Back to Gartner for Marketers Blog

Practical Magic for Multichannel Marketing

By Benjamin Bloom | May 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

MarketingData and Analyticsmultichannel marketing

What secrets are held by the Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Marketing Hubs? Let me tell you a story.

In the 10th grade, I read an obscure but insightful novel that from its opening paragraph, sought to find the gap between promise and reality.  The novel opens:

Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow; attend to the history of Rasselas prince of Abissinia.

Samuel Johnson, The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia (1759) 

Rasselas is a Prince in the Happy Valley, accorded every opportunity and luxury, who finds himself restless, and strikes out in search of meaning. Despite a long  journey, he returns home having encountered wise men and fools alike, but never finds “Happyness.”  His insight from his journey is to realize: he has found satisfaction in the adventure itself.

Most marketers find themselves at the beginning of a long journey when acquiring new marketing technologies such as a multichannel marketing hub. Even after a vendor is selected, implementation times range from under 90 days to more than 6 months.  Marketers are sure to meet new characters along the way, from 3rd party systems integrators, to vendor staff, or a combination (under 5% of clients report handling their deployment 100% internally).

Only after deployment can marketers begin to leverage advanced features that justify the multichannel marketing hub, and begin the journey to revenue growth and multichannel maturity can begin.  Marketers in Gartner’s Multichannel Marketing Effectiveness survey showed progress toward the event-triggered tactics that will deliver real-time personalization, but fell short in 2017 of where they predicted they would be.

From 2018, the road ahead will have way stations for weary multichannel travelers to get their data and personalization strategies correct:

  1. Managing customer profiles enters a new degree of difficulty  – with increasing customer expectations colliding with the maturity of mobile device behavior and the implications of GDPR.  Several Customer Data Platforms can be found on in the Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Hubs.
  2. Journey analytics and management is meant to rest atop customer data to deliver personalization and orchestrate complex customer journeys  – leading vendors provide integration platforms to maximize interoperability in data collection and the personalization tools that take action across channels.

Gartner clients: View the Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Marketing Hubs

And what is the destination?  Even as marketers master the triggered email, the deeper questions of revenue contribution become more potent.  As data volumes increase and computational demands for orchestration, new characters join along the way: Einstein, Sensei, Leonardo, Watson and other algorithmic guides become key parts of the multi-channel marketer’s journey.  Perhaps with the right data,  powerful guides, and passionate marketers, the quest can be successful.

Or perhaps, our real-time, machine-driven future is only an ideal – our Happy Valley, and multichannel marketers must content themselves with a quest for greater – but never perfect  – marketing maturity.

The first years of man must make provision for the last. He that never thinks, never can be wise. Perpetual levity must end in ignorance; and intemperance, though it may fire the spirits for an hour, will make life short or miserable. Let us consider that youth is of no long duration, and that in mature age, when the enchantments of fancy shall cease, and phantoms of delight dance no more about us, we shall have no comforts but the esteem of wise men and the means of doing good.

Samuel Johnson, The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia (1759) 

This post is dedicated in part to my 10th grade English teacher, Nick Lefferts.  With deep appreciation for introducing us to a story I’ve never forgotten.

PS: The week of May 14, 2018 is Gartner’s 2018 Digital Marketing Conference in San Diego.  I hope to see you there!

Leave a Comment