After reading the great predictions post from our friends at Anametrix, I could not help but think, "Is this the year we see data driving the direction of marketing, programmatic advertising and retargeting, predictive CRM, pervasive use of attribution modeling and all the goodies that now famed "big data" can provide?"
I think yes. And here's why.
Smart companies like NetApp, Cisco and thousands of other smaller organizations are actually seeing success. They are using the tools, mapping the strategy and clearly gaining results to the tune of 300%+ lift when making data work for them. Moreover, planning around big data will quite simply be the difference between the winners and loser in the race for greater market share in any vertical market, and the ultimate weapon of competitive differentiation for the mid-tier company to blow the socks off the incumbent.
Word of advice, take the blue pill and dive into the "data matrix" thinking strongly about predictive, data analytics and focused use of big or third party data.
See the what the big boys have to say about data driven marketing in 2014 below and decide for yourself.
Pelin Thorogood − CEO, Anametrix
@PelinT Pelin is a new media marketing and analytics expert who is CEO and a board director of Anametrix. She also serves as an Executive-in-Residence for the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. Her predictions for 2014 include:
- Marketers will move beyond “current state” reporting, that all too often passes for analytics, to discover the actual levers of change in their increasingly complex environments. They will ask their data specific questions for the insights to make time-sensitive business decisions.
- Right-time marketing will become more and more common as businesses are able to combine and make sense out of consumer breadcrumbs across all channels of engagement in a timely manner.
- As marketers begin to understand their data and begin to predict behavior, they will be more like the “quants” on Wall Street with automated trading algorithms − but with one caveat. New tools will enable not just the “data scientist,” but also the average marketer to easily create forecasts, determine optimal approach, automate all necessary consumer-facing actions, observe actual outcome, learn and repeat for improved results!
Advances in analytics technology AND marketers’ acceptance of this technology will deliver data not just on the “what,” but also the “why”, the “when” and the “what if” for true decision support. This next-gen approach will require access to real-time, granular multichannel data that can be analyzed in real time to reveal hidden relationships and shed new insights into critical business decisions. The good news is that we are moving into an era when we can monitor, analyze and, most importantly, act on the high volume, variety and velocity of data ever more rapidly to enable right-time marketing. And, those businesses that leverage analytics for decision support in 2014 will reap tremendous benefits.
R. Ray Wang – Principal Analyst, Founder and Chairman, Constellation Research
@rwang0 A thought leader focused on enterprise strategy and disruptive technologies, Ray advises organizations worldwide on diverse business and technology topics. Ray defines three “rules” for successfully using data in 2014:
- Data driven marketing is changing as folks realize that “Rule 1” is to use the data you already have very well, rather than worry about big data. We already have a lot of information at hand. We’re not even taking advantage of that.
- “Rule 2” is that context is king. How we bring relevancy to users helps us make the data relevant. So role, relationship, location, time, sentiment and even intent play a key role.
- “Rule 3” means we have to democratize decision-making to the every end point. The CEO and the event marketer should be able to make a decision based on the data at hand with confidence.
In 2013, everyone cried out about the need of a data scientist. The reality is that there are not enough qualified folks in the field. What we see in the future are systems that make it easy for the everyday user. From improved user experience to mobile access, we see marketing technologies advancing at a rapid rate. We also see the incorporation of social tools that allow for the rapid collaboration required for today’s shorter cycles.
Joe Pulizzi − Founder, Content Marketing Institute
@JoePulizzi Joe is a content marketing evangelist speaker, author, coach and entrepreneur, as well as founder of the Content Marketing Institute, which Inc. Magazine recognized as the fastest growing business media company in 2013. Here’s his take on 2014:
- We are in the middle of a transformation of the marketing department looking and feeling like a publishing operation. That means that our in-house journalists and content creators have to know what makes customers’ tick, what their pain points are, and where their interests are going and why they behave in certain ways. That takes a lot of information, and people that know how to break down that data into usable chunks.
- While we have more data and information about our customers, so does our competition. The brand that can take that data and deliver the right information to customers at the right time will be the winner. Easier said than done. Most of the content created and distributed by brands is less than acceptable and highly tactical. Documented content marketing strategies are needed (most brands do not have documented content marketing strategies).
