The world of B2C marketing is changing quickly, rendering most one-size-fits-all applications obsolete in a couple of years if not months. Changes in how, where, why and when consumers make choices and interact with brands are evolving at a rate that has never been seen before.
Closed, monolithic applications that manage marketing from the user experience down to the data are built on patterns that are no longer reliable. Time to market is just too great, leaving legacy apps with built-in functionality that loses relevance very quickly.
The result? No single application covers B2C effectively. Two of the biggest changes are in how needs scale vertically and horizontally.
Application scaling remains important but is no longer the biggest challenge. It is more likely today that needs will change, causing process and technology shifts before size and throughput become the overriding problems. The traditional method of develop-pilot-scale just takes too long. A more effective strategy involves fast rounds of test-deploy-modify-redeploy.
Agility is the new scale.
Consumers are experimenting and finding their own favorite patterns to engage and buy products. That drives the need for increasingly broad ways to follow alongside the customer as expectations change around timing, location, and platform for following brands. This in turn drives the need for horizontal agility to cover the newest points of engagement that may not be up or down the traditional engagement ladder.
Versatility is the new frequency.
The tricky part is to get the capabilities right, and that has to involve a focus on both the marketing end user and the systems that come to play in support. Agility and versatility mean taking a more holistic view of the problem as one that involves monitoring streams of engagement, watching for patterns, identifying customers and being responsive to their needs.
This article first appeared on the Loyalty Lab blog and has been lightly edited.