July 19, 2018

The Year Ahead in Marketing: 3 Trends to Watch this Coming Year

Cari Baldwin | General Manager, GreenFig
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Cari Baldwin | General Manager, GreenFig

A New Year brings new trends.  Lifelong learning is core to our mission here at GreenFig and we monitor developments to make sure our curriculum stays relevant and delivers the skills our students need to get jobs in this ever-changing world.  Here are three notable marketing trends you can expect to hear more about in 2018.

1. Customer Experience and Engagement

Traditionally, marketers have been focused on net-new logos. More recently they have been adopting advocacy programs in the marketing mix. GreenFig instructor Tracy Eiler, CMO at InsideView, teaches students how customer churn is a significant challenge. To overcome this, marketers need to put more effort and energy into helping customers onboard, adapt products, and create opportunities for deeper engagement between the brand and the customer. Highly engaged customers buy more, promote more, and are more loyal. We will see a shift in the budget to support building better customer experiences including leveraging data and creating content to enable more intelligent and tailored interactions reflecting the customer’s needs. Customer review platforms such as G2Crowd and TrustRadius will continue to be an area of opportunity for technology marketers while Facebook and Google reviews will continue to grow for consumer brands.

2. Artificial Intelligence

Not a new trend, but a fast-growing one. The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in marketing has been made possible by the adoption of advanced data analytics tools based on machine learning.  According to Forrester Research[1], the promise of AI in marketing will help to cultivate efficiency in manual tasks; help with smarter decision making; increase the speed in which marketing data can be analyzed and self-learning can be applied to increase efficiency; offer continuous performance improvement; and help marketers to optimize the customer journey. GreenFig students learned about AI and the impact on marketing this semester, taught by Matt Abrams, General Partner at Seven Peaks Ventures. Students were especially intrigued by two points, which led to a lively discussion during class:

  1. The impact of bias – For any system that learns, the output is determined by the data it receives. In the perfect world, the algorithms of the systems would be objective, but they are built by humans and reflect human biases. We need to understand the source of the bias to be able to design systems that are not made up of them.
  2. Prescriptive AI – the ability for AI tools to make recommendations and take action as opposed to describing the past or predicting the future.

You probably already interact with marketing AI on a regular basis when you see ads in search results and on social media. We will see things like AI chats become more commonplace when interacting with brands via their website and the use of AI for marketing is only going to grow as the technology improves. Read more insights from Matt Abrams.

3. Privacy Protection

With new privacy regulations across the globe, brands selling to customers in Europe must be prepared. The new European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires companies collecting data on citizens in European Union (EU) countries to protect customer data with vigor in 2018.  Learn more at https://www.eugdpr.org/.

Smart marketers will realize, after the onslaught of massive data breaches seen in 2017, consumers will prioritize companies and products by putting their information security first.  This is an opportunity for marketers to use privacy protection and data security as a unique selling proposition (USP is something we learned about this semester in our strategy module). Privacy regulations are constantly changing and marketers will need to stay on top of current rules within all the markets they serve.

2018 will certainly be a year of growth, change, and opportunity.  We at GreenFig wish you a year of happiness and personal and professional success.

Cheers to a new year!

By Cari Baldwin

[1] AI Must Learn the Basics Before It Can Transform Marketing, Forrester Research.  June 1, 2017, by Joe Stanhope

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