In my last Blog, I shared with you the genesis of the Digital Marketing Platform - the inception, the research, the challenges and the opportunities. But as they say "Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings", today I will talk about how we set about shaping the platform.
Through our research and talking to clients and practitioners of digital marketing, 2 clear areas of challenges were identified - Efficiency and Effectiveness; both addressing to a different aspect of digital marketing. While it would have been easier for us to come up with separate solutions for each, we decided to take up the challenge of addressing both through a single platform - this would give our platform a level of comprehensiveness that did not exist in any single tool / solution in the market. Out of this quest was born BLUE - a simple yet ingenious framework to wrap around our Infosys Digital Marketing Platform.
Let me tell you a bit about BLUE. Long considered a corporate color, BLUE is associated with intelligence, stability and expertise. Many great enterprises have a theme centered around this popular color - IBM has a big connection with BLUE, VolksWagen has 'BLUE motion', Mercedes has 'BLUE efficiency', Nike has a 'Bleed BLUE' campaign, our own Bangalore boy Mr. Mallya has a Blue brand. The time had come for Infy to have its own BLUE but with a difference. Our BLUE is not just about creating a theme / campaign based on a popular corporate color but has a clear meaning - Our BLUE has the entire solution embodied within its name and stands for Build, Listen, Understand and Engage.
Samson and I have debated many a times on what our BLUE should be called. I personally like "BLUE Reach" because ultimately marketing is about reaching the right consumer with the right message at the right time on the right channel. My team members have their own naming preferences. Net Net we have not yet come to a conclusion. For now we are patenting "BLUE Digital Marketing Platform". If you have any suggestions please send me your ideas and I will happily evaluate and if it happens to be the chosen one you can expect a big treat from meJ
Creating the Platform BLUEprint
Solving Problem Area # 1 - Solutions for the 'Enterprise Side' of Campaigns
Many solutions, I believe, focus on the consumer side of the equation and tend to neglect the enterprise angle. To successfully navigate the shifting Digital Marketing landscape, enterprises need to first BUILD an effective Digital Marketing platform.
It is critical that the solution orchestrates the enterprise's complete digital marketing initiative into a seamless effort. A digital marketing platform must standardize and automate enterprise-wide marketing processes across business units, brands, and markets. It must also drive reuse of assets and collaboration amongst internal and external stakeholders. The platform must enable speed and agility for marketers by incorporating the following key efficiency drivers:
1. Configurablity - We all know how quickly the business environment is changing. Adaptability is critical, which calls for a configurable solution. The Digital Marketing Platform must handle everything the enterprise throws at it - varying processes, regions, products and industries. The product framework needs to be built on a metadata based model and be flexible, dynamic and completely configurable.
2. Extensiblity - Enterprises make significant investments in technologies. The Digital Marketing solution needs to be extensible and plug into an enterprise's existing ecosystem to allow standards-based integration - or most companies are not going to invest in it. A lift and shift approach will not work in this domain
3. Personalized - Marketing is a complex effort and a number of stakeholders - both inside and outside the enterprise - contribute to its success. These stakeholders must be connected under one project umbrella and be empowered with a smart user experience and relevant data.
4. Verticalized - The platform must not be the typical 'off-the-shelf' marketing product. It must address the specific needs of the industry, be it pharma or auto or retail or banking or any other industry, and must come with add-ins and services that drive verticality.
Campaigns built using a platform that leverage these key drivers will be agile, cost effective, and faster, thereby accruing in measurable business growth for the company and have a direct bearing on ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment).
Solving Problem Area # 2 - Solutions for the 'Consumer Side' of Campaigns
According to Industry analysts, digital marketing will influence at least 80% of consumers' discretionary spending. Adopting a consumer-focused strategy that leverages the opportunities of the digital space will increase engagement, response and conversion rates. Let us now take a look at how we have addressed the consumer side of the Digital Marketing story.
1. Listen - While companies invest in listening tools to hear what their consumers are saying, the information they gather reside in silos. A Digital Marketing solution must enable enterprises to listen and allow it to collect and integrate the data in a single container, providing a 360-degree view of consumers.
2. Understand - Who is my consumer, and what does s/he want? Marketers need to understand consumers and extract actionable insights. A successful Digital Marketing solution will segment consumers to enable personalization and analyze behavior.
3. Engage - As businesses gain insight into consumer behavior, they can engage them via targeted campaigns that satisfy consumers and increase conversion rates. Such consumers help build loyalty and become advocates - the objective of any exercise in marketing, not merely Digital Marketing.
Vision to Reality
Now that we had a solid BLUE print for our platform, we set about bringing it to life.
Building the overall Digital ecosystem - In addition to incorporating all the solution tenets, our BLUE framework allows easy integration into a myriad of tools and technologies that are used by marketers. These include:
a) Tools that are applicable to all marketing departments across various industries. We call them Horizontal Apps. For example Marketing Resource Management (MRM) tools such as CMS, DAM and Marketing Operations Management (MOM) tools used in the 'Plan-Execute-Measure' process of campaign management.
b) Tools that meet the varying demands of each industry. We call them Vertical Apps. For example e-detailing for Pharma, dealer OEM integration in the automobile industry
Driving Excellence in Marketing Operations and Marketing Performance - Our Platform has a highly configurable Insights dashboard which we call BLUEDash - "You cannot control what you cannot measure". There are several tools in the market that measure end-consumer behavior. The BLUE framework takes this one level further by providing a configurable dashboard that allows marketers to measure end-to-end performance, from marketing operations to campaign analytics to end-user actions.
The BLUE framework essentially acts like a 'glue' that stitches all these varied aspects of this very complex and heterogeneous domain into a seamless homogeneous platform for the marketer driving simplicity across their entire value chain. Using this, marketers can efficiently BUILD digital assets, collaborate amongst internal and external stakeholders, LISTEN to consumers across an array of digital channels, understand consumer segments, and leverage intelligence. All this helps deliver an ENGAGING experience that drives consumer-centricity for the brand, resulting in amplified engagement.
Marketing teams are always under budget pressures and CMOs are expected to do more with less. With margins taking a hit, we solution providers need to devise a Cloud and subscription-based model of Digital Marketing and that's exactly what we have done. This will help companies to adopt a pay-as-you-go model, reducing capital expenditure and optimizing operational expenditure.
With the BLUE framework, we believe we have a winner on our hands that is poised to transform the very nature of how digital marketing is done. But 2 critical questions still remains unanswered at the moment - What is our key promise to our clients and prospects? And what does this mean for Infosys?
The right moment to answer these questions is when this blockbuster platform takes the center stage and gets unveiled to the business world not long from now. Please join me on the final stretch of this fantastic journey in my next Blog and I promise to make it short and sweetJ