Forty percent of marketers say they want to reinvent themselves, but only 14 percent actually know how, according to Adobe research debuted today at the Adobe Summit.
Search, social, content, and digital marketers probably agree it's an exciting time in marketing; but it can also be a confusing time; countless options to track data and our customers often leave brands overwhelmed and scratching their heads on how to make sense of it all.
Allow me to show you the bigger picture – a picture that we are part of regardless of our role in search, social, digital, and content – as we are all marketers.
The fact is, reinvention is at our fingertips, but sometimes seems slightly out of reach. While some may not know what solutions to explore, others may not know solutions are even out there.
I tend to choose my words carefully when people ask me about the future of marketing (the discipline) and the future of the marketer (the professional). Top of the list is 'integration'. The word and the concept are nothing new, but understanding how integration is actually manifesting into tangible ways of marketing is new to many.
Today, the reinvention of marketing and the marketer requires:
- The ability to pull together data from multiple sources in one place, process it in a standardized manner, and package it in a way a marketer can understand.
- The power to collaborate with other business units across a company and its teams when working on campaigns, so efforts are streamlined.
- The capacity to deliver a personalized experience to the customer based on a brand's understanding of who that customer is, what device they are on, and where they are interacting with the brand.
Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. This has become somewhat of a mantra for the marketing community ever since Google's ZMOT ("zero moment of truth") campaign launched. Since then, the means necessary to actually be able to do that has developed dramatically.
A key theme here at Adobe Summit this week is "marketing reinvention." Let's have a look at some of the ways marketers can reinvent themselves through the concept of integration.
The Reinvention of the Marketer: The Right Data
It may not be obvious, but marketers have the ability to transform their profession and skill set with the right data.
But they need to think big. Data that lives in disconnected silos has little value to the marketer, since today's marketing campaign is multi-channel, multi-device, and multi-language.
But before marketers can begin to explore their options for data processing, they have to want it. According to Adobe's research, 76 percent of marketers agreed they needed to be more data focused, yet 49 percent said they trusted their "gut" to guide decisions on marketing budgets. Now there's a serious disconnect.
If you're considering "reinvention," map out your customer's journey and start planning for how data from those touch points can integrate, such as:
- What devices your customers use at what stage.
- Where your customers are based geographically.
- What channels your customers are engaging in with your brand.
- The history of the customer's engagement with your brand.
The Reinvention of Marketing: Personalized Experiences
A personalized experience for your customer is the next stage of marketing reinvention. But just as data from multiple disconnected silos does little for the marketer, integrated data does nothing without action.
It seems as though marketers agree. According to Adobe research, 63 percent of high-performing companies say they're "completely focused" or "very focused" on personalizing experiences for customers; even the majority (53 percent) of "low-performing" companies said the same.
While the technology and the ambition are there, the adoption is slow going. While 69 percent of marketers agreed the need for "hyper-personalization" in marketing is key, only 39 percent used data and behavior patterns to shape marketing strategy in the past year or so.
But there have been wins for companies that dared to take on the challenge. A 2014 Forrester report highlighted how some companies were tackling data and personalization head on:
A business-to-business (B2B) company we spoke to has a diverse customer base that includes buyers from many different verticals, different departments, and various organization sizes. Each of these users necessitated a different web experience. The company's first step included implementing and integrating marketing automation, analytics, third-party data sources (e.g., using the IP address to determine a user's vertical), and testing tools. The firm heavily relied on AD&D pros to integrate the solutions, particularly on the data front (e.g., merging customer resource management [CRM] data with marketing automation solutions). The new, more contextual web experience now presents a more contextual experience across the website with content such as industry-specific case studies and webinars in addition to promotions targeted to the type of user.
At Adobe Summit, new features announced by Adobe take personalization to a new level. The "Master Marketing Profile" is an industry first, and offers a single view of the customer.
From this profile, marketers have the ability to deliver customized results to a brand's consumer, and consumers gain a relevant and personalized experience, no matter what channel or device they're coming from.
Included in this ability to hyper-personalize a brand's experience is a new release of Adobe Target. Adobe Target Premium builds on its foundation of being able to deliver, test and change content quickly through a "self-learning algorithmic approach."
The Reinvention of Marketing Management: Data in the Cloud
Large and small businesses alike often have different team members working on interconnected campaigns at the same time. And while it may feel as though progress is being made on multiple fronts, the results can be disjointed if teams aren't communicating or collaborating.
Integration, then, becomes the future of marketing management. And many brands are taking advantage of this through cloud-based tools – like the tools available through Adobe. The amount of data processed 'speaks volumes';
- 460 billion dynamic campaign assets delivered annually.
- 18 trillion transaction annually; 2 trillion mobile analytics transactions annually.
- 27 petabytes of data managed annually.
In fact, data coming from Adobe Summit shows 64 percent of the Fortune 50 use the Adobe Marketing Cloud including:
- Seventeen of top 20 internet retailers.
- Five of the top five global auto manufacturers.
- Five of the top five media companies.
- Nine of the top 10 commercial banks.
- Five of the top five North American airlines.
Marketing management through the cloud is attractive to many because:
- Users of all technology levels and specializations can collaborate in one easy-to-use interface.
- Multiple teams and/or business units can gain visibility into what one another is doing.
Are You Ready for Change?
Change sometimes means a willingness to take risks. Adobe research showed 50 percent of marketers knew they should take more risks, and 45 percent hoped to take more risks. When it came to the technology that could help them in their profession, 65 percent said they're more comfortable adopting new technologies once they become mainstream.
"Marketers today want to reinvent themselves and the way they approach their work, but the majority need help to thrive in a digital world," said Brad Rencher, senior vice president and general manager of digital marketing business at Adobe.
This week, at least, Adobe Summit is helping marketers discover new ways to reinvent themselves as professionals through the way they approach marketing. Throughout the week I will be meeting with key industry leaders and brands across all digital, search and social marketing disciplines to take a deeper dive into just what integration and reinvention means to them.
Regardless of your marketing discipline – digital, search, content or social – the same message rings true: "Reinvent what you do, how you do it and how you measure your success"