In enterprise technology, as in consumer technology, it's tempting to buy first and sort out all the details for making it work later. Thus, many marketing organizations that have been investing in technologies that help them communicate with consumers via a variety of different channels are now focused on integrating and better coordinating those technologies.
Teradata today released new research that found that full integration with current technologies is the top criteria for evaluating new technology, cited by 49 percent of senior marketers surveyed by Teradata and the Econsultancy research firm. In addition, 60 percent of the marketers named data integration as either a "top" or "highest" priority.
"It's one thing to have an end goal in mind and to adopt different channels of interaction to achieve it, but without a central coordinating function to bring together the data, the analysis and the decision-making and integrating it into the channels of interaction, we are really missing out," said Michael Lummus, director of Digital Marketing Solutions, Teradata Marketing Applications.
Companies are focused on delivering optimal experiences for their customers and see technology as a key enabler for doing so, Lummus said, noting that 62 percent of respondents cited improving customer satisfaction as their top reason for increasing technology investments.
Marketing Investment Plans
They are shifting their investments, focusing on areas that can help them offer a more cohesive customer experience across multiple channels. Marketing attribution systems and marketing application management systems lead the list of planned investments, with 36 percent of companies currently evaluating marketing attribution solutions and 32 percent evaluating marketing application management. An additional 48 percent plan to invest in marketing attribution within 24 months, while 46 percent will consider marketing application management investments in that time frame.
This indicates companies are moving past simple surface-level integration, Lummus said. "We are beginning to see the realization that organizations need to invest in core hub capabilities and have those capabilities be tightly integrated and able to connect out to the marketing ecosystem."
While the end goal of marketing attribution software is to optimize media spend and improve customer conversion rates, Lummus said it also yields valuable insights on how to improve interactions with customers.
"It is intricately linked with the idea that I need to have a comprehensive understanding of how I am interacting with my customer," he said. "Once I have that understanding I can make incremental improvements to my budgeting process and spend allocation, but I can also alter how I interact with my customer in the first place."
Personalization and Partnership
The research highlights some key areas for improvement, Lummus said. For example, while 86 percent of respondents utilize some form of personalization, fewer than 20 percent of them offer real-time personalization. This could become a serious shortcoming for channels like mobile where customers increasingly expect their interactions to be contextual. Organizations must strive to "marry a segment-based approach to personalization with real-time contextual data to make better decisions," he suggested.
There is also a growing acknowledgement that IT organizations and marketing organizations must work more closely together, Lummus said. IT has tended to focus on back-office functionality and cost reduction, he said, while marketing organizations sometimes bypassed IT and purchased point solutions that did not integrate well and may not have been compatible with enterprise data management and data governance practices.
Both parties are beginning to recognize the need to align priorities around customer experience-facing functions of technology that can drive incremental revenue, he said.