It’s a new era in the world of marketing. And it starts and is driven by data.
Marketing is being shaped by ever-increasing streams of data about customers, produced by continuously evolving technologies. Today’s marketing programs are highly dependent on capturing and making that data work to the marketer’s advantage.
Seven trends that figure prominently in the new world of marketing are contributing to the challenges—and opportunities—for all types of marketing organizations. They all start with the continuous flow of information that marketers struggle to use in the most profitable ways.
Trend #1, the Democratization of Data, refers to the fact that more information is being produced and shared now than at any time in history. Between Web sites, TVs, mobile phones, social networks and point-of-sale technologies, marketers everywhere are accessing information and making it work for their own use.
Trend #2, “the Rise of the Numerati,” refers to the people who have the skills to make sense of all the data and who are using it to change the world. They’re the specialists in “customer DNA,” marketing’s latest buzzword and the genetic code that makes customers different from one another.
Trend #3, “Computing in the Cloud and SaaS,” refers to the wide variety of resources now being provided over the Web to users who don’t control the IT infrastructure that supports those resources.
Trend #4, “the Media Channel Intensifies.” Media buyers are among those who need to adapt first to today’s amazing pace of change and who can testify to this trend. New media, such as YouTube.com, have surprised media professionals by their continuing growth and popularity. The vast majority of these media professionals—80%—also expect the pace of change to increase.
Trend #5, “ROI is King.” Naturally, return on investment is always important, but even more so in today’s challenging economy. And if an organization considers its marketing budget to be an investment, versus an expense, this means that ROI has to be the key performance indicator.
Trend #6, “the Myth of 1:1”—is highly descriptive. While history shows that marketers have been trying to find the right ways to “classify” customers over the years, they haven’t truly been efficient or effective. And now with the advent of social media, marketing dialogues are replacing the 1:1 targeting espoused by database marketers.
All six of the previous trends combine to create Trend #7, “Distributed Marketing.” These are services to small- and mid-size businesses (SMBs) made available through a larger marketer who acts as an aggregator or consolidator. The services are delivered via a self-serve Web portal.
In the end, as in the beginning, it all comes back to the data—and leveraging it to build on the success of each marketing program. Organizations of all types can take advantage of the trends in marketing services discussed here—from the continuous influx of data coming from all types of sources, to making sure the data is used to deliver true return on investment, to the latest in Distributed Marketing services. The goal for any marketer today is to make the most of the pertinent customer data available and continuously leverage that data to build on response rates and profitability.
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