Welcome to a world of technology! While tech tools and practices are no novelty per se, marketing teams continue to think of technology as a plug-in solution to a specific problem. The integration of technology in everyday life suggests that the audience is ready to use technology as an enhancing medium between customers and brands. Marketing technology came a long way in the last few years from its humble beginnings in supply chain management (ie. EDI) and logistics (ie. RFID).
The abundance of positive examples within businesses reveals our appetite for tools and solutions inspired by tech innovation. Can technology bridge the gap between people and businesses? Here are some ideas of how popular tech can influence marketing best practices.
If someone from “Mad Men” (you know, the wonky TV series featuring ad executives from the 1950s) walked into today’s marketing department s/he’d find it unrecognizable. Gone are the cube farms and typing pools where account executives toiled endlessly to find the “right” slogan that would make consumers buy their client’s brand. And, it’s not just that pods replaced cube farms in many modern advertising agencies. Marketing technology transformed the marketing agency, or marketing department, demanding a totally different skill set than in the 1950s.
Today, we’ll discuss just a few of the many marketing technologies you should incorporate into your marketing efforts.
Social media makes the complex more accessible
Granted, social media platforms are not new. The computer-based technology designed to facilitate an exchange of ideas and information through the creation of virtual communities was an indispensable part of marketing strategies for well over a decade. In fact, an entire generation of digital natives doesn’t remember a world where social media directed culture and taste and stimulated consumer desire.
However, most brands use social media as a promotional platform to reach their audience. Maybe they finesse their approach by building communities to amplify and de-commoditize their message or hire influencers to motivate brand purchase. But very few tap into the untold advantage of social media, which is to make ideas digestible, accessible, and easy to understand for the purpose of sharing.
Unlike a blog where articles can dive at length into complex topics, social media platforms need to share short bursts of content with clarity and simplicity. Someone such as Glen Williams Blockchain, a blockchain expert uses social media platforms as a tool to bring the complexity of blockchain technology to help firms optimize their social media strategy. His regular content and approachable attitude online make blockchain more accessible for his audience.
Each of these tactics misses what is likely the biggest utility of social media — diagnosing unmet needs and obtaining real-time customer feedback. Social media is like getting access to the kitchen table conversations of millions of consumers to learn what they like and dislike about products competing in your niche as well as identifying problems not currently solved by existing products. Thus, social media is the perfect source of market intelligence with vast numbers of consumer attitudes, mostly unavailable without costly market research and, even then, challenging to collect due to low survey response rates.
For instance, a colleague from Microsoft discovered insights on social platforms almost as soon as the Surface computer was sold to consumers. Within days, he developed these insights into concrete changes and sent them on to the engineers to begin developing the next generation Surface computer.
The agile model makes marketing more effective
Marketing reporting enables marketing teams to track the progress of campaigns more accurately and in much more detail than ever before. Typically, analysts prepare reports on a week-on-week, month-on-month, and year-on-year basis. However, reports tend to focus on a specific period of time rather than a specific project. As a result, ad hoc improvements are difficult to detect. This type of analysis lacks agility and responsiveness to marketing changes.
In addition to analyzing the results of marketing campaigns, marketers must perform a variety of other marketing tasks, including new product development, requiring coordination across multiple steps. Handling these complex marketing tasks is precisely where the tech-influenced agile model makes a huge difference for businesses implementing an agile approach to marketing tasks.
Agile development practices are common in software businesses where teams use sprints to track their to-do list from start to completion. At the end of each sprint, a brief overview of what works and what doesn’t is shared with the team, ready to use for the next sprint. A similar sprint markup in analyzing data could make marketing more adaptable and effective.
Check out the image below to see how marketing firms use agile technology to improve their marketing effectiveness.
AI adds new layers to your marketing strategy
Artificial intelligence is a constantly learning technological process that helps solve problems while constantly improving. Most marketing teams are familiar with AI technology in terms of web chatbots commonly used to supplement human customer service agents. Yet, the chatbot functions are understandably limited by the input of information, or training, offered by the organization. In other words, an AI-powered chatbot only answers questions related to those answers used in training. Enhanced with ML (machine learning), the chatbot gets “smarted” as it uses each encounter to refine and improve its ability to perform as desired.
But there’s more to AI than a bot. Indeed, large companies already rely on Ai technology to make sense of complex data. In the era of big data, AI can mine information to identify recurring patterns and personas with a precision that the human mind can’t match. It can create personalized digital experiences for the audience, effectively attracting new users and turning leads into loyal customers.
Technology is always on
Not only do firms benefit from the always-on nature of bots, but technology is also always there for other tasks too difficult or boring for human workers. For instance, retailers use beacon technology to engage customers in their stores. A beacon can deliver precise product information or promotions based on knowing the customer’s location. A customer trying on clothing in a dressing room already likes particular items. Offering a coupon via their smartphone may be the push that sends them to the cashier.
Monitoring technology in the form of IoT devices ensures customers never encounter certain types of failure. For instance, monitoring electrical generation equipment catches potential problems quickly, allowing technicians to fix problems before they take the electrical plant offline.
Is it time to bring tech best practices to the forefront of your marketing strategy? In a marketing environment that is constantly hungry for meaningful digital interactions, it makes sense to leverage technology models and solutions to improve marketing delivery for all.
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