If there’s anything that’s become a constant in our world, it’s change and disruption. It’s a new paradigm that focuses on everything digital, underpinned by the constant churn of new technologies and strategies.
Marketing is already about predicting and catering to the future — but now it’s about being able to do so in an agile manner, as quickly and effectively as possible, utilizing new tools and techniques almost as quickly as they’re created. So what does the future of digital marketing look like, and where will it lead us?
Wear multiple hats, bolster relationships
Never before have so many different facets of business intersected with technology. For example, when we talk about marketing anymore, you can’t leave out big data collection and utilization. The further we push into the brave new digital world, the more digital marketers will have to adopt the role of amatuer data scientists as well. For example, Maryville University lists these three metrics as examples of how to evaluate marketing effectiveness:
- Awareness Metrics: followers, likes and visits to the website.
- Return on Investment: calculating cost per lead or quantity of leads generated.
- Conversion Metrics: open rates, click-through rates, cost per conversion and bounce rates.
Of course, you’re not necessarily going to be doing all of this alone, nor will you have to wear all of the hats in your organization. However, wherever you’re not filling in, you’d better make sure you have a good relationship with the person who is executing that role.
For most, that means increased communication and a more in-depth relationship between CMOs and CIOs.
“CMOs, who are responsible for promoting growth, need the CIOs’ help to turn the surfeit of customer data their companies are accumulating into increased revenue,” write Ariker, Harrysson, and Perrey for McKinsey.com. “CIOs, obliged to turn new technology into revenue, need the CMOs to help them with better functional and technical requirements for big data initiatives.”
Local and global lines blurred
While it’s imperative that local businesses adopt a stellar local strategy, it’s also important to realize that the lines between local and global marketing are somewhat blurred by the digital renaissance at hand. This is especially true for businesses that are looking to someday expand beyond their current locale.
Local brands shouldn’t treat themselves any differently than global brands and should treat their digital marketing efforts and the online experiences that they offer the same as any national competitor would. Your customers aren’t going to cut you a break just because you’re the hometown pick; if a national brand can get it done better, potential customers will likely go with them.
Omnichannel and cohesive marketing stack
There’s no silver bullet — no one singular marketing tool — that will work for all of your needs. In the same way, there’s no one singular marketing channel that will fulfill all of your needs either.
Facebook, for example, was once a highly valued channel. However, with the growth of Snapchat, Instagram, and other social platforms, not to mention recent scandals with data use, anybody who was relying solely Facebook is now probably wishing they hadn’t.
You’ll want to make sure that your digital tools are set up in such a way that it’s cohesive and synergistic, with complimentary architecture. Tools that help illuminate multi-channel attribution, for example, are a must, helping you separate appropriate data from the rest of the noise.
“Gone are the days where a single word-of-mouth referral was the deciding factor in someone making a purchase,” writes Zack Bedingfield with CallRail. “As such, marketers need a way to track and assign value to these steps — not only to prove individual
ROI per channel, but to improve the way they’re allocating their marketing dollars and properly fund all the channels driving purchases even when the results from certain channels are not readily apparent. Multi-channel attribution gives sales and marketing teams that data.”
Staying agile is a must
While there’s no way to determine exactly what will happen in the future, there is a way to make sure that you’re ready for anything, and that’s by staying agile.
Remember that everything works cumulatively, and that everything is subject to change. The next new brilliant digital marketing technology or strategy might be right around the corner — but you won’t be poised to benefit from them unless you’re sure on feet and your organization is agile enough to adopt them when they surface.
Above all, stay agile, and be ready for anything. While change is seemingly the only constant in our ever-changing digital world, there’s another constant that marketers seem to forget about: themselves.
If you’re ready to embrace change when it occurs, you’ll already be ahead of the curve and ready for whatever the future of digital marketing throws at you.