Designs on marketers’ changing landscape

Jay Henderson, strategy program director, IBM Enterprise Marketing Management Group

More channels, more marketing tactics, more data, more opportunities to contact customers.  “More” is certainly the key word for our times. The results of our annual survey of marketers suggest marketers are looking for ways to turn more possibilities into better marketing results.

Certainly core campaign management capabilities – to automate multichannel, multi-wave, lights-out campaigns – will be an important foundation. But our survey reveals that this is table stakes with three-quarters of marketers already using or planning to use campaign management. So how will marketers drive results? Smart marketers will:

Leverage web data to identify customer interests, intentions, & desires

Web interactions open a priceless window on customer interests, intentions and desires –information that easily trumps mere demographics or transactional data. Marketers seem to intuitively recognize this with 90% saying web data is important in driving campaign decisioning. However, less than half (41%) actually use this data in campaign decisioning today, representing low hanging fruit to dramatically improve results.

Let customers lead the dance by marketing during inbound interactions

Marketing’s history of focusing on getting the message out is finally adapting to customers directing relationships on their own terms. Respondents showed substantial commitments to using, or planning to use, inbound marketing – via their websites (57% already in place, 25% planning to do so within the year), call centers (52% vs. 18%) and point of sale, kiosk, or ATM (28% vs. 21%).

Stop treating mobile as a single channel

Marketers are growing ever more bullish on mobile, with over 40% of marketers currently using mobile marketing tactics. Among survey respondents, the rich interactivity of mobile applications proved most alluring, leading the way with 44% current usage; mobile websites and mobile messaging follow at 40% and 36% respectively. But the real question isn’t whether or not to use mobile, but to determine which mobile marketing tactics, if any, are relevant to your business and its customers. Is it SMS texting? Mobile versions of websites? Paid mobile search? Or the tactic du jour, mobile applications? Or some mix?

Mature use of social media, but…

This year, social media is no longer the adorable baby everyone wants to hold, but the angst filled adolescent – still immature yet no longer cute – inspiring mixed feelings. All things social continue to hold intense interest, with 53% of marketers currently applying it to their marketing efforts. But as tactics rise and fall, marketers are beginning to think more strategically about how to experiment and nurture new channels.

Accelerate adoption of an integrated marketing suite

Marketers seem confident that technology will ease their pain. More than half of marketers said that technology would increase productivity over additional staff or external agency support. Further, an overwhelming 87% agreed that marketing needs a more integrated suite of software to improve their effectiveness. Why the strong interest? Integrated tools mean integrated, interactive marketing – allowing marketers to deliver personally relevant messaging to the right audiences at the right times, regardless of new channels coming or going.

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