2015 Predictions: Marketing Technology to Redefine Customer Experience
In 2015, personalized marketing at scale will become an achievable goal, contextual intelligence will outshine big data and marketing success will be evaluated by business impact. It will be a year for redefining customer experience through more advanced technologies. And finally, marketers will have what it takes to understand their customers' needs, address those needs in context, and dynamically optimize their marketing efforts to achieve superior performance.
Here are a few predictions as marketers continue to kick off the new year:
1. Marketers will look beyond their current technologies to close the gap between insights and actions. In today's age of big data, consumers expect the brands they engage with to know them, and marketers continue to search for ways to exceed expectation. The goal of creating competitive advantage remains paramount, and brands know that the way they will win is through customer experience.
At the same time, marketers know that in many cases they over invest to retain customers and stimulate spend. They know they need to get smarter and more precise about determining and delivering what customers want and when, and what this requires is more sophisticated technology that has the ability to merge marketing with science.
In 2015, we will see marketers turn to new technologies that enable a competitive edge by bridging the gap between insights and action to deliver what the customer wants. Heavy investments will be made in big data technology and the expertise that's required to deploy a more scientific approach to marketing. These new technologies will enable marketers to deliver to customers uniquely tailored products, services, offers, and content in the right contexts and at the right time by allowing them to understand their customers at a more granular level. They will also allow for a dramatic increase in the rate and scale at which data is acted upon—so that marketing strategies can be executed at the individual customer level.
As marketers seek to develop more innovative capabilities, they will experiment more in the coming year. They will trial new technologies that promise to deliver on the potential of personalized, data-driven marketing at scale. In doing so, they will look to vendors for productized capabilities for the primary benefit of rapid time to market, seeking solutions that fill gaps and yet integrate well with components of existing marketing and analytics suites.
2. Behavioral targeting fueled by contextual intelligence will start to power customer interactions. Marketers know that understanding individual behavior is the key to personalizing customer experiences (knowing what to deliver and when to deliver it). Yet in many cases, they don't have the capability to target customers and tailor interactions according to the needs, wants and preferences of individual customers as their behaviors dynamically change.
In 2015, we will see marketers exploit contextual intelligence to power how they engage with customers. We will see investments in more sophisticated analytics for the purpose of stimulating data-driven interactions with customers throughout their life cycles. With these investments, marketers will begin to leverage a wider variety of data sources to improve their behavioral targeting, focusing on data that sheds light on how customers behave—how they purchase, but also how they adopt, use, spend, deplete, interact with, engage, migrate, share, research, etc. We will see marketers put mobile and social data to use along with other sources of customer data, including that from campaign management systems, call centers, billing systems, point of sale systems, loyalty programs, etc., to gain a deeper understanding of their customers' behaviors, anticipate their needs, and act on insights to drive more meaningful and more valuable customer interactions.
Marketers will also begin to adopt technologies that enable more sophisticated exploration of data attributes i.e., exploration that is unsupervised and that automatically determines without assumption, which attributes matter for influencing a particular behavior or outcome. Marketers will benefit from the fact that these technologies enable dynamic decisioning. This means that decisions about what action to take for a specific customer can be based on the context of current timing as well as a multitude of customer behavior events—versus the use of simple rules that define single event "triggers."
Marketers will make investments in enabling more contextual, data-driven customer engagement with the goal in mind of increasing customer lifetime value. They will begin to embrace the customer journey, extending the use of contextual intelligence to guide how they engage, support, service, sell and market to their customers over time.
3. ROI measurement will shift from short term results to long term outcomes. The investment in new technologies to take behavioral understanding and one-to-one personalization to the next level will require—as well as enable—a change in how success is measured.
In 2015, marketers will place greater focus on longer term business impact when evaluating marketing effectiveness. Common metrics such as take rate and month-over-month improvement will decrease in relevancy, due to the inconclusive nature of such metrics when determining real return on investment. Moving forward, marketers will begin to leverage these new technologies to determine what's working, what's not working, and why in an automated fashion to then dynamically optimize marketing activity. In conjunction with this capability, marketers will elevate their level of measurement—adopting a quantitative approach that aligns with evaluating business performance—not just marketing.
For example, they'll look at 30-60-90 day impact on things such as retention benefit and revenue growth. They'll look at cannibalization, ensuring the value for the customer and business are properly aligned. They'll look at opportunity cost at an individual level, determining when it's best to engage or not engage at all.
In short, in 2015 marketers will start to look beyond short-term campaign results and begin measuring the net financial impact of their marketing efforts.