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5 enduring trends in martech

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5 enduring trends in martech

During my MarTech Master Class workshop, “The Right Way to Buy Marketing Technology,” I received a very interesting question from a participant.

What five things do you think will remain unchanged about marketing technology in the next ten years?

The question made me pause because usually I receive queries about what will change, as martech leaders try to “skate to where the puck is going.” In a fast-paced martech world that affords too-little time for reflection, it’s useful indeed to think about continuity, among other reasons, because it can help focus your energies and keep you from wasting time chasing ephemeral fads.

So herewith are my top five predictions for enduring trends.

Effectively managing customer data is table stakes for prospect and customer digital engagement. Most of us haven’t been doing this very well. Getting on top of customer data management will likely become a decade-long (or more) pursuit.

At RSG, we advise many large enterprises on CDP evaluation and selection. The nature and scope of these projects vary widely, but one theme remains constant: Implementing a CDP just exposes long-latent structural problems in the way you’ve been collecting, processing, securing and managing customer data. This work is hard!

Moreover, the coming years will make it even harder. Security risks are growing. Regulatory compliance is stiffening. Consumers and their advocates are (rightly) pushing for better norms and transparency around how their data is collected and used.  

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I have been on the front lines of advising and sometimes implementing personalization technology for twenty-five years now. The dirty little secret in our industry is that everyone talks about personalization, but very few enterprises actually do it in a methodical way.

For most of you, it’s been a five-steps-forward, four-steps-backward endeavor. Measuring the effectiveness of personalization remains difficult, and despite breathless vendor case studies, many if not most pilot projects here fail to achieve meaningful ROI. Part of this relates to customer data deficits noted above, but other challenges revolve around customer unpredictability and mistaken assumptions about what the person on the other side of the screen really wants (as opposed to what you think or wish they would want). It shouldn’t surprise you that many consumers find personalization efforts creepy or hackneyed.  

This is not a blanket indictment of trying to tailor more effective user experiences. The best organizations systematize test-and-optimization cycles. Segmenting customers in cohorts can make messages more germane.  Prioritizing business use cases really helps. But given the resource overhead, one-to-one personalization has not yet found its magic bullet.  

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So here again, we’ll be spending a decade figuring out personalization. I suspect that, for most of you, slow and steady will win the race. 

As a journalist in a previous life who now taps out research reports for a living, I’m biased towards the power of good content. However, it seems like the commitment to crafting excellent content among the large enterprises RSG advises tends to wax and wane over time.  

I’m not sure exactly why. Clearly, content is central to any effective user experience – just ask any UX designer. Yet good content can be expensive to create and complex to manage and re-use in an omnichannel world. Some AI adherents boast that new platforms can solve the former challenge of content creation. Pro tip: They cannot.  

With respect to content management, we’ve come a long way, but many challenges endure.  Too many enterprises over-rely on agencies for content creation and lose a lot of intellectual property along the way. Traditional web content management platforms are really bad at omnichannel content management. Component content management is essential in a customer-centric world, but it’s as hard to manage now as it was twenty years ago.  

Fortunately, some new technologies and approaches are emerging, and some enterprises are getting smarter about content supply and demand chains. Still, ten years from now, the successful digital transformers will have gotten content right in the interim.

New martech markets will evolve over the coming decade. Some existing vendors will fold or consolidate. But I guarantee one structural continuity: In any given market, you will confront a plethora of choices. In general, this is a good thing, though it can cause vertigo for enterprise technology buyers (hint: apply design thinking to your tech choices).  

I’ve written elsewhere in these pages why these markets remain so fragmented. The cost of new-vendor entry keeps falling, and cloud models tend to reduce supplier risks. Despite recent contractions, we live in a world awash in investment capital, and the next decade will see it continuing to gravitate to martech. At RSG, we’ve tried to focus on the most important 160 vendors for our enterprise subscribers, but it’s an ongoing challenge.  

