As we embark upon Q4 2015, marketers are poised to begin 2016 with more opportunity than ever to enhance moments and activate audiences. Today’s hyper-connected consumers expect contextual experiences that deliver value in the moment of need. In order to be successful, businesses need to deliver and exceed these expectations.
All of these experiences across every channel are driven by data. Though simple in theory, the possibilities are endless. With data as the known driver of this success, let’s take a look at the four building blocks that will equate to marketing prosperity in 2016.
1. Strategic roadmap
Strategists see opportunities across the customer lifecycle and offer clients added insight to navigate a vast array of opportunities, prioritize areas of focus, and accelerate results. The roadmap is akin to an architect’s blueprint, ensuring that teams align to execute a unified vision and achieve shared goals.
Therefore, focused time spent outlining key strategic initiatives and building a prioritized roadmap is the first step to pointing your organization toward success. Revisit it frequently to track and review progress, make adjustments when necessary, and justify celebrating accomplished goals.
2. Team agility
Marketing teams need to be poised to move faster in 2016. To do this, you need tools that can provide:
- Actionable data
- Cross-channel deployment
- Program performance
- Accurate testing capabilities
- The ability to promote ongoing optimization
In order to move swiftly, organizations need to ensure alignment of cross-functional teams to deliver on key priorities. Having the team and tools in place to maximize these elements, as well as the ability to embrace a continual cycle of testing hypotheses and optimize accordingly is mandatory.
Organizations must also concentrate on delivering value across the customer lifecycle, while moving quickly to enhance experiences and create competitive advantages. Think of it as a “customer pivot,” so organizations can stay viable and competitive today. How an organization focuses on the consumer experience and aligns it with resources which support this cause will make-or-break campaigns in 2016.
3. A foundation of automation
Agile teams require agile automation platforms that are able to deliver on all cross-channel touchpoints efficiently, with actionable data fueling every touch. Additionally, they need testing and analytics to reinforce ongoing learning. Marketer’s hampered by limitations in automation need to focus here first, because success is not possible without this foundation.
4. Innovate or stagnate
Consumers expect more across every industry, with new levels of interaction and value. To deliver on these expectations, marketers must innovate. Begin by asking, “If I knew ‘X,’ what would I do differently?”
Though there is a plethora of ways to answer this question, it is important that each solution is finely tuned to apply to every individual organization and use case.
Although there are differing opinions on the value of failing fast – or the act deploying a number of advertising experiments under the assumption that some will succeed and grow as others fail – encouraging your team to take risks in new areas has the potential to enable increased speed and overall productivity. Developing a culture of experimentation will really get your team’s wheels turning, placing them on the fast-track to innovation.
Another factor that will affect progress and innovation in the upcoming year involves comprehending key data points. Understanding just one data point – like location, weather, timing, device, inventory levels, and so forth – can lead to contextual experiences that activate consumers. Marketers must have the ability to define and identify these opportunities, to integrate them into the strategic roadmap (as mentioned above), and harness the resulting capabilities in order to enable data-driven innovation.
As 2015 winds down, prepare for 2016 by taking the time to focus on planning and establishing a strategic roadmap, team agility, automation capabilities, all while placing greater emphasis on overall innovation. With more moving parts than ever, these factors will help your organization pivot toward the customer to deliver on heightened consumer expectations and ultimately achieve success.
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