In today’s technology-driven business world, innovation has reached breakneck speed — if you are not innovating, you are falling behind. For marketers, this means there is more pressure to deliver results that can be backed by data and a greater need to quickly pivot campaigns when success is unlikely.
With Gartner predicting CMOs’ budgets will increase to over 12 percent of company revenue in 2019, marketing leaders are continuing to gain new responsibilities. To remain strategic, they must have an eye toward the future and innovate at the current rate of change.
2019 is upon us and with it will come a new set of challenges and opportunities for marketers. Those who maintain their own relevancy — and who create campaigns that are personalized and precise — will gain an edge over the competition and further emphasize their own value within an organization.
The following traits will be key to marketing success in the year ahead:
Be relevant: Reskilling and curiosity as a new qualification
The best place to start on your marketing innovation journey is to look within yourself for opportunities to improve and remain relevant. To be a successful marketer in 2019 and beyond, you must be well-rounded. Digital marketing is a top priority and you can become an invaluable asset to your team (and to the customer) if you have a working knowledge of how to leverage marketing tools and data to the fullest to develop more targeted, compelling campaigns that generate additional pipeline for sales.
One of the most important traits I look for when evaluating new team members is what I refer to as the “geek factor.” This does not mean I look for technical aptitudes, but rather, I seek individuals with a willingness to learn new techniques, technologies and skills to achieve the best results. Innate curiosity, combined with creativity and eloquence, will set a marketing professional apart from other candidates. The “complete package” will be exemplified by someone who can use tools strategically, understand data analytics to improve campaigns and create imaginative content that can break through the digital noise audiences are constantly bombarded with today.
Case in point: Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) campaigns are the next tools to be added to the marketer’s toolbox. As a marketing professional, you should strive to be at the forefront of making AR and VR campaigns successful. You must understand how to use the technology and chart success, as well as how to develop campaigns that are original and useful to consumers.
Be Personal: Speak to the “audience of one”
Regardless of whether your target audience is a widget manufacturer or a stay-at-home dad, you must understand their wants, needs, preferences and more to deliver a seemingly 1:1 experience that stands out among competitors. “Spray and pray” is no longer a viable option. Consumers are smarter than that and require marketing materials that are personalized to their unique journey and buyer persona.
Marketers that can speak to customers like they are speaking to a friend will experience immense success. In other words: speak like a human not like a business. In the future, everything will become inbound. While digital will take the lion’s share of marketing budgets, professionals should never forget the importance of old-school tactics. While other brands are bombarding audiences with email and text alerts, be the one that sends a gift in the mail.
Be Precise: Balancing data value and data privacy
Precision in marketing both complements and contrasts with an “audience of one” approach in that it requires the use of personalized data to bring more useful content to consumers. 2018 has been a year of reckoning for data privacy as new regulations like GDPR came into effect to remind businesses that privacy is a right — not a privilege marketing teams own.
The US and APAC are likely not far behind in implementing regulations like GDPR and it will be important for marketers to respect personal data or risk being fined. While I fully support data privacy laws that empower consumers to take more control, new regulations create unique challenges for marketers around the globe.
Do consumers want to be targeted with content that is personalized and relevant? Yes.
Do they also want content that is non-intrusive and moderated? Yes.
And therein lies the challenge for marketers as they strive to strike a balance between precision and privacy.
By leveraging data — with consumers’ consent — marketing teams will need to create campaigns that accurately reflect the current mindset, needs and decisioning process of their target audiences. Marketers who focus on reaching fewer customers with the right message at the right time, rather than hitting mass audiences with the wrong messages, will find more customers are willing to opt-in to campaigns that drive value.
In 2019, MarTech has the potential to reach new levels of effectiveness. The role of marketers will shift from coming up with creative ideas based on intuition to identifying those concepts based on data. Marketers that are nimble and course correct quickly will yield the greatest results. Moving forward, marketing success will be measured by engagements and action, not the number of prospects you reached by blasting content into the ether.