As we enter a new year filled with even more advancements in technology and research, it is evident that successful marketers must prioritize their clients’ return on investment, delivering “on a new 2018 mandate — driving measurable business growth.” Many subject matter experts have begun announcing their predictions for 2018, and there are a few trends which will be important for marketers: real-time data, artificial intelligence technology, and predictive analytics.
Here’s how we see these three technologies driving ROI in marketing this year.
With more marketers adopting the “always-on” approach to advertising, taking advantage of real-time data will be key to driving both strategic and tactical direction and increasing ROI. For example, “a vast majority of retailers said that their two main channels for generating sales were ‘Stores’ at 79 percent and ‘Website’ at 73 percent.” Along with real-time data comes the ability to prove the value of an omnichannel approach and attribute success to both online and offline channels.
Artificial intelligence technology
Artificial intelligence helps digital marketers that strive to align their content marketing plans with a more personalized customer/user experience. Including uses like programmatic bidding, dynamic creative optimizations, and augmented reality, companies are searching for the most optimal way to utilize AI and machine learning for sense-and-respond marketing, which enables brands to “sense consumer needs and intentions based on their behaviors and actions, and to respond with appropriate advice, guidance, and offers.”
Data coming from machine learning can inform a predictive marketing strategy and, according to MarTech, will give brands the opportunity to “predict future outcomes based on behavioral patterns seen in historical data.” Strategies like prospecting and retargeting will benefit from predictive marketing, allowing for automation of campaigns that target the most high-value customers: Those that are far down the funnel and most likely to purchase or convert.
Key drivers of ROI
While there are many factors that impact a successful ROI, the following are important elements to consider when aiming to drive ROI with your marketing efforts:
- Who are your most valuable customers (existing and potential)?
- Which characteristics define them?
- Where are they (geographically and online)?
- When will they be most likely to convert?
- How do they currently perceive your company?
- How do you want them to perceive your company in one, five, or 10 years?
- Streamline processes to eliminate waste.
- Thoroughly quality assure campaigns to ensure clean data and the effectiveness of budgets.
- Establish one to two key performance indicators (conversions, sales, leads) to measure success.
Testing and forecasting:
- Must occur regularly to provide insight into the constantly changing offline and online environments.
- Use data visualization and attribution tools to predict upcoming trends in consumer behavior and estimated budgets required.
- The client’s products/services are in-demand (they have a competitive advantage).
- The client’s goals and management strategies are carefully crafted and embodied across levels.
- The client strives to become recognized as the industry leader.
With exciting advancements in real-time data, AI technology, and predictive analytics, coupled with the desire on both the agency and client sides to have meaningful, measurable results that align with each company’s bottom line, there will be much to strive for in 2018.