Over the last decade marketing has undergone radical revolution. The buyer journey is no longer linear or predictable due to the plethora of ways of interacting with brands. The uses of social media, search engines, product review sites, and company websites are ubiquitous, and brands now reach out to customers and prospects using a multi-touch approach including channels such as email, SMS, chat bots, micro-targeted ads and more.
What does 2020 have in store? Moreover, what about the next 10 years? Will marketers continue to have to deliver ever more choice and personalization? Could Artificial Intelligence and machine learning present new ways to bring products to market? What impact will data protection and privacy have on marketer’s ability to market? Perhaps, new marketing technologies not yet heard of will take our industry by storm.
Here are a few predictions for marketing in 2020, and beyond (courtesy of a Marketo ebook):
The 4 P’s – pair personalization with privacy protections.
With one eye on GDPR and personal data security requirements, successful marketers need to address the paradox of personalisation vs privacy to deliver greater personalization alongside stronger privacy protections. Consumers want personalisation but not to the detriment of their personal data. Data-driven strategies will still be at the heart of marketing campaigns, but we’ll have to play smarter with how data is used and be more customer-centric to retain trust and loyalty.
According to Accenture, 90% of consumers prefer to shop with brands that offer personalised recommendations. SmarterHQ backs this up with results from its privacy Report which states that consumers are willing to share personal data to receive such personalised offers and recommendations.
Focus on Human 2 Human
We mustn’t neglect this crucial aspect of any relationship. Whilst AI and automation can deliver the targeted, personalised experiences that may consumers crave, we need to acknowledge the basic urge for human contact, empathy and experiences.
According to Calabrio’s Customer Loyalty Report, 75% of buyers are more loyal to businesses that give them the option to interact with a human than to those with fully automated digital experiences. And 37% question the legitimacy of the company itself if not given this option! Michael Brenner, CEO at Marketing Insider Group, suggests we need a new culture of ‘empathetic marketing’; “Empathetic marketing” connects companies, brands, employees, and customers in a harmonious, productive, win-win way”. Brenner proposes that CMOs need to partner with HR and the rest of the corporate silos to build a culture of empathy for customers which will develop trust and loyalty.
Marketers should stop delivering so much ‘stuff’ and slow down a little.
Marketing, in its most basic form, is about promoting brands, crafting memorable experiences and opening/building relationships. But have we got carried away? Are we pushing too much information out there, much of which is ignored through consumer lethargy and apathy in the face of such a mountain of ‘stuff’?
According to Anne Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, “We still have work to do on deepening relationships with prospects, customers, and internal sales, execs, and influencers who champion and amplify our contributions to growth”. She goes on to state that this is important because relationships are crucial to long term marketing success. 2020 and beyond should be about #RelationshipGoals. Relationships need time to build trust and loyalty. They aren’t created in short periods of time, they need nurturing and cultivating. The IT market has an incredibly lengthy sales cycles and we should be embracing that. Building the type of relationships that we can capitalise on when the time comes for change.
Handley proposes the following: In the next five years, marketers should focus on the following five areas:
- Do less but obsess more. Focus on crafting optimal customer experiences, not just delivering more stuff
- Deepen loyalty with existing clients and customers. Feed your fans
- Amplify affinity and build trust internally (with sales, C-suite, influencer-employees)
- Show up, warts and all. Turn the camera around: show our audience who we are, not simply who we want them to think we are. Is saying ‘authentic’ just a fancy way of saying ‘imperfect’?
- Focus on the next 10 years, not the next 10 months. Long-term relationships are more satisfying in every sense
AI should make marketing smarter and better for customers
We should go beyond targeted engagement to “intent- and value-based experience delivery” that’s made possible by AI. With machine learning and the right data, you can predict an individual’s or a buying group’s intent to buy your products and services at each interaction. Niranjan Kumbi Senior Manager, Product Management, Adobe at Marketo, states that, “When done correctly, AI makes marketers more accurate and more successful in engaging the customers at their doorstep”.
Marketers should focus on developing trust using a value-based marketing approach
Brands should seek to connect with consumers on a deeper level, based on convictions and principles. We know that millennials care deeply about trust and shared values, tapping into this can develop the sort of brand loyalty that create long term, profitable relationships.
Account-based marketing offers great opportunities
If embraced, digital ABM campaigns should allow marketers to drive unprecedented growth. This profile-based approach requires sales and marketing functions to work together, focused on the same list of accounts. Focusing energy and resources into one set of target accounts provides synergy, ensures better alignment and reaps dividends. Adding digital into this mix will allow unprecedented growth opportunities.
Brand awareness will make a comeback
Short, sharp campaigns are all very well but brand awareness raising activities will create long term demand and customer loyalty. Whilst we all crave measurable outcomes from short, snappy campaigns we mustn’t neglect the benefits of nurturing and relationship building over time. Brand awareness is a long-term strategy. Think Apple, Nike, Shell, McDonald’s. You can measure long term campaigns, you just need a little more patience!
So, we hope you enjoyed reading this insight into the future of marketing from some of the industry’s leading lights. If you’d like to read more, download the whole report here.