Update or step aside: Why marketers must evolve in 2017

Fax machines. VCRs. Landlines. There’s a reason such technologies are now largely obsolete: we have faster, sleeker tools that do the job better.

For marketers, tech evolution has transformed efficacy — enabling them to use data as a basis for enhanced audience understanding and performance optimisation. Yet many are still failing to make the most of modern tech by continuing to use outdated methods.

Too often tactics are driven by teams focused on separate channels, working within different budgets, using varying metrics, and trying to engage consumers who no longer fit their archetypal buyer personas.

So, how can marketers update their approach and ensure their messages, ads and offers resonate with the empowered and connected consumers of 2017? 

Embrace smarter people-based marketing

As audience demand for personalisation grows, so does brand adoption of people-based marketing — which refers to the ability to deliver tailored ads and messages to individuals across devices and screens.

While this is a positive step for brands and consumers, marketers’ tendency to utilise outmoded tech is hampering implementation. Many tools still rely on cookies to identify consumers and inform targeting. Although effective on desktop and laptop, cookies have limited use on mobile — they often reset when browsers are closed and can’t transfer between apps — which means marketers are unable to build a detailed picture of unique consumer journeys, or deliver coordinated experiences across touchpoints.

Fortunately, tech innovation has already created an alternative: unique identifiers. Designed to keep users’ personal identity anonymous, this option gives marketers the insight they require without putting user privacy at risk. Built from multiple data sources — including device, CRM, offline and third-party cookie IDs — unique identifiers allow marketers to trace individuals as they move between channels and devices, and build a complete view of their online and offline activity. When these unique identifiers are used to feed the attribution process, marketers can then pinpoint which messages, tactics and mediums individuals prefer, and adapt their marketing efforts accordingly.

Combine advertising and marketing efforts

With consumers now regarding content, interactions and purchases as part of one unified experience, advertising and marketing are becoming more aligned and intertwined than ever. Traditionally however, the industry has seen things differently. Advertising and marketing have long been considered distinct entities; typically managed by isolated internal departments, outside agencies, and disparate technologies. But in today’s omni-channel age, functional and tech silos have become a significant problem. To meet consumers’ expectations of seamless experiences, brands must work from one cohesive data pool and ensure all marketing and advertising is integrated — two goals that are impossible to meet when systems are siloed.

To solve this issue, marketing intelligence solutions are now emerging that consolidate all marketing and advertising activity: combining disparate data sets, audience insight and performance analysis in one centralised platform. These platforms provide a single interface where marketers can track the complete consumer journey, analyse the impact of advertising and marketing efforts by audience segment, and gain an in-depth understanding of how marketing messages and media spend can be optimised to boost both consumer experiences, and business results.

Make audience insight part of measurement

Today, experience is the new competitive advantage. If brands want to outshine their competitors, they must deliver relevant messages and experiences that engage the right people, when and where they are most receptive. A number of point solutions have emerged to help marketers achieve this goal – from marketing attribution platforms that measure the influence that each channel and tactic has on a given success criteria, to data management platforms (DMPs) that bring together first, second, and third-party data to inform audience targeting.

Both technologies provide critical capabilities for marketers. But when used independently, they lack the comprehensive insight needed to fully optimise performance.

To maximise the impact of their efforts, marketers must be able to analyse marketing and advertising performance in combination with consumer profiles. With the combined power of audience and attribution, ideally in a single platform, marketers can not only understand how customers and prospects are interacting with their brand, but also deliver coordinated marketing messages and experiences that drive leads, conversions, revenue and other desired business outcomes.

It’s inevitable that in our unceasing quest for speed, accuracy and convenience, we will always find a better way of doing things. So, as the marketing landscape becomes more complicated and consumer demands increase, marketers need to ensure their methods keep pace with change and unlock the full capability of the smart new technologies at their disposal. 

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