In my previous column on Six Things Digital Marketers Must Know in 2013, I shared the importance of social loyalty and mobile. Here are four more to consider.
3. Cannot do them all
It is not easy being a digital marketer in this age due to the plethora of channels, many of them are free or extremely low-cost, to which products and services can be marketed. The technology with regards to channels is ever-changing and growing. It is starting to be much more fragmented, where users explore other social networks beyond mainstream ones (Facebook, Twitter, Sina Weibo, RenRen, etc). Pinterest, Lyst, and photography social networks like Instagram (regardless of its recent bad publicity) were among the biggest in terms of growth this year. Clients are now “distributed” and sprinkled across many channels and they expect marketers to have different conversations dependent on the type of channel they are engaged in.
Marketers are now looking for multi-channels solution, where they can manage a holistic approach in messaging going from email, mobile, social, and back to the web. This means they cannot merely focus on any one channel but they must also be selective about which ones truly bring conversions and build rapport with customers. Engaging in every channel as they emerge is just calling for disaster and overworked, overstressed marketers.
4. Simplified big data
Big data is a hot topic, and is expected to get bigger this year. More companies are going to adopt big data modules, and capitalize on the data harvested from the web, social networks, POS’s, online stores, etc.
One of the new professions that has taken bloggers and journalists by storm are data scientists – these are people that are highly analytical who understand the business needs and work out their magic (or logic) to transfer data into usable information. They also have the tendency to not shy away from mind-boggling volumes of data and records. Sounds big, right? I agree. My prediction is that we’ll see more tools that will simplify this process of transferring data into information. It means that marketers will receive information on a silver plate, processed and ready to be used. The ability to visualize data, score, and link it to KPIs will become more common.
5. Automation of marketing processes
Year 2011 and 2012 were very big on mass messaging and especially emails sent by group-buying and private shopping clubs. As most group-buying sites see their rate of new client acquisition slowing down, there is a need to retain customers, excite them, engage them, and make sure that they continue to shop on their site. There is a shift in this trend that moves from mass emailing into meaningful dialogue – automatic lifecycles targeted to provide better services and offerings to their customers. More and more companies (B2B and B2C alike) from different verticals are putting lifecycle programs in place, alongside their normal campaigns. Examples are: welcome programs of new clients, re-engagement of defecting customers, programs that target an increase in the customer lifetime value (CLTV), lead nurturing, and many more. These programs are designed to communicate with targeted audience across different channels as I have mentioned before, in order to receive maximum relevancy and attention from them.
6. Predictive marketing
Next in line is the young sibling of marketing automation – predictive marketing. Although such solutions have not yet hit the mass market, and marketers are not aware of them fully, we start to see them emerging.
Predictive marketing are database tools that analyze historical data and according to a matrix built in its backend, suggest anything from product recommendations to when and to which client segment campaigns should be delivered in order to maximize revenues or impact.
These predictive tools will minimize the guesswork involved in strategy planning.
That said, the future is here; brace yourselves for an exciting and tumultuous year ahead.
Till next time, stay tuned.