By Jonathan Moran, Principal Product Marketing Manager, SAS
I am one of the 76 percent.
A recent study from Adobe titled Digital Distress, found that 76 percent of marketers feel that marketing has changed more in the past two years than it has in the past 50 years. And it’s not showing signs of slowing down – at all. Things are moving quickly, as brand marketers are attempting to handle the digitally empowered, hyper-connected consumer of today.
Offers spew from all available channels and sources, across all platforms and devices in an attempt to capture consumer attention. In this complex and fragmented marketing ecosystem, it can be difficult for brands to deliver an offer that engages and delights a consumer while protecting marketing budgets and goals. But just as fast as brand can get a handle on how to deliver that optimal offer or message, things are going to change again. Here are a few things that I see coming in marketing’s future, and I think they will be here before we know it.
Future trend 1: Nonhuman marketing
Brands have more data about consumers than ever before. Why? Because they are collecting it from a growing number of digital channels – including social and mobile applications. And not only are brands collecting channel data, –they are also starting to collect network and device data.
This idea of collecting data streams allows brands to understand how consumers are interacting with networks and devices that they are able to combine with traditional consumer data (demographic and geographic) to improve marketing efforts. But what happens if our devices are empowered to make decisions for us? We are already seeing this with self-driving cars.
What if I could enable my home electronic systems, mobile apps, Fitbit and Apple Watch to make decisions on my behalf? At that point, marketing will need to direct its attention on machines, devices or systems and not to individuals. Sure, the occasional marketing message could be delivered to a human, but nonhuman marketing will be the primary form. Marketing technology providers should certainly be thinking about this as we move into the future.
Future trend 2: Consolidation
Business models and businesses are evolving toward consolidation. Data is being consolidated within organizations (I hope).
The concept of a customer data hub – a place to store all different data types – whether it’s first-party data, third-party data, or indirect data about a customer from elsewhere in the organization– makes all the sense in the world. Why? Brands are starting to understand that customer experience makes the sale, not product or price.
As a brand marketer, I need to have a single view of my customers that I can use to make quick decisions that are best for the brand and consumer. By removing intermediaries, supply chains are shorter and technology becomes more user-enabling.
Today, some businesses serve the sole purpose of aggregating and sourcing products and services for consumers. Amazon is the classic example, but there are hundreds of others.
At amazon.com, I can buy anything from a TV to a pair of socks in a single click – without ever interacting with Samsung or Woolrich as brands. So who do these brands market to? Not me the consumer – but Amazon as the aggregator – and the message to that aggregator will obviously be much different than the marketing messages of today.
Future trend 3: Applied analytics and inherent intelligence
I talk to people about marketing software technology every day. Never once have I heard someone say – “I really love my marketing technology software – I wish I could spend more time in it you know – just clicking around and hanging out.”
Instead, marketing analysts want to enter the software, perform an action, complete a task and exit the application so that they can get on to other parts of their job and spend less time on the tactical, more on the strategic.
It only makes sense that marketing technology vendors continue to make their interfaces easier to use, embedding more intelligence and requiring less of the end user where possible. This is certainly something worth planning for – the ability to embed and apply analytical techniques – things like automatically derived segmentation, applied marketing activity optimization, embedded forecasting, and other techniques – all in an effort to infuse machine learning style techniques and behaviors into marketing interfaces. After all, if a machine can tell a marketer the best time to execute a campaign, to whom, which content to use, and when to send it out – why wouldn’t a marketer oblige? I know I would.