A lot of things have changed for marketing teams in the space of just three years. The digital world is clearly no longer seen as an isolated island, and mastering the various channels and solutions requires increasingly specialised expertise. Perceptions of GAFA have also evolved. The general public now harbours a feeling of mistrust, while advertisers’ sway between fascination, resentment…and pragmatism. Such is the landscape in which modern marketers embark upon their quests.
#1 Reclaim ownership of their audiences
Since 2018, one priority has clearly emerged in the discourse of marketing executives: the need to recreate a direct connection with the audience by putting the focus back on first-party data. A priority that represents one primary intention: to reclaim ownership of their audiences.
This concern stems from GDPR audits, which have led companies to realise how weak their data regarding customer and lead intelligence truly is. And on top of that, changes in social media algorithms (notably Facebook), since early 2018, have made it clear to brands how, in these realms, they don’t own their audiences, but simply rent them.
Such ‘data stocktaking’ has often resulted in the same observation: poorly collected data (which, due to the GDPR, can cause the number of usable emails to be at least halved), combined with a dependence on the Google and Facebook duopoly to retarget audiences, leaves little room to improve customer intelligence. Much too little at a time when brands are looking to comprehend the customer journey in an omnichannel environmental.
This is certainly the reason why more and more brands are rebalancing investments in favour of their website and content platforms, and rediscovering the benefits of organic SEO. Refocusing on these so-called ‘owned media’ is clearly part of an effort to reclaim ownership of their audience.
#2 Think and act omnichannel
In the omnichannel world, divisions such as that between B2C and B2B tend to disappear. Due, in part,
to the fact that even the general public are showing a very ‘professional’ vision of omnichannel. With the expectations to boot: according to a LSA/HiPay study, 71% of consumers want the same advantages online and in store, 56% want to reserve a product onl
ine and collect it in store and 53% want to go in store to return a product bought online. And this isn’t a generational phenomenon: in the USA, even the latest studies on millennials reiterate the importance of an online/offline mix in the buyer journey.
This mix is even more important since no single approach can claim to offer decisive results. Looked at individually, the results of emailing (26% open rates and 4% click rates) or ban
ners (between 0.04% and 0.08%) are nothing to write home about. On the other hand, put together in a tested, optimised omnichannel scenario, these different levers can be used complementary to achieve a tangible ROI.
Unsurprisingly, the customer journey is far from being a straight and uniform line from one activity to another, and from one customer to another. To chart, track and accompany this journey, precise customer intelligence is needed. For this, data is the number one asset. It allows you to visualise the main touchpoints and, even better, their respective contribution to the journey. It is also paves the way for a personalised, omnichannel customer experience, from the in-store visit and online interaction to the conversation with a call centre.
#3 Personalise the experience
In practice, the notion of a journey can be misleading: it gives the idea that the customer follows a linear path laid out by the brand. But rather than defining a journey, what is more important nowadays is the ability to personalise the experience at each touchpoint. According to the Customer Experience Excellence study, published by KPMG in 2018 after 8 years of research, personalisation emerges as the first of 6 pillars to boosting loyalty. More generally, the customer experience, which sometimes begins with a simple banner advertisement, is key to acquisition and CLV (Customer Lifetime Value).
This personalisation can be seen in both a defensive and offensive light. Defensively: to avoid regrettable retargeting — for example, offering a customer who has a €40 contract a special offer at €20 intended for leads. And offensively: to increase CLV with offers that coincide with important life events e.g. the purchase of house insurance when planning to buy a property.
In other words, the aim of personalisation is to, at a minimum, reduce marketing pressure (especially untimely messages), and, at best, contextualise all customer and lead touchpoints. Either way, it is still difficult to achieve: because of adblockers, because of the new laws stipulated by the GDPR, and because of browsers increasingly limiting the scope of cookies. For a company, the ability to find a good perspective of this inevitably fragmented reality is vital. And doing so nowadays involves coordinating a wide range of expertise to ensure the message is relevant — key to obtain results.
#4 Maintain global control despite deeper specialisation
Experts in programmatic advertising, SEA, SEO, paid social, marketing automation, content marketing, tag management, analytics…the list goes on. Correctly executing every aspect of a marketing strategy requires an ever-growing consortium of specialists, all with one common goal: maintaining a global vision and consistency. Easier said than done…
To succeed, businesses must examine their organisational structure to avoid – or at least minimise – common divides: owned vs. paid, acquisition vs. loyalty, digital vs. everyone else…This can prove difficult to orchestrate without bringing on board, in addition to specialists, people capable of speaking the language of each discipline, so the everyone’s challenges and difficulties can be discussed with a view to achieving strategic objectives. Skills that lie halfway between being a marketer and the various technical experts. From acquisition to loyalty, modern marketing necessitates transversal and hybrid skillsets.
#5 Better orchestrate the entire Martech stack
Over the years, the Martech stack has continued to grow at an alarming rate. As of April 2019, the Martech landscape includes 7,000 solutions across categories as wide-ranging as social advertising, email marketing, testing and dashboards. The ambient pressure to personalise the customer relationship in real time has evidently not helped matters. And with two ramifications.
Firstly, many companies have lost the ‘data trace’; data is so fragmented between solutions that it is sometimes hard to know what is where. Consequently, generating even basic KPIs requires burden some data integration projects. And while internal silos within marketing teams may have been broken down to the issue, they are sometimes recreated externally by putting customer data attributes into UX solutions, testing tools, etc.
Secondly, the complexity of this technological stack is such that it harms marketing teams’ productivity. It’s thus no real surprise that agile marketing has become a strategy in itself and that people are turning towards a central solution capable of harmonising all the activities.