Martech and adtech are increasingly essential driving forces in achieving business objectives.
Now, more than ever, there is a clear demand for responsible and accountable spending on advertising, with insightful and attributable reporting. Rapid digital transformation, often led by global alignment and empowered by local consumer behaviour, has spurred on the desire to invest heavily in martech and adtech – but to what extent and in which order of priority need to be defined clearly.
Looking back: early adoption
Looking back, it is safe to say that programmatic adoption in South Africa has boomed over the past few years. Although implementation is now arguably on par with our European counterparts, the initial resistance to early adoption and lack of immediate interest from the C-suite have resulted in a potential negative longer-term impact whereby certain businesses are now scrambling to adopt a survival approach (induced by the extreme changes brought as a result of lockdowns), rather than having the ease of effective execution, knowledge and experience that only come with years of gradual up-skilling and understanding.
In turn, early pioneers in South Africa have now risen to leading positions within their respective industry categories, armed with a depth of understanding around the actionable strategies being used to future-proof organisations with a comprehensive suite of tools and platforms. If technology-driven media buying is the metaphorical arrow in this case, then a solid, integrated martech and adtech stack is the quiver – the essential driving force in achieving business (not just marketing) objectives.
Digital transformation challenges
Understanding martech deployment: Most organisations in SA now fully comprehend the need to invest in managing the accessibility and durability of all their data across departments. The challenges faced include cost involved (with Covid-19 pressure now applied) and a clear understanding of the most relevant adoption approach.
Decision makers: The decision to invest in technologies such as a robust customer data platform (CDP), for example, is often made at executive level with less input from the individuals who would essentially utilise these technologies, and thus could potentially guide far better implementation and functionality. It is vitally important to consider extensive external use cases for these solutions and not only internal functions, like a typical CRM would.
Data accessibility: With the much discussed and deliberated looming sunset of customer tracking through third-party cookies, as well as increasing pressure to become compliant in accordance with the likes of the General Data Protection Regulation and the Protection of Personal Information Act, a cohesive marketing touchpoint strategy that facilitates cross-channel customer interaction will now only be possible with a CDP or similar tool that allows you to centralise your audience strategy.
Receptiveness to progressive solutions: Extreme changes in consumer behaviour have encouraged decision makers to fast track the adoption of new technologies and aligned strategies that can revive and ultimately safeguard their businesses from future pitfalls. Technologies such as media measurement and marketing intelligence tools and the insights they provide can answer many of the questions businesses face today, playing a central role in addressing fundamental transformation objectives – quite literally saving businesses.
Advisory services: If one merely starts by taking a bird’s-eye view of the martech landscape, it can be a highly overwhelming and daunting experience, with thousands and thousands of top global vendors listed across a plethora of categories.
Therefore, most leading organisations have turned to consultancies and advisories that are aimed at empowering them to guide their investment strategies, optimise their marketing and advertising activities, and improve their overall customer experience with a cohesive touchpoint strategy. These advisories, like Carbon1, can evaluate and assemble the right technology and people, identify gaps, and streamline the management of the accessibility of data, defining the path to achieving ambitious business and marketing objectives.
Tangible results: By deploying the most suitable martech solutions, organisations can gain an extremely in-depth understanding of their clients. By leveraging multiple data points captured during the normal course of customer interactions and through the likes of comprehensive loyalty programmes, they can create advanced marketing and advertising strategies that give them a previously unobtainable level of influence over each individual shopper’s path to purchase.
Executing strategy adjustments informed by these insights is critical when looking to implement fundamental changes for the better, increase ROI and maintain a healthy ecosystem of customer information that feeds back into the funnel and other business systems in a controlled environment, while keeping data privacy at the forefront of these initiatives.
Trends to look forward to
With the highly publicised decline of print media and the migration of consumers en masse online, the struggles of large retailers are hard to ignore. There is, however, an ever-growing silver lining to this dark cloud in the fact that smart retailers have the power to bring large volumes of shopper data together from an array of sources including loyalty programmes, point-of-sale data and e-commerce properties.
On-boarding, matching, and segmenting these data points together have unlimited potential to give a clear and granular overview of incredibly valuable shopper data. These consumer audiences are of great importance to brands when it comes to understanding who they need to reach and when/where it would be best to reach them.
Even more extensive consumer marketing relationships between retailers and suppliers are on the horizon, where business objectives are married with exact targeting, incorporating the likes of brands’ first-party data and previous campaign data to deliver a true omnichannel solution with measurable results, leading to the establishment of fully fledged retail media units, powered by martech and adtech.
An edited version of this story was first published in The Media Yearbook 2021. You can download the magazine here.
After spending over 15 years in the trenches of digital marketing, leading multiple teams to achieving record-breaking revenue figures, winning numerous awards and playing a pivotal role in a number of highly successful mergers and acquisitions, Joe Steyn-Begley has recently spearheaded the launch of Carbon1 out of renowned digital specialist, Mark1. Carbon1 is a purpose-driven Marketing Technology advisory backed by a collective intelligence of the most highly skilled industry professionals.
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