Reflect on the revolutions throughout history that have shaped the world.
The advent of machinery, then information technology and then the Internet all had a profound impact on our way of doing business.
But let us first consider how these historical revolutions affected businesses over time. With the industrial revolution, the emergence of industrial technology and its new tools has allowed companies to evolve.
A machine did the work of 100 men.
Trucks and tractors took over horses and transformed agriculture, mining and construction forever.
However, as we transitioned to the knowledge-based industries, it is the scaling up of information and its management that has become the challenge.
It’s here that the software revolution has arrived.
The emergence of computer technology has enabled the application of enterprise software at the workplace. The keyboards on the desk replaced the pens behind the ears and the registers written by hand.
As the cost of computing dwindled and personal computers became ubiquitous, enterprise software platforms began to spread in the fabric of business.
The rise of the Internet has also produced another twist in the tale – the emergence of cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS). However, marketing, despite being a basic business function, was left in the dark in the early days of this software revolution.
But this is changing.
At Dreamforce 2017, I spoke with Mercer’s Mercer Customer Manager, Carmell Holt, to discuss how Mercer is taking advantage of this new marketing revolution to attract customers and drive sales.
They are transforming what is happening right now in their business.
The Marketing Revolution
Marketing was always an art.
You hired an agency, gave them a paper, and went to their creative dens to think about and make works of art called advertising. Then you spent a lot of money on media campaigns.
But the rise of social networks and the mobile web has changed everything in marketing by allowing democratization. You can now publish your own content, such as videos and articles. Then you can develop your distribution on social networks and have direct access to prospects and customers. This was the tipping point of the marketing revolution.
Then marketing technology started to make its mark.
In the last 10 years, we have witnessed the rise of automation platforms and technologies, which have put the power of marketing back into the hands of the business.
The rise of marketing technology – case study
I was able to get an idea of Cambell on how this marketing revolution has impacted Mercer and one of its key services – creating and managing retirement funds for organizations.
With the rise of digital technologies, the challenge has been to turn Mercer into a business where they have control of their marketing functions. Over the last four years, Cambell has focused on transitioning the brand to the customer and its tool of choice for doing so on a large scale was the marketing software.
In the past, they owned their technology and built it themselves, but realized that they could not achieve excellence or evolve quickly with this approach. Their new tactic was to become the tenants of the best technology instead of the owners. This allowed them to focus on the customer rather than the technology.
Combining the power of Salesforce Marketing Cloud with their own analytics and analytics tool called Mercer Edge, Mercer achieved two key optimizations:
- Segmentation – Constructing databases that allowed them to segment customers into different categories.
- Customization – Using these lists, they were able to send the right content, at the right time, to the right device that was relevant to the prospect.
So, how does technology create a better customer journey?
Doing these tasks manually would be impossible. So, the machines are making the scale of the marketing effort. By applying and using intelligence in the software, they found some triggers that they identified as critical in the customer’s shopping journey. This could be as simple as opening an email or logging into the website.
It can even be as granular as software sending a message to the call center, which triggers a call to a potential or existing customer because they have reached an age threshold, like retirement.
Thanks to the marketing revolution, marketing software and its importance to the company have gone from nowhere to the next. The marketing cloud is now considered as important as the accounting and financial system.
Cambell said that for him, marketing software now offers more value than any other enterprise software system. Not only does this increase the prospects and commitment of customers, but it also increases sales.
Using segmentation and customization, Mercer has achieved impressive results over the last four years:
- Conversions of duplicate sales
- Increase customer engagement by 120%
- Produce digital customers that are 350% more valuable than traditional customers
These are figures that any CCO or MCO wants to pass on to the CEO.
So, what is the next revolution?
The ability of marketing technology and automation to provide information and economies of scale is now becoming evident.
The future holds even more promise and opportunity. As artificial intelligence evolves and evolves into the next phase, it collects and manages data widely and uses it to improve sales and profitability. This will be done using predictive analytics, machine learning and other emerging technologies to provide crucial information for businesses.
Regardless of the evolution of technology, the key to commercial success is always to provide an exceptional customer experience.