Digital Marketing Reference Models

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The term “Digital Marketing Technology” (or “MarTech” for short) has entered into common usage, although people often disagree on exactly what it means. Construed very broadly, digital marketing technology is the collection of digital systems that marketers use to gather, cultivate, and nurture leads and customers. Traditionally, these systems reflected how a marketer wanted to represent a brand or product line.  However, as marketing becomes (or aspires to become) more customer-centric, marketers increasingly sense that new approaches must focus much more intensely on customer preferences — including their browsing and buying history — and meet them in the channel of their choosing (mobile, in-store, catalog, or otherwise).

Top-performing organizations already recognize that a superior customer experience is intrinsically tied to the quality of their digital channels, and companies that sell tangible products effectively tie together in-store and digital shopping experiences. However, the quest for effectiveness in omni-channel marketing is hampered by a lack of practical frameworks to assess current states, conduct multi-stakeholder analysis, and help charter custom roadmaps for enterprise contexts.

In this regard, traditional IT-oriented architectural reference models can provide a layered inventory of digital marketing systems and provide a baseline for further analysis of functional (i.e., business), integration, and security/privacy needs.

However, a complementary approach to digital marketing as a strategy, practice, and technology examines the efficacy and usability of marketing systems from the perspective of the customer.  A customer-centric reference model can more closely tie systems analysis to business value via the pursuit of brand awareness, customer engagement, and increased sales.

This paper examines both types of reference models — enterprise-oriented as well as customer-centric — and offers advice to organizations seeking to systemically improve the effectiveness of their omni-channel marketing.