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The MarTech trends for 2022: Interview with Ralf Strauss, publisher of the Marketing Trend Monitor


The SALES&MARKETING Knowledge Power Days are being held by Dun & Bradstreet from September 26 to 30, 2022. One item on the agenda is a webinar on the topic of MarTech, which Ralf Strauss will participate in. In an interview conducted in the run-up to the event, he answers the most pressing questions on this hot topic.

The Knowledge Power Days, which are scheduled to take place from September 26 to 30, 2022, will offer many exciting and informative webinars in and around the topics of marketing and sales. A MarTech webinar will also be held on Friday September 30, 2022 at 10:30 am. A key participant in this event is Ralf Strauss, publisher of the Marketing Trend Monitor. While we are waiting for the event to take place, Dun & Bradstreet decided to ask him a few questions on data readiness, first-party data, ePrivacy and several other topics.

Dun & Bradstreet: What are the most important MarTech trends and key take-aways from the Marketing Tech Monitor 2022?

Ralf Strauss: Well, there are three things here: The first is the topic of data readiness, data strategy and data architectures. The second focuses on the questions: What is actually my data core and how can I activate it? What dialogue marketing measures am I using? The third and final topic, which everyone is currently chasing, focuses on data science and marketing analytics. This is all about what to actually do with all the data once it has been collected. Companies collect a huge amount of data. They examine what both existing and potential customers are currently doing, how they interact with the company, what kind of content they consume, as well as their preferences. The key questions are then: How can I analyse this data? And how can I integrate it into the current process in the form of insights?

In principle, however, it is all about marketing organisations doing their homework. They need to focus their attention on the data strategy and become more efficient at handling first-party data. It is also important for companies to know what they actually want and what works for them, as well as the application scenarios they wish to pursue and the types of data they require for this.

Dun & Bradstreet: Why is the topic of first-party data so important at the moment?

Ralf Strauss: There are two reasons for this: a) In the last few years, marketing departments have used second-party or third-party data to track their users, generally without having the necessary consent. They simply collected everything that was available at the time without a regular business relationship ever having been in place. To be brutally honest, this is nothing more than modern highway robbery. It is obviously a thorn in the side of informed consumers, which is why they claim and are also granted a right to self-determination as per ePrivacy regulations.

And b) It is important to have a clear picture of who your customers, consumers and prospects actually are. You must also know what they actually want and present them with things that are relevant to them as customers or prospects. The aim is then no longer simply to “send everything at once across all channels”, but rather to upload specific content at the right time. This also represents the core of customer experience management. In other words: “Please do not fill my inbox with spam. We have known one another for years, so rather send me stuff that is actually relevant.”

Dun & Bradstreet: Where do marketing organisations stand today in terms of digitisation of their processes?

Ralf Strauss: Almost a quarter of companies in the DACH market (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) claim to have aggregated and consolidated all their data, as well as having a dedicated data strategy in place. So in terms of the data layer, they are doing well. A quarter of companies are therefore “ready to play”, while the others can better be described as “not quite there yet”.

However, being “data ready” does not necessarily mean that a company knows how to activate the data cleanly. After all, only the basic prerequisites have been met. I estimate that maybe 10% actually have a plan for activating the data.

However, the data is in place and the tools for activation are available. Online retailers and eCommerce providers, i.e. all companies that tend to employ a one-dimensional business model, have already progressed further than those which have just one point-of-sale or a brick and mortar store. The latter are still lagging well behind, as they must deal with far greater complexity.

Dun & Bradstreet: What are the challenges for marketing organisations? They really should have made greater progress in terms of digitalisation by now, so what is holding them back?

Ralf Strauss: They should actually start work on cleaning up and consolidating their data. After all, a lot of data has been accumulated over the years. The second point is that those responsible require application expertise. This is not quite as easy, as companies cannot simply make up lost ground overnight. The third point is that companies require experienced project managers, i.e. people that can handle all of these processes and topics. They need experience, as the projects are larger and more difficult to manage than originally expected in many cases. Another critical point is that they must also be capable of saying “no”.

Dun & Bradstreet: What recommendations for action would you offer marketing managers for the coming year? What are the key tasks to be completed?

Ralf Strauss: First of all, they should benchmark their operations against their competition. This helps them get a feel for their current status and where they stand in the market. This then leads to prioritisation of the action areas. I can remember one example of a company that was sure they needed a CDP (customer data platform). First of all, we performed benchmarking with them using the MarTech Benchmarking Database. Following a discussion of their priorities, it then turned out that they should rather focus their efforts on marketing resource management, i.e. planning, steering and digital asset management, rather than simply purchasing an expensive tool that nobody knows how to use.

Assume that 3rd party cookies are gone.

Dr. Ralf E. Strauß Publisher of the Marketing Tech Monitor

In summary: perform benchmarking, set priorities and then use this information to derive a development plan for the next few years. It is also important to understand that the individual tasks in the timeline can quickly become irrelevant again. In other words, this is an iterative process that is likely to undergo many changes over the next five years. It is not the case that a company simply introduces a tool that can be used for everything over the next few years. It is vital to scrutinise everything continuously and be prepared to change structures and introduce new tools or processes. This obviously makes the whole process incredibly stressful and time consuming.

Dun & Bradstreet: ePrivacy regulations are a reality today that every company must face and comply with. To this end, Google is set to ban third-party cookies in its Chrome browser. What will the consequences of this be for marketing?

Ralf Strauss: I firmly believe that Google is messing us around here. First of all, they said that third-party cookies are set to be removed altogether. We then heard that this was no longer the case or at least not now, maybe later. This really is a rather strange situation. The key recommendation here is therefore to forget about all third-party data discussions and simply assume that third-party cookies are no longer an issue. It is then important for companies to define, in the sense of the data strategy, what they can do in order to win over and also activate prospects. I am not sure whether all of the back and forth regarding ePrivacy and third-party cookies is really helping. We have now seen this being discussed for two and half years. But it will ultimately come down to this: Draw up your own data strategy and make sure that you actually collect, generate and activate useful data via first-party data.

Dun & Bradstreet: However, adopting a “wait and see” attitude is definitely not an option.

Ralf Strauss: No, yet this has nothing to do with what Google does or does not do, but rather what a company’s competitors are actually doing. Everyone is working hard to collect and activate first-party data. But companies that are late to the party will quickly lose ground here. There is also the topic of “loyalty management”, with new impetus being injected into customer loyalty programmes. Apps for retailers are making a comeback, as are loyalty programmes that allow customer to collect points. The question is then how companies can set themselves up to offer exciting incentives for both existing and potential customers.
Knowledge Power Days

Knowledge Power Days


Online Events from 26th to 30th September 2022.