Marketing technology is getting easier to use, and with the ability to assign roles and customize who is allowed to do what within a platform, it’s harder than ever to truly “screw up” a brand. In essence, what we’re seeing is the result of the democratization of technology—that is, technology going from being controlled by a few in the central office to being handled by many in the field—being combined with the the needs of a distributed marketing model, where companies allow their “in the trenches” marketers in local offices to autonomously create, execute, track and optimize campaigns that take advantage of their unique expertise and insights.
Here are a few things that I see happening as a result:
Everyone can be a marketer: With the democratization of technology and the distributed (or decentralized) marketing model, every person who has interaction with the customer along their journey has potential insights that can add to the campaign—and there’s no longer a technological barrier standing in the way of them adding their two cents to the mix in very specific ways on very specific campaigns.
Each individual, from the front-line customer service professional to the nighttime manager who resolves client complaints, has unique knowledge that can have a positive impact on the next customer interaction. Smart organizations will facilitate that knowledge transfer via their marketing automation platform — letting their staff know that their contributions are valued — and allowing them to get back to their other duties.
Trained marketers become even more important: If you’re worried that when everyone becomes a marketer “real” marketers lose their value, think again. Rather than becoming less valuable to your organization in a decentralized marketing environment, professional marketers will actually become more valuable.
Businesses will need your skills and expertise to create the foundation—everything from the individual campaign elements to the campaign cadences and marketing programs—from which the newly empowered “non-marketers” can work. You’ll effectively be the wizard behind the curtain, tasked to not only think strategically but creatively, identifying the many different scenarios and situations in which on-the-ground staff will be able to create beautiful “goof-proof” marketing campaigns that will generate leads and create conversions.
Distributed enterprises will welcome the breathing room: If you’ve ever owned or worked for a university campus, reseller, bank, franchise, or any other “satellite” version of a larger business or entity that was controlled by a central entity, you know first-hand the battle of “maintaining the brand” versus creating an online presence (and other marketing materials, like emails campaigns) that truly serve your organization. But with the democratization of technology coming to decentralized marketing, you’ll finally have the autonomy you need to make smart decisions for your own office/store/school without jeopardizing or cannibalizing the larger brand.
You and the central office will have clarity on which campaigns are working, which visitor segments are responding and which optimization tactics seem to be best at boosting numbers; and even your least tech-savvy salesman will be able to send customers follow-up emails on the easy-to-use technology platform.
Costs will get lower: When companies decide to embrace the democratization of technology in their decentralized marketing environment, costs invariably get lower. Why? A good portion of the cost savings will come from the ability to reduce duplicate work; for example, creating one set of template designs that are locked down for the entire organization is much more cost effective than every office hiring a designer to create their own templates. Additionally, consolidating analytics, metrics and assets will also allow for enhanced analysis and efficient updates, saving time and money.
Customers will be happier: Because marketers at the local level—those marketers who are most aware of the area’s specific needs and the unique preferences and nuances of its people—are able to customize campaigns to speak directly to their neighbors and friends, they’ll be more compelling, more on-target and will better resonate with the people they’re trying to reach.
Rather than sending generic offers suggested by the corporate office, local offices will be empowered to generate offers based on things like special events in the area or even involvement in local traditions, which shows customers that while your business may be a big brand, you aren’t too big to care about what’s going on in your community.
CMOs will sleep better at night: There are few things that make a CMO happier than 1. Being able to launch campaigns at scale and 2. Knowing that their brand is safe and consistent. Decentralized marketing helps them achieve both, allowing practically anyone in the office to develop and execute compelling campaigns without even a smidgen of a chance of jeopardizing the brand. I know I’m officially a CEO, but I’ll tell you that the marketer in me sleeps better at night knowing that my brand is locked down and looking good.
What other changes do you see as a result of the democratization and decentralization of martech? Are there other impacts that marketers, CMOs and businesses should anticipate? Let me know in the comments!