3 Tips to Help Marketers Modernize and Maximize Marketing Technology

3 Tips to Help Marketers Modernize and Maximize Marketing Technology

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According to Gartner, the average marketer only utilized 42% of their marketing technology (martech) stack’s capabilities last year, a 16% drop from the 2020 figure (58%). Specifically, the research identified consistent overlap of martech elements, a shortage of marketing talent with comprehensive martech knowledge, and the overall complexity of marketing technology as key contributors to 2022’s steep decline.

All is not lost, however, as a few strategic tweaks and innovations can help overhaul and optimize a brand’s martech stack, ensuring brands can consistently provide the cutting-edge digital experiences today’s consumers’ demand. Chief among these tips, tricks, and tech tools are composable digital experience software, first-class search functionality fit for a first-class brand, and effective but cautious, generative AI integrations.

The Future is Composable

As any marketer knows, the customer experience is not a finite entity but rather a living, breathing, and continuously evolving journey and relationship between brand and consumer. In short, brands need the ability to quickly pivot and improve their digital experience to keep pace with both competitors and customer preferences. However, cumbersome and underutilized martech stacks will make this exceedingly difficult, hence why many leading brands are opting for a composable digital experience platform (DXP).

Composable DXP’s provide marketers with an unprecedented level of flexibility, enabling them to quickly enhance and personalize their brand’s digital experience. With composable software, marketers can effectively “drag and drop” elements of their martech stack to do away with unwanted (or unused) elements and replace them with the tools their brand needs most. Additionally, a composable solution will seamlessly integrate into an existing martech stack, not only saving time but also saving brands from an expensive full-scale overhaul. With a composable platform in place, brands can begin integrating and implementing the latest and greatest CX innovations.

Search Smarter, Not Harder

A survey from Propel Software found that 54% of consumers would shop elsewhere after just one bad digital experience, with 24% of those same respondents citing inconsistent or obsolete product information as the reason behind a bad experience. Since many consumers will use a brand’s search bar to find the products and information they need, a poor search experience can, and will, drive away customers. For example, a standard, run-of-the-mill search bar will only present results that exactly match customer queries, often withholding other relevant products and information that doesn’t exactly match the search. To make matters worse, 61% of marketers have recognized changes in customer search patterns this year.

Brands need a more personalized search functionality to keep pace with ever-evolving consumers. Personalized search, powered by generative AI (Gen-AI) or machine learning technology, significantly improves result accuracy by accounting for spelling/grammar errors, recognizing when different words have the same meaning, and analyzing data and behavior from the user’s prior visits/searches. What’s more, personalized search will improve search bar efficacy across a multitude of languages helping both established global brands maintain a consistent CX worldwide, or growing companies expand into new markets. If marketers choose to go the Gen-AI route to improve their search bar or other CX elements, it’s vital they proceed with caution.

Slow and Steady Wins the Gen-AI Race

According to our research, 78% of marketers believe AI will help them get closer to their desired level of customer experience, but many harbor significant concerns around the technology. Forty-one percent worry about data vulnerabilities, and 26% worry about the system modernization requirements alongside an AI integration. Additionally, generative AI itself has plenty of kinks that need ironing out from a technical level. For example, ChatGPT has been found to occasionally “hallucinate” or confidently respond to an inquiry with either incorrect or nonsensical answers. As a result of these concerns, it’s best for marketers to slowly implement various AI-integrations, rather than rushing toward a full-scale rollout.

Alongside a “tortoise-like” (as opposed to hare-like) implementation strategy, marketers, in tandem with brand senior leadership, need to establish the necessary guardrails around how they use AI. Generally, marketers should conceptualize AI as a supplement to improve their martech stack’s efficiency (and to support their own decision-making), rather than a full-scale replacement for entire elements of the martech stack. With that concept top of mind, marketers can reap the benefits of AI while also keeping the powerful technology in check.

Through a composable DXP, brands can quickly up their martech utilization rate, which opens the door for effective, loyalty-building innovations like personalized search and the endless CX possibilities AI integrations bring to the table. However, AI is no perfect science, and marketers will do well to implement the tech slowly and cautiously. By upping their martech game, brands can dream bigger and begin curating the customer experiences of tomorrow.

Dave is the Chief Product Officer at Sitecore