The marketer of the future: How marketing's role is evolving

This post is sponsored by Oracle.

Marketing leaders are moving beyond brand-building to accelerate customer acquisitions, boost engagements and lifetime value and reduce churn. The role of the marketer has been elevated to one that is focused on business outcomes. By connecting data, insights and experiences, leveraging on automation and intelligence tools, marketers are taking more direct ownership of the end-to-end customer journey and ensuring their brands and organisations stay relevant to their customers.

1. How do you envisage the role of the marketer changing?

The job scope of the marketer has changed from one very much focused on brand awareness and creativity to one that is more focused on outcomes and attached to the return on investments for every marketing campaign or strategy. The role of the marketer has been uplifted to one where he/she is part of the everyday C-level conversation and aligned to driving business outcomes.

For the first time, marketers are being held accountable for revenue targets as their top priority. Two years ago, if you asked CMOs, they would have said brand building was the number one target and revenue was somewhere in the middle. This is a pretty big shift. Today, marketers are responsible for acquiring customers, engaging those customers, increasing lifetime value and decreasing churn.

This shift is due to a couple of changes. First, customers are facing increased competition from companies where marketing is at the core of the company. These companies often have “growth hackers” whose job is to help with acquisition, activation and retention. Competing with these new-age companies requires a different mindset, different tools, people and investment. Second, customers are changing, and they are expecting marketers to know them better and provide more relevant and contextual interactions.

2. How will technology play a part in this change?

The primary drivers of the evolution of marketers and the business challenges that they have been tasked to solve are driven by technology trends. This are among other attributes, including skyrocketing customer expectations, changing customer and employee demographics and behaviours. Current and future customer experience (CX) technologies are expected to support these new dynamics.

Marketers want solutions that can support the proliferation of existing and new engagement channels, for example, chat, video chat, co-browsing, messaging (for example, SMS, Facebook Messenger or WeChat). This means allowing the brand to support a customer’s journey across different channels, route them to the right agent or determine which channels are most effective – all in real time.

Data is the key factor underpinning audience engagement and the insights provided by technology drives the success of different campaigns for the business. It’s no longer about retrospective reporting. Instead, it’s about how marketers can drive personalised engagement and the insights that can help them drive these one-to-one engagements with their audiences.

At the same time, technology continues to evolve and the adoption of marketing tools and the value marketers derive from them should be thought of as a journey rather than a destination.

There is also the misconception that marketing technology is complex to implement and requires specialist digital talent to operate. At Oracle, we have seen our high-growth customers utilising our tools within three or four person marketing teams, who welcome the opportunity that technology affords them to be agile and dynamic as they focus on scaling their customer acquisition and retention strategies.

For instance, the Cashback platform, ShopBack was able to create specific customer segments and serve dynamic content, without the need to run manual queries with its Oracle Responsys solution. Its three-person team runs daily content as well as automated customer life cycle campaigns in seven countries.

3. What do marketers need to look out for when deciding on their next CX purchase?

Marketers must live and breathe data.

Why? Because it is the fabric of modern marketing. By employing the right data sources (for example, demographics, web behaviour, purchase or billing data, interests, etc), you can better understand your customers and build more precise targeting capabilities.

You’ll be able to apply the insights for one-to-one marketing – creating and deploying highly personalised conversations with your customers in real time. Any CX tool needs to be able to collate and provide you with insights because quite frankly … Having the data isn’t enough.

To succeed in this new continuum, you need a marketing automation platform that helps you distil information about your customers to understand their buying journey. Most marketers still can’t see and act on incremental steps in the customer journey (that is, from interaction with display ads to clicking through an email offer to web page engagement) in real time. But today you can.

For a long time, we’ve had channels in a silo. SMS, push notifications, email, social media, display ads – they were all managed by point solutions, creating a fragmentation of CX solutions. It’s a pain point we can all agree on.

But that can’t continue in the omni-channel world your customers and prospects operate in. You must be able to orchestrate an omni-channel experience that motivates the consumer in the channel that is most comfortable for them. Advanced marketing automation solutions, powered by artificial intelligence, will identify the most relevant channel for you.

4. What accounts for changing consumer expectations?

How can we explain this change in expectations? What’s different is not the expectation, but rather the speed of change that consumers and therefore marketers are experiencing – especially in Asia, where consumers are fervently embracing lifestyle brands such as Grab, Lazada, and WeChat.

As a result of the rise of such CX data-driven businesses, we at Oracle like to think the term CX has transformed from being about customer experiences to changing consumer expectations and increasingly the need for constant experimentation from marketers to find the right CX tools to meet their objectives.

As organisations figure out how to deliver CX, they are realising, whether legacy or modern, B2B or B2C, that in order to adapt to this once-in-a-lifetime shift in the purchase habits of your customers, they require a new view of their business and business model.

Additionally, this new business model needs to be powered by connecting the back office systems of record with the front office systems of engagement.

An “end-to-end customer experience” mandates that marketers think beyond simply acquiring new customers to deliver an experience at every step of the customer life cycle and that converting and growing revenue while building advocacy is impacted by more than just marketing.

Moving beyond campaign-centric marketing initiatives to CX-led strategies requires understanding the metrics that matter, communicating the value to the broader business and stakeholders and building a first party data foundation across business units to ultimately be able to engage with customers based on their needs.

5. How can brands stay relatable to the Asian consumer now, and beyond 2020?

Marketers who are looking to reach out to consumers in a mobile-first region such as Asia need to focus on cross-channel orchestration, which simply means making data from disparate sources useful, create precisely targeted audiences, and then empower customers to determine their next experience by interacting with them in near real-time.

A key component in this orchestration is smarter customer experience tools that let marketers leverage deep customer profiles and cross-channel data points to design, personalise, test, deliver, measure and iterate marketing campaigns that are contextual, adaptive, and personalised—all from one simple canvas.

Iconic lifestyle and sports brand, adidas India used the Oracle Marketing Cloud to orchestrate their cross-channel marketing. This investment has increased email open rates by two times and boosted conversions by 50% with a new customer experience for millions of consumers of this brand. Southeast Asia’s leading personal finance portal, MoneySmart is also pushing innovation in its marketing capabilities across key markets by leveraging data and technology to drive high-value customer content and deeper personalisation.

The writer is Wendy Hogan, customer experience and marketing strategy director at Oracle APAC.