Most Firms Lack Tech Integration Capabilities
While companies are increasingly expected to deliver well-orchestrated omni-channel customer experiences, most of them do not have the skills or capabilities to do so. A new study conducted by marketing technology firm Signal reveals that even though 90 percent marketers believe that highly integrated platforms will help deliver more efficient programs, better customer experiences and higher marketing ROI, fewer than 5 percent of decision makers believe their platforms have them well prepared to move ahead with cross-channel marketing.
“There are three big points when I looked at all the data. The first was that technology fragmentation is a legitimate problem and that it has real consequences. Second was that there’s recognition within marketing organizations that integration has business benefits. And third, marketers think their tools are only being used in the most basic ways. They underutilize these massive investment they have made and part of that is because they’re not integrated,” says Signal’s senior vice president of marketing Joe Stanhope.
The Signal report corresponds with another recent report from Econsultancy, which has found that integration with current or legacy systems remains the biggest challenge businesses are facing in recent times. The study concludes while integration of tech platforms and software is vital if online companies want to be able to run an efficient business and provide an excellent customer experience and turning to integrators and implementers to help them customize and integrate their technology can help in this area.
However, experts believe technology is only a part of customer engagement. A Gartner survey notes that there are several other critical factors companies should consider to find and engage with audiences and to unify their operations.
Jake Sorofman, research director at Gartner for Marketing identifies that a unified audience profile, an economically scalable content supply chain, intelligent orchestration and performance analytics – can altogether create a digital marketing hub, which will help marketers improve the entire customer experience across touchpoints and channels.
“The goal here is to route data from any channel to any channel to meet audiences on the decision journey with contextually relevant offers and experiences,” says Sorofman. Into the foreseeable future, this will be a relatively loose assemblage of commercial components, rather than a single product you buy off the shelf. That’s why integration and extensibility are so critical to digital marketing architectures, he says.
Seamless experiences also require a new level of cross-functional collaboration. Marketing organizations must span their function silos in order to engage with customers coherently across all touch points, believe researchers. For example, few organizations have aligned their infrastructures with their strategies for connecting with multi-screening customers.
Stanhopes believes that optimizing marketing technologies requires a road map for moving data across the technology stack as quickly as customers are moving between smartphones, tablets, laptops, stores and call centers.
“It’s clear that marketers need a new approach to create the level of engagement today’s consumers expect, and meeting that goal requires a clear roadmap for making their data and technologies work better together,” he concludes.
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