Let’s take a cue from what has been written to introduce the need to include Digital Marketing in the loop. In an ideal situation, an ERP system (which, in addition to managing processes, deals with products, sales, and customers ) should include (or be tightly integrated with) functionality for CRM and marketing. Digital Marketing must act in synergy with management systems such as ERPs, given that in the age of the Internet, commercial relations take shape online through more and more points of contact.
Furthermore, the central figure of the customer must be followed before, during, and after each purchase, both as regards the transactional aspects and those related to marketing communication. We know well, in fact, that commercial and marketing forces are closely linked – and they are even more so in a reality where sales cycles have lengthened. In contrast, the web and social media have become the preferred meeting place between brands and their target audience.
ERP And Digital Marketing
We know that to sell, we must first find customers who are willing to buy – and that is the job of marketing. Nonetheless, spending money on advertising, presiding over social media, and developing a responsive corporate website – perhaps capable of generating good organic (i.e., spontaneous) traffic – may not be enough.
Modern marketing cannot ignore a high level of personalization and contextualization of the message. This is only possible if you have detailed customer information (both potential and actual). If contact profiling is undoubtedly effective, good integration with sales processes is undoubtedly recommended for several reasons, including:
- the possibility of enriching the knowledge of each interlocutor
- the opportunity to share information between marketing, sales, and services
- the benefit of linking marketing strategies to each customer’s previous purchases
- the ability to calibrate promotional communication (for example, on seasonal sales trends) and much more
Finally, the integration of the ERP with marketing systems and functions allows to reduce manual data entry to a minimum and allows the company to have more accurate and updated information; for example, salespeople or even after-sales service staff can easily be made aware of individual tastes and preferences and of any other type of information that can facilitate their interactions with customers.
When IoT Comes Into Play
Speaking of ERP and IoT, we have highlighted how intelligent devices can help manage production, warehouse, and logistics. Still, it is perhaps in retail that we can already see exciting applications and imagine new ones. Digital marketing, in fact, also deals with overcoming the gap that has arisen between offline and online sales (and commercial promotion) channels. In particular, we talk about the ROPO effect and showrooming: respectively, the tendency to search online for information on the products purchased in the store and the possibility of viewing what will later be bought online.
Geolocation implemented on mobile devices can aid marketers by linking the promotional message to the factual context in which its recipient is located – perhaps by offering them a discount on a product they are interested in while they are near a store. However, today there are also other tools capable of communicating directly with the apps when a person is inside a store: these are beacons capable of reconnecting those who are temporarily “offline” to online marketing because perhaps they are looking at a shop window.
By putting the sales staff in the loop, the picture is completed. Traditional shopping also becomes a web contact point. Different experiences are mixed and integrated: those who sell and buy have much more information and helpful tips at their disposal. Carry out a good and engaging sales/purchase process; moreover, the back-end systems are updated in real-time with all the details concerning, for example, accounting management or inventory management.
But beacons are not the only example of connected, intelligent devices that can be used in retail: virtual and augmented reality can, in fact, “simulate” different situations: from furniture design to the digital fitting room in which the customer’s image is processed. in real-time to show him how he could fit with a particular item of clothing.
Data And Intelligence
ERPs collect (directly and indirectly) a lot of information; if we add to these the profiling data made available by the Digital Marketing tools and the amount of knowledge coming ” from the field ” produced by IoT devices (from the road to the construction site, from the factory to the warehouse), then we are faced with something that title we can define Big Data. So the integration of Digital Marketing, ERP, and IoT is also a question of intelligence based on a large amount of information (not necessarily linked to a given business process in particular and stratified over time) from which valuable knowledge can be extracted.
Everyone will benefit from it, given that this knowledge can shed light on “meta-phenomena” or on dynamics that are based on other implicit dynamics. But to read the data at this level, you need specialized tools (analytical tools, incorporated in modern ERP systems), particularly those that use artificial intelligence and machine learning. What can be discovered with Big Data analytics? Theoretically, a lot – and not only the phenomena that influence the sales trend but also in which direction the market is going or how the brand is perceived.
On the operational level, then, there is only the embarrassment of choice: from the overall efficiency of a process to the defectiveness of a component, from the fastest routes (not necessarily the shortest) to make deliveries at the average time of storage in the warehouse of a product, from the most suitable time to carry out maintenance to the proactive and predictive management of any failures. -At this point, we can only imagine an ideal platform where ERP, Digital Marketing, IoT, and CRM and BI (Business Intelligence) can coexist synergistically together and do natural wonders for companies.
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