Integration – the one truism that should underpin all businesses

By on November 26, 2014
integration

With the explosion and exponential growth of marketing technology, businesses are spending billions to acquire the tools and capabilities to better connect with and service their customers, writes Scott Cundill, Founder of Majestic3.com.

This has been confirmed by researcher and consultant for the International Data Corporation (IDC), Gerry Murray, who says organisations worldwide will spend some $20.2 billion on software solutions for marketing in 2014 alone. Further to this, he predicts that the marketing software market is expected to grow to more than R323 billion by 2018 (indicating a compound annual growth rate of 12.4 percent), making marketing technology one of the fastest-growing areas in the high tech world of today.

But to make it all worthwhile, integration will become everything to businesses that understand the necessity and scope of opportunity to connect with and add value to their customers in an intelligent, multi-faceted and ongoing manner. Integration provides the gateway to communicate to customers through multi-dimensional touch points in real-time. And real time is where authentic value and relevance lie.

Consumer markets are becoming more intelligent and tech savvy, rapidly adopting and utilising new technology in their everyday lives. This impacts their life-styles, spending patterns and buying behaviour, all of which change in real-time. In order for businesses to be relevant to a fragmented and multifaceted world of the consumer – communicating in an intelligent and integrated way is key.

Being able to disseminate valuable and relevant content to consumers at multiple touch points at the right time and place is inarguably invaluable.

Experts predict that all these massive investments in marketing technology, on a global scale, mark just the beginning of the beginning. And with this comes the recognition of the pivotal and vital place of marketing within businesses of today. So why do so many established enterprises continue to treat marketing as a support function and a somewhat begrudged cost centre?

Brands are investing billions in technology that essentially creates a better marketing mousetrap, but what are businesses doing to ensure that software is integrated and seamlessly functions in unison?

We need to change our traditional worldview of business and challenge what we are accustomed to. For example, the power of integration surpasses the traditional marketing domain and can be applied through enterprise technology solutions in order to optimise business processes in real-time – and all geared towards transmitting relevant, personal and engaging communication to customers.

If our goal is to truly leverage technology to communicate to customers in real-time, then real-time workflow strategies are a must.

Let’s explore an example of how workflow or operational marketing can be applied in an integrated manner:

Say you have just invoiced a customer, and a predetermined query raises the flag that this customer has not been invoiced in at least 12 months. Furthermore, the value of that customer is extremely high. In simple terms, it is clear that an old customer, who is very valuable to the company, has returned. Such a flag should immediately trigger a personal “welcome back” email from a senior manager, or possibly even a phone call.

While software will solve marketing process, automation and other problems, it will be the ability of this technology to integrate disparate departments and isolated systems with the simple goal of seeing a 360 degree view of consumers and communicating to them in a way that will add value to their lives.

The future will belong to those businesses who understand that their customers are on a journey, and that they are sharing this journey with them. We need to change our world view and integration makes the global enterprise more locally accessible and relevant to multi-tiered markets. Those businesses that realise that authentic communication is the only real currency that matters will be the brands of tomorrow.

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