Marketing Technologies (MarTech) and Customer Data Platforms continue to evolve at speed and consumer brands must keep up. This poses many challenges for brands. From being distracted by the shiny new innovations that are marketed so brilliantly across the industry, to using only a portion of technologies currently in the business, the opportunity to boost marketing ROI can be realised with an investment in MarTech enablement.
This blog post will cover the core pillars of People, Process, Technology, Data and Creativity as we explore what organisations must do to enable technologies and people to deliver the rewards of their investments.
What is MarTech Enablement?
Enablement in context means activating a technology to deliver business results over a defined period of time. Enablement has a specific focus on people (team members, partners and customers) and processes alike. Successful enablement also requires a specific level of investment as part of a transformation programme to ensure communications, resources and processes are aligned to common goals.
– Daryl D’Cruz (Hexdon)
MarTech & Customer Data Platform Business Requirements
At Hexdon, we’re big fans of a range of marketing technologies and have deep experience running CRM and CDP platforms alike. By example, some of our clients utilise Bloomreach’s Number 1 Commerce Experience Cloud as it’s a best in class CDP for Retail, Product and Content centric organisations.
Enabling a CDP (Customer Data Platform) must first start with having a clear understanding the needs of your business. Are these needs documented and aligned across key stakeholders? And how does your MarTech platform meet these needs? Clarification with key stakeholders is a great place to work from.
In contrast, the risk of not adopting a rigorous enablement approach is that yet another technology fails to deliver to expectations. This isn’t usually the fault of the technology, but that of organisational culture for the most part.
“92% of C-Suite respondents attribute the “principal challenge to becoming data-driven” to people, business processes, and culture, with only 8% identifying technology limitations as the barrier.
(NewVantage Partners Big Data & AI Exec. Survey, 2022)
People Come First
Any MarTech implementation requires a clear understanding of the business and its people. CDP success requires a number of teams to come together to enable the technology and improve business outcomes.
It’s imperative that the leadership team recognises that the investment in MarTech & Customer Data Platform Enablement is a testament to striving to achieve the vision. And this vision requires getting people on side – it requires an investment in people. Whether that’s new roles, additional resource, training, or broad business communication and buy in, the leadership team need to back their investment to instil meaningful change.
The leadership team has an opportunity to inspire cultural change, centred around the customer, where data and technology are recognised as key business enablers.
Delivering business value from a CDP requires Marketing, Creative, Digital, IT, Data, Operations and Commercial teams to align on strategy and operations together and needless to say, putting the customer at the heart is an imperative.
Given this complexity, the roles within a CDP must be clearly defined, as well as responsibilities.
Key Recommendation: Create a consistent internal communications forum where teams can come together to discuss challenges, opportunities, fix issues and of course, celebrate success.
Process Must Be Defined and Aligned
The complexities and opportunities that MarTech Customer Data Platform Enablement brings must be met with rigour around roles and responsibilities so that processes are followed with precision.
Data feeds, data cleansing and data enrichment processes support a clear picture of Customers, Transactions, Product, and Commercial pillars within a business. Defining and following process ensures that the value of data has a strong chance of turning into business success.
Campaign planning outside of the CDP is also imperative. The process of defining campaign objectives, customer segments, communication channels, creative and copy, testing and measurement etc. before jumping into the CDP will ensure enablement stands a strong chance of delivering results.
Key recommendation: At the point of campaign approval and before hitting that campaign scheduling / deployment button, you’ll know whether the process is understood and followed, based on how confident you are that your campaign is ready to go. Pay attention here and ensure you have approavls from various teams and owners.
Sweat the Technology
Investing in MarTech Customer Data Platform Enablement means the technology can be pushed to the limits. Workflow automation, building segments, complex testing, building predictive modelling scores and more are examples.
The opportunity to gain a competitive advantage through martech still remains. Sweating technology today is essential in order to compete at all. One example we always push our clients to adopt is a rigorous testing plan.
Testing, whether a simple A/B test or MVT (multi-variate testing) is essential to improve revenue, average order value, conversion and over time, customer lifetime value. And technologies from Bloomreach for example, ensure you can test A vs B across 20% of your audience and deploy the remaining 80% to the winning variant.
Sweatting the technology also means looking to the future. How can we better serve our customers? What experiences can we enhance across our technology ecosystem? Where can customer and market insights fuel maximum output of our work? And what new technologies can we bring in, or request our current vendors to invest in?
Key recommendation: Investing in technology brings opportunities for new partnerships. Who can support the success of your MarTech? Having worked with brands like Samsung, Westfield, EasyJet and Nike to name a few, when everyone is invested in your success, you can bet they’re invested in you making the most of your technology.
Successful MarTech enablement requires a culture of innovation, especially as vendors are advancing at such a pace. It’s not enough for innovation to come from the top. It must come forth from all areas of the business. And it must not be siloed in IT, data or digital.
When it comes to martech enablement, the aim here is to remove risk, especially when it comes to regulatory compliance and maintaining brand experience. But with innovation, we must change our focus to taking more risk, in a safe and measured way.
Innovate with customer data, to improve the value exchange, but do it with compliance in mind. Innovate with campaign automations, but make sure the workflow and output is rigorously tested. Innovate with new tech capabilities, but do it with more experienced partners.
Key Recommendation: Ensure you have an innovation workstream, to allow for creativity, new ideas and opportunities to be tabled and scheduled when the time is right.
Communicating The Journey
MarTech enablement isn’t just the installing or operational execution of a great new capability. It’s about the journey, from how it started, to how it’s gong and what the vision looks like. It’s about the failures, the wins, the lessons and celebrating success.
But most of all, it’s about people, so make sure you communicate clearly, consistently and compassionately to ensure your MarTech efforts are understood, supported and deliver results for the business.
If you would like to discuss any of the themes we covered here, contact us for a friendly chat.
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