Marketing and technology, and the combination of marketing technology, really changed the landscape of business operations over the last few years. Technology gives consumers choices they never had.
- Shop in town or across the globe with ease.
- Compare prices across hundreds of retailers without leaving the comfort of your recliner.
- Discover what hundreds of friends are doing this weekend without even picking up the telephone.
- Get recommendations and have all your questions answered by a team of folks just like you across social networks.
- And, because consumers use technology to explore and purchase products, the amount of available data is exploding.
The combination of marketing and technology is critical for helping firms survive against this hyper-competition, while managing their reputation and keeping consumers informed about their brand.
According to nearly 2000 CMO’s interviewed by IBM, these are universal game changers and firms that can’t adapt to the combined challenges of marketing and technology can easily disappear from the landscape.
What this combination of marketing and technology means
Marketing and technology combine to create major challenges for today’s business managers. First, and foremost, managers must balance their focus on markets, with improved opportunities to create customer intimacy. The era of one-on-one marketing is truly upon us. Pepper and Rogers, who coined the term in the ’90s, could never imagine the technological transformation that allows businesses to customize their interactions with every single customer. Before this combination of marketing and technology, only service firms employed one-on-one marketing — they’re the only ones who could because they saw the customer face-to-face.
Combining marketing and technology involves new skills
For many marketing professionals, this combination of marketing and technology highlights a serious gap in their skill set. Marketers used to arms length transactions with customers must now create corporate personas to build lasting relationships with individual consumers.
And, social media is really the touchstone representing the struggle for many firms. Social media is really a paradigm shift brought on by the integration of marketing and technology — a paradigm most marketing managers have trouble wrapping their heads around.
- Businesses must now allow consumers “backstage” to see what goes on behind the scenes of an organization – a thought that terrifies many marketing professionals. Firms can no longer bury their heads in the sand and ignore customer complaints, but must be proactive in sharing failures, apologizing, and making things right.
- Marketing professionals must learn to speak a new language — one born of the combination of marketing and technology. Learning about SEO, SEM, SMM, SQL … is a daunting task for marketers who’s training never included technology.
- Data is exploding at a time when businesses are decentralizing their data analysis. Marketing professionals used to waving their hands over squishy terms like “awareness” are now asked to define their sales funnels and track movement through the funnel to identify problem areas.
- And, all this is happening in real-time. No longer does a CMO dig through reams of computer printouts hoping for some understanding and support for the ROI of their endeavors. Firms can’t spend months developing a complex dashboard by consensus. Marketers must learn to create dashboards on the fly — a skill few traditional marketers possess, according to the IBM CMO interviews 1/2 believe they are insufficiently prepared for this challenge.
3 challenges to combining marketing and technology
1. Understand and deliver value to consumers
Social media transfers power from organizations to consumers in a way never seen by previous technologies. These empowered consumers demand greater customer service, higher quality, more innovation, and lower prices. Businesses must respond by investing in new technologies and advanced analytics to better understand their target marketing, how they behave, what they want, and where their needs aren’t being met.
2. Create lasting one-on-one relationships with customers
Building relationships requires CMOs engage them where ever they are: which is increasingly on social networks. Firms must build online brand communities, by engaging them in these networks, as well as offline communities of consumption, by changing the landscape of retail operations
3. Measure marketing’s contribution to the business in relevant, quantifiable terms.
CMOs need to expand their capabilities related to business analytics, building capacity for more nuanced business intelligence and digital metrics to defend the impact of their plans on firm success.
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