In the July 2014 issue of CRM Magazine, the lead article was “The Road to Omnichannel Marketing Success” by Maria Minsker. Ms. Minsker’s article is thoughtful and well-written, and she opened the article with the following statement:
“Welcome to the Age of the Customer, where consumers are more skeptical than ever and traditional marketing campaigns are on their way to becoming obsolete.”
The article asserts that potential buyers are increasingly choosing to do business with brands that “. . . can deliver customized experiences and facilitate meaningful interactions across all relevant channels.”
To successfully meet the expectations of today’s customers, Ms. Minsker says than an enterprise must build a “context marketing engine,” which the article defines as “. . .a brand-specific platform that exploits customer context to deliver utility and guides the customer into the next best interaction.”
Contextual marketing has recently become a hot buzzword in the marketing community. The definition of contextual marketing is still evolving, but the term usually refers to the delivery of advertisements and other marketing messages that are customized based on the recipient’s current (or very recent) behavior and delivered to the recipient on a real-time (or near real-time) basis. For obvious reasons, contextual marketing is primarily an online marketing phenomenon, where communications are essentially instantaneous.
In one sense, contextual marketing is simply the current incarnation of the age-old marketing goal of delivering the right message to the right person at the right time and place. In another sense, however, contextual marketing represents a fundamental transformation in how marketing is managed and practiced. One core feature of this transformation is a shift away from channel-focused, campaign-driven marketing communications to (a) marketing content that is customized based on the recipient’s attributes and behaviors and (b) marketing content delivery that is always available on all relevant channels.
Marketing thought leaders now agree that two technologies are required to provide the foundation for a successful onmichannel, contextual marketing effort.
- A solid big data analytics solution with broad and deep capabilities that will enable marketers to determine what marketing content should be delivered to a recipient
- A marketing execution platform that enables the delivery of rich, context-based content on a real-time (or near real-time) basis
At present, few software providers, if any, offer solutions that excel at both analytics and marketing execution. In fact, a best-of-breed approach is often still required to create a highly-effective marketing execution platform. Therefore when enterprise marketing and IT leaders are evaluating prospective marketing technology solutions, ease of integration should be a primary selection requirement.