By Elle Nadal, Director of Marketing, EMEA, at Iterable
The pandemic has played a significant role in the acceleration of eCommerce; if the US is any indication of the global economy, ecommerce sales have increased by 50.5% since 2019. Online is the preferred way of shopping for consumers globally. This is not expected to change, even as pandemic restrictions ebb. As online shopping has evolved and accelerated, so, naturally, has marketing and advertising; setting up an online shop (on the web, or in-app) is only one part of the ecommerce equation. Connecting with consumers, and continuously optimising their cross-channel experience, is another component.
Consumer expectations for the brands they do business with are high; they expect their cross-channel interactions (digital and in-person) to be seamless and personalised, and their personal data and privacy protected. If they don’t get that experience from one brand, there are hundreds of others that can take their place. This is where martech comes into play; with the right technology in place, brands can stay competitive, cutting edge, and, most importantly, connect with customers by delivering experiences that exceed expectations and drive long term loyalty.
At the end of the day, marketers have one job: make consumers happy. A happy customer is a loyal customer, and loyal customers are valuable customers. The martech trends to watch in 2022 make it possible for marketers to accomplish this task.
Individualisation is the new North Star
Top of mind for consumers, and, as a result, at the top of our martech trends for 2022: personalisation. Personalisation has long been a focus of consumers, but it has picked up speed since the pandemic began. Now, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions. Another 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.
Personalised marketing is all about creating a unique, relevant experience for consumers interacting with your brand. Through segmentation and triggered messages, brands can achieve a level of personalisation that promotes engagement and brand interactions. It’s the first step creating a unique customer experience, but it stops short at long-lasting relationships. And loyalty is where extended value lives.
To take personalisation one step further, brands need to start investing in individualisation— an advanced level of personalised marketing. Individualisation is all about building a customer profile for each user, thinking beyond personas and segments and getting into what the individual customer needs and wants. Access to data plays a critical role in enabling individualisation. With the right integrated systems in place, marketers can share and access data to inform decisions, understand their customers, improve insights, and deliver individualised, relevant experiences in real-time, powering valuable customer connections.
Building for scale
No matter how many new businesses enter the market (the number typically lands somewhere between the 500,000 and 700,000 number), the goal of each business is generally the same: growth. Why? Because growth is a prerequisite to profit. If the goal is growth, businesses need to work scalability into their business plans, especially when it comes to data.
Modern businesses understand the importance of adopting best-of-breed solutions, which is resulting in a shift away from all-in-one tools that do a bit of everything, but aren’t great at any one thing. As a result, solutions that are laser-focused on solving one problem and doing it really well are emerging as winners. While this is generally a great thing (it enables different teams to adopt best-in-class solutions to cater to their growing needs), it also creates more data silos – a major pain point for marketing teams that exacerbates as their company grows.
But luckily there is a solve for disparate data: modern cloud warehousing solutions. A modern cloud warehouse will be flexible enough to integrate with all tools in an organisations’ toolkit, allowing for data consolidation. Unlike legacy data warehouses, however, modern solutions will separate functions like data storage and analysis, enabling faster querying and analysis of data at a significantly lower cost (thereby providing agility and affordability).
But to really optimise the value of data warehouses, businesses should consider the warehouse the source of data for both analytics systems – typically business intelligence and product analytics systems. When the data warehouse becomes the source for the data flowing into marketing platforms, marketers can suddenly do so much more, and much faster. As a marketer, you no longer need to worry about data consistency because data is no longer flowing in from multiple sources, each with its own whims and fancies. You can finally channel all your energy into building world-class engagement campaigns while resting assured that your campaigns won’t break because a team member inadvertently renamed an event or changed the data type of a user property.
It’s all in the design
With access to consistent customer data, the challenge for marketers then becomes figuring out how to use it. What do these granular data points tell you about the customer as an individual? The right combination of tools in your tech stack allows you to focus on extracting customer insights from the data rather than getting distracted by the process of collecting it.
While there’s no hard-and-fast “right” method or template to modernise your tech stack, there are some tools and techniques that can be implemented to help you improve processes. What is of utmost importance is hiring someone who has specialised in martech stack design that can oversee, and organise the process. As companies grow, the Martech Architect can advise on tool investment, and ensure the business can maximise the value of its platforms. Importantly, this individual will ensure that all tools are working towards the North Star: creating a consistent, individualised, and seamless journey for users.
New trends, new possibilities
Martech trends will come and go, but customer data and the right tech stack will always be in vogue. By prioritising these components, businesses can ensure they have constant visibility into a customer’s complete behavioural data profile. Importantly, marketing teams will reap the benefits of a well-designed tech stack; with less time spent tracking down, analysing, and deploying disparate customer data sets, they can spend more time building a closer connection with their customers.