“Marketing is in an interesting situation due to the explosion of consumer experiences.” That’s the view of Kevin Souers, Aprimo’s Chief Product Officer, who says consumers now expect a highly unified experience, where their online and offline worlds neatly converge.

This outcome is in turn driven by the service-based app economy, says Souers.

But there’s a problem.

“A lot of times, customers do not want to give you the data that is required to deliver that experience. So you have to balance that heightened sense of what any interactions with the brand should be with what they receive, from a service delivery standpoint. And at the same time, you are trying to reach out and maximise the value of that customer.”

Souers was in Melbourne recently to attend an ADMA round table with senior marketing and analytics executives. After that event he sat down with Which-50 editor Andrew Birmingham to discuss the challenges facing CMOs today.

One big challenge is to deliver content that is appropriate for the segment, and for the channel in which it is being delivered. “When you look at the heterogeneity of the marketing ecosystem right now you have a savvy consumer, you have more segments than you have ever had, and you have to deliver via dozens of channels. But at the same time, you have a limited set of content with which to do it. And you generally have the same resources you had ten years ago or even five years ago.”

It’s like cracking a code, says Souers. “There is a lot of technology coming on board — including ours — that helps unify that process.

Where to Start

One of the hardest choices executives face when they want to transform their operations digitally is where to start. It’s no different for marketers.

“Make sure you take care of the basics,” says Souers. “What are the channels by which you know you will be successful reaching your customers? How are you unifying your processes and content?”

Just as importantly, says Souers, how are you supporting and funding those channels and filling them with content?

Once you have this under control, you can start adding new channels. But he cautions that it is important to do this in a structured way.

Souers states that you need to avoid shadow marketing departments that strike out on their own, unlinked to the broader marketing strategy. When that happens, he says, you lose visibility, you waste resources, and you risk brand inconsistency.

“Marketers need a centralised framework that reflects that there are new ways to reach customers — but it has to be within a framework of consistency. It still means trying new things, but knowing the backend gives you that content of truth, that visibility into how well it performs.”

About the Authors

Sean Campbell is a solutions consultant for Aprimo. He has worked with leading brands in the US, Europe, and APAC, helping them to transform their marketing operations. Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit, of which Aprimo is a Corporate Member. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.

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