Marketing Today: Brand, Customer Experience, Data and Technology | Straight Talk

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This article is by Featured Blogger Gaurav Bhatia from his LinkedIn column. Republished with the author’s permission.

As we continue to evolve and integrate the entire marketing ecosystem in the digital age: customer journeys, one-one interaction, personalization, loyalty, and how they interact with each other. We cannot overemphasize the importance of brand perception, its intersection with Data, Technology and Marketing/Advertising channels (digital or offline). This is not a new concept, but now we can take a holistic view of this ecosystem by leveraging data, technology, marketing automation, and analytics to understand, visualize, analyze and determine the overall impact to the business.

Today, digital is not just a channel, it is part of the marketing and customer experience ecosystem. It is how customers want to and will continue to get information and interact with brands.

I will call them the four pillars…..Brand.......Customer Experience... Data and …….Technology. All of these are essential to drive engagements with the end consumer and deliver "ultimate value" to the consumer.

Brand is the DNA or the Central Nervous System of any organization that interacts directly with the consumer. It emphasizes the trust the consumer puts in it when they decide to engage with the brand. Once the customer decides to interact, we have to integrate the brand promise with customer experience. Customer experience needs to leverage the right creative and messaging, leveraging the data and use the right technology/channel to communicate the message to the end customer. This enables ease of use and allows the consumer to interact seamlessly with the product and services the brand has to offer.

Brand builds the "trust" and experience drives the "sale" or "loyalty" of the product or service. Couple that with marketing/advertising technology and data analytics and you have a trifecta - a winning combination for marketers and consumers alike. Marketers win by finding the right consumers and consumers win since they don't have to spend extra time and effort trying to find what they need. This is true both in the digital and non-digital world but it is more relevant in the digital world. 

Brands that win are able to create unique experiences for the consumers and offer the experiences that are appropriate in the channels, leveraging the right data, technology and marketing/advertising platforms.

Brand.........Customer Experience........Data …….. Technology...

Most organizations are still trying to find the intersection of the "four pillars" so they can deliver value to the end consumer. It is not hard, but one has to look at it from the holistic point of view vs. looking at it from the organizational structure point of view.

In most traditional organizations, Brand.......Customer Experience... Data and Technology sit in different parts of the organization with some overlap which in my mind is not enough. In today's world, where technology is changing, data is growing, and experiences are evolving one has to have a mindset for changing at a fast pace, to evolve and participate in this digital world.

It is not a simple task but one that is necessary and much needed. One can achieve this integrated vision since we have the marketing platforms, data, and technology at our disposal. We can measure the impact easily if we structure the measurement correctly, but we should not over obsess for perfection in the initial phase. Some of this is going to be new and we should feel comfortable with the testing and seeing the business impact, making changes as we learn more.

We can develop the use cases around the four pillars and keep on building on it. It is going to be a combination of art and science to find the right recipe. One has to be comfortable leading the charge for change and evolving. Status quo will not help.

As practitioners and marketers, we need to experiment and have the courage and fortitude to take bold steps. It is never going to be perfect. There will be misses, criticism, and things may not go as planned initially, but we should be able to course correct and try new things.

As Jeff Bezos said:

"If you never want to be criticized, for goodness' sake don't do anything new"