July 19, 2018

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

Cari Baldwin | General Manager, GreenFig
Written by:

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

LATEST FROM BLOG

Related Posts.

CMOs: Striving For Competitive Differentiation? Don’t Overlook Your Number One Marketing Asset

By and large, the strategies of growing a relevant business are the same. Brand growth and awareness, market penetration, product expansion and acquisition. The marketing tactics employed to achieve those goals is what sets the front-runners apart from those playing catch-up. So how do you achieve competitive differentiation? Your people: the individuals responsible for designing and implementing those marketing tactics must rank high on your business-critical scale. Because if you don’t hire and retain top digital marketing talent, your ability to plan, execute, measure, and improve a digital campaign will be limited and impact revenue, the customer experience and brand perception. In other words, you may have the right tools, but you won’t be able to leverage their usefulness as business drivers without skilled marketers running the show. Marketing executives and industry insiders across the country are singing this tune: Better talent = Better business performance. “Talent will drive competitive advantage. Companies that invest in building digital skills in their marketing teams have a huge opportunity to accelerate ahead of their peers.” The Talent Revolution in Digital Marketing, Think with Google, 2015. What does it mean to be a skilled digital marketer in the 21st century? From a global understanding of how to align business, brand and messaging strategies to pay-per-click, SEO, and social analytics and targeting, to name a few, the breadth of skills required to be an effective digital marketer today are innumerous. Combine those skills with hands-on experience -- not just theoretical knowledge -- and the expertise to design, create, implement and analyze a digital campaign, and you’ve got a capable 21st century digital marketer. After all, the ability to harness data-driven insights is how companies gain a competitive advantage. The challenge CMOs everywhere are facing, however, is a pervasive shortage of skilled and experienced digital marketers. Companies that turn to recent college graduates are frustrated by this group’s lack of experience and outdated knowledge (not surprising, slow-to-change university curriculum can’t keep pace marketing’s fast-moving digital evolution). Meanwhile, seasoned marketers don’t possess the technical skills required to execute an effective digital campaign. “Tools and strategies that were cutting-edge just a few years ago are fast becoming obsolete, and new approaches are appearing every day.” The Ultimate Marketing Machine, Harvard Business Review. To solve the problem, marketing departments need to look inward by shoring up the expertise, technical skills and hands-on experience of their existing teams. The benefits of upskilling your staff are many, including:

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Contact us

Need a quote.