We are in the midst of a period of great change. Evolving technology trends have altered the business world and as a result, the marketing function has had to adapt. Whole departments and seasoned marketers are being urged to keep up with changing online behaviours to optimise every aspect of business from recruitment decisions to daily tasks and processes.
Money, money, money
Marketing departments are poised to exert even more influence over technology spending in the near future, with Gartner predicting that by 2017 CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs.
The reasons behind this aren’t hard to fathom, with technology driving a change in how organisations connect to, communicate with and convert customers. The majority of marketers recognise the potential it offers to help revolutionise marketing. This is further supported by an extension of technology’s reach across the organisation, with finance and other departments looking to digitally innovate.
The IT function is also being encouraged to actively support these efforts by using technology to grow organisations and help free it from its traditional definitions and limitations. It is clear technology is a central pillar of investment, not only for the marketing department but across organisations in general.
Regardless of company size or sector, customer touchpoints are fundamental to the success of any marketing strategy. However, as they are relied upon by users as an online communication channel, they are an obvious target for technological investment, and this is being advocated at the highest level.
With more and more ways to communicate online, optimising interactions with users isn’t always straightforward, with many of us using several smart devices to access the web from multiple locations. The mobile experience has inevitably become a priority for many, with trends such as mobile-first design reflecting this interest.
Even if businesses manage to optimise their brand across every touchpoint, there are a significant number of digital spaces where they do not have total control over their appearance. For example, social networks provide users with instant access to peer reviews and opinion, enabling them to filter out marketing messages.
Social listening software enables conversations to be monitored around a brand, competitors and services, allowing organisations to respond with relevant and timely information, while analytical tools highlight users’ interests and pain points which influence future communications and content.
The Internet of Things
Although questions surrounding mobile and social remain at the top of the agenda, they are accompanied by concerns brought about by the continual evolution and advancement of technology. One source of debate is The Internet of Things (IoT) and although a significant proportion of these new devices will not be traditional tablets, PCs and smartphones, IoT opens up a wealth of opportunities to apply technology in new and exciting ways.
The bigger picture
When aiming to cater for all possible scenarios, it’s important to pay attention to technologies that provide a holistic view of the customer. Data should be at the heart of these systems, leveraging integrated stacks and applications that communicate with one another via APIs. These join up digital and physical touchpoints while supporting the delivery of relevant messages when required.
To demonstrate efforts and results to senior stakeholders, measurement and reporting capabilities should be another element of the back office technology suite. Consider how technology can improve communications internally, such as intranets and instant messaging systems which can improve knowledge sharing to uncover valuable insights that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Marketers looking to use technology to achieve business goals and support business growth face questions regarding the best use of their budget, from the devices and platforms they invest in to what systems will underpin the wider marketing strategy. Ultimately technology is an enabler, providing security, stability and scalability while helping marketing teams to act in a more agile way.
By Benno Wasserstein, managing director at Box UK.
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