Each year brings a whirlwind of change to the marketing and advertising landscape. In 2016, advanced audience targeting, omnichannel experiences, and the challenges of cross-device marketing all took center stage. Now, several months into 2017, more change is already rushing in, creating both disruption and opportunity for organizations of all sizes.
To stay competitive, marketers must think strategically about how they can jump on the latest trends to set their organization up for success both now and in the future. Here are three particularly strong areas to focus on in the near future.
The Convergence of Adtech and Martech
Today’s marketers are leveraging an increasingly complex technology stack to power their marketing and advertising. While each tool provides a wealth of audience and performance data, most operate as stand-alone systems—forcing marketing teams to execute in channel and operational silos instead of through the lens of the consumer. These silos make it difficult to connect the audience insights and related marketing and business performance data needed to deliver relevant consumer experiences and drive business results.
In the age of the empowered consumer—where customers and prospects expect and demand personally relevant experiences—the ability to consolidate data across adtech and martech solutions is becoming a marketer’s greatest asset. Fortunately, emerging marketing intelligence platforms are now bringing these two sides together, integrating the rich audience and performance data from disparate systems into a single, data-driven model. These platforms provide a single interface where marketers can holistically assess marketing and advertising performance by audience segment and leverage that insight to optimize budgets and experiences for customers and prospects across all channels, touch points, and devices.
The Shift to People-Based Marketing
The phrase “people-based marketing” is quickly becoming standard industry usage. Originally coined by Facebook, the term refers to the ability to deliver targeted messages and ads to customers and prospects across devices based on their attributes, interests, and behaviors.
Yet marketers have long faced challenges when attempting to identify consumers and their behaviors across devices and environments. In the pre-mobile era, cookies were the standard for targeting individuals browsing on desktop computers or laptops. But cookies do not know much about users beyond the websites they visited and the ads they clicked. Moreover, cookies do not exist for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, making it difficult to track the same user across screens or capture online to offline conversions.
To address these challenges, the industry is moving toward a privacy-conscious identification approach that combines cookie IDs, device IDs, CRM IDs, and offline IDs into a single, anonymous unique identifier. By assigning a unique ID to each individual, marketers benefit from a comprehensive, end-to-end view of the consumer journey and how customers and prospects engage with a brand, regardless of where that interaction occurs. When these enriched profiles are used to feed the marketing attribution process, marketers get the actionable insights they need to optimize budgets across touch points and deliver targeted, relevant messages and experiences at key moments of opportunity—whether online, across devices, in stores, or elsewhere.
The Intersection of Audience Insight and Marketing Performance
The goal of delivering tailored interactions to customers and prospects is nothing new. In fact, a number of platforms already exist to help marketers achieve this goal. Attribution solutions, for example, enable marketers to optimize their marketing and advertising tactics at varying degrees of granularity to drive specific success criteria. Data management platforms (DMPs) have also evolved, blending first-, second-, and third-party data sets into high-value audience segments to facilitate targeting and personalization.
While DMPs and attribution solutions provide critical capabilities for any marketing department, they are typically used in isolation to address very specific needs. To be successful, marketers need the ability to combine the profile data they have about their customers and prospects with tactical marketing performance. When marketing and advertising tactics are analyzed in combination with customer and prospect attributes, marketers gain the actionable intelligence they need to orchestrate meaningful customer experiences and optimize investment within and across channels to maximize business results.
Each year brings game-changing trends and technologies that transform how marketers connect and engage with consumers. While it may be impossible to tackle each new opportunity at once, marketers must find ways to use them to their advantage before their competition does. The sooner marketers can pull that off, the faster their organization will reach the next level of success.
Manu Mathew is the cofounder and chief executive officer of Visual IQ, where he leads the expansion of both the company’s IQ Intelligence Suite of leading-edge cross-channel marketing attribution software products, and its client base to include Fortune 500 and Internet 1000 advertisers that face performance and optimization challenges inherent in multichannel marketing. Mathew is a graduate of the College of Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y., where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering.