Why channel-based marketing is becoming obsolete

The proliferation of digital ways of engagement, from chatbots fo social and messenger apps, is transforming the way consumers interact with brands and leading to the demise of the owned website

Losing control

Marketing functions have had to adapt to communicating via a plethora of channels but at least they are channels they can own. In the future, however, they may not be so lucky.

According to vice-president of product marketing at Genesys, Christopher Connolly, some of the fastest growing channels are those beyond the direct control of marketers.

Martech is changing to a more influence-based marketing approach than the directness that has been there in the past,” he says. “And that is generational. Kids are not going to your website; they are sitting inside a game listening to their favourite gamer complete a level and being influenced by what they are saying.

“As a marketer, you have to be thinking more about how you influence the influencer and get their time to get to your audience. That is another new channel you don’t own.”

Connolly believes newer channels such as voice will only accelerate this trend to acquisition activity taking place through channels outside the marketer’s purview.

“A Web page is your surface and you can put what you want on there,” Connolly says. “In the new world of voice it is not yours and you don’t control all of the attributes of that. As a marketer you now need to compete for words that are search terms on a smart end point.”

All of this will lead marketers to place much greater emphasis on mining the unstructured data that these channels produce, industry experts suggest.

How they organise for that world is anyone’s guess. But it is likely the future is pointing further away from structures devised more than 50 years ago. And if the changes to date seem radical, Spinelli says this is nothing compared to what is coming next.

“We are going to see ambient experience,” Spinelli predicts. “We are going to see surfaces explode in terms of what display can be. And businesses that don’t think about how they have that dialogue at scale could be left behind.”

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