Are You Customer-Obsessed?
Consumers today are setting the pace for online marketers and brands, and the digital media technology is out there to listen to customer cues and respond with relevant, engaging communications. But what does it take to be truly customer-obsessed? Is the industry at large living up to the promises of real-time interactive marketing? The unfortunate answer is no. At least at this time.
This week, PulsePoint, in collaboration with the CMO Club and Digiday, announced the results of a groundbreaking study that examines the digital marketing capabilities, top challenges and priorities of nearly 400 senior marketers, agency executives and publishers.
From a capability standpoint, the large majority of survey respondents were comfortable executing multi-channel campaigns across two or more channels. However, the challenges start occurring when marketers are tasked with applying lessons from one channel to improve efforts in another channel (cross-channel). The wake up call revealed by the survey results is that, across the board, a majority of marketers, agencies and publishers lack the capabilities to execute real-time interactive marketing.
In an environment where consumers are freely flowing and engaging with ads and other content on their own terms across channels and devices, the industry at large must evolve to keep pace. The lack of real-time efficiencies is creating a massive “digital divide” between consumers and the current marketing practices used to reach and engage them.
So what is the problem? What are the barriers to this evolution? When we began this research, we hypothesized that we would find inconsistencies and gaps in the capabilities and priorities amongst ecosystem players. As it turns out, this research shows that the industry is largely aligned. However, for an industry claiming to be as customer-obsessed as we are, these results show that we are missing the “relevance mark” set by consumers - largely due to two key challenges.
We’ve all seen the LUMA ad-tech chart. The fragmented direct marketing landscape of point-solutions from the sell-side to the demand-side add overwhelming complexity to cross-channel execution. Because the industry is currently focused on dealing with complex technologies and multiple channels and platforms, ecosystem players are often operating in functional silos. Further, this overwhelming complexity, coupled with the functional silos used to manage various channels and point solutions, robs bandwidth and results in the consumer perspective often getting lost.
Lack of Unified Measurement
Unified measurement (something the ANA, 4As, and IAB are all actively pursuing through the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative) enables the tracking of consumer journeys and connected customer experiences - this is critical to advance from multi-channel to cross-channel marketing, and the industry at large is currently lacking this core capability. In addition to unified measurement to help marketing, agencies and publishers “connect the dots” for unified consumer-customer views across channels, there is also a need for more full-funnel thinking and better attribution beyond the last click. Planning, executing and measuring from the perspective of targeting and tracking consumers throughout the funnel, enables a broader, longer-term view of digital marketing programs, targeting methods, and brand engagements.
It’s time to further evolve. In this regard, the study uncovered two underlying factors that in large part account for effectiveness, and, when applied in union, work together to overcome the challenges of complexity and lack of unified measurement. Real-time intelligence and unified automation are two evolutionary forces that provide the basis to enhance digital marketing execution, and thus, help bridge the current digital divide.
These two forces are reshaping the digital landscape and, over time, will enable the industry to consolidate around smart “end-to-end” solutions and evolve towards more real-time adaptive markets, with real-time efficiencies, transparency and fair value discovery. These forces will allow the industry at large to truly become customer-obsessed and reach the “relevance mark” set by digitally-empowered consumers.
About the Author
Dr. Karl Lendenmann
As vice president of marketing and analytics at PulsePoint, Dr. Karl Lendenmann is responsible for driving company-wide best practices in key areas that increase the relevance, engagement and value of PulsePoint programs for both advertisers and publishers.