While customers’ expectations have never been higher, poor planning and execution continue to compromise the ability of brands to deliver against these expectations. The last few years have seen such an upswing in the use by brands of marketing technologies that provide the tools marketers need to connect with customers in a relevant, personalised way and — just as importantly — offer the chance to measure the impact of individual campaigns.

So why is a coordinated approach to campaigns important? The answer lies in changes to customers’ expectations about how they interact with brands. Customers demand a consistent experience whenever and wherever they opt for an interaction. They also anticipate being recognised — and their preferences accommodated — during each interaction.

When customers are confused, or feel they have been targeted either too frequently or with irrelevant messages, they become a flight risk — and rival brands, with their own marketing technology, are ready to pounce. The same applies whether your customers are businesses or consumers.

So how can brands maximise the likelihood that they will delight their customers?

The key is to create and execute an integrated marketing strategy supported by a seamless coordination between all teams involved in campaign planning and execution — including agencies and partners, as well as internal teams. The strategy should also provide for data capture, storage, analysis, use and reporting of customer information to build profiles and target campaigns effectively. This information should also be accessible for business planning and product or service development activities.

However, realising the objectives of an integrated marketing strategy may be easier said than done. Teams involved in a marketing campaign often rely on a plethora of products to perform their work — some of which may be ageing, functionally restricted and hard to integrate with more modern versions or different products. The systems used to capture and manage customer information may be similarly restricted.

Contemporary cloud-based platforms can provide a single view of customer data across a business — from both online and offline sources. It should deliver the insights needed to provide personalised experiences to customers across channels and departments. Furthermore, the platform should enable teams to understand what touch-points and channels enable them to reach audiences effectively.

Integration in action

Palladium Hotel Group (Palladium) — a hotel operator with 13,000 rooms in six countries — uses Marketing Cloud solutions to help realise its ambition of converting hotel guests into “lifelong fans”.

The company wanted first to identify customer needs and then direct its marketing dollars so that the right people saw the right message at the right time and place.

“Thanks to [SAP Customer Experience] and customer journey mapping, we are able to track how customers are responding to every single campaign and every single message we are delivering to them,” Palladium Director of Marketing, Inaky Bau, says.

The technology enables Palladium to capture customer preferences and behaviors before, during and after their stay and update offers and profiles in real time.

For example, Palladium guests wear bracelets during their stay allowing them to easily access their room and hotel facilities. While it creates a better customer experience for guests, Palladium gains a real time view of the customer, allowing them to provide personalised offers to guests during their stay.

The real time data collection also enriches customer profiles, ultimately allowing Palladium to deliver consistent, personalised experiences across different channels and locations.

That benefit supplements more effective traditional marketing campaigns. Since adopting the solution and gaining a better understanding of the customer, the business recorded a 22 per cent increase in email open rates, 55 per cent faster campaign creations, and boosted the engagement of customers.

Swiss milk processor Emmi Group is another business which has been able to successfully deploy marketing technology to boost the performance of its marketing campaigns. The business — which produces a range of dairy and fresh products — undertook a digital transformation aimed at providing a high-quality digital customer experience.

By shifting from traditional marketing to a more personalised digital approach, it put itself in a position to exploit customer touch-points such as social channels and web sites more efficiently.

In addition to SAP Marketing Cloud, it also utilised SAP Intelligent Notification 365 — an email API from SAP Digital Interconnect — to realise its ambition of becoming an agile and data-driven marketing organisation. The business went live with its first product campaign 11 weeks after system provision.

This email campaign led to a landing page that offered the chance to win tickets to a Swiss ski event. With SAP Marketing Cloud, the business says it achieved clear tracking of sent, delivered and opened emails. It also recorded an extension of the target group via Facebook Audience and Lookalike campaigns.

Emmi Group recorded a strong uptick of 31 per cent increase in known consumers — a conversion rate three times higher than for previous campaigns — as well as a 66 per cent increase in registration-to-click rates with Facebook Lookalike and real-time insights into marketing performance.

By deploying an integrated marketing strategy, businesses can deliver better customer outcomes and deliver substantial brand efficiencies. Brands will also also reap the rewards of greater control of data, such as better understanding the needs of individual customers.

About the author

Iain Ferguson is a corporate writer and editor with over 25 years experience. SAP is a is a corporate member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.

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