It's an exciting time in the Marketing Technology industry. The competition is fierce; the marketing programs are sophisticated; and the technology to solve business and technical challenges are ever-changing. Customers’ expectations are higher than ever and demand more relevant interactions. Marketers need to drive sales and keep their customers engaged. Solution Providers need to constantly innovate to deliver those relevant experiences to help drive sales.
In the ancient times of marketing--the late 90's--email was king. While email is still a critical tool today, it has become table stakes. Now, consumers not only assume brands will email them, but also they expect those emails to be relevant. They expect a unique, personalized message. When brands fail, consumers will disengage as quickly and easily as they subscribed.
According to a 2017 survey by West Interactive Services, "30% of consumers opt out of email communications due to irrelevance and 1% due to a lack of a human touch." These numbers are significant since large organizations could have millions of customers in their marketing databases.
A study of 46,000 shoppers by the Harvard Business Review found that "73% used multiple channels during their shopping journey." That is a staggering number and makes the case that marketers have to move beyond email. Modern day consumers expect a multi-channel, cohesive experience where they are engaged on a personal level and rewarded for their brand loyalty.
Orchestrating a successful multi-channel strategy presents challenges for brands and marketers. Domain expertise in each digital channel, plus purchase channels such as ecomm or POS (depending on the company). The hard part isn't which ESP, SMS, PUSH, ECOMM, POS System, or Loyalty platform to purchase. That part is easy compared to addressing the challenges of:
- How do you manage your customers across all these systems?
- How do you manage a cohesive omnichannel experience across disparate systems?
- How can you leverage one platform's performance metrics with another?
- How can you liberate POS data and combine that with ecomm data for a true view of your customers lifetime value?
(And let's not forget reporting.)
As Relationship One explains, "Integration is the key differentiator between having a true “martech stack” vs. a “stack” of disparate tools."
This is where a Customer Data platform, or CDP, can help solve these challenges. For starters, a CDP can unify customer records across the entire martech stack, serve as the known user source of record through a consistent, unique omnichannel identifier, allowing for easy data access to marketers and most importantly, to other systems, ideally all in real time. By streaming in real-time purchase data (POS and ecomm), engagement data and social data, a CDP is uniquely positioned to provide trend analysis, predictive analytics, and product recommendations.
However, managing and executing an omnichannel marketing strategy across multiple systems requires a CDP plus the tools to act on that unified customer profile--ideally combined in the same solution. A Customer Data and Engagement Platform is more than just a CDP; it encompasses native engagement and loyalty programs. You can think of it as CDP + Engagement + Loyalty. With one platform, marketers can unify their customers’ data into a single operational profile across all channels in their marketing and digital ecosystem, execute on that data, and provide a highly personalized loyalty program.
In this platform, loyalty can be powered by both traditional earning opportunities through real-time integrations into e-commerce and closed looped offers at POS, plus digital engagement across the ecosystem. The core business rules that enable the omnichannel marketing strategy can be defined and executed in one platform making program management and ultimately measurement easier than ever. A CDP's core ability to make data accessible to 3rd party systems can orchestrate a seamless and cohesive marketing and engagement strategy across email, push, sms, mobile app, clienteling apps, customer care, web and any other platform that supports APIs.
Since the data that matters most to marketers is readily available, building deeply insightful segments of customers to send messages ranging from simple promotions to highly sophisticated personalized offers can be achieved and executed on any channel.
The demand for more sophisticated marketing programs will increase and marketers will continue to dream up new ways to engage with their customers. New channels will emerge. The need to win new and retain existing customers will never go away; one can argue in today's online shopping environment, it's more important than ever.
CDP + Engagement + Loyalty is the brains, the heart and the connective tissue that power modern day omnichannel marketing initiatives. Brands and marketers should consider the marriage of these features in a single platform to help achieve your goals.