As the number of devices is exploding, customers have more channels than ever to interact with brands. This has created a shift in consumer engagement, one that clunky legacy platforms are not equipped to cope with – why? Because their multiple solutions don’t talk to each other. James Manderson, General Manager of engagement platform Braze EMEA, discusses whether the era of the big CRM and martech players is coming to an end, and agile platforms are on the rise.
Thanks to the proliferation of touchpoints, making contact with customers has never been so easy. And if there’s anything brands and retailers should have learned from the past few weeks, it’s that empathic, human connections with customers are paramount, especially during a crisis. Yet too many brands are falling short when it comes to meaningful customer engagement.
Case in point: we have all been the target of out of date, impersonal and inadequate communications that disregard our purchasing history, preferences, and previous interaction with a brand. Very often the reason is quite simple: the brands creating them just don’t have the right tech, the right teams, or both.
And that’s a crucial mistake. Only with technology that has agility baked into it, can brands hope to connect with customers in ways that show they truly care about their wants and needs at a time and on a platform suited to them.
What’s more, adopting tech for tech’s sake will get brands nowhere. A successful marketing team is one supported by both tech and creative, so a platform that harnesses machine power to enable people to work to their strengths is vital. Agile players truly understand the challenges faced and provide the solution. They are born for a multi-device and always-on era and built ready to scale and adapt to changing customer demands.
Legacy platforms have passed their prime
Traditional data repositories were built for email communications in the late 90s, and back then it covered the bases. The noughties saw the birth and rise of mobile phones and smart devices expanding the number of touchpoints, beyond email, for brands to get in touch with customers – and the list continues to grow.
To cope with customer trends and demand, email-native platforms added capabilities through acquisition. The result: different databases for different channels and the painful problem of siloed technology. A patchwork of databases and applications makes for a complicated, sometimes impossible, view of the customer experience. Beyond that, implementation time is longer and much more expensive, as brands end up spending lots of time and money to get solutions up and running before they see any real benefits.
Agility is the new paradigm
On the other hand, agile platforms that are built for the always-on era, understand that consumers want to interact with brands on their terms. They are created for nimble teams that strive to create personalised experiences.
These marketing platforms, because they’re free of legacy technologies, combine intuitive, marketer-friendly interfaces with robust, highly scalable architectures. This allows valuable customer data to enter the platform and be processed and actioned in seconds. On top of that, they are channel agnostic – in other words, the channel the message needs to be distributed on does not matter. This is revolutionary, because it means brands can create campaigns that operate seamlessly across channels – a task impossible with legacy platforms. Their modern architecture is in direct opposition to the siloed structures of legacy platforms, enabling brands to deliver value to customers quickly and consistently.
But agile technology works best when paired with an agile team which understands growth (acquisition and retention), product and importance of customer feedback and best practice data. These new and improved marketing teams are built to meet the needs of consumers –regardless of channel or device.
When it comes to customer engagement, adaptable and scalable players are the industry champions. Legacy platforms just can’t compete, as their technology is not built with today’s customer in mind. With a business model, teams, mindset and technology that puts customers at the heart of everything – these nimble players will continue to rise and show their strength.
By James Manderson