Times are changing. These days, an increasing number of touchpoints and channels need to be activated through consistent content assets and communication along ever more complex customer journeys. Sophisticated data-driven marketing technology is the new key factor for success – provided it is embedded in adequate processes and managed by highly skilled teams.
During the Serviceplan International Roadshow 2021, a line-up of experts from a variety of business backgrounds joined us online to shed light on global marketing service platforms as an effective lever for outstanding personalized customer experiences in international marketing.
How Global Marketing Organizations Create the Conditions for Outstanding Customer Experiences
How should marketing organizations respond to the challenges and chances that they will be facing in the upcoming years? This is the question Wolf Ingomar Faecks, CEO of Plan.Net Group, addressed in the first session of the IRS. Today, companies are facing a highly volatile environment and, at the same time, increasingly demanding customers. Therefore, they are forced to identify new models that put people at the center, align business value with people’s values and create personalized experiences to make their marketing model more effective. But how do organizations achieve such ambitious goals?
Originally, companies were set up as product-centric organizations. In their early days, they had to focus on quality management rather than on customer needs. The results: vertically structured departments, separate touchpoints, disconnected data points, and inefficiencies. Now, the customer is at the center of attention. Consequently, companies should emphasize journey-focused planning through automation, cross-functional teams, agile collaboration models as well as the unification, connection, and integration of data points in a horizontal way. This can be achieved through global marketing service platforms that are integrated across the marketing organization and harmonize international teams.
Successful companies such as SAP, ebay, Amazon WebService use such as-a-service platforms to increase their efficiency, but also to leverage their flexibility, scalability and speed through standardization and automation. The great advantage of as-a-service platforms is their ability to enable organizations to react quickly and easily, even in complex environments, and to adapt to customer requirements in a more targeted and automated manner. They are the basis for creating personalized offers and providing relevant content in a centralized and standardized way.
Seamless Omnichannel Marketing Around the World
Alexander Emmendörfer, Managing Partner Plan.Net Connect, explained how seamless omni-channel marketing works in a global context. If the customer’s expectations are the linchpin, marketing decision-makers must also take the customer’s perspective and always ask themselves what the customer experience should look like. Therefore, global marketing service platforms are the key enabler to respond to the given requirements. “Customer First” means that the customer must be the focus throughout the entire customer journey – in every country, in every situation. This applies to every potential customer.
The key factor for such success here: Brand-related journeys are always customer journeys. To specify, this means:
1. Relevant information and offers are delivered based on knowledge about the customer.
2. Relevance, inspiration, and guidance are fundamental along the customer journey.
3. Loyal customers benefit from exclusive advantages.
4. Every contact offers real added value to the user.
5. Promises are always kept and expectations fulfilled.
Organising a Globally Balanced Distribution of Work and Responsibilities to Increase the Overall Data-Driven Marketing Performance
Further, Dr. Sven Schiemann, Managing Partner of Future Marketing showed how to organize a globally balanced distribution of responsibilities for data-driven marketing.
Schiemann underlined that data-driven marketing requires inhousing and centralization. Since data and know-how about one’s own touchpoints and customer journey management are crucial, (media) agencies should no longer be the data owners. This is the main way to achieve synergies in the aggregation of data and to further improve data quality and efficiency. Furthermore, data-driven marketing demands new operative skills that are scarce and expensive, but necessary to increase the efficiency of shared capabilities.
Global marketing service platforms offer the right set of technologies centrally available through a few globally distributed hubs, global contracts with selected partners that make collaboration more effective as well as centralized technical data management, and likewise centralized data-driven campaign management.
The local marketing organizations take over the implementation and remain responsible for these tasks. However, they do not build independent platforms or technologies. This prevents heterogeneous processes, as is still the case in many areas today, as well as redundant technologies and supplier orders. In the automotive sector, for example, the potential savings are 30 percent and 20 percent respectively. The potential savings in agency management and the reduction in campaign and media inefficiency are even greater at around 40 percent.
