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Technologies available to marketers

Part three of a four-part series

What marketing technologies have organizations used the most?  And, more importantly, which have been the most successful? 

There is technology available today to help marketers leverage existing data in ways they may have never even imagined.

Technologies organizations have used the most:

Historically organizations have used:

  • Common sense, intuition, pen and paper.
  • Personal productivity tools.
  • Databases, warehouses, query and reporting tools.
  • Descriptive statistics.
  • Procedural tools and programs.
  • Basic search.
  • Listening and monitoring platforms.

All have their place and can be considered table stakes. Good for getting started, but as your organization grows and channel complexity broadens, greater sophistication is needed.

What technology is most effective?

Customer oriented data warehouse
This was considered the most effective way to get an accurate, consistent picture of customers across the organization, typically in a form that marketers and other business units can leverage.

There are three important pieces of foundational technology collectively referenced as “Data Management” that can be considered:

  • Data Integration
  • Data Quality
  • Master Data Management

Advanced analytics
This refers to the use of statistical models and pattern recognition techniques to identify, prove and predict what drives outcomes.

The outputs are typically embedded into operational systems as business or decision rules that can be applied quickly, at scale and with a very high degree of confidence in terms of accuracy and relevance.

They are used to help marketers improve their segmentation profiles; understand customer behavior, experience and influence; identify trends and connections; optimize location and store layout; improve targeting for acquisition, cross sell/ up sell, retention and win back.

Integration with operational systems
The most effective organizations use technology to integrate their analytical insights into their marketing and operational systems – increasingly in real time.

This can be done through a variety of methods. They key is using a platform or suite of solutions that were designed to be “process aware” and integrated – for marketers.

Solutions built specifically for marketers
Marketers follow a specific process to meet their needs. Analysts Kimberly Collins, managing vice president, and Adam Sarner, research director at Gartner use the term “Integrated marketing management” (IMM) to describe it.

For SAS the technologies associated with the IMM process can be broken into four main groupings:

  • Strategy and planning – setting the right focus.
  • Information and analytics – creating a 360 degree view of customers with deep insights.
  • Orchestration and interaction – optimizing multi-channel execution.
  • Customer experience – understanding the effectiveness of interactions.

Think of them as a never ending loop where the insights gained from the last group feed back into your strategy and plan. Much of it can be done in real time – including the “loops.”

How could marketers exploit existing and newer forms of technology?

Our experience is that technology is no longer the bottleneck – it’s coming up with new ideas and experimenting with them. Here is a quick summary:

Realize nothing is new
Technology has simply made old expensive ideas cost effective. You simply have to ask the question “Does it make sense?” then track performance to prove you are seeing the benefit.

Look back towards the early days of your industry and identify what they were doing that got dropped – purely because labor costs made it unprofitable – technology can probably make it cost effective once more.

Ask the right questions
When you pull corporate, online, and social data together you get a much stronger, more accurate 360 degree view of what will be relevant to your customers. The moment of truth though isn’t the transaction – it’s everything that happened in the run up to it – and to understand that, you have to ask a different set of questions. Get the data and you can begin to experiment, prove and learn from the experience.

Use what you’ve got
Many organizations have lots of data but few mine it for clues as to how they could improve customer relationships or share of wallet. You probably have the data and technology – so use it!

It’s all about location
Location data provides us with the opportunity to improve relevance and experience. In this final section we share ideas for improving efficiency, satisfaction and cross sell/ up sell opportunities.

For more, download the white paper, Driving Profitable Growth: Technologies Available to Marketers, or check out the full four-part series.

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