As life becomes increasingly digitized, marketing strategies have evolved into cross-channel, cross-device experiences, relying heavily on marketing technology and advertising technology (martech and adtech) to facilitate experience delivery. This digital innovation has ushered in an era where marketing, technology, and data have become interconnected, creating new challenges and complexities, along with exciting opportunities for impact.
Essentially, all the technology a marketer uses to reach a potential customer makes up MarTech. MarTech includes platforms that manage website analytics, such as Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics, software that manages social media, such as Hootsuite, CRM systems, such as Salesforce and Hubspot, as well as software that enables automation and orchestrating personalized experiences. Key AdTech tools include platforms for configuring, buying, and managing ads, such as Google Display & Video 360, and tag management systems, such as Google Tag Manager. It’s a constantly evolving landscape.
Amidst constant change, organizations are learning to tackle these challenges in new ways. In many cases, companies have built siloed teams to focus on channel performance metrics – a social media manager to manage social platforms and a paid search manager to manage search ads, for example. These stakeholders often have a wealth of behavioral data to measure what is happening, but lack visibility into why it’s happening, and what to do about it.
The modern CMO, known for looking beyond diagnostic measures of “what is happening,” is demanding greater performance and visibility into brand impact. That demand creates more complex questions for marketing teams to answer, like how are campaigns reinforcing brand health? How can brands target media towards distinct consumer groups? How should they build effective personalization strategies with the consumer at the center?
Rather than displacing insights teams, the MarTech revolution creates a huge opportunity for them. Survey-based consumer feedback, when combined with behavioral data streams, positions insights teams to empower their stakeholders with a deeper understanding of consumers, their mindsets, motivations, emotions, and behaviors.
Amidst the convergence of marketing, technology, and data, insights teams that embrace MarTech can become an accelerant of brand growth and successful strategy execution.
Call it integrated insights. Today’s modern insights practitioners can leverage multiple data streams, analyzing them with the latest algorithms and linking them to the marketing stacks used by marketers, data scientists, and executives.
Today’s society operates in a cross-channel, cross-device, on/offline environment, and consumer insights need to reflect this evolution, lest they become marginalized. Insights teams have historically relied on consumers to provide all the feedback a brand needed via surveys. Now, digital data has replaced some of the most important elements, like how to target, what people are buying, where people go and for how long, and what the consumer journey looks like.
For all its strengths, digital data has an inherent shortcoming. It struggles to explain why things happen, why people behave in the ways they do, and where growth opportunities exist. When we understand the drivers of behavior, the motivations of purchase, and the impact of advertising, we’re able to identify and prioritize the best levers to pull to influence them.
Only modern insights teams fluent in both data and technology are equipped to bring the best of traditional market research to bear on the brave new world of MarTech.
Personalization strategies highlight the important role a modern insights practitioner can play. Such strategies often neglect to put the consumer and their needs at the center. Instead, they prioritize the device and its recorded behaviors. But the optimal way a brand communicates with a person through messaging, imagery, and promotion depends on what that person values—being a trendsetter, being financially conservative, or being brand loyal, for example.
Any personalization strategy worth its weight starts with a robust understanding of consumer traits and needs, and insights teams are expert at asking and answering these critical questions. Partnering with marketing teams to link data across silos, and then pushing custom audiences across MarTech platforms, ensures insights lead to activation.
Executed well, insights functions serve as a strategic investment for a business, allowing brands to derive greater value out of the technology and data stacks they already use. By embracing new MarTech tools and data streams, the modern insights practitioner can help develop 360 degree views of customers and more complete marketing strategies to drive deeper engagement with customers.