- Brands continue to wrestle with multiple technologies: content workflow tools, insight tools, marketing automation tools, CRM systems, content discovery and amplification tools and more. In many cases, brands are still at an experimental stage with many of these technologies, and bought many too early in the process. The good news is that these technologies are necessary to really using our content to enhance or change behavior. Could the marketing technologist role be on the rise?
Jay Baer – Founder and President, Convince & Convert
@jaybaer A well-known social media and content expert, Jay is also a frequent speaker and author, his most recent book published in the past year: “Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help Not Hype.” He cited these notable trends for 2014.
- Data interpretation will continue to increase in importance in 2014, as data availability becomes “table stakes.” Ultimately, data without context and understanding has very little use, so data analysis and the ability to launch marketing experiments based on data-driven insights will become critical.
- On a related front, a second big move will be toward data aggregation. The best insights come when smart marketers can evaluate information pulled from the widest possible array of sources, looking for patterns of correlation or causation that tell truths and boost efficiencies. Platforms (and human analysts) that can combine and parse data from disparate systems will be gold next year.
- Lastly, with so many marketing initiatives moving online to venues with open APIs, this is the year that competitive analysis and comparison data becomes commonplace. Monitoring the marketing behavior (and outcomes) of the companies in your category, and benchmarking your own results accordingly will drive a lot of decisions – and bruise some egos – in 2014.
Jim Sterne − Founder, eMetrics Summit and Digital Analytics Association
@jimsterne Jim is an international consultant and the founding president and current chairman of the Digital Analytics Association. He also produces the eMetrics Summit. Here’s what Jim told us after looking in his crystal ball for 2014:
- Data-driven marketing will stop being a fad, a “thing,” a cause to celebrate. By the end of the year, it will be as expected as social media participation by brands is today. We’ll no longer hear about its potential or possibilities, or even see articles lamenting how few are doing it. Instead, we’ll read about the rigors of making it work and the big gains made by those who are doing so.
- The focus will shift to third-party data as never before. With everybody and his brother capturing more and more data about, well, everything, it will become a much more fluid marketplace. This will spawn a rash of data-gathering start-ups that will then be consolidated in a “Few Big Payers.” Google will have a tough time in this arena due to trend #3, which follows.
- There will be a privacy event that will be more compelling than the NSA/Snowden affair and finally kick corporations into taking a stand on customer data from a brand perspective. In the same way the government couldn’t make corporations “Go Green,” privacy will never be won through legislation. It will only be truly adopted by corporations when it makes sense from a public relations perspective. Privacy will be embraced when customers kick up a fuss. Until then, laws will be discussed and lobbyists will continue to rake it in while subverting the legal system.
Marketing has always been a collaborative effort requiring many, diverse talents. As a result, an infrastructure of creative agencies and media planners and development organizations has grown around the needs of the marketer. Now that people have stopped complaining about the term “Big Data,” we can simply get on with making the most of it.
Andrew Edwards − CEO, Managing Partner, Efectyv Digital
@AndrewVEdwards Andrew is a senior digital analyst, author, speaker and director emeritus of the Digital Analytics Association, as well as a founder of Efectyv and the consulting firm, Technology Leaders. Here are his digital predictions for 2014:
- 5 million people will subscribe to Obamacare, using a much-improved interface at the government’s www.healthcare.gov website.
- At least two major newspapers will cease print production because of the impact of digital distribution of news.
- Despite NSA revelations, the public will care less and less about privacy.
- Cloud-based universities will experience explosive growth.
- Insurance companies will introduce digital dashboard cameras in exchange for reduced rates.
- Tag management will become standard practice for most large digital assets.
- Amazon will deliver a package before it is ordered, upsetting our notion of the space-time continuum
Josh Manion − CEO, Ensighten
@joshmanion Josh is leading a revolution in tag management as CEO of Ensighten, a company he founded in 2009 to deliver breakthrough technology to clients. He shared three trends for the industry in 2014:
- First, omnichannel will continue to be very important to how consumers interact with brands. Consumer interactions will continue to be spread across many digital touch points, including mobile apps, kiosks, game consoles and an ever-increasing number of smart devices.
