There are two things emerging marketing channels have in common: they’re based on technology and they’re social.
While traditional media are either remaining steady or making small gains in terms of marketing spend, and while print media suffers sharp declines, digital engagement is the clear trend when it comes to the marketer’s interest.
But understanding how one’s customers engage digitally is a steep learning curve for organisations when suddenly marketing needs to be more tailored and personal to be effective. As each user can now be reached directly, in the digital world they will ignore messaging that doesn’t personally call out to them.
Failing to properly understand your customers in the digital world can have wide-ranging implications. It might just mean the campaign is ignored. Or in a worst-case scenario a wayward digital marketing campaign could result in reputational damage. Even well-intentioned marketing campaigns on social media can backfire when an organisation misjudges its customer.
The only way to deliver successful digital marketing campaigns is to have a deep understanding of your audience. And the only way to do that is to use data about your customers and the way they operate online.
Yet many marketing departments still don’t interact well with their IT departments to enable this deep understanding of customers. Conversely, the IT departments don’t necessarily understand the unique needs of marketing.
In large organisations, this is why the chief marketing officer is becoming increasingly involved in technology. So concerned are brands about the impact technology can have, analyst firm Gartner has predicted the CMO will have a larger IT budget than the head of IT by 2017.
Smaller organisations might not have the luxury to split IT budgets that way and will simply require the marketing and IT departments to “talk” effectively to one another.
So what measures can organisations take to bring the two together around data?
The first step is strategic; the organisation needs to come together to assess the internal and external data assets and capabilities in people, processes and technologies to identify the best approaches to using data for marketing transformation.
Then it’s important to develop an understanding of web analytics and customer profile data to develop personalised marketing campaigns, broken down both by media and customer type.
It’s common knowledge that a Twitter campaign needs to be different to a Facebook campaign. But many organisations don’t necessarily understand why they need to be different, or how to make them different. The secret is in having sound Big Data analytics practices in place to understand the breakdown of customer type by the media they use.
Effectively driving customer engagement also requires the marketing team to have access to a marketing database and customer profile data that is linked to other data stores across the organisation. There are technology tools to do that, but successful implementation will again depend on the marketing department’s ability to successfully engage with the IT team, while at the same time bringing the requisite new skills into the marketing department.
IT and marketing need to invest in Big Data solutions that benefit them both and find a common language from the point of view of customer engagement in the digital age. Now is the ideal time for businesses of all sizes to invest in generating better quality data for social media and marketing.
James Forbes, head of digital marketing solutions, InfoReady
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