Marketing Platforms: The Time Is Now

Marketing and advertising have changed more in the last five years than in the last 100. The proliferation of mobile computing, social networks, and apps has made reaching customers when, where, and how they want to be touched more possible than ever before – but at the cost of increased complexity for marketers.

But you know all of that already. Read on to learn about the trends driving change in the next five years, and why they mean that marketers will inevitably need a platform to keep up.

Trend: Moving From One-Size-Fits-All to Personalizing Every Channel

Some marketing channels, like email, are individually targetable and personalized. But think about it: When you send a customer a relevant email, you don’t expect them to reply; you expect them to come to your website. But all too often, that customer sees the same generic home page as every other anonymous visitor.

Fortunately, we can now target individuals, based on context and affinity, with more and more channels. In fact, the technology exists to customize what every user sees on pretty much every channel. Your website can be as personalized as your email.

Trend: Moving From Campaign Marketing to Continuous Conversations

“Campaign” is a war-oriented word that focuses on the needs of the company, not the consumer. Campaigns are not gumball machines, where you drop a campaign in and customers come out the other side. Instead, marketers today need to engage customers over time, always and everywhere, conducting a conversation that’s customized to his or her taste. In other words, we shouldn’t just talk at customers; we should give them a reason and an opportunity to respond, and adjust appropriately.

Trend: Moving From Demographic Targeting to “The Age of Context”

We live today in what Robert Scoble and Shel Israel call “The Age of Context.” Our mobile devices broadcast where we are and where we are going. Our connected devices spin off even more information; my Fitbit knows how I slept last night, and my Nest thermostat knows what time I come home from work. The Internet of Things means marketers have the opportunity to react instantly and in a more personalized manner than ever before.

Every major trend above brings us to the same conclusion: We need a powerful platform capable of keeping up.

But why a platform specifically? Scott Brinker’s 2014 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic shows almost 1,000 different companies that provide software for marketers, and he makes a good case that even as inevitable consolidation happens, the pace of change in marketing means that there will always be new companies and new innovations.

To tame this chaos, marketers need a platform, a system of record of their own that provides a backbone of common orchestration, common management, and common measurement across channels, devices, and experiences.

Many of the companies on Brinker’s chart deliver customer experiences at the point of interaction; these include video advertising, content marketing, event management, social media marketing, and display ads. To make an analogy, these companies are the horns, strings, percussion, and wind instruments; the platform is the orchestra conductor making sure everything is in harmony. A great platform helps you sidestep cacophony, and stands in as a virtuoso conductor who unifies your marketing into a lyrical masterpiece that can truly captivate your audience.

Mastering Marketing

The only thing that we can truly say about marketing in the next five years is that change will continue, and marketers need to be prepared with the right foundation, the fundamentals for success. Like an athlete, when you have the right core strength and capabilities, you are prepared for whatever comes your way. The same is true for marketing, and it’s why I think every marketer needs to be thinking about their core marketing platform.

Image via Shutterstock.

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