In a recent blog series I talked about the proliferation of silos while my CEO, Scott Howe, commented at DMEXCO that the rate of innovation and fragmentation today is out-pacing the rate of consolidation. What this really means is that while Microsoft buy Mojang (and therefore Minecraft), while Adobe bought Neolane and while DunnHumby bought Sociomatic, even more new products, platforms and companies continue to sprout up to take their place.
And then, within these acquired companies, experience suggests that integration is something that almost always takes much longer than initially anticipated with too many companies finally recognising they should never have made the acquisition in the first place! Of course, it’s not always like this but it is small wonder share prices initially tend to rise sharply for the acquired and fall sharply for the acquirer.
So we have a kind of ‘whack-a-mole’ (not a game this author likes!) scenario; where a combination of new companies, software, platforms, technologies etc. on top of those who may be integrated by ownership but often far less so in other terms, results in a growing number of media, tools and devices that can connect with the consumer, but not with each other!
We wish there was a magic wand that could simply ensure everything could speak with everything else, a universal language or common denominator. Of course, within companies or networks we see efforts to integrate, not least of which within technology stacks such as Adobe and IBM but what can the marketer do who wants to combine across these technologies and then to social media networks like Facebook and Twitter and to search such as Bing or Google or to DMPs, their media agencies, their reporting tools and so on and on and on?
The good news is there is a common language. It may not be a silver bullet or magic wand or any other metaphor, but in data, we do have a chance. I have little tolerance for marketers who fail to remember that above all else, the 1s and 0s of data are in reality a customer, a real person. Because, in the data, we have a chance to recognise the individual, build our understanding of them and deliver a brilliant experience wherever they interact with brands; but we must connect.
Today’s CMO must feel like the conductor of an orchestra; so many instruments at his or her disposal but how to make them all work together in harmony to the benefit of the listener, or customer? Luckily, conductors have music that that allows them to get everyone working together, in time and in tune. The CMO may have plenty of data and technologies, but he or she must focus now on data connectivity, the ability to connect data ‘across everywhere’ to better recognise and understand customers and to deliver against the CMO’s #1 priority (according to eConsultany’s trends report), and that is a great customer experience, online, offline, mobile, everywhere.
When things go well, we often say ‘it’s all coming together’; start today to figure out how you can bring your data and your customer experience together.
Jed Mole, European Marketing Director