As scary as it is to admit it, with the final few weeks of 2016 fast approaching, it can only mean one thing – planning is now fiercely underway for next year.
Marketing technology budgets are being prepared, resources are being allocated and new KPIs are being set. But, if you are in the midst of devising your 2017 marketing strategy, stop! And read this…
Here’s our ‘first look’ into next year – our insight into how the profession is going to evolve, and our predictions as to the newfound challenges and opportunities that marketers will face. It’s the first in a series of ‘preparing for 2017’ posts, so keep your eyes peeled for more content over the coming weeks.
The year of machine learning
2017 will see automation engines increasingly using unparalleled intelligence to understand a user’s behavioural patterns and predict optimal engagement times, send frequencies and messaging, at any given second, and in real time.
This newfound level of insight will drive subject matter suggestions to specific users, it will boost deliverability profiles through increased relevance and it will heighten conversions by computing, in seconds, algorithms that the human marketer still cannot comprehend (certainly not without a forensics qualification!)
We’re currently working on a related study – Project Cognitive – which will be published in due course. Watch this space…
Insurgence of control
There’ll be a distinct step-change in roles next year, as marketers will take back a lot of control from IT. Marketing departments will become empowered to work more self-sufficiently, with triangulation of their own data, the creation of their own landing pages, and the management of their own deliverability profiles.
This isn’t to say the two teams will become disparate – there are more opportunities for IT and marketing to work together, as a future blog will explain. But as marketing clouds become more intuitive, marketers will find they have more knowledge, capabilities and potential at their fingertips, without needing to involve an IT expert.
Beware diminishing returns from email
By no means are we saying that email is dead. What we are urging marketers to acknowledge is that ESPs are becoming increasingly stringent – they’re clamping down and indisputably making it harder for legitimate emails to reach a recipient’s inbox.
It will be difficult to achieve the same return in 2017, using the same tools.
So, there can no longer be a disregard for what goes on behind the ‘send’ button. Marketers need to improve their email practices and deliverability profiles now, or partner with a marketing automation expert that is well equipped to navigate the ever-changing email landscape.
Even more opportunity with mobile
Mobile is continuing to thrive when it comes to email open rates, and devices and browsers will become even more sophisticated and powerful as 2017 unfolds. Marketers therefore need to embrace the rising potential for emails to do more. They can auto play videos, stream live content and facilitate quick and easy polls. Marketers need to stay abreast of changing mobile tech developments and, if they’re not interested, they need to recruit someone in the team who is.
Shun super-suppliers in favour of specialists
Marketers are becoming increasingly savvy. So, in 2017, a number of brands will shun software providers and apps that offer everything in one place, in favour of working with smaller, specialist, agile partners that are cost-effective, can be on-boarded quickly and integrated effectively.
The same trend has been witnessed with niche agencies that are renowned experts in their own fields. Professionals want to work with the best in the business now, to maximise their return on investment, not a ‘jack of all trades’. Software will soon follow suit.
The year of automation
Of course it’s something you’d expect us to say, but 2017 has to be the year that marketing teams move away from cumbersome, painful and restrictive spreadsheets. With the world of business moving so fast, and consumers becoming increasingly discerning, there is simply no time to do things the hard way any more. Instead, marketers need to become super-connected, and invest in a platform that connects to Slack, Skype, Google, CRM systems and more. That way, data is brought to life, activities become more meaningful and conversions soar.
All of a sudden life will become so much efficient – and effective!