There seems to be just one constant in today’s modern marketing landscape: change.
“It’s a different world; it’s a different way of even processing information,” said Oracle Corporation‘s CEO Mark Hurd in an intimate roundtable at this year’s Modern Marketing Experience conference in Las Vegas. In the personal meeting, Hurd explained exactly how today’s marketers can build genuine, positive relationships with customers whose expectations—and time—are becoming increasingly more stringent. “Ultimately, you need the right tools, and campaigns, that help target [customers with the right message] and help provide those positive relationships that customers now expect.”
Hurd said that the right tools and strategies enable modern marketers to not just cull data about consumers, but extract those all-important insights—in real time. “Unlike the past, modern applications have data integrated in apps. Analytics have to be integrated into the core of your app because today you cannot afford to wait and analyze the data; you can’t afford to wait and respond to the customer,” Hurd said. “When you’re dealing with customer relationships, you have only a certain number of times to make a true impact. Analytics, particularly predictive analytics, are the way to do that.”
Without question, technology coupled with data allows modern marketers to orchestrate real-time interactions, engage shoppers with individualized content, and connect relevant data with real consumers. Hurd said that mix also makes it possible for marketers to address negative comments and feedback from customers—immediately.
“It doesn’t take a large percentage of unhappy customers to damage a brand,” Hurd continued. “Customers are willing to talk about a bad experience. Historically, you wouldn’t see that in the public domain.” These new rules of feedback and engagement, he said, mean that modern marketers have to take a different approach—one that’s more proactive, rather than reactive.
“To be honest, the issue today isn’t how you deal with unhappy customers. It’s more that we, as marketers, can’t afford to have them in the first place,” Hurd said. He insists that transparency, from both customers and brands, can help marketers watch, listen, and learn throughout the entire customer journey—a trail that today has evolved into a path that’s 24-7 and multichannel.
“Let’s consider the Internet of Things,” Hurd said. “Today, and in the future, there are entire sets of things—or devices—that drive lots and lots of data. Of course, some of that data will be worthless. However, we have to translate information [about the customer] into valuable data; we need to make it something meaningful to us and the consumer.”
In his final words at the roundtable, Hurd encouraged modern marketers to always craft data-driven, customer-centric messages but warned to never lose sight of the essential rules of marketing—practices that remain no matter the latest technological wave.
“There is a big transformation that’s happening right in front of us,” Hurd said. “But in the end, it all comes down to the same fundamentals, including positive customer relationships and marketing and sales teams working together.”