4 Takeaways and How We Move Forward
2019 has reached its close and overall, it was an exciting year in the marketing world. We’ve seen the rise of some spectacular MarTech, leaps in personalization, the power of data-driven creativity and its impact on the customer experience, and just how necessary it is to produce quality content.
While we’ll be doing a retroactive look back at those four critical takeaways, we’ll also be looking ahead to next year — the future of content, the necessity of mobile optimization, and the burgeoning importance of providing truly seamless multichannel experiences.
Takeaway 1: Data-Driven Creativity in Customer Experience (CX) Was Huge
One of the most important things for marketers can also be one of the most difficult: getting a unified view of our real customers. Understanding what makes them tick as people and consumers and how we can use that to better offer our products is part of the job description, and it’s something marketers need to excel at.
Using data to engage our customers in creative ways has been essential in our 2019 approach to CX. We’ve been able to breakdown data to better utilize our own time while simultaneously boosting customer engagement and receptiveness to offerings. Incorporating AI into this process to help us better predict the patterns of consumers and their needs have been huge in increasing efficiency.
It’s important to note that there is a line between understanding our customers, incorporating technology and giving them highly-targeted offerings, and going full “big brother” on them. Where that line is drawn is dictated by the consumer, and often changes as they gain a better understanding of how new technology works to their benefit.
Takeaway 2: Relevant Content is NOT Optional
Content has always been somewhere on most marketers’ agenda. Too often, that “somewhere” is the back burner. Even worse, when it’s not on the back burner, the content is too narrowly focused on one goal — selling something.
Whether it’s the brand or the product, the goal of content should not simply be to “sell”.
One of the biggest things we’ve noticed is the demand for — and success of — relevant content. What we mean by “relevant content” is content that provides consumers with real value, whether that be knowledge, entertainment, or often, some combination of the two. This sort of content has one goal in mind, and as we’ve said above, that goal isn’t to sell.
The goal of truly relevant content is to engage.
This type of content not only establishes your brand as useful and connected, but it also builds relationships with your consumers and positions your business as a thought leader, while at the same time boosting your SEO rankings over time.
Takeaway 3: Personalization, Personalization, Personalization
No, we didn’t discover personalization in 2019, but now more than ever, it’s becoming unquestionably apparent how crucial it is to our success. Similar to takeaway number one, personalization succeeds when paired with data-driven creativity.
Today’s personalization is so much more than simply stamping a first and last name on a piece of direct mail — it’s using a thorough and complete understanding of a data set to better connect with customers on an individual level.
This depth of connectivity is essential in contemporary marketing because our consumers have become wildly efficient at tuning out inferior offerings. To succeed, we must put in the effort to connect with our customers on a unique and deep level.
Takeaway 4: MarTech is BIG
MarTech is big. Really, really big.
If you haven’t been able to find a blend of MarTech products that work for you, you may not be looking hard enough. In today’s MarTech marketplace, there seems to be a solution for just about any challenge your business may have.
Whether it’s managing databases, reaching out to your consumers en masse, interpreting complex data, managing content, etc., MarTech has boosted the productivity and efficiency for countless marketers and that trend will continue. Embrace it now or be left behind.
Optimize for Mobile
We’ve reached critical mass — mobile browsing has officially surpassed all other devices as the preferred method of browsing. It shouldn’t be surprising, after all, we do live in a mobile-first world.
It’s not only traditional web traffic that mobile takes the top spot in. More and more people are turning to their mobile devices for every facet of conducting business – from sending emails to reviewing content, again ditching their desktop in favor of their smartphone.
For marketers, this is probably well known and points to one crucial thing we all must do going forward — focus aggressively on mobile-centric marketing, particularly when it comes to optimizing your formats for mobile devices. That means mobile-first web design, accelerated mobile pages (AMPs), Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging, and SMS marketing.
Content Will Still Be King (and Users Will Want to Interact)
Relevant content is hugely important (as we discussed in our look back above), but there’s one thing you can do to make your content even more potent: Make your content interactive. In fact, 91 percent of buyers are actively searching for more interactive online content.
This type of content is unique and engages your customers on a level they likely aren’t yet used to. Incorporating simple elements like quizzes, polls, more complex elements like shop-able posts, and 360-degree videos, all the way up to immersive experiences like AR/VR can make your content cut through the noise.
Not only is this type of content an ideal way to attract attention, but it is also a great way to retain it. Interactive content engages the user in an enjoyable exchange with a brand, and a customer’s attention is focused on that pleasant interaction, rather than the idea that they’re being sold something. This leaves them open to more of your messaging as you deliver it in an entertaining way that they can control.
Seamless Multi-Channel Experiences Are a Must
Allowing your users to navigate your marketing materials through various mediums is an important way to boost the level of meaningful interactions between your brand and your clients.
Although this has been recognized by a large percentage of businesses — 51 percent of companies report using at least eight channels to communicate with their customers — only 14 percent of companies report coordinating their efforts across all channels.
In 2020, this type of multi-channel coordination will be crucial in keeping pace as an industry frontrunner and effectively communicating with potential clients. There are many elements to coordinate — website, webchat, email, direct mail, etc. — but the easiest way to find out where to focus your efforts is a simple web analytics tool that includes market automation.
Enter the New Decade
The 2010s are coming to a close, but between 2019 and 2020, not much will have really changed — not much more than normal, anyway.
Continue to engage your customers in ways that build relationships, focus on the core customer acquisition and retention strategies that paid dividends in the past, and embrace new technology. It will make your life easier and your customers’ experiences better.
Want a helping hand? Contact us and see how we can help you in the New Year and beyond.
About Jeff Sammak
As president and founder of Strata Company, Jeff Sammak has been a leader in the advanced integration of marketing, data and emerging technologies for over 20 years. He has a deep understanding of complex business challenges and keen ability to translate them to technology-driven solutions that align to a client’s key strategic business objectives. He attended Monmouth College for Business, Jeff enjoys scuba diving, skiing and spending time with his family.