Too often, marketers are using multiple platforms but their tools are siloed. How do you work through that and bring together the tools you need in order to reap the benefits of customer analytics? In this week’s coffee talk, our CEO Michael Caccavale helps unravel the mystery of omnichannel integration.
Companies’ marketing technology stacks are constantly growing. Why is this problematic?
As the number of channels increases, and more tech is thrown at the marketing process, it has an exponential effect on how many different technology stacks are at play with customer servicing and customer generation. This increases the need for omnichannel resourcing and strategy.
What are some elements or capabilities that companies should look for when choosing the right vendor to integrate and manage their solutions?
Companies need to assure that vendors have three key attributes:
- Understand the marketing process as well as the technology stack and have staff who can talk across those disciplines easily and comfortably.
- Provide services that help integrate the marketing technology with other technology stacks within the company for the overall customer service and sale processes.
- The best marketing integrators will understand the 80-20 rule and how to provide a stack and platform that gets you where you want to go, without trying to boil the ocean.
What are some key challenges embedded in the actual marketing integration?
Asking for the right information is key. Different perspectives are coming together here, that need to be considered. What’s the perspective of the system integrator? Are they thinking ecommerce? Are they thinking it has to do with acquisition only? And the overall marketing perspective is the biggest challenge.
For example, the difference between having data at a regional or local level vs. a household level can be important. Certain technologies and stacks placing media are thinking at a broad level, yet other technologies and stacks can operate at the household or customer level – and how you bring that together is often a challenge. Different levels of granularity require looking at that this in a way that gets the most bang for the buck – yet provides key measurement capabilities at the consumer, house, region, and DMA – for example.
What are the hurdles we need to work through, in the technology or otherwise?
It really comes down to working through the different data, and understanding your existing platforms and systems. Knowing what you’re starting with is critical to informing where you’re going.
The biggest hurdle is balancing the change to the current stacks and platforms with the need of the new capability. It comes down to practicality.
Why is connecting online and offline so difficult? What are companies missing?
Because the players that built those stacks came in from totally different perspectives. The offline folks are thinking customer, physical address, and payment options (e.g. credit card). Online often can’t get down to those levels based on privacy and ad networks. There has to be some estimating to be able to map that down.
What do companies miss by not making this a priority?
It’s not a debate whether or not you should be doing this. If you’re not thinking about creating an integrated marketing capability, that’s the miss. It’s about finding creative ways to leverage your marketing budget.
You miss customer acquisition. You miss growth. You risk thinking customer growth comes from one place when it really comes from another, and basing your strategy on false information. There’s an inability to understand cross-channel play and how it drives customer behavior. You miss having measurement vigor become part of the media investment process. And you miss being able to test strategies in an efficient way.
What do you think about this: “integrators should have flexibility and the ability to create one version of the truth?”
Totally true. The point is not to have one version – it’s how you get to a version that you’re all comfortable with, that works for marketing investments. This is fundamentally different from payroll and financial information. If you’re trying to say, “is this a fraudulent account,” for example, that’s an entirely different process than saying “I think I have a repeat customer here.” The goal is to have enough information in platforms that talk to each other, that all departments can make smart decisions about the customer.
And when you think about what you’re struggling with when it comes to your strategy, sometimes it’s not about trying to figure out what’s broken. It’s about focusing on what you already know needs work. It’s a great place to start.