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Interview with a VP: Why performance hinges on customer knowledge

Interview with a VP: Why performance hinges on customer knowledge

An interview with Michael Diestelberg, Vice President of Product & Marketing at Mapp

Michael Diestelberg studied IT and Computer Science at the University of Applied Sciences of Merseburg in Germany. After his studies, he worked for the IT news portal WinFuture.de and the digital marketing agency Aperto, among others. In 2013, Michael joined the web analytics specialist Webtrekk, where he worked in several positions before he was promoted to Vice President, Product & Marketing. After the acquisition of Webtrekk by Mapp, he became VP of Product and Marketing of the entire group.

 Now that you know a little more about Michael, let’s jump into the interview:

Could you shine some light on the recent customer analytics trends and how centralized data intelligence platforms improve their performance?

Improved performance hinges on the ability to truly know customers. It’s time to break away from decisions based on gut-feeling and traditional campaign thinking. Marketing teams have a responsibility to understand who their customers are, instill a culture that leverages customer insights, and represent customer interests throughout the company. That’s the only way to meet expectations for the customer experience and deliver real value.

For successful one-to-one personalization, unified customer profiles are indispensable. This empowers marketers to make informed decisions based on real-time customer knowledge from all available data sources. It provides marketers with a 360-degree view of every individual customer by visualizing their attributes, transactions, and engagement in one single place. This CDP functionality allows complete contact profiles to contain purchase and engagement information, which is extremely valuable for advanced segmentation and automation. This means that end users can be addressed holistically.

How do you use Artificial Intelligence and data science to improve your overall product line?

I see two major areas for practical applications of AI in marketing technology. The first application is about the data itself, because marketers are facing the challenge that there is just too much of it. It’s nearly impossible to stay on top of it and discover relevant insights manually. Various machine learning techniques can help marketers to monitor all incoming data and extract insights from it.

Mapp’s Smart Alerts, for example, notify the user about anomalies in the data. Is your conversion rate on mobile devices dropping significantly? You’ll know right away and be able to check out why that’s happening and correct it. Is your campaign bringing in new customers with a basket value that is above the average? Time to implement more of these and increase the budget.

The huge amounts of data can also be used to predict future customer behavior. If a new visitor shows a similar behavior as a group of past customers, there is a high likelihood that you can predict his or her future activities. Maybe you don’t need that discount voucher to help convert the visitor into a customer. On a large scale, this would improve your bottom line noticeable.

The second area of application for AI is about engaging customers and prospects. You can improve the customer experience based on insights that you’ve extracted from all that data earlier. Answers questions like: What is the favorite communication channel of my customer? Are they reading their emails in the morning or in the evening? Should I promote the general top selling products of my shop, or can I personalize what I offer to them based on previous interactions? These are just a few examples of how AI helps marketers become better at their jobs.

Key predictions for your industry and technology domain?

It’s about AI, as well as effectiveness and efficiency. Our industry is benefitting from a massive acceleration of digital transformation and has “forced” online business models in marketing. The necessity of constant online exchanges with consumers through a targeted strategy makes it indispensable to invest heavily in marketing analytics, personalization, automation, and digital customer activation.

One thing we can predict with a degree of certainty is that 2021 will continue to see an overriding focus on marketing efficiency due to incredibly tight budgets. The best way to service this need for efficiency is with insights – ones that can be seamlessly used for digital marketing. Such insights enable a holistic understanding of the customer across all channels and help to optimize and further develop one’s own marketing strategy. At the same time, they help to avoid ineffective targeting and ensure effective use of your budget. Only in this way can marketers increase their marketing ROI across all channels.

How much have Mapp’s digital marketing technology and services offerings evolved over the pandemic months?

 In response to the pandemic, we are registering increased interest in our customer intelligence solutions. Insight-led analytics enable targeted and long-term customer activation through personalization. Especially retailers, eCommerce and DTC brands, benefit from a significant increase in traffic and are faced with the challenge of retaining consumers and triggering regular conversions.

Across all industries, it is apparent that as a result of reduced marketing budgets, the criteria of effectiveness and cost efficiency are crucial. Marketers are, therefore, well advised to realign their strategies and focus more on data-based approaches fueled by actionable insights. I see the greatest potential in companies that avoid wastage through marketing analytics and implement a holistic cross-channel strategy.

Recently Mapp commissioned a study by Forrester Consulting on insights and customer experience. What is your assessment in this regard?

The study shows that targeted improvement of the customer experience leads to significantly faster growth and more revenue and should, therefore, be a top priority for every marketer. Given the focus on online business models due to the pandemic, marketing must be aligned even more efficiently to achieve this. Understanding customers is the basis for brand experiences that work and investing in customer analytics is a basic requirement for successful marketing that enables this understanding. Technology helps to identify actionable insights for a true customer experience across all relevant marketing channels.


Want to see the Forrester commissioned study for yourself? Download it here!
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