Experts say marketing departments need to break down silos next year, as customers demand a seamless experience across mobile, social media, online and traditional media.
Marketers need to break down silos between their own sales channels and personalise their customer communications, according to a panel of American marketing experts put together by Responsys.
The overwhelming majority of respondents said marketing departments would need to become better integrated as customers demand a seamless experience across mobile, social media, online and traditional media.
It’s a challenge that Responsys Asia-Pacific vice-president Simon O’Day says most Australian firms are trying to meet.
“Whether it’s globally or locally, the majority of businesses have ended up silo-ing as the devices or channels have ended up going in different directions. A person would grab one technology and say ‘I’ll do that’.
“But the customers aren’t thinking in silos at all. We’ve put ourselves in a bit of disarray.”
Mass approach will wither
However, integrated can’t mean a return to the mass media marketing campaigns popular 10 years ago. As marketing journalist and author Bob Garfield told the panel: “ ‘Mass’ is headed for a mass grave. Reach will be ever more out of reach. The future, and the present, require aggregating individual relationships at scale. Just like, whaddya call it . . . life.”
O’Day agrees and says companies hoping to reply on mass marketing will wither.
“Anyone who is thinking, ‘let’s do more campaigns and try to make more money’ needs to flip that and start listening to the customer.”
He argues the data being collected by companies and marketing departments needs to be harnessed to personalise marketing messages so that customers are being communicated to in the way they want.
“It’s not a challenge to get the personalisation going, it’s a challenge to get all that data across all these channels, and get it orchestrated,” O’Day says.
“The biggest challenge I see is the planning. Sitting down with stakeholders across the business . . . and planning out the customer journey, that series of interactions.”
His other warning for Australian marketers is: beware global brands stealing your customers.
“Customers in this market have to be treated as well as they are being treated by some of the great companies in the global marketplace.”
Five predictions from marketers
David Edelman – partner, marketing and sales practice, McKinsey:
“2014 will be when leading marketers begin mapping their organisations more closely to the customer journey. Marketers will do this by breaking down the silos that exist between departments and channels, so that the customer ultimately receives an experience that’s not only cohesive, but tailored to their individual behaviour and preferences.”
Katherine Bahamonde – chief marketing officer, C.Wonder:
“The continued convergence of CMO [chief marketing officer] and CIO [chief information officer] roles will be key to delivering targeted and seamless customer experiences across channels. The marketing team will become increasingly tech-savvy and analytics-driven, while the scope of the IT organisation will extend beyond system delivery to measuring and optimising marketing effectiveness. While these functions were once silo-ed, a strong partnership and unified priorities will prove a competitive differentiator.”
Jerry Wind – marketing professor, the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania:
“The holistic impression that marketers want to leave in the minds of consumers across the growing number of new, traditional, owned and earned media, contrasts sharply with the corporate reality where each of these touch points are typically the domain of a separate silo (marketing, advertising, customer service, and so on). The overall result is often messaging, execution and delivery strategies that are fragmented across touch points and potentially confusing to consumers. In a continual effort to increase customer loyalty, revenue and internal efficiencies, orchestrating across these departmental silos will be a priority for the C-suite in the year ahead.”
Augie Ray – word-of-mouth strategy director, American Express:
“In 2014, brands get as serious about customer care as they do about marketing in social media. Buying Facebook ads may be de rigueur, but creating true word of mouth is more dependent on how you respond to customer needs than whether you serve them ads.”
Kirk Chartier – senior vice-president of marketing, Enova International:
“2014 is the year that ‘big data’ gets wrestled to the ground by ‘big customer insights’. Strategic creative ideas that address customer behavioural needs will help marketers make sense of the endless stream of trivial data points.”