If you choose to ignore the changing times, you may be left behind like Barnes & Noble or Blockbuster.
Traditional outbound marketing -- broadcasting a single message to the masses through online or offline channels -- is failing. As tools to measure and analyze customer feedback in real time become more widely available, marketers must adopt their practices to this new approach. Impersonal, mass messages will no longer win the day, marketers need to leverage data in real time to personalize each individual’s needs, psychological triggers and stage in the customer lifecycle. To succeed, the message must be relevant and appropriate to the customer’s context, including location and activity.
An Era of Mass Message Overload
While this marketing revolution has been gathering momentum for some time, two trends are primarily driving this change.
First, consumers are overloaded by “message madness” as marketers repeatedly shove the same content through every possible channel. While messages will continue inundating consumers in the near term, this presents an exciting opportunity for marketers who leverage existing and emerging technologies to break through the noise. Winning marketers will meet consumer expectations and deliver information at the point of purchase in the appropriate context, whether it is mobile, web or at a brick and mortar shop. This approach also enables marketers to better understand customer needs, ultimately benefitting both groups.
Second, 2013 validated the need for marketers to continue innovating. The Content Management System (CMS) industry entered a new phase. Small companies were acquired and products became commoditized. The key industry players shifted into serving all the needs of digital marketers. They are now creating integrated platforms from which marketers can serve relevant, context sensitive content to consumers. And this is exactly what consumers want so they aren’t overloaded with “message madness.”
Consumers Demand Personalized Experiences
The key to meeting consumer demands lies in integrating real time messages within prescribed contexts, using calculated, analytic insight to focus on personalized content to each individual, and offering a seamless customer experience across all channels. Through personalized experiences, mobile publishing and detailed analytics, marketers are now able to deliver content more relevant to a customer’s immediate needs.
- Consistent, Personalized Experience: The age of segmenting messages to mass audiences is disappearing and is being replaced by personalized, consistent marketing across all channels. Personalization is not a new capability, but only a few digital marketers have effectively implemented it. By adopting tools to gather actionable insights “on the fly,” winning organizations will be empowered to provide seamless, relevant experiences targeting individual needs. Marketers that don’t adopt these technologies or fail to meet consumer expectations will be forced into small niches or will disappear entirely.
- Mobile: As mobile internet activity continues to grow, organizations will focus heavily on mobile in 2014 to meet consumer’s demand to access content at their convenience anywhere and at any time. Successful marketers will customize mobile web experience to target individual visitor needs with personally relevant messages appropriate to the visitor’s context, including time and place.
- Analytics: While big data continues to descend upon all industries, marketers can no longer rely solely on gut instinct like AMC’s “Mad Men” for success. While that gut-level instinct inspires creativity, today’s marketers must also fill the role of “math men and women.” Looking ahead, marketers will use more analytics to test and proof marketing campaigns. This will deliver the greatest ROI and provide consumers with more personalized and relevant experiences.
Data Driven Marketers will Succeed
Large companies such as Amazon, Target and Walmart have already made significant progress in the marketing revolution, taking on web marketing in a huge way. However, the reality is that marketers are only just beginning to tap the potential of personalized and relevant customer experiences. According to research conducted by Sitecore, roughly 67 percent of companies on the path to customer experience maturity say they’re still in the very first stage, “Initiate.” Organizations in this phase have a “one size fits all website,” with basic email marketing capabilities and simple web analytics.
The future is here and it demands that marketers commit to personalized, multichannel marketing. Winning marketers will be those who use data driven marketing to understand their customers and serve them relevant, context-sensitive brand experiences.
Title image by roibu (Shutterstock)
Editor's Note: Read more by Ron in Get Breakaway Marketing Efficiency with Four Engagement Metrics