Marketers face the most challenging conditions in a decade – if not a lifetime. Creating success in a world of slashed budgets and lower customer spending means the smart use of focused tech. With Covid vaccines being rolled out across the globe, there’s hope the world might soon inch back to normal. In the meantime, marketers are struggling with the effects of a year like no other. With slashed budgets, and more pressure than ever to achieve more with less, CMOs are turning to technology.
The best martech solutions make new things possible, or help teams do more with what they have. Better customer engagement, streamlined workflows, and more efficient integrations are the vital martech trends. Here are five technologies to get on top.
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1. Work management and planning
Whether you head up a small team, or a multinational department, it’s vital to make sure everyone’s following the same script. Projects, workflows and individual items all need careful coordination, and a collaborative and open approach works best. Every CMO needs to synchronise staff and resources using a planning platform, like Basecamp or Trello.
Cloud-based and highly granular, Trello supports multiple lists, on which individual cards track tasks. Lists can be contained in one or more boards, which are shared among individuals or teams. Trello is incredibly flexible, lending itself to the management and coordination of internal and external stakeholders. Powerful calendaring and other plugins help it integrate with other tools, helping you adapt it to the way you work – and in turn streamline your approach.
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2. Social management
Your brand’s social presence is a fundamental part of its identity, and the quality of its output and behaviour across key platforms can be a key driver in its growth and success. Long gone are the days when you could hand over your Twitter login to the work-placement kid. Managing your social channels is essential to growing and protecting your brand. Doing it properly means planning, guidelines, briefs – and client software that keeps you responsive.
By far the most streamlined approach is to use a single social client, rather than separate tools for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and so-on. One of the leading social platforms is Hootsuite, capable of handling posts, scheduling and ad spending across 20 of the biggest social platforms. Most importantly, tools like Hootsuite let you coordinate social management among team members, ensuring consistent, cross-channel brand engagement.
3. Customer journey analytics and orchestration
As brands seek to reposition themselves around the customer, understanding that customer is paramount. Brands collect vast amounts of data as people move across digital channels and touchpoints, but without the ability to stitch data points together into journeys, they’re lacking a clear vision of what those customers do – and what they need.
Enter the customer journey analytics platform. As the name suggests, these integrate with other platforms in the martech stack, sifting through all the customer data you’re collecting to build a picture of individual customers and their experience with the brand. Add in orchestration capabilities – such as in Thunderhead ONE – and this insight becomes the driver for in-the-moment decisions that better reflect what customers actually need.
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4. Marketing asset management
In a turbulent and uncertain economy, consumers and businesses alike will look to the brands they can trust. For brands that want to reap the benefits, it’s essential to maintain a strong brand identity, and to protect valuable brand and marketing assets.
The arguments in favour of marketing asset management platforms are more powerful than ever. By looking after brand assets, and helping manage them among multiple contributors and stakeholders, marketing asset management helps you strengthen and grow your brand. And by securing and distributing marketing assets, it helps you streamline marketing workflows, improving coordination between multiple teams – even when distributed across territories. In times when you’re being asked to do more with less, marketing asset management reduces the time wasted chasing assets, and the cost of reproducing the ones you can’t find.
5. Email automation
It’s easy to overlook email in favour of newer digital channels, but it’s still a powerful and essential tool for any marketing department. From newsletters and campaigns, through to targeted next-best actions, email is still a great way to reach people with an appropriate message at a suitable time.
Getting the most out of email means incorporating it into your other activities and, where possible, automating it as much as you can. The tools in platforms like Mailchimp let you create personalised and automated emails, increasing your reach and building engagement, without hoovering up your resources. Being able to plan, execute and automate email campaigns and actions is an essential part of the modern marketing toolkit. And having the right platforms to automate this – and other key functions – will be essential to your success in uncertain times.