If CMOs thought they had a lot on their plate last year, 2019 probably feels like a nightmare by comparison.
Marketing’s complexity is multiplying in terms of the buyer’s expectations, the number of channels the consumer expects your business to be present on is growing, and how quickly you respond, post, and interact with your community via those channels is accelerating too.
Each channel requires optimisation as well - on the organic side and the paid side - each one of them offers a new set of data and a fresh way to understand the consumer better.
If marketers think there can be a quick fix - a “one size fits all” approach to each marketing channel is not going to work. There simply isn’t a blanket solution that resolves the myriad of marketing challenges each channel introduces and that’s not going to change tomorrow, next week or probably next year.
The only real scalable, efficient way forward is through marketing automation driven by AI-technology - and AI is the key word here, it’s not only automation that’s required.
Today there are already automation tools that help reduce manual work when handling each channel, task, objective, but these tools introduce their own set of operational challenges and data silos. Yes, it’s automation, but it’s not making your life that much easier, more data isn’t always better, and that’s felt throughout marketing departments.
If you take the martech industry today, it encompasses roughly 7,000 businesses working to resolve one part of marketing or another. According to a Kleiner Perkins study, the average marketing team currently uses 91 SaaS solutions. Cisco shared their marketing operations software stack publicly - it’s a map of 39 marketing technologies. We looked internally as well and Socialbakers isn’t an exception to the rule.
This is the toughest challenge for the marketer today and the challenge that the automation of the future need to resolve. It is martech that connects and glues the tech stack that your company uses for its day to day operations. An automation platform that unifies teams and breaks down data silos.
How would this type of marketing automation look in practice and what’s needed for it to work?
Martech Needs to Glue the Data Silos to Make Insights Actionable
Each SaaS system today offers its unique dataset that can be valuable to a multitude of marketing functions. It’s imperative that this data is readily available for the entire organisation, but it also needs to be digestible. While having multiplatform data available in one place is a start, it’s a lot more important to easily analyse what the next action is that you should take based on the data insights.
The kind of insights marketers are after today are simply impossible to arrive at without technology, there’s simply too much data to process. The solution - machine learning and automation. We have already witnessed AI-driven technology resolve many daily, mundane tactical tasks for the marketer - 55% of marketers already use AI for data analysis.
It’s easy to find examples where this has been implemented, and here’s a striking one - imagine the complexity of covering hundreds of modern sports events without AI technology all at once.
That’s exactly how Eurosport had to do it across 50 social media profiles for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. You can’t imagine such a task without AI tech, as their Head of Audience, Sebastien Lebreton puts it, “it would have been impossible to implement what we needed. Not only in terms of time and resources, but also in terms of the reliability of data.”
AI Martech Needs to Be a Turn-Key Option Connecting All Tools
Before marketers can actually use any of the available technology together, it has to integrate seamlessly on a technical level via the APIs. That means that the 39 SaaS platforms Cisco is using have to speak to each other easily and without delay.
If additional software is introduced into the ecosystem it has to work immediately and it also shouldn’t compromise the security of the entire network - it should be “Enterprise Ready.”
Martech Needs to Glue Productivity to Improve Efficiency
Last but not least, martech needs to glue the workflow, boost efficiency and eliminate bottlenecks through better collaboration among different marketing departments - no matter where in the world your team is located. That will get the productivity engine chugging along.
For example, if a design team is working on a campaign for a new product launch, any information, data used across departments, should be readily accessible and made actionable so that the team can make the best creative decision. That entails knowing everything about the audience personas, accessing the best content examples, working with the best content creators and influencers, using one place to share their designs and analyse the performance of their campaigns.
Examples of such fully cooperative environments already exist, among them are brands like ASUS with teams operating across 20 marketers who are working in one connected system - one place for sharing content, reporting, and getting a real-time measure of their performance.
What Should Be the Next Step for the CMO?
The integration of the entire marketing tech stack will not happen overnight but considering the fast pace at which martech is innovating CMOs should start preparing for it and should identify the key operational areas that they need to bridge between their marketing teams to create faster, more efficient, optimised marketing ecosystems. This is one of those cases, where being the first to adopt the tech will give you an almost unfair competitive advantage.
Written by Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO at Socialbakers
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