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The merging of marketing and IT

As technology becomes an integral part of enterprise infrastructure, how will this impact the marketing department in 2016?

The rise of the chief digital officer

In today's vast digital landscape, there's no question that keeping up with changing technologies and consumer behaviour is a daunting task for any marketer. As tech-savvy consumers drive the demand for more personalised and on-the-spot services, marketers must learn the art of engaging customers and delivering superior experiences across a plethora of channels, platforms and devices.

To cope with the shifting demand, companies are being forced to digitise every aspect of their business operations, with more resources being funnelled into technology at every level of the enterprise. Not surprisingly, more companies are housing their own CDO to bring together and oversee the full scope of their digital activities. As the one who can create a holistic vision for the company's digital policies, the CDO is a much-needed bridge between marketing, IT and the rest of the organisation.

Indeed, Gartner predicts that 25 per cent of organisations will have a CDO by 2015. According to David Willis, vice president and analyst at Gartner, “The chief digital officer will prove to be the most exciting strategic role in the decade ahead… The chief digital officer plays in the place where the enterprise meets the customer, where the revenue is generated and the mission accomplished. They’re in charge of the digital business strategy. That’s a long way from running back-office IT, and it’s full of opportunity.”

The importance of real-time marketing

Thanks to rapid advances in social, mobile and cloud technologies, today's consumers have more information and choices available to them than ever before. From mobile apps to the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable technology, on-demand consumption trends are putting the pressure on marketers to deliver relevant, real-time solutions to their customers. To keep pace, today's enterprise must become increasingly flexible and creative in their approach to marketing and engagement.

While businesses must develop clear-cut digital strategies to stay competitive, they can no longer depend on planned marketing campaigns to achieve their objectives. Rather, the challenge now is to be able to deliver flexible, adaptive and real-time interactions with customers on the spot. That's where real-time marketing enters the picture.

While marketers differ on the exact definition of real-time marketing, most agree it involves “a mix of digital marketing and social media content development in response to audience behaviours as quickly as possible." In other words, it's the art of delivering the right content to the right customers at the right place and right time.

Some examples include:

  • Responding to customer complaints in real time over social media before things spin out of control.
  • Acting quickly and capitalising on unplanned events, such as a power outage during a live televised event.
  • Responding to breaking news over social media channels and inviting a two-way dialogue.

To deliver these types of highly responsive experiences, marketers are increasingly turning to cloud-based, real-time marketing solutions to provide more relevant and personalised customer interactions across channels. According to the 2015 Wayin Real-Time Marketing Report, the most popular marketing tactics and tools used by companies to engage in real-time interactions with customers include:

  • Social media monitoring tools (52 per cent).
  • Social media analytics tool (50 per cent).
  • A skilled manager or team (42 per cent).
  • A social media search tool (39 per cent).
  • An agile marketing plan (39 per cent).

In spite of the learning curve that many companies are facing, it appears that their real-time marketing efforts are paying off. According to the report, 98 per cent of companies report a positive impact on revenue from real-time marketing with more than one-third reporting a revenue return of more than 50 per cent. Furthermore, 56 per cent of marketers say they think real-time efforts help build customer relationships, and 59 per cent of businesses plan to increase their real-time marketing budgets in the year ahead.

As advances in technology inevitably shape how marketers communicate and interact with their target audiences, one thing is certain – the need to integrate digital marketing technology at every level is changing today's organisation from top to bottom.

For more information on the merging of marketing and IT visit Lenovo’s ThinkFWD Think Space.

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