Here’s my interview with Robert Carroll, Chief Marketing Officer of SDL, a global firm that – simply stated – helps companies manage the information that customers need. He caught my attention when speaking recently about their notion of Pervasive Engagement Management.
Q. We write about how customers are getting ahead of the companies that seek to serve them. Do you see this happening?
A. In many cases, yes. It’s never been more exciting—or harder —to be a marketing executive. Today’s marketing leaders need to create and execute on global strategies even faster than the technologies to implement them evolve.
Q. Do you see mobile as the hottest channel? Is that where companies need to focus their efforts?
A. That’s too simplistic. Eighty-five percent of online consumers are multi-channel shoppers—gathering decision-making information in one channel while buying in another.
In an astonishingly short period of time, smartphones and mobile devices have become ubiquitous, providing 24/7 access to customers. If a firm’s marketing strategy is not leveraging every channel and device to engage prospects, they are putting their company at risk.
Q. Does that means duplicating similar information in many places?
A. Not necessarily. A mobile version of your website or a mobile app relating to a campaign does not constitute a mobile engagement channel. It’s a start, for sure, but not a strategy. You must plan ahead to enable the most critical functions for consumers through any given channel and customize your content offerings to target that behavior.
Q. Are you a believer in customized content? That is, is it enough to have a great website, or does your website have to work differently for different customers?
A. You have to be relevant to each customer. Relevancy allows you to connect better with your audience and add value to the exchange. By creating unique, real-time dynamic profiles from a vast array of internal and external data sources, and by offering content significant to unique site visitors, marketers dramatically increase call-to-action conversions.
No matter what your objective—e-commerce sales or lead generation via a download form—relevant content helps create a path to maximize visitors’ engagement with your brand. By enabling your online destination to instantly adapt to your visitors, you control which content, calls-to-action and promotions are shown to whom and when.
When it comes to context, think holistically. This includes elements of time of day, visitor lifecycle and location. Starting with your prospective customer’s very first click, you need to employ a proven industrial-strength targeting, profiling and personalization solution that helps tie together and leverages all your other marketing efforts. Relevancy drives conversion.
Q. I agree, but you have to admit it sounds like a pitch for technology from a tech vendor.
A. Can’t help that – as a general rule, the more that can be automated, the more efficiently an organization can operate. Automation ensures quality and consistency and decreases time-to-market. That reduces the costs associated with getting there.
But technology is just the enabler. All this also requires an ongoing effort to further integrate marketing efforts and align work across all the functions of a business so that you can reap the benefits of your new efficiency. If you don’t, you risk your ability to successfully face future changes and challenges.