- 16th April 2018
- Posted by: Manolis
For marketers, being one step ahead can make the difference between closed business and lost sales. The more marketers know about people, the easier it is for them to predict which campaigns will engage shoppers best and drive real ROI.
The same informed, proactive thinking does wonders at the departmental level, too. In looking at what’s worked in the past and what’s earning buzz now, CMOs can begin to ideate and implement institutional changes that benefit an entire team of marketers, not just some. At the individual level, it’s nearly impossible for marketers to seek out new technologies and secure buy-in for investments that would dramatically improve their capabilities. But CMOs can, and they need to be. Those that aren’t advocating for new solutions are likely missing opportunities to help their teams grow and thrive in a digital age.
What areas should organizations pay close attention to in 2018? Here are our top three technology predictions:
1. Automation Use Cases Will Grow: Automation was far and beyond one of 2017’s biggest – and most exciting – trends. Companies are making major investments in automation and have opened their processes up to the benefits solutions like artificial intelligence offer.
Of the many areas ripe for automation, marketers should eagerly funnel resources toward paid advertisements. Digital advertisers working with Google tools (Google AdWords, etc.) can easily automate routine tasks like keyword searches and targeting. They can also automate separate tools to work together, which avoids internal redundancies and informational siloes. This collaborative approach offers the additional benefit of surfacing more nuanced customer insights (even at scale) by weighing all data (and other available context) together.
Over time, machine learning as a part of automation will help point organizations in more creative, strategic directions . However, while automation may inform next steps, humans still play an important role is seeing those plans through. Particularly when it comes to creative campaigns, this is an area where automation cannot yet match human cognition.
2. Attribution Is Now Multi-Touch: Marketing departments traditionally live in vacuums separate from the rest of their organizations. But this cannot be the case in 2018, as boosted data volumes make it easier and more important for marketers to connect with others throughout the business.
The customer journey is old news at this point, and attribution conversations have shifted from the last touch to multi touch . Marketers can better determine what’s leading customers to purchase, and not just the websites they visited before purchase, but the entire journey from start to finish.
This evolution is great in theory and accounts for the extended research/browsing period today’s shoppers go through with shopping online. But internally, marketers still struggle to elevate individual interactions to the entire organization and support these conversations and strategy development. The more data organizations share internally, the more dots they can connect. Constant collaboration also fosters a workplace environment where teamwork and acting cross-functionally are encouraged.
This philosophy supports long-term attribution tracking, which is really the expectation for all brands today. Emerging solutions like Bizable and a growing arena for analytics tools give brands full access to every consumer touch point. Tomorrow’s attribution model will be even more multi-touch as new channels and devices come to market, so now is the time to champion tracking investment.
3. Voice Is on the Rise: Forty-six percent of Americans now use voice-activated digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. Voice is certainly a channel brands should dedicate time and resources to, but it’s actually an area where organizations can get ahead of themselves in 2018 .
The temptation is to start offering voice interactions now, but ample education must come first. Brands should determine how customers want to interact via voice and then can develop unique strategies for engaging shoppers on these devices. Already, new research is leading to important updates in areas like long-tail keyword creation and question-answer formatting for SEO content.
A copy-and-paste approach to voice (modeling voice strategies directly off of what’s work with other technologies in the past) runs the risk of disappointing target audiences with lackluster introductory experiences that don’t encourage repeat usage.
And repeat usage is the goal, as a rise in voice should inspire valuable increases in call volume for marketers. As more people embrace digital personal assistants as a way to reach brands, marketers will earn access to tons of new attribution data. An increased level of transparency into the buyer’s journey will allow marketers to A/B test campaigns and personalize interactions, but only if they’ve first researched how to make informed decisions regarding voice.
Alone, marketers will struggle to make progress against these 2018 predictions. They likely cannot automate processes without permissions and will find it tough to integrate solutions that make attribution tracking and new channels (like voice) possible.
At the departmental level, however, CMOs are in a unique position to arm their teams with the technologies and education required to successfully navigate emerging trends. And not only to handle them but to master new technology capabilities as offerings that set your brand apart from the competition.