Marketing Automation is the New Whale Oil, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity

Marketers must remember that data by itself is not powerful, but grants power to those who can understand it and effectively deploy their learnings. (iStock Image)

By Priyam Jha

A long time ago, whale oil was the most popular commodity in the world. From street lights to seagoing vessels, it powered the world in the 18th century. Soon after, crude took over. Oil is called black gold because the world literally spins on it. But now the status quo has changed. Data is indeed the new oil, the most valuable new commodity in the world.

Data has taken over everything as the world goes online. Armed with cheap smartphones and mobile data, today’s consumer is eager to experiment with digital solutions tailored to their needs. Take e-commerce, for example: by 2025, India will have a $99 billion e-commerce market, growing 27% year-on-year.

But, of course, the pandemic has dramatically accelerated timelines for digital transformation, and consumers are increasingly demanding online solutions that deliver value securely, with minimal human interaction. As a result, e-commerce order volumes in India grew by 36% in Q4 2020. Additionally, the personal care category alone grew by 95%!

India presents a unique challenge for consumer brands. As the market matures, customers become more discerning, actively seeking individual experiences from brands they have come to love based on their values ​​and past experiences.

The solution lies in creating a robust digital experience that extracts insights from personal and behavioral data to power a hyper-personalized engagement strategy. Imagine a system working across multiple digital touchpoints, noting every digital and offline interaction, updating the customer profile in the backend, and creating a single, more powerful perspective for marketing teams to take the next step.

Brands look at their customers from a new angle, which means analyzing their entire life cycle and adapting communication according to their current stage. And there is a central element that powers this strategy: customer data.

​With COVID accelerating brands going digital, it has created so much online clutter that most digital formats have now become the norm…

Customers leave data clues like a breadcrumb trail as they scour the farthest corners of the internet and their favorite websites and apps. For marketers, it’s hard to make sense of this barrage of information. The key word here is insight, the backbone of any data-driven growth strategy. Here, a robust marketing automation solution shines for consumer brands with millions of customers, sparse data, and an urgent need to improve user experience. According to an Ascend2 survey, 64% of respondents prioritized marketing automation optimization to create a successful marketing strategy. In an Investcro study, 91% of respondents rated marketing automation as a critical part of their online marketing success.

A marketing automation solution is the most critical enabler of crucial customer information that fuels enjoyable customer experiences and defines a brand. Gone are the days when martech platforms were limited to running massive campaigns.

Modern martech solutions have come a long way, helping brands craft a smart engagement strategy that combines personal preferences, demographics, and behavioral data. The idea is to offer an individual experience to each customer, even on a large scale.

If we look at Amazon, their UX might seem intimidating at first glance. Yet for the individual user, the chaos slowly begins to make sense. Their homepage (web + mobile) is deeply personalized, tailor-made for each user. Their engagement strategy focuses on providing hyper-personalized recommendations. By assimilating data from past purchases, search behavior, personal data, platform sales figures, and other inputs, the algorithm serves up a tailored experience that feels individual. (This powers 35% of their platform’s sales, by the way)

For brands to do the same, they need a single, powerful marketing automation solution that can manage scale and empower marketing and product teams to create data-driven engagement loops. .

A successful marketing automation solution should ideally be able to do the following:

1) Break down data silos and centralize customer data from multiple sources
2) Create a unified user view that captures all facets of the customer journey
3) Leverage customer insights in campaigns to facilitate a highly contextual omnichannel engagement strategy
4) Create highly complex, trigger-based, fully automated, and conversion-friendly marketing campaigns
5) Delight customers at scale with personalized, hyper-personalized engagement across every channel
6) Analyze and extract critical marketing, campaign and revenue insights to help marketers understand the ROI of their efforts
7) The ability to create an intelligent engagement layer that leverages the power of context to create positive interactions at a recurring rate that generate brand loyalty
8) Give marketers access to key engagement channels like push notifications, Whatsapp, etc.

Marketers must remember that data by itself is not powerful, but grants power to those who can understand it and effectively deploy their learnings. The answer to the limitless growth of digital consumer brands lies in their ability to adapt to the changing needs of a dynamic market, ever-changing consumers and an ever-changing technology landscape.

-The author is AVP, Brand Marketing, WebEngage. The opinions expressed are personal.