Nowadays, the modern marketer operates in a complex environment, in which not only new business challenges, but also technological trends are raising.
The definition of new business models, the growing legal pressure and the rapid technological evolution are the main drivers of a fast-paced and continuous change, that is bringing along new challenges and forcing marketers to rethink their entire marketing strategy.
The rise of new business models: the experience-led enterprise
In the modern marketing era, CMOs are transforming their business models by thinking and operating in truly customer-centric ways, shifting organizations from being product-led to experience-led: with the bar for personalization continuing to rise, marketers are modeling new paths to gather true customers' insights and ensure the delivery of hyper-tailored customer journeys.
Marketing departments are dealing with the convergence between digital marketing and traditional marketing, leveraging Big Data and modern Marketing Automation solutions to draw customers to this convergence and take advantage from it.
In fact, modern consumers search for seamless shopping experiences, both offline and online, as it is the case with showrooming: customers look for an item in a brick-and-mortar store and then go online to purchase that item at a lower price - or they learn about a product on-line, and then go to brick-and-mortar stores to make their final purchase decision. It's working in both directions, from online to offline and vice-versa, with an only key requirement to make consumers happy (or very unhappy): the interaction with the brand must happen with no friction between digital and physical spaces.
In order to deliver such consistent and personalized brand experience across all touchpoints, thus getting all the advantages of the aforementioned convergence, companies need to implement a truly omnichannel marketing strategy supported by proper systems and tools for data collection and analysis, able to orchestrate proper marketing actions on multiple channels.
The capacity to differentiate from competition is just as important in this new scenario. This is where new trends like "servitization" come in: this means the shift from selling products to providing services and solutions, along the entire customer journey. Services offered in combination with a product become a central part of the offer and play a fundamental role in generating value.
Consider the case of a flight purchase, where the “product” is the flight itself, from the take-off to the landing. In this case, customers are going to choose the company that offers a seamless service along the customer journey: from the reminder of booking a taxi for the airport, to the notice of a flight delay, and so on.
In such volatile environment, CMOs must focus on customers to design a successful digital marketing strategy to help their organization compete and grow - in other words, support their organizations in becoming experience-led enterprises.
GDPR and the data privacy challenge
Everyone has surely heard about GDPR and new privacy requirements at this point, as it's been at the center of discussion for the past couple of years: the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), adopted in 2016 and enforceable since mid 2018, has truly forced businesses to rethink the way they collect and use personal data and redesign their customer data management processes.
Digital marketing relies heavily on the collection of data to build buyer personas, create tailored customer journeys and provide personalized customer experiences. Marketers are facing a variety of new challenges when it comes to gather and protect their customers' personal data: from the collection of explicit consent to receive marketing communications, to the ban on automated decision-making (e.g., applying algorithms to personal data to drive inferences and target ads) in the absence of the individual's freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous consent.
Consent management across all marketing channels and devices has surely become a top priority today for CMOs. But... Every problem is an opportunity in disguise: GDPR should also encourage marketing departments to explore more innovative types of data and, ultimately, employ a more diverse data strategy.
Technological (r)evolutions: from Marketing to Marteching
Marketing is becoming increasingly technology-based. The term MarTech was born precisely to identify Marketing Technologies combined with a strong knowledge of the modern Digital Marketing processes, today fundamental to drive customer engagement and account growth.
To make an example, we have already said that mastering Big Data is key to reach a competitive advantage: leveraging data, organizations are able to identify unknown customer needs and translate them into actionable insights. This is one of the main reasons why Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital marketing are beginning to go hand by hand. Through a combination of diverse technologies - such as machine learning, big data, and cloud computing - AI can help companies create better user experiences (e.g. offer relevant content to users), predict customer behavior and offer real-time customer support (e.g. chatbots or robots).
More generally speaking, it's clear how technology is today a key component and inextricably tied to any marketing activity. Not by chance marketing departments are investing the greatest slice of their budget in Marketing Technologies, as reported by Gartner in their annual CMO spend survey.
What does it mean for CMOs? The need to expand skills, from Marketing to "Marteching", incorporating in their marketing departments a wider span of competences that ranges from marketing automation to data and web analytics, in order to be fully capable of leveraging on tools that harness technology to achieve marketing goals and objectives.
The key for a long-lasting Digital Marketing project
In the modern scenario, in the end, the main challenge for experience-driven enterprises consists in the ability to leverage on a structured approach to think, drive and execute the marketing strategy, generating business results in the short, mid and long term.
To be successful in this journey, CMOs and their marketing departments often decide to rely on digital marketing solutions as the best option to achieve these goals faster and in the most effective way. The journey towards the implementation of such solutions can be tricky, if you don't approach it carefully: if you are willing to learn more, you can read our Guide to Embark on your Digital Marketing Project, where we propose a simple, 3-steps approach to define the foundation of a long-lasting digital marketing project.