Marketing technology – more commonly known as MarTech – is one of the fastest growing areas in technology today.
You may have heard of it, or even started to explore it. But instead of just dabbling in it, you really ought to try to understand it in it’s entirety.
After reading this, you should have a complete picture of the MarTech landscape and how it is revolutionizing many areas of business today.
Technology for Marketers – Why?
Yes, why? Why do marketers need technology? Simply put, the field of engagement with customers and potential customers has moved to the digital world.
Whether it is bargain hunters looking for discounted shoes as Christmas presents or an enterprise management team researching a new accounting firm, customers use digital means to find the things they want to buy. And statistics back this up.
According to research by We Are Social, residents worldwide spend up to 5.2 hours per day on the internet. This increasingly translates into their buying decisions being made online. For instance, online reviews play a huge part in influencing choices.
So – marketers have a great chance to reach their customers through digital channels, and they NEED to, because that’s where people are and where they are deciding about what to buy and what not to buy.
That’s why marketers need technology.
The digitized customer journey
Remember the different steps of the customer journey?
Awareness, interest, consideration, intent, evaluation, decision, satisfaction
They still apply in the digital world – as much or more so than ever before. So if we wanted to put it into one sentence, we could say that marketing technology is the applications and platforms that allow marketers to engage with their potential customers in the digital space at every stage of the customer journey.
In the process, marketing technology helps brands:
- Target their potential customers in a more personal way
- Measure the success of their campaigns more accurately
- Collect and utilize data to make decisions and optimize their marketing spend
Now let’s take a trip through the customer journey and see how marketing technology helps throughout the entire cycle.
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MarTech for Awareness
Whether a customer has previously interacted with a brand before or not, getting his or her attention is vital. In the old days, this would be where marketers came up with ideas for print ads in newspapers and magazines, TV commercials or special branded events.
Now marketers need to reach out to their potential customers across an exploding number of digital channels:
- Display ads
- Search text ads
- Native ads
- Social media (organic and promoted posts)
- Organic content (text/audiovisual)
Of course, each category could be broken down even more and applied across the multiple devices that people use – desktop, smartphone, tablet. How can marketers deal with all of these possibilities? By using MarTech, of course!
Marketing technology allows marketers to control their messaging on these different channels and devices to:
- Build overall brand awareness
- Spark interest in new products or services
- Target specific, high-value audiences
What kind of technology is involved in the awareness stage of digital marketing?
1. Content Management Systems
To host a brand’s site, native content (blog/video channel), landing pages (integrated with search and display ads).
2. Programmatic advertising platforms
Demand-side platforms (DSPs) and Data Management Platforms (DMPs) – or solutions that combine elements of both, help marketers buy desktop, mobile, video or interactive ad inventory based on data about their potential audiences.
3. Content/Native ad/Social Media Marketing platforms
To control the workflow of content publication for awareness both on-site and on social media.
4. Search Engine Optimization/Marketing (SEO/SEM) tools
To support awareness-building through organic and paid search campaigns.
MarTech for Measuring Interest
After a person is first exposed to a brand, they may (or may not) start to become interested in engaging with it. Hopefully, the marketing “net” is starting to work…
But how will you know? How can you gauge whether a person is truly interested…and more importantly how much should you spend on trying to gain him or her as a customer?
Outside the digital space this information might be very hard to gather and even harder to quantify. In digital marketing, interest (or engagement, as it is often referred to) can be easier to measure on the basis of concrete data.
And because the internet is so incredibly vast, it is extremely important that marketers be able to decide what is working and what isn’t.
That’s why they need more MarTech.
1. Web analytics
The bread-and-butter tool for analyzing the most common metrics from on-site or in-app traffic. Web analytics platforms allow marketers to capture specific events linked to customer engagement (product pageviews, time/scoll-depth on-page, button clicks, etc.)
2. Tag management
For easier, even more detailed measurement of everything from on-site behaviour to conversions and results of optimization testing, marketers need tags. And the more they want to measure, the more tags they need. Tag management systems make it possible to handle large amounts of tags with limited technical knowledge.
3. Marketing automation platforms
Part of the process of measuring interest involves recording the data and setting it up to be used later. When working on a large scale (think hundreds, if not thousands of potential leads) an automated tool to support this process is absolutely necessary.
- Lead capturing: Gathering email addresses and contact information from visitors who download or access some gated content.
