A marketer's guideline to reach and interact with today's savvy consumers by Tom Libretto, CMO, Pegasystems
Tighter budgets. Higher customer expectations. Lower attention spans. Increasing data regulations. These are just some of the marketing challenges we’ve grappled with over the past year. But for marketers, a constantly shifting landscape is par for the course. Just think about how much has changed over the past ten years alone – from the explosion of social media to the advent of hyper-personalisation powered by artificial intelligence.
But as we look to a new decade, I see real opportunity for those who want to seize it. While some view increasing data privacy regulations as a nuisance that needs to be dealt with, smart companies should look at it as an opportunity to redefine how they handle customer data for the benefit of both, their organisations and their customers. If we want to connect with today’s savvier and more discerning customers, we need to rethink how we reach and interact with them in new and innovative ways.
Here are a few thoughts on what’s in store for 2020 and the impact it may have on your business.
- Getting serious about transparency and data governance: It turns out GDPR was not just a drill. This year major global brands got hit with major fines for customer data privacy violations. With GDPR now being increasingly enforced, and a similar regulation rolling out in California (CCPA) and other jurisdictions next year, a wait-and-see approach to data transparency is no longer acceptable. This data regulation wave will continue to swell in 2020, putting big pressure on marketers to invest in systems to help them comply. Their overall business success could turn on their ability to meet these increasing data governance expectations.
- Marketers will go all in on empathy: As more businesses focus on customer retention, marketers will get smarter about demonstrating more empathy with their customers and prospects. Instead of trying to squeeze every last dollar from customers, businesses will focus on relevancy and contextual, relationship-building interactions based on individual customer needs while phasing out ‘spray and pray’ strategies across broad segments. Early adopters of this empathetic approach are already seeing results, such as in banking, telco, and airlines. Now that the bar has been raised, other industries will be forced to follow suit and deploy their own empathetic engagement strategies.
- Demand for creative and experiential marketing will surge: For years marketers have been bogged down by the manual work of combing through data, building segments, and executing owned/bought/earned media campaigns. But with the increased use of AI models, much of this work can be automated – which will drive a shift in attention toward the creative aspects of marketing, such as experiential digital and out-of-home programming. Further, AI is now able to scale the number of personalised offers organisations can activate, creating increased demand for creative departments to develop more variations of copy and visual assets.
- “Experiences” will eclipse products in marketing focus: 2020 will become the year of ‘experiences.’ Promoting products will no longer be the marketer’s main end game. As more businesses reposition themselves as ‘as a service’ providers, they will need to retool their marketing strategies to demonstrate the full experience of what it’s like to engage with the brand. Examples are already taking hold in several markets: auto manufacturers are promoting themselves as ‘mobility providers,’ and banks are billing themselves as ‘financial wellness providers.’ This trend will only accelerate in the new year.
- Putting a premium on authenticity: With the 2020 US election cycle heating up, there’s a new level of awareness on how information can be presented and manipulated to influence behaviours. While this rising awareness level is extremely healthy for society at large, the byproduct of increasing skepticism puts added pressure on marketers: how can they ensure they get their brand message across to customers without inadvertently tripping their ‘fake news’ radars which are only becoming more sensitive with increased education? Expect brand authenticity to become a rising topic among marketers trying to stay true to their brand who need to cut through the noise.
While there are so many things to think about for 2020 and beyond, one thing hasn’t changed – those marketers who can make emotional connections with their customers and deliver authentic and relevant experiences that deliver their brand’s promise will continue to stay out in front.