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The 2014 Marketing Ecosystem

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(Posted on Jan 13, 2014 at 04:02AM by William Cosgrove)
For maybe the first time in history, there is a surplus of technology and strategy to help advance both sales and marketing of a business, while at the same time a lack of resources and understanding to utilize it to its fullest capacity.

That’s not to say that marketers are less educated or qualified, it’s just that they have become over specialized and often don’t pull back to see the larger picture. This gap between tools available and execution presents an opportunity for those that understand the entire ecosystem.

Marketing technologists (those that understand how it all fits together) will become invaluable as businesses adopt customer relationship management solutions, email service providers, content management systems, and big data. Closing the loop on marketing ROI becomes both easier and more complicated at the same time.

Take this common example, a company exec or CMO attends an industry event and buys in to the latest marketing craze. They hear buzzwords like mobile marketing, SEO, retargeting, inbound marketing, or social media engagement. They come back, tell their senior leaders and their team; everyone gets on board. They say, “Okay, go!”

The CMO’s team will likely look back and say, “So, how are we going to do this?”

Start off with just one of the many components of a successful marketing campaign. How do we send a simple email? Do they use ExactTarget, MailChimp, Contactology, Responsys, Vertical Response, Constant Contact or a dozen others. Say they choose one (or likely had one already), where does the data come from? If it’s any type of intelligent or dynamic campaign, a CRM such as SalesForce, Oracle, Zoho, Sugar, or a dozen others are needed. How easy is it to sync them “out of the box” and pass data back and forth? How does the CRM connect to the company’s sales data? Is it possible to flag the contacts and showcase which ones are more engaged?

Say, that’s vetted and connected. They now have contacts in the Email Tool and want to do triggered emails based on their web behavior, i.e. shopping cart abandonment. How does the Analytics provide that information? Can you get it from Google Analytics or Web Trends? Probably not. Or do you need a more advanced tool like Core Metrics or MyBuys that serves up emails based on web behavior? Now they’re getting closer but is there a better way? How much is that going to cost? What about the user’s over digital footprint and does it go back into the CRM to tell the sales staff?

These types of requirements are now getting into the Marketing Automation world and are likely beyond the scope of the initial project to just send emails. Do they go with a top-of-the-line tool like Eloqua, or Marketo? Who’s going to set that up and what are the requirements? Scratch that, what the heck is marketing automation and what can it do? Maybe a simpler mid-size tool like Hubspot of Act-on is a better fit, but does it meet all the requirements? What are the requiremens? What if they have distributed sending model such as on behalf of resellers or a B2B2B model? Do the tools handle multiple lists of multiple companies and different permissions for all? Who’s going to architect that out? They finally choose one of these and initial email tool now becomes obsolete and gets scrapped. Then they have to re-figure out how this connects to the CRM, which requires an entire new tag that goes on the website to get visitor data.

Now that the infrastructure is almost built, it’s time to consider content. How does the content get created and what specific offer or message will resonate with the audience? How is the audience defined? From the CRM would be best but it’s likely that data needs to be cleaned and segmented. Once you have your audience, it’s time to publish the content across all channels. It should probably go up on their website. This means they need a content management system such as WordPress, SharePoint, Joomla, or Drupal. What are the call-to-actions? How do those actions get back into the CRM and Marketing Automation system? Which one do they post into? How do they trigger a welcome email? And how do they optimize the landing page for better conversions? Does the CRM or Marketing Automation tool host landing pages? Didn’t think of that. Or do they use a tool like Unbounce or WuFoo? Does it post to into the CRM “out of the box?”

Once the infrastructure is in place, the content needs to be optimized to the search engine. Does the site architecture support the content generation plan so that they’ll get traffic over time? How are they tracking your ranking? Do they use a tool like RavenTools, SEOMOz, or AuthorityRank? Does the Marketing Automation tool provide any insight?

Then it’s necessary to consider mobile. If they chose a CMS or ESP, does it support responsive themes? Should they create a mobile site and now they are managing two different sites? Do they use a tool like BMobilize or DudaMobile? How are the emails optimized to mobile? Did they know every email client renders it differently and is about 10 years behind the HTML standards of web browsers? How do they test it, something like Litmus to see how it renders? Do they want to measure the deliverability, how about a tool like ReturnPath?

The point is, there are a large number of options and many moving pieces that need to work together seamlessly in order build and launch an effective targeted digital marketing campaign. Because of this, there is an opportunity for those that understand the whole picture. Marketing technologies will become invaluable as companies move into digital relationships with their prospects and customers.

They’ll be able to come in, ask many questions, identify the company goals and then say something like, “You need the infrastructure SalesForce CRM, HubSpot Marketing Automation, WordPress CMS, Google Analytics, and Unbounce. You can obtain contacts from Data.com. You can generate content with WriterAccess. You can launch campaigns with AdRoll, Google AdWords, Authority Rank, OutBrain.”

More importantly, the marketing technologist could facilitate the setup, configuration, and execution on this type of solution.

By Cody Ward