One of the biggest challenges for senior marketers today is to understand and execute a personalised user experience across multiple channels and media. Achieving this in practice is problematic as marketing has become fast-paced and agile, yet data platform projects are still long and cumbersome, with customer and business benefits not delivered until the end of the programme.
This is leading to constraints on three types of company in the marketplace: first are the enterprise organisations with mature and capable teams; secondly, there are the businesses that are struggling to cope with a legacy platform. The third is the small or medium-sized company with limited or no current capability. All three types need to find a way to make data accessible within their structure quickly and cost-effectively.
As a result, investment in technology continues to rise. Marketing technology investments made up 29% of the typical marketing budget in 2018, up from 22% in the previous year. Additionally, 59% of marketers say that marketing technology innovation ranks among their top three marketing innovation programmes.
Marketing teams now need to break away from slow and cumbersome data platform implementation projects in order to shift towards an agile approach based on sprints. While technology plays an important role, it is not always the answer to innovation in the marketing organisation, nor is it the most effective route to an organisational transformation based on people-based marketing. The platform itself doesn’t represent the strategy but rather it enables a people-based approach.
The audience data hub
The technology platforms implemented by companies to help overcome departmental silos and organise all of their data often involve major investments. However, it is now possible to save millions in project costs and make analytical and media investment decisions that were previously out of reach in order to provide immediate business returns. The democratisation of conjoined data provides competitive advantage at a time when the ability to create a data platform across silos has not kept pace with the need for greater agility from marketing functions.
While previously creating an audience data hub has been expensive and complex, with high levels of customisation and the associated governance and data controls, there are now affordable entry-level solutions that offer fast integration of various data sources and enable users to serve up rich, audience insights.
Our product at Merkle is the Rapid Audience Layer (RAL), a cloud-based, data management solution. This allows you to collate marketing data from many different sources, store it in its natural and native form in the cloud, and deliver it in different formats. The user can then explore, query, report, visualise and analyse their data quickly – providing a good foundation for an organisation’s people-based marketing transformation.
People-based marketing transformation
As marketers embark on this journey, putting a clear foundation of planning in place will help form the basis of their customer strategy. An audience hub, such as RAL, enables them to build a picture of their desired audience by providing the data platform in which they can study their own customer data in conjunction with third-party and customer-provided sources.
By understanding the behaviours of those who already have a relationship with their brand, marketers can personalise their engagements in ways that will not only enhance the customer experience, but also create a roadmap for change that will improve their marketing results.
For more information on RAL, visit: https://www.merkleinc.com/emea/what-we-do/rapid-audience-layer