Should corporate communication professionals care about marketing technology?
By Berulv Tøndel
Marketing technology services are evolving rapidly. Chiefmartec.com mapped more than 5,000 in 2018 – compared to 150 services 2011. A company's marketing technology stack grows bigger every year, meaning the everyday work life for a communication professional changes dramatically and we're forced to increase the collaboration between business functions like never before. But should professionals working with corporate communication care about marketing technologies?
When discussing marketing technologies, we often refer to marketing automation, such as the well-known services Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua, Adobe Campaign and Salesforce. Simplified, marketing automation can be described as services that focus on either B2B and lead management, or B2C and automatised customer lifecycle management such as retention and loyalty management.
One area of marketing technology that has grown rapidly over the last couple of years is predictive analysis, which is currently being provided by vendors such as Optimove and Albert AI. Predictive analysis is relevant for transactional business with a high volume of sales – mainly B2C. For a typical corporate communication professional, marketing automation does not bring greater value, unless a company with a very high number of shareholders would like to automatise the way these should be communicated with through various channels. But in general, it does not bring anything new to the table. For the moment.
Chat bots on corporate websites?
We have already mentioned predictive analysis – self learning algorithms, AIs, that give you dynamic segmentation to be used in your marketing automation. One of the more interesting things about predictive analysis and dynamic segmentation is that the algorithm will discover customer clusters that you didn't imagine existed – based on behaviour. And these clusters will be updated in real-time. AI is also used for chat bots. At the 2017 SIME conference, chat bots were singled out as one of the hottest topics for 2018. And the field is evolving! Chat services (not bots at that time) have been used on corporate communications websites in connection to annual reports, and one of our open questions is: will we see chat bots on corporate communications websites? Will these bots support a release of the annual report?
Tools for corporate communications: to dos, content and statistics
Marketing technologies are not all about automation. To see a brilliant example of how various tools are used by a company, Morningstar have shared their marketing stack at Chiefmartec.com (image below).
We see which tools are used for which purpose and how it flows between the sales and marketing departments. There are a couple of areas I see as valuable for the typical corporate communication professional:
Task management and collaboration. Here we have several classic tools such as Trello, Jira but also Asana and Slack just to mention a few. Most of them are developed to fulfil needs for communication professionals and developers. If you work in Office 365, you already have access to tools that covers most needs – Teams, Yammer, Planner and so on. Such tools definitely have a positive effect on reducing the amount of emails in your inbox, to mention just one great benefit.
Content quality. These tools assist you in improving the quality and consistency of all your content in multiple ways– highly relevant for those who have a high number of pages to maintain. It concerns SEO, as well as problems with broken links, accessibility and misspellings. Some of the tools in this area are Crownpeak, Siteimprove and Vizzit. There is a variety of what these tools can do – common for all is their focus on content quality.
Web analysis. This is likely the most important area when talking about marketing technologies and the next section discusses this particular point in more detail.
Understanding what you measure is tightly connected to the purpose of your website
Web analysis – when improving your digital communication, it is inevitable to analyse. There are hundreds of tools and services out there – everything from freeware to expensive enterprise suites – and the most well-known is Google Analytics. Another tool worth to mention is Hotjar, which works with heat maps that show you exactly where people click on your page. The previously mentioned tools for content quality, also include web analysis. Big data isn't everything; our colleague Sara Hernandez writes about the importance of so called thick data in a recent blog post, emphasising the need of customer interviews, usability testing and in-depth knowledge about humans and their needs and behaviours.
Most people in the business are well aware of the importance of web analysis. However, according to our Web Management Report, not everyone is fully aware of what to measure, nor how to use it. This is tightly connected with being very clear about the main purpose of your website. If the main purpose is uncertain, our recommendation is to explore the matter. Comprend have long experience of supporting this work with so called Impact mapping, a methodology that helps you define the main goals of your website.
Bring your people onboard – look over processes when implementing a new tool
Sometimes we forget about people when we talk about marketing technologies and all the amazing things the tools can do for us. When you plan to use any tool, you will always have to make sure your people and process are taken into consideration. Maybe you need to switch into an agile process? Any tool will surely influence the way you work, and sometimes even dramatically change it. Hopefully for the better.
So, should corporate communication professionals care about marketing technology or not? Yes, everyone should care at least a little and explore tools and methods that can improve the quality of your website.
Do you want to know more about how Comprend can help you work with improving your digital communication, please get in touch!