Ricky Joshi, CMO, Saatva
Successful e-commerce marketing is a technology dependent endeavor. Those who are ahead of the curve give themselves an advantage that results in more customers, and often happier customers. In turn, the core decisions you make to build and run your e-commerce presence will determine how effectively and quickly your Chief Marketing Officer is able to do their job. As the CMO and Co-founder of Saatva, I’ve often played the role of CIO and have seen, particularly for e-commerce, how intertwined these roles can be.
"The benefit of a strong platform is, over time it becomes much easier to add on newer technologies and implement quicker updates"
The basis of a technology empowered marketing team begins with choosing the right platform. There are a number of vendors who provide these solutions, and over time they have become quite sophisticated. Major players such as Magento, Big Commerce, and Shopify all offer out of the box and custom solutions that can handle e-commerce companies of all sizes. And companies such as Symphony Commerce can take it even further by adding tools to assist with logistics and the back-office. The benefit of a strong platform is, over time it becomes much easier to add on newer technologies and implement quicker updates. You’re instantly mobile, for example, and conquering omni-channel data integration issues becomes a far less cumbersome challenge.
Conversion rate is on the mind of every CMO. Nothing else has a more direct impact on sales; the bottom line is improve conversion and your company grows. In my experience there is no easier way to improve conversion then by adding a content delivery network (CDN) solution. A CDN is a distributed network of proxy servers across multiple data centers. A CDN can vastly improve your website’s load speed and performance, which should increase conversion rates upwards of 5 percent. If you are a large enough e-commerce operation to justify the cost, its an immediate boost to your top line. Adding the right A/B testing software on top of your commerce platform can also have a significant impact on conversion. The right A/B testing tool will allow your for multi-variate testing which can mean far quicker results over time. The best tools also enable your marketing team to conduct their own testing without the need of a CTO, which greatly adds to the efficiency of your overall team.
A data layer is another critical component to help an entire operation move quicker. A data layer functions to connect all front end aspects of your site. This will need to be developed in-house or by a contractor. A data layer functions to ensure consistent information is sent to your analytics and data platforms. Once built, it will empower non-developers with the capability to make changes on the site through a tag management system. This reduced the amount of small requests for changes to be made by the digital marketing team and speeds up the deployment of marketing tags such as re-targeting and testing new pixels.
While it might be not considered within the boundaries of traditional CMO role, having a strong Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM) actually can be considered a marketing tool. Retention and loyalty always grow e-commerce businesses. For companies managing many customer relationships and dealing with phone calls and chats, tools like Zoho, Salesforce, or Zendesk keep customer relationships in line across different service reps. When your service reps are familiar and actively engaged, your customers will reward you with new purchases and positive reviews.
Analytics is another area that enables your CMO to constantly make better decisions. And every channel your consumers interact with opens up a new opportunity to gain additional information from your consumers. There are out of the box solutions such as Google Analytics, Tealium, Mailchimp, and many others, but additional ways to collect information are always being produced. Having more consumer identifiers allow you to build a more complete profile of your consumers and allows you to understand your users and market better to them. The smart marketer is the one who has the most useful information.
Finally, omni channel marketing analytics is even more important now than it was before. CMOs need to provide a seamless experience across various marketing channels, but even more importantly, they need to track, analyze, and attribute what channels are driving the most conversions and allocate even more resources to those channels. Omni channel marketing analytics tools such as Grow allow marketing teams to segment your audience even further, connect marketing channels to provide a unified experience, develop content that addresses various behaviors, and most importantly measure everything. By connecting data streams your company can scale rapidly. Uniting all your channels also allows you to optimize all the possible consumer touch points and produce actionable insights. If you do it well enough, your Chief Marketing Officer might even be able to reach the holy grail of marketing analytics and develop their own multi-channel attribution model.