When AdTech Meets MarTech, Part 2
This is part two of a two-part series; part one ran last Friday.
As ad technology (AdTech) and marketing technology (MarTech) veer ever closer, retail marketers are picturing the merged data payoff it could represent, helping to build stronger, more profitable customer relationships, ones that customers appreciate more, too. However, there are some key points to consider in order to pull this relationship off successfully. Here are three of those points, each centered around being smart with data.
1. Stalking — Not Just for Celebrities Anymore
We're all consumers, all taking the same steps as we consider, shop, buy and decide whether to continue relationships with brands. We have more power than ever to call the shots and bail when we feel like it; there are too many alternatives not to. Powerful as we are, though, there's a shadow lurking over our online shopping experiences: stalking. In an often clumsy use of technology, AdTech chases website visitors across their online travels, magically appearing at other landing points, no matter how incongruous they may be. To many, it feels like Big Brother meets big data. And you can’t really blame them.
Millennials, in particular, are reacting to these unwanted visitors with ad blocking — and more will follow. Too many people have been chased for 90 days even after they already bought a product in-store.
The algorithms behind all this tracking aren’t as smart as we once thought, and they forgot who holds the power now. Relying on third-party sources, marketers haven’t really been able to finesse dropping cookies and watching the clickstream to trigger ad follows and emails to their own customers.
It’s an important time to get more control of the process and connect with customers on their own terms. The goal is to get non-buyers to buy, and the ability to look at all their shopping behavior is a big competitive advantage. Offering without annoying is possible. The ability to own their clickstream data is a big step in that direction for e-commerce merchants.
2. It’s All About the Data, So Own It
For retail marketers, the smart ones anyway, AdTech and MarTech combining means data — unimaginably huge new sources of data that will let them reach the elusive goal of a single customer view. With this ability, aggressive stalking becomes a smooth, personalized experience that builds relationships without nagging. More like a dance than a tackle.
Their clickstream is going everywhere but to them, and it needs to be re-routed so businesses can own their own clickstream data and take a big step towards the single customer view.
Without relying on third-party data (and trying to resolve inconsistencies), retailers can see all store and site purchases in a stack. “Smart cookies” don’t have to become an IT project that sinks into the quagmire between marketing and IT.
Identity systems can operate without exposing personally identifiable information (PII) that could potentially identify a specific individual. Businesses can get a full view for themselves, then create enriched, enhanced profiles that let them speak to customers for a higher-dollar impact in a much less creepy way.
“Smart cookies” turn email addresses into personal information tokens that guide marketers to accurately attribute sources and sharpen profitability. This starts with a data “handshake” that begins to create identities and kick off a personally connected relationship. And since it’s business-owned, there’s no need for third-party audits to test this view of not just digital, but all buying behavior.
3. The Retail CMO Opportunity
For all the opportunity out there, these are tough times for retail chief marketing officers — and their mortality rate shows it, with average tenure sliding steadily. Data — and the ability to own, understand and maximize its value — is at the center of this issue. CMOs chops as technologists are being tested. Meanwhile, they can be held accountable unfairly, being responsible for overall spend as it relates to revenue, while they might only own the 15 percent e-commerce revenue.
CMOs survival depends on their data smarts, and the AdTech/MarTech convergence offers the chance to get smarter than ever before. However, they need to get their arms around the data by connecting the digital and store views that make up the whole customer — i.e., the real, omnichannel view.
The CMOs that will not only survive, but really cash in, will dance with their customers, not stalk them. They will regain control and insights by owning their clickstream data for digital, but also possess data for the entire retail experience. And they will boost profitability by attributing sources more accurately than ever before.
As retail marketers have learned — sometimes the hard way — consumers are in charge now. The AdTech/MarTech blend will give them the data and intelligence to respect that power while building mutually profitable relationships as we travel deeper into the digital age.
Augie MacCurrach is the CEO of Boston-based Customer Portfolios, a marketing technology leader that uses insight and analytics to increase customer value.