Technological innovation is taking place at an incredible rate. And with the ongoing pandemic, businesses of all shapes, sizes, and sectors are turning to digital marketing and marketing technology (martech) to recover, keep their companies afloat, and continue to be agile in the face of change.
Martech can help you automate, optimise, and ideate your marketing efforts – the right tools can unlock elevated marketing capabilities and campaigns, improve customer experiences, and ultimately transform your business.
But what brilliant tech solutions does your specific business need in order to thrive? And what trends will make an impact in the marketing industry in 2022 and beyond?
Here are four martech trends and tools I believe you can use to your competitive advantage.
The overwhelming importance of customer experience
A recent study profiling 1 920 business professionals found that almost 46% have named customer experience (CX) as their top business priority for the next five years, beating product and pricing. The same research also revealed that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great CX – emphasising that their loyalty is now directly linked to the experience they receive.
The logic behind this is simple: A happy customer is a returning customer. As there is a saturation of brands that offer similar products and services on the market, businesses that want to stand out need to invest time and money into getting their CX to the highest level possible to retain and build long-lasting customer loyalty. Therefore, personal touchpoints between the brand and consumer should constantly be improved and amplified. When this is done correctly, it can create loyal brand advocates – customers who will happily return for more without being reminded and refer their friends and family to the brand.
As these touchpoints increase and customers come to expect more from their chosen brands, technology plays a critical role in shortening the distance between the consumer and the business, enhancing these relationships, and dramatically improving CX. Martech solutions make processes easier, more effective, and more efficient. Ultimately, these tools simplify how you connect with your customers, building personal, considered customer journeys that keep them coming back for more.
Martech trends and tools for CX success
The following four technologies all hinge on how customers experience your brand. By adding these concepts and tools to your martech stack, you’ll be prioritising CX and setting your business up for growth.
Trend 1: Increased personalisation and treating customers as individuals first
As more customers expect tailored experiences, there’s rising pressure on businesses to deliver engaging and personalised content that builds a connection with them, treating them as individuals rather than just another number. In fact, according to Salesforce, 66% of customers expect brands to understand their individual needs and expectations, with only 34% feeling that companies treat them as unique individuals. The value of personalisation in today’s changing world can’t be overemphasised enough – McKinsey projects it has the potential to create trillions of dollars in business revenue.
But throwing together personalised emails and calling it a day is not enough anymore – more needs to be done to truly connect with your customers and make them feel valued. An omnichannel approach is one personalisation tactic that can help your customers feel more connected to your business. Creative automation tools can also assist marketers in managing, tracking, and understanding customer data to then create more personalised campaigns and unique product recommendations.
Whichever personalisation tactics or tools you opt for, be sure to make it clear that you’re not just after a customer’s money but are there to keep them happy and improve their lives.
Trend 2: Data and analytics, the fundamental building blocks for personalisation
Customising customer experiences starts with data and analytics. If you’re not taking advantage of learning more about your current and prospective customers, you’re missing out on massive business opportunities. Not only on reaching them more strategically but also on nurturing relationships with them and building loyalty.
From insights into buyer behaviours and preferences to better-informed decisions for improved lead generation and conversion rates, marketing data and analytics tools can help you unlock a host of benefits. Most importantly,data is the only business resource that can keep up with customers in real-time, translating to predictive analytics that empower your brand to be proactive rather than reactive.
Trend 3: The shift to a single view of customers
Just as your customers are connected to each other and your brand, your data should be too. Siloed customer data prevents you from tapping into true personalisation because the different puzzle pieces of customer relationships aren’t put together, and ultimately, the end-to-end CX puzzle falls short.
To solve this, businesses need a central repository for customer data that combines, collates, and analyses various sources of information (social, survey responses, chatbot conversations, and voice transcripts). An effective customer data platform (CDP) can go a long way in providing a unified, complete view of your customers, helping you to understand their changing needs and serve them more effectively. This also means personalised engagement and more meaningful connections.
Trend 4: More investment in martech architecture and resources
Many organisations already use martech solutions, yet only 33% feel that their current stack is useful and meets business needs. This calls for examining existing tools and evaluating their place and benefit to your company. Now is the ideal time to audit your marketing solutions to maximise, improve, or even replace them.
If you want to improve efficiencies, you’ll need to invest in the right technologies and build a formidable martech stack to future-proof your business. This also means hiring the right people to exclusively perform within this martech role – something that isn’t really a focus in our local market, but should be.
The role of human expertise in innovation
While these tech trends and innovations can help grow businesses and take CX to a new level, it’s important to remember that there will always be a need for human guidance. Technology is meant to help scale and automate human tasks while improving and streamlining experiences, but it will never replace human ingenuity. In the world we live in, it’s about adapting to the advancements of technology, and this is especially true for roles within the marketing and CX spaces.
To leverage these martech trends and tools, business leaders must realise that not every technology may work for them – there’s no one-size-fits-all stack across all organisations. In other words, they need to determine which tools can help them gain consumer insights, engage with customers, and deliver business outcomes according to their unique needs and objectives. That’s why partnering with the right CX technology partner and integrator is crucial – they’ll be able to advise on the best-in-class global solutions and hold your hand throughout the entire martech journey.
Kelvin Jonck is CEO at YOUKNOW Digital. The company’s mission is to help brands leapfrog their competition by guiding them to leverage some of the world’s best marketing and CX technologies. Brands such as Publicis Machine, MTN, and Anglo American rely on YOUKNOW to take their digital consumer intelligence to the next level.
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