How to Build an Always-on Marketing Machine

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Spotify's Mayur Gupta discusses what marketers are missing about martech at the Ad Age IQ Conference: Marketing & Technology.
Spotify's Mayur Gupta discusses what marketers are missing about martech at the Ad Age IQ Conference: Marketing & Technology.  Credit: Robert Tannenbaum for Ad Age

Are you winning the marketing race or heading for a crash?

Mayur Gupta, Spotify global growth innovation and marketing, used the analogy of a Formula 1 race at the Ad Age IQ Marketing & Technology conference this week in his discussion of what marketers are missing in marketing technology. Marketers have a lot of tools and parts, but they don't work together. His insight: "The industry is strugglng because we don't have a car yet, let alone know how to drive it. The pace of innovation is so fast, companies can't keep up."

The most common mistake marketers are making, he said is racing ahead without stopping to think about what they are solving for. Data is all well and good, but it needs to be wisely applied to facilitate a change in human behavior, and specifically to help solve a human need, Mr. Gupta said. He cited, for example, Uber delivering an email offer to someone who has just landed at O'Hare airport, which is contextual and creates a value relationship with the consumer.

But first, you have to create the car. Currently, many marketers are looking at their marketing tech as spare parts rather than one cohesive whole. Email, social, mobile and e-commerce should not be seen as silos but interact as part of the marketing whole. If they are not assembled right, you can't apply them properly to meet a human need.

"Just because you have the car does not mean you win the race," he said. "CRM is not a software; if it was we wouldn't have this problem." Mr. Gupta said that the key is to understand how to deliver your message at every single point of contact with a consumer. In short, you have to earn your relationship with the consumer.

So how does a contemporary marketer do that? Here are some of the thoughts Mr. Gupta offered to create an always-on marketing machine, which he defines as an organization that always listens to consumer behavior to capture signals from across all channels and touchpoints; translates them into insights and unmet needs at an individual level; and programmatically translates these unmet needs into contextual content delivered in an omni-channel world.

Aim for a holistic view of the consumer. Marketers often only know a single person in many fragments: There is the email mom, the social mom, the e-commerce mom, etc. If your marketing tech is siloed by channel, you are looking at her as many people, not just one.

Don't forget context. Who are you trying to reach and why? What are your objectives? What behaviors do you want to change? Look for key moments and inflection points to deliver the right message at the right time.

Use omni-channel planning. Make your messaging consistent no matter what channel you are using to reach the consumer and base it on human behavior.

Listen, target, test and refine: An agile marketing operation allows for always-on experimentation.

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