4 Rules To Getting Brandtech Right
Technology has been the great disruptor in nearly every industry, creating new business models and opportunities in its wake. In education, there’s edtech. In medicine, medtech.In finance, fintech.
In marketing, we have brandtech.
Brandtech builds on the martech notion of applying technology to marketing, but brandtech is deeper, more holistic, and more far-reaching. Brandtech doesn’t merely harness technology; it puts technology at the very core of the marketing function. It makes the creation and management of marketing campaigns more agile, more automated, and more intelligent.
Perhaps most importantly, brandtech can transform marketing from a hard-to-measure way of building awareness into a metrics-driven way to generate sales growth, deliver ROI, and create new businesses and business models.
CMOs have their work cut out for them, especially as they figure out how to disrupt traditional ways of working and engaging. Part of that involves bringing together a variety of disparate, often siloed tools under an integrated customer data platform. They also need to take a look at how they’re targeting communications at each stage of the customer life cycle.
According to Tata Consultancy Services’ research of more than 500 CMOs in North America and Europe, most communications are aimed at the awareness stage, while less is going to the conversion stage (72%), and even less is aimed at the retention (47%) and support stages (37%).
Now, some companies do understand the need for a holistic view of their customers and are getting it right. “One of the key things I consider really critical for a modern digital brand to do is to provide a very relevant and connected experience,” said Paramita Bhattacharya, global head of marketing at Nokia Technologies, at TCS Summit Europe in September. “As a brand, we should be aware of customers’ usage histories, their preferences, and [the] services they’ve been using. The availability of data gives you that information.”
But putting that data to work demands that every part of the process is enabled by technology. When planning a marketing campaign, for example, every question, from what are the expected outcomes to how to achieve them, should be technology-driven. Brandtech is a holistic approach to the why, what, and how of every marketing campaign.
To disrupt your own marketing function, consider a four-step approach to unlocking the power of brandtech:
1. Learn from IT and apply the lessons to marketing: Don’t focus on the technology itself. Focus on how technology teams and IT departments build products and implement their plans. They take an agile, iterative approach to creating, revising, and improving designs; to launching products and services quickly; and to mining customer feedback. CMOs need to understand and adopt IT’s agile approach to planning and executing marketing campaigns.
2. Partner with technology teams: For a full-blown brandtech strategy, partner with internal technology teams and get involved with their digital products. Almost every company that has a physical product has a complementary digital product. Banks, for example, have a real-world product (going to the branch) and a digital version (opening the app). Marketing needs to be part of that digital planning from the beginning. And CMOs cannot go at it alone. So, partner with technology teams, both internally and when possible, externally.
3. Think like a CIO: The third key to unlocking brandtech is to think like a CIO when overseeing your marketing organization. Examine your technology landscape. Even if you don’t, strictly speaking, own the backend technology infrastructure―and in many companies, that will be the case―you should still be involved in the technology architecture to ensure it meets your needs. Don’t outsource those decisions. By playing a role in defining the technology you need to use to do your job best, you are also determining how to reach, support, and retain your audience.
4. Hire tech-savvy marketers: Make sure your teams include a technology-savvy marketer so that your broader marketing team has someone they can go to who understands what technology can do for them. You can increase the digital expertise of people within the organization or bring in new people, but tech-savvy professionals are critical to keep track of the evolution in technology so that you can keep up with, and even stay ahead of, how customers may use technology in the future. It can help ensure you’re always generating the right content and the right creative for all phases of the customer journey and using the right technology to support each of those phases.
Ultimately, brandtech is not a destination. It’s a journey. And it’s a journey CMOs need to be able to access at every stage in order to have an impact. Brandtech means involving marketing and unifying technology across the entire customer journey, from sales and support to service after the sale. This demands access to as much real-time data as possible to make decisions and influence the channels in which customers engage after the sale is done. It doesn’t end with advertising or brand awareness. In fact, these elements are just the beginning.