The world of digital, marketing and technology is evolving at an exponential pace and marketers are trying to keep pace or make sense of the rapid changes.

Among the questions they are trying to answer are:

  • How they should incorporate the new channels/technologies/capabilities as part of their marketing mix?
  • Does it get them the Return on Investment (ROI)?
  • Does it move the dial on the customer experience or increase engagements from their customer?

Take, for example, the evolving marketing technology landscape created by Scott Brinker –with less than 300 option in 2012 it has grown to more than 7,000 options in 2019 – all in seven years. The list continues to grow with machine learning, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) just adding to the mix. The more the complexity, the more difficult it will become for marketers to choose the right technologies, the right analytics platform, the right content management system, the right content delivery, personalisation engine, and the list goes on.

Organisations are looking to create a two to three year roadmap(s) based on the future of the businesses, their customers and the products and services they offer. All that makes sense in the long run but challenging to execute against since the world is evolving – changing every week, new business models, new experiences, changing customer expectations?

So what should brands do?

Evolve at a fast pace, make decisions and make them fast. See the results, and if they work: double down. If they don’t: realign and retest.

If you are new to marketing and digital technology or have been using it for a few years you need to pause and evaluate or re-evaluate what you have built.

  • Is it still is meeting the needs of the business or are you falling behind?
  • Is it nimble and gives marketers the insights to make quick decisions and enhance the customer experience; or you are still handicapped and slow despite all the investments you have made?

Questions you may need to ask?

  • Does your marketing technology stack support your customer journey(s) and deliver the experience your brand needs and your customer expect?
  • Does it add too much friction internally as well as in your customer journeys?
  • Does it still feel like old school Information Technology project with data and analytics that are difficult to understand and don’t allow you to make decisions?

Are you thinking about the new trends and buzzwords : Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, etc. when your organisations is struggling with getting a single view of the customer, trying to get the different internal systems and teams to talk to each other? If that is you — you are not the exception, you are the norm.

You just need to figure out how to make sense of it all. What should you do? One option is to do nothing. A second option is to get to work, focus on the basics, then reorganise, recalibrate and reboot

Here is how you can go about it, if you choose Option B.

Framework for evaluating your digital capability


Create or Enhance Customer Journey: Start by creating a consumer journey “map”a visual representation of a consumer’s experience with the brand across all channels. This will provide you with a holistic view of what the consumer needs, the gaps that exist and the pain points. The journey will help you create a map to accurately target and serve your consumer segment. This, in turn, will enable a more focused approach – reduce friction in customer experience across all touch points. This will also help in making the organisation more “consumer-centric” and provide clear direction to your sales, marketing and customer experience/support teams.

Assess the capabilities of your organisation: It is very important to understand the capabilities that exist within the organisation- people, processes, data, and technology. The capabilities may need to be enhanced to ensure that vision and strategy of the company can be executed. Capabilities of an organisation is one of its most critical defining characteristics that ultimately dictate “how” an organisation goes about achieving their end goal. One can begin by defining the skill sets around people, process, data and technology but also need to focus on ensuring one develops the organisational culture to be collaborative and team-oriented. This will allow the organization to evolve and develop its capabilities in the future.

Create a robust platform: A critical piece is to have a robust marketing technology and advertising platform that can support the customer journeys, leverage data and activate the right communication for the customer. One may need to think about restructuring the organisation to support the customer. An example would be to create a core marketing technology team with a CMO being the executive sponsor, accountable for the marketing and operations partnering very closely with the CIO (or if you have a Chief Digital Officer he/she can be the leader). Marketing technology platform will be the enabler; be it internal or external (outsourced, that is), needs to be integrated well within the organisation, to ensure one is improving the ‘customer journey’. One has to be purposeful about the organisation marketing technology management strategy and execution plan. Where multiple models and capabilities exist; you will need to find the one that meets the needs of your organisation. It is the foundation for your future, so make sure you get it right!

Test and Optimize: Marketing Technologies evolve at a neck-breaking pace, and the need to develop the optimum marketing technology stack (the combination of marketing software applications) is an ongoing process. Tracking one’s current- marketing technology capabilities helps eliminate redundant platforms and utilise resources prudently. There needs to be a defined process for tracking buying and integrating the technology necessary. The crossover from one technology to another needs to be structured as well, the tools selected should be simple enough to be operated by the marketing and business teams, or they run the danger of being too complex and hence loosing out in the value of the technology.

Also, continuously evolve and test the marketing tactics once you have invested in the right platform. It will give you the data and insights to create dynamic marketing capability and real-time analytics – allowing you the flexibility to run an effective marketing program.

Online and Offline Channel Unification: Data unification of online and offline marketing is a must to create a single view of the customer and offer the omnichannel experience. This helps improve the customer journey, by providing a holistic view of consumer interactions across the various channels. The integrated data, will allow the separate organisational teams to communicate better and help one another to achieve the end goal. Also it will help amplify the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. From the consumer point of view, it is important to market the unified brand message, across the channels and improve engagement with the brand that will lead into increased revenue.

Enrich data and personalise consumer experience: With the growing marketing technologies and data collected from various organizational departments and customer interactions, comes the danger of data silos. Silos occur when the data that resides in one department/system is not interconnected with the other departments/systems. For example, when the sales data/information about the consumer is not sent to the marketing automation systems it will lead to the data not being utilised by the marketing teams – resulting in marketing campaigns being less effective.

By personalisation of consumer experience we mean, customising consumer interaction based on their specific consumer journey and the channel the customer interacts through. Interactions via social media and emails, can be personalised by selecting relevant content, based on consumer preferences. With so much information that the consumer interacts with, personalisation helps attract consumer attention the fastest. Today, consumer’s are more open to helping organisations, personalise their journeys. Personalisation of consumers journeys, leads to a higher ROI and enriches consumer lifetime value, in the long run.

These principles are basic guidelines, that need customization based on your organisation. Once they’re followed and the process for your organisation in place – growth and success are inevitable.

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