Marketing is one of the most essential business functions, which according to various research reports absorbs over 10% of the corporate budget. Likewise, the productivity of marketing operations is an extremely important element of corporate results, as it is a means for attracting customers, generating sales leads and ultimately selling the company’s products and services. In this context, campaign management is one of the most important marketing tools as it provides a way for planning, executing and evaluating marketing programs for specific audiences. Towards designing and implementing proper programs, campaign management interfaces with public relations and sales professionals within an organization helping them to reach out to potential clients in the most effective way.
IT have evolved enough to be able to provide a host of tools for supporting marketing operations- notably tools that fall under the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) umbrella. In order to manage their marketing campaigns, organizations are increasing leveraging campaign management systems (CMS) i.e. software solutions that are exclusively designed to support the elements of marketing campaigns. CMS systems have been recently evolving in-line with the main trends that shape campaign management, some of which are directly linked to IT and the internet.
Campaign Management: Driving Trends
The following marketing and commerce trends are driving the development of CMS systems:
- Mobile-first marketing: As illustrated in earlier posts, consumers are increasingly browsing the internet through their mobile devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets) rather than through their desktop computers. This leads companies to implement mobile-first strategies in their business operations and the marketing division is no exception to this. As customers engage in mobile commerce transactions, marketers try to understand and take advantage of their mobile buying behavior. Mobile marketing is generally challenging as marketers needs to deal with the fragmentation of mobile platforms and devices, in order to provide customers with the right messages at the most appropriate times.
- Brand and insights communication: Marketing campaigns are no longer limited to conveying sales messages. Rather they also strive to communicate brand ideas as part of the so-called content marketing. The scope of content marketing is not limited to disseminating and optimizing content, but extends to multimedia content creation including videos, infographics and animations. As a result, state of the art CMS tools should come with content creation functionalities in addition to features for disseminating this content through different channels.
- Social media engagement: Nowadays, a great deal of marketing takes place on popular social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Social Media platform have ‘Influencers’ who can be used to promote products and expand the reach of a campaign. Therefore, marketers are embracing social media in their marketing strategies and campaigns. Modern CMS systems provide the means for managing and sharing content across social media channels, while at the same time combining the multiple channels in order to maximize outreach and engagement.
- E-Shops and E-commerce: Marketing campaigns are no longer addressing traditional customers only but rather need to cater to on-line customers as well. In terms of campaign management this implies a need for analyzing on-line user data and managing on-line ads. State-of-the-art CMS tools come therefore with a host of BigData analytics utilities that enable analysis of consumer behavior on-line, as a means of achieving high conversion rates.
CMS Tool Case Study: Adobe Campaign
Motivated by the above-listed trends enterprises are turning to modern, cloud based tools, which enable them to personalize, deliver and track campaigns across online and offline channels including social media. Adobe Campaign is one of the most popular of these tools, which enables management and performance tracking for multi-channel and cross-channel campaigns from a single entry point. It is tied to Adobe’s wider cloud-based ecosystem, which is conveniently called Adobe Marketing Cloud (AMC). However, it is also possible to deploy and use Adobe Campaign as a stand-alone solution, depending on your budget constraints and the level at which you would like to rely on cloud services. Overall, Adobe Campaign provides a host of marketing automation features, which increase the productivity of the various campaigns and reduce time to market.
Some of the tool’s main functionalities and supported use cases include:
- Management of Cross-channel Campaigns: The tool offers an intuitive, user-friendly drag and drop interface for managing campaigns across different internet and social media channels. Management features include campaign design (e.g., audience segmentation, channel & frequency selection) and orchestration of the actions entailed in the campaign (e.g., messages dissemination, channels management, triggers) based on visual workflows. Campaigns can be executed from an on premise, hybrid or cloud environment, depending on the selected deployment model.
- Customer Information Integration: Integrating customer data from multiple sources and touch points is a key prerequisite for running effective campaigns, including the design and execution of cross-selling features and loyalty programs. Adobe Campaign enables the collection and unification of customer data from multiple online and offline channels, along with their consolidation in a single database. In this process, Adobe Campaign enables collection and consolidation of any customer information already available in the AMC cloud.
- Targeted Segmentation for Effective Campaigns: Customer segmentation is a key prerequisite for effective campaigns, as it enables the transmission of targeted, personalized messages to proper customers. Adobe Campaign facilitates the segmentation process based on visual tools, which facilitate the correlation of channel workflows with customer segments, as means of supporting personalized customer experiences. Segments are also updated in real-time, as the tool can consider changes to customer profiles on the fly. Hence, Adobe Campaign enables marketers to embrace change, as part of customers’ changing behaviors.
- Intelligent Email marketing: Adobe Campaign provides tools for automating e-mail marketing through workflow management tools that us both online and offline customer data sources. As part of these workflows, e-mail messages are customized and are used in the marketing campaign.
- Effective Interaction management: Adobe Campaign enables the instant selection of relevant offers from a central catalog, while at the same time providing the means for their personalization. As part of interaction management the tools allows the definition and management of business rules basis which customers qualify for offers.
- Customized Operational Reporting: Adobe Campaign is versatile in creating reports based on different data models and visualization modalities including lists, cubes, graphs, dashboards and more. Reports include an analytical part, yet can have actionable capabilities as well. Hence, these can be used for identifying new opportunities for profitable campaigns and marketing activities.
Pros and Cons
Adobe Campaign is a powerful tool that can essentially improve the productivity of your campaigns. It is appropriate for both large enterprises and SMBs (Small Medium Businesses) even through SMBs might find the cloud-based version pricey. One of the main merits of the tool is that it can be accessed through mobile devices, which is highly appreciated by marketing agents. Other advantages lie in its ability to automate marketing processes while handling multiple channels (i.e. e-mail, SMS, social media) and changes in real-time. Using such a tool, one can not only design campaigns with higher Return on Investment (ROI) but can also track and evaluate this ROI. However, there is always room for improvement, especially in user experience and overall performance (e.g., when accessible and loading multi-channel data).
The ultimate value of Adobe Campaign and other similar CMS tools is maximized not based on their functionalities per se, but rather based on the way these functionalities are blended with the organizations’ marketing processes. The CMO and the marketing department are usually the main sources of an enterprise’s marketing intelligence. CMS systems are simply the tools that facilitate injection of this intelligence in the organization’s marketing campaigns.