Marketing has been undergoing a digital transformation for over 20 years now, and as marketers we are constantly navigating a new technology, measurement, new channels, so what has changed over the last few years?

While the role of marketing remains the same — understanding our customers, creating value for them, building trust with our brand, surprising and delighting them through their journey — the sheer breadth of channels, technology, and data we have at our disposal has grown exponentially.

In fact, a recent report by MartechTribe and chiefmartech revealed Australia’s MarTech industry grew by a staggering 6,521 percent since 2011, and the number of vendors has reached over 13,000. And those vendors create millions, if not billions, of possible combinations for any one MarTech stack.

With a plethora of emerging technologies and the pressure to stay up to date with the latest tools, tech and trends, marketers are now re-navigate the digital landscape while staying on top of their growing tech stack and maintaining a seamless customer experience?

Digital tools are continually changing the game

As customers are increasingly online, it’s no surprise digitisation has dramatically changed the customer journey. As such, brands have had to pivot towards consumer-centric approaches, fostering swift, transparent, and continuous connections with their audience.

Fundamental to consumer-centric transformation in the digital landscape is accessibility to real time consumer data. Marketers leverage the power of consumers’ data to gain deep insights into behaviour patterns, analyse preferences and purchase journeys, nurture customer relationships, personalising product and service recommendations, identifying pain points faster and automate processes in real-time.

With the overwhelming amount of data collected, it’s almost incomprehensible to see how traditional marketing teams can distill the information down into actionable or content creation without the use of digital tools.

At RMIT Online, digital tools are integral to every aspect of our operations. From project management with to acquisition and student support through Salesforce or marketing automation through Marketing Cloud, we leverage a diverse range of platforms across our value chain. There isn’t a day that goes by without the team actively engaging with these platforms

While these tools can deliver value on their own, their true power lies in their interconnectedness. Connecting various tools across a technology stack creates synergies that amplify their individual capabilities. By integrating platforms such as CRM platforms, data analytics tools, marketing automation platforms, and communication channels, businesses can streamline processes, enhance data accuracy, and improve decision-making.

The rise of AI fusing marketing and data science

It’s almost impossible to write on the rise of smart marketing in a digital age without mentioning how much of a transformative impact AI has already made.

For marketers, this technology is fusing traditional marketing techniques and advanced data science, turning them into actionable, customised and ruthlessly efficient sales tools. Its ability to analyse vast amounts of datasets and predict consumer behaviour has opened a labyrinth of new avenues. And as such, many practitioners have been left equal parts excited, to equal parts nervous about how AI will continue to revolutionise the industry in the future.

With over 13,000 tools and solutions available, and millions of likely combinations to create a MarTech stack, it’s not about falling into the hype of AI or trying every new tool that lands in the market.  Instead, everyone should try to develop a thorough understanding of how AI can benefit their marketing strategies before selecting any AI platforms.

And think critically to identify the tools that are purpose built for the challenges your specific organisation faces,working to find the combination of tools that can aid your processes, automate the delivery of your campaigns and increase your customer satisfaction.

Equipping and upskilling yourself for future success

There’s no doubt about the ability of digital tools to increase efficiency, productivity and generate valuable insights. But if they aren’t the right fit for the business, overcomplicate day-to-day operations, or if the marketing team isn’t digitally skilled, the competitive edge they offer is easily dulled.

As markets, technologies and consumer expectations progress, our marketing teams must continually upskill to keep pace. In 2023, LinkedIn cited Data Analysis and Analytical Skills among the top 10 most in-demand skills by companies. Therefore, upskilling and adapting to the data-driven landscape is essential to make informed decisions about investments and strategies, upskilling and adapting to the data-driven landscape is essential.

It’s filling your team with people who are capable of combining quantitative and analytics skills whilst remaining creative, empathetic and outcome focussed.

How we navigate data-driven, smart marketing in a digital landscape has fundamentally changed. What remains the same is our aim to attract and connect our brands with our audience by creating personalised experiences and campaigns that educate, inform and engage. Everything starts and ends with the customer.

Anshu Arora is customer success & growth director at RMIT Online.