Technology has been an essential part of the marketing toolkit for decades.
How marketers use technology to achieve their objectives, though, is constantly changing. As new channels emerge and consumers develop new behaviors, brands have to change how they harness data, computing power and analytics to keep current.
To find out how companies are leveraging marketing technology now, Econsultancy, in association with Epsilon, recently invited dozens of client-side marketers in Shanghai for roundtable discussions on the topic. Five interesting trends emerged, the summaries of which are listed below.
1) Marketers are using a wide variety of data points to ‘get to know’ their customers
One of the first topics discussed by attendees was how new and unusual data points can help them discover additional information about customers. Specifically, marketers said that channel data, the time of day or day of the week a customer visits the brand site and even offline promotion codes are being used to personalize the customer’s website experience.
For example, customers who arrive at a website through organic search see a different site than those who came through a promotional email. And there may even be a third site for those who type a direct link into their browser which they have seen in an offline ad.
The reason for this, explained one participant, was that, through testing, marketers can find obscure data points to anticipate customer behavior, such as likelihood to convert. Marketers should, therefore, use any information they can to deliver the best possible customer experience and achieve the best possible results for the brand.
2) Channel optimization is being taken to the next level
Delegates also indicated that data is being used to optimize messaging on a channel-by-channel basis. Text length, video duration, tone of voice, time of day and even weather can now all be taken into consideration when analyzing results and modifying a campaign.
Attendees also agreed that user-level data such as the frequency an individual sees an ad and how recently they saw it should also be considered to ensure brand fatigue is kept to a minimum.
3) Campaign results are now closely monitored in real-time
Another interesting way in which marketers are using technology to improve results involves using real-time data in order to evaluate the performance of a campaign, typically within the first 4 hours after it has launched.
The reason for this is that comparing click and other performance metrics with a benchmark can reveal whether a campaign is effective, but more importantly whether it is being hit with fake ‘bot’ traffic and should be stopped to avoid wasting money and resources.
4) Ecommerce is being used to expand B2B market share
Attendees who worked for B2B firms stated that while marketing technology had not impacted their work as much as it has for those working in B2C, they said that many traditional industrial companies were now starting to launch ecommerce initiatives.
While most B2B companies maintain traditional sales operations, launching an ecommerce platform or integrating with one of the main portals helps customers discover the brand, see options and pricing and even occasionally place immediate orders for goods.
In this way, ecommerce technology helps the B2B brands increase market share and acquire new customers, even if selling online is not a strategic priority for the company.
5) Internal technology and analytics experts are being harnessed by marketers
Finally, participants admitted that to get the maximum benefits from marketing technology, companies need to leverage sophisticated data analysis software and integrate marketing systems with other platforms in their organisation.
As doing so is beyond the capabilities of most marketers, companies are now redeploying analysts and technologists from other departments within the organisation to make sure that marketing is getting the most out of their data.
One attendee from a financial institution said that their risk analysis team has recently helped calculate customer retention data and evaluate marketing campaigns against customer lifetime value.
Marketers, therefore, are now not just leveraging technology on their own but are also identifying talent within their organisation to help them improve marketing performance.
A word of thanks
Econsultancy would like to thank Julio Cesar Santos, CRM & Analytics Lead, EF Education First for moderating the Harnessing Technology roundtable discussion as well as our sponsor for the day, Epsilon.
We’d also like to thank the marketers who attended and shared with us how they are using technology in new and interesting ways to improve results.
We hope to see you all at future Econsultancy events!