It’s getting real for marketers in every industry. New channels, new devices and new ways for consumers to find (or ignore) us have changed the game.
Marketing is splintering into new sub-specialties — digital, display, social, programmatic, video, search engine marketing and more — that require new expertise. While we drive toward common big-picture revenue goals, each team seems to speak a different language and measure with different metrics.
Few have a holistic view of marketing performance and fewer understand exactly which marketing and advertising initiatives influence conversion. When marketers can’t get an accurate view of consumers traveling multiple channels, devices and touchpoints, they can’t accurately measure the value of each experience, or how well they’re directing prospects toward a desired action.
But brands are getting smarter every quarter. If the last few years are any indicator, 2019 should prove interesting as well. Here are six things every marketer can expect in the next twelve months and beyond.
Climbing Over Data Walls
Marketers seek a holistic view of the customer journey and marketing performance across traditional and addressable media channels. Yet wrangling data from multiple systems can feel impossible to master, especially when privacy regulations and walled gardens impose stricter requirements on data.
If marketers can’t evaluate the importance of every touchpoint in the consumer journey, they could be missing out on opportunities to influence key audiences or take advantage of new and influential advertising channels.
In 2019: Savvy marketers will partner with vendors that have early access to new channels and data sources, so they can close critical coverage gaps and establish first-mover advantage ahead of the competition.
Refreshing in Real Time
Digital has ramped up the pace of marketing and speed matters more than ever. Marketers’ ability to respond quickly to changing market conditions, competitor initiatives and consumer behavior is critical to better performance, better consumer experiences and better business results. Yet many marketers today are basing their decisions on data that is weeks or even months old — well after the market has changed.
In 2019: The ability to make optimization decisions based on what’s happening in real time will be in much greater demand. Marketers will look for measurement solutions that refresh and remodel data every day, so they can base their buying and optimization decisions on the most accurate and up-to-date metrics.
Preparing for Connected Consumers
The world is going omni-channel. The number of consumers who are connected to the internet and make online purchases will continue to multiply every year as new shoppers enter the online retail environment. These consumers are looking for a frictionless experience which saves time, reduces obstacles and provides an enjoyable experience.
As e-commerce continues to evolve, brands must improve consumers’ overall online experience. To engage these connected consumers, a brand’s mobile, desktop and real-world touchpoints must work together to build awareness and drive demand generation.
In 2019: Brands will deconstruct marketing silos and set aside preconceptions that previously divided digital strategies from each other and from offline tactics. Sustained growth will come from taking advantage of converged channels, touchpoints and experiences along the path to purchase.
Testing Across On- and Offline Channels
To keep pace with consumers, marketers must continually test new marketing channels and tactics to supplement and evolve their acquisition strategies. But they also need to prove the impact of these investments on sales, revenue and other key business metrics.
In 2019: Marketers will look to better understand the incremental lift their test campaigns have on online and in-store sales. With a clearer understanding of how campaign exposure impacts sales, trip frequency, spending rate, purchase amount and other consumer purchase behaviors, marketers will not only be able to optimize their future media plans, but also justify their spending on new and innovative campaigns.
Applying Data to Budgeting
As the number of ways to reach and engage consumers via platforms, channels and devices has skyrocketed, marketing and advertising budgets have not grown in parallel. Setting the right budget is critical as CMOs are asked to contribute directly to the bottom line.
Yet most marketers resort to cobbling together spreadsheets or simply adjusting the previous year’s budget. As a result, they don’t have confidence in their budget allocation decisions. Deciding how to spend millions of dollars across different brands and marketing options is challenging. But there are ways to make it easier and more accurate.
In 2019: Look for more marketers to rely on data-driven scenario planning software as an effective tool for making the planning and budgeting process easier and significantly more accurate.
Marketers’ need for an integrated and holistic view of their marketing performance is as critical as ever. That’s why more marketers have embraced advanced measurement approaches such as marketing mix modeling and multi-touch attribution to understand and optimize performance across their portfolios.
Some are even trying to combine the two approaches in a push to deliver unified modeling. The problem is that marketing mix modeling and multi-touch attribution measure different timeframes, use different data, and apply different methodologies. As a result, collapsing the two introduces error that compromises the actionability and accuracy of the insights.
In 2019: Expect marketers to seek solutions that bring the results of multiple measurement approaches together without fusing the backend — so they can understand performance across marketing and advertising and not compromise the unique strengths of each model.
This will allow marketers to make accurate, data-driven decisions about strategies, audiences, tactics and timing — regardless of the model or measurement solution that supplies the insights — so they can create the best consumer experiences and the greatest returns for their business.
Happy New Year
These are my top trends to look for in 2019. Check back here next December to see how many came to pass, and what new things appeared on the radar. Wishing you and yours a very happy, healthy, and successful new year!
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