By Sarika Naik
The year 2020 has been a tough time for marketing. Business has been hit hard, advertising budgets are getting slashed, and the future looks uncertain. In these unprecedented times of the covid-19 pandemic, consumers and clients are gravitating towards brands that are able to connect with them and address their concerns and anxieties.
While the traditional business models thrived on ‘chains’ – supply chains, value chains, and distribution chains – the digital world is eclipsing this chain-based system. Reason? There’s much less predictability in today’s business environment, with covid being the best example. Indeed, markets, competitors, and customer expectations can change very swiftly.
Personalised, omnichannel customer experience will play a key role in gaining brand visibility and mindshare. And only a highly developed Martech ecosystem will enable this! As attention shifts to business enablement, companies will deploy new marketing tools for brand enhancement, advertising, and portfolio management, with its utility cutting across both B2B and B2C sectors.
This article, however, isn’t about marketing technology as a product. It’s about understanding martech as a strategic business process where organisations will run marketing in a digital and connected ecosystem, as well as the journey and impact it will have in the coming years.
Martech will drive business marketing in the New Normal
Martech will play a dominant role in the strategic priorities and investments of CMOs in the next decade. Sample this: According to chiefmartec, the 2011 martech landscape had around 150 solutions. It grew to around 1,000 by 2014, and 2,000 in 2015. And the 2020 edition had 8,000 solutions – a whopping 5,233% growth over the decade.
This explains the focus on martech especially when budgets are thin and business is bleak. Gartner found that in 2021, CMOs will gravitate towards existing customers and markets to fuel growth. And martech will play a role in this, enabling business to build customer knowledge and intimacy, and ultimately share of wallet.
Currently, there is a deluge of digital content via webinars, roundtables, or panel discussions. But as physical engagement becomes restricted, organisations are looking to connect with customers across various digital touchpoints. To get the right message across, it is important to ensure the content shared or spoken is bite sized, sharp and focused.
From a lead-gen perspective, the idea is to accelerate conversions on existing opportunities. In the coming years, martech will lead the charge for better data analytics in building cogent business strategies. Capgemini’s client engagement experience team (CEE) follows the classic principles of attracting, engaging, converting, and understanding and managing clients by enabling a phygital experience as a means of business engagement.
The idea is to provide an immersive experience to clients by connecting via MS and streaming from the action zones, enabling a 360-degree view of the campus, project floors and Special Labs. In addition, a thorough data analysis is conducted to assess past engagements, client response to agenda topics, and incorporate all learnings in a data archive for repeat connects. For new engagements, the focus is to deploy market intelligence to understand clients’ stated intent and customise content accordingly.
Personalised CX will drive martech across both B2B and B2C
Though most organisations deploy CRMs and a range of martech tools for connecting with customers, these are disparate and non-cohesive. The focus as we move ahead will be to leverage all these tools and cross-pollinate the data. For example, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s e-commerce solution, tailored around big data, helped retailers’ business challenges during covid such as limited access to supplies, drop in demand, or low footfalls.
Alibaba’s marketing technology allowed retailers to launch an e-commerce platform in only five days via the Alibaba Cloud platform, paving the way for advanced e-commerce scenarios such as livestreaming, and cross-border and big data analysis. Thanks to the scalability of the cloud, businesses could reduce operational and management costs and meet demand surge by integrating new services to meet customer demand.
Healthcare is a good example of martech application in a B2C scenario. As patient care becomes critical during covid, marketing automation will help optimise marketing across channels, automate repetitive tasks, and streamline various marketing activities to improve engagement with patients. It provides a comprehensive picture of a healthcare provider’s target audience; equipped with this insight, providers can personalise their marketing messages to a specific patient’s needs.
Marketing technology will grow smarter, thanks to Artificial Intelligence. AI renders more accurate customer personas to be targeted through customised content and the right channels for conversion. AI will change the martech landscape, enabling newer tools that can present insights, interpret context, and apply meaning, allowing more decision-making capacity for marketers. The sophistication of these tools will continue to widen in scope, giving marketers greater understanding of larger and more diverse sets of data.
Martech – a vital cog for business in the next decade
Martech is ultimately the play of platforms, networks, and marketplaces. Along with the participants that flourish around them, businesses that can enable greater decentralised adaptations, innovations, and dynamic optimisation of resources will lead the martech race. Organisations today need to transform themselves in order to survive, which means adopting the technologies that allow marketers to better gather data and act upon it.
Technology has always been part of marketing from the beginning, though it has changed over the years. What is needed– is to understand the media in which they operate. covid-19 may or may not change business forever. But one thing is clear: the world will continue to go digital, which will push marketers to embrace digital operations and customer experience.
That’s where martech thrives!
Views expressed are personal. The author is chief marketing officer – India of Capgemini.
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