This was just posted over on the HackerGroup.com blog here, but wanted to share here as well. There is so much going on with regards to marketing technology that I wanted to highlight 10 big trends that play into just about every campaign we build. Let me know what you think!
Here are ten trends that we saw and tested in 2013 that will have big impacts on campaigns and insight in 2014.
1) Increased ability to connect off line customer data with online or mobile targeting. As direct marketers, we live on lists of prospects and customers that we send mail to. The amount of data we have access to at the household level and the models we built to select the right people to mail to in the past has been completely dis-connected from the ability to target online and mobile users outside of email. However, new data safe havens that anonymize the connection between offline and online data plus new technology capabilities such as mobile location matching boosts our ability to target online and mobile consumers based on off-line insight.
This trends opens an entirely new way to target prospects and users in online and mobile channels. Our media strategies can now start with a list or customer model and we can execute across a wider swatch of media. This is a really big deal and will dramatically impact digital marketers work in 2014.
2) New marketing advertising technology that connects the same user across multiple connected devices – tablets, smartphones and laptop/desktops. The buyers journey is continuing to evolve, especially with the improvements of smart phones and expanded access to the internet – anytime, anywhere. However, the ability to understand that journey and deliver marketing messages as appropriate points in that journey has been hindered by the inability to follow that journey across connected devices.
New technologies from companies like TapAd and Drawbridge build device graphs that help us understand that a series of advertisements on a mobile phone drove research and purchase on a laptop or tablet. There are many more examples, but this trend of connecting users throughout the buy cycle will help drive more digital marketing dollars to mobile platforms and help us re-think how we communicate to specific customers.
3) Re-marketing gets smarter by working across channels. A corollary to #2, the connection of data across channels – search, mobile, social and online – via exchanges and direct media relationships is creating opportunities to target media in one channel based on the interaction in a different channel. A great example of this is delivering an ad on the Facebook Mobile app based on searching activity on Google.
The implications for 2014 is that digital marketers will need to evolve their strategies based on the customer buying journey and targeting end users based on relevant buying signals wherever we can find them.
4) Tablets will outsell ALL desktop & laptop computers in Q4 2013. The tablet trend has been gaining steam since the launch of the iPad and with dozens of manufacturers it is the go to device for consumers. Tablets tend to be bunched into the “mobile” category because they run on mobile operating systems like iOS and Android. But, with less than 10% of tablets shipped cellular enabled, it functions more as an easy to use consumer grade laptop. Here are the main uses of smart phones vs tablets.
What this means is that digital marketers have a new, highly scalable form factor and use scenario to integrate into their campaign strategy. New ad units, interaction scenarios and usage location (on the couch, in the kitchen) drive different types of messaging strategies and abilities to connect with the end user in order to be more relevant with their usage patterns.
5) Location based measurement and marketing is getting better. The ability for marketers to deliver messages and measure impact of ads based on location is a game changer for digital mobile marketing. The fact that we can now reasonably connect the impact of mobile ads with change in location patterns through new technologies like Placed and PlaceIQ means that the value of mobile advertising will be more clear. If we know, for example, that the treated group of a mobile campaign for a retailer (the group that saw the ads) shows up in that retailers store 5x more often over the control group (the group that didn’t see the ads) – that’s a plus, right?
For 2014, the integration of location based measurement and better micro-geographic targeting will be a major theme for many digital marketing campaigns.
6) Marketing attribution technology and process is getting better. We spend a lot of time measuring the performance of marketing programs and assigning success metrics based on sales. It is always a challenge to separate the impacts of different campaigns that are running at the same time aimed at the same audience across multiple channels and assign success to specific spend. However, new approaches, mathematical models and technologies from companies such as Visual IQ, Adometry and Convertro are helping drive better attribution.
For companies running large and/or complex multi-channel campaigns, upping your marketing attribution game will help drive better marketing resource allocation in the coming years. If you aren’t actively building attribution systems, now is the time to re-visit and set the foundation.
7) Marketing automation is moving from B2B to B2C. Marketing automation – the process of delivering marketing messages in an automated way through the use of data and behavior triggers – was born in the long sales cycles of the Business to Business (B2B) environment. As the technology for marketing automation has gotten better and easier to implement, more Business to Consumer (B2C) companies are taking up marketing automation tactics and implementing them. This is especially true in longer research sales cycle type products like auto’s, health insurance and subscription services.
For companies that engage in extensive conversations with customers either before a sale or need to keep a conversation going to keep the subscription dollars coming in, look hard at the marketing automation technologies that are out there such as Marketo, Pardot and Act-On. They may give you inspiration to improve your communications and sales efficiencies. This tactic is less effective for pure e-commerce or transactional B2C companies (I’m lookin’ at you Amazon!).
8) The advertising delivery technology on mobile devices is improving rapidly and beginning to deliver capabilities we rely on in online display. Mobile Real Time Bidding (RTB) – aka programmatic media buying – will make up 45% of mobile ad buys, central ad serving technologies like Phluent and DoubleClick are better and mobile networks are assigning inventory to open exchanges.
The improvement in advertising delivery technology along with improvements in location based measurement and cross device connectivity means it will be a very important year for marketers to test and understand the full impact of connected device marketing. These trends in combination with the amount of time people are spending on their phones means that 2014 could be the perfect year to get great media value out of mobile while the technology is adequate for running sophisticated, impactful campaigns.
9) Email is now truly a mobile first tactic. With over 60% of emails opened and read on a mobile OS – either on tablet or smartphone – the way to plan, organize and deliver content in email on mobile has to be your primary consideration. Responsive or fluid design is important, but thinking through the way people read emails on device and then click through to the website is critical for improving response.
If you haven’t invested in responsive design or a mobile first approach to email, do it. Now.
10) Buying specific audiences is getting more consistent (and easier) across display, online video and TV. Good news for brand media planners – giants like Google are making their audience segments – or affinity segments – more consistent to how TV is purchased for YouTube video and online display. Clearly this is aimed and breaking down some of the barriers between more traditional media purchasing and the new-fangled digital world.
What this means for marketers is that you can start with an audience segment that you want to talk to and be more consistent with your targeting and buys across channels. This is a nod to an uber-trend of customer centricity in planning and buying. I’m sure we’ll see more of this type of streamlining as the large digital players work to get more dollars out of traditional channels like Radio and TV into their video, contextual and social inventory.
I hope you like the trends we’ve pointed out and are as excited for the new year as I am. 2014 is brimming with exciting new opportunities in the digital media space and we’re already knee deep in integrated, cross-channel campaigns.
What trends do you think are important that we missed?