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By Aqilliz
Published on July 02, 2020
2020 has been a year punctuated by change.
First, there were sweeping infrastructural changes to the internet with Google’s announcement that it would be phasing out support for third-party cookies on Chrome, prompting marketers to re-evaluate their data gathering and targeting practices. Then, the long-awaited enactment of California’s Consumer Privacy Act—now, yet another data privacy framework with stringent measures to comply with. And as if to add insult to injury, ISBA’s latest study with PwC found that little has been done to solve the long-standing issue of supply chain transparency in programmatic, gesturing towards the fact that we still have a long way to go in this arena.
Worst still, the global economy has been battered by an ongoing health crisis with no industry left unscathed. As of May, brands were still looking to freeze their marketing budgets for the next few months and agencies have made cuts to their workforce.
As economies around the world cautiously reopen and brands cautiously navigate the next normal, the realities of the future—whether that’s a mere few months from now or further ahead—evoke more anxiety than ever. In looking back at the past six months, we’ve learned that the following areas will continue to dominate the marketing space as we look to the future.
Your Customer Still Comes First
Over the years, brands have set a staggering precedent for themselves when it comes to understanding what their audiences want and being able to deliver on that. Amid the hurdles of navigating an increasingly omnichannel consumer journey that’s far from linear, marketers will need to contend with the new reality of the digital economy. It’s busy, crowded, and noisy. Reaching the right people at the right time with the right message means that brands will need to be able to set themselves apart through a deep understanding of customers—in fact, 81 percent of marketers expect to compete with industry peers on the basis of customer experience alone.
With precise targeting capabilities, personalisation has set a new standard for the brand-customer relationship and the resulting experience that consumers have grown to love and expect from their favourite brands. However, espousing customer centricity involves going beyond immediate brand-consumer interactions. CMOs must remember that putting customers at the heart of the business involves ensuring that their data is collected, treated, and managed appropriately.
So, what does this mean for you?
In line with data privacy frameworks, CMOs really need to begin encouraging their teams to practise data minimisation—focusing more so than the necessities rather than what’s nice to have. In addition, they need to play a vocal role in managing the state of marketing technology tech stacks, ensuring that customer data platforms (CDPs) are appropriately secured to adhere to compliance standards.
CMOs would do well to ensure that customer experience is not only an externally-facing matter, but something prioritised at every level of the organisation and at every stage of the customer journey.
Don’t Neglect Your Data Integration Strategy
Today, all marketing is data-driven by design. We leverage valuable insights based on consumer browsing habits, past purchases, or the preferred touchpoints from which they’ve interacted with a brand, in order to better understand them. As preferences change over time, CMOs need to place greater precedence on their customer data integration approach in order to ensure that their repository of data is continuously kept up-to-date and reconciled across all possible touchpoints, no matter how many you might have. Today, only 47 percent of marketers have a completely unified view of customer data sources which can significantly impact customer experience.
As marketers look to move away from cross-site tracking in the wake of Google’s gradual phase-out of third-party cookies, increased attention has been directed towards first-party data and how this is the key to ensuring a privacy-compliant method of data collection. That being said, relying wholly on the collection of first-party data may not always be realistic for most brands or marketers, who simply do not have a consistent customer base that can be leveraged at scale.
In light of that, pursuing a collaborative data sharing model across a consortium of brands and publishers, would be a viable option to consider as you future-proof your data integration strategies and underlying tech stacks. This would ensure that first-party data could be aggregated across multiple systems into a virtual database in a privacy-compliant way. To learn more about Aqilliz’s approach to decentralised data collaboration, read on here.
Innovate, Innovate, Innovate
It goes without saying that the marketing technology landscape is incredibly crowded. As of this year, there are over 8,000 different solutions providers, each utilising different technologies. While this certainly means that marketers have a diverse array of solutions to choose from, this has led to a proliferation of point solutions, each only addressing one problem area as it pertains to brand, platforms, or consumers rather than taking on a holistic approach. This can lead to severe cases of duplication in the marketing supply chain or an overcrowded tech stack, comprising infrequently-used, one-off investments.
While it’s easy to be tempted by the latest and greatest innovation out there, remember to invest wisely. All technologies have the potential to enact great change in an organisation, but not all of them are needed.
That being said, CMOs will have to pioneer a culture of innovation, ensuring that their teams are keeping an eye on emerging trends and potential solutions. Not only those that tick the boxes of increased productivity, efficiency, and cost-savings across the board, but ones that simultaneously deliver greater value for consumers. Specifically, technological enhancements that can either aid in a steady, scalable transition to privacy-by-design in all infrastructures or those that promise increased transparency across the marketing supply chain, are ones that marketers should be looking at. ach data node provided by a data source contributor is then joined by a federated node which helps to ensure that data remains decentralised within each of these data bases, while allowing analysis to be done across each node. The result? Audience profiles, enriched by first-party data points consensually provided by users to each data source contributor. These profiles can then be activated to inform consumer engagement strategies through targeting and personalisation.
The Evolving Role of the Marketer
When compared to other industries, the marketing world has evolved a great deal, developing in tandem with the growth of the internet, social media, and mobile technologies. With the gradual maturation of the digital economy, all marketing is digital marketing—from social media presence, online banner ads, to electronic direct mail (EDM), businesses of all sizes rely on digital marketing in some shape or form. The role of the marketer is evolving and with it comes the responsibility of not only talking at customers through marketing messages that speak to them, but actually engaging in and prompting dialogue.
While the impact of traditional pre-digital fundamentals will continue to come into play, be it through creative or impactful communications strategies, data is now the cornerstone of marketing success. In an increasingly crowded digital landscape, data provides the much-needed ability to anticipate a customer’s needs before they themselves may even be aware of it. With that, today’s marketers are now one of the most valuable employees in any organisation as they possess a better understanding of a consumer than anyone. With a customer-first mindset, CMOs can set the tone for the business, driving the trajectory of operational processes, product design, research and development, and even culture, to one that fully espouses customer centricity at its core.