How data and technology will affect your marketing in 2017
Columnist Victoria Godfrey shares four trends she's watching for 2017 -- and some steps you can take to stay ahead of the curve.
If you have read the annual prediction articles in the last few years, one of the prominent projections you’ve likely seen is, “This is the year data-driven marketing campaigns take hold.”
But really, data-driven marketing has always been critical — and in 2017, it’s going to continue to be at the forefront of marketers’ strategies. As we make our predictions for 2017, one thing is clear: using data to tailor your messages will remain a critical part of any marketing strategy.
Today’s companies are focused on maximizing data to provide insights that ultimately lead to increased customer conversion and retention. Companies will continue down this path in 2017, trying to wring every ounce of value out of their customer data.
With that in mind, below are four trends we’re watching for 2017 and some steps you can take to stay ahead of the curve.
1. Data will be the key to interdepartmental alignment and account-based marketing success
In 2017, data will take center stage for all marketing activities. Data validates the marketing department’s actions and goals, but it also makes marketers more accountable for overall company bottom-line goals.
And it isn’t just marketing teams who will feel the impact of full data infiltration; sales must also align strategies around customer and prospect data. This provides both teams with a complete view of their accounts, allowing them to implement a successful account-based marketing strategy.
2. B2B and B2C marketers will unite over analytical strategies
Whether an organization markets to consumers or to businesses, the CMO must be analytical. In the past, companies did not have the ability to combine their various data pools, but today it is possible. Marketers can now track data and insights throughout the entire customer journey, which helps improve sales processes.
To achieve success, CMOs need to understand every path a buyer’s journey can follow. For B2B marketers, it is critical to be aware of the engagement strategies that are successful for B2C marketers. For marketers targeting consumers, it is important to keep the sales funnel, prospect management strategies and buyer touch points that guide B2B marketers in mind.
As customers become savvier, the ability to map your company’s offerings to the customer’s needs has never been more critical. You must be able to accurately evaluate and track content that performs well throughout the marketing funnel to be sure you deliver engaging materials from the moment potential customers discover your company through their first purchases and beyond. This is true for B2B and B2C marketers alike.
3. Martech comes together
We can all be thankful that data silos are slowly being seen as inefficient and being replaced by more robust and connected ecosystems. As marketers focus more on revenue goals, they’re demanding one central view into all their information, which leads directly to more accurate insights.
This is leading to one of the most exciting trends for 2017: martech stacks becoming leaner, more efficient and much more effective. Of course, most marketers will still have separate marketing automation and CRM systems, but the duplication of other software will decline significantly as marketers demand more centralized control of customer data.
This will provide serious benefits. Fewer tools equals fewer disparate reports. Also, each department will be able to base decisions on the same data, which has many benefits, including cost savings and impact on revenue growth.
The key to making this consolidation smooth and successful is, not surprisingly, making sure departments have shared goals and choose technology capable of supporting those goals.
4. The CMO and CIO work together
2017 will be the year for consolidating and maximizing technology, but this interconnected technology network won’t happen on its own. Chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) have to work together to make it happen.
Getting that one consolidated view of your customer information requires that IT, marketing, and even sales and other departments come together to assure that the common data set is exactly what each group needs to succeed. Once a common data set is achieved, the departments will also need to align around a common set of metrics and strategies so that each group is working toward the same goals.
With this consolidation and collaboration, it’s no surprise the role of CMO is changing quickly. Already extremely analytical, other CMO responsibilities are going to be upended in 2017 and beyond.
With consolidated martech, and one view of a company’s data, information can be accurately mapped and used to speed up the sales process. CMOs must be able to direct these efforts. Therefore, they have to be acutely aware of all the branches of a buyer’s decision tree, and how each affects the marketing process.