nol­o­gy to enhance the cus­tomer expe­ri­ences they deliv­er. Among those respon­dents, 82 per­cent report that mar­ket­ing cloud tech­nol­o­gy has had a pos­i­tive impact on their mar­ket­ing activ­i­ties, while no less than 97 per­cent report that an inte­grat­ed mar­ket­ing suite has pos­i­tive­ly impact­ed their busi­ness per­for­mance.

Still, not all organ­i­sa­tions agree on which ele­ments of a mar­ket­ing cloud are most crucial—or on which advan­tages of these suites are most help­ful. A break­down of these respons­es reveals that com­pa­nies rely on mar­ket­ing cloud tools in a range of ways as diverse as the indus­tries and cus­tomers they serve.

Impor­tant ele­ments

The major­i­ty of ClickZ’s respondents—a full 60 percent—described cus­tomer and dig­i­tal ana­lyt­ics as the “most crit­i­cal core prod­uct” with­in a cloud-based mar­ket­ing ser­vice. But beyond that, opin­ions diverge more wide­ly. Many respon­dents described dig­i­tal asset man­age­ment tools as “impor­tant” or “nice to have,” but not crit­i­cal in a cloud ser­vice; oth­ers cit­ed paid media man­age­ment and mobile app man­age­ment as sig­nif­i­cant, but not cru­cial.

Giv­en the cen­tral­i­ty of dig­i­tal assets, paid media, and espe­cial­ly mobile apps in just about every company’s cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, why would such large per­cent­ages of respon­dents report that these ele­ments aren’t crit­i­cal in a mar­ket­ing cloud ser­vice? Part of the answer comes from the fact that not all com­pa­nies are high­ly focused on these areas—in oth­er words, while every mar­ket­ing depart­ment deals with each of them to some extent, not every com­pa­ny has allo­cat­ed the bud­get or staff to require their man­age­ment on a large scale.

But a more telling set of insights may come from the wide­ly diver­gent ways in which com­pa­nies use mar­ket­ing cloud tools, and the ben­e­fits they hope to achieve from them.

Advan­tages and con­cerns

While the vast major­i­ty of sur­vey respon­dents agree that mar­ket­ing cloud tech­nol­o­gy has had a pos­i­tive impact on their organ­i­sa­tions’ mar­ket­ing activ­i­ties, they offer a sur­pris­ing­ly wide range of answers when asked exact­ly how mar­ket­ing cloud tools have helped them.

The most com­mon­ly cit­ed ben­e­fit is reduced complexity—nearly half of respon­dents agree that a sin­gle point of inter­ac­tion helps them main­tain momen­tum and achieve greater results in return for time spent. At the same time, though, providers of mar­ket­ing cloud solu­tions express con­cern that a one-stop solu­tion can’t pro­vide ide­al tools for every indus­try and task, which is why they con­tin­ue to work to inte­grate with dig­i­tal tools designed around each industry’s unique needs.

Among all these vari­a­tions in focus, the uni­fy­ing trend is sim­plic­i­ty. Mar­keters are tired of over­ly com­plex inter­faces, unnec­es­sary tech­nolo­gies, and tools whose real impact remains unclear. The ones who’ll suc­ceed in 2017 will be those who strip away every task and tool that doesn’t con­tribute to a pos­i­tive cus­tomer experience—and stick to the basics of keep­ing their cus­tomers hap­py.

If you’re won­der­ing about your own organisation’s dig­i­tal maturity—and about whether you’re head­ing in the right direc­tion, take a look at Adobe’s Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Matu­ri­ty Assess­ment. This assess­ment is an effec­tive way to pin­point your strengths and weak­ness­es, and iden­ti­fy your top focus areas for the com­ing year.

Digital Marketing
Jamie Brighton

Posted on 02-02-2017

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