Dotdigital chief: Marketers still not realising omnichannel vision

President and founder of formerly named dotmailer marketing technology platform comments on state of the market as the company unveils its global rebrand

Marketers are so time poor, they are not realising the omnichannel goals they wish to achieve, according to president and founder of dotdigital, Tink Taylor.

Dotdigital is the rebrand of dotmailer, the marketing platform founded nearly 20 years ago. What started as a batch and blast email platform has evolved to become an omnichannel platform, leading to the rebrand unveiled this month.

“When we started this out, our first client was the BBC, and we had 4000 lines of code. Now we have millions of lines of code, and we do a lot more than just email. We were a simple batch and blast back then, but with all of those updates we’re a true omnichannel platform now," Tinker told CMO. "So having the word ‘mail’ in our name limited what people’s expectations were of us.

“Another purpose of the rebrand was also to stop and give people are reason to re-engage and ask the question about what we do. Our capabilities far outstrip what we say in ‘mail’. The parent company has always been called dotdigital, we just never promoted it outside the organisation, and now we are. I do love the ability to change up the conversation."

Aspirationally, Taylor saw marketers wanting to achieve true omnichannel messaging to audiences. But too many are still not getting beyond batch-and-blast activity because of time and technology constraints, he said.

“One of the reasons is some of the tech is clunky and expensive, and other reason is this isn’t their job and they are time poor. So many want to do personalisation and segmentation, but don’t have the time,” he continued.

“My ethos has always been to build massive technology with an easy interface. As we’ve seen over the years, there’s more sophistication coming into various large platforms, but this results in the UX becoming more difficult.

“Of course, marketers need more sophistication, because they know one size fits all messaging doesn’t achieve the best results. Marketers need to achieve personalisation, dynamic content, segmenting, engagement levels, and all of this across multiple channels, and then handle the responses. Now, there is a lot of technological stuff, and many marketers didn’t go to uni to become a techie. They need technical help."

Another differentiation point for dotdigital is what Taylor described as being "realistic" about what its platform can do. There are many platforms try to do too many things, affecting ease of use, he argued.

“We were never going to be a great CRM, but we integrate into big CRMs. We are never going to be an ecommerce platform either, but we integrate into the large ecommerce platforms. There is no one platform that does all things," he said. "Some of the bigger platforms claim to, but they have acquired other platforms to achieve this and they are not truly integrated and their UX is bad.

“Ultimately, it’s all about messaging, and all about the data you can use to drive this in relevant channels. We don’t talk about ease of use, we talk about speed of use. We make the tech part effortless ,which buys back time for marketers to do other things.”

Despite the ‘smoke and mirrors’ surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) right now, Taylor saw the capabilities eventually reaching the point where the speed and functionality of data crunching will be faster and more effective.

“A lot of vendors are claiming AI on tech that has been around for a decade. I think, in the future, the speed of development of features and functionality will absolutely be faster, because AI will drive the number crunching, but it’s not at that stage yet," he said. "There’s no proper sentient understanding as yet, but basic crunching works.

“AI will have a massive part to play in the machine learning side of things moving forward. People are seeing it as the silver bullet right now, but is nowhere near that level yet.”

The dotdigital rebrand is already in market, and includes a new logo. The company has maintained its circular motif, as well as the pink and green synonymous with the brand. It's added the Comapi blue to create something recognisable, but new.

"Our three roundels represent our three solution areas: Connect, empower, and communicate,” Taylor added. “By including this element of movement, we’re also demonstrating our commitment to innovation. Never content with resting on our laurels, we’re always striving towards our next platform evolution.”

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