What’s the difference between marketing and advertising? According to research conducted by Forrester and commissioned by LiveIntent, some people aren’t quite sure. And that’s understandable, given their uncanny similarity.
The two are like twins, separated at birth, who speak different languages. They both acquire customers with totally different methods. But, as modern consumers demand fully cross-channel experiences and “expect marketers to be omniscient,” as Joe Stanhope, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, puts it, they’ll have to come together.
At most organizations, the barriers to this actually happening are considerable. Per Forrester’s research:
– 90% of marketers talk about convergence, but only 35% are acting on it
– 42% cite “working across silos” as their primary challenge
Yet some, like online furniture retailer Wayfair, have pretty much figured it out, and we can all look to them for guidance.
How Wayfair leapt hurdles to AdTech and MarTech convergence
Wayfair is a top online marketplace for home goods that prides itself on its customer focus. It has eight million products, 10,000 vendors, and has come to dominate its vertical. As Jessica Jacobs, Director of Marketing, explains, that’s because they do two things differently.
1. Wayfair allows the message to dictate the technology.
The marketing team at Wayfair is so serious about acting on its “customer focus” claim that rather than apply an out-of-the-box CRM, the marketing data science team built one from scratch. The team designed its database as a single source of truth capable of fluidly integrating to adtech or martech. Any data they collect, they incorporate centrally, and “it’s easily portable across all channels,” said Jacobs.
This allows the marketing team – which is organized by channel – to treat emails, notifications, and ads as interchangeable. Whenever they need help, the data science team is there to make sense of results and make the data work for them. This frees the marketing team to ask, “What technology do we need to deliver our message?” and not “What message can we deliver with our technology?”
2. Wayfair treats consumers like people.
Without barriers between channels, Wayfair can focus on what really matters: lifetime value (LTV) and long-term relationships. Rather than rely on the siloed data, KPIs, and classical constraints of each different channel, it can compare everything against each other and avoid an over preoccupation with short-term metrics like driving clicks.
“We recognize the customer has a fluid relationship with us,” said Jacobs. “No customer is ever going after a single objective, the way our campaigns are.” Jacobs is so focused on relationships that her team did away with their guest checkout option, preferring to funnel customers through a signup to track their journeys with a deterministic ID. Capturing emails puts Wayfair on the road to more personal communication and greater LTV.
And what’s the result of allowing messages to dictate technology and treating customers like people? Wayfair has a lot fewer conversations about siloes or whether it’s time to act on convergence, and a lot more questions about what it’s going to do with all that plentiful, people-based ROI.
This blog post is based on a recent LiveIntent webinar, “Pioneer the Final Frontier of Marketing”, which you can download here.