Simplify martech stacks for greater customer experiences

  • Posted on October 3, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
martech for customer experience

This article originally published on Target Marketing.

Great customer experience is essential to any business and has the potential to deliver up to three times the ROI. But in order to achieve this, companies must invest in improving and optimizing their martech stacks. A recent global research report from Avanade and Sitecore found that marketing technology stacks are failing at customer experience on a grand scale, just at a time when the industry is crying out for simplified martech to help deliver an improved CX.

We surveyed 1,440 CIOs, CTOs, CMOs and other senior decision-makers, and 95 percent of organizations reported that their CX is in critical need of improvement. While a well-functioning martech stack can be instrumental in making those improvements, many stacks lag behind, resulting in lost revenue. In fact, 60 percent of the companies surveyed reported losing revenue as a result of digital marketing technology not working properly or a lack of collaboration between marketing and IT.

Why martech stacks are critical to business success
An effective digital strategy is critical to business success, and non-negotiable in order to compete. Companies are realizing that an effective digital strategy means investing in an effective martech stack to build, analyze, and maximize lead generation and optimize the customer experience across the expanding landscape of digital channels.

However, that’s often easier said than done. There are an overwhelming number of choices for companies looking to build a martech stack. There are literally thousands of platforms, tools and apps. And while there’s no such thing as a perfect marketing stack, simplified, centralized solutions that combine and optimize IT and marketing can help organizations drive more sales opportunities and enhance the customer experience.

Without an optimized martech stack, companies struggle to deliver a consistent CX, leaving money on the table — a situation reported by 60 percent of marketing respondents in our survey. To address this, many marketing automation systems and their parent companies are attempting to accommodate centralization by acquiring complementary marketing products and using a marketing cloud to offer a centralized tech stack. While many marketers still prefer using stacks that utilize a number of vendors, a centralized cloud-based view can give companies a powerful advantage by enabling improved IT resource allocation, security and flexibility. Centralization may also provide marketers with deeper and more meaningful insights into customer behavior, allowing them to better engage in more efficient and effective marketing, creating a unified view of customers.

Future-proofing with AI and machine learning
Incorporating AI technology into the martech stack will be critical for marketers to create value and personalization. Eighty-six percent of respondents to the survey say AI and machine learning are necessities for their organization, but most have yet to adopt them. This supports findings from earlier research on human-centered AI, which showed that 88 percent of respondents don’t know how to use AI, even though 60 percent believe AI will help companies to build an emotional connection with customers. With 65 percent of marketing leaders agreeing that their business is not very mature when it comes to customer personalization, there is a clear need for AI-driven CX. Through AI, marketers canting strategy can analyze larger amounts of personalized data to create strong CX solutions.

While AI makes decisions, machine learning makes predictions; particularly in relation to complex, non-linear patterns, accommodating the full spectrum of purchasing behavior. ML is just now beginning to be applied to digital advertising and marketing, supplying personalized content, creating e-commerce recommendations, predicting customer churn, and creating new applications and informing C-level strategy. An example of this is programmatic ad buying, where software is used to automate the buying and placement of online ads.

Over three quarters (77 percent) of respondents concede that their organization needs support in order to implement and integrate machine learning. This support comes in the form of data. Automation and machine learning only work well when the available data can inform the correct decision. However, we found that 66 percent of marketing leaders agree that their businesses are not very mature when it comes to data and analytics, and this disparity will slow AI adoption further. Organizations need to address these disconnects within the martech stack in order to successfully optimize the resulting CX.

Lifting barriers with AI and ML to achieve outstanding CX
Martech is a foundation of great CX. Yet we’ve found that most companies find it difficult to achieve. Problems with martech can impact the entire business, and with the advent of AI, it’s time to get a strong, CX-oriented martech stack in place for simplified, centralized and profitable solutions. IT and marketing can align to leverage the right technology and co-create a digital strategy that prioritizes a customer-centric, personalized approach. This will allow companies to reap the benefits of driving a great customer experience fit for their future growth plans.

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