Vendor marketplaces remain highly fragmented, though some “suite” vendors offer multiple solutions across domains.  Source: Real Story Group

This doesn’t remove risk calculations in your supplier choices as much as juggle them. You might end up with a “zombie” vendor. Your supplier might prove finicky and radically adjust roadmaps (we’re seeing more of this in the CDP space). So you will likely still have many good and bad vendor choices, but likely fewer catastrophic ones.

Today martech marketplaces are characterized by suite vendors purporting to sell collections of platforms (see the center of the map above) versus more focused, “point solution” suppliers. It’s an old story in the tech world and increasingly germane in the marketing space. 

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At RSG, our research and anecdotal experience suggest that savvier enterprises who build their stacks one service layer and component at a time see better results. They’re also less apt to be bullied into making poor decisions.  

But the debate endures and I think will carry over into the 2030s. That said, you might see a new class of suite vendors emerging.  Today Adobe, Salesforce, and to a lesser extent, Microsoft and SAP offer manifold marketing and digital experience solutions. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that over the next decade, they will all accumulate (even more) technical debt and become the IBM and Oracle of the 2030s.  

But the “suite” bundle will remain attractive to martech leaders looking for shortcuts to thorny integration problems, so I’ll also guess that a new crop of vendors will take their place.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

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Tony Byrne is founder of Real Story Group, a technology analyst firm. RSG evaluates martech and CX technologies to assist enterprise tech stack owners. To maintain its strict independence, RSG only works with enterprise technology buyers and never advises vendors.

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MARKETING

8 Effective Ways to Ensure Ecommerce Business Success

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8 Effective Ways to Ensure Ecommerce Business Success

It is a known fact that the global consumers are favoring ecommerce, and the reasons for ecommerce business success are many. 

According to a Statista forecast, the retail ecommerce revenue in the US is expected to cross 1.3 trillion dollars by the end of 2025.

Image via Statista

While brick-and-mortar stores are gradually losing their dominance, the digital marketplace is blazing. More and more ecommerce brands, big and small, are coming up and gaining a foothold in this ever-expanding landscape.

If you are one such ecommerce business striving to taste success, you know how demanding and competitive things can be. And you only beat the fierce competition with aggressive ecommerce marketing strategies like digital advertising, content marketing, social media marketing, etc.

In this post, I will be sharing 8 key factors you need to focus on to ensure your ecommerce business success and sustainable business growth. 

Let’s get started.

8 Key Factors for Ecommerce Business Success in 2022

The future of ecommerce is bright and the small businesses that jump on the bandwagon early will reap great benefits. But what does it take to taste this success? 

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Here are the 8 key success factors for ecommerce businesses.

1. Target a Niche Audience 

The secret to ecommerce business success lies in understanding your target audience and focusing all your efforts on engaging them. Instead of trying to attract a broad audience on the search engines, select a niche audience specific to your small business, understand their pain points and interests, and position your brand to meet their needs. An SEO tool like Semrush or Ahrefs can help you with your research to build a strong marketing strategy based on real insights.

The goal is to make your product unique and market it to a relevant audience that is more likely to make a purchase. This strategy can increase customer loyalty and win repeat customers for your small business. Therein lies the secret to your ecommerce business success. 

2. Go Mobile-First 

The pandemic has accelerated our shift to ecommerce and given rise to m-commerce. Insider Intelligence estimates that by 2025, m-commerce sales will account for 44.2% of total ecommerce sales in the US.

So it’s clear that the success of your ecommerce business relies on the mobile-friendliness of your site. Having a mobile-friendly online store can help you deliver a seamless online shopping experience to customers on the go.

You can begin by running Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and building a progressive web application (PWA) for your online store. A responsive design for your website will help boost sales and pave the way for your ecommerce business success.

3. Choose the Right Distribution Channels 

Your audiences are active on different channels and if want your products to be visible to them, you need to choose the right distribution channels. 

