MarTech and data sovereignty: Know your customers, own your data – control your business.

MarTech changes the game and the rules in marketing and communication. Data sovereignty is central.

MarTech is changing the game and the rules in marketing and communications. We talk about the necessary analytical skills for dealing with data, the right tools for data sovereignty, and a new mindset in many places to learn from customer data as a customer-facing area and to incorporate it strategically.

A change in the marketing and communications industry has been underway for several years under the buzzword MarTech. We observe that many of the technology trends that have been hyped in the abstract in recent years have now arrived in practice, with data sovereignty becoming increasingly important. In marketing, we see an engagement with data, automation and AI becoming commonplace.

We support this development by building marketing automation solutions for agencies and SMEs under the motto: “Know your Customers, own your Data – master your Business”. The triad: know your customers, own your data – master your business also stands for the interaction of skills, tools and mindset.

We talk about the necessary analytical skills for dealing with data, the right tools for data sovereignty and a new mindset in many places to learn from customer data as a customer-facing area and to incorporate it strategically.

Know customers: Creativity paired with analytical skills

Marketing and communication is traditionally known as the “creative industry”. It is in supposedly creative tasks that we experience the most waste: things are “thought up” that we actually already “know”. That is, the knowledge would actually be available, but it is not actually searched for, not researched and certainly not systematically evaluated. Instead, people prefer to “brainstorm”. These unnecessary loops cost money – and more importantly: time.

Knowing customers means being able to read and evaluate data. For this, we need analytical skills, as well as expertise in the use of appropriate tools. MarTech tools simplify the collection and analysis of data. Beyond that, they (still) have a hard time with creativity and innovation. Real innovation in the sense of not only combining something in a new way, but inventing something completely new. We humans (still) have to go the last mile.

It’s a matter of ability and recognition. I have to be able to do both, to be creative and analytical. And I have to recognize when I have to proceed analytically deductively and when I have to proceed creatively inductively. In other words: first understand, then spin off new ideas, test them and evaluate them again.

Data Ownership: Tools that enable data sovereignty

As in other areas, investments in tools and technical solutions are increasing. In other words, a relatively increasing share of the marketing budget is going into tools, less into personnel. Machines have long been able to process a much larger amount of data than our brains, make decisions in the sense of algorithms, and perform parallel actions.

While it may be worthwhile for large companies and corporations to develop their own solutions, small and medium-sized enterprises rely on combinations of prefabricated solutions. Marketing automation, CRM, eCommerce, ordering and payment processes are then sometimes based on more than 10 different tools that exchange data with each other.

Questions that we encounter when choosing the appropriate tools are so in particular:

  • How do new MarTech tools integrate with the existing CRM?
  • How are the interfaces with eCommerce or own apps and websites designed in general?
  • Which marketing processes are worth automating at all?
  • Which processes can we automate beyond marketing?
  • What about usability and adaptability to my needs?
  • Who owns the data?
  • What legal framework do I need to consider?
  • What exactly am I committing to?
  • Is there advice and support available?

In principle, anything goes, but the question is which suitable tool or technology will achieve the goal effectively and efficiently. Therefore, it is not only important to check what integrations must be possible with your own tools today from the point of view of convenience, but also to check the openness of the systems for future integrations critically and with foresight.

A few examples of indicators we consider when selecting tools and technologies are: 

  • Size and openness of the developer community
  • Common programming language, availability and cost Development
  • Open source (open code) share
  • APIs (how much do the interfaces allow)
  • Can existing tools be connected?
  • How expensive is the tool in 5-10 years (high switching costs)?
  • What is the total cost of ownership? (TCO)

We therefore conduct tool reviews against the backdrop of the customer experience and the degree of digitization. After all, we don’t just want a functioning solution for current challenges, but a successful customer experience with state-of-the-art technology that enables us to proactively shape customer interactions based on data.

Mastering Business: Mindset Shift toward Entrepreneurial Thinking

MarTech changes the game and the rules in marketing and communication. Marketing is becoming an increasingly integral part of an offer, i.e. part of the value proposition.

A classic example here is advertising: What do I get as a customer from being shown advertising? Often not much more than a poor customer experience. In particular, advertising with high wastage is increasingly giving way to targeted measures: From advertising interruption to product placement. From offer catalog to blog or community.

One can go further in expanding the value proposition or go so far as to place a completely new or different offer. Media houses, for example, recognized a long time ago that their readership’s preferences are known in other areas. If readers like to drink wine, why not create an offer for it?

This shift requires more entrepreneurial thinking in marketing, the view of marketing as a profit center, where it is important to define one’s own offering, one’s own value creation. In particular, the data collected on customer interactions holds potential that has not yet been fully exploited in many places. Today, ideas still often come from business development. But marketing can use its proximity to customers and customer knowledge to proactively design or propose solutions.

Conclusions

MarTech changes the game and the rules in marketing and communication. Creativity must be paired with analytical skills in order to be able to draw insights from data. The tools used must enable the development and expansion of a company’s own data structure. Finally, it is important to use the potential offered by proximity to customers and to learn from interactions and interaction data for future offers. This requires a rethinking in the direction of offer design. Marketing can thus cover a larger part of the value chain, exert strategic influence on the design of the value proposition, the products and services, or even create its own offerings.

Dr. Sarah Seyr ist Chief Customer Officer bei der Digitalagentur idea2.ch und Dozentin für Customer Experience und Human Machine Interaction an der Hochschule Luzern. Schwerpunktmäßig gestaltet sie digitale Business Modelle und Kundeninteraktionen mit Marketing Automation und AI. Sie hat an der ETH Zürich promoviert und war zuvor Head of Best Experience Program bei der Swisscom. Außerdem unterstützt sie Startups als Advisory Board Member im Value Proposition und Customer Experience Design.

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