- Next we see data ownership and brands maximizing the value of data, but insisting on owning it. Businesses have found it difficult to define digital interactions with their customers because data has been stored in third-party cookies owned by varied vendors. In the future brands will take steps to own their data. Customer profiles are an asset that accrues to the benefit of the brands and not third parties.
- And last, best of breed technology will rule for the CMO. The rapid evolution of interactive marketing technologies continues. CMOs will benefit from selecting a portfolio of independent, best-of-breed technologies. Those that maximize ROI in these investments and allow their marketing organization to be agile will see benefits, including growth in revenues and market share.
Aaron Kahlow − Founder & CEO, Online Marketing Institute
@AaronKahlow A digital marketing and social media thought leader, Aaron has founded and built three prolific digital marketing companies in his career. He now leads the Online Marketing Institute. Here’s his view on what data-driven marketing will require in 2014:
- Being Smart − means attribution adoption by thoughtfully looking at data from the buyer’s perspective and not leveraging our simple, linear analytics reporting to tell us the story. I believe attribution modeling tools will finally start to be more universally adopted, in contrast to “last click.”
- Being Resourceful − using predictive “Big Data” in “Little” ways with existing CRM data available to map back to on-site analytic buying behavior. Businesses will also use Lead Scoring Data to map and predict sales, increase sales opportunities, and use internal data, as well as third-party big data, to leverage time and money spent. Tools like Lattice Engines, 6sense and the overlays onto Marketo and Eloqua will really drive better decisions.
- Being Mature − growing up a bit when it comes to marketing in digital and spending the time “sharpening the saw” to learn how to do this right. Folks are getting fired, and rightfully so, for saying “Social Media doesn’t work for B2B.” What companies are telling us “mature” marketers is they are not tracking right or executing right, and haven’t grown up past 2009. Of course events like ClickZ Live and eLearning platforms like the Online Marketing Institute would fit that bill.
I believe that marketing teams will become more operationally organized around driving demand and measuring demand, and then learning how to create content for more demand. The blend of Content Marketing Management tools with the use of Marketing Automation tools to map content to leads and leads to sales is going to be huge. The really smart companies will then find good Predictive CRM tools to map all the third-party data to their own to get a clear and accurate picture of what’s working.
Bill Bruno – CEO, Stratigent
@BillBruno A leader in the multichannel analytics space, Bill is CEO of Stratigent, a digital marketing consultancy, which last year was acquired by Ebiquity, an international agency advising global media and the marketing community. Here’s what he told Anametrix about trends for 2014:
- Companies will realize that ‘big data” does not mean throwing all of their information into one place, but rather getting the right data to the right people at the right time to allow them to make decisions in real-time.
- Responsive design will continue to pave the way for a much more focused testing and optimization program that spans across all devices and channels.
- Niche vendors, such as mobile analytics, will pave the way for cross-channel personalization − and the ability to deliver relevant offers in these channels based on a much more complete “history” of each individual or group.
As a result of these trends, I expect to see marketers becoming much more comfortable picking the right solution for each of their business needs, instead of looking for an all-in-one solution. We are seeing a lot of this with clients, and quite frankly the ones that we have moved into this mentality are having the most success with improving the customer experience. I also expect to see a lot of consolidation within the retargeting/remarketing and attribution sectors since other technologies are chipping away at the capabilities of these solutions each day.
@abehnam Ali co-founded Tealium in 2008, helping to design and launch the company’s enterprise tag management platform, Tealium iQ. He’s a long-time expert in online marketing, web analytics and tag management. As to 2014, he put a spotlight on two important trends:
- Mobile & multi-channel growth: Over the last few years, we’ve seen an explosive growth in usage of mobile and tablet devices, surpassing the time people spend on their computers. Yet mobile marketing lags online marketing in terms of both adoption by companies and spend. Mobile marketing is bound to grow, as more companies will look to make mobile an integral part of their marketing plans. This also means the growth of technologies allowing companies to better understand the customer journey across channels. This is will allow better personalization and a consistent brand experience.
- Data activism:This one’s dear to my heart. Having been involved in the analytics space for almost 14 years, I’ve seen many companies spend time and resources generating more reports and dashboards without being able to take action on the data. The maturity of the space means that more companies will increase their investment in systems, people and processes to start taking action on the data and getting more value from their analytics. This is referred to as data activism.