As Head of Future Email I’m always looking forward to the future (I guess the clue is in the title!). So, for this blog I am making my top five predictions for what marketers should be looking out for, and implementing, in 2018.
250 meanings of the abbreviation CDP – I’m only interested in one…
Unless your internet connection has been down for the last 12 months, you will have no doubt have heard the term Customer Data Platform banded around marketing corridors like a fast spreading rumour.
The new Customer Data Platform has it all. It’s more than just a single customer database. It’s got the sort of 4-dimensional data we’ve all dreamed about for years. It even gives us the ability to predict if our customer is going to unsubscribe, or when they will turn into a VIP. Not only that, it comes with an interface so slick any marketer can use it comfortably without the intervention of tech teams.
It is this combination of collecting data in one central place, creating usable, smart segmentation and the ability to use the platform to deploy to this enriched data which is the golden ticket for any brand.
Yes, marketing is still all about the data, more so now, than ever before. However, making the data easily accessible in a secure environment, learning from what the data tells you and making usable resourceful decisions on a daily basis has never been so important (and I am not even going to mention GDPR and the advantages a CDP would bring…).
Predictive modelling and amazing new technology
We all want to be on the crest of the adoption wave when it comes to smart new technology. We want access to tools much cleverer than ourselves that will make decisions for us. The right decisions, mind you! In 2018 access to Predictive Modelling tools will be an essential element of the marketer’s toolbox. It will become your very own Mystic Meg, predicting the propensity for certain customers to make that all-important second purchase, unsubscribe, become a VIP and even advise you on your customers’ lifetime value.
Yet what about all the whistles and bells? The kind of functionality customers want to see and say “oh wow, that’s cool; how did they do that?”
New services will emerge across channels. The multi-channel experience will fly to the next level. Triggered messages allowing a customer to hold a relationship with the brand in the way they prefer and on their terms. Time is precious so contact will be unique to the individual and 24/7. New personalised content will be available on channels never seen before. Fully trackable SMS and Push Messaging. Multi-channel messaging will be sync’d rather than deployed in a linear fashion. Mobile devices will continue to make content come to life, exactly when it’s wanted and engaging for all.
Dynamic becomes unexceptional
By unexceptional I mean, of course, ‘the norm’. It’s no longer acceptable to send flat generic content to your contactable database via any channel. It’s just not clever enough for today’s customers who are on-the-ball and wanting more ways to be engaged by the masses of content streamed to them each and every day of the year. In a nutshell, while handing over only the minimum amount of my personal data, I want brands to understand who I am, what I’m thinking and what I want to see and buy. With the right platform, some of us have been campaigning like this for several years via a Single Customer View facilitated by a Customer Data Platform, although still the vast majority of marketers are years behind on even the concept of automation and personalisation.
The fear of the resource, time, effort and expense involved, prevents simple dynamic content generation, even for some of the most prolific brands in the market place. Marketing messages need to come to life, speak volumes to the individual and remain consistent and relevant for the entire customer lifespan. If you haven’t even started this concept of personalisation by now, in 2018 you need a very fast hop, skip and a large jump to reach the levels which have already been achieved by your market rivals.
Battle of the devices – mobile versus desktop
Think conversion, think mobile. This year the shift in revenues through mobile has been dramatic. Until recently consumers used mobile devices as a means to browse items, but rarely completed the actual transaction via Android or iOS. 2017 has proved this is no longer the case. Customers have a new-found confidence in mobile transactions and finally clients’ websites are totally responsive and we’re seeing improved usability across all industries. At RedEye we now regularly see 70% of all conversions via mobile devices. So why are final sign offs for your campaigns still occurring on a desktop?
In 2018 your content must reflect this shift in behaviour. Be bold, clear, relevant and user-friendly. Think small screen rather than big production. Think concise messaging not cramming. Think mobile first and foremost.
The power of SMS Marketing
SMS has had a bad rap in the last 10 years. These are all familiar stories, I’m sure you’ll agree: It’s not a relevant channel for our brand; Our customers find it invasive; It’s not measurable so we can’t prove its value; It’s far too expensive! These excuses are finally disappearing as a new-found faith in the channel emerges.
There is so little differentiation between yourselves and your competitors these days (not even price), that consumers are basing their brand loyalty on other factors, predominantly customer service. This expectation of excellence plays heavy in the mind of your customers’ purchase experience. The purchase ‘high’ a customer feels when clicking ‘confirm’ will only last a few moments. Sustaining that excitement can be achieved easily by further correspondence regarding the order, whilst also appeasing the transition from order to delivery. An order confirmation, despatched and delivery message via SMS has elevated this channel to new heights. It’s the norm, it’s expected and has paved the way for marketing communications to be accepted via this channel too.
New functionality can enable email via SMS with fully trackable messages, allowing customers to be contacted swiftly and accurately. SMS is reinvented and deserves a second chance. Watch this space…
To find out more about any of the multi-channel predictions for 2018 discussed here head to our product page, which covers the benefits of a Customer Data Platform, the importance of a Single Customer View and more...