When looking ahead to identify the trends that will shape marketing in the coming year and beyond, one word comes to mind—comprehensive. Data and digital have transformed how brands innovate and interact with their customers along the length of the consumer journey. Let’s take a look at how this comprehensive approach to marketing will unfold for brand marketers in 2017.
Customer Engagement & Personalization Will Continue to Change the Consumer–Brand Relationship
From embedded chatbots optimizing online conversations to limited-time offers pinged to mobile devices while shopping the aisles, brands and retailers are finding new ways to speak to and engage consumers.
And because these new standards of customization are now expected from your consumers, a personalized customer experience is no longer a nice to have, it’s a need to have.
The Holy Grail for marketers has always been the right message delivered at the right time to the right consumer in the right context. As digital marketing influencer Jeff Bullas blogs, “Relevance is king for catching a distracted eye and online glance in a noisy world of data clutter.” We are now finally able to tap into technology that knows—in real time—customers’ likes, dislikes, buying patterns, online and offline behaviors, and shopping journeys. Brands that listen to their data and use personalization to drive the customer journey will win.
Identity Resolution Will Bring Omnichannel into Maturity
The ability to identify and connect with a single consumer across devices and channels will take personalization one step further. This ability to follow an audience on a 1:1 level (without cookie limitations) is changing the way brands engage with consumers. Marketers can create unique experiences across your tablet, smartphone, and desktop—but all a continuation of the same shopping journey. And with digital consumers using more devices than ever—as many as 10 per person by 2020 if you believe Michael Dell—marketers will be challenged more than ever to build a complete view of consumer, place, and purchase.
With less than 20 of marketers currently able to really connect the dots of consumer presence, identity resolution vendors will become a critical weapon in the marketer’s arsenal beginning in 2017. The rewards will be great—the ability to identify a single consumer among online and offline channels will truly bring the term omnichannel to maturity.
New Ad Formats Will Disrupt the Traditional Media Plan
Zenith predicts digital revenues will exceed TV globally for the first time next year, making digital the world’s largest advertising medium. From social video to programmatic digital audio, next-generation formats will disrupt the conventional media plan and force strategists to rethink the tried and true. Take the immersive and personal nature of digital audio—“earbud moments” present an opportunity to connect with consumers across dayparts—a gold mine for marketers seeking a programmatic means to elusive audiences like Millennials.
A recent AdAge study projects that the percentage of media buying strategy dedicated to digital audio will nearly double in the next two years. Innovative, location-powered targeting will enable marketers to plan campaigns using layers of location, interest, and spend data. And with programmatic tools, marketers will be able to efficiently assess performance and optimize in real time.
How You Use the Data Will Set Your Brand Apart
The CMO of the future must also be the CDO—Chief Data Officer. With the explosion of data from demographic to behavioral to location and transactional scattered throughout departmental silos, marketers must find ways to access and understand all of it to form a holistic view of the customer. Data visualization tools will simplify the interpretation component of data analysis, but the sheer volume of data—and new streams, like locations visited, card spend, and in-store movement—will require new skillsets within the brand organization and among its marketing partners.
This comprehensive approach to marketing demands new investment from brand marketers, but the rewards are tremendous—deeper brand–consumer relationships, mature omnichannel capabilities (that is, online to offline) new ways of reaching tough audiences, and a complete view of consumer, place, and purchase.
How do you plan to take advantage of these trends in 2017? Join the conversation and comment below.