Insight in 2016 – 10 things that will affect your marketing

17th Dec 2015

So there it is. 2016, all gift wrapped and pristine and just waiting to be unwrapped. But we’re an impatient bunch, so while no-one’s looking, we’re lifting the lid and taking a peak at the insights that will influence your marketing next year.

1. Causation comes closer
Finding causal links in your data is a bit like finding the Holy Grail under your bed. It tends not to happen. So rather than definitively being able to say A caused B, we’ve been left with the distinctly less impressive world of correlations.

Now correlations can be powerful things. But just because two events happen in an apparently connected way doesn’t mean they are connected. Tyler Vigen’s excellent Spurious Correlations prove this wonderfully.

So the fact that, for example, US per capita cheese consumption almost directly correlates with the number of people who died from becoming entangled in their bedsheets really is a coincidence. Although we’re avoiding eating cheese before bedtime, just in case.

But in 2016, we may finally be able to move away from correlation (spurious or otherwise) and drive competitive advantage from being able to understand the causality of associations.

2. More personal, less costly
Less a revolution, more a natural progression, 2016 will see automated personalised marketing get smarter than ever. As it does so, marketers will be able to tailor more efficient individualised campaigns without the time, economic and data costs that have, to date, kept real personalisation as the preserve of bigger budget holders.
3. Real time marketing
We’re constantly told the world is changing faster than ever. So how come marketing data remains driven by information collected ages ago?

What matters to the campaigns you’re developing now are the data being generated now. So in 2016, we’ll see more real time marketing driven by analytics that tell marketers what customers are doing today, not what they were doing last year.

4. People vs things
In 2016 the market will evolve to see that tools alone – no matter how clever - are not enough to solve all problems. So what will separate the most successful from the least won’t be the tech they have, but their ability to wield it smartly.

It’s people’s ability to ask the right questions that sets them apart from the tools they operate. The greatest insights often stay hidden in the data, and with 37.5% of large organisations stating that analysing big data is their biggest challenge, it’s the job of data experts to uncover these insights from data sets so large they could make your mind boggle.

5. People vs products
Explicit contact permission rules will see a further shift from sales-driven marketing to analytically driven targeted customer engagement marketing. The industry has been eagerly anticipating the General Data Protection Regulation and 2016 is the year where we’ll see these changes firmly engrained within organisations psyche.

Expect to see more Data Protection Officers next year as brands work to keep the customer firmly in at the centre of their marketing, as well as a raft of new products designed to help shift marketing from sales to engagement.

6. Sky’s the limit
It’s already happening, but 2016 will see the increased transfer of data processing to cloud-based technologies.

7. Always-on analysis
The problem with customer contact analysis is that customers will insist on going off and doing their thing in other ways, using other channels. As a result, all analysis inevitably comes with holes – as though customers are standing at the sweet spot between two security cameras and being seen by neither.

But in 2016, analysis of incremental benefit from customer contact in an always on, omni-channel environment will become standard. So there’ll be fewer gaps in our understanding of our customers.

8. Cross-channel comes of age
Marketers, tear up your text books. 2016 will be the year something we’ve all known for ages finally become conventional wisdom: channel marketing has been a conceit. It’s an artificial construct that enables us to ‘make do’ in the absence of real understanding of the complex non-linearity and non-channel specificity of customer journeys.

Next year we will be able to join more dots across more channels and in increasingly real time – and that means we’ll be well on our way to engendering genuinely meaningful customer relationships.

9. Email on borrowed time?
In 2016, e-mail will have its work cut out to stay relevant after years of overuse and under-targeting, but it’s still an important channel.

Executed correctly, email, just like its sister channel – direct mail – still has the power to cultivate deep customer relationships and create business changing outcomes.

10. A polarised market
In 2016, we’ll see the world of the haves and have-nots extended to the marketing arena (if it isn’t already).

For those with the resources, you’ll have access to all-seeing, all-intelligent, all-predictive software solutions that know what your customers are doing before they’ve done it.

For everyone else with more meagre budgets, there’ll be Excel extensions and smart but not quite as smart alternatives that will offer insight, but not quite as much insight, for a lower price.

And analysts will need to get to grips with all of them.

What do you think will be the biggest change in marketing next year? Tell us about it @AmazeOnenews.

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