- Automatic scoring: Rating visitor actions based on importance in order to rank prospects by their likelihood to convert.
4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
To facilitate the link between marketers and sales teams, transfer data about prospects collected in various ways online (see above).
MarTech for Mid-Funnel Marketing
After the interest stage comes the harder part – moving potential customers along the journey towards converting. In the typical marketing funnel, this includes consideration, intent, evaluation.
At any of these mid-funnel stages, a prospect may “bounce” or disappear off a brand’s radar Conversely, a potential customer may do his or her research regarding a product or service and exhibit the first signs of interest after having already begun to evaluate it.
Either way, the challenge for marketers is to nurture new customers along or re-engage returning customers. The technical solutions listed above – when used effectively – can set up a marketer to do this very well.
Without some or all of the MarTech solutions mentioned below, a brand might benefit from an initial wave of interest because of a piece of popular marketing content, but never be able to turn it into a sale.
1. Lead nurturing/management tools
Most often the same tools that allow marketers to collect prospects’ contact information and capture data about important touchpoints, also allows marketing and sales teams to monitor their progress and initiate activities based on that progress.
Email marketing: One integral part of the lead nurturing process is email drip campaigns to maintain contact with past/prospective customers. Direct contact via email offers many opportunities for:
- Serving personalized content (articles/posts, recommended products)
- Offering special promotions
2. Data management & data-driven campaigns
Once a prospect reaches this stage of the buyer’s journey, the brand will (hopefully) have collected enough information to have a general picture of the prospect’s level of interest as well as the content (advertising or organic) that piqued his or her’s interest. Being able to capture and use this data is what makes MarTech truly powerful.
- DMP: A Data Management Platform helps combine data from a variety of sources (online and offline) and make it actionable for buying ad inventory across many publisher websites.
- Retargeting campaigns: If the data collected shows that someone has visited a brand’s site, made a purchase or otherwise engaged with a brand, that data (email address, tracking cookies) can be used to “retarget” that person with ads on sites they visit (including social media such as Facebook or LinkedIn).
- Content customization/personalization: Data about prospective customers can also be used to nurture them using customized content within an application or on a brand’s website.
3. Optimization and Mid-Funnel Analytics
As with interest measurement, marketers will want to know how well their mid-funnel activities are performing. But not only will they want to know how many customers are converting, but also at what point they are leaving the funnel, what elements of a web site or app are causing problems.
For this they need tools to evaluate customer interactions, test page elements and perform site and SEO audits. They may also want to get even more direct answers to why customers don’t convert and use automated site surveys directly on page or through email blasts.
MarTech for the Purchase & Post-Purchase Stage
The whole goal of MarTech – of course – is to eventually achieve success. That success can be defined in many ways, but most often it includes a sale.
But as everyone knows, a marketer’s job doesn’t end the moment the moment a customer decides to buy. It continues into the post-purchase stage with satisfaction measurement, re-engagement…and hopefully a repeat sale.
Sometimes a person gets right to the point of sale and then changes their mind. It then becomes a marketer’s job to find the “almost-customer” and bring him or her back.
Not such an easy task in the wide world of the web.
Fortunately there is…yes, MarTech…for that.
While the sale (or conversion of any kind) might be the ultimate goal of a marketer’s efforts, the first thing he or she will want to know afterwards is: “What brought this customer to us and what was effective in helping them convert?” This is why marketers need technical solutions to help attribute the various touchpoints of the individual customer’s path.
2. Ecommerce platforms
Helping ecommerce brands market their products on-site or in mobile apps, collect and aggregate information about purchases and other micro- or macro-conversions
3. Cart abandonment tools
To help track and re-engage customers that have jumped ship during the checkout process, ecommerce marketers can use tools that capture partially filled forms, identify returning visitors etc.
4. Data enrichment/management
Part of the success of marketers at this stage of the funnel is not only understanding how a customer converted, but also having all the data from that conversion for use in further marketing efforts. This means adding conversion data, purchase values and other data to the information already used to target interested parties with ads and promotions.
MarTech has significantly influenced the way that marketers do their work in recent years. It has given them the ability to interact with wider audiences, make smarter decisions and leverage the power of the internet to grow their businesses in ways that would not have been possible at all even 5-10 years ago.
Despite its sometimes intimidating complexity, the function of MarTech remains to support and improve the traditional marketing funnel, while making it more effective at every stage.