Marketers’ Two Biggest Tactical Challenges for the Coming Three Years

Digital Marketing

When asked what areas they con­sid­er most cru­cial to their future suc­cess, mar­keters rank the abil­i­ty to work across mul­ti­ple chan­nels and bet­ter util­i­sa­tion of data as their top pri­or­i­ties. In Adobe’s 2016 Road­block study, more than 1,300 Euro­pean mar­keters point­ed to big data and the Inter­net of Things (IoT) as the biggest tech­nol­o­gy forces that will shape the future of mar­ket­ing over the next three years.

These forces cre­ate two clear drill-down pri­or­i­ties: omnichan­nel inte­gra­tion and data analy­sis. While many mar­keters recog­nise the impor­tance of both these fac­tors, they report that the rel­e­vant depart­ments in their organ­i­sa­tions are under­equipped and under­staffed to han­dle the chal­lenges on the hori­zon.

Here’s how these two fac­tors are poised to trans­form marketing—and why many com­pa­nies are in seri­ous need of new think­ing in these areas.

The omnichan­nel chal­lenge

Chan­nels con­tin­ue to mul­ti­ply and inter­re­late in fas­ci­nat­ing ways. Take, for exam­ple, the Poké­mon Go phe­nom­e­non, which com­bined the phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal worlds on a scale we’ve nev­er seen before. Mean­while, emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies like VR and wear­ables are enabling whole new ways of inter­act­ing with brands—and giv­ing con­sumers more choic­es than ever about how and when to engage. And the IoT, as I’ve point­ed out before, is open­ing up whole new chan­nels for mar­keters to engage cre­ative­ly with customers—and is now increas­ing­ly becom­ing a real­i­ty.

We’re only begin­ning to grasp the mag­ni­tude of these changes. How­ev­er, two things are already abun­dant­ly clear: these grow­ing chan­nels cre­ate enor­mous chal­lenges for brands to con­sis­tent­ly deliv­er com­pelling expe­ri­ences across a dizzy­ing array of cus­tomer touch­points; and the omnichan­nel chal­lenge will only con­tin­ue to grow in com­plex­i­ty as more new chan­nels appear.

Yet even as new chan­nels pro­lif­er­ate, many com­pa­nies still strug­gle to inte­grate data from just two or three exist­ing chan­nels. In Adobe’s 2016 Dig­i­tal Intel­li­gence Brief­ing, Suc­ceed­ing in the Omnichan­nel Age, only 12 per­cent of Euro­pean mar­keters say their organ­i­sa­tions can inte­grate online and offline cus­tomer data—and only 5 per­cent say they have a sin­gle plat­form that man­ages data across mul­ti­ple chan­nels. The major­i­ty report that none of their mar­ket­ing cam­paigns are inte­grat­ed across tech­nolo­gies and chan­nels.

How­ev­er, the appetite for change is grow­ing. A full 75 per­cent of mar­keters say omnichan­nel mar­ket­ing is sup­port­ed at the senior lev­el of their organ­i­sa­tions, while only 5 per­cent report active oppo­si­tion to it. Mean­while, 49 per­cent report that the pres­sure to keep up with con­sumer expec­ta­tions serves as a key dri­ver for omnichan­nel inte­gra­tion, and 35 per­cent say they’re pur­su­ing omnichan­nel with the goal of dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing their cus­tomer expe­ri­ence from those of their com­peti­tors.
While omnichan­nel will con­tin­ue to present a chal­lenge in 2017, this increas­ing aware­ness of its impor­tance has already begun to dri­ve new think­ing and invest­ment. And let’s not for­get that an omnichan­nel world, despite its chal­lenges, is also a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty for mar­keters: Mar­keters who demon­strate a good of bal­ance of both cre­ative and data-ori­ent­ed capa­bil­i­ties are best place to cap­i­tal­ize on it.

The data chal­lenge
Data remains the con­nec­tive tis­sue of the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. Har­ness­ing the pow­er of con­nec­tiv­i­ty will enable mar­keters every­where to gath­er data and insights on their tar­get audi­ence and cus­tomers, as well as offer new meth­ods to serve them effi­cient­ly.

But few com­pa­nies have suf­fi­cient data to meet their cus­tomers’ needs. Accord­ing to a recent Adobe study, only one in five com­pa­nies com­bine dif­fer­ent data sources to obtain a 360-degree view of indi­vid­ual cus­tomers.

The 2016 Road­block study revealed that despite the impor­tance of data sci­ence, mea­sure­ment remains one of the biggest per­ceived tech­ni­cal chal­lenges for mar­keters. One in three cite short­ages in data ana­lysts in their organ­i­sa­tions as a chal­lenge; and the major­i­ty of mar­keters cite data sci­ence as a crit­i­cal area in which they’re under­per­form­ing rel­a­tive to com­peti­tors.

Anoth­er key prob­lem is the abil­i­ty to make data sources work together—in oth­er words, to elim­i­nate data silos. Two-thirds of com­pa­nies have been found to restrict their data from all forms of cen­tralised access—preventing most depart­ments from under­stand­ing and act­ing upon cus­tomer insights gath­ered by oth­ers. But for com­pa­nies that hope to com­pete effec­tive­ly in the omnichan­nel world, data must not remain the sole priv­i­lege of CRM , IT, or any oth­er indi­vid­ual depart­ment with­in the organ­i­sa­tion. Data vis­i­bil­i­ty through­out the whole busi­ness is a fun­da­men­tal dri­ver of con­tin­u­ous, con­sis­tent, and adap­tive cus­tomer expe­ri­ences.

Thus, the data chal­lenge boils down to sim­pli­fy­ing the avail­abil­i­ty and inter­pre­ta­tion of data so organ­i­sa­tions can derive action­able insights rapid­ly and dynam­i­cal­ly. Every­one with­in the organ­i­sa­tion should be a guardian of the cus­tomer experience—which means every­one should have access to data that can enable them to help cus­tomers more effec­tive­ly.

As new chan­nels con­tin­ue to appear, and more com­pa­nies begin to lever­age cen­tralised data to serve rel­e­vant, per­son­alised com­mu­ni­ca­tion to their cus­tomers, the impor­tance of the omnichan­nel and data chal­lenges will only become more appar­ent for com­pa­nies that lag behind. Where does your organisation’s senior lead­er­ship stand on these two chal­lenges?

Digital Marketing
Vijayanta Gupta

Posted on 10-19-2016

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