Marketers love to make predictions. It’s in our DNA. But why do we always focus so much attention on the future instead of taking action in the present? Ideas are great, but harnessing the industry zeitgeist can be a lot more effective. Here are some interesting trends happening right now that all marketers should not only pay close attention to but also integrate into their day-to-day operations.
The Customer Always Comes First
Customer-centric companies tend to be 60% more profitable than those that are not. That’s why your customer shouldbe the focus of every business decision you make. They are the heart and soul of your business. Without them, you don’t have a business. The decisions you make should revolve around their wants, needs, and expectations.
Customer insights have become invaluable to marketers. Use this knowledge to fuel your marketing strategy. By creating a link between strategy, insight, and action, you’ll have real data to prove your strategy is working. Using this data intelligently also makes it a lot easier to influence internal teams to support your marketing efforts or other business initiatives.
Data Science is the New Black
Marketing is a mix of art, science, and creative risk-taking. Today’s influx of data has led to the rise of data scientists: people who develop data-driven insights to make marketing teams smarter and more effective. Data scientists think like marketers but act like analysts. They watch campaigns in real-time, learn from the data that pours in and package all that knowledge up in a way that just makes sense. It’s time you got a data scientist on your team.
Agile Processes are the Norm
Data-driven insights, economic and industry shifts, an evolving competitive landscape, and real-time everything has made planning out too far ahead obsolete. A general roadmap is a good thing, otherwise, we risk short-term thinking or executing on tactics that miss our goals. But we now must be quick, nimble, and ready to pivot at the drop of a hat. Shorten your planning horizons. Develop a broad-strokes, year-long plan. Re-calibrate on a quarterly basis to hit goals. Campaigns today can be created in minutes. The way we plan, operate and execute needs to be a lot less complicated to keep up with demand.
Much Ado About Bots
Bots are everywhere — a balance between technological automation and the human touch. Unfortunately, we haven’t cracked the code on when a customer service need can be handled by technology alone or when it requires human interaction. Smart technologies are alleviating the pressures put on customer service teams to improve overall customer experience. But bots are really only good (right now) for simple tasks like information-gathering. After all, if they can’t effectively address a customer’s immediate need, a single bad experience could turn off a customer for life.
ECommerce Gets Social
What we thought were “extreme customer expectations” a couple years ago are now proving to be commonplace. Technology has changed the way people shop. They’ll search two to three sites before making a purchase. They want to see product information, trusted online reviews, and lots of images. Over 70% of adults in the U.S. won’t make a big purchase if online reviews aren’t positive. 68% are influenced most by family and friends. When consumers are ready to buy, they don’t want to jump through hoops. The buying experience must be fully integrated into your website, social channels, and other media related to the products and services you offer. Social commerce makes it easier for consumers to find the information they need so they can make informed purchase decisions, fast.