The future of marketing is better data and engagement

Marketing changes a lot — arguably more than any other business function. While our goals remain the same — drive revenue through acquiring and engaging customers — the ways that we do this today are vastly different than they were even a decade ago.

Along with the growing responsibilities of being a modern-day marketer, we’re inundated with new tools and technologies, while still trying to get the most out of what we have, and still lacking the means to effectively engage our customers — at least without the process being cumbersome, expensive, and just downright clunky.

As experienced marketers and marketing technologists, we were feeling this pain — both in our own day-to-day lives, and with our clients. We knew there had to be a better way — and we’re pretty confident we found it.

First, let’s start with better data.

Data is the crux of many marketing problems — we don't have enough of it (due to lack of access), we have the data we need but it's unusable, or we have the data but lack the resources to make it actionable. So, let’s start there.

The ideal solution would be that we have all the data we need — from across the organization — at our fingertips, in a way that’s easy to use to digest, make decisions with, build audiences from, and activate effective marketing across channels.

Customer data platforms, or CDPs, are usually positioned as the necessary tool to achieve this ideal, and they’ve been gaining a lot of traction lately. While the idea of a CDP — which promises a centralized customer view and actionable data — isn’t new, the technology itself is relatively nascent. An increased demand for CDPs can be seen as the result of several factors — including the increase in digital business accelerated by the global pandemic, the need for companies to take a privacy-centric approach to collect and manage first-party data, and the increasing fragmentation of marketing tech stacks.

There are a lot of CDPs on the market – but Stitch has an affinity towards Segment, which we’ve seen improve the day-to-day of the marketers we work with time and time again. Segment delivers on its promise of real-time insights and activation capabilities — made even more powerful by its ability to flexibly connect into company-specific solutions, numerous software providers (through their 300+ plug & play integrations) as well as the broader Twilio ecosystem — capturing the billions of customer interactions that take place across a company’s channels and business units.

Segment’s flexible API to connect a myriad of data sources and its ability to actually make the data usable is a dream come true for marketers. It enables marketers to harness data in a new and powerful way — not only to deliver personalized experiences for our customers but to gain deeper insights into the customer journey across the business and identify areas for optimization to drive brand loyalty and ultimately, more revenue.

The best thing about Segment is that it is positioned to be the foundation of a marketing-tech stack, meaning that other customer engagement platforms (like Braze, which we’ll get to in a second) are foundationally built for the data-first marketer. Better data = better experiences = better outcomes.

Better data drives better customer engagement.

Now that you probably get where we’re going (if you don’t, we’ll be more clear: we believe CDPs and data clouds are a pivotal part of the next era of marketing technology), let’s move on to what better data means for marketers. Enter: Braze. 

Braze is a leading comprehensive customer engagement platform (CEP) that powers interactions between consumers and brands they love. Similar to Segment, Braze’s data is the driving force that informs marketing decisions and strategies, and is why Braze is able to build incredible customer experiences and relationships. The constant stream of data that Braze receives from its custom APIs and SDKs automatically updates your user’s profiles, regardless of what medium they are receiving content from, web or app. This means that your campaigns and messaging will always be up to date with the correct information. 

It seems that every day, a report comes out with new data and statements like 51% of customers expect personalized experiences, 40% of customers have been up-sold because of personalization, etc., etc.

We know personalization is important, and we know it’s hard work to implement, and sometimes, even harder to define. But we know that, when done well, personalization drives loyalty, builds relationships, and can help cut through the overload that people are feeling by serving them with relevant content.

Which is why, as marketers, it’s time to adapt our mindsets: in order to acquire and grow our relationships with customers, we must be focused on intentionally engaging them and providing them with meaningful experiences — rather than blasting out emails and ads for the sake of it.

We have to rethink how we use technology to power our customer experiences and put engagement at the forefront.

Twilio and Braze are at the forefront of this highly necessary shift: categorizing their platforms — which offer access to real-time data, expansive messaging capabilities, and marketing orchestration — as a customer engagement platform, rather than a marketing automation platform. But make no mistake: it’s a tool for marketers — especially the ones who are ready to enter into this new era.

Braze’s messaging channels come built-in with liquid tags and easily personalizable capabilities. Inserting a user’s name, items bought, or their personal preferences is simple and easy - just what marketers need in this fast-paced, quickly-changing industry. With Braze’s Predictive Suite, marketers no longer have to sit with numerous data points, trying to analyze them to create an effective campaign. Stream that data into Braze, and with the power of AI/MI, Braze quickly predicts consumer behavior, assigning them a predictive score, and allowing marketers to find their target audiences, segment, and message with the goal of upping their ROI. Even better- as a baseline, all of their messaging channels are personalizable, with minimal work. They come with the ability to segment your consumers to find a target audience.

Bonus: a foundation of flexibility

Twilio’s and Braze’s very foundations were built around the idea of being a scalable, flexible, and customizable solution for companies looking to engage their customers at scale.

With the constantly rising amount of marketing technology solutions available, and the inevitable evolution of customer expectations, it’s clear that a ‘one size fits all’ tech stack is not the future. Having a solution in place that can be easily stitched together with new technologies (and existing technologies) will be instrumental in how marketers continue to adapt and iterate on their customer engagement strategies — all while having the ability to create something that is truly unique to your brand.

‍ Hence why we love both Braze’s and Segments flexibility that is built into their platforms, giving the marketers the power to integrate to their heart’s desire. Segment tracks and holds your user data, while Braze makes that data actionable. With Braze Currents, it’s almost too easy to import your Braze data into Segment, ready for your use in any marketing campaign!

Our role in the future of Segment and Braze for marketers

Stitch is the world’s first consultancy solely dedicated to Braze and its partners for marketers. We’re a team of highly-experienced marketing technologists, with multiple decades of experience — including working with and for Salesforce, ExactTarget (acquired by Salesforce), Marketo (acquired by Adobe), and IBM — and we’ve chosen to invest in becoming the premier partner to marketers using Braze because we firmly believe it presents an incredible solution for marketers looking for better data, better engagement, and more flexibility.

Our primary focus is on helping marketers realize their full potential with the Braze platform, optimize their ways of working, and maximize their investments in the platform. We bring deep technical capabilities and marketing strategy expertise to the table to help you drive marketing success for your team — with a focus on faster time-to-value, ongoing partnership, and helping you constantly level up in your use of the platform.

Want to learn more about why we’re betting on Braze for marketers? Get in touch.

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