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CMOs: Why performance is the fifth 'P'

14th Dec 2016
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The marketer’s role has changed significantly in recent years, thanks largely to digital business. A decade ago, the idea of IT responsibilities falling on the shoulders of a marketing team would have been almost laughable. Today, that idea is reality.

The Impact of Digitalization

Online shoppers are savvier than ever, expecting nothing but the best shopping experience from any location or device. While customers’ expectations are on the rise, a poor shopping experience has a more negative impact on your business; industry statistics show that the average online retailer is vulnerable to a seven percent decline in conversion for every second of webpage response time slowdown. This puts the marketing team in a complicated position, considering the fact that most contemporary marketing practices involve heavy third-party content that has the tendency to hinder performance.

For this reason, marketers are left with no choice but to adopt IT best practices and make performance a priority. Along with product, price, promotion, and place, performance is the fifth “P” of the marketing mix.

Deploying a performance-focused marketing strategy should consist of three key steps:

1. Recognize that new technologies bring business value, too.

While it’s sometimes easy to argue that there is an overabundance of new technologies for businesses to use, there are some that have become an absolute necessity. One, an end-user experience monitoring (EUM) platform, delivers critical visibility into how the objects, particularly marketing content, on a website are impacting performance. This insight makes catching issues easier and resolving them faster.

Despite the benefits that an EUM tool can bring to a business, it’s still not always an easy sell to executive-level individuals because of the steep price tags and complex installment processes. Fortunately, as the impact of user experience on the bottom-line becomes clearer, more companies are signing on.

A recent Gartner survey found that 46 percent of enterprises named EUM as the most important dimension of digital performance management, while 49 percent said that enhancing service quality was their first choice for rationalizing digital performance management purchases.

2. Build a partnership between marketing and IT.

It’s common for marketing content to weigh heavily on a web page and hurt its performance. This is a key reason why it’s crucial for companies to build a strong partnership between marketing and IT departments. As the need to create engaging, personalized, and impactful content to attract users continues to rise, so does the reliance on performance quality assurance.

Timing is also an important factor in this process. Prior to the launch of a new campaign would be a critical time for IT to intervene and ensure that all optimization best practices are followed. Content prioritization is also an example of when IT input is dire. It may be discovered that certain visual elements slow load times too much and aren’t worth compromising the user experience.

3. Support IT with the tools required to deliver exceptional online experiences.

There should be a certain standard within an organization when it comes to the performance of a website, particularly its speed, availability, and reliability. Having said that, it’s equally important to a business to not devote all of its IT resources to performance monitoring at all times. Deploying a monitoring tool can help alleviate the pressure on IT without risking performance degradation.

Synthetic monitoring can deliver the insight required for deep-dive data analyses without dedicating significant amounts of time to the process, so IT will have the visibility they need to catch performance issues related to marketing content and resolve them before their users are impacted. Real-user measurement is another dimension of performance monitoring that captures what the users are actually experiencing, allowing IT to fix problems and make enhancements where needed, as well as to identify critical landing pages and conversion paths to optimize to generate the best impact from the marketing team’s efforts.

Conclusion

The customer experience is delicate and can be damaged beyond repair in a matter of seconds. The online business world is brimming with competition, where all it takes is one slow page load or a transaction issue for a customer to navigate away from one site and head to a competitor.

The customer experience is the make-or-break point in digital business, and will soon redefine the industry ranks. Performance is already as crucial as pricing, product, promotion, and place, and marketers must choose to adapt, or simply fail.

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