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DMPs – the make-or-break tool for all omni-channel marketers

Anoma van Eeden, CMO, Relay42, discusses how smart data management solutions can help to reconnect brands with their valued customer base.

It wasn’t all that long ago when marketers only had a handful of channels to worry about when it came to executing forward-thinking marketing strategies.

Often, communications would consist of something as linear as a single email that is sent out to an entire customer base, in the hope that a small percentage of that audience would click through to the offer or webpage that’s being promoted. As a marketer obsessed with delivering more nuanced, three-dimensional customer journeys – on a one-to-one level; this always annoyed me.

Personalised customer journeys

But this is in the past. Marketing departments must now broaden their efforts to abandon the one-to-many approach, and instead focus on one-to-one personalised customer journeys across all touchpoints, both on and offline – often dubbed omnichannel. Perhaps the industry is tired of the term omni-channel because of the ubiquitous omnipresence it implies. But when implemented and orchestrated properly, this can be an extremely effective way of acquiring and retaining long-lasting relationships with customers through meaningful, one-to-one dialogue.

Just imagine, for example, that a consumer is looking to book a holiday and asks a voice assistant for the cheapest flights to Barcelona. The voice assistant might scan the internet for the best deals before using sophisticated orchestration technology to send the results to the consumer’s mobile phone via push notification. Not only is the consumer left with the right product, at the right time, but the company can use this data to target the consumer with any relevant flights or deals in the future. All of this, stemming from a simple voice assistant query initiated by the consumer. Thinking like this on a broader level, marketers could optimise every marketing opportunity – and deliver value on every customer journey – extending it from a single channel exchange to a multi-channel journey.

But the rise of multi-channel marketing has also brought with it an array of jargon that confuses more than it enlightens, with too many acronyms describing best-in-class marketing technologies. While some of this terminology can be valuable in delivering tailored approaches across multiple channels, it also distracts us from the main goal of marketing: identifying brand awareness and revenue goals and deploying an appropriate marketing strategy to ensure those goals are met. The use of such language can also make us forget the sheer importance of not only assessing and measuring marketing data – but activating it too.

Ensuring that each customer’s journey is cohesive and consistent across all channels is a key requirement in achieving these marketing goals. Whether those goals might be acquiring new customers or increasing engagement among existing ones, marketers can ensure they have a much-increased chance of meeting them by using a centralised data management platform (DMP). These can go by several different names, including customer data platform (CDP) or universal data hub (UDH), and while each one has the same purpose, they often differ in terms of what they can achieve.

The most effective DMPs are agile and easy to set-up, and boast the sophistication, intelligence and flexibility to act as the beating heart of any marketing operation. The platform itself can be tweaked in-line with specific business goals, and then used to target numerous audiences or segments of individuals – no matter how niche the demographic – with the right message and context for their intentions and the organisation’s marketing goals. Ideally, at their core, DMPs should be system and platform agnostic, and allow for ‘plug and play’ capabilities which allows marketers to adapt, thrive and deliver immediate results in a constantly shifting technological landscape.

Flexible-by-design

DMPs which adopt this ‘flexible-by-design’ approach have already proved to be incredibly effective in meeting marketers’ existing goals. But perhaps the most valuable trait of DMPs is their compatibility with future channels and platforms. Tests have already been carried out on innovative new technologies including chatbots and artificial intelligence-led voice assistants, both of which could be seamlessly integrated into comprehensive customer journeys and marketing strategies when combined with a DMP.

DMPs can also take advantage of beacon technology to ensure that consumers receive push notifications on their smartphones only when they are relevant. It is unlikely that many people will take advantage of an offer for a free coffee when they are sat at home one evening, but send it to them while they’re sat waiting for a flight at the airport and the likelihood of them making use of that offer increases significantly. This shows us the value of context – and in turn, the value of DMP technology which can deliver on any customer context; present and future.

In a digital landscape that is home to more channels than ever before – and is only set to expand further over time – businesses face a significant challenge when it comes to achieving a successful, future-proof marketing strategy amidst the sea of jargon. Taking a step back, marketers ultimately require a centralised platform that allows them to orchestrate effective customer journeys that are personalised towards their audience and delivered in a human way, both now and for years to come, and the best solution for this is without a doubt an agile, plug-and-play DMP.

Relay42 offers a data management platform for marketers designed to help fix broken customer journeys by connecting every touchpoint.

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