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For marketers, each year seems to bring a whirlwind of change. In 2016, omni-channel marketing took center stage, advanced audience targeting started to gain traction, and the shift to mobile continued to gain steam.
While marketers are racing to keep up, 2017 is already bringing more change. Analysts such as LUMA Partners, Gartner, eMarketer and more have all surveyed the digital marketing landscape and produced their own assessments of the major trends impacting marketers this year. Here’s a breakdown of the three trends that we think are most important:
1. Adtech and Martech Convergence
The current era of advertising and marketing is fueled by technology. Brands have an almost endless supply of adtech and martech platforms to choose from, yet despite the obvious overlap in disciplines, these technologies have traditionally operated in their own separate silos. These silos make it difficult to connect the audience insights and related marketing and business performance data needed to deliver relevant consumer experiences and drive business results.
In the age of the empowered consumer – where customers and prospects expect brands to know what they like and dislike based on their needs, preferences and behaviors – the ability to consolidate data from disparate adtech and martech solutions is becoming a marketer’s greatest asset. In fact, Forrester Research agrees this more perfect union will revolutionize marketing.
Emerging marketing intelligence platforms are now bringing these two sides together, integrating the rich, but disparate audience and performance data across platforms into a single, data-driven model. These platforms provide a single interface where marketers can understand how consumers are being exposed to and interacting with their brand, holistically assess marketing and advertising performance by audience segment, and leverage that insight to optimize budgets and experiences for customer and prospects across all channels and tactics.
2. The Rise of People-Based Marketing
People-based marketing refers to the ability to deliver targeted ads and messages to individuals across any screen, on any device. While the concept is relatively new, it has caught on quickly. In fact, 68% of marketers are putting a significant amount of budget towards it.
However, marketers have historically faced challenges when attempting to identify consumers and their behaviors across devices. In the pre-mobile era, cookies were the standard for identifying and targeting individuals browsing on desktop computers or laptops. However, cookies don’t exist for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, and certainly don’t tell the entire story of a consumer or their journey to conversion.
To address these challenges, the industry has started to move towards an anonymous identification approach that protects user privacy while providing marketers with a deep understanding of their prospects and customers. Referred to as unique identifiers, these anonymous IDs combine third-party cookie IDs, device IDs, CRM IDs and offline IDs to create an enriched profile of each user that has been exposed to a brand’s media and marketing across online and offline channels, as well as across multiple devices. When these enriched profiles are used to feed the marketing analytics process, marketers can uncover and optimize the effectiveness of each channel and tactic in driving conversions and other desired business outcomes by audience segment, across all platforms and devices.
3. The Intersection of Audience & Attribution
Optimizing consumer experiences means delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right place and time. A number of point solutions have evolved in an attempt to help marketers reach this goal. Data management platforms (DMPs) for instance, are now blending first-, second- and third-party data sets to build high-value audience segments that facilitate targeting and personalization. Attribution solutions have also evolved, integrating multiple measurement and modeling approaches that enable marketers to measure marketing and media performance at various levels of granularity (channel, placement, keyword, creative, etc.) against specific success criteria.
The problem is that these solutions are used in isolation and address very specific needs. To be successful, marketers need the ability to combine the profile data they have about their customers and prospects with tactical marketing performance. When marketing and advertising tactics are analyzed in combination with customer and prospect attributes, marketers can not only orchestrate the optimal customer experience, but also optimize spend within and across channels to drive conversions, brand engagement, revenue, and other desired KPIs.
The brands that rise above the rest are those that can jump on these trends before their competitors do. While it isn’t necessary to tackle all of them at once, think strategically about how you can implement new technology – such as a marketing intelligence solution that combines the power of audience insight and marketing performance in a single platform – to set yourself up for success both now and in the future.
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