Digital marketing: trend setter

Hayden Richards, TM’s digital strategist, reveals what lies ahead in the world of digital marketing and manufacturing.

Hayden Richards, digital native & growth hacker, The Manufacturer
Hayden Richards, digital native & growth hacker, The Manufacturer.

Is your organisation ready for the digital-first world? Does your firm possess a well-defined path to digitisation that caters ultimately to the bespoke needs of your customer?

You should have spent a portion of your time in 2015 assessing your capabilities around the SMAC stack (social, mobile, cloud and analytics) and currently be proactively fine tuning internal strategies to improve and differentiate core capabilities leveraging these tools.

Certainly many C-suite pundits predict four technologies which will be particularly important for marketing success this year: cognitive computing, cloud, mobile solutions and the Internet of Things (IoT).

It’s worth examining at this point whether your marketing department still adopts a traditional approach or is striving to become more data driven.

Take email marketing for example, many marketers can attest to ‘spray and pray’ tactics in the past, but this year such techniques will be deemed obsolete since artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies will make it easier to personalise individual communication for customers.

Lara Albert, VP of global marketing at Amplero in a CMO interview sums up how data and personalisation drilled down to the individual level can change marketing’s image from zero to hero: “Marketers will thrive in roles where human creativity is appreciated and, at the same time, complimented by the power of machine-based marketing platforms.”

With so much attention placed on customer journeys and experiences all powered by digital, here are four digital marketing trends for 2016:

1. Marketers finally get to grips with data

Slicing through reams of big data and focusing on smaller nuggets will help marketing make better decisions. This means adding skill sets such as data analysis and management to the team.

Accounting for little data becomes a priority. Justin Cutroni, an analytics evangelist at Google makes the point: “I think the one thing that really excites me is the continued convergence of data. Businesses are merging more first- and third-party data sets to draw deeper insights about existing customers, attract new customers and, ultimately, increase revenue.”

2. It’s all about the customer

Marketers will focus on what customers need and what they want to hear. They will also take that message everywhere the customer ‘hangs out’.

3. The rise of content marketing

Expect content marketing to focus further on providing value to the consumer, as opposed to focusing primarily on the brand’s message. It will however have to be easily consumable.

4. Retargeting gets sophisticated

Moving beyond emails and websites, this year’s social and display advertising, as well as mobile app data, will combine to display to prospects contextually relevant content that helps move them forward in their customer journey.

The problem with traditional retargeting ads is that over time they become less effective, plus some prospects actually resent being ‘followed’ around the web. Inattention blindness, which is defined as the failure to notice an object that’s in plain sight when focusing on something else, plays into this.

Marketers, however, can shift this paradigm by delivering ads that understand a contract beyond the product just viewed, while taking into account everything known about that prospect.