What does the future hold for digital marketing? If you looked into your crystal ball, what would it reveal to you? Where will you spend scarce marketing dollars for maximum impact? Will you allocate the bulk of your marketing budget to traditional campaigns, or to digital channels? We gained an interesting view into the future from a panel discussion with a national clothing retail executive and two digital marketing experts at SAS Global Forum Executive Conference.
The best way to summarize this fascinating discussion is that the future holds three important ways marketers will focus their efforts to maximize the potential benefit of digital marketing:
We will increasingly make the effort to personalize offers. Just as marketers keep getting more data about their customers’ preferences, the customers are aware that marketing is getting all the data. In most cases, this is driving a realistic expectation that we do something useful with that data. And “useful” to the customer is something that benefits them – it’s meaningful to them, and it’s personalized.
Just as customer data is useful to marketers, it’s equally useful to the customers themselves. We will serve up customer data right back to them in the most effective channel/device. While we’re at it, we will show customers that we’re using their data to better serve them. We will increasingly face a need to foster trust on the part of the customer that we’re safeguarding their data but also putting it to good use. One good example of this idea in the works today was cited by the panel: the loyalty program app at Starbucks.
Marketers will need to foster collaboration across all channels for maximum effectiveness. The best way to show the customer that we care about them will be to engage with them according to one cohesive profile, regardless of channel. As customer awareness of the power of their data becomes more prevalent, more and more frustration will result when they deal with your organization on different channels and it’s not a coordinated experience. Frustrating your customers is not a good business practice today, and it certainly won’t be tomorrow.
I welcome your reactions to these three predictions by commenting below, and as always, thank you for following!