Marketing is neither a lottery nor science fiction in 2020

Good news for you, CMO! 2020 will be groundbreaking in B2C businesses: customer data will finally be an essential competition factor. There is clear evidence that customer centric business is more personalized and approachable for the customer. It is also simply better business.

The true customer centricity only emerges as a result of smartly collecting and utilizing customer data that is then turned into personalized customer service and marketing activities. This process requires the best fit in the chosen marketing technology toolkit. That is what we believe and forecast with our years of experience in the customer data platform business and altogether more than 100 years of experience in retail and consumer businesses.

My colleague, Custobar CEO Tatu Kuivalahti, revealed our findings recently by saying “the data-centric thinking is finally taking over every industry as a thunderstorm”. Although, as Tatu put it, “there are a few industries that have been forerunners, such as travelling and retail e-commerce”, we have noticed that the rest of B2C businesses are rapidly catching up by imitating the forerunners’ customer data management and analytics capabilities.

Our research reveals the following indicators for an upcoming turning point:

  • most companies have a data analyst, many even in the marketing team
  • more than half of the companies also have a marketing automation manager
  • nearly everyone has a customer data management strategy and someone responsible for it
  • IT, marketing and sales are joining forces in customer data management and utilization
  • more than 34 seem to be carrying regular email marketing activities
  • SMS and push messages have become a norm in customer service and marketing
  • demand for integrated CDP and marketing automation platforms is on the rise

The current status in many B2C businesses remains somewhere between powerpoint presentation and perfect setup. Even though the aim is smartly operated data-driven business, many still employ multiple separate systems that are operated manually.

Having experienced the set up in the different seats - as CMO, as CDP provider and as an advertising agency partner - I firmly believe that the winner in 2020 is the one who has the guts to focus on two things: firstly, taking personalizing the user experience to the next level, and secondly, improving efficiency in marketing with the help of the martech.

The CMO’s checklist for proper martech set up:

  1. Evaluate the data sources. Ensure that customer data is collected efficiently and responsibly online and offline according to the GDPR.
  2. Choose the right tools. Choose the martech tools that suit your needs and resources. If you don’t have an army of Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics architects, or you don’t have a budget to pay high onboarding fees for Marketo or Hubspot, take a look at other options.
  3. Get help, but don’t outsource everything. It’s smart to use external consultants in e.g. the onboarding phase of a new martech tool, but make sure you don’t become too dependent on external help. Martech tools are supposed to ease, automize and speed up certain tasks in their marketing function, not the opposite!
  4. Excite & educate your staff. Besides the proper martech tools, your best partners in building success are your closest colleagues. Get your team excited, from sales to marketing, from product owners to customer service clerk. Make sure there are proper skills and capabilities present.
  5. Try and make errors. With marketing automation there’s no one way. Build up a system and rules that have the best fit with your audience and business instead. The quicker you begin, the faster you learn and the smarter you get along the way. Do, try, test and learn.

To ease your way, we have just launched the renewed Custobar. This customer data platform is so easy-to-use even your grandma could use it! Read more about Custobar features and try it for free for 30 days.