Dramatic shifts in consumer behavior (and life in general) over the past few years has brought about new marketing trends and expedited the evolution of digital marketing efforts. But with so many options, marketers have found planning and navigating these changes to be a bit of an unmapped obstacle course.
With the impending loss of the third-party cookie, the demand for personalization, the growing number of platforms and channels, and the increased need for agile marketing, brands struggle with the best ways to be effective and authentic in their approach.
Where should marketers focus efforts and ad dollars? How can they be more fluid in their approach and avoid unforeseen roadblocks?
We invited some top marketing executives to discuss the marketing trends they think deserve marketers’ attention, and how to get the most out of them this year.
Read on for some of the highlights of their panel conversation, led by our own Chief Marketing Officer, Melissa Sargeant, and featuring Michael Villareal (Director of Marketing Operations at LinkedIn), Ellina Shinnick (Chief Marketing Officer at HUB International), and Kara Trivunovic (Managing Director, Messaging at Epsilon).
Click here to watch the full webinar recording on-demand. Have more questions? Head over to the Litmus Community.
What can companies do to create personalized engagements that customers expect?
Michael: Be clear on if you’re personalizing for the sake of saying you’re personalizing with your teams, or if you are truly giving value to the customer.
Start with categorizing and measuring your audiences for B2B and B2C, which we do at Linkedin. A recipient might straddle as a consumer, as well as being a field prospect or customer. You’re definitely going to want to make sure you categorize, as well as make sure that your messaging for the campaign is relevant for them, based on where they’re at in their customer journey.
From an outbound point of view, have procedures to ensure touchpoints are consistent so that customers aren’t getting duplicate messages from different parts of your business. Propensity models might be developed on the propensity to convert–but not all prospects are ready to buy. Ensure you’re giving your team’s different business units the opportunity to build awareness with your prospects.
Make sure that your campaign experience is consistent if a prospect or customer sees an ad or gets an email, and they click through the microsite. If the look and feel is completely different and the messaging is completely different, you’ve done harm there.
What are some strategies that organizations can take now to get ready for the big privacy shifts?
Ellina: First, evaluate your mix. How much of it is dependent on third-party data and how can you evolve? Second, figure out what you can control today (and double down with) in regards to developing and attaining first-party data that is yours, that you can action on.
If you’re thinking about things like SEO, that’s terrific because they’re searching: You can write content; you can start to use insights.
In the world of social commerce and creator economies, leverage partnerships, whether it’s across social or strategic partnerships, to get in front of the right buyers at the right moment in time. Evaluate that tactic as well as channel and really start to dabble in that area if you’re not doing that today.
Broaden how you’re engaging with customers and think about what value you’re delivering to them, so they are willing to give you the data you need to act on.
What big shifts—things like agile marketing—have you seen that are here to stay and now part of the DNA of modern marketing?
Michael: I might not refer to this as a big shift, but it would be to simplify and automate as much as possible.
In the past, we might have been guilty of making campaigns and programs complex because we wanted to maximize the use of a system. We might have over complicated the customer experience, as well as how we use that system.
Another would be to always be testing and seeking micro optimizations. Oftentimes, through automation, we have a “set it and forget it” mentality and so it’s easier said than done when we’re shifting and chasing new priorities. But we definitely need to reinforce learning and do different tests—not just what we’re learning from ourselves, but what our other peers are doing in another industry with their campaigns.
Ellina: I agree with everything Michael said and echo the points as well. This idea of agility and sprint mentality is certainly permeating many marketing conversations.
To me, in order to be agile, you have to understand where to be agile, why to be agile, and where the world is going. We do this on our team: Every third Friday of every month, we dedicate a couple of hours to learning and cross-functional learning. The team’s coming together looking at ideas, because that’s the fuel for how you will be agile in a more creative way and not just optimizing the things you have developed in your arsenal.
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Customers are gravitating toward companies that support socially important endeavors. What can (or should) marketers do to bring purpose to the forefront, and their organizations?
Kara: We have a lot of localization efforts and opportunities for small groups and different parts of the business to come together and support a purpose or cause that is personal or unique to them.
When we think about it a little more holistically as an organization, we tend to be a little quieter. The way that we think about it is: purpose comes from two places. An organization is either founded on a purpose or it’s time-oriented (there is a purpose or a cause and the market, or that’s happening in the world or society, that really resonates with the organization).
It’s not that one approach is inherently better than the other. The intent has to be authentic, though, and it has to be very meaningful. It has to be a core pillar of what the organization does and how it sees itself.
We have a leader of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our organization, and one of the things that she always says that hits home for everyone is if you can’t really tap into what drives someone and what motivates them, you’re not going to have a purpose driven culture. You’re not going to have a culture that’s aligned or attached to anything or anyone. And so, it’s really about finding the importance of that kind of activity and how it all comes together. Not only for forward-facing purposes, but for how you bring your organization together and make it a very meaningful thread in your culture as an organization.
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Maria Coleman was a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Litmus