Technology for many marketing professionals these days brings so many choices and so much opportunities as well. As always, the need for it to be fast is really important, but in fact, getting things right is far more critical. For some, just working with technology for technology’s sake may not be the way forward.
The principal of R3, Greg Paull, heads a global consultancy, which focuses purely on marketers’ needs, and the company recently issued a report that takes a look at 40 marketing technology companies making change from their clients across the globe.
Greg notes the company’s unique position among consultancies – one which has been going strong for the better part of two decades.
“We started the company about 17 years ago, and I think we started very much in a sense of being there to help marketers – quite frankly, we’re still doing that 17 years later,” Greg tells MarketingTech. “I think all that’s changed is the environment that marketers are in.
“Someone like a McKinsey or Bain or BCG [Boston Consulting Group] can serve the CEO, KPMG and Ernst & Young can serve the CFO, but [there isn’t] a voice for the CMO,” adds Greg. “It’s very much the foundation we started the company on, and we’ve gone from there.”
“Consumers have become far more ad-averse than they were 15 years ago,” explains Greg. “There are still millions of consumers blocking ads on their phones, [and that’s] only going to increase. As strong as data is, there’s just as much of a need to have relevant and appropriate messaging – and that’s become more critical than ever.”
This is an important facet to note; the technology always remains a conduit to the data, and the data ultimately always remains a conduit to the customer experience. “I think that’s very important,” says Greg. “I think there’s a danger in being caught up with shiny new objects.
“We took quite a bit of time in the report to say ‘look, is your brand really going to benefit from this type of technology?’ It’s kind of a checklist for marketers, for each of the 12 different technologies that we profiled,” he adds. “I think those are really crucial. Without that there is the sense of [asking] ‘do I need to play catch up just to get involved in these sectors?’
“Not all sectors are going to be right at all stages of a consumer journey, so I think it’s really about finding the right ones at the right time.”
Some brands cropped up more than others in the report. Coca-Cola, for instance, made no fewer than five appearances as customers of startups focusing on augmented reality, data intelligence, ad tech, and more. Yet Greg argues you don’t have to be a big brand to make the most of these initiatives.
“I think the whole role of chatbots and artificial intelligence can play a role for almost any marketer,” he says. “You can learn a lot from the larger marketers, but these are things that aren’t exclusive to those with the [big] budgets.
“There’s a need for all marketers to embrace technology in an engaging way.”
Artificial intelligence and automation are areas Greg expects will open up a myriad of possibilities. They will eventually create the standard, which is data-driven personalisation. Netflix for instance runs millions of different messages each day.
While Greg notes the need to be cautious for now, it is an example of what he calls ‘dynamic creative’ at play. No longer are we advertising ‘at’ people, but ‘with’ people. “There’s a dialogue going on,” he explains. “In the future, we will advertise ‘for’ people.”
“One of the key things is the role of internal stakeholders,” he says. “Marketing in the 21st century is more of a collaborative experience, engaging your technology team and your sales team. If you look at eCommerce, that’s a marketing-led function that involves parts of the whole company, as well as the C-suite.
“We’re increasingly seeing CTOs and CMOs working in a much more collaborative way than they were four, five years ago,” Greg adds. “That’s going to be crucial to the future as well.”
“I think the key thing is to look at lessons learned,” says Greg. “Don’t sit back on the sidelines and wait; start an incubator, start something internally, get some reverse mentoring.
“This is not something you can put on the back burner for six months and then revisit – these are technologies that are being actively used today by leading marketers. It just doesn’t make sense for you to not be playing an active role in this whole process.”
Gregg Paull will be the head of the Judging Panel at Marketing Magazine’s CMO AWARDS 2019!
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