We have come a long way. The rise of the internet and SaaS (software as a service) have democratized marketing, allowing the smaller companies access to tools that just ten years ago were only available for multinational enterprises. “Walled gardens” such as Google, Facebook and Amazon have also contributed to this transformation, changing the concept of mass marketing. What once required large budgets and high frequency to reach the right target group, now just requires using the proper techniques, targeting and re-targeting.
This all applies to marketing processes and technology, especially to marketing automation and CRM (customer relationship management) tools, two tools that you should definitely get to know if you wish to continue a successful career in marketing.
There might be no better time than now to dive into marketing automation and CRM as the next disruption is about to happen. There are three major disruptions bolting through the world of marketing as I write these words.
First, regulations such as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the new e-privacy rules will definitely change how marketing tech works. This will have a clear impact on strategies and processes whose success depends on behavioral cookie-based technology.
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Second, the growing complexity of marketing tools is becoming a bigger challenge for organizations. Today, there are about 5,000 tools for marketeers; in 2011 there were approximately 150. As most organizations are not capable of handling such complexity, the question of how to optimize technological infrastructure to support the right processes and add true value has become crucial.
Third, the “Walled gardens”, especially Facebook and Google, are under scrutiny from different angles. Focused more on giving their users a killer experience, they have started to limit the numbers of adverts each user sees. I’m sure you understand how this is a problem for marketers. On top of that, GDPR and e-privacy rules are proving a huge challenge for them. Today, Facebook is under the spotlight due to the Cambridge Analytica breach, and not in a good way. Amazon, on the other hand, has received negative press over concerns it is becoming a monopoly.
This means the environment for marketers is very challenging. It also means if you start your journey now, you could become one of the founding fathers of the new marketing paradigm.
We’ll see that marketing strategies, processes and technologies have the chance in the future of becoming highly effective. Data-driven and permission based marketing can help organizations increase revenue and customer experience, while raising productivity and addressing compliance.
At the moment, I see there are three types of organizations. They all have different scenarios for the future and are poles apart when it comes to the strategies they need to use to thrive.
The pioneers have already gone through a significant change and are prepared to take full advantage of the current opportunities. These organizations have developed strategies that are supported by permission-based marketing, compliance, differentiation and smart segmentation. Their strategies rely on processes and new technology that includes business intelligence and artificial intelligence (AI). They already have omni-channel interactions with their clients, achieving greater client satisfaction and retention.
The risk-averse don’t need such complicated systems as their lead generation and sales process are more straightforward. They can opt for a simple marketing stack that easily combines marketing automation with CRM and with communication tools to generate leads and still be compliant with the regulations. They’ll be able to increase productivity and have an agile operation. However, they’ll see some limitations and it will not be possible to fully address omni-channel solutions or AI. At least not for the time being.
The laggards have not started their modernization journey yet, but make no mistake — they’ll have to get their act together, and very soon. Some of them will catch up quickly, some won’t. The latter will not succeed in the long run. Luckily, there’s light at the end of the tunnel for them — it’s now easier than ever to learn from the experience of others. Successful companies are often sharing their knowledge and best-practices online, in many cases free of charge.
The democratization of processes and tools changed the way we work, make buying decisions, interact with prospects and customers. It has helped marketing evolve from brand building to lead generation, client engagement and client monetization. And so, the authority of marketing has increased dramatically. Our teams are bigger and more diversified, we handle more complex day-to-day operations, we crunch the numbers and analyze data. In short: we deliver much higher value.
Marketing can now handle a new array of technology, from simple solutions such as CMS (content management system) for websites, social listening and posting tools to more advanced technology such as marketing automation and CRM. Long gone are the days when marketing used only basic design and productivity tools.
It’s high time for all marketers to embrace the change and step up their game. It’s time to step out of the Mad Men era and get your hands on a JARVIS. This may sound scary, but you don’t have to do this alone. Get in touch to see how I can help you like I’ve helped many other organizations. Join me in the future!