A few years ago, it was clear that mobile technology was changing the way people searched when they wanted to know, go, do or buy. With advancing technology, people are again changing how they search – and time is of the essence.
Google data shows that in the U.S., search interest for “open now” grew 300 percent from June 2015 to June 2017. During that same period, mobile searches related to “same-day shipping” grew 120 percent. And travel-related searches for “tonight” and “today” grew 150 percent.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that as people navigate life from the palm of their hand — or with just their voice — they’ve become more curious, more impatient and more likely to make decisions on the fly. As people search for answers, assistance becomes the new marketing battleground. And the biggest challenge marketers face in this age of assistance is knowing when to act.
New technology has changed people’s behaviors — and it’s also changed marketers’ expectations for the tools we need in order to measure results and react just in time. The companies leading the way are those that embrace both sides of this equation. They uncover insights to better understand their customers, and they use technology to deliver messages at precisely the right moment.
Bain & Company, in partnership with Google, surveyed marketing decision makers around the world to gain a deeper understanding of how marketers use audience insights and technology to drive growth. Marketing leaders — defined in the study as the top 20 percent in a composite score of revenue and market share growth — are gaining a competitive edge because they are:
● 1.6x more likely to prioritize integrating technology
● 1.2x more likely to be advanced users of their technology
● 1.4x more likely to manage marketing technology within their marketing organization today
As the Bain report notes, “Timing comes into play through signals, sequence and speed. And the technology now exists for marketers to test with high confidence when to communicate and in what order — and to do so in near-real time.”
Leading the Way
Both our own work with our customers and the research with Bain show that marketers making the biggest leaps forward share four common ways of working:
1) Leaders connect their systems. These companies take the initiative to merge their internal systems with media platforms to understand their customers and their marketing performance more deeply. In North America, 80 percent of marketers prefer integrated marketing and advertising technology from a single vendor.
More than that, North American marketers surveyed in the Bain study say that their top priority for achieving their marketing goals in the next three years is gaining an improved understanding of and reaching the right customers.
2) Leaders act fast to improve performance. Leaders turn to technology to help them act in just the right moments — and keep up with the changing media landscape. Marketing laggards are 1.7x more likely to be held back by slow decision making. But leaders are using technology with built-in intelligence to surface ad trends and patterns in near-real time so they deliver more relevant marketing with speed to assist consumers in the moments that matter.
3) Leaders take control and gain visibility. The Bain research showed that leaders are 1.7x more likely to indicate that their CMO is the final decision maker for advertising and marketing technology. With marketers driving decisions about their tech stack, the marketing department can ensure that the tools teams use provide greater visibility and control over investments and channels. For example, connecting analytics and advertising systems helps marketers easily see what parts of their strategy are working and make informed decisions to better allocate budgets and improve performance.
4) Leaders share insights across teams. Decisions can happen faster if you share customer insights across your organization so everything doesn’t have to go through the same old bottlenecks. That’s why we’re seeing more leading companies invest in a test-and-learn approach, with the goal of quickly uncovering and sharing insights to not only improve campaign performance but also drive business growth. A key to that culture is near-real time information. According to the study, marketing leaders are 1.7x more likely to refresh their most critical marketing metrics and dashboards at least weekly.
Making Timely Connections
As customers grow more time-sensitive and demanding, companies need technology that can help them keep pace. Marketers who use rich insights, cross-functional collaboration and integrated technology are best positioned to break through the clutter — and make those winning customer connections right on time.
Download the full report from Bain & Company and Google to learn how leading marketers get their timing right.