The quest for digital transformation creates simultaneous challenges and opportunities. But companies have no choice but to embrace both with fervor if they want to play active roles in an increasingly global marketplace.

A Gartner study predicts businesses will increase their budgets for digital projects by at least 30 percent in 2016, and a survey by the MIT Center for Digital Business rates digital transformation as one of the three most important management tasks in the coming years.

Adopting New Marketing Tech

In marketing, new technologies to drive innovation is a critical factor for success. To uniformly plan and execute the complex challenges of marketing campaigns through various digital channels and customer touchpoints, digital marketers require software that combines various vital features.

The big question: How do you find the right tools?

Currently available solutions vary greatly in terms of functionality and their general rate of development. There are many vendors who constantly promote innovative features — however, it is the implementation and characteristic of the absolute core elements of an IT solution that are crucial.

One Campaign, Multiple Channels

Digital campaign management, sometimes also referred to as omnichannel campaign management, allows companies to define, plan and implement their offers and marketing activities across multiple channels such as websites, mobile, social networks or email platforms.

For many marketing experts, campaign management is one of the most important topics in 2016 and is ranked high on this year’s must-do list. However, the change from a single-channel to a real multichannel campaign, like the transition from manual to automatic, is rarely an overnight success.

The main challenge lies in selecting the right software. Many suppliers offer excellent functions in one or two aspects; however, others prove to be severely deficient. Other providers provide an extensive set of features, without sufficient strength positioned in the vital core areas.

A few years ago it was only possible for major companies with a high marketing budget to carry out attractive, successful email campaigns. Now, this area is a basic commodity — pretty email templates, easy creation of content and dynamic call-to-action make implementation easier than ever.

Instead of drafting a campaign from scratch, today’s professionals just take care of conversion rate optimization. Focus has moved to new topics that set the bar for determining whether a software package/solution meets 2016’s requirements for modern campaign management.

The Right Software = Digital Campaign Success

Recently, suppliers have developed their ranges enormously. However, correctly assessing which solution is suitable for which company still remains difficult. Features such as social media, which in 2014 still ensured a competitive advantage, are by 2016 simply part of the standard package.

Today, the core approach is integration of the various channels, and optimal control and performance measurement across all points of contact.

Good campaign management software should feature various elements ranging from basic campaign management features to advanced analytics and execution features like personalization, event triggering, automation or predictive analytics.

According to Gartner, companies should look for the following features in campaign management solutions:

  1. Predictive Analytics: With this feature models are developed to predict demand, determine the optimal campaign performance and test multidimensional scenarios
  2. Campaign Workflow: This feature coordinates all necessary work and process steps involved in the creation and execution of a campaign, such as the distribution of tasks, responsibilities and timelines
  3. Multi-dimensional segmentation: With this function, target audience segments are grouped together on the basis of their defined attributes and different dimensions
  4. Content Marketing: This feature allows dynamic creation and editing of large amounts of content during a currently active campaign, or determination of the content publication period
  5. Ad Management: Ad Management automates the purchase and placement of advertising space for a campaign. Features include real-time bid submission and data platform integration.
  6. Event Triggering: this feature sends individualized offers or promotions to a target group, depending on usage or click behavior of that group (for example, clicking within a website or exiting from of shopping cart)
  7. Mobile Marketing: Mobile marketing is based on accurate analysis of customer data in order to specifically deliver tailored offers and content
  8. Real-time decision making: With a real-time analysis of the key figures of a campaign, decision makers can respond within minutes and optimize current campaigns seletively

Apart from these core features, every campaign management solution has to be neatly integrated with the company's overall IT architecture. In practice, an issue often occurs at the interface to other key applications such as content management systems (CMS).

A modern CMS needs to support multichannel content delivery and provide open and easy-to-use APIs. Choosing the right campaign management software should never be viewed as a standalone decision.

The Right Stuff

A successful digital campaign is still based on marketing principles like identifying the right audience, selecting the right offer and the creative implementation of the campaign idea.

In the digital environment, particularly through the integration of diverse channels, the role of the right technology is becoming increasingly important. Selection of appropriate software should be carefully considered and the features described above taken into account as critical factors for success.

Title image by Rob Lambert