As digital marketing further automates customer interactions, it will become even more imperative that technology partners and ecosystem re-think their strategy for how their services and products can reshape the customer experience.

Oracle Guest Blogger

April 22, 2016

4 Min Read
Adaptive Marketing Is on the Rise

As digital marketing further automates customer interactions, it will become even more imperative that technology partners and ecosystem re-think their strategy for how their services and products can reshape the customer experience. Just because marketers can automate something doesn’t necessarily mean they will deliver a great experience, and research indicates they need the help.

According to a recent survey by Aberdeen, 96% of chief marketing officers (CMOs) are not satisfied with their ability to deliver customer journeys. Another by eConsultancy found that only 12% believe their marketing is real-time enough to keep up with customer needs.

Partners who want to focus on marketing services can help enterprises address this challenge. And they can do so with a focus on Adaptive Marketing. My definition of Adaptive Marketing is the use of data, technology and processes to build customer experiences that evolve instantly based on the behaviors, interests and needs of real people. The goal is to create a more malleable strategy for engaging customers across channels. Adaptive Marketing assumes that customers take non-linear paths in their journeys. Rather than try to guess those paths–or automate them into hypothetical journeys no one follows–companies should let customers dictate their own path and have a system that adjusts quickly and intelligently for them on the fly.

How can partners engage with marketers to deliver a strategy for adaptive marketing?

1. Help marketing teams compartmentalize the data they have.

With so many buzzwords like “big data,” it’s tempting to try and first address customer experience issues with algorithms and data modeling. But from a strategy perspective, I’d suggest you first start by understanding what data types a marketer currently has available today. Some examples include:

  • Customer preferences or attributes. What data do they have about products, services or topics their customer has professed interests in?

  • Known customer behaviors and events. What events can they track?  How real-time is their ability to track them? An example could be when a consumer adds a product to a shopping cart on a commerce site, or when a B2B customer downloads a whitepaper or registers for a webinar.

  • Anonymous behaviors. What data do they have available about more anonymous interactions? This could be visitor data on their website, or, if you use a data management platform, data about their audience engagement with digital advertising channels. 

2. Work toward one canvas that removes channel silos.

Customers now interact across a multitude of channels, including display advertising, email, mobile, social and web. Adaptive Marketing requires that there is cohesion among these channels. Unfortunately, most enterprises today still handle the execution of their marketing on these channels with applications internally that are isolated from one another. So, as they message to customers, they do so with minimal to no awareness that another channel might be reaching them at the same time. 

One way you can address this challenge with marketing clients is by working with their internal stakeholders to agree on one system-of-record–or, what we like to call a canvas–to manage their customer interactions in one place. It won’t be easy to do, and it also is not a CRM system that manages this from a process perspective. CRM systems lack insight into many of the anonymous behaviors that customers perform across key marketing channels, such as display advertising.

To make this change easier, you can emphasize that the centralized canvas itself doesn’t need to replace all of the marketing applications clients have today. They can still run key aspects of marketing execution in the background, but the governance around what interactions get orchestrated should be centralized.  

3. Test; don’t just guess.

Finally, you can help marketers test the interactions that they’re managing to help them be more adaptive to customer behavior. A/B testing can be a place to start, but it is very binary in terms of choosing the right experience for each customer. As time goes on, you can add multivariate testing and other more sophisticated mechanisms that optimize the experience based on customer behavior, propensity and attributes.

Try these out with your clients, and see if you can take the first step toward an Adaptive Marketing strategy.

Chris Lynch is Head of Product & Industry Marketing for Oracle Marketing Cloud.

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