You’ve heard it time and time again: technology is changing the marketing landscape and you need to keep up or your business will fall behind. While that’s partially true, the core concepts of a successful business are still in place – listen to your audience, learn what your customers are saying, and improve and adapt to changes in the market. The ever-increasing number of marketing tools, suites, and services available today are not here to replace these core concepts, but rather to supplement them and make them easier to achieve. It’s in identifying these tools and understanding their core purpose that your business can truly benefit from marketing technology.
An effective marketing strategy is one that focuses on creating a 1:1 relationship with its target audience. Consider this scenario: you approach a stranger and decide to strike up a conversation. How fruitful would this conversation be, especially when compared to one you would have with your closest friend or a family member? The more information you know about the person you’re interacting with – their interests, their history, their education – the more engaging of a conversation you’ll be able to have with them.
Personalization, Marketing Technology, and Using the Data at Your Disposal
This is where concepts like data enrichment and appending become essential in marketing strategy. Tools like RingLead and ReachForce allow marketers to gather fundamental firmographic and personal details on their target segments they might not otherwise have access to. It’s by using these bits of information that marketers can tailor effective, relevant communications and create a more personalized conversation with their audience. Nobody likes irrelevant and impersonal communications. Use the data you have available, and if you need more than what you have, get it.
Explicit Data vs. Implicit Data: Knowing Which to Pay Attention To, and When
Despite having more explicit data at your disposal, it’s still important to consider data that’s more observed and implicit. The following questions fall into the category of implicit data:
- How do your customers interact with your brand?
- What influences them to purchase your products or services?
- When they visit your site, what do they do?
Keeping an eye on these behaviors and collecting associated data points can provide you with the intelligence you need to have a better understanding of what your customers care about and what makes them tick. Website engagement visualization tools like Crazy Egg and Hotjar offer services like heatmapping, visitor recordings, and conversion funnels to give marketers critical insights into how their audience interacts with them digitally.
Taking Advantage of Optimization and Personalization Opportunities With Marketing Technology
This also opens the door for a multitude of new optimization opportunities. Leveraging a marketing technology platform like Visual Website Optimizer allows you to take the insights gained from site monitoring and dynamically split tested elements on your website to optimize them for higher engagement and conversions. These tools allow marketers to effectively listen to what their customers are saying (via digital behavior), and provide them with more of what they enjoy interacting with. Something as simple as changing the color of a button or the word order in a page heading can produce a huge lift in engagement rates, which make tools like these imperative additions to any marketer’s cache.
Having more data at your disposal – both explicit and implicit – will, of course, empower you to have more personalized conversations with your prospects and customers. However, it’s how and where you have these conversations that are important to consider. Often overlooked is on-site personalization and targeting. Far too often website visitors are treated as complete equals, despite potentially caring about different things or being in entirely different industries. Utilizing a service like Optimizely gives you the ability to take all the useful information in your database and use it to serve personalized, relevant content on your website to everyone who visits (and based on where they came from).
This is where being strategic in your tech stack is crucial, as there are many platforms out there that are fantastic for some organizations, but not necessary for others. Take for instance Marketo’s Account-Based Marketing product: it has shown to be extremely effective for B2B organizations to further leverage the data they have stored to target key accounts for better conversations and higher conversions. However, this would not be the case for B2C organizations. Be purposeful with the tools you use and make sure they directly tie back to what you are trying to accomplish.
Conclusion: Integrating Data and Marketing Technology to Accomplish Business Goals
Let’s say you have all the data you need for effective communications and your channel strategy is firing on all cylinders. Great! – but where does all this data live? How do you pull it all together? You’ll often hear buzzy terms like data lake or omnichannel analytics that tend to mask the underlying concept they’re intending to define. Buzzwords aside, it’s still essential to try and pull all the data gathered through your various tools and platforms into a single repository. From there you can use a data visualization platform like Domo or Power BI to get a clear picture of how your communications are performing, how your audience is interacting with you, and what to do next. This is especially important if you have multiple tools across all of your channels. Bringing everything together and reporting on it congruently can have a significant impact on your ability to scale and optimize your business results.
Ultimately, the number of technology solutions available today is in the upper thousands and continues to grow daily. Evaluating each of them would be a nearly impossible feat and likely a fruitless endeavor. Instead, focus on what your business is trying to accomplish, and identify tools and platforms that could be used to supplement those goals. The human element will continue to be central to every successful marketing strategy, and technology is only there to help you along the way, not replace you. The adage still applies: listen to your audience, learn from them, and respond relevantly. Your customers will thank you for it.
Learn more about how marketing automation strategy can drive your business results.