If your business model focuses solely on your ecommerce website, you should broaden your perspective and consider other sales channels. There are several other options to sell your products like Amazon, eBay, social media, affiliate marketing, and so on. You can manage your sales process effectively with the help of sales CRM tools. These tools integrate your different sales channels and makes your sales process more efficient.

Conduct extensive research to figure out which of these channels are preferred by your target customers. Showcase your products in an attractive way to boost your ecommerce sales. This digital marketing strategy can contribute to your ecommerce business success.

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4. Create Unique Content

You heard that right. To ensure that your ecommerce brand stands out in the crowd, you should invest in high-quality and diverse content. 

Today internet users are flooded with content and to grab their attention you need to think out of the box and create content marketing strategies that truly grab their attention. Remember, video content is ruling the landscape delivering great results. You can use Premiere Pro Presets to create unique and impressive videos and stay ahead of the competition.

Gather insights from customer data analysis, see what your competitors are doing, and learn from your previous digital marketing campaigns to create a more targeted content marketing strategy for your small business. 

5. Continually Update Your Email Marketing List 

Marketers rely on email marketing to achieve diverse marketing goals. Emails can be used to generate leads, nurture them, build relationships with customers, ensure customer satisfaction and boost ecommerce sales.

But to leverage the power of email marketing, you need to be smart about your email lists and use the right email tools to manage them. There’s no point in sending a thousand emails when only a couple of hundreds of recipients are your target audience. 

That’s why segmenting your email lists and keeping them updated is crucial to your ecommerce business success. An effective way to manage your email lists is to ask for the recipients’ feedback on your emails and the information they prefer to receive.

By analyzing the responses, you can make more strategic decisions and ensure the success of your ecommerce business.

6. Deliver a Great Shopping Experience 

The expectation of customers in terms of customer experience has skyrocketed and that’s why you need to work towards improving customer satisfaction.

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Personalized communication could be one of the biggest game-changers, be it in recommending products, reminding them of abandoned carts, or introducing them to your latest offerings. Creating user story maps can go a long way in making your personalization efforts more effective.

Right from the moment customers land on your page to when they make a purchase, you should strive to create a smooth customer experience. You can also consider incorporating an AI-powered chatbot into your website to take your customer service to the next level.

To make your customers happy, offer them special deals and discounts. Such moves will surely boost your ecommerce business success.

7. Invest in Social Media Marketing

Social media, can be immensely effective in creating brand awareness, extending customer service, and generating leads for your ecommerce business. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube are all marketers’ favorites to reach out to niche audiences and drive traffic for their sites.

Having said that, it is a crowded market, and winning big on social media isn’t easy. As an ecommerce brand, you need to use social media analytics to create digital marketing campaigns that not only generate engagement but also fill your sales funnel with quality leads.

Ecommerce brands should also leverage social selling as it is growing into a prominent trend. This shoppable post by Macy’s allows its Facebook followers to buy what they like instantly. 

Image via Facebook

If invested strategically, selling on social media can act as a profitable sales channel for your business. 

8. Leverage Ecommerce Tools

Your team need not struggle to ensure the success of your ecommerce business. A variety of advanced ecommerce tools are at your disposal to optimize your efforts. 

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Some of the must-use tools for you are: 

  • Website tools – to design, set up, and manage your ecommerce site
  • Ecommerce marketing tools – to help strategize and execute your campaigns with ease 
  • Competitor analysis tools – to understand the gaps in your planning and improve it
  • Analytics tools – to help you gauge the performance of your digital marketing campaigns
  • Business tools – to help you manage daily operations, finances, logistics, inventory, and customer service 

Choose the ones that can boost the success of your ecommerce business. 

Final Thoughts

There you have it, a list of 8 key factors you need to work on to ensure the success of your ecommerce business. Gaining this success is hard work but it is worth it. 

If you want to fuel your business growth, I strongly recommend building your ecommerce marketing strategy to enhance customer experience and build your brand identity. Go ahead and give them a try to beat the competition and establish a successful ecommerce business.


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