Brands are working hard to deliver frictionless, connected experiences to nurture loyalty among customers and prospects. Clear, timely, and transparent communication is unquestionably a key component. Behind the scenes, integrated technologies build on top of each other’s capabilities, multiplying value and enabling new experiences that offer brands the opportunity to differentiate themselves and capitalize on efficiencies.
Digital messaging platforms continue to evolve, offering sophisticated customer engagement management solutions with growing automation capabilities to support an increasing number of activation channels. Leveraging advanced segmentation, predictive models, artificial intelligence (AI), and robust personalization capabilities, marketers can support complex cross-channel customer journeys to nurture prospects into customers, and customers into loyal customers. Finding the right tool can be challenging in today’s extremely competitive and rapidly evolving landscape.
Digital messaging platforms, multi-channel marketing hubs, cross-channel messaging platforms, customer engagement platforms, and marketing automations platforms. Where does one end and the other start?! Are we talking about the same thing?
We like to define digital messaging platforms as platforms designed to deliver contextually relevant messages on complex customer journeys across channels. With customer data platform (CDP)-like capabilities they shape unified customer profiles and leverage predictive intelligence to support the orchestration and personalization of multi-channel customer journeys.
We group these platforms based on the number of channels supported:
Single-Channel - Point solutions focused on 1-2 closely related channels supporting segmentation/targeting, basic automation, and in-channel reporting.
Multi-Channel – Distinguished by cross-channel activation capabilities powering multi-touch journeys and campaigns with advanced automation, audience management, and targeting.
Customer Engagement Platforms - Multi-channel platform powering digital messaging and experiences across channels and properties (website, app).
When it comes to features, these platforms have developed over time capabilities that can support basic identity resolution, enable unified customer profiles, advanced segmentation, marketing automation, journey orchestration and visioning, decisioning (personalization and recommendations), and insights. This list can quickly start overlapping with capabilities proper of a CDP, raising questions on architecture, data flows, and integrations.
When looking to select a digital messaging platform, there is no universal answer. Every company has unique tech stacks, desired use cases, and challenges. When assessing and evaluating solutions, the true best-in-class solution is the one that fits your stack and best empowers your team. We believe the key to navigating today’s complex landscape is to focus on capabilities over features.
The best solution is indeed the one that best fits your stack integrating with the key technologies in play while also empowering your teams today. Top-of-mind integrations you need to be thinking about are:
To future-proof your selection, it is important to not only look at your stack today, but position yourself for the future, keeping in mind these three key enablers:
We are often asked to weigh in and help decide between a multi-channel messaging platform or customer engagement platform vs. a CDP or Reverse ETL feeding point solutions for in-channel execution. While there is no way to provide a one-size-fits-all answer, below are some key considerations to guide you in your selection:
If you are currently in the market for a digital messaging platform, follow this advice:
Want to learn more? Check out our other marketing technology blog posts here.