For marketers, messaging technology options abound out there, from complete marketing clouds to channel-specific options, such as email service providers (ESP) or push platforms. They all were designed around a particular customer and set of use cases, and their current versions often reflect that starting point and the evolution of their customer strategy.
In one aspect of my job, I get to look at the various platforms on the market to understand the different capabilities available for different use cases. My lens is generally focused on large-scale marketing, with an emphasis on email. With that in mind, I have created a wish list for platforms that view this as a target market. It should be noted that many platforms currently offer some of these features — but whether they’re full-fledged and practical or merely exist to help check a box on an RFP (request for proposal) is up for debate.
• Stop making us upload images and links separately and then repath them. It’s a waste of time. I want to be able to upload coded HTML and have the images automatically grabbed, put out on a CDN (content delivery network) and repathed in the email. If you are going to require me to spend more time creating a folder, allow me to set a naming convention at the macro level (that the platform can suggest).
The same is true for links. Links should be put into a link table automatically, and then I should have the ability to change information about that link within the table.
• Integrate with large-scale digital asset management platforms. Similar to the above — if you already have the content, don’t force me to make it conform to your needs.
• Improve dynamic content testing. Many platforms allow you to write complex rules for dynamic content and personalization. The issue is that testing all of these variables and ensuring they render correctly and match the data in your campaign is difficult.
Make this easier and allow me to send tests of the variations. A solution for this can be custom-built into most major platforms, but it is still an inhibitor to large-scale personalization that must be solved.
• Get real about dynamic content reporting. Related to the last point around dynamic content, as we become more complex in our personalization, we must be able to report on it and improve. We need to know who saw what, whether it is a text block or an image and what action they took. And we need to be able to look at it from more than a content layer — to filter by segmentation criteria.
For many platforms today, the solution is to break the campaign up into versions (either by main content block or audience segment), and then report that way. As more platforms use advanced analytics to select content for an individual, this needs to be solved.
• Give me access to report on all the data I have loaded into the platform (in an organized way). Standard reports tend to be campaign-focused and don’t allow you to drill down by segment codes and so forth. I need to be able to run a report that crosses campaigns and is focused on a specific segment across those campaigns.
• Make reporting customization standard. Companies in different industries care about different things, so reporting needs to reflect that. Typical out-of-the-box reports are decent starting points, but allowing marketers to customize things like data points, measures, dimensions and time frames — without charging them a la carte for the privilege — would be incredibly powerful. The data would remain actionable without the need for IT resources or third-party data jobs.
• Build a credible and easy-to-implement site/browse/cart abandon capability that is near-real time. Marketers often leverage specialist technology for this capability, which increases the risk of having my data in two places, doesn’t allow me to leverage all the data I already have in my main platform and is generally annoying to manage. The fact that a whole mini-industry has grown up around this capability is a big miss for the major platforms.
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