A study of marketers released today confirms that the skills and technologies needed to deliver well-orchestrated omni-channel customer experiences are lacking at most companies. The research conducted by Signal, a marketing technology firm, quantifies the gap between expected benefits of integrated marketing platforms and the current state of fragmented systems. Over 90% of marketers believe that highly integrated platforms will help deliver more efficient programs, better customer experiences and higher marketing ROI. However, because marketers have on average 17 different applications that are highly integrated at only one quarter of the companies surveyed, fewer than 5% of marketers believe their platforms have them well prepared to move ahead with cross-channel marketing.
Signal’s senior vice president of marketing Joe Stanhope commented on his observations from the survey. “There are three big points when I looked at all the data. The first was that technology fragmentation is a legitimate problem and that it has real consequences. Second was that there’s recognition within marketing organizations that integration has business benefits. And third, marketers think their tools are only being used in the most basic ways. They underutilize these massive investments they have made and part of that is because they’re not integrated.”
However, technology is only one piece of the customer engagement puzzle. According to Jake Sorofman, research director at Gartner for Marketing, “To find and engage with audiences at the moments that count, marketers need to unify their operations around four key areas: (1) a unified audience profile; (2) an economically scalable content supply chain; (3) intelligent orchestration; and (4) performance analytics. The goal here is to route data from any channel to any channel to meet audiences on the decision journey with contextually relevant offers and experiences. Gartner calls this architecture a digital marketing hub. Into the foreseeable future, this will be a relatively loose assemblage of commercial components, rather than a single product you buy off the shelf. That’s why integration and extensibility are so critical to digital marketing architectures.”
Seamless experiences also require a new level of cross-functional collaboration. Marketing organizations must span their function silos in order to engage with customers coherently across all touch points. More on this issue in upcoming posts.