In the past few years, many marketers have tested multiple kinds of campaign management tools, and that has created a multitude of unwieldy data silos.
“Marketers are struggling with integration issues,” says Michael Della Penna, senior vice president, emerging channels, Responsys. “They’re looking for a solution that can collect critical social data and make it actionable.”
This means that integrated solutions will be a key area for tech spending, says Della Penna, who notes that 2011 was very much a testing phase for social media.
“It wasn’t unusual to talk to a brand that has three campaign management tools in place, testing which is the best tool for them,” he says, noting that many tools initially just focused on one specific area, like email or social listening. “But by the end of 2012, many of these tools started morphing and increasing their offerings to increase revenue by account.
Now, brands are realizing that they don’t need three of the same thing, and will look to consolidate into the one that best meets their particular needs.
Where else will marketers focus their tech budget dollars this year?
Orchestration will be key in 2013, says Della Penna. “All of the different channels [available] have created issues—customers are seeing different voices in different channels, and brands need to be creating messages in a more coordinated way, timed to where the consumer is in the buying process.”
Tied into this is optimization and responsive design, considering how customers experience things in different channels and making sure emails are rendered properly for viewing on a multitude of devices, he adds.
Optimizing systems to deliver localized targeting will also be a key area, as marketers try to take advantage of locally relevant social data. “A lot of social data is unstructured, so the challenge is making this data useful in campaign development.”
Marketing automation has provided amazing results for many firms, and there is a trend to extend that beyond email into other channels, such as display, where what ads are pushed to website visitors can be automated based not only on behavior but whether the prospect has already converted.
“We can pull those who have converted out of market so clients are not wasting money trying to contact them,” he says, noting that display has been making a comeback. “There’s a huge interest in display retargeting, building strategies that are different between known and unknown users for contextually relevant offers.”
On the mobile front, there is a renewed interest in technology to enable SMS. “It’s the workhorse of mobile, and brands are now coordinating it with other channels for things like notifications about product availability or confirming purchases,” says Della Penna. “There’s particular interest in tools to push relevant offers such being able to leverage [the iOS application] Passbook to push out a coupon.”
Is getting C-level buy-in for marketing tech expenditures becoming easier? Della Penna thinks so. “The CMO and CTO relationship is changing. There is rarely a situation where we don’t have IT involved at some point in the buying cycle, and all disciplines are working more closely together.”
The way B2B and B2C firms are looking at marketing tech isn’t all that different, he adds. “The scale just varies. In B2B there may be more of a focus on live events and face-to-face but it’s all about focusing on knowing the customer better and then reaching them at the right touch points.”