What are your biggest opportunities & challenges for next 12-24 months?
With the emergence of new communication channels, organizations are faced with the challenge of delivering an omni-channel experience to their customers. They are now looking to go beyond their legacy CRM systems, connecting customer data from all channels to present a consistent image and experience, regardless of where or when the customer engagement occurs. This presents a major opportunity for SAP hybris, as we are helping businesses connect these pieces–including marketing, commerce, sales and service.
As evidenced by Scott Brinker’s 2015 marketing technology landscape supergraphic, there are more than 1,800 marketing technology vendors today–and the market continues to grow. This explosion means that it is difficult to differentiate vendors in the market. While many claim they can help brands deliver omni-channel experiences, they often can only help with parts of the puzzle, not the entire customer engagement lifecycle. Our challenge is to break through the noise of a crowded industry to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the pack.
What keeps your clients up at night?
Our customers are constantly striving for new approaches that will ensure they won’t lose to digital disruption. It sometimes can seem like a race–who can meet the customer’s needs first? Some even get there before the customer realizes it’s something they want. Think of brands like Uber and Netflix. They embraced digital transformation, where traditional taxi services and video stores like Blockbuster missed the signs for this industry shift. Our customers don’t want this to happen to them too, so they work to ensure they are flexible and are always keeping the shopper’s preferences in mind.
What’s the hardest thing to educate clients about?
Marketing and customer engagement is about quality, not quantity. It sounds straightforward, but when being measured on how many new sales were generated by marketing efforts, it’s difficult for a marketer to hold back from emailing every customer and prospect in his contact list. Ideally though, marketers should actually market less. A thought-out strategy is key; for instance, if you’re sending push notifications, then turn off ads. Every communication should be contextual to that individual customer, based on unique consumer data. Sometimes more is less–and while many organizations understand the concept, it can be difficult for them to put into practice, especially if they don’t have an organization-wide strategy for customer engagement.
What are some unmet needs in the marketing technology landscape?
With so many marketing technology companies, organizations are left with systems that don’t connect. As a result, customer data isn’t shared and it impacts the customer experience. At SAP hybris, this is something we are working to help organizations overcome, but they must make it a priority to strategize and prioritize their marketing technology stack–determining which vendors provide the best value and ensuring they can connect seamlessly. Fundamentally though, we firmly believe that data is the fuel that drives true marketing transformation. A laser focus on establishing a platform based on real-time customer insight will have a positive impact downstream at the commodity layer of marketing automation technology.
What social network do you anticipate accelerating growth in the next year?
With the rise of social selling, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram could all pick up steam. However, it will be the channel that integrates with others, and does the best at selling in the users’ context, that will see the most success. Time will tell!
–Jamie Anderson is Senior Vice President of Marketing at SAP hybris