It’s the turn of another decade and 2020 is just around the corner. In the last ten years, technology has exploded, compelling some to name our new digital landscape as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Tech has left no stone unturned as all industries and people have been impacted by exponentially advancing technology in a significant way. For those of us in marketing, these advancements are enabling personalized customer engagement and reach across channels in a way that was previously impossible. But with this development, comes the noise. 60% of marketers today create at least one piece of content daily, leaving customers often overwhelmed, over touched, and increasingly resistant to contact. So, how do companies and organizations continue to leverage advancements in marketing and technology while cutting through the noise?

Deloitte’s 2020 Global Marketing Trends report identifies the human experience as the key to differentiating your marketing and demand gen efforts in this new decade.

The problem isn’t modern marketing strategies such as omnichannel and content-focused marketing–it’s that customers are often left feeling unfulfilled and “sold to” by companies. In this blog, we’ll discuss trending marketing strategies and technologies, and what you can do to humanize and future-proof efforts to keep your customer delighted.

1. Account-based marketing (ABM)

We love ABM here at UDG because the core activities are critical to creating a human brand and marketing experience (not to mention the potential for significantly increased marketing ROI). Gone are the days of isolated marketing at the top of the funnel. Over half of organizations are now beginning to integrate marketing and sales. Businesses are starting to realize that in order to create relevant and humanized strategies, sales and marketing must intricately cross-collaborate in order to service the customer across the buying lifecycle. But despite the move towards progress, less than a quarter is leveraging ABM strategically, citing these factors as barriers: personalization at scale, identifying and predicting accounts in-market, developing target accounts and personas, and lack of internal resources.

The reality is that ABM is a huge undertaking. And while businesses are eager to begin the ABM journey, most are overwhelmed and blind-sighted by the sheer amount of work needed to do it well. Organizational silos and red tape can make it nearly impossible for in-house marketing teams to complete even the first foundation of ABM: creating ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and personas. To DemandGen, the solution is clear–in order for organizations to execute ABM and optimize ROI, they must engage a marketing consultant capable of and dedicated to navigating organizational matrixes, identifying ICPs and personas, and quickly creating the necessary content and framework to begin nurturing existing and potential accounts.

2. Data-driven marketing and emerging technologies

Ironically, the foundation of any humanized marketing lies in technology and data. Without access to the building blocks of customer data, it’s impossible to personalize your strategies (and this goes beyond marketing–think product, sales, and even operations). Today’s average business centers marketing around their business and product, but the most effective companies start with the customer and often outperform their counterparts by over 30%.

To build humanized strategies that are centered around customers, you need existing segments. Even if you’re still grasping business personas and ideal customer profiles, marketing to defined segments will help you harvest the data you need to optimize your personalization efforts. To begin building your data-driven marketing strategies within segments, BCG Gamma recommends the process below (note that AI/ML isn’t mentioned until the last step):

  • Optimize the actions you’re asking of your customer and rewards across segments (e.g. offer one segment a 50% discount reward if they complete the action of purchasing a bundle). Test it.
  • Using data gathered from the first test, optimize the combination of action and reward you’re serving your customers (e.g. offer the same segment a 50% discount reward, but this time provide different bundling options). Test it again.
  • Finally, using all the data from the first two tests, personalize the last mile (e.g. Segment the initial group further, offer rewards based on differentiated actions that resonate with your customers). You will inevitably learn new things about each segment, and this is where AI/ML can really help to track user data and refine your strategy.

3. Omnichannel and the content experience

The 2010s were all about multi-channel. With the advent of social media and advertising, companies rushed to leverage all the different channels possible to reach out to customers. And while it worked great at first, the customers of 2020 and beyond will have higher expectations. They want to see products, messaging, and content that’s relevant to them–whether that be web, email, mobile, or direct mail. On top of it, they expect your messaging to also be relevant to where they are in their buying cycle. To do omnichannel well, you’ve got to have your data pipeline and your ICPs and personas in line. Once that’s in line, you’ll have to focus on the content experience.

How does content differ in omnichannel? Customers living and purchasing in an omnichannel world except for one crucial thing–a stream of brand content. Meaning that customers expect content that logically iterates and expands throughout their buying lifecycle and are resistant to seemingly random content. To achieve true omnichannel and content cohesion, ask yourself:

  • What kind of content are your customers consuming and when?
  • Are your ebooks resonating with them?
  • Do your free tools better convert customers?
  • At what point in the buyer’s journey do they find the most valuable content?
  • Are they optimized for the device that they’re being consumed on?”

Ultimately, if you use your data, personas, and resources correctly, you should have a content pipeline that is custom to your segments and their buying lifecycle.

While these three global marketing trends are exciting and most companies have begun efforts to leverage them in one capacity or another, one challenge rings true: resource and scale. Across reports from Deloitte and DemandGen, companies report struggling to perform the market research, content customization, and strategic integration needed to optimize the technological advancements that the Fourth Industrial Revolution brought with it. Engaging with a marketing consultant who is experienced in helping companies reach modern marketing success can be the key to skyrocketing your efforts of tomorrow.

Contact us if you have any questions or would like to learn more about how you can future-proof your marketing efforts into 2020 and beyond. And, be sure to follow us on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.