Over the last 12 months, we have seen a shift in consumer behaviour – contrary to many marketers’ beliefs, consumers are sharing their data more freely as they start to see the benefits of doing so. Research from Webtrends found that more than half of British consumers (58%) say they don’t worry about the amount of data they share with brands, and fewer than a quarter (23%) of 18-24 year olds believe data sharing will be taboo in the future.
Instead of just retargeting through online advertising and emails (which we have found can actually annoy consumers), there are now numerous channels available to marketers.
In this article I will look at how new innovations will impact the marketing landscape in 2015:
The continued growth of the Internet of Things: The recent Consumer Electronics Show was dominated by wearable technology and all savvy brands are now scratching their heads over how to harness its cutting edge potential. Wearable technology is just another connected ‘thing’ (albeit cool and on trend), but it is a ‘thing’ that collates data. This data can be harnessed by the savvy marketer to promote ‘stuff’ directly to the consumer while they are using the device. In some cases the information sent by the device may give insights into what the user is experiencing there and then, so they can be sent relevant offers. Marketing to wearable tech is very similar to being on a website and generating a pop-up of a great offer related to the product being viewed.
Mobile will cease to be a ‘stand-alone’ channel: Consumers are already using multiple channels to engage with brands. The customer journey no longer begins and ends on the same device – laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones now all feature in a single customer journey. However brands have been slow to catch up, continuing to manage each channel separately rather than taking a holistic approach. The market is now shifting from a siloed approach and 2015 will be the year that marketers focus on providing an integrated, seamless experience across the entire customer journey, which is highly informed by using profile data that is collected at all customer touch points.
Online and offline shopping will begin to merge: Beacon technology has widely been seen as a way to push generic messages out to consumers in the vicinity on a wide scale. However, this only scratches the surface of the true potential of beacon technology for marketing. When applying contextual personalisation – tailored marketing activity based on a person’s known interests (taken from browsing history, demographic details etc.) and their real-time situation (such as location, weather conditions, time of day) – the true potential of beacons is revealed. Through data collection, analytics and optimisation, brands (especially retailers) can use actionable insights to push hyper-relevant messages to their customers.
The online and offline gap will also begin to close in 2015 with online behaviour driving offline sales. For example, it is perfectly reasonable to envisage consumers browsing on a retailer’s app, then when they are on the high street, the beacon technology recognises the app and the customer so sends them a notification offering a discount on an item they viewed in a physical store nearby. Recent research into 2014 Christmas shopping habits has found that more than two in five (42 per cent) Brits stated they would like to receive real-time information and offers from retailers when in the vicinity of a retailer’s store.
2015 won’t be the “year of mobile”: We are in the age of mobile. Mobile adoption will continue to increase overall but the speed of adoption will vary by industry. Retail and travel verticals have long been looking at integrating mobile marketing channels and so far have presented the most compelling use cases, while the finance and banking sectors are still early in their adoption.
This year could however see dramatic growth for these industries. Mobile banking is becoming more convenient and more secure, consumer confidence appears to be growing and financial service brands can begin to monopolise on this to provide greater synergy between their customers’ local branch and mobile device.
The job descriptions of “marketer” will evolve: Marketing technology has evolved faster than the rate of adoption, and there is an increasing need for marketing technologists – people who can use data to drive campaigns that are focused on customer behaviour. Those working in marketing this year will need to ensure they encompass the new skills that fresh thinking digital natives possess in order to retain key positions.
Companies that are not acquired will refine to niche solutions: In 2014, we saw the big players shaking out many of the niche players via acquisition. Those that remain will now be focusing on specialising their solutions with some verticalisation through the acquisition of smaller expert solutions that address similar or adjacent markets.
Continuing rise in demand for digital: The need for digital assets will cause a rise in marketing budgets, and increased spend for customer experience, product development and ideation. We’ll see digital marketing budgets continue to trend up for the next 3-5 years.