Avoiding Frankenclouds - why you need built, not bought
Here’s an interesting question – would you choose a solution that has been purpose built to handle all aspects of a marketer’s needs? Or would you prefer to use a solution that has been created through a variety of sources, in a vain attempt to offer some semblance of an all-encompassing offering, which would you go for?
For some organisations they have no choice but to work with what they have. Those investing in new solutions would likely use the former – let’s explore – apart from the obvious reasons why that is.
Currently, brands are fighting tooth and nail to retain and attract customers in a fiercely competitive environment, both online and on the high street. To stay ahead, many count heavily on marketing platforms which offer comprehensive insights into customers, through the reams of data accrued from previous interactions.
This then becomes a challenge for the marketing technology vendors who are required to provide them with a comprehensive combination of products. With consumers becoming more sophisticated and with their differing requirements, the supporting technology also needs to match that intelligence.
At the very least, solutions need to be able to build individual profiles of each customer and can identify multi-channel behaviours throughout the purchasing journey – so essentially their last touch point – be it on their own website, social networks or even mobile use.
Calls for cloud-based suites of products that cater for all the above has led marketing technology vendors to go out and acquire products from other companies, and proceed to bolt them onto their existing solutions, creating a ‘patchwork’ platform approach. But, while this may help brands get their hands on the tools to do the different aspects of their jobs, it provides customers with a clunky, Frankenstein’s monster-esque amalgamated set of products.
Which whilst it does the job, due to inoperability issues, can actually slow down the process at a critical point in time – a time when they’re looking for reliable, speedy solutions. We call this unfortunate combination a ‘Frankencloud’.
marketing technology vendors acquire products from other companies, and bolt them onto their existing solutions
Instead, in order to get a true understanding of each individual, they need a set of products that are fully-integrated to truly support an omnichannel approach. But that means a vendor either having built them together from the bottom up – or having run the due diligence after acquisition to ensure they’re fully integrated; from the user interface through to the way data is collected and analysed – and onto how the products talk to one another – that’s what will make the critical difference.
So how do we do that?
Well, it’s where research and development is so important. Any vendor professing to sell a suite of products giving an insight into the full customer journey needs to commit to reinvesting more of their revenues back into the development of their products for this very reason.
It will help them enhance the product they deliver to customers with the tools they need – without going on an acquisition trail that leaves customers with a solution that tries to do too much and comprises a variety of tools that don’t integrate with one another.
As the industry increasingly begins to adopt AI, a fully-integrated solution is critical, because it enables automation across a variety of different systems, helping with the next stage: personalisation.
Brands should be able to make the most of their data, using martech tools that plug straight into their marketing campaigns, and automatically match content to specific audiences. This data should be simply presented and easy to interpret by incorporating simple but effective visual guides – including graphs and charts.
That not only gives marketing and sales teams added knowledge to go and communicate their needs to the rest of the business, but the impetus to show the impact marketing is having on overall business performance. The latter is significant – some of the CEOs we work with turn to marketing dashboards first thing each morning as their understanding of how well the company is doing.
data should be simply presented and easy to interpret
But it’s not enough to just show them insights. Imagine a set of products that can help marketers take these insights and, by running AI throughout the suite, act on them too. Many marketing technology vendors misrepresent their automation software as AI, but there are providers out there with genuine, hype-free AI at their disposal to help brands personalise their communications with customers, an ultimately drive increased revenues.
Imagine a software suite that not only works out those insights but can act on the accordingly. This comprises tools such as automatic incentive management, which analyses each customer’s behavioural history to determine who should receive discounts, and for what amount.
That, in turn, enables customers to maximise revenues while minimising expenditure, as the AI handles the segmentation for them. By relying on AI-driven tools like these, creatives can spend more time doing what they’re best at - strategy and creativity - and let the execution take care of itself.
Marketers today are in an aggressive market, and they rely on technology to help them to do their jobs more effectively. They should be reaching for software that enables true, one-to-one interactions with thousands of consumers. That means all products working seamlessly in unison, which means it’s time to escape the Frankenclouds.
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