The Digital Sales Stack
The ever-evolving world of digital entails a fast moving and emerging platform giving rise to endless possibility and capability that is catalysed by scientific reasoning and principles such as Moore’s Law. Increasingly, it is encapsulated in every environment we inhabit and operate. From the internets genesis, on a Next computer owned by Sir Tim Berners Lee, to our current day the following 3 trends or staging points are clear.
- Yesterday: The modern internet
- Today: A Post-PC Mobile internet
- Tomorrow: The Internet of Things
This entails the necessity to match this ever-evolving customer demand side, with a scalable and progressive supply-side model, as more prevalent than ever.
Marcus Andreessen once famously stated that “software is eating the world”. Indeed those with only a tech perspective (or lens), bought into this as true, but mostly with only this perspective or “tech hat”. That’s why we often and perhaps prematurely hear such terms as “growth hacking” but without much commercial direction or strategy from an online sales perspective to get the full context or see the whole picture. It is an off-shoot from hacking culture. In reality these methods and tools are enhancing the marketers toolkit for the digital age but real human customers should never be “hacked” as a mere growth channel.
However, embracing this culture and taking the idea of a tech stack from Sillicon Valley culture, when the latest innovations and platforms align to create the perfect startup “stack”, the ubiquity of this term can also have resonance from a sales and marketing perspective to add to this overall commercial strategy that’s lacking in today’s mindset and create create value for the future. As a business school grad and seasoned commercial professional, I’m enthused about these possibilities to merge this mindset with traditional industry practice and thinking. For example, today, we take the typical linear marketing funnel (AIDA) and segment by various demand generation and awareness programs to create a pseudo marketing strategy. On top of this, it can also be conceived to integrate your online sales and marketing methodology in the “stack” to deliver a truly Full Marketing Stack that is ready for the mobile connected pre-internet of things era.
To visualize this, what’s really exciting is to review some existing stacks which are shared on sites such as stackshare. Here you get a good sense of the tech integrations that modern startups apply for scaling growth technologically however what is missing is this complete commercial view. Therefore there is much opportunity to extend and evolve this concept for sales in the digital stack in today’s digital world.
- SEA (AdWords, Bing, Marin, Kenshoo)
- Display (GDN, Criteo)
- Affiliate (Zanox, TradeDoubler, Click Junction)
- Database (Mailchimp, Mandrill, Litmus)
- On-site (Web & Mobile platforms)
- CRM, CMS, Loyalty programs and other enterprise-wide SAAS e.g. Salesforce or Intercom
Digital Outdoor Networks
- Adstruc, Clearchannel, JC Decaux, Ströer etc.
- Lastly but most important this is the most underdeveloped yet high potential area where I predict will experience much growth in the next decade.
Conceptually, in this sense all channels are optimized in a stack perspective and what is very interesting is how this can be optimized and marketed to in the future “IoT” world (especially when these connected objects evolve). This is the moment when “things” are interoperable and in essence, can be “sold to” or integrated in the marketing mix of a data-driven connected environment to enable selling and efficient market processes. Then, as Andreesen prophesized, software can truly “eat the world”. For example, a vision of this occurs when your google car can drive you to your most frequently searched groceries (at the cheapest price), your connected thermostat orders your perfect wardrobe for the seasonal changes at Amazon and importantly marketers can use such data factors to influence customers, plan campaigns and react to the environment all from their digital stack in a deeply personalized manner that does not exist today.
Therefore your organizations digital sales stack needs to be primed and ready as a revenue & sales generation priority to capture this demand — it is not only a technology imperative. A fully connected IoT environment will require a fully connected marketing stack to create unique revenue opportunities, innovation and future alignment with millennial customer expectations.