Another year is upon us, bringing fresh possibilities and opportunities for digital marketers everywhere.
As always, the digital landscape continues to change at light speed. Here are six key resolutions that digital marketers should follow to make sure they are delivering better than expected results in 2014—and beyond.
1. Embrace 'data activism'
For years, marketers have spent their time and effort trying to analyze data, creating dashboards and reports that keep growing in size and complexity. Yet those reports are only useful if they're acted on. Because of the high cost of integrating insights into the digital marketing stack, organizations' ability to act on the data has been severely limited.
New tag management and data distribution technologies are giving rise to "data activism"—the ability to act on the data. These platforms enable marketers to control their digital data and take action on that information using their existing marketing applications.
Over the years, we've seen "data analysts" evolve into "data scientists." In 2014, look for the rise of the "data activist."
2. Invest in mobile marketing
Mobile and tablet usage has been growing rapidly for the past several years, but mobile marketing hasn't kept up with the overall usage. Companies that invest in creating mobile apps as well as mobile-friendly websites and emails, are providing customers with a better experience, which gives them a distinct competitive advantage. Companies that commit to measuring and optimizing their mobile experience are even further ahead of the game.
Make 2014 the year you follow your customers onto mobile.
3. Adopt the multichannel mandate
With the rise of mobile, it is clear that marketers need to also start thinking about providing a consistent experience across channels, which also includes offline, Web, kiosks, and more.
To get this 360-degree view, marketers need to start thinking about how to easily correlate and integrate unique visitor activity across multiple customer touch points, and then harness that data to provide superior experiences. For example, understanding the total lifetime value of a visitor shouldn't just be relegated to the website, it should incorporate mobile shopping, and even in-store retail activity. This dramatically expanded view of the customer enables you to deliver much more relevant and effective content and messaging.
4. Keep it agile
For deploying and using digital technology and solutions, marketers have often been at the mercy of overburdened IT staff to tackle their initiatives. But with the continued adoption of cloud-based applications—everything from analytics to Web content management—as well as new technologies that make it easier to deploy those applications, marketers have become more independent and agile than ever. With the right digital marketing foundation, they can deploy and launch revenue-generating campaigns and solutions faster than ever—without relying on ongoing IT assistance. Marketing agility increases revenue while reducing IT costs.
5. Unify your marketing
Digital marketers rely on a diverse set of applications to achieve their online goals. But with each application comes a different set of noncorrelated customer data points that marketers desperately try to piece together (at great cost) to get a better view of the customer, and to make their applications work more synergistically. Through this type of integrated approach, marketers can easily drive better retargeting and site personalization efforts.
In 2014, resolve to stop marketing in silos and get all of your marketing applications under one tent. The results will be your reward.
6. Go from batch to real-time data
The future of data is, without question, real-time. To achieve "data activism" (mentioned above), marketers need to be able to capture customer attention and dollars with up-to-the-second content and promotions. For many years, however, marketers and their IT counterparts have been stuck with slow and expensive batch processing of data. The maturity of the analytics and data applications space means that more companies will increase their investment in systems, people, and processes that provide real-time data, which allows for better personalization and immediate action to acquire and retain more online customers.
Don't accept the long-held standard of untimely data; move to update your systems to provide real-time information.
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Marketing is entering an exciting new era where many things thought impossible—real-time data, a true 360-degree customer view, and unified marketing—are becoming a reality. The brands that can meet and conquer those fundamental challenges will have a huge competitive edge in the market, in addition to providing superior customer experience.
Marketers often complain about technology moving at light speed—at long last, they can truly benefit from technological innovation.