Everything in marketing starts and ends with your story. In fact, TopRight has built a business by helping marketers find their own unique and powerful intersection of effective storytelling and consumer action. There is, however a third dimension that must be brought forward: Technology.
Not just an enabler of your story, technology is an integral component of the story itself. The choices marketers make on technology, and our ability to execute strategy through those technologies, has a significant impact on marketing effectiveness.
Marketing is less about communication than it is about experience. People don’t just read or hear our message – they experience our brand, both digitally and physically. Technology is no longer “outside” the experience – it is the experience.
Marketing used to be about art and copy, but it is now also about programming and code and technology utilization and analytics. Ann Handley, chief content officer of MarketingProfs and a content marketing author and maven says, “Technology is only as good as the story.” True – if you are talking about technology as an enabler of marketing. I think it can be more. Consider marketing data as a new type of digital storytelling that is woven into the narrative of your buyer journey. Further, the app technology is not distinct from the content – they are inextricable components of the same customer experience.
Technology is how marketing sees and touches a customer. Choices of software affect your processes and the brand experience provided. Like it or not, depending on what is chosen and how it operates, marketers shape the customer journey around what is possible to produce.
We see so many more technologies in marketing today because the reach of marketing is expanding at such a rapid rate. There are at least four contributing factors at work:
- Marketing scope. In creating those interactive experiences, Marketing is increasingly viewed as a revenue source, not just an expense. Marketing now participates across the entire customer lifecycle.
- Technology expansion. Technology is growing at an exponential rate. Every month or so we see a new consumer tech disruption (latest one: Apple Watch), as well as new enterprise/marketing technologies (think ad retargeting, Facebook Instant Articles, advanced personalization tools). There is so much technology at our disposal as consumers that we take it for granted. Amazon, Google, Uber, AirBnB – all these companies create experiences based on pretty advanced technologies, yet consumers consider them “air” – ubiquitous, free, unlimited.
- Virtual enablement. The viability of virtual business is mainstream. This simplifies issues of time zone, talent recruitment and team collaboration on the brand side, and removes frictions for access, instant purchase and multi-channel access on the consumer side.
- Cloud economies. It’s easier to create, develop, sell and innovate new technologies because the cloud provides the benefits of scale, speed to market, and adaptability (keeping current). While cloud and hosted technologies reduce the friction for purchase, user adoption is still a big challenge. Many technologies are in-house but not utilized fully.
Scott Brinker, author of the Marketing Technology blog, is a shameless advocate for how the role of marketing technologist is essential for the sophisticated marketing organization. He laments that while marketing technology is growing exponentially (IDC tracks it going from $20B in 2014 to $32.4B by 2018), “Organizations only advance logarithmically, not exponentially.” Thus, keeping up with all these marketing technologies can be a huge burden. Talk about scope: Scott has mapped out a marketing technology landscape systems overview with more than 2,000 vendors.
People don’t just read your narrative, they experience it. Are you optimizing the marketing technology opportunity for your company – and ready to expand your customer experiences exponentially to the #TopRight corner? Take our Integrated Marketing Report Card to benchmark your current operation and outline your immediate opportunity.