Integrated marketing

The state of multichannel: your journey towards integrated and contextual marketing

Adobe released its “Digital Intelligence Briefing: The Multichannel Reality” report, conducted with Econsultancy. At first sight, it seems that in the last two years there hasn’t changed a lot in multichannel marketing.

So, haven’t businesses been catching up with the way consumers engage across channels? Haven’t they been busy embracing a more integrated marketing approach on the levels on channels, campaigns and the likes? On the customer level? Well, they have. More than the graphic below from the report shows and as we cover in this blog.

Quoting from the briefing: “the reality…is more dynamic than these static figures suggest. After all, multichannel marketing has to respond to the changes in how consumers use, need and want brand information that are happening in every sector at an unprecedented rate”.

Evolutions of the integrated marketing approach - source Adobe and Econsultancy

Evolutions of the integrated marketing approach – source Adobe and Econsultancy

Hyper-contextuality is coming: catching up with the multichannel consumer

Still, there is quite some catching up to do. It’s not (always) because businesses don’t know what to do. They know the challenges at hand, understand very well that consumer behaviour has changed. They do realise that an actionable single customer view matters a lot. Multichannel, omni-channel, cross-channel: brands know the directions in which to move. And it’s not just the channels: devices, situation, intent, touchpoints, data, personalisation, personality, the everything. Or in other words: the context.

Soon we might as well call it omni-omni and the hyper-contextual and customer-centric dimension will continue to become even more important. Context is what it will all be about in the broadest possible sense of the word.

The obstacles on the way to multichannel, integrated marketing consistency

But, if business know what to do, then why is there still that gap? That apparent inability to ‘reconnect’ with a consumer who moves at a faster pace than most business can, further broadening that gap? Why is it still so hard to get that single customer view, the ‘holy grail’ as the report calls it. In the end we’ve really been trying to get it since we talked about CRM. And that is a very long time ago. Finally, if we have that single customer view, not for the sake of it but for the sake of integrating around and for the consumer, then why is it still hard to act upon the insights it offers – or should offer?

On top of a really rapidly changing market and broader consumer context, there are numerous reasons. An overview.

Non-integrated (ad) tech platforms

According to the Adobe and Econsultancy brief, non-integrated tech platforms are the number one obstacle to achieve consistently integrated marketing activities (56% of respondents). That’s good news for Adobe and for all those businesses getting their marketing technology and overall tech stack in order.

The challenge and missed opportunities of disjointed data

Disparate data sources comes in second. Disjointed data and thus the inability to achieve that single – actionable – view and the benefits offered by smart data on the level of customer-centricity, creativity and efficiency are seen as an obstacle to integrated marketing activities by 47% of respondents. That’s good news for you as it’s exactly in the area of data (and creativity) – put at work for campaigns and consumers with a key focus on digital – we’ve been and are investing in: to make you more efficient and your customers more engaged.

Organisational, cultural, knowledge and management challenges

Obviously it’s not all about technology and data. Just as the human dimension is key in marketing, regardless of how much tech and data-driven do matter, it is also essential in overcoming the hurdles towards a more consistent integrated approach. So, it’s not that big of a surprise that organisation structure (people and process) ranks third with 40% of respondents. We see the human dimension also in the obstacles regarding company culture (33%), the lack of marketing skills (25%) and a lack of senior level buy-in (20%). Digital marketing transformation is a lot about these challenges too.

The complex buyer journey and need to make the ROI case

However, the fourth and fifth main obstacle are respectively the complexity of the customer journey (39%) and lack of budget (38%). While we’ll cover that complexity of the customer journey in follow-up blog posts (remember the pace at which everything changes but also check out the quote regarding mapping), a word on that lack of budget. It’s closely related with the lack of senior level-buy-in and marketing skills on one hand and non-integrated platforms and disconnected data sources on the other. Data and integration don’t just drive great creative and effective campaigns. They also help you make the case of marketing ROI and for more budget. But it also requires the skills to make that case and get that buy-in.

“Only 10% of companies ‘match channels and content to a well-mapped customer journey’”

— Adobe
The single customer view customer journey analysis and data-driven marketing decisions in real time as key challenges in the context of integrated marketing - source Econsultancy

The single customer view, customer journey analysis and data-driven marketing decisions in real time as key challenges in the context of integrated marketing – source Econsultancy

It’s never been a better time to be a marketer

We’ll certainly come back on topics in the brief which you can get here. But some of the key stumbling close are clear. The how is another ball game and food for more blogs.

John Travis - Adobe

John Travis – Adobe

In the meantime the last word is for Adobe’s John Travis who wrote the foreword of the briefing. A quote: “Pulling in data from purchase histories, browsing behaviour and social interactions, among other sources, our technology can help you design and manage your campaigns in an agile manner to ensure your customers are getting the right message at the right time, whether via a text, an email, a display or video ad”.

It’s what Wunderman is about: data, agility, the right things and the customer/consumer, spiced with a solid dose of emotion and creative across and beyond channels. It’s a good and fun place to be in for us, our customers and their customers.

To quote John Travis again “it’s never been a better time to be a marketer”. And it’s never been a better and more fun time to work with marketers.