4 forces shaping customer engagement and 3 priorities to address it from Gartner

At this year’s Gartner Marketing Conference there is a lot of talk about the forces driving change and the technologies to manage them.

What first appears to be a summit for marketers is truly a forum for MarTech roles, as today’s landscape is full of platforms that track the customer journey. A lot of this is due to the trend of convergence where ad technologies and marketing technologies are heating up the 3,500 vendors vying for this space.

According to Mike McGuire, vice-president of research at Gartner, what’s not going to happen is finding a single vendor to manage four identified forces to allow real-time triggers for customer engagement.

Four forces shaping customer engagement

CMOs are being driven to heavily invest in technology by the need to work within a fluid environment. No longer is it good enough to use tools that limit users to navigating at a fixed point in time. Instead, marketers are looking to navigate a time-space continuum to better pinpoint a buyer’s journey. Customers don’t appreciate the “batch and blast” approach, and only technology can help replace it with relevant engagement tactics triggered by customer requests.

The second force is a shift to event-triggered marketing. The technologies available can now take a marketer from a set of fixed campaigns to what is termed ‘fluid marketing.’ This is based on multiple factors such as knowing when a customer hits your site for the first time. Or it could be a customer returning to your site after a long absence. For a retailer, it could be a prospect hitting a Bluetooth beacon. All three situations call for a different approach to messaging to engage the person on their buyer’s journey.

The third force is for mature marketing organizations that have the ability and technology budget to create a single, unified view of the customer. This is a complete picture that takes information from a multi-channel perspective that covers online, mobile, and traditional touchpoints all mapped to a new type of platform called Customer Journey Analytics that resides in a marketing technology hub. However, it doesn’t stop there. You will require the right types of people to determine trends, needs and opportunities ranging from data scientists to an analytics team.

The final and fourth force discussed is the changing hands of the technology budgets, with at least 40 per cent of P&Ls fully sitting in the CMO’s office and 71 per cent of CMOs at least sharing in the budget with their counterparts.

Gartner analysts also described and classified certain technologies in the world of marketers as short-term priorities. Here are three worth mentioning.

By 2018, orgs that excel in #personalization will outsell companies that don’t by 20%.
By 2018, orgs that excel in #personalization will outsell companies that don’t by 20 per cent. (Source: Gartner)


Garter’s top 3 priorities for marketers

1. Considered a five to 10 year priority in the technology stack, Gartner mentions mobile marketing analytics. This innovative technology has nascent capabilities, where mobile is the connection to marketing activities. It’s now in its infancy stage but maturing quickly. The pundits are telling large enterprises to invest now and test how such technologies will work with the business and marketing strategies. Veterans tell you to start with existing KPIs to create new mobile KPIs that will drive your revenues.

2. Next on Gartner’s list are digital marketing hubs. These are systems matching applications that can create on-going relevant conversations that add value to the buyer’s journey. Usually, this entails acquiring capabilities by working with third-party cloud suppliers such as listening applications. It’s important to set clear objectives of what you wish to accomplish from these investments over a three-year period. For B-to-C applications (business to consumer) the digital commerce applications remain a priority in helping to support your ability to sell, convert and retain customers.

3. Saving the best for the last, there remains much drama around what some term as multi-channel marketing. Gartner prefers this methodology to delving into the “omni-channel” strategy, where too many channels can drown an otherwise effective message. Multi-channel marketing begins with building into your systems the capability to create real-time personas and profiles that help trigger the right campaigns. You do require the single customer view to do this properly, which means managing across chosen engagement channels.

Starbucks, for example, has set out to master three channels rather than all channels; mobile, mobile payments, and the in-store experience of having your coffee prepared by your favorite barista on your arrival to the location near your work or home.

By using the right set of channels, rather than setting out to use all the channels, all the time, you can create over the lifetime of the relationship with your customer a better way to deepen the bond to your brand and create on-going value that reaps in more profits.

The bottom line is that CMOs need to be a bit like venture capitalists, taking some risks to make these seeds of investment. It’s important to take the time to strategize what is required to deliver value to the customer or buyer’s journey, and to always have an end in mind before you begin.

Fawn Annan
Fawn Annan
Fawn Annan is the President and Group Publisher of IT World Canada/IDG Canada, the largest global IT media company located in 87 countries. Its global brands such as CanadianCIO and Computing Canada are written with local views for global IT issues.

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