Centralized Asset Production as the Key Lever for International Marketing Savings
Next, Kieve Ducharme, Managing Director Global Production Serviceplan Group and Verena Letzner, Managing Director Plan.Net Neo, showed how centralized asset production and content control are key factors for international marketing organizations. Until now, content production has been a fragmented and widely distributed process, with different agencies working on different productions. These days, connecting a multitude of players and increasing the effectiveness of processes is essential to produce more content for less budget, industrialize creation, and optimize the use of resources and people.
The starting point is a content governance framework which defines the guidelines for content production, including the definition of standards, processes, workflows, and responsibilities and ensures the transfer of know-how. The content produced needs to be consistently adapted to the needs of the respective markets and their legal and cultural regulations. To facilitate this process, content is planned for modular use from the get-go and created openly for local adaptation. This works according to the principle: produce content asset once, use them multiple times. To keep track, the service platform relies on targeted technologies that plan and accompany all areas of collaboration and workflow management, digital asset management, automation, and stand-alone self-serve solutions, as well as optimization through efficient asset performance reporting. The result can be measured in significant efficiency gains.
Global MarTech Infrastructure Design and Implementation – Key Success Factors
In the third session, Unit Director Consulting Sven Holldorf from hmmh and Hadi Lofti, Director Digital Marketing Technologies & Solution Consulting from Plan.Net showed how a global MarTech infrastructure is ideally designed and implemented and which factors determine its success.
In many marketing organizations, CRM, marketing, and sales pursue individual, isolated strategies; individual markets operate with divergent technical infrastructures. There is no complete view of customer activities across all systems, and there is a lack of technical knowledge and a holistic implementation strategy.
Therefore, it is beneficial to break down the customer journey into concrete and actionable marketing use cases. The question at each step should be: What’s in it for the customer and what’s in it for the company? With a 360° view of the customer, use cases should be defined at all relevant departments. The reason is quite simple: first-party CRM data is essential for good marketing. The CRM department can also benefit greatly from the behavior-based marketing data and get a clearer view of the customer. For example, anonymous website visitors can be better converted into customers through retargeting efforts. On the technical level, web tracking modules can be used and the collected data on customer behavior can be passed on to the respective activation channels via CDP.
To successfully orchestrate customer journeys, all customer behaviors and steps must be measured against their performance and then translated into customer identities or profiles. Those who can merge distributed identities will then gain unprecedented efficiency and effectiveness - cross-channel and cross-platform 360° profiles on a solid data protection basis. But this is only possible with a harmonized infrastructure that comprises all components and is structured holistically.
Thinking Ahead in a Highly Dynamic Tech and Data Environment: What It Takes to Design a Global Marketing Service Platform
Further, Martin Possekel, Managing Partner Future Marketing and Odia Kagan, Partner and Chair of GDPR Compliance and International Privacy, Fox Rothschild LLP, explained how to manage and minimize risks in data strategy and privacy.
Data-driven marketing is about reaching a user via browser or mobile device. There is no such thing as anonymous targeting, as it requires tracking users and their behavior and collecting personal information and data.
Traditional data collection is no longer relevant as desktop and mobile browsers block third-party cookies. Consequently, new concepts in data collection, evaluation and distribution are urgently needed. Future-proof data-driven marketing needs future-proof ID management.
There is one realistic model to count on: 1st-party cookie syndicates. However, the online marketing ecosystem is not really used to close collaboration. What’s needed now is a serious effort at collaboration in ID management.
The central question is always whether the individual users know that they are passing on data and what happens to the data when it is passed on. Important – especially in Europe – is the question of consent, which can be very complex, as individual judgments from the past show. The requirements in central marketing go far beyond opt-in models preferred in Europe and opt-out models preferred in the US. In Europe, it must always be clarified whether the company really needs the data. Just as important are the checks as to whether the consent text and explanations are written generally understandable and comprehensible language, and whether it is clear where the data is processed or where it is transferred to.