If You Want to Deliver a Better Experience, You Need a Connected Tech Stack

Without the customer, there is no marketing

Marketers have spent centuries trying to reach people who want their products. But even though customers are essential to the ethos of marketing, they aren’t always at the center of a marketer’s strategy. 

This isn’t necessarily done on purpose. The further the shift into digital-focused marketing, the harder it becomes to create an omnichannel strategy that offers the best experiences to the people marketers are trying to reach. Executing a cohesive campaign across owned and paid channels requires different types of technology, and when those solutions work independently of one another, they create disjointed customer journeys.

An October 2023 white paper from IDC, sponsored by Epsilon, “Customer Experience Suffers Without Omni-Channel Alignment,” explores this very question: How does a brand unify its channels and strategies to make those customer touchpoints uniform and seamless? By adopting a connected tech stack. 

Build the right foundation with data

Ad tech and mar tech promise to use data to drive insights and outcomes. The more a brand understands its customers and prospects, the better they are at reaching those people (with the right message, at the right time, etc.), which ultimately allows marketers to measure more accurately, and build on those learnings from one campaign to the next. They can repeat the same process with more precision every single time they go to talk to someone.

Using multiple platforms to collect, clean, organize and analyze those insights can fragment the accuracy and usefulness of that data. And, if data isn’t being enhanced with an identity solution, brands may find major gaps in that holistic understanding of the customer. According to an IDC survey, only 17% of marketers said their tech solutions offer a comprehensive view of the customer.

“By leveraging integrated first-party data and resolving identity at the person level, more accurate targeting of the intended customers becomes possible,” IDC’s Roger Beharry Lall explained in the white paper. “Regardless of whether the engagement is executed in advertising, marketing, social, loyalty or another context.”

Defining and harnessing a first-party data strategy supported by identity resolution allows advertisers to optimize their campaigns to the real people who want to buy their products, reducing ad waste and driving better ROI.

Choose tech and teams that work together

With thousands of tech solutions for both ad tech and mar tech, organizations struggle to create seamless workflows that connect from one solution to the next. According to an IDC survey, over a third of business leaders said that application integration is one of their top three marketing challenges.

Tech solutions often work independently of one another—as separate platforms, used by separate teams, being fueled by separate budgets. Passing insights from one silo to the next erodes the data itself. And, as a result, there is no accurate, unified system to implement or measure campaigns.

This manifests in the day-to-day work advertisers and marketers produce. One team works on site banners and videos while the other may focus on social media and email strategy. Both want to reach the consumer, but they’re working as disparate operations and inadvertently create internal blind spots and disjointed campaigns.

Seamless campaigns require interconnective tissue. Integrating tech solutions that purposefully work together—and developing a foundation internally to create a unified approach to data collection, activation and reporting—enable omnichannel campaigns that serve the customer on whichever channels and devices they prefer.

“Ultimately, from the customer’s perspective, whether a campaign is carried out through the ad tech or mar tech stack (and the corresponding teams), the distinction is minimal,” Lall shared. “Marketers need to embrace a more unified approach that connects the advertising and marketing silos. Whether through a single tool, a deeply integrated stack, or the use of bridging data constructs, aligning these two areas is essential.”

Move toward connectivity today

Implementing a connected tech stack is mission-critical for brands hoping to drive impact. Data deprecation, privacy regulations and channel proliferation greatly affect how well a brand can market to the right customers, and these headwinds are not going away.

Marketing teams and organizations looking toward the future need to bridge these gaps today. Improving audience understanding and building campaign synergies boosts the bottom line. Leaders across marketing and IT need to come together and discuss where these points of collaboration are missing, including how data is being collected and distributed, and by which teams.

Not only does this pave the way for reduced inefficiencies and cross-collaborative goals in the business, but it also creates seamless experiences for the customer, too.

“Marketing and advertising structures have created bifurcated tactics, resulting in a disjointed customer experience,” Lall explained. “Moving forward, marketers must prioritize the only ‘view’ that matters—the customers.”

As chief product officer, Joe Doran leads Epsilon’s product management function focusing on Epsilon PeopleCloud, a suite of modular solutions spanning CRM, digital media, loyalty and email.