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May 1, 2012
Today's Trends in Digital Marketing
As a CEO for a Digital Marketing Agency, I have seen the marketing trends for 2012 based on our experience in this domain and the feedback from our customers. Here are my picks for the top marketing trends for 2012, all of which are based on a massive volume of structured and unstructured data.

1. Big Data
Most companies and big enterprises these days are depending more and more on big data. We in sales and marketing departments collect customer data at every touch point with the customer through different channels. These channels include phone conversations, filled-out forms online and offline, face-to-face conversations, and so on. All these data are being stored at the end of the day on customer relationship management (CRM) tools. It is very essential to have our past customers’, current customers’, and potential customers’ interaction histories in our CRM tool. Not using big data means a loss of buying opportunity. As you may know, digital information is being increased every day in huge numbers. The growth of this information is what big data all about. The information available about buying behavior across many, many channels constitutes real opportunities to engage potential buyers in different ways to drive revenue at every stage of the customer lifecycle at the right time.

We just need to invest in big data tools or databases for business intelligence, such as Vectorwise from Actian.com

2. Right-time Multichannel Marketing
Marketing organizations must invest more time and effort into understanding the customer lifecycle in their market. Sales organization and marketing departments certainly they don’t lack data; however, they lack the ability to integrate the data they have into their integrated digital marketing campaigns and extract more valuable and actionable insights. As time goes by, marketers are moving away from unreliable traditional marketing approaches and moving toward more integrated paths across multiple media channels such as websites, social media, mobile, video, email, search, display, PPC, and PR. To me, one of the important players in the current marketing media is social media. We can see our audience’s response in real time and we can integrate the data part of their profiles into our CRM and marketing automation tools. The integration of audience data from multiple sources makes it possible to correlate customer attributes and interests to replace the wasteful shotgun approach to marketing with more targeted, effective, and memorable multiple-channel campaigns. Then marketers are dealing with multichannel marketing as a path where they can see customer interaction histories and experiences and how those lead to refined forms of customer intelligence. As a result, marketers achieve right-time multichannel marketing and revenue optimization. When you transform big data into customer intelligence, and then use it across right-time multichannel marketing, your opportunities for driving revenue throughout the customer lifecycle become enormous.

3. Marketing Automation Integration with CMS and CRM
Last year, we worked with larger customers and we had the opportunity to work projects that involved more complex integrations between CMS, marketing automation, CRM, analytics, and PPC systems. We had the opportunity to deeply analyze several marketing automation tools such as Marketo, Eloqua, Aprimo, Alterian, and Leadformix.

These companies are really investing into their products and they are building very intelligent functionality to provide better data to their audiences via their platforms. I am involved daily with calls or emails that include some questions about marketing automation and CRM integration. As a result, I have concluded that this type of integration creates a true closed-loop sales-and-marketing system between your marketing automation platform and CRM systems that connects and extends your big data.

Here is a summary of some of the benefits of this approach:
  • Higher rates of reporting and forecasting metrics
  • Cohesively combining customer interactions, insights, and resulting actions
  • Improving demand generation and qualified leads
  • Real-time and intuitive personalization
  • Instant intelligence on prospects and deal influencers of site visitors
  • Increasing efficiency and decreasing complexity
The application of customer intelligence to the customer lifecycle now creates marketing opportunities that have never been realized before. Marketers can now use the customer lifecycle as a dynamic means to engage prospects and customers at the right time, with the right offer, in the way they choose to buy. The customer lifecycle brings the capability of anytime, anyplace marketing to the forefront in a nonintrusive way.

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Hassan Bawab is the Founder & CEO of Magic Logix, a digital marketing solutions provider that focuses on driving business growth by merging creativity, technology, and online marketing. 
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