Five trends for marketing in 2021: Insight-led marketing efficiency

Five trends for marketing in 2021: Insight-led marketing efficiency

It seems to be an almost impossible feat to predict how 2021 will work out for the marketing industry - even now in February - against a backdrop of COVID vaccines, more waves of the pandemic and changing restrictions playing out on the world stage.

But one thing that I think that we can predict with a degree of certainty is that 2021 will continue to see an overriding focus on marketing efficiency due to incredibly tight budgets.

In my opinion the best way to service this need for efficiency is with insights – ones that can be seamlessly used for digital marketing. Such insights enable a holistic understanding of the customer across all channels and help to optimise and further develop one's own marketing strategy. At the same time, they help to avoid ineffective targeting and ensure effective use of your budget. Only in this way can marketers increase their campaign ROI across all channels.

Here are my thoughts on the strategies that will help digital marketers to reach the right cost efficiencies from insight-led marketing in 2021.

Analytics before contact

The demand for a personalised and context-specific approach will become the decisive factor for success in efficient marketing. Consequently, a deep understanding of the customer is necessary in order to optimise your use of resources. In recent years, data has generally only been evaluated retrospectively with the help of analytics solutions, but it is now being used before customer contact for a much more personalised approach. Customer data contains the key to relevant and therefore successful customer engagement. And ROI is increased thanks to lower scattering losses.

AI-driven audience building

The powers of AI will be harnessed in 2021 to help marketers create better audience segments, so that they can target audiences based on customer traits like "best time to engage the customer", “best channel to deliver the message” and “likelihood to transact in the next 30 days”. This will massively improve the engagement potential of marketing messages. Advanced segmentations can also be used to enhance mobile push messages, and can be built based on push notifications that users have received and engaged with.

Established channels perform better than ever

Don’t underestimate established channels. 2021 will be the 50th anniversary of email, and while some may believe that there’s nothing new to learn from email marketing, this could be the perfect time to optimise your use of it with the help of a new standard. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for Email has a great deal of potential to help marketers to create inspiring new engagement experiences.

AMP offers a completely new range of options for the creation of dynamic content. Emails can easily and quickly be configured, personalised, and enriched with interactive elements within the email itself, enabling consumers to buy products, add a wish list item, or give feedback to interactive surveys directly in the email.

Whilst email provides the greatest ROI and one of the best way to drive large quantities of traffic to the website, most brands have just done the basics and the opportunities to optimise are immense. We often come across brands that double the performance of the email marketing channel, but the key is in broadening the email marketing KPIs past opens, click-rates and revenues. I fully expect more brands to place greater emphasis on optimising the established channels.

Tracking options that are data protection-compliant

With Google’s announcement of plans to shut out third-party cookies in its popular Chrome browser by 2022, the marketing industry has gone into overdrive as it looks for ways to replace cookies with a privacy-safe alternative. At such a time when online privacy is an increasingly important issue, ground-breaking new tracking options are coming into play which will enable marketers to track website visitors without the use of cookies or other technical tools that use user-identifiable information.

What this means is that marketers and analysts will still be able to analyse website and campaign performance, but without sacrificing the all-important anonymity of their customers and prospects.

Privacy and more stringent regulations do not mean decreased revenue. Quite the opposite. The act of taking stock count of the existing permission management and customer identification processes can highlight new opportunities. We recently helped a customer increase the onsite identification rates by 1,200%. Imagine increasing the ability to deliver personalised experiences to 1,200% of your customers!

Leading-edge data strategies

Data is the central tool that enables effective digital campaigns. And yet too many organisations do not optimise the organisation of their data. What is needed is an up-to-date data strategy; one which integrates and consolidates data from different sources and channels at a single point. By integrating Customer Data Platform (CDP) functionality into Unified Customer Profiles, marketers will be able to gain a 360-degree view of every individual customer by visualising their attributes, transactions, and engagement in one single place. CDP functionality allows complete contact profiles to contain order and engagement information, which is extremely valuable for advanced segmentation and automation.

To conclude, whatever 2021 holds, all brands that market to consumers need to prepare their marketing strategies right now for a year in which efficiency and maximisation of budget will be incredibly important. Insight-led customer engagement is the answer. According to Forrester, insight-led businesses will grow seven to ten times faster than the Global Economy.