Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
SAS Customer Intelligence director of product management, Ryan Treichler, speaks to CMO about what intelligent digital marketing really means in today’s fast-paced technological landscape.
Treichler, who has over 15 years’ experience in product management and digital marketing solutions, currently manages a team at the SAS headquarters that focus on supporting the management and optimisation of digital marketing campaign.
His team covers the web, mobile, social, email and advertising components of omni-channel marketing solutions. With the increased complexity, changes and demands in today’s digital landscape, he stresses that the modern marketer needs to be savvier than ever before to better prepare for the future.
“In digital, changes have really been taking shape in the past ten years, and digital transformation is really an evolution, it’s a growth curve that has just exploded,” he says.
“I think one of the things that is really interesting about digital transformation is that marketers now have a whole host of new issues that they never thought they had to content with, in the same way as 17 years ago you wouldn’t have thought a mobile phone would be the most major point of engagement for people.”
Here are six ways Triechler recommends modern marketers can start to perfect a marketing campaign in this increasingly digital age:
1. Prepare for wearable technology
Treichler predicts marketers need to be more prepared for wearable technology like smartwatches and connected devices, where marketers can engage with customers across all the digital channels.
“As marketers are becoming more competitive,tThe big opportunity is leveraging all this new technology to provide a better customer experience,” he says.
“Marketers need to be ready for all these new touch points where they can better communicate and engage with the user.”
2. Perfect the advertising and marketing mix
Tredichler says he finds interesting that advertising has historically been, to some extent, about communicating to an unknown audience, whereas marketing has been about communicating across channels that you can control.
“Now with the advances in martech, you’re really seeing advertising and marketing converge and better communicate with a known audience,” he explains.
“As it becomes easier to identify a particular user or customer and get to know them, it presents a great opportunity for marketers to engage in a way that shows you really know them.”
3. Embrace hybrid cloud technology
One of the things Treichler sees as traditionally being problematic for marketers is ‘data dumping’, where all data is simply stored in the cloud without any real forward-moving strategy. He suggests adopting a hybrid cloud strategy, where you only move the relevant data to the cloud, or a portion of it.
“You need to have a strategy that enables you to really get the benefit of the cloud’s offerings - the advanced processing power, the scalability, the ability to grow very rapidly and handle growth in traffic,” he said. “But you don’t necessarily have to move all your precious data there.”
With the hybrid cloud strategy, Treichler explains you use on-premise tools to do some data processing and then moving a much smaller portion of relevant data to the cloud.
“It’s still relevant and enables you to provide a better customer experience, but it does so in a more streamlined way without the need to upload everything onto the cloud,” he adds.
4. Make mobile a priority
Mobile technology is a significant disruptor, as it provides marketers with such a wealth of data about their customers, plus innovative opportunities to engage with them, Treichler says.
“We’re seeing savvy marketers making the most of these opportunities with mobile, but at the same time, there are challenges,” he adds. “It requires the right infrastructure and understanding to be able to make the right inferences from that data.”
Most of the marketers Treichler works with are also looking at how beacons are going to impact their communication channels, and other tech that provides instore locations, like wireless routers.
“The challenge marketers face is determining how to adopt the right technology to get the most value out of the communication that is happening on a customer’s mobile device,” he says.
“A lot of marketers are also struggling with the ‘creep line’ – at what point are you crossing the line and showing you know too much about your consumer?”
5. Remember email marketing is still relevant
According to Treichler, email is far from being dead, and there has been a substantial growth in effective email marketing campaigns.
He stresses that the challenge moving forward is how to effectively harness the power of email marketing, combined with the proliferation of mobile, to provide a more personalised experience for the customer.
“It’s a vertical that is very much alive and well, and is now tightly coupled with mobile, which is where most of email consumption is happening right now,” he says.
“I still don’t think all marketers are making the most of email marketing. There are so many email marketers that are coming so close to doing a great job, but are missing the mark at the very end.
“You’ll see examples of companies sending offers to customers that look great and relevant, but when you actually click through you realise that offer isn’t valid for you. So I think email is still a communication channel that is valid but marketers aren’t effectively capitalising on it to make it a more personalised customer experience."
Tredichler believes a lot of these issues stem from not having a 360 degree view of the customer, and not leveraging all the relevant customer data that is easily accessible.
6. Master customer intelligence
For Treichler, the vision of customer intelligence, moving forward, is all about providing the customer with a better experience that is also closely aligned with the evolution of digital transformation.
“We work with a large number of companies that have a history of non-digital channels, so we look at ways to integrate those channels with digital to provide a seamless and more relevant experience to their customers,” he says.
“If you look at the vision for customer intelligence in the future, it will be all about enabling marketers to also leverage analytics to empower every engagement touch point with their customer, regardless of what channel it is in.”