With the proliferation of martech and adtech tools over the past ten years, there’s no shortage of technology platforms available to help marketers understand, target and communicate with consumers more effectively. The sheer volume and range of tools can be downright dizzying: tools for planning and developing, tools for attracting and engaging customers, tools for identity and data management, as well as database tools and consumer-facing platforms. Combine all these with near-ubiquitous CRM and adtech platforms, ad networks and DSPs, and marketers have a suite of technology solutions that would be daunting to even the largest enterprise-level team.
But marketers don’t need to implement every tech tool available. They just need the right combination of tools to help automate intelligent decision-making.
As with any decision-making process, decisioning in marketing starts with gathering accurate information, specifically customer data. Creating a single customer view by gathering data across all touchpoints is crucial for facilitating personalization and contextual marketing, and various martech tools help marketers efficiently collect this data.
Some of these tools leverage AI and machine learning to comb through reams of seemingly-unrelated data and pulling out recurrences and patterns that generate deeper insights into customer behavior, and also point to new markets, segments, or other opportunities. Making sure that data is correct and being manipulated correctly at every point in the process – validating the inputs – is obviously of critical importance.
The availability of increasingly extensive data sets, driven by the prevalence of martech data collection tools like CRMs, give marketers the ability to gather the information needed to fuel their decisioning. Identifying which of these tools works best for a given organization is simply a matter of preference, one which a technology partner can help with.
Once the thousands, yes thousands, of potential data sources are integrated into a marketing framework or system, and that data is captured to create a single customer view, the next step for marketers is to apply automation layers to that data in order to leverage it for more effective marketing to customers and influencing their behavior.
This is the crux of the decisioning process.
Decision management systems have existed among core business processes for some time, but they are now being marshaled to execute consumer engagement processes. By governing the parameters and timing of both outreach and interactions, these systems allow marketers to create a unified, consistent process. And automating that process with next-generation martech tools is the next phase of this evolution.
With automation, decisioning systems can deploy real-time offers based on predicted behaviors, manage and update databases without prompting, and execute intelligent multichannel campaigns without hands-on intervention. By removing that burden from marketers, they will be able to devote more resources to big-picture strategy, more time to think and problem solve, and refine and improve their high-level approaches.
A good decisioning tool will be able to track what type of content consumers are most interested in, allowing marketers to deliver more personalized, natural, tailored marketing content. It can be leveraged to manage a wide range of marketing activities, from customer data evaluation to offers and promotions to loyalty program interactions.
Being able to bring together these facets of customer engagement – and to do so automatically – is the true value of these decisioning tools. While a completely autonomous marketing system may still be some time away, today’s available decisioning tools can and do manage to take a significant portion of the day-to-day engagement responsibilities off of marketers’ plates. And linking these outreach-centric systems with existing data collection and management systems can create an even more comprehensive solution.
All of the tools, data sources, analytics packages and marketing technology software services available to marketers presents a challenge regarding integration. Will AI-enabled systems become the one tool that can manage the rest of them – integrating insights, eliminating “siloed” data sets and facilitating personalization? Maybe. But while we figure that out, marketers can identify the right technology partners that can provide complementary systems to achieve these ends – starting now. A robust CRM, coupled with a decisioning system with automation capabilities can get marketers as close to the ”set it and forget it” ideal that AI and other advanced technologies promise.
With that combination of martech tools, marketers can optimize their consumer engagement, improve their long-term customer relationships, identify and reach new segments, and ultimately boost their revenue and profitability. With those potential impacts in the balance, using martech to facilitate automated decisioning is one of the best decisions a marketer can make.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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