Marketers In A Developing Technology Space
As a professional in the marketing space, specifically in CRM, I’ve always sensed a clear distinction between two core teams within organizations. There are the “IT technology experts” and the “creative marketers”. The IT or highly technical team ensuring that systems and data are in sync and functioning properly (I’m of course oversimplifying the major impact and function of an IT organization), and the more creative Marketing team which is sometimes perceived as a “non-technical” group tasked with scheduling, designing and creating a campaign targeting a select group of customers to deliver a message and experience to a customer (also oversimplifying the world of CRM).
But over time, I’ve seen these lines blurred. From my perspective, the historically customer focused, strategic, creative marketing team has developed into a group that needs to keep both a customer centric focus but also ensure they’re knowledgeable of technology to a high degree so that tools are leveraged optimally in order to deliver impactful targeted campaigns. It’s not just about sending an email, or an SMS, or selecting the right audience. It’s now about a careful coordination and synchronization of a multitude of technology tools that need to connect seamlessly to both detect an input, and trigger an output automatically targeting the right customer, with the right message, in the right channel, at the right time. All automatically, perfectly orchestrated and, in most cases, with minimal to no human interaction.
This requires a high degree of understanding of technology and having CRM professionals be able to grow from a more “creatively focused” function to a balance of creative + technology “ninja” of sorts, dealing with strategy, creative assets, multiple systems, AI technology, big data, and all to affect an experience to a customer. Not to adjust an inventory level, not to produce a report on labor, not to create a dashboard, but to drive performance from an organization’s most important pillar… their customers.
"IT and CRM professionals in the space are more integrated and can balance understanding and knowhow across technology and traditional marketing more than ever before"
The days of not developing into this CRM technology + strategic powerhouse are gone. The batch and blast days, and approaches of “manually selecting an audience to just send an email” are history and not competitive in today’s age. Whether you call it omni-channel, crosschannel, fully integrated, personalized… the alignment of technology and the art of marketing needs to coexist and integrate more than ever before. And it can’t be them and us. IT and CRM. Professionals in the space are more integrated and can balance understanding and knowhow across technology and traditional marketing more than ever before.
One perfect example of an ongoing evolution in the space that needs to be mastered is the ever-expanding use of AI for CRM and marketing. It’s easy to leverage the integrated AI tools within email or site platforms. A product recommendation. A creative asset. All are base level functions that any retailer needs to have as minimum requirements. Taking it a step further on having AI engines determine “who” to target and when, or what subject line to include on an Email, or how to integrate and balance response across channels such as SMS, Email, Site, paid digital and yes, even the age old direct mail, then takes it a step further. Can this all be done with “one AI” platform, vendor, or tool? Or are we faced with an “AI” for a very focused and specific function, which then might conflict with an AI performing a different function, leaving the marketer with the need to test, evaluate, and ensure the overall customer experience is seamless and optimized... and ultimately resulting in a cohesive and engaging experience for your customer.
It’s an ever evolving journey of technology, strategy and predictive data science and CRM professionals today need to ensure they can flourish in this technologically advanced ecosystem more than ever before.