Predicting the future is daunting. But recognizing developing short term trends is easier. These five marketplace developments have grabbed the attention and investments of savvy marketers as 2018 gets going.
Programmatic buying will grow in spite of doubts about fraud, transparency and attribution on the strength of its pricing/tonnage output. Look for programmatic algorithms to expand to TV and video streaming media along with its attendant challenges. Media buying firms will be continuously challenged and replaced by in-house teams. Agencies will need to demonstrate qualitative superiority and ROI impact to stay in the game.
Video is increasingly diffused where its presented and consumed. Changing viewing or time shifting patterns will challenge TV for ad dollars. Streaming, downloading, apps and chatbots are grabbing eyeballs glued to increasing amounts of video watched by consumers. Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and Hulu will press the competitive challenge to cable and traditional networks who will hang on by marketing tent pole live events like the Superbowl or the Oscars. Look for significant ad dollars to shift by year’s end.
CDP is a Must-Have. Marketers need a consumer data platform (CDP) that aggregates, normalizes, connects and integrates data from disparate sources, with appropriate privacy protocols. A CDP is critical in order to develop meaningful segments and personalize messages and offers. There is no common consensus on how to collect, connect or clean this data for effective use in outbound marketing or CRM, but this tool is essential to meet consumer expectations that brands will interact with them personally providing content and offers that are useful, relevant and easy to access.
Omnichannel Integration will mirror customer journeys. Marketers will segment their customer and prospect files and attempt to better understand how, why, when and how customers find their way to brands. Research will focus on the combination of intentions, actions and channels consumers take in the process of identifying, selecting and engaging brands and products. Identifying behavioral sequences, information or content needs and buying cycles will require considerable data and sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to find the patterns and tease out the moments of truth and persuadable inflection points. These new technologies are critical for understanding signals of consumer interest consumer interest or intent and for developing predictive models.
Email will not stand alone. Instead email will be linked up with display, mobile and social media. Email, the front runner in terms of consumer use and acceptance, will be integrated and supported by other media. Top-level domains and ISPs are increasingly filtering and vectoring email in service to privacy and relevance goals. This naturally limits deliverability. So, smart marketers will synchronize and integrate email campaigns with text messaging, social media and display retargeting to improve opens, clicks and conversions. Look for brands to experiment with matching campaigns, where SUBJ lines and imagery and offers are exactly the same across channels. Then look for competitors to create campaigns where elements are different but tactically assigned to different channels to reinforce the message and interact with device and channel usage patterns. Anticipate lots of testing and experimentation in the space to define consumer sensibilities and channel interactive patterns.
These five topics are on the practical agenda of many marketers as we start the new year.There are no easy answers and lots of opportunity for testing and experimentation. In many cases, the combination of data, customer journeys, channels and messaging will be unique to a brand or a category. It’s unlikely we’ll find a universal silver bullet. But progress toward brands’ ability to speak with one voice and engage customers and prospects personally and relevantly will improve significantly.
Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.
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