” Business has only two functions — marketing and innovation” said legendary Management Guru Peter Drucker. And marrying the two is a new wave of marketing paradigms such as Marketing Cloud, Marketing Automation and Predictive Analytics.
But what exactly are these paradigms and is there a compelling business case for them?
Before the Internet revolution of the 90s, business moved at a moderate pace. It was easy to understand and analyze what prospects and customers wanted, by looking at market research and sales data. However, with the advent of Internet and subsequently e-Commerce, customer tastes and preferences started changing at a faster pace than what market research or customer feedback surveys could reliably unearth.
This trend only accelerated with time as Mobility, Social Media and the Cloud brought more and more disruption in the way prospects buy, how they research information, and how they decide while on the move. These trends have shaped what is being called the Digital Economy, where change and disruption happens on a daily basis.
To the average Marketer or Marketing department of business organizations, this creates a huge challenge as they can no longer reliably predict what customers want and initiate manufacture or procurement accordingly. There are too many online channels where prospects are actively seeking information on brands and products. This and the fact that customers no longer believe in brand loyalty implies their tastes and preferences are constantly changing. Accordingly, marketers must be very quick in understanding customers’ or prospects’ needs, preferences, and tastes; while serving them.
Common mechanisms used by Marketing departments can no longer meet this challenge, which is why, more effective, and technology-based mechanisms have become inevitable in order to sustain competitive advantage and grow market share. Although these names are used interchangeably, they are quite different from each other.
- Marketing Automation refers to software systems that are used to automate repetitive marketing tasks such as emails, social media, and website-related interventions, thereby increasing speed and scale for the marketing department.
- Marketing Cloud or Cloud marketing is a much larger function and process. It involves creating integrated digital experiences which are customized for every single end user. With time, this has resulted in Cloud-based marketing platforms and an eco-system which comprises manufacturers, marketers, technology-enablers and third-party vendors.
- Predictive Analytics: Predictive Analytics is a branch of Data Science or Big Data as some would like to call it. It’s primarily used to predict future events or outcomes using techniques such as data mining, statistics, modeling, machine learning, and AI (artificial intelligence) on current data.
Benefits and Advantages of these Marketing paradigms
Marketing departments of large business organization use all these 3 mechanisms today, as each of them have their own unique advantages, creating a compelling mix of benefits which are valuable in a competitive marketplace.
Benefits of Marketing Automation (MA)
- Understand customer preferences better: Record customer clicks and behavior to create a profile for every user that reflects their content and product preferences.
- Predict the right content: As a natural outcome of the previous benefit, marketers can now determine the best content or products for anyone.
- Create personalized experiences: By enabling one-on-one interactions, MA helps deliver predictive content across various channels such as email, web-apps and mobile apps.
Components of Marketing Cloud (MC)
- Predictive Scores: Unlike traditional lead-scoring which is manual, MC automatedly creates scores which enable marketers to understand customers’ likelihood to engage, based on a whole range of metrics.
- Predictive Audiences: Based on the predictive score, marketers can identify specific segments of customers who would behave in a particular manner over time.
- Predictive Journeys: Based on the above component, marketers can adjust the marketing campaign in order to follow the audience segment as per their predicted behavior.
Benefits of Predictive Analytics
- Predict Content Decisions: Automatically serve the most engaging content for each customer segment
- Streamline Content Creation: Create business rules, logic and recommendation templates for online and email campaigns.
- Automate Content Selection: Use powerful algorithms to create different scenarios and understand how customers make buying decisions.
- Predictive Intelligence: Determine the best message, best channel and best timing for each customer experience. Influence important business decisions by using available customer data.
There are innumerable success stories of companies who have increased sales, leads and opportunities by employing these mechanisms. Sooner or later, their use will become inevitable for all sizes of organizations, for long-term sustenance, growth and market-leadership.
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