True Life: Why I Switched from Legacy Tech to Modern Customer Engagement (And Why You Should Too)

I recently made a career move and joined SessionM. Several of my old companies sat on an aging, legacy tech stack with years of technical debt. I recognized that in order to achieve my career goals, I needed to make a move to a company on the cutting edge of technology whose approach to cloud computing and software development was smart, thoughtful and differentiated. I knew that this was the team I needed to join when I found SessionM.

As a pre-sales solutions architect, I interact with prospects daily. Buzz words and analyst driven strategies swirl around like the winds of a bombogenesis. State-based marketing, moment marketing, personalization, single view of the customer, Customer 360, machine learning, AI, product recommendations, next best offer, Journeys…the list goes on and changes more often than it should. The one constant however, is that in order to execute these new marketing strategies, you need a platform that can actually deliver. It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to truly realize the ROI promised if you are not partnered with a company that is built on a modern tech stack. Most companies in today’s marketplace can only solve for some of these strategies. Most does not mean all.

In this blogpost, I’ll take a closer look at some barriers to success, which happen to align with my reasoning for making a career switch to a modern customer engagement company.

Technical Debt

In my experience, a lot of enterprise-sized retailers are still operating on legacy systems, shockingly some are still on mainframes. Their martech debt is exposed through not only their own internal systems, but also partners who themselves have years of technical debt. When you begin to map out your strategy to modernize, you have to look at your entire marketecture. The investment to modernize shouldn’t be jeopardized by a vendor who won’t be able to keep up, technically speaking of course.

Ask your partners some of the following questions:

  • What platform does their software sit on? Are they cloud based?
  • Are they on the latest versions of software?
  • Where and how is their software deployed?
  • How will they scale during your peak seasons?
  • Can they support real-time interactions?

Cloudtech states “The explosion of mobile devices and real-time transactions – supported by cloud services – cannot be handled by legacy systems which were never designed to accommodate these interactions at such a high volume.”

There is serious risk to losing customers and revenue to competitors who have adopted a mobile-first, omnichannel and personalized approach to marketing. There is a cost to not keeping up.


Data Silos

Data silos are a massive problem plaguing today’s marketers. Some companies I’ve worked with in the past store all of their customer data in their email service provider. ESPs are not meant to be data stewards, data warehouses or system of records. A Customer Data Platform (CDP) becomes a necessary component to a modern marketing stack to stream in disparate data and most importantly, make sense out of it. Matching and merging customer records from different sources with different IDs, validation, enrichment and ETL are critical components to unifying and operationalizing your data. In the end, a customer profile hosted in the cloud that can be updated in real time and shared across your marketing ecosystem is the foundation to executing your modern marketing initiatives.

According to Data Science Central, “The data science revolution depends on collecting, storing, analyzing and distributing massive volumes and varieties of data to turn into knowledge and valuable, actionable insights. The real value is from mixing different internal and external data sources and sharing information within a culture of collaboration.”

Real Time

State Based or Moment Marketing are predicated on the ability to act and react in real time. If an observed behavior isn’t sent to the campaign orchestration layer in real time, how can a marketer respond with relevant messaging, offers or even recommendations?  For example, a marketer wants to send a targeted, personalized PUSH notification with an offer when a customer trips their favorite store’s geo fence. What sounds simple actually requires some sophisticated coordination to send the signal from the GPS enabled App to the CDP which performs the offer eligibility evaluation and then triggering the Push notification either natively or through a 3rd party. Any data latency will render this use case ineffective. If I was within a certain range from a Wegmans supermarket and a free slice of pizza with purchase offer pops up on my phone, it is highly likely that I will redeem that offer. It’s possible to gain a deep understanding of your consumer and have ability to react immediately based on observed behaviors when you’re partnered with the right technology company. states, “If each interaction does not offer something of value, whether it is insights, knowledge, or even offers, discounts or exclusive experiences, then consumers are unlikely to engage as frequently”.

I could have stayed where I was or even went to work for a competitor of my former employer, but the truth is I would have been just replacing one legacy stack for another. When you are looking to modernize or re-platform, you have to partner with a modern customer engagement platform if you want to achieve your marketing goals.

If this sounds like an advertisement, it is, not just for advancing your career, (we’re hiring! ) but for taking your marketing initiatives to the next level with SessionM.