Why embracing the concept of centralized integrated marketing technology is where the industry is heading
The marketing industry is currently surfing on a big wave of digital marketing suites/hubs/clouds for marketers. SalesForce, Oracle, IgnitionOne and recently SAP are investing heavily is technology to create a suite of solutions for marketers.
Some might question why integrating into a single platform makes sense. But when it comes down to it, finding major advantages of using a digital marketing suite in your company is easy. Here are just a few reasons to start:
1. Message outside the box
Marketers want to be “engagement method agnostic”. This means using the right message at the right time for the right audience using the right tool. The last thing marketers want is to be forced, or pushed, to use the wrong technology – say chat because they bought a tool that can do only chat. Or use email retargeting when display retargeting would bring more revenue. There are many ways to create this flexibility but for sure having an integrated hub with different capabilities is the most logical one and is most likely to result in a consistent, unified message.
2. The API myth
An open system with easy to use APIs to connect other platforms is mandatory for today’s marketer. The CRM database of the past 10 years is becoming a Digital Data Hub with links and connectors to other data management platforms. But this doesn’t mean that a strong point solution with a myriad of API’s to other point solutions is the way to go. Everyone who played sports knows that a good team is more the sum of strong individuals. A strong point solution is often a one trick pony, lacking the unified view and process methodologies that a suite can offer.
3. Calculate inside the box
Building with real-time predictive scores and profiles around individuals is best done by having access to the granular user-level data. If the input you receive to feed algorithms is coming from other boxes, it’s often manipulated in one way or another, especially when that other box is a so-called black box.
4. The easy button
As digital marketers we get a lot of technology. But the never-ending stream of new technology can be a challenge if it is not used in a proper way. We see too often clients trying to wrap their brains around a “piping” diagram connecting all technology providers – mainly point solutions – and asking questions like: Where is the overlap? Where is my return? What is my best practice? As a technology company one of our main objectives is to make the live of marketers easier, so they can be focused more on what they consider as important. We call it internally (with apologies to Staples), the “easy button”. This easy button is a combination of methodologies, technology, media mix reporting, support by multi skilled people and best practices – all cross silo and embedded in a suite – that will help our clients to achieve their marketing goals.
5. A digital story-telling platform
Marketers dream about their product and brand. They want to create awareness, engage and convert. Basically they want to tell a digital story and they look for technologies that can and will help them in doing this. But having technology is not a goal as such. Telling a true digital story that supports your customer through his digital life cycle, from awareness to conversion and hopping from silo to silo, requires not a point solution but a suite.
It’s not up to me to say what the future will bring for digital marketers. But I can say where I believe in and where our company stands for. We believe heavily in things like breaking down the media silo’s, cross channel attribution, cookie-less tracking, data management platforms, the Internet of things and digital story telling. They all embrace the concept of a holistic approach, looking over the fence of a point solution into a suite of possibilities.