Where are the most exciting digital marketing opportunities?

Discussion
Feb 16, 2016

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from MarketingCharts, a Watershed Publishing publication providing up-to-the-minute data and research to marketers.

Optimizing the customer experience continues to be the most exciting digital opportunity available to marketers today, according to results from the latest Digital Trends report produced by Adobe and Econsultancy. But fast-forward five years and respondents believe a different opportunity will take precedence.

Indeed, a leading 21 percent of respondents surveyed (predominantly European-based) feel that the top opportunity in five years’ time will be data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual. Currently, that sits as the second-largest opportunity for marketers, along with creating compelling content for digital experiences.

While compelling content creation is slated to retain its importance over the next five years relative to other opportunities, the real gainer (aside from data-driven marketing) is the Internet of Things (IoT). While only six percent of respondents currently see this as their biggest opportunity, that figure rises to 10 percent in five years’ time, overtaking other opportunities such as marketing automation and cross-channel marketing.

The results indicate that marketers will place their greatest emphasis this year on making the experience as:

  • Personalized and relevant as possible (25 percent share);
  • Valuable as possible (25 percent);
  • Easy to understand as possible (17 percent); and
  • Safe and reliable as possible (11 percent).

By comparison, fewer will be emphasizing speed or mobile-friendliness.

Finally, while data-driven marketing might be the most exciting opportunity in five years’ time, that doesn’t mean that company respondents will be ignoring it this year. In fact, asked to rank five areas in order of priority this year, respondents overwhelmingly pointed to data-driven marketing (53 percent) as their first choice, with far fewer tabbing cross-channel marketing (19 percent) and, surprisingly, customer experience (15 percent), as their top choice. While it may seem unusual that marketers would not prioritize their most exciting opportunity, the study authors note that “data-driven marketing is increasingly seen as the heart of the new customer-centrism” and that “given that data and customer experience are indivisible, the two may be considered a single, overarching priority.”

Source: Marketingcharts

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see as the most exciting digital marketing opportunity at present? What will it be in five years?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"The issue with digital experience has been retail’s snail’s-pace adoption rate which is made worse by the rapid changes in technology."

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15 Comments on "Where are the most exciting digital marketing opportunities?"


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Paula Rosenblum
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

In many ways all the choices in the poll do lead back to the same thing — optimizing the customer experience. Content, connected devices and even tailored marketing programs should have the goal of optimizing the experience to drive top-line results.

I am surprised that a European survey, where privacy laws are tighter than the U.S., seemed to think that data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual will be the biggest opportunity in five years.

I think for the five-year term we’d be better off, as an industry, on segment-driven marketing. Even micro-segment driven marketing. I just don’t think intrusive marketing techniques, data-driven or otherwise, improve the customer experience.

There are some basic rules of retail that never change. Keep the customer experience relevant and you’ll win every time. Sell products and services consumers want to buy and you’ve got a good head start.

Adrian Weidmann
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

The most exciting and valuable digital shopper marketing and merchandising opportunity is found at the crossroads of data, storytelling and cross-channel publishing. All of these enable delivery of the expectations of the digitally-empowered shopper. Leveraged properly these elements can optimize the shopper experience. The pressure to deliver a valued shopper experience is amplified for brick-and-mortar retailers. There is a broad portfolio of enabling technologies available to marketers and merchants but when you see the pressure Amazon and online shopping is exerting, in-store experiences need to be automated in both storytelling and inventory.

When you accept the fact that retail is a 100 percent consignment business, it then allows you to design and implement proximity marketing and digital merchandising solutions that are valued by the shopping trifecta: shoppers/customers, retailers and brands.

Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

Speed and mobile friendliness are not, or will not continue to be, opportunities because they are given as requirements to compete. Personalization and creating value in a seamless way are the most important things today and will continue to be most important. Data-driven marketing is important now and will continue to be important not as a goal in and of itself but as a tool that is used to provide better personalization and value.

Ross Ely
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

“Data-driven marketing” and “optimizing the customer experience” are goals that retailers should address immediately, not in their five-year plan. These objectives are achievable to a large extent today with focused strategies and affordable, easy-to-use tools.

Looking ahead, beacons, mobile apps and IoT have enormous potential for vastly increased personalization and location-based marketing. There are still a myriad of issues to solve around message delivery and shopper preferences, but over time these technologies could revolutionize in-store marketing.

