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How to bridge the gap between marketers and consumers

In today’s highly competitive marketplace, savvy marketers know the key to gaining a competitive advantage lies in creating meaningful connections with their customers from the get-go. More importantly, they recognise the need to cultivate and grow this relationship throughout the customer’s journey – in order to retain loyalty in a tech-savvy, millennial-driven era.[1]

Indeed, marketers today face unprecedented challenges when they go to market. From the pressure to generate revenue and become more ROI-focused, to the imminent need to innovate and lead their companies into the digital age, they are increasingly realising the importance of being data-driven in their approach.

And, the marketing ecosystem has never been more complex than it is today. With thousands of applications and data sources to help drive personalised engagement, it is critical for today’s marketers to keep pace with technological advancements to ensure they are delivering refined, targeted and meaningful interactions in a modern way.[2]

Big Data: The driving force behind customer engagement

Every move and decision starts with the data – marketing and campaign successes can only be achieved by maintaining a focused approach to accessing and leveraging data. Marketers are aware of this and are increasingly looking to harness the latest data mining technologies to engage with customers in a more personalised manner, so as to build lasting and profitable relationships.

The foundation for any great relationship starts with insight and understanding – the same goes for building and sustaining that relationship.

However, the reality is that marketers have never had to deal with a more siloed ecosystem of data and systems than now. According to research studies, majority of enterprises actually do not have a synchronised view of customer interactions. The fragmented experiences are largely a result of the explosion of digital channels, which have led to disconnected technologies, data and processes.

Nevertheless, as businesses shift their focus to creating more targeted, personalised campaigns, marketers are also increasingly seeking new ways to centralise, manage and orchestrate individualised customer experiences.[3] No doubt, the ability to integrate systems and unlock customer data has never been more imperative.

Yet, while companies are already seeing the importance of harnessing data to drive business transformations, the reality is that many still aren’t truly customer-focused. With customer-centricity being vital for success in a world where digitally educated buyers are often more tech-savvy than the businesses trying to sell them, it is clearly time for marketers to take a different approach.

However, becoming customer centric is more than just a state of mind. It involves learning new skills, so marketers are well equipped to tap on today’s rapidly emerging marketing automation tools to create relevant, targeted and valuable customer experiences.

Moving forward: Delivering on the promise of customer centricity

In order to fully leverage the exciting opportunities presented by big data while at the same time reducing complexity, it is critical for marketers to deploy technology solutions that help them unify their resources. What is needed is a platform that helps align IT and marketing by serving as a single, unified solution with the scalability, performance and integration required by modern marketers and IT professionals alike.

Fundamentally, the Holy Grail for customer personalisation is rooted in a meaningful understanding of target audiences and communities. With the proliferation and explosion of data sources, marketers can now capture valuable data across owned, earned and paid channels. – all of which enable them to deliver much improved customer experiences.

And the potential benefits are massive for CMOs and CIOs who can come together to lead this charge. While CIOs used to mainly be responsible for ensuring the right governance, information security and compliance, they are expected to see a shift in their roles in 2015 to include revenue generation.

This is especially so as they start playing a larger decision-making role in the investment of new marketing technologies, which are essential in helping companies deliver on the promise of customer-centricity.

[1] Modern Marketing Blog: Using Customer Data to Inform Your Personalization Strategy. Source: https://blogs.oracle.com/marketingcloud/using-customer-data-to-information-your-personalization-strategy

[2] Modern Marketing Blog: Oracle Marketing Cloud: Leading the Way in Modern Marketing Execution [New Gartner Report]. Source: https://blogs.oracle.com/marketingcloud/omc-gartner-magic-quadrant-for-digital-marketing-hubs

[3] Oracle press release: Oracle President Mark Hurd Announces Strategy for Oracle Marketing Cloud, a New Platform for Customer-Centric Marketing. Source: http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/press/2196042

The writer is Will Griffith, Senior Director, Oracle Marketing Cloud, APAC

[Image by Shutterstock]

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