How Does Jane Shop for an SUV? EMM Lets You Capture Consumer Activity Across Channels

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Jane Doe is in the market for a new vehicle. She’s technology savvy and is using the Internet for research. She usually leases her vehicles (every two to three years) from the same dealer. While she’s not unhappy with the dealer, she’s not particularly loyal, either.

Consider the cross-channel “Richter Scale” in the graphic below that illustrates Jane’s process for purchasing a vehicle. The green line represents her activity from the perspective of the dealer’s web site, while the red line represents all activity from the consumer’s point of view. Jane shows up to the dealer as Consumer ID ABC123, though of course, the dealer doesn’t know it’s Jane.



If you were the dealer, you could see from this data only that Jane has been spending a fair amount of time looking at economy cars and SUVs. But you couldn’t tell how long she has been actively engaged in new vehicle research or what else she’s been doing.

Yet, if you did know more about Jane’s research into new vehicles, you could have interacted with Jane at several points along her purchase journey, reinforcing messages relating to her car purchase and demonstrating the value of buying the vehicle from you, as opposed to your competition.

Consider this activity timeline for Jane’s research:

Activity for Consumer ID ABC123
Oct 25 Researches SUVs on Edmunds.com
Nov 03 Researches SUVs on Edmunds.com
Nov 08 Visits YOUR economy car pages
Nov 10 Google search on “Top SUVs”
Nov 11 Researches SUVs at CarTrader.com
Nov 11 Visits YOUR SUV pages
Nov 12 Compares SUVs at competitor’s web site
Nov 13 Visits YOUR dealership to test drive SUV and an economy car
Nov 14 Attends the annual Auto Show and swipes card at YOUR booth
Nov 15 Visits competitor’s dealership to test drive SUV
Nov 16 Visits YOUR economy car pages
Nov 16 Buys an SUV at a competitor

Web searches are driven by “offline” brand awareness and other types of marketing activities first. You should not assume that a web search is the beginning of the commerce cycle, nor that consumers utilize only one channel throughout the entire commerce life cycle.

Today’s Web 2.0 world supports a greater awareness of the customer across channels, and the customer’s activity is no longer a one-way street. It is a dialog informed—from the prospective business’ point of view—by a panoramic view of the customer and a customer’s strategic value. From the customer’s point of view, it is a dialog that is useful, unobtrusive, personal and respectful.

Traffic control

To get this right, marketing must become the “air traffic controller” of pervasive customer processes and interactions across every channel. In this way, all marketing disciplines work together to act on the panoramic customer view, providing the right information to the right channel at the right time.

If you consider the dialog to be an “always-on campaign”—sometimes called event-based marketing—you’ll see that the conversation is predefined based on anticipated lifecycle events but with the messaging and triggers built around the consumer’s behavior and profile, not arbitrary time-triggered events. As such, transforming one-off interactions into meaningful dialogs requires that the context of the conversation be maintained and transferred from one channel to the next. That requires cross-channel integration.

The foundation for implementing cross-channel marketing includes an enterprise marketing management (EMM) platform. To fully deliver on the cross-channel promise, organizations must get their arms around this type of technology. At a high level, EMM comprises technology that automates processes involved in planning, analyzing, executing, monitoring and managing an organization’s marketing efforts.

It is important to note that cross-channel marketing relates to customer strategy across the entire commerce life cycle, not just the engage processes (where marketing is often relegated). As an organization considers how best to implement cross-channel marketing, it becomes clear that, though not all customers will be treated the same, each customer’s experience must be optimized (where “optimized” does not necessarily mean “maximized”).

A complete EMM solution enables an organization to consistently execute on this customer strategy. However, EMM will be just another silo if you do not integrate and share data seamlessly across all solutions in the suite. The elements of a complete EMM suite include:

  • Marketing operations management: processes and technology related to managing the marketing function itself (planning, budgeting, resources, production workflow and digital asset management)
  • Behavior monitoring and event detection: processes and technology to detect and respond to changes in customer behavior
  • Campaign and interaction management: processes and technology designed to positively affect customer behavior across channels (including Internet and direct mail) and direction (inbound or outbound and in real time or not). Fueled by customer and web analytics, campaign and interaction management is moving beyond being cast primarily as an activity of the “engage” phase of the commerce life cycle to also participating in the “service” life cycle stage (in the form of cross-selling and up-selling).
  • Lead management: processes and technology involved in qualifying a lead as an opportunity and then passing it to an opportunity management system, where the lead must retain the link to the source campaign or dialog to determine campaign effectiveness measurements
  • Marketing analytics: processes and technology to transform raw data into useful information. Two different analytical form factors are required for comprehensive analytics:
    • Reporting of static information relative to a specific time (“real time” is key here). The actual results are fed back into models.
    • Analysis of information collected over a period of time to capture trends. Common analyses include scenarios related to customers, products, retention, performance, financials, channel productivity and cross-channel efficacy.

Marketing must act as a traffic controller, constantly monitoring and reacting to every customer interaction across all channels and all customer-facing business processes because the customer experience affects your future company revenue and profit.

EMM ensures that these customer experiences across channels and marketing media reinforce the organization’s basic brand value proposition and differentiate its business. Different types of marketers will bring different priorities to bear in implementing an EMM solution. For instance, a relationship marketer will emphasize elements of campaign management (such as modeling, event and behavior detection and real-time personalization) and lead management (such as lead referrals and analysis of lead-generation effectiveness). A brand marketer will emphasize marketing operations management (event management) and campaign management with a different focus (marketing content). And an Internet marketer will focus on things like web channel campaign deployment, web analytics and online customer collaboration.

Today, each type of marketing has its own objectives, success metrics and often its own departments (especially in the case of Internet marketing). If you are to deliver on the promise of cross-channel integration and differentiated customer experiences, then you must provide marketing with an integrated channel system to help it act as the relationship “air traffic controller.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Liz

    A very interesting article. EMM and its related MRM technologies are powerful tools for the best marketers to optimise marketing in multi-channel environments. They are also fiendishly difficult to implement and rather expensive.

    Having worked on long assignments with a number of automotive manufacturers and having spent the last four years consulting to and being the Interim Head of CRM at a leading manufacturer, I seriously doubt whether most of them, or their sister financial services companies, or their dealers, are really ready for EMM/MRM.

    It all sounds so nice in theory. But in practice the challenges of data integration within the manufacturer and its independent sister companies, collaboration with legions of distrustful dealerships (who own the customer and all their touchpoint data) and the convoluted customer buying process for most customers makes EMM/MRM just too difficult. And far from cost-effective. Most manufacturers have challenges enough in making closed-loop marketing work, let alone grappling with the EMM/MRM monster.

    At the moment, automotive manufacturers would be better off working on fixing the broken lead management process, on getting the basics of closed-loop marketing in place and on improving the end-to-end customer experience. That’s where the return on marketing investment for automotive manufacturers lies at the moment, not in expensive new marketing toys.

    Having said that, there is no reason why any manufacturer who has got their CRM ABCs into place and working smoothly couldn’t benefit from the power of tomorrow’s SaaS EMM/MRM solutions.

    Further reading:

    Bringing Marketing Efficiencies through MRM-MOM-EMM
    http://marketingefficiency.wordpress.com/
    (wiki-like links to leading EMM/MRM providers and analyst reports)

    Marketing Transformation Services
    http://www.marketingtransformation.net/index.html
    (Definitive EMM/MRM expert Beth Weesner’s company – see the Resource Center)

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant
    Interim CRM Manager

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