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Trendsetters: SAP's Johann Freilinger Discusses Marketing's Tipping Point in Today's Data-Driven Business Culture
Johann Freilinger, Head of Marketing and Communications for SAP's new XM division, has spent the last year immersed in those issues that represent the most fundamental changes now occurring in marketing—from recognizing how relevant real-time data can enhance the personalization of messages to solving concerns about transparency to understanding what drives cultures of innovation.
SAP, of course, is a market leader in enterprise application software which helps organizations and their people to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively. Seventy percent of the world's transactions touch SAP systems. And SAP customers represent 98% of the world's most valuable brands.
The company's new SAP XM unit is challenging existing industry models by applying real-time technology powered by SAP HANA cloud in-memory technology to achieve transparency, accuracy and efficiency through a new premium media exchange. SAP has recognized that the issues at the heart of programmatic media buying apply to every SAP customer.
Freilinger believes, "In a connected world, every company is fast becoming a technology company. Consequently, winning brands in a digital economy are those that learn to derive actionable insights from big data, while thinking and responding in real-time and concentrating on business outcomes." This, for him, is the new tipping point of marketing, and he admits that the industry has a huge task ahead to deliver the kind of data-driven marketing that ultimately creates a significant difference to an individual customer.
However, he cautions: "No matter how sophisticated the technology, companies will only succeed if they stay focused on the true needs of their customers—even if their constituents may not yet anticipate potential future solutions or next-generation possibilities." He adds, "While businesses plan for the Internet of Things—perhaps the most dramatic change in human history as we connect machines and data to better serve consumers and businesses-- these basics will remain the same."
According to Johann Freilinger, "Customers will continually demand seamless, easy-to-understand, personalized experiences—and today that means across any channel, on any device, anywhere and at any time. Increasingly, the entire customer experience journey and the potential for business success are becoming much more aligned than ever before."
He also advocates that programmatic buying will play an important role in the transformation of business as it strives to achieve true customer relevance with an individualization of messaging tied to customer needs—especially as more companies understand the value of integrating processes across marketing, sales, analytics, customer service, digital commerce and finance.
"Interestingly," he adds, "Programmatic buying was originally intended to make media expenditures more efficient, precise and accountable. However, big data has the ability to completely transform any business in any industry sector. As a result, programmatic strategy with sophisticated predictive analytics and real-time interactions will become a critical factor in enabling a tailored and personalized customer journey. Perhaps we should call this ‘Beyond Programmatic" until we find new words to describe this next evolution of increasing brand value and supporting better overall results."
Johann Freilinger is a marketing and communications executive with strong discovery and delivery skills. With an entrepreneurial mindset, he became an Innovator in digital marketing and transformation that is related to big data, analytics, mobile and digital networks. He has acquired a depth of knowledge across all disciplines of marketing and communication, with a track record in innovative global marketing and leadership of multicultural teams. He has lived and worked in Germany and the US.