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Edge to Core Marketing: The New Paradigm of Modern Enterprise Marketing

Marketing has a wealth of customer data it can harness to drive decisions that enable positive sales and marketing outcomes, but that data can drive decisions that do so much more, including transforming the way their companies do business and how they’ll drive innovation and outpace the competition—if you know how to capitalize on it.

Unfortunately, most marketing organizations are simply overwhelmed by the hundreds, even thousands, of precious customer data points they gather each day. Too many of us see this as a data management problem rather than a game-changing resource that positions marketing as business-critical subject matter experts who intimately understand customer needs and wants.

Look, we all know today’s marketing organizations must continually juggle competing priorities across a seemingly endless list of stakeholders (engineering, product development, senior leadership) in their companies. Focusing on where to add the greatest value across the largest segment of stakeholders is critical but challenging, and guessing won’t get you there. If you’re ready to completely rethink how customer data drives your decisions, the Edge to Core (E2C) approach will be of interest and can help your marketing organization win with more stakeholders across your company and with customers.

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The decentralized approach of E2C puts marketers in the driver’s seat with the autonomy they need to be nimble and make agile adjustments to their programs based on massive amounts of qualitative and quantitative customer data.

E2C pulls significantly higher-quality data from the edge (where it’s often lost) into the marketing “core” where it can be immediately deployed to generate the deep insights required for driving better decision-making–not only by marketing teams but also across the entire business from corporate strategy to product development, and sales. Marketing’s connection with leads and prospects gives them unique insights into customer challenges and changing needs, making them subject matter experts on the markets they serve. By sharing insights discovered at the edge and developed in the core, marketing can assist teams with everything from making product roadmap decisions to shifting corporate strategy and enabling sales.

So, how can you move from an E2C philosophy that lets you lay the groundwork for data-driven decision-making that saves you from the pitfalls of constantly shifting gears on your approach based on stakeholder hunches?

First, you need to capture a lot of data from analytics, conversations, customer conversations, sales communications, and customer support.

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Then, you need to be able to evaluate what data leads to actionable insights. Finally, you’ll need to establish success metrics for how you’re moving the needle with an Edge to Core approach.

Using data we discovered at the edge, we established key insights that bring us closer to reaching our goals. While your mileage may vary, I wanted to share some of the sample metrics we use to show our progress and chart our success. Be mindful that the more metrics you put in place, the more complexity you add to measuring success.

At the edge, our customer data came from three key marketing categories: air cover, close opportunity advancement, and pipeline acceleration. The marketing activities we implemented in each category yielded several critical marketing metrics:

  • Voice reach from air cover activities such as thought leadership, paid media, digital out-of-home (OOH), AR/PR, and social media.

  • Key account engagement levels from pipeline acceleration tactics including digital journey, organic search, and product trials and demos.

  • Sales velocity and win percentage from close-opportunity advancement programs like account-based marketing (ABM), field and proprietary events, and customer loyalty.

These metrics are fueled by continuous data analysis, competitive assessment, and insight distillation of data happening at the core. The tactics don’t change but the outcomes, over time, will prove transformational.

The agility of E2C decision-making helps nurture customer connections and leads to real long-term relationships because it facilitates engagement with customers in the moments that matter most. Marketing is no longer an intrusion but a welcome wealth of information to customers and across your organization and shows subject matter expertise that moves the needle.

Future articles will dive deeper into Edge to Core (E2C) topics and include AI-based data strategies, product roadmap development, and managing culture change in a modern marketing organization.

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