Blog | Qrious

Personalisation and martech today

With two Mood of Marketing reports under our belt, we’ve seen an evolution of a few key trends.

Tracking trends from the edge to BAU

It’s fascinating to track cutting edge ideas across the Mood of Marketing reports to see how they’ve progressed. Trends such as analytics, measurement and optimisation, and data-driven decision making have all moved front and centre in today’s marketing toolkit. Flushing through marketing teams, they’ve heralded a change in skill sets and ways of working, at the same time expanding New Zealand marketers’ reach and influence within their organisations.

Others have drifted away slightly - often by becoming business as usual. Two years ago content creation was booming, driven by the rise of content marketing. Similarly, social was still a rising phenomenon at many businesses. This year content and social have matured to the point of everyday activity in most organisations. Instead, as digital marketing progresses and matures, issues like ethics, privacy and purpose-led campaigns are the new “ones to watch”. 

Content-vs-ethics

 

The rise of martech and personalisation

Two trends just coming over the horizon in 2017 were martech and personalisation. Back then almost three quarters of respondents highlighted martech and martech resource as gaps in their marketing strategies. Marketing automation and the rise of inbound marketing meant 48% of respondents expected their budgets to increase in the coming year. And within those expected increases, both martech and data-driven personalisation were key drivers.

Fast forward to 2019 and how have things changed? Well, martech and personalisation are still key trends, even if the way they are viewed has shifted.

 

Connecting CX with new definitions of success

Aligned with the rise of CX, smart organisations have evolved their approach to martech and their underlying data. Moving away from top and bottom line KPIs, they are using data to build carefully crafted and personalised experiences for their customers. Short term revenue drives are fading in popularity as more sophisticated decision engines open opportunities to talk to customers in different ways. Focusing on personalised experiences and shifting towards better long term customer outcomes is creating better customer relationships, underpinned by smart martech and an evolving view of data’s potential. 

As always, a great way to track this is follow the money. Although 15% of our respondents’ marketing budgets are already going towards data and analytics, our respondents expect this to rise to 25% within the next year or two. Significantly, 57% expect their spend on martech will also rise in the coming year.

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Avoiding the error strewn path

And yet… personalisation remains a challenge for many. Two years since it was identified as a trend to watch, full adoption of personalisation still sits just over the horizon. The journey to effective deployment of martech, culminating in best-in-case personalisation isn’t simple, and many organisations make fundamental mistakes along the way. Even as our 2019 respondents highlight personalisation as a key trend, 51% of them also say it’s their biggest challenge. In many instances, organisations don’t complete the foundational work on data structures and data necessary for success - we’ve talked before about siloed and fragmented data, the difficulty of creating a single unified customer view, and the increasing challenges presented by omni-channel.

Another common martech mistake is even more fundamental. Too many organisations fail to identify the marketing outcomes they require before selecting their marketing technology. Tempting as it is to sink your marketing budget into a lovely shiny new piece of kit, too often marketing teams discover unexpected levels of operational complexity, or the need to hire new resource to manage the new technology. One respondent compared this to buying a Ferrari versus a Camry. Everyone wants a Ferrari, right? But unless you take the time to identify what you want to achieve through your martech, and then be happy learning to walk before you try to run, you’ll end up with something you can’t drive.

 

Steady as it goes is the route to success

Personalisation should be approached in a similar way. Without a steady build of data skills and capability, personalisation is difficult to effect. A great example is third party and big data. Undoubtedly powerful tools, they both have significant roles in building ever more refined personalisations. But unless your first party data is in good shape, and providing a good baseline view of your customers, then their value is drastically reduced. 

The good news is, get these foundational pieces right, and your options expand. By bringing the right skill sets into their teams, marketing leaders are creating departments capable of embracing new technology and building the sort of personalised customer experiences their consumers demand. As the definition of marketing changes, embracing technology and experience, senior leaders are finding their influence spreading. Agile is also playing a role, exposing marketers to different business functions, and similarly exporting the marketer’s natural voice of customer throughout the business.

 

The challenge for New Zealand organisations today

By focusing on the customer and building carefully created and highly personalised experiences, New Zealand’s leading data-driven organisations are taking a growing piece of the pie. Taking the time to identify required outcomes and to build an effective data strategy from the start means they are best placed to succeed today. The results are clear - growth organisations over index in Mood of Marketing 2019, not just for experience and content management technologies, but also for new innovations like voice. And they are more likely to have clear data strategies geared towards delivering better customer outcomes, most often through personalised experiences. With only 27% of organisations in growth this year, it seems clear these businesses are setting the bar for others to reach.

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