Marketing operations and technology should not ignore the web

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Over the past few years, after my formal and more comprehensive transition into the marketing operations and technology space, I’ve continued to feel a bit of a misfit. At least from my anecdotal observations, most of the members of this community have specialized in marketing automation and adjacent sub-specialties, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, as someone with experience working primarily with content management systems (CMS) and administering similar systems such as form builders and community platforms, these are the people I can work with. identify me most closely.

Recently, Darrell Alfonso, a marketing operations thought leader and MarTech contributor, asked on LinkedIn what people think is the most underrated martech platform or system. Although he had a limited number of slots for a post-survey on LinkedIn, he didn’t mention web systems. Although I started writing this column before he published this poll, I think the community is not focusing as much as it should on web systems.

Although the marketing operations and technology community is not ignorant of web systems, it could benefit from focusing more on them. Systems like this aren’t just for creatives with copywriting, word writing, and video making skills. They are an integral part of martech stacks which, with vision, engagement and orchestration, can enable bold strategies using components across the stack for impactful and effective multi-channel campaigns.

Websites are more than just places to host content, solicit personal information, and collect data. In many cases, they are important parts of customer journeys. For example, when systems such as DAMs, CDPs, and DSPs are properly configured, customers can see consistent messages and images across all channels. When the customer is on a sporting goods e-commerce site, their behavior on the site can indicate their propensity to buy (specific sport or activity, cold vs hot weather, male vs female, clothing vs equipment, etc.). The orchestration ensures that online advertisements, emails, paid social media posts, and the images and messages they encounter during visits and subsequent visits to the website, can all focus on what interests them when they navigate (understand it?) on the site.

More control than other settings

Notably, marketing teams have much more control over website setup and layout than other channels. Ad networks (digital and analog), social media networks, trade shows, and other channels place significant constraints on how organizations can present themselves.

Granted, browser and device vendors, in addition to regulators, place constraints on websites, but marketers have much more leeway than in many other channels. So why not enjoy it ?

The power of experimentation

Information from one channel can certainly be applied to other channels. Since there is considerable wiggle room in using the web channel, it’s a great place to try things out. For example, testing – user, A/B, and multivariate – is not only a great way to optimize conversion rate, it’s a good place to test hypotheses that can help guide tactics for multiple channels.

Such assumptions may involve messages and images. Different testing tactics can help identify important information. For example, user testing can help marketers get inside customers’ heads; this tactic can include interviews and asking testers to speak out loud while their sessions are being recorded. While it’s impractical to perform user testing at a large enough scale to quickly draw actionable conclusions, it can help generate experimentation ideas for A/B and multivariate testing. It is easier to present and examine how large groups react to various possibilities of content, UI elements and site flow through such tests. In turn, the data from these experiences can be applied across multiple channels, not just the web.

A multi-channel vision

In addition to testing, the community can assess how well the web channel can scale to multi-channel orchestration. For example, if marketers notice that a certain audience segment responds well to certain targeting, there are a variety of tactics to consider.

These can range from images that better reflect the segment (having people in images and videos that look like members of the segment), to special offers or pricing and terms (organizational partners, officials, and campaigns). With some orchestration using systems like analytics, CRMs, CDPs, DSPs, and DAMs, the web-based aspects of the customer journey can match the experience with other channels.

Read next: Does your organization need a headless or hybrid CMS?

Don’t forget the web

The marketing operations and technology community does a great job talking about marketing automation, analytics, online marketing, and CDP. Still, there’s a lot of value in considering these channels in concert with the web channel. Marketing operations and technology span the entire customer journey, and leaving the web parts primarily to our creative colleagues serves no one. And remember that our creative colleagues are valuable collaborators in our more traditional channels. So the goal is to associate, not to requisition.


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


About the Author

Steve Petersen is Head of Marketing Technology at Zuora. He spent nearly 8.5 years at Western Governors University, holding numerous martech-related roles, the last being Chief Marketing Technology Officer. Prior to WGU, he worked as a strategist at Washington, DC digital store The Brick Factory, where he worked closely with trade associations, nonprofits, major brands, and advocacy campaigns. Petersen holds a Masters in Information Management from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Brigham Young University. He is also a certified ScrumMaster. Petersen lives in the Salt Lake City, UT area. Petersen represents his own opinions, not those of his current or former employers.

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