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Adopt Marketing Technology That Improves Your Signal-to-Noise Ratio

Beware the marketers who lack a basic understanding of their customers.

“Customers are getting impatient with brands…and with irrelevant messaging,” Rusty Warner, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, said during his presentation at Forrester’s 2015 Forum for Marketing Leaders. According to Warner, customers today are value-driven, more digitally savvy, and advertising-averse. The more than 3,000 messages consumers are exposed to each day becomes mostly noise they ignore.

“Brands need to be contextually relevant in this environment,” Warner warned. He pointed out what marketing looks like with and without context.

Before context:                      After context:
Campaigns                              Interactions
Targeting                                 Engaging
Customer segmentation          Customer recognition
Media schedules                     Customer moments
Messages                                Utility
Transactions                           Value exchange
GRPs and CMPs                    Minutes of engagement

“Campaigns aren’t dead,” Warner said, “but marketers need to launch interactions. Don’t just close the deal, customers are looking for a value exchange…. It’s all about making the most of the moments you have with customers.”

The technology that underlies this? According to Warner, it’s a contextual marketing engine. Unfortunately, marketers can’t just buy one and plug it in.

“Contextual marketing remains aspirational,” Warner said. “Marketers are mostly kidding themselves about the capabilities they have.”

According to Forrester, 63% of marketers surveyed say their current tech portfolio is too complex and 55% say they have redundancies in technologies.

Enter the enterprise marketing software suite (EMSS) to help address all this. An EMSS, Warner said, helps marketers to:

·      Understand customers across their lifecycle

·      Improve marketing campaign effectiveness

·      Enable more coherent marketing planning

It’s all about the data (integration)

When marketers look for EMSS, they usually start with customer data management and cross-channel campaign management capabilities, Warner said, noting that 88% of marketers surveyed chose an EMSS based on its ability to provide multiple capabilities as part of a single suite. But all is not rosy.

According to Warner, marketers see opportunities for improvement from EMSS providers in data integration and management capabilities, analytics, and business understanding. In fact, integration is a must for most marketers who use an EMSS. Consider the sentiment of marketers Forrester surveyed about EMSS:

78% say the ability to integrate is the most important feature
71% say integration with non-marketing technology is a priority
66% say best of breed is less important than the ability to integrate

“No one vendor provides a 100 percent complete solution,” Warner said. “So, prioritize customer data management and analytics; and then select campaign management or digital marketing based on your customer needs.”

Warner advised marketers to look at point solutions to complement core EMSS functionality. “Prioritize predictive analytics and digital intelligence…,” he recommended. “Then integrate channel-specific execution and personalization.” But most of all, he said, choose an EMSS for ease of integration.

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