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The changing marketing dynamics in a data-driven world

Even before the pandemic, technology had begun to play a transformational role in marketing programmes of brands across segments. With the rise of digitisation, marketing and technology have fused together to create martech — the newest kid on the marketing strategies’ block, and it has become quite the favourite.

According to a NASSCOM report, brands are investing a large percentage of their marketing budgets in technology, and 52 percent of enterprises plan to continue increasing their martech expenditure in 2021.

The reality today is that over 40 percent of organisations are at a nascent stage in the martech capabilities, while 30 percent are at an emerging level where enterprise-level coordination is happening, and standards are put in place. Almost 80 percent of businesses in ecommerce and over 50 percent in BFSI have an emerging level of Martech capabilities, showing signs of early adopters.

As reported by a Martech Maturity Survey by MMA, these are good indicators reflecting that many organisations in India have kick started their martech journey.

Role of a new-age CMO [1]

It is often debated within the marketing fraternity whether the role of CMO is dated and if there is relevance or need for such a role anymore. It has morphed beyond the obvious one around marketing to a much more complex web of challenges, i.e., driving sustainability agenda, delivering sustainable growth, devising highly personalised customer experiences, instigating advanced marketing innovation, new business model and driving behavioural shift and change management within the organisation.

Given the width of the scope, a CMO title is a misnomer, and the apt role is more of a ‘Chief Enterprise Transformation & Growth Officer’ with the T shaped skillset, where the individual has deep expertise in marketing with a wide appreciation of the end-to-end business.

The role will also require heuristic learning over the typical handed down knowledge, largely given that the space one would be operating will be largely uncharted.

The importance of martech stacks and customer journeys

Growing personalisation and the ever-changing motivation of customers have pushed CMOs to not only take the help of data sciences but also tap into behavioural sciences to better understand the customer psyche.

Both behavioural and data sciences are needed whereby one helps curate information about buying patterns and favourite platforms, the other will answer ‘Why’ customers are making these purchases on these platforms.

With customers interacting with brands on multiple channels and expecting a seamless experience, it has become more critical for businesses to acquire the right set of customers at a low cost of acquisition, engage, retain, and maximise their lifetime value.

For businesses to be able to achieve this, the traditional approach towards technology investments do not suffice. They need new tools that can help navigate complex customer journeys.

Building an effective martech stack

An ideal martech stack has all the appropriate technologies and applications to manage the entire customer lifecycle – attracting the right customers, engaging with them, and retaining them in an efficient and profitable manner. Let us look at some of the key ingredients of a good stack.

Many of these tools will be relevant across different stages of the customer lifecycle. Today, brands can choose from over 8,000 martech tools, compared to only 150 tools ten years ago.

Content Management System (CMS)

Content is the core of inbound marketing strategy and predominantly drives leads in a sustained manner. CMS acts as a central hub for all content publishing and ensures that the right content is delivered to the right audience at the right time.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

When consumers have a query or need information on a product, search is most often the first port of call. The search query contains signals of intent that can be leveraged by marketers and it is an important lever to increase organic traffic. SEO helps in understanding the trends in searches and enable companies to redefine content strategies.

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)

CRO is the process of converting visitors to customers and hence increasing the conversion rate. Conversion could be the performance of an intended action. It could be purchasing a product, enrolling for a programme, subscribing to a newsletter, adding an item to the cart, and so on.

SEO and CRO go hand in hand. While SEO directs traffic to the website, CRO ensures higher engagement and conversion.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Right from the time a lead gets converted to a customer to their growth and retention path, CRM tools can be used to capture the interactions effectively and retain them. While brands can choose from the array of CRM tools, it must integrate with the other components of the stack like Campaign management.

Campaign management

Campaign management tools have inbuilt automation and campaign tracking capabilities. They also provide intelligence and feedback on the active and inactive campaigns, open rates, click rates and complex attribution tracking, that improve customer engagement.

Marketing automation

Automation tools enable organisations to seamlessly engage with customers and leads on multiple channels, automate repetitive tasks, and provide personalised and standardised experience consistently. They can be used in multiple areas like leads scoring and prioritisation, segmentation, leads nurturing, up-sell, cross-sell as well as retention.

Social listening

Social media is a big influencer for increasing brand visibility. Social media tools are essential to monitor early signals on emerging trends and track engagement – this means arriving at the right metrics to track performance. However, brands must not fall for optimising vanity matrices such as ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’ but adopt tools that can provide an integrated view for the brand across top social media and blogs.

Digital analytics

For any brand to sustain in today’s world, analytics are a must. Digital analytics help understand the impact of paid advertising and search advertising. Once brands have an insight on how visitors are interacting with the content, they can create customised content that can improve engagement.


Chatbots today are the ultimate virtual assistant, addressing customers’ queries, finding products, making transactions, etc. Every interaction with an Intelligent BOT gives it more insights on the customer, leading to enhanced personalised experience, better engagement with customers and improved loyalty.

Every organisation’s goals change with every campaign, every quarter and most definitely, every year. Customers too, evolve ever so dynamically in their behaviour and motivation that it has become nearly impossible to understand or predict with certainty what they will do next. Martech helps brands remain agile and have the right specs that evolve with its customers which is crucial to the success and survival of any brand or CMO today.

[1] With inputs from Zaved Akhtar, VP, Digital Transformation & Growth, Unilever South Asia.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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