Michael Komasinski, President
Modern marketing transcends the idea of simply informing customers and prospects about products. Today, marketing is about building relationships with customers using identity-based targeting, driving relevance with marketing messages that add value, instead of simply selling.
According to Michael Komasinski, president, Merkle EMEA, the go-to-market strategy of companies which organise themselves around products instead of customer needs is passé. Companies which take this approach to marketing often end up bombarding customers with information.
“At a particular point in time, a customer only needs one or two of your products, and they expect you to know which ones. If they have consented to interact with you through a variety of digital channels, they reasonably expect you to understand their needs and serve them something relevant,” he adds.
When product-centric companies approach customers with products they don’t need, it disenfranchises customers and makes the brand look incompetent. Today, data analytics and identity-management play an integral role in marketing, enabling brands to truly understand who they are talking to.
Pioneering this new people-based marketing approach—where organisations speak to real, specific individuals—is Merkle, a global data-driven, technology-enabled performance marketing agency. With over three decades of rich experience in this realm, Merkle specialises in building and executing customer-centric business strategies.
Adopting the belief that truly successful brands deliver a service, not just a product portfolio, Merkle leverages its data, analytics, technology, media, and customer experience capabilities to present a holistic view of the personal and business behaviour, demographic information, and interests of an individual.
“Companies need to add real, tangible value to their customers’ lives in order to legitimise their offering and drive meaningful engagement as opposed to just simply delivering advertising awareness. Our tagline ‘Truth in data. Proof in performance.’ reflects the same,” says Komasinski. “‘Truth in data’ is a statement that refers to data being the currency for understanding the truth, like identity markers. ‘Proof in performance’ speaks about our commitment to measuring and producing tangible outcomes for clients.”
For example, a large financial services company in the UK approached Merkle to reach their customers in an optimised way across every digital channel. With many consumers now wary of the “noise” of traditional marketing messages, the financial company recognised the need to shift their focus from product to consumer need.
Companies need to add real, tangible value to their customers’ lives in order to legitimise their offering and drive meaningful engagement as opposed to just simply delivering advertising awareness
To maintain relevance in this new era, the company sought to reform and refine its disparate data sets, disconnected marketing technology stack, and siloed teams in order to re-orient around a customer-centric marketing model. It was time to rethink their approach to marketing, and Merkle was up for the task.
Upon collaborating with Merkle, the financial services company accumulated all its first-party data in one place and initiated the transition to customer-centric communications across all its channels. “This was a significant shift for our client as it demanded advanced data capabilities to identify and understand various needs through the customers’ journey without someone explicitly stating them,” adds Komasinski.
Merkle fine-tuned the client’s approach to boosting brand value and customer acquisition through personalisation, ensuring the marketing strategy addressed the specific needs of each consumer at right time and place in the marketing ecosystem.
With a clear-cut customer framework in place, the client needed a robust marketing cloud platform to commence their new business strategy, and the Adobe Marketing Cloud was a perfect choice. By linking the Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions with the client’s CRM data to drive personalisation, Merkle granted the financial company uninterrupted access to customer information and valuable market insights for constructing an effective marketing model.
However, technology alone cannot act as a silver bullet; in order to achieve true people-based marketing, the client also needed to re-orientate its ways of working around data and customer insight. With dedicated support from Merkle, the financial company made the bold move to reorganise their marketing department into cross-functional teams comprising an array of skill sets, making it a truly agile environment.
“From legal, compliance and copywriting to campaign management, digital media and analytics, these cross-functional teams focus on customer segments to present appropriate products at the right moment for specific customer interactions, literally at a one-on-one level,” explains Komasinski. And, whilst the client took the time to upskill its internal teams, Merkle provided a dedicated agile team to ensure the success of this new organisational approach in the interim, enabling the client to leverage the data and technology to connect to its customers and stay relevant.
Merkle has taken a similar approach with organisations across the automotive, financial services, and FMCG sectors. Merkle further enhances individualised targeting and personalised messaging by delivering unique real-time customer experiences to effectively address the crucial metric rates of conversion, click-through, and retention, both regionally and globally.
In terms of growth, Merkle continues to focus on the top 20 markets in the world, and expanding its geographical footprint across the UK, US, Germany, Spain, Australia, India, and China.