3 Digital Marketing Trends to Look for in 2017
The past year contained many developments in the digital marketing world, and set the table for what will undoubtedly be an evolutionary period for the space in 2017. With the continued rise in volume of content marketing and technological advances in this area, it is now easier than ever to create customized marketing programs. These programs deliver the right messages at exactly the right time, across the right channels, to maximize consumer engagement.
Here are three trends we predict will impact the digital marketing space in the coming year:
1. More Marketers Will Match up Social Media and Email Marketing Program Subscriber Data
Savvy brands have started diving deeply into all the fan/follower/customer data they have gathered from across their marketing channels. Behaviors, preferences, demographics, etc. can be leveraged for segmentation and subscriber profiles. However, this data is all too often only used for single-channel messaging.
Many brands still lack a truly integrated, consistent, omnichannel messaging experience, but we expect marketers to make great progress in this area in 2017. As marketers continue to adopt consumer engagement platforms that allow for coordinated, multichannel campaigns, we expect to see more robust examples of:
- Triggered email and SMS campaigns based on behavior in mobile apps.
- Retargeting messages on social sites based on email click behavior.
- Coordinated email and SMS messaging.
- Triggered emails based on propensity and value models.
The writing on the wall for marketers in the new year points to the great potential of customer engagement platforms and multichannel marketing.
2. There Will Be an Increased Use of Machine Learning and Marketing Automation to Select Content
Today’s marketers may be rich in data, but many are struggling to use that data effectively — particularly if they still take a manual and subjective approach to selecting content. A number of machine learning tools and vendors have emerged that allow for greater customer insights, better analytics and real-time decision-making for message and offer selection, eliminating the “What do we send next?” question. In 2017, more marketers will have a scalable, objective and efficient way to choose and adjust messaging, content, frequency and channel, as algorithms learn to make automatic adjustments when given new information.
The travel industry has been especially quick to adopt these machine learning tools as they seek to increase ancillary revenues and unify the customer journey across digital channels. For example, an airline might use the technology to create vacation package content and offers based on previous email engagement and booking behavior. Other industries can also benefit from this technology, especially those seeking relationship-focused messaging, or those who need help guiding consumers through complex products or services. Plus, these tools can make marketers much more efficient, reducing the time it takes to manually define segments and set up and deploy campaigns.
Keep an eye on how marketers learn to leverage natural voice and AI technologies like IBM’s Watson and Amazon’s Alexa cloud service in innovative ways — from content comprehension and customer intent to actual conversant marketing. Will we be there in 2017? Probably not, but we will start to see the foundations molded to make the next few years in marketing exciting and beneficial for the consumer.
Sean Shoffstall is a well-known and successful digital marketing entrepreneur, technology innovator and marketing strategist. Over his 20-year career, he has worked with top global brands providing leadership, strategy and execution in both B-to-C and B-to-B settings. Shoffstall has a keen ability to successfully execute multichannel marketing in his own unique manner. His innovative thinking makes him a desired board member and strategist for companies trying to break through crowded market spaces or enter brand new industries. He joined Mapp Digital (formerly BlueHornet) in July 2016.