Best practices for Digital Marketing Technology

Digital Marketing Technology, i.e. a careful work on data, an accurate definition of strategies, a gradual approach. In the Martech era new technologies and the latest generation digital platforms can best support CMOs.

It is not easy to be a CMO. Marketing Management today means living and operating in an increasingly complex environment, in which new business models are emerging for which attention to data and its use is increasingly important.
In this new status quo, marketing departments must rethink their strategy in its entirety, to embrace new logic, made of transversal skills including new technical skills that inevitably lead to the birth of a new declination of marketing itself, now reinterpreted in a MarTech key.
As well explained by the analysts of the Omnichannel Customer Experience Observatory of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano, MarTech is in fact a crasi, the union of Marketing and Technology and indicates the increasingly close relationship between the new Marketing models and the new technologies that serve the management and analysis of data, (CRM and Data Analytics), the creation and management of multimedia content (DAM) and those of Marketing Automation – giving rise to a new digital marketing, which responds effectively to the new logic omnicanale in which companies move today.

Companies, and CMOs in particular, are required to take a considerable qualitative step.
According to the Observatory’s data, 90% of the companies declare to collect and use their customers’ information, from personal data to contacts, from the history of products and services purchased to the channels used. But there are still few that are really able to go beyond the most elementary analysis and even less those that work in a logic of maximum customization of content, initiatives and proposals.

In reality, in the data-driven era in which we find ourselves, it is important that the CMO knows how to define its moves according to clearly measurable targets, according to an approach defined SMART, i.e. based on Specific (specific), Measurable, Attainable, Relevant (consistent with company strategies), Timely (defined over time).

All this, in order to be achieved, needs dedicated infrastructures and solutions, in line with the objectives that the company has set itself.

An example could be that of Marketing Automation solutions that allow you to set up marketing campaigns based on the actual interests and behavior of customers, with the aim of achieving measurable results and a positive impact on revenue generation.
When it comes to Customer Intelligence & Journey Mapping, the goal is to gain insight into customers, their behaviours and preferences. A more precise knowledge of customers and clusters, therefore, starting from the analysis of structured data using Machine Learning technologies. And it will be on the basis of these insights that the CMO and the other figures who collaborate with this function will be able to define marketing plans and actions with greater punctuality.

Choosing the strategic and technological approach that best suits your needs requires a clear vision of business objectives, as well as a careful analysis of available time and budget.
In other words, you need to define an implementation roadmap, which on the one hand is consistent with short and long term objectives and on the other is flexible enough to adapt to any changes over time.

Defining scenarios

When starting a digital marketing project, the first mistake to avoid is to want to define everything and immediately down to the smallest detail.
The risk around the corner is to lose sight of the objective or to make the project itself too complex to actually be carried out on time and in the manner intended.
It is better to start from what is commonly called a Marketing Foundation Scenario, i.e. a starting point, focused on achieving measurable short-term results without losing sight of medium and long-term goals. It is a necessary step, since it allows to keep the company’s involvement high, without losing sponsorship thanks to the fast achievement of results.
At the same time as the foundation project, a flexible evolutionary roadmap must be defined, which allows the development of more complex business models.

It is therefore a more gradual approach, which, however, allows not only not to lose sight of the overall vision and business objectives, but above all to achieve full achievement of the objectives in stages, with the dual advantage of a reduction in time and greater flexibility.

The starting scenario

But how do you build a Marketing Foundation Scenario?
Basically it develops on three main components.
First, the data model: in this case, it is a matter of drawing a sort of identikit of the target customer, i.e. his profile, and the data sets, the so-called digital properties, necessary to define it.
The second key element is the customer journey, i.e. the definition of all contact points and channels used to interact with the target customers and how they are connected and interact with each other.
The third element, finally, is represented by the actual marketing actions, i.e. the specific actions undertaken to guide the target customers towards the desired result. They are part of this group to create e-mail campaigns, SMS campaigns, discount coupons, messages and ad hoc offers.

The data model

In the initial phase, it is advisable not to exaggerate with the number of customer profiles to be addressed.
Just because you are in the Marketing Foundation phase, it would be better to limit yourself to a couple of profiles, selected according to the marketing actions you want to implement in the short term. For each profile it is good to identify a set of significant digital properties that are functional to the Defined Marketing goals.

This type of approach avoids the complexity of managing too large a number of profiles on the one hand and on the other hand it allows you to collect all the relevant digital properties for the proper execution of the marketing plan.

The customer journey

Again, since we are in the initial phase, the advice is to avoid unnecessary complexity. It is therefore a good idea to focus initially on critical inbound channels and the most easily monitored points of interaction: this allows you to follow the customer journey clearly and legibly.
This monitoring phase is preparatory to a later and more complex phase: it will be enough to gradually add additional channels, provided that they are, of course, functional to the marketing actions you intend to pursue.
Similarly, always in the initial phase it is good that marketing actions use only one channel; it will be easier to identify the way each channel performs and the impact of each action on the defined KPIs.
Again, at a later stage it will be possible to include further marketing actions on different channels.

Marketing actions

The golden rule of “start small” also applies here: focusing on a single marketing action makes it easier to verify its impact and results. Whether it’s a welcome email or a discount, it’s a good idea to start gradually and only then combine different actions on several different channels: this is the only way to understand which action is generating the best results and how.

How to choose the right Digital Marketing Technology

Once the scenario is defined, it is time to select the digital marketing tools that best support the execution of the strategy.
The ultimate goal for the CMO is to have a truly integrated marketing platform, able to take full advantage of the solutions that are already part of the corporate IT ecosystem.
We need a platform that can orchestrate the entire end-to-end process, involving all the necessary channels and data sources.

It is no coincidence that we are talking about Multichannel Marketing Hubs, such as SAP Marketing Cloud (part of the SAP C/4HANA suite): these are complete marketing automation platforms that enable the “dialogue” between different channels and tools.

A Multichannel Marketing Hub allows you to:

  • Create dynamic customer profiles, aggregating all customer data generated from multiple sources to get a complete view of the customer journey.
  • Perform real-time segmentations, enabling customized and targeted actions or campaigns for defined target groups.
  • Create custom offers and product recommendations for each customer using machine learning algorithms.
  • Perform accurate marketing resource planning, providing visibility to marketing teams on budget allocation, spending, and ROI.
  • Provide a complete overview of marketing campaigns and ROI, helping to identify the best performing campaigns.

When choosing the platform, it is important to also evaluate other elements that can have a significant impact on the project: we are talking about budget, implementation time, maintenance, user experience.
Choosing SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions such as SAP Marketing Cloud guarantees short implementation times, constant updates, full scalability and easy access from any location, as well as integration features in open API mode in SAP and non-SAP environments.