Focus on the value-add, automate the rest

As consumers we have embraced the multi-channel marketplace. We are able to do so because retailers have led the charge in exploiting sales opportunities including catalogue, DRTV, online to accompany the traditional High Street.

But as marketing service suppliers, we too recognise that customer choice is good for business – we are maximising our own revenues by allowing clients access to our services by whatever means they prefer.

If we consider the reasons for the explosion of new routes to market, it would appear, from the consumer’s point of view, that immediacy and speed of delivery are two of the major benefits. It was always assumed that these benefits would result in increased leisure time to do other things.

Now compare the B2C and B2B models. Consumers have become more effective shoppers – it is our duty to ensure that our customers become more effective marketers. I believe the best way to do this is to enable marketers to spend more time on the business-critical decisions that will increase their profits, not on laborious routine tasks.

By laborious I mean the necessary, yet time-consuming data processing, database updating and continuous analysis required for each job. In our experience, significant time-saving can be realised by pre-specifying and automating these activities.

Not only does this free up a marketers’ time, it also reduces the opportunity for human error, allowing marketing departments to spend more time creating business drivers as opposed to simple quantitative measures or repetitive base level analyses.  Not that these elements aren’t important, they just shouldn’t take up most of the time.

Imagine a scenario where the business rules for data processing were already agreed using different levels of correction, de-dupe, suppression and enhancement. The marketers’ time is spent comparing the results as opposed to preparing the data.  In addition, all of the campaign and response analysis is automatically updated with an accompanying report to benchmark success.  The final outcome is that customer and prospect scores and segments are seamlessly recalculated, with results clearly presented.

Having worked in large marketing services companies, I know that many of the leading practitioners in this area will find much of the above commonplace. Having spoken to many small to medium-sized companies, I also know that these processes are often thought to be out of their reach. 

My message to any marketer who recognises the dilemma presented above and whose existing supplier is not offering a more automated route, is to talk to one that is.

By Rob Salmon, managing director, meta-morphix

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