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4 Common Technology Challenges in People-Based Marketing

The objective of Marketing has changed little over time. However, the capabilities that are required to be competitive are much more technical and complex. Information (data) is the primary component of people-based marketing.  Specifically, activating experiences based on a person – not a group, an association, area, or time of day, but a person. Today, leveraging person based information is more achievable than ever.

Historically, this would have felt a little creepy; but what used to be considered creepy is now expected and even valued by customers. It differentiates firms from lesser enterprises that are ill-informed about their customers’ needs and values or not capable of activating customer information in real time (or relevant time) to facilitate a competitive customer strategy. What used to be creepy is now considered smart.

Most companies know the world has changed, but they are struggling to develop the key horizontal capabilities necessary for personalized people-based marketing at an enterprise level. These struggles may be the result of existing organizational or technology gaps that lack a comprehensive marketing technology roadmap forward. In other cases, organizations will have many unorganized or siloed pockets of people-based marketing capabilities, either internally or managed indirectly by a partner on the company’s behalf. Silos, key technology gaps, and fragmented planning are major obstacles to improving and coordinating people-based strategy across a company.

Common People Based Marketing Technology Challenges:

Customer Identity Management

Enterprise customer identity management is a data management process that uniquely links together customer identity attributes from across the digital landscape, the enterprise, and common terrestrial and demographic sources, and is the linchpin for customer strategy and personalization. Identity management processes or services link and provide a unique ID for both identified customers (linked to some kind of personally identifiable information, or PII) and anonymous customers (customer ID data attributes that can be linked together but have not been linked to PII). Companies cannot manage or refine their relationships with customers if they do not know who they are consistently interacting with at an appropriately competitive level. You have to know who you are marketing to, and what data is associated with that person or a known universal ID. It’s fundamental; it’s the stitching of personalization fabric. 

Key benefits of identity management:

  • Becomes a unique key to unlock consumer data from across the organization
  • Enables horizontal, cross-channel analysis of behaviors, actions, and targeting, creating a full cross-channel event stream
  • Enables multi-channel segment and people-based targeting for consistent marketing experiences, even if marketing decision systems are in silos

Real-Time Data and Data Integration

Real-time data and integration go hand-in-hand. Real-time data is the ability for marketing experience systems to access a sub-set of customer 360-degree record level attributes for driving instantaneous personalized decisioning. Real-time data integration is the ability to load data into the repository at the rate it changes; in other words, fast enough to be relevant. ID management can provide a unique key to unlock data from the real-time data system serving cross-channel experience activation. 

Many customers do have large enterprise data warehouse systems, which contain vast amounts of structured (360-degree profile) and unstructured data sets spanning many years. These environments are great for ad hoc analysis, modeling, and/or fueling any number of data-oriented efforts, marketing related or not. However, these systems typically are not optimal for serving a sub-set of 360-degree profile data and for being updated at a record level millions of times a day by cross-channel applications and third-party marketing partners.

Key benefits of real-time data integration:

  • Significant cost savings vs. using larger enterprise warehouse systems
  • Enables uniform and central data access to facilitate customer strategy orchestration and personalization
  • Reduces technical complexity for analytical and marketing planning

Decision Management

Decision management refers to the ability to customize and personalize a user experience in real time, based on historical customer data, business rules, and data collected in real time from customers’ event streams. A centralized decision management system provides, stores, and, in some cases, discovers the rules for optimizing personalized customer-based marketing.

Key benefits of decision management:

  • Coordinates marketing strategies across multiple marketing touch points
  • Eliminates redundant or conflicting rules and authoring in marketing silos
  • Can leverage real-time data from across channels to provide always on optimization and learning

Dynamic Creative and Digital Asset Management

Custom hand-crafted processes, templates, modules and components for optimizing experiences, publishing, and content creation used to be business as usual. Today, this is no longer the case, as it handicaps efficient publishing and optimization process at the scale most businesses require.  Today, optimized templates, modules, and content fragments are pre-designed to populate/be populated based on business rules, analytics, KPIs, and decisioning systems across channels.  As assets and creative become affective for driving KPIs the need to quickly distribute or retract for replacement across channels is necessary.  Coordination, standards, and planning are key to facilitating data-driven orchestration by quickly and systematically distributing content.

If your organization is struggling with some of these same issues, what can you do?

  1. Leadership: Identify a leader who is responsible for delivering and also benefits from enterprise customer strategy and execution capabilities across silos.
  2. Make a technology plan: Gain sponsorship for an enterprise marketing technology assessment and roadmap as a strategic imperative to facilitating your enterprise customer strategy across silos.
  3. Don’t reinvent the wheel to catch up: Consider leveraging cloud-based or existing vendor technology to quickly jump start, plug holes, or consolidate silos for key fundamental gaps or needs. Examples:
    • Identity management
    • Real-time marketing database
    • Data management platform (DMP)
    • Digital asset management
  4. Leverage internal resources for integration, transformation, and horizontal processes: Use institutional knowledge to its fullest extent (i.e., ask them to do what they know, not what they don’t).

The technology challenges of modern people based marketing are common across industries, but are not insurmountable.  Overcoming these challenges can be a foundational competitive advantage for your marketing organization.

Register for our upcoming webinar “Customer Centric Transformation: The Truth Behind Successful Change”.