Customer needs have radically shifted over the last few years, and so has the patchwork of tools for marketing teams to quickly adapt to them. This disjointed landscape is costly, and complicated, and causes fractured marketing efforts that prevent truly seamless customer experiences.
It’s time to take stock and refine our technology toolkit to best support our core marketing strategies. That requires starting at the foundation, integrating solutions that are easy to use and configure, and ensuring flexibility for business changes. We need to transform our collective building blocks and streamline our martech stack into a shining tower of productivity.
Ensure a Strong Foundation
All marketing strategies revolve around the combination of three crucial components – audience, product, and channel. We identify who to talk to, what to tell them, and the best way to reach them. The most powerful martech stacks align with these strategies and create a strong foundation to execute in each area.
Most marketing solutions concentrate on the target audience or the channel of communication:
Customer relationship management (CRM) creates the framework for managing information about our targets and the journey to becoming a loyal repeat customer. Although traditionally focused on B2B marketing, CRM is increasingly necessary for B2C businesses for capturing audience feedback to personalize the customer experience and improve retargeting. More than a simple contact database, CRM tracks lead attribution and provides insights on how marketing campaigns influence sales pipeline and customer growth.
The typical martech stack primarily focuses on customer communication channels, with “marketing hubs” pulling together once disparate solutions. These distribute creative content and optimize success within a given stream. The most common marketing automation platforms publish through email, social media, and various forms of advertising, and include experience optimization for personalization and testing. In addition, marketing teams use content management systems (CMS) to build robust websites and layer in experiential webinar tools and search engine optimization (SEO) to attract valuable traffic.
The Missing Link – Product
Leaving the product completely out of the martech stack is a critical mistake too many marketing leaders are making. How do our teams know what to tell audiences? How do we know when products are available, what products to include in a promotion, which channels need info, or when to update content as products change?
Trustworthy, current, and accurate product data sources are needed in two areas of customer-facing content:
- Product Attributes. With the rise of digital commerce, marketplaces, distributor portals, and sales enablement tools, product attributes are more important than ever. Attributes define a service or product and include technical product specifications, like dimensions and operating standards, marketing claims, and feature callouts. Used strategically, attributes help you stand out in noisy, competitive markets by increasing search views and speaking directly to customers’ specific needs. Product attributes can’t be ignored as an integral ingredient in the martech mix.
- Digital Assets. Buyers across channels today demand enhanced product content – images, videos, comparison charts, and user guides. These assets communicate a product’s unique value in more creative ways than text alone. For example, Amazon, incorporating A+ Content like this increases product sales by an average of 3%-10%. While many marketing teams have a version of digital asset management (DAM), it is typically focused on storing static files separate from product systems of record. It quickly becomes difficult to find which images or videos are related to certain individual SKUs, product lines, or seasonal assortments to maintain content over time.
Traditional tools assume that the information and graphics being sent are accurate and up-to-date, but what if they’re not?
In most organizations, product information is scattered across siloed systems, leaving marketers searching for data rather than focusing on crafting compelling customer content. Product information management (PIM) systems can deliver a single, trusted source for product attributes and assets.
Accurate Product Information Elevates the Customer Experience
PIM helps brands centralize, enrich, and activate product information to create enhanced omnichannel customer experiences that drive revenue. PIM can deliver the product attributes and digital assets marketers need to do their job more effectively. With early product insight, marketers can ensure products are in the market faster than the competition.
Here’s how PIM delivers value:
- Gathers and unifies product data from various sources to create a single point of reference
- Streamlines enhanced content creation through embedded collaboration with attribute inheritance to reduce repetitive tasks and digital asset management within the product record
- Saves manual data entry by carrying existing product data forward to be reused for new product or variant launches
- Accelerates product launches and speeds updates to customer channels
- Eliminates unnecessary data downloading or reformatting of spreadsheets by dynamically adapting content to each channel’s data taxonomy
The Path Forward
Marketing technologies can streamline internal collaboration, analyze campaign performance, and conduct personalized and proactive communication with customers – but only if the stack supports the three cornerstones of marketing strategy … Audience, Channel, AND Product.
Tune in to MTC Podcast for visionary Martech Trends.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jill Mueller, Product Marketing Director at Propel Software
Jill Mueller is the Product Marketing Director at Propel Software, where her passion for bringing brands to life drives strategic growth. Her experience in both retail and manufacturing provides a strong balance of marketing, development, and production knowledge. Prior to joining Propel, Jill worked with private-equity-backed firms to identify and execute market growth opportunities, including channel expansion, product category launches, and global supply chain improvements.