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Can marketing tech track the entire customer lifecycle?

Sharon Goldman | Feb. 18, 2016
The capability to follow a customer through all phases of the buying process has long been considered the holy grail of enterprise marketing. Has technology finally evolved to deliver on that process?

He adds that there may some emotional attachments to the existing technology that have to be nipped in the bud: “Groups may have made those decisions operating independently in silos, but now they need to be defining strategies for longer-term customer metrics that span multiple channels,” he says, pointing out that companies that don’t heed this advice often end up with  “frankenstacks” of components in a technology ecosystem which aren’t integrated: “The mistake a lot of organizations make is they start throwing technology at the problem without looking at bigger picture.” 

So where is martech headed in its holy grail-like quest to address the entire customer lifecycle? Warner points to three key trends: 

1. Martech clouds are not integrated to address every customer lifecycle need

While comprehensive marketing cloud vendors such as Adobe, IBM and Oracle have become popular, companies are finally recognizing that they are not fully integrated to address all requirements, says Warner. “Each organization needs to build its own marketing unique ecosystem,” he adds, which might mean multiple components from a single marketing cloud vendor — helpful from a strategic procurement or vendor management standpoint — but marketers also need to balance investments with the big marketing vendors with the appropriate best-of-breed components you would integrate into that stack. 

In the future, “I think we will see marketing cloud portfolios grow both through internal development and acquisition to add more components,” he says. “But at the same time we will see more deeply-integrated partner ecosystems emerge.” 

2. Martech needs to continue to evolve so there is more common functionality 

As marketers have realized there is no single database platform to address every requirement, ecosystems have evolved towards the concept of a common or universal customer profile and real-time simultaneous access to customer data across multiple sources. 

“Most work has to be done is in the evolution of the technologies themselves, so there is more common functionality and deeper integration across martech platforms,” says Warner. “Operational and marketing applications need to leverage more persistent customer data that will span the customer lifecycle and different technologies. 

3. Marketing automation is moving towards a greater focus on interaction 

Historically, marketing automation workflows have been linear in nature, says Warner — that is, a marketing executive working on a campaign sends an email, for example, and waits for a response. Some of the tools may have become more event-based or triggered, but today’s tools are enabling campaigns to become more proactive. “Campaigns now offer more real-time interaction management, where you use predictive analytics and self-learning algorithms aligning with business rules,” says Warner. 

The result is more centralized decision-making for the next best campaign action and that applies across the customer lifecycle and to more channels. “Today, for instance, people do analytics for email and separate web analytics and personalization tools for web content management,” he says. “Now, we will see this come together so there is more consistency across the board.”

 

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