Mohamed Amer
Guest
Mohamed Amer
6 years 3 months ago

For this survey, retailers were not at the top of the list of respondents and nearly half of the participants were service providers — which may explain some of the results. Certainly speed and mobile friendliness ought to be table stakes by now.

From a retailing perspective, the customer experience surpasses all opportunities today and is a long-term trend. The projected leading opportunity in five years, “data-driven marketing” with a focus on the individual is already heavily pursued in the U.S.

Combined with the potential of connected devices (IoT), the future is all about how retailers use data to drive the customer experience — in all of its variety — as defined and desired by the customer on her own terms.

What is missing on the list is the potential tension on ownership or, at a minimum, control of all this data: is it the individual consumer, the search engine, the retailer, the marketplace aggregator or a third party service? How will our perception of value change with the increasing inroads of digitization in our lives?

Ben Ball
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

Data-driven marketing has been, and will continue to be, the default for what is most important in marketing. That is simply because the means by which we tell consumers something is always a given — we simply adapt to use what we have at the time.

The more pressing questions are always “whom do I tell?” and “what do I tell them?” Of course, that is really hard work. And so each year that seems to fall back in importance to whatever the latest shiny new object in communications happens to be. I will guarantee that five years from now a survey of those same respondents will not continue to show “data-driven marketing” as their number one priority. It will be how to use the virtual reality system in self-driving cars — or something.

Dick Seesel
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

I agree with Paula in particular that separating “personalization” from “optimizing the customer experience” is a false choice. Is there any doubt that Amazon has made personalization the centerpiece of its data science strategy? Lots of retailers are playing catch-up, but this ought to be the objective now and in the future as long as the tools keep improving.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

That every-single-day email from retailers has to go. Ideally — although not in the next five years — we’ll have an interactive dialogue between retailers and their fans. Until then, Paula’s right: segment targeting could use some improvement. Look no further than Amazon for a lesson in how to do it.

Daniel Caccamo
Guest
Daniel Caccamo
6 years 3 months ago

Micro-targeting individuals and small segments of shoppers and delivering the nurturing communications in the right omnichannel context with 90 percent accuracy, in real time, will drive customer experiences up. This technology will become affordable for SMBs giving local businesses a chance to compete. Remember that genius is hitting a target nobody else sees.

richard freund
Guest
richard freund
6 years 3 months ago

The Internet of Things will be changing many things.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

Social merchandising is becoming even more targeted by leveraging insights from true social influencers. Additionally, promotional lift analytics is providing insights into which products and categories to promote and which ones to completely drop from your assortment. I don’t trust ANY predictions that are five years out. We couldn’t have predicted where we are today five years ago!

Kenneth Leung
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

Data driven, always has been, always will. As consumers generate more data about themselves through social media and “always on,” retailers need to continue to refine data driven marketing to make it more effective and efficient. Introduction of higher quality decision making using data is the key to make promotions more relevant and actionable (i.e. stop pestering the customer with offers based on outdated data) will be the key to success.

Gajendra Ratnavel
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

I think this article is fairly accurate for the “now,” but 5 years from now is anyone’s guess. The issue with digital experience has been retail’s snail’s-pace adoption rate which is made worse by the rapid changes in technology.

Seeta Hariharan
Guest
6 years 3 months ago
The growing amount of available customer data from a variety of data sources and data types — internal, external, partners, social listening, consumer feedback, Internet of Things — can be used to help retailers understand customer preferences and anticipate their needs in much deeper and broader ways than ever before possible. Forrester cites an example where, using behavioral and location data, a retailer found there were a number of young women who window shopped at their store and then purchased lower-cost alternatives at a competitors shop. The retailer used the new found insights to create a low-cost line of clothing targeted at these shoppers. Another possible scenario could include pairing a personal shopper or customer care representative with a customer based on their communication and behavioral style. Or, helping a customer select a birthday gift based on insights and intelligence about their friend — their interests, past purchases and more. While it’s difficult to predict what the most exciting digital marketing opportunity will be in five years, it is certain that the amount of customer data will continue… Read more »
William Hogben
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

Reaching the customer while they shop is going to be the biggest improvement in brick & mortar digital marketing over the next 5 years. Personalized offers and recommendations are already matured in e-commerce, and can be ported over easily — but gaining access to the shopper while they’re in the store is not so easy. This year we’re seeing the appearance of mobile checkout apps which are in the shopper’s hands as they build their basket and go home with them afterwards.

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Braintrust
"The issue with digital experience has been retail’s snail’s-pace adoption rate which is made worse by the rapid changes in technology."

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