SAPVoice: How To Ensure Marketing Excels In A World After Choice

by Shady Ghattas, Customer Solution Director, SAP Hybris Canada

Have you noticed how stressed out many marketing professionals seem to have become over the past few years? It’s because an Internet media explosion has created more customer touchpoints than marketers can possibly keep up with.

automation-marketingThe core of marketing has always been about choice/rejection, getting customers to choose our brand and reject theirs. Yesterday’s marketers controlled these moments of truth relatively easily in the days of TV, magazines, billboards and the like — but social media creates more moments of truth than marketers could ever hope to manage.

So marketers are struggling, especially as CEOs push CMOs harder and harder to prove the ROI of their marketing investments. That’s why I want to focus on how you’ll need to do marketing to be successful five to 10 years from now (and how you can start laying the foundations today, so you don’t get caught unprepared again).

How a Consumer Revolution Will Transform Marketing

Automation will be the foundation of marketing’s next wave, which has already begun in some areas. And it will revolutionize marketing by removing choice/rejection from the equation.

Amazon Dash, for example, allows you to simply press a button to purchase a product. And the smart fridge in your kitchen’s future will order milk for you when it recognizes that you’re running low.

This means that many of the virtually mindless, purely habitual purchases you make today — all of those moments of truth — won’t be choice/rejection decisions you’ll make in the future. And the possibility of you choosing something new will plummet from 1 percent to 0.1 percent.

That is a world of difference to marketers. And it’s a difference that Unilever seems to understand, given its $1 billion acquisition of Dollar Shave Club.

Getting Automation Right

How does a competing brand of laundry detergent entice you to choose their product when you no longer go into the store to select your usual brand? How do marketers get you to switch to their brand if they can no longer tempt you with the traditional 4Ps of marketing: an attractive promotion, superior product placement, better pricing or product?

The marketer can no longer be about just marketing. The marketer needs to become an expert on the entire customer experience, which includes the front office and the back office working together perfectly — from ordering to delivery.

If I press the Dash order button, but my order never arrives, that’s not a positive experience. If my billing is out of whack, that’s not a positive experience either.

Automation is an opportunity for brands to offer a better overall experience, and to win in the market. Brands that get the automation piece right — integrating their front and back office, and offering that amazing customer experience — will see their margins rise and their risk of losing customers fall significantly.

The Future Belongs to the Connected

The companies that succeed in the digital age will be those that get the customer experience right and understand that it’s about the power of connecting the business and the brand at every node. This is an opportunity for emerging players to steal market share, but it’s also an opportunity for market leaders to keep a firm grip on theirs.

“Spending billions to remind consumers to buy your brand will seem inordinately wasteful,” Ivey Business School marketing professor Niraj Dawar stated in Harvard Business Review last year. “Instead, advertising dollars will be redeployed to building relationships, challenging incumbents, increasing rates of consumption, and influencing algorithm designers and owners.”

The future of marketing is a highly complex, contentious and potentially stressful topic. But marketers who evolve with technology will meet CEO expectations by mastering the customer experience.

This story originally appeared on the SAP Community.

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