In Martech, All Paths Lead to Customer Experience

CEO Bob Hale Interviews with MarTech Advisor

Alterian CEO Bob Hale sat down with Ginger Conlon from MarTech Advisor to discuss a few of the latest trends in the marketing industry. Across two separate interviews, the pair dive into how technology can influence customer experience, which is ultimately responsible for the success of businesses in the modern age.

Creating Adaptive Customer Experiences

In the first interview, Creating Adaptive Customer Experiences, the biggest piece of advice that Bob offers marketers is to take a step back and look at the big picture. When people think about customer experience, their first thought is often personalization. While this is an essential component to good CX, it’s not everything.

Overall, [think] more about the state of the customer, not just the personalization.

Bob discusses the concept of slow and fast data, and how the combined insights from these two information feeds allow marketers to make the most effective messaging decisions. Adaptive Customer Experience™ technology like Alterian examines everything we historically know about John Smith (slow data) alongside John Smith’s current behavior during the time of a brand interaction (fast data) to make a dynamic, real-time decision regarding personalization.

The importance of examining slow and fast data to make decisions is outlined in our white paper that Bob mentions, Customer Journey Maps Give Me #FOMO: Fear of Missing Opportunities. This also lends itself to the second biggest topic of conversation in the interview: Channels.

When asked what the most common challenge he sees with people working toward true adaptive marketing, Bob explains that martech systems were initially built within siloes to deal individually with separate channels. This is no longer effective, however:

This starts to fall apart because we as consumers—because that’s what we all are at the end of the day—we don’t operate in channels. We seamlessly move across channels constantly.

It can quickly become overwhelming for digital marketers considering the fact that they now need to utilize slow and fast data, updated instantaneously from all channels to a central location, in order to make a decision and serve messaging in less than 100 milliseconds. Without this speed and personalization, organizations run the risk of providing poorer customer experiences. This might seem like an acceptable sacrifice to some, but remember, an experience is all the customer has.

[Customers] don’t think in channels. They’re just having an experience with you as the brand. Your systems are limiting you in how you act with them across those channels.

Bob’s parting advice was to remember that the consumer is the empowered and unpredictable one, so we must adapt. So, our solution? We’re making traditional digital marketers into Adaptive Marketers™.

The Era of the Marketing ‘Math Men’

As you can see from the first interview, data has truly come to drive marketing, and that can be a difficult shift in individuals’ career paths as well as the hiring tendencies of marketing executives. In the second interview, The Era of the Marketing ‘Math Men’, Bob discusses this fundamental change in our industry:

I heard a quote about a year ago; it’s going to be short, but I think it really summed it up. It said, “We’re all now ‘Math Men,’ not Mad Men,” . . . that’s probably the biggest shift marketing has gone through. It’s all about the data and the analysis, not the creative and the assumptions anymore.

Marketers sit in a unique position of needing to be both creative and analytical, risky and safe, qualitative and quantitative. Successfully exhibiting both sides of this spectrum is challenging, but exciting, and also proves invaluable for businesses. Effectively determining the ROI efforts of marketing initiatives allows companies to continually refine and perfect their customer experience strategies.

Ultimately, the good data isn’t easy, but it’s critical—and that’s the information [you need] to know your customer. And if you fail at that level, all of these systems and everything you’re going to lay on top of it are just going to send you down the wrong direction.

In order to attain some of the key skills and traits to succeed, Bob recommends avoiding reliance on buzzwords and fads. And, while much of this will come down to professional training and growth, the right marketing technology to facilitate insights and analytics certainly doesn’t hurt. For example, technology that combines both advertising and marketing efforts to gain a holistic view of ROI will help Adaptive Marketers truly understand the impact of their data driven ideas. Another example includes technology that merges offline direct mail capabilities with online capabilities. Taking it one step further, technology that applies RFM modeling principles to online audience segmentation will give ‘Math Men’ all they need to provide the best customer experience possible anywhere at any time.

Customer Experience is Everything

At the end of the day, customer experience is truly the metric to measure marketers. Differentiation between companies has come down to an emotional, experiential value proposition, and the organizations that understand this modern mentality will thrive.

The most successful marketer in any vertical, in any industry, knows more about their customers than their competitors . . . that will never change.

– Bob Hale

A big thanks to MarTech Advisor for having Bob on the web series. You can follow MarTech Advisor and Ginger Conlon on Twitter for more great customer experience and marketing content.

Niki Hale headshot

Niki Hale, Marketing Consultant

Niki is a marketing jack-of-all-trades for Alterian—you might say, a true Chameleon! Since graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder, she has worked in marketing for ad tech, martech, and the agency space, gaining unique perspective for B2C, B2B, and internal communications. From web and graphic design, to social media management, copywriting, culture initiatives, and more, Niki helps us market to marketers.

At home, you can most likely find Niki cooking—with a glass of wine in hand, of course—or drawing, all while plugged in to an audiobook or a podcast. She’s also a die-hard Harry Potter fan and loves attending concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheater outside of Denver.