What’s up with convergence?Gears & Teamwork

One of the hottest topics in digital marketing last year—pulling together data sets from across the web to paint a better picture of customers and how they act—has been quietly fading from our vocabulary. And, until recently, I was wondering if it was going to be one of those buzz words that people snicker about. But a few high-profile plugs (including a breakout dedicated to it at NRF’s annual conference earlier this year) has a good deal of marketers talking about it again.

If you’re going to talk convergence, do me this favor: Start talking about how that data informs your actions. Otherwise, the whole thing is a useless exercise in navel gazing. And that’s because, without action, data is just that—data.

So, here are two items you need to cover in your conversations on conversion:

1. Strategy

The real benefit of creating that better picture of customers and customer behavior is to take action on it. To do that, marketers need to have a strategic understanding of what they’re trying to accomplish and be willing to blow up the way they’re currently organized to achieve it. Hopefully this strategy will align with your corporate directives across-channel, but what you learn may also need to inform these strategies from the top down.

2. Organizational Alignment

It’s a change that will favor the nimble, but if your goal is to build your marketing around “who,” regardless of the device or channel, you need to identify those segments and create an org chart that helps you dive deeper into those segments. Otherwise, you’ll be using a disparate set of tactics in an attempt to reach a stitched-together goal. We have seen customers break down maketing channel alignment to build cross-channel teams focused on specific customer segments.

Best Buy, for instance, recently discussed the success of Athena, a data project it’s using to better target customers with relevant, personalized communications. Other retailers are taking similar tactics to focus on high-value customer segments and specific demographics.

As these successes continue to make their way to the press, you’ll hear the word “convergence” used to describe the efforts.

What’s common among them is the fact that marketers have aligned themselves in cross-functional teams, and built a program and vision around what they want the customer to do. In short, they’re affecting a specific customer’s behavior through their ability to execute and feeding those responses back into the engine.

They’re not just watching patterns develop, letting “convergence” become a fancy word for a data sink. Instead, they’re participating in the discourse with their customers, responding to actions to learn more with each engagement.

Gears and teamwork image courtesy of Shutterstock.