“Data is at the heart of everything, but we’re still struggling to handle it,” we wrote last month. And that article is still generating discussion and feedback on LinkedIn. MarTech contributor Scott Vaughan said:
“We could be headed down a dead end road…In talking with B2B marketing #cmos and #marketingops pros, CDPs are being thought of as the better (next?) version of marketing automation (MA) database with activation and segmentation capabilities being promised. We never could get there with MA. The challenge is most are taking the same actions with CDPs as MA systems – send email nurture, route to BDRs for followed up on ‘scored’ contacts.”
In other words, transferring the same old customer journeys from your MA system to your new CDP is not a smart way to drive value. Merkel SVP Adam Mincham concurred:
“Scott, I see a very interesting trend as B2B organizations actually start to onboard ‘CDP’s,’ in that they are using old approaches to deploy new tech. Put simply, we see people rebuilding journeys that they had in the MAP and that is counter-intuitive — my recommendation is, instead of replacing MAP journeys, experiment with new journeys and experiences, put some trust into the process and monitor what experiences work.”
The fundamental shift we’re seeing, said Mincham, is from linear (pre-defined) journeys to dynamic experiences. “These experiences are constructed in real time, by the machine. The marketers job is to train and to monitor.”
“We are hanging on so much legacy thinking when buyers and markets have changed,” replied Vaughan, “and, worse, thinking tech will solve/replace the need to evolve and adapt.”
Why we care. MarTech is not just about marketing technology. It’s about technology, sure, but also about how to drive value from that technology. Strategy comes first. A topic too little discussed in the space is the tendency to adopt new technologies, but use them to drive the same old customer journeys or run the same old campaigns.
Indeed, there are examples of innovative technologies — for example, those that use AI to trigger next-best-actions in real time — which just might not be a good fit for marketing teams devising periodic campaigns to drive linear customer journeys. It’s one thing to adopt technology which can deliver engaging experiences rather than pre-defined campaigns; it’s another thing to conceive and create those experiences.
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